How to sleep: Lacking in sleep increases viral infection risk – best tips to sleep better

Weight loss: Doctor reveals importance of sleep to achieve goals

As many are aware sleep is vital for overall good health but with the current climate leaving most feeling stressed, worried and anxious; sleep may not be as easy. Experts warn that lacking in sleep makes one more susceptible to infections. What are proven methods to help you sleep better?

Sanjay Verma, Chief Sleep Officer at Hilding Anders, the global sleep, health and wellness group, commented on the role sleep can play in improving immunity to viral infections, and how rising COVID-19 cases and the third national lockdown could lead to more lucid dreams.

Sanjay said: “Studies show that not getting enough sleep can weaken your immunity to viral infections.

“As COVID-19 cases rise and we’re plunged into our third national lockdown, it’s more important now than ever before to reassess your sleep and ensure you’re getting enough, good quality sleep each night.

“In one study, conducted in a controlled environment, people who slept for five hours compared to seven were three times more likely to catch a viral infection.

“Just two hours of sleep less a night can impact your health. We know from our global study of 4,000 people that individuals aren’t getting enough sleep, with Brits alone getting 1.4 hours sleep less than they want to at night.

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“Its vital people take the opportunity of lockdown, and extra downtime this provides, to assess their sleep and look at ways they can improve the quality of their sleep each night, whether it’s less screen time, a better mattress, or even an earlier bedtime.

“Good quality sleep can go a long way in improving your immune system.

“One aspect of sleep we can expect to see a rise in again though is vivid or lucid dreaming.

“We saw reports of greater lucid dreams in the first wave of the global pandemic, and now cases are rising again, even with a vaccine beginning to be rolled out, another lockdown is likely to lead to increased stress and anxiety, especially with businesses being forced to close and we’re unable to see family and friends.

“Heightened stress or anxiety, even when it’s subconscious, can have a huge impact on dream sleep, so don’t be alarmed if you start to experience lucid dreams in your sleep.”

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What is lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming happens when a person is aware that they’re dreaming.

They are able to recognise their thoughts and emotions as the dream happens.

Sometimes, lucid dreams can be controlled, or you may be able to change the people, environment, or storyline.

This type of dream of control could potentially reduce nightmares and anxiety.

How to sleep

One essential oil that has been shown to improve sleep quality is lavender oil, which comes from the distillation of the spikes of the fragrant flower.

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), lavender has long been touted for its calming effects on anxiety and agitation, factors that can disrupt the sleep-cycle.

As the NSF explained: “Its scent may slow down the nervous system, which relaxes the body and mind to improve sleep quality.”

Evidence and studies suggest that taking melatonin supplements is a simple and effective way to fall asleep faster.

Melatonin is a hormone which tells the body it is time to get some rest.

It has become a popular supplement among those who struggle to get their shut eye or those who wake up in the night.

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, but it is also found in areas such as the eyes, bone marrow and the gut.

The supplement has been dubbed the “sleep hormone” due to its ability to help a person fall asleep easier and better. 

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