The Science of Sleep (and How You Can Benefit from it)

Sleep is a major part of our body’s continuous development.

Before investing in a Luxury Bed or any Bedroom Furniture - which uses some pretty cool sleep tech! I.e. Tempur Sleep System products - It's important to understand stimuli in sleep

In order to to use these stimuli to provide you educated solutions on making you sleep better. 

It’s no myth that a good night’s sleep not only contributes to reducing tiredness the following day but also contributes to factors such as mental recovery, physical recovery, reducing stress, improving memory, and lowering blood pressure

It has also been found to regulates white blood cells in the immune system, reduce your chance of type 2 diabetes, reduce pain and inflammation in your body, maintain body weight, strengthens your heart, allows your brain to absorb knowledge more effectively, put you in a better mood 



Our bodies are subject to many forms of stress which can be very damaging for our long term physical and mental health - this is an undeniable fact. 

According to the Harvard Health Publishing ‘Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental healthAnd those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.’ 

The recommended amount of sleep according to the highest authority article on Google for the term ‘sleep time’ states ‘While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.’

The purpose of this article is to allow you to understand the importance of sleep for developing your body, the difference in requirements of sleep as we age, the processes that take place during sleep cycles and how we can maximise the benefits of different sleep cycles. 

At Cookes, we are by no means Scientists or Medical Professionals. Medical advice trumps whatever is mentioned in this article! 

We offer our opinions based on studies and articles by qualified scientists in controlled environments under official regulations.

This blog does not overrule medical advice. Please consult your doctor or medical professional for any medical issues!


The Science behind Sleep


sleep science

Science explains the complex process that takes place in order for human beings to fall asleep. 

Our brain controls the activity of our body the human body is subject to various conditions of stress which change constantly; change which is caused in reaction to various stimuli

These stimuli have great impact on when we feel tired and how much focus we are able to maintain throughout the day. These stimuli are: 


Time of day

Image result for time of day


Our body works on an internal clock. 

The function of the internal clock is one part of the function of our bodies Circadian Rhythm. ‘Our Circadian Clock sets the rhythm for our Cell’s Powerhouse.’ 

The Circadian Rhythm changes your mood, hunger and other behavioral patterns at an almost subconscious level.

The part of the brain that controls your Circadian Rhythm is the Suprachiasmatic nucleus (or SCN)

In plain English, the SCN is located on the front of the Hypothalamus beneath the Supraoptic Nucleus; well, it’s not so plain English but it’s simple as we could make it sound.


sleep science circadian rhythm

Time of day is calculated using the position of the Sun; the amount of light we receive from the Sun depends on where it’s positioned and how it’s light is hit and reflected off of the Earth which also contributes to temperature, weather conditions etc

The amount of light that enters our eyes is processed by our brains and the SCN begins to kick our Circadian Rhythm into effect. 

Imagine the SCN as the switch that turns the Circadian Rhythm on/off. 

The Circadian Rhythm is then the process that comes into action when switched on. 

Now, imagine that switch is always on and there are a bunch of ‘sub switches’ that add different hormones into your body depending on how much light it picks up from the Sun. 

Once this stimulus is detected, the amount of certain hormones in the body are increased/reduced which causes changes in our bodies… and this has control over when we feel tired and start to feel sleepy. 

There are of course other factors which contribute to falling asleep (which are explained below) but this is essentially how our body reacts to changes to time of day; in terms of Sleep.


How you can benefit


According to the article (cited above), by controlling the times you sleep, ensuring you are not napping too late in the day etc you ensure your body’s Circadian Rhythm adjusts properly to day-night cycles. 

Our bodies can face problems due to irregular sleeping patterns. By sleeping at appropriate times during the day - when the Sun sets and the moon rises - we ensure our Circadian Rhythms are ‘wired correctly’ and we are giving our body the optimal quality of sleep. 


Temperature


sleep temperature

No, not the song 'Temperature' by Sean Paul...

The temperature of the room that you sleep in is also a factor that contributes to falling asleep. 

According to The Sleep Council, ...a cool 16-18°C (60-65°F) is thought to be an ideal temperature in a bedroom. Temperatures over 24°C (71°F) are likely to cause restlessness, while a cold room of about 12°C (53°F) will make it difficult to drop off.

Maintaining a constant bedroom temperature is very important. 

Changes in condition while asleep will cause you to react subconsciously and may disturb the amount of deep sleep you are able to get each night. 

Why do we sleep in blankets?

The most common answer is to keep warm, but then why are a lot of people unable to sleep during a hot day, unless they wear a blanket? You’d think they’d be pretty warm.. 

To find the answer we need to dig a little bit deeper...


The Blanket Myth


When we imagine a scenario where someone is asleep, we usually depict them wrapped up in a blanket on a bed. 

This gives the impression that wearing a blanket is essential in being able to fall asleep; and it’s out of the ordinary for a person to be able to sleep without wearing a blanket. 

Well, that’s a myth; and this myth was invented a little closer to our time than you’d think.


blankets for comfortable sleep

During the Middle Ages, owning a blanket was a luxury only available to the high class members of society

It was much more common that people - including their farm animals! - slept together to keep each other warm. 

