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Sleeping Problems

Most people need between five to nine hours sleep a night to function. Generally, eight hours is seen as the ideal, but everyone’s different.

Sleeping problems or sleeplessness, difficulty sleeping or getting to sleep, is often referred to as insomnia.

clockOften stress and anxiety  can lead to sleeping problems. As the stressful situation passes, a more regular sleep pattern should return.

Irregular sleep patterns can also be related to depression.

If you’ve been feeling down for a couple of weeks and have been unable to sleep speak to your GP.

Factors that can disrupt sleep include:

  • asthma and breathing disorders
  • pregnancy – during the third trimester of pregnancy sleep is usually dramatically reduced
  • stimulants in the blood stream like caffeine and nicotine
  • some prescribed and over the counter drugs
  • some forms of the contraceptive pill
  • decongestants and pain and cold relievers
  • jet lag.

Impact of poor sleep

Problems getting to sleep, waking early or not being able to sleep throughout the night can affect your general wellbeing.

Effects of insomnia include:

  • decreased concentration levels
  • decreased energy levels
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty remembering things.

How to improve your sleep quality

Try to set routines. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.

This helps your body clock get into rhythm and makes sleeping feel more natural. Avoid sleeping during the day, because it makes it harder to fall asleep at night.

Process the day’s thoughts and feelings and then let go of them. If it helps, write things down or talk about them with someone you trust.

Learning meditation is a very useful tool for stilling the mind and relaxing the body. It can be a very effective way to release tension and de-stress.

What you can do to manage insomnia

  • Implement routine: Try to go to bed and wake at the same time daily.
  • Limit the bed to sleeping: Try not to study, watch TV, read or eat in bed
  • Exercise: Do some exercise during the day to induce tiredness.
  • Relax before bed: Have a warm bath, listen to soothing music, use deep breathing techniques, yoga, tai chi etc.
  • Avoid naps: Napping during the day may minimise your ability to sleep at night.
  • Minimise anxiety: Try not to tackle anything that may cause stress & anxiety just before bed time, or write down any worries you may have.
  • Avoid stimulants: Avoid having caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, cola) or cigarettes before bed. [NB: alcohol may make you drowsy but can disrupt sleeping patterns.]
  • Warm and soothing drinks: Warm chamomile or peppermint tea or a milk-based drink may help you sleep.
  • Lavender: Lavender is considered a natural sedative, so sprinkling some oil on your pillow may assist.
  • Natural Remedies: Valerian is considered a non-addictive, sleep-inducing herb that also assists in relieving stress and anxiety and is available at supermarkets or pharmacies. St John’s Wort is another natural product which is used to treat anxiety, stress & insomnia, but is unfortunately not available over the counter in Ireland.
  • Sleep in a well ventilated room, that’s neither too hot nor cold
  • Avoid excessive exercise just before going to bed
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal late in the evening
  • Play soft gentle music. The heart actually follows the beat of the music so high-energy dance music revs you up, while slower more peaceful music helps you unwind.

If none of these help, do consult your doctor.

Circadian rhythms

Circadian rhythms are daily cycles based on a 24-hour period, which are strongly influenced by regular changes in the environment like night and day.

This natural cycle helps coordinate regular bodily functions like appetite, energy, mood, and sleep.

It does this by regulating the timing, amount and quality of the hormones and neurotransmitters the body produces and releases.

Out of sync

When our body is out of sync with this 24-hour cycle, we can be at risk of developing circadian rhythm disorder. In the short term we may experience circadian disruption, like jet lag following long flights.

Functioning as a time-keeping mechanism for the mind and the body, the suprachaismatic nuclei (SCN) synchronize the 24-hour periods. They control most other rhythms of the body by working with time-keeping genes and hormones, like melatonin.

Together they coordinate the daily rhythms and cycles that control the rise and fall of hormones, chemicals and neurotransmitters that determine waking times, sleep, appetite, sex and other key aspects of our lives.

Sleep-wake system

Many of the rhythms of our body and mind are synchronised with nature. For example, when our biological clock is functioning properly, the urge to wake up will start to increase in the morning, as the sun is rising.

