April 2016

Stress Awareness Month 2016

Stress Awareness Month 2016: 5 Ways to Tackle Unhelpful Thinking at Bedtime

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Your work performance… next month’s mortgage payment… the kids’ school grades… marital difficulties… Are the worries popping into your head at bedtime, impacting on the quality of your sleep?

The less sleep you get, the more your stress levels increase as your coping skills are reduced by tiredness.

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Symptoms include headaches, muscle tension or pain and racing thoughts – none of which are conducive to a refreshing, rejuvenating night’s sleep.

You can regain control of racing night-time thoughts and overcome the symptoms of stress in any of the following five ways – all of which are proven to lead to positive mind sets and a good night’s rest.

Break It Down: Utilise Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques to look at your problem in separate parts – thoughts, physical feelings and actions. How do they effect each other and you? Reframe unhelpful thoughts more positively. For example, instead of: “What if I can’t make this month’s mortgage payment” a healthier thought process could be: “I will telephone my lender tomorrow morning to discuss a payment plan.” Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a talking therapy which you can access through your GP and the NHS or pay for privately.

Shut Up, Move On (SUMO): Developed by best-selling author Paul McGee, SUMO is a set of principles and materials designed to empower people who may wrestle with life’s everyday problems today and in the future. ‘Shut Up’ is about stopping what you are doing and taking time out to reflect, then committing to ‘Move On’ positively when the time is right. A helpful SUMO tool to address ‘faulty thinking’ is to ask: ‘Where is this issue on a scale of one to 10? How important will this be in six months’ time? Is my response appropriate and effective?’

Mindfulness: 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 to distract you from challenging or upsetting thoughts. Practice mindfulness to reconnect with the sights, sounds, and smells of the present moment. Develop a mindful bedtime routine that’s focussed on relaxation and includes sleep-promoting snacks, gentle exercise and a sensual bath.

Moodzone: NHS Choices have developed the Moodzone – an online resource offering practical, useful information and interactive tools, and videos to support you to feel less stressed. Take the Mood Assessment Quiz to gauge your current mood, then listen to the free Trouble Sleeping or Unhelpful Thinking audio guides.

Join the worldwide happiness movement: No.1 New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin published her manifesto for a happier life, The Happiness Project, in 2009 and it’s since gone on to sell 1.5million copies. A blueprint to designing your own Happiness Project, the book helps you to focus on doing what makes you feel good, joyful and full of fun, and positively managing what makes you feel bad, brings anger, boredom or dread. Start your Happiness Project here.

Guest blog contribution: www.landofbeds.co.uk/slumberland

Photo credit: Shutterstock

KJT mattress

Getting Ready for Rio

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Athletes work hard to win, and shape every part of their lifestyle to get the edge over the competition. This includes various aspects of their life such as their diet, exercise plan, and their sleep routine. Just as athletes need more calories when in training, they also need more sleep. This is no different for our Healthy Sleep Campaign supporter, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who is getting ready for Rio this year:

“Sleep is really important to my training – if I haven’t had enough sleep, it adversely affects my training. I can feel lethargic, my concentration wavers and I don’t get the best out of my session.”

Katarina’s preparation for the Olympics revolves around her extensive training sessions, as she pushes herself for the Gold this year.

“I particularly enjoy the sprint, technical and high jump sessions. The endurance and hill sessions are definitely ones that I don’t get so enthused about but I know their importance. After these sessions, I’m usually exhausted and all I want to do is lie down!”

This extensive exercise regime depletes energy, fluids, and breaks down muscle. Hydration and diet are obviously a part of training and recovery, but what athletes do after training and competition also determines how quickly their bodies rebuild muscle and replenish nutrients. The right amount of rest and recovery helps maintain endurance, speed, and accuracy, essential for an Olympic athlete.

A study in the journal SLEEP confirms the role of sleep in performance, with results that show declines in split-second decision-making following poor sleep, as well as increased accuracy in well-rested subjects.

National Pet Month

National Pet Month: Would YOU share a bed with your pet?

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When it comes to lights out, hands up if the pitter-patter of four paws followed by a sudden dead-weight at the end of the bed is part of your sleep routine? You’re not alone… It’s estimated that just over half of dog-owners allow their pets to sleep in their bed with them – and a recent study found that those who sleep with a pet in the room feel more safe and secure and thus have a better night’s rest.

While never recommended for children, the experts’ consensus is that – providing your pet is well-groomed, has preventative flea and tick treatment, no behavioural issues and receives regular veterinary care – the risks around co-sleeping are low versus the rewards of warmth, comfort and a strengthened bond.

