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Napping

Protect-A-Bed Blog - Napping

 

If you are finding yourself feeling tired and sleepy during the day a nap may be beneficial.  Reducing fatigue, increasing alertness, improving your mood, performance and reaction time.

A nap may also help you prepare for and be able to better cope with a late night out, shift work or a long drive.

As recognised by the Sleep Health Foundation of Australia 

"Naps can also be good at times when you feel sleepy and you are worried about how well you can do things if you continue without rest. If you feel drowsy during a long drive in the car, a short nap can be taken in a rest area. This will make you more alert during the next phase of the drive.

Some studies have found that if you start to feel sleepy while driving, it helps to have a cup of coffee, immediately followed by a nap of about 15 minutes. The caffeine takes about 30 minutes to start working so when you wake up both the nap and the caffeine will start to make you feel more alert."

How long to nap for

The secret to waking up refreshed from a nap is setting an alarm and making sure you don’t nap for too long. 

Ideally a nap should only be 15-30 minutes long.  This will ensure that when you wake you are still in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep.   Any longer, where you enter the deeper stages of sleep you risk waking up with what is known as sleep inertia.  Feeling groggy and perhaps more tired and with less energy than before your nap.

However “If you’re lucky enough to be able to lie down for 90 minutes, your body should have time to make it through one complete sleep cycle where you go from the lightest stage through the deepest stage of sleep and back again, so you’ll wake feeling refreshed.”- sleep.org

 How you can make your nap better

  • Be sure to set an alarm so you are not napping for more than 30 minutes.
  • Nap in a quiet, dark place at a comfortable temperature without any noise or distractions

“A cool 16-18°C (60-65°F) is thought to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom. Temperatures over 24°C (71°F) are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C (53°F) will make it difficult to drop off.”  - Sleep Council UK 

  • If you are napping regularly try and nap at the same time each day.
  • 2-3pm may be the ideal time to nap. We often feel most sleepy in the early afternoon as it matches a low point in our bodies circadian rhythm.
  • If taking a nap in your car, ensure you are in a safe place

And if napping regularly

Be mindful to remember that a nap does not replace a good night’s sleep.  A nap too late in the day may make it harder to fall asleep at night. And if you find that you are relying on naps during the day or you are not able to sleep at night due to naps talk to your doctor.

 

 

 

Hot in Bed

Protect-A-Bed Blog Hot in Bed

 Are you or your partner finding yourself uncomfortably hot at night? Sweating, tossing and turning, resulting in a broken night’s sleep and leaving you feeling lethargic the next day?

Your core body temperature works with your circadian rhythm, to help determine when you are ready to go to sleep and when you are ready to wake up.  Your body temperature drops when you begin to feel sleepy and is at its lowest at around 4am, before increasing.

So if you are having difficulty falling asleep or waking up at time you need to consider what maybe affecting your temperature leading up to your bedtime and during the night.

 As identified in Time’s article You Asked: Why Do I Sweat When I Sleep by (Markham Heid March 21, 2018)

“Intense exercise too close to bed can also “throw off” the body’s thermoregulation processes, says Michael Grandner, an associate professor and director of the Sleep & Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He explains that a person’s body temperature naturally dips just before bed, which promotes sleep. Eating or exercising too close to bed can fire up your metabolism, which increases heat production and so may interfere with the body’s natural powering down.” 

In order to fall asleep quickly and too help get a good night’s sleep you firstly need to ensure your room is at the ideal temperature.   

“A cool 16-18°C (60-65°F) is thought to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom. Temperatures over 24°C (71°F) are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C (53°F) will make it difficult to drop off.”  - sleepcouncil.org.uk/perfect-sleep environment 

But remember it is not just the air conditioner or heater that affects the temperature you are feeling when you are sleeping.  Your Pyjama’s and bedding can also play a part.  You might get into bed feeling cool and comfortable but if you may become hotter during the night due to the materials your Pyjama’s and bedding are made off.

Consider Natural Fibres such as TENCEL™.  TENCEL™ is a botanic fibre, derived from sustainable wood sources which are super soft.  The Smooth Fiber structure of TENCEL™ absorbs moisture more efficiently than cotton and is breathable helping support the body’s natural thermal regulating mechanism, keeping your skin feeling pleasantly cool and dry.

