Sleep Blog

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How to keep cool and sleep better during the heatwave

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The Sleep Council has shared some expert tips which are very simple and effective steps that can be taken to ensure you stay cool and get better sleep during the heatwave:

  • Open windows – and doors – to create a draught.
  • Keep curtains or blinds drawn during the day to keep the sun out.
  • If you’ve got an attic, try opening the hatch. Hot air rises and this will give it somewhere to go.
  • Get rid of the duvet and blankets – just use a cotton sheet. Or a duvet with a low tog rating.
  • Wear light cotton nightwear. This is actually better than wearing nothing at all as natural fabric will absorb any perspiration.
  • If you’ve got long hair, tie it back. Hair round your neck can make you feel warmer.
  • Have a cool shower or bath before bedtime to lower your core body temperature.
  • Drink plenty of cold water during the evening and keep a glass by the bed.
  • Avoid too much caffeine, alcohol or a big meal. They can all make you feel hot and steamy in the middle of the night through dehydration and over-active digestion.
  • Put a hot water bottle filled with ice cold water in bed.
  • Cool a pillow case in the fridge before bedtime or try one of the new cooling pillows that are available to buy.
  • Cool socks in the fridge and wear them. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body.
  • Use an electric fan – the remedy for 20% of people. If it’s really hot, put a tray of ice and a little water in front of the fan which will cool the air even more.
  • Next time you buy a new bed, look out for one that uses natural fillings that help regulate body temperature
  • And, if you share a bed, make sure it’s big enough for two people, so you can sleep without disturbing each other: 5ft wide should be your minimum.

Slumberland shortlisted for Best Baby and Toddler Gear Awards 2018

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We are thrilled to announce that our Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress has been successfully shortlisted for this year’s Best Baby and Toddler Gear Awards.

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The Best Baby and Toddler Gear Awards by Mumii allow companies from across the nursery industry to enter and have their products assessed by an expert team, as well as rigorously tested by a team of carefully selected parents.

Shortlisted products were announced 15th May where our Slumberland Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress was shortlisted for the Best Baby & Toddler Gear Awards 2018 in the category of Cot / Cotbed Mattress. After shortlisting, our mattress will go through further consumer testing and then open to votes with the results being announced in September 2018.

We are very honoured to have been shortlisted for this year’s Best Baby & Toddler Gear Awards, we are extremely proud of our cot mattresses with their chemical-free sleeping surface and UK manufacturing to ensure parents get the safest and highest quality product for their little ones.

National Bed Month: Learn the A-Zzzz of a good night’s sleep

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It’s National Bed Month (March 2018) and time to focus on the place we spend one-third of our lives: our bed.

Lisa Artis, sleep guru at The Sleep Council says: “Our polls show people rate a good bed as vital to a good night’s rest and there’s no doubt that a comfortable and supportive mattress is essential.”

“We recommend replacing a bed at least every seven years and buying from a reputable retailer, either online or instore, and that stocks beds from manufacturers which are members of the National Bed Federation (NBF).  The NBF’s Code of Practice ensures that products can be trusted to be safe, clean and meet trading standards requirements.”

To celebrate National Bed Month, The Sleep Council have shared with us this handy alphabet for a good night’s sleep:

A is for alcohol: alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes are all stimulants reducing sleep quality and preventing you feeling rested.

B is for bed!: invest in the best you can afford, replace at least every seven years and buy one made by a NBF member.

C is for circadian rhythm: this 24-hour internal clock works best when you have a regular sleep pattern.

D is for diet: avoid over-eating before bedtime and choose foods with sleep-promoting chemicals such as chicken and turkey, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, peanuts, beans and milk.

E is for exercise: essential for good health and restful sleep but try not to exercise too vigorously close to bedtime.

F is for forty winks: while a nap doesn’t make up for poor quality sleep at night time, grabbing forty winks, or a short nap of 20-30 minutes, in the afternoon can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.

G is for gadgets: laptops, phones and even the TV are sleep stealers!  Switch them off at least an hour before bedtime.

H is for health: sleep is crucial to health and well-being as it’s involved in the repair and restoration of our bodies.

I is for illness: sleep deficiency is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity.

