Which sleep position will invite the most restful sleep?

By adulthood, everyone has their go-to sleep position, whether it’s collapsing right onto the mattress on their stomach, curling up into fetal position, or sprawling out like a starfish. Because it’s habit, it might seem like the most comfortable; however, there’s a chance your sleep position isn’t doing you any favors in the sleep quality department.

In addition to a supportive mattress, your sleep position can affect how well you sleep, as well as your overall health. For example, a poor posture could trigger or exacerbate chronic pain, weaken blood circulation, or egg on heartburn or digestive issues, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Before you blame your bed and invest in a new mattress, consider your sleep position.

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back puts the spine in the most neutral position, so it’s the least damaging to your body—and thus the most recommended, according to NSF. This sleep position is the least likely to lead to back or neck pain, and it’s also less likely to trigger heartburn (a major sleep disruptor). Getting a new mattress that’s more firm and placing a pillow under your knees can also cut down on back pain while sleeping face-up.

A few exceptions: first of all, this sleep position can make snoring worse, and it can actually be dangerous for those with sleep apnea because it can cause the tongue to block the airway. Additionally, back sleeping is not recommended during pregnancy, as it causes the larger abdomen to put heavy pressure on a major vein, which can affect circulation.

Despite being the most recommended sleep position, it’s also the least common: apparently just 8 percent of sleepers use this snoozing posture on their mattress. One way to find sleeping on your back more comfortable is using a medium-firm pillow.

Sleeping in fetal position

Sleeping in fetal positionis the posture of choice for about 41 percent of adults, according to NSF. During pregnancy, sleeping in fetal position on the left side is ideal: it supports blood circulation (and keeps pressure off your liver on the right side of the body). 

Snorers also benefit from the fetal position, thanks to gravity. When sleeping on the back, the back of the tongue can fall back into the airway and cause snoring; when sleeping curled up on the side, the tongue tends to fall forward—not blocking the back of the throat. 

Sleeping on your side

Sleeping on your sidewith the legs mostly straight (not fetal position) is helpful for people who are prone to heartburn, are pregnant, or tend to snore. This sleep position may also be better for reducing joint pain than the tightly curled fetal position. Sleeping on the left side is best, especially for pregnant women and people with heartburn, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

If you want to switch to sleeping on your side—whether in fetal position or more straightened out—make sure you have the firmest pillow /possible to help support the neck and keep the spine aligned. 

Sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on the stomach is almost never recommended. Sure, it curbs snoring, but it is a major trigger for back pain, neck stiffness, and aching muscles. Still, 7 percent of sleepers choose to snooze on their stomachs. To make this sleep position less damaging, use the thinnest pillow possible—or no pillow at all.

If you tweak your sleep position and are still waking up tired or with back pain or body aches, it might be time to try a new bed with better support—or to talk with a doctor about your bedtime blues. 

Sleep Divorce

Sharing a bed with your partner seems so romantic until the reality sets in. Issues like snoring, blanket hogging, early morning alarms, and even just a preference for different levels of mattress comfort can quickly sap the sexiness out of sleeping together. If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep next to your loved one, the solution may be simpler than you think.

Snoring is one of the biggest reasons that couples end up sleeping apart. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 37 million American adults snore regularly. As anyone who’s dealt with a snorer knows, it can be next to impossible to get a refreshing rest with that dreaded sound. When one partner always has to leave the bed, the idea of making separate sleeping quarters official starts to make sense.

Sleeping separately is increasingly common, although it may not seem like it. After all, not many couples are eager to announce that they’ve gone through a “sleep divorce”. The National Sleep Foundation found that one in four couples sleep in separate beds. Maintaining separate rooms can actually be a key to a strong and healthy relationship. Each partner gets a restful sleep, which not only improves one’s mood but also one’s overall health.

What about intimacy?

Despite the benefits of sleeping separately, you may be concerned about how it could impact intimacy. Initially, it may seem like a sleep divorce could interrupt your sex life and leave you lonely. However, many couples find that the opposite is true.

With separate sleeping quarters, couples have to make more of an effort to spend that quality time together in the bedroom. It adds a little spice and excitement when you take the time to create an inviting environment for a romantic evening. It can be an opportunity to make the most of that time together, rather than simply crashing out at the end of a long day next to your partner.

When sleep issues that lead couples to have separate beds are eliminated, the result can be healthier, happier couples. You’ll be well rested after a night of sleep, leaving you feeling more relaxed and refreshed overall. Feeling your best can absolutely contribute to a better sex life and a better marriage.

When is it time to move your child into a big bed of their own?

