No More Counting Sheep: Habits to improve your sleep and how vitamins and supplements may help
Did you know that your daily actions significantly impact your sleep quality? What you eat and drink, the vitamins and supplements you take, how you organise your days, and how you spend your evenings can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a restless one.
Sleep is a crucial function that helps your body and mind to recover, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world. 1a
While most adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep per night 1b, according to a global sleep survey, 62 % of adults around the world say they don’t sleep as well as they’d like, impacting both their physical and mental health.2
Within a minute of falling asleep, significant changes begin to alter both the brain and the body. Body temperature drops, brain activity decreases, and heart rate and respiration slow down. Not unexpectedly, the body expends less energy during sleeping.3a
During your sleep, your brain will alternate between four stages of sleep, divided into two categories: REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep.3b
The first stage occurs between the states of being awake and falling asleep. The second stage is light sleep, which occurs when the heart rate and breathing rate stabilise and the body temperature declines. Deep sleep occurs in the third and fourth stages.3c
Although it was previously thought that REM sleep was the most critical sleep phase for learning and memory, experts now believe that each stage plays a part in a healthy sleep architecture that generates quality sleep.3d
As you enter REM sleep, your eyes move quickly behind closed lids, and your brain waves are similar to those of alertness. As we dream, our breathing rate increases and our bodies become briefly paralysed.4a
The cycle then repeats again, but you spend less time in the deeper stages of three and four of sleep and more time in REM sleep with each cycle. On a typical night, you’ll cycle four or five times.4b
The Science of Sleep
Circadian rhythm or cycle is a term that refers to your sleep-wake pattern over a 24-hour period.
A biological clock housed in the brain regulates circadian rhythms. One important function of this clock is to respond to light cues by increasing the production of the hormone melatonin at night and turning it off when it detects light. The circadian rhythm helps you control your regular sleeping and waking patterns.
Light and dark, as well as other elements, influence the circadian cycle.4c Your brain receives environmental information and triggers specific hormones, changes your body temperature, and controls your metabolism to keep you alert and awake or prompt you to go to sleep.
Sometimes your circadian rhythm is thrown off balance and needs to be “reset” to get back on track.
What happens when you don’t sleep enough?
Prolonged sleep deprivation can have serious repercussions such as mood changes, poor balance, memory issues, trouble with thinking and concentration, accidents due to drowsiness, high blood pressure, diabetes, weakened immunity, weight gain, and diminished sexual drive.5
How to Get More Sleep
Try adopting these five healthy sleep habits.6a
Maintain a constant wake and sleep time: Getting up at the same time every day and going to bed at the same time at night helps “train” your internal clock, resulting in better sleep patterns.6b
Make evenings calm and relaxed: Do something soothing before bedtime, such as having a warm bath or reading a book.6c
Switch off smartphones and iPads: Electronic devices emit blue light, which may interfere with melatonin production and compromise sleep.6d
Avoid napping late in the day: While power naps are useful, to ensure appropriate sleep pressure at night, avoid taking naps longer than 30 minutes, as these can disrupt your sleep pattern and confound your internal clock.6g
Don’t drink caffeine late in the day: Caffeine use up to 6 hours before bedtime has been shown in one research to impair sleep. Make a concerted effort to avoid caffeine whenever feasible.6e
Create a sleep-friendly environment: Sleep environments influence sleep. Your bedroom should be a quiet, clutter-free place where you can unwind and get away from all of your racing thoughts and stressors.6f
Can vitamin deficits interfere with your sleep?
Research suggests that particular vitamins – or their lack thereof – may have a harmful effect on your sleep.7a
There could be a link between vitamin B deficiency and sleep problems. Other vitamin deficits may indirectly contribute to poor sleep. For example, iron deficiency is believed to be a possible cause of restless legs syndrome, which can disrupt sleep.7b
Magnesium may also aid with insomnia problems, according to research.8a Other investigations show magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B can improve sleep and reduce insomnia symptoms and side effects,8b while intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help decrease obstructive sleep apnoea in adults.9
Start sleeping better!
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BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY B6+B12 helps to reduce fatigue and tiredness 10 . Each capsule contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic acid, and Zinc. Looking for an exhaustion- and a spasm-busting superhero? BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY MAGNESIUM PLUS promotes energy and muscle health. Each effervescent tablet contains Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Sulphate, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, and L-Glutamine 11.BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY OMEGA 3 1000 MG supports brain function. Each soft gel capsule offers a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – each of these fatty acids provides different health benefits.12
The BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY range is available at selected Dis-Chem and Clicks stores, as well as selected independent pharmacies nationwide. For more information, visit: https://www.adcock.co.za/ProdVitamins/Bioplus and join the conversation on Facebook.
MedlinePlus. Sleep and your health. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000871.htm/. Last accessed September 2022.
Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019. Available at: https://www.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/articles/2021/20211008-philips-deeptha-khanna-discusses-the-role-of-technology-in-consumer-health-and-well-being-at-annual-tnw-thenextweb-conference-in-amsterdam.html. Last accessed September 2022.
Sleep Foundation. How Sleep Works. Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works#. Last accessed September 2022.
John Hopkins Medicine. The Science of Sleep: Understanding What Happens When You Sleep. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-science-of-sleep-understanding-what-happens-when-you-sleep. Last accessed September 2022.
Healthline. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body. Last accessed September 2022.
Healthline. 10 Healthy Sleep Hygiene Habits. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-hygiene. Last accessed September 2022.
Sleep Medicine. Vitamins and Sleep: An Exploratory Study. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2174691/pdf/nihms36543.pdf. Last accessed September 2022.
Sleep Foundation. How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep. Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/magnesium. Last accessed September 2022.
National Library of Medicine. Membrane level of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid is associated with the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21897776/. Last accessed September 2022.
Bioplus® Vit-ality B6 + B12 capsules package insert. Adcock Ingram. 02-2020.
Bioplus® Vit-ality Magnesium Plus effervescent tablets package insert. Adcock Ingram. 03-2020.
Bioplus® Vit-ality Omega 3 1000 mg softgel capsules package insert. Adcock Ingram. 03-2020.