The circadian system and the sleep-wake system then prompts our bodies to produce cortisol, serotonin, and other hormones that wake us up, increase blood pressure and cause body temperature to rise.

Likewise, at sunset, the body receives another cue and responds to the lack of sunlight by producing and releasing the hormone melatonin. Unlike at sunrise, this leads to a decrease in blood pressure and allows the body to prepare for and eventually fall into sleep.

Importance of sleep

Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives. It helps restore energy, keep memory functioning properly, and helps to heal our bodies. When sleep is disrupted or deprived, we don’t feel as alert, we are easily agitated and all of our actions seem slow.

Stress and aniexty caused by work, family, and daily life commonly lead to sleeping problems.

People’s lives have become much more fast-paced. Hectic work schedules little time to unwind and relax. We get less sleep as a result, causing many of us to feel exhausted.

When our bodies are out of sync with the 24-hour circadian rhythm cycle, our hormone and neurotransmitter release is negatively affected. This can cause our bodies to suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder (CRD), which can sometimes trigger depression.

To avoid developing CRD, try no to take naps during the day and allow yourself time to wind down before going to bed. Exposure to light in the mornings, exercise and a healthy diet can also help.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is closely related to CRD. During the winter months, our bodies receive insufficient amounts of light.

This can cause malfunctions, resulting in the production of the wrong hormones at the wrong time of day.

Research also shows that without sunlight, the brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin, which can trigger depression.

The symptoms usually diminish as the days get longer, although many SAD sufferers note brief (one to two-week) periods of SAD-like symptoms in the summer.

Bipolar disorder is different to major depression in that it is marked by episodes of euphoria or mania. These episodes can last for hours, days or even months.

In almost all cases of bipolar disorder, depressive and manic episodes are seasonal, leading doctors to make a connection between the disorder and CRD.

Less daylight

In autumn and winter, as daylight decreases, bi-polar sufferers enter a depressive phase, and require increased intervention.

Those with the disorder also suffer from sleep problems and feel worse at a particular time of day. Because these symptoms reflect a circadian rhythm disorder, doctors have found success by treating bipolar disorders with bright light.

A Guide For Various Sizes of Mattresses In Ireland

Families comprise of various sizes and so does the mattress on which we spend a great deal of time. According to studies, on an average we spend 8-12 hours on bed – sleeping, watching TV, reading and occasionally stress-eating. So buying the right mattress plays an important role in this scenario. But before buying mattress in Ireland, it is important that you know how much sleeping space you need and how many types of mattresses are available according to size. It is recommended that you buy the one, keeping you needs in mind.

Mattresses in Ireland

So, how many mattress size exists that you know of, twin, double, king sized, super king, but how much do they differ and which one is for you? Here is a guide for you to see and choose for yourself

1. Single or cot (75X190 cm)/ (30 X 75 In)

It the smallest size mattress possible and is most suitable for one child, unless the child need considerably large sleeping space. It can easily fit in your child’s room leaving plenty of space for other stuffs such as study table, wardrobe, toys and also provides playing space.

2. Twin (90X190 cm)/ (35X75 in)

This one is 5 inches lwider than single one and is perfect for your child to sleep on, especially if he/she has a furry friend as a sleeping partner. It may also be considered for youself if you live in a studio apartment. Its compact size ensures enough clearance for keeping other stuffs.

3. Small double/ (120X190 cm)/ (47X75 in)

It is 12 inches wider than the previous one and is ideal bed for your guest rooms and for freshly graduates who are new in the world of self-dependence and loves to spend a great deal of time on bed while studying, sleeping, eating, taking naps and watching TV.

4. Double/Full (135X190 cm)/ (53X75 in)

Double or full mattress is 6 inches wider than the small double and thus, provides ‘just sufficient’ space for a couple. It is a smart choice for you and your partner, if you guys loves to sleep close together. However, it does not provides enough room for your child or pet.

5. King sized (150X200cm) /(59X79 in)

As the name ‘king’ suggest, this mattress outnumber the last one both in terms of length and width. It is ideal for couples with child, who prefer to keep them on bed instead of cot or cradle. This is a ideal choice for you, if are considerablt taller and own a spacious master bedroom.

