Does It Matter If You’re An Early Bird Or A Night Owl?

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Some of us leap out of bed in the morning with all the gusto of a Duracell bunny, while others don’t fire up their energy until later in the day. Aside from feeling a little groggy in the mornings, up until now there hasn’t been anything wrong with being a night owl. What morning birds achieve before work, they fulfill in the evening.

However, new research suggests published in Advances In Nutrition suggests that those with the evening chronotype (natural preference to evenings) are more likely to battle with health concerns, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, compared to those with the morning chronotype. Night owls are more prone to bad eating habits and fuel their mornings with caffeine and sugar.

Night owls also tend to build up ‘sleep debt’ and use the weekends to recharge lost hours, which disrupts their sleeping pattern for the week ahead.

So, what makes you a morning or evening person?

Some people would argue that they’re just not a morning person and they were born that way. And science doesn’t disagree. ‘We have found that your genes, ethnicity and gender determine the likelihood of you being a morning or evening type,’ says Dr Almoosawi, a Research Fellow in Northumbria’s Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre. Night owls are more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes and are more likely to have an unhealthy diet.

Your body clock also changes with age. Around 90% of 2 year olds have the morning chronotype, but this drops to around 53% by the time they’re 6 years old. Unsurprisingly teenagers tend to have the evening chronotype, while those over 50 years tend to divert back to the morning chronotype.

Can you become a morning person?

Changing your sleeping habits can definitely make mornings more tolerable. Bringing your bedtime forward by just 15 minutes per night for a week is a straightforward way to ease your body clock into going to sleep earlier. The simple tricks that we’ve all heard of, such as taking a warm bath or shower before bed and ensuring your bedroom is cool and dark, also help. 

For those that want to up their evening bedtime routine, we highly recommend incorporating magnesium into the mix. Whether you bathe in the salts with Ilapothecary’s dreamy Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak or massage it into your feet with the help of Magnesium Oil GoodNight Spray by Better You, magnesium can help to gently soothe and relax you mentally and physically.

One study found that every additional hour spent outdoors was associated with 30 minutes of ‘advance sleep’, so using that extra time in the morning to take a run around the park or utilising your lunch break, could help you sleep better. 

If the stress of balancing a huge workload with festive parties and preparations for Christmas is keeping you awake at night, investing in KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus by Wild Nutrition could help get your through. Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that helps your body deal with both psychological and physiological stress.  KSM-66 Ashwagandha which is grown in Western India, has been clinically proven to reduce stress. Taking two capsules a day when you get home from work should help ease any evening stress.

There are plenty of apps to help you manage your stress and drift off to sleep, such as the renowned meditation app, Headspace. There are also books on the subject that can offer simple tips to becoming a morning person, including the international bestseller Morning Miracle: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8am by Hal Elrod.

What about boosting your energy in the morning?

As we mentioned, research suggests that night owls tend to reach for caffeine and sugar fixes in a bid to fire up their energy reserves in the morning. This can increase the health risks associated with the evening chronotype. While going to bed earlier and sticking to a bedtime routine will help, you might still need an energy boost during daylight hours. Look to moringa, a superfood and adaptogen that is packed full of nutrients and helps improve your energy levels and focus.

Is Overtiredness Stopping You From Sleeping

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Whether they go forward or back, the change in the clocks can often impact our sleep. This weekend, they’re going back so we can all enjoy an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning, but be warned, the days are about to get shorter and the cold, dark nights are going to become longer.

Sleep, or lack of it, is big business. In the US, its been reported that some have resorted to paying anywhere between $1100 and $5000 a month on sleep coaches in a bid to ease their insomnia. On the other side of the pond, since the clocks went forward in March, there has been plenty of discussion about sleep – how much we should be getting, how to get more et cetera.

But more recently, experts have been suggesting that overtiredness could be impacting the amount and quality of shut-eye we’re getting. Physiologist and sleep therapist, Nerina Ramlakhan told the Guardian, ‘We have become restless as a society – and that places more demands on us when we get into bed at night.’

‘We have lost the rituals and practices that gave us little respites during the day. In the past, you would go to the supermarket and, while you were waiting in the queue, you’d daydream, be a bit bored, look around,’ she says. ‘Now, any window like that will be filled by looking at your phone, answering some emails, sorting out your Amazon account.’

How can you reduce overtiredness?

The obvious answer might appear to be get more sleep, but as Ramlakhan has explained, too many of us are in constant overdrive during the waking hours that we’re too wired to relax at night. We should be looking at ways the tweak our lifestyle and introduce moments of respite throughout our days.

While it is easier said than done, limiting the amount of time you spend on your phone can help. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that those who don’t switch-off from work-related emails and activities at home struggle to relax and recharge for the next day.

The iPhone Screen Time app is a good way to introduce time restrictions on emails, social media and various apps. Putting your phone on DND (Do Not Disturb) between the hours of 6 pm and 7 am can also help ease you off late night work emails and mindless scrolling of your Instagram or Facebook accounts.

As with every article on sleep, we had to drop in meditation and yoga. Both practices are good at helping you to switch off and reconnect with yourself. If the idea of an hour of Vinyasa Flow feels you with dread, try swimming or joining your local bouldering club – both require you to leave your phone in the locker and keep your mind focused on the activity at hand.

If you get those moments of tightness in your chest or want something to help ease your stress, look to Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26. It’s a supplement we recommend time and time again for the simple fact that it does genuinely offer some relief. Interestingly, new research has also suggested that your other half’s body odour can also help you to de-stress, so keeping a T-shirt aside could potentially do the trick too.

What if you still can’t sleep?

