The fast signal decay in sodium MRI makes high quality image acquisition challenging. Here we enhance image quality by improving encoding time (tenc) efficiency using a special case of ramped hybrid encoding , zero-gradient-under-RF-excitation RHE (zGRF-RHE). This provides 1) gradient-free-excitation for high flip angle, non-selective excitation profiles necessitated by low signal in sodium MRI and 2) gradient ramping during deadtime for optimised tenc, to reduce T2 decay influence during acquisition. The performance of zGRF-RHE is demonstrated in simulations, phantom and in vivo experiments and improves image quality (SNR and T2 blurring). It is applicable to any centre-out trajectory design.