When it comes to your wellbeing, your sleep is paramount – how much of it you’re getting, its quality and even what you’re sleeping on! That’s why we love bringing you ways to help you drift off in peace.
To celebrate the launch of the Silentnight Airmax Glacier Miracoil Mattress and Divan as our Today’s Special Value (which you can grab right now at the incredible offer price!), we sat down with sleep expert Hannah Shore to discuss ways we can improve our sleep, what counts when it comes to catching ZZZs and sleep essentials to help ensure you get some shut-eye.
It’s lovely to chat with you Hannah! First things first, we’d love to know a bit about where to begin when it comes to changing sleeping habits. Starting a whole new sleeping ritual can be daunting, so where is the best place to begin?
Start with something simple – something that doesn’t take you a lot of time to do and can easily fit into your routine now. When changing things up, don’t do too much at once. You often see articles with titles like “10 Ways to Help You Get to Sleep”, buy don’t try all ten things at once, because the chances are you’ll be worrying too much about trying to fit everything in and end up being too stressed to sleep! Instead try one thing at a time and get a feel if that works for you. If it does, great! If not, try something else. Only you will know what works for you, and of course, if you are currently sleeping really well then there’s no need to change anything!
How can we change our bedrooms to create an optimal space to sleep in? Does light really affect our sleep patterns as much as people say? What about our bedding?
When looking at the ideal sleep environment, I like to say we need to give it a little bit of TLC, this stands for Temperature, Light and Comfort.
Temperature is a really important factor to consider, as our core body temperature actually needs to drop by a couple of degrees in order to get access to the good quality sleep we need. Although this is a natural process that happens within the body, there are many things we can do to ensure this happens. Ensuring the heating is turned down throughout the night is a must, as this will allow the room to cool down, plus it’s a great way to save energy! The bed itself is also a key component in regulating our body temperature. If you are prone to overheating at night, you may find that you need to change some of the products you are using.
Bedding plays a huge role in regulating our temperature as we sleep. Firstly, we need to look at your duvet, as the British weather fluctuates massively and we should always be changing our duvet with the seasons. Your winter duvet should be slightly thicker, around 10.5 tog. This should then be swapped out for a thinner duvet in the summer, around 4 tog max.
We then need to look at your mattress. The material your mattress is made from can greatly affect your body temperature. Breathable, temperature regulating materials such as polyester or natural materials can channel heat and moisture away from the body, aiding your core body temperature regulation. Foams on the other hand can have the opposite effect as they tend to hold onto more heat and moisture, therefore if you overheat regularly, perhaps look into a mattress made from fibres like Silentnight’s Airmax.
Pillows also play a key role in temperature regulation and follow the same principal as the mattress. People who overheat frequently may find foam pillows very warming compared to fibres pillows, such as polyester or natural pillows. This pair of Posture Plus Airflow Anti-allergen Pillows help to regulate your temperature as you sleep, promoting air flow through it all night long, so they’re perfect for warding that ‘hot and bothered’ feeling away while you sleep.
The bedding should also complement and enhance your sleeping environment. The thicker teddy bear fleece bedding that is popular at the minute can be very warming compared to a smoother, more breathable fibre.
We sleep when it is dark for a reason. We have light receptors at the back of our eyes which link directly to the part of our brain that regulates sleep. Natural morning light is bright, and this type of light can tell the body to stop producing sleep hormones, such as melatonin and start producing wake promoting hormones. Natural evening light is dull and darker, therefore having an opposite effect on the body by prompting the release of sleep promoting hormones, helping you fall asleep more easily.
Applying the wrong type of light at the wrong time can have the opposite effects on our body. For example, applying bright light in the evening can keep us awake. This can be one of the reasons we struggle to fall asleep and are woken up early in the summer. Here, a good pair of black-out blinds, curtains or even a simple eye mask can help block out some of that bright light and allow you to sleep more easily. In the winter we find we have the opposite problem and we often struggle to wake up. Here, a dawn simulating alarm clock can be a great way of mimicking the sunrise for a more natural waking process.
Comfort is the main driving force for a good night’s sleep. We’ve all been in those hotels where the bed just isn’t right and we have felt the effects the following day. But how do we make the subjectiveness of comfort fit for every sleeper? This is where the bed comes into play. The material the bed is made of plays a key role; for example, springs are great for supporting your spine throughout the night. At Silentnight, we zone our mattresses by firming the middle third of them to support the average 45% of our body weight around our hips when we lie down, helping to enhance night-time spinal alignment. The comfort layers can be made from materials with all sorts of different properties such as fibres for enhanced breathability and thermoregulatory properties, or foam for extra durability and pressure relieving qualities. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mattress, as each person will have a unique body shape and unique sleeping needs. When choosing your mattress, make sure you understand your requirements to help ensure your mattress enhances your sleep.
And when it comes to pillows, these Cushioned Comfort ones are designed for all types of sleepers, whether you lie on your back, side or something in between, retaining optimum comfort as you snooze. No matter what sleep position you prefer, they’ll have your comfort covered at all times.
It’s also important to keep the space you sleep in neat and tidy to avoid unnecessary stress just before bed. A great way to optimise your bedroom storage is to use spaces that are often overlooked, like under your bed, and that’s where this clever divan comes in. Equipped with two large under-bed drawers, it’s ideal for utilising every inch of your bedroom’s available space, plus it’ll giv e your bed a sleek, clean finish you’re sure to love.
Now we’ve discussed our sleeping environment, let’s talk about our bedtime routines. Are there any ways we can alter our evening ritual to promote a more restful sleep?
As adults, we often forget the importance of a good wind-down routine, often completing last minute chores around the house or squeezing in that extra episode of the TV series you’re watching before jumping into bed and expecting to fall asleep straight away. We are then often lying down, staring at the ceiling or watching the clock, wondering why we can’t sleep. We need to ensure we allow ourselves time to relax and wind down before we sleep. An hour before bed, we should be doing calming activities, which can be anything from meditation, reading or breathing exercises. Although these don’t necessarily work for everyone, you need to find something that works for you – something that helps the body and the mind relax. This doesn’t always mean stepping away from technology as many people will tell you to do, but it does mean using your technology in the right way. Turn your phone’s eye comfort mode on, which swaps the harsh blue light for subtle yellow tones. You can then use your devices to listen to podcasts, help with breathing exercises or play sounds to help you escape from the stresses of everyday life.
Finally, what’s a night-time essential you simply couldn’t live without?
My absolute essential is my best pal Benji. Benji is my teddy rabbit who I’ve had since I was little. As humans we only sleep when we feel safe – it links back to caveman times when we used to be chased by animals and to this day, we still need that sense of security in order to allow us to sleep. Benji makes me feel safe and calm, especially when I am travelling around to different places. You don’t need a teddy for this as you can create a sense of safety or calmness using anything. Why not try using a certain pillow or scents like pillow sprays?
If you’re feeling inspired to improve your sleep, check out our incredible Today’s Special Value early – the Silentnight Airmax Glacier Miracoil Mattress and Divan. For more brilliant ways to improve your sleep this season (and for many more to come!), discover the rest of our sleep wellness range right here at QVC.