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.

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.

Choosing a new mattress can seem like a daunting task, so Chloe from the Bed Factory shares her advice to help you along your way to a better night’s sleep!

LIFE EXPECTANCY OF MATTRESSES

On average, mattresses tend to have a life of anything between 5-14 years depending on the quality of the materials used in the manufacturing process and how often it’s used. Hand side stitched mattresses tend to have a longer life expectancy due to all of the fillings being pulled in around the edges.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT

Always shop for the best value not the lowest price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable lower priced beds available, but the better the construction, the better the support and comfort: and the longer the bed will last. Don’t be afraid to ask the sales adviser how the bed is made, what type and what quality of materials are used. If the sales adviser can’t answer all your questions how will you really know what you are buying? The more informed you are, the better choice you will make.

WHAT TYPE OF MATTRESS SHOULD YOU GET?

There is no hard and fast rule to which mattress type you should buy, you just need to find the one that suits you. We always recommend visiting a bed showroom and having a lay-down as one person’s definition of firm or soft is different to the next person’s. You will typically have a choice between memory, open coil and sprung mattresses: each have their own characteristics so the best way to find what you like is to have a lay-down and test it out!

BUY BASE AND MATTRESS TOGETHER?

Divan bases last on average the life of two mattresses, however when it comes to frames we would recommend a new frame to be purchased with a new mattress in case the frame has deteriorated over time. We always recommend that when buying a mattress it is tried on the same type of base or frame that it will be going on to.

WHAT SHOULD I PAY FOR A GOOD MATTRESS?

Children’s mattresses can be purchased for under £100, however for two adults on a bed used every night you really need to start looking at spending from £200. Although you do get what you pay for, the most expensive is not always best and when finding the perfect mattress: it really is down to the needs of the individual, some people may find their perfect mattress at say £550 and do not like the support/feel of the dearer mattresses. Remember that for every £100 you spend on a new bed, it equals an investment of just 2.7p a night (assuming a lifespan of seven years).

Need to know more about which mattress is right for you? Just give us a call or pop to our showroom on Ransomes Euro Park (not the retail park).

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!

NO CAFFEINE

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.

POWER DOWN

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.

EXERCISE

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.

LATE EATING

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.

NAPPING HABITS

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.

BREATHING

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.