Monday, April 30, 2012


Not wanting to be a harbinger of doom, but we thought it might be worth taking a moment to share with you the potential dangers associated with not getting enough sleep.

We all know that not getting enough sleep can make you grouchy, but according to Dr Chris Idzikowski from the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, sleep deprivation can:

  • Destroy your mood
  • Impair concentration and memory
  • Cause fatigue, tiredness and irritability
  • Result in increased weight and poorer glucose handling
  • Make it harder to lose weight
  • Cause a dip in your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) of 5% which affects your interpersonal, empathetic and stress management skills
  • Increase anxiety and stress levels
  • Result in difficulty in coping with life’s demands
  • Lower your ability to complete tasks
  • Cause you to struggle with job performance, social life and family life
  • Make you less willing to accept blame as a means of alleviating conflict
  • Cause you to react more aggressively and emit more blaming responses when faced with frustrating situations

And if that’s not enough to want you to go and have a lie-down, scientists have discovered that a prolonged lack of sleep increases the chance of heart disease by 48% and strokes by 15%.

(It’s all down to the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin, which control appetite and are more plentiful when you’re sleep deprived. Poorer sleepers tend to eat more and are more likely to be obese, so are at greater risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.)

Top tip: Leave stuff on the do-list, don’t watch another episode from that Box-set, do accept that a candle burnt at both ends will burn out quicker and GET TO BED!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A hot bath before bed helps you sleep

Many people have a lovely hot bath before bed, because they believe that it helps them sleep better. 

And they're right. 

It does.

But why is that?

Well, falling asleep is intrinsically linked to your internal body temperature. A hot bath increases your core body temperature by about 1°C - but it's not the heat of the bath that makes you feel drowsy.

Instead it's the cooling down and drop in your core temperature after a bath that's the real trigger for sleep. 

Top tip for a great night's sleep: Have a good old hot soak about an hour before bedtime - the rise and subsequent fall in your core body temperature should help you drift off in no time. 

PS - Why not try our gorgeous Deep Sleep Bath Soak by This Works to make that bath even more relaxing? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Choose a Sleep Mask

A few pointers on what to look for if you are thinking of getting a new sleep mask...

Most people’s knowledge of sleep masks comes from their experience on flights where the airline freebie is deployed to try to get some kip against the odds on a long haul. This is unfortunate because the tendency is to believe that all sleep masks are as ineffective and uncomfortable as these freebies. That is not the case.

Sleep masks can be an effective way to block out unwanted light in the quest for a great night's sleep. So if your curtains let in light, if your partner likes to read at bedtime, or if you are off on holiday they can be helpful.

So here’s a few things to think about when choosing a sleep mask, if you fancy an upgrade from the freebie.

I would suggest that there are two main factors to consider when buying a sleep mask – comfort and effective light blocking.

Comfort – the factors that determine how comfortable a sleep mask is to wear are how soft the material is and how well it is able to conform to the shape of your face. Everybody’s face is a different shape, so you need a mask that can flex to fit. The sleep mask should also be light-weight.

The other factor that determines comfort is whether the mask is shaped. Flat masks tend to press on the eyeballs, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive.

Lastly you should think about the strap – it should be nice and wide so that it does not cut into the ears or head and it should be easily adjustable.

Airline freebies are nearly all “flat” masks with very thin straps that cannot be adjusted. They are just about better then nothing, but only just.

Light Blocking – The other main factor is the ability of the mask to block out light. Most modern masks are made of good opaque materials. The place where the light is most likely to come in is around the edges of the mask around the nose. Hence masks that have soft portion around the nose area that can conform around the shape of the nose will have most chance of blocking out the light.

Other things to think about are the colour or design – sleep masks don’t have to be black to still block the light out. The other factors are durability and price.

So if you are interested in sleep masks take a look at The Snoozery’s range and see how they compare here:

If you have any feedback, good or bad, on our sleep masks then please let us know.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What's that bleeding noise?

Noise is one of the primary disrupters of sleep. It can stop you going to sleep and wake you up once you are asleep.

Bad noise!

Some noisy things - like a ticking clock or a household appliance - you can do something about.

Other noisy things - like your offspring or the road outside your bedroom window - are more difficult to control.

Most people tend to get used to noise after a while and manage to blank it out.

Others don't take the risk and go to bed wearing earplugs...but they are not for everybody as they can be uncomfortable.

An alternative method to dodge noise is to use a technique such as imagery to distract yourself. Once you're  imagining "another place" (such as a beach on a beautiful summer's day), the brain manages to isolate itself from those pesky noises that have been bothering you.

