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This Sleep Awareness Week®, from March 14 through the 20, it’s time to snuggle up and catch some Zs because you deserve some rest! Admit it, it’s likely you don’t let yourself get enough sleep. It’s not your fault, life is demanding. That’s why this March you owe it to yourself to get those extra hours you so desperately need. This annual event, created by the National Sleep Foundation, seeks to promote better sleep as a way to increase overall health and well-being.
History of Sleep Awareness Week
It’s a well-known fact that your sleep schedule is directly related to your overall mental- and physical health. Launched in 1998 by the National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Awareness Week® begins at the start of daylight saving time when most Americans lose an hour of sleep. The change to daylight saving time reminds us to make beneficial changes in our sleep routines to improve our sleep health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days. The goal is to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and to draw attention to the burden of sleep problems and promote the prevention and management of sleep disorders.
Sleep loss is a big public safety hazard every day on the road. Drowsiness has the ability to slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause of 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S.
Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents. They also had more sick days per accident. It also plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, problem-solving, and makes it more difficult to learn.
Lastly, sleep deprivation has a serious negative effect on your chances of cardiovascular health, putting you at risk for a number of life-threatening conditions. So, for your own safety and the safety of others, make sure you allow yourself the time to rest, and if you can, no better time than the present!
Sleep Awareness Week timeline
The Industrial Revolution no longer allows for laborers to sleep during the day, forcing Americans to adjust/compress their sleep schedules to one long rest, rather than two short sessions of shut-eye.
Nathaniel Kleitman, considered to be the father of sleep research, and his student, Eugene Aserinsky, discover rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Carl Jung's autobiographical book, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," is published, in which he theorizes the importance of dreams.
The National Sleep Foundation is established to promote health and well-being through sleep advocacy and education.
The National Sleep Foundation establishes Sleep Awareness Week®.
World Sleep Day is founded by the World Sleep Society — an annual event to celebrate sleep and raise awareness around important sleep issues.
Sleep Awareness Week FAQs
When is Sleep Awareness Week®?
This annual event begins at the start of daylight saving time when most Americans lose an hour of sleep. Visit the Sleep Awareness Week® website for more information.
What is a sleep episode?
A sleep episode is a moment of sleep that is either voluntary or involuntary. In sleep laboratories, a sleep episode begins at the moment of “lights out” and ends at the moment of “lights on.”
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.
Sleep Awareness Week Activities
Spread the word
Participate in Sleep Awareness Week® and spread awareness on social media by using the hashtag #SleepAwarenessWeek.
Get some rest
Put aside some time to treat yourself to some much deserved shuteye. If you’re one of the many who have difficulty getting to sleep, maybe set aside extra time to workout, meditate or other ways to help catch yourself some Zs.
Practice Healthy Sleeping Habits
There are many ways you can get yourself sleeping better, from regularly changing your sheets, to preparing for bed sooner, to eating earlier. Give yourself a new goal to improve your sleep health and enjoy all the amazing benefits of being clear-minded and well-rested.
5 SLEEPING FACTS
Sleep it off
62% of Americans try to “shake it off” and do nothing about their sleepiness.
The colors of dreams
12% of people dream entirely in black and white.
The sensation of falling when half asleep and jerking yourself awake is called hypnic jerks.
Sleep experts have found a direct link between people’s favorite sleeping positions and their personalities.
Sleeping on your front can aid digestion.
Why We Love Sleep Awareness Week
It keeps your heart healthy
Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
It reduces stress
When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones.
It helps you lose weight
The hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you want to maintain or lose weight, don't forget that getting adequate sleep on a regular basis is a huge part of the equation.