Health and well being is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as well as living my best life …. it’s so easy to get stuck on that hamster wheel and forget to catch our breath. I have a fairly good diet, am pretty active and have started making a bit more time for myself but what about sleep? When looking at health and well being sleep is surely top of the list? What happens when we don’t get enough sleep? Sleep is vital for fighting illness, repairing and replenishing our bodies and minds, sleep also helps to boost memory and keeps us alert. Working from home means I need as much help as I can to stay on task and be productive. I began to wonder if I get enough sleep? Or if in fact, the sleep I get is quality sleep? Sleep is something we take for granted but having a good night sleep is vital. I’ve been finding it harder and harder to “fall asleep” my mind seems to be constantly racing and I feel like there’s always something or other bothering me!
Sleep stealers and how to combat them :
Mattress : You should change your mattress every 5-10 years, we have just surpassed the 5-year mark and have been thinking about a new one ideally one which isn’t a traditional spring mattress as quite frankly I’m fed up of springs in my back and the whole bed moving when either one of us moves. The Leesa mattress is made of 3 layers of foam, that adjust to your body offering optimum support and comfort. The top layer provides airflow to stop overheating and unlike traditional memory foam mattresses, there are no long-lasting dips or contours produced by your body. The Leesa mattress is also constructed in a way that absorbs movement, where have you been all my life! I am a restless sleeper and Daddy Moo a night eater (don’t ask). We have a tendency to accidentally wake each other up …. not anymore the only evidence now of sleep eating is the empty fridge.
The Leesa mattress arrived in a tiny box and part of you wonders how on earth a king-size mattress gets in there. Once you begin to unravel the yards and yard of shrink-wrap plastic which at first I thought was a bit wasteful but actually it was incredibly useful for folding up the previous mattress to take to the tip, the first thing you notice is how thick the mattress is. It’s literally double the size in height of our previous one and given how short I am once I sit on the bed my feet don’t touch the ground, I feel like the Princess and the Pea sat on her stash of mattresses.
We spend a third of our lives asleep so a mattress really is a necessity not a luxury and an investment in your health. Pre-Leesa me would have scoffed at spending £699 on a mattress but having slept on Leesa for over a month I couldn’t imagine life without one. Since we were gifted our mattress we have both been sleeping a lot better and it’s such a cosy space to cuddle up with a DVD or read a good book, over the summer I’ve often found a child or two chilling there. Leesa operates exclusively online, offering a 100-night risk-free trial period meaning that if the mattress isn’t for you, let them know and it will be collected and donated through a charitable organisation. I’ll admit it took me a while to get used to it and I still get into bed now, lay on the sumptuous foam and think is this bed really mine?
Caffeine : I started reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker drawing upon two decades of new science and the findings from over 100 papers from his lab. In places this book is really heavy going I wasn’t able to read the book in big chunks more snippets here and there as I found it a little textbook-like. However, there are some useful snippets like did you know caffeine “has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours” (page 28) meaning if you have a coffee at 7:30 pm 50% of the caffeine will still be active in your brain at 1:30 am. This has to be a game-changer? Every night Daddy Moo and I have what we call BT (bedtime tea) at around 9 pm it’s no wonder I struggle to get to sleep. So I started researching better caffeine-free teas like green tea which contains the amino acid theanine, helping to reduce stress and promote a night of restful sleep. Or chamomile which is actually known as a sleep inducer, its calming effects may be attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin.
Environment : Just with your home office a tidy spaces = a tidy mind. Make sure your bedroom is tidy, uncluttered and clean. The best way to ensure a good nights sleep is darkness. Darkness triggers our brain to slow down by stimulating the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A bright environment makes your melatonin levels low in turn making you feel awake and alert. Screen time is also a sleep stealer, watching TV or scrolling on our phones does not help with getting to sleep. We all do it, I’m not going to lie, my nighttime routine is to snuggle up in bed watching Netflix. This blue light keeps your brain active again reducing melatonin. Walker covers a lot about melatonin and how it works in Why We Sleep.
Smells also help to calm and set you up for a good nights sleep, lavender, for example, is well known to have sleep-inducing properties. Lavender helps to destress and calm you down which in turn relaxes you aiding with falling to sleep. You can use oils, pillow sprays, aromatherapy candles or wax melts to help scent your room. If you are interested in natural oils Doterra has produced this really great ebook on Essential Oils and Sleep well worth a read.
Have a Routine : Most of us either fall asleep watching TV (hands up this is me) or go to bed because we are tired. However, having a proper routine in which you go to bed at the same time every night and do the same things before you lay down creating cues to your body that it is time to go to sleep.
Now I’ve a new Leesa mattress and am armed with a few more tips to try out I’m looking forward to getting a lot more quality sleep and feeling productive again.
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