The Science of Sleep – is it quality over quantity? Dr Nerina Ramlakhan explains the facts behind those restless nights

When thinking of sleep, it’s easy to focus on the quantity rather than the quality. But whilst it’s important to get your eight hours every night, just being in bed isn’t enough to ensure that you’re enjoying the benefits of proper rest. In an ideal world, we would all get seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep every night. Yet for most of us, this is challenging at the best of times. Our jobs, daily routines, stress levels, and even partners can interfere with the quality of the sleep we experience during the hours we spend in bed.

Ten hours of fragmented or poor-quality sleep won’t be as beneficial as seven hours of undisturbed, restorative sleep. It is critical to think about sleep quality and whether the time you spend sleeping is restorative. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Physiologist and sleep therapist with over 25 years’ experience describes:

“Sleep is fundamental for our physical and mental health” says Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, “It enhances all aspects of the mind, body, and soul.”

When you sleep, your brain processes the previous day’s experiences, consolidates your memory, and triggers the release of hormones regulating energy, mood, and brain functions. To complete its work, the brain needs at least 7 hours of sleep. When it gets less, your concentration, decision making skills and productivity all take a hit.

Healthy sleep is divided into four-stage cycles, stages one to three are what’s considered non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and stage four is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In an average night’s sleep, a person goes through four to six sleep cycles.

To understand why the right amount of shut eye is so important to performance, it’s vital to understand the natural cycles of our body, and how factors such as our circadian rhythm is contributing to how restful our sleep is.

Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Physiologist and sleep therapist with 30 years’ experience explains this in more detail:

“Circadian rhythm is the body’s internal 24-hour clock and is responsible for our ability to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning, responding to external cues like daylight or darkness. However, our bodies are designed to recharge and reenergise multiple times throughout the day so we can maintain our energy levels but also achieve restful and restorative sleep at night.

“Our basic activity-rest cycle occurs every 90 to 120 minutes throughout the day, this is called Ultradian rhythm. Recognising the body’s natural cycles in this way encourages us to mix up our activity and take regular breaks, helping the body to naturally recharge itself. Stress, heavy workloads or deadlines, can all have a knock-on effect on the quality of our sleep, as we’re essentially running on empty. This in turn, can impact our focus and the quality of our work, causing additional stress and impairing our ability to fall asleep at night.”

According to Dr Ramlakhan, we must start prioritising sleep to ensure we get the rest we need and have the alertness, energy and focus that we require to perform in our daily lives:
“Research shows that valerian can help people reduce stress, fall asleep more quickly and improve the quality of sleep. Valerian is what’s known as an anxiolytic – it has calming, relaxing, stress-relieving properties. By increasing calming chemicals in the brain, valerian functions as a natural sedative, enhancing sleep drive without causing drowsiness the next day.”

You can find this essential ingredient in Kalms Night One-A-Night, a traditional herbal remedy used to promote relaxation and sleep, without causing drowsiness the next day.

Wake up ready thanks to Kalms Night One-A-Night. Available to buy instore and online at supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide and online retailers such as Amazon or directly from

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4117 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.