As time passed, the supply of blankets increased, blankets became more affordable and accessible which - over the course of a few hundred years - went from a high class luxury, to an everyday essential; which is where the myth was born; this was due to advancements in technology, abundance of material and more access to skilled workers

Suddenly, it became necessary for everyone to wear a blanket when they sleep; and the idea of a blanket being essential to falling asleep, was created.


The Science Behind Blankets 


Although blankets are not essential in falling asleep and you certainly could find alternatives or make do without using one, there is a scientific process which takes place when someone wears a blanket to bed

Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) is a term for weight being distributed gently and evenly across the body. Most people have felt deep touch pressure in the form of a hug or massage

The sensation of Deep Touch Pressure increases serotonin and dopamine levels in your body which relaxes you.

For a lot of people, blankets cause DTP to take effect (there are always exceptions!)

This sensation is what makes blankets so appealing to wear to bed; and why you would take comfort in wanting to sleep ‘wrapped up.’


How you can benefit


By understanding your response to temperature, your ideal sleep temperature, what triggers the effect of DTP for you etc you are able to create an environment where falling asleep is very easy. 

Setting up your thermostat to your create your ideal temperature when it's time to sleep, wearing your most comfortable blanket or duvet - or lack thereof - will make it a lot easier for you to drift off into a good night's sleep.


‘Excess’ Stress


stress affect on sleep

According to NHS inform, ‘Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else’


Forms of Stress


There are ultimately three forms of stress, Physical, Mental and Emotional - which go hand in hand with each other.


Physical Stress


Physical Stress is when a physical load is placed on the body that puts it under some sort of change; be it being too hot, too cold, hunger, lifting something up, putting something down... etc

As far as studies show this is the easiest form of stress to deal with and is a voluntary form of ‘stress’ ie if you pick something up, you can put it back down.

Here's a great article on 3 Foods for Muscle Soreness


affect of physical stress on sleep

Mental Stress


Mental Stress is when the brain is put under pressure, this pressure can be created through fear or anticipation of events, deadlines, being around certain people etc. 

This is the most common form of stress. It is also arguably the most overlooked and is something a lot of people struggle to overcome.

The feeling of Mental stress can be quite devastating if not dealt with correctly.

There are many methods people use to remedy themselves of this problem.

Some of these remedies work in the short term, some work in the long term however the impact of carrying this type of stress can have detrimental effects on our body


affect of stress on sleep

Emotional Stress


Emotional Stress is very much related to Mental Stress in that they are both generated in the mind and can physically impact you. 

Physical Stress can have some impact on emotional stress however the opposite is much more common; people who are emotionally stressed find it hard to take on a lot of physical stress.

 A common term used for emotional stress is ‘baggage.’

Much like Mental Stress, Emotional Stress is experienced through various physical and non-physical stimuli. 

Emotional Stress can be caused as a result of facing traumatic experiences that cause negative emotions; they alter your emotions in a negative way. 

This could be as a result of bullying, cyber bullying, being compared to others in a negative way; this is caused essentially as a result of how people treat you and is amplified by how you see yourself.


sleep and stress

Emotional Stress can be very hard to detach yourself from and can kick start other forms of stress. 

Common problems people suffer when facing Emotional Stress are anxiety, increased feelings of alertness, feeling unsafe, a short temper and insomnia. 

Trauma such as PTSD is a result of mental and emotional trauma which develops into stress overtime and leaves ‘scarring’ in your brain.


How Stress affects Sleep


Stress is something that is felt both consciously and subconsciously and is initiated by a stimulus; which is true among any form of stress.

The continuation of that stimulus being present is what causes stress; if you have a splinter in your hand from a piece of wood, you will continue to feel pain until you remove the splinter - which is an example of a form of Physical Stress.

The feeling of stress - if it has a significant effect on your behaviour consciously - can also have an effect on our subconscious. 

An excellent article was written by Óura on understanding sleep quality when looking into your measured Heart Rate and another article by BBC Newsbeat explains Anxiety and Panic Attacks.


stress impact on sleep

Stress however could be used as a more generic term in this case. 

Simple changes in sound, light, smell etc could cause you to react subconsciously; and disturb your sleep.

There are two cycles of Sleep, REM and Non REM sleep - which is explained below in much greater depth.

Stress affects our deep sleep stage in the Non REM sleep cycle

As explained in the linked study ‘Changes in heart rate variability associated with acute stress may represent one pathway to disturbed sleep. 

Stress-related changes in heart rate variability during sleep may also be important in association with chronic stressors, which are associated with significant morbidity and increased risk for mortality.’

This study shows the link between stress and quality of sleep. Stress disturbs the Deep Sleep Phase and will not allow your body to recover correctly; and you will not feel rested


How you can benefit


Stress can have very negative impact on our mind and body if not controlled properly or allowed to ‘overload’ us. 

By not only ensuring a minimum amount of good quality sleep, but dealing with stress stimulus in a healthy way, your body is able to relax, you’re able to fall asleep and have a more restful night.

 


Hydration


Going to bed even mildly dehydrated can disrupt your sleep. Surprised? Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry, setting you up for sleep-disruptive snoring and a parched throat and hoarseness in the morning.

