Donna, Author at Sealy

New infant sleep guidelines: No co-sleeping, cot décor, blankets

The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has released an updated list of infant sleep guidelines. In its first update since 2016, the AAP strongly advises against co-sleeping with babies, using weighted blankets and swaddles, cot décor, inclined sleeping products and babies sleeping in hats.

The updated guidelines are based on the study of nearly 160 scientific articles since 2015 that cover risk factors and statistical trends for sleep-related infant death.

Infant sleep guidelines for co-sleeping

In South Africa, co-sleeping is common because of cultural preferences and because many families simply cannot afford to give their baby a bed of their own. However, Dr Rebecca Carlin, co-author of the new guidelines and member of the AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), says the evidence is clear that co-sleeping significantly raises the risk of baby’s injury or death.

A recent study reveals that the prevalence of SIDS ranges from 3.7 deaths per 1000 live births in South Africa. The same study reported that 60% to 91.8% of South African mothers who attended well-baby clinics reported bed sharing with their babies.

While the AAP is strongly against co-sleeping with infants, they do recommend that babies sleep in the same room as caretakers on a separate firm and flat mattress that is covered with a snug-fitting sheet. According to the new guidelines, room sharing can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.

Babies should sleep on their backs with no blankets, pillows, soft bedding, or cot décor that could suffocate the child. Hats should also be removed as they pose a suffocation risk. If you’re worried about your baby getting cold, use infant sleep clothing, such as a wearable blanket or a swaddle. Be careful not to swaddle your baby too tightly, ensuring your baby is able to breathe with ease and move their hips.

If you are using an inclined sleeping product, like a wedge for a pillow, do not use any pillow with an incline higher than 10 degrees. In America, it has recently become illegal to sell products with an incline higher than 10 degrees.

Sealy cot and baby mattresses

Sealy cot mattresses are specially designed to give babies the support they need as they grow. We use only top quality, natural, non-allergenic materials, with an aloe vera fabric covering that allows breathability of the mattress. In terms of durability, the fabric is washable with mild soap and a cloth. The Sealy Posturepedic® Soft Touch Bamboo Mattress Protector featuring a Two-Way Stretch Skirt will also help prolong the life of your Sealy cot mattress.

 

 

How much should you invest in better sleep?

Getting better sleep is one of the most important investments you can make. When it comes to any investment, you need to know two things: how much the investment is going to cost and whether you will receive value for money.

The costs of better sleep

Once you have thought about how much quality sleep is worth to you, it’s time to look at how you can invest in better sleep. There are things you can that simply require a change of lifestyle habits. These include, for example, creating a regular sleep schedule, eating healthy and exercising.

Then, there are things that will require a monetary investment. Examples include blackout shades, a sleeping mask, ear plugs, better sheets, better pillows, a sound maker, a gym membership or even an oil diffuser. However, the most important and likely the most expensive purchase is going to be your mattress.

The quality of a mattress is important for the body to stay properly aligned during sleep. Beyond alignment, a mattress with proper comfort layers helps to relieve pressure points and conform to your body, thus helping reduce pain and making it easier to get comfortable. Lastly, a good quality mattress will maintain its functionality allowing it to last for many years, which offers more of a return on investment for the owner.

What’s the difference between a cheap mattress and an expensive one?

Cheaper mattresses:

  • Offer less support, durability and overall comfort
  • Less development in research and development in mattress technologies
  • Manufacturers might use lower quality materials

Higher priced mattresses:

  • Comfort layers are added for ultimate comfort
  • Research and development are at the forefront of mattress design
  • Better design and high quality materials are used for durability and lasting comfort

When a mattress is made well and works properly, the returns justify the investment.

Selecting the right mattress will take some time and effort. First, you have to find a reputable manufacturer that makes quality mattresses. Then, you need to find the right mattress out of the line-up which meets your specific needs and budget. This will likely require visiting the mattress store, talking with a sales representative, and trying out various options. We’ve also developed the handy Sealy Mattress Selector that helps identify which mattress type best suits your sleep style.

Taking time with this decision is wise as it will pay you back for years to come.