You may wish to check out our range of Protect-A-Bed TENCEL™ Mattress and Pillow Protectors®

If you have made these changes to help ensure the correct sleeping temperature and you are still waking hot or sweaty consider talking to your doctor. Sometimes the side effects of medication, menopause, hormonal imbalances, anxiety and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and night terrors may also cause you to sweat when sleep.

 

 

Combating Jet Lag

Protect-A-Bed Blog - Tips for Combating Jet Lag

What causes Jet Lag?

Jet lag occurs when you fly across one or more time zones.

Daylight plays an important role in our body’s natural biological clock or circadian rhythm, affecting the release of Melatonin which tells us when we should go to sleep and wake up.  Jet lag occurs because our body's circadian rhythm has not had time to synchronise to the change in time zones.

The result, our body is telling us to stay awake when it’s late at night, or telling us it’s time to sleep when it is the only the middle of the afternoon.

Jet lag, affects different people differently, and can happen to anyone regardless of their age or level of fitness.

As recognised by betterhealth.vic.gov.au it is also often worse if you are travelling in an easterly direction

Your circadian rhythm (body clock) is less confused if you travel westward. This is because travelling west ‘prolongs’ the body clock’s experience of its normal day-night cycle (the normal tendency of the body clock in most of us is slightly longer than 24 hours). Travelling eastwards, however, runs in direct opposition to the body clock. If you suffer badly from jet lag, it may be worthwhile considering a westerly travel route if possible.

Symptoms of Jet Lag

The symptoms of Jet Lag vary between people.  They may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lack of concentration

Coping with Jet Lag

Jet lag generally lasts for 2-3 days and although there is no cure there are things that you can do before, during and after travel to help.

Before Leaving 

  • Ensure you have had enough sleep leading up to your travel and are not already suffering from a lack of sleep.
  • If possible, begin moving your sleep patterns towards the sleep and wake time at your destination. Go to bed and get up a little earlier or later, gradually adjusting the length of time before your trip.

During the Flight 

  • Change the time on your watch to the time at your destination as soon as possible. The sooner you make the change, the easier it will be.
  • Open the blinds on your flight to allow in sunlight only during the daylight hours at your destination.
  • Try to sleep on the plane during the night time hours at your destination. A sleep mask, headphones or ear plugs may help block out any light and noise.
  • Attempt to eat and sleep on the plane at the same time you will be eating and sleeping at your destination.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine that may disturb your sleep cycles.  (see our blog on Coffee and Sleep) 

 After the Flight

  • Adjust your sleeping and eating patterns to the new time zone as soon as possible. Try to stay awake to your usual bedtime and get up when you normally would rather than having a sleep in.
  • The Sleep Health Foundation does recommend that you can take short naps when adapting, which may help you feel more alert if necessary but also state that
“It is important that you sleep for no longer than 30 minutes and that you are awake for at least 4 hours before you go to bed.” 
  • If possible, during the day get outside or expose yourself to as much natural light as possible. Remember that daylight works with our Circadian Rhythm which tells us when it’s time to be awake and sleep.
  • When ready to go to sleep, make sure the room you are staying in is set at the optimal temperature for sleep which is around 18-20 degrees and use ear plugs or headphones to drown out any unfamiliar sounds that may stop you falling asleep or wake you in the night.

Most importantly be prepared to give yourself the time to adjust. It will often take at least 2-3 days.

 

5 tips to improve your sleep this daylight savings

Protect-A-Bed Daylight Savings

It is the first Sunday of October and we all know that means it is daylight savings time.

Daylight savings puts our clock forward an hour and although this can be fantastic for people who want to enjoy those long summer nights it can have a negative impact on our sleeping patterns.

Even one hour of sleep loss over a few nights can have marked effects on our mood and health.

The effects of the initial time change for daylight savings on the body is often likened to jet lag.  Losing an hour of light in the morning and gaining it at night it effects our bodies as if we are in a different time zone.

