Falling to Sleep Myths

We all have our own little thing that helps us get off to sleep. You may like to sit up in bed with a good book on your lap blowing into a creamy white hot chocolate, naughtily dunking in your favourite biscuit. Or are you now one of the many people who nightly listen to your favourite podcasts to help you relax, un-wind and drift off to sleep. Although these may help you to fall into a heavenly journey of 8 hours of undisturbed sleep (if you’re lucky that is) you may also find that some things keep you frustratingly awake, tossing and turning throughout the night. Let’s take a look through a range of sleep myths and see if we can bust your sleep problems.

sleeping
How do you drift off to sleep?

Having that little tipple of wine or whisky will help you get to sleep nicely, right?
Well in fact yes, it will. As soon as your head hits the pillow you will more than likely be drooling before you know it. However, this does not mean that you will enjoying your eight hours, in fact be prepared to have quite a terrible nights rest. It’s all quite interesting actually. As the alcohol will put you straight into a deep sleep; you will miss out on the usual first stage of sleep, called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When the alcohol starts to wear off during the night, your body will begin to  come out of the deep sleep and back into REM sleep, meaning you are much more likely to wake up. It’s typically normal to have six to seven cycles of REM sleep, where as if you have been drinking you’ll typically have only one to two, meaning you can wake feeling exhausted. Furthermore, you are much more likely to need the loo and you will loose more sweat, making you incredibly dehydrated in the morning. Not really a great night’s sleep then at all really!

half full glass of wine on bedside table of early twenties woman in bed in a bedroom
Do you drink before you go to sleep?

Watching T.V, being on my Laptop or playing a game will help me wind down and become sleepy.
What a lovely feeling, you are watching a delightful TV show, yet battling with your eyes to keep them open. You have a little 3 second super nap then force them open again, this is when you know it’s time for bed. More often than not, you will drift straight off, however what you may have been watching could really hinder the quality of your sleep. If you were watching or playing a game which was very stimulating, you may find that your brain can’t quite switch of, you may possibly have some very vivid dreams and certainly a very unsettled night of sleep

not sleeping
Do you sit on your laptop or tablet?

Exercising before bed will make me nice and tired.
True, you will ache and just want to lie down and relax. But that is it, you just need to relax your body, unfortunately it does not mean that Mr brain is ready to wind down. This is because exercise has an alerting effect, effectively waking you up and of course, it’s going to make you hot and sweaty, meaning you will find it terribly awkward and uncomfortable to just fall to sleep. However, light exercise and stretching before bed could be a good thing as many new studies show that it does not have as much of a effect as what first thougt. So really it just depends on what suits you.

train
Do you exercise before bed?

If I nap during the day, I won’t be able to sleep at night!
We do all love a good nap on the sofa, or even on a poorly day, getting into bed still fully clothed, nothing feels better right? However, a lovely long nap in the day could potentially ruin your sleep pattern. Not only will you wake up and feel rather groggy, you will effectively need less sleep in the evening meaning your body will wake up earlier or take much longer to fall to sleep. Short sweet naps are often recommended to help you keep bright eyed and bushy tailed yet not ruin your sleep pattern at night.

nap
Partial to a daytime nap?

Concept Memory Mattresses

Concept memory foam mattresses offer not only some of the most affordable mattress products, but some unique designs which offer something for almost everybody. From their entry level, very affordable budget memory foam mattresses to their Coolblue and Gelflex ranges, Concept are one of the most trusted brands.

 concept

Concept’s Coolblue memory foam mattresses are especially popular with those who find standard memory foam too warm. The Coolblue memory foam mattresses draw heat away, allowing you to stay cool all night long. Their Gelflex mattresses offer a unique combination of LayGel and Reflex memory foam, offering a sensational sleep surface of gel, with all the comfort of memory foam.

