• Well Defined

Are you getting enough sleep?

What’s a good amount of sleep to you? Do you struggle to function without a full eight hours? Or are you ‘in bed’ with Tom Ford, business woman Martha Stewart and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, all of whom reportedly get by on less than five hours a night?

Whatever the celebs may be claiming, studies repeatedly show that there is a sweet spot when it comes to sleep, and it’s more than just a few hours. Sorry ladies. We’d love to say that burning the candle at both ends isn’t going to impact you, but the studies don’t lie.

While everyone is different, the NHS says most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. However, with the growth of our ‘always-on’ lifestyles, thanks to invasive digital devices and rising levels of anxiety, one-third of Brits are sleep deprived. An Oxford University study claims we are getting 1-2 hours less sleep per night than we did 60 years ago, which adds up to a whopping 25% less in an eight hour sleep cycle.

“Sleep is a fundamental pillar to our health and wellbeing and is often overlooked,” says Marishka Dunlop, founder of this season’s partner brand, Life Armour. She believes that we should be approaching sleep with the same importance we put on eating healthily, or making sure we get to the gym. “It’s just as important to prioritise sleep along with a healthy lifestyle, and the odd glass or two of wine obviously!”

What’s more, if you’re a gym junkie, you should probably be aiming for eight to ten. When you sleep, you produce growth hormones that help to repair and build new muscle tissue after an intense workout. So, if you’re not giving your body adequate time to do so, you’ll start to notice a difference in your workouts.

Anyone who has ever struggled to sleep for a prolonged period of time will know it’s a vicious cycle. A continued lack of sleep can impair mental clarity and memory, affect your mood and lead to weight gain, to name just a few things.

Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported sleep problems, affecting one in four women. But insomnia isn’t just defined by the hours you sleep or how quickly you doze off. It’s about the quality of sleep and how you feel afterwards. If you consistently feel drowsy and fatigued during the day, you may be experiencing insomnia.

It was a personal struggle with insomnia, in part, that led Steve Peralta to co-found Unmind, a rapidly growing workplace mental health platform. Working with leading organisations including The John Lewis Partnership, Just Eat and British Airways, the company aims to educate employers and staff on mental health.

“I know the impact poor sleep can have on your wellbeing and general quality of life,” he says. “Work stress, busy schedules and stressful lifestyles can all have a negative impact on your sleep patterns and, consequently, your mental health.”

Steve believes that dealing with stress effectively during the day is key to helping us sleep better. “It is important to take a preventative attitude towards your mental health and take the time to evaluate when and why you are feeling stressed to help you solve those problems. If situations are becoming overwhelming, make sure to talk to your friends, family and colleagues about issues before they become problems and negatively impact your mental health.”

Like many others, Steve also advises keeping work and digital devices out of the bedroom. We all know that scrolling Instagram or replying to an email at 10pm is a bad idea, but we are still compelled to do it.

The NHS estimates that sleep deprived is costing them a whopping £40 billion a year. And the impact on our mental and physical health over time is significant. It’s natural to go through phases where we feel stressed or anxious, but if it’s consistently impacting your sleep quality, you might want to consider switching up your sleep routine. Marishka Dunlop has shared some of her tips with us below;

Tips for tackling sleep issues

Marishka, founder of Life Armour recommends taking these steps if sleep is becoming an issue for you:

- Don’t take your phone to bed with you.

- Buy an alarm clock so you don’t rely on your phone.

- Aim to get to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every night to help your “internal clock” keep a regular pattern.

- Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, shown to be the optimal sleep level for adults.

- Limit caffeine intake, whilst some manage to get to sleep, it may affect the quality of sleep.

- Take the 100% natural and non-addictive Drops of Slumber before sleeping. The formula contains active and effective ingredients to encourage deep, restorative sleep without drowsiness.

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