We all love sleep, right? Climbing into bed, snuggling up under the covers and slowly slipping into the land of dreams, dreaming of our favorite things or even dreaming about a loved one? Perhaps even a childhood memory that we are fond to reminisce upon. But surprise! We have a holiday for this particular bodily function, and it is called the Festival of Sleep Day!
History of Festival Of Sleep Day
Nobody is quite sure when this holiday was founded, but it was founded by someone who had a profound and deep love of sleep. Sleep is a basic human function, and helps our bodies to regain energy for the next day, keeping our mind alert and ready for action. Having a lack of sleep can be fatal to the human body and mind, effects caused by little to no sleep over an extended period of time are as follows.
Effect One: Lack of sleep in the modern world can cause people to get into vehicular accidents, which happen daily in large numbers.
Effect Two: Lack of sleep can in fact, dumb you down. As we all know, sleep plays a critical role in our thinking and learning processes. We also know that a lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Secondly, sleep helps to retain memories of the day’s experience. Meaning that with a lack of sleep, we would not remember much of the previous day’s experiences. This makes sleep incredibly important for students, from those in college to those simply trying to learn a new language on their own.
Effect Three: Probably the most dangerous effect from having a long term lack of sleep is it can cause many and deadly health problems. Here are some examples of these problems.
- Heart Disease
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Irregular Heartbeat
- High Blood Pressure
Festival of sleep day, however, isn’t just about the health benefits of sleep, though. It is also a celebration of the activity of sleep itself.
Sleep is one of the most fascinating phenomena there is. The more researchers probe it, the more unanswered (and possibly unanswerable) questions they find. It is still unclear why we need to sleep or where we go when we dream.
Sleep touches on essential matters of metaphysics. For some, consciousness, mind, and thought are purely emergent properties of the physical brain. Our dreams are merely manifestations of neural activity, just as water’s wetness is a consequence of the configuration of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. For others, sleep is evidence of the dualistic nature of reality. There’s the physical world, and then there’s the realm of subjective experience. When we dream, we experience thoughts and ideas in another universe, distinct from the one we call home.
In recent years, sleep has come under attack. Historically, humans evolved to wake up with the break of day and go to sleep with the sun’s setting. Researchers have found evidence for this in the way that our sleep hormones work. The brain releases stress hormones in high quantities with the sun rising in the morning, and more relaxing chemicals as the sun goes down. Interestingly, though, this rhythm continues, even when people spend long periods underground without seeing the sun. It seems hard-wired into our bodies.
The modern world, however, isn’t kind to sleep. We no longer get the estimated seven to nine hours that our ancestors could look forward to every night. Stress and industrial working patterns mean that the bulk of humanity is experiencing shut-eye deprivation.
The Festival of Sleep Day is a way to push back against this trend. Organizers want to highlight the importance of sleep and its necessity for people’s health and productivity. Rest isn’t optional. And it is not a sign of laziness.
How to celebrate Festival of Sleep Day
In order to celebrate this day in the best possible way we can, if we do not have work or errands to do during this day, then we will climb into our PJ’s, jump into bed and relax, or even take a nap if we are able! But if we are unable to relax and have errands to do, or have to work during the day, then we can always save the celebration for when we get home.
Festival of Sleep Day is also about helping to restore some normality to our biology. Evolutionarily speaking, people would have gone to bed soon after the setting sun and risen at the breaking of the day. The event is a chance for people to get back to this rhythm, bedding down soon after the sun goes down and then waking up at dawn.
The organizers hope that the day will celebrate the act of sleep and help create more positive attitudes. People taking part should do what they can to raise awareness of the importance of getting adequate shut-eye and how it is anything but lazy. Research suggests that our brains are highly active when we close our eyes at night. Data indicate that sleep is when we process everything we learned during the day and consolidate memories. Often people go to sleep, unable to figure out the answer to a problem and then wake up in the morning with the answer.
Celebrate the Festival of Sleep Day by switching off your phone and taking some time to sleep instead of always being on the go.