Expert unveils five essential pillars for improved sleep

improved sleep

The UK is experiencing a sleep deprivation crisis with an estimated 18.5 million adults sleeping for less than 6 hours a night.i Here, sleep expert and physiologist, with over 25 years’ experience, unveils five essential pillars for improved sleep.  

A landmark survey, conducted with 3,700 people, has unveiled a troubling reality: over half of UK adults (54%) struggle to sleep at night, posing serious threats to their health and overall well-being.i  

The new study, commissioned by Kalms Herbal Remedies, found that nearly half of respondents (46%) operate on alarmingly low levels of sleep, less than 6 hours per night. i The primary issues identified include difficulty falling asleep (52%) and frequent awakenings during the night (54%).i 

Insufficient sleep takes a toll on respondents, with half reporting feeling groggy (55%), tired and irritable (51%) the following day.i This lack of rest also hampers their ability to concentrate (51%), leading to reduced productivity and increased errors.i 

Commenting on the findings, sleep expert, physiologist and best-selling author, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan says: 

“Sleep plays a vital role in our overall well-being, yet according to this Kalms study, poor sleep is starting younger and causing a myriad of negative consequences for the nation. Whilst factors such as too much caffeine, the use of electronic devices before bed, or an irregular sleep schedule contribute to this trend, nearly half of respondents (48%) attribute their sleepless nights to stress and anxiety.i Given the current landscape of economic uncertainties, geopolitical tensions, and the persistent challenges of modern life, it’s unsurprising that many individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve good quality sleep.” 

The impact of sleeplessness on health 

Sleep deprivation poses a myriad of risks, spanning from common ailments like the cold to more severe conditions such as depression, dementia, and the potential for a stroke or heart attack.ii Additionally, the likelihood of obesity and diabetes rises, while mood, memory and decision-making abilities are each impacted.iii  

Beyond its detrimental effect on health, sleep deprivation carries high economic costs. A recent study found that poor sleep is costing the UK approximately £50 billion per year, with more than 200,000 working days lost as a result.iv  

Dr Ramlakhan comments:  

“In today’s fast-paced world, balancing our busy lives with consistent, restorative sleep can be a real challenge. However, research suggests that getting the right amount of shut eye each night can reduce mortality ratesv, improve organisational productivity and help bolster the UK economy.  

“Establishing a personalised sleep-care routine that aligns with your lifestyle and promotes relaxation, gives you the best chance of achieving a revitalising night’s rest. This differs from person to person, but the concept remains the same; develop reliable practices that help you to unwind from the stressors of daily life and prioritise sleep.” 

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan’s five pillars for better sleep:

Establish a consistent sleep schedule: “Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep.”

Create a relaxing bedtime routine: “Develop calming bedtime rituals, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. These activities signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for rest, even helping to reduce levels of cortisol[i] – the stress hormone.”

Try a herbal remedy: “For centuries, valerian root, has been commonly used for its sleep-inducing properties. It works by promoting relaxation and reducing feelings stress and anxiety, both of which are common triggers for sleepless nights. Herbal remedies, such as Kalms Night One-A-Night, offer a safe over-the-counter solution to support a restful night’s sleep with less chance of waking in the night and feeling groggy in the morning.”

Optimise your sleep environment: “Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs to block out disturbances.”

Limit stimulants and screen time before bed: “Minimise consumption of caffeine and avoid heavy meals, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep patterns. Additionally, reduce exposure to electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, as the blue light emitted can interfere with the production of melatonin[ii], a hormone that regulates sleep.”

By prioritising these pillars and incorporating them into your daily routine, you can significantly improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

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