World Sleep Day 2024

Dr Maria Gardani

Sleep and circadian expert and founding member of ScotSMART

March 15th is World Sleep Day for 2024 and the theme for this year is Sleep Equity for Global Health. This year’s theme is more fitted than ever before in the 16 years since the establishment of the day, with so many people around the world experiencing sleep health inequalities and burden due to poor living conditions.

The key messages from the World Sleep Society for 2024 are that sleep is multidimensional, essential to health and enforces the notion that we must address sleep health disparities to improve the health of populations across the world.

Sleep in Students

Sleep is a pillar of health alongside nutrition and physical health. Students are affected by poor sleep and sleep disturbances with some recent evidence showing that approximately 30% of students meet criteria for insomnia disorder. Considering what we know about how poor sleep or lack of sleep opportunity negatively affects cognitive functions, learning and memory it is no surprise that poor sleep is linked with poor academic performance. The good news is that regular sleep can improve wellbeing and academic performance in university students.

Stress can contribute to poor or inadequate sleep in university students and  coursework or exams are not the only sources of distress.  Moving to a new city or country, new found independence and living in noisy and busy accommodation halls of residence are all sources of stress and not conducive to health sleep.

Improve your Sleep – today!

Here are a few tried and tested tips improve your sleep and feel better:

-Keep a regular sleep and wake pattern – including the weekends!

-Avoid caffeinated beverages, especially later in the day.

-Be active during the day, especially outside. Getting enough daylight strengthens your circadian rhythms resulting in restful sleep.

-Avoid exercise close to bedtime- at least 2 hours before bedtime you should avoid strenuous activity.

-Reduce your screentime before bedtime, especially in bed.

-Turn off notifications on your devices during the night and let your friends and family know that you will not attend to messages during the evening.

-Make sure that your room isn’t too warm or too cold. If you are too warm, try to sleep with one leg out of your covers – as silly as it sounds it helps regulate your temperature.

-Avoid a big meal before bedtime but equally don’t go to bed hungry or thirsty.

[Remember if you are troubled by poor sleep, you can seek further advice from your GP.]

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