According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2022 Sleep in America® Poll, lower levels of stress are strongly associated with higher quality sleep. Among those surveyed, Americans who consider themselves in better overall health and who report lower stress levels also report better sleep health.
Clearly, there are larger, demographic factors affecting people’s overall health and stress and the impact of stress on healthy sleep. Moreover, health and stress management are entire fields that go well beyond sleep health alone. But there is a strong connection between overall health and sleep health, so taking a few simple steps toward healthier sleep can set you on a more positive path toward less stress and overall well-being.
Start with adopting bedtime behaviors that are proven to promote healthier sleep. They will train your mind and body to recognize that it’s time to prepare for sleep—like tapping into the circadian muscle memory that is hard-wired into us.
We’re not telling you to do all of these things all at once (although there’s certainly no harm in trying!) but consider starting with at least a few of them that work within your daily routine and that don’t take too much effort. Then add more as you start to feel more comfortable. And we think you will.
Some recommended behaviors you can adopt include:
Take charge of dinner time. A light dinner about 2-3 hours before bedtime is ideal, so you have time to fully digest. You know the next-day scaries and restlessness that can plague you after a too late, too heavy meal if you’re up late waiting to digest and fall asleep.
Skip the nightcap. Contrary to popular belief, that evening drink only seems calming. It actually disrupts your natural sleep rhythms, interfering with deep, healthy sleep.
Practice relaxation. Breathing exercises, meditation, a warm bath, and journaling are helpful techniques that allow you to wind down from the day’s events. Even smells can help calm your senses—essential oils in scents like lavender can get you to that relaxed state of mind.
Make your lair sleep-friendly. A darkened, quiet room signals sleep. Consider earplugs, a sleeping mask, and/or room-darkening shades to block excess noise and light. Keep the room temperature cool, between 60 and 67 degrees. Of course, it helps to have the right mattress, pillows, and sheets that best suit you.
Show your screens who’s boss. Televisions, tablets, and phones are designed to lure you into interacting with them. But they also signal the stress reaction inside of you. We know you won’t remove them altogether from your bedroom. Instead, resist their call for attention for at least one hour before turning in.
Turn in and wake up at the same time. There’s a reason why they call it “bedtime” and “wake-up time.” There are times when each is appropriate. We’ve mentioned circadian rhythms before: your mind and body want to sleep and wake up at regular times. You can fight them or feed them. We recommend you feed them a steady diet of regular bedtime and wake-up times.
Don’t let sleep (or lack thereof) add to your stresses!
Healthy sleep is just that; it can make you feel better and more able to face the challenges of life. Just try as few or as many of these recommendations to help you get it. We believe they will help you to be on your way to your Best Slept Self™.
CNN — Snoring, snorting, tossing and turning, napping for a long time during the day, waking up during the night, and sleeping too little or even too much all contribute to poor-quality sleep and may raise your risk for stroke, according to a new study.
In fact, researchers found the more sleep problems you have, the greater the risk of stroke.
“Having more than five of these symptoms may lead to five times the risk of stroke compared to those who do not have any sleep problems,” said study author Christine McCarthy of the University of Galway in Ireland in a statement.
“The findings are consistent with prior research linking unhealthy sleep to high blood pressure and to impairments to blood vessels, which are risk factors for stroke,” said sleep specialist Kristen Knutson, an associate professor of neurology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She was not involved in the study.
One reason may be the impact of short, fragmented sleep and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea on the body’s ability to regulate metabolism, blood pressure and inflammation, which are all risk factors for stroke, said Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern’s medical school, who was not involved in the study.
“Poor sleep can impair the natural blood pressure dipping that occurs during night time sleep and contribute to hypertension — an important risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease,” Zee said via email. “In other population based research, similar relationships have been reported between poor sleep health and disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.”
Sleep Problems and Stroke Risk
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, analyzed data from more than 4,500 people participating in INTERSTROKE, a large international case-control study of patients who have experienced a stroke.
Nearly 1,800 participants in the study had an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, in which a blood clot blocks an artery leading to the brain. Another 439 people had an intracerebral hemorrhage in which arteries or veins in the brain rupture, causing bleeding into brain tissue.
Participants in the study were then matched by age and sex to people who had no history of stroke. Both groups answered questions about their sleep quality and behavior, and the two groups were compared.
Results showed people who slept less than five hours a night on average were three times more likely to have a stroke than those who got seven hours of sleep — the recommended minimum for adults.
On the flip side, sleeping more than nine hours a night on average was associated with a twofold increase in stroke risk, according to a statement on the study.
