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We often hear that we should all be getting eight hours’ sleep a night. Organisations from the NHS to the US National Sleep Foundation recommend it. But where does this advice come from?

Studies carried out around the world, looking at how often illnesses occur in different groups of people across a population, have come to the same conclusion: both short sleepers and long sleepers are more likely to have a range of illnesses, and to live shorter lives.

Shane O’Mara, professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin, says that, “While it’s difficult to tell whether poor sleep is a cause or a symptom of poor health, these relationships feed off each other”.1 For example, people who are less fit exercise less, which leads people to sleep badly, become exhausted and less likely to exercise, and so on.

People who don’t sleep enough also appear to produce too much of the hormone ghrelin, associated with feeling hungry, and not enough of the hormone leptin, associated with feeling full, which may contribute to their risk of obesity.

We need different types of sleep to repair ourselves

After we fall asleep we go through cycles of “sleep stages”, each cycle lasting between 60 and 100 minutes. Each stage plays a different role in the many processes that happen in our body during sleep.

The first stage in each cycle is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping – breathing slows, muscles relax, the heart rate drops. The second stage is a slightly deeper sleep – you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it. Stage three is deep sleep. It is very hard to wake up during this period because it is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body. Stages two and three together are known as slow wave sleep, which is usually dreamless.

After deep sleep we go back to stage two for a few minutes, and then enter dream sleep, also called REM (rapid eye movement). As the name suggests, this is when dreaming happens. In a full sleep cycle a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to three, then back down to two briefly, before entering REM sleep. Later cycles have longer periods of REM; so cutting sleep short has a disproportionately large effect on REM.

The average person spends around a third of their life asleep. In this time, our bodies are able to replenish energy stores and make repairs, while our minds organise and store the memories of the day before. The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, sex, health and other elements, and sleep cycles change as we grow older.2

So how do we achieve a good night’s sleep?

Here are top three tips to ensure a restful sleep:

1. A COMFORTABLE AND SUPPORTIVE BED will give you the best chance of sleeping soundly throughout the night. The aim of a good mattress is to spread pressure evenly across the body to naturally align the spine and assist circulation during sleep. Get a restful, refreshing sleep every night with the Nikken Naturest® Kenkopad®. Designed with advanced sleep science and magnetic technology, this mattress topper is made with latex that is hypoallergenic and resistant to microbial growth and dust mites. Made from ecologically sound and renewable non-allergic latex and natural materials, the Nikken Naturest® KenkoPad® could transform your regular mattress into an environment more conducive to healthier sleep.

2. CREATE A SLEEP SANCTUARY. The bedroom should be quiet, dark and the correct temperature – around 16-18 °C is perfect; it’ll feel warmer under your duvet. Revolutionary technology and the finest materials make the Nikken KenkoDream® Quilt perfect for any climate. A magnetic layer completes the cocoon effect with ceramic-reflective fibers that help release heat to keep a comfy temperature. To complete your sleep system, the Nikken Naturest® Pillow offers you the benefits of naturally firm non-allergic latex filling which may help with the most comfortable alignment for your head, neck and spine. Latex is especially resilient, so it resists being flattened, unlike down or foam. The pillow cover is made of a natural bamboo and cotton blend, while revolutionary RAM™ technology (radial-axis magnetism) disks are arranged deep within the natural latex core. You should also remove all electrical and electronic items as even standby lights have an impact on quality of sleep. Finally, the room shouldn’t be too stuffy – try sleeping with the window ajar, but if noise is a problem, just ensure that the room is well ventilated. 

3. HAVE A TRIED AND TESTED BEDTIME ROUTINE. Start your bedtime routine about an hour before going to sleep in order to allow enough time for both body and mind to wind down. Don’t go to bed hungry, but avoid drinking too much – particularly alcohol and caffeine – in the evenings. Exercise should also be avoided for six hours before bed, and try to establish a ‘bed time’ and a ‘rise time’”.