J is for jet lag: eating three balanced meals containing fresh fruit, vegetables and protein the day before you fly can help your body clock re-set more quickly at your destination.

K is for keeping a perfect sleep environment: temperature, lighting, comfort, banning gadgets and gizmos, relaxation and reducing noise are all vital to creating a restful sleep sanctuary.

L is for lifestyle: making small adjustments to your lifestyle or environment could significantly improve the quality of your sleep.

M is for meditation: along with massage, meditation can promote relaxation and drifting off to a good night’s sleep.

N is for National Bed Federation: buy a bed made by a NBF member and you can be sure that it meets all required safety and trading standards.

O is for oils: aromatherapy oils are also brilliant sleep-inducers, particularly traditional favourites such as lavender.

P is for pillow: your head weighs 4.5-5.5 kilos (10-12lbs) and your neck contains seven of the spine’s 33 vertebrae.  A good pillow should hold your head in the correct alignment and help avoid neck pain and even persistent headaches.

Q is for quiet: of course, loud, sudden or repetitive noises can interrupt sleep but others can be soothing, particularly soft, steady sounds. Double-glazing and foam ear plugs can all help to promote sleep-friendly tranquillity.

R is for relaxation: a bubbly bath, warm milky drinks or herbal teas and curling up with a good book can all help you wind down.  And the old adage “never go to sleep on an argument” holds true: conflicts can leave us stressed and angry, which can make it near impossible to fall asleep.

S is for snoring: one of the biggest causes of partner sleep disturbance, snoring has no known cure but its effects can be diminished with ear plugs and separate beds!

T is for the Thirty Day Sleep Plan: answer a few questions about your sleep, lifestyle and health and the Sleep Council will create you a unique online 30 day plan.  Go to  https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/30-day-plan/ and you could hopefully be sleeping better in a month.

U is for unwind: in the golden hour before your head hits the pillow it’s vital to relax, switch off electronic gadgets and get yourself in a sleepy frame of mind.

V is for vacation: if you can’t splurge on a holiday, give yourself a weekend sleep-cation: power off the electronics and have a two-day wind down.

W is for worry: almost half of Britons say worry and stress keep them awake at night. To counteract this, invest in a careful wind-down routine so you can relax and switch off.

X is for Xmas: all that food and drink can lead to a Santa-sized sleep problem so keep up those sensible sleep habits throughout the festive season.

Y is for yoga: gentle stretching, relaxation and breathing can aid a restful night.

Z is for zzzzzzzzz – of course!

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How often should you wash your bed sheets?

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Washing our bed sheets can be a chore, but recent reports claim we should be washing our bed sheets once a week to stave off dead skin cells, unwanted bacteria and dust mites.

Paul Morris, who has 20 years of experience specialising in household protection against the spread of microbes, said: “I would recommend washing sheets at least once a week. The key to keeping bacteria away is the quality of the wash.”

“’It is extremely important to wash bed sheets on a regular basis as the build up of dead skin cells can lead to dust mites, unwanted bacteria and unpleasant odours.’

And though once a week may not sound as bad as you were expecting, it’s more than the average person currently cleans their bed sheets.

The research, from Time 4 Sleep, reveals less than a third (28%) of UK households change their sheets once a week, while 40% of Brits change their bed sheets once every two weeks.

24% of us wash them just once every three to four weeks.

Paul recommends washing sheets weekly on a high temperature or, if you want to be more economical using an antibacterial agent.

BBC DIY SOS - Children in Need

Supporting BBC DIY SOS – Children in Need Project

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We are delighted to be supporting the BBC DIY SOS team with their amazing Children in Need project this year, by donating a number of beds to help with the rebuild of a support centre for volunteer-led charity The Roots Foundation Wales.

Based in Swansea, The Roots Foundation Wales was set up by an inspiring individual Emma Lewis, who with the crucial support of an amazing team gives the desperately needed help and support to young people in care, children in need and young adults who have left the care system and are trying to live independently.

Established nearly seven years ago, The Roots Foundation Wales has spent the last two years in a dilapidated wooden hut, with the lack of space and facilities making it truly difficult to provide the workshops, one-on-one support and group therapy sessions to those who really need it.

