The Benefits Of 43 Minutes Of Extra Sleep

sleep

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.

Could Tapping Reduce Your Stress Levels?

could-tapping-reduce-your-stress-levels

We all have those moments when everything mounts up. For some it lasts for mere moments, for others it can go on for days or weeks. It could be a mammoth project at work, a renovation at home, or an amalgamation of overwhelming things. Even the toughest, most mentally and emotionally stable people waver on occasions. A tightness in your chest that takes more than a couple of deep breaths to loosen or a racing mind keeping you up until 3 am.

There are around three million people in the UK who suffer with anxiety disorders. While there are prescription medication that can ease anxiety, there are also plenty of natural remedies that don’t have any known side effects. Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £26, is the one that Shabir recommends time and time again as the blend of herbs not only helps you to relax, but also makes your body more resilient to stress.

Over the past year or so, another technique has been receiving a fair amount of attention, tapping.

What is tapping?

Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is essentially like acupuncture but without the needles. Instead, you use your fingertips to tap on the meridian pressure points outlined in Chinese medicine to help release blockages of energy.

While tapping is heavily influenced by traditional Chinese medicine techniques, it wasn’t invented until the 90s by a man called Gary Craig. Since then some practitioners have suggested that the technique can help ease phobias, chronic pain and addictions, as well as help reduce anxiety and stress levels by lowering your cortisol levels.

So, how do you ‘tap’?

Not everyone is going to feel comfortable about tapping various parts of their body in public, but there are a couple of options that can be done discreetly on a crowded bus. It’s also surprisingly easy to mentally get into it. Unlike meditation where you’re encouraged to focus on blank space, when it comes to tapping you hone in on the issue at hand and target the negative emotion or stress. At the same time you tap up to seven times on the key meridian points.

If you’re not au fait with Chinese medicine, the key points to ease stress are found on the side of your hand; the inner section of your eyebrows; to the side and below your eye socket; underneath your nose; on the crease between your lip and chin; your collar bone; just below your armpit; and the top of your head. If you want to follow a specific routine, it’s worth looking up The Tapping Solution, which offers short video tutorials and help finding tapping experts near you.

What are the alternatives?

For those who still remain unconvinced about tapping parts of their body, there are plenty of other methods to relieve moments of stress and anxiety. Breathing properly sounds very straightforward, but most of us don’t do it correctly. The result is higher stress levels and poor posture.

Getting enough sleep is obvious, but if you’re stressed out it’s likely that you struggle to drift off too. A lot of experts recommend partaking in at least two hours of good cardio exercise each week and avoiding eating at least two hours before bed.

There’s also some research to suggest that setting out a structured sleep routine can help. It might sound ridiculously simple, but when you think about it, do you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day? If you need a little extra help, Shabir recommends Sleep Tight, £25.50. It goes without saying that combining it with some light tapping could be just the ticket to help you drift off…