Everything you need to know about getting a good night’s sleep
Sleep better, and make yourself happier, by finding out about the science of sleep
It was E. Joseph Cossman who once said “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep” — which happens to be the 53rd most famous quote about sleep. It might, however, be 1st for importance. Sleeping well can revolutionise your life, and help you face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that are sure to come your way.
At Sleep Republic, we know a thing or two about sleep. We’ve spent years researching sleep technology and engineering to bring you an award-winning mattress. Read on to reap the fruits of our labour, and find out more than you ever wanted to know about the sensational science of sleep.
See for yourself why the Sleep Republic mattress has won multiple awards, and helped countless Australians reap the reward of restfulness. Find out more about our mattress, which can be ordered online and delivered directly to you.
How do you improve your sleep?
Across the country, there’s an epidemic of bad sleep. Many people aren’t getting enough sleep, and what little sleep they do manage to get is broken, light and ineffective. How do you sleep better?
The answer is multifaceted. In this article, we will tackle some of the common problems people have with their sleep, and also suggest some remedies for those issues. We’ll focus on things like:
- Getting to sleep quickly, and spending less time and effort trying to fall asleep
- Getting the right amount of sleep for your age, and also for you as an individual
- Rejuvenating your body and mind with deep, REM sleep
- Putting sleep patterns in place to make great sleep part of your everyday routine
- Finding the tools you need to banish discomfort and maximise quality sleep time
Is it possible to get to sleep more quickly?
You lie in bed, tossing and turning, yearning for Mr. Sandman to pay you a visit and send you to the Land of Nod. Must it be thus, or is it possible to get to sleep more quickly? Here are a few tips we’ve found for hastening the deepening of your sleep.
Turn off your screens
Although the information contained within this article is, no doubt, vital for helping you sleep well, reading this article on a screen probably isn’t helping you to fall asleep.
Looking at a screen can keep you awake for as long as an hour. So, if you’re in bed, trying to get to sleep while intermittently checking your phone and/or reading articles about going to sleep, a good first step is to switch off your device.
The more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to fall asleep swiftly. So, if you’re having trouble dozing off, do something relaxing. Take a bath, listen to some soothing music, go for a walk, or drink a cup of tea.
Get a better mattress
Potentially, we’re biased on this point. As a mattress manufacturer, we put a pretty high emphasis on the importance of having a quality mattress. A mattress is by no means the only worthwhile piece of somnus paraphernalia — sheets, pillows and a bed base all have their part to play — but a mattress might just be the most important component of all.
If you’re not comfortable on your mattress, you’ll have trouble falling to sleep quickly. It’s as simple as that. And, mercifully, there is a convenient solution: a 100 Night Trial on a Sleep Republic mattress.
How much sleep do I need?
This might seem a straightforward question, but it’s actually a deceptively tricky one. There’s a difference between how many hours a person needs to sleep each night, and how much effective, restful sleep they actually achieve. To further complicate matters, we need different amounts of sleep at different times in our lives. And to make it even more complicated, some people seem to need more sleep than others, and the causes for this are often unknown.
People of different ages need different amounts of sleep
Studies indicate that the amount of sleep a person needs will vary over the course of their life. Here is an approximate guide to the number of hours of sleep a person needs to be based on their age:
- 0-3 months old: 14-17 hours
- 4-11 months old: 12-15 hours
- 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
- 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours
- 14-17 years old: 8-10 hours
- 18-64 years old: 7-9 hours
- 65+ years old: 7-8 hours
Some people need more sleep than others
Some people seem to function well on almost no sleep at all. There are many anecdotal cases of politicians, military leaders and billionaires who thrive professionally and sleep as few as four hours a night.
Most people, however, need to slumber for far longer, and it is well established that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health.
The important thing is to find out how much sleep your body comfortably requires, and to ensure you sleep effectively by getting enough good, deep REM cycles.
What is REM?