 

 

Does drinking warm milk help you sleep better?

Browse the Sealy blog and you’ll find several suggestions around rituals that will help you sleep better. Drinking warm milk before bed is a ritual that has been around for many years, but does it really help promote sleep?

Does warm milk help you sleep?

It is true that milk contains an amino acid that produces serotonin and melatonin in your brain. Serotonin gives you a mood boost, and melatonin is the hormone your body produces to help you sleep better. To get enough of this amino acid to really make a significant difference to your sleep, you would need to drink up to four litres.

However, a recent study of adults over the age of 60 found that drinking fermented milk over the course of three weeks reduced night-time wakings. Many sleep scientists believe there could be a psychological connection between drinking warm milk and good sleep.

Alternatives to warm milk

Thankfully, there are now many alternatives to dairy milk, all of which carry benefits of their own:

  • Oat milk also has amino acids that produce serotonin and melatonin, and it also has proteins that could help with late-night snacking
  • Almond milk has magnesium, which is helpful for insomniacs
  • Soy milk can also help ease sleep problems

Delicious spiced milk recipes

Whatever milk you choose, think of adding some spices that add even more nutrients to your drink of choice. These three spiced milk recipes are the perfect evening drink to help you unwind before bed:

Ingredients:

Golden Spice:

250 ml milk of your choice

1 tsp turmeric

¼ tsp cinnamon + extra to sprinkle

Vanilla Spice:

250 ml milk of your choice

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon + extra to sprinkle

Autumn Spice:

250 ml milk of your choice

1 tsp maple syrup

½ tsp cinnamon + extra to sprinkle

¼ tsp nutmeg

Recipe:

  1. If you have a milk frother, simply mix the milk and spices together and froth in a milk frother.
  2. If you don’t have a milk frother, mix the milk and spices together in a microwave jar and microwave for 30 seconds. Then screw on the lid and shake the mixture, remove the lid and microwave for another 30 seconds – 1 minute for hot, frothy milk!
  3. Pour into a mug and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Download the full recipes here

 

Natural ways to manage anxiety

Anxiety is sometimes caused by either dwelling too much in the future or in the past – worrying about things that might or might not happen and letting our mind rest on painful experiences of the past. One of the key natural ways to manage anxiety is to be fully present in the current moment.

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress, and it serves a very real and valuable purpose in our lives. It lets us know when we are in danger and helps us identify possible risks. However, if anxiety is left unchecked, it can spiral out of control and can end up having a negative impact on your quality of life.

There are a number of ways to treat anxiety. Therapy can help to explore the reasons behind your anxiety and can also give you tools for managing the anxiety. Medications like anti-depressants and sedatives work to balance your brain chemistry.

How to manage anxiety naturally

Big and small lifestyle changes can also have an impact on your anxiety. Below are a few natural remedies for anxiety.

  • Move your body

A new study published in January 2022 showed that regular, moderate exercise can help improve symptoms of anxiety.

  • Consume less alcohol

Alcohol changes the level of feel-good chemicals in the brain. You might feel less anxious when you’ve had a drink or too, but the anxiety returns, sometimes even worse, as the alcohol starts to wear off. Alcohol also interferes with your sleep, which leads us to the next point…

  • Make sleep a priority

Sleep deprivation worsens anxiety, and deep sleep protects against anxiety. However, if you battle with anxiety, sometimes trying to fall asleep can cause more anxiety. Good ‘sleep hygiene’ can help improve bedtime battles. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time every morning, exposure to daylight, turn off all screens about an hour before bedtime, etc.

  • Meditate and practice mindfulness

The main goal of meditation is to learn to rest your mind in the present moment. There are many different types of meditation available to try out, including focussed meditation, mantra meditation, loving-kindness meditation, visualisation meditation, etc.

Create the ideal sleep environment

In general, sleep can take its toll on mental health, including triggering anxiety. Setting up an environment that promotes rest will allow you to fall asleep faster and enjoy a more refreshing sleep.

