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Would you climb a mountain or run a triathlon without the right gear? Doing anything important in life requires the right resources, yet despite the fact that we spend over a third of our lives sleeping, many of us run - or fall - into the sleeping-fray relatively unprepared, especially when it comes to our sleep health.
What is ‘sleep health’? Also referred to as ‘sleep hygiene’, sleep health covers the habits that help you have a good night’s sleep. Common sleeping problems are usually caused by bad habits reinforced over years or decades. These bad habits include disobeying your body clock (pushing through your lethargy to keep going), experiencing stress, excess drug and alcohol consumption and an unsuitable sleep environment.
Your sleep environment is all about the room where you sleep, including your lighting, mattress, underlay, pillows and sheets. An ideal sleep environment will have soft, warm lighting, a firm but comfy mattress, big pillows and breathable, comfortable sheets.
Sheets are often overlooked when considering factors that contribute to a good nights’ sleep, but they shouldn’t be – they are your ‘jacket’ providing warmth, insulation and comfort. They are also very close to your body for up to 8 hours if you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep, so it’s very important for both your sleep and overall health to get your sheets right.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sheets, so here are a few factors you should consider when it comes to choosing and buying your next set.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bed sheets are among the most common places dust mites are found. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that thrive in warm and relatively humid environments (just like the warmth and moisture left after a hot body has slept in a bed all night).
Some symptoms signalling a dust mite infestation include itchy skin, congestion, prolonged and relentless sneezing, scratchy throat and facial pain. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you might want to look at increasing the frequency with which you wash or change your bed sheets, and when you do wash them, make sure you do so at a temperature above 60 degrees to kill any dust mites which might remain on the sheets.
Alternatively, you can invest in some hypo-allergenic sheets, like the 100% bamboo sheet sets from Pure Zone. Bamboo is very hygienic – with natural antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties, making them naturally resistant to dust mites.
UP THE COMFORT FACTOR
Do you hop into your bed, ready to fall into a deep, uninterrupted slumber, only to find yourself unable to get comfortable because something is a little bit itchy? You’re not alone. The national slumber survey from IKEA found over 70 per cent of people have reported troubles falling asleep due to a lack of comfort.
Most participants reported being too hot, too cold, itchy or scratchy bed clothes or excess pilling as common complaints. None of the things you want to feel when you hop in bed – your sheets should not only provide adequate insulation (depending on the season,) but also the perfect level of comfort. So what type of fabric is the most comfortable?
CHANGE WITH THE SEASONS
It goes without saying you probably don’t want to be cosy and sweating in the heat of summer, and you also don’t want to be shivering under the covers in the middle of winter. Sheets, their insulation and breathability are factors to consider when choosing your sheets for the coming seasons.
In winter, you’ll probably want to go with something thicker, heavier and softer than you want in the summer months. To up the insulation factor, your best bet is to go with flannelette sheets. They’re thick, warm and super comfy.
In summer, you want to go with natural fibres. Fabrics made from natural materials are the most breathable and will wick away perspiration, keeping you cool and dry. Pure cotton and bamboo sheets are a safe bet for summer - bamboo, in particular, is great for temperature regulation, which of course helps you to stay cool and sleep better.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE AESTHETIC
The old saying goes ‘if it looks good, it feels good’, and keeping in mind we spend over a third of our life asleep, why don’t more of us make sure our sleeping environment and sheets are as beautiful as possible?
We all have a sheet or two we’re not particularly proud of – whether it’s the one with a few little tears thanks to a badly cut toenail or the one with a few cheeky food stains that somehow hasn’t been rotated out of your linen closet. It’s time to turf the old, ugly and damaged ones and get some beautiful new sets.
People are attracted to beautiful things, so it makes sense that if you invest in making your sleeping space more attractive, healthy and relaxing, you’ll look forward to spending more time in between the sheets!
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