A good night’s sleep is essential for your general well-being, being just as important as a balanced diet and regular exercise. Most of us know this, along with knowing first hand the effects of not getting enough shut eye. But so many of us let our sleep time take a hit for the sake of anything from work to social media browsing, when we wouldn’t skip our meals or drinks during the day as readily. So how valuable is one night of sleep to you?
There’s a good chance you’re reading this late at night, either on your smartphone or your laptop in bed, when you know you should be asleep by now. Or, if you’re reading it during the day, perhaps it’s a bit of procrastination from work that you’re too tired to focus on properly, because you’re not well rested from a full nights sleep. After all, The Sleep Councils’ ‘Great British Bedtime Report’ found that 70% of Brits sleep for seven hours or less per night, with 27% regularly experiencing poor quality sleep. Working Mother had a joint survey with sleep specialist Whitney Roban, Ph.D., which found that two-thirds of working mums sleep no more than six hours a night.
Not getting the recommended amount of sleep every night, which is 7-8 hours for those over the age of 20, leads to a ‘sleep debt’. Let’s say you miss out on just one hour of your recommended sleep a night for one week – by the end of the week, you’ve effectively lost a whole nights sleep, and you’ll soon be noticing the effects.
So how important is a good nights sleep, and what steps can you take to sleep better?
A good night’s sleep is one of the most essential factors in a healthy lifestyle and your general well-being, being just as important as a balanced diet and regular exercise. Various studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep, generally between 7 – 9 hours for anyone over the age of 18, improves healthy brain function, physical health, and your emotional well -being.
Here are some important factors in getting a good night’s sleep:
Quality of bedding
The quality of your beds frame and mattress is one of the most important aspects of a good night’s sleep. Studies have found that a poor quality of bedding can lead to lower back pain; conversely, another study found that a new, quality mattress reduced shoulder pain by 60%, back stiffness by 59%, back pain by 57%, and improved sleep quality by 60%.
As well as your physical health, your mattress can have a significant effect on your mental well-being. In a study involving 59 healthy men and women, one month was spent sleeping on a regular mattress, followed by one month on a new one; after an evaluation of stress levels, the new beds were found to have significantly decreased stress. Experts recommend that bedding is changed every 5 – 8 years.
Getting enough light exposure during the day
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural clock, keeping time for your body so it knows when it’s time to sleep. During the day, natural sunlight and other bright lights maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, improving your energy during the day and the quality of your sleep. Patients with insomnia have seen improved sleep duration and a reduction in the time taken to fall asleep thanks to exposure to bright daytime light. Making the most of the natural sunlight, or using artificial bright light devices, will help keep a regular circadian rhythm.
Limiting your light exposure in the evening
On the other hand, exposure to light during the night-time has the opposite effect. Continued exposure to light tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime, throwing your circadian rhythm out of balance and effecting your quality of sleep. The worst offenders of night time light exposure are smart phones and computers, commonly used when in bed. Easy tips for a good night’s sleep in this regard are the use of apps which block blue light on your phone or laptop, or just limiting your use of screens an hour or two before going to bed.
Slowing down on drinks and snacks later in the day
Late night eating and drinking have both been found to disrupt sleep throughout the night, with caffeinated drinks being the worst. Although it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day, drinking a couple of hours before going to bed can disrupt a good night’s sleep with the need for the toilet during the night. Consumption of caffeine late in the day also makes it harder for your body to relax at night, so limiting caffeine after around 4pm is recommended to help get an easier night’s sleep.
How we can help
Although these are all contributing factors to the quality of your sleep, one of the most important things of all is the quality of your mattress. A new, high quality mattress can reduce back pain and relax your body, helping you get a restful night of sleep, as well as lowering your stress levels, keeping your mind clear and focused, and even lowering the risk of long-term effects of sleep deprivation such as diabetes and heart disease.
