Sleeping separately – the Sleep Geek shares his views

Today, I’m treating you to an article written by James Wilson – the Sleep Geek – and founder of We Love Sleep, which was published earlier this month in Verita Magazine. Here he offers his thoughts on the topic of couples sleeping separately:

“I am often asked for my views on the best option for couples: to sleep side by side or to have separate beds or even separate rooms. My answer is always the same: you should do whatever helps you to sleep better.

In my experience, the main reason couples consider sleeping apart is due to one or both partners doing something that disturbs the other’s sleep. This could be snoring, hogging the duvet, sleep talking, wriggling and fidgeting, rolling towards your bed-mate or taking up too much bed space (some people sleep in a starfish shape, for example, which can leave little space for their partner to sleep comfortably!).

Sleep habits such as these can have a detrimental impact on relationships. The loss of sleep, for both partners, can cause frustration, stress, resentment and loss of intimacy. In such situations, it can sometimes feel that the only solution (to ensure good sleep and improve the relationship) is to sleep apart from your loved one, either in separate beds or bedrooms.

It is this blinkered line of thinking that is often repeated in the mainstream media and reinforced by advice from the Sleep Council (be aware that, despite its name, the Sleep Council’s main aim is to encourage you to buy more mattresses!).

Whilst sleeping separately might work for some couples, I do have some issues with this advice, not least the practical considerations. There is a presumption that our bedrooms are large enough to accommodate two beds and that we all have spare bedrooms to allow each partner to sleep comfortably in separate rooms. For many people, that’s just not the case.

Also, in my experience, couples want to sleep together, where possible, and only consider sleeping apart as a last resort. In fact, some people find it very difficult to sleep without their partner, because they feel less secure. I can identify with this since, when my girlfriend is away, I sleep lighter and my sleep is broken as I wake at any little sound. Feeling secure and relaxed is very important for a good quality night’s sleep. By sleeping separately, you could end up solving one problem but creating another. Sleeping together can also be important for maintaining a connection with your partner, and so sleeping apart can actually further damage your relationship.

My preferred approach is to focus on dealing with the key issue – the sleeping problem or habit that is creating the problem.

Below are some of [my] top tips to help you overcome the common problems that can make sleeping together a chore:

• Snoring – Of all the sleep problems I deal with, snoring has by far the most detrimental impact on relationships but can often be alleviated simply by changing your sleeping position (research indicates that over 60% of snorers will stop snoring or snore less when sleeping on their sides). While sleeping on your side sounds simple enough, the challenge is maintaining that sleeping position on your own once you fall asleep, but there are products available which help with this.

• Duvet hogging – If you’re unlucky enough to sleep with a duvet-stealer, simply invest in separate duvets. If you each have you own duvet, then your partner can’t pinch it from you!

• Restless sleeping (wriggling, fidgeting, tossing and turning) – Often those who suffer from restless sleep do so because they aren’t relaxed when they go to bed. Taking time to relax and unwind before bed is important for good quality sleep – try taking a bath or shower, reading a book or Yogic breathing techniques to help you prepare for sleep.

• Strange sleep positions – If your partner takes up too much space in the bed, buying a bigger bed and mattress can help. Did you know that a standard double bed only gives each partner 68cm width space in bed, whereas a cot bed gives a toddler 70cm? By having a bigger bed and mattress you and your partner are less likely to clash in the night and more likely to enjoy deep uninterrupted sleep. If this is not feasible, changing your sleeping position to side sleeping will help to keep you sleeping on your own side of the bed and will improve your sleeping posture too.

So, for any couples out there who are considering sleeping apart because of unwelcome sleeping habits, my advice is this: Sleeping separately is not the only option and can sometimes do more harm than good! Why not solve the root of the problem instead, and restore harmony to the bedroom and your relationship?”

Thanks James! For two more views on this interesting issue, check out this article in the Guardian newspaper: “Sleep apart, stay together”.

What do you think? Do you prefer to sleep alone or with your other half by your side?

Amy x


South America here I come!

I’m very excited! Tomorrow I’m jetting off to Sao Paulo with my other half for a two week holiday in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Even more exciting than that: the fun begins with a friend’s fabulous (I’m hoping!) wedding in Sao Paulo!

With the church ceremony taking place at 8:30pm – yes, you read that right! – and the reception at a club, I’m anticipating that it’s going to be a late one! Not that I mind – but of course I want to ensure that I stay awake and lively for the duration. After all, it’s not every day that I get to go to a Brazilian wedding!