If you’re still struggling to sleep after introducing pockets of rest during the day, it might be worth looking at your bedroom environment. Is the temperature cool enough? Is there any light coming through the curtains? And, is there a noise that could be silenced? None of these things are particularly ground-breaking, but a lot of us don’t have good sleep hygiene. For instance, not eating an hour or two before bed, or partaking in an intense cardio class too close to bedtime.

Upping your levels of melatonin (sleep hormone) can also help you to drift off (Cherry Night, £25.95, by Viridian is a good option). But, this does take a week or so to take effect. If you want a little helping hand in the first instance, look to Sleep Tight, £25.50, which contains a range of relaxing and sleep-inducing herbs, including magnesium, oat straw and ashwagandha.

How Much Sleep Should We Be Getting?

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Eight has always been deemed as the magic number when it comes to the amount of hours we’re supposed to sleep each night. Yet most experts cast the net wider and suggest anywhere between seven and nine hours will ensure you look and feel good. While some of us are lucky to get six hours of shut-eye a night during the week, earlier this year scientists revealed that you can catch up on lost sleep by pressing snooze at the weekend.

But, before you get carried away and whittle away your Saturday morning in bed, this week a new study revealed that you don’t need as much sleep as you think. According to new research presented at the ESC Congress, between six to eight hours of sleep is the healthiest amount necessary to ward off heart disease and strokes.

The study found that those who had less than six hours of sleep were 11% more likely to develop coronary issues, while those who got more than eight hours were 33% more likely.

Author of the study, Dr Fountas said: “Our findings suggest that too much or too little sleep may be bad for the heart. More research is needed to clarify exactly why, but we do know that sleep influences biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation — all of which have an impact on cardiovascular disease.”

So, how can you ensure you get the right amount of sleep regularly? Here’s some helpful tips…

How can you get a better night’s sleep?

First and foremost, stop worrying about the amount of sleep you’re getting. The more you stress about it, the less likely you are to drift off. If you struggle to switch off and stop your mind from whirling, we recommend taking Magnolia Rhodiola Complex. It’s a natural remedy to help reduce anxiety and relax your mind.

Other tricks, such as keeping your bedroom cool and banning any digital devices at least an hour before you go to bed can also help. Upping your magnesium levels will also help. Despite being a key mineral, a lot of us are deficient in magnesium, which can affect our mood, energy levels and sleep patterns. The best way to absorb magnesium is by taking a bath with flakes. If you don’t have a bath, try Better You’s Magnesium Sleep Lotion and massage it into your feet before bed.

What are the best natural remedies for a good night’s sleep?

Shabir has written several pieces on Cherry Night by Viridian and regularly recommends it for the simple fact that it works. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and the lightly flavoured powder helps to top up your natural levels over time. You do need to persevere with this supplement though as it takes at least two weeks to feel the benefits.

If you prefer taking a capsule, try Sleep Tight by World Organic. It has a blend of magnesium, magnolia and tart cherries to help you relax, unwind and drift off. You just need to take two capsules an hour before bed.

What if you’re getting too much sleep?

When it comes to sleep the focus is often on not getting enough, but there are some people who feel like they can sleep forever and yet still wake up feeling groggy and tired. “This is often because you have too much cortisol, the stress hormone,” says Shabir. It’s worthwhile taking Magnolia Rhodiola, or looking into adaptogens, which help to reduce stress and boost your energy levels. “Moringa helps increase resistance to stress, whether this stressor is physical, chemical or biological,” says Shabir. “It also helps to bring the body back into balance no matter where the stress is coming from and it does not interfere with the body’s normal functions.”

Adding a couple of spoonfuls of Moringa Green Superleaf Powder to your morning juice or smoothie will help you feel a little more energised. And, you can sprinkle it on your salad or mix it into your soup to recharge throughout the day too.

Why You Should Press The Snooze Button

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For years we’ve been told that the key to a healthy sleep pattern is to stick to a routine. If you’re a 6.30am riser during the week, you should stick to the same clock at the weekend. New research this week suggests that using the extra time on your days off to catch up on lost sleep could be more beneficial in the long run. Read More…

Do You Live In The Most Stressed Out City?

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It is highly likely that at one point or another this week you will feel ‘stressed’. If you’re a male salesperson living in Cardiff your chances are even higher. According to Perkbox, an employee benefit scheme company, the Welsh capital topped the chart with 70 percent of workers saying they’re stressed. Wolverhampton was a close second, followed by London, Coventry and Liverpool.

Around 70 percent of men feel stressed at work, with those aged between 25-34 being the most likely to suffer with work-related stress, compared to one in three women. Finance topped the list in terms of most stressful industries, followed by national and local government and the health sector, while those working in sales and HR departments are likely to bear the brunt. Read More…

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Loss

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There are a number of life aspects that we all need to be careful about in order to stay healthy. Eating a healthy diet and incorporating some form of exercise are essential, but sleep is equally important. A good night’s rest has many implications beyond just making you feel refreshed. Insufficient sleep usually makes us irritable and more likely to suffer from anxiety. Additionally, a lack of sleep is implicated in heart disease and weight gain.

Summer can be a very difficult season for sleep. During the summer months, there is more light later in the day and your body rhythm needs to shift accordingly. Light signals your body what time of the day it is. If it is bright late at night, this can push your rhythm back. If you normally go to bed at 10 pm then due to brighter light during summer your body thinks it is earlier, thus it will take some time to adjust.

There are many other problems that can disturb sleep patterns during the summer months. Allergies can be a big problem because there are many sufferers of hay fever who simply cannot get sufficient sleep during the night time due to blocked noses and breathing difficulties. Read More…