Make sure your mattress is the right firmness level for your sleep position. Generally back sleepers should get a medium-firm mattress, side sleepers should get a medium-soft mattress, and stomach sleepers should go with a firm mattress. Doing so will help assure proper alignment in the spine, neck and hips.
Getting a good night’s sleep has so many physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Yet with all of the distractions that demand our attention, going to sleep on time and getting enough rest has become extremely elusive to many of us. Why is sleep so important and how can we make it a priority?
In this interview series called “Sleep: Why You Should Make Getting A Good Night’s Sleep A Major Priority In Your Life, And How You Can Make That Happen” we are talking to medical and wellness professionals, sleep specialists, and business leaders who sell sleep accessories to share insights from their knowledge and experience about how to make getting a good night’s sleep a priority in your life.
As part of this interview series, we had the pleasure to interview Drew Miller.
Drew Miller is Director of Marketing for Sit ‘n Sleep, one of the largest mattress retailers in Southern California. The son of CEO/Owner Larry Miller, Drew marks the third generation of Millers to dedicate their lives to helping people sleep better. Drew has made it his mission to evolve Sit ‘n Sleep’s digital storefront — sitnsleep.com — while nurturing what’s been built by his dad and the Sit ‘n Sleep team: over 37 brick and mortar stores across California.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your backstory?
My pleasure! The business of sleep is something I grew up in. With my father, Larry Miller, being the owner and CEO of Sit ‘n Sleep, I took an interest early on in the family business and spent high school summers working in the warehouse. But it was important for me to carve my own path and not just rely on my dad’s experiences. So I got a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship from San Diego State University. Then I interned at Wingman Media, where I was able to really understand and soak up the marketing side of things. From there I spent two years working at Tempur-Pedic before finally coming to work for Sit ‘n Sleep. At Sit ‘n Sleep, I started off as an in-store Sleep Consultant, was eventually promoted to Manager, and now here I am in my current position, Director of Marketing.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this particular career path?
For me, there was never any question on what I wanted to do with my life. It was always a dream of mine to follow in my father’s footsteps and take over the family business.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the sleep and wellness fields? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I’ve literally spent my entire life surrounded by the very product most of us use for sleep: the mattress! Decades of learning how mattress materials, design, and construction help us sleep (or not). Mattresses might be the most underutilized sleep tool in the sleep category because the nuances of knowing mattress details and how that helps you sleep is too vast for the average person to figure out during the window of time, they are ready to buy a mattress, and the initial investment in a quality product can be a barrier for people.
Part of my job now is to help our customers navigate these details. At Sit ‘n Sleep we have two main routes to get people a great mattress that supports their bodies, sleep habits, and their budget. The first is our sleep technology called BedMatch, where we can match people’s unique sleep needs to a mattress. The other is training our in-store Sleep Consultants to know the mattresses inside out. We consider them our Sleep Experts, who can guide you through our vast collection of mattresses to find your perfect match.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the best-selling business books of all time. I read this in my Business Management class at SDSU and learned valuable lessons that have helped me throughout each phase of my career in sales, management and marketing.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
“You spend a third of your life sleeping, so do it well.”
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Let’s start with the basics. How much sleep should an adult get? Is there a difference between people who are young, middle-aged, or elderly?
The National Sleep Foundation released a study in 2015 that I think holds true today:
7–9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7–8 hours of sleep for older adults. Teenagers should aim to get about 8 to 10 hours of sleep. The additional sleep will help support their developing growth as they continue through puberty. As we age it can get harder to get quality sleep. But the relationship between health and sleep is bidirectional so it can become a bit of a vicious cycle. It’s important for older folks to talk to their doctors if they’re experiencing sleep issues because it could greatly affect their health.
Is the amount of hours the main criteria, or the time that you go to bed? For example, if there was a hypothetical choice between getting to bed at 10PM and getting up at 4AM, for a total of 6 hours, or going to bed at 2AM and getting up at 10AM for a total of 8 hours, is one a better choice for your health? Can you explain?
There actually have been studies that show the timing of your sleep matters. Usually you want to get as much sleep as possible when it’s dark. When you sleep at night, while it’s dark out, you’re helping align your body’s circadian rhythm with your environment, which has a positive effect on your sleep quality. As for the hypothetical, neither! 10p-4a is only 6 hours, and 2a-10a puts you sleeping in daylight for 4 hours. One could argue 10p-4a is better because all 6 hours are at night. Another could argue 2a-10a is better because you have 8 hours of total sleep, even though 4 of those hours are lesser quality.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for our readers. Let’s imagine a hypothetical 35 year old adult who was not getting enough sleep. After working diligently at it for 6 months he or she began to sleep well and got the requisite hours of sleep. How will this person’s life improve? Can you help articulate some of the benefits this person will see after starting to get enough sleep? Can you explain?
