10 Secrets of Sleep to Help Get a Better Night’s Sleep

10 secrets of sleep to help get a better night's sleep

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A great night’s sleep can deliver significant benefits. However, not everyone can easily fall asleep. As a result, many folks are at risk for developing health issues. But there’s hope. Here are 10 secrets of sleep to help you enjoy consistent rest night after night.

The Top Secrets Of Sleep

1. Develop A Sleep Routine

Going to bed at the same time each night enables a person to get into a regular sleep routine.

2. Limit Naps During the Day

Reducing or eliminating naps may make it easier to feel tired at the end of the day, resulting in restful sleep.

3. Stay Active

Exercising for even a few minutes each day promotes a healthy lifestyle that is proven to deliver sleep benefits.

4. Eat Healthy

Limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption and avoiding big meals before bedtime may help a person rest comfortably at night.

5. Relax Before Bed

Deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises can help an individual become calm, cool and collected before bedtime.

6. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

A cool, dark and quiet sleep environment is ideal for optimal rest.

7. Turn Off Electronics

TVs, smartphones, tablets and other electronics often promote wakefulness, but turning them off at least a few hours before bedtime may help a person fall asleep quickly and effortlessly.

8. Reduce Fluid Intake

Limit fluid intake as bedtime approaches to reduce the risk of waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

9. Don’t Watch the Clock

Turn the face of a bedroom alarm clock around to alleviate the bedtime stress commonly associated with counting the minutes before an alarm clock will go off in the morning.

10. Pick Up A High-Quality Mattress

The ideal mattress should match a person’s body type and health, and ultimately, deliver improved sleep quality. However, not everyone knows the importance of replacing your mattress every eight years. For example, according to our recent survey, 43.1% of people replace their mattress every 5 to10 years. 

Use These Secrets Of Sleep For Your Health

Sleep is so important to our daily lives for some many reasons. From our health to our academic performance, it’s important we all get a good night’s rest. The secrets of sleep will help you get the sleep you need. As a result, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.

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Is Your Mattress Too Soft? Here’s what you can do.

is your mattress too soft?

The phrase “soft mattress” sounds so appealing. Thoughts of sinking into a nice plush mattress or the cliché of sleeping on a cloud. Who wouldn’t want that? Well it turns out there is such thing as a mattress that’s too soft. Despite how comfy they sound, a soft mattress can have you waking up in a lot of pain. That’s why it’s important to make sure your mattress is not too soft. In addition you should look to see which firmness level is right for you and your sleeping position.

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Digital Sleep Trackers. Are They Worth It?

Digital sleep trackers. Are they worth it?

Modern technology can help improve virtually every aspect of our lives, including exercise habits and physical condition. However, digital tracking devices aren’t limited to monitoring walking, jogging or other daytime exercise and fitness activities. Many people who consistently have trouble sleeping are now using digital sleep trackers. The tracker lets them record the time they fall asleep as well as when and how often they wake up. Furthermore, they can see how much time they actually spend sleeping during the night.

Types of Digital Sleep Trackers and What They Detect

The most common digital sleep trackers are wearable wristbands and smartwatches. Additionally, there are standalone systems that are clipped to a pillow or are placed on or under the mattress. These trackers gather and store information related to the quality, duration and trends of the user’s sleep.

Wearable Trackers

These contain sensors, called accelerometers, that monitor the sleeper’s rest and activity cycles. However, they’re not always entirely accurate. The accelerometer might confuse lack of movement as time spent sleeping. So when a body is lying still in bed for a while, it could be recorded as sleep. Conversely, the tracker might interpret nocturnal tossing and turning as awake time.

In addition to sleep cycles, some wearable trackers also monitor the sleeper’s heart and respiratory activity. This can change during the four different levels of sleep. Most wearable sleep trackers cost between $150 and $250, depending on the number and types of features they include.

 Standalone Sleep Tracking Systems

These types of trackers don’t come into contact with the body. Most contact-free sleep trackers use thin strips of fabric with built-in infrared sensors that detect the sleep/wake cycle. They’re placed either under the mattress or on top of the mattress beneath the bottom sheet. Standalone trackers use ballistocardiography (BCG) to create graphical representations of changes in the sleeper’s heart rate. Both types of trackers connect to your smartphone or tablet to keep records of sleep activity and trends. Some trackers will also interface with Alexa and similar home automation systems.  Non-wearable trackers are less expensive than wearable trackers because they lack the technology to monitor daytime activities. Prices for basic non-wearable trackers start at less than $100.

