All posts by Charlotte Parker

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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.
Waking up

How to Become a Morning Person

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Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, everybody once in a while can have trouble waking up early in the morning. But do we ever think about what makes it hard for us to get up early?

Our sleep experts have recommended some ways to get out of bed faster and have more energy in the morning:

1. Commit yourself to waking up at the same time every morning, even on the weekend or on holiday. Persistence is the key to building any habit and by having a regular wake up time it will programme the mind to pre-empt your alarm call.

2. Get out of bed as soon as your alarm clock goes off. The snooze button is your worst enemy so if you often feel temptation try placing your alarm clock across the other side of your bedroom which will force you to physically have to get up. By getting out of bed faster, you increase the likelihood of starting your day rather than going back to sleep.

3. Open the curtains to allow the sun to enter your room, if you have to wake up earlier than the sun rises, turn on your main light. This lets your body know that the day has begun and it is time to wake up. The sun is a source of vitamin D – a natural source of energy so exposure to sunlight will help your body clock restart to its active daytime phase.

4. Take a cool shower to help your body wake up. This little trick not only will give you fresh feeling but also will speed up your blood circulation for an energy boost.

5. Get moving; take an early morning class at the gym, go for a quick jog or simply take a walk down your road. Light exercise in the morning will get your endorphins flowing and give you more energy.

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How To Reduce Indoor Allergies In Your Bedroom

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Allergy is widespread in the UK. According to Allergy UK up to 50% of children are diagnosed with an allergic condition and there an estimated 21 million adult asthma and allergy sufferers in the UK.

One of the most common triggers of year-round allergies and asthma is the dreaded house dust mite. Symptoms of dust mite allergy can include sneezing, watery eyes, a runny or itchy nose, a cough, an itchy throat and itchy skin. Symptoms often confused with a common cold or flu, and therefore don’t treat the root cause of the problem.

And where you can you find these dust mites? Well their ideal environment is your bed.

According to Allergy UK the average bed is estimated to have over 10,000 house dust mites living in it which results in there being over two millions droppings. These droppings are released into the atmosphere in dust and when inhaled will provoke asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.

Household dust mites thrive in warm and humid conditions where there is skin and dander to feed on. Given that the average person sheds a pound of skin (454 grams) a year – much of it into our beds – and that the average adult loses around half a pint (285 ml) of moisture while sleeping each night, it’s easy to understand why mattresses are so popular with the microscopic creatures.

In support of Allergy UK’s Allergy Awareness Week, we wanted to offer advice on the most effective ways to reduce the number of dust mites in your bed to help control dust mite allergy and alleviate symptoms.

 

  1. Use anti-allergy bedding.
    Encase your mattress in an anti-allergy mattress cover and use anti-allergy duvet and pillow covering. These should be breathable and should completely enclose the item to prevent dust mite development and to stop contact with allergens.
  2. Wash bedding weekly.
    Wash all sheets, pillowcases and bedcovers every week at 60 degrees to kill dust mites and remove allergens. If hot washing is not possible then you can place bedding in the freezer for a few hours to kill mites and then wash at a lower temperature.
  3. Replace your mattress.
    Regular mattress replacement is vital to reduce the prevalence of the house dust mites. The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every seven years because although the mattress may still look acceptable, it may no longer be offering you sufficient levels of comfort, support and hygiene.
  4. Keep humidity low.
    In a warm, humid bedroom, dust mites can survive all year, therefore the NHS recommends keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50% to inhibit dust mite growth. You can reduce humidity in your bedroom by opening windows to increase ventilation, fitting an extractor fan in you have an ensuite to reduce condensation and using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
  5. Leave your bed unmade.
    Dust mites need the warmth and moisture from bedding to survive so it is a good idea to throw back your bedding when you get up in the morning to help everything air out. Dr. Stephen Pretlove of Kingston University told BBC News: “something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die”.
  6. Remove carpets.
    Carpets hold moisture and provides a comfortable humid location for dust mites. If possible, replace all carpeting in the bedroom with wood, tile or vinyl flooring to minimise dust mite development. If removing carpets is not possible, vacuum regularly with a high-filtration vacuum hoover and use a high-temperature steam cleaner to kill dust mites.
  7. Cut the clutter.
    Remove books, magazines, ornaments that collect dust in bedroom. If your child suffers from allergies try to cut back on the number of stuffed toys in their bedroom and try to avoid keeping them on their bed. Freeze favourite soft toys once a week to kill dust mites and then hot wash to remove allergens.

 

Have any of these methods worked for you, or do you have any further tips to share? We’d love to hear from you! Get in contact with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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MARCH-ing orders for old beds

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With 31 days dedicated to highlighting improved sleep, National Bed Month in March is the ideal time to work towards a better night’s sleep and your bed is the perfect place to start.

Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council says: “It’s about reassessing your sleep quality and comfort levels.  Research shows buying a new bed can lead to a real improvement in sleep – up to an hour extra – and if you sleep better you feel much better.”

To help you determine if your bed has had its day – and night! Simply answer these quick questions from the Sleep Council below. If you answer ‘Yes’ to three questions, you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Five or more ‘Yes’ answers and it’s time to buy a new bed.

  • Is the mattress seven years old or more?
  • Would it be embarrassing if neighbours saw it without its covers?
  • Does it make suspicious noises in the night?
  • Did you have your best recent night’s sleep in a bed other than yours?
  • Are you waking up more frequently unrefreshed and aching?
  • Do you and your partner roll towards each unintentionally in the middle of the night?
  • Do you have enough space to sleep comfortably?
  • Is it sagging?
  • Does it feel lumpy in the night?
  • Is the bed too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?
  • Is the divan or base uneven or sagging?
  • Are the legs and castors worn out?

