March 2016

Healthy Bed Time Snacks

Healthy Bed Time Snacks To Help You Sleep

By | Food & Drink, Sleep Blog | One Comment

If you find yourself hungry at night but find those late night snacking sessions lead you to a restless nights sleep, you may need to consider what foods you are eating before bedtime.

Nutritionist Linda Foster says: “It makes perfect sense that our diet can affect our sleep quality”.

A low calorie snack, around 200 calories, will mean you won’t be in bed listening to your stomach grumbling, whilst ensuring ensure your body isn’t up all night digesting.

As your body’s digestion reduces by 50% when you sleep it is important to try and avoid eating spicy, high salt or high fat foods before bed. These foods can cause uncomfortable indigestion and heartburn which will most likely disturb your sleep.

Instead opt for a snack rich in sleep-inducing nutrients like tryptophan, melatonin, protein and complex carbohydrates which will aid a better night’s sleep, maintain steady blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.

We’ve given you a run-down of our favourite healthy snacks before bed time below:

Turkey Slices

Turkey is loaded with sleep inducing tryptophan – an essential amino acid the brain uses to produce serotonin which regulates sleep. The body can’t make it itself, so foods high in tryptophan such as turkey must supply the body with tryptophan. A few slices of turkey will only be around 100 calories and will provide you with high quality protein to keep you full.

Cottage Cheese

Skip the sugar-packed icecream and instead opt for a bowl of cottage cheese topped with fresh blueberries. The slow digesting protein found in cottage cheese will keep you from getting hungry in the middle of the night while the calcium eases you to sleep.

Wholegrain Cereal

Whole wheat cereals, such as bran flakes or cornflakes are a good option for bedtime snacks. They are easy to digest and provide 200 calories or even less per bowl. You can add a little skimmed milk for protein and sleep inducing tryptophan.

Cherries

Cherries increase the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that naturally makes you feel sleepy. It seems that the more tart the cherry, the more helpful it is in increasing melatonin production. If snacking on sour cherries seems unappetising, you could opt for a glass or two of cherry juice instead.

70% Organic Dark Chocolate

If you really need to satisfy your late night sweet tooth then opt for 5 squares of 70% organic dark chocolate. This will provide a dose of antioxidants which can help lower your blood pressure and improve your blood vessel function.

Non-fat Greek Yoghurt

For about 100 to 150 calories, the protein from a portion of non-fat greek yoghurt will help keep you full, plus you’ll get the relaxing powers of tryptophan from the dairy. Yoghurt can also help calm your stomach, so you’re less likely to wake up with heartburn or indigestion and instead can score a good night’s rest.

A Banana

Bananas are packed with two powerhouse nutrients; potassium and magnesium. In addition to many other health benefits, these nutrients help relax your muscles, resulting in a restful night. For around 100 calories bananas are a great night time snack as they release energy slowly so blood sugar levels are kept steady to help aid an undisturbed sleep.

Almonds

Certain nuts such as almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts are a great source of tryptophan. Almonds are especially rich in the minerals needed for good quality sleep. Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council describes almonds as a winner because they change the body from being alert and let it go into rest mode.

Popcorn

At only 30 calories a cup, air-popped popcorn is an ideal late night snack. The carbs in popcorn stimulate the release of insulin, which has proven to control your circadian clock.

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Healthy Breakfast: Eggs with Pesto and Avocado

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Our Healthy Sleep Supporter and GB heptathlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson enjoys a healthy breakfast after her 10 hours of sleep.

Try our recipe inspired by Katarina to kick-start your day:

Eggs with Pesto, Avocado and Spinach

INGREDIENTS
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon basil pesto
• Black pepper and a pinch of salt
• Olive oil spray
• 1/2 large avocado
• 2 slices seeded toast
• Cherry tomatoes to serve

1
Remove the stone from the avocado and chop into small chunks. Drizzle across the pesto and gently mix through the avocado.

2
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and spray lightly with olive oil. Fry the eggs sunny side up for a tasty, runny yolk.

3
Spoon the avocado mixture onto the fresh toast, and add the eggs fresh from the pan.

4
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and serve with juicy cherry tomatoes.