Additional Digital Sleep Tracker Features

Both wearable and non-wearable sleep trackers monitor each phase of the nightly sleep cycle. There are four stages of sleep in each cycle. Three are Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) phases, which called quiet sleep. There is also one Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage, known as active sleep. The trackers sense and record the amount of time the sleeper spends in each of the four stages:

  • NREM Stage 1 – This is a short, 5 to 10 minute period of transition between being awake and falling asleep.
  • NREM Stage 2 – During this period which lasts about 20 minutes, the body’s temperature drops and the heart rate begins to slow. There are also sudden bursts of brain activity during Stage 2.
  • NREM Stage 3 – This is when the deepest sleep occurs. The muscles relax, blood pressure drops and the breathing rate decreases.
  • REM Sleep – During the REM stage, brain activity increases, the body is relaxed and immobilized, the eyes move rapidly and dreaming occurs.

A full sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes, after which stages 1 through 4 are repeated throughout the night, all of which are captured and recorded. Ideally, healthy adults should complete four or five sleep cycles each night.

Some of the more advanced systems come with listening technology to detect snoring or other breathing abnormalities. These could be help identify indications of sleep apnea or similar sleep disorders. Many tracking systems will also monitor the sleeper’s surroundings. These include the bedroom’s temperature, ambient noise level and air quality. Both wearable trackers and contact-free trackers typically have silent alarms that vibrate to wake the user up.

Do Sleep Trackers Actually Work?

Sleep trackers can gather lots of information about sleeping habits. However, they don’t measure sleep directly. Sometimes they’ll interpret periods of inactivity as being sleep. Futhermore, they’ll consider episodes of restlessness as being awake. But they can still be useful in helping identify specific sleep patterns. Discuss your sleep quality with your doctor, if you’re concern about your sleep.

Sleep trackers can actually hinder some people from getting a good night’s rest. In some instances, trackers actually lower sleep quality by inducing anxiety that can result in insomnia. One study describes a growing number of cases of a new sleep disorder called orthosomnia. This disorder is an unhealthy obsession with the results of a sleep tracking device’s findings. In most cases, orthosomnia ends up impairing, rather than improving, sleep quality.

Many people find sleep trackers to be both entertaining and a useful way to monitor their sleep habits. But they’re not for everyone. If the tracker’s data contradicts the way you actually feel, listen to your body rather than the device. Otherwise, you may find yourself suffering from the effects of orthosomnia.

While a digital sleep tracker can help, nothing is more important than having the right mattress. Stop by your local Sit ‘n Sleep to speak with one of our knowledgeable sleep consultants. They’ll help you find everything you need for a good night’s rest.

How Often Should You Buy a New Mattress?

how often should you buy a new mattress?

How often should you buy a new mattress? It’s a question we get a lot. Let’s say you sleep in your bed for 8 hours a night for 365 days straight. At the end of the year, you have spent almost 3,000 hours lying on your mattress. Considering how much time you spend sleeping (plus lounging) on your mattress, it’s not surprising that it wears out eventually. The harder question is – how long does it take before a mattress really needs replacement?

The answer is “it depends.” Factors like mattress quality, the amount you sleep, sleep style, and sleeping with a partner all play a role. The National Sleep Foundation recommends changing your mattress every eight years. However, it’s helpful to take these other facts into consideration.

After all, you know your mattress and what kind of sleep it delivers better than anyone. But you also use your mattress every night and have grown used to its flaws and defects. Many people are sleeping on worn-out mattresses that actually hurt their sleep simply because it feels familiar.

How often should you buy a new mattress? Check out these factors.

Dips and Depressions

Your mattresses are supposed to provide a flat sleeping surface with even amounts of support. If there are obvious sections where the mattresses is sagging, it means your mattress no longer provides adequate support. Sections like around pressure points in your shoulders and hips are often areas where sagging occurs. At best, this makes your mattresses less comfortable, and at worst it leaves you with pain in the morning. Either way, saggy mattresses need replacement.

A Permanent Outline

If you have a memory foam mattress, you’re familiar with how the impression of your body stays in the foam. It usually lasts a second or two after you get out of bed, then it springs back to flat. As the years go by, the foam takes longer to fill back in. Eventually you’re left with a permanent outline of your body in bed. This is a clear indicator that the memory foam is worn out, incapable of providing adequate support. As a result, it’s time to replace.

 Spinal Pain

No matter how old your mattress is, when it doesn’t provide enough spinal support it’s not worth holding on to. If you sleep on your back or stomach, your spine should naturally form an S shape. If your spine is flattened or the S is elongated, the mattresses aren’t doing you any favors. Furthermore, side sleepers should have a straight spine, but a worn-out mattresses can cause uncomfortable bending and flexing. Spinal pain starts as a morning annoyance, but it can quickly become a chronic condition. Therefore, it’s worth seeking out a new mattress ASAP.

