The link between screen time, teenagers and insomnia

The truth is studies vary on their conclusions of whether screen time is linked to teenagers and insomnia. However, there is no debate that spending lots of time on phones and tablets browsing the Internet and interacting on social media does negatively impact sleep quality.

A survey conducted by The National Survey of Children’s Health (U.S.) determined that approximately 20% of kids between the ages of 14-17 spent seven or more hours looking at screens everyday.  They may even be modelling their parents.  Adults spend about 10 hours a day looking at screens.

How does screen time affect health?

  • Mental health

Spending too much time on social media could be taking a toll on teenagers’ mental health.  In adolescents who spent a great deal of time on social media, 95% displayed symptoms of depression. 

One in five teens spend at least seven hours interacting on social media.  A study published in Preventive Medicine Reports showed that teens who had a lot of screen time had a high rate anxiety and depression.

They also found an association with long hours of screen time leading to distractibility, difficulty making friends, less emotional stability, and difficulty finishing tasks. 

Screen time has a social impact, too.  Because teens are spending so much time on social media, they are not having face to face interactions with their peers. 

  • Teenagers and insomnia

One of the biggest disadvantages of screen time is that it might cause insomnia.  Sleep is an important part of health.  Teens require more sleep than adults, about 9 hours to be exact.  Not getting enough sleep affects the mind and the body. The average teen gets about seven hours of sleep.

The body naturally releases melatonin to signal that it’s time to go to sleep.  Electronic devices emit a blue light that can suppress the release of melatonin, causing you not to be sleepy.  The blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime.  You feel alert instead of sleepy.  This happens with teenagers as well.  The more time a teenager spends on their phone, tablet, or computer in the evening with social media or answering texts, the longer it takes for their body to release melatonin.  This causes challenges with falling and staying asleep.  As a result, teens don’t get enough sleep which can lead to symptoms of depression and contribute to their overall mood.

Tips to cut down screen time

Here are some tips to help your teen manage screen time:

  • Establish rules about screen time like how much time and where they can use their phone or computer
  • Encourage your teen to be social and have face to face interactions
  • Balance their screen time with activities
  • Educate your teen about media
  • Keep screens out of the bedroom

Screen time might play a role in teenagers and insomnia.  Constantly being on their phones or other electronic devices can keep them from getting exercise, participating in family activities, give them anxiety and cause insomnia.  By using the tips above you can help your teen have a more balanced outlook on using their devices and having a healthier lifestyle.

Is your teen sleeping in a hand-me-down bed?

Instead of buying your teen the latest phone or other tech gadget, consider investing in a good quality mattress for them. Teenagers need a good quality mattress that supports their growing bodies.

Teens who sleep better are generally in better moods and get better grades – we think that’s reason enough to make the Sealy choice when it comes to choosing a bed for your young adult. When it comes to selecting the right size, don’t forget to anticipate growth spurts. Buying a mattress that’s bigger than your teen currently is will be well worth it in the long run.

Poor sleep quality can affect your salary

There may be several reasons why you’re not getting good quality sleep including not having a bedtime routine, drinking caffeine late in the day and looking at your phone, computer or television before going to bed.  But did you know that not getting enough sleep could also affect your salary?

Better rested employees are more productive and could earn a higher salary because of it.

Why sleep is important to your work performance

  • Brain function

Sleep is important for your brain because it rests while you sleep and prepares for the next day. As you sleep, your brain forms new neuropathways, which helps with learning and problem-solving.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you may not be able to focus on tasks or find solutions to problems. You may also have problems getting along with friends or co-workers because lack of sleep makes you irritable. 

Not getting enough sleep also makes you feel stressed out more easily and you lack the motivation to do your work. 

  • Physical health

When you sleep your body goes through a healing process.  This includes the repair of your heart and blood vessels.  People who continually don’t get enough sleep, are at more at risk for heart disease, diabetes, kidney malfunction, and stroke.

Sleep also keeps your hormones balanced.  When you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger hormones are out of balance you eat more because you feel hungry.  Poor sleep quality also affects how your body handles insulin and as a result blood sugar tends to be higher increasing your risk for developing diabetes.