How to Wake up Naturally

Strangely enough, despite the fact that a great many people regularly ask how they can wake earlier in the morning without feeling utterly wretched, most of the websites, articles and blog posts we’ve seen don’t really address the problem properly. We feel that the problem is that most articles offering advice about how to wake up sooner look at the problem from the wrong end. The solutions offered focus on getting you rudely woken up, including tactics such as having your alarm clock on the other side of the room, forcing you to get up just to switch it off. But we think there is a better way of looking at this problem. In fact we feel the best way to wake up in the morning is to do so naturally, when your body has had the rest it needs, and feel that it’s time to wake you up itself. In other words, we think that the best way of working out how to wake up earlier is to forget the alarm clock, and the punishments, and instead look at how it is possible to train your body and brain to wake you up naturally, as well as waking you up as early as you need.

waking up to the alarm clock
Do you get rudely awoken by your alarm clock

What we’re looking at here is a series of techniques which will help you to slowly adapt your sleeping routine so that you start waking up naturally without needing an alarm clock. Although you will still want to make sure you have an alarm set just in case, this should be relegated merely to being a backup rather than something relied upon exclusively. The first thing to do is to be honest about how much sleep you actually need. By thinking about when you naturally wake up at the weekend, or when you’re on holiday, you should have a good idea whether you are a six hours per night person, an eight hours per night person, or something else entirely. Let’s say that you are fairly average and require eight hours of sleep per night. One of the main problems people have is simply that they do not go to bed in time to be able to have the amount of sleep they need. If you need to be up at seven o’clock in the morning, and you need a good eight hours of sleep, then clearly you need to be asleep by about 11 o’clock at night. It is therefore no good going to bed at midnight. It’s not even any good going to bed at 11 o’clock, because unless you’re very unusual you’ll probably spend quite a while reading, sending off a few text messages, setting the alarm clock, fluffing your pillow, and then lying there thinking about the next day. You may well waste the first half-hour of your sleep not sleeping. So if you need eight hours of sleep, and you need to be up at seven o’clock in the morning, it’s best to make sure that you aim to be in bed by ten thirty.

If you’ve been going to bed much later that this for some time then you’re going to find it difficult to get off to sleep early. Rather than trying to suddenly alter your sleeping pattern what you will need to do is gradually move the time you go to bed back by around 10 to 15 minutes each night until you are going to bed at the appropriate time. So if you tend to go to bed at about midnight, make sure you go to bed 15 minutes earlier than that on the first night, another 15 minutes earlier a few nights later, and so on until you are able to go to bed and drop off to sleep early enough to give yourself the time you need.

sleeping routine
Get yourself into a routine

It’s also important to make sure that you have a routine at night, and you stick to this routine every night. Whether that’s taking a bath, drinking a glass of warm milk, sitting reading for a while, or listening to relaxing music. Having a routine established means your body and mind will start to anticipate this, and actually anticipate falling asleep once the routine is finished.

Breasley Memory Mattresses

Breasley is a UK company which has been going for over 30 years now, and is regarded as one of the leading manufacturers of memory foam mattresses in this country.

breasley

Breasley manufacture four main types of mattress, including their Posture Form range designed to provide firm orthopaedic support, Flexcell which offers air temperature responsive, slow recover memory foam, Viscofoam which includes castellated resilient foam and contours to the shape of your body, and Flexcell Evolution which offers the very best quality high end memory foam mattresses for the ultimate night’s sleep, with a zoned middle section for optimum support for hips, back and pelvis.

Memory Foam Mattress Toppers Compared

Buying a memory foam mattress topper may sound like an inviting solution to an uncomfortable spring filled bed, but do they actually compare to a memory foam mattress?

If you’re looking for outstanding comfort and support then in most cases nothing will beat having a full memory foam mattress. These types of mattresses include several layers bonded together, and it is the interaction and combination of these layers which provides the plump support and comfort. Often a full memory foam mattress will include a firmer core, on which a foam layer is bonded, with the memory foam on the very top. This is because if the entire mattress was memory foam there wouldn’t be enough support, and you would sink into it too far. So for the best support and the greatest advantages a full mattress is usually the answer.

foam topperMemory Foam Mattress Topper

However surprising but true, a good memory mattress topper can offer a similar level of comfort, but at a fraction of the price. A quality memory foam mattress can be expensive, but a mattress topper will cost significantly less, making it a great way to experience the comfort and support of memory foam even on a budget.

If the mattress you currently have is reasonably firm and offers good support then a memory foam topper will work very well, but if your mattress is a few years old, and is starting to sag, the mattress topper will sag with it so you will not get the same benefits.