The trouble is that 8:30pm in Sao Paulo is actually 12:30am in the UK. And my usual bedtime is normally around 10pm! Yikes! I need to plan my time well to make sure that I’m on top form for the big day! My plan is as follows:

  • Today: I’m planning on eating my evening meal later and going to bed a couple of hours later, to make them closer to eating / sleeping times in Sao Paulo.
  • Tomorrow (Thursday): A lie-in! I’ll be getting up later, so it’ll be easier to go to sleep later tomorrow evening. My flight leaves at 9:50pm, so I’ll watch at least one film on the plane before nodding off. I’ll then try to sleep for the remainder of the flight.
  • Friday: Land at 5:20am Sao Paulo time. We have a pre-wedding dinner that evening so this should keep me awake later and help my body to adjust to the new local time.
  • Saturday: The big day! Enjoy a lie-in and spend the day beautifying myself so I’m feeling great for the big paaaarrty!

Simple, right?

The really tricky bit will be getting a good night’s sleep on the plane since we all know that sitting up, with nowhere to rest your head, and no room to stretch out, is hardly an ideal sleeping position. I’ll certainly be following the Sleep Geek’s top travel tips, which really helped on my last overnight flight to Dubai. I am also lucky enough to be testing this travel pillow, kindly sent to me by the Sleep Geek for my 11 and a half hour flight:

The manufacturer says that this travel pillow encourages sleep in the most natural, comfortable position and that the L-shaped design minimises neck ache. Sounds pretty good!

I’ll be blogging my review on my return, so watch this space.

Amy x

Don’t forget! Clocks go forward on 27 March 2011

This weekend it’s time to “spring forward” into British Summer Time again. Whilst lighter summer evenings are something I’ve been looking forward to for a while, unfortunately it means losing an hour this Saturday night/Sunday morning. For many, this means an hour’s less sleep.

Changing the clocks is always a controversial issue. For a start, we tend to feel sluggish for a day or so after the change and resetting the time on everything from your cooker to your car is an inconvenience. But, according to one BBC news article from March 2006, the consequences of the clocks moving forward are more significant: there is an increase in road traffic accidents for a few days after the time change and the stock market slumps. Website www.goodtoknow.co.uk also cites an increase in the number of heart attacks and a higher chance of picking up bugs as being due to the change in the clocks. To read both thought-provoking articles, click here and here.

The controversy surrounding changing the clocks has sparked endless discussions and debates, and most recently the proposal of a “double summertime” here in the UK. This would mean the clocks moving forward by an hour from GMT in the winter (maintaining British Summer Time) and a further hour in the summer (applying a “double summertime”), to bring the UK’s clocks in line with Europe. The reasoning behind the proposal is that it would improve tourism to the UK. Despite widespread reports that the double summertime change would be included in the government’s tourism strategy this March, it is still being considered. To read about the pros and cons in a BBC news article from last month, click here.

Whatever your thoughts are on the matter, the clocks will go forward this weekend and you’ll be forced to adapt whether you like it or not. But there are things you can do to adjust more quickly – the key is to ensure that the lost hour doesn’t mean an hour’s less sleep. Here are the Sleep Geek’s simple tips:

  1. Reset your clocks on Saturday morning, then adjust your mealtimes and bedtime to the new time.
  2. Get up on Sunday at your normal time, based on the new time.
  3. On Sunday, expose yourself to bright light to help your body adjust its internal clock to the new time.
  4. Dehydration can make you feel worse, so drink plenty of water to keep your fluid levels up.

Let me know how you get on. Happy weekend everyone x

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow”

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow” ~ Charlotte Brontë

I don’t think I was alone in feeling a tad panicky in the run up to Christmas. As I mentioned in my last post, my other half and I hosted Christmas for the first time. Whilst a lot of fun, the preparations – the decorations, the present-buying, the wrapping, the cooking, not to mention the last-minute cleaning – were overwhelming at times. I had lists and lists of lists and my Ocado order (booked months in advance) was updated on an almost daily basis with an extra pint of milk or an extra tin of biscuits, just in case….Of course there was far too much food (we’re still working our way through the chocolate biscuits) and a great time was had by all, but I’m sure I’ll be fretting again when December rolls around!