5
Enjoy your healthy treat!

Get A Fresh Spring Look

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As spring arrives, a good spring clean is in order to freshen and tidy away all the clutter in our homes. Yet most of us struggle to find storage and hiding places for all our belongings, because often or not we just simply don’t have enough space available.

Storage beds are a perfect solution as everyone needs a bed, but they give you the added bonus of storing all your bits and bobs out of the way, so you can maximise the bedroom space you have.

Being two pieces of furniture rolled into one – a bed and a cupboard – the storage bed is a useful and clever investment piece for a fresh spring look.

The philosophy of the ever-popular minimalist trend ‘less is more’ is truly incorporated within its design, allowing for a decluttered and spacious bedroom which does wonders for the mind and body, as well as being bang-on-trend.

Regardless of your room size, the Slumberland Harmony Collection offers a choice of 4 storage options in a variety of different sizes and colours to suit your individual needs and style.

2 Large Drawers

If you’re lacking space to open side drawers at the head of the bed, this option features two large drawers at the foot end of the bed.

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4 Large Drawers

This option features two full size drawers down each side of the bed to give you maximum available space.

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2 Large Drawers & 2 Small Drawers

The two large drawers at the foot of the bed and the two small drawers at the head of the bed is a good option for smaller bedrooms and allows for bed side tables.

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Ottoman

If space is limited but you require maximum storage space, the Ottoman is your perfect option. The Slumberland Ottoman has powerful spring and hydraulic arms making it easy to open and close without the need to take off the mattress.

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Katarina Johnson-Thompson Supports Our Healthy Sleep Campaign

By | Fitness, Health & Wellbeing, Sleep Blog | No Comments

European Indoor Champion and Olympic 2016 hopeful: Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson supports our Healthy Sleep Campaign. In her own words, sleeping is something she “knows a lot about”.

She made her international debut In London 2012 competing alongside Jessica Ennis, and this year at the Rio Games she’s hoping to cement herself in legend status with an Olympic gold medal.

Katarina has a strict training regime, and rest is a vital part of this:

“The importance of sleep – to me it’s vital. My coach has a strong mentality on getting the right recovery. He says it’s important to have rest days to make sure my body recoups properly and I’m ready to train the next day. I always try to get the most sleep I possibly can, I aim for 10 hours.” – Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Sleep deprivation increases the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, and can decrease glycogen and carbohydrate stores needed for physical activity. Less sleep increases the possibility of low energy and the inability to focus when it comes to crunch time. You also need sleep to give your muscles time to recover and repair, as well as ward off any illnesses that could disrupt training.

Whether you’re competing in the Olympics or just like to keep fit, getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary to be the best you. Combine this with a healthy diet and you’re on to a winner.

Follow Katarina’s road to Rio with our regular blog updates here at Slumberland.co.uk

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Practice Mindfulness in 5 Simple Steps: Transform Your Sleep Routine

By | Fitness, Health & Wellbeing, Sleep Blog | No Comments

It’s the latest buzzword in well-being, but how do you transform #mindfulness from a trending Twitter hashtag into a practice that improves the quality of your sleep – especially when it’s so easy to switch to autopilot; to be distracted by parenting responsibilities… the siren call of social media, or just one more episode in a box-set? Often, the time we think we go to bed and go to sleep is very different to the reality.

Mindfulness – NHS Choices tells us – is about paying more attention to the present moment. Being more mindfully aware of not just your inner thoughts, but what’s going on in the world around you moment to moment, can help you to enjoy better mental well-being.

As Professor Mark Williams, former Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says: “It’s easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment.”

While mindfulness therapy is proven to be effective in alleviating moderate symptoms of sleep disturbance that are associated with anxiety and depression, according to recent studies, it’s a practice that anyone can introduce to their nightly routine to enjoy a better quality of sleep. Here’s our top tips for enjoying a more mindful transition into blissful, re-energising sleep:

Pay attention to your current pre-bedtime routine: What time is it when you change into your pyjamas, have your last snack and brush your teeth? What are you eating and drinking in the run-up to lights out? When do you turn off the TV, laptop or – dare we say it – your mobile phone? How do each of these choices make you feel in body and mind? Don’t ghost-walk your way to bed; every single choice should be made mindfully for improved sleep quality.