So in general terms, a full mattress is always preferable if your existing mattress is a few years old, but a mattress topper offers a cheaper option, and is ideal if your existing mattress isn’t too bad. Furthermore, another thing to consider is transportation. If you regularly sleep elsewhere, perhaps at hotels, having your own memory foam mattress topper can help transform a strange bed into one which is familiar and extremely comfortable, perfect for a great night’s sleep wherever you are!

Help Your Back with Memory Foam

Having a bad back is never a nice experience to have to go through. At some point in all our lives, there will come the day where we will not be able to get up off the sofa because your back will not allow it and it’s the same when you get out of bed. Not only can having a bad back cause problems with getting a good night’s rest, but a poor or inadequately supportive mattress can make the back problem much worse – or even create a back problem itself.

bad back
Do you get back ache?

If a mattress doesn’t provide sufficient support then it is possible for the weight of the hips to cause the spine to sag in the middle. An unsupported spine is one of the prime causes of the morning aching, creaking and stiffness often experienced.

A memory foam mattress is ideal for anyone who has ever had any kind of back problems, or who has experienced stiffness or achiness after a night’s sleep. Because the memory foam moulds to shape itself around your body in a completely even way, there is no possibility of any sagging.

With a normal sprung mattress your hips will push down harder against the springs than the small of your back, and your head will push down harder than your feet – it’s all to do with weight. With memory foam however the foam supports every single part of you completely evenly, with the same level of support being given to the small of your back as your hips, and the same amount of support for your head as your toes. This means that as you lie on an memory foam mattress it adjusts to cushion you in a completely natural and comfortable position, supporting each individual vertebrae, and each joint perfectly.

This creates not only an extremely comfortable surface to sleep on, but the support needed to relieve joint pressure and muscle stiffness, so that the next morning when you wake up you don’t feel as though someone has replaced your spine with a floorboard, and your muscles with bits of old rope. It’s for this reason that memory foam mattresses are being used increasingly in care homes and private hospitals.

Memory Foam Mattresses Reduces ‘Partner Roll’

Does this sound like you? Subconsciously enjoying a wonderful delightful sleep, until you get awoken by a flying hand or even a arm? Or maybe you have managed to roll to the other side of the bed and find yourself cocooning your partner like a backpack. Well it sounds like you have the common issue of the ‘partner roll’!

If you share your bed with a loved one, you will more than likely be woken up at least once in the night by them. This could be the sound of their snoring which they manage to bellow out, the constant fidgeting, or even their sleep taking or laughing! But if one of you is considerably heavier than the other, you will find that a drop will be created, leaving the other person feeling like they are sleeping at the edge of a ski slope. This often results with the partner either hovering other the edge or rolling down to the side of their partner. This may be the ideal situation for a romantic evening but not when it a sweltering 21 degrees outside during the night and you both have to sleep within a close proximity of one another for at least 8 hours.

snoring
Is it not only snoring that’s keeping you awake?

So, save yourself from the endless hot sticky nights of rolling into the abyss or dodging the springs in your side as you sleep, switch to a memory foam mattress. A memory foam mattress works completely differently because the memory foam absorbs and cushions each person completely separately. The network of billions of miniscule cells which make up the memory foam don’t echo the movement or change in shape more than a few millimetres at the very most.
So if you are looking for an undisturbed, soft comfortable night’s sleep without being taken on a little journey with your partner every time they move in the night, a memory foam mattress will be just for you!

Beauty Sleep – Far From Being Skin Deep

Considering we all spend roughly a third of our lives doing it, and we have virtually mastered before our first birthday, it’s surprising just how little we understand sleep. There are so many contradictions, so many misunderstandings, so many myths, and so many examples of other creatures which don’t match our needs.

Why do we dream? Nobody knows. Do all animals dream? Almost certainly not, but it’s clear some animals do. Do all animals sleep? No, many animals do not sleep, or at least, don’t sleep in the same way we do. To be honest, nobody even knows why we sleep, why we dream, and why we feel the way we do if we don’t get enough sleep, or a decent quality night’s sleep.

If you’re currently reading this curled up in comfort on a high quality memory foam mattress, tucked under a duvet and preparing for a good night’s sleep then you may well feel quite favourably towards the whole idea of sleep. On the other hand, if you’re slouched in front of a computer screen, bleary eyed and well aware that it’s going to be another late one tonight then the idea of sleep may appear to be a sign of weakness.