  • Daytime productivity

Most importantly, people who have a deficiency of sleep have problems at work or school. Losing even a small amount of sleep each night can cause you to make more mistakes and take longer to do your tasks, which affects your job performance.

Productivity and top job performance are important to your livelihood.  If you work in the medical field, for instance, there is no room for mistakes or a lack of concentration as someone’s life could be at stake.

One of the most important factors for sleep quality: Your mattress

One important factor that affects your sleep quality is often overlooked. This is the mattress you sleep on.  Having the right mattress is important to getting good sleep. If you don’t have a good mattress, you could be losing sleep and not know it.

Now that you know how important sleep is, how do you know if you need a new mattress?  Typically mattresses last between five and 10 years.

You may need a new mattress if:

  • You’re tired all the time
  • You toss and turn all night
  • Your current mattress is sagging
  • You can’t get comfortable on your mattress
  • It’s just as easy to fall asleep on the sofa or floor as it is the bed

Here are some tips for choosing the right mattress:

  • Your body should be distributed evenly across the sleeping surface
  • While laying down, your body should be well supported across the shoulders, hips, back, and ribs
  • Your spine should be aligned in a neutral position with the rest of your body
  • Type of mattress (memory foam, gel, spring coil, pillow-top, etc.)

We spend one-third of our lives sleeping.  Sleeping is important to health, work productivity and our relationships.  Having the right mattress is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep and being the healthier, more productive person you want to be… which just might translate into a higher salary.

Too hot? Use these essential oils for sleep

Too much heat can affect sleep quality, making it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay in sleep mode. Ideally, the body needs a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius for relaxation. If your room temperature is much higher than this, you might find yourself tossing and turning, lying awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, frequent dream interruptions, etc. Luckily, using essential oils for sleep is becoming more common. They can be helpful – even in warmer weather.

The human brain responds emotionally to all kinds of aroma, be it the smell of dirty socks or a garden of roses. The function of smell is one of the most primitive of human senses. Its mechanism is a result of thousands of years of evolution, which helped prehistoric humans survive in harsh conditions. When the aromatic compounds of essential oils come in contact with the olfactory(smell-related) nerves, these nerve cells send impulses to the limbic system, which is associated with various emotions. That is how different scents trigger different kinds of responses from the brain.

The best essential oils for sleep

Lavender oil: Lavender is the world’s most used and adored essential oil of all times for relaxation and sleep. The heavenly smell of lavender oil relaxes the mind and calms the central nervous system. It makes you fall asleep faster and improves quality as well as the duration of sleep. Even if you do not own a diffuser, just a few drops on the pillow or temples can make you a sound sleeper.

Rose essential oil: One drop of rose oil is extracted from around 60 Persian roses. Just imagine a room full of roses! This popular essential oil is profoundly relaxing and soothing for the mind. It immediately removes fatigue, overcomes restlessness, and gets you in the mood of relaxation. Rose oil has been used to cure insomnia and sleep disorders for ages.

Ylang-ylang essential oil: The thick floral scent of ylang-ylang essential oil acts as a mild sedative and decreases mental activity. This can help you fall asleep faster if you have a habit of working late at night. A 2013 study found ylang-ylang to prompt a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate of healthy adults and suggested it as an effective sedative to cure insomnia.

Sandalwood oil: Sandalwood oil has an alluring earthy, woody scent that creates a pleasant aroma. It has a grounding and cooling effect on the body and mind. If applied topically, it relaxes muscles and promotes a sense of calmness. For hot South African summers, sandalwood oil makes a perfect companion for a good night’s sleep, as its cooling property can help lower the body temperature and support an easy transition to non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage of sleep.

How to use essential oils for sleep

  • Scalp or foot massage: This is the best way to enjoy the sedative power of essential oils, especially as all these listed oils have cooling effects. Massage also relaxes the muscles and removes fatigue while offering a range of skin and hair benefits. Add four to five drops to a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil. Give yourself a grounding foot massage and a soothing scalp massage. Enjoy a peaceful sleep.
  • Diffusion: Add a few drops of your preferred oil to a diffuser. If you do not own a diffuser, mix 8-10 drops to a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray this liquid in your bedroom, pillows, clothes, etc.

