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  1. We all understand just how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. And yet many of us struggle to get in those precious eight hours. You’ve probably heard all of the tricks for getting a better night’s rest before: Keep your cell phone out of your bedroom. Use blackout curtains or white noise generators. Try a calming lavender fragrance or a meditation routine before bed. But have you ever given much thought to how your bed sheets might affect your quality of sleep? There’s a reason why organic linen fabrics are fast becoming one of the most popular choices for bedding in this hectic, sleep-deprived world — many reasons, in fact. But they all boil down to one simple fact: better sheets mean better sleep. Real linen is made from linseed, also known as flaxseed, which is one of the oldest known textiles in the world. There’s evidence that humans have been making fabrics out of linseed for more than 1,000 years. In some cultures, its properties were valued as highly as that of precious stones and metals. Today, however, many fabrics, especially those used for bedding, are often made out of synthesized materials. And on top of that, they’re often treated with harsh chemicals or additives that can leach into your skin, causing irritation or even allergic reactions. When you spend one third of your life in bed, you want to make sure that the surface where you lie is not only comfortable, but safe. Many people, in particular those with sensitive skin or eczema, often see improvements when they make the switch to all-organic materials that are free of toxins and come from 100% natural sources. Moreover, linen fabrics have unique thermal qualities that make them ideal for sleeping conditions, no matter your climate. On hot and humid nights, linen sheets have been shown to keep human body temperatures at three to four degrees Celsius lower than either silk or cotton. And in colder climates, they also keep bodies warmer. Linen routinely tests at a heat conductivity rating five times greater than wool and 19 times greater than silk. So no matter the temperature outside or the time of year, linens can help regulate your internal thermometer for comfortable and sound rest. And then there’s the durability factor. Unlike other materials, which wear away with every wash, linen actually becomes stronger when wet — by a factor of about 20%. So not only will a high-quality bed set last you for years to come, you can keep them as clean and fresh as you want. About three in four consumers do agree that fresh-smelling sheets help them sleep better, so go ahead and run the wash cycle again for that just-cleaned scent. If you want better sleep, it pays to invest in top-quality, organic materials. Not only will your skin and sleep habits benefit, but you’ll gain the peace of mind by choosing responsible organic products that contribute to making the world a more sustainable and eco-conscious place. That in itself might help you sleep better at night. But in the end, the differences we make in the world often can only happen after a good night’s rest. If you want to know how to sleep more soundly, you might start by making the bed.
  2. Is it possible to clean a mattress? It depends on what you mean by clean and how dirty your mattress actually is. I have come across a lot of articles that advocated sprinkling baking soda on your mattress and letting that soak up odor then vacuuming it off. This may help a bit, but not much. If you think that’s going to rid your mattress of dust mites, think again. If your mattress is stinky, or has been left unprotected for too long, your best bet is to start fresh with a new mattress. If you live in a cooler, dry climate your changes of having a major dust mite problem decrease dramatically. For instance, someone living in New Mexico will have far less problems with dust mites than someone in Florida with constant humidity. That’s because dust mites can’t thrive in a dry environment. Back to the cleaning. Baking soda, Febreeze, even the Allergen Reducing Febreeze aren’t much more than a band aid that masks a larger problem. It will probably help a bit but not get to the root of the problem. I have also come across a company called Clean Sweep which will come out to your house and clean your mattress for $109.95 with additional mattresses for $89.95. Below is a video showing their process. The ways they claim to clean a mattress are as follows: Ultra Violet Light Dry Steam Vacuuming Ozone Generation Infrared Heat You can actually buy a UV light vacuum on Amazon that is designed to kill dust mites in bedding. But my questions is how do you know you killed them all and how far into the mattress will this penetrate? Their second method of dry steam leaves the same question about penetration but it is nice to know that they are using another method to kill those dust mites and whatever else may be lurking in your mattress. To sanitize, the steam I have read that the steam needs to be at least 200 degreed Farenheit and the surface must be treated with steam for 5 minutes. Their Ozone treatment is also novel. Ozone generators are used in Ambulances to kill germs and bacteria and deodorize them in about 30-60 minutes. And yes, even Amazon sells an ozone generator. The last method is infrared heat. This company will heat the mattress to 150 degrees while the other cleaning processes are ocurring. This rids the mattress of excess moisture which plays a large part in causing the build up of dust mites in the first place. I don’t think Amazon can help you here. Sleep Sherpa’s Top Pick for Cleaning A Mattress So far the best device I found to clean a mattress is the Raycop RS2. This uses UV light to kill bacteria and viruses but also vibrates to loosen dirt and dust mite debris then vaccuums it into a HEPA filter. I was amazed at how much gunk I got out of some of my mattresses. We now use this in the Sleep Sherpa mattress store in Minneapolis to keep our mattresses clean. Here’s the full Raycop RS2 Review If its close to time for a new mattress anyway, I recommend a fresh start with a brand new mattress. Once you find your perfect mattress, take care of it from the start with at least a mattress protector or better yet, a mattress encasement. In fact, the publication, Clinical and Experimental Allergy,, a journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology published a study on the effectiveness of mattress encasements in preventing dust mites. If you don’t have dust mite allergies or haven’t noticed excessive sneezing, coughing or stuffiness in the morning after waking up, you probably don’t have a dust mite problem and could avoid the mattress cleaning process. My advice though is that when you do get your next mattress, make sure it is protected to extend its life and to keep your bedroom clean and healthy. Finally, it’s not just your mattress that is prone to dust mites, make sure your pillows are fresh too! You can buy pillow encasements as well but I recommend just purchasing a fresh pillow. If your pillow is causing you dust mite issues, it’s time for a new one anyway.
