It’s a problem as old as time and literally millions of people suffer from it…poor sleep.
But a new formula gives essential elements that when combined make for a perfect night’s sleep.
The formula has been developed by boffins at The Fine Bedding Company alongside sleep expert and author Dr Penny Lewis, who runs the sleep lab at The University of Manchester.
In particular it shows what’s needed to help people get to sleep quicker and stay asleep for longer.
Sleep Quality* = [(T x Bt) + C] / [Ha + S + L + (H x D)]**
*Where 2 is a great night’s sleep, 1 is average and 0 is tossing and turning all night like the princess with the pea.
**This will vary from person to person. To keep the equation simple, some things that can contribute to sleep quality, such as bedroom psychology, have been left out.
T= Tiredness: hours since your last overnight sleep – hours napping + hours of physical exercise
Bt=Bed time: actual bed time that night / normal bed time
C=Comfort: calculated as C = pillow + bedding + mattress – 9, where pillow, bedding, and mattress are self rated from 1 (very uncomfortable) to 5 (very comfortable)***
Ha=Average hours awake: this is how long you spend awake on an average day. For most people it will be about 16 hours.
S = Sound: any sounds except white noise or soothing sounds you’ve found to lull you to sleep. Use a scale of 1(very soft sounds) to 5 (very loud irregular disturbing sounds).
L = Light: any light in the room, including illuminated clocks, natural lights and LEDs (where 0.1 is very soft light and 2 is very bright blue spectrum light).
H = Heat: degrees different from 16-17 degrees Celsius / 10
D = Duvet appropriateness for room temperature: a good duvet can help us to maintain a comfortable body temperature while we sleep even if the room is a bit too warm or too cold. If it is highly breathable e.g. with natural or technically innovative synthetic fill, it can also prevent moisture from accumulating. Duvet appropriateness can be determined by a self-rating from 0 (compensates perfectly for room temperature) to 3 (does not compensate well and leaves you far too hot or too cold).
Translated for the average person a great night’s sleep can be achieved by:
Keeping a regular schedule, so your go to bed time and get up time are about the same every day – thus trying to ensure that this means that you are awake on average 16 hours during the day. Avoid napping, and get plenty of exercise, as this will reduce your tiredness levels.
Other key variables are heat, sound and light – make sure your room is cool (about 16-17 degrees Celsius) and that your duvet is breathable to keep your body at the right temperature without allowing moisture to accumulate. Keep the room as dark, and quiet as possible throughout the night. And finally, comfort is very important to sleep quality – make sure all your bedding is comfy, with pillows, duvets and mattress to suit your individual needs. This could include luxurious options such as luxury duvets, mattress’s and mattress toppers and a variety of different pillows fillings such as goose feather.
Emma Heald from The Fine Bedding Company said:
“Over the years our company has tried hundreds of different formulations for the perfect night’s sleep, from the comfort factor and support levels of pillows to the temperature of the room versus the breath ability of duvets designed to help to regulate a person’s temperature. “
“The elements in the equation are ones that have the greatest influence on our sleep and that help us not only to get to sleep quicker/stay asleep for longer, but help us achieve quality sleep which is key. Some of the research showed that even white sheets can help aid sleep, perhaps by adding a sense of calm to the environment.”
Heald added:”It’s important to ensure that everyone has the right tools in place to aid sleep, especially if you’ve experienced broken sleep for a long period of time. Changing a few small things can have a big impact – it can be something as simple as the room temperature, the correct duvet to suit your body temperature, or replacing natural fill pillows for non-allergenic ones. Whatever the issue it’s a good idea to look at the equation and make sure the simple steps are considered, and where necessary changed, for a great night’s sleep to follow.”
Summing up the activity, Dr Lewis said:
‘It is always fun to try and boil down a very complicated process into something really simple, and that is what we have attempted with this equation. We wanted to keep things easy, but sleep is complex and there are lots of factors that we haven’t included, for instance the psychology of how you feel about the room you sleep in. Also, the extent to which the things we have put in influence sleep varies hugely from person to person, so this equation really should be viewed as a guide that may make people think about some simple ways they might be able to improve their sleep.”