How alcohol can impact sleep

‘Tis the season, right? For many people that means an office Christmas party, family gatherings and big celebrations… a few cocktails here, a couple of beers there, a shooter or five… it all adds up and will eventually impact your sleep.

In this blog post, we explore how alcohol can impact sleep and overall health. Alcohol and insomnia have a complex link.

While some may say a glass of wine helps them fall asleep at night, in the long run, it can actually disturb the pattern of your sleep. It is recognised that even a single shot can interfere with reaching deep sleep. Deep sleep is very necessary as it relaxes the mind and body and helps you wake up refreshed the next day. A lack of deep sleep can make you feel tired and fatigued throughout day.

Ever notice you wake up early the morning after?

Although consuming alcohol might help you fall asleep, it also might make you wake up in the middle of the night, or really early the next morning (we’re talking 5am!). This is because as the alcohol makes its way through your body, your body is in a lighter stage of sleep (REM sleep), which is why you keep waking up. It’s also why your dreams might seem a little crazier than usual.

Long-term effects of binge drinking

In fact, just one night of binge drinking could have long term effects on your sleep. A 2018 study revealed that drinking four drinks in four hours could damage the gene that encourages sleep – potentially causing permanent sleep disturbances.

Having sleepless nights can increase the stress hormone levels and these hormones can put you at a higher risk of developing heart conditions, diabetes, obesity and many more unwanted health conditions. Alcohol itself is associated with increasing heart diseases and stroke.

Bad news for your partner, too

Alcohol can impact sleep, for you and your partner! Alcohol’s sedative effects relax the jaw and throad muscles, which could lead to snoring and development of sleep apnea. Not to mention the potential harm caused by your partner kicking you or elbowing you to try get you to stop snoring!

Water is your friend

If you know you’re going to have a big night, make sure water is part of your action plan. Alternate, drinking a glass of water after every glass of alcohol. Before going to bed, drink one big glass of water.

A comfortable sleep environment

When you’re ready to collapse into bed after a night of partying, switch off all lights and close the curtains and/or blinds. It’s right about this time that you would really benefit from a comfortable mattress. Browse through our selection of mattresses – a good mattress encourages healthy sleep and it just might be the ultimate tool to help you deal with the festive season!






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 sleep crutch?

At birth, babies are given snuggle bunnies. Toddlers are told to squeeze their bear if they feel scared. Kids take their Barbies and Transformers with them on camp- just in case they get lonely at bedtime.

Research has shown that this is a great thing for kids as it reduces anxiety and stress. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Shefali Tsabary explained that “as children develop independence from their parents, they still yearn for a secure bond with something. In many cases, children turned to stuffed animals, including teddy bears, to help them through this transition.”

What is becoming clearer from research is that adults too reap the same benefits of having a special bedtime companion and it is rather common indeed.

US-based stuffed animal toy-maker Build-A-Bear surveyed 2000 adults and found that 40 percent have their favorite stuffed animal by their side when they go to bed.

Another survey showed similar results:

  • 38% of adults surveyed slept with a special stuffed animal from childhood.
  • 29% of adults slept with a teddy bear.
  • 28% preferred sleeping with a sentimental blanket.
  • The average age to ‘give-up’ a soft toy was 11 years old.
  • 26% of those who gave up their soft toy went on as adults to sleep with a real-life pet.
  • Of those who slept with a pet as a child, 56% went on to sleep with a pet as an adult.
  • Women were more likely than men to sleep with either a stuffed animal or a pet.

Besides needing your Sealy mattress to fall asleep, what is your sleep crutch? Have you grown up and replaced your childhood sleep crutch with a more appropriate adult one, like a well-worn pair of pyjamas or a sentimental quilt?

Or is teddy still to be found in your bed each night?



Sleep wedges and positioners are not safe for your baby

Retailers have taken baby sleep wedges and positioners off their shelves

Major US and UK-based retailers have halted the sale of these devices after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) linked the products to at least 12 baby deaths in America, in some of which, babies had rolled from their side to their front and suffocated.

Big names such as John Lewis, Tesco, Mothercare and eBay have removed all baby sleep wedges and positioners from their ‘shelves’.

