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…
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
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
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 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
Last year, we all did our best to buy into the Clean Sleep trend. This was a good trend- it highlighted the importance of good, uninterrupted sleep that lasted 8 hours every night.
Research papers examined the health benefits (there are many!); consumers downloaded apps to track their sleep data (this made us anxious) and social media platforms were used to compare sleep performance.
Frustratingly, life got in the way of all our good intentions and many found that they had family, work, social and exercise commitments that made getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep impossible.
And so it is no surprise that the 2018 sleep trends are a reaction to this sleep ideal.
- Listening to your body is in and sleep trackers are out. Feel tired? You need to sleep more. Wake up before your alarm clock? Sleep less. Your own intuition is seen as more reliable than a sleep tracking app.
- Sleep binging on weekends is in and setting an alarm to achieve a consistent morning wake time is out. If you wake up on the weekend and you feel exhausted, then go back to sleep. Sleep as much as you need to recover so long as it doesn’t hurt your ability to fall asleep that night.
- Power naps (the 30 minute kind) are in and 10-minute micro naps are out. Power naps are viewed as a way of boosting productivity, rather than as a way of catching up on missed sleep. Either way, don’t fight the gift of an extra 20 minutes on your nap.
- Accepting your unique sleep needs is in and sleep comparisons are out. The idea of striving for a certain number (such as 8 hours of sleep) is seen as futile, as is forcing yourself to get to bed at the same time as your partner/work colleagues/Gwenyth Paltrow. The focus is on getting to know your unique sleep/wake profile.
One trend that never goes out of fashion? Sleeping on a Sealy. Get yours today!
Digital detoxes were the most popular health trend this festive season. What happened when this Sleep Expert went offline for a week? The results may surprise you.
There is nothing harder than taking your own advice. And so with leave booked I decided to give a digital detox a try. The aim was to be mostly offline from 16 December 2017 until 05 January 2018.
Perhaps this time period was a little extensive as it encompassed both my husband’s and daughter’s birthdays as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations which required, I will admit, going online for weather reports, hotel and restaurant bookings as well as some online shopping for price comparisons.
However, despite my frequent relapses there were some solid offline days that did give me much pleasure and contentment.
- There was less worrying over the safety of my smart phone as I left it at home rather than taking it with me to the beach.
- Admittedly, there were also less photos taken – a pity as there were some great memories made – however, I am not sure those memories would have been made if I was in my usual state of continual distraction.
- On the one occasion that I did give in and check work emails, I was both shocked at the amount (145 new emails) as well as the lack of truly urgent responses. Many were important and required a response but not right now. It felt good to say: “no emails, I choose my holiday. You can actually wait”.
- It was also great to save up the good news – when I did go onto social media platforms I had loads of good news to digest in a short space of time. There were babies born, engagement posts, dogs in Christmas hats and some amazing holiday adventures happening. And it took 30 minutes to read it all. It did not matter that I found out 2 weeks or 2 days later…
So if you feel you could do with a little more presence and a little less distraction then give a digital detox a go. I suggest deactivating all notifications, accepting one method of communication (such as SMS or Whatsapp only) and leaving your phone at home as much as possible to avoid the inevitable temptation to google just a little.
It will feel strange at first not holding your phone in your hand and looking not at a screen but at the people and spaces all around you. What I found is that rather than worrying about what I was missing out on online, I started to notice what I was missing out on by not being offline. The other outcome? Better sleep thanks to less bright light which meant a happier and healthier holiday maker.
For all your sleep solutions, visit www.sealy.co.za to see just how far the science of sleep has come.
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?