What happens when you get a good night’s sleep? 

1. Your Mood will improve. People might struggle with emotional resilience if they have not had enough sleep. Sleep has a huge impact on mental health. After a good night’s sleep, something stressful might happen and you might deal with it in a better way than if you did not get a restful sleep.

2. You won’t be so hungry. Lack of sleep can affect hunger. Levels of the satiety hormone leptin decrease, while ghrelin, the hunger hormone, increase, which leads us to crave more calories and not feel full as quickly.

3. Your brain will get a Boost. The body has a lymphatic system that disposes of toxins and the brain has the same system. About five hours into the sleep cycle, you have a sweep of calcium that washed away neurotoxins, but if sleep is impaired, then this process might not happen.

Doing all of the above, could ensure you a restful and comfortable night’s sleep so you can wake up refreshed and invigorated.

  1. https://shaneomara.com/2014/10/20/why-you-need-lots-of-good-quality-sleep-sleep-loss-affects-work-performance-ethics-memory-and-health-2/
  2. https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/how-much-sleep-do-we-need/ 

Special Offer… available until 31stMay 2018 

SAVE 20% on selected Sleep Products! 

Contact an Independent Nikken Consultant to order.

(14th May)

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6 Health Trends for 2018

Health Trends blog

As we approach the end of 2017, it is the perfect time to assess some of the up-coming health trends for 2018.

  1. Less sugar consumption. A recent survey found that 12% fewer adults and 19% fewer children have a sugary beverage like soda or juice on any given day compared to data from 2003.1 Nikken uses stevia as a natural sweetener in KVB®Natural Food Mix and in Kenzen Ten4® Matcha Green Tea Drink; as this herb does not contain any calories but has a naturally very sweet taste. Find out more information about stevia in our blog ‘Swapping Sugar for Stevia is a sweet choice’.
  2. Matcha Tea. The powdered tea dates back to the 10th century, when Zen Buddhists thought that the tea brought them a sense of clarity, energy and a feeling of wellbeing. Kenzen Ten4®Matcha Green Tea Drink is made with the highest quality of organic matcha tea leaves; launched in 2014 ahead of the trend.  Kenzen Ten4® is made with USDA certified organic ingredients, contains no added sugar and is only 8 calories per serving (4 calories per 100ml). Matcha Green Tea is known as “nature’s own energy drink” while New Zealand Kiwi also included in this drink, is known to be one of the most nutrient-dense of the super-fruits.
  3. Increase in water intake. People are learning to drink more water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration may cause dizziness and headaches. To help increase water consumption, you can stir in lemon, orange or add Ciaga®ᵛ for a flavour boost, and try to drink a whole glass of water at each meal. For fresh filtered water at home, try PiMag Waterfall® Gravity Water System.
  4. Flexitarian diet. 2 The focus is on incorporating more plant-based food into the diet without completely forgoing meat. Gradually replace some meat and seafood with vegetable proteins. With KVB®Natural Food Mix and the Everyday Weight Management programme, it’s easy to focus on a plant-based diet that includes some lean meat.
  5. Temperature regulating fabric. Nikken incorporates ceramic-reflective fibers in our sleep products and support wraps to help release heat and maintain a comfortable temperature.
  6. “Smart” beds and pillows to help you sleep better. The Kenko Sleep system offers improved support for the musculoskeletal system, improved temperature control and additional enhancements in comfort that may contribute to quality sleep.

Find out more about Nikken products or to discover more about becoming an Independent Nikken Consultant.

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1 http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/news/g4912/health-trends-2018/
2 https://www.prevention.com/health/2018-health-trends

 

Get a goodnight’s sleep

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As the dark nights of winter set in, we can sometimes feel like we have less energy; one way to help combat this could be to get more sleep!  We all live such hectic lives, that this may seem like an impossible task but making some simple adjustments to your sleep environment may mean you wake up feeling like you have more energy, better concentration and feeling happier.