  • Use black out curtains or blinds to make your room dark
  • Keep your room at the ideal temperature, usually between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius
  • Ensure you have the right mattress that provides adequate support and comfort for the perfect sleep. (Use the Sealy Mattress Selector tool to find the best Sealy for your sleep profile.)
  • Control noise. If outside noises are unmanageable, it might be worthwhile investing in ear plugs or a sound machine.
  • Keep your bedroom as clutter-free as possible.

The perfect sleeping environment is a highly personal matter, but with the above tips and your intuition, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own sleep sanctuary. As far as interventions to help manage anxiety, many of these suggestions are low-risk and low-cost, and the side effects are mostly good. It’s worth a try.

Tips for testing a new mattress in-store

If you’re considering buying a new mattress, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by choice. We recommend starting with our Mattress Selector, which is designed to provide you with tailored suggestions based on information related to your sleep and lifestyle. Once you know the type of mattress suitable for you, find your nearest approved Sealy retailer and try it in person.

Below are some of our top tips for testing out a mattress in-store:

Know your sleep habits

Take a moment beforehand to think about your sleep habits and what you’d like to improve about your current mattress. Consider these questions:

  • Are you a side sleeper or do you usually sleep on your back?
  • Do you know what type of mattress you’re currently sleeping on?
  • Has it simply become too old, worn out and saggy?
  • Does it have the right comfort level for you?
  • Are you constantly waking up with back pain?

Make yourself comfortable

Wear loose-fitting clothing that will allow you to move around comfortably. If you’re buying a new mattress with a partner, it will be important for both of you to test out the options. Feel free to take your favourite pillow with you so that you’re able to replicate your normal sleeping environment.

Take your time testing a new mattress

The only way to be sure about which mattress is right for you is to spend time on it. Don’t be shy about trying each one to get a feel for the differences. Take your shoes off and spend about 15 minutes lying on each mattress in your normal sleeping position, until you find the one you’re sure you’ll be happy with. Don’t rush, as the purchase ought to be one for the long-term.

Shop around for a bargain

If you visit different retailers, the specific models might not be an exact match, but you can compare prices by taking note of the mattress specs and model range. Sealy retailers choose their own bed names, so when you shop at different stores, the names will be different. Browse the Sealy website to view the full range from which retailers choose certain models to sell.

Shop around to find the best deal to fit your budget. Most importantly, think of your purchase as a valuable investment in yourself and your health because getting a good night’s sleep sets you up to tackle the challenges of everyday life with all the energy and enthusiasm you need.

Make sure it’s #ClearlyASealy

When shopping for your new Sealy, it is safest to make sure you are purchasing your bed from an Authorised Sealy Retailer, and you receive an official invoice. Remember, our list of authorised retailers are on the Sealy website. Click here to view a list of Sealy retailers. If the store you’re shopping at isn’t on this list, contact us to check if that store is in fact authorised to sell Sealy mattresses.

All Sealy mattresses come with a warranty, which will protect you in the unlikely event of a factory defect. Once you purchase your Sealy, register your warranty on our website. This is a good way to protect your investment. A warranty is your protection against defective workmanship – it is not a guarantee of product life or more important, of comfort life.

What does a Sealy warranty cover?

  • A factory guarantee repair or replacement period is against faulty workmanship and faulty materials, not extending to damage caused by normal wear and tear, abuse, misuse or negligence.
  • A service warranty period is the balance of the period outside of the guarantee period where the cost of repair or replacement is borne by the customer on a pro rata basis for the remainder of the service warranty period.

Now that you’ve learnt how to buy a new mattress, you’re ready to begin your search for a better night’s sleep! Find your nearest retailer today!

 

Tips for using an electric blanket

With the cost of electricity soaring, using an electric blanket might be a cost-effective way to keep warm. However, use your electric blanket with caution and remember that high temperatures from the blanket could damage your Sealy mattress.

Is it cost-effective to use an electric blanket?

Dealing with load shedding and facing high electricity rates has made many of us more mindful of how and when we use electricity. Most electric blankets say how much energy they use at full power with their wattage. This means you can figure out exactly how much it costs to run your electric blanket.

Using an electric blanket to heat your bed will very likely be much more affordable than heating your whole house or room. Electric blankets don’t get that hot, and if you use a lower heat setting you will use even less electricity.

