As someone who absolutely needs between eight and nine hours sleep a night, Deborah Szebeko is the founder of the Sound Asleep Club, which provides online classes to help the sleepless unwind, relax and drift off into a peaceful and satisfying slumber
In these uncertain times it is no surprise that we’re having moments of anxiety and many nights of broken sleep. I have always been an advocate of lots of sleep; I try to get eight to nine hours a night because I know I can’t function on less. As a child, I loved my sleep. Even in my university days I’d skip
a late-night party to ensure a full night of rest. I’m one of those people who just can’t hide the fact that they’re tired, so I put a lot of value on getting a good night’s sleep.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to sleep — some of us feel bright and breezy in just six hours, while others need at least eight to be firing on all cylinders. Einstein reportedly slept for 10 hours a day, plus power naps. Imagine that! One thing is for sure — sleep plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing throughout life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right time can help protect both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall quality of life. How good you feel while you’re awake very much depends on how you sleep.
When the pandemic took hold last year, like many people I was struggling to sleep. My mind whirled with endless thoughts about what was happening in the world, causing sleep-interrupting anxiety. And I’m not alone. In fact, King’s College London found that 63 per cent of us said the quality of their sleep has deteriorated since the pandemic began.
The NHS reports that regular poor-quality sleep can have a huge effect on your health, putting you at risk of developing serious medical conditions and can affect your body, thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep says, “Individuals fail to recognise how their perennial state of sleep deficiency has come to compromise their mental aptitude and physical vitality, including the slow accumulation of ill health.”
Recognising this, I wanted to do something to help others improve the quality of their sleep. So I launched weekly online sleep ‘sound spas’ to help people deal with their anxieties and the pressures of lockdown, providing free-of-charge sessions to all frontline workers across the UK. This was the seed that inspired a new social enterprise called Sound Asleep Club, which seeks to promote a natural night’s sleep.
My aim is to help people ‘unwind their mind’ before bed, helping to transition from a busy, stressful day into a restful night’s sleep. We run online classes, led by a growing team of relaxation teachers and musicians who use energy practices to calm the mind to help you drift off to sleep. The bedtime sessions include yoga for snoozing, calming breathwork and mindfulness techniques, soothing classical music, and most importantly, sound spas.
A sound spa (also known as a gong bath) is a powerful sonic meditation that enables deep relaxation to bring about peace and wellbeing for improved health. The vibrations from the gongs assist the release of emotional and energy blockages in the body and stimulate deep healing on a cellular level. The gong slows the brainwaves, inducing a dreamlike state and opening us up to take an inner journey where our sense of time disappears, and we are left to simply ‘be’ and vibrate with the gong.
A sound spa relaxes the mind and body, resulting in improved quality of sleep. All you need is somewhere quiet and your pyjamas. There’s no need for a magic carpet, you can snuggle into your own bed and drift off to the Land of Nod.
How sleep can boost your health
Sleep boosts immunity
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.
Sleep can help you slim down
Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.
Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Sleep prevents diabetes
Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Sleep wards off heart disease
Long-standing sleep deprivation is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, and higher levels of chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
The Sound Asleep Club offers weekly live online classes, and an on-demand library of videos to help people relax and sleep. We give a one-year free membership to someone experiencing mental health challenges with every new member signing-up. soundasleepclub.com