While using essential oils can help you sleep better, they should be used carefully and always diluted, as they are very concentrated. Also, some simple bedtime hacks like drinking a glass of water, wearing light cotton clothes and taking a shower before bed may further help you enjoy a comfortable and serene sleep.

Of course no amount of essential oils can negate the effects of an uncomfortable mattress. If your mattress is more than eight years old, you struggle to sleep and you wake up with aches and pains, it might be time to consider investing in a new mattress.

Amusing thoughts about sleep in South Africa

While we at Sealy take sleep seriously, we love to look on the lighter side of life – much like Christel-Michel Kruger, the writer behind The Nocturnal Wenchy blog. In her latest blog post, Wenchy takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the challenges of trying to get a good sleep in South Africa.

Describing the challenges of a nocturnal mind wanderer, Wenchy writes, “You may just get comfy, roughly throw your leg over your partner, let out a big sigh (the same one you make when you take your bra off at the end of the day) and bam the thought hits you… ‘Did I lock the back door?’” 

Check out the full blog post here, to fully understand Wenchy’s challenges when it comes to getting good sleep in South Africa.

Describing herself as “a fierce Mental Health advocate and a lover of frivolous laughter and intelligent conversation”, Wenchy knows the importance of sleep and a good mattress. Perhaps after following tips from our Sealy blog, Wenchy would consider changing the name of her blog to “The Well-Rested Wenchy”?

Keeping in the good-humoured spirit of Wenchy’s latest blog post, we’ve rounded some of our favourite jokes about sleep:

  • I’m so good at sleep, I can do it with my eyes closed!
  • Dear Sleep, I know we had problems when I was a young kid. I love you now and I’m totally devoted to our relationship.
  • Sleeping is my drug. My bed is my dealer, and my alarm clock is the police.
  • Happiness is… not having to set the alarm for the next day.
  • What do you get when you eat cookies in bed? Crummy sleep.
  • It hurts when someone you love says mean things, like “wake up”.
  • Insomnia sufferers, look on the bright side… only three more sleeps until Christmas!
  • What do you call a sleeping bull? A bulldozer

Japan’s Kaizen techniques could help you sleep better

With all eyes on Japan for the Rugby World Cup, we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered Japan’s Kaizen techniques, which could help you sleep better.

Developing a habit of good sleep can really help you shift your life on a daily basis. It will allow you to be active even in the office while working, being energetic while supporting your favourite team in Rugby World Cup and if you are a player, being able to perform better and make your fans proud.

Sleep is essential to ensuring we remain active and productive throughout the day. Our body cannot function properly if it’s not given an adequate amount of it. All the organs of our body work all day long, don’t forget to give them the proper rest and the only way is to ensure to take your proper and quality hours of sleep.

We are fine with compromising on our sleep, in order to wind up the work. But we forget that we cannot work effectively if not having enough amount of energy. In all these circumstances, people suffer from multiple sleep issues like Insomnia or continuous headaches or unexplained moodiness.

If you are also suffering from any one of these, try out some of the following Kaizen (A Japanese word meaning “change”) techniques in order to improve the quality of your sleep:

  • Let’s start with the simplest form of Kaizen technique, known as Point Kaizen. It simply refers to immediate, unplanned and quick implementations. In order to improve your sleep, you can plan out certain quick tactics like decluttering your bed area in 5 minutes before sleeping, shutting out the lights, blocking out noise and a lot more.
  • Technique number two is System Kaizen. It refers to the accomplishment of tasks in a systematic manner. So, in order to ensure quality sleeping habits, make sure to keep an organised record of your sleeping hours on daily basis with the aim of improving them.
  • Line Kaizen techniques not only allow you the implementation of the specified task, but also on the downstream ones. In addition to decluttering your bed and keeping a sleep diary, try take a bath before going to bed. It will help you get better sleep and be more refreshed for the day ahead.
  • Plane Kaizen refers to the connection of several lines together in a stream. For better sleep, read a book for five minutes at least (in addition to the other items you have added to your list). It will not only give you a night of better sleep, but also the powers of knowledge, learning, exploring and enhancing your vocabulary.
  • Cube Kaizen refers to the connection of all processes together in order to come up with efficient results. Good sleep is not a one-time task, but a habit to be developed. So, make sure to be consistent and determined on your purpose. Set it as a goal. Also, it’s about sleep, so don’t forget to make sure that you get yourself the most comfortable and suitable sleeping area (Bed and Mattress).            

