Can sleep give me bigger muscles?

If you are hoping to show off your washboard abs, perky gluts or sleeve-tearing biceps you’re gonna need to get to bed.

Drinking protein shakes and lifting the equivalent of your own body weight during your wake hours will help build bigger, stronger muscles- but only if you are getting enough sleep.

Sleep is when your body rests. Rest means muscle growth and muscle repair. It gives the body a chance to adapt. It does this through protein synthesis (this means bigger muscles) and the release of human growth hormone (this means bigger-everything-else you need for happy, big muscles).

Without enough sleep, you will only have muscle damage (this means small, weak muscles) and general weight-loss (this means less of everything-else you need for happy, big muscles).

So, yes, sleep will give you bigger muscles, provided you are using them during the day.

Posted in Sleep

How are you sleeping? The World’s Biggest-Ever Sleep Census is here– and you can have your say in the biggest study of its kind!

The world’s biggest bed brand, Sealy, has embarked on the largest and most comprehensive worldwide sleep study in history- exploring the slumber of people across the globe.

Sealy’s Worldwide Sleep Census has been launched in the UK, Russia, Australia, China and South Korea and now it is our turn to take part. The census is taking place across the globe until the end of September 2016 and we would love all our South African readers to be counted.

Click here to answer this user-friendly multiple-choice survey. It takes only 10-15 minutes to make your voice count internationally. You also stand a chance to win a Sealy mattress worth R9999!

The results will be processed in conjunction with academic partners such as Loughborough University Clinical Sleep Research Unit in the United Kingdom and CQ Univeristy Australia.

The insights will be used to compare the state of sleep across the globe and to create further innovation in the sleep arena.

We will be sure to bring you all the results in the upcoming weeks.

Now go on and get counted and get to


Posted in Sleep

Get a headphone headband and get some sleep

Lull yourself to sleep anywhere with this sleep gadget from Acoustic Sheep. Made by a medical doctor looking for a better way to listen to music in bed, the AcousticSheep SleepPhones Wireless Sleep Headphones are the first ear phones designed to be worn during sleep.

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Rather than using an uncomfortable ear piece, the headband transmits music through two moveable speakers that are contained in its soft felt. There are no wires that can get tangled as it works off bluetooth. And its washable! Another plus? You can listen to any music or sleep sounds without bothering anyone else.

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Oh, how these headphones could save relationships. Room mates, siblings, spouses and colleagues may just end up loving each other a lot more.

Get your own on e-bay from R650 – R1300 and let us know if you are a happy customer.

Posted in Sleep

Exploring the Senses: TOUCH

Touch is one of seven senses (yup, there are seven, not five, your school lied!) and it is the very first sense to develop. The first connection between brain and skin receptors occurs at 8 weeks gestation when the nose and mouth begin to send messages via the fetus’ nervous system. By 32 weeks, the baby’s sense of touch is fully developed and able to give discriminate messages about pain, temperature and pressure. This ability to detect touch, even the touch of a feather, is a very helpful survival mechanism once exposed to the outside world.

As adults, our touch receptors continue to send messages that help us discern if a stimulus is pleasant or painful, but we also have a super-helpful memory bank that instructs us ‘do not touch the toaster‘ and ‘leave that knife blade alone’.

Our memories and the tactile experiences we have had will impact how we interpret different sensory experiences, however, there are many stimuli that people collectively find pleasurable or awful.

Have a look at this list and answer if you find these calming or alerting:

  • a plush, baby blanket
  • a goose down pillow
  • 100% cotton linen
  • hugging a hot water bottle
  • stroking a cat’s fur
  • touching sandpaper
  • using a pot scourer
  • walking barefoot on dry, firm grass

You may have noted a pattern… the list starts with calming touch experiences and moves towards more and more alerting ones.

If you’re keen to ease into a great state of slumber, you may want to use the power of touch to your advantage. Think ‘baby’. Yes, create the softest, plushest, coziest place for you to sleep each night, just as you would if you were buying bedding for a new baby.

  1. Rid your bed of rough textures- that wiry, but warm throw must go. And that straw carpet too.
  2. Ensure you start off a great night’s sleep with a great mattress so that pain does not disrupt your sleep.
  3. Get yourself some great top-of-bed products- pillows and duvet inners that make you excited about getting into bed.
  4. Choose your linen wisely. Does linen count really count?
  5. Find a blanket/gown/slippers that instantly transform you into a sleepy kid.

Here’s to more great nights.


Posted in Sleep

Happy Women’s Day!

Oh, what a year to be a woman! What 2016 has given us is a gathering of great heroines achieving extraordinary greatness. From politics to sport, from medicine to design… women are everywhere with their vision, beauty, fame, brains and empathy for everyone to see.

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Here in SA, we benefit from the hard work of ladies like Premiere of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, Public Prosecutor, Thuli Madonsela, and whistle blower and Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille. Across the pond it is ladies like Theresa May and Angela Merkel that are cleaning up messes like Brexit, terrorism and the refugee crisis. Only time will tell if the US will choose to put a woman in the White House.

And it is not only on the political front- women are making strides as CEOs, athletes, artists and celebrities. Taylor Swift should have been a pretty-faced pop star… instead she is the 51st most powerful women in the world. Our very own Candice Swanepoel is the highest paid model at age 27! And the Director of the World Health Organisation is a Dr Margaret Chan.

This National Women’s Day, my hope is that all our phenomenal women (some celebrated, some seemingly forgotten) are spoilt and well-aware of their contribution to the world in these challenging times that we live.

Posted in Sleep

Habit 3: Get to bed at a reasonable hour

Can’t figure out what is holding you back? Tired of being seen as just an average Joe? Well,  that’s probably the problem… you’re tired.

