The recent BBC programme called ‘The Truth About Sleep’ showed the UK to be one of the most sleep deprived nations in the world. Current research into sleep is quickly painting a picture of sleep being a critical component of a healthy lifestyle, showing lack of sleep to be linked to all sorts of illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Clearly, our lack of respect for sleep has become a major issue for cultures such as our own and alongside our efforts with nutrition, fitness and stress management, we need to manage our sleep if we are to increase our chances of a healthy and happy life.
A fundamental component of getting a good night’s sleep is creating a comfortable and relaxing environment. This includes such aspects as temperature, lighting and training the brain to automatically associate bed with sleep. It also includes ensuring optimal comfort and suitability of your mattress.
So how do you choose the right mattress when buying online when you can’t even lie on it for a couple of minute to try it out? The first thing to bear in mind is that we spend one third of our life asleep. When we sleep, our bodies get the chance to regenerate and rebalance by releasing hormones in different patterns. When our sleep is disturbed or our muscles aren’t relaxed, maybe because we are moving around to get comfortable or we keep waking up, these important patterns are disrupted and our bodies and brains can’t complete their important regenerative processes.
Furthermore, as many people are aware through personal experience, sleeping in poor positions can cause all sorts of aches and pains, notably backache, if our bodies are not well supported during sleep. This in turn means less good quality sleep time and also, less good quality awake time. So it really is worth considering the choice of a new mattress carefully and see it not just a necessary purchase, but as the opportunity to improve your health and your day-to-day life as well.
Understanding that peaceful sleep is the key to accessing these enormous benefits sheds some light on the traditional view that an orthopaedic or hard mattress is good for everyone. While the idea behind this holds some truth, the point is that different mattresses provide the appropriate support for different weights and shapes of people. What feels like a soft and unsupportive mattress for a heavy man may well be the perfect solution for a lighter woman. So you need to match your mattress to your body size, weight and shape.
The aim is that the parts of the body that are jutting out e.g. the shoulders and hips for someone lying on their side, can sink sufficiently into the mattress to allow the other parts of the body, such as the waist and thighs, to be adequately supported. This allows the spine to lie straight (assuming the correct pillow height, position and firmness).
Another way to think about this is that it is all about surface area and pressure, so the more contact there is between the body and the mattress, the less pressure there will be on each part of the body. Apart from also straining your back, this is why a mattress which is too hard for your weight and size is a bad idea because your body will have less contact and so be under greater strain. Worst of all, though, is to keep using an old mattress which has become saggy, as this will cause a dip in the spine and the potential for all sorts of subsequent problems. You want the mattress to be doing the work, not your body.
So the first thing to do is catergorise the weight and dimensions of the people who will be using the mattress and find a selection that offer the appropriate firmness. Of course, if two people of very different sizes will be sharing the mattress, there may be the need for different solutions. This can be achieved in a number of different ways, including having two single mattresses joined or considering a memory foam mattress which will adapt to each individual separately. Here are some guidelines.
Suits those who don’t naturally put a lot of pressure on their spine by how they sleep, like those who sleep on their side (with good pillows) or change position a lot during the night.
For those who sleep on their back as this position needs a little more support from the mattress.
As this type of mattress offers more support, it is suited to heavier people, back pain sufferers and front sleepers.
There are several types of mattress with different characteristics to help meet your specific needs. These each have their own pros and cons and so it is worth considering your scenario and budget to get the best match.
Spring mattresses are the traditional mattress type. Firmness is mainly down to the number of springs and so the heavier you are, the more important this factor will become. Sprung mattresses can come as pocket sprung or open sprung. Pocket sprung have, as the name suggests, each spring in a separate pocket which allows for them to respond independently each part of your body, so improving contact and support. Pocket sprung are thus better for two people mattresses, as they offer a more individual solution for each person and also help to avoid rolling into the centre of the bed. The downsides of pocket sprung are that they can be more expensive and are heavier to turn. Finally, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t allergic to whatever material has been used to fill the mattress, as particularly pocket sprung ones can use natural fibres like lambswool.
If you are looking for a good night’s sleep on a lower budget, then open spring mattresses are generally cheaper. Continuous coil mattresses are made from a single looped wire, so the springs move as one, meaning that they don’t adjust specifically to each different part of your body and also do not protect you against the movement of anyone else lying on the mattress. Being less robust, they don’t tend to last as long, making sleep less comfortable and causing people to roll into the centre. On the upside, open coil mattresses are generally quite light and so are easier to turn. Many people choose this type of mattress for beds in children’s rooms as they tend to have a short lifespan for other reasons, or in rooms which will be less frequently used, like guest rooms.
Another style of mattress to consider is memory foam. Made of a manmade fabric called polyurethane, its main benefit is that it learns your body shape. Memory foam mattresses are also generally cheaper and more durable than pocket sprung mattresses and offer a great solution when two people of different sizes are sharing the bed. They are also excellent for people who suffer from back problems as they really help align the spine by retaining a set posture. Getting on to a memory foam mattress does, however, feel somewhat different since your body sinks into the material as it moulds around your shape. They also retain more heat than sprung mattresses.
Less commonly found, latex mattresses are a more expensive, but very durable alternative. They are made from the sap that comes from rubber trees and they mould round your body in a tailored, supportive shape with a springy feel to them. They are best for people who prefer a firmer mattress as, even more than memory foam, they can feel a bit solid and can develop lumps and bumps over time. Latex allows the air to circulate well and this characteristic can be enhanced with a slatted base.
