Nearly half of all adults in the UK claim they don’t get enough sleep.
Just under a quarter of all adults in the UK claim their biggest health ambition is to get more sleep.
A lack of sleep is associated with just about every kind of health condition you never want to get ranging from an increased risk with cancer to heart disease and diabetes. What’s worse is these numbers are set to rise.
Why is a lack of sleep so detrimental to our health?
The simple answer is we have no evolutionary defence against it.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Human beings are the only animal that deliberately deprives itself of sleep. In the natural world if an animal needs to sleep and its safe to do so. It goes to sleep.
Throughout history that is how it’s always been and as such nature has never needed to develop any form of countermeasure.
There is no evolutionary safeguard against sleep deprivation which is why it leads to such a shockingly rapid deterioration of our cognitive abilities.
Over time the rest of our bodily functions follow suit.
Where’s the evidence?
Twice a year we perform a global sleep experiment known as ‘daylight saving times’ and the results are hard to fathom at first.
In March every year when half the world’s population loses an hour of sleep. . . heart attacks the following day see an increase of 24% (average over the last 10 years).
Strokes, car crashes and accidents at work all see a spike too.
From losing just one hour!
Daylight saving aside- our poor relationship with sleep extends far beyond the clocks changing but this highlights how even a small adjustment can have a huge impact.
If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep, then this could seriously be affecting your health.
How did it get this bad?
We are more connected than ever. This has led to unprecedented progress in so many measurable metrics of human health however constantly being plugged into the matrix does have a cost.
Before mobile phones, the internet and email you could stop working at the end of the day.
Today, we are surrounded by screens and connected to everyone, everywhere all the time.
5pm no longer means your working day is done.
With the rise of social media there is practically no escape.
We live in a culture that takes pride in working long hours and saying things like ‘plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead’.
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but these are real reasons why it can be so hard to shut off.
For the 16 million adults in the UK who have trouble sleeping, something needs to be done.
Why are people turning to CBD?
When people first think of CBD and sleep, they assume that CBD must make you drowsy and that’s what helps you nod off, but this is a misconception.
People take CBD before in the morning, before and after exercise and at work and are perfectly alert.
So how can it help you sleep?
CBD doesn’t make you feel good. It helps to stop you feeling bad.
That inner monologue which forces you to address all your biggest fears and issues in life right before you need to go to sleep calms down and lets you rest.
I used to really struggle sleeping as a child and it got even worse as a teenager. I couldn’t help thinking about all the things that I needed to do or worry about all the things I had already done.
It wasn’t until someone told me that no one ever solved any of their problems while lying in bed thinking about them that my mindset started to shift.
Understanding that fact and putting it into practise though are two very different things.
CBD makes that easier. It eases our anxieties.
It makes it OK to shut down. You no longer feel any guilt for switching off and you know that when you wake up you can deal with whatever it is you have to do the next day.
That’s the real power of CBD.
What else can we do?
Regularly using CBD around an hour before bed is a great start but here are a few other tips which should help you nod off faster:
- Sleep in a cool, dark room- Human beings for thousands of years have evolved to sleep at night and the brain’s production of melatonin in the biological function which tells our bodies it’s time to sleep. Light from screens like your mobile and TV disrupts this and fools your brain into thinking it’s still daytime thus hindering melatonin production and keeping you awake.
- Expose yourself to sunlight during the day- Again, this is important for melatonin production and always aim to be outside during the day for at least 30 minutes so that in the evening your body knows it really is time to sleep.
- Have a schedule- Sticking to a schedule can make a huge difference and is widely reported as being one of the best things we can do for our overall health. Try setting an alarm for bedtime at first to build the habit. Having a lie in on the weekend doesn’t make up for losing sleep during the week. Sleep hours are not like money you can’t bank them and use them later. Every day is just as important as the last when it comes to sleep.
- Have somewhere comfy to sleep- This sounds obvious but make sure you have a decent mattress, pillows and the right sort of duvet for the climate you live in. If you can’t afford to buy a new mattress try getting a mattress topper. Invest in a good quality pillow too. The right support for your head while sleeping can help with respiration, sleep apnoea and prevent you waking up in the night.
The good news
We know more about sleep from a scientific perspective than we ever have before.
Now we understand how bad a lack of sleep is we know that it is something that we really need to work on.
It means that we have the power to take conscious steps towards better rest and better health.
We’ve come a long way from counting sheep and now the ball is in our court.
Reading this article be honest with yourself.
Do you get enough sleep?
If the answer is ‘no’ then try the suggestions above are for you.
Fall in love with sleeping again. It’s a relationship that won’t let you down.