The results held true even after adjustments to eliminate other issues that can lead to stroke, including depression, alcohol abuse, smoking and a lack of physical activity, according to the study.
“Sleep apnea can alter the pathways involved in the regulation of coagulation factors that can increase the risk of strokes,” Zee said.
Snoring or snorting, which can both be signs of untreated sleep apnea, were also risky. People who snored were 91% more likely to have suffered a stroke, while those who snorted were almost three times as likely to have had a stroke than those who did not.
Napping was also a risk factor, the statement said. People who on average napped more than an hour were 88% more likely to suffer a stroke than those who did not. However, taking a planned nap of less than an hour was not associated with an increased stroke risk, the study said.
It’s important to note that the research could only show an association between sleep problems and stroke, not causation, said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.
“The question remains: Is poor quality sleep causative? Or is it simply associated with a cluster of bad health habits that would lead somebody to have a higher stroke risk?” asked Freeman, who was not involved in the research.
“Are they under a lot of stress? Are they drinking huge amounts of caffeine and then not sleeping? Maybe they’re not exercising very much, and we know that exercise promotes good quality sleep,” Freeman said. “It’s hard to tease out all the factors that might contribute.”
What to Do
Practicing good sleep hygiene, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are all key ways to reduce the negative impact ofsleep disorders and reduce stroke and cardiovascular risk, Freeman said.
“What I always tell people is, you know, getting about seven hours a night of uninterrupted sleep is associated with the least amount of cardiovascular disease,” he said.
It’s important to prioritize getting those seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night on a regular basis, Zee said. Doing so means going to bed and waking at the same time every day, even on weekends.
“Regular exposure to light in the morning and afternoon can also improve sleep quality,” she said, adding that anyone suffering from snoring, insomnia or excessive sleepiness during the day should talk to a sleep specialist.
The bedroom should be used for sleeping and intimacy only, Freeman added.
“Don’t hang out in there and watch TV or read books or do work in there,” he said. “Keep a notebook next to the bed so if you wake up in the middle of the night you can write down what comes to mind. Diffuse any worries you have by meditating on it and do your best to let things go.”
Don’t drink alcohol or eat at least three hours before bed to avoid gastric distress that might wake you up, Zee suggested.
“It’s also important to exercise, preferably in the morning,” Freeman added. “The one true medicine that works always is improving one’s lifestyle to include healthy behaviors.”
However, there are sleep aids that can help to induce sleep and improve sleep quality. We discuss some natural sleeping aids that are quite effective in doing so.
Signs of insomnia
One of the key reasons people seek to use sleeping aids is insomnia, a common sleep disorder. You may be suffering from it if you find that you are frequently:
Finding it difficult to fall asleep
Waking up in the middle of the night
Spending hours lying awake at night
Waking up too early and is unable to get back to sleep
Feeling tired when waking up
Feeling tired and irritable during the daytime
Having daytime sleepiness
Finding it hard to focus on work during the day
Insomnia can be caused by numerous factors including stress, work schedules, age, lifestyle choices and poor sleep hygiene. As such, it can be prevented or treated with certain changes. Sleep aids can also help you to have better quality sleep.
Natural sleep aids
Natural sleep aids can help you calm down, relax your muscles and promote sleep quality. Here are are few that has been known to help people get a good night’s rest:
L-theanine is a non-essential amino acid for humans and can be found in teas (especially green tea), Xerocomus badius, a brown edible mushroom, as well as C. japonica and C. sasanqua, both of which are small shrubs that are used to make tea.
As such, it is a natural sleep aid option that can be a great help for people dealing with sleep disorders like insomnia. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has recognized that L-theanine is safe when taken according to the suggested dose.
Lactium® or Alpha s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate is a milk protein hydrolysate that contains an all-natural bioactive peptide. This natural ingredient is extracted from milk and can help one to relax and manage his or her emotions.
Because it is a natural ingredient, Lactium® does not present with any side effects. In fact, it is hypoallergenic and does not cause side effects that are common in sleep aids such as drowsiness or addiction. It is also safe for children.
Its levels rise in the evening and fall when the sun rises. Studies on it have shown that taking melatonin can help improve sleep quality by reducing sleep latency and increasing the total hours of sleep.
Melatonin supplements can be useful for those who have disrupted circadian rhythms, such as shift workers or those who are experiencing jet lag.
Valerian is a herb found in Europe and Asia. Its root is often used in herbal supplements that promote sleep. It is said that valerian root helps with depression, anxiety and menopause.
Passionflower is generally safe for adults with no noted side effects.