Wow, where do I start? There are so many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep, it’s almost hard to keep count. For one, you’ll give your immune system a boost, so you won’t get sick as often. Adequate sleep can also help prevent weight gain. You’ll be much more alert and productive when you’re sleeping enough. Plus, you’ll have more energy throughout the day, which means you’ll be in a better mood and not as irritable.
Many things provide benefits but they aren’t necessarily a priority. Should we make getting a good night’s sleep a major priority in our life? Can you explain what you mean?
Yes, 100% everyone should make sleep a priority. This pandemic has pushed us all to prioritize our health. Prioritizing sleep IS prioritizing your health! It will help boost your immune system and allow you to live a healthier life. Making sleep a priority is a form of self-care. You deserve to rest and rest well at that.
The truth is that most of us know that it’s important to get better sleep. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives? How should we remove those obstacles?
Great question. I’d say the first main blockage is not making it a priority. For example, you may know sleep is important, but work has been piling up and you need to work super late to hit a deadline. In this case, you’re prioritizing work over sleep. However if you’re working while sleep-deprived, you won’t be operating at full capacity. Also, you’ll burn out a lot faster. Another huge blockage is our phone. Many people love to scroll through their phone before bed. The issue with being on our smartphone is that it emits blue light that suppresses our melatonin and can keep us awake. The third blockage would be lifestyle, which ties back into our priorities. Getting the right amount of sleep starts with the right routine. If you have to wake up for work at 6am everyday, but you usually watch TV until 12:30am, you should probably change up your nighttime routine to get more sleep.
Do you think getting “good sleep” is more difficult today than it was in the past?
I think the ability to get a good night’s sleep is easier today than in the past because of technological advances in mattress construction and materials, and the advances in helping your find a mattress that fits you. Innovations like BedMatch technology truly guesswork out of finding the right mattress will help ensure you’re able to get a great sleep. We recently started carrying the SmartLife mattress, which is the latest mattress technology on the market. It’s built with 80 smart cells that are actively responding to your movements as you sleep so you have full body support in any position. Each side is customized to the sleeper. There’s even options to be massaged and gently roused awake so you don’t have to hear annoying alarms in the morning. All with sleep monitoring data that tracks on an app so you can learn what bedtimes, nighttime routines, and wake up times yield the most restful sleep for you. Its unreal to me what this mattress can do.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share “5 things you need to know to get the sleep you need and wake up refreshed and energized”? If you can, kindly share a story or example for each.
- Make sure your mattress is the right firmness level for your sleep position. Generally back sleepers should get a medium-firm mattress, side sleepers should get a medium-soft mattress, and stomach sleepers should go with a firm mattress. Doing so will help assure proper alignment in the spine, neck and hips.
- Disconnect from all electronics at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Our screens give off blue light which suppresses the melatonin we produce and can keep us awake longer than we hope to be.
- Set your room temperature to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Studies have shown that a colder room can actually help you get better sleep.
- Exercise. Working out is a great way to help you sleep better. But different peoples’ bodies react differently to the time they work out. So if working out at night keeps you awake, trying working out in the morning. Find the right time and hopefully you’ll be on your way to better sleep.
- Replace your mattress every eight years. Older mattresses start to sag and lose their form, therefore losing their support. A mattress that may have once been perfect for you is no longer capable of supporting you the way it was intended too. Not to mention all the dust mites, skin cells, and sweat that accumulates in your mattress in that time, which i can cause your allergies to act up and is just gross to think about.
What would you advise someone who wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep?
This might seem counter-intuitive but I’d say get out of bed. If you’re just not able to get back to sleep, trying to unsuccessfully force yourself to will just lead to more frustration. So get up and go into a different room. Do something calming like reading a book. After a little while, when you’re truly tired, get back in bed and see if you’re able to finally go back to sleep.
What are your thoughts about taking a nap during the day? Is that a good idea, or can it affect the ability to sleep well at night?
I think naps are great, but it depends on the length and timing of your nap. If you nap for too long or too close to bed time, it can affect your ability to sleep at night. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to nap later than 2pm. The ideal nap time would be 10 to 20 minutes.
Wonderful. We are nearly done. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Two people: Elon Musk and Gary Vaynerchuk. Elon Musk is one of the brightest minds of our generation. I’m fascinated by all he has achieved and the different businesses he runs. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs, marketers and motivational speakers in the world. I’d love to pick his brain on marketing as it relates to Sit ‘n Sleep as well as discuss all of his various businesses.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can check out our Sit ‘n Sleep blog. We regularly post a bunch of helpful articles and tips all about sleep.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!