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Why Sleep Is So Important + Leesa Mattress Review

Thank you to Leesa for sponsoring this post!

There are a lot of ways that you can improve your health – exercise, eating healthier, stressing less – but one of the big ones that gets overlooked is sleep. I’ll often have AnneTheRD clients come to me that are doing what seems like everything right. They are crushing it with workouts. They are fueling up with a healthy variety of nutritious meals. And yet they are not able to shed excess weight and dealing with sweets cravings. While many things can be the culprit in these cases, one of the first things I’ll ask about is sleep. Are they getting enough?

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We are a society that burns the candle at both ends. It has become admirable to be busy and sleep deprived, working on our 5th coffee of the day. But lack of sleep can have serious consequences.

In the short term, lack of sleep will affect mood, ability to learn/retain information, and judgment. I know for me it really affects productivity and focus in particular – I have a really hard time working efficiently in the afternoons if I’m sleep deprived.

And in the case of long term, chronic sleep deprivation, you’re looking at the potential for a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more.

Several studies have linked lack of sleep and increased calorie intake/weight gain in particular, and the reasoning behind this is based in the mechanisms involved in regulating metabolism and appetite. Sleep is the time when our bodies produce hormones that help control appetite and are necessary for energy production and glucose processing (aka blood sugar regulation). When you’re sleep deprived, the body will increase its production of a stress hormone called cortisol and of insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose processing and promotes fat storage. And have you ever noticed that you’re especially hungry on days you don’t get enough sleep? This is because lack of sleep is associated with lower levels of leptin, a hormone that tells the brain it has had enough food, and higher levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite.

Carving out enough time in your day to get solid sleep is just half the battle – the other half is actually being able to fall asleep when you want to. If you have trouble falling asleep, I recommend starting a calming bedtime routine – for me, reading in bed (a real book, not anything on my phone) for a little while before trying to go to sleep makes it a lot easier for me to turn my brain off. I also recommend keeping your phone/electronics outside of your bedroom/off the nightstand where you can look at them – checking in on work emails a second before bedtime is not exactly helping your brain to calm down.

And, of course, another tip for sleeping well/staying asleep is to make sure you have a comfortable mattress!

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The folks at Leesa reached out to me a few weeks ago about reviewing one of their mattresses, and the timing was perfect because Matt and I had been talking about getting a new one. Our old mattress was a really fancy memory foam type deal that we’d had for about 5 years; it was comfortable, but were having trouble with it sleeping really hot. Both of us would wake up a bunch totally overheated (especially in summer) because the mattress held in so much warmth. Our first step to combat this was to buy a window a/c unit for our bedroom so we didn’t have to freeze out the rest of the house in order to keep our room colder, but we found we were still really hot. It was officially time to mix up our mattress.

Enter Leesa. Leesa is a luxury (but affordable) mattress company. They sell only one mattress (I always have trouble making internet buying decisions so I loved this) – a 10” mattress (available in standard widths) that has 3 unique foam layers, including 2” of memory foam and – my favorite – 2” of a really cool latex-like foam called Avena™ that’s perforated to keep you cool. A mattress that wouldn’t make us sweat to death? Sign me up.

A couple other things that I really like about them:

  • For every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter.
  • You have 100 nights to try your new mattress risk free.
  • Leesa is online only – no awkward mattress showroom experience (the worst).
  • It ships free to your doorstep – compressed in a box the side of a mini-fridge.

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The small box was key for us because our staircase is really narrow – when we moved in, we had to get a split box-spring because our old one wouldn’t fit up the stairs. So not worrying about smushing this new mattress up the stairs was key. Zara was really into the box, too. (Built-in toy FTW.)

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Here’s what it looked like out of the box – all rolled up!

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All we had to do was cut off the plastic and unroll it.

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As soon as we unrolled it, it started to expand, and by the time we moved it to the bed it was practically already normal sized. Cool! Pretty covering, too.

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As for comfort – it’s extremely comfortable. It feels more or less exactly like our old super expensive mattress, except maybe a tiny bit firmer. Matt says he likes it better, actually! And as for the coolness situation, it’s not 100% perfect/as cool as the other side of my pillow, but it’s definitely a lot better than our old mattress, which is what we were going for. Hooray for better sleep!

Thank you again to the Leesa team for the opportunity to try their mattress! If you are in the market for a new mattress and would like to try them out, use the promo code FANNETASTICFOOD at checkout to get $75 off your first order. (Offer available for the first 30 people to use it.) Sleep well, my friends!

How much sleep do you average each night? How much do you feel best getting? I’ve discovered I really need a full 8 hours – if I get 6 to 7 hours a few nights in a row I start to feel really wiped.

Do you follow a bedtime routine? A calming bedtime routine (reading, no electronics, etc.) is SO key for falling asleep more easily – try it!