Lumps and Bumps

Over years of use, the padding inside your mattress will begin to shift around no matter what kind of mattress you have. Lumps might form, meaning that padding that’s supposed to provide support has moved to other parts of the mattress. In addition, trying to sleep on an uneven sleeping surface is annoying. Investing in a new mattress gives you an optimal environment to get the sleep you need.

Allergy Flare-Ups

So far, we have mostly focused on how mattresses lose padding and support, but that’s not the only consequence of age. When asking how often should you buy a new mattress, allergies also play a role. Allergens like mold, mildew, and dust mites collect in the mattress too. Unless you’re diligent about cleaning the mattress and sheets, those allergens could cause respiratory issues or other allergic flare-ups. Your bed is supposed to help you relax, not make you sick. So if your allergies are bothering you unexpectedly, consider a fresh mattress.

 Restless Nights

If you have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, your mattress is the first thing to investigate. Many factors affect your sleep, from your pillows to the temperature of the room. However, none matter more than the mattress beneath you. Even if you can’t identify a specific problem, poor sleep might indicate that something is wrong with your current mattress. For the sake of your health and wellbeing, start looking for a mattress that encourages you to sleep deeply.

 Crowded Conditions

You can also outgrow a mattress. Perhaps you move into a bigger bedroom, start sharing your bed with a partner, or become pregnant. Your sleep is too important to deal with a bed that no longer works for your sleeping arrangements. The sooner you make an upgrade, the sooner you can sleep how you want.

Advancing Age

The most clear cut answer to “how often should you buy a new mattress?” is usually every 8 years. The best time to replace a mattress is before it’s absolutely necessary. If your mattress is 7-10 years old it may still perform perfectly, but statistics suggest it’s reaching its end. Don’t wait until you start tossing and turning at night or waking up with aches and pains. Many new mattresses offer features and amenities that weren’t available last time you went mattress shopping.

How often should you buy a new mattress? Talk to Sit ‘n Sleep.

If the signs indicate it’s time for you to replace your mattress, rely on Sit ‘n Sleep to make the process easy. We have a massive and diverse mattress inventory. Plus in-store sleep experts who can help you find a mattress perfectly suited to your needs. We’d love to answer any of your questions, especially “how often should you buy a new mattress?” Explore what we have to offer on our extensive website, or call us 800-908-0354. When you’re ready to experience the comfort of a new mattress in person, come visit us at your local Sit ‘n Sleep.

How Sleep Benefits Your Body In Surprising Ways

sleep benefits

Sleep benefits your body in more ways than you might think

A good night’s sleep does more than just have you waking up feeling rested and ready to start the day. It may come as a surprise, but sleep offers many benefits that seemingly have nothing to do with energy levels. Here are some of the more interesting and surprising ways sleep benefits your body.

Sleep benefits your memory

Let’s start with one of the most important parts of your body: your brain. The proper amount of sleep does wonders for your brain function. Sleep can help you process new information.

When you’re asleep, your brain consolidates information you just learned into memories and stores them away. If you’re trying to learn something new, whether its physical or mental, practice or study it then get some sleep. When you wake up, you should have a better grasp on it.

Sleep helps with inflammation

Research has shown that poor sleep can contribute to inflammation in your body. Problems with Inflammation are linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis. Not only will too little sleep trigger inflammation, but too much sleep can have the same effect. Aim for 7-9 hours a night to avoid low-grade, systemic inflammation.

Sleep can help you live longer

With sleep so closely related to your health, it makes sense sleep can play a role in your life longevity. Getting less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis can negatively affect cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and higher risk of developing certain types of cancer. One study compared people getting five hours or less of sleep to those getting seven hours over the weekend. The study found that getting an average of five hours or less increased odds of death by 52%.

Sleep can enhance your athletic performance

There’s a bidirectional relationship between sleep and athletic performance. Different studies for various sports have all pointed to the fact that sleep can help athletic performance. One Stanford study showed that men’s basketball players who extended their sleep to 10 hours ran faster and shot better. Another study with swimmers showed they had a quicker reaction time off the diving block, when they got more sleep. A separate study showed tennis players had more accurate serves when they increased their sleep by nine hours a week. Furthermore, lack of sleep can lead to quicker exhaustion, slower decision making and higher risk for injury.

Sleep can help control your weight

If the above sleep benefits weren’t convincing, perhaps this will get your attention: A 2019 study showed that four nights of poor sleep can actually make you gain weight. This study revealed that sleeping poorly changes the way your body stores fat, while increasing your risk for obesity. There is also research that suggests lack of sleep can lead to increased appetite and diminished feeling of fullness. Furthermore, other studies have concluded that sleep deprivation affects food preferences. People who are sleep deprived tend to prefer foods high in calories and carbs. In addition, getting less sleep can disrupt your metabolism, further causing you to gain weight.