A lack of pre-bed fluids can also lead to nocturnal leg cramps that may keep you awake. In addition to the frustration of fragmented sleep, being dehydrated during night can compromise your alertness, energy, and cognitive performance the following day.

Dehydration can cause a lot of issues if you are trying to fall asleep; and even after you’ve fallen asleep. 

Dehydration causes your mouth and nasal passages to become dry - as there is no moisture present through your nasal passages - which results in a ‘snorey sleep,’ a dry and parched throat when you wake up.


hydration and sleep

Cramping also occurs as a result of dehydration. Feeling pains and aches while laying or sitting down is often a sign of lack of proper hydration.

This could result in sleeplessness, waking up in the middle of the night due to cramping pains and ultimately a fragmented sleep; a sleep that is not consistent throughout but disturbed every so often within a specific time frame. 

This would cause you to be quite groggy, lack alertness, energy and reduce your ‘cognitive performance capacity’ - your brain will fatigue faster and struggle to focus - the next day.


How you can benefit


Ensuring you stay hydrated through the day, you listen to your body’s needs and requirements and intake the right amount of - good quality - water helps with most of the processes that take place in your body while you’re awake. 

It also ensures your body is able to repair itself throughout the entire time you sleep. 

Your brain is able to perform processes to take you through Sleep Cycles without any lapse in nerve impulses and your muscles won’t stiffen and cramp through the night.

Just like putting clean engine oil in a car improves its performance...


Hunger


Not eating past Dinner has always been seen as taboo and thought to have a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep; and the quality.

According to an article written by the National Sleep Foundation, skipping food before bed has some very interesting impacts on the way our brain reacts. 

‘Getting enough sleep won’t just invigorate you; it could also help control how much you eat. A lack of sleep is linked to overeating—especially the overconsumption of junk food—which can lead to weight gain.’ 


hunger affect on sleep

The article continues to say ‘Two hormones that help regulate hunger—ghrelin and leptin—are affected by sleep: 

Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin decreases it. When the body is sleep-deprived, the level of ghrelin spikes, while the level of leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger.

The really interesting point picked up here however is ‘Another factor is at play, too. A lack of sleep kicks off a process in the body that raises the blood level of a lipid known as endocannabinoid. 

This acts on the brain in a similar way to marijuana, making the act of eating more enjoyable, especially in the evening.’

What a discovery that is!

Essentially by depriving yourself of food before bed, your brain goes into an ‘endo’ state where, as it is deprived of something, it craves it even more; which then leads to either overeating, eating the wrong thing for breakfast which lacks nutrition or slight loss of appetite during important meal times and being induced into an ‘altered state.’


How you can benefit


Eating the right quantity of food at the right time will not allow your body to digest the food before bed time, it will give you enough energy to restore and develop your body during sleep and keeps your body nourished.

Food can also be used to increase/decrease core body temperature so take this into account when figuring out what to eat and when!


Noise


The level of noise where you sleep also contributes to the quality and quantity of your sleep (which is a bit of a no brainer).

Maintaining constant conditions is essential to not only allowing us to fall asleep, but also maintaining a consistently good quality of sleep. 

A study conducted by the University of Líege summarises how brain waves control the amount of impact sleep has on our sleep

(there is an option to translate the page text on the top right of the page, but if you’re bilingual and can read both English and French, then you’re pretty cool!).


affect of noise on sleep

The article essentially summarises how the activity of the brain changes as we cycle through sleep and how this could affect how we sleep, when we wake up etc through the use of various studies they conducted using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). 

(Led by Dr Thanh Dang-Vu and Prof. Pierre Maquet (Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liège)).

And the conclusion that the researchers had come to is that ‘Conversely, sounds can induce the production during sleep of brain waves called 'K-complexes'. 


how light affects sleep

The results brought by this new study demonstrate that production of K-complexes by sounds is associated with a larger activation of auditory brain areas. 

While spindles prevent the transmission of sounds, K-complexes reflect a more important transmission of sounds to the sleeping brain.

The effects of noise on sleep are therefore controlled by specific brain waves. 

In particular, the human brain is isolated from the environment during sleep spindles, which might allow essential sleep functions to operate such as the consolidation of memory for previously acquired information. 

These brain waves thus play a crucial role in sleep quality and stability in the face of noise.’

Well, that was a long research article summary, wasn’t it? It’s jam packed with value and its well worth reading the full script!


How it can benefit you


In summary, limiting the amount of ‘non consistent’ noise creates a consistent atmosphere which the body is able to adjust to; and no, consistent roadworks, noisy traffic or house parties is not what we’re referring to here.

Changes in noise can subconsciously stimulate the body, disturbing deep sleep and leaving you a little unrested through the night; which adds up.

So listening to Music may put you to sleep, but the changing sounds of different instruments, artists and rhythms, wouldn’t give you a very good quality of sleep...


Light Level


There are various types of light according to the spectrum of light - or at least that which we are aware of. 

Each type of light within the spectrum affects in a specific way; that is our mood, our alertness, our attentiveness, our sleeping habits...

