Your Bed and You
Why do we sleep? Sleep is the "chief nourisher in life’s feast". It heals and restores the body, facilitating growth and playing a major role in maintaining general health and vitality. Sleep also assists mental function - helping everything from memory storage and retention to enabling new learning and development. It really can make a big difference in how productive and successful you are in life.
What constitutes a good nights’ sleep? Astonishing Sleep Fact! According to a study carried out by Australian scientists, just one sleepless night has the same effect on co-ordination, reaction time and judgment the following day as consuming up to the weekly limit of alcohol recommended in Britain - 14 units for women and 21 for men - at one sitting. Falling asleep rapidly when you are ready and waking up when you want to, feeling refreshed and ready for the day, then remaining bright, alert and happy until you next want to sleep - that’s good sleep. How do you rate?If the answer is "not so good", that’s even more reason to come and see us. Science has extended what the ancient Hindus knew, that there are three states of mind: wakefulness, dreaming sleep, and dreamless sleep. We now recognize at least five stages of sleep. • • • •
Stage 1 - drowsiness Stage 2 - light sleep Stages 3 and 4 - deep sleep or slow wave sleep Stage 5 - REM (dreaming sleep).
Using this technology it has been possible to quantify how different factors disturb sleep. If you wake up in the morning having slept through the night, but nonetheless feeling awful, tests show a common cause is uncomfortable bed generating continual tossing and turning because you are getting sore and stiff. Sleep is likely to be less refreshing than it should be and consequently, despite the amount of time spent in bed, you still won’t feel good. This causes daytime fatigue and tiredness.
Your Mattress Life Span Your mattress won’t last forever. A combination of factors work together to determine how long your mattress will provide optimum comfort and support. Lifestyle. Changes in lifestyle, such as moving into a new home or getting married, may call for a change in your mattress. Your Body. As we age, our bodies change. What was comfortable and supportive when you were 25 may not meet your needs when you’re 35 or 45. Make sure that every mattress in your home meets the sleeper’s current needs for comfort, support, and space. Age and quality. Don’t look to the age of your mattress or the warranty to determine whether it’s time for a new mattress. Neither are indicators of how long your mattress will maintain optimum comfort and support. A poor-
quality mattress set can deteriorate quickly, while top-quality sets can provide comfort and support for a number of years. Use. A mattress set that is used nightly or that gets more of a workout (e.g., you watch television or read in bed) will lose its comfort and support more quickly than a set that is used less often, such as a guest room bed.
Is it time to say “Night Night” to your old mattress? Try this quick quiz: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Are you sleeping better or worse than you were a year ago? Do you wake up feeling stiff and sore? Are there visible signs of wear and tear on your mattress? Your mattress doesn’t provide enough space for both of you to move comfortably during the night? Is you mattress just plain uncomfortable for either one of you? Is your mattress more than 10 years old?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it’s time to think about replacing your bed!
Bed Buyers Guide Buying a mattress can be confusing, but at Beds R Us buying a bed is easy, so follow this simple guide to help you make the right choice. •
Size does matter. Is the bed big enough for you and your partner? Ergonomic research has confirmed that couples sleep better in bigger beds. Part of being comfortable in bed is making sure you have enough room to spread out. You should buy the biggest bed that fits your budget and your bedroom. Seek support. Correct support is vital to healthy sleep. A good mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points to keep your spine in the same position as good standing posture - whether you’re lying on your back or side. Choose comfort. Comfort is just as important as support in a mattress. After all, you can’t truly relax and have a peaceful, restful sleep if you aren’t completely comfortable. You can have both. Support comes from the innerspring unit and the comfort level comes from the type of padding. You can choose from softer or firmer comfort layers while being sure you have good support at the same time. It all depends on your personal comfort level. Be selfish. When you share your bed with a partner, you don’t want to be affected by their every turn and shift in the night. Find a bed which allows you both independence of movement so that your side of the bed doesn’t bounce and creak every time your sleeping partner moves. Quality counts. The old rule of "you get what you pay for" applies to beds as in everything else. If you scrimp and buy a poor quality bed now, you may be paying later in terms of lost sleep. Shop for the best value, not the lowest price. You spend 26 years of your life in bed so buying the best bed you can afford is a healthy investment in your lifestyle. Ask for help - at Beds R Us we are always happy to give you all the expert help and advice you need on how to choose a bed or mattress.
