Health is Wealth: How to Ensure a Better Night’s Sleep
Tempur sleep experts break down the key factors to ensure a good night’s sleep ahead of World Sleep Day (19th March).
Sleep hygiene, sleep ergonomics, memory foam vs springs, soft mattress vs firm mattress, room temperature, diet, mental load… – when all you want is a good night’s sleep, the myriad of extenuating factors can seem a little overwhelming. So, ahead of World Sleep Day (19-March), the sleep experts at TEMPUR® are breaking down the key components to ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Tobin James, Tempur VP Northern Europe, says “We can all benefit from improving the quality of our sleep. It’s essential to maintaining good mental and physical health and can affect our mood, concentration, energy levels, and even our overall interpretation of the world.
“Understanding the importance of investing in a quality mattress is a great starting point, however, it’s only part of the equation. Good sleep hygiene is also a crucial factor.”
Tempur sleep expert and chartered psychologist, Suzy Reading, adds “Sleep hygiene is simply ensuring your bedroom environment, daily routines and bedtime habits promote consistent, restorative sleep. Being aware of how your lifestyle and environment can impact your sleep and making small adjustments should improve the quality of your sleep, but also afford you the benefits of greater mental and physical health and emotional wellbeing.”
Read on for Tempur’s guide to ensuring a better night’s sleep…
Think of the bedroom environment like a cave – cool, dark and quiet.
Our bodies naturally release melatonin when it’s dark, relaxing our muscles and helping us to drift off. This is the reason why so many of us struggle to get out of bed so early in the darker, winter months.
Any light sneaking into the bedroom will make us feel more awake, so invest in black-out blinds or lined curtains. And depending on how sensitive you are to light, it’s worth covering any lit clock-faces or digital radios. Alternatively, an eye mask is a great way to block wake-inducing light whilst sleeping. In case of any night-time toilet trips, use a hall plug-in light to illuminate your way without having to switch on any bright overhead lights which may trick your body into thinking its morning.
Wear breathable cotton pyjamas that allow the body to breathe, likewise with bedding, and ideally keep the room temperature between 16-18°C. If you find your sleep disturbed by waking up cold during the night, try wearing a pair of socks which can assist the body’s internal temperature regulation and may also help you fall asleep faster. If you struggle to regulate your temperature try using layers of bedding which can easily be adjusted throughout the night.
Scent is a useful primer for sleep – try spritzing rose or lavender onto your bedding, the relaxing aroma will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down for and rest.
Consider your daily routine
Give yourself the best chance of enjoying a peaceful slumber come night-time by taking a good look at your daily routine.
You will struggle to sleep at the end of the day if you’re feeling restless after sitting sedentary for most of the day. If you’re not used to daily exercise, don’t overdo it by trying to run 5k every morning as you’ll likely injure yourself. Instead, enjoy some gentle morning yoga or pilates, which will help to strengthen your bones and muscles whilst also improving flexibility and posture. At lunchtime, take 30 minutes to enjoy a walk in the fresh air – whether you are spending your afternoon home schooling the kids, working from home, or simply enjoying an afternoon to yourself you’ll feel energised and more focused. This dose of daylight will also help regulate your circadian rhythm, helping you to sleep better come night-time.
It’s important to consider your diet too – try to enjoy your larger meal at lunchtime and keep your evening meal light so that you’re not going to bed feeling overly full. If you can’t forego your bedtime snack, switch sugary, stodgy foods for some chopped banana with a dollop of nut butter. Both contain sleep inducing magnesium and tryptophan.
And as many of us know, consuming caffeine can have a detrimental effect on sleep, with stimulatory effects lasting up to 10 hours. So, come midday switch to decaff tea and coffee to ensure you don’t feel wired at bedtime.
Likewise, alcohol will negatively impact how peacefully we sleep. Whilst we may feel it helps us drift off quicker, it actually decreases overall sleep quality, increasing sleep disruptions and reducing how long we stay asleep for.
A wind-down routine
We all wish sleep was as simple as drawing the curtains and curling up in bed. In reality it’s a little more complicated than that. Our mind and body need to be in a state of complete relaxation, which can take practise for even the most zen amongst us.
