5 Accessories to Improve Your Sleep Health
Good sleep is important for your mental health, energy levels and general bodily functioning. Aside from food and water, not much else influences your health and quality of life to such a degree.
In fact, just 24 hours without sleep can affect your ability to drive more than being over the legal blood alcohol limit. After 48 hours, you’ll begin to hallucinate and after 96 hours with no sleep, you’ll likely experience symptoms of psychosis.
That all sounds pretty scary but, fortunately, even people struggling with sleep deprivation are usually able to get at least 1-2 hours per night. However, that’s not enough to live your fullest life, which is why getting enough high-quality sleep should be a priority for everyone.
But that’s not as easy as it seems.
What is sleep health?
The term sleep health refers to the framework for understanding our own sleep needs and how to meet them. Sleep health includes the quantity and quality of sleep we get, our sleep habits and routines, and any sleep-related illnesses that an individual could be suffering from, such as insomnia or sleep apnoea.
Not getting enough sleep or enough high-quality sleep can leave you struggling to function. And the impact of poor sleep health goes a lot deeper than that, affecting the body at a cellular level. When your cells are unable to repair or regenerate, you are put at increased risk of diseases like cancer and dementia.
But if you’re struggling with sleep health, you’re definitely not alone. 71% of UK adults don’t get enough sleep each night, citing multiple factors such as stress relating to money or work, too much screen time before bed, and poor diet or exercise.
If you wondering how to improve your sleep health and the usual tips and advice don’t seem to be working, try introducing some sleep aids into your routine. Here are our top five accessories to improve your sleep health.
There’s a bit of confusion over what a bed tent is but it’s as simple as it sounds. A bed tent is any tent-like structure that sits on top of or around a bed. The reason why bed tents can be helpful to people struggling with sleep is that they create a cocoon from the world.
A bed tent will filter out noise, light and other sensory input. This gives your brain more room to process the day’s events and means you can relax easier. This is especially true if you get a blackout bed tent, which will minimise distractions when attempting to fall asleep and prolong rest if you are usually woken up by the sunrise.
The added bonus is that a bed tent creates a safe, cosy environment, perfect for falling asleep.
Sleep masks, also known as eye masks, are a borderline iconic sleep accessory – and with good reason. A sleep mask simulates darkness, encouraging your eyes to stay shut. When wearing one, you won’t be able to see your phone screen light up with notifications or light entering the room from a partner who comes to bed after you.
Having less sensory input and fewer distractions results in better quality sleep without any micro-interruptions. Sleep masks also protect your eyes while you sleep, so if you often wake up with sore, dry eyes, this is the accessory for you.
Sleep masks are particularly useful for people who travel often. When you get into the habit of wearing one to bed, your body will learn to associate the eye mask going on with you falling asleep. If you take the eye mask away with you, you’ll then find it easier to sleep in a foreign environment.
There’s a bit of a buzz around silk pillows, which is mostly due to their role in skin and haircare. Silk is moisture resistant, so it won’t suck the hydration from your skin or hair while you sleep. This means plumper skin, fewer wrinkles and smoother hair when you wake up. Which sounds good to us.
But what about sleep health? Well, one of the biggest benefits of silk is that it doesn’t store heat in the way other fabrics do. Flipping to the cool side is rendered pointless with a silk pillow and you won’t find yourself waking up hot and sticky in the middle of the night. When your body doesn’t have to work as hard to regulate its temperature, it can focus on getting better quality sleep.
If you’re bothered by allergies, sensitive skin or anything else that can leave you feeling itchy and uncomfortable, a silk pillow is a good option. The soothing fabric won’t irritate your skin, and it has hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties – so it won’t harbour any dust or bacteria that could aggravate your sinuses and keep you awake.
Using a night lamp for the hour or so before you go to sleep, rather than a bright ceiling light, helps your eyes adjust to the fact that it’s now night-time. This then sends a message to your brain, letting it know that the time has come to start winding down.
If you use your night lamp to read rather than go on your phone, even better. The soft yellow light from a lamp won’t disrupt your circadian rhythm (which dictates what time you sleep/wake up), unlike the harsh blue light that technology emits.
One of the most popular sleep accessories is a weighted blanket. These are often used as a therapeutic tool for many different disorders, including anxiety, depression and autism. Weighted blankets work through what’s called ‘deep pressure therapy’, which is the process of applying light pressure to the body to calm the nervous system.
Deep pressure therapy stimulates the release of serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone), as well as restricting the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). The effect of this is a relaxed nervous system, which in turn leads to your body having an easier time trying to fall and stay asleep.
If you’re worried about becoming too hot with a heavy blanket on you at night, try Snuggy’s cooling weighted blanket. Our manufacturing process uses advanced technology to create a blanket with optimal airflow that will keep you at a comfortable temperature all night long.
Find out more about the benefits of a weighted blanket.