The science of Sleep: Tips for getting a good night’s rest
We’ve all been there – a restless night spent tossing and turning, feeling like the entire world is asleep and you’re the only one left wide awake. Seconds feel like minutes, minutes feel like hours, yet before you know it – the sun is rising and there you are, deprived of Zs and craving caffeine.
“Why can’t I get a better night’s rest?!” you ask. Well, we’ve got a few tips here for you (some based on science, some just common sense) that should see you drift off soundly, and wake up feeling well rested and ready to face the day.
You know the feeling. It’s mid-summer, the nights are balmy and warm, and you’ve got every window flung open to try and remedy the situation. Fast-forward to winter, and you’re back to thick duvets, layers of pyjamas, and hot-water bottles.
We’re not scientists, but luckily the good people at Eve Sleep conducted a study of 2000 Britons that concluded the optimum temperature for getting a dreamy night’s kip is 16.1 degrees Celsius – not too hot, and not too cold! A mid-range temperature like this will stop you from overheating, and also helps maintain our body’s O2 level. If science says so, we’re inclined to agree!
There are a number of ways to keep a room at a consistent temperature, and much of that does depend on the time of year. Keeping doors and windows closed during the winter months will play a role in keeping the warmth in, while opening windows and using fans to produce an airflow will regulate the temperature during the summer. We’d recommend you invest in a portable thermostat so that you can keep an eye on the temperature from the comfort of your sheets!
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right bed linen – material, thread count (TC), even the thickness of your duvet. Let’s not get into the technical realms of TCs and togs, and instead focus on the lovely fabric.
Cotton is a fab choice for pillowcases, duvet covers and sheets. It’s easy to care for and super durable, but most importantly – it’s soft on your skin and breathable. These two factors alone will see you drift off soundly – helping you to regulate your body temperature and avoid skin irritations.
Tightly sprung, or firmly packed
If you thought there was a lot to consider in terms of materials, choosing the right mattress is a minefield all of its own! There are several types on the market, from inexpensive, lightweight spring mattresses, to the pricier and heavier memory foam or latex ones.
Spring mattresses, being lightweight and inexpensive, are perfect for a bed that’s not slept in very often (hello guest room!) But we’re here to help you get the best night’s sleep, so let’s talk about the latter two.
Memory foam is a moldable material that responds to temperature and weight – meaning it literally moulds to the shape of your body as you sleep. This helps to relieve joint pressure and promotes good posture by aligning the spine when sleeping on your side. However, not everyone likes the ‘sinking’ motion you get with this type of mattress, and it can get rather warm in your little protective pocket.
Latex is another great choice. Though these mattresses are especially heavy and difficult to flip – the fact that they’re super durable and good for people with allergies should offset this. Latex foam is a very breathable material, so this too helps with maintaining an optimum sleep temperature. They can feel rather solid in comparison to spring or memory foam mattresses, so this is definitely something to take into account.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to the ‘right’ mattress, but the key thing to consider is what will be most supportive for you.
These tips are intended to lay the foundation for you to improve the quality of your sleep – but woe betide us to dictate exactly what the best solution is for you. Much of it comes down to personal choice, as some of us prefer to be snuggly and warm, and others prefer to be cooler and less cocooned. Whatever your choice, may you have the sweetest dreams.