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Ultimate Bedding Guide: Choose & Care for Restful Sleep

By Mark Rutherford October 13, 2023

How To Get The Best Sleep For Your Lifestyle

Have you ever woken feeling haggard after a bad night’s sleep and had to show up to work (or life) feeling a complete wreck? That’s sleep deprivation and it may be costing you more than you realise.

Each of us needs a different level of sleep and most of us are getting by on less than we need to stay mentally, emotionally and physically well. In fact, it’s thought that almost one in three Australians experience it. 

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, how about this statistic: Driving after being awake for 17 hours is like driving a vehicle at the maximum allowable blood alcohol level.

When you consider how many factors affect sleep (depression, shift work, menopause, anxiety, PTSD, bushfire threats, pregnancy, new parenthood, burnout to name a few) it’s easy to see how we get hammered by poor sleep.

We wanted to explore what it takes to have a great night's sleep and look at how we could help you to make that happen. 

The Sleep You Need

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The Sleep Health Foundation Australia recommends the following guidelines but

notes that some people will need more and some less. They stress that the more important thing to remember is to recognise when you’re rested and when you’re not, and to catch up on sleep deficits as soon as you can to keep your mind, body and emotions well-regulated and working smoothly.

Age

Hours of Sleep

School Age Children 9 to 11
Teens 8 to 10
Adults 18 to 64 7 to 9
Adults 65 years and over 7 to 8

 

The Impact of Sleep on Different Age Groups

For Children: Consistently getting the recommended amount of sleep is closely linked to better health, including improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and both mental and physical well-being.

For Adults: Regularly obtaining less than seven hours of sleep per night has been associated with various health issues, such as weight gain, a body mass index of 30 or higher, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Your Body's Restoration Process

While you sleep, your body engages in intricate processes that contribute to both physical and mental rejuvenation. Sleep serves a multitude of vital purposes, such as enabling tissue repair, memory consolidation, and support for cognitive functions like learning and problem-solving. Additionally, sleep plays a pivotal role in regulating emotions, mood, and overall mental wellness.

The circadian rhythm, often likened to your body's internal timekeeper, diligently oversees your sleep-wake cycles, ensuring that sleep occurs at night and wakefulness during the day. Any disruptions to this rhythm, like shift work or jet lag, can lead to sleep disorders and influence your overall health.

Maintaining a sound sleep routine is imperative for physical well-being, mental sharpness, and emotional equilibrium. Prolonged sleep disturbances or sleep disorders can have adverse effects on various aspects of your overall well-being. Consequently, comprehending and effectively managing your sleep patterns becomes a crucial factor in sustaining a healthy and productive life.

What Affects Your Sleep?

