It’s common knowledge that getting a good night’s sleep is one of life’s little luxuries. Not only does it improve our mood, it also has a surprising number of health benefits that you may not be aware of. Sleep plays a role in our physical and emotional well-being while also being a natural phenomenon that occurs on a daily basis. So enjoy those extra few hours in bed to ensure you are gaining the health benefits!
10 Benefits To Your Health
- Better Complexion: Waking up with bags under your eyes and tired skin does not make for a good appearance. Sleeping well is probably the best beauty treatment for your skin and when you have gained a good night’s sleep, your blood will flow more efficiently.
- Improve Memory: While your body is resting at night, your mind is actually surprisingly busy. If you’re trying to learn something new, for example preparing for an exam or learning a new skill, your mind processes this when falling asleep.
- Live Longer: It has been suggested that sleep can affect the quality of life, but it is not certain if it affects a lifespan. However we do know that if you sleep better, you tend to live better.
- Healthy Blood Pressure: Inflammation may be linked to heart disease and those who tend to have less sleep may have higher levels of inflammatory proteins.
- Improve Creativity: Sleep may not only help to keep the brain active and inspire creativity, it may also consolidate memories and strengthen the emotional parts of memory.
- Improve Attention & Learning: This is important for both adults and children as sleep may improve the functioning of the brain. Research has shown that children or students who don’t gain enough sleep tend to perform worse in their exams.
- Healthy Weight: Perhaps it’s a surprising benefit of sleeping well, but weight loss and the right amount of sleep actually come hand in hand. If you are well rested, your body tends to be more efficient at depositing fat.
- Less Stress: Sleep and stress both affect cardiovascular health so it is important that people have better control of their blood pressure.
- Better On The Road: Did you know that lack of sleep affects a driver’s performance more than alcohol? Insufficient sleep will affect factors such as reaction time and awareness.
- Reduces Depression: Sleeping well does more than just reducing our irritability and stress. By decreasing our anxiety and improving our emotional stability, sleep helps our overall mood.
The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions
The position in which we sleep is a concept we don’t really pay attention to when we snuggle into bed at night. However in actual fact, your sleep position can be linked to a number of health problems and therefore should be taken into more consideration. Although most of the time the least of your worries after a tiring day will be the position in which you’re resting, this blog may help you alter the way you sleep at night.
Think Your Position Doesn’t Change?
- Sleeping On Your Back - Many doctors agree that this is the best sleeping position for your body as the back is kept straight and it strengthens your posture. This is largely dependent on the quality of your mattress however. The biggest disadvantage about sleeping in this position is the increased likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea which can be a pain for those sharing a bed with someone!
- On Your Stomach - Although this is generally regarded as the worst sleeping position, this is probably the best way to ease the occurrence of snoring and cases of sleep apnea. However, resting on your tummy may increase the chance of lower back pain as it conflicts with the natural curve of the spine.
- On Your Side - Sleeping on your side is perhaps the most popular position whether it’s keeping your body straight, or curling up into a fetal position. It is recommended to sleep on your left as it enables better circulation to the heart, which is particularly beneficial for pregnant women.
Even the deepest of sleepers move on average about two to four times an hour, therefore no one is exempt from moving! Remember that sleeping is an unconscious process so we cannot control or recognise our body’s movements throughout the night. While we generally spend most of the night in the same position we fall asleep in, minor tosses and turns are completely normal at night. While there are pros and cons to every sleeping position, people generally sleep in a position they find the comfiest. However, adjusting your position won’t do any harm, it will simply help you recognise which suits you best. The most important piece of advice we can offer is to sleep in a position that feels natural to you.
How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep Away From Home
We all know what it’s like to be away from home when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep - it’s just not the same without your own bed. Whether it’s the location, the room or the bed itself, there always seem to be a reason for your body not being able to rest properly. You can usually cope with the unfamiliar setting for the first couple of nights, but what would be nice to know is how we can make the night more comfortable for ourselves. So to help you with your next night away, here’s our tips for getting a good night’s sleep wherever you are!
How To Sleep Well In Winter
- Set The Room: We know it’s not your bedroom, but making the room that you’re staying in as comfortable as possible is important for your stay. If you’re staying in a hotel for example, you could ask to have a room above the ground floor and away from a busy street or construction nearby in order to help you sleep better. Alternatively, if you’re staying on a couch or in someone’s house, you can bring an extra blanket or a favourite teddy bear from home with you.
