Sleep is an essential part of our bodily function but largely the details of the process remain a mystery to science. What we do know is that sleep is necessary for rejuvenation and repair at cellular level and curiously sleep is where we ‘solidify and consolidate our memories’. The brain having time to process all the information it has absorbed throughout our day, while tissues are repairing, hormones are synthesizing and the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system come into play. Thank goodness the body has this time to concentrate fully on all these mammoth tasks at hand without the interruption of the thousands of exciting stimuli we are exposed to every day!
The hormone Melatonin is produced in your brain by the pineal gland and it is responsible for our drop in activity and want for rest. Typically around 9pm melatonin levels rise in the body and we feel less alert. During the daytime those levels of melatonin in the body are only just traceable. Melatonin is necessary for sleep. 
There has been talk by the UK sleep expert Dr Chris Idzikowski of ‘Junk Sleep’ an expression used to detail sleep that is preluded by the use of entertainment gadgets such as smartphones, televisions and tablets. The use of such devices in the bedroom, before sleep is scientifically proven to interfere with not only the production of Melatonin and in turn our bodies body clock. The result is simply poor quality of sleep. Television is less likely to have such an effect but is still considered by experts a poor prelude to our bedtime. The statistics? Well taken from research conducted by The Sleep Council from a sample of 5004 participants 39% of those who watch television in bed sleep very poorly most nights, as do 16% of those who check their emails before going to sleep.
So what is a better alternative? The most popular pre-sleep activity for this sample group is book reading with 41% of people reporting this as their nightly routine. Of nightly routine, if we have trouble sleeping one of the best ways in which we can get on course is to adhere to a regular bedtime. The Sleep council have examined bedtimes and found that the most popular time to go to bed is between 10pm-11pm. Women tend to go to bed earlier than men, couples on average tend to go to bed earlier than singles and income levels also impact on bedtime; those who earn less than £15,000 a year are likely to hit the hey after midnight along with those who are unemployed.
The relationship between earnings and sleep is an interesting one, The Sleep Council found that those on higher incomes report better sleep; “with more than a third (34%) of those earning £65,000-£75,000 sleep very well, while 10% of those earning less than £15,000 sleep very poorly. In addition, 8% of those who don’t work sleep very poorly most nights”
Could this be linked to stress? Well that is what seems obvious as the factors that tend to keep us awake at night include: stress and worry, partners in the bed, illness and children. 
“With Britain in the grip of serious economic downturn, it is little wonder than many of us are too anxious to sleep. Government cuts and widespread redundancies have affected many families and almost half of Britons now say that stress or worry keeps them awake at night (47%)”
I will leave you with a link to The Sleep Council’s Research as there is great deal of interesting information to be read and the reading of this report has been the basis of my article. If you are one of those who suffer with poor sleep there is in fact many things that you can do in order to help get a good night’s rest. Interestingly our sleeping environment is often overlooked with only 1 in 10 people believing room temperature could have an impact on sleep quality and a mere 8% believing that clearing clutter could also be a valuable consideration.
What The Sleep Council haven’t explored but the International Journal of Neuroscience did explore is that massage has a positive impact on sleep and serotonin levels (serotonin being intrinsic to the production of melatonin). 
In addition The National Institute of Health has also advised that massage can ‘reduce fatigue and improve sleep’.
Good quality sleep is crucial to our wellbeing. Our energy levels govern our mood, our ability to make decisions and even how salubrious these decisions are. Poor sleep and poor energy levels may in fact encourage poor diet 5 and reduce our reaction times. Can you improve your quality of sleep? Do you feel that you sleep enough? What do you do before bed and what are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning? These are all important considerations for not just a healthy body, but also a healthy mind. A dear friend of mine ensures that every night and every morning, without fail they give thanks and gratitude for what the day has given to them and asks for guidance throughout their day; to stay safe, to choose the best path and so enjoy their self and be kindest to others around them. How do you start your day?
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning some facts on sleep and taken from this a moment to consider some of your patterns and lifestyle habits. I am always biased, but if you haven’t had a massage or in fact not treated your mind and body to some well deserved relaxation perhaps it is time to make a change.
Finally a really important point that I didn’t pick out from The Great British Bedtime Report is that those who exercise report better levels of sleep than those who don’t. So keep moving everybody! Exercise is undeniably great for our overall health but so too is sleep! Remember to look after your body as it is constantly working to look after you.
 Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep (Accessed 28.04.18)
 The Sleep Council (2013) The Great British Bedtime Report. Available at: https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Great-British-Bedtime-Report.pdf (Accessed 28.04.2018)
 The Great British Sleep Report p8
 The Great British Sleep Report p 12
 The Great British Sleep Report p 12
 The Great British Sleep Report p 25 & 26
 3. Cutler N; Insomnia, Serotonin and Massage; Institute for Integrative Healthcare; August 19, 2005; www.integrativehealthcare.org/mt/archives/2005/08/insomnia_seroto.html
 Krible.K: Massage Therapy for a better Night’s Sleep; May 23, 2014 in Sleep Review Magazine; Available at: http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/05/massage-therapy-sleep/ (Accessed on 28.04.18)