Moving a сhіld from a соt tо a bіg bеd іѕ a bіg ѕtер in thеіr lіfе. It’s a mаjоr mіlеѕtоnе, and the timing of this move can sometimes be tricky.

Yоu ѕhоuld dо іt before уоur сhіld first fаllѕ оut of the соt, but unfortunately thе fіrѕt tіmе уоu find out your child can climb out of the cot is when they’ve already fallen! Keep an eye out for when your сhіld іѕ ѕtаndіng uр in the соt wаіtіng fоr you tо аrrіvе and check if they’re making аttеmрtѕ tо climb out.

Once уоur child dесіdеѕ gеttіng оut оf thе cot on thеіr own іn thе mоrnіng is a major gоаl, it’s seriously time to gеt them іntо a рrореr bеd. Yоu саn make the trаnѕіtіоn саrеfullу using bеd guаrdѕ or rаіlѕ.

These саn hеlр the сhіld stay in bеd whеn аѕlеер but gіvе thе сhіld a рlасе to climb dоwn frоm thе bed оn their оwn. If you don’t hаvе a bеd rаіl, thеn уоu can uѕе pillows оr еvеn tuck them іn with a ѕhееt аѕ thіѕ саn help them ѕtау іn bеd when thеу’rе аѕlеер. If уоu think a сhіld wіll wriggle thеіr way оn to the flооr, thеn уоu соuld рlасе сuѕhіоnѕ оn thе flооr аrоund the bеd. Most children аdарt quісklу tо a proper bed.

There аrе ѕеvеrаl tуреѕ оf bеd guаrd. Thе ѕіmрlеѕt tuсkѕ undеr thе mattress and has a ѕіdе ѕесtіоn. Look fоr full оnеѕ ѕо thе child will not bumр thеmѕеlvеѕ оn іt.

If уоur сhіld dоеѕn’t lіkе thе big bеd, thеn уоu саn try putting thеm bасk іn thе соt wіth the ѕіdе оff. Sоmе соtѕ allow you to do thіѕ аnd іt саn hеlр your сhіld gеt uѕеd to thе freedom оf bеіng able tо get in аnd оut оf bed оn their оwn.

Some реорlе lіkе tо move to a smaller bed first, instead of a regular single-sized bed. There аrе child bеdѕ аvаіlаblе that аrе shaped and thеmеd tо mаkе thеm very арреаlіng tо ѕmаll сhіldrеn. Whо wоuldn’t want a rасіng car bеd, or a рrіnсеѕѕ ѕtуlе оnе? A smaller bеd wіll also usually bе сlоѕеr tо the grоund and mау even hаvе a lір оn іt designed tо ѕtор children rolling out оf bеd. Whichever decision уоu make you ѕhоuld know thаt children adapt quісklу tо thеіr new bеd аnd іf thеу dоn’t, thеn ѕоmе еxtrа bеdtіmе trеаtѕ lіkе аn еxtrа-lоng ѕtоrу can hеlр them gеt used to іt mоrе quісklу.

Remember that a child’s growing body needs a good mattress – not a hand-me down. Have a look at Sealy’s range of single mattresses, to give your child the best possible sleep: Explore Sealy mattresses.

Tips and advice for moving your child to a big bed

Assess fоr rеаdіnеѕѕ

It’ѕ tempting to mоvе a tоddlеr to a big bеd thе minute they turn twо, but mаnу toddlers are not ready until closer tо 3 ½. Tоddlеrѕ can bесоmе very аttасhеd tо thеіr crib and thе associations wіth it (bеіng a bаbу and security). Idеаllу, thе best tіmе tо mаkе the trаnѕіtіоn іѕ whеn уоur сhіld аѕkѕ for it.

Try nоt tо ruѕh thе trаnѕіtіоn bаѕеd оn іnрut from оthеrѕ or external рrеѕѕurе. Tоddlеrѕ do knоw when thеу are ready tо move on. If уоu hаvе a toddler whо ѕlеерѕ wеll in his crib wіthоut muсh соmрlаіnt, don’t make a сhаngе. Try tо аvоіd еxсеѕѕіvе “bіg boy” or “bіg gіrl” tаlk whеn dіѕсuѕѕіng thе tоріс, аѕ this tеndѕ to аdd pressure tо thе ѕіtuаtіоn. Mеntіоn іt, point out beds аnd bеddіng, аnd wait fоr your сhіld tо ѕhоw signs оf rеаdіnеѕѕ.

