Want to sleep better? You may need to get a dog

The presence of a dog is a powerful stress-buster. If you’re struggling to fall asleep each night due to bedtime anxiety, adopting a dog may be all you need to get a better night’s sleep. Here’s how a dog can benefit your sleep.

1. A dog can help you feel more secure
Whether you choose a cute (but yappy) furry friend or a soft (but scary-looking) furry protector, you’ll sleep better knowing you have someone looking out for you.

2. A canine friend can help you relax
Stroking a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Cuddling a dog has the same benefits as cuddling a human-being- lots of feel-good hormones that make us feel all loved-up and dozy.

3. Owning a pup helps combat loneliness
You have someone to talk to and to look after. Plus feeling loved and appreciated help to ward off depression- a good friend of many sleep disorders such as insomnia and over-sleeping.

4. Pet owners have to follow a routine
There is always someone waiting for you at home who is super-happy to see you and needs feeding. Your dog’s biorhythms and day-night feeding schedule will support your own good sleep schedule.

5. Dog owners go for more walks
Getting fresh air and exercise helps you fall asleep faster at night. More activity during the day means better sleep at night.

Choose the right pet for your family by consulting carefully with animal organisations such as the SPCA . Read more about co-sleeping with your pooch:

Pets – do you let them in or keep them out?

I’ll rather not sleep with my furry friend!

If you are sleeping with your pet, make sure you keep your mattress clean with a good quality mattress protector.

 

Article written by Roxanne Atkinson

Four bedtime mantras for better sleep

Words are powerful. Some go as far as to say they are prophetic. Could the way we choose to speak about ourselves and our lives have a dramatic impact on our lived reality? Could repeating bedtime mantras positively impact how we sleep?

It appears it can, and does, and is probably why so many cultures have enjoyed bedtime stories, lullabies, prayers and rituals for eons. What we think about before we go to sleep can keep us from falling asleep and can even feature in our dreams (hello nightmares!)

Here are some easy to remember ‘bedtime mantras’ you could be telling yourself instead if you would prefer sweeter dreams and a sweeter life.

– “I am at peace. I release all tension and worries. I am at peace.”
– “Inhale love. Exhale hate. Inhale confidence. Exhale self-doubt. Inhale beauty. Exhale ugliness.”
– “I am connected to an unlimited source of abundance.”
– “I have done my best for today. I have earned my rest for tonight.”

Learn your favourite one off-by-heart and say it slowly to yourself as you are preparing to fall asleep. Don’t like any of these? Click here for more ideas: Sayings to help you get to sleep faster
Did you know that what you see, feel, taste and hear before you go to bed can also change how you fall asleep? Find out more:

How to have sweet dreams

Exploring the the connection between senses and sleep

Of course, if you’re sleeping on an old mattress, even the sweetest mantras won’t help you get better sleep. Visit the Sealy website to view our range of mattresses: www.sealy.co.za

How to kick the habit of going to bed too late

Going to bed too late has a negative impact on the quality of your sleep. Push your body and brain too far passed that initial sunset sleepiness and you will find yourself struggling to beat the stress hormones into submission.

Moving into the ‘over-tired’ zone and relying on adrenaline to conquer your evening goals (be that a marathon series finale or a career-saving presentation) will leave you:
a) tossing and turning at 1am or
b) collapsing into bed way too close to sunrise.

Both a and b will leave you no chance of meeting your sleep requirements. Both will also leave you with little chance of performing well day after day, week after week.

Want to kick this self-destructive sleep habit in the butt? Here’s how.
1. Write it down. The first step to attaining any goal is setting one… in writing. Something like: “Get to bed by 10pm five out of seven nights this week” may be a good place to start.
2. Set a sleep reminder- concern yourself more about the time you should be falling asleep than the time you should wake up. Give your body enough Zzzzz and you will start waking up earlier than ever before.
3. Stop fighting nature and synchronise your circadian rhythms with the sun. Sleep when the sun sets and wake up when the sun rises.
4. Remove any sources of bright light (TV, tablets, bathroom lights) to help your brain know for sure that it is nighttime.
5. Go offline. Turn off your phone, shut down your computer and get used to candle light, a warm bath and a glass of milk in the run up to bed.
6. Write a list. If there is any pressing concern that is weighing on your mind, write a list and tackle it at sunrise.

It’s amazing how fast the your mind can be in the early morning after a great night’s sleep!

BONUS TIP: You’ll be so comfortable sleeping in a Sealy that it will feel like you’ve had an additional hour of sleep. It’s worth checking out our range of mattresses: http://www.sealy.co.za/

Three gentle ways to deal with kids’ bedtime anxiety

A lot of kids don’t like going to sleep. They get scared. They feel worried and they imagine all kinds of scary things. If your child is trying everything to delay bedtime, here are three ways to help them deal with their bedtime anxiety:

 
Happy thoughts
It is incredible how powerful words are. Help your child battle worries with positive affirmations or prayers. They can ‘throw’ the bad thoughts away and then pick some new prettier/stronger ones. Phrases like ‘I can go to sleep’; ‘my family loves me’ or ‘I am safe now’ can help little hearts and minds settle down.

Fantasy play
Children have the most phenomenal imaginations and what better way to fight these fears than with fantasy itself? Give your child a ‘magic torch light’ or a ‘bottle of ‘Monster spray’ to keep with them… just in case.

Comfort toys/pets
A special blankie, teddy or real-life furry friend can make falling asleep in your own bed much easier. When it comes to dogs, cats and bunnies sleeping in your child’s bed, do what works for your family. Oh, and let your child use these strategies as long as they need to… there is no rush to grow up after all.

Read more on this topic:

Do clever kids battle to sleep?

Does a bedtime routine really help kids sleep better?

Solving kids’ sleeping problems

 

 

Do your kids have a bedtime routine?

Encouraging your kids to sleep requires instilling good sleeping habits. Children respond to and need routine, so create a bedtime ritual that will lead to good sleeping habits and ensure that they get the zzz’s they need. Try these tricks to get their bedtime ritual started…

– Set a time for bedtime and stick to it
– Bathtime is a great way to relax your kids and prepare them for sleepy time
– Encourage them to get into their PJ’s and make it fun by letting them pick out their own PJ’s
– Limit TV time before bed and instead read them a feel good bedtime story
– Give them a kiss, tuck them in and say goodnight

Do you have any other bedtime ritual tips and tricks? Comment below and let us in on your secrets.

A good bedtime routine encourages better sleep habits.
A good bedtime routine encourages better sleep habits.