Sleep is as essential to our health and wellbeing as eating and drinking, affecting how we feel, look and behave. This is because sleep provides our body with a chance to repair itself, particularly our brain and vital organs, which need you to get some shut-eye so they can set you up for a great, productive day.
A useful infographic from the Huffington Post shows what happens to your body in the different stages of sleep. It’s important to note that this cycle doesn’t represent one full sleep, you actually go through this cycle multiple times as you sleep - which is the reason you need to get the correct amount of sleep, as any less can affect the amount of recovery your body can process in each stage.
What does sleep affect?
It’s not uncommon to notice when people have had a bad night’s sleep (although it’s probably best not to tell them!). However, missing out on sleep does more than just make you feel tired, cranky and out of sorts. Science shows that poor sleep can have direct effects on both our physical and mental health.
Concentration & productivity
Sleep has a direct effect on both concentration and productivity. After a good night's sleep we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Both lack of sleep and excess sleep can make focusing hard. Our attention spans are lower, with both recalling and making sense of information more difficult. This lack of focus leads to a slower productivity rate, meaning things take longer than they would after a good night's sleep.
Fitness & Performance
Sleep plays a major role in fitness and performance. The quality and amount of sleep we get determines how much energy is provided to the brain and body.
Sleeping rebuilds the energy and muscle that's depleted during exercise. Hydration, fuel and sleep all determine how quickly the body rebuilds muscle and replenishes the nutrients needed to maintain endurance, speed and accuracy.
Lack of sleep can also have negative effects on your diet. Poor sleep changes your fat cells, making you crave unhealthy food (which explains a lot from our days as students!).
These cravings stem from the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on your frontal lobe - which is where decisions are made. When you’re tired, you don’t have the mental clarity that is needed to make good complex decisions, so fighting the urge to indulge is a lot more difficult.
The relationship between sleep and mental health is very close. Poor sleep can cause worrying and anxiety which leads to further poor sleep. It can seem like an endless cycle.
Whilst sleep problems were once thought to be a symptom of some mental health conditions, a study has now shown that some mental health conditions may stem from lack of sleep.
Lead author of the study and professor of clinic psychology at the University of Oxford Daniel Freeman said in a statement "How well we sleep might actually play a role in our mental health,"
"If you can sort out your sleep, you could also be taking a significant step forward in tackling a wide range of psychological and emotional problems."
How much sleep do you need?
On average we spend around a third of our lives asleep and whilst we all need sleep, the amount of sleep needed varies based on our age, sex, health, with our sleep cycles changing as we grow older. The Sleep Foundation have put together an infographic on how much sleep you need depending on your age - obviously this is a generalisation, but it serves as a guide (that’s based on some interesting facts!).
- Teens (13 - 18) need average 8-9 hours sleep per day
- Adults (18 - 65) need on average 7-9 hours sleep per day
- Older adults (65+) need on average 7-8 hours sleep per day
How can the right mattresses help you sleep?
There are many mattresses out there and choosing the right one for you can be difficult. But, by finding a mattress that properly supports your body and sleeping position, you’ll get into a deeper sleep quicker and for longer.
Plus, a high-quality, comfortable mattress reduces motion transfer - stopping you from rolling over and disturbing your sleep. But it’s not just the features of a mattress that matter, it’s how they suit your body, and the position you sleep in.
If you tend to sleep on your back, a medium to firm mattress often works best as they are firm enough to support the alignment of your body, but soft enough to allow the spine to sit naturally and minimise pressure points.
When side sleeping, more pressure is put on both the body and mattress, due to the reduced surface area that your weight is placed on. A softer mattress is often better for side sleepers as it cushions and supports this pressure, thats place on the shoulders and hips during sleep.
Sleep better with Sid
We’ve created an unrivalled composition of innovative materials, creating comfort and support.
- A layer of pioneering Graphyx puts to work the science of graphene. Superconductive means super-cooling for a superior sleep sensation. Incredible open cell foam cools and ventilates from top to toe.
- A luxurious quilted top layer offers up the ultimate in soft-feel comfort for weary bodies. Even better, this cushioning sleep surface can be easily removed with the premium quality zipper. A simple machine wash means your Sid mattress can be refreshed and rejuvenated time and time again.
High Density 4G foam - which has all the benefits of memory foam without any of the drawbacks, adapts to every curve and contour of your body, no matter your sleep position. Pressure is relieved, heat is reduced, peace is restored.
- A 20cm base layer of Reevo foam, which delivers enormous space for airflow.
- Precision-cut dual airflow channels keep fresh air circulating. Zoned support gives you precision support, right where you need . And all at a density designed to take the bumps (and grinds) for the next 15 years - guaranteed.