Weighed down by my festive stresses, I didn’t get around to writing about the link between worry and sleep disruption, as I’d intended. But, as they say, better late than never….

Whether it’s agonising about cooking your Christmas dinner, pondering what to buy your best mate for Christmas, or bigger worries concerning your career or finances, anxiety has a big impact on the quantity and quality of our sleep:

  • The Sun newspaper reported on 16 December 2010 that sleep problems are more common during the festive season because people worry about buying presents, seeing relatives and Christmas finances. Read the full article by clicking here.
  • A 2010 study by Slumberland showed that nearly three-quarters of British workers are struggling to get a full night’s sleep because of work worries. In a survey of 3,000 adults, 69% said that work problems make it difficult to sleep. And even when we do drop off to sleep, the survey revealed that one in three dreams about work at least twice a week. The survey also showed that 39% wake up at least once during the night fretting about their careers. To read more, click here.
  • On 5 October 2010, the Mirror newspaper reported that adults lose on average 68 minutes’ sleep a night worrying about money, according to a study commission by Boots and the Tony Ferguson Weightloss Programme.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

And it’s not only us mere mortals who are kept awake at night fretting; A-listers are suffering too. In October last year it was reported that Rihanna struggles to sleep because she’s constantly thinking about her work.

Despite my pre-Christmas anxieties, I found ways to wind down and sleep in the run up to Christmas. Here’s some ideas that work for me, give them a go when you’re feeling stressed:

  • If you find yourself dwelling on worries when you go to bed, try writing them down before you hit sack. This exercise helps to prevent problems from keeping my mind active at night when I should be sleeping.
  • If you’re prone to waking in the night with worries on your mind, keep a notepad and pen by your bed – then if you do wake in the night with a problem on your mind, you can write it down and go back to sleep.
  • Try to keep your bedroom tidy and clutter-free. Piles of paperwork and unwashed clothes aren’t conducive to a restful night’s sleep and can add to your anxiety.
  • Remove your clock, alarm clock or mobile phone from sight – clock-watching during the night will only remind you that you’re awake and increase your anxiety.
  • Don’t forget to follow your usual, relaxing, bedtime routine – or if you don’t already have one, create one. What you do in the final moments of your day can really help to prepare you for sleep. For me, this means spending the last few minutes of every day – sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes half an hour – in bed with a light novel or magazine (nothing too engaging or stimulating otherwise I’ll never put it down!) whilst listening to the gentle, soothing sounds of Classic FM.
  • Breathing exercises in bed can help to induce sleep when you’re feeling stressed. The NightWave Sleep Assistant guides you in a session of deep breathing whilst you lay comfortably in bed (read my review of this product – COMING SOON).

Until next time, sleep well! x

Product review: Lumie Bodyclock Classic

Welcome to my fourth product review. Every few weeks I will be testing and reviewing a sleep-related product. This time it is the Lumie Bodyclock Classic daylight alarm clock.

The Bodyclock Classic - not pretty but pretty good at getting me out of bed!

The last couple of months have been full of activity with the opening of We Love Sleep’s new Sleep Solutions Centre in Sheffield, generating lots of interest (check out this brilliant piece in the Yorkshire Post newspaper – “Silent night – the art of a good night’s sleep”), and keeping me busy. But, I’m back with you, and bursting to tell you about a product that could have you bouncing out of bed, even on dark winter mornings.

If you’re anything like me, getting up in the dark – particularly when it’s cold and miserable outside – is a struggle. My new rural location means that all I see is inky black when my alarm jolts me out of sleep (there are no street lamps out here in the sticks!). Then it takes me at least an hour after rolling out of bed to shake off my morning grogginess and grumpiness. So, when I was given an opportunity to test one of Lumie’s daylight alarm clocks, I jumped at the chance.

There are four daylight alarm clocks within the range, varying in price from £58 for the basic model (the Bodyclock Starter), up to £145 for the top-of-the-range model (the Bodyclock Elite). I tested one of the mid-range models, the Bodyclock Classic, priced £78. The other mid-range option is the Bodyclock Advanced, priced at £98.

All four alarm clocks offer the same unique feature – they wake you by emitting a powerful light that gently eases you from sleep. Simply set the alarm for the time you want to wake up and the lamp will gradually illuminate prior to that time. The idea is that as the light gets brighter, your body is fooled into believing that it’s sunrise and accordingly reduces production of sleep hormones like melatonin and kick-starts levels of those that help you get up and go like cortisol. So, in simple terms, you’ll find it easier to get up.

