Did you know that nearly 40% of Australian adults experience some form of inadequate sleep which equates to approximately 7.4 million people across the country?
As a result, sadly, one Aussie will die every day from falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle or from workplace accidents due to lack of sleep.
In addition to tiredness, inadequate sleep is associated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, cognitive impairment, disharmony at home and in the workplace, reduced work productivity, some cancers and poor school performance in children.
Friday, 13 March is World Sleep Day and in recognition of the day, Oil Garden are urging Aussies to make some tweaks to their sleep routine to lead to a better night's slumber.
Question: Are you surprised that nearly 40% of Australian adults experience some form of inadequate sleep?
Samantha Carbone: No, I am not surprised. It's one of the most common responses I hear from clients when assessing their sleep patterns. Most talk about experiencing less than 6 hours sleep and in most cases, disrupted sleep from either a partner or child.
Question: Can you talk us through the association of inadequate sleep with obesity?
Samantha Carbone: Inadequate sleep impacts the secretion of hormones such as ghrelin, which increases appetite because it triggers feelings of hunger, your ghrelin levels will go up when you're having inadequate sleep. The Hormone leptin suppresses appetite and indicates when the body is satisfied. Lack of sleep reduces leptin; this can lead to significant increases in your food intake without the compensating energy expenditure. Inadequate sleep changes what foods you're most interested in eating; you're more likely to find that you will have increased cravings for fat and sugary foods. When you're low on sleep, you're going find that your brain can't make reasoned decisions when it comes to food, and you're more likely to be impulsive and give into unhealthy junk-food desires.
Question: Have you changed your routine to ensure you're getting adequate sleep?
Samantha Carbone: Yes, I don't use technology before bedtime as looking at the television or a mobile device before bed as it has been proven to increase alertness. The bright screen is over stimulating and will reduce readiness to fall asleep. I was finding myself over stimulated by technology and I would go to sleep beyond my usual bedtime.
I have significantly reduced my screen time but most importantly I have been stopping a few hours before bedtime. I've switched the TV and mobile device before bedtime to reading a book in bed, or I listen to relaxing music with dim or no lights on (sounds like heaven). I have found I am ready to fall asleep a lot quicker and the quality of sleep is significantly better. I also use Oil Garden's Mini Ultrasonic Diffuser with their Sleep Assist Essential Oil Blend with these tips and have found myself to be happier and more relaxed when I wake in the morning.
Question: What foods help us sleep better?
Samantha Carbone: Here are some foods which will contribute to a good night's sleep. Cherries are a great source as they contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body's clock to regulate sleep. Bananas are highly nutritious and contain magnesium and potassium which are great muscle relaxants. Warm Milk before bed is also a great way to help with bringing back childhood memories which will help you drift off to sleep as well as other sleeping benefits. Sweet potato at dinner time will increase a good night's sleep as it contains sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain potassium for your muscles to relax. Ditch the cheeseburger because the fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to kill your night's sleep as well as any fast food before bedtime. I would also avoid any alcohol as if you're after a good night's sleep, your body metabolizes alcohol very quickly into your system and will causes you to wake up multiple times during the night (giving you a very restless sleep).
Question: Can you share your top five tips to improve sleep quality?
Samantha Carbone: 1. "Create a sleep routine," Samantha says. "Sleep and wake at consistent times and try to get into a regular sleep and wake cycle, including on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day."
2. "Find supplements that include lavender and magnesium," Samantha says. "These supplements can help with relaxation and sleep quality when combined with other strategies. Diffusing oils in your room before you get into bed is a great way to help you relax before falling asleep. I use Oil Garden's Mini Ultrasonic Diffuser with their Sleep Assist Essential Oil Blend. The smell of Sweet Orange, Lavender, Marjoram and German Chamomile creates a relaxed and soothing atmosphere before I fall asleep. Magnesium cream rubbed behind the legs is also a great way to help you wind down."
3. "Clear your mind in the evening," Samantha says. Worrying keeps over half of Australian adults up at night (51%), followed by illness or physical discomfort (27%), and technology distractions (21%). "Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality. Try listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualisation." "To ensure good quality sleep, I would reduce screen time, but most importantly stop a few hours before bedtime. If you are someone who watches TV or is on your mobile device right before bedtime, maybe try reading a book in bed, or listen to the radio before sleep with dim or no lights on."
4. "Avoid large meals close to bedtime," Samantha says. "Being too full at bedtime can interfere with falling asleep and sleep quality as you can be woken while your body is working on digesting your food. If you are someone who needs something before bed, try a light snack like yoghurt, a banana, or a small bowl of low-sugar cereal." "I would also ditch the cheeseburger because the fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to kill your night's sleep. Avoid any alcohol if you're after a good night's sleep, as your body metabolises alcohol very quickly into your system which will cause you to wake up multiple times during the night, giving you a very restless sleep." "Here are some foods which will contribute to a good quality night's sleep. Cherries are a great source as they contain melatonin, the chemical that helps control our body's clock to regulate sleep. Bananas are highly nutritious and contain magnesium and potassium which are great muscle relaxants. Warm milk before bed is also a great way to help with bringing back childhood memories which will help you drift off to sleep. Sweet potato at dinner time will increase a good night's sleep as it contains sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates and potassium for your muscles to relax."
5. "Regular exercise," Samantha says. "Regular exercise, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can impact your sleep quality by increasing your body's temperature. This is great because later in the day when your temperature drops back to its normal range, this can prompt feelings of drowsiness and help you drop off to sleep quicker."
Interview by Brooke Hunter