This is because changing the clock in either direction changes the principle time cue (which is light) for setting and resetting our 24-hr natural cycle, or circadian rhythm. Therefore, our internal clocks become out of sync.

As it is staying light later in the day it can be harder to fall asleep and likewise staying darker in the morning can make it harder to wake up.

Tips to help you adapt your circadian rhythm to the new time:

  1. It is advised to aim to get eight hours of sound sleep, fatigue can exacerbate the negative effects of changing the clock so avoid depriving yourself of sleep and go to bed at an appropriate time.
  2.  Avoid alcohol close to going to sleep. Studies show that it reduces rapid eye movement or (REM) sleep, thus impacting on your brains ability to sleep properly.
  3. Limit caffeine intake 6 hours prior to bed, research has shown that caffeine taken 6 hours prior to sleep has significant effects on sleep disturbance. This will impact on your ability to get a restful sleep.
  4. As light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin expose yourself to light during the day, but minimise all light sources when you go to sleep.  Try to avoid the blue light from cell phones and other screens at least two hours before bedtime.
  5. Improve your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to creating a sleep friendly environment through things such as calming bedtime routines, exercising several hours before sleeping, listening to music, reading a book or having a hot shower before bed.

Spring your clock's forward and get the most out of the warmer days by undertaking good sleeping habits.  With a good night sleep you will feel and function better.

 

Spring clean your bedroom and help control allergens

Protect-A-Bed Spring Cleaning Blog

Spring has sprung, footy season is nearing an end, the tulips are blooming and the weather is getting warmer, but it is also allergy season. For many of us this means a stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes or skin and lots of sneezing.

Common causes of allergies include:

Pollen

Affecting a lot of people pollen allergies or hayfever are caused by an allergy to the pollen produced by flowers, trees, grasses and weeds.  Pollen gets into the home when you open the doors and windows or travels inside on your clothing or with pets.  It is often further dispersed through the home by cooling and heating systems.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are one of the most common causes of allergies in the home.  Millions of these tiny creatures live in our mattresses, bed linen, carpets and furnishings.  Feeding of our skin cells, and producing waste, studies show that are a known cause or trigger of asthma and eczema. 

Mould

Mould is often found in damp, poorly ventilated areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. Mould and bacteria are also often found in mattresses and pillows with our perspiration, shredded skin cells and everyday spills and stains helping provide the perfect conditions for it to grow.

Pets

Fairly common, pet allergies are triggered by pet dander from animals such as such as cats and dogs.  Pets also often carry inside other allergens such as pollen and dust.

While there is not a lot you can do to control your outdoor environment, there are things you can do when spring cleaning, to help control your indoor environment, and in particular the bedroom, where seasonal allergies can be triggered all year round.

Spring cleaning the Bedroom – Tips

Get Prepared

  • Make sure you have all your cleaning supplies at hand.
  • Have three boxes on hand - one for rubbish, one for things that don’t belong in the bedroom and one for anything, such as old clothes, that you might like to donate to charity.

Clear the bedroom of clutter

  • Remember that the bedroom should be a peaceful area, a sanctuary. Remove any items that are not used or are unnecessary. Are they rubbish, do they belong in another room or can they go to charity?
  • Consider removing TVs or Computers. The blue light emitted from screens can reduce the production of the sleep hormone melatonin which may result in difficulty sleeping and increased drowsiness during the day.

Clean out the wardrobe and dresser drawers

  • Start by taking everything out.
  • If possible, store away any winter clothing and shoes.
  • We all have things in our wardrobe and drawers that we no longer wear.  When deciding what to put back ask yourself the following questions. Have I worn it in the last 12 months? Will I wear it again? Does it still fit? Do I like the way it looks? Is it damaged?
  • The things you don't need, if not damaged, consider selling online or donating to charity.

 Dust

  • Dust all surfaces in the bedroom with a damp or electrostatic cloth.
  • Remove all items from dressers and shelves, returning them as you go.
  • Move from one side of the room to the other so no areas are missed.

 Wipe down the walls

  • Clean off any marks. 
  • If you have young artists in the household and are using a cleaning block or another cleaning chemical always test in an inconspicuous area to ensure it does not fade or damage the paint or wallpaper. 

