Sleep deprivation linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s

Not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. You know by now that sleep is essential to brain function, but did you know that sleep deprivation is also linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a greater amount of a certain protein (beta-amyloid) in the brain and nervous system. While you’re getting some shut-eye, your brain is busy cleaning out these toxins that contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that even one night of not getting the appropriate amount of sleep increases this protein in the cerebral spinal fluid.

Sleep is associated with clearing metabolic waste out of the system.  If you don’t get enough sleep over a period of time, the beta-amyloid stays in your system.  The build-up of beta-amyloid is linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Nearly 50 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s and dementia are the top causes of disability later in life.  The Alzheimer Association predicts a 68% increase in dementia in lower and middle-class countries by 2015.

How to get better quality sleep

If you’re struggling to sleep, there are some ways to get better quality sleep:

Increase bright light exposure

Our bodies have a circadian rhythm.  Getting more bright light during the day helps your body, mind, and hormones stay awake during the day and settle down and sleep at night.  Try getting into the sunlight daily or invest in a bright light bulb.

Don’t consume caffeine late in the day

Caffeine stimulates the nervous systems which encourages your body to stay awake.  Quit consuming caffeine at least six hours before bed.

Have a bedtime routine

Have a routine before bedtime such as reading a book or taking a bath.  Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, allowing for at least 7 hours of sleep if possible.

Reduce blue light exposure

Smartphones, tablets, computers and even your TV emit a blue light.  This light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime and so it doesn’t release melatonin.  This could cause you to have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night.  If you need to use your devices you can:

  • Download an app to block blue light on your computer or smartphone
  • Wear glasses that block blue light
  • Stop watching TV for at least an hour before bed


The most important tool: A good mattress

A good mattress is one of the most important tools for getting good sleep quality.  How do you know if you need a new mattress?

  • You are tired all the time
  • You Toss and turn all night
  • Your current mattress is sagging
  • You can’t get comfortable on your mattress

How to choose the right mattress

There are a few things to look for when choosing a 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.)

Sleep is important to overall health and brain function.  Lack of sleep is tied to various health conditions including early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.  By having good sleep habits and sleeping on the right mattress, you can improve your health and reduce your risk for serious health conditions.





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.

Should you take your shoes into your bedroom?


In many homes, shoes can be found abandoned in almost every room, including the bedroom. However, removing shoes before entering a home appears to be gaining a following once again.

There are three main reasons that people chose not to have shoes in their homes:

  1. spiritual reasons- to avoid shoes carrying in bad energy in from the outside world
  2. hygiene reasons – to avoid shoes harboring bad germs
  3. practical reasons – to avoid shoes staining the light carpets.

Karen Kingston, International best selling author and clutter clearing expertsays: “My personal favourite is to have a shoe cupboard somewhere just inside the main entrance so you can take your shoes off as soon as you enter and store them hidden from view”.

Whilst you may not be able fit a shoe cupboard at your front door, it’s not great to have a big pile of shoes there either. If you are tight on space here are some ideas:

  • Remove your shoes as you enter your home and carry them to where you store them
  • Wipe them clean before putting them away
  • Keep them inside a closed chest or cupboard rather than out in the open
  • If possible, store them separately to your clothing
  • Get rid of any shoes you never wear to save space

One big ‘hell-no’ is putting your shoes on soft furnishings such as beds and couches. Putting your dirty shoes on or near your sleep sanctuary is ludicrous. Remember your bed should be clean, fresh and germ-free. If you can’t make your house shoe-free at least try and make your bedroom a shoe-free zone.

Stunning on the outside, spectacular on the inside – Discover the new la différence by Sealy

Sleep states – what they are and what you gain by moving through them

If all the talk about REM and non-Rem sleep boggles your mind then look no further than this blog. Here we will help you figure out what these types of sleep are and why they are necessary for your physical and emotional health.

Non-REM Sleep includes the first 3 stages of sleep. From Stage 1 to stage 3 the sleep gets deeper, the muscles get more and more relaxed and the breathing rate slows. It is during non-REM sleep that:

  • The muscles are repaired. As the muscles relax and the person becomes floppy, it is easier for blood to flow bringing oxygen and nutrients most to where they are needed.
  • Muscle memory is laid down. In the brain, successful motor pathways are chosen and reinforced. This allows us to do familiar tasks with more coordination and speed the next day. For example, how to get dressed, how to work the new safe key or how to do a side plait in your hair…

REM Sleep is the final stage of sleep and whilst the body appears relaxed, the brain is at the peak of its electrical activity – most notably in the prefrontal area of the brain. This is the area responsible for human behavior – patience, judgment, strategy and reasoning.

