Sleeping disorders will affect almost 50% of the adult population, and 30% of children between the ages of 10-18, with the most common cause being from insomnia.
Insomnia is defined when the person is having one or more of the following symptoms; difficulty staying asleep, waking up several times a night, waking up earlier than usual, overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia can decrease the number of hours slept and increase the time between going to bed and falling asleep, called time latency. As sleep requirements vary from person to person, quality of sleep is generally more important than the total number of hours slept.
If insomnia persists, the impact can be negative on someone’s health, resulting in a greater risk of depression and high blood pressure, emotional weakness and lack of energy.
Sleep deprivation costs the NHS around £40 billion per year, with a free app now being offered to people to help with sleep issues.
Insomnia is more often becoming the result of work stress, family issues and mobile phones. A vicious circle appears when people become stressed and begin to have a poor sleeping pattern.
How can nutrition help?
Sleep and nutrition are closely linked, with recommendations to not eat large meals or even eat 2 or 3 hours before going to bed being explained on the NHS online advice service.
Within the Asian market, consumers are seeking out more and more natural sleep aids to avoid a bad night’s sleep. The market for traditional sleep aids reached $1.3 billion in 2018 with a growth of 4% compared to 2017 and a 51% increase seen in Europe at the same time. The market is expected to hit $1.5 billion by 2022, with new product developments having seen a huge rise with an increase of 47% from 2016. Sleep aids is set to be one of the fastest growing categories in the food supplement industry in the coming years.
With melatonin being non-compliant within the UK, supplement manufacturers are always looking for herbal alternatives to create innovative new food supplements to help aid with sleep.
One study determined that the power of saffron is comparable to the antidepressant imipramine for treating mild to moderate depression. Saffron works its magic by compounds crocin and safranal, both of which modulate the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which are the brain chemicals that influence mood.