6. Super King (180X200 cm)/ (71X79 in)

It is the largest sized mattress that you can get in Ireland and is 12 inches wider than the previous one. This mattress provides ample amount of space for the your child and yourselves without compromising your sleeping space. Due to its large size, your loving pets can also find a warm corner besides you during winter.

So, before buying mattresses in Ireland, consider your option and calculate your space and make the right choice for you and your family.

mattress buying habits for november

On the back of our ‘Maybe time for a new mattress campaign’ which ran throughout  nov we wanted to find out “when you last bought a mattress, what did you buy?”

And here are the results:

A third of you will buy  a mattress with a divan base and nearly a quarter bought with a frame. It was reassuring to see that just over half of you do buy a mattress with some kind of base but nearly a third (30%) buy just a mattress.

When buying a new bed it can be false economy to change only the mattress and keep the original base, especially if you are buying a divan set. The old base could reduce the useful life of the new mattress as well as the comfort and support it can offer. It can also invalidate manufacturers’ warranties or guarantees. A bed is a mattress and a base working together – don’t consider them in isolation.

How to keep warm on a cold winter’s night

  • Wear night clothes such as pyjamas or a large T-shirt to keep you warm. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton or silk will keep you warmer than synthetic materials.
  • Have a warm bath just before you go to bed. This will gently warm and relax you to help you feel sleepy.
  • Have a warming, milky drink.
  • Try to take some exercise which will get the circulation going to help keep the body warm – but don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bed time as you may feel too invigorated to sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom warm, but not too hot, and free from draughts.
  • Look for a mattress which has a thicker side for use during the winter. A soft sleeping surface is a better insulator than a flat one. Use a fleecy underblanket to retain the heat.
  • Choose a duvet with a high tog rating or use several layers of bedding rather than one single layer. Layers will trap warm air and are easily removed if you get too hot.
  • A hot water bottle is an ideal way to keep warm once in bed. Make sure it has a cover on it to avoid scalding and also so that it won’t feel cold in the middle of the night. Electric blankets are ideal. Underblankets will warm the bed up before you retire for the night, while overblankets maintain a constant temperature throughout the night.

What is sleep?

Sleep is the mysterious shift in consciousness that our bodies require every day. It’s vital for our health and wellbeing, and not only do we function less well when we don’t get enough quality sleep, but it can lead to long-term health problems. That’s why we need to do all that we can to ensure that we enjoy quality sleep and deal with any sleep problems.

The Sleep Cycle

During sleep our heart rate drops, our body temperature falls and we experience complex changes in brain activity. An EEG (electroencephalogram) gives us an insight into the brains electrical activity when we sleep:

  • When we first fall asleep we enter non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. NREM is divided into three stages: – NREM1 – NREM2 and – NREM3, each stage becoming progressively ‘deeper’.
  • Stages 1 and 2 are light stages of sleep from which we can be easily roused.
  • Stage 3 is a deeper stage of sleep from which we’re more difficult to rouse, and some may feel disorientated if woken from this stage of sleep.
  • Generally, after going through the NREM stages, we enter stage 4 which is known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which the EEG shows as being similar to wakefulness or drowsiness. It is during the REM stage of sleep that we dream.
  • Each cycle lasts around 1½ hours and we need to experience all four stages in order to wake up rested.
  • A good night’s sleep consists of five or six cycles, whereas disturbed sleep consists of far fewer.

Sleep is largely controlled by sleep pressure, and the circadian rhythm, or our body clock, which is a 24 hour cycle that regulates all our biological and physiological processes. It anticipates environmental changes around us so that our bodies can adapt to them.

In ideal situations, the circadian rhythm will naturally rise in the early morning, promoting wakefulness and alertness, and will reach a peak in the evening. After a waking period of around 15 hours the pressure to sleep becomes greater and greater, in other words, we get tired. With the onset of darkness, the circadian rhythm drops to the lowest level and helps to maintain sleep.

