“Our patients and people of all ages across the world can enhance their overall health and well-being by prioritizing sleep and embracing strategies to improve sleep and circadian health. The more our members, activity organizers and the media can share evidence-supported knowledge about sleep and circadian health, the better.”
–Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD, President of World Sleep Society
Healthy sleep is more than a simple calculation of duration.
There are three elements of good quality sleep:
· Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day.
· Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation.
· Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.
Sleep is a pillar of human health.
The World Health Organization defines “health” as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Decades of research have demonstrated the significance of sleep for physical, mental, and social well-being.
Like nutrition and physical activity, sleep is essential for optimal functioning.
· Sleep helps support memory and learning.
· Sleep helps clear waste from the brain and promote brain health.
· Sleep supports brain health, and brain health supports sleep.
· Sleep supports immune health, and immune health supports sleep.
· Sleep helps the immune system to clear bacteria and viruses.
· Sleep helps to recycle old cells and maintain our bodies and energy levels.
· Sleep health is unevenly distributed across populations and is an important target for improving health equity.
Poor sleep health can have multiple significant impacts on human health.
· Poor sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and cardiovascular mortality.
· Poor sleep can lower immune response, creating greater susceptibility to infections that further reduce sleep quality.
· Certain sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea and rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder are associated with cognitive impairment, dementia, risk of seizures, and increased risk of stroke.
· Poor sleep can result in reduced reaction times, impaired judgment, and cognitive impairment, similar to alcohol intoxication.
· Drowsiness can impair safe driving even if the driver does not fall asleep.
The European Academy of Neurology and the World Health Organization have recognized the importance of sleep to brain health. In 2022, the American Heart Association added sleep to its list of eight essential factors for cardiovascular health.
Neurofeedback, in conjunction with behaviour and lifestyle changes, can help to rebuild sleep architecture!
A rested brain is an optimised brain!