Sleep Blog

Fitbit launches Sleep Stages & Insights

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There’s no doubt that exercise is good for sleep – many studies have documented the benefits of exercise to improving general sleep patterns. However new advances in sleep tracking from Fitbit can now go that step further to give you personalised guidance and actionable insights to help you improve your sleep from your Fitbit data.

By tapping into your night-time heart rate and movement patterns, Fitbit devices* will now be able to estimate how much time you spend in light, deep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

By logging each of the stages of your sleep, along with the whole of your Fitbit data (everything from your diet to your exercise patterns), Fitbit can now discover trends about what may be affecting your sleep and offer you tailored guidance on how to improve it.

For example, if you use a Fitbit device that automatically tracks sleep, one insight via the Fitbit app may read: “There seems to be a strong correlation between your sleep and your runs. The last 10 weeknight logs show that you had 20 mins more restful sleep on days you ran vs. days you didn’t.”

Fitbit app sleep data

This kind of information previously only accessible through a sleep lab can help you better understand how exercise and diet directly affects your sleep patterns. Furthermore, it will help you to make lifestyle changes that will improve the quality of your sleep overtime and, in turn your overall health.

Each stage of sleep serves a different purpose, so understanding how much of each stage you log can help you identify and address sleep-related issues. Below is a breakdown of what you need to know about each sleep stage:

  • Light Sleep (including sleep stages 1 and 2) occurs throughout the night and is important for memory, learning, and letting your body recover from the day; for most people it is 50-60 percent of your night.
  • Deep Sleep (sleep stage 3) promotes a healthy immune system and muscle growth and repair; for most people it is 10-25 percent of your night (depending on age).
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep is when most dreaming occurs and is important for mental recovery and memory formation; for most people it is 20-25 percent of your night. Most REM sleep comes at the end of the night, and is often the stage that’s cut short when your sleep duration decreases.
  • Awake minutes (between 10-30 times per night) are a normal part of your sleep cycle each night, and is typically when your heart rate is more elevated during sleep.

*Sleep stages and sleep insights now available on the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Blaze devices and coming soon to Fitbit Charge2.

 

WIN a Slumberland Melody Mattress & 2 Fitbit Alta HR devices!

Slumberland know that when you have the best night’s sleep possible you live longer, look better and feel better, which is why we have teamed up with Fitbit to offer you the chance to WIN the ultimate #SleepBetter package!

WIN

Designed with a blend of Affinity Core Pocket Springs, Mini Pocket Springs and Affinity Foam, the Slumberland Melody mattress provides everything you and your partner needs – alongside the newly launched Fitbit Alta HR devices – for years of quality sleep.

For the chance to win this ultimate #SleepBetter package courtesy of Slumberland and Fitbit please enter here. Best of luck!

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 24th May. T&Cs apply.

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How To Reduce Indoor Allergies In Your Bedroom

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Allergy is widespread in the UK. According to Allergy UK up to 50% of children are diagnosed with an allergic condition and there an estimated 21 million adult asthma and allergy sufferers in the UK.

One of the most common triggers of year-round allergies and asthma is the dreaded house dust mite. Symptoms of dust mite allergy can include sneezing, watery eyes, a runny or itchy nose, a cough, an itchy throat and itchy skin. Symptoms often confused with a common cold or flu, and therefore don’t treat the root cause of the problem.

And where you can you find these dust mites? Well their ideal environment is your bed.

According to Allergy UK the average bed is estimated to have over 10,000 house dust mites living in it which results in there being over two millions droppings. These droppings are released into the atmosphere in dust and when inhaled will provoke asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.

Household dust mites thrive in warm and humid conditions where there is skin and dander to feed on. Given that the average person sheds a pound of skin (454 grams) a year – much of it into our beds – and that the average adult loses around half a pint (285 ml) of moisture while sleeping each night, it’s easy to understand why mattresses are so popular with the microscopic creatures.

In support of Allergy UK’s Allergy Awareness Week, 24th to 30thApril 2017, we wanted to offer advice on the most effective ways to reduce the number of dust mites in your bed to help control dust mite allergy and alleviate symptoms.