  3. You know exercise burns calories, so it affects weight management and it’s important for heart health, too, but what about sleep? Does exercising impact your sleep schedule, as well? Put simply, yes, if you have trouble closing your eyes and drifting off or staying asleep all night long, it may be because you are not active enough. Before you reach for a bottle of pills to treat your chronic insomnia, consider how exercise and other smart, healthy habits will improve your sleep naturally. Sleep and Exercise: What’s the Connection? If you do have poor sleep habits, you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists insufficient sleep as a major public health issue in this country. A 2009 analysis conducted by the CDC found that about 48 percent of the study participants stated they got less than seven hours of sleep each day. More importantly, 37 percent claimed to fall asleep during the day hours, which might explain the over 1,500 fatalities each year associated with driving while drowsy. Sleep hygiene is defined as behavior designed to promote quality sleep, including certain lifestyle choices like regular exercise. Lack of exercise may be at the heart of many sleep disorders, according to researchers at Northwestern University. They conducted a study to measure the effect exercise has on sleep habits in middle-aged to older adults who were less active than recommended. The scientists broke them up into two exercise groups: One did two 20-minute workout sessions four times a week One did 30 to 40-minutes of exercise four times a week Both groups strived to reach 75 percent of the maximum heart rate in at least two activities. A third control group was established, as well. These participants didn’t exercise at all but instead exerted themselves mentally. The active groups slept better and reported less depression and daytime sleepiness. How Exercise Affects Sleep Sleep isn’t just about how long you are in bed each night. Sleep quality is actually broken down into multiple categories: Duration – How much a person sleeps in 24-hours Sleep continuity – How fast a person falls asleep Timing – When a person goes to sleep in each 24-hour period Alertness – During the waking hours Satisfaction – How well a person sleeps Depth – This refers to sleep stages and brain activity Exercise works to improve the quality of your sleep by providing better sleep continuity and enhanced satisfaction. Better sleep automatically improves timing, because sleep habits become more consistent, as well. Vigorous vs. Moderate Exercise In a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, respondents indicated: Up to 67 percent slept better with exercise 26 percent found vigorous exercise offered the most benefit 66 percent of those who do exercise vigorously stated they get all the sleep they need to feel good compared to 55 percent who only exercised moderately or lightly 50 percent of the vigorous exercisers stated they were able to maintain momentum better during the day as a result of quality sleep The truth is all exercise helps, but the more intense the better you sleep. Exercises Worth Doing Before Bed Effective exercisers develop routines that might include doing specific exercises right before bed to further enhance sleep quality. Few types of exercises say relax and go to sleep like yoga. The right poses are enough to ease your mind and body in preparation for sleep. Consider some moves that help promote sleep and mental relaxation. Upside-Down Pose Lie on your back and slide your bottom up next to a wall, leaving about six inches of space between your skin and the surface. Extend your legs so they rest flat on the wall while spreading your arms to the side. Maintain this pose for up to two minutes, slowly inhaling and exhaling to promote relaxation. Twist Sit with your legs crossed in front of you. Place one hand on the opposite knee while twisting at the waist until you feel the core muscles engage. Hold as you breathe in deeply and then exhale. Reset to center and repeat the exercise twisting to the other side. Do this for up to three minutes. The Child’s Pose Get into a table pose with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. Push back until your bottom is resting on your feet and your hands are stretched overhead. Your face is facing the floor. Hold this position for up to five minutes playing close attention to your breathing. Rock-a-Bye Pose Roll over to your back and pull your knees towards your chest, crossing your ankles. Place your hands just above your crossed ankles and pull your knees in further and hold the pose for up to 7 minutes. Any one of these exercises alone or in combination will improve your quality of sleep by relaxing your body and calming your mind. Avoid intense cardio exercises before bed unless that’s what you are used to and it works for you. For most people, a heavy workout disrupts circadian rhythms. Save your jogging for mornings or early in the evening instead and just do stretches close to bedtime. 5 Easy Fixes the Go Beyond Exercise Exercise is a critical part of any healthy lifestyle and certainly will work to improve your sleep quality, but it is just one step in developing good sleep habits. Other things you’ll want to do include: Go to bed at the same time each night – This includes weekends or your regular days off. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be to fall asleep. Get up at the same time each day – The flip side of the consistency coin is wake up times. If you get up for work each day at 8:00, keep that going even on your days off. This will make it easier to maintain that stable bedtime. Choose bedtime snacks wisely – Avoid going to bed with either a full or hungry stomach. When choosing a bedtime snack, avoid things that contain caffeine like soda or chocolate. Limited what you drink an hour before bed, too, to keep from waking up to go to the bathroom. Create a Ritual at Bedtime – In other words, do the exact same thing each night. If you shower at night than always shower at night, for example, but whatever you do, do it consistently. This will send a message to your brain that it is time to prepare to sleep. Make Sure the Bed Comfortable – If you are having trouble getting comfortable at night, figure out why. Is it the mattress? How about the pillows? Do whatever is necessary to make that space as sleep inducing as possible. While regular exercise is just part of the sleep puzzle, it’s an important one. Develop a fitness schedule and stick to it to get a better night’s sleep.
