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Why quality sleep is critical
Everyone knows how important it is to get the best night’s sleep possible to function normally and live a healthier life. But, it’s easier said than done because life gets in the way. Busy work schedules and daily home chores make it hard to get eight good hours of sleep a day. For this reason, we need a little help from the world of technology like the modern sleep trackers.
The Mattress Warehouse now stocks the DoFit Activity Tracker which the company rates as one of the best activity tracking devices on the South African market. The idea behind stocking the DoFit device in its stores is to marry advanced sleep technology with the science of sleep management.
DoFit markets an elegant, slim-fitting digital watch that does everything from counting calories and steps to monitoring heart rates and sleep patterns, tracking goal progress, sharing health data and even finding your phone.
What we’re more interested in is the ‘auto tracking sleep quality app’ on the DoFit activity tracker; which manages and monitors sleep patterns. There are several reasons for this, but quite simply, we know that the health and wellness of our customers depend on quality sleep.
Last night you got 5 hours sleep. The night before maybe 6 hours. You didn’t sleep deeply; the dog kept waking you up, and your partner was snoring.
Night after night we get shortchanged on quality sleep. Before you know it, we’ve picked up bad habits and count ourselves lucky if we get 5 hours of broken sleep a night. This is not lucky; it’s dangerous and here’s why…
Humans have a primal“wake-sleep” rhythm which is nature’s way of making sure we get enough sleep so our bodies can grow, heal themselves and function properly. The problem is we live a “sleep deprivation” lifestyle with caffeine, sugar, artificial lights and mobile devices messing with what nature gave us to survive.
A lack of quality sleep increases stress levels, makes you feel like you’re operating in a fog during the day and leads to poor health and weight gain. It’s a medical fact that extreme sleep deprivation leads to severe depression, high levels of anxiety, chronic insomnia, obesity and unhealthy life choices such as taking drugs and sleeping pills to function. That’s why they use it as a form of torture!
You can have the best bed on the market with a modern mattress that promises you a night of blissful sleep. But, if you don’t manage your sleep patterns and get the right kind of sleep; it doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping on a heavenly cloud in the sky.
Why spend all that money on a luxury bed which offers a world of comfort and support when you’re ruining your life by sabotaging your sleep habits and living as a sleep-deprived wreck? That’s a tough question you need to ask yourself and review your sleep if you’re not living your best life.
Why a lack of sleep makes you fat
We can almost handle feeling tired during the day if we haven’t had enough quality sleep but what we don’t like is the love handles that pile up on our hips as a nasty side effect of a lack of shuteye.
There’s a scientific reason why poor sleepers gain weight. It’s all about hormones…
A lack of quality sleep puts hormones like ghrelin and leptin off balance, and these hormones influence your appetite.
Ghrelin is a hormone that scientists call the ‘hunger hormone.’ It’s responsible for stimulating appetite and the higher the level of ghrelin in your body, the hungrier you’ll feel. When you’re sleep deprived, ghrelin levels increase which signals hunger and sends you to the fridge to snack.
Leptin is a hormone that lets your brain know that you’re full. Your leptin level needs to be kept at a stable level to counteract ghrelin in your body which keeps hunger pangs at bay. When you’re sleep deprived, leptin levels are lowered which keeps you feeling hungry, and you eat bigger portions, go back for seconds or eat again half an hour after dinner.
Sleep deprivation not only increases hunger and therefore the temptation to eat poor food choices, but it also alters your thermoregulation and increases fatigue. This reduces your energy levels which leads to snacking on sugary foods to boost your energy and in the long run, causes obesity.
Sleep deprivation also increases your stress hormone which causes a reduction in alertness and concentration. It is not only dangerous but also leads to you snacking on the wrong food to boost your energy and concentration. That afternoon Coke and chocolate are going to end up on your waistline.
5 signs you’re sleep deprived
You may think you’re getting enough sleep, but it might not be quality sleep. Not to worry, we’ve got a checklist you can use to find out if you’re sleep deprived:
1. You’re always hungry
We’ve talked about the ghrelin hormone and how it affects your appetite. If you’re always hungry even though you eat well and regularly, then you could be sleep deprived.
Too little sleep over a period of days plays havoc with your ghrelin hormone and your appetite increases. You’ll find yourself reaching for the cookie jar half an hour after supper. A few weeks of this and you’ll be reaching for your fat pants.
2. You’re always yawning
This is a big tell-tell sign if you’re not getting enough quality sleep. When you’re sitting in an important meeting and trying desperately to stifle a massive yawn, think about your nighttime routine and start working on a plan to get more and better sleep.
Don’t reach for another cup of strong coffee. You don’t need caffeine; you need quality sleep. If you’ve invested in a quality mattress from The Mattress Warehouse, you should be sleeping like a baby. If you’re not, you’re doing it all wrong in the few hours before bedtime.
3. You look tired
Your face is puffy, and your eyes are red, and your colleagues comment on how tired you look. If you’re not overworked and don’t have too much stress in your life and you’re still not looking your best; then it’s time to re-look at your nightly bedtime routine.
