Sleep Hacks and Myths

Over half of the population is not getting enough sleep[1], so the chances are that you have already googled ways to get a better night’s sleep. At Bensons for Beds, we’re dedicated to helping everyone everywhere get a better night’s sleep, whether that’s by providing pocket sprung mattresses and super king-size beds, or just by sharing some honest information about how you can improve your sleeping habits.

Unfortunately, there’s plenty of well-intentioned misinformation online. That’s why we’re here to dispel some sleep myths and offer some helpful hacks to ensure you rest a little easier.

Myths

Myth 1: Tryptophan-rich Foods Help You Sleep

A quick google search of ‘food and drink that helps you sleep’ will bring up tonnes of information about an amino acid called tryptophan. It does not occur naturally in the body, so you must consume it in foods like turkey, cheese, and yoghurt. This acid helps your brain produce serotonin; a chemical that governs mood balance and – indirectly – your sleep cycles.

Many nutritionists recommend eating meals rich in tryptophan to help with your internal body clock, but the science simply does not back up these claims. A Cambridge study found that it is difficult to change your blood tryptophan levels through your diet alone[2]. This is because foods can be rich in multiple proteins and acids which often crowd each other out. Which means that the tryptophan in your late-night turkey sandwich probably isn’t helping you drift off.

Myth 2: TV Helps You Fall Asleep

A lot of people like a movie to send them off, but the bluish light of your TV screen can reduce your brain’s capacity to produce melatonin – the chemical which controls our internal body clock[3]. Which unfortunately means, you should probably bin your late-night Netflix binges if you’re struggling to get to sleep at night.

Myth 3: 8 Hours Sleep is the Magic Number

We’re led to believe that we all need eight hours of sleep a night to stay alert and healthy, but that isn’t true for all of us. Web MD does recommend that adults get roughly 8 hours of sleep a night, while teenagers need closer to 10. Don’t be surprised at the length of time your infants spend in their beds either, it’s recommended they get as much as 16 hours of sleep a night[4]!

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Hacks

Hack 1: Carb-load Before Bed

A spike in your blood sugar a few hours before bed can massively speed up sleep onset[5]. So, the tryptophan in that turkey sandwich might essentially be wasted, but white bread roughly four hours before snuggling into your duvet can help reportedly help you get to sleep faster. See, there’s method in the mattress.

Hack 2: TV Can Help You Wake Up

Invert the previous process and you can use the bluish light of your TV screen to wake up more abruptly. It’s not as healthy as gradually waking up with a softer light, but it’s good news on those mornings when you want to make use of your snazzy TV bed.

Hack 3: Track Your Sleep

According to our Big Sleep Report, as much as 18% of the population are already tracking their sleep using dedicated hardware and apps. This phenomenon analyses the way you sleep, collecting data on your sleep cycles to wake you up during your lightest phase of sleep, making it easier for you to climb off your comfortable mattress in the morning.

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Bensons for Beds, helping you get a better night’s sleep.

References

[1] https://www.bensonsforbeds.co.uk/sleep-report

[2] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/acta-neuropsychiatrica/article/tryptophan-and-depression-can-diet-alone-be-the-answer/C67380382436D6FB603473B786178178

[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/

[4]https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjO_t_1v-HYAhVDZ1AKHSAAAsYQFghNMAg&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.m.webmd.boots.com%2Fa-to-z-guides%2Fsleep-requirements&usg=AOvVaw0p9faTSW2F3iq7kMqP9CKx

[5]https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwizsI_iu-HYAhVRKFAKHWfqDMsQFggsMAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.webmd.com%2Fsleep-disorders%2Fnews%2F20070214%2Fcarbs-may-help-you-fall-asleep-faster&usg=AOvVaw3wLNC-Jbr6aTlMhlzsrjB7

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