It might seem challenging to change your entire sleep routine all at once, but the Kaizen method encourages you to make small, incremental changes, one step at a time. Don’t aim for perfection, rather aim for small positive changes.

Does your sleep environment need the Kaizen method?

When it comes to your sleep environment, it’s important that you have a comfortable mattress. That’s the big change, right? But besides a new mattress, you could consider making smaller changes, such as investing in a new pillow. Your pillow plays an important role in ensuring a good night’s sleep and maintaining proper spine alignment. You could also improve your sleep environment by investing in new linen or curtains. Let Sealy be your starting point – check out the range of Sealy Sleep Accessories, which include a variety of pillows, linen and mattress protectors.

How to choose the best support mattress

We spend a considerable amount of our lives on our bed. Undoubtedly, mattresses are worth every Rand you spend on them. So, when you have to buy one, ensure you have your mind set on the long-term benefits it can offer you; both in terms of investment and your well-being. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to picking the best support mattress. As individuals, we have different sleeping patterns, different physique and vast preferences. Therefore, before you buy a new bed, be sure it’s worth both your sleep and money.

Below are some practical tips to guide you when it’s time to invest in the best support mattress:

  • Do some background findings. This can be as simple as searching the internet or window shopping. For the former, you can look up different manufacturers, the underlying technology employed in their products, and other useful mattress tips. Also, you can check reviews and user comments on similar products on the internet to get a fair idea of its performance. If you prefer to window shop, visit various shops and stores and find out as much as you can about each brand and product.
  • The internet can also help you find exciting mega deals and special offers on some of the best brands of mattresses.
  • One point people often ignore is the size of the mattress. Consider the size of your room and be sure to pick a mattress that can comfortably fit in the space.
  • Shop at expert mattress stores. If possible, look to purchase a mattress from an outlet that is specifically set up to sell mattresses. Here, the staff will be able to help you choose the ideal mattress based on your preferences. Also, such specialist outlets will often offer guarantees, financing, and home delivery services. Use Sealy’s handy Store Locator to find the closest Sealy stockist to where you are.
  • Go for value not cost! Don’t look for the cheapest mattress on the market, instead, aim for the best support mattress that offers you good value for money. Remember, you can’t put a price on a good night sleep!
  • Aim for comfort! When it comes to beds, people often believe a firm or rigid mattress is better than a flexible one. Well, this is usually not the case. However, what is important is how well the mattress supports your body weight and how much comfort it can offer to the sensitive parts of your body. If you ever need to test a mattress at a store, ensure you put on comfortable clothes that allow you to try out different sleep positions for around 10 – 15 minutes. Be sure to do this with several beds before you eventually settle for any.
  • Explore! Try out all the various types of mattresses/brands before making a choice.
  • While it may cost you more money, do not fall for the trick of using your old foundation for your new mattress. The chances are that if your old mattress is bad, so is your old foundation. So, spend a little extra and get a new foundation as well. This will help support your body and make your new mattress much more comfortable.
  • Preferably, buy a mattress that comes with at least a 24-month guarantee. Thus, be sure to first inquire about claims and warranty procedures. Did you know Sealy mattresses come with a minimum of a 10-year warranty?
  • In addition to your mattress foundation, invest in a mattress protector. Stains are much harder to get out of a mattress, and a stained mattress may void your warranty.

Read these mattress tips from In My Bag blog

Candice-Lee Kannemeyer, the writer behind the In My Bag blog, recently made a smart investment: She bought herself a Sealy mattress. A mattress should last you anywhere between eight to 10 years, so before heading out to the shops, make sure you’re armed with all the information necessary to make a smart decision.

“Always spend the most you can afford on a mattress. A cheap bed won’t give you the support you require for a good night’s rest. Also, a lower priced brand may compromise your comfort. I think it’s a good idea to shop around, read online reviews and opt for a trusted brand,” advises Candice-Lee in her blog post.

