Sleep, Memory and How To Sleep Better With TEMPUR®

AD I’m not at my best in the mornings. My day normally starts one of two ways: on school mornings I am woken by my alarm and have to persuade my reluctant children to get up, at the weekends my children bounce out of bed at the crack of dawn. Why does it always happen that way round? I then stumble downstairs and head for the kettle to get my first cup of coffee as quickly as possible. The other morning I put instant coffee in my cafetière; I’m not at my brightest when I’m tired. The list of everyday things I have forgotten after a bad night’s sleep is long: from forgetting to take my daughters’ coats out with us, to arriving at school to collect them at the wrong time.

me in bed on a grey pillow with a grey duvet and in pink silk pjs
A good night's sleep can make a big difference

Being tired is my normal state. It’s ok, I can function like this, but when my sleep is affected and I get even less than normal I really struggle. I’ve never known tiredness quite like when I had a newborn. Night after night of disturbed sleep was hard, but luckily no one expects too much from you when you have a small baby. You get praise just for leaving the house. When your children are older though expectations change. People expect you to be on top of everything, but what if you aren’t?

Recently I have struggled to get enough sleep due to anxiety. During lockdown there were so many things I was worried about: my partner finding a new job as he lost his just as the pandemic hit the UK, the risk of losing people I loved, if we could buy the foods we needed in the shops and the stress of homeschooling three children with very different needs. It was a difficult time and yet my memory of that time is blurry because I was so tired.

The Impact of Tiredness 

Tiredness has a huge affect on day to day life. Common signs of not sleeping enough are:

  • finding it difficult to concentrate
  • problems with memory
  • being short tempered or irritable
  • having a low mood or feeling weepy
  • becoming hyperactive

I really notice my brain slowing down when I am tired; it just doesn’t work properly. I can walk into a room and forget why I’m there. I put food in the oven, look at the time, then forget what it was so I have no idea how long to cook the food for. I read messages then get distracted and remember weeks later that I still need to reply. 

Tiredness affects my memory in an even more basic way too: I struggle to remember words.  Conversations with my family often involve the word “thingy” and my use of this versatile words increases the more tired I am. My family aren’t surprised if I asked them to “pass me the thingy” and they are quite good at the guessing game which invariably follows, but it can be frustrating.

There are mornings I look at my sleep tracker and it tells me I’ve had a good night due to the total number of hours slept, but I know the sleep quality has been awful. When we sleep we go through multiple sleep cycles, each of which are made up of different stages. We go through periods of deeper restorative sleep, REM and lighter sleep when we are easily woken. To have good quality sleep we need to spend enough time in each sleep stage and we also need to go from one sleep cycle to the next without becoming too disturbed as this can lead to waking up fully and being unable to get back to sleep. 

I try and mask the affects of tiredness with caffeine and sugar, but I know that these are no substitute for the real thing. I need to start getting more high quality sleep, but how can I do this?

Testing out the TEMPUR memory foam pillow
Testing out the TEMPUR® Comfort Pillow Original

Easy Ways To Get A Better Night’s Sleep

There are lots of ways to try to improve sleep:

Plan for a good night’s sleep. Sleeping well isn’t just about what happens when your head hits the pillow, it’s about what you do in the day too. It can help to make sure you are active during the day, but for an hour or two before you want to sleep you should allow yourself to relax, avoid work, exercise or anything which might overstimulate you. You might find you benefit from avoiding screens before bed too as the light they emit makes your brain think it’s day time. 

Food and drink. It can be a difficult balance to make sure you don’t eat or drink too much close to bedtime, but to have enough so you aren’t disturbed by thirst or hunger when you want to be asleep. If you have trouble sleeping you might want to try cutting out alcohol and either avoiding caffeine completely or drinking it in the mornings only. Foods containing high levels of Tryptophan may support the hormones which regulate sleep so if you need a snack close to bedtime it is worth trying wholegrain toast with nut butter or a glass of milk.

Review your sleeping environment. If you feel physically comfortable you are more likely to sleep well. We are all different, but consider the temperature of your room, if it is dark enough and whether you are being disturbed by noises or by it being too quiet. White noise can have muffle noises that might otherwise disturb you.

Get the right bedding. Your mattress, pillow and duvet have a big impact on how comfortable you are at night and the quality of your sleep. TEMPUR®, creator of the “original memory foam" make mattresses and pillows that evenly distribute weight and pressure. This not only makes sure that your body is ergonomically supported and more comfortable (so less tossing and turning), but the mattress material absorbs motion so you are less likely to be disturbed by your partner. The TEMPUR® mattresses and pillow helps you to sleep better, longer and deeper, they have even been recognised by NASA as improving quality of life!

pushing on the memory foam of a pillow with m hand wearing PJs
The TEMPUR® pillows come in different feels with soft, medium or firm 

The corner of a TEMPUR® comfort pillow showing the pattern and label
TEMPUR® pillows distribute weight and pressure to provide support and comfort

TEMPUR® Pillow Review

I have heard about how good TEMPUR® mattresses are, but how much difference can a pillow make? A lot apparently. Having a properly supportive pillow is key to keeping your head and neck in the optimum position. TEMPUR® have 8 different pillows to choose from including a specially shaped pillow for people who like to sleep on their front and 3 different size pillows for back and side sleepers. If you prefer a more traditional rectangular pillow then they have you covered with 3 different feels (soft, medium and hard), each filled with the TEMPUR® micro-cushions for support. 

TEMPUR® are so confident in their pillows that they come with a 3 year guarantee and a 30 day return period, but how did I find it?

The TEMPUR® comfort pillow original in packaging on a bed
I received a TEMPUR® Comfort Pillow Original

close up of the side of the TEMPUR® pillow showing the padded cover and zip
The padded cover on the pillow can be removed and washed

I received the TEMPUR® Comfort Pillow Original which has a medium firmness feel. This is an excellent all rounder pillow which is good for people like me who sleep on their front, back and sides at different points throughout the night. If you are used to a springy or fluffy pillow then the firmer feel of the TEMPUR® micro-cushions takes some getting used to, but I now much prefer the more supportive feel.

Unlike some of the other TEMPUR® pillows the Comfort fits well in a standard size pillowcase.  The pillow comes with a padded cover which provides some protection to the memory foam and can be removed and washed. You can buy replacement covers as well as a protective cover to extend the life of the pillow. This pillow is a great investment for a good night’s sleep.

This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts are my own.


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