Many new moms are given, or purchase a sleep wedge or sleep positioned system to help their young baby sleep in one position, in the hope that they may ‘sleep longer’ and ‘more safely’.

The FDA said it was “reminding parents and caregivers not to put babies in sleep positioners. These products – sometimes also called ‘nests’ or ‘anti-roll’ products – can cause suffocation (a struggle to breathe) that can lead to death.”

In agreement with the FDA is the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP). The AAP’s ‘Sleep Safe’ campaign went live in October 2016. They released 19 recommendations one of which was the removal of all loose sheets, bumpers, wedges, pillows or toys in the cot.

No major South African retailers have released any statements about where they stand on the issue.

To find out more information about how to help your new baby sleep safe you can read more of the ‘Sleep safe’ guidelines here.

Safe baby sleep tips

Did you know; there should be no loose sheets, bumpers, wedges, pillows or toys in your baby’s cot? Get peace of mind and cover your baby’s mattress with the Sealy Posturepedic® Soft Touch Cot Mattress Protector – it’s made from natural bamboo fabric and is a breathable fitted sheet.

Sleep deprivation causes the brain to eat itself – for real!

How does the brain respond to poor sleep habits? It literally eats itself. To put it simply, when you’re well-rested, your brain gets busy repairing itself, and part of that is dumping unnecessary data. When you’re tired, your brain can’t decide what is “unnecessary” and what isn’t – so it dumps it all.

New research outlines exactly how this happens. The two cells responsible for ‘dumping trash’ while we sleep are the microglial cells and the astrocytes. In the well-rested, these cells devour and prune to help keep the brain fresh and efficient in processing and storing information and clear away the toxic byproducts of neural activity left behind during the day.
In the chronically sleep-deprived, however, these cells appear to become undiscerning murderers who take out both useful and useless connections.

As reported on Science Alert: “Researchers have found that persistently poor sleep causes the brain to clear a significant amount of neurons and synaptic connections, and recovering sleep might not be able to reverse the damage”.

This explains why after just one night of insufficient sleep we lose memory, judgment and self-control.

Make sleep a priority and save yourself from self-digestion. After all, you really can’t cheat sleep. If it’s time to get a new mattress, check out the range of Sealy mattresses here.

Article written by Roxanne Atkinson

Women need more sleep than men

FACT: Women need about 20 minutes more sleep than the average man. And that’s because they’re such great multi-taskers.

According to recent research, these are the striking differences between how men and women sleep:

1. Women need more sleep than men… about 20 minutes more per night.
The researchers attributed this to the way in which women used their brains. Women used their brains more strenuously or ‘flexibly’ as they completed tasks concurrently. Men that had jobs that required ‘mental exertion’ and decision–making required more sleep than other men, but interestingly, not as much as women.

2. Women fare worse after even one day of sleep deprivation.
Clinical Psychologist Michael Breus, sleep expert at Duke University explains: “We found that women had more depression, women had more anger, and women had more hostility early in the morning.”

3. Chronically sleep-deprived women develop life-threatening diseases.
Dr Edward Suarez wanted to find out why women who suffered from sleep deprivation were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer than men. He attributed the difference to sex hormones and how they impact sleep.

• Testosterone acts as an anti-inflammatory and counteracts the negative effect of stress and sleep-deprivation. Women with higher levels of testosterone will cope better with lack of sleep.
• Women are hit with hormone surges and dips throughout their lives. From puberty, through pregnancy and into menopause a woman’s changing body can negatively impact sleep quality. Men have more stable hormone levels and thus less interference with their sleep.

Bottom line- Everyone needs good sleep, but women need it that much more.

Tips for getting better sleep if you share a bed with a partner:

  • Investigate mattresses that have springs which are independently cased. This eliminates movement across the entire bed, so when your partner moves you don’t have to move too! The Sealy Pocket Coil range is ideal if you’re looking for less partner disturbance.
  • Make sure your bed is big enough. Did you know that if you’re sharing a double bed, you have less space than you did when you were a child in a single bed? Visit our website today to start shopping for a new bed: