continued from part 2...
Muscular tension. A simple warm shower can help to relieve muscular tension and this can assist good sleep. Magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for relaxing the muscles in your body. It can be taken in a pill form, or absorbed through the skin in an Epsom salt bath (this can be purchased at a supermarket or pharmacy). Be careful of baths that are too hot just before bed. Allow time after a bath for the body to cool sufficiently, say at least 45 minutes before bed. Of course a massage is fantastic if you have that option too.
You have probably heard it said that you should never try anything but to sleep or have sex in bed. The physiological effect of orgasm is to trigger sleep, particularly in men. Orgasm may work well for you too… rather a mechanical thought! but considered famous in many cultures. Everything else is the opposite of sleep. So don’t ideally bring anything else to bed ….no work, or tv or long reading sessions. A short relaxing read may help you nod off, but if you can’t sleep then get out of bed and read in another room and return to bed when you become sleepy again. In this way your mind will associate bed with sleep… essentially Pavlov’s Dogs behaviorist theory.
Sleeping pills may be your friend… but only very short term and only if you have to. If you are jet lagged, have undergone an extreme emotional shock, have chronic pain etc, medical assistance may be essential to sleep and you should always seek professional medical advice. Of course its best never to take any drugs but there may be reasons why you can’t sleep short term and sleeping is vital for health. Personally I consider that there a multitude of chemicals that go into my body daily in food for example, and I have no knowledge of what is in everything that I consume. I have used natural therapies that are available over the counter in health food shops such as valerian for sleeping and even st john’s wort, which helps with stress. These natural therapies should be used in accordance with their instructions but can be invaluable for short-term assistance to reset my sleep cycle. I have found however that there are usually undesirable side effects in any use of these powerful drugs, so always try to minimize use.
Your mattress and pillows should support your spine so that in the positions that you sleep, your spine is kept in alignment. If your mattress is not supportive, you may have disturbed sleep trying to find a comfortable position, and you will have sore muscles and a disturbed central nervous system as well. We love latex and wool combination mattresses because there is nothing better for support.Latex has a “complete memory” so every time that your bodyweight sinks into it, it will revert exactly to the form that it was before. This makes it easy to change positions during the night and means that the support is not slowly degrading. Ours have a ten-year warranty and latex can often outlast this. Eventually it will crumble and fall apart in a very short space of time, so you will always know that your mattress is giving you great support in the meantime. Our mattresses have a woolen layer built in to draw moisture away from your body and keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. They are also made of totally inert natural materials that do not make a noise and do not have a sensation of movement like springs. Often people with greater shoulder width and who are side sleepers require a softer mattress. If you wake up with a dead arm and a sore neck, this could be your problem. For the best support we also recommend latex pillows. Your head weighs about 4 or 5 kilograms, so fluffy soft pillows just can’t keep your head in alignment with your spine.
Bedcoverings made of the right components are vital to good sleep. Of course at planet we sell all the following items to help with a good night’s sleep!!!
1) a good mattress protector that is washed regularly will keep dust mites at bay and assist everyone with undisturbed breathing. We have them in Tencel fibre and also cotton.
2) We love pure linen sheets. There is no stronger fibre and no natural fibre that wicks moisture away from your body more efficiently. Heavy pesticides are not used in production. Cotton often has up to 30% of the finished product’s weight composed of chemicals. High thread-count cotton inhibits moisture absorption and this makes you overheat. I find crisp cotton noisy too (!)
3) Bamboo fibre sheets are the best thermo regulators that we have come across and are also antibacterial and are a great price. Ours have a silky smooth texture
For warmth on top of you, we always recommend alpaca fibre. It is incredibly lightweight, a super warm insulator and the exposed fibre doesn’t irritate skin. Alpaca somehow is the best possible covering to deal with different body temperatures of a couple trying to get to sleep. I’d describe it as thermo-regulating like bamboo sheets. We have quilts make of alpaca and wool blend (the woolen component helps with the loft of the quilt) as well as blankets and throws. I find that in cool weather, enough wool is often too heavy and feathers and down are renowned for causing night sweats and over heating. Cotton absorbs moisture, so in a humid or damp winter it’s not so good. Alpaca blankets and throws are light enough to stay positioned on one partner and not the other, unlike heavy wool. This helps with couples’ different temperature requirements.
Numerous women going through menopause have reported that alpaca fibre is sensationally great at keeping them warm but not overheated in bed.
If you are in a very cold climate we also have alpaca and wool underlays. Because alpaca is a straight hollow fibre, it doesn’t felt (pack down) like wool, which has a coiled and barbed structure.
So I think that we now all realise what delicate creatures that we can be and as we age it gets more important to consider many factors to improve sleep and now you have a long checklist!
Please leave your feedback about any of these issues in the comments section below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org