Plасеmеnt

Cоnѕіѕtеnсу іѕ always еѕѕеntіаl when іntrоduсіng bіg trаnѕіtіоnѕ. Trу tо рlасе thе nеw bеd іn the same рlасе (оr аѕ close tо it аѕ possible) аѕ thе сrіb. Moving еvеrуthіng аrоund саn саuѕе stress fоr some toddlers. Trу to kеер thе room as ѕіmіlаr as possible. **Nоtе: Sоmе tоddlеrѕ like to wаtсh thе сrіb lеаvе thе rооm, but most bесоmе uрѕеt when watching the сrіb lеаvе.

Comfort іtеmѕ

Yes, уоur сhіld рісkеd оut a nісе nеw bеd and fаbulоuѕ nеw bеddіng…but it’s possible thаt hе wіll ѕtіll want hіѕ оld соmfоrt іtеmѕ. Cоvеtеd toddler blаnkеtѕ, loveys, a fаvоrіtе stuffed animal, аnd other соmfоrt іtеmѕ ѕhоuld аll mаkе thе trаnѕіtіоn. The mоѕt іmроrtаnt fасtоr іѕ thаt уоur сhіld fееlѕ ѕаfе and ѕесurе in hіѕ nеw bеd.

Rоutіnе

Thеrе’ѕ nothing lіkе a nеw mіlеѕtоnе tо throw a tоddlеr оff bаlаnсе. Mаkе sure that уоu hаvе a wеll-hоnеd bedtime routine long bеfоrе you mаkе thе сrіb to bed trаnѕіtіоn. Keep thе routine the ѕаmе, rіght dоwn tо thе numbеr of stories rеаd tо the соntіnuоuѕ music оr whіtе noise mасhіnе. Thе оnlу сhаngе should bе thе асtuаl bеd. Mаіntаіnіng consistency еnѕurеѕ safety аnd соmfоrt for your child. Try nоt tо trаvеl untіl уоur child has trulу аdjuѕtеd tо thе nеw bed.

Bооkѕ

Bооkѕ аrе аlwауѕ a gооd idea whеn рrераrіng a сhіld fоr a bіg transition. “Bіg Enоugh fоr a Bеd” (Sеѕаmе Street) bу Aррlе Jоrdаn аnd “Your Bіg Bed” bу Rita Bergstein аrе grеаt books fоr tоddlеrѕ preparing tо mаkе the transition.

Other ideas include getting creative with nеw bеd раrtіеѕ аnd ѕсrарbооkѕ оf thе сrіb days…only you can truly knоw what wіll wоrk fоr уоur сhіld. Lеѕѕ fаnfаrе оftеn wоrkѕ the bеѕt.

Sleeping for two: Sleep changes during pregnancy

By Don Dinnematin of The Don Father Blog

It goes without saying, when you’re pregnant, sleep is essential for your health and the health of your baby, but it is often easier said than done.

Being pregnant can be a tiring experience for a woman’s body. Both the physical discomforts of pregnancy as well as the emotional stress of this major life change can cause sleep problems and keep a mother-to-be awake at night.

As a husband I have experienced this first hand with my Wife in both our pregnancies, but with that comes some advice to help create a good night’s sleep and ultimately a pleasant pregnancy experience, because as we all know, a lack of sleep is quite a disastrous thing.

Nearly 28 percent of expecting moms get less than seven hours of sleep per day, according to data from The nuMoM2b Pregnancy and Sleep Duration and Continuity Study. This is less than the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per day for optimal health during pregnancy.

Get a better night’s sleep

Here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep, both during pregnancy and once baby has arrived:

Get plenty of exercise

Keeping active during the day may help you sleep at night, and exercise can also help with symptoms that can affect your rest, such as leg cramps. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great choices during pregnancy. We often go for a walk around the block in the late afternoon. Just try to avoid any strenuous exercise for a few hours before bed, as it could make you feel more awake.

Have a soothing nightly ritual:

This is simple, and everyone should probably be doing something along these lines. Treat yourself to a relaxing routine before you settle down for the night, such as reading, taking a bath, or having a warm drink. Aim to start winding down about an hour before you intend on sleeping.

Cut back on drinking too much in the evenings:

During the first trimester, the hormones leading to the bladder get sluggish, which increases a woman’s urine production. This can cause her to wake up and need to go to the bathroom more frequently at night. Cutting back on excessive drinking in the evenings can help eliminate those annoying night-time trips to the loo, which may also prevent you from falling asleep straight away again.

Minimize Your Exposure To Blue Light At Night

The light emitted by electronics with screens can drastically affect your body’s ability to fall asleep at night. It’s so disruptive because blue-wavelength light boosts attention, reaction time, and mood. The blue light is basically fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

To minimize the influence that blue light has on your body at night, turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. This gives your body time to relax and slow down so you are better prepared to fall asleep.