Chances are your ghrelin and leptin hormones are out of whack because you’ve been eating badly before bedtime, drinking coffee late in the evening, spending too much time on your mobile device and turning off the light well after 10 pm.
You don’t need a facelift or new makeup to look younger and fresher; you need quality sleep.
4. You’re slacking off during the day
If you don’t have the energy to do all the tasks you’ve set yourself or you aren’t meeting your performance targets, you’re probably sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation has a massive impact on your ability to focus, concentrate and make the right decisions. It also affects your speech and cognitive thinking.
Don’t head to the kitchen to brew a strong cup of coffee. You don’t need caffeine to stay away and concentrate; you need quality sleep.
5. You lose things
Does your partner give you a hard time because you’re always looking for something you’ve lost or misplaced? Does your brain feel foggy and you don’t have a clear memory of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and where you’ve put things?
You don’t need to take drugs for concentration or performance-enhancing shakes; you need quality sleep.
6. You’re weepy
Have you recently burst out in tears because your boss reprimanded you or flown off the handle because your partner didn’t take dishes to the sink? When you’re sleep deprived, your hormones are out of sync which makes you moody and irritable.
Being sleep deprived is like having permanent PMS. Blokes, if you don’t know what it’s like to have PMS; just go a few days with no sleep, and you’ll sympathize with your wife or girlfriend.
You don’t need a box of tissues or a glass of wine to calm down; you need quality sleep.
7. Your sex life is non-existent
If you’ve got the libido of a dead fish and can’t conjure up any enthusiasm for a good romp in the sack; chances are you’re sleep deprived.
For a happy, healthy sex life you need quality of sleep. Once again, this is all about hormones. If they’re out of order from nights of restless sleep or sleepless nights, you could be in bed with George Clooney and still not feel like getting sexy and sweaty.
Quality sleep not quantity
We’ve talked about the importance of getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night but here’s the twist; it’s not the amount of sleep you get but the quality of sleep that makes the biggest difference.
Even if you get to bed early every night, you may still be sleep deprived if you’re not getting the kind of sleep you need. It’s not quality sleep if you’re lying in bed and going over and over issues that are worrying you or you’re waking up a few times a night to pee, check the children or fetch a glass of water.
If you are sleep deprived, you can’t “catch up” on sleep by having a long nap on Sunday afternoon or lying in for an extra hour over the weekend. Sleep studies have proven that if you get 2 hours less sleep per night, the impact on your health and concentration is dramatic. In fact, they say, that after two weeks of consistently getting only 6 hours sleep per night; it’s the equivalent of driving drunk.
This might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true. The effect of sleep deprivation over the long term is destructive. It destroys your cognitive thinking abilities, your stress levels explode, you pack on the weight, you underperform at work, and your sex drive dies. It could ultimately lead to obesity, depression, and anxiety and you’ll always look tired and worn out.
It’s not worth it to put your body and mind under so much strain when you have two modern innovations to improve your quality of sleep. Invest in a modern mattress that uses advanced sleep technology to improve the quality of your sleep and use a mobile activity device DoFit Activity Tracker to auto track your sleep quality (plus all the other great features like activity management, step and calorie counting and heart rate monitoring.
Remember, you don’t need to catch up on lost sleep; you need to start getting the right kind of sleep, so you don’t become a walking zombie.
Sleep well after a late-night workout
With anew DoFit Activity Tracker, you’ll be rearing to go to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. A great feature is the VeryFit App which is a simple chart you can use to track and manage your activity. Daily activity is recorded in an easy-to-use chart system; creating a complete sports data file for each user.
DoFit Activity Tracker also offers features such as a Step Algorithm combining the Gsensor with a unique filter and anti-interference technology with 90% accuracy. It also has a real-time heart rate monitor which tracks your dynamic heart rate all-day and automatically recognizes activity heart rate zones; recording your resting heart, peak exercise, cardio fitness and fat burning data.
When you’ve bought a DoFit Activity Tracker from The Mattress Warehouse, you’re good to go! The only problem is many of us can’t manage an early morning workout, and we tend to head to the gym in the evening after work. This is better than no exercise at all, but it comes with its own set of problems.
Working out in the gym or going for a long run in the early evening can cause insomnia. Some studies have shown that people who work out too close to their bedtime battle to fall asleep early that night.
Here are some tips on ways to sleep well after a late workout:
1. Build your exercise routine around good bedtime habits
As youngsters, our parents made sure we followed a strict bedtime routine. A little bit of TV, dinner, a warm bath, story time and then bedtime. We’d lay our head on the pillow and fall asleep instantly.
As adults, this rarely happens. It’s more like… work out late in the gym, eat a late supper, surf the internet or watch a movie, check your emails and Facebook, have a late-night cup of coffee, quick shower, more Facebook and then turn off the light.
And we wonder why we don’t fall asleep instantly when our heads hit the pillow?
A good bedtime routine cues our brain to settle down and get ready to sleep. If you’re sending it the wrong signals, your poor brain doesn’t know if it’s switching on or switching off.
