Feed Your Brain: How Sleep Helps Us Work, Rest and Play Better
At Bedpost, we understand that we’re not just selling beds – we’re helping Kiwis live the lives they need.
And that’s because our nationwide network of stores is staffed by sleep experts rather than simple salespeople – experts who are trained to understand what makes a good night’s sleep, why a healthy night’s sleep is important for getting through our days, and how different individuals require different levels of comfort to get them through the night.
We put a huge amount of time and effort into ensuring that our range of beds, bedding, mattresses, pillows and bedroom furniture is perfectly calibrated to meet the needs of a whole range of Kiwis – but we’re equally keen to keep up to date with the latest research into how and why we all sleep. It gives us the information to make good decisions when helping fit you to your new bed.
So as well as urging our customers to think about why they want a new bed and how to go about sleep-testing options before they make a decision, we also like to think about why our beds and your sleep are so important.
Here’s just a few of the results of research from the past year that have caught our eye and which might make you think a little deeper about why choosing the right bed is so important to your lifestyle.
A bad night’s sleep can be bad for your weight
Researchers in the UK have discovered that mucking around your body clock and not getting enough sleep affects hormones that control hunger and feeling full.
By looking at a range of studies they found that those getting between three and five-and-a-half hours sleep a night (as opposed to between seven and twelve hours) ate more and didn’t expend any more energy through exercise. They also chose to eat foods higher in fat and lower in protein.
On average, those who were sleep deprived had a net gain of 385 calories per day – about four slices of bread – and researchers have already called for further investigation as to whether this could be a contributing risk factor for obesity.
A memorable night’s sleep
A psychiatric study in Germany has revealed the importance of sleep to letting our brains “reset” each night – a process that is vital to helping us learn and remember things.
Everything we do during the day involves our brain cells firing and connecting with each other and during a busy day that can mean a tremendous amount of brain activity and energy. By showing that the “tired” brains of people who were sleep-deprived are actually more switched on and saturated with information and find it harder to lay down memories, the study has shown that a good night’s rest is vital to calm the brain’s connectivity and provide time for us to work on keeping the important memories.
Remember Princess Leia?
OK, so this isn’t maybe such an important discovery, but it comes from the same type of memory research as the German study above. The researchers also discovered that when information was being taken around the brain during sleep – from parts of the brain associated with short-term memory, to those where long-term memories and important building blocks of learning are stored – then they are carried on waves of electrical impulses that follow a familiar pattern.
The study saw that these patterns – each lasting around 70 milliseconds and repeated hundreds of times over the course of a night – swept around in a spiral on each side of your head. And because this pattern looked like the hairstyle of Star Wars’ Princess Leia, they called them the “Princess Leia waves”!
Pardon the interruption
Sleep scientists in the US have been testing which is worse – not getting enough hours sleep each night or getting broken sleep. At Bedpost we like this information because it shows that what’s important is having unbroken sleep – regardless of how long that sleep is – and that means that having a comfortable bed designed so you don’t toss and turn is vital to a healthy night’s sleep.
The study found that people who had their sleep interrupted spent less time in deep sleep and experienced lower levels of positive mood, were less energetic, less friendly and less sympathetic.