In a world filled with ever-increasing amounts of interaction, distraction and responsibility, sleep can often seem like an afterthought. It’s easy to focus only on the time we spend awake, and all of us have been guilty now and then of pinching a few hours from our sleeping selves to elongate our days. But what are the long-term effects of skimping on sleep, and should we be more conscious of the time we spend unconscious? Today, PĒLL dives into the topic of sleep, exploring its benefits and how – with the help of your favourite CBD oil brand – you can improve the duration and quality of your own sleep.
The Society that Never Sleeps
Whilst it’s generally recommended that adults sleep somewhere between 7 and 9 hours per night, polls have shown that the average American manages only 6.8 hours of nightly sleep. Though this number has remained fairly constant since the 1990s, it’s quite striking that a similar poll in 1942 found respondents were sleeping for 7.9 hours a night; meaning over an eighth of our sleep has disappeared in less than a century!
Rates of insomnia in contemporary hunter-gatherer communities are estimated to be around 2%, compared to 10-30% in industrial societies. Clearly, modern life has created a sleep gap, and there are several potential culprits. Blue light is considered vital for the proper functioning of our bodies’ biological clock (circadian rhythm), with exposure governing the synchronisation of many biological and psychological systems. However, exposure to artificial sources of blue light (such as electronic screens) before bedtime has been shown to have a significant detrimental effect on how quickly we fall asleep, how long we sleep for, and the quality of our sleep.
Caffeine and alcohol can also have a profound impact on sleep. As a stimulant, caffeine is great at making us feel more alert and focused, but stays in the body for up to ten hours afterwards. This means that whilst you may only really notice the effects of caffeine for an hour or two after, it could be playing havoc with your circadian rhythm when it comes to bedtime. Coffee is the most famous and widely consumed source of caffeine, but it’s also present in a host of other products, including soft drinks, chocolate, and tea (yes, even green tea!).
Alcohol’s relationship with sleep is a little more complex. Whilst booze has a sedative effect on the body and can help us fall asleep quicker, it also reduces overall sleep time, sleep quality, and the amount of time we spend in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which plays a vital role in brain development and memory processing. So, whilst a nightcap might feel like a great idea to get yourself sleeping sooner, it could be doing more harm than good!
The Power of Sleep
Put simply, sleep is not only necessary, but one of the best things we can do for our bodies. A comprehensive study of over 170,000 adults in 2023 found that those who slept for 7-8 hours a night with good sleep quality and few sleep-related issues had a considerably greater life expectancy than those who did not – with women in the first category living on average 2.4 years longer, and men an astonishing 4.7 years longer.
Proper amounts of high-quality sleep are associated with lower infection risk and better all-around health outcomes. Well-rested people are physically stronger and fitter than their sleep-deprived counterparts, whilst also having a reduced injury risk. When you add to this the fact that those who sleep well consistently show boosted mood and cognitive ability compared to those who don’t, the message becomes clear – better sleep means a better life.
Unfortunately, just as getting more sleep is associated with better health outcomes, sleep deprivation can cause serious issues. A lack of sleep can make us more susceptible to infection and impact our recovery, as well as reducing cognitive and physical performance, and causing both short and long-term decreases in mood. Even a 30-minute deficit in your sleep needs can lead to a host of issues, so it’s always in your best interest to make good, restful sleep a priority.
The Secrets to Restful Slumber
So, how can we ensure that we get enough sleep? The good news is that subtle changes to our lives can make a big impact when it comes to bedtime. Try not to drink caffeine past lunch, and give yourself at least an hour away from electronic devices before you try to fall asleep. You don’t need to abstain from alcohol entirely, but cutting back might be a big help, and it’s important to understand that whilst a drink or two might help us drift off, it can greatly harm the quality of our sleep.
Human bodies love routine. Creating a night-time ritual for yourself that encourages sleepiness and avoids things that may interfere with sleep can make a huge difference in how quickly you doze off, as well as the duration and quality of sleep. For even better results, consider adding a sleep aid to this new routine, such as PĒLL’s very own CBD oils.
CBD oil has been shown to work well as a sleep aid, helping people fall asleep quicker and significantly improving sleep quality. Tomorrow, why not try holding the afternoon coffee, swapping your bedtime phone-scrolling for a few chapters of a book, and applying a couple drops of CBD oil on the tongue as you wind down for the night? A happier, healthier and more rested version of yourself could be closer than you think!
Ready to take the first steps in taking control of your sleep? Take a look at PĒLL’s selection of natural, high-quality CBD oils right here.
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