Top tip for a great night's sleep: Use imagery techniques to make noise annoyances that you cannot control float away and disappear

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How much caffeine are you drinking?

Caffeine makes it harder to sleep because it stimulates the central nervous system, increasing your heart rate and adrenaline production, and also suppressing melatonin production. It takes a long time for the body to break down caffeine, so drinking caffeine during the day can affect sleep at night.

But do you know what your caffeine intake is?

Here's a quick - and sometimes surprising - ready-reckoner for the caffeine content in some of the things you might be consuming:

  • Large mug of coffee-house coffee: 240 milligrammes
  • Regular mug coffee-house coffee: 200mg
  • Normal mug of brewed (cafetiere) coffee: 200mg
  • Large cappuccino: 150mg
  • 1 pain relieving tablet: 130mg
  • Slim can of energy drink: 120mg
  • Portion of coffee ice cream: 90mg
  • Mug of instant coffee: 85mg
  • Cup of brewed tea: 75mg
  • Dark chocolate bar: 75mg
  • Cup of green tea: 60mg
  • Can of Diet Coke: 47mg
  • Espresso: 40mg
  • Can of Coke: 38mg
  • Normal mug of brewed (cafetiere) Decaf coffee: 8mg 

Top tip for a great night's sleep: Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption and try to keep off it totally in the hours before bed

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite

Although there's no actual proof, it is thought that the phrase "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" originates from Tudor times, when mattresses were supported by ropes which needed to be pulled tight to provide a well-sprung bed.

The "don't let the bed bugs bite" element is fairly unequivocal (bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years), but it is pure supposition that the "sleep tight" part is related to the tightening of bed ropes (a task that would have been performed by servants using a rudimentary wrench on a fairly regular basis).

It does make sense though and if nothing else, will give you a pretty convincing and conclusive explanation to an inquisitive child ("But why?") who is trying to delay the inevitable at bedtime...

Sleep tight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Want to influence your dreams?

We all dream. Sometimes they're good dreams, sometimes they're disturbing dreams, occasionally they're somewhat unsettling. Mostly they're bizarre and non-sensical.

Now a team, lead by Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, have created a iPhone app called Dream:ON as part of an experiment looking into whether our dreams can be positively influenced and manipulated.

Participants in the experiment put their iPhone on the bed so that it can detect when they are not moving, signifying the onset of dreaming.

It then plays a "soundscape" designed to evoke pleasant scenes such as walking in woods, or lying on a beach - with the hope that it will influence dreamingAt the end of the dream the app sounds a gentle alarm to wake the dreamer, who submits a brief description of the dream to a ''dream catcher'' database.

Prof Wiseman says, "Getting a good night's sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people's productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical well being. Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that."

Prof Wiseman says that depressed people dreamed far more than others, and often had negative dreams. "Perhaps improving their dreams might help them," he added.

All very Strange Days if you ask me - but that could be a good thing...

We will watch with interest and keep you posted.

If you're intrigued and want to take part, click on the link: Dream:ON

Friday, April 6, 2012

Taking exercise will help you sleep better

We all know it. 

Many of us remain in denial about it.

But the cast-iron evidence points to the fact that it’s true.

Taking exercise is good for us.

And it’s no different when it comes to sleep. Research has shown that people who are physically fit and active have a better quality of sleep.

Now you don’t have to become a slave to the gym, but exercising just three times a week for 20-30 minutes will have a noticeable impact on the quality of your sleep. As well as your overall fitness and well-being. Anything that gets your heart pumping – walking the dog, swimming, a bike ride - should do the trick.

But take care to avoid strenuous exercise in the evening and certainly just before bedtime. Exercise temporarily arouses the nervous system and therefore, taken late in the day, can lead to problems achieving and maintaining sleep.

The bedroom might be the only place to keep the exercise bike, but don’t hop onto it just before bed!

Top tip for a great night’s sleep: Ummm...well...errrr, it's a bit obvious given the above but...take some exercise.   

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't let your partner affect how you sleep

Sharing your bed with a partner - and what they do as part of their "sleep behaviour" - is one of the commonest causes cited for not getting a good night's sleep.

Admittedly some things are difficult to change, but often simple changes by one party - so simple that they seem petty - can have a significant positive impact on the other's quality of sleep.

Top tip for a great night's sleep: (Assuming that you want to (or feel you really ought to) sleep in the same bed and/or room as your partner) Talk to them about which behaviours affect your sleep - they may be very simple to change