Tag Archives: Exercise

Wake up to birdsong!

Make the Dawn Chorus Part of Your Daily Ritual

As International Dawn Chorus Day (Sunday 6 May) approaches, maybe it’s time to change those sleeping habits and wake up earlier.  Held annually on the first Sunday in May, International Dawn Chorus Day encourages people to rise early to listen to bird song.  Dawn Chorus Day is organised by The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country a UK Registered Charity and is now a worldwide celebration of ‘Nature’s Daily Miracle’.

Advantages of waking up early

  1. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler discovered in 2010 that early risers are more proactive. They were more likely to agree with statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.”
  2. Sleep experts say that if you go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, your brain is charged and ready to work hard. You are at your efficient best and will get things done quicker and better.
  3. By waking up earlier you will have more time to add exercise into your daily routine. Adding regular moderate exercise to a daily routine means you are more likely to improve your sleeping patterns.
  4. Often late snoozers tend to skip breakfast. Dr Mark Pereira and colleagues at Harvard Medical School found that people who ate breakfast every day were a third less likely to be obese compared to those who skipped the meal.
  5. Studies have shown ‘morning people’ are often more positive, more optimistic and more likely to experience satisfaction in their lives.


How to get a good night’s sleep

If a great night’s sleep has eluded you of late,  The Sleep Council has produced the Good-Night Guide* detailing 7 practical steps to a good night’s sleep. It’s a new approach to helping problem sleepers, the idea being to build a strong association between your bed and sleep.

  1. Your bedroom – You need the right environment to get a good night’s sleep and that means a bedroom that’s pleasant, inviting and welcoming. In particular the foundation of good sleep is a comfortable bed. The right mattress can make the difference between a restorative night’s sleep and poor quality sleep resulting in tiredness and fatigue.
  2. Your lifestyle – establish a bedtime routine and maintain a regular sleep pattern. Switch off electrical equipment, dim the lights, get the right room temperature and avoid alcohol.
  3. Stress and worry – try and spend some time during the day to set aside your worries by writing things down to help clear the mind.
  4. Diet – avoid stimulants such as caffeine and cigarettes and try to get a balanced diet – avoiding sugary foods at night.
  5. Excercise – try and build some exercise into your daily routine. Exercise can help you enjoy better quality sleep and lower body temperature which also induces better sleep.
  6. Relaxation and other therapies – Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Or, relax by reading a book or listening to relaxing music.
  7. Hormonal balance – Changes in hormone levels as we age can cause sleep disturbances, and sleep disturbances can alter hormone levels, turning into a vicious cycle

Jessica Alexander of The Sleep Council says: “A bedtime ritual teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times. It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.”

Maybe the 18th century proverb: ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ has as much relevance today as it did back in the 1700s!  Or perhaps it’s a case of  ‘the early bird catching the worm‘.

What to do next

As a Sleep Council Certified Retailer our expert staff at Dalzell’s of Markethill are only to happy to advise on your bedding needs. With a huge selection of beds and mattresses in-store and online, we’re confident you’ll find the right bed for you. As a local, independent bedding retailer we value our customers, and are always willing to strike a deal. What’s more, with Free Delivery throughout our Free Delivery Zone of Northern Ireland, and Counties Dublin, Louth and Monaghan, there’s even more reason to choose Armagh Beds.com. Not sure what to do with your old bed? No problem. Dalzell’s has a Free Collection and Recycling of Your Old Bed service available to you too. So whether you’re in Belfast, Newry or Cookstown, Dalzell’s will be only too happy to deliver your new bed and mattress. Call us on T: 028 3755 1260, Email or visit in-store today for a great deal and excellent customer service.

*The Good-Night Guide is available, free of charge, from The Sleep Council in hard copy or as a downloadable resource.

Exercise Your Way to Better Sleep

Can exercise improve sleep?

We all know that a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise is good for us, but did you know that our sleep patterns are affected by the amount of physical activity we engage in?

Whilst seven to eight hours sleep may be typical, not everyone needs nor indeed sleeps for this number of hours – some need more, and others less. Sleep patterns also vary with age, with older people quite often needing less sleep than younger adults.

Adding regular moderate exercise to a daily routine for 16 weeks showed middle-aged to older people could fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier and sleep roughly 45 minutes longer. (Stanford University, February 2011)

Conversely, exercising in the morning is an excellent way to get the body awake. Whether it’s going for a run or doing some other form of exercise, this stimulates the body, which perks us up.

What’s the optimum level of exercise to help us sleep?

The latest research by The Sleep Council found that people who exercise five to six times per week are the least likely to take medication to help them sleep (12% compared to a national average of 17%), which suggests this could be the optimal amount of exercise needed to improve sleep.

Said Jessica Alexander: What’s clear is that one of the best ways to improve sleep is simply to take more exercise. For many of us, that plus a sensible, regular bedtime and a comfortable bed, are key to sleeping well.” 

Top tips to help you sleep

  1. Don’t overdo it. Wearing yourself out physically is not particularly likely to induce sleepiness. In fact it can be counter-productive and lead to wakefulness and alertness when trying to sleep.
  2. Though it’s widely believed that working out too close to bedtime can disturb sleep, there isn’t evidence that backs this argument, so it’s better to exercise in the evening than not at all.
  3. The important thing is to exercise because it makes you feel fitter and better, and if you are experiencing sleeping difficulties, the more you exercise, the more likely you are to improve your sleeping patterns.

What to do next?

At Armagh Beds.com we want to make sure you get a great night’s sleep. As a Sleep Council Retailer our expert staff will be only too happy to advise on what bed and mattress is best for you.  You can place your order and gain expert advice from our experienced team over the phone on 028 3755 1260 or even by Email. Or why not Visit in-store at Dalzells, located in Markethill, just off the A28 between Armagh and Newry and less than 45 minutes drive from Lisburn.  No time to visit, no problem!   With over 500 beds and mattresses in stock and free delivery across Northern Ireland and Counties Louth, Monaghan and Dublin, Armagh Beds.com provides a complete service. We also offer competitive rates for delivery throughout the rest of Ireland, which is free in the case of our Sleeptight and Respa divan beds.