15th March 2024

15TH March World Sleep Day

This week is sleep awareness week (10-16th March), with the 15th March being ‘World Sleep Day’.  Sleep is an important daily occupation, and is crucial to our physical and mental health, along with our emotional wellbeing.  It has been identified that primary school children require 9 to 12 hours sleep, teenagers 8-10, and adults 7 or more hours (The Sleep Foundation, 2024). Children and young people require more sleep to support growth and development.

Getting a good nights sleep has many health benefits, these can include:

Physical Health During sleep, the body undergoes repair and restoration processes, connective tissue and muscle are repaired/built, and the immune system strengthens. As mentioned above, sleep is essential for growth and development as the growth hormone is primarily released during sleep.

Cognitive function Sleep is essential for consolidating learning and organising/ storing memories made throughout the day. It contributes to problem-solving and creativity

Emotional wellbeing Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating emotions and mood. When you lack sleep or have a restless night you might be more likely to be irritable and react with impulsivity. 1Having a good night’s sleep enables the body to realise hormones that help the mind and body to recover from daily stressors, this, in turn, promotes emotional resilience.

Sleep Hygiene Tips to Encourage a Good’s Night Sleep for Children and Adults

Whether you are a parent striving for good sleeping patterns for your child, or indeed yourself, take a look at some of the following sleep hygiene tips to help get those zzzzz in!

Consistent bedtime routine Establishing a consistent bedtime routine, that includes calming activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath, provides signals for the body to wind down. Having a consistent sleep and wake time reinforces the body’s cardician rhythm (24 hour body clock).

Create a comfortable sleep environment Ensure your bedroom promotes sleep by considering the temperature, using soft / comforting bedding and ensuring noise and light levels are low.  Ensure the bed is for sleep, therefore where possible try and avoid activities, such as watching the TV, looking at screens, doing homework etc.

Regular exercise and movement Encourage participation in regular exercise, whether this be throughout the day, or engaging in a sporting class after school or work.  It is however important to note the timing of exercise, ensuring there is a few hours gap between this and starting the sleep routine.

Limit screen time Reduce exposure to screens, such as phones, tablets, TV’s.  The blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with the production and release of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Mindfulness nutrition Large meals, sugary snacks and drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine can have an impact on your digestion and sleep.  Consider light snacks / drinks should you get a case of the munchies before bed!

Incorporating these sleep hygiene tips into your routine can have a positive impact on your quality of sleep, and in turn benefits to physical and mental health, as well as emotional well-being!

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