  • Depression and Sleep: Depression can lead to sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or hypersomnia, and the overall impact on sleep quality. 
    • TIP: Address depression with professional help and maintain a consistent sleep schedule for better sleep quality
  • Shift Work and Sleep: Here, we examine the challenges faced by those who work irregular hours, disrupting their natural sleep-wake cycles. Sleep hygiene is critical for shift workers.
    • TIP: Establish a regular sleep routine, even on off-days, and create a dark, quiet sleep environment to counter the effects of shift work.
  • Menopause and Sleep: Menopause brings about hormonal changes that can significantly affect a woman's sleep patterns. Hot flashes, night sweats, and hormonal fluctuations can all disrupt sleep. 
    • TIP: Maintain a cool sleep environment and try relaxation techniques to alleviate the impact of hot flashes on sleep during menopause.
  • Anxiety and Sleep: This section explores the intricate connection between anxiety and sleep. Racing thoughts and anxiety can lead to difficulty falling asleep and frequent nighttime awakenings.
    • TIP: Practise relaxation exercises and establish a bedtime routine to manage anxiety and sleep better.
  • PTSD and Sleep: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often comes with sleep disturbances like nightmares and flashbacks. We'll uncover the hyperarousal associated with PTSD and how it can lead to insomnia. Strategies rooted in trauma-informed care will be introduced to enhance sleep quality for those with PTSD.
    • TIP: Seek support for PTSD and practice grounding techniques to improve sleep quality.
  • Bushfire Threats and Sleep: The focus here is on the impact of stress and anxiety during bushfire threats on sleep patterns. We'll discuss how evacuations and the overall uncertainty of bushfire situations can disrupt sleep. Preparedness and planning for emergencies, including sleep considerations, will be explored.
    • TIP: Prepare an emergency sleep kit with essentials and create a calm sleep environment in case of bushfire threats.
  • Pregnancy and Sleep: This segment addresses how pregnancy induces hormonal changes and physical discomfort that can interfere with a woman's sleep. The discussion includes topics like safe sleep positions and preparations for the expected changes in sleep patterns during pregnancy.
    • TIP: Opt for supportive pillows for better sleep positions during pregnancy and stay hydrated.
  • New Parenthood and Sleep: Newborn sleep patterns and the resulting sleep deprivation experienced by new parents are the primary focus here. We'll explore strategies for dealing with sleep deprivation and exhaustion, offering practical tips for parents adjusting to the demands of caring for a newborn.
    • TIP: Share nighttime responsibilities with a partner and take short naps when the baby sleeps to combat sleep deprivation.
  • Burnout and Sleep: The final section examines the connection between burnout, often due to overwork and chronic stress, and sleep problems. We'll look at the signs of burnout and explore how rest and self-care strategies play a vital role in recovery and overall well-being.
    • TIP: Recognize burnout signs and prioritise self-care to restore sleep patterns and overall well-being.
  • Emergency Workers: First responders often face irregular and long shifts, including overnight hours. The need to respond to emergencies at any time can disrupt circadian rhythms and make it challenging to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. The high-stress situations encountered on the job can lead to increased levels of anxiety and post-traumatic stress, further interfering with sleep quality.
    • TIP: Establish a calming pre-sleep routine, including relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, to help unwind after a stressful shift. A consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on days off, can help regulate your body's internal clock and improve sleep quality. Consider using blackout curtains to make your sleeping environment as dark as possible, and use earplugs or white noise machines to minimise noise disturbances.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

There are some common indicators that can help you identify if you're experiencing sleep deprivation. If you've experienced sleep deprivation, your sleep needs to increase to compensate for the deficit. The common signs and symptoms are:

  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Feeling drowsy and struggling to stay awake during the day, especially in situations that require alertness, is a clear sign of sleep deprivation.
  • Fatigue: A persistent feeling of tiredness and low energy throughout the day can indicate inadequate sleep.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing, maintaining attention, and performing cognitive tasks efficiently are common cognitive effects of sleep deprivation.
  • Memory Problems: Difficulty with memory recall and forming new memories can be attributed to lack of sleep.
  • Mood Changes: Irritability, mood swings, increased stress, and heightened emotional reactivity may occur when you're sleep-deprived.
  • Reduced Immune Function: Frequent illnesses or a compromised immune system can be associated with chronic sleep deprivation.
  • Impaired Coordination and Balance: Poor motor skills, coordination, and balance can result from sleep deprivation, leading to a greater risk of accidents.
  • Increased Appetite: Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormones that regulate appetite, potentially leading to increased food cravings and weight gain.
  • Microsleeps: Brief episodes of sleep that last for a few seconds may occur involuntarily, often without the individual realising it.
  • Eye Discomfort: Experiencing eye twitching, dryness, or excessive blinking can be related to sleep deprivation.
  • Microsleeps: Brief episodes of sleep that last for a few seconds may occur involuntarily, often without the individual realising it.
  • Decreased Performance: Reduced work or academic performance, decreased productivity, and difficulty making decisions are often associated with sleep deprivation.
  • Increased Risk of Accidents: Sleep-deprived individuals are more prone to accidents, whether on the road or at work, due to impaired reflexes and judgement.
  • Hallucinations or Delusions: In extreme cases, severe sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations or delusional thinking.

If you consistently experience multiple of these symptoms, it's important to address your sleep habits and prioritise getting sufficient, good-quality sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can have long-term health consequences, so seeking professional help may be necessary if the problem persists. Adequate and restorative sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being.

Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment

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A good night's sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being and one of the most important things each of us can do is create a sleep space that is comfortable, quiet and relaxing to be in.