From Wednesday 6th to Sunday 17th September 2017 – in just eleven days – the DIY SOS team along with generous support of volunteer tradespeople, suppliers and the local community in Swansea successfully built from the ground-up, a new purpose-built support centre covering a huge 320 square metres.

Constructed specifically for the charity’s needs, The Roots Foundation Wales’ new home includes a large youth club space, therapy and workshop rooms and a kitchen for cooking classes. There is also office space for Emma and her team, plus several independent flats for young people transitioning from the care system into adult life.

This incredible rebuild will make a real difference to The Roots Foundation Wales and the young people it supports and enable the charity to go on to help so many more children and young people in care for many years to come.

The episode will air on BBC One on Wednesday 15th November, at 8pm during the BBC Children in Need Appeal week.

The Roots Foundation

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The best sleep practice for winter months

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The winter time change is always a little more welcome than the summer as we gained that extra hour in bed, but what impact does this really have on our sleep?

Does the time change affect your sleep?

It can take several days for our internal biological clock to re-synchronise with a new schedule, whether it’s a clock change or a timezone difference. For some people, this can lead to disrupted sleep and feeling tired throughout the day.

However it seems that the seasons can affect our sleep more so than the time change itself. The lack of light exposure throughout Autumn and Winter can affect a proportion of people in terms of mood.

So what is the best sleep practice for the winter months?

  • Avoid bright light exposure at night
    This includes mobile phone and tablet screens as the blue light omitted tends to delay the body clock – so they shouldn’t be in the bedroom.
  • Get up at the same time in the morning each day
    Waking up at the same time everyday will stabilise your circadian rhythm. As a result, you should naturally become tired at the same time every night.
  • Expose yourself to light in the morning
    It’s important to seek out exposure to morning light where you can because light is a strong cue to alert your internal clock that it’s time to wake. If you get up before the sun rises, which is most likely during the winter months then wake-up lights such as those from Lumie can help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
  • Exercise
    To keep energy levels high and to ensure you’re tired enough to get to sleep ‘earlier’ on Sunday night, try to exercise outdoors where possible to take in as much natural light as possible – this will help adjust the body’s circadian rhythm.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
    Alcohol and caffeine have been proven to give you a less restful sleep. Instead try sleep-inducing foods and drink such as; almond milk, oat crackers, peanut butter, cottage cheese or a small bowl of yoghurt with granola or chopped nuts on top.
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Sleeping Soundly: Catch up with our #SleepBetter winner

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In May we ran a #SleepBetter campaign with Fitbit UK to highlight the importance of quality sleep and give one lucky person the chance to win a Slumberland kingsize mattress and two Fitbit Alta HR devices which track your sleep data.

We caught up with our winner Becky Powley three months later to find out how her prizes are improving her and her partner’s sleep – plus the cat’s!

Slumberland: Hi Becky, congratulations again on being our #SleepBetter campaign winner. We hope you and your partner have been enjoying your wonderful prizes!

Have you noticed a difference in the quality of your sleep since receiving your new Slumberland mattress and Fitbit devices?

Becky: Definitely, I was usually getting around 6 – 6 ½ hours sleep midweek before getting the new mattress, now it’s usually around 6 ½ – 7 hours midweek if not more. The bed is so much more comfortable I am definitely taking myself up to bed earlier – so even if I’m not sleeping I’m relaxing for at least an additional hour more before going to bed. I am also falling asleep much more quickly than on my old mattress, I used to regularly struggle to get to sleep, so that has also definitely improved!

Slumberland: Are you finding the sleep insights on your new Fitbit Alta HR useful?

Becky: So useful! Particularly when I’m feeling tired, it’s useful to see whether it’s because I’ve had less sleep than usual. I love the ‘bedtime reminder’ as it helps me stop what I’m doing and actually put time aside for sleep.

My other half also appreciates the alarm function – it vibrates on your wrist waking you up which is much less offensive than a traditional alarm noise in the morning!

Slumberland: Have you noticed from your Fitbit data a correlation between exercising more and getting better quality sleep?

Becky: I haven’t seen a huge difference between my sleep when I do or don’t exercise, but that might because I exercise almost every day so am probably always tired/recovering. I have however noticed how little I do move working in an office on those days where I don’t exercise!