You can lower the cost of using an electric blanket by purchasing a blanket with multiple heat setting and using the blanket at a moderate to low setting.

It’s such a successful alternative to trying to heat up a whole room that an energy supplier in the UK recently started giving blankets to some of their most needy customers. With electricity prices increasing in the UK, Octopus Energy decided to help some of their customers by handing out up to 5000 blankets so they could afford to keep warm.

Safety tips for electric blankets

Newer electric blankets come with minimal risk of fires or burns because they include safety features, like an automatic shut-off. However, any time electricity is present, there’s a chance of fire. If your blanket is 10 years or older, they might not have internal temperature controls that will turn them off if they get too hot.

  • If you don’t know how old your electric blanket is, rather stop using it
  • If you must use one, remember to keep it at a low to moderate heat
  • The elderly, children, pregnant women and people with diabetes or circulation issues should not use electric blankets
  • Only use one electric blanket at a time
  • Use the blanket to warm up your bed (at a low to moderate heat, to protect your Sealy mattress), and turn it off before going to sleep
  • Store your blanket according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Before using your blanket after a period of storage, hold it up to the light and inspect it for tears, discoloration, burn marks, or crimps in the cords. If you see any of these, don’t use it
  • Don’t buy second hand electric blankets
  • Avoid using a hot water bottle and an electric blanket at the same time
  • Don’t use electric blankets with waterbeds or automatic beds

Alternative tips for sleeping cozy

Our most important tip is to use your blanket at a low heat. Remember that high temperatures from your electric blanket could cause compression and sagging in your Sealy mattress and could affect the fibres and comfort fillings.

  • Warm up your bed with a hot water bottle.
  • Create layers of top sheets and blankets, and invest in winter bed sheets. The layers between the blankets will create warmth and insulation.
  • Invest in wool and cotton fleece blankets.
  • Dress in layers with warm pyjamas. Don’t forget the socks!

Getting adequate sleep could mean less tummy fat

When you get enough sleep, you’re able to better control calorie intake, manage your weight and could even significantly reduce fat accumulation inside the tummy. These are the results of a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In this small sleep study, researchers investigated how sleep patterns influenced how much food we ate, the kinds of food we craved, our weight and fat distribution, and more. The findings showed that a lack of sleep resulted in increased calorie consumption and a build-up of tummy fat. When participants weren’t getting enough sleep, there was an 11% increase in abdominal visceral fat. This kind of fat is especially bad for the heart.

To make matters worse, ‘catch-up sleep’ can’t change the impact of lack of sleep and does not reverse the build-up of tummy fat.

Control tummy fat and burn calories while you sleep

Yes, you read that correctly, you burn calories even while you’re fast asleep, and it is possible to increase the number of calories you burn during slumber.

A good night’s sleep usually requires you to be fully relaxed, but even in this relaxed state, sleep is not an inactive state. Your body is still doing all the things we mentioned above, and during sleep your body is doing lots of other important work, like producing additional hormones that boost the immune system. This all requires energy, and energy out = calories burnt. According to the Sleep Doctor, a 70kg person could burn around 440calories during seven hours of sleep.

Sealy: Your partner in sound sleep and good health

This is all the more reason to aim for a full night’s sleep every night. Good sleep can improve the quality of your life because it has a ripple effect on almost every area of your life. This ripple effect is what we call the Sealy Effect, and it explains how sleep can impact your health, productivity and relationships.

There are many factors that impact a good night’s sleep, and a good mattress makes a big difference in a restorative night’s sleep.

Top 7 signs you need a new mattress

  1. Your mattress is more than seven years old
  2. You wake up feeling tired with aches and pains
  3. The bed is making more noise than usual
  4. There are visible signs of wear and tear
  5. There is a noticeable sag in the middle of the bed
  6. Your allergies are worse than normal
  7. Your life circumstances have changed

Choosing a new mattress is a big investment and it’s not a decision you make without careful consideration. To help make your decision easier, we’ve developed a Mattress Selector tool to discover what’s most important to you when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep and provide a recommendation for a mattress based on your unique sleep profile. Click here to get started with the Sealy Mattress Selector.