The alarm clocks use a special daylight bulb knows as a pure light full spectrum bulb, which emits a whiter light than conventional light bulbs to mimic natural sunlight. It can also help Seasonal Affective Disorder and winter blues sufferers cope with dark winter mornings.

The light is incredibly bright. But despite this I wasn’t certain that it would wake me from my slumber – I’m a very deep sleeper, you see, and have been known to sleep through the most unbearable alarms, much to my other half’s annoyance. Lumie have thoughtfully provided a back-up beeper on their daylight alarm clocks, though, so if you’re not roused after the “sunrise” has reached its maximum brighness, this isn’t a problem. And, unlike some conventional alarms, the sound isn’t jarring – it’s more of a gentle bleeping sound.

My other half and I have been testing the Bodyclock Classic for the last eight mornings and we’ve had some of the easiest wake-ups in a long time. After only night two, my other half requisitioned it to his side of the bed on the grounds that he gets up five minutes sooner than me, so I have extra time to come round before getting out of bed. Hmmm.

Perhaps because of this, on most mornings the light hasn’t been enough on its own to wake me up. However, when the beeper does sound I wake easily – there’s no nasty shock that conventional alarms give you – and I feel more alert and refreshed on waking than usual. My other half, meanwhile, enjoys the full benefit of waking naturally with the light and says, simply: “it’s so much nicer than waking up feeling like you’ve been slapped around the face!”

All four daylight alarm clocks also feature a sunset function. The light gradually fades to darkness, helping you to wind down and drift off to sleep. There’s also the option to use the alarm clocks as a simple bedside lamp or reading light too.

The Bodyclock Classic also has an AM/ FM radio function – although due to my rural location this couldn’t actually pick up any stations! For what is otherwise an innovative piece of kit, I’m surprised that it’s lacking more advanced technology. There’s no DAB digital radio, for example, and, unlike the two more advanced alarm clocks in the range that have the benefit of a digital display, the Bodyclock Classic has a clunky manual clock and awkward buttons. It seems strange for such an ingenious product to be so old-fashioned technologically. But, perhaps if that’s an issue for you, you pay up for one of the more advanced models, where you can also get an SD card reader to play your MP3, white noise setting, security light and various sounds to help you fall asleep and wake up, amongst other things.

My other complaint is the look of the product. It lacks style and I imagine that some people might be put off by this.

However, ultimately, this is an inspired product that eases the struggle of getting up in the dark, and helps you to wake up feeling more refreshed, alert and ready to get on with your day.

All four Lumie daylight alarm clocks, including the Bodyclock Classic, are available from We Love Sleep.

Does caffeine disrupt sleep?

Yesterday the trial began for a Kentucky man, Woody Smith, accused of strangling his wife with an extension cord in May last year. It was reported yesterday that Mr Smith’s lawyer planned to argue* that he killed his wife as a result of insanity brought on by lack of sleep and excessive caffeine consumption. According to reports, Mr Smith was worried his wife would leave him and was taking large amounts of caffeine pills and caffeinated drinks to keep himself awake…..

Sorry for the gloomy opening, but it is rather an intriguing story, and one that highlights the often talked about relationship between caffeine consumption and sleep.

Well, this is one experiment I don’t need to carry out. I already know the results.

Save for herbal and fruit teas every now and then, I’m not a tea-drinker. For the most part, I’m not a coffee-drinker either, although every so often a skinny vanilla latte is an enjoyable treat. I’m not so virtuous, though. I am verging on being a Diet Coke addict.

I do have to be very careful with my Diet Coke habit though. If I drink more than one can of Diet Coke a day, I turn into a quivering wreck. I especially need to be careful with my timing. One can of Diet Coke in the early afternoon is no problem, but if I dare to drink one in the evening, I know I’m going to be punished when I try to go to sleep.

Caffeine – found in tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and some medications – is a central nervous system stimulant used to promote wakefulness. Every day it is consumed by millions of people to help them wake up and ward off drowsiness in the morning and stay alert during the day.

Unsurprisingly (to me) studies have demonstrated that caffeine consumption can have a disruptive effect on sleep – by making it harder to nod off, reducing the amount of deep sleep you enjoy and reducing sleep duration overall. It is well known that the effects of caffeine can persist for several hours and the general rule of thumb is to avoid consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bed.

