We spend a lot of time doing it – or at least we should – and if we don’t get enough of it we can do real damage to our health. Not to mention how cranky most of us get when we haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
There are so many things that affect the quality of the sleep you get, and studies show that poor or insufficient sleep can affect your health in ways you might not expect – including increased risk of cancer, stress and – shock horror – premature aging!
There are many factors that will help you get quality shut eye. Some simple tips include:
- A good dose of sunlight during the day will balance your body’s circadian rhythm. Side benefit: this will also help with your Vitamin D intake
- No television, phone or computer just before bed – the nature of the light emitted by these devices will reduce your body’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin
- Temperature – keep the room cool if you can. It is better to put an extra blanket on the bed than have the room too warm
- Blackout! The light that is. Have the room as dark as possible. So any of those devices that have lights on – cover them up
- Try and get some exercise during the day. It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but if your muscles are tired you will find it easier to fall asleep
However, the single most important physical factor for a good night’s sleep is your mattress. A mattress should support your body in a neutral position. But choosing a mattress can be fraught with danger. Too hard? Too soft? A partner who likes something different? How do you decide?
In essence, the type of mattress you sleep on should correspond to the way in which you sleep. Generally, you should try and avoid sleeping on your stomach. But if you must – stomach sleepers should go for a nice firm mattress that will keep your spine aligned. Team this with a low pillow, or forgo the pillow at all. Back sleepers require a medium mattress which provides support, while at the same time offering comfort. Side sleepers require a softer mattress that will contour to their curves whilst still providing support.
So, how do you know if you need to invest in a new mattress? If you are waking up with a sore back, which generally eases after around half an hour of moving around – you probably need a new mattress.
If you are thinking of investing and are concerned or confused by the vast array of options, please give us a call at the Clinic. We are happy to give you advice on the best type of mattress for your needs, and can arrange a specialist mattress company to provide you with not only good advice, but a good deal too!