Sweet dreams: Dr Rebecca Robbins

Luxury bed maker Savoir’s sleep expert reveals her secrets to successful shut eye

Art and Design 21 Jan 2022

Dr Rebecca Robbins

Dr Rebecca Robbins

We all know the benefits of a decent night’s sleep. But for Dr Rebecca Robbins, sleep is a way of life and, according to her research and findings, the very foundation of our mental and physical wellbeing.

‘I want to promote awareness about the tips and strategies that are so important for healthy sleep,’ she says. ‘There are quite a few myths about sleep that persist and, if they go unaddressed, they can leave us all fundamentally less able to make sleep a priority and to get the sleep that our brains and our bodies so desperately need. Ultimately, how do we as a global society make sleep a focus because, the truth is, we are not getting enough.’

Sleep expert to Savoir, Dr Robbins has appeared as a guest on numerous daytime television shows and podcast episodes to share her knowledge on the science of sleep. An instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist at the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr Robbins spends her life researching sleep techniques and the myriad benefits of an activity that the average human spends around 26 years of their lives participating in (to varying degrees of success). As well as undertaking extensive research and working with individuals, Dr Robbins has also co-authored a book, Sleep for Success!, which explores ways to improve sleep awareness through behavioural interventions.

Luxury British bed maker Savoir is working with Dr Robbins to uncover ground-breaking research on the science of good sleep and the levers to achieving it. Together they have published the Savoir Sleep Script, which looks at how quality sleep can benefit almost every aspect of daily life: from shaving years off your physical appearance to boosting immunity and even keeping cognitive decline at bay.

So, as we enter a new year and a time when the focus on our health has never been more prevalent, perhaps it’s time to shift the spotlight onto sleep as a way of improving our overall health and mental wellbeing. Below are Dr Robbins’ top ways of improving our sleep – and, therefore, lives – in 2022.

Sleep better with Savoir Beds
Sleep better with Savoir Beds

Lay the foundations:

Are you sleeping comfortably? Support from your bed is paramount to good sleep. ‘The mattress is of course the foundation of restorative sleep,’ Dr Robbins says. ‘An unsupportive mattress will limit the quality of your sleep.’ She adds that while it’s a myth that there is an optimal sleeping position for all of us, the right mattress needs to support the spine and keep our head, neck and back in correct alignment throughout the night. ‘There’s nothing worse than waking up with a stiff neck,’ she says. A made-to-order bespoke Savoir mattress, which is tailored to each sleeper, is designed to keep the spine in proper alignment all night and relieve pressure points. This can make all the difference to perfect sleep.

Do more exercise:

Implementing a new exercise regime in January is nothing new, but Dr Robbins extols the virtues of fitness not for physical improvement, but psychological.

‘Stress is the number one cause of insomnia and being able to manage our emotions and stress is central to our ability to get healthy, restorative sleep,’ she says. ‘If you kick off a healthy exercise routine you may also find you fall asleep faster, because exercise releases endorphins which are mood elevators. Not surprisingly, research shows that those who exercise regularly take less time to fall asleep and obtain more restorative sleep than those who do not.’

Commit to a sleep schedule:

A large section of the Savoir Sleep Script is about introducing and sticking to a rigid sleep schedule – similar to how we sleep train young children. She describes adult sleep schedules as ‘one of the most neglected areas in sleep’ and cites the circadian rhythm – essentially our internal body clock – as one of the key areas to address.

‘Our ability to fall asleep and obtain healthy sleep is, in part, governed by our internal circadian rhythm,’ she says. ‘This system evolves over time (with inputs such as the light in our environment) to understand when we should be alert and when we should be tired. Other inputs to this system are the times when we fall asleep and wake up. If we keep these times consistent, our circadian rhythm becomes refined and well “entrained”, understanding when we are to be tired and when we are to be awake. But if we keep different bed and wake times, then our internal clock is limited in its ability to understand when we should be tired and when we should be awake, leaving us in a constant state of disorientation, struggling to fall asleep and wake up at regular times. This is a recommendation we give our children, whom we give a bedtime that we keep religiously, but then often are guilty as adults of not doing this ourselves.’

Start a meditation practice:

Once dismissed as new age nonsense, meditation is now as mainstream as getting a haircut. Whatever your spiritual leanings may be, the benefits of meditation are numerous and, according to Dr Robbins, likely to help us maintain better sleep. ‘Meditation is all about being present and at peace in the moment. These are the essential skills to help us fall asleep. Anyone who struggles to fall asleep and spends time tossing and turning may benefit from starting a meditation practice.’

Discover more about Savoir Beds and the Savoir Sleep Script by visiting savoirbeds.com