For World Sleep Day, we learn about the various levels of sleep that make up a restful night and take a look at everything from pillow mists to weighted blankets to help you sleep better.
The first thing I do every morning is check my sleep data on Garmin. Analysing my sleep score, which tells me how much deep sleep, light sleep and REM sleep I had, how my stress levels were, how many times I woke up, and overall how many hours of sleep I had, has become an indicator of what my day will be like.
As I put down my phone displaying a measly 68/100 sleep score—despite my seven and a half hours of sleep—I couldn’t help but wonder, what could I do to sleep better tonight?
I am not alone in this. According to the 2019 Philips Global Sleep Survey, 62% of the population worldwide says they don’t sleep well, and the stress of the pandemic has not helped.
Now more than ever, it is crucial for us to get better sleep. Good sleep is linked to our mental health and overall wellbeing, and has a great impact on our concentration, productivity and mood the next day. A 2019 study shows that short sleep duration and insomnia symptoms were associated with lower happiness levels in Chinese adults in Hong Kong. Over half (61.2%) of the 1700 participants had at least one insomnia symptom, 33.5% had difficulty falling asleep, 47.1% had difficulty maintaining sleep and 30.1% woke up too early (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health).
It could have long-term effects as well. A University of Hong Kong study finds that lack of sleep could damage DNA and affect repair ability, possibly raising cancer risk.
According to WorldSleepDay.Org, there are three elements to a good night’s sleep: duration, continuity and depth. On average, adults should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep, with a good mix of deep restorative sleep, REM sleep and light sleep.
Deep sleep should account for 10-25% of the night, depending on age and gender. This is when a growth hormone is released to help tissue repair and cell regeneration. REM sleep is when dreaming occurs and should take up about 21-29% of your night. REM sleep plays an important part in learning and processing information and memories. Light sleep is a transition stage considered the “body maintenance” sleep, which accounts for about half of your sleep duration. Your brain receives bursts of electrical activity which helps the body process memories and emotions, and your metabolism regulates itself.
Many things can disrupt sleep—the environment, emotional stress levels as well as external factors including exposure to blue light, eating or working out late and drinking alcohol or caffeine. In the pursuit of better sleep, we look at the different options available to us:
CBD has risen in popularity as a go-to sleeping aid by helping address stress, anxiety and depression, all causes that lead to poor quality sleep. With intensive knowledge of osteopathy and herbalism, Swiss-born wellness brand Kiara Naturals has harnessed the power of plants and CBD to create a CBD Sleep and Relax Tincture which combines 1000mg of pure CBD oil with a highly potent extraction of three plants that treat nervous system disorders such a sleep disorders, stress and anxiety and act as a general natural sedative that promotes deep sleep.
Similarly, OTO’s CBD Sleep Drops contain 10% CBD with a blend of botanicals like lavender and butterfly pea flower, delivering about 50mg of CBD in each dose. A few drops under the tongue or in water should help you fall asleep within minutes.
Targeted studies have shown that the properties in lavender can help reduce stress—slowing down the heart beat and relaxing muscles. This Works’s Deep Sleep™ Pillow Spray took it a step further by creating an award-winning superblend containing lavender, vetivert and chamomile—which also have calming and soothing properties—in the form of a clean and cruelty-free pillow spray that has been clinically-proven to help you go to sleep faster.
Combine the blend of natural salts (including Epsom salt), pure essentials oils made of flowers and warm water and you get a match made in heaven. The Seven Flowers Bath Soak from Bathe to Basics will remove the tension from your muscles and help you wind down for the night.
If you prefer a bath bomb, Kinko Labs will be coming out with a Shea Butter and Rose CBD Bath Bomb at the end of the month, so keep an eye out! If watching it dissolve isn’t relaxing enough, the infusion of 50mg of CBD and essential oil is sure to take you into a deep state of relaxation.
Weighted blankets have been compared to being enveloped in a comforting hug. The pressure from the medical-grade eco-friendly glass beads (about 10% of your body weight) are said to reduce anxiety, ease stress and promote relaxation. The sustainable DORMU Cooler Weighed Blanket adds a luxurious touch with its sky smooth duvet cover made of 100% lyocell bamboo that is thermo-regulating, which allows you to feel comfortable in varying temperatures.
Want to try something different? How about INUF’s Pure Silk Lavender Face Pillow, which is shaped like a sheet mask and filled with organic seeds and lavender. It stimulates the various acupressure points of the face, chasing away any migraines, hangovers or eye strains as well as inducing sleep.
Conceptu Home sees sustainability as a way of life, and though the brand may be known for its soy wax candles, it also offers adorable homeware essentials as well as a brand new collection of 100% natural essential oils. Enjoy aromatherapy at its best by adding a few drops of “Restful” essential oil into a diffuser, oil burner or into your bath (mixed with milk to emulsify). The lavender, sweet orange, benzoin, petitgrain and geranium ingredients promote relaxation and are just the ticket to a good night’s sleep.
BAMBOO CHARCOAL PILLOW
Memory foam pillows are known to be hypoallergenic, alleviate pressure points and provide great support. But Linenspa’s Bamboo Ventilated Memory Foam Activated Charcoal Infusion Pillow infuses its memory foam pillow with bamboo charcoal, which eliminates odours, absorbs excess moisture and regulates temperature. Its ventilated design also improves airflow.
Looking for a pillow tailored to your sleeping position? Beyond Sleep has a great selection of pillows made from sustainable materials.
Sleep tight and regenerate your skin at the same time with Coconut Matter’s 100% natural Sleep Well Coconut Body Butter. The creamy body butter has incredibly moisturising properties thanks to its blend of mango butter, shea butter and wild virgin coconut oil and it is also infused with Ylang Ylang, vetiver, lavender and mandarin essential oils to help promote a restful night.
SLEEP HEALTH COACH
Improve your sleep ROI with the help of one-on-one coaching sessions, a personalised wellness journey, and food plans with the help of Goal Craft’s one month sleep optimisation programme. “Through better understanding of the clients' medical background, lifestyle, living environment and working habits, I will spot out some opportunities to co-create lifestyle modifications and food/ supplements habits,” says founder and certified sleep science and health coach Cavan Chan. “No medicine would be involved throughout the process.” Examples would be highlighting the set up of the evening lighting hours before sleep and what the patients could do to calm their mind and body (ie: yoga nidra, stretching, oxygen advantage breathing, etc) to better help them enter that restorative sleeping stage.
Listening to something can help you stray away from the thoughts in your head, or the noise coming from outside.
Spotify has white noise playlists that can mimic everything from gentle waves and forest rain to fans or aeroplane noises. White noise contains all the frequencies that our ear can hear—between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz—which helps drown out all outside noise.
An alternative is clearing your mind and staying in the present moment with the help of meditation. Headspace’s sleep-guided meditation helps you lower your heart rate and relax, letting go of everything that happened that day.