Inadequate sleep not only affects your physical and mental wellbeing, it impacts your energy, resilience, your ability to think clearly and function effectively at home or work, and it can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
At DR.VEGAN® we’re passionate about simplifying nutrition, helping you understand your diet and make healthier choices. Our range of vegan-only supplements cater for all diets and a range of health goals, including sleep.
We wanted to understand the scale of 'The Sleep Problem' and surveyed 1,503 people between August – October 2020, and the results are startling.
More than 1 in 3 of us (37%) have sleep issues, saying we often struggle to sleep or are insomniacs.
Just 1 in 5 of us say we have no issues sleeping.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
We all know exercise is important for our general health and wellbeing, and our research shows it's just as important for a good night's sleep.
People who do no exercise each week are significantly more likely to suffer from poor sleep compared to those who exercise 2-5 hours a week or more.
Exercise isn't always a cure for a good nights sleep - our research shows more than 30% of us suffer from poor sleep even when we do more than 5 hours of exercise a week.
What it does show however is poor sleep is much more common among those who do no exercise.
Your diet CAN make a difference
Our research shows poor sleep is less common among people who have adjusted their diet from a general 'eat everything' diet.
We defined an 'Adjusted Diet' as anyone who said they follow a flexitarian (plant-based with occasional inclusion of meat), pescatarian (plant-based and fish, but not meat), vegetarian or vegan diet.
Our consultant nutritionist Dr Laura Wyness has written about the foods and nutrients you can eat to help improve your sleep - you can read it here.
Again, however, the research shows that changes to diet on its own doesn't solve the sleep problem.
Beware of stress!
Alarmingly, more than 4 in 10 people describe their stress levels as high or overwhelming, and only 1 in 10 describe themselves as stress free. These are staggering statistics and reinforce the attention needed on mental health.
While it's easier said than done, managing our stress really does help improve our sleep, and vice versa.
Our research shows poor sleep is twice as common among people with high levels of stress than those who describe their stress as manageable.
Age plays a role
Poor sleep consistently affects 3 in 10 of us between the age of 18 and 44. However, once we reach 45, poor sleep affects more than 4 in 10 of us.
Changes in our hormones as we age, particularly among women during the menopause, lifestyle and family demands contribute to a likelihood of suffering poor sleep.
What does it all mean?
There is no single winning ingredient to a great night's sleep, or conversely it is unlikely just one thing will cause regular poor sleep.
However the research shows common factors among those who don't experience any problems with poor sleep:
- 8 out of 10 do at least 1-2 hours of exercise each week.
- 7 out of 10 describe their stress levels as manageable or better.
- 6 out of 10 are on a flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet.
To learn how your diet can help support a good night's sleep, read our short article: 'Foods & nutrients that can help and hinder sleep'.
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