You asked the questions, we took them to the experts! To celebrate National Sleep Day, we’ve teamed up with the sleep specialists at Mattressman to help solve your sleep woes. From advice on napping, dreams, falling asleep and even the best mattresses and pillows to choose from, we hope we’ve covered the most asked sleep questions below!
“How can I stop waking up at night? I sleep so badly and getting more than an hour or two at a time is unheard of. Help!“
Waking up at night is common, and there are multiple ways to improve this. Caffeine can stay in our system and affect our bodies up to 8 hours of consumption, so avoiding this past 4pm is a good way to start. Alcohol is another factor that can lower our sleep quality which in turn can cause us to wake up more frequently throughout the night, so it’s important to steer clear of this a few hours before you go to sleep. On top of this, you should avoid taking naps and should only go to bed when you’re sleepy to ensure you get the best possible night’s sleep.
“How bad is it to nap in the day, especially beyond 3pm, will this ruin the overnight sleep?“
If you feel the need to have a nap, this is a sign that you aren’t getting adequate sleep throughout the night. However, for those who feel the need to, it entirely depends on when you wake up. If you’re an early riser, squeezing in a nap before 2pm is recommended. For those waking up later and going to bed later, you can probably get away with having a nap any time before 5pm. This being said, the length of nap also makes a difference: you shouldn’t nap anymore than 30 minutes, but if you want a longer nap, it shouldn’t be any shorter than 90 minutes. All of this comes down to the sleep cycle, and napping for these amounts of times means you will avoid waking up in the middle of rapid eye movement (REM) stage, which would ultimately make you feel more tired.
“I feel like I could sleep at any time of the day, does this indicate I am not getting enough sleep?“
If you feel like you could nap a lot, then this is certainly a sign that you are not getting the sleep you need at night. We’re all different, but anywhere between 7-9 hours is what our bodies can require to feel refreshed in the mornings.
What type of mattress is best if you suffer from sciatica?
There’s no correct mattress that is advised for those who suffer from sciatica, as there can be an array of sleeping solutions that match your preference and alleviate pain. However, there are accounts that promote using mattresses that mould to the contours of your body, such as one with a memory foam or latex composition. This is due to the fact that the sleeping surface will cushion the sore areas and relieve pressure from the lower back, which will hopefully lead to a better night’s sleep. If you have tried a new mattress but are continuing to suffer from symptoms, talking to a GP would be the best way to go.
“Why do I only remember a small part of my dreams or completely forget about them the following morning?“
Dreaming occurs in the last stage of the sleep cycle: REM sleep. There are biological differences amongst us which means some of us may or may not remember our dreams, sometimes underlying health conditions can explain this too. If you are abruptly woken up in the REM stage of sleep, you’re more likely to recall the dream. By comparison, if you’ve woken up in a stage of your sleep where your brain activity isn’t as high as REM sleep, you’re less likely to remember. If you want to remember more of your dreams, writing in a dream journal as soon as you wake up is a good way to solidify the memory of them.
“Once I’m asleep I’m good until the morning and sleep very well but it takes me SO LONG to get to sleep. I can lay there trying for a good 30 mins to an hour easily. Why is this?“
On average, it should take us 10-20 minutes to fall asleep. But for those who take longer to get to sleep, it could be down to a range of other factors such as anxiety, worrying and stress. Whilst you may not feel those emotions strongly whilst in bed, these feelings certainly play a role in the subconscious and can prevent you from drifting off easily. If the time it takes you to fall asleep doesn’t improve whilst keeping to a regular sleeping schedule, it’s best to talk to a professional.
“Are there certain mattresses and pillows for different sleep positions?“
Yes. Certain types of mattress tensions and pillows combined provide the right level of support for particular sleeping positions and ensure that healthy spine alignment is promoted. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, a softer to medium tension mattress will provide cushioning around the shoulders and hips in order for you to receive total body support. A fluffier or box pillow is good for side sleepers because your neck is then in line with your spine. For back and front sleepers, the opposite applies: a smaller pillow and a firmer mattress mean that the spine is in the correct position so you won’t wake up with aches and pains. For those who sleep in an array of positions or share a bed with a partner, medium-firm mattresses tend to be a good compromise on the level of support you receive.
For more information from the experts at Mattressman and to shop the essentials for your best night’s sleep, visit Mattressman.co.uk