Is Sleep A Weakness?

It’s surprising just how many working people view sleep as weakness. I’ve seen people praise someone who has managed to do an ‘all nighter’, as though this is something to be sought, something to admire and something which significantly increases productivity.

Utter baloney. Doing an all nighter is not going to increase productivity. If anything it’s likely to reduce productivity, and could very well put lives at risk.

Consider ‘Dave’. He has worked a full day’s shift, but because of the pressure of time, targets, rivalry or staff shortages he has worked a night shift. He’s been awake for 19 hours straight, and is now ready to head home. He hops into his car, hailed a hero.

Consider Geoff. He finished work on time, and spent the entire evening in the Pig and Whistle downing several pints of his favourite strong German lager. He is now ready to head home. He hops into his car. Whether he is simply arrested for drunk driving, whether he is arrested for causing an accident whilst under the influence, or whether he spends years in jail thinking about the tragedy he caused to other families, it is clear that he would never be considered a hero.

The trouble is that in reality, Dave is every bit as dangerous as Geoff. Because research has shown that after 19 hours of being awake the human brain is operating at around the same level as someone who is considerably over the legal limit. As sleep deprivation continues the severity increases.

How The Brain Copes With Sleep Deprivation

Many people don’t appreciate this, and think that working overtime, staying up late and burning the midnight oil will increase productivity. In truth what happens is the brain slowly shuts down. But it doesn’t do this uniformly.

It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t really that long ago that we were out there on the plain dressed in animal skins, living in caves and hunting dinner with a piece of flint. The survival skills and instincts gained over many thousands of generations led us to cope with that lifestyle and its demands.

Today those same instincts and responses exist in all of us, regardless of whether your line manager needs the reports in by eight or your team is 2.3% down on last month’s output total.

If you lose the equivalent of a night’s sleep your brain powers down two key sections, called the parietal and occipital lobes. These normally consume large amounts of energy, being the parts of the brain most responsible for visual processing, sense integration and object manipulation. In other words, those parts of the brain responsible for ensuring we take in relevant information, process it, and do something with it. All of which is largely necessary when carrying out work.

Instead the brain redirects energy into the thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for keeping us awake. So effectively our brain is putting more effort into keeping us awake than it is actually processing information. So whilst we may congratulate ourselves on actually staying awake for so long, what we’re doing is just that – staying awake. What we’re achieving while staying awake is probably very poor.

Debunking The Sleep Myths

Then of course there’s the age old ‘catch up’ theory. That if we get extra sleep ahead of an all nighter, or we get a lie in after the all nighter, we’ll be fine. We won’t. First of all, sleep isn’t something you can stock up on in advance. It doesn’t matter if you’ve slept for a week, after a day’s work you’ll still need to go to sleep afterwards, or suffer the consequences.

And you can’t catch up on sleep too quickly either. For each hour of sleep you miss, you’ll need to have two the next day to feel properly recovered. For each day you don’t catch up, you’ll need to add yet more. Over a week you can end up being a full night’s sleep in debt, meaning that your brain just isn’t going to be performing, meaning your output will be very much down.

If you really want to perform well at work, get a decent night’s sleep, and don’t short-change yourself. Sleep has a habit of keeping a rather better tally of our debts than we like to think, and your brain isn’t on your side as much as you think it is. If you really want to succeed, go to bed, and stay there for the full stretch. Your parietal and occipital lobes will thank you for it. And so might your boss.

What Are Memory Foam Mattresses Like For Having Sex On?

Let’s be honest, mattresses aren’t just for sleeping on, and thinking about what a memory foam mattress might be like once the children are in bed and the bedroom door is shut is important!

There are two main advantages with memory foam mattresses when it comes to sex, but one thing to consider as well.

First of all, memory foam mattresses and mattress toppers are very good for having sex on because they are silent! If you’ve ever had sex on a bed with a sprung mattress you’ll no doubt be familiar with the squeaking and bouncing noises made by the springs. With memory foam the mattress absorbs the ‘impacts’, with the result that no one will know what you’re up to!

Secondly, memory foam offers much better and more even support, so for whoever is underneath the mattress offers a much more comfortable layer of support all the way from the toes to the head, regardless of what position you’re in.