 

  1. Use anti-allergy bedding.
    Encase your mattress in an anti-allergy mattress cover and use anti-allergy duvet and pillow covering. These should be breathable and should completely enclose the item to prevent dust mite development and to stop contact with allergens.
  2. Wash bedding weekly.
    Wash all sheets, pillowcases and bedcovers every week at 60 degrees to kill dust mites and remove allergens. If hot washing is not possible then you can place bedding in the freezer for a few hours to kill mites and then wash at a lower temperature.
  3. Replace your mattress.
    Regular mattress replacement is vital to reduce the prevalence of the house dust mites. The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven years because although the mattress may still look acceptable, it may no longer be offering you sufficient levels of comfort, support and hygiene.
  4. Keep humidity low.
    In a warm, humid bedroom, dust mites can survive all year, therefore the NHS recommends keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50% to inhibit dust mite growth. You can reduce humidity in your bedroom by opening windows to increase ventilation, fitting an extractor fan in you have an ensuite to reduce condensation and using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
  5. Leave your bed unmade.
    Dust mites need the warmth and moisture from bedding to survive so it is a good idea to throw back your bedding when you get up in the morning to help everything air out. Dr. Stephen Pretlove of Kingston University told BBC News: “something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die”.
  6. Remove carpets.
    Carpets hold moisture and provides a comfortable humid location for dust mites. If possible, replace all carpeting in the bedroom with wood, tile or vinyl flooring to minimise dust mite development. If removing carpets is not possible, vacuum regularly with a high-filtration vacuum hoover and use a high-temperature steam cleaner to kill dust mites.
  7. Cut the clutter.
    Remove books, magazines, ornaments that collect dust in bedroom. If your child suffers from allergies try to cut back on the number of stuffed toys in their bedroom and try to avoid keeping them on their bed. Freeze favourite soft toys once a week to kill dust mites and then hot wash to remove allergens.

 

Have any of these methods worked for you, or do you have any further tips to share? We’d love to hear from you! Get in contact with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Essential Oils

Essential oils for sleep

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If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, then certain essential oils which can help induce sleep may be just what you need. Essential oils have grown in popularity as a natural treatment for many ailments, including pain relief, reducing stress and anxiety, and aiding sleep.

Sleep problems are on the rise, with the Sleep Council’s latest Great British Bedtime report stating that at least a third of us are getting a poor night’s sleep every night.

How to use essential oils for sleep

There are different ways you can use and benefit from essential oils. Try applying diluted essential oils to the soles of your feet, palms, and wrists prior to bed. It’s important that, for most essential oils, you dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut, castor, or olive oil, because applying the essential oil directly onto the skin can lead to irritation. To make the right combination, you should use one teaspoon of carrier oil for one drop of essential oil.

Another way to use essential oils is through a diffuser, which will disperse the scent throughout your home.

Lastly, you can also spray the essential oil onto your pillowcase or bedding prior to bed.

9 best essential oils for sleep

  • Lavender: Lavender oil is the most commonly used oil to promote sleep, and is the most widely studied.
  • Clary sage: Clary sage has been found to work similarly to lavender, and research has found it to be the most effective anti-stressor.
  • Chamomile: Roman chamomile has been found to be the most effective type of chamomile, offering relaxation properties and reducing stress. Chamomile becomes even more effective when combined with lavender.
  • Cedarwood: Cedarwood offers an earthy fragrance and can help induce a sense of calmness.
  • Sandalwood: Sandalwood has sedative and antidepressant effects, along with promoting circulation and supporting the nervous system.
  • Marjoram: Sweet marjoram can aid with sleep disorders thanks to its calming and sedative effects. It has also been found to help reduce blood pressure.
  • Valerian: Valerian has long been known for its calming and sedative effects, and it is effective when used topically or diffused.
  • Ylang ylang: It’s fruity and florally scent can help promote relaxation, thus improving sleep. It is often added to other oils to improve their effectiveness.
  • Vetiver: Vetiver is known to have sedative properties, along with being muscle warming and tension easing. This oil helps aid with hormonal stress, muscle ache, and restless leg syndrome, which can all keep you awake at night. You can add vetiver to a warm bath prior to bed to ease tension.

