Archive of ‘Snoozology’ category

Snoozology: The Science of Perfect Sleeping Conditions

Creating the perfect sleep environment is a personal practice and since it forms part of our nightly routine, we’re taking a look at the science involved in creating the perfect sleeping conditions.

Environment

The environment in your bedroom is crucial to the amount and quality of sleep that you get. There are many ways that you can alter your sleeping environment to increase the quality of your sleep. For example, not watching TV and not using screens for an hour before sleeping could help you to drift off. Studies have shown that the blue light from screens can prevent melatonin production in your body, meaning that your body doesn’t start producing the important hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy before bed.

Ensuring that there is soft lighting in your room and not interacting with a screen for at least an hour before going to sleep means that you can give melatonin the chance to work naturally. In the morning, open the curtains or blind early in order to wake up properly, as this will stop the body’s production of melatonin.

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Colours

A study by Travelodge into the use of paint colours in bedrooms and the subsequent effect on sleep yielded some very interesting results. They found that the participants that slept for the longest had blue walls, a colour associated with feelings of calm. Warm colours, such as yellow, also proved to have a similar effect. Interestingly, those with purple walls slept for the shortest amount of time, as it is thought that the colour encourages creativity and stimulates the mind.

blue_walls Temperature

We’ve heard that it’s better to sleep in a cold room, but a study from Dr Eus van Someran and colleagues from the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience found that there is a delicate balance between hot and cold. Being cool when going to bed helps the body to realise that it’s time to go to sleep, however, if you’re cold enough to be shivering then you won’t be sleeping deeply enough. We recommend sleeping in clean cotton pyjamas and layering duvets, sheets and throws so that you can adjust your temperature should you need to.

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Scents

Creating the perfect sleeping conditions also involves the scents you can smell and the sounds you can hear. Essential oil diffusers are a good way of winding down after a long day, and when used before bed can help to ease stress and tension. We love one or a combination of Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose and Sandalwood.

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There are many different factors that could affect your quality of sleep, including the effects of age, psychological stressors and stimulants such as caffeine. For more information on sleep hygiene, head to Web MD. What are your most effective sleep tips? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter using #Snoozology to join the conversation.

 

Snoozology with… Molly and the Princess

Most tips for getting a good night’s sleep focus on what you should do just before or when in bed. But what you do in the day, when wide awake, is just as important in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.

It’s all about the melatonin.

What’s that you might ask? Well melatonin is a hormone, produced mostly by the pineal gland in the brain, and it plays a very important part in regulating a person’s circadian rhythm, or sleep pattern.

Too little melatonin makes falling asleep harder – you know the feeling when you are actually tired but somehow feel wide awake? Chances are it’s down to a shortage of melatonin.

So it’s important to know about melatonin production, and what you can do to keep levels up.

Melatonin is produced when daylight fades with the setting of the sun (no wonder it is sometimes referred to as ‘the Dracula hormone’!). The change in light signals the pineal gland to start producing the hormone and releasing it into the bloodstream. With melatonin now being delivered to all parts of the body, you feel gradually less alert and sleepy. With the sunrise, melatonin production is ‘switched off’ again and its supplies run low, making you feel awake and alert.

In order to keep melatonin levels high, when they should be high (and low when they should be low), it is vital that a person gets enough daylight in the daytime, and keeps bright light to a minimum in the late evening.

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Top three tips for regulating melatonin, and getting a good night’s sleep

  • Expose yourself to light when you first get up, by opening the curtains and eating breakfast at a table by a window. According to Barbara Matusiak, a professor of architecture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who studies the effect of light: “It is important that the body be exposed to a great deal of light when you first wake up, so your brain gets the signal to stop melatonin production.”
  • During the day, make sure you get enough exposure to daylight. If you work in an artificially lit office, see if you can situate your desk by a window. Take a walk outdoors at lunchtime, or whenever you can during the day.
  • Reduce exposure to bright light in the evening, especially after 9pm, when you need to be producing melatonin in order to promote good sleep. Blue light, such as that emitted by computer screens, stops the brain producing melatonin. If you simply cannot tear yourself away from the screen in the evening, you can install a programme (called lux) that adapts your screen according to the time of day – brighter in the day, dimmer in the evening – while still maintaining readability.

