The Facts About Sleep

The Facts About Sleep


Sleep. The burning topic of daily conversation for many individuals, couples, friends, and family members.

With 1 in 5 adults in the U.K. not getting sufficient sleep, it's a topic we should not take lightly.
A lack of sleep can put you at greater risk of chronic health problems like kidney disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, depression, Alzheimer's, and dementia.

Which is why sleep health is more important than ever. To help you get good quality sleep, you can make a few simple lifestyle changes or even take supplements. Know more about these here.

Why is sleep important?

Before delving into the supplement space, let's recap why sleep health is so important. The benefits of good sleep health are truly endless, and lots of scientific research supports it. On average, you need a good 7-9 hours of sleep every night for optimal sleep health.

Sleep is essential for:

Sleep helps reset your body and mind, allowing it to gain sufficient rest and recover. When you sleep, your body undergoes tissue repair and muscle growth and steadily releases growth hormones. It also allows your brain to function at its best.

Your cognitive function
Having a good sleep helps with your memory, attention, and ability to problem solve. It helps you perform better at work, school, and in your daily life.

Emotional health
Research shows that a lack of sleep can contribute to depression. Plus, sleep disorders have been linked to a higher risk of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Sleep can help regulate your emotions and allow you to cope with stress more effectively.

Physical health
Sleep is one of the biggest drivers of your physical health, as it helps support a healthy immune system. It can help your body defend against illnesses and fight infections more efficiently.
These are just a few benefits out of many of why sleep health is so great! We cannot stress how important it is.

What causes sleep problems?

Sometimes bad sleep health can arise from a range of unhealthy habits. But don't worry; these habits can be fixed with a few simple lifestyle changes! Some of the major contributors to bad sleep problems are:

If you suffer from high-stress levels, your body may have impaired sleep. Increased stress hormones, like cortisol, can cause insufficient or poor quality sleep.

Eating late at night
Sometimes when you eat late at night, it takes longer for your muscles to digest and metabolize your food to keep them working. As opposed to resting, active muscles can prolong how quickly you fall asleep and stop you from falling into a deep, restful sleep keeping you refreshed for the following day.

Too much caffeine
Consuming too much caffeine can easily affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. It can cause your mind to stay more alert and make it difficult for you to get rest. Often you're not able to fall asleep till around several hours afterward. This is all because caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which encourages sleep and relaxation.

There are some medications like ADHD medications, corticosteroids, beta-blockers, and SRRIs that may keep you awake at night. If you find you're taking these and it's happening to you, you might want to speak to a doctor.

Too much screen time
If you're on your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet for a few hours in bed, you may find it difficult to sleep or have a low-quality sleep. This is because these screens emit blue light, which stops your brain from producing melatonin, tricking it into thinking it's daytime and making it difficult to fall asleep.

Supplements for Better Sleep

While you can make a few lifestyle changes like lowering your caffeine intake, becoming conscious of screen time, managing stress levels, and not eating late at night, sometimes it's not enough. You may struggle with sleep difficulties even if you're not undergoing bad lifestyle habits.

To help ease your ability to fall into a deep sleep, you might want to consider taking supplements. Some supplements that can help you are:

Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by your body from your brain's pineal gland. High levels can help you fall asleep by letting your body know it's nighttime. It's responsible for your circadian rhythm and regulating your blood pressure, weight, body temperature, and blood glucose, and it helps you relax.

A lot of scientific research shows it can increase your sleep duration and quality. Melatonin in supplements is often made synthetically or naturally from animals and comes in tablet form.

Present in many foods and readily available in supplement form, it is one of the best minerals you can have for your sleep, magnesium. It's one of the best supplements to take, as this mineral helps regulate neurotransmitters and melatonin, helping your sleep-wake cycles. It also allows your body and brain to relax, keeping you calm.

Magnesium is so powerful it regulates over 300 different enzymatic processes in your body, helping you build your bones, gain energy, new blood cells, and more. The best form of magnesium to take is glycinate, which helps you relax and comes in capsule form.

Valerian root
Valerian root is a herbal remedy coming from the herb valerian. This herb is mainly found in Europe and Asia but is now available worldwide. The roots and stems are used to make supplements such as tablets, capsules, teas, and tinctures. It's thought to increase the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter helps provide a sense of calmness, making it easier to stay asleep.

Chamomile has shown positive effects on sleep. It's thought to be a sedative due to having a flavonoid called apigenin. This flavonoid binds to receptors in your brain, causing you to feel more sleepy and less anxious. Chamomile is made from dried flowers and is mainly taken in tea form with hot water. It's seen as one of the world's most popular teas.

As the name suggests, a passion flower is a combination of white and purple flowers that works as a dietary supplement. It's thought that passion flower helps increase the neurotransmitter GABA lowering brain activity and making you feel more relaxed. It's mainly taken in tea form.

Bottom Line

Overall, sleep is a topic and an act we should not take lightly. Alongside diet and exercise, it's one thing we should be paying attention to regularly. If you're not getting a good 7-9 hours of deep sleep every night, you could be putting yourself at serious risk of certain health conditions when you're older.
The best way to have a more meaningful and deeper sleep is by changing certain lifestyle habits and, when required, taking supplements. Regarding supplements, you don't always have to take capsule form; you can take them in tea form, like chamomile and passionflower.

If you find yourself suffering from bad sleep, try looking into your habits first and changing them before moving on to supplements. If none of them work, you might want to speak to a doctor for further advice.