In the 13th century, Roger Bacon theorized that rainbows were produced by a similar process to the passage of light through glass or crystal.’

Sir Isaac Newton proved this theory and first discovered the Visible Spectrum in the 17th Century. He documents his studies in his book Opticks.


how light affects sleep

Newton originally divided the spectrum into six named colors: redorangeyellowgreenblue, and violet

He later added indigo as the seventh color since he believed that seven was a perfect number as derived from the ancient Greek sophists, of there being a connection between the colors, the musical notes, the known objects in the solar system, and the days of the week

The human eye is relatively insensitive to indigo's frequencies, and some people who have otherwise-good vision cannot distinguish indigo from blue and violet.

For this reason, some later commentators, including Isaac Asimov, have suggested that indigo should not be regarded as a color in its own right but merely as a shade of blue or violet.’ (This entry can be found in this article)

But what is the effect of each form of light? Well, we found that out and documented it below!


Red Light 


Red Light has a very positive effect on getting us to sleep and allowing us to sleep feeling rested. 

Naturally, red light becomes more prominent as the day ends and the night begins.

Now, you’d think red light and the like would come from the Sun right? (I did until I looked into the topic a little deeper)

The Sun naturally produces blue light - which we go into in *a lot* of detail below - and the Moon naturally produces red light. 

Colour has a temperature - how cool is that!? - which is shown in the image below supplied by Joovv


effect of red light on sleep

The higher we go on the colour temperature spectrum the more that particular colour would keep us awake; and the lower the temperature is the more likely it is to put us to sleep. 

Naturally the colour temperature is distributed through the day and into the night. As the day turns to night, the changes in colour shift our Circadian Rhythm into effect. 

Red Light signals to our Circadian Rhythm that it's time to sleep. 

Our body begins to release Melatonin which makes us feel drowsy and starts to get us into our sleep cycle. 

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland. That's a pea-sized gland found just above the middle of your brain. It helps your body know when it's time to sleep and wake up.


Yellow Light 


Yellow light is considered a ‘warm colour’ and can have very positive effects on our bodies if used in the correct way. 

Yellow light naturally incurs feelings of happiness and joy as well as sparking our muscles into action and making our brains more active.

It’s also quite eye catching and is used often for school buses and taxis (mostly in the US). 

Some hospitals use this lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere for patients to be able to sleep in. 

Summary of entry by Philips Lighting Blog on Subconscious effect of Colored Lighting


effect of yellow light on sleep

There are not many studies concluding the effect of Yellow light on our brains and what hormones are produced as a result of being exposed to this type of light. 

However, this study featured by the National Centre for Biotechnology written by A.J. MetzS.D. KleinF.Scholkmann and U. Wolf gives some brilliant insight into the Continuous coloured light altered human brain haemodynamics and oxygenation assessed by systemic physiology augmented functional near-infrared spectroscopy

We will, of course, summarise this study for you but credit where it’s due, this study is extremely insightful and our summary doesn’t do it justice; definitely give it a read!!

Warning: Long Science-y study breakdown alert (next 3 paragraphs)


the effect of yellow light on our brain

The study measures the End-Tidal CO2 pressure when people are exposed to different forms of light; the amount of each light conducted by the skin and its effect on End-Tidal CO2.

Then there are multiple studies also listed about the effect of different forms of light on (if you read this you truly want to be educated on this topic!) Heart Rate (LF/HF), [O2Hb] compared to [tHb], [HHB] compared to StO2.

According to the study ‘Light of different colours altered brain physiology. We observed that especially yellow light exposure evoked changes in [O2Hb] and [HHb] concentrations in the L-PFC, which correspond to the typical activation responses in fNIRS49. Although the time scale is longer (10 min), this could indicate a functional brain response to yellow light exposure.’

Most people see Yellow Light as a ‘stimulant’ that spurs action and gives the body energy; which is proven in the article. 

Yellow Light increased Heart Rate, increased brain activity, an initial increase in Oxyhaemoglobin (which decreased halfway through the recordings) and a constant increase in non oxygenated Haemoglobin per μM

The Scientists concluded ‘Our results indicate a brain activation of the left prefrontal brain especially due to yellow light and a LF/HF increase due to red light exposure, which is in line with the literature’


Green Light 


Green light is most commonly seen as a calming, soothing colour; and often categorised by healing and nourishment. 

According to the Philips Lighting Blog ‘The color green is the most visible and sensitive color to the human eye.

Green lighting was introduced into operating rooms in 1914 by Dr. Harry Sherman who found the color green reduces glare and complements hemoglobin red, the color of blood, to create a more visible environment for surgeons. 

Green light can also enhance learning and concentration, which is why it is sometimes used in classrooms.’


effect of green light on sleep

As great as this sounds - and the effect of green light truly is fantastic! - it doesn’t sound as great when we look at it in terms of sleep.

According to the abstract of a study featured on the National Centre for Biotechnology explains that ‘Melatonin output covaries with sleepiness, with both peaking early morning. 

Bright white light suppresses this output, but it is not known if such treatment ameliorates nighttime sleepiness during sleep deprivation.