To ensure you experience good sleep it’s essential to follow good lifestyle habits and to eliminate the factors that are causing you disturbed sleep. For example making sure that your bedroom is the right environment, looking at the lighting in your home, and avoiding foods and drinks that can hinder sleep.

Start Now To Stop Children’s Sleep Being Affected When Clocks Change

When the clocks change it can be a nightmare for parents. Children’s bedtimes and wake times change and it can take anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to get back in sync.
Here are some top tips on how to overcome some of the problems of the clocks going back an hour on Sunday 30th October.

• Delay the start of your child’s bedtime routine, at least a week before the clocks change. Aim for around 10 – 15 minutes earlier every few days until bedtime has moved by an hour.  Don’t worry if they still wake at the same time in the morning, it takes a couple of days to establish a new sleep pattern.  Hopefully by the time the clocks go back on Sunday 30th, your child will have adjusted to the clock change.

• Toddlers still having a nap in the day should be encouraged to take the nap later or to be slightly longer so that they are able to go to bed that little bit later.  Alter babies’ naps in the day.

• During the day before the clocks change, keep young children active – lots of fresh air and exercise – so they sleep well. But don’t totally wear them out as over-tired children are harder to get to sleep.

• If they wake up at their usual time you should encourage them to remain in bed – half an hour is probably your limit! If you don’t already have them, black out blinds or really dense curtains will help to keep morning light out.

• You may be gaining an hour but don’t go to bed an hour later than usual as chances are you won’t get the opportunity to lie-in!

It is worth noting that children with good sleep routines tend to cope better with the changes in time as they know what to expect at the end of the day.  A good bedtime routine – teatime, followed by quiet play, bath, story and bed is typical.  Ensure the environment is right for sleep – it should be cool, quiet and dark and make sure the bed is comfortable and supportive.

Caring for a new mattress

Proper InstallationMake sure your new mattress and foundation are properly installed in your home. Improper installation can damage your new sleep set. If you choose to transport and install on your own, ask the store personnel to give you some tips to help you avoid problems.

Rotate it. Unless your mattress care instructions indicate otherwise, you may want to periodically rotate your mattress from end-to-end and from top-to-bottom.

Use a protective pad. A good quality, washable mattress pad (and one for the foundation, too, if you like) is a must to keep your set fresh and free from stains.

Let it breathe. If you detect a slight “new product” odor, leave the mattress and foundation uncovered and well ventilated for a few hours. A breath of fresh air should do the trick!

Give it good support. Be sure to use a sturdy, high-quality bed frame. If it’s a queen or king size set, make sure your frame has the strong center support that will prevent the mattress from bowing or breakage.

Don’t dry clean. The chemicals in dry cleaning agents/spot removers may be harmful to the fabric or underlying materials. Vacuuming is the only recommended cleaning method. But if you’re determined to tackle a stain, use mild soap with cold water and apply lightly. Do not ever soak a mattress or foundation.

Don’t remove the tag. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to remove the law tag, but the information on the label will serve as a means of identification should you have a warranty claim.

It’s not a trampoline.  Don’t let the kids jump on your sleep set. Their rough-housing could do damage to the interior construction of your bed, as well as to themselves!

No boards, please. Never put a board between the mattress and foundation. It may enhance the sense of support for a while, but it will only make the problem worse over time. When any bed in your home has reached the “board stage,” get rid of it.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Again, be sure to follow any specific guidelines from your manufacturer for the best method of mattress care.

Out with the old.  Now that you’ve treated yourself to a new sleep set, arrange to have your old bed removed and disposed of. Don’t give it to the kids, relatives, guests or neighbors. If it wasn’t good enough for you, it isn’t good enough for anyone else. Get it Recycled

Types Of Mattresses

Innerspring mattress:

An innerspring mattress uses a steel coil support system. Manufacturers offer several different types of spring systems, including units with springs connected into a single unit and individually wrapped pocketed coils. Spring shapes, designs, coil gauge, and number of coils in a mattress can vary. The innerspring is covered by padding or upholstery materials, which can include various foams, fiber, and additional layers of smaller steel springs. Coil count can be more arbitrary, but the idea is that the greater the number of coils, the more points of support and greater distribution, thus the better the bed can contour and support the sleeper.

