Sleep deprivation is rife in the UK, with around one in three people struggling to get enough shut eye each night. The effects of sleep loss are pernicious in the beginning, with many people reporting struggling to concentrate the next day. Sleep loss can be disastrous in the long run, however.
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Failing to get the required amount can put you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy, warns the NHS.
The problem often seems intractable, with bad habits hard to shift.
Research suggests correcting sleep loss is not as challenging as it first appears, however.
In fact, making even minor adjustments to your lifestyle has been shown to aid sleep loss.
Making a conscious effort to eat certain foods, for example, may do the trick.
An encouraging body of evidence backs eating rise to remedy sleep loss.
In one study, the sleep habits of 1,848 people were compared based on their intake of white rice, bread or noodles.
Higher rice intake was associated with better sleep, including longer sleep duration.
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It has also been reported that white rice may be most effective at improving sleep if it is consumed at least one hour before bedtime.
It is important to note that white rice has a high carbohydrate content.
Its carb content and lack of fibre means it ranks high on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food increases your blood sugar.
Why is this significant for sleep?
It is believed that eating foods with a high glycemic index, such as white rice, a few hours before bed may help improve sleep quality.
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Other simple self-help tips for sleep loss
According to the NHS, keeping regular sleeping hours may help to reset the body clock.
This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
As the NHS explains, most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night.
“By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule,” says the health body.
It is also important to try and wake up at the same time every day.
“While it may seem like a good idea to try to catch up on sleep after a bad night, doing so on a regular basis can also disrupt your sleep routine,” warns the NHS.
Winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed.
One simple winding down technique is to write “to do” lists for the next day.
This can organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions, explains the NHS.
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