In her blog post, Candice-Lee outlines the important steps she took before finally deciding on her Sealy bed, including some helpful advice on mattress accessories that can help make your sleep more comfortable and prolong the life of your new bed. Did you know that Sealy sells Sleep Accessories?

  • Pillows: We have seven different types of pillows, ranging from gel pillows with a cooling fabric to pillows with a micro fibre fill for a soft to medium comfort.
  • Mattress and Pillow Protectors: The different mattress protectors and two varieties of pillow protectors will ensure you find the cover the perfectly complements your Sealy mattress or pillow.
  • Sheets: Sealy sheets and pillow covers are made from 100% cotton Percale, with a minimum 200 thread count.

Click here to view our range of Sleep Accessories.

Five popular songs with the word ‘sleep’ in them

Did you know that there are more than 50 songs with the word ‘sleep’ in them? It shows besides love and money, sleep is powerful enough that it captures our mind and imagination – metaphorically and literally in the sense that we can’t live without it. Hence people create songs about it.

Love makes the world go around and makes us do silly things, but a lack of sleep turns people crazy too. Most people associate themselves with songs they are familiar with. We pick and choose ones that relate to our current mood, because songs and music are so much more than just entertainment.

A few popular songs with the word ‘sleep’

Below are five popular songs the word ‘sleep’ in the title. Maybe you can play it later on Spotify while lying on the beach or perhaps in your room – on that nice and cozy Sealy mattress of yours!

1. No sleep by Wiz Khalifa

‘No sleep’ is a great party song. It has a nice tempo and a great beat that gives you that uplifting vibe. It surely won’t put you to sleep; instead, you’ll feel like going to a party. Wiz Khalifa performs a few famous songs like ‘See you again’ and is a famous rap singer recognised for his first hit Black & Yellow.

2. Chinese sleep chant by Coldplay

Fall asleep

Fall asleep

Sleep and you’ll be satisfied

A British rock band – Coldplay – performs it. ‘Chinese sleep chant’ is a song about the forbidden love between a man and a lady. The song describes how the man tries to pursue the lady’s affection.

Just listening to the lyrics can enchant you to sleep. The lyrics repeatedly say fall asleep, sleep and you’ll be satisfied. You don’t have to know the full song, but I’m pretty sure you’ll need your bed soon. At least that’s what the lyrics say!     

3. Go to sleep by Radiohead

Do you love the band Radiohead? They have a variety of genres and styles in their music. The song ‘Go to sleep’ can be interpreted as focusing on the awareness of life – with sleep meaning a lack of power.

One way of interpreting this song is by seeing it as centering on political consciousness, with sleep being referred to as being oblivious to it. Give it a listen and try to break the hidden message behind the song.

4. How do you sleep by Sam Smith

Sam Smith is an English songwriter and singer. In the first verse of the song, he presents us with his disheartening experience of dealing with breakup anxieties. Sam Smith believes, if breakups broke him, it must have hurt his past romantic interests as well.

The song wants us to believe that by letting go of the person you love is the key to fix a broken heart.

5. One more sleep by Leona Lewis

A very catchy tune sung by Leona Lewis. ‘One More Sleep’ will make you want to dance and sing along to the lyrics. Although it’s a Christmas song – being fun and high spirited it’s still done in Motown-style. ‘One More Sleep’ is a song from Leona’s album ‘Christmas With Love’.

There you go, five songs inspired by the word ‘sleep’. As it turns out, sleep is not always definitive to one interpretation, as the meaning can really go deep, be literal or just plain fun. So the next time you go to bed, remember that you’re doing something wondrous – because great songs have been written about it!

If the relationship between you and your mattress is hardly a love song with the word ‘sleep’ in it, maybe it’s time to look for something better! To keep you singing and dancing throughout your day, you need a good night’s sleep. Our beds promise more than just sound sleep; they promise healthy sleep, thanks to our extensive research and development programmes that have put us at the cutting edge of the ‘Science of Sleep’.

Self-care = getting enough sleep

Self-care is having a moment. I’m sure you’ll see something about it in your Facebook or Instagram feed at least once a day. One thing beauty blogger, Chereen from For the Beauty of It, has discovered is self-care = getting enough sleep.