Sleep aid device
There are also quite a number of sleep aid devices that are said to be able to help induce sleep. Among these include:
Blackout window curtains to keep the light out and reduce noise from outside.
Cooling bedding will help with temperature control for those who wake up due to feeling hot at night.
Smartwatches that help track sleep quality and how much deep sleep you get.
Blue light blocking glasses if you must use devices before bedtime.
White noise sound machines to help you drift off to sleep and block out other noises from your environment.
What is the best-proven sleep aid?
Natural sleep aids such as L-theanine, Lactium® and melatonin have shown to be very effective in improving sleep quality and decreasing sleep latency. They should, however, be taken according to the recommended doses on the packaging.
For some other sleep aids on the market, more research is needed to confirm for sure that they are indeed effective. It’s also worth noting that some sleep aids that might work for others may not work for you.
Are natural sleep aids better than prescription sleep aids?
Natural sleep aids like those in this article are generally safer compared to prescription sleep aids since they have very few side effects if taken correctly.
However, it’s vital that the product or supplement you use comes from a reputable brand and has been thoroughly researched and tested. Also, most sleep aids are not intended to be a long-term solution.
Speak to your doctor if you seem to have problems sleeping, or if you’re experiencing fatigue frequently, as there might be other underlying causes.
Is it OK to take a sleep aid every night?
While this can depend on the type of sleep aid you are taking, most experts do not recommend sleep aids to be used for too long.
Sleeping pills, especially, should only be used for a short term. This is especially because there is not enough evidence to support the safety of using it long-term.
Many people also build a tolerance to sleep aids, with higher doses of the particular drug or supplement needed for the same effects. This may lead to addiction, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety and even a rebound of the sleep issue or disorder.
Natural sleep aids are usually safer, as they are made from components that your body is able to process naturally. However, they too should not be used for too long.
One of the best things you can do when you have a sleep issue is to deal with the underlying cause. If you are using natural sleep aids, read information labels and research the safety of the product.
Sleep aid for kids
Sleeping problems are not specific to adults. Many children, too, have sleep issues. However, sleeping pills and supplements are not usually made for children.
Nonetheless, children are sometimes given antihistamines. Some doctors do recommend melatonin but there is little research on its long-term risks for children.
If you are considering giving your child sleeping drugs or sleeping aids, do ask or check the side effects and risks, its effectiveness in helping your child’s sleeping issues and if there are natural solutions available
Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re having sleep issues or suffering from any sleep disorders. You might also want to check if there is an underlying health condition if you’re frequently waking up feeling tired. Natural sleep aids such as Rilax can be very effective in helping you get a good night worth of restorative sleep.
The dietary supplements manufacturers featuring Lactium in their products for adults will be able to communicate on the benefits of this bioactive:
“helps to reduce stress related symptoms”
“helps to reduce and maintain normal cortisol levels during acute stress events”
“helps to reduce stress related symptoms as a result of digestive troubles among stressed women”
“helps to improve the quality of sleep”
“helps reduce stress so you can fall asleep faster”
“helps you sleep longer due to stress reduction”
“helps to promote a healthy calming sleep due to stress reduction”
It is obviously a great recognition of the efficacy of Lactium on stress and how it can really help people who have issues coping with stress.
Lactium, a natural ingredient to manage stress and its related disorders. It is a milk protein hydrolysate, 100% natural, which contains a bioactive decapeptide with relaxing properties, called alpha-casozepine.
Nine clinical studies carried out between 1999 and 2018 on more than 500 healthy volunteers have proven the efficacy of Lactium to decrease and modulate stress and its related symptoms.
Lactium has the same mechanism of action as an anxiolytic without any toxicity or side effects.
Lactium may be used by every member of a family including pregnant women, overwhelmed by stress and anxiety:
Facing occasional stressful events (a competition, job interview, medical examination, public performance, etc.
Going through a difficult and stressful period: bereavement, job loss, divorce, etc.,
Experiencing symptoms linked to chronic professional or family related stress: sleep disorders, memory and libido disorders, mood swings, overeating, etc.
Stress and Anxiety in the US
50% of Americans feel stress during the day (Gallop, 2019) and 97% are aware that stress impacts negatively on their current health (Euromonitor Health survey, 2020).
At work, 83% of Americans suffer from work-related stress and 66% say they have lost sleep due to work stress.
Stress is not a fate; it can be managed! Lactium is the ideal solution for natural product lovers. Incorporated worldwide for more than 20 years in over 300 products designed for stress and anxiety management or sleep support, Lactium provides a natural way to gain restful sleep and serenity.
