Habits to Improve Sleep Quality & How Down Comforters Help you to Achieve Restful Sleep
When it comes to our health, too many of us tend to overlook the major role that sleep has to play in ensuring we are at the top of our game. It’s criminal really. Particularly when sleep studies have proven time and time again that high-quality sleep helps us to prevent disease and illness, shed fat, improve productivity, and has a positive impact on pretty much every mental and bodily function we have.
So maybe it’s time to shift sleep a few notches up on our priority list.
There are a number of things you can do to both prioritize and improve your sleep. Paying attention to your sleep hygiene and nighttime habits is a good place to start, but you also shouldn't overlook how the quality of your comforters, pillows, mattresses, and anything else you like to sleep on or with can play a massive role in helping you achieve good quality sleep!
How down comforters help you to achieve restful sleep
Put simply, a down comforter is a bed covering that has been stuffed with soft, fine feathers and stitched together. Cozy Down comforters are all that and so much more! Our comforters are lovingly handcrafted and put together with high-quality fabric, high cluster down, and extra strong yet smooth thread to avoid pulling and scratching which leads to leaking over time. They are warm, yet breathable, so you are less likely to wake up from overheating, and they achieve a comfort level that makes you feel like you are floating on a cloud in your sleep.
This all ties into how they contribute to good quality sleep.
Sleep latency (how fast you fall asleep once you get into bed) is an indication of sleep quality. According to research, down comforters have actually been linked to improved sleep latency due to their soft, cozy feel which almost instantly relaxes you and eases you into a peaceful sleep pretty quickly. In addition, because down comforters are so soft, they are incredibly gentle on the skin, enabling you to sink into their comfort and experience a cloud-like allure.
Another way high quality down contributes to good quality sleep is in the way it is naturally sweat-wicking, insulating, and lightweight, yet also provides efficient warmth without causing you to overheat. The down is breathable so that your perspiration evaporates at night to keep you dry, which ultimately increases the chances of experiencing a good quality sleep.
So what is good quality sleep?
Where sleep quantity measures how long we sleep, sleep quality rather looks at how well we sleep. Sleep quality takes into consideration the percentage of time spent in each stage of sleep, the percentage of time spent in REM sleep, as well as our heart rate and body temperature while asleep.
Generally, good quality sleep is defined by the following characteristics:
- Falling asleep within 30 minutes or less of going to bed
- Sleeping through the night
- Achieving the recommended number of hours for your age group
- Falling back to sleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up
- Feeling rested, restored, and energized upon waking
Why do we need better quality sleep?
Our sleep quality is more important than diet and exercise combined.
This may seem like a bold statement, but plenty of studies and scientific research supports just how crucial this often neglected component of every person's overall health and well-being is.
Sleep helps the body to repair, regenerate, and recover. Some research shows how better sleep quality can even help the body fight off infection. In addition, good sleep is linked to weight loss, positive changes in body composition as well as better cognitive and athletic performance. It really has an impact on a lot of important aspects of our everyday functioning.
There are plenty of reasons why good quality sleep is essential, but in summary, it enables our bodies to repair better and be fit and ready for another day.
5 other ways to help you achieve better quality sleep
While we fully believe in the power of our down comforters and other Cozy Down products to aid in restful sleep, we are certainly aware that high-quality bedding is not the only way to achieve optimal sleep.
Most people who struggle with sleep throw out the blanket statement (yes, pun intended): I am just not a good sleeper.
But what if they could be?
We have looked into a number of tried and tested tricks, as well as morning and evening routines that you can introduce into your daily habits to help you achieve more restful sleep, and, ultimately, achieve an all-round healthier and happier life. Yes, they are connected!
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine explored how eating late affects sleep patterns, increases cortisol, and reduces sleep quality. The study found that people who ate their last meal closer to bedtime ended up spending less time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which had a negative impact on their memory and learning. They were also reported to have higher sleep latency, meaning it took them longer to fall into notable stages of sleep.
Tip: Make sure that your last meal is well before you plan on going to bed. Research points towards not ingesting any calories from food or drinks after 8 pm.
Before you look for the magic supplement to cure your unsatisfying sleep, consider the smartphone, tablet or computer you're using at night. It could be the culprit! Getting into deep and satisfying sleep is mostly about light and melatonin. The light from our screens emits an artificial blue light that sends the incorrect message to our brains, via our optic nerve, when it is time to go to sleep. The production of melatonin is then halted, and our confused brains then send signals to wake us up.
Tip: Avoid viewing bright, artificial light two hours before you go to bed or even just between the hours of 10 pm - 4 am. It is a game-changer!
