After the hedonism of the holidays and the slow sinking feeling that work is on the horizon, I think it’s fair to say we could all use a few good nights’ sleep.
We spend over one-third of our lives in bed, but are we really getting the zzz's we need for this sizeable and non-refundable investment?
Sleep is vital to our wellbeing, both mentally and physically ― we don’t really need scientific studies to prove this theory, as we have all experienced firsthand the downside of a short, interrupted or nonexistent night’s slumber.
While I’m no expert, I do have prolonged experience of interrupted sleep - I'm a maser of the 3am duvet tussle and know the basics - no stimulants, no screens, exercise, warm baths and meditation all have soporific benefits - as does the right visual environment, mattress and pillows but what else can we be doing?
As last Tuesday was the ‘Festival of Sleep Day’ (true) I have compiled my 4 top tips for satisfying slumber:
1. Sleep Naked
Yes, Marilyn Monroe may well have been onto something just sleeping in a smile. Sleeping naked actually helps the body to regulate heat, which, in turn aides the production of melatonin and growth hormones which are important both for the bodies ability to repair itself, prevent ageing as well as maintaining your metabolism.
Staying cooler in bed also produces a longer and deeper sleep!
If, for whatever reason you can’t retire in your birthday suit then do avoid synthetic fabrics and choose natural, breathable materials such as cotton or bamboo. Noctu do a gorgeous range of organic and fair-trade sleepwear.
2. Plant Power
More than the lungs of the planet (although that is no mean feat) plants can be hugely beneficial to us in the bedroom, not only do they purify the air but can also help to lower cortisol (our stress hormone), anxiety levels and blood pressure as well as boosting our immune function and triggering relaxation.
Try Jasmine or Lavender for intoxicating aroma and quick sleep, or, if you’re not green fingered how about NASA’s top air improver Aloe Vera?
Can’t do plants...then try out Neom’s - ‘Perfect Nights Sleep’ pillow mist - an all organic spray which contains Jasmine and lavender as well as calming chamomile and patchouli, which can help with depression.
Travelodge’s 2013 study on 2,000 UK homes revealed that blue rooms provided the longest night sleep. Not only does blue create a sense of calm it is thought to slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure.
Chris Idzikowski, Sleep Expert from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre commented on the study and said: “This is an amazing result, as there are specialised receptors called ganglion cells in the retina part of our eyes, which are most sensitive to the colour blue. These receptors feed information into an area deep in our brain that controls 24 hour rhythms, and affects how we perform and feel during the day. That interaction between light, sleep and wakefulness is supremely important.”
Closely following blue is green and yellow which are, respectively peaceful and calming and warm and comforting.
Whilst purple may be seen an a opulent and luxurious bedroom colour it actually stimulates creativity in the brain so is best avoided.
Other interesting findings of the study concluded that those of us who have followed the trend for grey bedrooms are more likely to spend time in bed shopping online, and, whilst red is seen as the colour of passion you are likely to have more sex if your room is painted in caramel!
Finally and by no means least is your actual bedding. We pay a lot of attention to our mattresses and pillows but do we ever consider that what we dress them in has an effect on the quality of our sleep?
Parachute Bedding’s founder Ariel Kaye provides some top and insightful tips in her interview on the Cupcake and Cashmere blog.
Much like our nightwear think natural! Avoid synthetic fibres that trap heat.
Avoid like the plague ‘easy-care’ or ‘wrinkle free’ bedding whilst this may save you laundry time these products are often treated with formaldehyde resin which doesn’t wash out!
Don’t be fooled by thread count! A higher count (and price tag) doesn’t mean higher quality. In fact anything over a 400 count is a manipulation of fabric or thread and will use synthetic fibres (see point 1)!
Launder your linen every 7 - 10 days and buy new every 18-24 months
Finally - make your bed! It helps keep mites to a minimum
So, there you have it. However long your slumber lasts tomorrow, make sure you are doing what you can to make it count!