  • Research has shown that REM sleep helps to consolidate emotional human memories. That days data is sorted and only the pertinent information is stored for future use. This prevents a ‘cluttered’ mind and allows us to have clarity of thought the next day. It is often why you wake up with the answer to a difficult problem.
  • REM sleep also prevents chronic mood disorders characterized by anxiety and depression. It is during REM sleep that serotonin and dopamine are created and stored – allowing you access to happy hormones as and when you need them.

Both REM sleep and non-REM sleep are necessary and serve a specific purpose for the body. The primary function of both our light-sleep and deep-sleep phases is to have a regenerative effect on various processes in the body.

A good night’s sleep would involve cycling through the four sleep stages allowing the brain and body to regenerate, preferably waking at the end of a sleep cycle.

Sleep cycles in adults vary between 80 – 110 minutes in length. It is possible to have as few as 3 or as many as 6 sleep cycles per night depending on your body’s natural rhythm.

Sleep better on a new Sealy Today! Click here to find out more 

Nokia Sleep could change how you feel about sleep

Nokia Sleep is a Wi-Fi enabled pad that fits under your mattress. It has multiple sensors to detect and record your:

  • sleep cycles
  • sleep duration
  • sleep interruptions
  • sleep phases (including light, REM and non-REM sleep) and
  • snoring

Each morning it provides you with an individualized Sleep Score to indicate the quantity and quality of your sleep. It also goes on to provide advice as to how you could improve your score.

Whilst there are many sleep trackers available on the market that do just this, what makes the Nokia Sleep truly remarkable is its ability to integrate with all internet-connected things in your home to provide the optimal sleep or waking environment. This is known as ‘If this then that’ (IFTTT) technology as it can automatically control your lights, thermostats and more after receiving information from the sensor pad under your mattress.

For example:

  1. Should the Nokia Sleep detect that you are too hot then the Smart Home control feature will automatically adjust your home thermostat to make you more comfortable and prevent your sleep being disrupted.
  2. If you jump into bed to read, your lights will automatically dim.
  3. Should you want to rise by a particular time, then your lights and even your Smart TV could be turned on to assist you to wake up.

The Nokia Sleep is set to hit stores such as Amazon in late January 2018. The Nokia Sleep will sell for around $100 or approximately R1230.

If you want to be one of the first South Africans to get your hands on this technology then you can sign up here for notifications.

One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to improve your sleeping environment. There is a wide range of Sealy mattresses and products available that are designed in order to help you get a great night’s sleep.

The Trumps sleep in separate rooms – should you do the same?

Many couples make use of two beds to get a better night’s sleep. But is sleeping in different bedrooms taking it a step too far? US magazine recently reported that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania rarely share a bedroom, whether living in the same state or not. Whilst the Trump’s sleeping arrangements seem to be getting a lot of bad press, many sleep experts are saying it’s not such a bad thing. In fact, many happily married couples opt for separate bedrooms in a quest for better sleep.
Here are the pros and cons to consider:
PROs of separate beds
• If your partner snores or has restless legs syndrome, your sleep is disturbed. In your own bed, you will get a better night’s sleep, which enhances how you feel about yourself and your close personal relationships (that’s more warm and fuzzy feelings all around)
• Double the bedding (you don’t have to share the duvet!)
• Sleeping well makes you more productive at home (less squabbling about the dishes)
• Sleeping well makes you more productive at work (less squabbling over money troubles)
CONs of separate beds
• Considerably less intimacy and closeness (and unplanned romantic encounters)
• Even though one in four married couples sleep in separate beds, many people feel embarrassed by the decision to do so
• More anxiety about safety and security (there is no one to nudge awake when you hear scary sounds late at night)
• Double the bedding  (you will need to wash an extra set of linen!)
• Double the cost when travelling (no cashing in on per person sharing vacay deals)
But what if you could have the best of both worlds? 
Imagine a mattress that limits partner disturbance by using individually wrapped springs/pockets. With the Sealy Crown Jewel Posture Pocket both partners get what they need to get a good night’s sleep.
The range consists of:
1. Nested pocket – firm comfort catering for the heavier sleeper
2. Soft Touch pocket – medium comfort
3. Pocket-on-Pocket – plush comfort
Get to your nearest Sealy stockist  to experience this sleep technology for yourself. You may just get to keep your loved one at your side all night long!
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