Sleep benefits your creative juices

A full night’s rest is known to boost creativity levels as it fosters improved connections in the brain. This allows you to make deeper connections to improve critical thinking while awake. Research has shown that the emotional components of memory may strengthen while we’re asleep, helping spur the creative process. Furthermore, the vivid dreams we experience during REM sleep can spark our creativity. So if you find yourself stuck on a creative project, sleep on it and see what happens the next day. Chances are you’ll find the creative solution to your issue.

Sleep cleanses “trash” out of our brains

A recent study revealed that a certain fluid in our brain and spinal cord helps wash trash from our brain. Cerebrospinal fluid washes in and out, like waves, to help our brain get rid of accumulated metabolic waste. The waste includes potentially toxic proteins that can hinder the flow of information between neurons. Furthermore, another study found that specialized immune cells are more active during sleep, performing maintenance work in our brain.

Napping can make you smarter

Turns out taking a snooze during the day also has its benefits. One study compared people who didn’t nap or only took short naps to those who nap at least an hour. The study found the former had mental decreases 4 to 6 times greater than the latter. Napping can also lower your stress and improve your mood.

Improving Your Self Care. Taking care of you.

improving your self care

Let’s face it, we often neglect ourselves in order to take care of everyone and everything else. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to take better care of our health and wellness. Here are some tips for improving your self care.

16 Tips For Improving Self Care

Drink more water

Drinking water has so many benefits. From helping you lose weight, to providing more energy, to pain relief ­– water is big help in improving self care. While drinking eight cups a day has been the longstanding rule, it tends to be more individualized than that. The amount of water you should drink depends on age, activity levels, the climate you’re in, health, and more. You’re probably drinking enough if you don’t usually feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow or colorless.

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night

It’s no secret that the majority of people get way less sleep than they should. With everything that you have on your plate, it can be hard to prioritize sleep. But getting enough sleep is really important! Experts recommend around 7-9 hours each day for adults. Sleep deprivation can lead to health issues like psychological problems, heart disease, obesity, weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Meditate every day to improve your self care

Meditation has been shown to have so many positive effects on the body and mind. Benefits include reducing blood pressure, lowering anxiety, as well as improving your focus, memory and attention. Even if you just spend five minutes meditating, you’ll still be able to enjoy the benefits and improve your self care.

Schedule regular self care

If you struggle with finding time to squeeze in your self care, put it in your calendar. Make it a priority by finding the time in your busy schedule. Set a reminder in your phone to tackle at least one thing off your self-care list. Being proactive with you schedule can help force you to make it a priority, until it becomes routine.

Take time off from social media

While social media does have its benefits, spending too much time on it has been linked to stress, anxiety and depression. Give yourself an hour off a day, or even consider a regular tech-free Sunday. Even if you need to social media for work, find time to step away and clear your mind.

Look at your triggers and signs of stress

It’s no secret that stress is a killer. High stress levels have been associated with tension headaches, heart disease, high blood sugar levels, and other health issues. Take a look at what triggers your stress and the effects that it has on your body. This can help you find ways to release that stress and minimize the harm it can cause.

Improve your self care by cutting out toxic people

Everyone has at least one of those people in their life. You know the one: they make snide comments, are unsupportive, or just make you feel bad about yourself. It’s time to cut them out! Don’t waste your time with people you don’t like or who don’t make you feel good about yourself or your potential. Imagine how great it will feel to not have to deal with that toxicity anymore!

See the doctor about improving your self care

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen your doctor, now is the time! Schedule a check-up or physical exam with your primary care doctor and catch up with your recommended preventive care screenings. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little nervous, especially if it’s been a while. Even if you’re young and healthy, it’s important to see your doctor regularly to find health problems early. As a result, you’ll be able to treat them before they become serious.

Look at sleep hygiene

In addition to getting more sleep, it’s important to work on getting better quality sleep. Improving your sleep hygiene can help you get more productive and restful sleep. Try limiting caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine.

Improving your self care with yoga

Yoga isn’t just a trendy exercise class for housewives or millennials. It’s an ancient practice with many health benefits, like reducing stress, increasing flexibility, building muscle strength, and increasing blood flow. If you’re nervous about trying an in-person class, try a video online to get started!

Take a nap

Taking the occasional 30-minute power nap can help give you more energy to get through the rest of your day. Just be mindful of napping too long as it could prevent you from getting good quality sleep during the night.