Clean windows and window furnishings

  • Clean your windows, inside and out. You might want to try using a water/vinegar mixture with a microfibre cloth. Don’t forget the window frames and tracks. If needed a toothbrush is great for getting into the corners.
  • Take down and wash curtains.
  • Dust and wipe down blinds with warm water.

Clean Flooring

  • Thoroughly vacuum the carpet or floor boards using a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  • If you can, move furniture to get underneath.
  • Mop floor boards. Consider a professional clean for the carpet.
  • Wipe down baseboards.

Vacuum soft furnishing

  • Any chairs, couches or soft furnishings should also be vacuumed with a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.

Replace Filters  

  • If your heating and cooling system is due for new filters, spring is a great reminder to replace them and preferably with HEPA versions if possible.

Strip and clean your bedding

  • Remove and clean all bedding, including sheets, blankets, mattress and pillow protectors. Washing in hot water (above 55°C will kill any dust mites).
  • Cover your mattress and pillows with Protect-A-Bed® mattress and pillow protectors. Protect-A-Bed®’s Miracle Layer™ acts as a barrier against any dust mite, mould and bacteria allergens that may be present in your mattress or pillows.  They also protect your mattress from yellowing that is caused by your perspiration and everyday spills. Recognised by the National Asthma Council of Australia and the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand’s Sensitive Choice Program you will see the Sensitive Choice Blue Butterfly on Protect-A-Bed® packaging.

If you or someone in your family suffer from severe allergies, asthma or eczema consider using Protect-A-Bed®’s Fully Encased Mattress Protectors. 

The fully encased Protect-A-Bed® Allerzip® Mattress and Pillow Encasement's feature a unique BugLock® system. which has a dust mite proof flap and Secure Seal® providing total protection.  Preventing dust mite, mould and bacteria allergens entering or escaping through the zipper.

Simply Fit n’ Forget by layering a Protect-A-Bed® Fitted Mattress Protector over the top for regular washing and drying with other linens.

  • And as you are most likely putting the flannel sheets away for the year, why not try some sheets and mattress protectors designed to keep you cool and comfortable? Those made from TENCEL™, for example, are hypoallergenic, smooth on the skin, and help manage heat and moisture for better sleep in warmer weather.
  • Don’t forget to wash or have your pillows dry-cleaned.
  • Fold and put into storage any winter bedding no longer needed.
  • Wipe down the bed frame.
  • Flip and rotate your mattress

Finally consider keeping flowers (with pollen) and pets out of the bedroom. 

Sit back, relax and enjoy the warmer days and remember if your allergies are triggered by pollen stay indoors on dry windy days and especially after storms as these are peak periods for airborne allergens.   

 

Is how much coffee you drink affecting your sleep?

Whether it’s a cup in the morning, to give you that kick start, or one in the afternoon with friends, many of us enjoy our daily coffee or coffees.

A naturally occurring stimulant, caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate and many other foods and drinks. And whilst it has no nutritional value in our diets, what you may not realise, is that while it may give us a much needed wake-up or boost during the day, it can also affect our sleep and contribute to us feeling more tired the following day.

How caffeine affects our sleep

Caffeine is absorbed quickly into our blood stream and reaches its full potential within 30-60 minutes. It's affects lasting 3-7 hours, it can take up to 24 hours to be fully eliminated from our bodies. 

And as explained by an article from the Caffineinfomer

“Not all caffeine can immediately be broken down by the liver, so some free caffeine remains in general circulation. Some of which makes its way to the brain. The caffeine molecule is similar in shape to the adenosine molecule which is a neurotransmitter. Since these two molecules are so similar, caffeine molecules are able to bind to the brain’s adenosine receptors and therefore block adenosine from binding and doing its job”.

"Adenosine plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. When adenosine binds to enough receptors, it signals the brain that it is time for rest or sleep. Caffeine doesn’t replace the person’s need for sleep but masks tiredness since adenosine can no longer do what it is intended to do"

"This process also interferes with the dopamine system in the brain.  Dopamine, which is the “feel-good” neurotransmitter becomes more plentiful when adenosine is blocked by caffeine and this causes increased feelings of well-being and happiness. Furthermore, elevated levels of adenosine in the blood cause the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. This stimulating hormone further adds to the feelings of alertness and energy."

