World Sleep Day 2022


Friday 18th March marks World Sleep Day and this year we are celebrating it with our proud partners, Manchester United.

Understanding the role of sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle is important to all of us, no matter your age.


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Sleep and Children

Sleep plays a crucial role in the development of our children’s mental and physical health. Studies have shown the benefits of adequate sleep include improved attention, learning memory, behaviour and overall mental and physical health.

Through a combination of sleep hygiene, routine, and close attention to any sleep disorders, you can help your child get the rest they need to have strong & healthy development.

A child that’s short on sleep can pivot between being temperamental and hyperactive. Tiredness can also affect children's ability to pay attention, particularly in their performance in school. Even the tiniest of sleep disturbances can affect a child’s day-to-day life.

How To Help Your Child get a Complete Night’s Sleep

Sleep requirements change throughout child development, research shows that a consistent bedtime routine, no matter what the age, helps make sure children get enough sleep.

A regular bedtime routine can include:

  • Starting a routine at the same time every night
  • Getting ready for bed by putting on pyjamas and brushing teeth
  • Turning off computers, TV screens, & any blue light devices.
  • Reading a light book, singing a lullaby, or taking a bath.
  • Picking a toy or security blanket for the night for toddlers

When younger children wake up in the middle of the night, take them back to their bed.

Sleep Hygiene

Daytime habits also affect sleep, try a balanced daytime plan with stretches of downtime and play, incorporated with a healthy diet. Making sure the bedroom temperature is cooler, & a no-screen zone at any time is important for creating a calm environment.

Keep the bedroom quiet, or use a white noise machine to mask outside sounds, a gentle nightlight or blackout blinds will also help to create an environment that is conducive to beneficial sleep.

If you have healthy sleep hygiene, and your child is still feeling tired or having difficulty falling or staying asleep at night, it might be time to see a doctor.

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Improve Sleep Hygiene

As with children, improving sleep hygiene can be a massive help. A few adjustments to your adult routine can be:

  • Have a set bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine in the evening
  • Avoid electronic devices for an hour or more before bed
  • Get out into natural light & exercise
  • Get the most comfort and support from your mattress, pillows, and bedding
  • Blocking out excess light and sound that could disrupt sleep

Creating a routine that works for you may take some trial & error but if you stick with it, to find what works for you, then the benefits of a great night's sleep will become evident almost immediately.

Sleep and Adults

As an adult, regular and good quality sleep has shown to provide several key benefits to our daily lives. These include improved concentration and productivity, strengthening our heart, supporting a healthy immune system and the ability to maximise athletic performance.

Most people know that sleep also affects they're mental state.

Sleep is closely connected to mental and emotional health and has demonstrated links to depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

Research is constantly being carried out to help us understand the relationship between mental health and sleep. 

Mental health disorders tend to make it harder to sleep well. At the same time, poor sleep can be a contributing factor to the start and worsening of mental health problems.

Getting better sleep is thought to help improve mental health.

Mental Health & Sleep

Brain activity increases and decreases during different sleep stages. In REM sleep, brain activity increases rapidly. In Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep, brain activity slows but has brief flurries of animation. 

Each stage contributes to brain health, enabling better thinking, learning, and memory. Research has also found that brain activity during sleep has profound effects on emotional and mental health.

Sufficient sleep, particularly REM sleep, allows the brain to process emotional information.

A lack of sleep is especially harmful to the understanding of positive emotional content. Whilst you sleep, the brain works to evaluate and remember thoughts and memories, affecting mood and mental health disorders and their severity, during the day.

It was thought for a long time that sleep issues were a result of mental health issues but is now thought sleeping problems may be both a cause and consequence of mental health problems.

 


Sleep and Exercise

Studies have shown that the quality and quantity of sleep can have an affect on performance during exercise. Benefits include enhancing motor skills, muscle power, reaction time, muscular endurance, and problem-solving skills.

Our partners at Manchester United certainly know the benefits that sleep plays in high performance athletes. Utilising our Dream+ mattress range we have been able to create a bespoke sleeping environment for each player.

 

Dr Richard Hawkins Head of Physical Performance,  Manchester United, comments:

“Good quality night’s sleep is a must for any elite athlete, and it is something we teach our squad from a young age. Whether you’re an academy player or a first team regular, quality sleep of adequate duration is just as important as nutrition in supporting the training process and helping to maximise readiness for competition. It not only helps a player stay sharp and alert during a match, but also helps with recovery, mental agility, and overall performance.  Educating players from an early age about the importance of consistent sleeping patterns and providing sleep hygiene tips form a cornerstone of our player wellness programme”

Hydration

Losing just 1-2 per cent of water from our bodies can cause a substantial increase in lethargy and fatigue, especially in the hotter months. When Manchester United players are moving, either in training or on the pitch, they ensure that their hydration levels are up and functioning well for optimum performance.

Not only can hydration play a role in our everyday activity, dehydration can also affect our sleep quality. From a dry sore throat through to leg cramps and decreased cognitive awareness the following day, heading to bed with little water in your system can affect your health.

For a great performance the next day and a boost in overall energy, make like a Manchester United athlete and keep your water levels topped up for a better day and a great sleep. Opting for 1..5-2 litres a day can be a great place to start!

Diet

Opting for a well balanced, healthy diet can be a the cornerstone to a great day and a brilliant sleep. From fibre rich foods through to lean proteins, whole grains and vegetables, a good diet can power you through your day like Manchester United players are powered on the pitch.

Simple tips such as avoiding coffee after 2pm and opting for your evening meal a few hours before you sleep can play a major role in sleep quality and overall health.

Feeling peckish? Nuts can be a brilliant snack when you’re on the go, they’re also packed full of magnesium which can help in the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin!

Exercise

Looking to improve your sleep? Take a leaf out the team over at Manchester United, who can always be found down on the training ground, getting a sweat on not only to hone their skills, but to also boost their energy, up their mood and improve their sleep.

Regular daily exercise consisting of at least 30 minutes each day can be amazing for rest quality. Working out each day helps our bodies to increase the length of time that we stay in the deep sleep stage of our rest.

Not only is the deep sleep stage brilliant for working to boost immunity, improve cardiovascular health and relieve stress and tension, it’s also the prime time for restorative repair to tired muscles and aching joints, perfect for getting back on the pitch!

Stress

One of the largest components of a poor nights’ sleep can be stress. If we head to bed with our minds concerned and worried over various issues then chances are that sleep will be tricky to get a hold of!

The team over at Manchester United are aware of the effects of stress and the damage it can cause on sleep quality. Take a look at some tips below for busting those worries:
-hot bath. Opting for a hot bath in the evening can be brilliant for soothing muscles and relaxing the mind. Struggling to switch off? Lavender can be a great idea, or epsom salts, packed full of magnesium these can be amazing for easing aching joints and distressing your whole body.

-write stuff down. Writing down your worries and stresses can be a great way to see them from a bigger picture and therefore work to solve them before sleep for a deep rest.

Happy Sleeping!



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