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World Sleep Day

By Joan Rampersad Friday, March 13 2015

Sunday is World Sleep Day. As such, a Sleep Disorders Medical Symposium takes place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, in Port-of-Spain on Sunday starting at 9 am.

Feature speaker will be Dr Chandra Matadeen-Ali, while Paul Velentine is guest speaker. The event is free to the public.

World Sleep Day (WSD) is an annual event intended to be a celebration of sleep but also brings awareness to important issues related to sleep. It is organised by the WSD Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.

With its slogan: “When Sleep is Sound, Health and Happiness Abound,” the symposium will address issues on breathing, resting, dreaming and driving well.

Breathe Well: (identifies with sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatments). Breathing regularly during sleep is critical to maintain well-being and health. Interruption of the breathing function during sleep is called sleep apnea. This is a pervasive and common disorder that affects four percent of men and two percent of women.

Rest Well: (Identifies with sleep environment) Environmental conditions, such as temperature, noise, light, bed comfort and electronic distractions, play a significant role in one’s ability to get proper sleep—and, subsequently, in overall sleep-related wellness.

Dream Well: (Identifies with mental health of sleep) Sleep disturbance is a risk factor of both physical and mental disorders. Mental health problems for which sleep disturbance elevates risk most commonly include depression and anxiety disorders.

Drive Well: (Identifies with excessive sleepiness) Failure to obtain quality sleep may lead to poor alertness, lack of attention, reduced concentration while driving.

What you can do about it?

Follow the ten commandments of sleep hygiene. For adults:

1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.

2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.

3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion four hours before bedtime and do not smoke.

4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.

5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime.

A light snack before bed is acceptable.

6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.

7. Use comfortable bedding.

8. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.

9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.

10. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

And for children ages from birth to 12 years:

1. Go to bed at the same time every night, preferably before 9 pm.

2. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule.

3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine.

4. Make your child’s bedroom sleep conducive – cool, dark, and quiet.

5. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.

6. Avoid bright light at bedtime and during the night, and increase light exposure in the morning.

7. Avoid heavy meals and vigorous exercise close to bedtime.

8. Keep all electronics, including televisions, computers, and cellphones, out of the bedroom and limit the use of electronics before bedtime.

9. Avoid caffeine, including many sodas, coffee, and teas (as well as iced tea).

10. Keep a regular daily schedule, including consistent mealtimes.

World Sleep Day 2015 has partnered with sleep societies, commercial enterprises and individuals around the world to raise awareness about sleep-breathing problems. For information on 2015 activities, visit website www.worldsleepday.org

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