Sleep Blog

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Sleeping Soundly: Catch up with our #SleepBetter winner

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In May we ran a #SleepBetter campaign with Fitbit UK to highlight the importance of quality sleep and give one lucky person the chance to win a Slumberland kingsize mattress and two Fitbit Alta HR devices which track your sleep data.

We caught up with our winner Becky Powley three months later to find out how her prizes are improving her and her partner’s sleep – plus the cat’s!

Slumberland: Hi Becky, congratulations again on being our #SleepBetter campaign winner. We hope you and your partner have been enjoying your wonderful prizes!

Have you noticed a difference in the quality of your sleep since receiving your new Slumberland mattress and Fitbit devices?

Becky: Definitely, I was usually getting around 6 – 6 ½ hours sleep midweek before getting the new mattress, now it’s usually around 6 ½ – 7 hours midweek if not more. The bed is so much more comfortable I am definitely taking myself up to bed earlier – so even if I’m not sleeping I’m relaxing for at least an additional hour more before going to bed. I am also falling asleep much more quickly than on my old mattress, I used to regularly struggle to get to sleep, so that has also definitely improved!

Slumberland: Are you finding the sleep insights on your new Fitbit Alta HR useful?

Becky: So useful! Particularly when I’m feeling tired, it’s useful to see whether it’s because I’ve had less sleep than usual. I love the ‘bedtime reminder’ as it helps me stop what I’m doing and actually put time aside for sleep.

My other half also appreciates the alarm function – it vibrates on your wrist waking you up which is much less offensive than a traditional alarm noise in the morning!

Slumberland: Have you noticed from your Fitbit data a correlation between exercising more and getting better quality sleep?

Becky: I haven’t seen a huge difference between my sleep when I do or don’t exercise, but that might because I exercise almost every day so am probably always tired/recovering. I have however noticed how little I do move working in an office on those days where I don’t exercise!

Having a Fitbit has made me more aware of the pressures I put my body under when I do exercise and I am definitely more aware of making sure I am eating and sleeping enough when I’m training particularly hard!

Slumberland: Is your new Slumberland Melody mattress helping you achieve a better night’s sleep?

Becky: 100%. Both Rowan and I have said that the mattress is so supportive (neither of us are getting as many back aches and pains) and I also think I’m sleeping much more soundly, as I don’t remember the last time I woke in the night. When it’s a weekend and I know I can have a lie in (or even an afternoon nap!) I have no problems at all enjoying some extra hours of Zzzzz’s. It is so comfortable we have nicknamed the mattress ‘the cloud’!

Slumberland: How does this impact your day to day life?

Becky: It has actually impacted my day to day life much more significantly than I could have imagined! As my whole bedtime routine has changed because I actually look forward to going to bed now, I definitely feel more refreshed waking up, which in turn is making me happier generally.

Slumberland: Would you recommend a Slumberland mattress or Fitbit Alta HR to friends and family or both?

Becky:  With the mattress, I genuinely do not think we’d ever change from a Slumberland mattress now, I’d definitely recommend them to everyone. My sister is just about to move into her first home and I’ve said to her that the investment is definitely worth making! Again with the Fitbit devices I’d really recommend them, lots of my friends have different Fitbits so we really enjoy comparing our step and sleep data. I like my Alta HR particularly because I can get more in depth data because of the heart rate monitor.

A huge thank you!

Even the cat is loving the new mattress! :)

Relaxation techniques to help you sleep better

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The relationship between anxiety and sleep

If, like most people, you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because of stress and worry, you’ve experienced firsthand the strong connection between anxiety and sleep. Stress routinely tops the list of sources of sleep problems, according to patients.

Anxiety causes racing thoughts, making it difficult to quiet the mind. When the body is under stress, the body releases more of several hormones—including adrenaline that boosts energy and alertness which contribute to:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking very early
  • Waking feeling un-rested and un-refreshed by sleep


Relaxation techniques to help you sleep better

Relaxation exercises have been shown highly effective in reducing stress and improving sleep. Low impact, self-directed, and easily able to be integrated to your daily life, these relaxation techniques can help you get a handle on stress and anxiety during your waking day, and help you de-stress at night before you go to bed.