  4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formally recognized the importance of sleep and its effects on public health. In spite of a lack of sleep being linked to issues as diverse as lackluster job performance, hypertension, difficulty concentrating, diabetes and more, data gathered by the agency via its National Health Interview Survey notes that nearly 30 percent of adults slept an average of six hours or less each day. How Yoga Nidra Can Help While the factors leading to this lack of restful sleep — and its related sleep deprivationn— are varied, many people find that their sleep is restless or that they simply cannot fall asleep in the first place. Yoga nidra — often translated as meaning “yogic sleep” — is a sleep-like experience that can occur during meditation and that can lead to a better night’s sleep. During the three states of consciousness that can occur during yoga nidra — waking, dreaming and deep sleep — you can experience benefits such as peaceful energy, total body relaxation as well as a reduction in anxiety and pain. Preparing for Yoga Nidra The techniques of yoga nidra can be found in the Mandukya Upanishad. Some people — especially when they are first starting the process of yoga nidra — can benefit from a recording instead. Before getting started with the practice of yoga nidra, you need to thoroughly prepare. First, give yourself plenty of time for a relaxed and unhurried experience. Choose a period when you have a long block of time to yourself — without pressing obligations that await at its conclusion, if possible. Clear out a space to lay a yoga mat as well as rectangular yoga bolsters or cushions, if needed. Use an eye mask or eye pillow to reduce the sensation of light. For a more permanent solution, consider installing room-darkening curtains or shades to help you focus during yoga nidra and to help maintain a restful setting for sleeping. Yoga Nidra Techniques Yoga nidra techniques can be loosely defined as the following: 1. Connection Focus your mind to connect on that which you desire — perhaps well being, health or peacefulness — most of all. Use your entire body to feel this desire, experiencing and imagining it as if it were happening at that moment. 2. Intention What is your intention during this yoga nidra session? You might want to explore a sensation, belief or emotion. Perhaps you simply want to rest and relax. Invite, welcome and affirm your intention with your entire being. 3. Resources Look inside yourself and find that safe place where your feelings of well being, calm and security reside. Perhaps there is a particular person, place or experience that helps you feel this way. At any time during your day-to-day life or while practicing yoga nidra, feel free to experience that place to bring yourself back to center and calm. 4. Scan Taking an unhurried approach, become aware of each of your body parts. Scan your scalp, forehead, neck and throat. Guide yourself to become aware of your eyes, mouth, nose, ears and jaw. Experience sensation throughout your fingers, your palms and up through your arms and shoulders. Perform the same gradual guided scan of each part of your body in turn. 5. Breathe Focus your awareness on your breath. Notice how it occurs on its own — with no help from you. Feel the flow of air as it naturally leaves and enters your throat, nose and lungs. Embrace the energy as it flows throughout your body. 6. Feel Open yourself up to your feelings, withholding judgment or change. Embrace the sensations — like tension, warmth or heaviness — that you feel in your body. Notice any emotions like anger, worry or sadness, and answer these with serenity and feelings of ease instead. 7. Witness Again, without judging your memories, thoughts or images or trying to change them, simply notice them. Welcome your thoughts and observe them. Experience the opposite thoughts as well, bringing them to mind and experiencing them as they occur. 8. Experience Open your being up and experience sensations of bliss, happiness, joy and well being. Feel them originating from deep within your belly or your heart before they spread throughout your entire body and reach into the surrounding space. Radiate these feelings of positivity with your every exhalation. 9. Observe Increase your awareness of yourself. Observe the identity of you — your personality and those traits that comprise you. Be cognizant of those feelings that arise as you experience your sense of identity. Give way to consciousness and awareness rather than thinking. 10. Reflect As your session of yoga nidra winds down, reflect on the sensations you acquired along your journey. Affirm the peace and awareness that lies deep within you regardless of the changes swirling around. Contemplate on ways to integrate this into your day-to-day life so you can retain a sense of equanimity. Finish the session on a gentle note, allowing yourself to transition back to the present gradually. Take a few moments to reorient yourself and to feel gratitude for having this experience. While many people fall asleep when they first begin yoga nidra, the goal is for you to use the techniques you learn to help you fall asleep at night. Teaching your body to let go of the day’s experiences and to relax makes all the difference in getting the sleep it needs. If you’re looking for other meditation options, check out the Sol Tec Lounge.
  5. Below are some interesting findings on how people sleep provided by Eight Sleep, makers of the Eight Mattress Pad and Eight Mattress. This data was generated by users of the Eight Sleep smart mattress pad and then anonymized. It includes data from 5,570 Eight Sleep users. On average they found that people from this group slept 7 hours and 38 minutes a night. Men sleep an average of 7 hours and 30 minutes compared to women at 7 hours and 54 minutes. The Eight mattress pad comes with a heating element to warm your bed. They found that women will warm their bed to a higher temperature than men. Eight was even able to find out how well people slept alone vs sleeping with a partner. People who shared a bed slept slightly better with a sleep score of 73 vs. those who slept alone with a sleep score of 71. Those who slept the worst were people that slept in their own bed but shared a room with someone. They had an average sleep score of only 65 and were in deep sleep for an average 16% of the time. I’m thinking this could be dorm room environments. Some other interesting findings are that despite the fact that people who sleep together sleep longer, women who slept with a partner would toss and turn more during the night. Whereas men who sleep with a partner get higher sleep scores and sleep more during the night. Eight was even to gain some insights into how married vs. divorced people sleep. Not surprisingly, married couples sleep more than divorced or separated couples. The Divorced or separated slept 7 hours 18 minutes a night vs. 7 hrs. 42 minutes a night for married couples. Interestingly, divorced people get deeper sleep. The Eight tracker found them to be in deep sleep an average of 21.11% per night vs married couples at 19.83% of the time. This is very preliminary data but a significant sample size that will only continue to grow as more people report in. What makes this data interesting is that using large data sets like this can help us understand how we compare with the rest of the country in terms of length of sleep and sleep quality. Having this data within the context of sleep environments also gives us insights into how we can optimize our sleep environment. If you want to know how you compare to this sample, you can purchase an Eight Sleep system to start tracking your sleep.