 

For the chance to WIN a set of luxury bath oils from Neom Organic’s Scent to Sleep range, please enter our National Bed Month competition over on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2m9bWn7

Win luxury set of bath oils

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MARCH-ing orders for old beds

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With 31 days dedicated to highlighting improved sleep, National Bed Month in March is the ideal time to work towards a better night’s sleep and your bed is the perfect place to start.

Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council says: “It’s about reassessing your sleep quality and comfort levels.  Research shows buying a new bed can lead to a real improvement in sleep – up to an hour extra – and if you sleep better you feel much better.”

To help you determine if your bed has had its day – and night! Simply answer these quick questions from the Sleep Council below. If you answer ‘Yes’ to three questions, you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Five or more ‘Yes’ answers and it’s time to buy a new bed.

  • Is the mattress seven years old or more?
  • Would it be embarrassing if neighbours saw it without its covers?
  • Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
  • Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
  • Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
  • Do you and your partner roll towards each unintentionally in the middle of the night?
  • Do you have enough space to sleep comfortably?
  • Is it sagging?
  • Does it feel lumpy in the night?
  • Is the bed too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?
  • Is the divan or base uneven or sagging?
  • Are the legs and castors worn out?

Lisa explains: “The right bed is extremely important to health and wellbeing because our sleeping environment will affect the quality of our sleep – which in turn has a big effect on how well we feel, both physically and psychologically.  A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching.”

If you are sharing a bed with a partner, we recommend you to go as big as you can; a king size or super king size bed ideally. If you and a partner share a standard double bed (135cm/4ft 6in), each of you gets just 2ft 3in of space – less than a baby in a cot!

We also recommend you to take your time to try before you buy, because finding the ‘right’ comfort and support are very individual assessments. This is why, unlike other manufacturers, the Harmony Collection was created by our developers at Slumberland to offer a simple choice of feel. The different blend of components used to create each of our three ranges focuses entirely on the kind of support which feels best for you.

Plus, we are proudly approved members of the National Bed Federation so you can be sure you’re buying a UK made product that is safe, clean and honest.

If you’d like to explore the range further and speak to a valued and knowledgeable Slumberland stockist, then please click here to search for your local stockist.

Slumberland Baby

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We are delighted to announce that we are launching our first Slumberland cot mattress collection which will debut at the Harrogate International Nursery Fair on 28th to 30th March 2017.

As one of the few big British Bed manufacturers we certainly know a thing or two about the importance of sleep. Therefore we have designed the Slumbertime Collection with both the baby and parents in mind, knowing that when your baby gets the best night’s sleep possible, then so can you.

Proudly made here in the UK, the Slumbertime Cot Mattresses feature long-lasting responsive springs to provide the best comfort and support throughout your baby’s precious development years.

The outer cover offers a soft breathable sleeping surface which allows the free flow of air to help keep your baby cool and regulates their heat. The sleeping surface which is washable at 60⁰c, killing all germs and bacteria, also benefits from the Anti-allergy Actipro treatment to provide your baby a healthy sleeping environment.

Considering that your baby will spend over 50% of their early years sleeping, buying a cot mattress should be one of the most important purchases you make.

Find out more about the Slumbertime Collection here.

Designed for baby sleep

Get Fit While You Sleep

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Sleep and exercise have a symbiotic relationship. The more you work out, the more quickly you’ll fall asleep, and the better that sleep will be. Likewise when you are well-rested, you are able to perform at top efficiency in your workout.

Check out the info-graphic by our friends at Fix.com below for great tips to help you get closer to your health and wellness goals.


Source: Fix.com Blog

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Clean Sleeping – 2017’s health trend backed by Gwyneth Paltrow

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Gwyneth Paltrow, founder of healthy lifestyle website, Goop has revealed her ultimate beauty secret – a great night’s sleep!

Just like her clean eating routine, she follows ‘clean sleeping’ – essentially consistent quality sleep, “ideally” 10 hours every night to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and radiant glow.

Speaking in her new book ‘Goop Clean Beauty’, which was released just last month, she explained:

“Sleep plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority, even before you think about your diet.”

“Call it vanity, call it health, but I know there’s a huge correlation between how I feel and what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning” says Gwyneth.