Often, when people talk about REM, they’re referring to the American rock band known for hits like Losing My Religion and Shiny Happy People. But in the context of sleep, REM almost always stands for ‘Rapid Eye Movement’.
There are several stages of sleep, and the deepest and most restorative of these is REM. During REM, people experience:
- The eyes moving rapidly
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular breathing
- Raised blood pressure
- Higher levels of oxygen being consumed by the brain
- Twitching in limbs and the face
REM tends to happen while a person has their most intense dreams. Although much is still unknown about REM sleep, it is believed to help people improve their mood, capacity for memory, and learning abilities.
How much REM sleep do you need?
REM makes up a surprisingly small portion of the average person’s sleep each night. Within 7-9 hours of sleep, a normal amount of REM sleep might only be 90 minutes.
The normal amount of REM sleep you get tends to decline with age. Older people might experience very little REM sleep, while some infants experience greater than 50% REM sleep.
A lack of REM sleep can cause emotional and cognitive problems, and is linked to a host of different medical issues. If you’re not getting enough REM sleep, this is likely because you’re not sleeping very deeply through the night. There are a number of remedies you might like to pursue.
Why can’t I sleep?
Sleep, as we have outlined, is absolutely necessary for your health and happiness. And being unable to sleep? It’s wretched. The medical term for this awful state of affairs is ‘insomnia’ which is Latin for ‘without sleep’.
The remedy for not being able to sleep will differ, depending on the root cause of the problem. Here are a few common issues people tend to have with their sleep, and what to do to remedy those issues.
Poor sleep patterns
Human beings are creatures of habit and routine, and having a disjointed sleep pattern can make getting to sleep extremely difficult. Issues getting to sleep are common with people who work irregular hours, like doctors, nurses, employees in the hospitality industry, and performers.
It’s not always possible to set regular, healthy sleeping patterns. But as much as it is within your power, try going to sleep and getting up at a similar time each day. This should help with your sleep.
A guilty conscience
When Midnight Oil front-person Peter Garrett sang “How do we sleep/ while our beds are burning?”, he wasn’t necessarily referring to the actual, literal fire consuming his bed. Rather, he was referring to the metaphorical burning of a guilty conscience.
Emotional and intellectual problems can have a terrible impact on your sleep. Even a spiritual crisis can cause poor sleep, and this is what the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross was referring to when he wrote about ‘the dark night of the soul’.
At Sleep Republic, we partner with The Salvation Army to either donate or recycle all returned mattresses. Also, all of our foam is CertiPUR-US® certified, which is better for you and better for the planet. That’s just two of the ways we ensure we’ve made an ethical mattress, to help you get to sleep.
The wrong mattress
An uncomfortable mattress, or one that has too little support, can be just as disruptive to your sleep as those other problems. However, unlike an unstable routine or a guilty conscience, it is easy to find a convenient solution to having the wrong mattress. Just get yourself the right mattress instead, and start improving your sleep.
Can you buy anything to help you get a better night’s sleep?
There are many sleep aids and supplements on the market, and countless products which cite improved sleep as one of their benefits. Prospective sleep-aids include:
- Vitamin D
- Chamomile tea
- Warm milk
- Earl grey tea
- Fennel tea
- Green tea
Some people swear by these purported sleep-cures, while other people have no such luck. Whether or not they work for you will probably be a matter of personal taste; if you love the taste of warm milk, you may find it to be a relaxing and effective catalyst for getting to sleep. However, if you’re lactose intolerant, that glass of milk is rather more likely to cause you digestive problems and keep you awake all night long.
One sure-fire item to help you sleep better at night is a quality mattress, with a high level of support. Even if you find a kind of tea that helps you get to sleep, if you’re nodding off on a bad mattress then the aches and pains you’ll feel the next morning will still encumber you throughout the day.
Try the Sleep Republic mattress for 100 nights, and if you’re not fully satisfied, send it back for a full refund. Read more about the Sleep Republic mattress, and get yourself a great night’s sleep ASAP.