Over a year into the pandemic, it is clear that the nation’s sleep has been deeply affected. But how have sleeping patterns changed, and how is that affecting our wellbeing?
We need sleep to help recharge our brains and bodies, and it is integral to the process of turning short term memory into long term memory. But with lockdown affecting sleep for more than 50% of the population according to a study by King's College London, people are looking to the internet for help.
From trending hashtags at 3am such as #cantsleep to an increase in sleep related Google searches during the early hours and new terms covidsomina and coronasomina coined, people all over the UK are using the internet to reach out about their sleep related worries.
With so many people struggling to fall asleep, we’ve created the world’s most sleep-inducing video to aid your rest as well as an in-depth sleep report to reveal the sleep trends of the past 12 months including…
Using the military method we have created the sleep inducing video to improve your sleep quantity and quality.
It is important to train your body to know when it is time to sleep by keeping a consistent circadian rhythm going to bed and waking at the same time every day. As well as seeing your bed as a place to sleep, not watching tv or scrolling on your phone.
As well as these key tips the technique focuses on breathing, asking you to…
All whilst relaxing your muscles and reducing tension in your body ready to rest. If you find your mind racing, ask yourself mundane questions to ease your mind and help you settle.
Before that has got you nodding off, find out what is keeping the nation up at night when it comes to sleep and the ways in which people are looking to relax, unwind and fall asleep.
51.3% of us struggle to sleep, with women three times more likely than men to suffer from sleep disorders. Although 75% of women report problems, compared with 25% of men both genders are susceptible to the negative effects of sleep deprivation on our quality of life. The lack of quality sleep leading to memory issues, low mood, trouble concentrating, high blood pressure, weight gain and low immunity to name a few.
With this in mind and looking at the most searched sleep queries in the past year it is clear by the high percentage increases that we are heading to Google more than ever for answers to our sleepless nights.
‘What sleep position is best?’ saw an increase of 164% over the past 12 months with 1300 searches peaking at 2:20am with ‘What do sleeping positions mean?’ hitting peak searches 7:08am.
Interestingly, sleeping on your back, side and stomach are the most popular sleeping positions, but your sleeping needs could determine which position works better for you. Head to our guide for sleeping better to find out the best sleeping position for you.
With a 50% increase in searches, peaking at 3:48am the nation is desperate for sleep aids searching for ‘How to get to sleep fast?’ in the early hours of the morning. Along with ‘Is sleep overrated?’ with the most popular search time of 1:42am. But to answer their question, sleep is not overrated, good sleep being integral to our mental wellbeing, immune system and cell growth and repair.
Notably, ‘Which sleeping pill is dangerous’ saw an increase of 2500% in searches over the past 12 months, as prescription sleeping tablets should only be taken on your doctors recommendations as prolonged usage can cause dependency and addiction. Why not try herbal alternatives first with our sleep and relaxation section. Aiming to ease mild anxiety and reduce any stress that could be impeding on your sleep pattern.
From our research into sleep we were able to correlate the months of the year people struggle to sleep the most in line with searches for sleep apps, products and remedies. Interestingly the trends running parallel with the reduction of daylight hours in the winter months with 12% of sleep related searches occurring in December and 26% in January.
Coordinating with the reduction in daylight hours is the search for sleep apps. The need for assistance in settling down for the night aligning to the reduced number of sunlight hours. Interestingly peaking in January, possibly with New Year's resolutions and a need to create a structured sleeping pattern with good intentions for the start of the year.
When comparing daylight hours with popular sleep topics you can start to see some patterns. Sleep products fluctuate with the end of the year and winter months, as we look for sleep sprays and essential oils in order to help us nod off. Also searching for innovation in sleep products from blue light glasses and weighted blankets.
Sleep remedies wavered even further, being the only sleep aid that didn’t follow daylight hours. Remedies covering everything from bedtime routine and herbal teas through to magnesium and yoga, aligning with the effect lack of sleep has on our wellness.
It isn't just Google that people search on when they cannot sleep, searching for sleep aids on social media has rocketed with people looking for what does and doesn’t help people sleep on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
We pulled together all the remedies that help people sleep and found out how popular they were on various social media platforms. From yoga to herbal teas, find out what people are doing to help them drift off.
When it comes to sleep trends on social, yoga, mindfulness and meditation take the forefront on Instagram showing a correlation between wellness and quality of sleep. With #yoga hitting 94,345,551 posts it is clear how important the practice is to the quality of people's daily lives.
People are discovering that the calming movements in yoga are helping them to drift off more easily, and specific poses are becoming more popular to aid with sleep. A study from the NIH discovered that over 55% of yoga users reported improved sleep and an incredible 85% reported reduced stress.
Alongside high numbers of posts for #exercise at 56,418,720 and #meditation at 39,888,861. All helpful in reducing tension and decreasing or slowing down brain activity all whilst improving blood flow to the brain.
Yoga also tops the charts on TikTok with 5.8billion views of the tag. On TikTok yoga is a popular trend for helping users to fall asleep with certain stretches and poses becoming prevalent on the platform. Browsing the hashtag you’ll find yoga poses to help you sleep such as relaxing your back to the wall with your legs out, to casual stretches before bed.
Interestingly #melatonin also made it into the TikTok list with 131.4million views. A hormone that can help you fall asleep faster and for longer is a man made version of a hormone our body produces naturally. Although this is only available by prescription in the UK it is used to treat short term sleep issues rather than an ongoing problem or habit that could be disrupting your sleep pattern.
