- What is National Bed Month?
- Why is sleep important?
- The importance of the right bed
- What are sleep conditions?
- How can you improve sleep?
There is an age-old phrase that says if ‘you snooze, you lose’, however ensuring a decent amount of sleep can make you healthier, happier and add years to your life- that sounds like a win to us!
National Bed Month runs throughout the whole of March and is organised by the sleep council to educate us on the importance of sleep and how to improve the quality of our sleep.
Having the odd night of inadequate sleep can make you feel tired and a little cranky, but it won’t have a serious impact on your overall health.
However, regularly not achieving a decent amount of sleep can have a huge effect on your health and put you at risk of developing severe medical conditions, as well as having a negative influence on your body, thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
For most people, it is recommended to achieve at least eight hours of good quality sleep to allow us to function at our best, with the importance placed more on the quality rather than the hours of sleep.
If you are waking up tired and spending the day feeling sleepy, chances are you’re not getting the correct amount or a decent quality of sleep which, over time, can have serious implications including:
- Increased risk of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – it can even take time off our life expectancy
- Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
- Weight gain due to lower levels of leptin (the chemical that makes us feel full) and higher levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates hunger).
Just goes to show, waking up on the wrong side of the bed can cause more issues than a grumpy mood!
Speaking of beds, one of the main factors that The Sleep Organisation recommends for a good night sleep is the correct bed, hence they have dedicated an entire month to beds.
Latest research shows that more than 1 in 10 people find that an uncomfortable bed causes sleep issues.
Your relationship with your bed is incredibly important, as it can be the difference between getting enough sleep or struggling with tiredness through the day.
Like all good relationships, the right bed should offer comfort and support, that ensures you move and wake less during the night.
Not sure if your bed is past its best?
Take the Bed MOT on the sleep council website to help you find out whether you and your bed can go the distance or if it’s time to dump it and move on!
At Chemist 4 U, we might not be able to help you choose the best bed for you, but we can recommend some tips and products to help your relationship with your bed and your sleeping pattern.
Ready to wake up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed rather than worn-out and weary?
Keep reading this guide to find out more.
As well as uncomfortable beds, there are a variety of sleep conditions that can disrupt our sleep.
Identifying if you have a sleeping disorder or problem can help you treat it to improve your sleep.
Common sleep conditions include:
Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping all the way through the night.
Insomnia can be acute, which is usually brief and as a result of circumstances, such as stress or emotional upset.
It can also be chronic where can last for multiple nights a week and occur frequently over a longer period.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Finding it hard to fall asleep
- Frequently waking up during the night
- Lying awake at night
- Waking up early and unable to fall back to sleep
- Still feeling tired after waking up
- Being unable to nap during the day, despite feeling tired
- Feeling tired and irritable throughout the day
- Lack of concentration
This can be caused by working night shifts, rotating shifts or early morning shifts.
It can cause chronic sleep deprivation, as we cannot catch up on needed sleep due to the constant change in routine.
For example, someone who works night shifts during the week, may find it difficult to stay awake during the day at the weekends, as they are used to being asleep or will be unable to sleep at night due to spending most of the week being awake at this time.
Symptoms of Shift Work Disorder include:
- Excessive sleepiness when you need to be awake
- Sleep that feels insufficient
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty with personal relationships
Snoring can be caused by a variety of reasons, but usually isn’t a serious problem.
It can disrupt your sleep, as the noise of your snoring may wake you up.
Alternatively, it may disrupt the sleep of your partner, which will most likely disrupt your own sleep due to them waking you up to stop your snoring or hitting you with a pillow!
Snoring is usually caused by either your tongue, mouth, throat or airways in your nose vibrating as you breathe and you are more likely to smoke if you are overweight, smoke, drink excessively or sleep on your back.
Try our anti-snoring range, for better sleep for you and your partner:
Mental health and sleep can be a vicious circle.
Feelings of stress and anxiety can keep us awake at night, which leads to a lack of sleep causing tiredness and difficulties coping with daily life, which then can cause stress and the cycle starts again.
Mental health problems such as depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can also affect our sleeping pattern, causing us to oversleep during the day which can make us less tired at night, resulting in insomnia.
There are many causes of nightmares, but they are often as a result of stress, trauma or an existing mental health condition such as PTSD.
Nightmares can also occur after taking medicines such as anti-depressants.
Although they don’t cause any physical harm, they can be disturbing and upsetting and prevent us from a decent night’s sleep.
Sleep paralysis can occur as you are falling asleep or as you are waking up.
If you suffer with sleep paralysis you may feel:
- Alert but unable to move, speak or open your eyes
- Like there is a presence in your room
- Something is pushing down on you
Sleep paralysis can be caused by a variety of factors but has been commonly linked to:
- Disrupted sleeping patterns
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Family history of sleep paralysis
Choosing the right bed can be a big step in improving your sleep, but there are also lifestyle changes and products you can use to ensure a restful night’s sleep.
This doesn’t involve cleaning your bed before you go to sleep, although if you have an untidy bed this may be contributing to your lack of sleep!
Sleep hygiene are different practises that help you to gain a decent quality of sleep and feel alert during the day.
Good sleep hygiene practices include:
- Limiting naps to 30 mins – Napping does not make up for a poor night’s sleep, however a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve our mood and keep us alert
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine before bed – These can prevent us from falling asleep, causing us to lie awake for long periods of time
- Exersise – As little as 10 minutes of exercise such as walking or cycling can improve our quality of sleep
- Stay away from heavy foods – Fatty or fried meals, spicy foods, citrus fruits and fizzy drinks can trigger indigestion and heartburn which disrupts sleep
- Exposure to sunlight – Helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle
- Establishing a bedtime routine – Relaxing activities that help the body to recognise that it is bedtime, such as taking a warm shower/bath, reading a book, light stretches
- Pleasant sleep environment – Comfortable mattress and pillows, cool bedroom, reduced light from lamps, phones, tv screens, use of eye masks or humidifiers to make your sleep environment more relaxing
Why not try Elysium for a relaxing night time routine:
Talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy and counselling can help you to identify that are causing you stress such as past trauma, work stress, family problems, on-going existing mental health problems and help establish a course of action to help deal with these issues in order for better sleep.
This kind of therapy can help deal with issues such as PTSD, nightmares, anxiety and depression.
Medically-proven sleeping tablets can help improve your sleep by using anti-histamines that blocks the production of histamine (a chemical that promotes arousal in areas in your brain) to help you fall into a restful sleep.
We have a range of sleep aids available at Chemist 4 U, with free delivery on orders over £30.
Why not try:
If medical solutions are not for you, there is a variety of natural remedies available that provide relief from insomnia by reducing stress-levels and promoting a calming sleep without the side-effects medication can sometimes cause.
Why not try:
From logging how calories you have consumed today to tracking how far you walked the dog, there are apps available for every aspect of our health.
Now, there are apps that can help prepare us for bedtime and help improve our sleep.
Sleep apps that are recommended by the NHS include:
Pzizz - Helps to calm your mind, fall asleep fast, say asleep and wake up feeling refreshed
Sleepio – Online sleep improvement programme, clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster
Sleepstation – Connect with a team of experts to help you fall or stay asleep