Whilst we’re often told to aim for 8-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, it’s estimated that the average Brit only gets around 5-6 hours. However, many professionals would claim that consistent lack of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation in just four days. Not only does sleep deprivation affect our physical state, but it can also cause havoc with our mental state too.
Did you know health professionals have previously described sleep loss as a public health crisis? Too dramatic? We don’t think so.
Scarily, insufficient sleep syndrome has also come to light in recent years as many individuals choose to sleep less to accommodate their lifestyle choices. In fact, some individuals say they see no reason to sleep. Crazy, huh?
The benefits of sleep
The way we see it: sleep is what enables you to wake up and feel energised for the day ahead. Everyone will resonate with the fact that if you haven’t had enough sleep, then you’re likely to feel groggy, dazed, less focused, less creative and perhaps a little irritable. As a physical result, a lack of sleep can also affect our appetite hormones and we’ll often find ourselves craving sugary foods throughout the day.
If there’s anything that you’ll want to improve on when it comes to a healthier lifestyle, start with sleep first. Seriously.
Why sleep is important for the brain
Do we really need 7-9 hours of sleep a night? The simple answer is yes, a majority of us do in order to feel ready for the day ahead. Not only that, sleep is crucial for our overall brain health. When it comes to the functioning of our brain, how our nerve cells communicate with each other is incredibly important. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while we sleep. It’s even been studied that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in the brain which build-up whilst we sleep.
How sleep can impact exercise
Whilst exercise is extremely beneficial to a healthy and active lifestyle, sleep and exercise come hand in hand. If you’re prioritising exercising over sleep – or worse, exercising on little sleep – then you’re simply doing more harm than good (whether you realise it or not).
We also know that exercise is great for growth, however, it’s not ideal to work out when your body is already under a lot of stress from a lack of sleep. You see, good quality sleep ensures growth occurs in your body, but when you’re over-stressed you won’t be gaining all of the potential benefits from both sleep and exercise. Therefore, prioritising sleep before exercise is crucial for an overall healthy and fit body.
Why sleep is important for kids
While sleep should be seen as an essential part of everyone’s routine, it’s just as important (if not more) to ensure that our kids are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night.
Studies have shown that kids who have obtained regular quality sleep throughout the week have improved attention, behaviour, memory, learning and overall mental and physical health.
How to get better sleep
Good quality sleep is made up of getting complete cycles of light, deep and rem sleep. Light and deep sleep happens at the beginning of the cycle and affects our hormone response. This is responsible for the physical repair and growth of the body. Rem sleep however, happens during the second part of our sleep cycle and affects our psychological behaviour, especially how we emotionally respond to things.
If however, we don’t get enough completed cycles each night, then it can eventually take a toll on our muscle recovery and even disrupt our hormone response and emotional wellbeing.
What Is Considered ‘Good Sleep’
It’s all well and handy going to bed earlier, but how do we know exactly if we’re getting a good night’s sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, a good night’s sleep should include the following:
- Sleeping more while in bed (at least 85% of the total time)
- Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
- Waking up no more than once per night
- Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep
The most important pillar of health
It’s no secret that most people, when asked what the most important pillar of health is, will always refer back to diet, movement and physical wellbeing. However, when we don’t have enough sleep from just one night, the outcome is enough to make us feel like we need a reset button for the day ahead and yet, most of us still don’t see sleep as an important pillar of our health.
Vitamins and supplements for good sleep
While we always encourage absolutely everybody to look at their diets first and foremost when it comes to tackling issues with their lifestyle, we understand that it’s not always easy to get a good night sleep every single night, with work, kids and general life getting in the way. We think what’s most important is good quality sleep. Therefore, we thought we’d share a few of our favourite Primal supplements to help you get a good night’s sleep:
It’s no surprise that most of our modern diets tend to lack lots of essential vitamins and minerals that we need to feel healthy and energetic, and according to the 2016 National Diet & Nutrition Survey, magnesium is one of them.
Studies have shown that magnesium is beneficial for reducing tiredness and fatigue. So, if you’re finding yourself feeling drowsy during the day then taking a magnesium supplement could help you get a better night's sleep. Buy it here.
Zinc is a component of over 200 enzymes and is the most prevalent trace mineral in the body. Not only is it essential for growth, but it’s also important for healing and promotes a healthy nervous system and brain.
It has even been said that having sufficient levels of Zinc in the body can help you cope with stress better - something that is more important than ever in our fast-paced, stressful world.
When it comes to sleep, zinc plays an essential role in neurotransmitter function and helps maintain cognition, which is necessary for the metabolism of Melatonin (a key hormone for healthy sleep).
Researchers have found that zinc also regulates sleep. Although this isn’t clear how, it appears to abet slow-wave sleep. Zinc doesn't seem to trigger sleep, but adequate levels of zinc in the blood shorten the time it takes to fall asleep (sleep latency), increase the overall amount of sleep, and assure sleep quality and efficiency (time spent asleep when in bed). Grab it here.
It has already been found that CBD helps us feel calm and relaxed and because of this, many CBD users love to use it for a better night’s sleep.
So far, CBD oil has shown huge potential as a treatment for both depression and anxiety (which can co-ordinate with sleep) and people worldwide have jumped on this bandwagon, taking the natural route with CBD to help themselves with minimal side effects. CBD oil has even been used to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder. These qualities are linked to CBD’s ability to balance the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls mood and social behaviour.
In the neurological world, it's not just epilepsy and MS that CBD has shown to assist with. Research has shown that CBD can be used to treat several other neurological ailments. A prime example is the many studies that have shown treatment with CBD improved sleep quality and overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Find out more about our high-strength CBD oil here.
Our Primal Sleep Aid uses a state of the art multivitamin complex designed to enhance your sleep naturally, using plant extracts, cherry powder and chamomile instead of chemical-filled sleeping pills you might find elsewhere. Purchase it here.
Herbal Lavender Sleep Spray
Our pillow mist has been made with natural essential oils known for their relaxing and refreshing qualities. Aromatherapists often choose lavender to create a relaxing scent, which is perfect for a good night’s sleep. If you can feel relaxed and calm before trying to get to sleep, chances you'll find it easier for you to settle down and drift off into a deep sleep.
The natural herbal spray creates a tranquil and warm, floral scent, reminiscent of a balmy summer's evening. Grab a bottle here.
To find out more about our products and supplements for sleep health, click here.