You might not have realised it, but today is World Sleep Day.
Not, as it appears, a day designated for everyone across the world to sleep for 24 hours, but one to educate the masses about the importance of sleep as well as revel in the pleasure it brings.
On its website, WSD states that is is "...intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving.
"It is organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society (founded by WASM and WSF) and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders."
Last year saw the website become a top trend on Twitter and Facebook, with views on the former reaching 109,000.
World Sleep Day now boasts representatives in 14 other countries, including Bangladesh, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Qatar and Uruguay.
We all have different strategies when it comes to sleep, some verging on the immature. I know friends who still envision a loop of sheep hopping over a fence. Most adults, though, will visit a pharmacy and get themselves some form of medicinal support if they're waking up lots of times over the course of a night's sleep.
Saying that, what is a 'night's sleep'? As in, what constitutes it? Apparently Margaret Thatcher slept four hours a night during her 11 years in Downing Street and got along fine. While Leonardo da Vinci only got around five per night.
We're sold this idea that longer is better when it boils down to sleeping, but is it true? The National Sleep Foundation recommends different times for different ages.
- Newborns (0-3 months ): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
That pretty much leaves us with a seven-to-nine hour norm. But what are the benefits of that over a four-hour power snooze?
Yes, this one's quite obvious. If you go to work on two-hours' sleep, you're gonna be a horrible, decaying, pale mess next to the person who tucked themselves away at 10:30pm. Better sleep, better mood.
Turns out that Leonardo da Vinci, a maverick in many fields, would have totally shit in the sheets.
Not getting enough Z's lowers libido and contributes to erectile dysfunction.
Bit of a pickle really, isn't it? You need sleep for better sex yet surely 'better sex' implies a longer duration meaning your early night plans would be ruined? Life, eh.
YOU'LL BE RICHER
'Come a-fucking-gain?' I hear you shouting. How could sleeping nine hours a day affect my bank balance in any way? Well, tired people are more prone to making risky financial decisions. Instead of trying to minimise loss, they'll vouch for that big gamble get-rich-quick route, which invariably does not work. Don't do that, guys.
Similar to the 'being happy' entry, this one is quite blatant. Everyone has met a friend when they've had zero winks. They're slurry and repetitive. Get yourself seven-to-nine hours' sleep, and every conversation you have will be like a TED talk.
IMPROVES GYM PERFORMANCE
More sleep = higher energy = reps for days.
Better speed, better hand-eye coordination. Want these things? Sleep longer.
BETTER PAIN THRESHOLD
Translation: if some picks a fight with you the day after a monster sleep, accept it. Don't initiate it because violence is bad, but don't turn it down. No matter how many hits you take, how many kicks you eat, it won't do much thanks to your marathon doze.
OK, so it's more to do with the little things, like being able to hold your finger on a radiator for longer, but it still could apply to street fights.
And there we have it. Just some of the reasons you should get as much winks in as you can each night.
Sleep well, guys.
Featured Image Credit: PA