  6. When you invest in a quality mattress its imperative that it rests on a bed frame that provides proper support. For heavy set people, this can be particularly challenging because you need a bed that will support the extra weight over time. Your first step is to find a quality mattress for heavy people that will last for years and is designed for heavy people. The beds below are great choices because the will work with any mattress and all the new bed in a box brands. As a general rule, an adjustable bed is a great choice because they have steel legs and supports and will last longer than wood slat beds. Adjustable beds are designed to fit inside a traditional bed frame so if you like the look of a bed you can put an adjustable inside so that it gives you the right support and extra features such as massage. Best Budget Bed For Heavy People – Prima Sleep Most of the beds you will find on Amazon will work for people up to around 150 lbs. and even then, they won’t last all that long before you start noticing loose screws or bent legs. You often get what you pay for. And although they look nice, it’s no fun when slats fall through the frame or the frame wobbles at night as you change positions. An exception to this are some of the steel-framed beds. In particular, I like the Prima Sleep steel slat bed frame. It’s a simple construction that is super easy to assemble in just minutes and therefore portable. Another option is the Hercules from Classic Brands but the problem with frames like this is that although they are super portable, they tend to squeak. With these types of beds you also need to know that the bed can slide around so buying some double-sided tape to keep it in place would be a good idea. Best Adjustable Bed For Heavy People – Puffy Puffy makes incredibly comfortable mattresses but also makes an adjustable bed that is a really good value and is also very sturdy and durable. An Adjustable bed is a great investment for making your mattress more versatile but also provides a rock-solid foundation for years. Having an adjustable for your base ensures that you will no longer question if it’s your mattress or your bed which is sagging. You would be surprised how often mattresses get blamed for poor support when it’s actually the mattress. Best Natural Bed For Heavy People – Avocado Avocado is the most awarded and credited natural mattress online. I haven’t come across a mattress online or offline that is as intentionally designed as the Avocado Mattress. Avocado carries this attention to detail into their bed frame. The Avocado Bed Frame is a handmade frame made with 100% reclaimed wood and zero VOC sealant. It’s not cheap but it is heirloom quality. You will be able to pass this on to your kids and grandkids. This is a great choice for heavy sleepers because the slats are made with real wood! Most beds these days are made with particle board which can easily fall apart, scratch or chip. This bed just looks better and better with age. Best Retail Store Bed Frame for Heavy People – Pottery Barn We have had some Pottery Barn bed frames in the Sleep Sherpa stores and they hold up extremely well. If you are shopping Pottery Barn, West Elm or Crate and Barrel, all of these stores make great beds that will hold up well for heavy people but stay away from the mid-century modern styles. They look flimsy and because they have a minimalist style, there’s only so much material to work with. Stick with a more traditional style like the picture above and you will be happy. My Final Recommendation on Beds for Heavy People There are plenty of other brands and stores that offer quality beds for heavy people but this post gives you a good sense of what to look for. Again, an adjustable bed is always a great investment but that’s especially true for heavy set couples. If you are looking for an inexpensive option, a steel frame from Amazon will work but it will have some drawbacks as I have outlined above. By all means, stay away from cheap beds with wooden slats! They won’t hold up and you will probably end up on the ground sooner than you think. Finally, if shopping online isn’t your thing, check out some of the traditional retailer sand keep in mind that you often get what you pay for.
  7. Maybe it’s because I live in the city of lakes which is also located in the land of 10,000 lakes that drew me to the idea of Float Therapy. Float Therapy is a rebranded term for what used to be called isolation therapy or sensory deprivation therapy. It is a practice where you float in a sort of large bathtub that is filled with salt water. Float therapy is a form of mediation. I did my first float session at the Float Foundation in Minneapolis which coincidentally is on the other side of Lake Harriet from my house. I found a Groupon deal for a float session and thought I would give it a try. A 90 minute float session costs $69 while a 60 minute costs 61.99. After purchasing you can book a time via their online calendar on their website. My go to method of relaxation and meditation is the Sol Tec Lounge in my house which is sort of the opposite of the sensory deprivation method where layered music is played along with vibrations to keep you present and avoid distracting thoughts. What are the benefits of float therapy? Here’s a roundup of some symptoms that float therapy claims to alleviate: Stress relief Muscular pain Rheumatism Chronic pain Fatigue Fertility High blood pressure Migraine headache Jet lag Anxiety Insomnia Back pain Depression Pre-menstrual tension Post-natal depression Float therapy also promotes the following: Problem solving Creativity Increase energy Increased feelings of well being The float tank is sound proof or as sound proof as can be, and the temperature of the water is skin temperature so that you aren’t too hot or too cold. The epsom salt allows you to float effortlessly. If you haven’t floated like this before, it is an experience worth having. Here’s a picture of the float room that I used. Behind me is a private shower as well to use before and after using the float tank. I didn’t feel clausterphobic in the float room because the ceiling was high enough at my head. It slopes lower towards my feet but I didn’t find that to be a problem. I booked an hour and a half float session becuase with meditation it takes a while for me to properly relax and I wanted to make sure that I had adequate time to adjust given the new environment. These rooms have a button where you can have a soft light on or push it again for total darkness. I played around with both but ultimately found the darkness to be preferable and less distracting. This float chamber also has a neck support which you can use to help stabilize your head. I don’t think it’s necessary but I ended up using it for most of my session to fell a little more secure and to ensure water didn’t get in my ears. Inside the chamber there is also a dial which can be used to play quiet, relaxing music. I tried that out for a bit and found it enjoyable since it was so faint it wasn’t really distracting. It took me about 20 minutes to fully relaxing during my session. I think that’s because I was just enjoying the experience of floating and total relaxation. For an hour and a half session, this went faster than I expected. There’s no need to worry about over staying your welcome either. The light outside the chamber will turn on to alert you that your session is over. After your session you can rinse off with a shower with soap and shampoo included: I really enjoyed my float therapy session. Since I did it in early March in Minnesota, it was kind of a hassle to get undressed, shower then get dressed again and go off into the cold. However, the warm float tank really took the chill off and took me away from the winter doldrums. While I found the float therapy session to be relaxing, I didn’t have as productive a meditation session as I normally have in my Sol Tec Lounge. It could be that I am used to my form of meditation over this one. Using the Lounge in my house is much more convenient as well. I highly recommend trying float therapy. I think many people will benefit from just being able to tune out the world and all its distractions for an hour. While I didn’t fall asleep during float therapy, I slept very well the night I did my session.
