No matter how well you think you might sleep, if someone tells you that you can sleep better, you're going to listen. Even if you have the best mattress in the word, if your friend starts raving about the latest sleep hack, you'll still be interested in what they have to say. I personally think I sleep quite well but after recently spending the day with James Wilson, known as The Sleep Geek, I rushed home with a whole new perspective on sleep altogether.
On Tuesday 12th September, I attended an event hosted by the esteemed mattress brand, Sleepeezee. It was a wonderful day full of wellness, and it was a really great opportunity to hear more about the brand and their priorities around giving their customers the best night's sleep possible. I was also lucky enough to meet Dame Jessica Ennis Hill, who shared her thoughts on all things sleep alongside of James, and what they both had to say was incredibly interesting.
However, before I tell you what I learnt, have you ever considered having a sleep consultation? You may change your mind after reading what they tell you!
1. Sleep should never be sacrificed over exercise
I've always thought that exercise should take priority over a lot of things in our lives, and that exercising where and when I can will make me feel better for it anyways. Well, James actually revealed that exercise should never take precedent over exercise and that if your body is requiring you to sleep for a few more hours, then there is simply no point in forcing yourself to get up and push yourself to exercise. Jessica agreed as well, saying she always experienced a negative effect after exercising if she didn't get enough sleep the night before.
James emphasised that your body will benefit so much more from that extra bit of sleep as you will be exercising on top of your game. By providing your body with the eight hours of sleep it needs to function, you’re setting yourself up for a successful workout and reducing the possibility of injury. Read Why The Sleep Geek told me I should never prioritise exercise over my sleep if you want to find out more on this!
2. Humans wake up 4-6 times every night
James also revealed that we all wake up three to six times every night, but we have to be awake for five minutes to remember it. This actually blew my mind because it shows how clever our brains are, especially when ensuring that we stay in a snoozy state to avoid losing any unnecessary sleep. When we do wake and start to remember it, it's important not to go on our phones or go and get a drink as this can disturb how sleepy we feel, making it harder to nod off again.
3. Sleep interruption is a result of evolution
I also learnt that when humans struggle to fall asleep or often experience sleep interruption, a large reason behind this is due to evolution. In the days when our ancestors would have to protect their young against any threats or dangers, sleeping lightly was just a part of their nature. We still see the same in animals today, with studies showing that new parents sleep are on alert a lot more if they're protecting their young. When we as humans experience stress or anxiety, which then in turn effects how well we sleep, it's actually our 'fight or flight' response that's preventing us from becoming too vulnerable. Crazy, right?
4. The owl and lark theory
James also informed us of the owl and lark theory, and that everyone in the world is either one or the other. Larks tend to rise early and are most active in the morning, often resulting in them feeling tired late afternoon or in the evening. Owls are tired during the morning and will often sleep in, but instead feel awake in the evenings. People tend to be larks during the first ten years of their life, and will then shift into an owl during adolescence and their early twenties. The cycle then comes back around, meaning people will become larks again when they reach their 50's or 60's.
5. Sleep dictators are a thing
James also spoke about 'sleep dictators', saying there is one person that takes on the role in every relationship. This is the person who will usually dictate what time you'll both go to bed, or what kind of duvet or pillows you have. It's why techniques such as having separate duvets does a world of good, as it not only give a better temperature for sleep, but also stop you both fighting over the duvet too.
Interested in more? Have a look at the three wonderful mattresses that Sleepeezee has released as a part of their Centurial range!