Getting a good night’s sleep the natural way

With the clocks going back this week, some of us will be relishing the benefits of that extra hour in bed -  but not everyone, as a recent survey reveals that we are a nation of insomniacs. 

The Great British Sleep Survey, sponsored by Sleepio, an online sleep improvement programme, showed that around eighty per cent of Brits are kept awake by worries. 

And according to four out of five insomniacs sleeping pills do not solve the problem of being unable to sleep at night.  Others are reluctant to turn to medication, as they do not want to become dependant on drugs or suffer side effects, such as drowsiness, the next day. In any case, NHS guidelines suggest only short-term use of sleeping pills – for a maximum of four weeks.

There are, however, drug-free sleep aids and treatments on the market and one that the AMG reviewers have just been trying is a product called Sleep Patch-IT.  These are plaster style reflexology patches that are placed on the soles of the feet before bed. Based on the principles of reflexology, the patches promote relaxation by delivering FAR-infrared energy (the same energy waves emitted by the sun) that stimulate the key reflexology points on the feet.

Sleep Patch-It contains double-distilled Mandarin wood vinegar to support healthy circulation and aid the body’s natural detoxification. Each patch contains organic essential oils including lavender to calm, sage to balance, basil to strengthen the mind, bergamot to relax and ylang ylang to comfort.

In a sleep disturbance trial Sleep Patch-It reduced the amount of time troubled sleepers spent awake every night by some 40 per cent and participants who suffered from chronic sleep disturbance experienced a 20 per cent reduction in the time taken to fall asleep.

Sleep Patch-It is recommended by celebrity reflexologist, Jade Davison whose clients include Kate Moss and Sadie Frost. Our reviewers liked the product too and here’s what they had to say:

“There is no doubt that the patches made me feel incredibly relaxed.  I usually read for quite a while to make myself sleepy but after slapping a patch on each foot, I found myself nodding off after just a couple of pages.

“There was a really comforting feeling of warmth that went from my feet through my whole body.  I felt really soothed and calm.

“I did still wake a couple of times in the night but very quickly went back to sleep again. I wasn’t wide awake in the small hours as I so often am.

“The next morning I woke feeling refreshed. The complete opposite of how I would have felt if I had taken a sedative to get to sleep.

“The great thing is that you can use these patches regularly and as they only contain natural products there’s no fear of becoming dependant on them.

“I would definitely use these again.  They are certainly not cheap but what price do you put on a good night’s sleep?”

Even if you don’t suffer from insomnia, we thought Sleep Patch-It a great solution for times when you feel stressed and have problems relaxing at bedtime.

Sleep Patch-It is £29.99 for 20 patches and £3.99 for 2 patches from and or from selectedhealth stores and pharmacies nationwide.

Although we haven’t tried it ourselves, another possible solution comes from Sleepio, the people who commissioned the Big Sleep Survey, in the form of an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) course. CBT is a proven way for poor sleepers to retrain their mind and body to achieve healthy sleep

This comprises six weekly online sessions, each lasting about 20 minutes in which you receive the latest CBT techniques, automatically personalised to your problems and progress.  You are guided through the course by ‘The Prof’, your animated virtual sleep expert and supported by an online community of other users.   Each week there is a live group session with a real sleep expert.  Email reminders help you stick to the course and there is a library of over 100 expert articles for those who want to look ‘under the bonnet’.

According to scientific journal SLEEP in just 6 weeks Sleepio can help long-term poor sleepers double their sleep quality, fall asleep faster, stay asleep through the night and boost daytime energy, mood and concentration.

The online course, which is available in over 100 Boots stores nationwide, is something of a bargain too. Priced at £49.99, Sleepio tell us that it is clinically proven to be just as effective as a £600 face-to-face CBT course from a private clinic.