  8. You know the feeling, you’re ready for bed and can’t wait to hit the hay to get a deep, restful sleep. But instead, you lie awake for hours, trying to fall asleep. It’s the worst! Have you considered aromatherapy? Aromatherapy is an alternative and complementary medicine practice that uses the power of the scents from essential oils to balance the body, mind, and spirit. According to a number of studies, specific essential oils can aid in relaxing the body, relieving stress and promoting better sleep. Here is a look at some of the best essential oils to help you sleep faster and better: Lavender Essential Oil: You have probably heard of the relaxing effects of lavender essential oil. So it only makes sense that it would be on the list of sleep-inducing essential oils, right? It is, in fact, one of most studied essential oils and is known to calm the nervous system – lowering heart rate, blood pressure and skin temperature while also changing brain waves to put you in a more relaxed state. Bergamot Essential Oil: Did you know that citrus bergamot is a hybrid fruit? It is somewhere between a lime or lemon and bitter orange. Traditionally used in Italian folk medicine, bergamot essential oil has been found to relieve tension and anxiety – two things that cause difficulty sleeping or insomnia. Studies have found that bergamot essential oil can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress. Clary Sage Essential Oil: Clary sage is a herb that is closely related to the common garden herb, sage. In fact, clary sage essential oil is used in dental procedures to help patients relax. It is true! This essential oil is also known to have effects similar to antidepressants. If you suffer from sleepless nights, this is one essential oil you should definitely consider to lull you to sleep. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: Extracted from the flower of a tropical tree found in Southeast Asia, ylang-ylang essential oil has a sweet floral fragrance. Its aroma has been found to be highly relaxing and decrease blood pressure. It also has a positive effect on the nervous system, resulting in lower blood pressure and heart rate. If you have issues falling asleep despite feeling exhausted after a long day, give ylang-ylang essential oil a try. Jasmine Essential Oil: The sweet aroma of jasmine can be quite relaxing. Although there is not much research on jasmine essential oil, there is a buzz that the smell of jasmine tea can have a calming effect. The next time you are wide awake in the middle of the night, why not go to the kitchen and brew a cup of soothing jasmine tea to help calm you and make you fall into sweet slumber. Other essential oils that can help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep include vetiver, cedarwood, Roman chamomile, marjoram and sandalwood essential oils. How to Use Essential Oils to Help You Sleep Do you want to create a more tranquil and soothing sleeping atmosphere? Make use of your essential oils. Whether it is lavender or jasmine, there are a number of different ways to use these oils to help you sleep better. If you’re looking for the best essential oil blend for sleep, Amazon is your best stop. Check out the Good Night Essential Oil Blend 10ml – 100% Natural Pure Undiluted Therapeutic Grade for Aromatherapy, Scents & Diffuser
  9. Red-eye flights are called so for a very specific reason. Passengers end up having red-eyes due to lack of sleep during the flight because of overnight flying. People usually find it difficult to fall asleep during a flight, but there are a few ways to help you get some decent shut-eye while on a plane. You can use a number of tips and hacks, as well as certain products, to make sure that you get the restful sleep you need during a flight. Tips to Help You Fall Asleep on a Plane Following a few tips before your flight can help make sure that you fall asleep on an airplane, including: Stick to Routines: It would be perfect if the flight you have scheduled matches your natural sleeping patterns. If not, stick to the usual routine, you follow before bedtime at home – brushing your teeth, reading a book or listening to soft music. Dress to Sleep: Of course, you cannot wear your pajamas in public, but wearing sportswear or sweatpants will make you feel comfortable. Make sure that you do not forget to keep your feet warm by wearing thick socks. Choose the Right Side: If you can, you should book a seat on your flight, according to the side you normally sleep on. According to a poll by Skyscanner, the left side – when you are facing the cockpit – is a better choice because the window seats are off center. This gives you more space to sleep on. Exhaust Yourself: You should try getting a little less sleep the night before your flight. For example, reduce the number of hours you sleep from 8 hours to about 4 or 5. Once you are seated down and relaxed on the plane, sleep should come naturally. Do Stretching Exercises: Aches and pains can keep you from falling asleep – they are the last thing you need. Try a bit of yoga or stretching exercises to keep your body supple and relaxed. This will most likely help you get some sleep when you are on the air. Carry Some Comfort Items: Do you remember being unable to sleep as a kid without your favorite teddy or blanket? Well, think of this as the grown-up version of a security blanket. Bring things to comfort you during the flight – it could be a shawl, an old t-shirt or even a soft toy. Making yourself feel at home is what will help you fall asleep when you are 38,000 feet up in the sky with 200 people around you. During the Flight Once you are inside the airplane and seated, a few tips can help you relax and fall asleep, such as: Flipping Your Neck Pillow: Instead of placing your neck pillow behind your head, do the opposite and wear it under your chin. When you doze off, the pillow will support your head when you roll. On of my favorite neck pillows so far is the Trtl neck pillow. It will support your neck no matter your sleep position. Using a Foot Rest: To improve your posture and maximize comfort, make a foot rest out of your carry-on luggage. You may also feel more relaxed if you rip off your shoes – just remember to wear clean socks so that you do not keep other passengers awake because of your stinky socks. Staying Away from the Light: Although backlit devices or in-flight movies can be a good form of distraction and entertainment, they can also disrupt your sleep. Use an eye mask to block out light from smartphones, tabs, etc. Listening to White Noise: Are different sounds on the plane distracting and keeping you awake? Drown them out with white noise. According to studies, white noise can actually promote better sleep. You will find a wide range of ambient soundtracks, such as TV static or rainfall, available on the Internet. Avoiding the Snack Trolley: Your sleeping pattern can be disrupted by the alcohol, sugar, and caffeine in snacks and beverages, so avoid the snack trolley at all costs. If you do need to eat, try to have a snack that is rich in carbs, such as cereal, an hour or so before you doze off. Falling asleep on an airplane can be seriously difficult for some people, leaving them tired and stressed out when they land. They often become unable to enjoy their vacation for a few days or perform the task they came to do if it is a business trip. With the handy tips above, you can avoid this problem and make sure that you sleep peacefully during your flight and wake up refreshed, ready for any adventure.
  10. As the name implies, soft mattresses are those that feel softer than firmer or harder mattresses. A lot of people prefer this type of mattress because they feel more comfortable when you lie down on top of them. In soft mattresses, you will find either a plush mattress top or a pillow-topped surface. To find out if you need a hard or soft mattress, it is best to consult a healthcare practitioner. Mattresses play a major role in our lives and their hardness or softness can have a huge impact on the quality of sleep you get. Both hard and soft mattresses have their own pros and cons. If you are someone who is looking for a soft, plush mattress for your bedroom, you should learn the pros and cons before making your purchase. Pros Here is a look at some of the pros of a soft mattress: They can relieve pain: Do you often wake up with back pain? Then you are better off with a soft mattress. Soft mattresses can help in effectively reducing back pain. Aging people who suffer from joint pain can benefit a lot from sleeping on a soft mattress. They provide spinal support for lighter people: A medium-firm mattress is ideal for lighter, slimmer people. They can enjoy the plushness of their mattress without sacrificing the all-important spinal support. They are better for side-sleepers: Do you sleep on your side? Then a soft mattress may be a better option for you than a hard one. Soft mattresses are especially great for those who sleep on their side, particularly in a fetal position. You can customize the softness of your mattress: If your primary mattress is a firm one and you would like to add a bit more softness to it, you do not have to spend money on a new mattress. Instead, customize your mattress’ softness by using a pillow-top system. This will give you the right amount of softness you are looking for. They are better for certain lower back problems: As mentioned earlier, soft mattresses help reduce back pain. Studies have found that they may be better for people who suffer from certain lower back problems, such as rheumatism, arthritis, scoliosis, etc. If you have any one of these problems, you should switch to a soft mattress and prevent it from getting worse. Cons Soft mattresses have a couple of cons as well, such as: They can reduce the quality of sleep: Did you know that, for some people, a soft mattress can result in a misalignment of your spine? The softness of the mattress can push your spine out of alignment. If you have spinal problems, then you definitely need to avoid sleeping on a soft mattress as they can make your problem worse. One mattress in particular that I like for people undecided if they want a firm or soft mattress is the Layla mattress. It has a firm and soft side so you can sleep on either depending on your preference.