Finally, it’s important to make sure that the bed base is suitable for the type of mattress that you have chosen. Sprung mattresses sit best on upholstered or divan bases, as the springs in each component work together to produce improved support. On the other hand, memory foam and latex mattresses are better on wooden slats as these let out some of the heat and don’t complicate the formation of the tailored shaping with the movement caused by the springs in the base.
Choosing the right mattress is all about matching its characteristics with your needs.
This article was written by My Next Mattress.
Mattress sizes (UK standard)
Single: 90cm x 190cm
Double: 135cm x 190cm
Kingsize: 150cm x 200cm
Super kingsize: 180cm x 200cm
Having good knowledge on your home, and the plumbing inside your home is good to know, incase of any emergency plumbing situations you may be faced with.
In this article I will cover a few major points you may want to take note of. I will give you tips on how to locate your stop valves in an emergency, I will also go through ways you can bleed your radiators to keep them working to the best possible standards.
When faced with a plumbing emergency, anything from a burst pipe to a faulty tap. The first step would be to turn off the main stop valve or one of stop cocks near to the emergency. So to locate these, you should have a stop tap or stop cock on the water lines/pipes near to objects like the sink and bath, one near your boiler, you should have one near your water tank if you have a water tank.
If for example you have a burst pipe in the bathroom, you should trace that pipe until you see the stop valve, if not try and locate the closest stop tap and turn it clockwise to lock it and hopefully stop the water. If this doesn’t work then your next step would be to find the main stop valve to the property. This should be located where the mains water supply connects to your home, usually located close to where the gas mains and electric mains also come into the property.
If you turn the main stop valve this should stop the cold water supply to the property and eventually it will stop leaking water, the hot water will also stop when you turn the main stop valve if your your heating system is a regular combi boiler system. However if you run a gravity system or high pressure system then the hot water supply will need to be turned off at the tank, there should be another valve or tap located near your tank to turn off the water supply from them types of heating systems.
How To Bleed A Radiator
Has your radiator ever felt warm at the bottom but cold at the top? This happens because there is air in the system, it usually happens when the heating has been off for long periods of time like when you have been on holiday, or during the summer period. Bleeding your radiators is a simple, but great thing to know.
It’s as simple as turning a key. A radiator key to be precise, these can be purchased from most DIY stores. All you do is put the key in the keyhole, usually located at the top of the radiator. Then turn anticlockwise until you hear a hissing sound, which is air being released. As soon as all the air has been released the next thing to come out is the water still inside the radiator, once the hissing has stopped and the water comes out you will want to turn the key clockwise and quickly lock the radiator. Keeping a towel near by can sometimes be a good idea.
If your heating system is a combi boiler or a high pressure system then you may need to repressurise your boiler in order to get the boiler pressure back up, this is as simple as turning the water top up valve on the boiler. If you are unsure how to do this then you can contact multicore for advice on how to repressurise your boiler.
Dan Mawson, owner and founder of Multicore National is an avid Manchester United fan, full time dad and part time blogger, he is a fully qualified electrician but knows plumbing, gas and oil and also has a fleet of staff who are qualified in each sector.
Simple Ways To Prepare Your Bedroom For Summer
With summer on its way, warmer climes are inevitable, but higher temperatures can encourage restless sleep, making it harder to drift off. If you have not done so already, now is the time to pack away those extra covers and bed socks and prepare your bedroom for the warmer weather! Here are a few simple ways to ensure you are getting a good night’s rest and relaxation during these warmer nights.
To create a cool oasis, remove any chunky and dark accessories from your room like thick rugs, faux-fur throw pillows, and thick thermal curtains. These accessories are perfect for creating snug interiors during the colder months, however for warmer and brighter months, you want a space that reflects an airy and summery feel. Replace wintery items with ones that make you feel like you are in a different country. This could include fresh cut flowers, vibrant succulents in mismatched pots or simply swapping curtains for a soft grey venetian blind.
Your 13.5 tog duvet may have kept you snug and warm during those chilly nights, however it is time to swap it out for a lighter summer duvet, ideally a more breathable 4.5 or 7.5 tog. Higher tog duvets will only have you shuffling and moving around all night as the heat will be retained underneath.
To get into the summer mood, brightly coloured bedsheets made from breathable, light fabrics will help you drift off into dreamland before you know it – cobalt blue and white are reminiscent of a Santorini villa, for example.
Your mattress sheet can also be changed to one made from natural fibres and a lower thread count, (a thread count of 300-400 is perfect for summer), or try a smart mattress topper which claim to keep you at optimal body temperature throughout the night.
Sometimes, no matter how light your sheets are, or how open your windows may be, there are times where you are simply too hot to sleep. This is where technology comes to the rescue. Sleep monitoring apps like Sleep Cycle can also be helpful to uncover the times you are at your most rested, or not, so you can work out if something is or isn’t helping.
Other than nights getting warmer, you may find your room getting brighter earlier. In this case, sleeping aids may just mean a good quality sleep mask!
During the summer months, the sun rises earlier. You could consider improving your interior design by moving your furniture around to create a space where you can sleep without the sun blinding you such as moving your bed to face away from the window. If you like getting ready at a dressing table, position this piece of furniture nearer to the window as the natural light will make all the difference to your daily routine, once you are ready to embrace it.
By planning your Summer bedroom to bring the outside in and keep it light, bright and airy, you should find that you really enjoy the refreshed space – but more importantly benefit from a sold, well rested night’s sleep!