Sleep & Relaxation Tablets

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    What is sleep?

    Sleep is a state of behaviour in which our consciousness shifts (which is why we sometimes dream) and our brain activity, heart rate, breathing and temperature changes.

    Did you know? The average person spends a third of their lives asleep! So, it’s quite important that you make the most of it.

    What happens when we sleep?

    When we hit the sheets and start our journey into the land of nod our bodies enter the first of two main types of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (non-REM). This sleep stage takes the body from light sleep all the way into deep sleep, during which your brain waves start to slow down, breathing deepens and your body gets to work on its restorative processes.

    Then, things start to get a little dreamy. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the dreaming stage - comes next, where your heart rate and breathing speeds up, blood pressure levels increase, and muscles get temporarily paralysed.

    Why is sleep important?

    When we sleep, we allow our bodies to rest and recuperate. That cut on your leg from falling over? Most of the healing process will occur while we sleep. In fact, sleep has an effect on all of our body systems and tissues, including cell repair, muscles, the immune system and the cardiovascular system.

    Why can’t I sleep?

    Can’t sleep? There are several factors at play surrounding how easy it is for us to get to sleep and how good that sleep quality is.

    Various health conditions can have an affect on our ability to enjoy a good night’s sleep, such as:

    ·         Stress

    ·         Insomnia

    ·         Restless leg syndrome – the sensation or urge to keep legs moving

    ·         Menopause - hot flushes can make sleep uncomfortable

    ·         Sleep apnoea – when breathing is regularly interrupted during sleep

    Environmental and lifestyle factors can also disturb your sleep or stop you from sleeping in the first place, including:

    ·         Excessive caffeine – it can block our bodies natural urge to fall asleep by blocking the chemical responsible for triggering this – adenosine

    ·         Consuming too much alcohol just before bed

    ·         Exercising late in the day – the stress hormone cortisol is emitted, which disturbs sleep

    ·         Phone, tablet and laptop screens – the blue light they emit suppresses the production of melatonin (which makes us sleep)

    ·         Circadian rhythm interruptions – shift work or jet lag can confuse the body’s natural sleeping and waking cycle

    ·         Being too cold or too hot

    ·         Some medications

    How to get to sleep?

    It’s not just a coincidence that all humans tend to sleep at night, it’s what we’re programmed to do. When it starts to get dark, light-sensitive cells in your eyes communicate this to your brain. Then, the hormone melatonin is released, and this initiates a series of events that finishes with sleep.

    Now, modern life can interrupt this natural process, so there are certain things you should do to get you on track to better sleep.

    Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and has a temperature of around 16 – 18°C. Don’t be tempted to drift off in front of the telly in bed, in fact, it’s best not to have a TV in your bedroom at all. Make sure you leave smartphones and tablets as far away from your bed as you can handle, too, so you’re not tempted to switch them on and mess up your melatonin levels with all that blue light!

    Yoga, stretching and other gentle activities before bed can also help you prepare for better sleep.

    How much sleep do I need?

    On average, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night to function at our best.

    What else can help me to sleep?

    If all else fails and you’re still struggling to sleep and relax in general, we have a few products here at Holland and Barrett that could help you out. Ranging from valerian supplements to lavender sleep kits, there may be a product to get you on track to better ZZZs.

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