Lack of sleep is a killer. Not only does it increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity, now a study led by the University Of Glasgow has discovered that the disruption of your circadian rhythm can also damage your mental health. To get your sleep in shape, follow these tips on how to sleep better and your old nocturnal habits and poor health could feel like a bad dream.
Offering “zero-gravity-like sleep”, Simba has created an adjustable bed base that will enable you to find the right position to carry you to the land of nod. A custom-engineered system means that your upper body and legs can be raised. It also has a massage function to ease aching limbs.
According to nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik (author of Be Good To Your Gut, out now), probiotics help support the bacterial balance of the gut, making production of your natural intestinal melatonin (the sleep hormone) more efficient. “The gut becomes more conducive to these beneficial organisms,” she says.
With expertise in hydrotherapy and sleep treatments, the recently renovated Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, is built to help slumber. From a Tranquility Pro Sleep massage (designed to induce a state of deep relaxation) through to a Kohler Waters Wrap (to aid detoxification), restful wellbeing is practically guaranteed.
This large health resort in the Bavarian Alps specialises in wellness and innovative medicine, with sleep therapy one of its popular treatments. The key part of its diagnostic methods is polysomnography, a test that records everything from sleep cycles and breathing to eye movement and heart activity. With this data, a programme is developed to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan is a wellness expert and sleep therapist who has developed the Sleep Haven Suite with the Meliá hotel group. As part of the experience, guests are coached in nutrition, pre-sleep yoga techniques and calming aromatherapy by a sleep concierge, plus there is an opportunity to Skype Dr Ramlakhan for a detailed consultation.
This app watches you while you sleep – not in a creepy way, but in a sleep-state-monitoring, breathing-pattern-analysing, body-movement-studying way. The result is that when you need to wake up, the app will process your 90-minute sleep-cycle phases and ease you into consciousness at the optimum time so that you are more relaxed and refreshed.
With both sleep and wake programmes, as well as an app to monitor your slumber, the Homni creates the ideal setup for a decent night. With 18 sound environments and a cardiac coherence mode to relax your breathing, the only thing Homni doesn’t do is tuck you in.
Lack of sleep could be down to your food choices. Tonight, switch cheese and wine for bananas and honey as part of your winding-down routine.
What to eat
1. Bananas: “A high magnesium content helps relax the body. Bananas also contain serotonin and melatonin to boost your sleep and control your wake cycles. A banana every day at 8pm is perfect.”
2. Turkey: “This bird contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps produce melatonin.”
3. Almonds and oats: “Oats are full of minerals and amino acids, so they assist in encouraging your body to rest and relax. Almonds contain healthy fats and magnesium.”
4. Honey: “The natural sugar in honey raises insulin levels and allows the tryptophan to enter our brains more easily. Take a spoonful before bed or stir some in your green tea and it will help you sleep.”
5. Kiwi fruit: “A study found that four weeks of eating kiwi fruit – which is packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, folate and serotonin – twice a day improved sleep onset, duration and efficiency.”
What to drink
1. Cherry juice: “A source of melatonin, which will help regulate the sleep cycle.”
2. Warm lemon: “Drink before bed and it will help you detox, balance the body’s vitamins, nutrients and minerals, and also help to repair muscles and joints.”
What to avoid
1. Cheese: “Forget the old wives’ tale that cheese is the cause of bad dreams. The reality is that cheese before bed can lead to indigestion.”
2. Chocolate: “A natural stimulant that will keep you tossing and turning for hours as it charges up your nervous system.”
3. Coffee: “You should drink coffee to wake you up, not settle you down.”
4. Alcohol: “Alcohol reduces your rapid eye movement. The more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects are, meaning you are unable to stay in a deep sleep for long enough.”
These wireless bed-friendly headphones are perfect for wearing while you sleep. Comfy and with no annoying wires, you can listen to your favourite calming tunes, meditation app or ambient white-noise and drift off without annoying your partner.
Launched by Super Bowl winner Tom Brady, Recovery Sleepwear uses bioceramic technology. Never heard of it? Well, the pyjamas absorb body heat and turn it into infrared radiation that reflects energy back into the body. Soft, cool and comfortable.