World Sleep Day
A man sleeps during the final of the Gold Cup British Open Polo Championship match at Cowdray Park near Midhurst, southern England, July 20, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Hectic work and busy life has forced people to sleep lesser than the recommended hours. Lack of sleep can lead to several health problems and in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of sleep, World Sleep Day is observed in March — this year it falls Friday, March 17.

World Sleep Society is behind the international event, which began in 2008. Every year the World Sleep Day is observed with different slogans, with this year’s motto being: “Sleep soundly, nurture life.”

In the U.S., over one-quarter of the population report of not getting sufficient sleep, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Sleep insufficiency may be caused by broad scale societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and work schedules, but sleep disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also play an important role. An estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. Notably, snoring is a major indicator of obstructive sleep apnea,” the CDC notes.

The CDC recommends seven or more hours of sleep every day for adults between 18 and 60 years of age and seven to nine hours for those aged between 61 and 64. People aged 65 and above are recommended to sleep for seven to eight hours.

Here are some interesting sleep facts from National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns sleep 14 to 17 hours in total each day.
  • Those divorced, widowed or separated report more insomnia.
  • Man is the only mammal who delays sleep.
  • Regular workout makes it easier for a person to fall asleep and get sound sleep. However, working out right before going to sleep may make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • People feel tired at two different times of the day: about 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • A person’s body does not adjust to shift work.
  • About 90 million Americans’ sleep is disturbed due to snoring.
  • Those sleep deprived tend to have bigger appetites because levels of appetite-regulating hormone leptin fall due to lack of sleep.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is caused by changing patterns of light and darkness affecting one’s sleep.
  • Sleep disruption is more at higher the altitude because decreased levels of oxygen levels.