Two hours before – snack right: Swap high-fat foods, alcohol and caffeine (which lurks not just in coffee, but also in tea, chocolate and soft drinks) for sleep-promoting snacks and beverages. Cherries contain the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, which controls sleep-wake cycles; magnesium and potassium-packed bananas can help to relax muscles, while easily-digestible carbs like cereal help you to fall asleep faster. No more cups of ‘Joe’ – choose caffeine-free herbal teas instead. Focus on how your food and drinks taste, look and smell; their individual textures and the pleasure you get from eating them.

Unplug from technology: The average person picks up their mobile device 85 times a day – twice as often as they realise, Nottingham Trent University has found. Over the course of a day, this adds up to five hours of web browsing and app usage. The light emitted from your mobile, TV, laptop and tablet screens disrupts your body clock – preventing the nightly release of melatonin and activating neurons that boost alertness. Make the mindful choice to unplug – especially before bedtime.

Create a one-hour wind-down routine: Read a good book, do some gentle exercise or enjoy a long soak in the bath – make a mindful choice that’s uniquely pleasurable to you. Create sensory experiences that delight: warm soft cotton pyjamas on the radiator and enjoy the comforting sensation against your skin; burn candles with sleep-promoting fragrances, or savour a milky drink. Focus moment to moment on how you feel using all five senses.

Invest in a long-term mindful strategy: Mindfully consider your current mattress. Is it supportive in all the places it needs to be – especially your lower back? Are there any painful pressure points? Does your neck and spine feel naturally aligned? When you move around, does your bed compensate for changes in weight distribution? Do you feel beautifully, expertly cushioned? If the answer to any of these is ‘No’, make the mindful decision to invest in a new mattress, which will dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.

Guest Blog Credit:  www.landofbeds.co.uk/slumberland

Slumberland Mattresses

The Seven-Year Itch

By | Health & Wellbeing, Sleep Blog | No Comments

March is National Bed Month, the time of year that The Sleep Council dedicates to improving our sleeping habits. Most people spend around a third of their life in bed, which makes it a pretty important place!

At Slumberland we know the impact a mattress can have on your health and wellbeing, and the importance of making sure your mattress is giving you the correct support. As a good night’s sleep can’t always be guaranteed, it is up to you to regularly assess sleep quality and comfort levels.

Sleep experts recommend buying a new mattress every 7-10 years – so are you or your mattress showing any signs of the seven-year itch?

You Need a New Mattress: The Signs

1. You feel stiff, numb, and/or achy. Your mattress should help you wake up feeling refreshed but older mattresses will lose their support over time, which can cause body pain.

2. You have a better sleep in a different bed. If you stay at a hotel or a friend’s house and get a noticeably better night’s rest, your own mattress may not be hitting the mark.

3. You’re disrupting your sleep partner. If you’re disrupting the sleep of whoever you share your bed with, or vice versa, it could be time to shop around for a mattress to suit you both.

4. Your mattress has visibly seen better days. There’s no room in the bed for lumps, bumps, and sags. If your mattress shows these signs of deterioration it means one thing: It’s ready to retire.

How to Test a Mattress

Try to spend at least 5-10 minutes on each mattress in the sleep position you normally use. If you have a sleep partner the two of you should test together, it’s important to make it as close to your normal sleeping conditions as possible. The perfect mattress should take all the time it needs. After all, it is an investment in your future health and well-being and the benefits are priceless.

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Perfect support is achieved when your spine is in neutral alignment and the knees, hips and shoulders are correctly supported. Your mattress is too soft if the spine bows downwards, creating pressure around the hips and lower back. Alternatively, if your spine bows upward then your mattress is too firm, which creates pressure around the shoulders and knees.

A simple way to test this is to place your hand under the small of your back when lying on your back — if there’s a gap then it suggests the mattress is too firm. If you struggle to get your hand underneath, it’s probably too soft.

The Slumberland Harmony Collection is available in 9 mattress options, with differing levels of comfort and firmness, so you can find the perfect support for you, and a more restful nights sleep.
If you’re struggling with sub-standard sleep, then find your local Slumberland stockist and refresh your bed this National Bed Month.