• Morgan Oppen, MSU Nursing Student

World Sleep Day

March 19 is National World Sleep Day. This year, the theme is “Regular sleep for a healthy future.” World Sleep Day is a day specifically focused on the benefits that regular sleep can offer. According to the World Sleep Society, more than 88 countries around the world participate in World Sleep Day. This day was created to celebrate the importance of healthy sleep in our everyday lives.

Sleep may not be one of the first things that comes to one’s mind when thinking about the different ways to care for ourselves and our bodies, but it is very important. Sleep is involved in many of our bodies’ natural functions including control of inflammation, cardiovascular regulation, and hormone regulation, among many others. Poor sleep quality, on the other hand, has been associated with many different adverse effects. Unhealthy sleep has been correlated with poor mental health, impairments in cognition, and impairments in executive function. Executive function is mental skills like inhibition, emotional self-regulation, self-motivation, and planning and problem solving, according to Understood Team.

As college students, many of us like to sleep in whenever we can, but the World Sleep Society instead recommends having a specific bedtime and waketime every day to help your circadian rhythm. For those who enjoy naps, it is recommended that naps be less than 45 minutes per day.

Sleep tips:

- Do not drink caffeine for six hours before bed, and do not eat spicy, sugary, or heavy foods four hours before bed.

- Do not use your bed to do your homework or recreation activities. Use your bed only for sleep and sex. If you use your bed for other activities, your brain will not relax once you are in your bed because it is not used to relaxing in bed.

- Do not exercise right before going to sleep.

- Avoid electronics a couple of hours before going to bed. Electronics bring blue-light into your system, and the brain correlates blue-light with daylight making it difficult to fall asleep.

o Instead, do an activity that does not involve electronics like reading a book, writing in a journal, or meditating to keep your mind at ease before bedtime.

Keep these tips in mind during the day before you go to bed. Sleep is very important for emotional and physical wellbeing. Applying these tips can help many aspects including better cognition and improved mental health. Sleep well on World Sleep Day!

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