Restful Sleep – Easy Breathing – Healthy Body
World Sleep Day 2014 is organised by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) every year on the second or third Friday in March. It is aimed to:
…celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and to draw society attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medicine, education and social aspects; to promote sleep disorders prevention and management. Through the World Sleep Day the WASM tries to raise awareness of sleep disorders and their better understanding and preventability, and to reduce the burden of sleep problems on society.
This year World Sleep Day 2014′s theme is “Restful Sleep, Easy Breathing, Healthy Body,” a three-in-one message highlighting the preventable risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea.
Restful Sleep — How do you know if you’re getting restful sleep?
Good, restorative sleep is continuous and uninterrupted, deep, and of adequate length. If you achieve all of these, you should feel rested and alert throughout the day.
If you’re missing one or more element, your concentration, productivity, attention and alertness will suffer. Daytime sleepiness can also be dangerous, leading to motor vehicle accidents.
Easy Breathing — People with obstructive sleep apnoea may not realize how many times they’re waking up during the night, but if your airway isn’t open enough, you’re not getting good sleep.
“When breathing in sleep is an effort, quality sleep is reduced,” says Antonio Culebras, M.D., professor of neurology at SUNY, Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York and co-chair of the World Sleep Day Committee. One of the most significant risk factors for sleep apnoea is being overweight or obese. Extra accumulations of fat in the upper airway can reduce the throat opening, while a large abdomen can interfere with the pumping action of the diaphragm. Recent studies have shown that losing weight alone can eliminate sleep apnoea in some overweight people.
Other risk factors for sleep apnoea include smoking, which can damage the throat, and large tonsils, particularly in children. Quitting smoking or getting large tonsils surgically removed can cure sleep apnoea and prevent the complications of daytime sleepiness.
Not only can getting healthy lead to better sleep — the same principle works in reverse. Better sleep leads to better health.
Being alert and rested can make you feel more motivated to get regular exercise and eat healthfully, while lack of sleep can leave you feeling lethargic and too tired to move. What’s more, studies have shown that lack of sleep for just a few days disrupts hormone and metabolism levels, resulting in increased appetite and calorie intake.
The WASM press release offers the following references, which we on the Sleep Doctor review team at the Sleep Well Clinic will take a look at and provide some commentary over the rest of March:
- Mandal M, Hart N. Respiratory complications of obesity. Clinical Medicine 2012; 12(1): 75-8.
- Foster E. Uncovering sleep apnea misconceptions. The Nurse Practitioner 2008; 33(6): 22-28.
- Boehlecke BA. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of sleep-disordered breathing. Curr Opin Pulm Med 2000; 6: 471-478.