Sixty-two percent of people believe that their mind is constantly running ‘a mile a minute’, which might explain why they can’t sleep. While 83% feel they constantly have a lot going on in their head according to a new survey carried out by leading supplement brand Healthspan. In light of this, it’s no surprise that people have a problem getting to sleep.
The gold standard for sleep has always been eight hours a night but research shows most of us get less.
The regenerative power of sleep allows the brain to process information, muscle and joints to recover and enables protein to be replenished in every part of the body, which promotes the growth and repair of tissues, cells and organs.
Sleep deprivation (less than eight hours per night) can impact on factors that affect day to day life such as attention, creativity, concentration, insight, learning, memory and emotions. This can have a dramatic impact on your mental health, and it emerged from the Healthspan survey that two thirds of those polled felt less able to handle everything on their mind when they’ve had a bad night’s sleep.
There are many reasons why people struggle to sleep but one of the key factors is stress. According to the Healthspan survey three quarters of people have so much on their mind that they struggle to switch off, with the average person facing poor sleep at least three nights of the week, as they can’t stop their mind racing.
Take the time to create your own personal sleep ritual. Try keeping a sleep diary and jot down what you ate and drank before bedtime, as well as what kept you awake, or any difficulties you had during the night.
I use the BED acronym to categorise the key pillars to sleep which are behaviour, environment and diet.
Behaviour could be putting an end to using your phone or laptop just before bed (blue light inhibits the release of melatonin – the sleepy hormone), getting into the habit of jotting down your thoughts before sleep or developing a routine to ensure your house is securely locked up each night.
Environment – is all about your sleep oasis so make sure your room is cool, dark and clutter-free.
Diet – is about choosing the food and drinks that encourage sleep and watching those that will keep you up, such as booze, coffee and spicy, heavy meals.
There are many supplements which are often used to help relieve sleep issues and these tend to involve either minerals or herbs. Two very popular supplements for sleep are magnesium and CBD oil which help to address the issues of anxiety and stress which are key drivers for sleep deprivation.
Among its many roles, magnesium is vital for the normal functioning of the nervous system and psychological health. It is also involved in the production of melatonin which is the hormone that controls our sleep cycle. Magnesium binds with GABA receptors in the brain to quieten down the anxiety that can keep you awake. Low levels of magnesium are also associated with an increased response to stress and anxiety as well as insomnia.
Magnesium is also difficult to absorb from food and in response to stress is rapidly depleted from the body so, taking a supplement before bed is a great option which may help to encourage a better night’s sleep alongside good sleep hygiene practices.
If you don’t like taking tablets, then magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin by adding magnesium flakes to a relaxing bath.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is extracted from hemp plants but does not contain the compound THC which is found in marijuana strains of cannabis. A CBD oil supplement is one of the best to help with relaxation, improvements in mood and promotion of overall wellbeing.
CBD may be useful for sleep by reducing muscle tension, restlessness and anxiety, and by supporting a normal pattern of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which is often referred to as the restorative stage of the sleep cycle.
CBD oil is currently under investigation as a potential aid for REM sleep behaviour disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.
CBD oil comes in capsule form or as drops which can be added to smoothies and shakes but do check www.drugs.com if you are on any other medications for interactions.
Here are some of my favourite sleep essentials to help you to promote a good night’s sleep.
Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 £129.00 from John Lewis
Weighted Blanket £149.00 from Gravity Blanket
Healthspan Night Time CBD Oil* 260mg £19.95 from Healthspan
Magnesium Flakes Bath Soak* £8.95 for 1kg pouch from Healthspan
Deep Sleep Pillow Spray £19.50 for 75ml from This Works
Perfect Night’s Sleep Bath and Shower Drops £40.00 from Neom Organics
Lavender Essential Oil £9.50 from Neal’s Yard
Rob Hobson discusses his book The Art of Sleeping in the video below
There are many ways to tackle your personal sleep concerns, but you need to get to the root of the problem by addressing what is keeping you awake. Then develop new behaviour to help improve the situation. Alongside this, sleep aids can prove incredibly useful to help support your efforts.
Rob Hobson is the author of The Art of Sleeping* published by HQ available from Amazon
Main image credit: Dominic Sansotta on Unsplash