  11. Have you ever found yourself stacking pillows, folding them up, or just really wanting anything other than the pillow that you’re sleeping on right now? The best pillow is not the same for everyone. There are several considerations for what will give you a good night’s sleep. Pillow material and feel is of course important. But something not frequently discussed is pillow height ideal for your size and sleeping position. Getting your head and neck are in a good position for spinal alignment has a huge impact on your sleep. Our pillow reviews cover a variety of pillows and sleep preferences. Pillow Height Calculations Start with Your Sleep Position You’ve probably heard it before: determining your sleep position will inform the best products for your sleep. And the pillow is no exception. Do you start and finish in the same position or do you do a lot of tossing and turning? If you’re not sure of your sleep position, you might consider recording your sleep to get a sense of your dominant sleep position. If you do a lot of moving and turning during the night, it’s a safe bet that your sleeping position is mixed. A mixed sleeping position usually calls for a hybrid or middle-of-the-road measurements and products. Pillow Heights for Side Sleepers, Stomach Sleepers, and Back Sleepers Determining the ideal height for your head and neck is determined by sleep position. Pillow height, side sleeper position means you want a relatively tall pillow to match your spine height raised by virtue of sleeping on your shoulder. The pillow should be fairly firm. Neutral spine alignment on your side is a straight spine. Stomach sleepers should stay close to the mattress and need a soft, thin pillow. The best pillows for back sleepers are right in the middle with a medium firmness and height that positions the head slightly upward from the spine. The neutral spinal alignment for back sleepers maintains an S curve. Additionally, as a general rule if your pillow is too low, you’re going to be straining muscles as they have to work maintain alignment. If your pillow is too high, you can be constricting your air flow, essentially a crimp in your airway. As a general rule, a medium pillow height is the safest bet if you don’t have any defined preference or indeterminate sleep position. A research study found that between 3 different heights, the middle height pillow supported the head and neck the most with the least amount of muscle activation being required. You might also consider a supplemental pillow elsewhere on your body to support good sleep posture. The position of this pillow varies by sleep position. Side sleepers can position a pillow between their legs for cushioning and to prevent twisting of the spine. Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees to relieve pressure. And stomach sleepers can put a thin pillow under their stomach to better align their head and neck with their main pillow. Pillows are made from a multitude of different materials such as down, memory foam, polyester, and latex. Aside from individual preferences about how different materials feel to you, the most important consideration is its firmness, matched to your sleep position (see above). Memory foam and latex tend to the firm side of the scale, whereas down and polyester are softer. Of course you should treat every pillow on individual basis as there are exceptions. Evaluating Your Pillow Performance and Adjusting Pillow Height As with all aspects of a bed system’s performance, the proof is in the pudding. If you’re having trouble going to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or waking up sore or stiff, something isn’t working. To start, gauge the feel of the pillow and whether you like it or not. Next, lying down in your dominant sleep position, see if the the pillow height and firmness effectively gets your head and neck properly aligned with the rest of your spine. You might have your partner or friend eyeball it or even take a picture to see your spinal alignment. How you sleep during the night and feel in the morning is the true test of whether or not a pillow is right for you. You should give it at least a week to make a conclusion. With pillows, you might start at the lower height end of the spectrum. If it’s not sleeping well, you might add an insert or additional to provide additional height to see if that makes an improvement. One pillow of note is the Purple Pillow. It uses its unique polymer material and design to provide excellent support. Another benefit though is that they provide an air booster add-on that you can adjust the height to the level that works best for you. Our Purple Pillow Review provides more detail.