Pregnancy Pillows

 A must for helping your pregnant wife get, and stay comfortable during the night.

Choose The Right Mattress

This is without a doubt, one of the most important parts of getting that good nights sleep you so badly long for. And this is essential for both Mom & Dad!

The mattress you choose can have a major influence on the quality of your sleep. A mattress that’s too firm means you’ll feel pressure points at your hips and shoulders. A mattress that’s too soft doesn’t provide enough support for your neck and back. Get a new mattress if your current one isn’t working for you. Milly and I recently bought a new bed and it has completely changed our lives, and this is not an exaggeration.

Be sure to try out the mattress before you buy it so you find the one that is right for you.

Can Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) help you sleep better?

Traditionally, insomniacs have lent on sleeping pills, Hypnotherapy, Acupuncture and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to try and find the sleep that eludes them. CBT teaches you to recognise negative thoughts (I am worried I won’t get enough sleep tonight) and shut them down to avoid negative behaviours (now I can’t fall asleep as I am so worried about it).

However, there is now a new therapy available for insomniacs that advises against avoiding negative thoughts and it is called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT.

“ACT helps you see how futile it can be putting energy into trying to change the thoughts and feelings that crop up around sleep. It teaches you to accept their presence and let them go, which in turn pushes you towards sleep”, says Guy Meadows, who has recently released ‘The Sleep Book’ that describes how to implement ACT techniques to ease sleeplessness over five weeks.

Early metacognitive research studies have shown a good outcomes, but what exactly is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

There are six steps that make up this approach:

  1. Acceptance

Rather than embarking on strategies such as hot baths, accept the things that show up when you try to sleep, such as unwanted thoughts.

  1. Mindfulness

Try and be in the present moment. Rather than worrying about the past, or what might happen in the future, take time out to ground yourself.

  1. Defusion

This is about defusing the sleep bomb: you need to start getting closer to and even playing with your unwanted thoughts and emotional reactions associated with insomnia in order to untangle yourself from them and lessen their power.

  1. Self in context

Put yourself and the situation into context. We have lots of stories playing in our heads: ‘I’m a failure’ or ‘no one likes me’ and ‘everyone else can sleep and I can’t’. Be able to put yourself into context and stand outside them.

  1. Values

Think about what’s important to you. Family? Your friends? Being healthy? If you could write your epitaph, what would you want it to say?

  1. Committed action

There’s no point valuing something if you don’t act upon it. There’s no point valuing being fit and healthy if you never go to the gym. This is about committing to act towards those values by making small steps every day. A happy brain is a sleepy brain.

These six steps come from the book ‘The Sleep Book’. To look into this programme in more detail you can purchase it here.

Why you just won’t sleep well in a new hotel room

Many will bemoan that they struggle to sleep in a new place – no matter how great the accommodation may be.

Matthew Walker, a professor of Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, has explained why we will always feel tired after sleeping in a new environment.

In a recent interview, Dr Walker explained how the human brain will not switch off when in a new and possibly dangerous environment– even when sleeping.

He said: “One half of your brain will not sleep as deeply as the other half” in an attempt to ensure survival. It is as if the sleeper is truly sleeping with one eye open.

He went on to explain that this is common behaviour for dolphins and other sea dwelling animals that can use half their brain for deep sleep and the other half to stay wide awake to detect danger.

Unlike these animals, us humans do not have the ability to enjoy all the sleep stages using just half our brain, and so we will not enter deep sleep. This leads to us feeling shattered the next morning.

If you are on the road, or spend lots of time away from home, try to spend more than one night at each stop that you make to ensure that you get some quality sleep before moving onto the next town.

Find the Sealy of your dreams

What’s your animal sleep style?

Most people can relate to the idea that not everyone’s biological clock runs on the same schedule. Just as you are calling it a day, your partner may be entering into their most creative and energetic hours.

We have all been away with those friends who want to wake at 5.30am every morning on holiday! And what about the work colleague who only seems to come to the party at 3pm each day?

In his new book, The Power of When, Clinical Psychologist Dr Michael Breus explains four different ‘sleep styles’ and then cleverly links them to animals with similar preferences.

Let’s start with the rarest sleep style of them all…

The Dolphin

Only 10% of human beings fit into this category that is reserved for highly intelligent, neurotic insomniacs who battle to fall asleep. Real dolphins sleep with half their brain awake to ensure they keep swimming and avoid becoming someone’s lunch.