Sleep is extremely important for proper brain and body function. A solid night’s sleep can help in decision making, learning, and memory. Conversely, insufficient sleep can increase the risk of numerous health issues including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Despite this, many people suffer from lack of sleep as well as poor sleep quality and with the increased stressors and busyness of life, it can only be expected that more and more people will experience sleep problems.
Sleep/Insomnia related issues in Malaysia- a cause for worry
Sleep issues such as insomnia are actually quite common in Malaysia.
With 1.6 hours short of sleep every day, Malaysians are building up a sleep debt of 11.2 hours every week. This is indeed quite worrisome as long term sleep loss can increase the risk of health problems.
There isn’t actually any formal definition for natural sleep supplements. As such, the term can be understood by breaking it down into the following phrases:
Natural: Natural usually refers to substances that are derived from plants or those that are synthetically manufactured in a lab, but are found in the body. For example, valerian root is a herb used to promote sleep while melatonin is found naturally in our bodies.
Sleep supplement: Sleep aids or supplements are used to help alleviate minor to major sleep issues such as jet lag and insomnia. The mechanism of sleep supplements can vary greatly depending on the ingredients it contains.
Why use natural sleep supplements?
There are three main reasons to use natural sleep supplements as compared to prescription sleep aids.
Firstly, of course, is that they can be just as effective as prescription sleeping pills. Secondly, they are generally considered safer because they are manufactured using natural ingredients that your body is able to process without any issues.
Third, they have fewer side effects as compared to prescription sleep medication. There are natural sleeping aids that do not cause drowsiness while promoting sleep. You are also far less likely to build a tolerance or get addicted to natural sleep supplements.
Sleep aids available in Malaysia
There are numerous natural sleep aids in Malaysia, including:
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is commonly found in green tea. It has certain health benefits including:
Stress and anxiety relief
Increase cognitive function
Blood pressure management
Taking L-Theanine supplements before bedtime can help you to relax and wind down while you prepare to sleep.
Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate (Lactium®) is a milk hydrolysate that is made by processing milk proteins.
It is a natural ingredient that can help one to manage emotions, as well as promote relaxation. Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate is recommended for sleep problems, as well as stress and anxiety management.
The best characteristic of this natural ingredient is that it does not present with any side effects. It does not cause addiction nor have any sedative effects, even when taken in high doses.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced naturally by our bodies that work to tell our brains that it is time to sleep. Melatonin supplements are quite popular as they can help with disrupted circadian rhythms.
Common side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness might occur when you take melatonin. Less common side effects of melatonin include abdominal cramps, confusion, mild tremors, short lasting feelings of depression, irritability, and hypotension.
Melatonin can also interact with certain types of medication so it should only be taken on your doctor’s recommendation. While melatonin is considered safe for short term use, more research is needed with regards to its long term safety.
Valerian is a herb that can be found in Asia and Europe. The root of this herb is said to be able to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety as well as menopause.
Aromatherapy using lavender oil from the lavender plant is believed to be able to enhance sleep. Studies on the effect of this soothing fragrance show that smelling lavender oil just before sleeping can help reduce symptoms of those who are experiencing mild insomnia.
Do note that lavender oil is usually used for aromatherapy and oral ingestion can cause stomach pain and nausea.
Ginkgo biloba is a well-known herb in Malaysia and can be purchased in many medicinal shops and pharmacies. It is believed that taking this natural herb about an hour before going to bed can help promote relaxation and sleep in addition to reducing stress.
How to choose the best sleep supplement in Malaysia?
Finding a safe, dependable and effective natural sleep aid can be a challenge with so many options available in the market.
As such, it’s important to look at the ingredient list of the product carefully. Keep in mind that terms such as ‘verified’ or ‘certified’ may not always be for defined, or regulated methods.
Be sure to do some research on the safety of the product. You can contact the manufacturer and make inquiries about testing, safety and documentation.
Additionally, it’s also important to remember that products that work for others might not work for you, for whatever reason. Thus, you will need to discover what works best for your body.
One of the best sleep supplements in Malaysia is Rilax.
Rilax is a natural sleep aid that is designed to improve sleep quality and promote relaxation so that your body is able to get the restorative sleep that it needs.
It is safe and effective, and contains Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate (Lactium) and L-Theanine, both of which are natural ingredients recognized as safe by the FDA.
Natural sleep supplements can help you if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep. Because sleep is an important part of life and sleep deprivation can lead to a myriad of other physical and psychological issues, it is imperative that you seek help for your symptoms.