However, sleep-deprived subjects find such light irritating. Humans are particularly sensitive to green light, and melatonin output is more readily suppressed by this hue

A pilot study using different green light regimens showed that sleep-deprived subjects well tolerated 2,000 lux green light given 10 min hourly, and that this dose reduced nighttime melatonin output.’

Melatonin is the hormone released that puts us to sleep. According to the above study, by suppressing Melatonin secretion, green light essentially does not contribute to getting you to bed faster, but keeps you awake for longer.


Blue Light 


There is always plenty to say about blue light; and we say a lot about it below. 

The science behind blue lights has received a great amount of media attention over the last few years; and the changes in technology to align with this only increase the amount of studies available to hand - and the more conclusions we can draw as a result.



Every device that’s been released in the past few years has a ‘blue light filter’ feature; and there are apps that provide this function to devices that do not have it in built.

Blue Light filters essentially work to stop blue light being emitted to - or more accurately absorbed by - the eyes. TVs, PC Screens, Mobile Devices, Tablets etc (essentially any type of technology with a screen) emits blue light.

The Sun also naturally emits blue light.

According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing  ‘blue light can affect your sleep and potentially cause disease. Until the advent of artificial lighting, the Sun was the major source of lighting,’

Blue light travels at a shorter wavelength than other forms of light. Once our brains are able to detect blue light, the secretion of Melatonin is reduced and the brain begins to restart the functions that wake the body up.


effect of blue light on sleep

Ever heard of ‘Blue Light Filters?’

Blue Light Filters are used as a method of protecting the eyes from Blue Light before sleep time.

It’s a very widespread fact that technological devices emit blue light. An article published by The Guardian states ‘The reason manufacturers have switched to brighter LED lights is efficiency.

With traditional incandescent light bulbs, says John O’Hagan of Public Health England’s centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards, “95% of what was produced was heat, and only 5% was light.”

As well as staying cooler, LED screens have the added benefit of being thinner, lighter and longer lasting, with stunning colour resolution.’

LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs are more energy efficient than traditional halogen light bulbs however they release a considerable amount of blue light as a result.


effect of blue light filters on sleep

LED Lights are one example of Blue Light within technology - it’s not the first that would come to mind but it should give you an idea of how often we are exposed to this type of light!

Blue light filters are available as products including glasses, screen protectors, phone applications... and the list goes on…

The purpose of these products are quite simple, create a filter between your eyes and the blue light being omitted to them; which is great for bedtime! 

Blue light can negatively affect our sleep cycles and can alter our Circadian Rhythm.

By suppressing blue light around evening, our body’s Circadian Rhythm - using the red light omitted from the Moon - begins to kick in, getting our body in ‘sleep mode.’ 

By filtering out Blue Light during the late hours of the day we ensure our Circadian Rhythm initiates sleep at the right time; and - a bonus feature I noticed using the ‘Night Filter’ app on my smartphone - if using an app when the app timer turns your blue light filter on, you’re reminded that it's getting close to sleep time.


Violet Light 


A study led by Dr Stuart Peirson from Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute featured on Science Daily ‘The team exposed mice to three different colours of light -- violet, blue and green.

Based on the existing data about the role of melanopsin in sleep, they expected that the blue light would induce sleep fastest as the wavelength of the blue light (470 nanometres -- nm) was closest to the peak sensitivity of the pigment (around 480nm).

However, it was green light that produced rapid sleep onset -- between 1 and 3 minutes. Blue and Violet light delayed sleep -- the onset of sleep taking between 16 and 19 minutes for blue and between 5 and 10 minutes for violet.’


effect of violet light on sleep

When looking at the Colour Spectrum, violet light travels at a higher frequency than blue light; and as the frequency increases further, violet becomes Ultraviolet (UV) light.

High frequencies & wavelengths of light have a lot of energy; the Colour Spectrum breaks down light by wavelength.

The benefits of high and low frequency energy have been studied in a great amount of depth and debates on this subject will continue on for a long time.

However, one irrefutable truth proved by Science - and proved by the study above - is violet light does not make it easy to fall asleep.


Orange Light 


According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD ‘If you have trouble sleeping, consider sleep light therapy, which is based on maintaining your body's natural Circadian Rhythm. Natural sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow, including blue light, which helps us stay alert during the day.

But if you're around anything that emits blue light at night, such as TVs, computers or lamps, you can be kept awake. On the other hand, orange, the only color that contains no blue light, can help stimulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Turn on orange light bulbs in your bedroom 90 minutes before bed. Invest in an orange monitor cover for your computer.


effect of orange light on sleep

To wake yourself up in the morning, try a blue-light emitting box. Place it near your breakfast table or at your desk for 15 minutes.’ 

(This article is featured on sharecare.com’s website, make sure to check them out!)

That’s some pretty good advice from a sleep expert!

Orange light around bedtime will block blue light from hitting your eyes, and allow your body get ready to fall asleep!


How you can benefit


It's hard to separate out natural light into its individual colours, so a ‘how you can benefit’ section on this topic about 200 years ago, would have been useless… but we are blessed with technology - and more so artificial light!

