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How to Sleep Soundly During a Pandemic?

Article focus: An investigation into methods for improving sleep quality during the current lockdown.

According to Professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, “We are living through a catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic affecting every aspect of our biology”.

How have we got to this point?

  • Modern life is structured in such a way that sleep is consistently pushed further down our priority list.
  • A whole host of uniquely modern issues and procrastinations have led to sleep becoming a significant victim of our always on, always contactable, always updating culture.

Prior to 2020, sleep was only competing with the likes of excessively long working hours, late night television and endless social media streams for our attention. However in 2020 we also have to factor in the pandemic.

What are we seeing?

A disruption to daily structures and routines, a lack of social interaction and generally heightened daily stress levels – a “perfect storm of sleep problems”.

The assumption being, that people are sleeping less as a by-product of C19. However that is not what the data is saying.

The Data

In an attempt to shed some light on C19’s effect on our sleeping habits, the Journal of Current Biology conducted two studies. Researchers explored sleep among college students in Europe during the strictest phase of the COVID-19 lockdown.

What they discovered:

  • Students slept about 15 minutes longer each night, according to self-reported data.
  • The students’ assessment of their sleep quality declined significantly, reporting trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Students reported disconcertingly vivid dreams

These results were closely replicated by a King’s College London and Ipsos MORI study.

What they discovered:

  • 50% of the people surveyed between 22nd and 24th May reported more instances of sleep disturbance.
  • 38% of people experienced more vivid dreams.
  • Students reported disconcertingly vivid dreams

Neura’s main focus is on the daily cognitive consequences of sleep disruption and deprivation

So what is the solution to the daily impacts of a reduced sleep quality?

The above illustration summarises some of the clinically substantiated daily effects on cognitive (brain) performance when sleep quality is compromised. However more serious and prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious neurological issues, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and mental health problems, which must be treated by qualified medical professionals

Sleep disturbance is the result of a myriad of factors, both physical and mental and whilst it would be ideal to have a one size fits all solution this is sadly (currently) not the case.

However there are significant steps we can take to tangibly increase our quality of sleep.

Your “how to guide” for Pandemic sleep

  • Activity: A person’s quality of sleep can be improved with exercise and access to the outdoors, fresh air and sunlight. (NB research suggests that exercise too close to sleep may increase the time required to fall asleep, so ideally keep a space of a few hours between exercise, particularly intense exercise and sleep).
  • Sleep environment: Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cold. The appropriate room temperature for sleep is approximately 18 degrees (that’s 65 degrees Fahrenheit for our American readers).
  • Avoid Light Disruption: Light exposure disrupts our circadian rhythm (our bodies internal sleep clock). Blackout blinds or a sleep mask are highly beneficial particularly during summer months with the earlier sunrise.
  • Noise pollution: Fortunately this is a fairly easy obstacle to overcome with a good pair of noise cancelling ear plugs.
  • Set a Fixed Wake-Up Time: Quality sleep is predicated on a predictable consistent sleep pattern. This means waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same time every day (including weekends).
  • Make time for sleep: Much of the blame for the declining quality of modern day sleep can be attributed to excessive social media use/reliance, rather than delving too deeply into that research here, lets pose a hopefully rhetorical question…

What is going to have a bigger impact on your quality of life and make you happier tomorrow, refreshing your Instagram feed or refreshing your brain with an extra 30 mins of sleep?

Nootropics/sleep supplements

Neura has developed Serenity. Serenity is an ultra-premium blend of natural nootropics (substances that improve cognitive function), adaptogens (plants that assist the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological and promote relaxation of the mind) and finally highly absorbable forms of select minerals and amino acids.

Why is Serenity different from other sleep supplements?

There are other supplements on the market which share some of the ingredients within Serenity; however we are confident in saying that where this is the case, Serenity will contain a higher amount of these ingredients (we would encourage readers to make this comparison for themselves, rather than take our word for it).

Why does Serenity contain higher amounts of each ingredient?

Simply because when formulating Serenity, we did so using the latest data from peer reviewed clinical studies and worked with partners who have years of experience in their respective fields ensuring the highest quality control measures. We do not include ingredients unless they have consistent data, from human studies proving their efficacy for sleep improvement.

This means every single ingredient we use in Serenity (and all of our products in the Natural Cognitive Fuels range) is dosed at levels that either meet or exceed what is required for clinical efficacy. It is an expensive way of doing things but it leads to unrivalled quality.

If you are interested in the science behind Serenity please visit the link here.

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