Top 5 ways to improve sleep quality
The UK tops the global statistics for the country that gets the least amount of sleep. A staggering 63% of us claim that we get under 6 hours of sleep most nights with a further 31% of adults reporting that they have insomnia (1). Whatsmore, over one in ten of us take sleeping tablets (13%) or drink alcohol (13%) to help drift off to sleep (2).
So, why are we more sleep-deprived?
I’m sure most of us know the answer to this and are probably fed up of hearing about it but… The odds of being sleep deprived (less than 6 hours a night for adults) has increased significantly over the past 30 years as the lines between work and home have become blurred and digital technology has firmly become part of our lifestyles. Social media, and many of us now working from home has had a huge effect on how we are sleeping, our mental health and our ability to feel content and relaxed at home. Keep reading for PNI’s top 5 ways to improve your sleep quality!
What are the negative effects of sleep deprivation?
Sleepiness affects vigilance, reaction times, learning abilities, alertness, mood, hand-eye coordination, and the accuracy of short-term memory. It also has a detrimental effect on our mood, motivation and has been linked to putting on weight. In addition, sleepiness has been identified as the cause of a growing number of on-the-job accidents and car crashes.
More than half (51%) of adults worldwide have reported that they get less sleep than they need and 80 percent of adults say they are using weekend days to make up for sleep lost during the week (3).
How to improve sleep
I know this isn’t for everyone but hear me out… This is my absolute go to for relaxation, stress relief, mediation and sleep aid! 432 hz is believed to be the vibration for healing. It’s the same vibration as a cat's purr. The idea is to breathe in on the first om and exhale on the second om. This fills the lungs to full capacity and helps each cell within your bodies to become oxygenated. It naturally slows down the heart rate which results in your body to enter a relaxed state as your mind is concentrating on breathing.
I would say that this is my top tool that everyone can use for healing, clarity, mindfulness, relaxation and help induce a deep sleep. Best of all, it is absolutely free! Here is the link for Tibetan monks chanting om at 432 hz.
Get out and about more
With most of us stuck on the hamster wheel of 9 to 5, it’s difficult to make time for the daylight hours however, sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. What is circadian rhythm? It’s our body’s internal 24-hour clock that is directly influenced by environmental cues, especially light, which is why circadian rhythms are tied to the cycle of day and night (4). So, ensuring we get enough light during the daytime hours, improves daytime energy, as well as night time sleep quality and duration (5). In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%.
No alcohol before bed
Although drinking before bed may make us feel more sleepy, contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol before bed, AKA a ‘night cap’, actually has a negative impact on our quality of sleep. Alcohol is known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns as well as our circadian rhythm.
No phones before bed
Exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but night time light exposure has the opposite effect (6). Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep. In addition, blue light which is omitted through electronic devices like smartphones, computers and TVs, has a negative effect on the brain and tricks it into feeling the urge to stay awake.
Supplements to help with sleep
- Magnesium: Responsible for over 600 reactions within your body, magnesium can improve relaxation and enhance sleep quality (7). You can order PNI Active Magnesium supplements here.
- Zinc: Zinc plays an essential role in the creation of melatonin, which is a key hormone for healthy sleep. Zinc is one of the three minerals that have a sedative effect on the nervous system (the others are calcium and magnesium) and is also thought to help mental recovery post-stress (8). Taken with magnesium, this is a safe and proven way to help your sleep quality. You can also order PNI Active Zinc supplements here.
- L-theanine: An amino acid, L-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. Take 100–200 mg before bed.
- Lavender: A powerful herb with many health benefits, lavender can induce a calming and sedentary effect to improve sleep. You can buy a range of lavender products including scented candles, bubblebath, eye masks and drops to put on to your pillows before bed.
If you would like to get more advice on supplements or mediation to help you gain a better nights sleep, please get in touch!