Sleep Awareness Week is March 13 – 19, 2022, and it is a period to use as a call to action for personal well-being. It is the perfect time for everyone to recognize the importance of sleep as a crucial measure of overall health and wellness.
Please use this vital reminder to implement healthy sleeping habits and reflect on practices to help you have a good night’s rest. It is not a coincidence that sleep awareness week begins on March 13th, which is the beginning date of Daylight-Saving Time, when most Americans change their clocks and lose an hour of sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation stresses that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night and any less could pose serious consequences to a person’s health and safety. Sleep helps people recover from illness or injury, cope with stress, and solve problems. Common sleep-wake disorders include insomnia (having problems falling or staying asleep which can lead to anxiety and depression), nightmares (this usually happens during Rapid Eye Movement sleep and brings up feelings of distress or terror generally related to a traumatic event), sleep terrors (any single image memory – not like a nightmare but these single images can be so terrifying that you may shake or scream. When the sleep terror ends, you calm down and return to normal sleep.)
The complex relationship between sleep and psychiatric disorders means that treatment for both issues can go hand-in-hand. There are steps to improve sleep which may even form part of a preventive mental health strategy. A medical doctor or psychiatrist can review the potential benefits and risks of different types of treatments, including prescription medications. They can provide tailored care, including in situations with multiple co-occurring physical or mental health issues. Good sleeping habits, relaxation techniques, sleep restriction (limiting the amount of time in bed) and exercise are treatment options for sleep..