Talking to imaginary pets, crying in the supermarket because they sold out of yoghurt and getting in the shower fully clothed are among some of the strangest things people have done when sleep deprived, according to a new poll carried out by natural health company BetterYou.
The survey of 358 people from across the UK found that poor quality of sleep was a common problem, with more than half (53%) claiming they struggled to nod off.
It also revealed that more than 60% of people take longer than 30 minutes to fall to sleep.
Almost all (95%) respondents said they have felt sleep deprived at some point in their lives. Of these, nearly one in four said they feel sleep deprived every day.
According to the poll, between three and six o’clock in the afternoon is when people feel the most tired, with 7% of people confessing to falling asleep in the workplace.
Binge-eating, being forgetful and hallucinating were common behaviours experienced when sleep deprived, with 14% of people putting strange household items in the fridge, including keys and kettles.
The survey asked how people would spend an extra hour in the day and 43% said they would spend it asleep or relaxing. Reading and exercising were also popular responses.
According to Better You, poor sleep can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health and drowsiness, stress, poor short-term memory and weight gain are all common indicators of this.
Magnesium deficiency can be one of the main factors affecting the quality of sleep we are able to achieve.
BetterYou founder and managing director Andrew Thomas said: “The body needs magnesium to maintain a state of complete rest. Low levels of this essential mineral can lead to restless muscles that keep us awake at night.
“It’s a known fact that we don’t get enough magnesium from our daily diet. Seven in 10 of us suffer from low levels so supplementation has become a necessity for modern lifestyles.”
BetterYou has developed a new Magnesium Sleep Mineral Lotion, which is a fast-acting natural remedy, clinically proven to provide a better night’s sleep.
Sleep is incredibly important for us all. It doesn’t just make you feel more refreshed, but also proves advantageous to both your physical and mental wellbeing. However, as the average person spends more than a third of their lives in bed, could our precious sleep be put at risk without knowing it, simply by what we’re sleeping on?
Here, Michal Szlas, CEO of bed-in-a-box mattress retailer OTTY Sleep, takes a look at the life of a mattress and explores whether it’s actually doing us more harm than good.
According to reports by industry experts, a mattress should be replaced every seven to ten years. Anything longer, and you’re likely to suffer from a number of issues that will negatively affect your health and wellbeing.
But, despite the warning, we often encounter people who have become personally attached to their mattresses, and despite its longevity, they just haven’t got around to changing it, or in some cases simply aren’t ready to replace it.
As old mattresses begin to wear out, they can start to sag in places or develop bumps and lumps, which reduces the support the mattress provides, often leaving you to sleep in an awkward, uncomfortable position. This will ultimately result in pressure being applied to incorrect areas of the body, and time goes on, it leaves you suffering from a host of pains and niggles – especially in your back and neck. Quite a few people put these aches down to their own age; not many correlate the pain to the inadequate support given by the mattress.
And even if your mattress looks ok from the outside and still gives you a relatively decent night’s sleep, the chances are it’s not all right on the inside.
Without trying to put you off your mattress for life, the average person sheds a pound of skin per year, with the average adult losing almost 300ml of moisture per night. As you’ve probably guessed, your mattress attains most of this, with the moisture making your mattress the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of nasties, including forms of bacteria and allergy-triggering dust mites.
While these are unlikely to cause you life-threatening harm, they can often lead to a number of illnesses ranging from skin infections to an exacerbation of asthma conditions, which would prove hugely problematic for the 21m asthma and allergy sufferers currently residing in the UK.
Away from pains and ailments, an old mattress might just simply give you a bad night’s sleep. Most mattresses are specially designed to give you a restful night, and often regulate your body’s temperature to keep you cool and comfortable, even in the hot, stuffy months.
Over time, older mattresses become compressed due to wear and tear and prevent air circulating throughout. Ultimately, once compacted, you become prone to a sweaty sleep, which disrupts your sleeping pattern and often results in a struggle to get the required eight hours. While you think a lack of sleep might just make you feel a little grouchy the next day, recent studies have linked a lack of sleep to an increase in stress and mental health illnesses.
Research conducted by the University of Glasgow looked at data collected from more than 90,000 UK-based people, and concluded that a disruption to your circadian rhythm can lead to an increased possibility of developing mood disorders and lower levels of happiness. If this occurs on a regular basis, it can put your mental health at risk.
A lack of sleep is also linked to a rise in stress levels. Sleep and stress may be a chain reaction-like bond with the latter causing a lack of rest, but a good night of sleep halts the production of stress hormones – consequently, if we don’t get enough sleep, our body will continue to reproduce these hormones.
Again, a small study in 2009 saw 59 people tested after spending 28 nights on a new mattress. Results proved that stress levels significantly decreased following the four-weeklong test, as the participants felt less worried, less nervous and less restless as a result of a better kip.
The rise of the internet and the increase of online retailers, such as OTTY Sleep, has made purchasing a mattress easier, and more cost effective, than ever before. Mattresses bought online often come with a ten-year guarantee, and a 100-night trial, allowing the sleeper to test the mattress before making the final decision.
But, despite the mattress purchasing process being easier and simpler than ever, there’s still a few out there who don’t fully understand the importance of a new mattress, and are unaware that making the switch could prove crucial in helping you in getting a good night sleep, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
‘Night owls’ who like to burn the midnight oil and have trouble getting out of bed in the morning could be at risk of dying sooner than those who go to bed early and rise with the sun.
That’s according to a study carried out on nearly half-a-million people by the University of Surrey and Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
The UK Biobank Study found that night owls have a 10% higher risk of dying than ‘larks’.
“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies,” said co-lead author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Previous studies in the field have focused on the higher rates of metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, but this is the first to look at mortality risk.
“This is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored,” said Malcolm von Schantz, Professor of Chronobiology at the University of Surrey.
“We should discuss allowing evening types to start and finish work later, where practical. And we need more research about how we can help evening types cope with the higher effort of keeping their body clock in synchrony with sun time.”
“It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn’t match their external environment,” Knutson said.
“It could be psychological stress, eating at the wrong time for their body, not exercising enough, not sleeping enough, being awake at night by yourself, maybe drug or alcohol use. There are a whole variety of unhealthy behaviours related to being up late in the dark by yourself.”
As part of the research, scientists found that night owls had higher rates of diabetes, psychological disorders and neurological disorders.