Practice gratitude

Building a gratitude practice can have profound effects on your mood and attitude. Take a few minutes each day to think about what you are thankful for. Furthermore, think about what positive things have happened that day. As a result, both your physical and psychological health can improve. It can also help to improve your sleep and build mental strength and resilience.

Let go of the diet

Many people look for the next diet fad to help them lose weight. As a result, most don’t sustain the weight loss or see results at all. Instead, focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins Try and cut back on the amount of sugar and processed foods that you eat. Look for healthy lifestyle habits you can build long-term, instead of what’s trendy at the time.

Spend more time outdoors

It’s easy to get sucked in to being indoors all day. Between work, commuting, family obligations and responsibilities at home, you might forget to get outside sometimes! But being outside has a number of healthy benefits. This includes increased Vitamin D levels, better focus and concentration, reduced anxiety and improved mood. Try to take a walk outdoors every day. Opt for the famers market instead of the grocery store. If you live in Southern California, take advantage of the beautiful weather we have seemingly year round.

Practice a screen free bedtime

Do you get in bed, scroll through your social media and email, and then plug it in next to your bed? Sound familiar? Research has shown that using a device right before bed can have a negative effect on your sleep quantity and quality. Try avoiding your phone for at least 30 minutes before bed and plug it into an outlet in a different room. Having a screen free bedtime is just another way to keep improving your self care.

Invest in your sleep sanctuary

Like we already discussed, getting quality sleep is important for your health and self care. However, if your bedroom isn’t properly set up, you may not be getting the sleep you need. Make sure to replace your mattress every eight years. Furthermore, make sure your mattress is the appropriate one for your sleeping position. You’ll also want to keep your mattress clean and free of dust mites and bed bugs. Even if you’re currently not in the market for a mattress, you should call or visit your local Sit ‘n Sleep. Our Sleep Consultants can help make sure your bed is set up correctly with the right mattress. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to get the best sleep possible.

Most Interesting Facts About Beds: Our Top List

most interesting facts about beds

From mind-blowing to head-scratching, check out our top 8 most interesting facts about beds.

The most interesting facts about beds that will surprise you. Beds have come a long way since humans first started using them to (attempt to) get a good night’s rest. Beds have been reinvented time and again with different mattresses, materials and technology. You might think you know your bed, after all, you spend a third of your life on it. Here’s our top eight most interesting facts about beds.

The Top 8 Most Interesting Facts About Beds

Interesting Fact #1: King Tut was buried on a gold covered bed.

King Tutankhamun ruled Egypt from around 1334 to 1325 B.C. Though he was just a child when he took the throne, he seemed to have a thing for beds. When archaeologists excavated his tomb in 1922, they discovered a gold covered bed with an intact base of woven string. Experts believe this bed was specifically made for King Tut’s funeral. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the dead were simply sleeping and would awake ‘reborn’ in the afterlife. 

Interesting Fact #2: The Japanese don’t sleep on beds.

Most Japanese people sleep on the floor, instead of western-style beds. The Japanese have been doing this since the 10th century and it has become a proud part of their culture. They typically sleep on a tatami, a mat made of rice straw that feels like a thin yoga mat. Some houses have portable tatami mats that they fold away during the day. Others have tatami flooring permanently installed in their bedroom. Furthermore, older Japanese homes have their entire house made up of tatami floors. Many Japanese households will put a futon, known as a Japanese bedroll, over their tatami for added cushion.

Interesting Fact #3: NASA invented memory foam.

Back in the 1960’s, NASA was looking for a way to improve the probability of its passengers surviving a crash. So an aeronautical engineer named Charles Yost created an open-cell, polymeric “memory” foam material. This material was able to absorb unusually high energy while still staying soft and pliable. Furthermore, the foam had the ability to evenly distribute body weight and pressure, making it more comfortable for long flights. Memory foam in mattresses didn’t become widely available for beds until Tempur-Pedic came on the scene in the early 90’s.

Interesting Fact #4: It’s illegal to purchase a mattress on Sundays in Washington.

There’s interesting facts about beds, and there’s just plain weird. In Washington state, it is illegal to buy or sell mattresses on Sunday. It’s not quite clear what the origin of this law is but it doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced. Mattresses shouldn’t feel too bad, because it’s also illegal to buy meat on Sundays as well. Thankfully, you can come to Sit ‘n Sleep any day of the week to buy your mattress.

Interesting Fact #5: TV programs wouldn’t show couples in the same bed in the 1960’s.

Television sure has come a long way since the days of Lucy and Ricky. In the 1960’s, TV didn’t show married couples in the same bed. For a long time, shows like I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show showcased twin beds separated. This was because a set of rules known as the Hays Code. heavily censored the TV and film industry. The Brady Brunch eventually made sleeping in the same bed popular in 1969.

