Whether you’re worried about that virus or general life pressures are mounting, there seems to be a lot of insomnia about right now – these natural remedies will help you sleep
While some people are able to cope with little sleep, the majority of us cannot, and we tend to feel the effects when we find it hard to function properly the following day.
We’ve all had trouble sleeping at one time or another, whether it’s chronic insomnia or just a bad night. But good quality sleep is arguably the most important thing we need when it comes to optimal health.
Yet these days, many of us are simply not getting enough. Most people’s bedtime routine includes flicking through their phone, regretting having a coffee after 5pm and not being able to quiet their busy thoughts – sound familiar? Why aren’t we sleeping?
Insomnia is a disorder where you find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or you continuously have a disturbed night’s sleep.
There are many causes of insomnia such as; a room that’s too hot or cold, an uncomfortable bed, alcohol, caffeine or nicotine, jet lag, shift work, anxiety or depression.
Most of us have suffered from insomnia at some stage of our lives, but tend to notice it more when we are worried or stressed and it turns out very few of us are able to ‘switch off’ or stop our minds from racing after a stressful or busy day.
A survey on behalf of vitamin and supplement brand Healthspan of 2,000 adults found that 62 per cent believe their mind is constantly running ‘a mile a minute’, while 83 per cent of people feel like they constantly have lots going on in their head.
In fact, the average person has over nine things on their mind at any given moment. This ranges from simple everyday decisions to stressful money worries or big life changes.
What’s more, three quarters of those polled, via OnePoll have so much on their mind that they struggle to switch off their racing minds, with the average adult facing poor sleep three nights a week.
Dr Meg Arroll a psychologist on behalf of Healthspan who commissioned the research says, ‘Being able to ‘switch off’ and clear your mind of worries and concerns isn’t something that comes naturally to many people. Like most skills, it requires a lot of practise but can offer huge rewards, if you keep it up’. Why is sleep so important?
So much happens to our mind and body when we sleep.
Our brain processes information to create new memories, our muscles and joints recover from their use during the day and we produce increased amounts of growth hormone which aids the regeneration and rejuvenation of our cells.
‘As well as affecting our physical and emotional well-being, poor sleep also increases our risk of having an accident (due to excessive tiredness), raises our blood pressure and reduces our immunity so we are less able to fight off infections,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer, Medical Director at Healthspan.
‘If you are exposed to a common cold virus, for example, you are almost three times more likely to catch it and develop symptoms if you consistently get less than seven hours of sleep a night, than if you are sleeping eight hours or more,’ Dr Brewer adds.
It also emerged that two thirds of those polled, feel less able to handle everything on their mind, when they’ve had a bad night’s sleep.
‘This study has found that so many of us feel less strong mentally when experiencing a poor night’s sleep,’ says Rob Hobson, Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition and author of The Art of Sleeping .
‘Short-term sleep deprivation can impact on concentration, memory, learning, mood and relationships during the day. Long-term, a lack of sleep can have much more serious effects centered around inflammation’. What makes the perfect night’s sleep?
When feeling exhausted and in desperate need of sleep, lying wide awake in bed is a miserable experience.
‘Around 31 to 55 per cent of sleep duration is based on genetics, the remainder, however, is influenced by everyday factors like your behaviour, environment and diet,’ says Hobson.
As this month is National Bed Month, we have been thinking about the ingredients of a perfect night’s sleep.
Everyone could benefit from learning a little more about how we can change our lifestyle habits rather than resorting to sleeping pills (or excessive alcohol) to help us nod off.
Not to mention, how nice it would be to wake up rested and ready for the day ahead? Dr Sarah Brewer’s top sleeping tips:
Avoid napping or sleeping during the day.
Don’t drink too much fluid in the evening or you will be going to the toilet all night.
Exercise regularly, but avoid high intensity exercise in the evening or it will keep you awake. Avoid substances known to interfere with sleep such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol (4 hours before bedtime). Wind down before bed by reading or listening to soothing music. Take a relaxing candlelit bath. Keep electrical devices them away from where you sleep as they may emit electromagnetic frequencies that interfere with sleep. Don’t stare at screens before bed (30 mins), including phones, computers, tablets or TV. The blue light emitted will switch off the production of melatonin – your natural sleep hormone. Try falling asleep listening to a meditation soundtrack. ‘Exercising good sleep hygiene habits while eating a balanced diet is key to restful sleep,’ says Hobson.‘But there are also plenty of natural supplements such as valerian and 5-HTP that may be a useful addition to help you on your sleep quest’.So, without further ado, let’s look at some natural (less obvious) ways you can get the best night’s sleep… #1 Start taking CBD oil (you’ll never look back) Insomnia and sleep disorders are among the top five reasons for taking CBD (Cannabidiol).CBD works directly on the endocannabinoid system in the brain, enhancing the effects of other brain chemicals, such as serotonin and anandamide, to reduce pain perception, relieve anxiety and stress, improve sleep and lift […]