Comments

  1. 1

    I swear all a cat needs in life to be happy is a box. It’s too cute!

  2. 3

    I need a solid 8 hours if not more. I tend to sleep 10-6 in the week and 10-7ish at weekends (7ish is when i wake up naturally so apparently I need that little bit extra). Apparently it’s still not entirely enough though as I regularly get home from work, sit down and wake up hours later at the moment. Something is draining me and fitting in exercise directly after work is the only way it ever gets done at the moment.

  3. 5

    I think people really underestimate how important sleep is. People laugh at me when I say I am normally a 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. person, because that’s what I feel are optimal conditions for being productive. Anytime before or after and I’m usually toast!

    We recently just got a new mattress as well, after sleeping on one that my parents had BEFORE I was born. It was over 30 years old! We went “all-out” with our new mattress and it has been amazing!

  4. 7

    I aim for 8 hours a night. That’s gotten more difficult since I’m pregnant and wake up at least once a night to pee and a few times to switch positions but it hasn’t been too bad! I’m jealous of how easily my husband sleeps though. He’ll get in bed and he will be asleep in less than 5 minutes. It amazes me. The mattress we have right now has 2 dents in it from where we sleep each night and a hump in the middle which annoys us to no end as it was a pricey mattress! But we’ve only had it for about 3 years so I can’t bring myself to buy another mattress yet.

  5. 8

    I sleep approximately 7 hours a night and am starting to feel it isn’t enough. I might just start hitting the sack a half hour earlier each night to see if that helps. I can’t really give up much more of my night or morning for sleep though because with my commute and work hours I’m barely home as it is =)

  6. 9

    I am all about sleep lately!! Since I started working from home I’ve been getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night and it is miraculous!

  7. 10

    I know I haven’t been getting enough sleep the last couple of weeks. Averaging between 5 and 6 hours (7 was a luxury). But I’m trying to listen to my body more: if it’s after 9pm and I’m tired, go to bed. There’s not much point in trying to stay up to do anything productive since I can’t focus. It’s hard though and I’m not a morning person but I really do seem to feel best when I can get about 8 hours.

    • 11

      Totally agree on there not being much point in staying up/trying to be productive if you can’t focus! That’s the reason I never pulled an all-nighter to study in college – I knew that getting sleep would help me more than trying to stay up super late and study, at that point.

  8. 12

    Great reminder of the need for Z’s! Zara sure seems to understand that!

  9. 13

    Cool! Good luck with the new mattress! :)
    I find avoiding email before bedtime is critical for me- it gets my brain stressed again! I like to have fun things only when I relax before bed. I also try to avoid watching anything which I know is really thrilling or suspenseful (or that I get really psyched about like Game of Thrones) within a few hours of when I plan to sleep because it just gets me amped up! I also try to keep the lights low and brightness down on screens as soon as I can in the evening just so indoor lighting isn’t affecting my circadian clock (sorry I’m maybe being a nerd here and overthinking this, but I feel it helps!).
    I’m a big fan of 8-9 hours a night, keeps me rested and healthy when I can get that on a regular basis! And I always sleep better if I had a good workout that day :)
    Whenever I have jetlag or a really late night out or something, I notice I’m completely starving the next day, it’s so true about sleep and hunger!

    • 14

      Totally agree about the lights! I try to keep them low before bed, too. Re-reading Pillars of the Earth has made it easy to read in bed before I go to sleep because I’m always so pumped about reading it! Although it’s so good I kind of want to stay up all night reading, so there’s that, too, lol.

  10. 16

    Man, it is so comforting to hear that other people also need a solid 8 hours of sleep. I feel weirdly ‘ashamed’ when I tell people that I function best on 8 hours. It doesn’t help that my husband feels great with 6 hours. But I do feel that getting to sleep by 10 makes me feel much more productive and energized the other 14 hours of the day.

  11. 18

    I typically need 7-8 hours of sleep. It’s hard in college to feel good about it when you have friends pulling all nighters so often. But you are right, sleep is so important for maximizing work efficiency and maintaining good health!

  12. 19

    I get 7-8 hours typically. The key is consistently going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time the next day. If I don’t do that, then it’s much harder to get good sleep. As for routine, doing some light reading with calming music for the 20-30 minutes seems to be very effective for me.

  13. 20

    Hi there, am wondering a few months later how the Leesa is holding up. I am considering buying one but want to make sure after having bought a fancy spring pillow top mattress a few years back that ended up sinking in and making my back ache that I get a good and firm replacement this time (and since I live outside the US and will take this back with me after Christmas holidays in the US, I won’t be able to return it so next best is people’s experience :)).

  14. 22

    I get 8-9 hours of sleep a night and it is perfect to keep my balance! One of my mattresses is Leesa and I found the Leesa mattress is a very high-quality mattress. It is extremely soft; in fact, it is much softer than many of the other mattresses that we have tried.

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