Even before the worries and distractions of today, it was estimated that around 50% of the worlds population were not getting enough quality sleep. Health professional Bhavash Padhiar shares his top tips on how to sleep well.
There is something about spring and summer that I love so much and it’s not just the warm sunshine. I love the early morning sunrises and the sound of little birds chirping, which I like to wake up to, and feel energised for the rest of the day. Lately I’ve not been getting enough sleep. I’ve had a strange annoyance which has been a very different distraction from the anxieties and worries of the world today. I hear the continual all night long cockadoodle-doing of a farmyard bird. It turns out it was not a figment of my imagination or my sanity taking a holiday. It turned out to be a major sore subject amongst all my neighbours. The cockerel, called King George, had not escaped from a farm and set up home in the nearby woods as I first thought, but actually somebodies’ pet. It turned out to be a major sore subject amongst many of my neighbours. More about King George, the Bantam cockerel, later and a most brilliant solution.
Even before the worries and distractions of today and long before Covid-19 and the anxieties and worries of lockdown it was estimated that around 50% of the worlds population were not getting enough quality sleep. To resolve this, here are some of the best remedies and gadgets to help you improve and assess your sleep patterns.
The Fitbit Versa 2, is similar to the original Fitbit and worn on the wrist, but monitors your heart rate, breathing and REM sleep cycles. Whilst on its own it won’t put you into a deep slumber, it can be very useful to analyse when you are waking up and why you can’t get back to sleep. If you don’t like the idea of wearing something on your wrist or find it uncomfortable, you can try the Withings sleep pad or Beddit sleep monitors which are pads that are placed under or on top of your mattress and relay information to your smartphone.
DYSON AIR PURIFIER
Dyson’s Air Purifier is not really designed to help you sleep but purifying the air around you by removing negative ions can help you get a better and more rested sleep. They can cool or warm your room to your favourite cosy temperature. The air purification system will also help clear pollen that may have blown into your room to ease hayfever symptoms that might be keeping you up.
ANTI SNORE PILLOW
Anti snore pillows have sprung up on the market. Mostly they are the polo mint of pillows, a pillow with a hole in the middle. They claim to be useful if you suffer from sleep apnoea where snoring not only keeps you awake but can also be dangerous as it stops you breathing properly. Snoring is also a problem for the person sleeping next to you. There appears to be limited research on this but give it a try, it may work for you. Some are quite inexpensive and easily found on Amazon.
Pillow mists are usually lavender or geranium sprays that you can you have a quick squirt onto your pillow to ease you into a more relaxed sleep. They’re usually a nice gift and have some nice relaxing properties.
SLEEP AID HEADPHONES
The Kokoon sleep aid headphones have built in eeg monitors. That measure your brain waves while you sleep and also the sound and noises around you to cancel out external sound replacing it with soothing music or sounds and when you fall asleep providing you with some white noise to keep you asleep and block out unwanted noises. The reviews have been quite positive even saying that these headphones are actually quite comfortable while you sleep. There is a handy app to control the sounds you like and works as a sleep monitor too to understand your sleep patterns.
Weighted blankets have weights placed to give the feeling of being cosseted and hugged. They claim to reduce stress and anxiety and promote a deeper REM sleep. Levels of serotonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone) are increased and cortisol (stress hormone) is reduced contributing to a more relaxed mood.
Has your mattress seen better days? The Better Sleep Council recommends changing your mattress every Seven to 10 years. however this can change depending on how you use your mattress. If your mattress sees a lot of, errr, action, then perhaps changing your mattress more frequently is advised. Always choose a mattress that you find comfortable. There are many mattress’s on the market that offer long money back guarantees allowing you to try the mattress out and see how you sleep, and if you don’t like it you can give it back for a full refund. No more a quick bounce at the bed shop before choosing your mattress. Take care of your mattress, you don’t need to flip them over every few months as mattress’s nowadays are mostly 1 sided.
Sleep masks are nothing new. They’re usually made of silk or another soft material that feels lovely against your skin when you’re sleeping the main function is that block out light that would normally keep you awake. An item I have seen is the Imak eye pillow which feels a little heavier, which some people find quite comforting. Like most eyeshades they still block out the light to help you sleep but they can be cooled in the fridge which can have a positive effect to help with tension headaches and migraines whilst having the added benefit of helping to reduce tired puffy eyes and dark circles.
This has always been a big problem for me. I like a cheeky chocolate for something sweet just before bedtime. This little sugar rush doesn’t stop me falling asleep but I find myself waking up at the slightest sound and I can’t get back to sleep again. Likewise alcohol and coffee have the same effect. It’s always best not to eat or drink anything at least two hours before bedtime unless of course there’s a reason you want to stay up at night!
With this digital age, devices are as stimulating as sugar, caffeine and alcohol and we have a tendency to reach for our smart phone and watch box sets before we go to bed. The activity in your brain continues for several hours as you try to go to sleep. Not what you want when you can’t sleep already.
If you find sleep masks a little bit uncomfortable the best thing is to make your room as dark as possible. Install very thick curtains or blackout blinds to give your brain the illusion is still dark not sunrise at 4:00 AM. I would use a lightbox alarm that gently lights the room mimicking a natural sunrise at a time when you do want to wake up.
I can certainly vouch that blackout blinds work very well as the previously insomniac King George now sleeps in a silent slumber, and so do the neighbours. It turns out that his kind owner, Alan, built a night time residence which is completely dark inside, for his previously noisy pet and has worked fantastically. Alan’s rather majestic Bantam cockerel, King George, now has a rested sleep all night and so do all my neighbours and I!
Written By: Bhavash Padhiar
A pharmacist with over two decades of clinical experience – ranging from working in hospitals and serious injury units to owning an NHS pharmacy – Wimblederm founder Bhavash Padhiar has expertise in medicine, clinical pharmacy and advanced medispa treatments.