Having said all this, my other half can spend the day drinking cup after cup of tea, and down a double espresso after dinner, without suffering any (obvious) consequences. So, why is this? Well, he reckons his long-term, regular caffeine consumption (he’s been a devoted tea-drinker since his early teens) have resulted in him developing a tolerance to the caffeine buzz.

There may be some truth to this. A study by Suzette M. Evans and Roland R. Griffiths in 1991, “Caffeine tolerance and choice in humans” provides evidence of complete tolerance development to a central nervous system effect of caffeine in humans. According to the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center website www.caffeinedependence.org:

Caffeine-induced sleep disturbance is greatest among individuals who are not regular caffeine users. Although there is evidence for some tolerance to the sleep disrupting effects of caffeine, complete tolerance may not occur and thus habitual caffeine consumers are still vulnerable to caffeine-induced sleep problems.”

An alternative explanation to differences in the effect of caffeine may be that regular caffeine users are less likely to be aware of its effect and any sleep troubles caused by the caffeine than less frequent caffeine consumers.

It seems to me that the sensible approach to caffeine consumption is this:

If you have a problem with sleep, cut out all caffeine – you may not realise that your caffeine consumption is to blame.

If, like me, you know you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, limit (or, if you can manage it, cut out) your caffeine intake and be particularly vigilant about the timing of any caffeine consumption.

If, like my other half, caffeine has little or no obvious effect on you and you have no problems sleeping – well, lucky you! – but just be mindful that you may still be vulnerable to sleep disturbances caused by your caffeine consumption. And, if you’re up for a challenge, why not see if you can give up your daily caffeine habit – you might find that it’s masking sleep troubles that you had no clue about.

‘Til next time, sleep well x

Click here to read about why the Sleep Geek swapped his builders’ tea for green tea.

* Reports today say that the lawyer for Mr Smith changed his previously laid out strategy and instead argued that Mr Smith’s excessive caffeine consumption left him so sleep-deprived and mentally unstable that he falsely confessed to killing his wife.

Too greedy to sleep?

With everything that’s been going on over the last few weeks – summer holidays, moving house, acquiring a puppy – I’ve been somewhat distracted from my foodie task. As a reminder, a couple of months ago I set myself the terribly cumbersome task of testing the impact of certain foods and drinks on my sleep quality. So far, it’s been quite a challenge, involving lots of mouth-wateringly-good wines, and a delicious bedtime drink of warm milk and honey! What a trooper I am!

I was reminded of my lack of focus on this most-important matter last night, whilst I was snuggled up in bed – and wide-awake, god damn it! The worst part was that I only had myself to blame, and I knew it.

Only a few hours earlier I’d stuffed myself with pizza whilst at dinner with friends. Afterwards we’d all gathered around my kitchen table to gossip and eat Lindt truffles one after another until bedtime. It was a lovely evening, but now I was paying the price – a bloated, gurgling, tummy and a restless night’s sleep. Simply put, I’d been a silly greedy moo!

Generally, the rule of thumb is that you should eat your last meal of the day at least two to three hours before bedtime. The reason being that eating late at night – especially heavy, rich, high fat and high calorie foods – can cause discomfort, heartburn and indigestion, which can ruin a good night’s sleep.

Perhaps there’s something I could learn from the saying “Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper”.  It makes sense: eat most of your food earlier in the day, when your digestive system is naturally more active, and eat more modestly in the evening as your digestive process is naturally winding down. By doing so, you give your body chance to focus on rest and repair, rather than on digesting a big meal, while you sleep.

But, it’s easier said than done. Hectic modern life – where nothing can wait ‘til tomorrow and, in fact, should have been done yesterday – makes it hard to eat anything but small simple meals, often on the go, during the daytime. Plus, for me, spending time to cook a tasty evening meal to share with my other-half whilst we précis the day, is one of my pleasures of the day. I don’t want to give that up!

So, I’ll leave the conundrum with you, for you to decide what’s best for you and your lifestyle. I’ll be moderating my evening food intake and trying not to be such a glutton in future!

Dog tired

What an angel!

So, this happy – but weary – looking photo of me and my gorgeous puppy, Louis, should help to explain my absence over the last week or so.

