March 19, 2021, is celebrated every year as World Sleep Day across the world. The event is celebrated annually on the Friday before the northern hemisphere vernal equinox and is organised by the World Sleep Society to address issues related to the action of dozing off. The message on their website reads “World Sleep Day® is an annual event, 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 organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.”
The event was organised for the first time in 2008 by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM). In 2016, WASM and World Sleep Federation (WSF) collaborated to found one international organization named World Sleep Society which has been organisuing the event ever since.
The organisation addresses issues related to sleep or lack of it. It analyses the impact of sleep on several issues such as medicine, education, social aspects, and driving. It also aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. More than 88 countries have participated in the annual event.
Sleep has been always seen as a time that has not been utilised for any efficient work. This is evident by the fact that the national sleeping times of various countries hovers around the 6-hour mark. India’s sleep average is adjudged to be at 6.55 sleeping hours which is the second-worst in the world.. This is less than the recommended 7.5 hours which is divided into five sleep cycles of 90 minutes each.
Several studies have shown as many as 33 percent of Indians suffer from insomnia with no provisions in the National Health Policy of India to address it. There is also little to no awareness over the issue of sleep deprivation and the effects it has on the body.
Experts say that issues like these are the cause of rising diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, and other diseases in the country and if not addressed properly could have disastrous consequences for the population in the future.