The NHS recommends anywhere between six and nine hours of sleep a night for adults. Most of us aim for somewhere between seven and eight. While it goes without saying that regularly getting less than six hours of shut-eye a night can leave you feeling bleary eyed, tired and grouchy the next day, there could be other benefits to getting more sleep.
New research from Penn University found that getting 43 minutes of extra sleep has the potential to not only ensure you feel less sleepy the following day, but could also help lower blood pressure. The two week study focused on 53 students. They were deemed the best candidates as it’s thought that over a third of young adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night. The students were asked to wear wrist sensors to monitor their sleep patterns and were tasked with trying to squeeze in an extra hour of sleep every day. Researchers concluded that 43 minutes was the sweet spot in terms of maximising the health benefits, as well as being realistic to fit into busy schedules.
While the results could be more prominent in this age group compared to older generations considering the lower levels of sleep to begin with, it is yet another study highlighting the importance of slowing down and prioritising sleep. As the festive season begins it’s definitely something to keep in mind as your schedule begins to fill up. And for those who struggle to get their forty winks, there are a few things that could help.
How to get more sleep
Sleep is big business – in fact, in the US the market is estimated to be worth $28.6 billion – and unsurprisingly there are plenty of products that promise to help you get more. While some products can make a notable difference, it’s important to look at your lifestyle as a whole if you are someone who rarely gets the full eight hours. Reducing your stress levels, sticking to a regular routine and cutting back on sugar and alcohol are some of the key changes that can help.
Set the scene: There’s a reason why This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray is a bestseller, the clever blend has been shown to help speed up the time it takes you to fall asleep. Simply mist your pillow just before you hit the hay and take a couple of deep breaths. It won’t be instant, but you should drift off more easily than usual. It also helps to block out any natural light in your bedroom, keep the temperature below 21°C and ban any screens and blue light.
Top-up essential minerals: Magnesium is a key mineral and is especially important when it comes to sleep as it helps us to relax. Magnesium deficiencies are surprisingly common and a lot of us can benefit from taking a magnesium supplement regularly. However, it’s thought that bathing in the mineral is one of the best ways to absorb it. Better You’s Magnesium Oil Original Flakes are particularly effective because it contains magnesium chloride, which is easier for your body to absorb.
Sleep aides: There are plenty of sleep specific supplements to help you unwind, relax and drift off. There are two that Shabir recommends time and time again, InsoZia by Viva Nutraceuticals and Viridian’s Cherry Night. The former is a blend of herbal extracts which help to regulate your sleep patterns and calm a whirling mind, while Cherry Night is a natural source of melatonin (sleep hormone) that you mix into milk or water and drink just before bed.