When it comes to Twitter, yoga also made it to the top with 1,651,000 posts but interestingly other activities such as reading with 405,000 posts and mindfulness at 270,000 posts are up there too. The calming activities help to slow brain activity, reduce stress and help the body wind down into an evening routine ready for a restful sleep.
Interestingly magnesium also made the list with 270,000 posts. The mineral playing a key part in your sleep cycle, converting into the chemicals that start the sleep cycle and muscle relaxation. Light also played a key part in the Twitter list, with blue light glasses at 222,000 posts and blackout blinds at 81,200. Darkness stimulates melatonin production, and as blue light and screens mimic sunlight this is detrimental to our sleeping patterns and sleep quality.
Over the past 12 months sleeps apps have seen an 86% increase in searches online, especially at 3:12am. But when it comes to apps that can help you sleep, there is a lot out there to choose from. We looked at the most popular ones in correlation with searches for the apps to see which is the most popular.
Although Headspace came up as the most popular sleep app with 140,430 searches, this was actually an -8% decrease on the previous 12 months. The app offers guided meditations, focusing on the principles of meditation and mindfulness to help you sleep better whereas Sleepstation had the highest increase in searches with 153% and 19,110 searches. The app focuses on a type of cognitive behavioural therapy, using a sleep plan aligned with goals suggested in your sleep review. This is available through NHS referral if natural sleep aids do not work for you.
Create the perfect sleep environment for you. Remove electronic devices and add black out curtains whilst also finding a temperature that works for you. Also try to keep your bedroom a space for sleeping if possible.
Reduce caffeine and stimulants in the evening, avoid alcohol and try to eat your last meal of the day earlier, so you have less excess energy. We also recommend low impact exercises such as yoga followed by a warm bath or shower to wind your body down.
To help clear your mind before bed, try our sleep inducing video, using breathing and visualisations to calm the brain before sleep. We also recommend writing down a list or journaling any worries that could keep you awake at night.
Reducing caffeine promotes better sleep as it blocks the effects of adenosine, the receptors that react to wakefulness. Why not try herbal teas that promote calm such as camomile, lavender and valerian or adding supplements to your daily intake like magnesium and valerian.
Dr Guy Meadows, co-founder of the sleep school and author of The Sleep Book: How to Sleep Well Every Night:
“Regularity is my number one piece of advice”, says Meadows. “Going to bed and getting up at the same time, eating at roughly the same time, exposing yourself to light at the same time, moving at the same time – that is a gift for our internal biological systems. Ask yourself ‘did I wake up feeling refreshed?’ If you did, you’re getting the right amount of hours, if not, perhaps you stayed up a bit late watching Netflix, perhaps you stayed awake worrying or maybe the quality of sleep was reduced by what you do during the day.”
“Researchers followed people in their lit-up city life, then took them to the Canadian Rockies where the only light sources were fires, stars and sunlight and within five days, the gap between owl and lark tendencies narrowed significantly. Two hours before going to bed start darkening down - switching on side lamps, reducing the brightness of devices, switching on blue filters.”
“Make sleep a priority. It’s an incredibly powerful, health-providing, performance-enhancing tool that we can do every single night, so ring-fence it. Watch one fewer Netflix episode for a couple of weeks, and see how you feel.”
Here at Holland & Barrett we’re passionate about our customer’s welfare and aiding people to sleep is one of our priorities. On our online store we have plenty of sleep remedies to help people sleep, from natural tablets to gummies. See our top products below and see what others are shopping for.
Starpowa Snooze gummies are formulated specifically to help you have a restful sleep. The gummies contain 5-HTP, L-Theanine, Chamomile, Lavender, Griffonia Seed, Montmorency cherry, Vitamin B6, Asparagus Racemosus, Lemon Balm Leaf and are entirely vegan-friendly.
Lavender contributes to optimal relaxation. Simply take one tasty black cherry gummy per day.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. It helps with hundreds of processes, including helping enzymes that are responsible for converting food into energy and extracting its nutrients.
In terms of sleep, magnesium helps prepare the body and mind for sleep. It activates neurotransmitters that are responsible for calming the body and the mind as well as regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in the body.
Valerian is a herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety.
Valerian has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years; its uses date back to Ancient Greek and Chinese medicine. It also contains the antioxidants hesperidin and linarin, which appear to have sedative and sleep-enhancing properties.
Lemon Balm is a traditional herbal medicinal product typically used in aromatherapy for its calming effect and for the temporary relief of symptoms of mild anxiety and to aid sleep.
Lemon balm is believed to aid in sleep by acting directly on GABA receptors in the brain, delivering a mild sedative effect while stimulating the production of the "feel-good" hormone serotonin.
The unique bioactive micronutrients and herbal extract combination contained in each New Nordic Melissa Dream Tablet is made in Sweden. The tablets contain natural herbal ingredients; lemon balm extract, L-theanine amino acid, chamomile extract, B vitamin complex and magnesium.
The B vitamins in New Nordic Melissa Dream Tablets can help maintain the normal functioning of your nervous system. Take two tablets one hour before bedtime for restful sleep.
From our sleep inducing video to our sleep stats and tips and tricks, we hope you’ve found something to support your 7 - 9 hours of sleep a day. Promoting natural remedies for good quality sleep to help you live your best life.
Our sleep report pulled together data from a variety of online data tools, including social media. We looked at each data source and assigned the month in which the search was the most popular to determine the overall sleep calendar. The metrics analysed were:
Sleep questions were sources from Google, popular sleep remedies on social media were sources from Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok, the top searches sleep apps were sourced from Google, the top searches sleep remedies to buy were sources from Ebay and Amazon search data.