- Mask & Earplugs: You can’t change the location, but you can be prepared with the stuff you bring. It would be beneficial to bring any equipment that may help you to fall asleep more easily. This could be an eye mask, earplugs or even use an app on your phone to create a white noise.
- Entertainment From Home: Whether you’re one for watching movies or listening to music, you can bring some entertainment from home to help you feel more relaxed before sleeping. We wouldn’t recommend taking electronic devices to bed with you, but certainly using them beforehand may be good to rest your brain.
- A Good Pillow: If you only have a small bag, then a decent travel pillow should do the job to give you a little extra comfort. However if that won’t work for you, consider bringing your favourite pillow from home as this can make a huge difference - especially if it is specially designed to cater to your needs.
- Time: Giving yourself enough time to relax and sleep is more crucial than you may realise. It is better to give yourself more time to get to sleep in a strange bed as your brain won’t be able to relax properly. Equally, if you know you have an early start, it is important to get to bed earlier than normal.
It's not just staying away from home that can cause us to have a bad sleep; even the change in seasons can affect us. The winter season throws up a lot of disruptions to regular sleeping patterns with events such as Christmas parties or a late New Year’s Eve night. Even aside from the festive celebrations, there’s the colder weather to contend with. As it seems that the winter season is not necessarily the best season to obtain optimum sleep, we have compiled this list of tips to help you over the following months.
- Sleeping Environment - It is best to remove or switch off any distractions in your bedroom such as the television or any other light. If your room is quiet and dark, you will have a better chance of closing your eyes and falling asleep.
- Temperature - As the colder weather creeps in, you should try wearing your warmer pyjamas to ensure your body temperature is kept warm overnight. If you’re not a particularly cold person, just make sure you regulate the room temperature until is comfortable for you.
- Relax - Although being able to relax should be slightly easier during the holidays, it can still be difficult to unwind. Make sure you find a relaxation technique which works best for you.
- Right Choice Of Drink - Although alcohol will probably help to set you off asleep, it may disrupt you during the night when consumed close to bed-time. Instead, try a herbal tea which encourages you to sleep well throughout the night.
- Bring A Piece Of Home - During the holidays, staying over at others’ houses may be a regular occurrence if you’re attending parties. As this may disrupt your sleep and comfort, try and bring an item of home with you to help you relax.
- Sleep Time - Although it is tempting to spend all day in bed, make sure you sleep for the right amount of time as too much may cause fatigue. Remember that for adults, 8 hours is the recommended amount of sleep time.
Back To School Sleep Tips
And it's not just adults that can suffer with changes to their sleeping pattern. We might think teenagers can sleep anywhere, anytime, but that's simply not the case. This is particularly true at the end of the school holidays, when they need to readjust their body clock to getting up early and staying focused throughout the day. So here's some handy tips on how to help them get a good rest.
#1 Keep A Regular Bed-Time
Although many children will object to this, a regular bed-time is the best way of retraining your body clock. Set a bed-time target each night so that you and your children are aware of what needs to be done in time in the evenings. This may include doing the dishes, time for after school activities and homework! Keeping this set time at the weekends may be slightly more tricky, but nevertheless will ensure children and teenagers are getting enough sleep.
#2 Age Appropriate Routine
We understand that not all children should be treated the same, for example a four year old may require a different bed-time to a fifteen year old. However, as long as your individual routine is kept the same each night, it will help your body to wind down after a day at work or school.
Exercising regularly is an important factor for promoting sleep and has obvious health benefits. This is also age appropriate but those who partake in physical exercise, even if it means walking to school, are likely to be able to fall asleep more efficiently.
#4 Sleep Environment
A bedroom complete with TVs, games and other electronic equipment is not a good idea for a good night’s sleep. These distractions are likely to lead to a poor night’s sleep and will result in irritability and tiredness in the morning. Reading a book or bed-time story may be a better activity before falling asleep.
#5 Comfort & WarmthIt is important to check the quality of the mattress and pillows you use at night. Sometimes a poor night’s sleep may be a result of discomfort as your body has not been able to rest properly. Here at CosyCo, we stock a variety of pillows that are designed to suit your every need including memory foam pillows, support pillows and neck pillows. In addition, we offer memory foam mattresses, orthopaedic mattresses and mattress toppers for your comfort. Investing in a high quality bed will ensure that your body is completely relaxed night after night.
It is recommended to avoid caffeine before falling asleep as this keeps you awake, but a herbal tea on the other hand will have a sedative effect. In addition, other foods that aid sleep include yoghurt, oats, milk, cheese, bananas, poultry, eggs and peanuts.