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To Sleep, Perchance

One … two … if counting sheep has stopped doing the trick, here are a few other ideas for your best zzzz tonight.

By: Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor

Cotton comfy

Yes, you’ll luxuriate in the feel of an 800 thread Egyptian cotton sheet, but, says Gaynor McVitty, founder of homeware store Granny Goose, all you need to enhance a good night’s sleep is “pure, good quality cotton. In summer, try a more open weave like percale. Pure cotton fibre allows your skin to breathe better than synthetic fibres that tend to insulate heat and cause overheating. Pure cotton pyjamas will also help.”

For your duvet, McVitty says, “pure down products have similar qualities to pure cotton in that they allow your body to maintain a constant temperature while sleeping.” Similar in structure, but more affordable than pure down, is a product called Fossflakes, a synthetic down-like filling material for bedding products.

Marie Kondo it

Tidy up. A recent study conducted at New York’s St Lawrence University found that people who hoard objects tend to not sleep as well as those whose bedrooms were devoid of clutter.

In a 2015 study, US organisation the National Sleep Foundation also found those who make their beds every day are more likely to have a good night’s sleep.

Feeling blue

Scientists have long warned that light-emitting devices with their high concentration of blue light affect levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. So, while beneficial during the day because it boosts attention, reaction times, and mood, switch off your phone at night. Or, suggests Harvard University neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang in Scientific American, dim the brightness of your devices. “You can also make use of programs that filter out the blue light in
the evening.”

Mattress magic

It’s highly personal, but whether you like firm or soft, experts agree you should spend at least 20 minutes lying on your chosen mattress in the store. Bed manufacturer Serta’s Crizelle Govender says a recent survey done by the company showed that 75 per cent of those interviewed reported fewer relationship issues after buying a new mattress because they said they were less likely to pick a fight with their partner when well-rested. She advises you to consider a little more room too. “While your full-size mattress may seem like a snug fit for you and your partner, upgrading your mattress size can be a game-changer in the comfort stakes — especially if pets usually end up on the bed too.”

Colour coded

A new 2019 study in the UK by Dulux shows that the colour of your bedroom walls affects how well you sleep. In the study, respondents considered green as the most restful shade with a calming effect, helping to relieve people from stress. Dulux SA’s colour consultant Palesa Ramaisa also suggests the colour blue, which is associated with calm and rest. “A colour like Ascot Blue —a light blue — permits you to take time out of the daily hustle and bustle of life to get some rest. Minimalist furniture and tactile throws will help continue the relaxed feel.”

Fast fact

You spend about one-third of your life sleeping.

Humans are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep.

The higher the altitude, the greater the sleep disruption. The disturbance is believed to be caused by diminished oxygen levels, which elicit changes in respiration. Most people adjust to new altitudes in about two weeks.


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