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Of course there are a lot more factors that affect a good night’s sleep, but if you follow the tips above to regulate your body clock, you have a solid foundation for getting plenty of good quality shut-eye. The body just can’t ignore the go-to-sleep signals being sent when the melatonin in flowing, so make sure you get enough of it – at the right time – and soon you’ll be sleeping like a baby. In Christy bedding I hope!

Written by Molly and The Princess: http://www.mollyandtheprincess.com

 

Snoozology with… Flourish and Be

We’re kicking off National Bed Month with a guest post from our friend Tom at Flourish and Be on tips for helping you get a perfect night’s sleep.

It’s a firm belief of mine that our ability to live mindfully has a lot to do with our sleeping habits. A night of plentiful, good quality sleep can set us up for a present, positive day, a day in which we’re able to focus on living each and every moment with an attentive, happy attitude. On the flip side, a night of bad quality or little sleep can leave us feeling groggy and sluggish, cursed to spend the day in a zombified state, constantly wishing we were back under the covers. In order to wake up refreshed and ready to face the day as a fully awake, non-grumpy human being, we need to make sure that we’re creating a good environment for ourselves to fall asleep in; here are my tips for preparing yourself and your surroundings for a perfect night of sleep.

Spend a few minutes each night tidying your bedroom – Tidy surroundings can go a long way in facilitating a tidier mind, something that’s especially important when we’re heading off to sleep. Unnecessary clutter can act as a stressor, it symbolises yet another task that needs to be completed and keeps your mind in an anxious state, so it’s a good idea to tidy away your bits and pieces at the end of the day, or even remove those things from your bedroom altogether if they don’t really need to be there. When I’m feeling especially lazy, I’ve taken to setting a five minute timer just before I start my bedtime preparations, getting as much tidying up done as I can within that short space of time. As I’m not a particularly messy person this usually gives me plenty of time to clear any surfaces and get things back to where they need to be. I’m then left with a clutter-free, calm bedroom to fall asleep in. Plus, it’s so much nicer (let alone more mindful) to wake up in tidy surroundings rather than a room filled with the mess of the day before.

Turn your bedroom into a no-tech zone – We all know how toxic tech can be when it comes to sleep, not only acting as a distraction from shutting our eyes and getting our ideal number of hours but also literally messing with our brain chemistry; the blue light emitted by our screens can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, telling it to turn off the production of melatonin, a hormone that’s key in winding down the body and preparing it to sleep. Turning your bedroom into a tech-free area, or at least keeping your laptop/phone use to a minimum, will go along way in ensuring that melatonin is produced as it naturally should be, in turn bringing on a restful night of sleep and a refreshed, ready to go feeling the next morning. Instead of diving head first into a Netflix binge or endlessly scrolling through social media next time you head to bed, try to get into the habit of reading a book, starting a journal or partaking in another no-tech, relaxing pastime.

Curate a dreamy bedtime playlist – Part of me creating a good environment for sleep involves my bedtime playlist! As I’m preparing to get into bed, whether I’m tidying my room, changing into sleepwear or brushing my teeth, I like to pop on my collection of dreamy tunes to help me wind down, relax and get ready to hit the pillow. I’ve put together my chilled playlist on Spotify, and you can listen to it here! (http://www.flourishandbe.com/2016/02/a-dreamy-bedtime-playlist.html)

Make a DIY sleep spray with essential oils – Essential oils are a powerful tool in encouraging the body and mind to feel a certain way, and as such are a fantastic addition to your healthy bedtime routine. Lavender is of course the essential oil most commonly associated with sleep, it works wonders in calming an active, anxious mind, and there are a number of ways you can incorporate it into your sleep prep, one of which being via a sleep spray. There are a huge number of sleep sprays/pillow mists available to buy, the majority of these containing lavender, but on closer inspection they also tend to contain a bunch of artificial, synthetic ingredients. Creating your own sleep spray with essential oils is super easy, and allows you to know exactly what you’re spraying onto your pillow each night as well as enabling you to experiment with your own blends; head to Flourish & Be to find out how to make your very own DIY lavender and bergamot sleep spray (with printable labels!). (http://www.flourishandbe.com/2016/02/lavender-bergamot-sleep-spray.html)

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