World Sleep Day is also important for physical exercise. The things that we learn when we do sport are consolidated when we rest and sleep.
For the last 11 years, the Friday before the spring equinox has been celebrated as “World Sleep Day". By means of this initiative, the World Sleep Society wants to vindicate the importance of a adequate sleep and certain related-aspects such as health, education, social components. Therefore, a wide range of events and activities are carried out in many cities to raise awareness about different topics, all under a common slogan.
The slogan chosen for 2018 is “Preserve your rhythms to enjoy life”.
Our body follows what is known as a circadian rhythm. This is our biological clock which repeats every 24 hours and coincides with the periods of being asleep and awake. This rhythm is set by a series of factors inherent to each person (hormones, etc.). However, there are other external elements, such as sunlight, that do not depend on it. According to experts, people who get good rest during the night have a lower risk of developing psychological and physical problems. On the psychological level, these people also display a lower prevalence of mental health diseases and, in terms of physiology, there is a reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and injuries, amongst others.
What happens while we sleep?
During sleep, a set of processes is activated allowing the body to recover and be in the best possible condition for the start of the next day. There is a regeneration of neural circuits which enables us to consolidate the new information that we have acquired. This factor is important for anybody, however, it has an even more vital role in childhood as it is a time of constant learning. Similarly, it is of crucial importance for athletes and people who practice sports. Indeed, for sportspeople, the importance lies in the technical side of their discipline. In fact, regardless of the type of sport, there is always a theoretical part that must be consolidated, and this can be done during times of rest.
Together with these neural processes, the regeneration of tissues is also activated. Muscles also tend to be target zones for tissue regeneration. Daily activities also cause wear and tear on a different level according to our individual demands, and we need to recover. When we are resting, the muscle fibres that have suffered micro-tears throughout the day recover through a series of specific mechanisms, such as increased protein synthesis.
Getting quality sleep and following our circadian rhythm offers different health benefits that we need to “enjoy life”, as stated by this year’s slogan of World Health Day.
Dr Eva Ferrer – Specialist in Sports Medicine– Consultant Doctor at Advance Medical