Self-care might be the latest buzzword but it comes with it an important message… in a world where we’re constantly asked to do more, be more, buy more we’re happy to welcome a buzzword or a trend that’s all about slowing down, being mindful and looking within. In her recent blog post about bedtime rituals, Chereen says she realised a long time ago that sleep was essential if she was going to manage being mom to a young child and running her own business from home. But there’s one thing getting into bed by 10pm every night, it’s quite another thing if you lie there awake, waiting for sleep to come!

If you can relate to Chereen and her bedtime struggles, be sure to read her blog post which outlines her routine during the early evening and just before bed. You might get a few handy tips there.

Is your mattress more than 8 years old?

Of course, no bedtime routine can outsmart an uncomfortable mattress. If your mattress is more than eight years old, or if you’re waking up tired with aches and pains, it’s time to consider investing in your sleep with a new Sealy mattress. Nothing says you’re committed to self-care more than replacing your old mattress with a new, comfortable bed developed in cooperation with orthopaedic surgeons.

Sealy mattresses take style and comfort to the next level with a grey and black colour palette, premium design elements and state-of-the art engineering. All Sealy mattresses are made with Sealy Posturepedic Technology, which is proven to deliver support and comfort, providing back and body alignment to ensure a comfortable, healthy night’s sleep.

The connection between good sleep and grades

A growing body of research shows the connection between good sleep and grades. Studies indicate that sleep plays a vital role in the way children learn and develop – good sleep impacts a child’s memory, problem-solving skills, language development, behavior, and executive function. Investing in a good quality bed for your growing child will pay off in many ways – they will be refreshed, healthier, and more successful at school and sports.  

A study in the U.S. has found a link between the amount of sleep 10th-12th-graders get and their school grades – the teenagers who had the least amount of sleep were also the ones with the lowest grades, according to their parents. Good sleep and grades are closely related.

Emerging evidence also demonstrates how poor quality of sleep – caused by interrupted sleep during the night – can be associated with challenging behaviors, mood swings, poor attention, and lower school performance.

If your child often wakes up during the night, the reason may be a bad quality of his/her bed or mattress. Investing in a new bed or mattress is often considered an unnecessary expense, as the younger kids often inherit a bed from their older siblings or cousins. However, you may want to think twice before accepting a hand-me-down mattress for your child.

Dangers of second-hand mattresses

Old mattresses can not only disturb your child’s sleep and school grades but can also seriously affect their health.

Old mattresses are nursery gardens for germs

Hand down mattresses usually have worn surfaces which can affect your child’s breathing and allergies. In other words, mattresses are huge sponges that absorb sweat, saliva, body oils, and other body fluids making your child’s bed a playground for bacteria and germs. More precisely, used mattresses can house anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million microscopic bugs.

These dust mites may cause runny noses, sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Therefore, used mattresses often cause or aggravate asthma, allergies, and illnesses that are responsible for keeping your child awake half night. Combined with late-night activities such as before-bed screen-time, this can have an important negative effect on your child’s quality of sleep and consequently their behavior and academic performance during the day.

Old mattresses provide poor support for your child’s back

Older mattresses are known to sag over time. This means that a hand-me-down mattress in your child’s bed may be uncomfortable and unsupportive to their developing spine. And again, this can interfere with their ability to get a decent sleep during the night.

Poor sleep can have various consequences such as reduced control of attention and excessive daytime sleepiness. These often affects a child’s concentration in classes and may result in poor grades. Help your child get good sleep and grades by investing in a Sealy mattress. Take some time to browse the Sealy website and view our range of mattresses.

Why investing in a new bed is a good idea

Purchasing a new bed is investing in your child. Children’s overall quality of health and happiness considerably relies on how well they sleep. School-age kids need between nine and eleven hours of sleep in a comfortable and supportive bed. To help healthy sleep habits in children, teach your kids about healthy sleeping patterns and make their room quiet, snug, and cozy.

Good quality sleep will boost your child’s memory and concentration, improve their mood, enhance emotional control, prevent or alleviate mood swings, and improve their overall well-being. Also, a good new bed will provide support to your child’s growing body and help them relax during the night. Finally, studies show that good sleep prevents challenging behaviors and helps your child go to school refreshed and well-prepared, which is a recipe for good grades.