A remarkable study published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience demonstrated that exposure to natural sunlight during the early part of the day helps to reduce cortisol levels at night. In the study, Dr. Andrew Huberman recommends viewing morning sunlight, ideally within 30 minutes, but certainly within 60 minutes after waking up. It’s a simple, no-cost strategy to improve your sleep, metabolism, and overall well-being.
Tip: Get outside, without sunglasses, for 10 minutes on a sunny day and 20-30 minutes on an overcast day.
It really is one of life’s simple pleasures to enjoy a glass of wine or two with an evening meal or to grab a crispy beer with a friend at the end of a long workday. But there is consistent research that points to just how much alcohol messes with your sleep quality. Studies have shown that those who drink large amounts of alcohol before bedtime are prone to delayed sleep onset, increased sleep disruptions, and decreased sleep quality.
Tip: If you are going to be drinking, enjoy your last alcoholic beverage well before bedtime, and thereafter, switch to non-alcoholic drinks, or better yet, water!
A study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine found that having a cup of coffee, or even caffeinated tea too close to bedtime can be terrible for your sleep quality. Caffeine notably reduces the time of slow-wave sleep, which is the stage of deep, restful sleep that leaves us feeling refreshed and alert in the morning. Caffeine-interrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation the following day, which is characterized by fatigue and problems with learning, memory, problem-solving, and emotion regulation.
Tip: The timing at which you consume caffeine can literally make or break your health… and your sleep quality.
Evening routines that enhance sleep and supercharge your brain
Many experts all over the world have been pushing this idea of developing a strong morning routine to set you up for the day. That’s all well and good, but success isn’t really about what you do in the morning, it’s mostly about what you do the night before.
We are certainly not knocking the ‘Miracle Morning’ formula - every bit counts - but rather pointing to the fact that to have a great morning, you need to have a great sleep, which essentially requires a routine to bring about the high quality of sleep we are all after.
According to sleep expert Shawn Stevenson, having a consistent nighttime routine eliminates the uncertainty surrounding sleep and contributes to the drastic improvement in the quality of sleep.
We have provided a summary of what Shawn considers to be an effective evening routine ritual below:
Have a set evening routine and create habits that function as activation triggers to bring about sleep. The optimal evening routine starts an hour before you go to bed:
- Shut off all devices or consider using blue light blockers. Blue light suppresses melatonin and shifts circadian rhythms out. Rather than spending time on your device, fill that time with something of greater value for example reading a book, talking to your partner, having sex, listening to a podcast or listening to relaxing music.
- Body work. Start with a basic massage to release endorphins in order to release stress from your body, or even try the partner massage. A hot bath, 90 minutes before bed, will also improve sleep quality.
- Journaling or scripting your day for tomorrow. Your brain is always looking to solve problems or patterns, and your unconscious mind will help you to solve problems while you sleep - provided you have gotten them down on paper the night before.
- Set up your sleep sanctuary. Shut out all the artificial light in the bedroom and make sure the room temperature is optimal for sleep. We sleep much better when the room temperature is slightly cooler, as our body temperature rises naturally when we sleep.
- Brush your teeth, wash your face, and supplement with magnesium. The typical things you do before bed, such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, or reading a book, are cues that trigger your body to also prepare for sleep. Another helpful trick is supplementing with Magnesium! Magnesium (ideally applied topically) is a critical compound we can use to assist us with sleep.
- Breathing exercises and meditation. Meditation can help to improve your sleep quality, and in fact, it has been used as a treatment for insomnia.
- Then get into bed and let go.
Your evening routine really matters. It gives every single cell in your body the cue to shut down and consistency is certainly key to help solidify your evening ritual. Having a strong and consistent nighttime routine will set you up for success for the next day.
But, let’s not forget about the power of good quality Down!
All these tips and tricks have been proven and backed by a multitude of studies to be helpful for your sleep and overall health. But, as we touched on in the beginning, we really cannot neglect the importance of the very vessel upon which we rest our tired bodies and minds.
At Cozy Down, we recognize that high quality down requires paying attention to four key factors: Fill power, thread count, cleanliness, and stitch quality.
- Fill Power.Fill power measures the amount of cubic inch space taken up by an ounce of down. Higher numbers reflect the size of the down cluster. Larger clusters “trap” more air resulting in fewer ounces needed to produce the lightest fluffiest down comforter!
- Thread Count.Thread count measures the number of threads per square inch. Finer threads result in higher thread counts. The weave is tighter making the fabric more down proof (to avoid leakage). The lightweight of finer threads allows for greater down loft (fluffiness) and breathability of the comforter in order to maintain an even temperature.
Cleanliness. Many consumers who believe they are allergic to down are really just allergic to the dust from down that is not washed properly. Because down is an animal by-product, it must be washed several times before use.