When Next invited me and a few other bloggers based in the South West a chance to view their new store in Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, I jumped at that chance. I must confess, primarily because it would be a chance to catch up with some blogging pals over a coffee (the new store has a Costa!) and lunch (yes, we were treated to lunch at Carluccio's). Coffee and food always attracts a blogger's interest!
Whilst many locations offer an "all in one" experience, the new store at Cribb's Causeway is Next's first standalone home and garden store. Another first at this site is the Next Bedshop! I didn't even know that Next did beds and mattresses, much less have a store you can visit to try them.
After a chat with the P.R team and a catch up with Emily from Tealady Mumbles over a mocha (for me) and a cup of tea (for Emily, naturally) we were led to Next's first Bedshop where we were given some fantastic tips to aid a good night's sleep courtesy of Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Expert. Now, I will be honest, I can pretty much sleep when I want to and am known for napping during the day, not necessarily because I am tired but if I am bored, so I wasn't too sure what to expect from it. The only real problem I have, apart from the occasional bout of insomnia or Harry waking at times, is getting comfortable with my back and I really did not think that a sleep expert would have anything useful to say. After all, they aren't surgeons!
However, I was pleasantly surprised. It turns out that there pillows can be broken? Our pillows need to be replaced more often than we realise. Simply do the "trainer test" to establish if your pillows need replacing. Fold your pillow in half and place a trainer on it. If the trainer springs off the pillow, it is still in good condition. If, however, it stays on and keeps your pillow folded, you need think about replacing them. I knew immediately what I would be purchasing later on! It's also worth noting that if you are a side-sleeper, you may need an extra pillow, folded in half, for your top leg to rest on, particularly if you have an hourglass shape.
The quality of sleep you get is far more important than the amount and can affect your weight. If you don't get a good night's sleep you are far less likely to eat healthy and you have less energy to be active. You can help yourself to get a better night's sleep by winding down properly, much like children sleep better with a wind down routine, so it does make sense that we need to wind down as adults. Resist the temptation to be at the computer or on your phone (Sammy did mention she realised she was talking to a group of bloggers and social media addicts!) or watch TV. Particularly try to avoid the news and allow yourself some time to have that relaxing bath. Not only will the lack of screen time help your body to adjust to bed time, the hit of cold air from getting out of a warm will also help as it is best to sleep in a cool room, in as little clothing as possible (albeit wearing bed socks, an attractive proposition I'm sure you will agree).
Sammy Margo from The Good Sleep guide also advises to get the biggest bed that you can along with having a separate duvet from your partner if possible. If you are a side sleeper and can easily fit your whole hand under your side, your mattress is too soft, if you struggle then it is too hard. If replacing your mattress is not within your budget (certainly isn't within ours since we only got our bed last August) then mattress toppers are a great alternative.
It was a really interesting event and the Next PR team and Sammy Margo were really friendly and approachable. As a direct result of the event, I have taken some of Sammy's advice (including purchasing new pillows) and I am getting better sleep.
Disclosure: I was invited to the new Next Home and Garden store, given a goody bag and a voucher to spend as well as lunch at Carrlicicous. All thoughts and opinions are my own.