If you have been following our sleep series that looks at the Sleep Habits of Successful people you will be familiar with Sleep Habit 1: Getting enough sleep and Sleep Habit 2: Getting Uninterrupted Sleep. However, there is a third sleep habit that is often overlooked since the invention of electricity.

Getting to bed at a reasonable hour means getting to bed as close to one hour past sunset. So if the sunsets at 19.30, it would mean going to bed anytime between 20.30 and 21.30 while our brains are benefiting from the release of sleep hormones.

Our brains understand light and dark and are set up to follow the circadian rhythms, that is why they start releasing the sleep hormone melatonin one hour after the sun sets. If you fall asleep and wake up at similar time to the sun, you will experience quicker sleep onset (falling asleep within 15 minutes) and less grogginess on waking (excessive daytime sleepiness). This means you will essentially be giving yourself a productive day time and a restful night time.

There is a saying in sleep circles that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight. What this is alluding to is that you will have a better day if you sleep from 9pm-4am then from 12pm until 7am.

Yes, it is the moon and the sun’s fault but they are a lot bigger than you are and have been around a lot longer.

So get to bed sleepy head- the early bird truly does catch the worm.

Posted in Sleep

Exploring the senses and sleep: SIGHT

Sight is one of seven senses (yup, there are seven, not five, your school lied!) and it emerges surprisingly soon after conception. The first connection between brain and eye cells occurs at 4 weeks gestation when the lens and optic nerve of each eye begin to develop. By 16 weeks, the fetus has eyelids (although they can not open) and responds to light by shifting their gaze away from light. A baby’s eyesight continues to be refined in utero until 7 months gestation and then continues to develop intensely in the first six months once exposed to the outside world.

As adults, our eyes are ‘wired’ to find certain colours and patterns calming and others alerting. This was likely to support our survival and on the other hand our sleep. Have a look at this list and answer if you find these calming or alerting:

  • a dark room
  • mute dove grey
  • a page of printed writing
  • a swirl of purple, deep red and dark orange
  • red polka dots on a yellow background
  • neon green fluorescent signage
  • purple and yellow checks
  • bright, white light

You may have noted a pattern… the list starts with calming sights and moves towards more and more alerting ones.

If you’re keen to ease into a great state of slumber, you may want to use the power of sight to your advantage. So, it’s going to take some sleep hygiene practices and possibly some decluttering, but here are some ideas…

  • Avoid bright lights (read TV, tablets and phone screens) before bed.
  • Make your bedroom a calming sanctuary where clutter and work-related objects are out of site.
  • Read an old fashioned black-and-white print book before bed rather than anything colourful and visually stimulating.
  • Try lighting a candle to bath in dim, gentle light.
  • Take time to appreciate the setting sun or the night sky.
  • Pick out a linen for your room that makes you feel like snuggling in.

What you see before you fall asleep will often feature in your dreams, so why not try to fill your last hour with beautiful sights rather than stressful ones?

We would love to hear all about your favourites.


Sweet dreams.


Posted in Sleep

How to use honey to sleep better

Honey is liquid gold. Whilst it is being used widely as a replacement for sugar, its usefulness goes for beyond its ability to sweeten. Previously, we explored the surprising health benefits of honey, but in this blog we explore how a dollop of honey before bed can help you sleep better.

Honey eaten before bed is said to be quickly stored as liver glycogen. Liver glycogen is simply energy stored in the liver that is easily accessible to your body. Liver glycogen is said to fuel the liver (to aid detoxification of the blood) as well as support good brain function (which aids good sleep).

A small sugar spike just before bed has also shown to help speed up sleep onset and promote deeper sleep that night as the brain has the fuel it needs.

So whether you are looking for a little sweetness, relaxation or deep sleep why not give a dollop of honey try?




Posted in Sleep

Habit 2: Get Uninterrupted Sleep

Can’t figure out what is holding you back? Tired of being seen as just an average Joe? Well,  that’s probably the problem… you’re tired.

Most successful people have realised that it is not just how much sleep you get, but the quality of sleep you get that makes all the difference. Wake up most days feeling good and rested and you are going to find yourself having not just a better day, but a better life.

The quality of your sleep trumps the quantity of sleep you get. The secret weapon of successful people? Slow wave sleep. You can cut down on the total amount of sleep you get if you can improve the quality of the sleep you get. On the other side of this coin, mess with your sleep quality and you end up with a slow wave sleep deficit that results in the short-term in a bad mood and in the longer-term, depression.

So grab your ear plugs, turn off your phone and put that ‘do not disturb’ sign up. Deep sleep is damn good for ya!

Posted in Sleep

Is lying on my side causing my pins and needles?

The Sealy blog is one of the spaces that we answer our Facebook fans’ questions. We love helping you to sleep and live better… so ask away!

Facebook fan asks:  What causes you to get pins and needles in your arms when you lie on your side? Is it because my mattress is too hard?

Here is your answer!

Indeed you are thinking along the right track. Side lying is one of the positions that puts the most pressure on your joints. The shoulder and hip joint are particularly at risk if the mattress you are lying on does not mould or conform around your body. The more body surface area in contact with the mattress, the less pressure and discomfort you will experience.

Generally speaking, firmer mattresses are ideal for those who sleep on their backs and stomachs (as the pressure is distributed through a greater surface area whilst the skeleton is supported in good alignment). Side sleepers should make use of a softer mattress or at least a soft top layer so that their joints experience less pressure.

However, in other cases, the mattress and sleeping position may not be to blame. Common conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worsen at night after the day’s activities lead to inflammation which puts pressure on the nerves.

If you are experiencing pins and needles at night I would advise a trip to your GP for a general check-up before you think about changing your mattress. There are some basic health checks that they can to determine the cause.

Posted in Sleep