Sleep is critical for our health and well-being. It is something we all need to keep our hearts, minds and bodies healthy.
A recent survey by the Massey University Sleep/Wake Research Centre reveals that one-quarter of Kiwis are not getting enough sleep. Further, approximately half of us never or rarely wake feeling refreshed in the morning, while one-third of us have difficulty falling asleep at night.
Dr Karyn O’Keeffe, Research Fellow at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre, says sleep is important for our overall well-being, health and our ability to function at our best.
"Without enough good quality sleep, our bodies experience more sensitivity to pain and stress. We can have slower reaction times, make poorer decisions, have trouble getting on with others and have poorer concentration and motivation. Longer term, a lack of sleep may also lead to an array of health problems, such as high blood pressure, weight gain and make us more susceptible to having a stroke, heart disease, diabetes, along with other illnesses."
On the positive side, Dr O’Keeffe confirms that better sleep health is able to be achieved for all New Zealanders, by simply making some small changes.
"Sleep can be improved and there are many lifestyle changes people can make to create a significant difference."
Do your best to create an ideal sleep environment. We sleep best in a dark, quiet, cool room. Remove any distractions from the bedroom, including TVs, computers and mobile phones.
Keeping a regular sleep routine is important. One way to promote a healthy routine is to keep a regular wake up time. Try to get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
Avoid bright light in the evening as this can affect your internal body clock and make it difficult to fall asleep when you want and to get up in the morning. Dim screens in the evening and if possible avoid using devices with bright screens in the 2 hours before bed.
Caffeine and alcohol change the structure of your sleep and may make you miss out on vital sleep stages. Caffeine can be found in coffee, black and green leaf tea, energy drinks and chocolate. It is best to try and avoid caffeine in the 5-8 hours and alcohol in the 2-3 hours before bed.
If you suffer from sleep problems on a regular basis, such as trouble getting off to sleep, waking often overnight, or excessive daytime sleepiness, have a chat with your GP. Many sleep difficulties and disorders can be treated and it may also be helpful to have a consultation with a sleep professional.
If you’re waking up in the morning feeling fatigued or uncomfortable, it might be time to invest in a new bed. And because we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping, it’s worth spending the time to find the right bed for you.
Sealy Posturepedic beds have all been designed to provide deep, relaxing sleep. Our top-of-the range Crown Jewel beds provide a sleep haven for your body to recharge and recover, whilst our luxurious Exquisite beds provide absolute comfort and support, helping to ensure a more restful sleep. More information about our range of beds is available here.
When considering a new bed, a great place to start is our ‘bed selector’ - which asks a series of questions (such as your favourite sleeping position, preferred comfort levels … and more) then recommends which Sealy Posturepedic bed that might be right for you. Try it for yourself here.
We chatted with some notable New Zealanders about what sleep means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
"Sound sleep is a treasured function and one of the pillars of health, along with a balanced diet and adequate exercise. Whether it’s catching a solid eight hours overnight or enjoying a light doze in the afternoon, I absolutely adore quality sleep and how it makes me feel." – Libby Matthews, nutritionist.
"A good night’s sleep is just as important to me as what I eat. If you sleep well, you feel revitalised and that gives you the motivation and energy to eat well, exercise and get all the things you need to get done, done!" – Nadia Lim, chef and food writer.
"As an athlete, I’m always trying to make sure that my muscles, mind, and body are in top shape. And that means prioritising sleep. When I sleep well, I feel like I can take on the world!" – Maria Tutaia, Silver Fern.