Sleep Guide Spend more hours in bed! 1.
Set your alarm later. How many times do you hit the snooze button on your alarm in the morning? Many people set their alarm for half an hour before they really intend to get up. Set the alarm for when you need to get up rather than when you should get up and benefit from the extra zzzzzs. Cool off your love affair with the TV, the arch enemy of sleep. Late night TV programmes not only keep you out of bed, they can actually keep you awake. If there is a late night programme you really want to see, it’s worth taking two minutes to set the video so you can record it and watch it at a decent hour. Have dinner earlier. No one likes going to bed just after they’ve eaten, but these days many people are not eating until after 8pm - which tends to result in a later bed time. Try to have dinner a little earlier, so it’s natural to turn in. Go out earlier. If you’re going out to the movies or dinner or even just playing cards with your neighbours, opt for an earlier start time.
Prepare well for bed time What happens if you go to bed and just don’t feel sleepy? Try these relaxing techniques: 1.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Keep the lights low. Exposure to bright light, especially early in the day, is a natural way to wake up your body - the brightness acts like a wake-up call to remind your body that it’s day-time. But at night time, you should keep the lights low, especially in your bedroom, to give your brain the message that it’s night, and time to sleep. Have a warm drink. A cup of relaxing chamomile tea or warm milk is like a soothing balm for the body and mind. Sip and think calm thoughts before bedtime. Take a warm bath. Try throwing a large handful of Epsom Salts into the bath to soothe away muscle pains. Alternatively, adding a couple of drops of essential oil of lavender to your bath is deeply relaxing. Slow down. Stressed people walk fast, talk fast, breathe fast, eat fast. Quietly observe your pace, especially in the couple of hours before bed time. Make a conscious effort to slow it down. Smile. If you’re stressed, you’re probably furrowing your brow and clenching your teeth without even realising it. Try softening your face into a slight smile and feel your brow, cheeks and chin relax. Keep a pen and paper handy. When your mind keeps racing with "gotta do" thoughts, write them down. There will be no need to lie awake worrying about remembering them. Don’t stress about sleep. Volunteers in a sleep study were offered $25 if they could fall asleep quickly. Researchers found it took their subjects twice as long to fall asleep as another group who weren’t under the same pressure. If you are still wide awake half an hour after turning out the lights, get up and leave the bedroom. Go somewhere where the lights are low and either listen to soft music or do some light reading until you feel tired.
If sleeplessness becomes a regular problem for you, talk to your doctor. It may be a symptom of something more serious. Good Sleep Guide 1.
Keep regular hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better. Keep your routine constant, even on the weekends! Try not to wake up more than two hours after your regular time.
Make sure your bed is comfortable. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old. Invest in a mattress that will provide you many years of quality sleep. Also check your pillows
to make sure they are conducive to your needs. 3.
Take more exercise. Regular, moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But not too close too bedtime or it may keep you awake!
Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee - especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
Don’t over-indulge. Finish eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. This will give your body time to digest your food and lower your risk of indigestion. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, just before bedtime, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night.
Don’t smoke. Yes, it’s bad for sleep, too: smokers take longer to fall asleep, wake more often and often experience more sleep disruption.
Try to relax before going to bed. Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga - all will help to relax both the mind and body. Establishing a nighttime routine will make it easier to fall asleep.
Deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day.
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. If you don’t fall asleep after 30 minutes get up and read or listen to soft music until you feel sleepy - then go back to bed.