That’s why we offer a range of quality mattresses that take your comfort and rest as the number one priority. We want every one of our customers to be well rested, with improved well-being both physically and mentally, thanks to the appropriate mattress. At The Bed Factory, we have a range of beds and mattresses of all shapes and sizes to accommodate every individual’s needs. Have a browse of our range here.
As the winter months bring earlier nights and colder days, you may have noticed a change in your mood and feelings. It’s possible that you could suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression brought on by the winter months. SAD affects 1 in 15 people in the UK between September and April, with less sunlight and shorter days being the main cause of the condition.
The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of normal depression, but they only occur in the autumn and winter and usually improve by the spring. Signs that you may be suffering from SAD include:
- Persistent low mood
- Loss of interest in your usual activities
- Feeling irritable, and feelings of guilt & despair
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling anxious and stressed
- Less sociable
- Reduced sex drive
In the worst cases, SAD is treated with UV light therapy and antidepressants. Of course, if you think you have SAD and you’re finding it difficult, you should see your GP, who can recommend the best course of action. However, in milder cases, some small lifestyle changes can be very effective in helping the symptoms. These include eating right, spending more time outside in the sunlight, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Getting a good nights’ sleep is so important for you mental and physical well-being. A good eight hours leaves you well rested, feeling much better and less tired in the morning and throughout the day. Getting the right amount of sleep also lowers feelings of stress, irritability, and anxiety throughout the day. A lack of sleep may also see you craving starchy or sugary foods for a quick burst of energy. All of these problems caused by a lack of sleep can add to the symptoms of SAD or make them worse.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping, consider a few changes to your routine. Less time spent looking at a screen before sleep is always a good idea, so taking a break from your phone or the TV an hour or so before bed can do wonders. You might also be sleeping on an inappropriate mattress; it might be badly suited to your body and needs, or it could simply be past it’s best and in need of an upgrade.
A better mattress could be one step in many you take to improve your sleep, or the symptoms of SAD. If you’re looking for a new mattress or bed, take a visit to our Ipswich showroom, where a member of our team will be happy to help. Find our showroom and get in touch with us here.
You can find more information and help about Seasonal Affective Disorder here.
Do you know how much sleep your child needs?
The NHS website has some great tips to help ensure that your child gets a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to also have a browse through our range of children’s beds on our website, or pop to our showroom and see (and try) our ranges.
Finding it hard to sleep?
If you feel you suffer from sleep apnea or any other sleeping disorder it’s advisable to get these checked by your GP. However, following the below tips might help you get some easier shut eye!
Most people need a cup of tea or coffee to actually become a functioning member of society! Remember that coffee releases energy quickly whereas tea releases it gradually. Be mindful of this in the hours leading up to your bed time.
In a world of gadgets we are finding ourselves constantly attached to one form of tech or another. Try and keep away from these devices around an hour before bed so your mind isn’t still plugged in.
Regular exercise has been proven to provide better sleep – this doesn’t mean you have to join a football team just to get some sleep but a few minutes of exercise can make all the difference.
while you sleep you should be getting rest – no digesting that pizza you craved half an hour before bed. Try to cut out eating late at night so your body can really rest.
While we would personally love to nap for hours during the day – it is recommended that you keep it to a maximum of 30 minutes and make sure it’s not too late in the day or evening.
Simple breathing exercises can make all the difference before bed. Deep breathing can calm your thoughts and body as the action is reported to be a naturally calming stimulant for the body.
WRITE THE WOES AWAY
If you have had a particularly hard day and things are still whirring through your head, even after your breathing exercises, write down the things that are bothering you. Getting the thoughts down on paper can help clear your mind from the clutter and assist in your drift to dreamland.
If you are after a better night’s sleep then perhaps a new bed might help? Come and see us on Ransomes Euro Park Ipswich and find your next bed.
We all know we should get a great night’s sleep, but what do we actually need? This great article from the Independent debunks some typical sleep myths.