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!
Everybody loves receiving flowers. They brighten homes, positively impact your mood and generally add a touch of life to any room. But sadly, they always die. There’s nothing you can do about it, other than purchasing plastic plants. And let’s be honest, those just don’t cut it. But, there could be a sinister reason behind the premature death of your flowers – and the key to saving them could be in your air conditioning.
Why Clean Indoor Air is Essential in All Homes
We’ve all heard of the term “canary in a coalmine”, coming from the days of mining where they would bring a small bird into the mine to measure when the air gets too toxic. When the canary dies, the miners knew that it was time to get out of there quickly.
Plants are similar in this way. They’re more sensitive to air quality than humans are. They don’t have the biological systems we do to filter toxins and other pollutants from the good stuff we need – obviously. Thus, if plants are dying quickly, it could be due to the low air quality in your home.
Don’t be alarmed! This doesn’t mean that because your plants don’t live long that your air is toxic. It means that it’s not as fresh as it could be. Simple steps can be taken to make a huge difference to your indoor air quality. This can help you avoid irritating asthma or hay fever symptoms that may aggravate you on occasion.
Chemicals in our home that we use for a huge range of things can have a negative impact on our health. Cleaning and cooking products, aerosols and other factors can make a difference to what we’re breathing in.
We spend a lot of time indoors, and we want to make sure that we’re getting the best kind of air for the best health. Indoor plants can help create cleaner indoor air (as they produce pure oxygen). If you make a great environment for them to thrive in, they’ll help you out too!
Consider what the best options are for your unique home to optimise clean indoor air. These methods don’t have to be expense, so look into it and find the best solution to help you breathe better air.
You may want to consider implementing the method you decide on in your office as well. Anywhere where a lot of people spend time breathing the air needs to be a clean and healthy environment. Making the best choices will help everyone feel, look and work there best.
If you’re looking to strengthen your home security, you might very well consider the benefits of a burglar alarm. With the wide range of burglar alarms to choose from, it’s easy to find an effective solution for any property.
Whatever your security setup, a burglar alarm is always a wise investment, and this article takes a look at some of the reasons why.
Many burglaries are opportunistic, carried out by thieves who spot vulnerable properties. A burglar alarm on your home immediately tells burglars that you have considered and taken positive action towards your home security. Criminals do not want to draw attention to themselves, and a burglar alarm presents an effective obstacle to achieving this.
Some people opt for dummy alarm boxes – non-functional boxes which resemble real alarms. They can be effective for lower risk areas, but many burglars will be able to spot the difference between dummy alarms and the real deal. Having a functional burglar alarm installed is both a reliable deterrent and an effective response should a break-in occur.
A burglar alarm could save you money
Homeowners could benefit from reduced insurance premiums if they install a burglar alarm on their property. Homes with an operational burglar alarm are seen as a lower liability than those without. Lack of a burglar alarm suggests to your insurance company that your home is fundamentally less secure, and thus more prone to unlawful entry.
A burglar alarm could be a quick and easy way to lower your premiums due to the added layer of security. To see if you can get a discount on your policy, check with your home insurance provider.
Secure your valuables
The heart of any security system is the protection of your belongings. We all have things we need to keep safe, whether we live in a small cottage out in the countryside or Buckingham Palace in London. A burglar alarm system is designed to safeguard your valuables. If a burglar does gain access into your home, by breaking a window or kicking a door down, for example, the burglar alarm will offer an immediate response.
Burglars thrive on going about their business undetected. A burglar alarm sounding off alerts you, your neighbours and, depending on the system, the police, to a break-in. This eliminates the element of surprise and forces the intruder to react. The typical response is to flee the scene, thus keeping your belongings safe and sound inside your home.
A burglar alarm communicates to thieves that they have been identified, taking control of the situation out of their hands. Not having an alarm means they have no reason to prematurely flee, leaving them with much more time to examine, locate and steal your most prized possessions.
A range of home alarms to suit your needs
Technology and security have seen rapid development over the years, and now there are a range of alarm systems available to cater to all kinds of requirements.
Bells-only alarms are usually installed on homes which are lower risk. These systems will sound the alarm as soon as a break-in occurs, but are not monitored.
Monitored alarms benefit from constant connection to an outside security company. When the alarm goes off, someone from the company will contact you to make sure everything is in check and to ask for a password which you would have set up when the system was installed. In cases where there is no response or password given, the authorities are called in to deal with the potential break-in.
Wireless systems and wired systems are the two main choices for home security. Wireless systems make it easy to accommodate extra sensors and are typically cheaper overall compared to a wired alarm. Wireless alarms can also be taken to a new home should you move house, and are much quicker and easier to install.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. It’s where you gather with your family to cook and chat to each other about your day. You spend so much time in there that it is important to make it a welcoming environment and lighting contributes to that considerably. Here are the best types of lighting for kitchens, and where to place them to create the perfect environment.