Create the perfect sleeping environment. A cool, dark, quiet room is the most conducive for a good night’s sleep. Some people will find it helpful to have some kind of white noise in the background. A fan or a FM radio that is between stations can provide enough sound to block out any unwanted noises. 18 degrees Celsius is the ideal sleeping temperature.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Studies show that a proper diet will help you get a more restful night’s sleep. And too much sugar throughout the day can make it hard for your body to slow down.
Keeping warm on a cold winter’s night • • • • • • •
Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials. Have a warm bath just before you go to bed. This will gently warm and relax you to help you feel sleepy. Have a warming, milky drink. Try some exercise to get the circulation going to help keep the body warm - but don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bed time as you may feel too invigorated to sleep. Keep the bedroom warm, but not too hot, and free from draughts. Use several layers of bedding rather than one single layer. Layers will trap warm air and are easily removed if you get too hot. A hot water bottle is an ideal way to keep warm once in bed. Electric blankets are ideal. Under blankets will warm the bed up before you retire for the night, while over blankets maintain a constant temperature throughout the night.
Getting over a big night out •
Try a couple of hours of pre-club snoozing before hitting the town. You’ll feel more alert and ready to party, BUT - allow at least 20 minutes after waking up before you do anything important. It takes that long for the brain to wake up. After a heavy weekend, you can use the early part of the week to get in some extra "recovery" sleep. You can also "store up" extra sleep. By getting some extra snooze over the couple of nights prior, your body will be slightly more resilient to sleep deprivation.
A good bed really does make a difference to how well you sleep. Grotty second hand ones are disgusting (other peoples’ sweat and skin cells in the mattress). So get yourself a bed that’s the business for post club crash-outs. Alcohol may allow you to go to sleep if it relaxes you, or it may make you unconscious, but it’s not helpful to a good night’s sleep. You don’t breathe as well and the sleep is more broken because your brain reacts against being unconscious. Alcohol will also dehydrate you, so drink plenty of water before going to bed. Over-the-counter sleep aids may help you get drowsy, but be aware that they stay in the blood stream for eight hours and longer. You may get to sleep, but you might not feel well when you try to get up. Remember that recreational drugs can seriously affect the quality of your sleep. You may experience a restless and sweaty sleep.
Sleep tips for teenagers There are several practical hints and tips for parents that may help the teenager with sleep problems. • • • • • • • •
Try to impress on the teenager the importance of sleep and the need for at least eight hours’ sleep on school nights Encourage regular exercise - 20 minutes three times a week will help Suggest a reduction of caffeine intake like coke Point out that eating too much or too little close to bedtime may prevent sleep onset, or cause discomfort throughout the night Try and get the teenager into a going to bed routine Ensure a good sleep environment - a dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable room Make sure they have a comfortable bed. It may be time to get a new one - and encourage him or her to choose it themselves. Don’t give teenagers hand-me-down bedding. A good rule of thumb: if the bed’s no longer good for its first user it’s not good enough for a teenage child either.
Sleep tips for the over 50’s Our sleeping patterns change as we age. Try these methods to help you get a better sleep: • • • • • • • • • •
Exercise: 20 - 30 minutes at least three days a week is ideal. Limit naps: Taking long afternoon naps can interfere with night-time sleep patterns. If you need a nap, don’t take longer than 30 minutes. Get out in the fresh air: Studies show people who get adequate natural daylight tend to sleep better at night. Create a good sleep environment: Sleep in a cool, dark room on a comfortable, supportive mattress. Check medications: Some medications may cause daytime drowsiness while others may cause sleeplessness. Ask your doctor. Don’t worry about falling asleep: Stay relaxed. The more you worry, the less you’ll sleep. Avoid caffeine in the evening: Stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolates and coke make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try a warm milky drink instead. Watch how much you drink: Limit drinking liquids a few hours before bedtime to save being ’up and down’ all night. Don’t go to bed stuffed or starved: A stomach that is either too full or too empty may cause physical discomfort, making it difficult to sleep through the night. Keep regular hours: Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Keeping to a routine helps your biological clock.