More and more people are being affected by trouble sleeping. The question is, what is keeping you up?

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, while boosting the body’s immune system to help prevent diseases. Many people do not get enough quality sleep, and this can affect their health, wellbeing, and ability to do everyday activities (Davies, 2020).

The increase in sleeplessness correlates to the increasing number of people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, all of which can often be connected to sleeping problems. Continued worrying makes it that much harder to fall asleep, which can lead to an ongoing cycle of insomnia and anxiety disorders.

Neurologists specialising in sleep disorders are seeing a rise in sleep disorders associated with COVID-19, a surge they’re terming “COVID-somnia” (Hurley, 2020). Life has also become a constant rat race of uncertainty, which has resulted in a massive movement towards the use of technology.

According to Business Tech South Africa, South Africans spend the 6th longest time online, connected for an average of 8 hours and 25 minutes each day, on any device (Business Tech, 2019). With an increase of over stimulation, we are depleting our body of important hormones, such as cortisol. When something disrupts cortisol production, your sleep cycles can be affected as well. This shows a link between overconsumption of online technology with sleeping issues, as the stress brought on by these activities lead to overactive thinking come bedtime.

A recent study conducted by Charles King, an MBA student at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), says, “It is important to educate people on the health benefits of healthy sleep norms, as well as the health risks of not getting enough good quality sleep.”

For most adults, at least seven hours of sleep each night is needed for proper cognitive and behavioural functions (Fry, 2020). An insufficient amount of sleep can lead to serious repercussions. Some studies have shown that sleep deprivation leaves people vulnerable to attention lapses, reduced cognition, delayed reactions, and mood shifts.

Creating an environment & mindset that encourages sleep

There are many factors that can hinder our sleep, and creating the right environment for you is important. Exercise and eating healthy can be great contributors to sleep. Avoiding technology, especially right before bed, can help calm your mind, and generally focusing on removing unnecessary stress from your life is a great step towards healthy sleeping patterns.

Magnesium, an important mineral that is essential to the human body for muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, supporting the immune system and encouraging sleep, is found to be lacking in many people’s diets. Adding additional magnesium to your diet has the potential to help you sleep better and has been found to boost one’s energy levels.

Another solution that is increasing in popularity is Ashwagandha, or Withania Somnifera. This evergreen shrub is used as a calming adaptogen for stress reliefs, while Valerian root has been known to aid in the sleep process.

The right bedding can also make a big difference; luxury bedding can help you to sleep better at night to ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed, revitalised, and ready to face the day ahead.

Investing in a good mattress protector can also make the world of difference. Beyond adding delicious softness and comfort to your bed, the right protector will guard against dust mites and other allergens that leave you waking up with a stuffy nose, itchy eyes and more.

And while all these remedies and habits may encourage better sleeping practices, it’s important to remember that there is no magic bullet. Some or all of these might work for you, or none at all – the best way to get the sleep you need is to explore a range of solutions and combinations to find out what works best for you and your unique circumstances.