And she certainly has a point; it’s been clinically proven many times just how negative affect a lack of quality sleep can have on you.

Weight gain, inflammation, depression, anxiety – they’ve all been linked to a lack of sleep because of the effect that sleep has on our hormones.

When we are asleep, our cells rebuild and repair themselves – the growth hormone functions only at night. So if you have a disturbed night’s sleep, this function is impaired.

This means that yes ladies, beauty sleep is a real thing! Whilst 10 hours may be unlikely, we advise you aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to help you wake up feeling refreshed and looking you best.

The following may help:

  • Go to bed at a regular time. Set the alarm for the same time each day – even weekends – to develop a regular sleep-wake rhythm.
  • Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet – an eye mask and ear plugs can help.
  • No coffee or tea (they all contain caffeine) before bed. Instead opt for a herbal decaffeinated tea.
  • Try deep breathing, or meditating for 10 minutes before bed to help clear your mind.
  • Don’t exercise immediately before going to bed because it increases your adrenaline levels, heart rate and body temperature making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Add a few drops of aroma-therapy oils (lavender or ylang ylang) to your bedtime bath to help you relax and prepare for sleep.
  • The right mattress is crucial. The Slumberland Harmony Comfort Collection has been created using a host of innovative materials carefully selected with the best sleeping experience in mind.
katarina_blog

Christmas with an Olympic athlete

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We catch up with our Healthy Sleep Ambassador, Katarina Johnson on how she’ll be spending this Christmas this year.

While we’re all snuggling up in our Christmas jumpers Katarina has to keep up her training and make sure her training suits the weather conditions.

It becomes more about life conditioning of the body. A lot of long runs to get the lungs going. A lot of drills to condition the body to move in the right way and also gym work to strengthen every single muscle in the body!

I don’t dread the cold weather this year because I’m in the sunny south of France!’

Illness and injury are always a risk in sport, with one cold or bout of the flu threatening to halt training programmes and push back progress.

‘I am quite careful and cautious when using gym facilities. I always take a hand gel with me everywhere and make sure I use it before my hands go anywhere near my mouth/face! Injuries in the winter are less common for me. It’s just about being sensible and speaking up to the coach if I’m feeling run down that week. I am aware of not pushing my body too far over the edge too – still working hard but finding the proper balance.

Sleep is so important, especially because I have started doing two sessions a day now. I have to have a 40-minute nap in-between sessions to recharge and allow my muscles to recover properly before starting again.’

Even at an Olympic level you have to be able to give yourself some time off (even if it’s just one day!) – so how will Katarina be spending Christmas?

‘I will be spending Christmas Day in my aunties house with my entire family. There are around 20 of us give or take. Thankfully I am not in charge of the cooking or hosting so I just show up and enjoy! There’s no real prolonged ‘time off’ for me. I will get Christmas Day off but you have to keep the body ticking over. The tracks tend to close over Christmas so it will be more runs in a local park or going the gym and less technical work.’

Kat’s dogs are her pride and joy – so what canine presents will she be treating them to this year?

‘I’ve already bought them little tartan bow ties to go around their collar. And probably just their favourite treats. My next door neighbour bought them a doggy selection box last year, which I thought was pretty cool.’

Sleep tips to survive the party season

Sleep tips to survive the party season

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Our health and emotional well-being are our most important personal assets and sleep, or lack of, throughout the Christmas party season can certainly take its toll.

Maintaining healthy sleep habits, no matter the season, will help you feel refreshed and recharged. Learn to maximise your sleep with our sleep tips below so you can truly enjoy the seasonal festivities with your loved ones.