  12. Best Tea for Sleeping Problems Millions of people all over the world spend their nights tossing and turning in bed rather than getting that much-needed rest that everyone craves. If you are one of these people, you know how terrible it feels not to get enough sleep – you wake up feeling groggy instead of refreshed and revitalized and lack energy for the rest of the day. Have you ever thought of trying out a cup of tea before going to bed? It could do wonders in helping you get that restful sleep that you need so badly. Here is a look at some of the best teas to help you sleep: Lemon Balm Tea: Does drinking lemon balm tea seem like the last thing that could help you sleep? Well, it actually works. Although it sounds pretty unlikely, lemon balm tea is excellent for people with insomnia. If you have difficulty sleeping, this is one of the best herbal teas for you as it helps in treating indigestion and anxiety and also reducing stress. You can mix it with other herbs like chamomile and valerian to increase its effectiveness. Lavender Tea: Everyone knows that lavender smells amazing and that it has quite a few medicinal properties that help treat a number of health issues. You can use lavender tea to help you sleep as it is quite an effective sleeping aid. All you need is a small cup of lavender tea to ease your body and mind and help you fall asleep. It works great for kids and adults alike and is a much safer sleeping aid than OTC products. Chamomile Tea: There is no better herbal tea than chamomile tea when it comes to feeling calm and relaxed. Because of this, it is one of the most effective natural sleeping aids. It is also packed with antimicrobial properties and antioxidants, making it highly beneficial to your overall health. Chamomile tea, apart from helping you sleep, can prevent cancer and treat diabetes and high cholesterol. Peppermint Tea: Peppermint is an excellent aid for digestion, and it also helps you relax, which is why peppermint tea is a great herbal tea for sleeping. With its soothing taste, peppermint tea is one of the best tea to help people with sleep problems. It contains menthol, which relaxes and calms the body and mind. It may also be able to stimulate vivid and pleasant dreams, so sip on a cup of peppermint tea every night before you go to bed. Valerian Root Tea: Have you heard of valerian root? If not, you are missing out on one of the best herbal teas for sleep. It contains compounds that have mild sedative properties with phytochemicals that activate those compounds to send the brain a message that it is time to sleep. Valerian root tea is safe and is the best choice for people who suffer from mood problems, anxiety as well as insomnia. Magnolia Bark Tea: For centuries, many countries in Asia have been using magnolia bark tea to treat anxiety and nervous disorders. However, recent studies have shown that it is an effective sleep aid. Magnolol, the main ingredient of the herb, acts as a mild sedative and effectively helps people fall into a deep, peaceful sleep. Turmeric and Ginger Tea: From ginger cookies to ginger ale, ginger makes everything taste delicious. It also has a number of different health benefits thanks to its natural antiviral and antibiotic properties. When you combine ginger with turmeric, you get the perfect herbal tea with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The combination of these two ingredients also helps in creating an effective sleep aid. One of the best things about turmeric and ginger tea is that it is easy to make as you probably have the two ingredients readily available in your kitchen. Herbal teas are fantastic as they not only help you relax and relieve stress and anxiety but also come with many other health benefits, such as fighting cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. If you are tired of sleepless nights, do not head to the chemist for OTC sleep aids. Try out different herbal teas instead and find out which one works best for you. OTC medications may also have serious side effects and can be addictive. Stop wasting your money on medications that do more harm than good. You will find it much more beneficial to drink a cup of soothing herbal tea before bedtime – let the tea do its work and help you fall into sweet slumber and wake up refreshed, ready to tackle the day.
  13. Are you someone who finds it difficult to fall asleep in a noisy environment? You are not the only one – a lot of people struggle to fall asleep when it is not quiet, unlike those lucky ones who can sleep right through a tornado. So what do you do if there is traffic noise outside or the dog next door is barking all night and keeping you awake? If you have problems falling asleep or tend to wake up easily during the night, white noise may be just the answer you are looking for. What is White Noise? So what is white noise? To put it simply, white noise is a special type of sound that masks all other background sounds. It helps in drowning out sounds which might be keeping you from falling asleep when it is used as a way to promote good sleep. Genuine white noise cannot be generated in any other way than electronically, and it sounds a little like radio or TV static. Because it contains a high amount of high-frequency energy, pure white noise is not every pleasant to the ears. In some cases, the term is used as a general description for any type of noise that is constant and unchanging. White noise has become a colloquial term for a wide range of different sounds, including: Machinery sounds – washing machine, air conditioners, etc. Nature sounds – waves/ sea, rain, jungle, crickets chirping, etc. Ambient soundscapes – crowd noise, a crackling campfire, aircraft interior, etc. Some people, when trying to fall asleep, prefer listening to these types of sounds rather than the harsh tone of genuine white noise. White noise machines are highly recommended by sleep specialists to help people who find it difficult to fall asleep or are awakened easily while they are sleeping during the night. Do White Noise Machines Really Work? Nowadays, you will find a wide range of white noise machines available on the market. Also known as sound conditioners or sleep sound machines, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes – from cutting-edge ‘sleep sound systems’ to low-tech, affordable options. Let us take a quick look at how white noise machines work. When you think about it, it may sound counterintuitive to add more noise in your bedroom to help you sleep when the noise is exactly the reason you cannot sleep. However, white noise works because it has the ability to blend external sounds (traffic, barking dogs, etc.) into the overall background noise, and therefore, your brain pays less attention. According to experts, it is not necessarily the volume of the sound that keeps you awake but its context. This is why some people can fall asleep in a noisy nightclub. Similarly, a startle response can be set off by a distant barking dog even if you are asleep and unconscious. When white noise, or a similar sound, is added to your sleeping environment, you are using a principal that is known as sound masking. Instead of drowning out the sounds that are keeping you awake, the frequencies of the white noise signal “masks” them. White noise machines produce a sound that masks the external sounds that prevent you from falling asleep. Studies have shown that these machines can benefit problem sleepers. If you prefer, you can also use nature sounds, etc. the same way you use white noise so that you can relax and drift off to sweet slumber. Other White Noise Solutions If you would rather not spend money on a white noise machine, there are other ways to create white noise, such as: A fan: If you have a standard table fan at home, you can use it to mask external sounds. Its whirr is quite ideal for sound masking. An old boom box or radio: Anything that comes with an FM tuner should work well. Just break the antenna or dial in between stations to create pink noise, which is a variant of white noise that has been shown to work effectively as a sleep aid. An app: A smartphone is one of the easiest ways to try out white noise to help you sleep. You will find countless apps – both free and paid – that are designed to help improve your sleep. However, keep in mind that some free apps use low-quality sounds that could turn out to be irritating rather than soothing and relaxing. White noise machines are an excellent investment if you have a serious sleeping problem and do not want to depend on sleeping pills. As mentioned, there are numerous types of white noise machines to suit any budget, so you will definitely find the right one to help you sleep. Say goodbye to sleepless nights. My favorite sound machine is the Marpac Sound Machine. It plays a nice analog sound that can be adjusted with a dial. They are very durable and really drown out ambient noises. Check out my full review of the Marpac Sound Machine.
