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World Sleep Day falls on Friday, March 17 but do we need a day to remember the importance of sleep? After all we spend almost a third of our life sleeping; for example a 90-year old man would have spent around 30 years of his life sleeping. However, research shows that most adults don't not getting enough sleep. People’s sleeping habits are increasingly leading to diseases, weight management issues, sleep apnea, memory loss and other long-term conditions.

In Numbers

After a recent research commissioned by Bupa Global in the UAE, some staggering figures have come to light on the sleeping patterns of UAE residents.

1. Only 12 per cent of the surveyed residents get the recommended eight hours of sleep daily.

2. 60 per cent of UAE residents have at least one to two nights of poor sleep a week

3. 25 per cent of residents claim that work-related stress is the reason for lack of sleep.

4. 30 per cent of residents feel that their worst sleep night falls on Saturday, being the night before the work week starts.

5. 13 per cent of the surveyed residents get less than 5 hours of sleep per night

6. 82 per cent of the respondents check work emails before doing so; 60 per cent doing so regularly

Try these general tips that could help you sleep like a baby

Why should you sleep well?

1. Volatile and emotional

Sleeping well strengthens connections between various parts of the brain, most importantly the bond between the part dealing with strategic thought, and the emotional centres of your brain. Lack of sleep weakens these bonds, so much so that our decision-making abilities are affected and the chances of volatile and emotional behaviour increases.

2. Stress free time

For people who sleep well, that may be the only time that stress factors aren’t affecting the mind. Essentially, sleep gives you rest and relief in a safe stress-free environment – as long as you are sleeping well and for enough time.

3. Date retention

Most of our information gathered during the day is stored into our short-memory bin in the brain. We haven’t actually grasped or learnt these things. During sleep however, the important information is transferred from the short-term memory section to the long-term one – effectively storing these for use later. Lack of sleep interrupts this process, leading to lower memory and information retention.

4. Innovative thinking

A tired brain is rarely creative, only dutiful. Sleeping enough ensures strong connections and bonds that allows us to think creatively and innovatively – making problem solving easier and fun.

5. Anti-ageing

It has been proven that ageing and its effects on the body and skin are more evident in people who sleep less. Sleeping can help you retain your youth and health for a longer period of time.

Also, read our science-backed tips to getting better sleep.

What happens while you sleep?

There are 4 stages of sleep: The first phase is called non-rapid eye movement (NREM). This is where you spend most of your sleeping time. This phase has three different stages: N1, corresponds to feeling sleepy, N2 is a light stage of sleep, where you can easily be woken up, N3 is a period of deep sleep. The second phase is rapid eye movement sleep (REM), during which you tend to dream.

[Bupa Global provided the research data and sleep facts in this article as part of their initiative to observe World Sleep Day]