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March 17, 2017
WORLD SLEEP DAY has been an officially recognized day since 2008. Started by the World Association of Sleep Medicine, World Sleep Day brings attention to the importance of sleep and the global prevalence of sleep disorders. Each year has its own slogan that connects sleep with holistic health; 2017’s is “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.” The event is held each year in March, on the Friday before the first day of spring.
The World Sleep Society, an organization focusing on sleep research, promotes World Sleep Day as an awareness activity. The society aims to increase public knowledge about the role sleep plays in our overall health, as well as ways to improve sleep quality. They strive to educate people about things like circadian rhythm, melatonin production, and the mechanisms behind common sleep disorders. WSS also helps advance sleep research projects. World Sleep Day is one of their primary outreach efforts.
Globally, more than a third of adults report that they don’t get enough sleep. There are nearly 100 recognized sleep disorders, most of which are treatable, yet less than one-third of a people who suffer from sleep problems seek professional help. The organizers of World Sleep Day hope that by informing people about the importance of sleep, as well as the many treatment options available to those who suffer from sleep disorders, they can help solve the public health crisis presented by inadequate sleep. Researchers have linked poor or insufficient sleep with a host of serious medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
World Sleep Day recruits delegates and global representatives each year, and they currently have a total of nearly 400 delegates from more than 70 countries. Delegates create awareness events, organize volunteers, and spread information via the press and social media. Events range from community festivals to classroom presentations, and the organization welcomes anyone to host an event.
Social media has played an important role in the success of World Sleep Day. In 2016 alone, #worldsleepday became a trending topic on Twitter, and the representative social media accounts gained a total of nearly 800 followers.
For 2017, World Sleep Day is partnering with several individuals, businesses, and organizations to reach a wider audience than ever before. In the US, for example, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, contributed to their press kit and created a list of sleep resources. Happiest Baby, a company dedicated to child well-being, is hosting a giveaway of one of their revolutionary SNOO Smart Sleepers for World Sleep Day.
Anyone can participate in a World Sleep Day event, many of which are held online. There are other ways to get involved with the cause. If you have a social media account, such as Twitter or Facebook, the World Sleep Day website features a page with hashtags, banners, and images to share. You can also become a delegate or submit an idea for an activity.
Celebrating World Sleep Day doesn’t have to involve the official organization. You can share your love of snoozing on your own by tweeting or posting interesting sleep statistics or cool facts about dreams. If there are kids in your life, share the importance of sleep by reading them some of the sleep-themed books on this list, or get hands-on with a bedtime-related craft like a DIY sleep mask.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate the joy of great sleep?