But at bedtime, by inhibiting the adenosine receptors, in our brain which play a role in our sleep wake cycle caffeine can mask tiredness, disrupt our sleep and alter our Circadian Rhythm. 

It may also result in the quality of our sleep not been as good as needed.  Not only resulting in a lighter and more restless sleep but causing us to wake up in the night for trips to the bathroom.

The effects varying between individuals as we all have different sensitivity levels and its effects can be affected by other lifestyle choices such as smoking (caffeine is metabolised by the body more rapidly in people who use nicotine) or at different stages of life.  Older people tend to be more sensitive to its effects while I has been shown to be slower among pregnant women.

And as the average adult needs about 8 hours of good quality sleep a night to function effectively if Caffeine is distributing this can cause us to feel tired, unrested and unmotivated in the following days. Often resulting in one reaching for another cup of coffee and repeating the cycle.

So how much coffee or caffeine is too much?

There are no guidelines for the intake of caffeine.

A Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Expert Working group has however recognised that

“there was evidence of increased anxiety levels in children at doses of about 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day. The anxiety level for children aged 5-12 equates to a caffeine dose of 95 mg per day (approximately two cans of cola) and about 210 mg per day (approximately three cups of instant coffee) for adults”

They have also identified how much caffeine can be found in some food or drinks as a guide here.

But this is not to say you cannot enjoy your daily coffee or chocolate snacks it may simply require you to think about how much caffeine you are ingesting and when.

If you are drinking or consuming large amounts of caffeine consider cutting back.  Just don’t stop suddenly, gradually cut back. If your body is used to caffeine as stimulant, simply stopping may give you headaches.

And, don’t drink coffee too close to bedtime. And you may need to try having that last one at different times to see what works best for you because as recognised by the Sleep Health Foundation  

“There are different views on how many hours before bed you should have your last caffeine intake. Some say caffeine should be avoided for at least 3 to 7 hours before going to sleep. Others say no caffeine after lunch time if you have sleep problems. Many people find that their sleep improves with less caffeine or only having caffeine earlier in the day.”

And remember when you are sleeping well you are living well

 

Minimising Dust mite allergens in the bedroom

Did you know approximately 30% of people are allergic to dust mite waste, a common cause and trigger of asthma and allergies

Dust mites are everywhere, including in our mattresses and bedding, and despite their tiny size a dust mite produces 10-20 waste particles a day.  Each of which contains a protein known to trigger allergic reactions and asthma from which about 10% of the population suffers from.

Attempts to eradicate dust mites is likely to be unsuccessful, however if allergic there are a number of ways in which you can reduce your exposure.

Among others these may include:

  • Vacuuming carpets and soft furnishings weekly using a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. 
  • Dusting hard surfaces with a damp or electrostatic cloth.

Keep in mind that these activities may stir up the dust mite allergens.  And although they don’t stay airborne for long, if allergic consider having someone else do these tasks for you if an option.  

  • Clean window coverings regularly. Consider venetian or flat blinds rather than curtains.
  • Wash bedding, weekly in water hotter than 55°C. This will kill the dust mites and wash away any allergens.
  • Cover your mattress and pillows with Protect-A-Bed® dust mite resistant cases and also wash these regularly at 55 °C.   

Best for severe asthma and allergy sufferers, the fully encased Protect-A-Bed® Allerzip® Mattress and Pillow Encasement's feature a unique BugLock® system.

The fully encased BugLock® system has a dust mite proof flap and Secure Seal® which provides total protection.  Preventing dust mite, mould and bacteria allergens entering or escaping through the zipper.

Simply Fit n’ Forget by layering a Protect-A-Bed® Fitted Mattress Protector over the top for regular washing and drying with other linens.

 

You can find out more about Dust Mite allergens and how these can be tested for at the National Asthma Council of Australia’s Sensitive Choice website. https://www.sensitivechoice.com/dust-mites/ 

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