For the person on top the memory foam offers much better support for joints such as knees and elbows which can otherwise become uncomfortable if your activities go on for longer than about a minute.

However, some people can find that a thick memory foam mattress, one with two or three inches of memory foam on top, can deaden the rhythm which one can achieve, with the mattress absorbing your efforts.

For this reason those people who are looking for a high quality memory foam mattress that will offer them a much better quality of sleep, but who also enjoy intimate moments on a regular basis, may prefer to opt for a memory foam mattress topper of around an inch to an inch and a half.

When it comes to sex on a memory foam mattress, there’s a lot of difference between an inch and three inches…

Could You Earn A Million Pounds In Your Sleep?

What do you get up to in your sleep? Apart from a few rather weird dreams, most of which you probably don’t wish to make known to anyone else, and an occasional wriggle about, probably not much.

Certainly it’s unlikely that you can earn a million pounds in your sleep. But one man is just about to do exactly that.

Lee Haldwin, from London, has a very strange ability to draw in his sleep. We’re not talking here about a few random squiggles, the odd wiggly line or a rough approximation of a circle. We’re talking about works of art that are estimated at around £1 million. (http://bit.ly/WH59I2)

From the age of 4 Lee has doodled in his sleep, being totally unaware of what he is doing. Of course sleepwalking isn’t new, and many people have been reported as being capable of making a cup of tea or going for a walk whilst entirely unconscious. In Lee’s case he is able to get up, grab a pencil and paper, and create amazing pieces of art, before heading back to bed, all whilst still completely fast asleep.

The ironic thing is that when he is awake Lee is, as he freely admits himself, a pretty lousy artist. Yet the images he has created in his sleep have aroused a huge amount of interest, and he has already sold several pieces for six figure sums to people such as Derren Brown and Donald Trump.

Sometimes very detailed portraits, sometimes abstract in nature, Lee is hoping that his drawings will raise a million pounds, of which he will be donating half to the Missing Person charity.

For those people who have denied that it is possible Lee has been checked, analysed, tested and tested again by many teams of researchers, and his ability has been independently verified. Around two or three times a week Lee will wake up in the morning, and will find works of art left around the house that he has created during the night.

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up each day and find that during our sleep we have created something beyond our conscious ability, and which could raise so much money?

Unfortunately Lee pays for his ability in chronic headaches afterwards, but nonetheless, it is an extraordinary ability.

This just goes to show two things though.

Firstly, we still don’t have much idea just how the brain works, and what it is capable of achieving, and secondly, that the time we spend in bed, sleeping, is not simply wasted by our brains and bodies.

Sleep is perhaps more important than being awake, since so much is achieved by our minds and bodies. On a physical level it is while we are asleep that our bodies carry out most of the repair work necessary, healing, mending, fixing, growing, replacing and cleaning. Whilst our muscles need to rest, this is just one small part of why our bodies need sleep to remain fit, healthy and in good condition.

But it is our brain which benefits most from sleep. Indeed, without sleep our brain ceases to be able to function properly after a very short while, and eventually a lack of sleep can result in complete breakdown of cognitive ability.

Why, we don’t know, but we do know that whilst we are asleep parts of our brain light up like a fireworks show, and a very great deal of work goes on.

Have you ever gone to sleep puzzling over something, only to wake up with the answer to a question or problem straight away?

Most of us have had this experience, and it is known that our subconscious goes over problems encountered in the day, rehearsing things coming up, repeating things we achieved, or failed to achieve, helping us to think creatively and perform better the next day. Some people believe that it is this practising, rehearsing and consolidating which results in our dreams.

All of which underlines the huge importance of sleep. You might not make a million pounds with it, but without it you’ll struggle to even count a single pound coin. Make sure you get to bed at a reasonable time, you organise yourself a decent routine, you switch off bright screens at least half an hour before bed, cut out caffeine and alcohol right before you go to sleep, and of course, make sure you have a decent mattress.

If you find yourself tossing and turning trying to get to sleep it’s very probably your lumpy mattress, or the pressure of the springs pushing against you. Switch to a memory foam mattress, and whilst we can’t guarantee you a million pounds, we think you will find yourself feeling a good deal brighter the next day.