Interesting Fact #6: Pillows weren’t always soft.

Pillows originated in 7,000 BC in Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq. But these weren’t the fluffy pillows filled with feathers. The original pillows were hard and carved from stone. It may not sound fancy, but at the the time the number of pillows you had symbolized your wealth and importance. We don’t have any carved from stone, but we do have plenty of pillows to choose from that are firm, plush, and everything in between.

Interesting Fact #7: A typical mattress can have up to 10 million dust mites.

Dust mites are microscopic little bugs that feed on dead skin cells. Because of this, they love to live on mattresses, where we shed about 1/5 ounce of dead skin each week. A typical mattress can have anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites inside. Pretty gross. This is part of the reason it’s important to switch out your mattress every eight years. It’s also why you should invest in a mattress protector, to help keep your mattress clean on prolong the life of it.

Interesting Fact #8: The earliest human beds were found in South Africa.

A team of archaeologists claimed to have found the earliest known “mattresses” in South Africa, dated about 77,000 years ago. The team discovered one-centimeter thick swaths of plant remains, including stems and leaves. Most of them covered at least 32 square feet. Even more interesting, the mattresses contained leaves from the Cape laurel plant. These plants contain several chemical compounds that can kill insects. It’s possible that early humans protected themselves against mosquitoes carrying malaria with this plant.

How Exercising Improves Sleep

How Exercising Improves Sleep

Exercising improves sleep in a few different ways. Learn how you can make the most of your time training.

There’s a bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep. While many athletes focus on the benefits sleep provides for their performance, there are implications that exercising improves sleep.

The Stages Of Sleep

Before we dive deeper into the correlation between sleep and exercise, let’s first explore how sleep actually works. There are two different kinds of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). While REM sleep consists of just one stage, there are actually three different stages of NREM sleep.

Each stage is determined based on your brain activity during sleep. As you sleep through the night, you cycle through both REM and NREM sleep several times.

Stage 1

This is the stage in your NREM where you start dozing off. This stage usually lasts about five minutes, and consists of light sleep and slow breathing as your muscles start to relax. It’s easy to wake someone up out of Stage 1, but if they’re left alone they can move pretty quickly into Stage 2.

Stage 2

During this stage of NREM sleep, you start to enter a more subdued state. Your heartbeat and breathing slow even more, and your muscles relax further. In addition, your body temperature drops and eye movements stop. Stage 2 typically lasts between 10 – 25 minutes during the first sleep cycle. You spend about half your sleep time in Stage 2.

Stage 3

This stage of NREM sleep gives you the slow-wave, deep sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning. When you’re in deep sleep, your pituitary gland releases a growth hormone that promotes tissue growth and muscle repair. During the first half of the night, we spend most of our time in Stage 3, usually lasting about 20-40 minutes. As the night goes on, this stage gets shorter, and you start spending more time in REM sleep.

REM Sleep

The most commonly known stage of sleep, REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Your REM stage of sleep is where your brain activity picks up, resembling levels of when you’re awake. REM sleep seems to be critical to your cognitive functions, like learning, memory and creativity. This stage is also where most of your dreams occur, though your body is temporarily paralyzed so you can’t act out those dreams.

How does exercise affects sleep?

Physical activity can improve your sleep quality and sleep duration. Exercising helps reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep, as well as reduces your time lying awake in bed. Furthermore, exercising increases the amount of slow-wave, deep sleep you get, giving your mind and body the chance to rejuvenate. In addition, exercise can help decrease daytime sleepiness and potentially reduce the need for sleep medications.

There are also more indirect ways exercise helps with your sleep. For starters, exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Studies have shown that stress and anxiety can lead to insomnia and other sleep problems. So simply working out to de-stress can also lead to better sleep. Additionally, exercising can help prevent excessive weight gain, making it less likely for you to suffer from sleep apnea.

Exercising improves sleep. Try these tips.

While working out leads to improved sleep, there are things you should keep in mind first.

When should you work out?

The timing of your workout is a hotly debated subject. Almost everyone agrees exercising improves sleep, but some disagree on the best time to work out. Some studies claim working out before bed can negatively impact sleep, while other studies argue the opposite. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to exercise at least one to two hours before bed. This will give your endorphin levels some time to subside and your brain time to wind down.

It’s also important to consider your body temperature. Exercising elevates your core body temp, which signals to your body that it’s time to be awake. The temperature will start to fall about 30 to 90 minutes after you’re done. This decline will help facilitate sleepiness.