Consider your curtains or blinds - do they block the light when you need them to? On the flip side, do you have lighting that is low and soft so as not to ‘wake you’ (which interrupts your sleep/wake cycles). How comfortable are your mattress, sheets and pillows? We often hold onto bedding (mattresses, pillows and sheets) longer than we should when the smarter option is to replace them over time to keep you sleeping well.

Mattresses can often go as long as 6-8 years before you’ll need to replace it, but there are ways to tell whether it’s time to let it go: 

  • You’ve noticed a dip where you sleep, 
  • Your mattress is getting saggy or uncomfortable, 
  • Your allergies are flaring up, or 
  • It’s creating partner disturbance. 

If you said yes to one or more of those, it’s time to think about changing out your mattress.

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Pillows can last 1-2 years before cleanliness and allergens can become an issue. While you can wash them to extend life, make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure your pillow is 100% dry before putting it back on your bed. 

Bedding also plays a big role in sleep quality in part because it’s what you feel against your skin and in part because different materials breathe differently. If you run hot, or you feel scratchy or sweaty in bed (menopause anyone?) you’ll appreciate the importance of being comfortable while you sleep. If your bedding is old, worn out, or uncomfortable, it can make it difficult to fall asleep and - more importantly - to stay asleep.

So, how do you know when it's time to buy new bedding? And how can you care for your new bedding to extend its lifespan?

When to Buy New Bedding

You’ll know it’s time to update your bedding if:

  • Your bedding is more than 5 years old.
  • Your bedding is stained or ripped.
  • Your bedding is no longer comfortable or supportive.
  • You're allergic to your bedding.
  • You simply want a new look for your bedroom.

Choosing the Right Bedding

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When choosing new bedding, it's important to consider the following factors:

  • Material: Natural fibres like cotton, bamboo, and linen are the best choices for bedding. They are breathable and wick away moisture, which can help you stay cool and comfortable at night.
  • Weave: The weave of your bedding can also affect its comfort and durability. A percale weave is a good choice for those who sleep hot, as it is a lightweight and breathable weave. A sateen weave is a good choice for those who want a soft and luxurious feel.
  • Thread Count: Thread count refers to the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. A higher thread count generally indicates a softer and more durable fabric. However, it's important to note that thread count is not the only factor that determines the quality of bedding.
  • Size: Make sure to choose bedding that is the correct size for your bed. If you prefer a more luxurious look, go up a bedding size with your duvet cover and duvet inner so it falls over the side of your bed (it’ll also prevent early morning duvet struggles with bed pals).

How to Care for Your Bedding (and extend it's life)

To extend the lifespan of your new bedding, it's important to care for it properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Wash your bedding regularly, following the care instructions on the label.
  • Use a mild detergent and avoid using bleach or fabric softener.
  • Air dry your bedding whenever possible. If you need to use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and add a clean tennis ball to fluff the bedding up (works great for towels too).
  • Fold or iron your bedding as soon after washing it as possible to prevent creases.

Prime Furniture Weave Bedding

If you're looking for high-quality bedding that is made from sustainable materials, check out our gorgeous range of Weave bedding. Weave bedding is made from 100% organic cotton and is available in a variety of colours and styles.

Special Promotion

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For a limited time, we are offering a special promotion: Buy a quilt, a fitted sheet, and a flat sheet, we'll throw in a set of pillowcases for free!

Shop our Prime Furniture Weave bedding collection today and experience the difference a good night's sleep can make.

We’re planning for this to be a limited-time offer, so browse the store now to get your set.

Additional Tips

Here are a few extra tips for choosing and caring for your bedding:

  • If you have allergies, choose bedding that is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
  • If you sleep hot, choose bedding made from lightweight and breathable materials.
  • If you sleep cold, choose bedding made from warm and cosy materials.
  • Wash your bedding regularly, especially if you have pets or allergies.
  • Replace your bedding every 5-7 years, or sooner if it is stained, ripped, or uncomfortable.

In Summary:

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. Choosing the right bedding can make a big difference in the quality of our sleep.

By following the tips above, you can choose and care for your bedding to ensure a good night's sleep for years to come.


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