Having spent a month dutifully monitoring our sleep patterns, we’re just about to road test a few popular sleep aids to see if they make a difference to our health and well-being. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, because this week is National Sleep Awareness Week.
This year’s theme is “Begin with Sleep,” highlighting the importance of good sleep in helping you “achieve personal, family and professional goals”. As well as regular tips and advice, the National Sleep Foundation has developed a Bedtime Counter to encourage people to plan their sleep better.
So, what sleep aids are we hoping might help us get some quality shut-eye? We’ve picked out a range of the most popular options. Some of us will be concentrating on calming techniques, such as having a hot, milky drink before bed; pillow mist sprays; meditation; and getting a massage.
Kate is trying the 4-7-8 breathing method, which is based on an ancient yogic technique called pranayama, designed to help you fall asleep faster. Mark signed up for cutting out caffeine after noon – and is already struggling to get used to fruit teas. Kev will be keeping a journal, and Sarah has agreed to stop using her phone at least 90 minutes before hitting the hay.
We had so many people interested in taking part that we also have testers trying to adopt a regular bedtime routine; reading every night; and even enjoying a little tipple. Dave was happy to volunteer for this one.
Our Stu will be drinking a pre-bedtime Montmorency cherry juice, based on a study that found elderly insomniacs experienced a moderate benefit to their sleep patterns. However, the pilot only involved 15 people, and was funded by a cherry juice manufacturer, so we’ll have to wait and see. And Stu’s not elderly. Yet.
Anyway, everyone will be plotting their progress over the next month and will report back with a full review. We’re hoping at least some of us get a little more sleep, or better quality sleep, which could mean improved concentration, more productivity, healthier bodies and happier minds. Fingers crossed!