With conflicting studies about the optimal time to exercise, it is ultimately up to you. If exercising in the morning helps you get great sleep at night, go for it. If you find that you sleep better after a nice evening workout, full speed ahead. The important thing is that you are working out in the first place and getting the exercise your body needs.

What kind of workouts are best?

Different workouts can serve different purposes. This may sound obvious from the physical standpoint, we’re referring more to the mental side of things. It might be helpful to consider what your mind and body need before choosing your day (or night’s) workout. Exercising improves sleep, but there are some exercises that may be better than others.

Yoga

Let’s start with the obvious one. Many people correlate yoga with relaxation and de-stress, and for good reason. Yoga has been shown to alleviate insomnia and improve sleep quality. If you’re looking for a specific yoga practice to help you get better sleep, try yoga nidra. Also known as yoga sleep, this meditative practice promotes deep rest and relaxation.

Strength Training

If hitting the weights is more your style, then keep at it. You can experiment with the intensity and duration of your nighttime workouts to see what brings better sleep. Strength training at night can help you burn off extra energy from the workday to bring on a relaxing night. One important note, try and stay away from supplements like pre-workout mix, especially for your nighttime lift sessions. They are loaded with caffeine and other ingredients, and can keep you awake no matter what time you ingest it.

Cardio Exercise

Whether you want to go for a run, swim or even a brisk walk, cardio exercise can help improve your sleep. Furthermore, cardio workouts with moderate intensity can lower the severity of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea. Some studies even suggest that moderate-intensity aerobic activities are more beneficial to your sleep than vigorous-intensity exercise.

Exercising improves sleep and vice versa

When you take the proper steps to improve your sleep, you’ll be rewarded with improved performance. Various studies have shown a good night’s sleep can help athletes improve different aspects of their game. Better sleep can lead to longer endurance, faster speed, quicker reaction time, improved accuracy and less risk of injury. Be mindful with your training and you’ll be on your way to better sleep and better athletic performance.

Can’t Sleep With Your Partner? Try These Tips.

8 Ways To Sleep With Your Partner

8 ways to sleep with your partner and get a good night’s rest.

Trouble sleeping next to your partner? You’re not alone. About 26% of people say they get better sleep when they sleep alone, compared to sleeping with their partner. However, that doesn’t always have to be the case.

Sleeping with your partner has its benefits

While it’s tempting to give up and sleep alone, sleeping with your partner can be important to your relationship. For starters, cuddling can help you bond with your significant other and promote intimacy. According to one study, cuddling after sex leads to higher sexual satisfaction and higher relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, touch helps communicate feelings of love, gratitude, and sympathy between loved ones. As we make contact with another human, our levels of oxytocin rise. Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that can prompt empathy, trust, relaxation and reduced anxiety.

How to get harmonious sleep with your partner

Address snoring together

Let’s start with the (very loud) elephant in the room. Snoring can be the biggest sleep issue couples have to deal with. And while there may be only one partner to blame, it’s important to deal with the issue together. If you’re the snorer, get evaluated by a medical professional to see what the underlying cause is. If you’re the snorer’s partner, encourage them to get checked out and go with them on their visit. Your support might be just what they need to finally get help.

Get some earplugs when your sleep with your partner

Whether you’re dealing with your partner’s snoring or your neighbor’s unnecessarily loud TV, earplugs might help your issues. Light sleepers should especially consider getting earplugs to block the noises that easily wake them up.

Stagger your bedtimes

Be intentional about your individual sleep schedule. If your partner is the one who is keeping you up, try going to sleep earlier than them. Then have your partner come to bed when you’re in a deep sleep. This will hopefully prevent your significant other from keeping you awake.

Put on headphones when you sleep with your partner

Speaking of staggering bedtimes, if your partner is ready for bed but you want to stay up and watch TV, try putting on headphones. As a result, your partner can sleep soundly while you enjoy your favorite show. Now they even make headphones and earbuds specifically for bedtime.

End the blanket tug-o-war

Who says sharing is caring? Are you and your partner always fighting over the sheets? One easy solve is to just get two separate blankets. That way you’ll have your own blanket to stay warm and comfy. You can still share a couple of layers, just make sure you each have one designated blanket for yourself.

Find the right mattress

Mattresses with individually wrapped pocketed springs, like hybrid mattresses, are great for couples. Pocketed springs contour to your bodyweight independent of each other. Because they don’t completely affect their surrounding springs, you’ll be able to move around in bed without waking your partner. If you toss and turn at night, pocketed springs can help prevent your partner from waking up.

Look into an adjustable base

You and your significant other don’t need to compromise on your preferred sleeping positions. With an adjustable base, you can each choose the most comfortable position for your individual needs. You may need to get two twin bases and put them together, but the results could be worth it. Adjustable beds come with plenty of benefits. Furthermore, they can help with snoring which, in turn, can help with your relationship.

