How much and how well do you sleep at night? Good sleep is more than not feeling tired during the day and using coffee as a pick-me-up, it’s an important part of your health and wellness, in every facet of your life, from work to play. Poor sleep can lead to greater health risks than simply feeling fatigued, it can instigate heart attacks or strokes, as well as severely lowering your immune system. This applies to both poor sleep, and too little sleep. So what can you do about it?
Be aware of what you’re doing when you miss sleep:
Still not convinced that poor quality and small quantity sleep is harmful? A recent study by The World Helath Organisation has found that night after night of restless sleep puts the insomniac at the same risk of cardiac arrest or stroke as a smoker. The risk? Those who secure less than 7 hours sleep a night are four times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack than someone getting 7 hours or more. The study has only published results recently, because the data was long in coming. The study started in 1994, with participants being rated by the Jenkin’s Sleep Scale to determine whether or not they were suffering from a sleep disorder. The participants were then monitored for the next 14 years for occurrences of strokes or heart attacks. The study found that almost two thirds of the participants who had had heart attacks or strokes (from one to multiple) were also those who had sleep disorders.
Sleeping disorders are also generally associated with cases of depression and anxiety, being both a symptom and a cause. Prof. Valery Gafarov, who presented the findings of the study, said:
“Sleep is not a trivial issue. Sleeping disorders were associated with greatly increased incidences of both heart attack and stroke. Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet.”
Asses your sleeping environment:
Your mattress and pillow are a huge factor in how well you are sleeping. While you may struggle to fit more than 6 hours of sleep into your schedule, as long as your sleep is of good quality, this will be sufficient. The problem is that many of us struggle to sleep deeply enough, either because of poor sleeping surface or because of poor neck support.
When you lie down to sleep, the extended period of lying prone causes the flow of blood through your body to be reduced, depriving the skin of oxygen. In the areas of your body taking the most weight, like your shoulders and hips, this effect is magnified, as the pressure from the mattress keeps the blood flow even more sluggish. Eventually, this causes the pain sensors in those areas to send a message to your brain, and you move to another position to relieve the tension. Though you don’t consciously wake up, this does disrupt your sleep, and keep you from falling into a deep sleep, the kind that requires your body to lie absolutely still.
To have restful sleep, you need to provide a surface that does not apply so much pressure to the areas that take the most weight, allowing your body to lie still and sleep more deeply. This is why a mattress that is too firm keeps you from sleeping well. At the same time, there is no recipe or formula for the perfect mattress for everyone. Body shapes and personal preferences can influence one person to find a mattress too firm and another just right. On the other hand, one easily sleeps on a mattress that is too firm. Therefore, when buying a new mattress, try it for a good 10 minutes, lying in every position. It should feel supportive, without too much pressure.
Finding a new mattress may seem confusing and overwhelming considering all the options available, but if you know what to look for, it isn’t. Mattresses can be divided into 2 categories: foams and coils. Once you’ve decided between those, your next options are simply firm, medium firm, or soft. If you are looking for a mattress that ensures that you and your partner don’t feel each other move around in a larger mattress, like a double, queen or king, then you either look for a Simmons pocket coil bed, or a Genessi or Cloud Nine foam bed. The pocket coils in Simmons beds are individual coils, not connected to each other, meaning that movement on one side does not travel to the other side. Other beds with pocket coils are Rest Assured and Edblo. Solid blocks of foam, such as that in the Genessi and Cloud Nine beds, also don’t transfer movement. The movement gets absorbed by the foam, no matter how soft or firm the bed is. This is true of memory foam, latex, and high density foam.
Pillows, like your mattress, have a big effect on your sleep. The right pillow may change your sleep from restless to restful, as your sleep is no longer disrupted by you tossing and turning to find support on your pillow. Conventional pillows sink down under one’s head, leading to turning the pillow over, plumping it, and so on, all through the night. Latex and memory foam pillows, however, keep their form and offer all night long support. That support will make all the difference in how well you sleep, especially when paired with a supportive mattress.
To change your sleep around from restless to restful, to wake up daily feeling energised rather than drained, and to protect your health, make sure your mattress and pillow are giving you the support you need and can so easily get. Buy your next mattress and pillow from The Mattress Warehouse, online or call 0861 007 000 to place your order, and we will deliver for free – nationwide. We carry every kind of brand, from Serta and Sealy to Cloud Nine, as well as wooden beds, side tables, sleeper couches and futons. Call today!