National Bed Month and the Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

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Are you struggling to pay off your sleep debt? Interested in a friendly repayment scheme? We present you National Bed Month.

National Bed Month is an awareness campaign by The Sleep Council that runs throughout the whole of March. It started in 1990 and to this day preserves its original goal to promote the importance of a good night’s sleep. It propagandises healthier lifestyle by raising awareness about the benefits of getting better sleep. It also advocates taking more time when choosing our bed and mattress and then gives advice on how to make the right choice.

There is an inextricable connection between the National Bed Month initiative and the retail business, make no mistake about it, and all major bed retailers are sure to play ball. In fact, what the campaign does is trying to educate the consumer of the importance of a good bed, regularly replaced. There is even a section of The Sleep Council’s website called “Bed MOT”, where you can virtually put your most vital piece of furniture to the test. Chances are you’ll be advised to upgrade soon because you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Hence a myriad of promotional offers are likely to run throughout March in an effort to bank on the actual awareness the campaign creates. Marketing at its finest.

It is not for no reason why March has been branded the National Bed Month. We move the clocks forward on the last Sunday of that month. That’s why it is the perfect time to remind people of the fundamental role a comfortable bed plays in achieving the aforementioned healthier lifestyle. But with the vast variety of beds on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult.

How to Choose the Right Bed/Mattress

According to a study carried out on behalf of IKEA, most Brits take the same time to choose their mattress, which they are likely going to sleep on for nearly a decade, as they spend each day deciding what to have for lunch – 5 minutes. The reason is people tend to feel uncomfortable lying down to test mattresses while at a store. In total denial of this inherent British reserve IKEA bedroom experts suggest we should take at least 10 minutes to lie down and try different sleeping positions before making a purchase decision.

Back in 1988 another ground breaking study found that we could add an extra 42 minutes of sleep per night simply by switching an uncomfortable old bed to a new one. Perhaps this study was the premise of the National Bed Month campaign that ran for the first time two years later.

Hands down, we are all convinced a new bed with a brand new mattress is better than an old bed with a an old mattress. When it comes to choosing, however, IKEA’s extensive range of bed frames and its diverse line of mattresses boasting 25-year-long warranty come to mind. It’s no wonder 20% of all the UK citizens are conceived on IKEA flat pack beds. If anything, flat pack furniture is easier to transport. Then there is Flat Pack Mates’ professional IKEA assembly service to help you put everything together. As to the advice The Sleep Council provides, here are some key extracts:

  • Buy for correct support and comfort for your weight and build – not just firmness.
  • Try it together if the bed is for two.
  • Don’t forget a bed is a mattress and a base working together – don’t consider them in isolation.
  • Think big – larger beds are more comfortable and you’re less likely to disturb your partner.
  • You get what you pay for – both in product and service – so spend as much as you can afford.

Create a Bedtime Routine

We don’t take bedtime routine seriously enough but it is paramount to our good night’s sleep and the healthier lifestyle we strive for. If you don’t follow such a routine it means you are in heavy sleep debt, guaranteed.

No debt is good, this much we know, but sleep debt is sure to kill anyone unless they come up with a good plan to pay it off. Its destructive effect on the immune system may lead to many chronic illnesses and ultimately to a shorter life span. That’s exactly the type of awareness the National Bed Month is trying to create but in reverse.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as paying off a sleep debt. Time lost is time lost forever. Don’t waste another day! Create a bedtime routine and try to stick to it. The sooner you do this, the better.

Here’s a most basic guideline:

  • Set a regular bedtime.
  • Try to determine what your optimal amount of sleep is.
  • Wake up at the same time every day.
  • Be smart about napping.
  • Fight after-dinner drowsiness.

Do’s and Don’ts for Better Sleep

A few things that promote good sleep are:

  • A tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin rich diet.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Fresh air.

You should avoid these in the afternoon and especially in the evening:

  • Caffeine.
  • Alcohol.
  • Sugar.