  14. Do you have trouble falling asleep or often wake up in the middle of the night? Or do you often feel drained and exhausted in the morning instead of rested and refreshed? You are not alone. Millions of people across the world have sleep problems. Everyone needs good sleep, and deep sleep is even more important as it affects your health and body. When you get the adequate amount of deep sleep, you will wake up refreshed and with restored stamina, making you ready for anything the day throws at you. What is Deep Sleep? So what is deep sleep? Well, the simplest answer is that it is one of the stages in the sleeping process. This stage is also known as slow wave sleep, delta sleep and more recently, N3. Deep sleep is a time when repairs take place within the body and energy is restored for the day ahead. This stage of sleep plays an important role in maintaining your health as it boosts the immune system, stimulates growth and repairs any damage to tissue and muscles. Deep sleep also has a number of benefits, including: It can help in keeping your heart healthy. During deep sleep, your heartbeat slows down and gives your heart the opportunity to repair itself. Lack of deep sleep can trigger the production of cortisol and adrenaline which increases blood pressure. Deep sleep allows your body to rest and slows down your heartbeat, thereby lowering blood pressure. During deep sleep, the brain repairs itself and the body produces hormones as well as neurotransmitters that help in promoting new brain cell production. This brain repair prevents different mental disorders. By maintaining healthy brain function, deep sleep can significantly help in preventing memory loss and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. When you are in the deep sleep stage, the protein inside your body repairs damage caused by free radicals, microorganisms and other factors like harmful substances and toxins. Apart from this, deep sleep helps in improving digestion, preventing diabetes, fighting inflammation, alleviating stress and anxiety, preventing obesity, promoting healthy weight, restoring energy, enhancing immunity and more. Tips to Get Deep Sleep If you have trouble sleeping and want to get deep sleep, here are a few tips that you might find helpful: Disconnect Yourself: Many people have trouble sleeping because of work. You should disconnect yourself and relax a few hours before bedtime. Switch off your smartphone and other devices after 8 pm. It will provide great results. Listen to Soothing Music: Listening to soothing soft music before hitting the sack can do wonders to help you get deep sleep. It will reduce stress and anxiety and lower your blood pressure. Breathe Deeply: Deep breathing exercises and meditation helps to relieve stress and improve sleep quality. Find out a few breathing exercises and try them out before you get into bed. You can try this exercise – first, close your eyes and slowly inhale through your nostrils to count to 3 while expanding your stomach. Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth, while counting to 6 and keeping your stomach flat. Repeat 5 times. Pick a Good Pillow: You should never underestimate the importance of having a good pillow to lay your head on. The right pillow can have a significant effect on your quality of sleep. Use a medium-soft pillow if you are a side sleeper, and a firm pillow if you prefer sleeping on your back. Reduce Light Level: When you reduce the level of light that you are exposed to in the evening, it can encourage the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin and ease your body into sleep mode. So, if possible, get a dimmer switch and turn down your lights in the evening. Drink Milk or Eat a Banana: Bananas are an excellent source of melatonin and tryptophan, an amino acid. Warm milk is also quite rich in tryptophan. If you have problems getting good sleep, you should eat a banana or drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime – make this a pre-bedtime routine. As you can see, deep sleep plays a critical role in your health and well-being. You need to get deep sleep in order to be able to function the next day properly. Without it, you will be easily tired, and you will definitely experience a dip in your productivity. To make sure that you get deep, restful sleep every night, try out the tips mentioned above.
  15. From the neurophysiologist’s point of view, dreams are said to be the results of rapid eye movement (REM) when a person sleeps or is in a semi-conscious state. We see vivid images that keep flashing one after another to suggest a sequence of events that either make sense or don’t at all. The father of modern psychiatry, the legendary Sigmund Freud in his historical work, Interpretation of Dreams, stated that dream content is motivated by our longing for wish-fulfillments, and dreams are often instigated by daily events that precede the dream. He called it the “day residue.” In adults Freud observed, dreams occurred from “latent” dream-thoughts present in their unconscious or subconscious minds. The Interpretation of Dreams: What Dreams Convey Your dream may be a collection of simple images like a grand event, the reappearance of a dead relative or friend or even a euphoric you winning the lottery jackpot. However, dreams don’t tell simple stories always. This is more so because people from different backgrounds and cultures report having the same dreams. In a recent study on dreams, it was found that most members of the sample group saw the following fourteen most common images while dreaming. Being Chased: A very commonly reported dream. May be interpreted as a result of anxieties within us that we go to sleep with. Often, it’s not the fear of being chased actually, but what we’re running from causes such images to be seen. Dream of being chased help us understand that we may not be addressing important issues in our waking lives that require immediate attention. Vehicles: Be it a car, train, airplane or ship, any vehicle that we see in a dream reflects what direction we would like our life to take. Moreover, these are also suggestive of the quantity of control we think we have over the path ahead. Vehicles empower us to make transitions and point towards a definite destination. They are also known to highlight obstacles we think we are facing and need to overcome. Water: Water is a typical symbol of our unconscious minds or emotions. The state of the water — clear or cloudy; calm or turbulent — often gives insights into how effectively we manage our emotions. Classroom or School: Yet another very common situation. We often find ourselves in a classroom, confronted with a difficulty which we aren’t prepared to take. A classic case of the “dream pun” or the mind using a concept or word and defining it differently. The unwanted “test” that we face indicates that we have to learn from past mistakes. Reported mostly by people who have left school long ago. People: When you see other people while dreaming, take it as a reflection of the self’s different aspects. People who flit by in dreams may relate to special characteristics that need development. When you see specific people, you are directly relating to interpersonal issues or existing relationships that need to be worked upon. When you dream of your lover, in particular, it denotes a certain detachment. Death: Often perceived as a negative occurring, it often directly relates to dramatic changes that may happen in the dreamer’s life. It could indicate the ending of one thing and the beginning of another new phase in your life. Paralysis: When you dream of turning paralytic, your body actually assumes a paralytic form as you dream and this prevents it from performing any action or actions that occur in the dream. Dreaming paralysis is interpreted as an overlap between the REM and waking stages of sleep. It also indicates that the dreamer lacks control in his waking life. Falling: Reported quite frequently by dreamers. However, not all dreams about falling are negative or scary. Slow falling indicates a smoothness and serenity as also the letting go. However, images of falling from great heights indicate that something in our waking life is completely beyond our control. Flying: Indicates how poorly or effectively we control our lives and our confidence levels in achieving our goals. When you fly high, you are euphoric. Flying low or skimming and getting caught in obstacles like power lines indicate frustration somewhere deep down. Even images of babies, food, houses and sex seen in our dreams, have their own stories to tell. A baby usually represents something new — a new project, idea or development. Food symbolizes hunger for new insights and information while a dreaming of a house can be read as different aspects of dreamer’s degrees of consciousness. Last but not least, sex, as Freud put it, is best interpreted as an outlet for sexual expression, and close connections with others.
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