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No need to stifle those yawns this Festival of Sleep Day on January 3! Created to help you catch up on your Zs after a busy festive season, this day of rest and relaxation means you can snuggle up and doze off. So cancel those plans and plump your best pillow, because we’ve got the dreamiest ideas for getting a bit of shut-eye, along with some fun facts to make sleep your new favorite hobby.
History of Festival of Sleep Day
We’ve been enjoying forty winks ever since the human race came into existence, but we haven’t always understood it. Early speculation by the Ancient Greeks about the reason for sleep was that it is due to lack of circulation, causing the body to become unconscious for a period of time while it rebalanced. Theorists were divided at first on whether this was due to the brain or the heart, which were known to be the two most important organs.
Back then, sleep was separated into a first and second sleep of the day, instead of the single long stretch we enjoy today. In the interlude between sleep, people would socialize and relax. This routine stayed the same for centuries but was disrupted by the Industrial Revolution and the invention of artificial light, which allowed for a longer working day and therefore pushed together the periods of sleep. The socializing section of the day was moved to before bed instead.
The desire for success in the newly industrialized world would eat into the sleeping time of many workers and businesspeople, as it continues to do today. A new regulation was introduced by Ford in 1926, when it became the first American company to provide employees with a fixed schedule of an eight-hour working day and a 40-hour working week, allowing those on the payroll to get to bed on time.
Festival of Sleep Day is a modern-day celebration, supposedly invented to help us recharge our batteries from all the lost sleep around the festive season at the end of the year. It reminds us to practice self-care for the coming year and take advantage of the numerous benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Festival of Sleep Day timeline
The earliest account of a bed is from Homer’s “Odyssey”, which describes Odysseus’ bed as a charpoy of woven rope.
Greek physician, Alcmaeon, suggests that sleep is brought on by a lack of circulation to the brain.
During this period, many cushions and pillows are used to raise the body into a sitting position in bed while sleeping. As a result, the beds were much shorter than today.
The tale of “Sleeping Beauty” is published for the first time by Giambattista Basile in his collection of tales titled “The Pentamerone”, although the story is thought to have been first told 300 years earlier.
Festival of Sleep Day FAQs
I can’t get to sleep. What should I do?
If counting sheep isn’t helping you nod off, focus on breathing deeply and releasing the tension in your body to ease yourself into a state of relaxation.
How do I stop sleepwalking?
Most sleepwalking occurs due to an erratic sleep schedule or noisy environment, so a regular bedtime and earplugs can help! If you continue to sleepwalk, see a doctor.
Can I sleep for the whole day?
Sleep as long as you like on Festival of Sleep Day! Clear your diary and catch some extra Zs.
Festival of Sleep Day Activities
Get some shut-eye
Celebrate sleep by catching up on some! Get up late, go to bed early, or even have a nap during the day.
Help others sleep
If you know someone who could do with a few extra winks, help them get the space they need by taking some things off their plate.
Get some exercise
The more tired you are from physical exercise, the better you’ll sleep. So tire out your body before you hit the hay tonight.
5 Facts About Dreams To Stir Your Imagination
They occur in a special sleep phase
Dreams take place in the rapid eye movement (REM) phase, which occurs in short bursts throughout the night and creates the perfect environment for our brains to travel elsewhere.
They can be black and white
While dreaming in color is the norm, approximately 12% of people dream in black and white, just like an old movie.
They’re worse if you eat late
When you eat, it kick-starts your metabolism, making your brain more active. If you sleep too soon after eating, your brain will still be whirring away, churning up (usually bad) dreams.
They’re scariest for children
Bad dreams happen decreasingly after the age of 10, with the greatest intensity occurring between the ages of three and six years old.
They happen to pets too
Cats and dogs experience dreams as well as humans. They often move their legs and faces when dreaming, just like us!
Why We Love Festival of Sleep Day
It’s all about self-care
Getting a restful night’s sleep does wonders for your physical- and mental well-being throughout the following day, ensuring you stay happy and healthy.
It’s so easy to get burnt-out with the stresses of daily life, but Festival of Sleep Day allows us to take a load off and recharge our batteries.
It improves memory
When we sleep, we consolidate our learning and memories from the day, meaning a good night’s sleep is more likely to improve our memory in the long-run.
Festival of Sleep Day dates