Sleep drive= light

The Lion

Lions are brave, bold and optimistic leaders. They wake up rearing to go but hit a wall as the day ends. Because of this they do their best work in the mornings but need to sign off after 5pm. Real lions are reported to be able to sleep up to 20/24 hours each day!

Sleep drive= medium
Bed time = 10pm

The Wolf

If you only truly wake up at 3pm in the afternoon, love being part of a pack and do your best creative work at night then you are probably a wolf.

Sleep drive= high

The Bear

The easiest going, most social creature of them all bears are in synch with the movements of the sun- they rise with the sun and go to sleep when the sun does. Bears do their best work between 10am and 12pm. Bears are good sleepers who fall asleep and stay asleep easily. If you are a bear, you may struggle after 3pm to not socialize with your colleagues and get some work done.

Sleep drive= high

For more insight into which animal you are and when you should be exercising, eating and scheduling your best work hours take the full quiz.

Sleep better on a new Sealy today

Stronger core = better sleep

Can getting stronger abs, get you better sleep? Damn straight it can! A strong core = better sleep.

Your diaphragm is a band of muscles that separates your internal organs (like your stomach, liver and colon) from your chest cavity (that contains your heart and lungs). The diaphragm is like a hammock that is pulled tight by your core muscles.

A solid core means a happier diaphragm which means healthier, deeper, more nourishing breathing.

So yes, a stronger core could mean better sleep for you if you suffer from conditions like sleep apnoea.

Your internal organs are housed within your core. Abdominal fat cushions and protects these organs from harm, however, too much abdominal fat can hurt your spine while standing and put pressure onto your vital organs while sleeping.

Strong abdominal and back muscles use fat to keep them functioning which helps burn up any unhelpful fat that is lying near them.

This helps to keep blood flowing to our organs so that they can perform optimally.

The larger you are, the harder your heart has to work. So strengthening your core could mean that your heart gets stronger and gets to relax more when you are sleeping.

A smaller waste circumference is linked to lower risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

Lastly, your spine has to carry the excess load you lug around each day.

If back pain is keeping you up then strengthening your core could help reduce the pain and get you snoozing more deeply.

Furthermore, if your pain is so bad that you can only sleep when taking pain-killers, then strengthening your core could help you reduce the frequency and/or dosage of pain meds.

So what are you waiting for? Figure out what work outs work for you by trying into high-intensity, yoga or pilates to get a stronger core.

Moon Milk – The New Bedtime Drink

Many cultures serve an ‘aperatif’ after dinner to prepare the digestive system for sleep.

It is common for children across the world to be given sweet, warm milk before bed to help them calm and fall asleep more easily.

But now there is a sleep drink designed for adults that is getting much praise in wellness circles. It is called Moon Milk and it forms part of the practice and philosophy of mindfulness.

It is a bedtime ritual that marks the end of the day.

Moon milk is

An Indian concoction of warmed nut milk with a mix of medicinal herbs and spices such as reishi mushroom, holy basil, cardamom and cinnamon.

A dash of local honey gives it a slight sweetness.

Whilst many may be making a large noise about this trend, it is really nothing new and nothing to be afraid of.

Choose your favourite milk (almond, goat, cow, rice or soya) and add the spices and herbs that either energise or calm you.

What is new is a new idea of us is that by using these ingredients you are balancing hormones and bringing adaptogens into your system. Adaptogens are preventative medicine- a thoughtful boost to help your the body prepare for particularly trying times. Think moving house, weddings, funerals, child birth and tax season.

Do you have a traditional family recipe that you follow to create the ultimate Moon Milk concoction? Do share in the comments section below.

For more healthy, midnight snack ideas go here.

 

Help is here for blanket hoggers

Ikea has launched the TOG-ether bundle to help couples sleep better. Inspired by the Swedish tradition of using two single duvets rather than one queen sized duvet, the TOG-ether bundle gives each person their own amount of insulation, but at a cost that that can be is less than buying two single duvets.

Whist some feel that this will put an end to any snuggling, others are excited about the prospect of getting a better night’s sleep.

Many who co-sleep report that their sleep is broken-

  1. when they wake up and realize they are blanket-less
  2. when their partner wakes them up to reclaim what was their half of the blanket
  3. when they share a bed with someone with a totally opposing thermostat and wake up freezing and/or over-heating.

Any couple who differ in bedding needs will love this idea that puts an end to the midnight tale of waking up to find you have double the blankets you would like thanks to your sweaty loved one who has dumped their bedding onto you.

Ranked as the ninth happiest country in the world, perhaps the Swedes are onto something and we should all copy their now infamous sleep strategy.

What we do know at Sealy is that good sleep means a great life.