Stress and anxiety – both of which make falling asleep more difficult – can accumulate over the course of the day, so we need regular opportunities to release pressure and tension throughout the day. Developing a mindfulness practise is a practical way to enhance your ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress and anxiety and pays real dividends when it comes to winding down before bed.
To avoid stimulation from the blue light (which our brains interpret as daylight) and to evade the rabbit holes of messages, emails and AI generated social ads, switch off your phone and any other tech such as laptops or tablets half an hour before bed and ideally leave them in an entirely separate room.
Some instantly relaxing wind-down practices include a warm lavender bath, massaging magnesium oil into tired limbs for a boost of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, a milky drink or chamomile tea, reading, or reflecting on your day by journaling. Try writing down any worries or reminders for the next day that come into your head to lift any weight and help you feel ready to shut down for the day.
If you’re feeling emotionally charged, you can shake it off, which allows you to physically release what is difficult or harmful to say in words. Alternatively roar it out with lion’s breath; breathe deeply in through the nose and exhale through the mouth with the tongue extended out of the mouth as far as possible. Repeat this three times and you will immediately feel the tension fall away from your body.
Once in bed, try a soothing candle breath – breathe in through your nose and out through gently pursed lips, slowly and quietly, blowing away any thoughts or emotions that no longer serve you with each exhalation. Whilst we can’t force ourselves to sleep, encouraging basic rest and relaxation is far more restorative than lying in bed worrying about being unable to sleep.
The best quality mattress you can afford
The average person spends around 26 years (or a third of their life) sleeping, so it’s unsurprising that what you sleep on is central to achieving a good night’s sleep.
When choosing a mattress, it’s important to consider sleep ergonomics – the support that your mattress (and pillow) provide and the position of your body whilst you sleep. Your mattress should adapt to you, keep your spine straight, and absorb pressure to provide relief in any painful areas of your body allowing you to enjoy restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed. A mattress that is too soft will cause your back or hips to slouch and your spine to fall out of alignment, whilst one that is too firm will put too much pressure on your joints causing discomfort or pain.
It is also important to consider whether you prefer a sprung mattress or memory foam type mattress – it’s always best to visit a store and try out different mattresses before you buy. If this isn’t possible, however, most stores offer virtual appointments, where trained experts can help advise you on the best mattress for your needs.
And remember – not all mattresses are created equal. Tempur Material is the original pressure relieving mattress product and the precursor to all memory foams. Made up of viscoelastic – billions of ultra-sensitive open cells that exist between a solid and a liquid state – Tempur provides the ultimate comfort and support, helping you to sleep better, longer and deeper.
As mattresses age, everyday wear and tear can cause the material to break down, meaning that it will no longer offer you the same support, so make sure to invest in a new one every eight-ten years.
For more information on Tempur, visit www.tempur.co.uk
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TEMPUR researches, develops, manufactures and distributes mattresses, pillows and other sleep products to improve the sleep experience worldwide.
TEMPUR mattresses and pillows are made from a formulation of the brand’s proprietary pressure absorbing TEMPUR Material. Born from NASA technology, TEMPUR Material was developed in the 1960s to protect astronauts during space flight by absorbing G-force pressure.
Tempur Material is the original pressure relieving mattress product and the precursor to all memory foams. Made up of viscoelastic – billions of ultra-sensitive open cells that exist between a solid and a liquid state – Tempur products provide the ultimate comfort and support, helping you to sleep better, longer and deeper.
Each TEMPUR product undergoes sixty-seven different quality checks. Offering superior quality, durability and value for money, TEMPUR is no.1 in customer satisfaction in the UK.
TEMPUR products can be purchased direct via the TEMPUR UK website, Dreams, John Lewis, Bensons for Beds, and Furniture Village or leading independent retailers or from any of 11 TEMPUR brand stores and outlets.
TEMPUR’s are the only mattress and pillow products officially recognised by NASA as improving quality of life. They are also certified by the Space Foundation.
TEMPUR is a subsidiary of TEMPUR Sealy International Inc.
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