These changes won’t happen after a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you might have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks. To begin with, ensure your bedroom is a relaxing and confortable space. ‘Your bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years. Even beds as little as six years old could offer significantly less support and comfort than a new one, thanks to wear and tear not just from body weight and movement but also sweat and debris such as skin and hair.’[1]

This does not mean that you need to rush out and buy a new bed, but it may be time to try a mattress topper. You can transform your current mattress with the Naturest® Kenkopad®. Made from ecologically sound and renewable non-allergic latex, natural materials and RAM® Magnetic technology; it also helps with temperature regulation as you sleep.

To catch up on sleep; try to add on an extra hour or two, perhaps at the weekend. Start your bedtime routine earlier and go to bed when you’re tired, allowing your body to wake you up naturally in the morning. For extra comfort try the KenkoDream® Quilt  KenkoDream® Quilt  and Naturest® Pillow. The revolutionary technology in the KenkoDream® Quilt, helps to regulate temperature whilst the Naturest® Pillow is fully adjustable with an internal collar to help towards achievinge the most comfortable position. Isn’t time you had a really good nights sleep?

SLEEP EASY…with our BLACK FRIDAY OFFER. Save 20% on Sleep products between the 24th and 30th of November 2017, for more details contact your Independent Nikken Consultant.

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[1] https://sleepcouncil.org.uk/sleep_media/key-facts-and-figures/Research by the Furniture Industry Research Association, 20114 (link to source)

Why is sleep so important for our wellbeing?

Sleep blog heading

At some point each of us will experience that feeling of lying in bed unable to sleep, whether it be as soon as we get into bed or if we wake in the middle of the night and are unable to drop back off. ‘A sleepless night is as long as a year’ is a Chinese proverb that we can all probably identify with and it is important that we take steps to help ourselves to get the best sleep we can, for the sake of our health and wellbeing.

Sleep allows our body to repair itself and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Without a good night sleep we can feel groggy, irritable and have a lack of energy. Poor sleep is also linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.[1]

Sleep hygiene

Many people can benefit from improving the quality of their sleep. The phrase sleep hygiene is often used to describe how lifestyle and environmental factors can affect our sleep. Positive sleep hygiene may help to improve sleep quality.

According to the MHF Sleep Report[2] the environment of our bed and bedroom can either help or hinder sleep; much depends on our own preferences. The obvious factors are noise, light, temperature and ventilation. Most of us prefer to sleep in a quiet environment. Earplugs may be useful for blocking out external noise although they do tend to amplify the body’s own internal noises which may be distracting.

Too much light can inhibit sleep since it affects melatonin levels; eye masks may be helpful. Room temperature is important, neither too cold nor too hot, although the ideal room temperature will vary from person to person. Ventilation can be improved by opening the window, although this is likely to alter the temperature and make the room noisier. It is important to feel comfortable in the bedroom environment, including selecting the right mattresses and pillows. People may need to experiment with all these factors until they find the ideal balance.

Sleep hygiene practices, such as those mentioned above, may help people improve their sleep quality, along with reducing caffeine in the evening, taking regular exercise and avoiding looking at phone/television screens just before getting into bed.

Nikken offers the Naturest® Sleep System that contains a range of products the may be beneficial to your sleep hygiene.

  1. Naturest Kenkopad® – A non-allergenic latex mattress topper that molds to your body’s contours and may improve your comfort and support.
  2. KenkoDream® Quilt – The ceramic coated fibres may help maintain a constant temperature.
  3. Naturest® Pillow – Fully adjustable by removing or adding filler, the breathable cover may help to regulate your temperature, keeping you confortable.
  4. Kenko Power Sleep® Mask – Made of soft breathable fabric, blocking out light may help improve your sleep at home or when traveling or working nightshifts.

Discover more about this range: http://www.nikkenwellbeing.co.uk/p/kenkodream-quilt.html

[1] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk
[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/sleep-report

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