Having a Fitbit has made me more aware of the pressures I put my body under when I do exercise and I am definitely more aware of making sure I am eating and sleeping enough when I’m training particularly hard!

Slumberland: Is your new Slumberland Melody mattress helping you achieve a better night’s sleep?

Becky: 100%. Both Rowan and I have said that the mattress is so supportive (neither of us are getting as many back aches and pains) and I also think I’m sleeping much more soundly, as I don’t remember the last time I woke in the night. When it’s a weekend and I know I can have a lie in (or even an afternoon nap!) I have no problems at all enjoying some extra hours of Zzzzz’s. It is so comfortable we have nicknamed the mattress ‘the cloud’!

Slumberland: How does this impact your day to day life?

Becky: It has actually impacted my day to day life much more significantly than I could have imagined! As my whole bedtime routine has changed because I actually look forward to going to bed now, I definitely feel more refreshed waking up, which in turn is making me happier generally.

Slumberland: Would you recommend a Slumberland mattress or Fitbit Alta HR to friends and family or both?

Becky:  With the mattress, I genuinely do not think we’d ever change from a Slumberland mattress now, I’d definitely recommend them to everyone. My sister is just about to move into her first home and I’ve said to her that the investment is definitely worth making! Again with the Fitbit devices I’d really recommend them, lots of my friends have different Fitbits so we really enjoy comparing our step and sleep data. I like my Alta HR particularly because I can get more in depth data because of the heart rate monitor.

A huge thank you!

Even the cat is loving the new mattress! :)

Relaxation techniques to help you sleep better

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The relationship between anxiety and sleep

If, like most people, you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because of stress and worry, you’ve experienced firsthand the strong connection between anxiety and sleep. Stress routinely tops the list of sources of sleep problems, according to patients.

Anxiety causes racing thoughts, making it difficult to quiet the mind. When the body is under stress, the body releases more of several hormones—including adrenaline that boosts energy and alertness which contribute to:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking very early
  • Waking feeling un-rested and un-refreshed by sleep


Relaxation techniques to help you sleep better

Relaxation exercises have been shown highly effective in reducing stress and improving sleep. Low impact, self-directed, and easily able to be integrated to your daily life, these relaxation techniques can help you get a handle on stress and anxiety during your waking day, and help you de-stress at night before you go to bed.


Deep breathing

Deep, slow, self-aware breathing is an ancient, powerful way to clear the body of stress and tension, and a great way to relax as part of a nightly transition to sleep. Deep breathing kicks off a series of physiological changes that aid relaxation, including reducing muscle tension, slowing breathing rate and heart rate, lowering blood pressure and metabolism.

A breathing exercise can be as simple as taking a series of even, slow inhale and exhale breaths as part of a regular routine before bed, or whenever you feel anxious or stressed to help calm the mind. There are also more structured breathing exercises you can try such as the 4-7-8 breathing exercise which is said to ease the body into a state of relaxation and thus promote better sleep:

4-7-8 breathing
In a comfortable position, with your eyes open or closed:

  • Inhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold breath for 7 seconds
  • Exhale slowly, for 8 seconds
  • Repeat several times


Guided imagery

The idea in this exercise is to focus your attention on an image or story, so that your mind can let go of worries or thoughts that keep you awake.

Get into a comfortable position in bed. Close your eyes and relax. Begin to visualise a scene, memory, or story that you find calming. This is highly individual—find what works best for you by trying a few choices. For example: a favourite vacation or calming outdoor spot, a relaxing activity like curling up with a book in your favourite chair, or something repetitive like remembering the steps of an exercise or dance routine. The key is to find something that allows you to focus your attention and let go of other thoughts. Begin to create this scenario in your mind. Visualise all the details of the image or story, as slowly and carefully as you can. Any time you find your mind drifting to an unrelated thought (a worry about the day or a “must do” for tomorrow), acknowledge it and let it go – each time you practice you will get better at it.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is a way of achieving total body relaxation by slowly and systematically tensing and then relaxing your muscles. Starting at your toes and working up. It also plays a part in hypnosis. Combined with deep breathing exercises progressive muscle relaxation becomes an even more effective way to reduce stress.