We’ve all experienced stressful times in our lives. While some stress is good, round the clock schedules, work pressure and other life demands can take their toll, with impacts on both psychological and physical fronts.
As such, stress management plays an important role in keeping us as healthy as possible. In the search to find effective ways to reduce stress, researchers discovered Lactium®, a natural ingredient that promotes calm and relaxation.
What is Lactium® or Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate?
Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate which has the brand name Lactium® is a milk protein hydrolysate. It contains a natural bioactive peptide and is made via processing proteins in milk from the Holstein breed in France.
Although it is extracted from milk, almost all lactose is removed during the processing. As such, Lactium® is a casein hydrolysate that is considered lactose-free. This natural ingredient can help you to manage your emotions and help you to relax without any harmful side effects, which is unlike many anti-anxiety drugs.
50% of Malaysians say that they have average sleep quality while 38% reported that they had sleeping problems once or twice a week. A little over three-quarters of those surveyed acknowledged that sleeping issues can lead to health and emotional problems.
With such a seemingly large number of Malaysians reporting sleep problems, the potential benefits of using this Lactium as a natural sleep supplement in Malaysia is indeed bountiful.
Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate works by imitating the gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters which are known for their relaxing properties and inhibiting anxiety.
They bind to the GABA receptors and together with serotonin; a hormone that helps to regulate mood and sleep; promote a sense of calmness and well-being. As such, it promotes slow delta brain waves and improves sleep quality, leading to restorative sleep.
Yes, since it is a natural ingredient, Lactium® is safe, even in large doses.
In fact, it is also safe for those who are suffering from lactose intolerance, even though it is derived from milk.
There is only about 1% of lactose content in the average daily dose (150mg) of Lactium®.
This is well below the 5g/day of lactose that lactose-intolerant people can consume, and thus, should not result in any negative effects.
Lactium® also does not contain ß-lactoglobulin, which is an allergenic protein present in milk. Besides this, its hydrolysate form means that the milk proteins present in Lactium has been broken down far enough till our immune systems do not recognize it as a potential allergen, making it hypoallergenic.
Lactium is often used in stress and anxiety management as well as in natural sleep supplements. Additionally, it is also able to help with mood swings, loss of appetites, loss of libido and concentration.
Upon testing, participants from the treatment group had significantly lower blood pressure and lower plasma cortisol levels as compared to those who were given the placebo. Cortisol is a hormone that helps our body respond to stress.
Anxiety can cause one to miss out on many things in life. For example, people who feel social anxiety may avoid going to malls or concerts so that they do not have to be in crowded areas.
Anxiety often goes hand in hand with stress, with many people experiencing anxiousness when they face stressful events. As such, it is not surprising that Lactium’s relaxing effects also work for those who struggle with anxiety.
The effects of Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysates on anxiety is evident in this study where a group of 63 female volunteers who had stress-related anxiety, sleep problems and general fatigue were given 150mg Lactium® daily for 30 days. It was found that it helped to relieve their stress-related symptoms.
Lactium® does not present with any side effects. Because it is a natural ingredient, it is not toxic even when taken in high doses. It is hypoallergenic and does not cause addiction or sedation. This harmless, non-GMO ingredient is recognised by the FDA.
Melatonin hormone is produced by the pineal gland and works to inform our bodies when it is time to sleep and wake up.
Melatonin levels in our body usually increase in the evening when the sun is setting and levels decrease when the sun rises. Factors that influence how much melatonin your body produces include your body clock and the amount of sunlight you get daily.
Just like Lactium®, melatonin supplements are available for those who are struggling with sleep disorders such as insomnia, delayed sleep phase disorder and circadian disorders such as jet lag.
However, unlike Lactium®, melatonin may cause several short term side effects such as:
Because it is heat-stable, water-soluble, pH-stable and doesn’t have an off-flavour, Lactium® is available in several forms such as tablets, capsules, drinks and even chewing gum.
Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate is used in various supplements to help people with sleep issues, anxiety and stress, including Rilax’s natural sleep supplements that work to promote healthy and restorative sleep.
L-Theanine is another naturally found ingredient that helps to reduce stress, improve concentration, and promote sleep quality and efficiency. It is abundantly found in green tea leaves and does not cause dependency or lead to any adverse side effects.
If you’re struggling with stress and sleep issues, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate, or Lactium® may be your answer as it can help you relax without any sedating effects or risks to your general well being.
Nonetheless, do consult your doctor before starting to ensure that it is safe for you, as well as to rule out any underlying medical conditions that might be contributing to your difficulty in falling and staying asleep.