Lisa explains: “The right bed is extremely important to health and wellbeing because our sleeping environment will affect the quality of our sleep – which in turn has a big effect on how well we feel, both physically and psychologically.  A bed with the correct support, comfort and space will ensure you wake less, move about less, are less disturbed by your partner and are less likely to wake up feeling tired or aching.”

If you are sharing a bed with a partner, we recommend you to go as big as you can; a king size or super king size bed ideally. If you and a partner share a standard double bed (135cm/4ft 6in), each of you gets just 2ft 3in of space – less than a baby in a cot!

We also recommend you to take your time to try before you buy, because finding the ‘right’ comfort and support are very individual assessments. This is why, unlike other manufacturers, the Harmony Collection was created by our developers at Slumberland to offer a simple choice of feel. The different blend of components used to create each of our three ranges focuses entirely on the kind of support which feels best for you.

Plus, we are proudly approved members of the National Bed Federation so you can be sure you’re buying a UK made product that is safe, clean and honest.

If you’d like to explore the range further and speak to a valued and knowledgeable Slumberland stockist, then please click here to search for your local stockist.

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Gold & Silver Award for Slumberland at the 2019 Mother & Baby Awards

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We are over the moon to announce we have won a Gold Award for ‘Best Safety Product’ and a Silver Award for ‘Best Sleep Product’ at the 2019 Mother & Baby Awards for our Slumbertime Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress.

Sponsored by ASDA and George and celebrating its 25th year, the prestigious awards were held at London’s Westminster Park Plaza to highlight the very best baby and pregnancy products available.

The Mother & Baby Awards are one the most prestigious and meaningful in the industry; well-trusted because parents like that as well as being looked at by a panel of experts, the shortlisted products have also been rigorously tested by parents, just like you.

This year they had 2,500 testers – mums and their babies who signed up to put an extensive selection of highly innovative products through their paces so you can trust that the award-winning products have been thoroughly tested to deliver on quality, practicality and value. Giving our cot mattress that ultimate seal of approval new parents are looking for!

We pride ourselves on developing a cot mattress collection around breathability, practicality and of course safety, keeping the sleeping surface free from all Fire Retardant chemicals was really important to us. So we were delighted to hear that the panel of testers loved everything about our Slumbertime Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress, commending it for its breathability, UK manufacturing and in particular it’s chemical-free cover – the safest way for babies to sleep.

To find out more about our award-winning Slumbertime Luxury Pocket Sprung Cot Mattress click here.

 

 

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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Best SAD lamps for keeping your sleep cycle on track

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Waking up tired, lethargic and a bit blue? These could potentially be symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘winter depression’.

About 20% of people living in the UK experience mildly debilitating symptoms of SAD, and research commissioned by The Weather Channel and YouGov has shown women are 40% more likely to suffer from symptoms of SAD than men.

Most of us are affected by the change of seasons and shorter days – lets face it, who doesn’t have difficulty waking up on these dark mornings? However for some it can have a much greater impact on your day to day life.

“A more extreme SAD sufferer may experience depression, sadness and despair” states Dr Norman E Rosenthal, author of Winter Blues.

The effects of light

Symptoms of SAD tend to be more severe during these winter months when we are exposed to reduced levels of sunlight. This can disrupt our body’s internal clock and cause a drop in serotonin which can trigger sleep problems and depression.

SAD lamps, also know as light therapy boxes can effectively replicate sunshine and are one of the most popular and effective treatments for SAD. The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association states SAD lamps are “effective for 85% of cases and normally work within two weeks”.

So whether it’s your sleep, energy levels or mood that could do with a boost, a little light therapy may help sustain you throughout the dark winter months.

Wake-up lamps

Wake-up lamps are a great form of light therapy for regulating normal sleeping and waking patterns as they simulate sunrise, gradually lighting up your bedroom as you wake. This will provide that all important light that’s missing during the winter months.

It’s thought that this light at the beginning of your day can improve SAD by encouraging your brain to reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and increase the production of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood) giving you an important health-boosting wake-up.
We’ve rounded up a pick of our favourite wake-up SAD lamps from Lumie to get your started:

  1. Bodyclock STARTER 30
    The perfect and most affordable wake-up lamp, the Bodyclock STARTER 30 has a 30 minute sunrise to help you wake up naturally, and 30 minute fading sunset to help you wind down for bed.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock STARTER 30
  2. Bodyclock ACTIVE 250
    The Bodyclock ACTIVE 250 adds radio and audio options to its versatile light settings to make an all-purpose bedroom light, effective for healthy sleep.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock ACTIVE 250
  3. Bodyclock IRIS 500
    A refreshing way to wake up – the Bodyclock IRIS 500 combines the benefits of gradual sunrise and sunset with two removable aromatherapy chambers for continuous or intermittent diffusion.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock IRIS 500
  4. Bodyclock LUXE 700
    The newest and most advanced of the Lumie Bodyclock range, the Bodyclock LUXE 700 has high quality speakers for streaming your own music or radio via Bluetooth or USB, and over 20 wake-up and sleep sounds. The sunrise and sunset feature, plus a new low-blue light will help keep your sleep cycle on track.
    SAD lamp - Bodyclock LUXE 700

 

Have you had any success with light therapy? We’d love to hear from you, contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

You can find out more about the Lumie range of wake-up lights here.

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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!

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!