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Getting Your Children to Enjoy Sleeping More

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Children don’t like missing out, particularly true at night when the adults are still awake and children are supposed to be slumbering peacefully in their beds. There’s also the issue of night-time because children often believe scary events happen during the hours of darkness which can make it hard for them to relax when they’re frightened of every shadow they see and every noise they hear. So, it’s no wonder many children don’t enjoy sleeping.

Why Aren’t Children Sleeping Enough?

In addition to the reasons above, many children are getting to bed too late to enjoy a decent sleep. The Sleep Council points out that if children go to bed after 9:00pm, they take more time to get to sleep. They’re also more restless at night and consequently get less overall sleep, which can be worsened by some parents not setting clear rules and routines around bedtime.

How to Improve Your Child’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial to the emotional well-being, development and growth of your child. Employing the following tips can help improve your child’s sleep.

  • Have a night-time routine.
    By adhering to the same bedtime routine, such as bath and bed, every night, you can ensure your child learns when it’s time for sleep. Being firm and loving when it’s time for sleep comforts your child and the repetition of routine will help them feel secure. Things to include in this night-time routine include, brushing teeth, putting on their PJs, followed by reading a favourite bedtime story. This works wonders when it’s done night after night.
  • Have set bedtimes and waking times.
    Even on the weekend, it’s imperative for your children to stay in a regular routine. Otherwise, if they sleep in on a Saturday and Sunday, it’s even more difficult to wake them up for school on a Monday morning. Getting up early on a weekend also gives you more quality time together.
  • Teach your child to fall asleep alone.
    It’s very tempting to take your child in with you to your own bed if they have difficulty sleeping. However, this isn’t practical to do every night. Therefore, you need to teach them how to fall asleep without you there. Put your child to bed when they’re sleepy and leave the room before they fall asleep. Provide them with a cosy blanket or favourite toy to cuddle for comfort.

Striking the right balance in terms of bedtimes for your children can be difficult. Remember though, that it’s not impossible. If your children are restless at night, scared of the dark, or believe monsters are lurking under the bed, help them out by providing a night light for their peace of mind. Children can enjoy sleeping, and by following the advice above, you can get a good night’s rest too!

Fitbit Sleep Stages

Fitbit launches Sleep Stages & Insights

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There’s no doubt that exercise is good for sleep – many studies have documented the benefits of exercise to improving general sleep patterns. However new advances in sleep tracking from Fitbit can now go that step further to give you personalised guidance and actionable insights to help you improve your sleep from your Fitbit data.

By tapping into your night-time heart rate and movement patterns, Fitbit devices* will now be able to estimate how much time you spend in light, deep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

By logging each of the stages of your sleep, along with the whole of your Fitbit data (everything from your diet to your exercise patterns), Fitbit can now discover trends about what may be affecting your sleep and offer you tailored guidance on how to improve it.

For example, if you use a Fitbit device that automatically tracks sleep, one insight via the Fitbit app may read: “There seems to be a strong correlation between your sleep and your runs. The last 10 weeknight logs show that you had 20 mins more restful sleep on days you ran vs. days you didn’t.”

Fitbit app sleep data

This kind of information previously only accessible through a sleep lab can help you better understand how exercise and diet directly affects your sleep patterns. Furthermore, it will help you to make lifestyle changes that will improve the quality of your sleep overtime and, in turn your overall health – something we certainly approve of.

Each stage of sleep serves a different purpose, so understanding how much of each stage you log can help you identify and address sleep-related issues. Below is a breakdown of what you need to know about each sleep stage:

  • Light Sleep (including sleep stages 1 and 2) occurs throughout the night and is important for memory, learning, and letting your body recover from the day; for most people it is 50-60 percent of your night.
  • Deep Sleep (sleep stage 3) promotes a healthy immune system and muscle growth and repair; for most people it is 10-25 percent of your night (depending on age).
  • Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep is when most dreaming occurs and is important for mental recovery and memory formation; for most people it is 20-25 percent of your night. Most REM sleep comes at the end of the night, and is often the stage that’s cut short when your sleep duration decreases.
  • Awake minutes (between 10-30 times per night) are a normal part of your sleep cycle each night, and is typically when your heart rate is more elevated during sleep.

*Sleep stages and sleep insights now available on the Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Blaze devices and coming soon to Fitbit Charge2 available at https://www.fitbit.com/uk/home.