This year the World Sleep Society celebrates World sleep day on Friday 19th March. The slogan for this year’s World Sleep Day is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.’ Its aim is to educate the world about the importance of sleep for achieving health and an optimal quality of life.
It’s now recognised that regular, good quality sleep has many benefits to health. Here we’ll explain some of the body processes involved in sleep as well as factors that affect sleep followed by 12 tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
Circadian Regulation and Homeostatic Control
Circadian regulation and homeostatic control play major roles in sleep.
Circadian regulation refers to our internal clock. It is regulated by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus. This regulates the 24 hour sleep-wake cycle through the influence of light and the sleep hormone melatonin.
When light levels drop melatonin is produced. This induces sleepiness. As light levels rise the production of melatonin ceases leading to wakefulness.
Modern lifestyles can override these natural rhythms. Many of us are exposed to light well into the evening, thus delaying the production of melatonin and the desire to go to bed.
Homeostatic Control promotes sleep based on the amount of time we have been awake. During wakefulness the brain accumulates substances that promote sleep. These are cleared out during sleep leaving a feeling of alertness by the time we awaken. Ideally our sleep/wake times are synchronised to our internal clock.
There are many other factors and health problems that affect sleep. These include:
It’s important to deal with underlying health problems, especially if they are impacting your sleep.
Sleep is an important part of many physiologic systems including:
Insufficient sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with many adverse health outcomes including impairments in brain function and poor mental health.
12 Tips for healthy sleep
Supplements for Sleep
A study in the US suggests that there may be a relationship between sleep and micronutrient intake. Participants with short sleep duration had a lower intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K, even after adjusting for other factors.
In females there was an association between short sleep and inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. Males reporting short sleep had an inadequate intake of vitamin D. The conclusion of the study is that short sleep is associated with nutrient inadequacy, and emphasises the possible need for dietary supplementation (1).
The following supplements from Tom Oliver Nutrition may help restore your sleep:
(This blog post was adapted from Tom Oliver.)