Two baggy eyes, countless deep inhalations, several cups of late-night coffee, and an imminent assignment due in a couple of hours—how many times have you struggled to meet a homework deadline with the painful realization that you have no choice but to replace sleep with school work in the dead of the night? In that precise moment, you may have thought yourself wise – wise enough to sacrifice only three out of your seven“meaningless” shut-eye hours in order to show greater endeavor and perseverance in your academic studies. Who needs proper sleep anyway? Caffeine pills and frequent dozing-off in class are probably enough to pull you through the day and night tomorrow. It’s not like sleep is so important that some napping committee would actually pick a day in the year to celebrate a so-called “sleeping day”. Well, think twice with your somnolent mind; World Sleep Day is coming your way!
You might be surprised that World Sleep Day really does exist outside of your dreams. As an annual event organized by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) in 2008, World Sleep Day is celebrated on the third Friday of March each year with its aim being to draw attention to the benefits of healthy sleep and to raise awareness on the burdens of sleep problems in areas of medicine, education and the society. With this year’s (2014) celebration on the March 21, the World Sleep Day committee of WASM will continue to spread its influence by promoting the prevention of sleep disorders and management, as reflected its annual slogan:“Restful sleep, Easy breathing, and Healthy body”.
By holding online discussions, educational presentations and exhibitions all around the world, WASM offers an exceptional opportunity for people of all nationalities, age groups, and occupations to acquire more knowledge on the importance of the daily activity of sleeping on World Sleep Day. Astonishment will be your first reaction when you learn all about the concealed and unheeded benefits of a good night’s sleep: for the weight-concerned, plenty of sleep controls your gains and keeps your figure; for assiduous students, snoozing strengthens your memories and actually enables your mind to “practice”skills learned while you were awake; for hardy elderlies, longevity can be achieved as a result of longer and healthier sleeps.
Despite being a formal annual event for just six years, the World Sleep Day has been trying its hardest to spread the message across the world that sleep is indispensable. Sleep sustains us. Sleep is what enables us to live fully during the day and enjoy each and every moment that we are so gratefully blessed with. Completing homework might be important; missing the deadline might be inexcusable; but nothing is more essential than benefiting from a good night’s sleep and possessing an energetic body that can get us through all the difficulties and hardships of life. So the next time you come across the choice of a normal bedtime and an imminent assignment—what will you choose?
This article originally appeared in the March, 2014 issue of UNIT-E. It was written by Donna Zhang, a student at the Beijing World Youth Academy.
UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
Photo courtesy of UNIT-E