  • Stick to your normal sleep routine:
    If you have an evening holiday party to attend and you plan on staying up late, try to keep your wake up time the same, even if you feel tired the next day. It’s important to stay consistent to reinforce your sleep-wake cycle and encourage a more relaxing night’s slumber.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment:
    Neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible (wear earplugs if you need). Keep the Christmas decorations to the other parts of your home and do not let your children to sleep in bed with you – it’ll disrupt a good night’s sleep for all!
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable:
    It should also be as big as possible so your partner rarely disturbs you. If you find that you and your partner have different needs for a bed then try investing in two single mattresses of different tensions to make up a super king.
  • Get plenty of exercise:
    Regular, moderate exercise can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains and promote a deeper sleep. However avoid strenuous exercise within three hours of bedtime or it may keep you awake. A good brisk walk is ideal to stop you feeling sluggish after a hefty Christmas dinner!
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch:
    Don’t end up compensating for lack of sleep by going too heavy on coffee – especially in the evening. Caffeinated drinks will interfere with you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Opt for a hot milky drink or herbal tea in the evening instead.
  • Don’t over-indulge on food and alcohol:
    Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can play havoc with sleep patterns.  Alcohol may help you fall asleep more easily at first, but once your body metabolises it during the sleep cycle it often disrupts sleep and wakes you up. It is hard throughout Christmas and New Year festivities to avoid completely, but try swapping your alcoholic drink to water a couple of hours before bedtime to re-hydrate and avoid eating within two hours of bedtime.
  • Insist on some ‘me time’ before going to bed:
    Have a warm bath, listen to some quiet music, do some yoga – anything that helps to relax both your mind and body and wind down before bedtime.
  • Keep your mind calm and anxiety-free at bedtime:
    The Christmas period can bring stress and anxiety along with excitement. If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Try keeping a notebook by your bed and writing down your thoughts; this should relax and clear your mind helping you to drift back off to sleep.

 

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Best SAD lamps for keeping your sleep cycle on track

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Waking up tired, lethargic and a bit blue? These could potentially be symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘winter depression’.

About 20% of people living in the UK experience mildly debilitating symptoms of SAD, and research commissioned by The Weather Channel and YouGov has shown women are 40% more likely to suffer from symptoms of SAD than men.

Most of us are affected by the change of seasons and shorter days – lets face it, who doesn’t have difficulty waking up on these dark mornings? However for some it can have a much greater impact on your day to day life.

“A more extreme SAD sufferer may experience depression, sadness and despair” states Dr Norman E Rosenthal, author of Winter Blues.

The effects of light

Symptoms of SAD tend to be more severe during these winter months when we are exposed to reduced levels of sunlight. This can disrupt our body’s internal clock and cause a drop in serotonin which can trigger sleep problems and depression.

SAD lamps, also know as light therapy boxes can effectively replicate sunshine and are one of the most popular and effective treatments for SAD. The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association states SAD lamps are “effective for 85% of cases and normally work within two weeks”.

So whether it’s your sleep, energy levels or mood that could do with a boost, a little light therapy may help sustain you throughout the dark winter months.

Wake-up lamps

Wake-up lamps are a great form of light therapy for regulating normal sleeping and waking patterns as they simulate sunrise, gradually lighting up your bedroom as you wake. This will provide that all important light that’s missing during the winter months.

It’s thought that this light at the beginning of your day can improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood) giving you an important health-boosting wake-up.
We’ve rounded up a pick of our favourite wake-up SAD lamps from Lumie to get your started:

  1. Bodyclock STARTER 30
    The perfect and most affordable wake-up lamp, the Bodyclock STARTER 30 has a 30 minute sunrise to help you wake up naturally, and 30 minute fading sunset to help you wind down for bed.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock STARTER 30
  2. Bodyclock ACTIVE 250
    The Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 adds radio and audio options to its versatile light settings to make an all-purpose bedroom light, effective for healthy sleep.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock ACTIVE 250
  3. Bodyclock IRIS 500
    A refreshing way to wake up – the Bodyclock IRIS 500 combines the benefits of gradual sunrise and sunset with two removable aromatherapy chambers for continuous or intermittent diffusion.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock IRIS 500
  4. Bodyclock LUXE 700
    The newest and most advanced of the Lumie Bodyclock range, the Bodyclock LUXE 700 has high quality speakers for streaming your own music or radio via Bluetooth or USB, and over 20 wake-up and sleep sounds. The sunrise and sunset feature, plus a new low-blue light will help keep your sleep cycle on track.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock LUXE 700

 

Have you had any success with light therapy? We’d love to hear from you, contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

You can find out more about the Lumie range of wake-up lights here.

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