Get separate beds, if you must

Above all, the health of your relationship should be the priority. If you and your partner have tried everything and still can’t make it work, consider separate beds. A growing, though misleading, topic is the trend of sleep divorce. This is where a couple will sleep in separate beds, or even separate rooms, to get a good night’s sleep. But don’t let the name fool you, some say this can actually improve your relationship. After all, when you’re well-rested, you’re less irritable. As a result, you won’t be so hostile toward your partner. So while you should explore the ways to make sleeping together work, don’t be ashamed if you choose different beds. What’s important is that you and your significant other maintain a healthy and loving relationship.

Talk to a Sleep Consultant

If you’re looking to get better sleep with your partner, speak with our Sleep Consultants. We can help you find a solution that works for the both of you. Call or visit your local Sit ‘n Sleep today.

How To Get Your Kids To Sleep

How To Get Your Kids To Sleep

Get your kids to sleep and get more time to yourself with these 6 tips.

Children are one of the best gifts life can give you. But raising them isn’t without its challenges. Especially when it comes to bedtime. Almost every parent will tell you trying to get your kids to sleep can be, well, exhausting.

Why it’s important to get the kids to sleep

If children don’t get the appropriate amount of sleep, they may start to experience many different problems. Poor sleep can lead to behavioral issues with kids. They may also have trouble learning and paying attention in school. Lack of sleep can also play a role in childhood obesity.

Does your little one having trouble getting to sleep? You’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 25% to 50% of preschoolers experience sleep related problems.

6 tips to help get your kids to sleep

Set a sleep schedule

It’s important to work with your kid to set a sleep schedule, personalized to them. Is your kid an early riser or a night owl? School-aged kids typically need 9-11 hours of sleep. Set a bedtime and wake time that makes the most sense for your child’s own needs. Try and keep bedtime and wake time the same, within an hour or so, for consistency. If you allow them to break from their schedule and get too much sleep, they may not feel tired by bedtime. You can tell they’re getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed. Furthermore, waking up easily in the morning, and not nodding off during the day are good signs as well.

Develop a routine

Kids thrive on routines. One study showed that bedtime routines helped significantly reduce problematic sleep behaviors for infants and toddlers. Create a routine that is comforting and relaxing so your kid becomes sleepy at the start of it. After dinner, try a routine that includes some gentle playtime, bath, brushing teeth, a bedtime story then bed. Try and keep the routine short and be firm about ending it when it’s time to sleep. Lastly, kids will always try and prolong their bedtime. A drink of water. One more book. Just five more minutes. When your kids turn on the cuteness, it may be tough to say no. But it’s important to stay firm and let them know once they’re in bed, they have to stay there.

Create the right environment

When you set up your kid’s room, keep in mind details that will help them sleep better. Get shades for their room to keep it dark. If your kid doesn’t love a pitch black room, invest in a small night light. Look into getting a comfortable mattress and soft sheets that will help your kid get better sleep. In addition, set their room’s temperature on the cool side to around 65-70 °F at night. Lastly, try and keep the noise level to a minimum when your kid is trying to go to bed.

Give them a comforting object

When your kids go to sleep it means that they’re separated from you. Parents may find this time relieving, but kids can grow anxious and scared being away from their parents. Even if you’re just in the other room. As a result, you may want to give them a comforting object like a teddy bear, doll or blanket. This will provide them with a sense of security and comfort that can be reassuring as they try and fall asleep.

Calm their fears

Monsters under the bed, boogeymen, ghosts — there’s a lot of scary stuff out there haunting kids’ imaginations. Rather than dismissing them as silly childhood fantasies, help alleviate their fears by addressing them with your kids. However, make sure you address these fears during the day, avoid having these conversations around bedtime. If a reassuring talk doesn’t help get your kid to sleep, get creative. Use a special toy to “guard the room” or even a spray bottle that will spray the monsters away.

Keep an eye out for troubling signs

There could possibly be other reasons your little one can’t get to sleep. If your kid has trouble falling asleep, snores, or breathes through their mouth, they could possibly have a sleep disorder. In addition, persistent nightmares, daytime behavioral problems, and being overtired may be worth looking into. Speak to your pediatrician about your child’s sleep habits. They might recommend a sleep consultant or offer other suggestions to help your kiddo get some zzz’s.

Help the whole family get to sleep

If your kid isn’t the only one having trouble getting to sleep, it might be time for a new mattress. Give us call or come visit one of our locations and speak to our Sleep Consultants. Together, we can help you and your family get the best sleep of your lives.