Foam mattress:

Foam mattresses use one or more types of foam as the support system. The foam may be polyurethane foam, memory (or visco elastic) foam, or latex foam, and can contain gel or other materials. The foam used in such mattresses can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and densities to offer consumers a mattress that has different comfort, feel and heat dissipation features.

Memory foam (visco) Mattress:

Memory foam (or visco elastic foam) mattresses use a high density polyurethane foam as the support system, in the upholstery layer, or both.  This foam has properties that allow it to contour closely to the shape of the sleeper.

Pillow top mattress:

Pillow top mattresses provide an additional upholstery layer sewn into the top of the mattress. This layer can be made from a variety of fiber and foam materials.

Gel Mattress:

Gel mattresses use a type of foam that contains gel in the product’s support system, upholstery layers, or both. The gel is added to the foam using deferent types of technology. The gel foam can offer consumers different comfort, feel and heat dissipation features.

 

A Guide To Choose The Right Mattress In Ireland

Sleep is the best medicine” very true words said by Dalai Lama. We all can relate to it, especially after growing up. During childhood, we didn’t fancy sleep much, only if we knew getting quality sleep might become difficult later in life. In ancient Egypt and China, people used to sleep on stone and porcelain pillows respectively for a long time. Thankfully, in today’s era we have access to much more comforting sleeping material. We can find a wide range of mattresses in Ireland.

Mattress Shop Online

But that does not mean that anything which contains fluffy material qualifies as perfect sleeping partner. Some say that going for soft mattress is good for health, while others vote for a hard one. So which one should you choose to buy? The conventional idea states that you need to look for a mattress that offers you the best compliance. On that note, here are few points to consider while buying mattresses in Ireland.

1. Trusted brand

There are ample of mattress shops across Ireland. While each of them claim to be the best, know which brands are genuine and offering the best materials. You can refer to your friends and family for their suggestions and feedback.

2. Type of mattress

Each one of us is different when it comes to shape and size, and thus, each one of us has a different need for bedding material. Know your particular need before buying. If you are light weighted, then going for a soft fluffy bed will be good for you. However, if you are heavier or suffering from back problem, then opting for a hard one or orthopedic bed will be appropriate for you.

3. Trial before buying

No matter how much you like a particular mattress, you MUST try it before you bring it home. Even though it might sound a bit funny to lie down on the mattress in the showroom or shop, remember, you are going to sleep on it for about six to eight hours a day and buying an inappropriate mattress will do no good.

4. Budget

Ideally, you should spend as much as you can. If you are thinking about saving budget, then remind yourself of how many dollars you spend on your sofas, where you spend so little time each day. Even though buying the right mattress might come a bit costly, you don’t need to spend a fortune on it if you are buying mattresses in Ireland. Mattress is not something you are going to buy every year, so buying it becomes your one time investment. Hence, make your investment count and go for the right one!

Ah! Tuesday’s Sleep

You might get to sleep in on the weekends but is it the best sleep? According to new research, the answer is no.

While it’s not the longest sleep of the week (weekends usually mean an extra 30 minutes in bed on Friday and Saturday nights), Tuesday night sleep is the most restorative, with a fall in blood pressure and stress hormones, according to a June 28 article in The Telegraph.

While experts aren’t exactly sure why this is the case, it could be that Tuesday nights are free from the rich food and drinks consumed over the weekend.

“People rest for a lot longer during the weekend, but perhaps they are out partying and letting their hair down and their bodies don’t physiologically recover,” says Simon Shepard, chief executive officer of Optima-Life, the U.K.-based distributor of the heart monitors used in the study. “On Mondays and Tuesdays, your energy levels may still be high after the weekend. And while you may still be sociable, you may be sociable in a different way, going to a book group rather than the pub.”

The study found only 48% of Saturday night and 48.7% of Friday night’s sleep revitalizes the body and brain. This is compared with a high of 55.1% on Tuesday nights, while 54.6% of sleep on Monday was considered to be restorative, the article notes.best_night_sleep_tuesday-1