In search of a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. A recent study (opens in new tab) by Iowa State University found that as many as five million Americans experience some sort of difficulty sleeping. No wonder we drink so much coffee nowadays…
And it’s not just your levels of alertness in meetings that stand to be impacted by a poor night’s rest. The study also found that missing out on the recommended seven to eight hours combined with poor quality of sleep can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as affecting our overall wellbeing.
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So, what can you do to increase the quality of your sleep and ensure you get enough shut eye? Once place to start is by building a sleepy sanctuary. By investing in key products that have the potential to affect your slumber, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of falling and staying asleep - and waking feeling fully refreshed and restored. Here’s what to look for…
The right mattress
A good night’s sleep starts with your mattress. With most high-quality mattresses lasting at least eight years, it’s worth doing your research to make the right choice for you.
The biggest determining factor is firmness and this generally depends on your sleeping position. Soft is best for those who change position throughout the night or sleep on their side. Medium suits those who sleep on their back as it will provide lower-back support, and rm is ideal for people who sleep on their front or su er from back pain, as it will offer stability.
The general rule is, spend as much as you can afford. After all, you spend about a third of your lifetime in bed, so your mattress should be as comfortable as possible. However, if cash is tight, a cost-effective way to upgrade your bed is to buy the best mattress topper you can.
The right pillow
Again, you’ll need to look for a firmness that suits you. Too soft and your head will sink putting pressure on your neck; too hard and you’ll feel stiff by morning. For plumpness and hygiene, you should replace your pillows every two to three years.
If you often finds yourself unable to sleep whilst your partner happily dozes next to you, consider investing in a pillow with a built-in speaker, which allows you to listen to relaxing music, an audio book or a sleep meditation without disturbing your beloved.
The Soundasleep speaker pillow (opens in new tab) is a great example - it's designed to work with apps such as Calm, Spotify and Audible, and provides great sound quality which, brilliantly, can't be heard by your partner. You can also connect your phone alarm so that you're the only one to be awoken by those early morning beeps.
The right scent
At the touch of a button, the best essential oil diffusers spread natural fragrance around your room. With some models offering a built-in night light or relaxing sounds, a diffuser is the perfect all-in-one for a satisfying slumber.
Alternatively, rub a snooze-inducing balm on to your temples and pressure points as part of your bedtime routine. Look for products featuring lavender and Ylang Ylang, both known for their sleep-promoting qualities.
The right comforter (or duvet)
Keeping you cosy on a cold night, or cool in the warmer months, a comforter (as its known in the States) or duvet (if you’re British) has to work hard to control your temperature.
The higher the tog, the warmer the duvet – in the winter, opt for anything above a 10.5 tog, in spring and autumn a duvet between 7 and 10.5 tog is best and for summer weather, as low as 2.5 tog.
The best duvet will suit all seasons, coming with two or three separate duvets that can be buttoned together to create the perfect level of warmth for you.
Alternatively, if you live in warmer climes and only need a top sheet, be sure to invest in natural materials to help keep you cool.
The right bedding
Complete the calm feel with bedding to match – go for simple and subdued patterns in relaxing soft blue and grey tones. Always check the label to make sure the fabric is natural – 100% cotton and flannel are popular choices.
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