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You’ve probably heard Zara Larsson on the radio, after-all, the Swedish popstar has had seven hit singles in just 14 months. Her biggest hit, Lush Life, spent a year in the charts, she even performed the official Euro 2016 song and got to support her hero Beyonce when she performed at Wembley Stadium.

Zara Larsson photoYet, what many people don’t know about the Swedish popstar, who won her country’s version of Got Talent at just 10 years old, is that she suffers from a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis. Something which she recently spoke to the BBC about:

"Basically, you wake up and you literally cannot move. Your brain is active, but your body is not yet awake,” Larsson told the BBC. “It's weird. It lasts half a minute maybe - but it kind of feels like you're trapped there for half an hour. I get it a lot when I'm stressed out, or when I have a lot of things going on."

But what exactly is sleep paralysis? Well it’s an incredibly scary disorder that causes an inability to move or speak and can occur both when you wake up or when you fall asleep. Although it isn’t actually harmful, when it happens – especially when you haven’t experienced it before – it can cause alarm and make a person feel like they’ve become paralysed or have even died.

The experience can last as little as a few seconds or for a few minutes, although many report that it feels like the paralysis has lasted far longer than the actual time that has passed. It can also affect anyone and at any time (although young adults and teenagers are most prone to it), with a large number of people reporting to have experienced it at least once in their life. However, some people can experience the effects of sleep paralysis several times a month.

The condition occurs when your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs when you’re awake – which is why it occurs when you’re either waking or sleeping. This is the stage of sleep that your brain is most active and when dreams can happen, which is why some people appear to hallucinate during sleep paralysis too. You won’t be able to move at all, only breathe and move your eyes, until the paralysis ends.

Although it’s not known yet why your REM sleep can spill over when you’re awake there are certain things that appear to make the condition more likely to happen such as not getting enough sleep, when your sleep pattern is off (from something like working a night shift or staying up all night), if you have a history of narcolepsy or if you are prone to sleeping on your back.

There is no sure-fire cure for sleep paralysis, however improving your sleep quality can seriously improve the condition. A sufferer should ensure they get 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night in a calming environment. You can improve sleep patterns by trying to implement your body into a regime, do this by doing the same things before bed every night and going to bed at the same time – including weekends. You should also avoid habits like smoking, alcohol and heavy meals before bedtime.

In extreme cases, you may need to be prescribed something like an anti-depressant to help treat the disorder. Always seek professional medical advice before taking any medication.

If you suffer from any sleep disorder, the first thing you should asses is how up-to-date your sleeping environment is. A mattress is incredibly important to how well you sleep at night, so if yours is damaged or too old then you’ll be hard pushed to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some different mattresses you should consider:

Relyon Pocket Memory Classic

Relyon Pocket Memory Classic Divan Bed UndressedIf you like the comfort memory foam affords you, try this great hybrid from Relyon. The Pocket Memory Classic (pictured right) has 1500 pocket springs (in a 5ft mattress) which are covered with a generous layer of memory. It gives a medium to firm feel. It also has the accolade of being voted a Which? best buy for the past 4 years. It has certainly been one of our best sellers for several years.

Hypnos New Orthocare 10

The Hypnos New Orthocare 10 mattress is crammed full of wool and cashmere. The Reactive 10 turn pocket springs support your body and are sensitive to your movements. It’s available in a firm tension or an extra firm tension. However, it’s not a hard mattress.

Hypnos Alto Pillow Top

If you want the feeling of sinking into your bed, look no further than the Hypnos Alto Pillow Top mattress. The well filled wool pillow top gives a feel of absolute luxury. The mattress has reactive 6 pocket springs which gives a medium level of support. The wool pillow top just makes it feel dreamy!

Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Geltex Topaz

If you’ve had bad experiences with memory foam making you too warm, but still like the concept of it, this could be the answer. Silentnight’s revolutionary Geltex functions in a very similar way to memory foam, but is cool to the touch. This is a marshmallow of a of a bed with 2000 pocket springs in the 150cm size. You really sink into it.

Silentnight Holly 1200 Latex Supreme

Another great alternative to memory foam is latex. The Silentnight Holly 1200 Latex Supreme has 1200 zoned pocket springs in a kingsize mattress. A layer of natural, breathable highly resilient latex is placed over to provide a medium firm feel to this no turn mattress.

Dunlopillo Orchid

24cm of luxurious latex will ensure the perfect night’s sleep. The Orchid has a firm feel, but is truly comfortable. The seven comfort zones ensure the correct amount of support and allow for spinal alignment. Latex provides a perfect sleep environment as it is totally natural and breathes. You won’t over heat on a latex mattress.

Too many options to choose from? Why not visit our showroom in Keymer Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 OAD to try one of the above and get some expert advice.

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