 

The 15-minute rule that could improve your sleep

If you lie in bed struggling to fall asleep, the 15-minute sleep rule might help break the cycle. It seems counterintuitive, but when you can’t fall asleep, sleep experts suggest that you get out of bed and occupy yourself with a calming activity for approximately 15 minutes.

This is the advice published in a recent guide by the University of Oxford, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. Also called the ‘quarter of an hour sleep rule’, the 15-minute rule can help reset your restless brain by starting the bedtime routine all over again.

What is the 15-minute rule?

According to the guide, ‘If you have difficulties sleeping you’ve probably noticed that you spend lots of time in bed awake. This means that bed might become connected with being awake, frustrated, or anxious about sleep.’

It is already well-documented that anxiety can have a negative impact our slumber.

The guide suggests that the best thing to do in this situation is to ‘get out of bed’.

It reads: ‘If you notice that you aren’t asleep within around 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting out of bed, go to another room, go through your wind down routine until you are feeling sleepy-tired and ready to return to bed for sleep.’

This is basically the same as starting your bedtime routine all over again. A key part of the rule is to not watch the clock as this will stop you from properly unwinding. Instead, you should estimate when 15 minutes have passed.

It is also recommended that you don’t get on your phone or watch TV. Instead, try to engage in a more peaceful activity such as reading, meditation, or yoga.

How to know if your mattress is impacting sleep quality

There are many factors that impact a good night’s sleep, but a good mattress makes a big difference in a restorative night’s sleep. No bedtime routine can outsmart an uncomfortable mattress. Below are our top seven signs you need a new mattress:

  1. Your mattress is more than seven years old. The Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every six to 10 years. This is a general guideline – most Sealy mattresses easily last longer than 10 years. Keep reading the tips below to help determine if you need a new mattress. However, it’s also important to note that Sealy is dedicated to sleep research, so if your bed is almost a decade old, there’s a good chance that you could be missing our on the latest sleep technology used in our latest range of mattresses.
  2. If you wake up feeling tired with aches and pains, it could mean your mattresses is no longer supporting your body the way it should.
  3. The bed is making more noise than usual – the springs are squeaking or the bed’s foundation is creaking.
  4. There are visible signs of wear and tear, like a spring sticking out of the mattress.
  5. There is a noticeable sag in the middle of the bed. We call it ‘taco bed’, and it causes you to roll into the middle of the bed. This might not be a problem if you sleep alone, but could be irritating if you sleep with a partner.
  6. Your allergies are worse than normal. It’s gross but true – you shed skin cells during the night and dust mites feed on them. Dust mites cause allergies. You should protect your mattress with a mattress protector and also clean it at least once a year. If your bed is really old though, it might be time to get a new bed.
  7. Your life circumstances have changed. Maybe you share a bed with a partner now, maybe your kids sleep in the bed with you, maybe you’ve gained weight, or you have body ailments you never had before. A lot can happen in 10 years, make sure your mattress changes with you.

Another two-minute activity that could drastically improve your sleep

We’ve timed it – it takes less than two minutes to complete the questions on the Sealy Mattress Selector tool. If you think your mattress might be hindering your sleep, answer a few quick questions regarding your sleep and lifestyle habits. Your answers will help us understand what’s most important to you when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, and after analysing your answers, we provide a recommendation for a mattress based on your unique sleep profile. Click here to get started.

Discover Sealy’s adjustable beds

Considering an adjustable bed? The Sealy Posturepedic Posturematic Adjustable Power Base range takes into account that every body is unique and different people favour different sleeping positions. With the Posturematic Accord and Odessa Adjustable Power Bases users can adjust the position and angle of the mattress at the press of a button.

The Sealy Posturematic Adjustable PowerBase range is available in single, queen and king sizes. Below we highlight the difference between the two types of Sealy adjustable beds:

Posturematic Accord Adjustable Power Base

With the Accord Adjustable Power Base you can choose to lie flat, sit up, or a bit of both! At the touch of a button on the handy remote control, you can quickly change position and even order up good vibrations to put yourself at ease.

