Welcome to May, also known as “Better Sleep Month”! (But really, shouldn’t every month be a better sleep month?) If you’re like most Americans you either aren’t getting enough sleep or you aren’t getting quality sleep – both of which have a huge impact upon your life. In fact, 8 out of 10 people say they would feel better if they got more sleep. What does good quality sleep do for you?
We can tell you what the lack of it can do. Inadequate sleep can increase your blood pressure and cause your body to become more stressed. Poor sleep can also create brain fog, increase irritability, cause mood swings, and weaken the immune system. It creates a lack of productivity and decline in judgement in the work place. And serious sleep problems cause issues like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and insomnia. Yikes.
There are A LOT of factors that can interrupt your sleep and cause you to sleep poorly. The most common one is, of course, stress. Stress can manifest in different ways such as family drama, trouble with friends, break-ups, financial worries, and anxiety in general (let’s face it, we can all find something to be anxious about at any given time). Physical factors can also disrupt your sleep – factors such as body aches & pain, a frequent need to urinate, or snoring from a partner. Then there are external factors – caffeine intake (especially close to bedtime), how light or dark the room is, room temperature, and noise. Looking at it this way, it seems like there’s a lot keeping us from sleep.
BUT there are plenty of ways to change things up and create an environment in which you can sleep well. The whole aim of “Better Sleep Month” is to encourage people to establish better sleep patterns after all! Here are some fabulous tips from the Better Sleep Council designed to help you get a good night’s rest.
- Make a sleep schedule and stick to it. We’re talking going to bed and waking up at the same time each & every day, including weekends. This helps your body find its natural rhythm and settle into a consistent sleep-wake cycle.
- Exercise regularly – just not in the two hours before bedtime. Exercise will wake you up which is what you want to avoid.
- Don’t eat large meals right before bed. Going to bed while your body is digesting a large meal can lead to problems like heartburn and indigestion.
- Do something relaxing before bed. Instead of stimulating activities that will wake you up, do some light reading or meditating, just whatever you find relaxes you.
- That said – turn off the television and other screens an hour before bed. “But I find TV relaxing!”…”How can I read without my Kindle?”…yes, well, the light your screens give off affects the production of melatonin in your body – and melatonin is one of the sleep-inducing chemicals your brain produces. So, unfortunately, electronic devices close to bedtime are a bad idea.
- Something else to avoid before bed? Alcohol and nicotine. A glass of wine before bed may help you relax, but it will actually disrupt your sleep because it reduces REM sleep (the most important kind). And nicotine is a stimulant.
- Re-evaluate your mattress every 7 years to make sure it’s still giving you the same level of comfort and firmness. If your mattress has become saggy, lumpy, or uncomfortable in any way, it clearly will not make for a good night’s sleep. If you find it lacking, go get a new one that provides ultimate comfort.
- Replace your pillow once a year. Pillows are important – they provide neck support. Make sure yours is doing it’s job.
- Create the optimal sleep environment. Make sure your room is dark as it can be (black out blinds help here), make sure you have enough room in the bed if you share with a partner (or pet!), and make sure the temperature is right.
- Remember it’s the quality of your sleep, not necessarily how much you get that determines how rested you are. Many experts believe between 7 1/2 & 8 1/2 hours of sleep are needed each night, but studies have shown that people who sleep between 6 & 7 hours a night might actually live longer. And 6 hours of quality sleep will always be better than 8 hours of poor sleep!
A good night’s rest is vitally important to good health, so we hope these tips help you reach your perfect night’s sleep! Believe us, you’ll notice a difference. Not only will your physical & mental health improve, but some people even think better sleep helps spark their creativity and improves their memory. Pretty powerful!
And if it’s a mattress that’s the cause of your sleep issues, we are more than happy to help you out. Our mattress center, Everything Sleep, in Succasunna has your mattress needs covered. We offer great mattresses at amazing prices + our sleep experts will help you find the mattress that’s right size and comfort level for you. Together we’ll find the perfect fit. Happy sleeping!
Mattresses – large, bulky, and no fun to buy, right? (Well, not exactly. We make it pretty fun!) But sometimes they have to be replaced. How do you know when that time is though? Here’s how to tell whether it’s time to replace your mattress.
How old is your mattress? Consumer Reports magazine recommends mattresses be replaced between every 7-10 years so one of the first things to consider is the age of your mattress. It can be hard to remember when exactly you purchased an item, so when you buy a mattress try writing the date of purchase on the mattress label.
How are your allergies? If you wake up sneezing or sniffling or find that your allergies seem worse at night when you lay down, it might be time for a new mattress. That’s because dust mites are one of the leading causes of allergies and they love to bed down in…well, bedding. These guys love to hibernate and multiply in the cotton felt layer that is found in most spring mattresses. They’re tough to get rid of so getting a new mattress is the easiest way to go. Then, use a dust mite resistant mattress cover and frequently wash your pillows and bedding to help alleviate dust mites and extend the life of your new mattress.
How well-rested are you in the morning? The whole point of sleep is to refresh your body. If you consistently wake up still tired and feel sleepy throughout the day (and you don’t have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, etc), that means you’re not resting well. Most likely it’s due to tossing & turning all night long because your body can’t get comfortable. And that means it’s time for a new mattress.
How does your body feel in the morning? Likewise, take inventory of any aches & pains you feel when you wake up each morning. If you’re waking up each morning sore & achy, chances are you need a new mattress. As mattresses get near the end of their lives, they lose their spring and ability to bounce back. That means no support for you and directly sleeping on springs, yikes!
How does your mattress look? If you are feeling pain, take a good look at your mattress. If you can see visible signs of sagging (think lumps or valleys), then you’re definitely not getting quality support. If you don’t see any visible signs of sagging but you still feel like you’re sagging into the mattress, particularly in the middle of the bed, it’s likely the core of your memory foam is softening.
Are you more comfortable elsewhere? This is pretty obvious but if you find yourself sleeping better on a hotel mattress than at home or purposely going to sleep on the sofa some nights instead of your bed because you like it better, you have an issue and you definitely need a new mattress!
Have you experienced significant weight change? Weight fluctuates as we go through life, sometimes minutely, and sometimes greatly. It happens for a variety of reasons (surgery, pregnancy, etc) and, believe it or not, it can affect how your mattress supports you. A mattress that was comfortable 6 years ago might not offer the same level of comfort if you weigh much less or more, due to pressure points. Sometimes this can be fixed, at least temporarily, with a mattress topper but if the mattress is simply too soft and unsupportive, it’s time to bite the bullet and shop for a new one.
Shopping for a new mattress can seem like an overwhelming experience because it’s a large purchase, but when it’s time, it’s time. At Suburban, we make the experience simple and painless with our wide array of mattresses suited to fit a variety of different needs. Our knowledgeable salespeople are also available to answer any questions you might have and to help you find your next perfect mattress. Now that you know how to tell whether you need a new mattress when you decide it’s time, come by Suburban. We’ll be waiting to lend a helping hand!