There are products available such as ‘colour changing bulbs’ that you can set up and control from your mobile phone. Simple commands can change the colour of your artificial lights and they can be set to change to a specific colour at specific times.

By using different forms of light in different amounts and in specific environments you would be able to capitalise on your efficiency when working, chilling, sleeping and everything in between!


orange lights effect on sleep

E.g. using blue light when you are waking up and getting to work will allow your brain to switch on and stay alert.

Then using yellow light to hardwire your attention on specific things - such as tasks, a specific area in your work area where you need to complete urgent work - can boost your brains attentiveness and keep you on your toes.

Then when you’re winding down, a cool orange or red light will start releasing Melatonin which will allow your body to begin the sleep process.

And when getting to bed, ensuring you are not around too much light so you are able to get to sleep!

The way light could help you in your day and how different forms of light can benefit you can be discussed for another Century at least! And summing it up in one long article, would never give you enough value… so there’s a content idea! (just link back to this blog and credit us for the idea please!!) 

My! The author of this article - that’s me! - loves his studies… well yes the length of studies and articles cited in this article are really long and I do have deep feelings for them... but more to the point - and according to Google - they contain the most value & information and are jam packed with value; and giving the best quality of value, alongside the best quality of Luxury Furniture, is indeed, the Cookes Way.


REM and NON-REM Sleep


Each cycle benefits the body in different ways and both are required for restoring and developing the body.

Let’s explore what each cycle is and how you can benefit!


Non REM Sleep


non rem phase of sleep

Non REM Sleep is often categorised as the deep sleep stage.

According to an article by WebMD ‘There are three phases of non-REM sleep. Each stage can last from 5 to 15 minutes. You go through all three phases before reaching REM sleep.

Stage 1: Your eyes are closed, but it's easy to wake you up. This phase may last for 5 to 10 minutes.

Stage 2: You are in light sleep. Your heart rate slows and your body temperature drops. Your body is getting ready for deep sleep.

Stages 3: This is the deep sleep stage. It's harder to rouse you during this stage, and if someone woke you up, you would feel disoriented for a few minutes.’

The article then continues to say ‘During the deep stages of NREM sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system.’


REM Sleep


The same WebMD article cited above states ‘Usually, REM sleep happens 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each of your later REM stages gets longer, and the final one may last up to an hour. Your heart rate and breathing quickens.

You can have intense dreams during REM sleep, since your brain is more active.

Babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, compared to only about 20% for adults.’


rem sleep

How you can benefit


As described above, sleep takes place through different stages and cycles; and each stage develops the brain and body in different ways.

Elite athletes control the amount of sleep they get depending on what cycle of training and development they are in, how close they are to competing/performing in their sport or if they have sustained injury.

In these highly competitive environments, a minimum amount of sleep would be pivotal in their development and how well they are able to develop in their craft… well, not entirely.

A minimum amount of sleep is required through all walks of life and is one of our bodies needs.


how rem sleep benefits you

Sleep at these elite stages of competitive sport is not pivotal in performance and development.

Or, - in other words - it’s not something that only elite athletes do to ‘stay ahead of the curve’.

It’s a foundation that is necessary for everyone to be able to develop, which can then be built upon to achieve normal, above average and elite levels.

The point we’re essentially getting at is that meeting a minimum amount of sleep that is suitable for you each night is not something special nor is it anything that should be done only at specific times in preparation for specific events or anything of the like.

It is something we should be getting every night despite what events we are preparing for; missing this baseline of sleep acquires a ‘Sleep Debt’ which is something we can discuss in a future article - this means more high value content we can supply for you!!


how to benefit usnig rem and non rem sleep

By measuring and understanding your sleep using sleep measuring devices - a lot of Mobile Phones have this feature, check your User Manual (or ask a friend if they know) to see if your device has this feature! - you can track when your in REM sleep, Non REM sleep, how you heart rate and brain activity fluctuates at different times during sleep, and much more!

Using this data and information you could understand how at different times your body induces itself in sleep, you can understand if you may disturbed through sleep cycles, whether you’re truly getting a good night’s sleep - have you ever slept a whole 10 hours and woke up exhausted! - and start cracking down on how to improve your sleep quality.

And by cycling through REM sleep and Non REM sleep you can meet your bodies demands more efficiently; as an example, if you’re catching a cold or flu, you may require more Non REM sleep to develop your body - allowing it to repair any damage and fight illness better


Bonus: Sleep Deprivation & Obesity


As we are on the topic of sleep and we want to give you as much value as we can… we want to touch upon Sleep Deprivation. This is not so much a Science of Sleep in itself, but it's a Science that is explored as a result of lack of sleep.

The highest authority article - according to Google - is this beautiful - extremely informative - study by the National Institute of Biotechnology. The study is titled ‘The Role of Sleep Duration in the Regulation of Energy Balance: Effects on Energy Intakes and Expenditure’ (Dec 2011) which is pretty much as ‘to the point’ as you could get; and taught me a lot! The study explores the effect of Sleep Deprivation on our health - and risk of Obesity

The study is about what the scientists Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D. - who led the study - found through experimentation that took place measuring the validity of literature that existed at the time around Sleep Deprivation and Obesity.


effect of sleep deprivation

The abstract reads ‘There is much epidemiological evidence supporting an association between self-reported short sleep duration and obesity. This has been the topic of several meta-analyses and systematic reviews.