You can find track lighting in many different shapes and sizes. It makes an ideal base for you to hang pendant lighting or spotlights from. You can position the lights in different places on the track, allowing some lights to create an atmosphere and others to provide focus for tasks. Track lighting can be curved or straight, and looks great with a stainless steel finish.
Under cabinet Lighting
Under cabinet lighting is one of the most ideal forms of task lighting that you can buy for your kitchen. You can place the lights underneath wall cabinets above your work surface, to provide better lighting for chopping and cooking. You can get the lights as a strip, or as small discs which can be recessed or left on the surface. If you purchase LED undercabinet lighting, you will hardly ever need to replace the bulbs, making them a great cost effective lighting solution.
Pendant lights hang from the ceiling, and are much more decorative than traditional ceiling lights. They make a great lighting solution for areas of the kitchen where you perform tasks, as well as areas where you socialise. For that reason, interior designers often place LED pendant lights over islands and dining spaces. You can use smaller pendant lights under 12 inches in small spaces, so that they don’t overwhelm the room.
In kitchens, wall lighting fixtures usually take the form of a sconce. The sconces usually match whatever form of ceiling light you have; be it a pendant or a chandelier. Sconces work well on a tiled backsplash or by a piece of art.
If you would prefer your kitchen lighting to be more functional than decorative, then recessed lighting is the best way to go. Recessed lighting is installed within the ceiling with some trim around it, and is ideal for lighting up the whole kitchen. You can also use it as accent lighting above seating areas, but pendant lighting tends to look better for this from a decorative perspective.
Top Tips for Perfect Kitchen Lighting:
- Zone your lighting according to its use – task (cooking/working), mood and dining (ambient) and decorative (feature). Try to have elements of all three.
- Consider dimmable lights for more flexibility.
- Put direct lighting anywhere where you will be preparing or cooking food. Recessed lighting will look tidier in these areas, and undercabinet lighting can really help when you’re trying to find a particular utensil or ingredient.
- Try not to have too many ceiling fixtures, as they can look cluttered.
Planning effective lighting for your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult. Try to use a mixture of styles to create the best effect. Above all, kitchen lighting should look good and be functional too.
Landfill sites represent a blight on human history, with waste festering in piles buried underground. This is a temporary solution to our waste problem which can no longer be allowed to go on.
But with more and more waste being produced each day, what can we do to stem the tide of waste entering landfill sites? For the sake of the environment, let’s take a look at ways in which you can reduce household waste from ending up at a landfill site.
Common household waste
Plenty of the things you have in your household waste can be recycled. Rather than throwing them into your normal bin, invest in a divided bin.
The following materials can all be recycled with ease, either through council services, skip hire or local bins in your community:
- Garden waste
- WEEE items
You’ll need to check that items like plastic are recyclable by looking for the universal recycling symbol, which is three arrows creating a triangle. This can usually be found on the bottom or side of an item.
WEEE items can often be recycled at specific locations, but if the item is in good working order, you might consider selling it online or giving it away for free online using sites such as freecycle.org.
Visit your local tip
When it comes to those items you can’t put in your council bin collection, it might be worth visiting your local tip to dispose of waste. This is great for larger garden waste and any waste from DIY projects such as rubble and wood.
If you’ve got metal you need to dispose of, try your local scrap metal merchants; you might find that you get a little bit of cash for your old car parts and any other bulky metal items. Should you need help knowing where to put your waste, most tips have staff you can ask first.
Donate old clothes
Most people simply throw out their old clothes in the bin, but this can be avoided if you collect up enough clothes to take to your local charity shop. If your clothes are in good condition the charity might make some money.
If you know your clothes are beyond use, you can always simply donate them as raw materials at a local clothing bank. Local collections also happen door-to-door with free bags provided.
Be smarter with your food
In the UK, we waste so much food that in 2015 we threw away 4.4 million tonnes of it, costing billions of pounds. These items are more likely to be biodegradable, but get added into a cycle of waste which needs to be broken.
By cooking only what you need, you avoid throwing large amounts of food away. If you cook something and don’t finish it, it’s a good idea to pot up your leftovers as they can often make extra portions to save for another day. You might find you need to change your shopping habits in order to avoid fresh fruit and vegetables deteriorating before you get a chance to use them. If you have anything you think might be close to an expiry date, try to use it up and avoid the wastage.
Protecting virgin materials
There is an added bonus to all your recycling, as it means fewer virgin materials will be used up in the production of clothes and household goods. This is due to a lack of demand for raw materials if we recycle what we already have instead of sending it to landfill sites.
Another positive effect of this type of thinking is that less energy is spent in cultivating those raw materials – so it’s a double win for the environment!