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!
School is starting soon and that means so do back to school routines such as early to bed, early to rise. It can be hard to get back into the swing of the sleep routine after a summer of fun & late nights, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself and your kids. Try these tips and hacks, and you’ll be back on track in no time.
To start, ease everybody back into the swing of routines, especially earlier bedtimes. A couple of weeks before school starts, start having the kids go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night till they hit their schooltime bedtime (ex. If they’ve been going to bed at 9, but need to go to bed at 8 during school, you’d start the first night at 8:45, the next at 8:30, and so on). This way it’s less of a shock and they’re less likely to put up a huge fuss.
Speaking of times for bed, set a regular time between 7pm & 8pm. Every child has different sleep needs, but generally most school-aged children need between 10-12 hours of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine offers these sleep guidelines for parents:
- 4-12 months: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
- 18+ years: 7+ hours
Once you have a set time and are working on getting back to that set time before school actually begins, it’s good to create a night time routine. About an hour before lights’ out, get things done like laying out clothes for the next day, taking showers/baths, brushing teeth, and putting on PJs. If you do the same thing each night before bed, the routine will start becoming a cue that it’s almost time for sleep.
A wonderful thing to have as part of your kids’ bedtime routine that children universally love? Bedtime stories! It winds kids down if they’re still energetic, creates a wonderful opportunity for bonding, and helps kids with their reading. It’s win-win all around. Something to avoid, however, is reading e-books – or looking at screens (tv, phone, computer) in general – at any point in the half hour leading up to sleep. Electronics emit blue light which causes a delay in the natural release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. No melatonin means no Mr. Sandman. (The avoiding electronics 30 minutes before bed rule is an excellent one for adults as well!).
Finally, make sure your child’s bedroom is primed for the perfect sleep. Blackout blinds are handy as bedrooms should be as dark as possible (though nightlights are useful too if your child doesn’t prefer complete darkness). Letting your child pick out their own sheet set will go a long way to getting them excited for bed too! And, of course, there’s the matter of making sure the mattress is comfortable – not too hard, not too soft (the kind of mattress Goldilocks would prefer). We have a great selection of mattresses at our stores and online PLUS a slew of more awesome information on sleep health on our website as well if it’s a mattress you need. Just drop by or give us a call!
Change can be hard, especially when it’s time to end summer fun and go back to school. These back to school sleep hacks should make the change a bit easier and give you and your kids one less thing to stress out over as the school season starts anew.
Are you waking up not feeling refreshed but not struggling with pain? Your lack of sleep may be the result of something other than your mattress or pillow! Things such as light exposure can both positively or negatively affect your ability to fall asleep depending on how much exposure you’re getting, when you’re getting it, and what type of light exposure you’re getting.
Another factor that can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep is using your bed for too many things. Beds are meant to be used for very few things and your main association with the bed should be sleep. If you use your bed for things like watching TV or Reading, you start to associate it with those things and this can make it more difficult to get the recommended amount of sleep, which is 7-9 hours for most adults.
DOs and DON’Ts for building healthy sleep habits:
- Expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on days off.
- Avoid napping.
- Exercise daily.
- Keep your room somewhat cool.
- Give yourself time to unwind before bed. One hour of a relaxing activity such as reading is recommended. Avoid Phones, Computers and TVs.
- Expose yourself to bright light, especially blue lights, in the evenings.
- Drink alcohol before bed.
- Drink caffeine in the hours before you go to bed.
- Eat a big meal right before bed.
- Watch TV, read your phone, tablet, or books, or listen to music while in bed.
- Participate in stimulating activities before you go to bed.
Sleep pain is likely the result of a lack of proper support. This can mean anything from your mattress or pillow being worn out, to just not being the right fit for how you sleep.
1. Back Pain – Most often caused by a worn out mattress that is no longer capable of providing you with the support you need. Like slumping at your desk or while watching tv, slumping will likely cause back pain; preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep and contributing to back pain. As coils age they lose their ability to bounce back from weight being put on them night after night, resulting in a slumping mattress as they don’t have the same rigidity they once had, and need, in order to properly function.
This slumping doesn’t just apply to coil mattresses though, the same slumping issue is also true of foam mattresses. Slumping in foam mattresses is often easy to diagnose as the mattress will show visible signs of slumping while coil mattresses may not. To find the perfect mattress for your perfect night’s sleep come see our experts!
2. Neck Pain – Unlike back pain, neck pain is most commonly caused by your pillow, not your mattress. The pillow’s responsibility is to align your neck with your spine while you sleep. There are two key factors that go into why your pillow may have become a pain for your neck. The first is that the pillow has simply become worn out.
The other key factor to consider with your neck pain is did you select the right type of pillow for how you sleep? Depending on if you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper the perfect pillow for you will change. Even the most expensive pillow can leave you waking up with pain in your neck if it doesn’t fit your sleep style. To find the perfect pillow for you, come see our experts!
Have questions about what might be causing your pain? We’re here to help! And keep following us for more info on sleep health and the importance of mattresses in the sleep equation! Ready to shop for your new mattress so you can get the best night’s sleep possible? Visit us HERE.
Why is it important to have healthy sleep habits and the right mattress?
Everything you do on a daily basis is impacted by how well, or poorly, you sleep. Finding the right mattress and pillow for you and building healthy sleep habits can impact everything from aches and pains, to how productive you are at work, to what kind of mood you’re in. Getting a full night’s sleep can make it easier to cut out that extra cup of coffee or energy drink you may rely on every day.
How Do You Sleep?
How you sleep is a huge part of finding a mattress that is not only comfortable but also instrumental in ensuring you wake up every morning feeling refreshed and without aches or pains.
Side Sleeper- If you’re a side sleeper you will likely find your best night’s sleep on a softer mattress that allows your hip to sink into the mattress a little bit. This give from the mattress allows your hip to drop down a bit and allows your spine to properly align.
Back Sleeper- If you’re a back sleeper you will likely find your best night’s sleep on a softer mattress that allows your shoulders and hips to sink in a little bit and allow your spine to properly align. If a mattress is too firm you will likely feel uncomfortable points of pressure similar to the pain many of us feel after sitting in a car for a long drive.
Stomach Sleeper- If you’re a stomach sleeper then your best night’s sleep will likely come from a firmer mattress. Unlike back and side sleeper’s you’re already putting yourself in a position where your spine is aligned. This means that a mattress with more give will actually cause your spine to slump a bit which could lead to you waking up with back pain.
We’ll have more blogs on sleep health and how the importance of mattresses in the sleep equation, so make sure you continue to drop by on the reg! And if you’re ready to shop for your new mattress so you can get the best night’s sleep possible, simply visit us HERE.