So, this National Pet Month, here’s five recommendations on how you can protect your investment in your bed, and maintain high hygiene and comfort levels for you and your four-legged friends!

Super-size your mattress: The more space you have to get comfortable, the greater the enjoyment factor of co-sleeping with your pet. Depending on the size of your dog or cat, seriously consider upgrading from a standard UK double mattress measuring 135 cm x 190 cm (4′ 6″ x 6′ 3″) to a standard UK king, which measures 150 cm x 200 cm (5′ 0″ x 6′ 6″). For really big dogs, a 180 cm x 200 cm (6′ 0″ x 6′ 6″) super-king is a must (unless you particularly enjoy the sensation of deadened limbs or being confined to the outer edge of your mattress).

Protect your mattress investment: Just like human toddlers, even well-trained pets can be prone to the odd episode of bed-wetting, and all those bodies can make for a pretty sweaty sleep experience. Choose a good-quality mattress protector with breathable 100 percent polyurethane, which absorbs heat for a cooling sleep surface, and effectively prevents moisture from flowing through your sheet into your mattress.

Machine-washable duvets: To keep your bedding fresh and free from unpleasant doggy or cat odours, opt for machine-washable duvets and pillows that are tested for durability. Breathable fillings allow moisture vapour be transmitted through the material – keeping your bedding cool, fresh and hygienic for a renewing, reenergising sleep. Wash your bedding regularly, with two rinse cycles to eliminate any residual hair.

Colour coordinates: If you have a fluffy white Persian cat, please step away from black bedding. Likewise, brilliant whites are a no-no for animals with darker fur and grubby paws. Try to camouflage your bedding with your animal’s coat to keep the visibility of stray hairs to a minimum. Think about texture. Tightly woven cotton, crisp linens and silky microfibers all resist and repel hair, whereas velvets, jersey knits and flannels attract them with a vengeance. Granny’s 100-year-old hand-crocheted lace throw… you’ll want to store that in your ottoman or divan base – away from flexing claws.

Keep your pet’s options open: As cute as the idea is to share your bed with your pet, don’t leave that as the only option. Providing a safe, warm and comfortable bed in another room ensures that your pet comes to you at bedtime as a matter of choice rather than necessity.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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

world health day

10 Healthy Habits To Adopt

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We know the secret to health and wellbeing here at Slumberland and want you to feel the very best you can everyday. Start your healthy journey with us by adopting these 10 simple healthy habits below:

Get Moving

Exercise doesn’t always have to involve the gym. It’s important to find something you love so it doesn’t feel like a chore – that could be going for a brisk walk, gardening, sports, swimming or yoga. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day will increase your heart rate and help you stay fit.

Perfect Your Posture

It’s important to pay attention to your body throughout the day, bad posture has all kinds of negative health impacts, including chronic muscle pain, reduced circulation, headaches, and even bad moods.  Try to sit up a little straighter, stand a little taller, and stretch when you’re feeling cramped or tired.

Look Up

Staring at your mobile screen at bedtime will cause you to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them due to the blue light they emit. Deep sleep is essential for your body to rejuvenate cells and repair damage so aim for a technology cut off a couple hours before you go to bed.


Dehydration is linked to fatigue, headaches, anxiety and trouble concentrating. Aim to drink around 2 litres of water a day to help you feel energised, improve your skin and even help you lose weight by helping you feel full.

Mindful Eating

Slow down, breathe between bites, and take note when you’re full. Odds are you’ll end up eating much less (and feeling much better)!

Go Outdoors

Being outdoor can reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression and boost your mood. Being outdoors is also a crucial part of getting a good night’s sleep as natural daylight helps sync our circadian rhythm.

Take The Stairs

On average people spend anywhere from 7 to 15 hours a day sitting which can cause several health issues. Simply taking the stairs at work instead of the lift, or parking further away will add in those extra daily steps to make a difference.

Wind Down

Harvard research finds mindfulness and meditation can ease anxiety, stress and even physical pain. You don’t have to zen out for hours either, just 20 minutes a day can reduce stress reactions in your body.

Laugh Often

Laughter is about being present, enjoying the here and now and feeling good. It temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, followed by muscle relaxation and a decrease in blood pressure – plus it burns calories!

Get Enough Sleep

Getting a little extra sleep can bring many benefits to help improve your health. The recommended 8 hours of sleep per night will not only cure your under-eye circles and boost your energy, but can improve your memory, sharpen your attention, help you live longer, maintain a healthy weight, and lower your stress.