1–3 These studies show that the odds of obesity are increased in those who report sleeping short, generally < 7 h/night, compared to those who report sleeping a recommended amount of time, about 7–8 h/night...  Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that there is a link between short sleep duration and obesity.’

Although Sleep Deprivation has a much greater effect on our health and wellbeing, just the fact that it increases an individual’s chances of obesity is enough to get you to bed on time; and for the right amount of time!

We have given plenty of great insights in how to ensure you get a good night’s sleep, for the right amount of time and with the best quality!


Our Sleep Specialists’ 5 Top Tips to a Good Night’s Sleep


At Cookes, we love bringing our audience value.

When you dedicate to becoming our customer - not only do we appreciate your time in visiting us - and take great pleasure in providing you our unique & unrivalled level of service - we ensure we bring you even greater value; by doing everything in our power and using our wealth of expertise to bring you the best solution to your problems.

And the only way we are able to provide a viable solution - to whatever problems you may have - is by developing in-depth knowledge of our products, services and customer’s needs

So, we interviewed our Sleep Specialists in-store and took their knowledge and expertise on this subject then compiled the information into easily digestible content… which brings us their 5 Top Tips to getting a good night’s sleep!


Our Team


luxury furniture showroom in birmingham & christchurch

Simon Houghton (Christchurch) - The manager of Cookes Furniture Ltd in Christchurch, loves to bring value to our customers by tailoring every part of our store to our customer’s needs; these needs include product, product placement in-store and availability of our experts, at all hours of the working day!

Robert Browning (Christchurch) - Robert has over 40 years retail experience and is a master in sales as well as Martial Arts. 

A karate black belt, active member of St John’s Ambulance and an avid sailor, Robert has extremely strong people skills and builds rapport with customers who seek his expertise, time and time again.

Using his knowledge of retail as well as his ability to give incredible amounts of value, Robert ensures you’re satisfied - and confident - in our service, every time you visit our showroom. 

Mike Mardell (Birmingham) - Having worked in the retail industry for over 45 years, Mike knows the furniture industry like the back of his hand. 

Extremely in tune with technology, - and having installed voice automated software through his home, -  Mike understands the value of technology and understands the sleep tech used by every Bed, Mattress and Base in our showroom; how they work, what they do and what works best for getting you a good night’s sleep.

Peter Evans (Birmingham)  - With over 45 years in the retail industry, Peter has worked in many major furniture retailer stores; and has a career history in Hong Kong! 

Peter enjoys watching documentaries - ironically on sleep! - and understands how his service and expertise will contribute to getting you the best level of product according to your needs.

Lisa Kaloudis (Birmingham) - Lisa has 20 years of retail experience working in different departments of furniture.

Using her understanding of the many different departments of our Luxury Showroom, she tailors her expertise around getting you the best for your entire home. 

Lisa loves travelling to Greece where she enjoys the Sun, the food and learning about their wonderful culture - and where she met her Husband; which is a true love story of a rekindled romance.


1. Try Before You Buy


luxury alana bedframe

‘We spend one third of our life sleeping, and majority of our performance in the day is dictated by how well we slept during the night. 

How we sleep is very important for, not only our health and wellbeing, but our performance at work, relationships and many other important parts of life. 

When we provide a customer a bed, we ensure it is tried and tested to their specific needs both mentally and physically. 

By observing how it fits into their body, we evaluate its effectiveness in fitting the contours of their body and if it truly relaxes them.

Always try before you buy and ensure you immerse yourself in experiencing a product as much as you can.’


2. Don't be Shy when Investing in Your Sleep


puccini 2000 natural tufted mattress

‘Modern consumer habits are dictated by what people see is socially acceptable and will bring social status.

A nice car is always at the top of people’s lists however we spend more time in our beds asleep than we do driving a car; and our health and wellbeing is affected directly by sleep - and not so much by what we drive.

There is a saying that goes ‘Invest when young, Prosper when old’ and it’s at the core of why we give so much importance to investing in your sleep.

The technologies that are used in our products are incredible - TEMPUR uses technology in their mattresses used by astronauts! - and only offer you a more fulfilling sleep.

Investing into getting a great night’s sleep will not only boost your productivity the next day, but it’s an investment into a better state of health and wellbeing which is priceless.

A bed is the most important purchase you will make in contributing to your body’s needs - it only makes sense to give it the greatest amount of value and consideration.’


3. Tailor to Your Needs


kaymed therma-phase synergy 2500 on legs set

‘Every customer is unique and different. 

Part of providing a solution is understanding the customer, how they interact with the product and what would suit them best

When it comes to sleep, some people’s bodies would be supported more effectively on a firm mattress that moulds around the shape of their body. 

For others, a mattress with springs may support them better.