Features:

  • Full range positions – head/foot up & down Upper body incline up to 65 degrees
  • Lower body incline up to 40 degrees
  • Simultaneous head and foot movement
  • LED underbed lighting
  • Remote control
  • Two programmable memory positions
  • Two pre-programmed positions: Zero Gravity and Anti-Snore
  • Vibrating options with Sleep enhancement technology™: Four wave modes (low, medium, high, and constant), four Levels of intensity, three timer options

Posturematic Odessa Adjustable Power Base

A unique, wall-hugging design feature allows back travel up to 30.5cms, allowing the Posturematic Odessa Adjustable Power Base to move into almost any position you could desire! Our vibration feature will massage and relax those tired aching muscles.

Features:

  • Full range positions – head/foot up & down Upper body incline up to 65 degrees
  • Lower body incline up to 35 degrees
  • Simultaneous head and foot movement
  • Motorized neck tilt
  • Stand-by mode is ultra-energy efficient
  • The strong angle iron and steel tubular frame construction uses motor displacement™ for quieter use and allows the bed to become stronger as it rises
  • Four easy access USB charging ports and side sync button
  • Led underbed lighting
  • Controllable via Bluetooth
  • Two programmable memory positions
  • Two pre-programmed positions: Zero Gravity and Anti-Snore
  • Vibrating options with Sleep enhancement technology™: Four wave modes (low, medium, high, and constant), four Levels of intensity, three timer options

An adjustable bed topped with world-class comfort

The Adjustable Power Base is supplied with the Sealy Hybrid Firm or Plush comfort choice mattress. Our Sealy Crown Jewel Foam Encased mattress range offers further comfort selections to suit you. Our Foam Encased mattresses allow the mattress to move with the adjustable power base.

Cold and flu season: How to sleep with a blocked nose

Cold weather usually brings with it colds and flu, especially at this time of year when the seasons are changing. If you happen to catch a cold or flu, the best you can do is treat the symptoms and get good rest. This is easier said than done – it can be challenging to sleep with a blocked nose.

Cold and flu symptoms seem to get worse at night, and it feels like there’s more congestion when you’re lying down. Taking cold and flu medicine can help, although be careful to check the ingredients first. Some over the counter medicines contain a decongestant called pseudoephedrine, which makes many people stay awake.

Below are a few tips to help you sleep with a blocked nose:

  • Use gadgets like an air purifier and/or a humidifier

Extra humidity or steam in the air will help calm your sinuses, ease congestion and relieve coughing. An air purifier will remover irritants that might worsen your symptoms.

  • Take a hot shower or bath

If you’re feeling chilly, a hot shower or bath will help warm you up and relax your body before bed. The steam will also help clear congestion.

  • Have a hot drink before bedtime

The steam from hot drinks will help your dried-out nasal passages and it will also help loosen phlegm, however, make sure your drink is not caffeinated. Honey is a natural antibiotic and it is good for sore throats. Lemon contains vitamin C. You can also brew ginger tea, which also increases your vitamin C intake and encourages overall feelings of wellbeing.

  • Elevate your upper body

Use extra pillows to make sure you’re not lying flat when you sleep. Sleeping flat on your back can make congestion worse, so try to elevate your head. The Sealy My CoolSmart Gel Pillow is a two in one pillow – one side has a gel layer which reduces heat build-up for a cooler sleep, while the other side is memory foam for a more gentle comfort.

  • Keep your feet warm

Warm up your feet with hot water before putting socks on or use a hot water bottle in bed. Warm, comfy feet will help you fall asleep faster.

  • Have everything you need close by

Be prepared for a rough night and stock your nightstand with everything you’ll need to get through the night. Have a big glass of water handy to ease your throat if you’re coughing. You might also need lots of tissues. Finally, also have a book or magazine handy in case you can’t fall asleep. Don’t be tempted to scroll on your phone – the blue light emitted from your device will make it even harder to fall asleep.

  • Create the optimal sleep environment

Try to make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature, and probably more towards the cooler side. If you have a fever, a cooler room will feel more comfortable. Try to make your room as dark and as quiet as possible.

 

Note from CEO