World Sleep Day
Friday of the second full week in March (since 2008)
World Sleep Day exists to highlight and celebrate the importance of quality, healthy sleep. It has the goal of bringing attention and awareness to sleep problems and disorders, while promoting prevention and management of them, in order to reduce them in society. Other related goals of the day are to increase research of sleep medicines and to come to a better understanding of sleep conditions. Up to 45% of the world's population has a sleep problem, and most of these problems can be prevented or treated, but only about one in three people seek treatment.
The day is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society, a nonprofit organization based in the United States. Members of the World Sleep Society were formerly members of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), which held the day for the first time in 2008. WASM merged with the World Sleep Federation in 2016 to form the World Sleep Society. The day was founded to highlight the importance of healthy sleep because many researchers and health professionals found that sleep was taking a back seat in people's views of personal health. They believed that the seeming nonstop 24/7 movement of modern life was compromising sleep as well. During its first year, the goal was to bring together healthcare providers and healthcare members who focus on sleep, to discuss and disseminate information about sleep around the world.
Participants in World Sleep Day can become official delegates, and then plan and submit activities to the World Sleep Day website, so the activities can become official World Sleep Day events. Participants can organize any type or size of event that promotes an awareness of the importance of sleep. Events may take place online or may be physical events taking place anywhere in the world. Common events include discussions, presentations of educational materials, exhibitions, lectures, and walk-a-thons. There is a new slogan each year, and participants usually organize their events around it. The World Sleep Society also provides a toolkit to help with event planning, which includes talking points, a press release, and more. As of 2018, at least 55 countries were participating in the day.
How to Observe World Sleep Day
You may want to spend the day sleeping on World Sleep Day, and you should make sure to get the right amount of quality sleep today, but with your time awake you should be busy, as there is much work to be done. You could organize an activity or event to raise awareness about sleep disorders and the importance of sleep, such as a discussion, presentation, exhibition, lecture, or walk-a-thon. In order to make your activity an official event, become a delegate and submit your activity. You may want to organize your activity around the year's slogan, and look at the World Sleep Day toolkit to give you ideas.
If you would like to attend an event, you are able to search on the World Sleep Day website for some taking place near you. You could also download banners for the day to be used on social media and read stories about the day that have appeared in the media.