Health ambassadors say we should work out the same time each afternoon/evening. Then, go straight home and follow a nightly routine that sees you winding down, turning off your gadgets and clear your mind of worrying thoughts in the hour before bedtime. This is how you train your brain to accept that it’s time to switch off and the body can rest.
2. Cool down before you lie down
After a hectic workout in the gym or long run, go straight home and have a hot shower. The hotter, the better as your body will cool down more rapidly if you do this.
Sound crazy? There’s a scientific reason for letting your body cool down before bedtime.
When we sleep, our body temperature drops until it reaches an optimum temperature that is conducive to quality sleep. If we get into bed too warm (you have a hot shower directly before bed), your body takes longer to cool down, and it takes longer to reach a restful state of sleep.
3. Turn off your gadgets
Yes, we’ve all heard this before, but the temptation to check emails, Facebook and YouTube videos when you get into bed is great. Firstly, being on your mobile device before turning off the lights can trigger stress. You might get an upsetting or worrying email or read the disturbing news.
Secondly, the artificial blue light from mobile devices stimulates your brain. You don’t need a buzzing brain when you’re trying to nod off.
Rather, do some stretching exercises or yoga as a nightly routine before jumping into bed. Get a good night’s sleep and check your phone in the morning. There’s nothing you can do about a problem late at night and lying awake worrying about it is not ideal.
4. Snack on something healthy if you’re peckish
Exercise stimulates your appetite, and you might find you’re peckish late at night. This is not a problem unless you’re snacking on the wrong food. Do you find yourself reaching for the cookie jar or hunting for a chocolate bar at 9 o’ clock?
Avoid sugar and caffeine late in the evening. Some say you shouldn’t have caffeine after 2 pm if you battle to fall asleep at night or suffer from insomnia. Sugar in tea and coffee get your brain buzzing when you need it to calm down and get ready to slip into unconsciousness.
Avoid that late-night cup of coffee. People don’t know that it takes between 4 to 6 hours for caffeine to work its way out of their system. If you have a slow metabolism, it’ll take even longer to shake off the side effects of a strong cup of coffee.
Rather, choose a snack like cheese, a banana or a spoonful of peanut butter. Kiwifruit is an excellent choice if you’d like something sweet before bedtime. Kiwifruit is a superfruit and packed full of nutrients, including serotonin and folate. These are good nutrients and aid sleep.
If you want a hot beverage, rather make yourself a nice cup of herbal tea which has sleep-inducing properties.
What to do if you’re having trouble falling asleep
Firstly, you need to invest in a quality modern mattress which is ergonomically designed to align your spine and minimize movement, so you get a decent night’s sleep. You need a new bed if you have restless nights and wake up feeling sore and achy.
The Mattress Warehouse only stocks brands that are backed by years of advanced sleep technology. Invest in a quality innerspring mattress or memory foam or natural latex mattress, and you’ll be investing in your health and state of mine.
Secondly, invest in an activity watch like the DoFit Activity Tracker and make use of its customized feature to monitor and track your sleep habits. You’ll be surprised at how bad they are when you see the daily results tracked on a chart.
The average person needs between 7-9 hours sleep each night. Set the alarm on your DoFit Activity Tracker watch which reminds you to turn your light off and go to sleep. Monitor your nightly sleep pattern and note if it’s restless or deep sleep. Adjust what you’re doing in the hours before bed that might be negatively impacting on your quality of sleep.
Other things you can do for a better night’s sleep include:
- turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime
- have a hot bath or shower and give yourself enough time before bedtime to properly cool down
- set aside an hour before bedtime to settle down and calm your mind
- do some light stretching or yoga before bedtime to ease any tension in your body
- relax in bed and read a good book – but not on a Kindle as the artificial light is a stimulant
- avoid drinking coffee or anything with sugar in it from 2 p.m.; rather, choose a herbal beverage which has sleep-inducing properties
- make your bedroom as dark as possible; invest in block-out curtaining to cut out outside lighting and sleep with your bedside lamp off
- buy an eye mask and a pair of earplugs (if your partner snores or the next door neighbour’s dog barks)
Marrying a good mattress with a good activity tracker
This is what The Mattress Warehouse has set out to do by stocking the DoFit Activity Tracker in its stores. We only deal with the best bed brands on the South African market, and we have absolute confidence that our mattresses are the best quality money can buy.
But… The Mattress Warehouse knows that a quality, modern mattress is not the end of the story. What each person needs is quality sleep; and by this we mean, the right kind of sleep for the right amount of time.
Pairing a high-quality mattress bought from The Mattress Warehouse with a new-age watch like the DoFit Activity Tracker gives our customers the best chance to experience deep, restful sleep. A fitter, happier and healthier customer is the end result if the new mattress and new watch do the trick.
Read up more about the features of a DoFit Activity Tracker and watch videos uploaded on their website for more information on how the activity watch works.
Order a DoFit Activity Tracker online or buy one from The Mattress Warehouse store near you.
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