Our best advice to tailoring what you purchase to your needs would be:

  • Find something similar to what you’re used to; or have already owned for a few years
  • Make sure to test out the Mattress as well as the Base and - while laying on the mattress - ensure you’re not able to fit your hand between your lower back and the Mattress.
  • Figure out why your old Mattress wasn’t working and ensure your new mattress fixes those issues; these could be bad material, bad manufacturing, lack of quality, wear and tear etc or even just the mattress wasn’t suited to you, your comfort, your body shape… the list is endless
  • Comfort is king; go with makes YOU comfortable and what you find relaxes your body best

The higher the price the better the overall quality of the product you are purchasing however the level of comfort each product will provide you will differ depending on what your preferences are. 

Again, don’t be shy when investing in your sleep, figure out what works for you and just go for it; you will thank yourself 10 years in the future when you’re back and neck are well looked after and your quality of sleep is so much better.’


4. 10 Year Rule


cookes collection luca bedframe

‘Most people tend to ignore this part but it's extremely important people understand this, and it’s something we educate our customers on as much as we can.

No matter the product - it’s quality, it’s price, the manufacturer etc - there is always wear and tear.

When it comes to Bedding, on average, most products tend to wear away after 10 years.

And it's not only the product that changes, our bodies change as we age, thus our needs also change.

Ensure, at the most, after 10 years, you’re looking at reinvesting in your sleep, find furniture that compliments you better than what you used previously and educate yourself on sleep technology; so you’re more informed on what is available and what work benefit you the most.’


5. Understand the Product's Value


daisy bedframe

‘The technology that is used in some of our products is incredible - and continues to improve as science and engineering evolves.

However, we find that the majority of consumers are unaware of the science that is behind the manufacturing of various items; it’s just something that isn’t really spoken about.

From the minute you walk into our showroom, our team are ready to assist you where needed.

Part of our ‘Outstanding Customer Service’ is Outstanding Product Knowledge.

Knowledge that we ensure every customer is aware of; so they understand exactly how much value a product brings them

Majority of consumers would take this as a means of understanding what you pay for, why you’re paying for it and just how much value you’re getting from each penny you pay.

However, if we’re seeing this as more of an investment than a cost, you understand why it's worth investing money into one thing instead of the other.

If we look at the example of cars, you could have two cars that are - outwardly - exactly the same,

The thing that decides which one to purchase is Science, reliability and how much you enjoy the product; in terms of driving it.

Both could look the same, ‘feel’ the same, but because one car has slightly better fuel consumption, or speeds up a little faster, it becomes more appealing to you and therefore the better purchase.

This is more or less the consumer process for any purchase; including a bed.

The average bed doesn’t come diesel injected with a twin turbo, that’s a separate market!

TEMPUR uses moulded foam which shapes around your body very gently. It secures your neck, back and shoulders creating Deep Touch Pressure effect, without making you uncomfortable; it’s technology used by Astronauts!

The difference between a purchase and an investment is understanding where your money is going, and what benefit you gain from spending it.

Ensure you understand the product you are purchasing and that its value meets your needs, gives relief to any issues you may be facing with sleep and provides you with maximum comfort; so long as this comes within your budget, you’re ensuring a long term investment to your sleep, health and wellbeing.

These are essentially our ‘Top Tips’ for any consumer who walks into our showroom; and is what we use to figure out what product would bring them the most value.

We’re giving you our winning formula so you’re able to not only take benefit from it, but to understand what we dedicate and invest into our customers!’


Conclusion


We hope you take great benefit from our insights above, we urge you to read the studies and take benefit from the hard work of Scientists in understanding something that is so important in our lives; and something a lot of us take for granted!

Please feel free to share this article with anyone you feel may benefit!


Honourable Mentions


A few honourable mentions who are not only sleep experts, but who also use their great amounts of knowledge and insights to influence how people see sleep, and where we take a lot of inspiration from!


professor matthew walker

Professor Matthew Walker. Ph.D - Born in Liverpool, England in 1973 and Author of the infamous book Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams, Matthew Walker has researched sleep with great intensity.

Director and founder of the Center for Human Sleep Science, Professor Walker has given many speeches and seminars - and made appearances on many podcasts - educating his audience on the importance of sleep; and showing us sleep in a way we could never have dreamt about


dr rangan chatterjee

Dr Rangan Chatterjee - Author of The Stress Solution and The Four Pillar Plan as well as having featured as BBC One’s Breakfast Show as their resident doctor, a regular commentator on BBC Radio and playing a large role in the show ‘Doctor in the House’ Dr Chatterjee is a world renowned sleep expert whose work has changed the lives of many of his patients - as well as the general public - using his extremely informative podcasts.


professor mark wu

Mark Wu (M.D., Ph.D) - Principal Investigator at the Wu Lab at John Hopkins University, Mark Wu and his team have provided extensive insights into many topics such as Sleep Drosphila, ‘Setting the Circadian Alarm Clock’ and the list continues! 

Professor Wu's remarkable work has provided new insights into sleep and deepened our understanding of how we fall asleep as well as what happens during our sleep.

His work has been recognised by the most credible members of the Scientific Community and the 'Wu Lab' continues to be a forerunner in the development of the new generation of Scientists as well as bringing together the greatest minds of our time


Posted by Muaaz Shah
25th October 2019

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