Looking at his angelic little mug, you wouldn’t believe that my lovely Louis has spent the last nine (painful) nights barking and howling, and generally doing everything he possibly can to keep me and my other half from sleeping. The key to stopping the wimpering and wailing  – so we’ve been told – is to ignore him. And so, save for a brief lapse on night two, we’ve stuck to our guns and tried – really, really tried – to drown out the high-pitched whining with the calming symphonies of Classic FM, with the hope that somehow we’ll nod off…

Of course, we look like participants in a sleep-deprivation experiment.  For the last week I haven’t been able to think straight, or concentrate, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve forgotten the end of my sentences. Every time the morning alarm screams that it’s 5:15am – time to see what gift Louis has left for us this morning and give him his first feed of the day – I wonder when I am ever going to get a full, uninterrupted, eight hours sleep again. Not in the next few weeks, that’s for sure.

But somehow I’m feeling almost human again today. Look, I’ve actually managed to write two whole paragraphs. That’s a step up from last week’s efforts! My savior is the short, sweet little word: the “nap”.

This weekend my other half and I have taken every opportunity to snatch an extra 40 winks. Well, actually, an extra 20 minutes or less or an extra two hours or more, because we’re “good” at napping. Yes – before you ask! – there is such a thing as a “bad” nap! It’s one that lasts for more than 20 minutes but less than 2 hours, and leaves you feeling dozy and disorientated. Not good.

As it happens, after having played his new favourite game of “chew the laptop charger” for the last 20 minutes as I’ve been writing, Louis has just found a little spot to snooze between my feet. Which means only one thing for me: it’s time for a cheeky 19 minute nap…..

Milk & Honey

©iStockphoto.com/TheBiggles

I’m not talking about the cocktail bar in Soho, London. Oh no, I’m talking about something far more exciting: the sweet, creamy bedtime drink! Yes folks, I really know how to live dangerously!

A warm milky drink is often touted as a soothing, sleep-enhancing remedy. It’s not just an old wives’ tale; there’s science behind it. Milk contains tryptophan. The intake of tryptophan has a calming and sedative effect on the body, which helps to promote restful sleep.

Drinking milk neat doesn’t appeal to me, but add a drizzle of honey and my sweet-tooth is happy. Plus, the honey encourages sleepiness too. In 2006 researchers at the University of Manchester discovered that glucose can switch off the brain cells that normally keep us awake and alert. Hence, why we often feel sleepy after eating a big meal. (To learn more about this research, check out the New Scientist article “Why we need a siesta after dinner”).

All this science is new to me, too. But it helps to explain why a mug of frothy milk and honey has been one of my favourite bedtime drinks over the last couple of years. I used to drink it occasionally because I liked the sweet taste. Now I know that it’s helping me to get a great night’s sleep too.

For the past week or so I’ve been indulging in this warm, sweet, milky treat. I’ve been using semi-skimmed milk, to avoid packing on the pounds, and adding a generous drizzle of Springwell honey, from Essex. Yum. It’s so tasty and satisfying and comforting. It certainly helps me to prepare for retiring to bed, and combined with a great book and Classic FM, I’m so relaxed I’m practically comatose by the time the lights go out.

‘Til next time, sleep well….

Musical pillows – are they singing you to sleep?

Looks like an angel but is she actually listening to swedish death metal?

A good friend has a sleep problem: Her husband! I should explain. It’s not her husband per se, but his habit of listening to the radio as he falls asleep. It’s a tricky conundrum: listening to the radio has been part of his bedtime routine for years, but my sleepy friend simply can’t get used to it.

Occasionally, my other half and I encounter a similar problem. Almost every night we’ll go to bed together. And almost every night we’ll spend maybe 10 – 30 minutes reading and listening to music in bed before going to sleep. It’s a nice little routine we’ve formulated – and it’s all as a result of this blog, so I’m taking all the credit for it! Every now and then, though, one of us wants to stay up later to read/listen to music, and in doing so prevents, or at least hinders, the other’s decent into dreamy sleep.

There may be a solution. Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more about musical pillows – basically, pillows with an integrated speaker and headphone jack for plugging into your iPod or radio – that play your music just for you. So, you can drift off to sleep listening to your favourite tracks through your pillow, without disturbing your bed-mate. It’s a clever idea, although I’m not sure if I’m prepared to give up my super-soft silk pillow….

If you’ve got a musical pillow, I’d love to hear your thoughts – do you like it? Does it help you to fall asleep? Is it comfortable?