Our generation has heaps of responsibility on its shoulders – so much so that we might often forget the most important tool to get through the day is high-quality sleep.
With the first day of spring, the Hindu festival of colours, Holi, pancake day, and international happiness day, March is always bursting with reasons to celebrate. But one celebration that a lot of people often overlook is World Sleep Day.
Every year on 18 March, the event celebrates the important role that sleep plays in a healthy human body and mind. It also creates space to discuss the issues connected to sleep – such as insomnia, apnea, or incidents related to sleepwalking.
It might seem odd to need a day to remember our appreciation for this mundane activity. But given that, on average, we spend a third of our lives sleeping, why shouldn’t we zoom in on this essential human state? After all, science has time and again proven that quality sleep leads to sound human minds, and an overall lift in a person’s mood.
Making the time to sleep
In February, the University of Cambridge found that one in three people aged eight to 18 in England were happier during lockdown – and much of this was due to increased exercise and sleep.
An estimated 49% of those who had an improved wellbeing had been sleeping more, compared to 19% whose mental health deteriorated, the report said.
During the lockdown, most of us were given a lot more time to sleep. With no social plans to attend and no work commute to factor into our schedules, many of us were blessed with longer lie-ins and more nights spent falling asleep in front of Netflix parties.
‘The rest of our lives were put on hiatus, so the only stressors we experienced were those immediately around us,’ says Alexandra Johnson, co-founder of Sleep, Dream Doze, a luxury sleep-enhancing subscription box company.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, this ironically reduced stress levels – which lowered cortisol and in turn let people sleep better, she adds.