Deep breathing

Deep, slow, self-aware breathing is an ancient, powerful way to clear the body of stress and tension, and a great way to relax as part of a nightly transition to sleep. Deep breathing kicks off a series of physiological changes that aid relaxation, including reducing muscle tension, slowing breathing rate and heart rate, lowering blood pressure and metabolism.

A breathing exercise can be as simple as taking a series of even, slow inhale and exhale breaths as part of a regular routine before bed, or whenever you feel anxious or stressed to help calm the mind. There are also more structured breathing exercises you can try such as the 4-7-8 breathing exercise which is said to ease the body into a state of relaxation and thus promote better sleep:

4-7-8 breathing
In a comfortable position, with your eyes open or closed:

  • Inhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold breath for 7 seconds
  • Exhale slowly, for 8 seconds
  • Repeat several times


Guided imagery

The idea in this exercise is to focus your attention on an image or story, so that your mind can let go of worries or thoughts that keep you awake.

Get into a comfortable position in bed. Close your eyes and relax. Begin to visualise a scene, memory, or story that you find calming. This is highly individual—find what works best for you by trying a few choices. For example: a favourite vacation or calming outdoor spot, a relaxing activity like curling up with a book in your favourite chair, or something repetitive like remembering the steps of an exercise or dance routine. The key is to find something that allows you to focus your attention and let go of other thoughts. Begin to create this scenario in your mind. Visualise all the details of the image or story, as slowly and carefully as you can. Any time you find your mind drifting to an unrelated thought (a worry about the day or a “must do” for tomorrow), acknowledge it and let it go – each time you practice you will get better at it.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is a way of achieving total body relaxation by slowly and systematically tensing and then relaxing your muscles. Starting at your toes and working up. It also plays a part in hypnosis. Combined with deep breathing exercises progressive muscle relaxation becomes an even more effective way to reduce stress.

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Getting Your Children to Enjoy Sleeping More

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Children don’t like missing out, particularly true at night when the adults are still awake and children are supposed to be slumbering peacefully in their beds. There’s also the issue of night-time because children often believe scary events happen during the hours of darkness which can make it hard for them to relax when they’re frightened of every shadow they see and every noise they hear. So, it’s no wonder many children don’t enjoy sleeping.

Why Aren’t Children Sleeping Enough?

In addition to the reasons above, many children are getting to bed too late to enjoy a decent sleep. The Sleep Council points out that if children go to bed after 9:00pm, they take more time to get to sleep. They’re also more restless at night and consequently get less overall sleep, which can be worsened by some parents not setting clear rules and routines around bedtime.

How to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial to the emotional well-being, development and growth of your child. Employing the following tips can help improve your child’s sleep.

  • Have a night-time routine.
    By adhering to the same bedtime routine, such as bath and bed, every night, you can ensure your child learns when it’s time for sleep. Being firm and loving when it’s time for sleep comforts your child and the repetition of routine will help them feel secure. Things to include in this night-time routine include, brushing teeth, putting on their PJs, followed by reading a favourite bedtime story. This works wonders when it’s done night after night.
  • Have set bedtimes and waking times.
    Even on the weekend, it’s imperative for your children to stay in a regular routine. Otherwise, if they sleep in on a Saturday and Sunday, it’s even more difficult to wake them up for school on a Monday morning. Getting up early on a weekend also gives you more quality time together.
  • Teach your child to fall asleep alone.
    It’s very tempting to take your child in with you to your own bed if they have difficulty sleeping. However, this isn’t practical to do every night. Therefore, you need to teach them how to fall asleep without you there. Put your child to bed when they’re sleepy and leave the room before they fall asleep. Provide them with a cosy blanket or favourite toy to cuddle for comfort.

Striking the right balance in terms of bedtimes for your children can be difficult. Remember though, that it’s not impossible. If your children are restless at night, scared of the dark, or believe monsters are lurking under the bed, help them out by providing a night light for their peace of mind. Children can enjoy sleeping, and by following the advice above, you can get a good night’s rest too!

Fitbit Sleep Stages

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 – something we certainly approve of.

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 available at https://www.fitbit.com/uk/home.

 

bed-allergies

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.

Best essential oils for sleep

Best 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. Read on to discover the 9 best essential oils for 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.

 

national-bed-month

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.

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