Should You Monitor Your Sleep With a Digital Tracker?

Modern technology can help improve virtually every aspect of our lives, including exercise habits and physical condition. People of all ages and from all walks of life can be seen wearing colorful “smart” wristbands or trendy smartwatches as they go about their daily activities. Called fitness trackers, many people use the wristbands to create records of their physical activities, such as the number of steps walked, miles run or laps swum in a pool. Most of today’s smartwatches have similar activity tracking capabilities. The data gathered by the devices is used to help these people achieve personal fitness goals and improve their overall physical condition. Both types of trackers gather and store summaries of the day’s activities by interacting with smartphones and other digital devices via Bluetooth.

Digital tracking devices aren’t limited to monitoring walking, jogging or other daytime exercise and fitness activities. Regularly getting a good night’s sleep is essential to achieving and maintaining good physical and mental health. Sleeping poorly can result in decreased motivation for achieving goals, increased cravings for junk food and sugar, as well as a higher risk of illness due to the negative effects too little sleep has on the immune system. Many people who consistently have trouble sleeping are now using digital sleep trackers to record the time they fall asleep, when and how often they wake up during the night and how much time they actually spend sleeping.

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Tips For Helping Children Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep

A good starting point is to establish a relaxing nighttime routine for your child. This is especially important for helping very young children fall asleep. The nightly routine might include taking a bath, putting on a favorite pair of pajamas, brushing teeth and possibly reading them a bedtime story after they’re under the covers and snugly tucked in. Most children find a regular routine calming and comforting, since they’re aware of what’s about to happen. It probably won’t take long before the child automatically starts to become sleepy as the nightly routine begins. Below are more tips for helping your child fall asleep.

  • Turn Off Electronic Devices at Least an Hour Before Bedtime. The blue light emitted by a TV, tablet, smartphone and similar devices interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, which is a naturally occurring substance that helps regulate the human body’s sleeping and waking cycles. Most people become naturally sleepy when their melatonin levels are highest. As little as half an hour’s TV or other screen time close to bedtime, however, can be enough to keep your child awake for an extra 2 hours or more. Phones, tablets and video game consoles should be kept out of the child’s bedroom during the night.
  • Create an Environment Conducive to Sleep. Cortisol, like melatonin, is another naturally occurring hormone, but has the opposite effect. Called the “stress hormone”, cortisol helps the body respond to danger or stressful situations. When cortisol levels are high, the body becomes alert, so it’s likely that your child will experience difficulty falling asleep. Be sure their activities before bedtime are calm, the bedroom lights are dim and noise levels are low to help avoid excess cortisol production than can keep your child – and you – awake.
  • Keep the Room Comfortable but Cool. Just as a bedroom where the light is too bright or the noise level is too high affects a child’s ability to fall asleep, so does a room that’s overly warm. Avoid using too many blankets and covers when you tuck him or her in and lower the thermostat setting slightly shortly before bedtime.
  • Be Sure Your Child Eats Properly. Children need to be fed a nutritious and satisfying evening meal, but it needs to be at the right time. Eating too early will leave the child hungry and overly alert when it’s time to go to bed. Eating a meal late in the evening can make the child uncomfortable and unable to fall sleep. Coffee, tea, colas and chocolate all contain caffeine, and should be avoided in late afternoon and evening hours. A good breakfast in the morning will help reset a young body’s clock to the awake cycle for the day.
  • Alleviate Nighttime Fears. Some younger children have a fear of the dark or being alone that makes them reluctant to go to bed or fall asleep.. Praise them for being brave while assuring them that their bedroom is a safe and secure place. Avoid computer games, TV shows and movies that are violent or scary. A favorite stuffed animal may comfort and reassure a child, although too many toys can be a distraction that can keep them from falling asleep. A low level nightlight in the room helps to make some kids fell safer.
  • Be Aware of Possible Sleep Disorders. If your child continues to have problems falling or staying asleep or regularly experiences nightmares, it may be a sleep disorder keeping them awake that needs professional treatment. Consult with the child’s pediatrician if the problem persists for more than a few weeks or if interferes with his or her daily life, including school and social interactions.

Choose the Right Sleep System.

Sleeping alone in a large bed can be lonely and intimidating for some young children. A twin mattress and bedframe, however, might give the child a cozy, more secure “tucked in” feeling that could help them sleep comfortably through the night. Measuring 35” wide x 75” long, a standard twin mattress is a good choice for youngsters who have outgrown a crib, and should accommodate them comfortably into their teenage years.

Choosing the right bedding and accessories, including sheets that are soft and colorful and a pillow that’s comfortable will also make it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep. Just as the right mattress should support the shoulders, back and hips, the right pillow is needed to properly support the child’s head, neck and spine.

A good pillow choice for youngsters 3 to 12 years old is the Pure Care Rise & Shine Memory Foam Kid’s Pillow, which comes with two 1” removable memory foam inserts. Each insert hugs the head and neck while providing spinal support. Adding or removing the memory foam inserts will adjust the levels of height, comfort and support until it feels just right to child. The PureCare Rise & Shine Pillow’s designer cover is washable and has a zippered opening that makes it easy to add or remove the foam layers. The antimicrobial cover has been treated with silver chloride, which helps prevent mold, bacteria and mildew, and will resist allergens, bed bugs and dust mites.

Another great pillow for kids is the PharMeDoc Toddler Pillow. Offering an ideal balance of softness and firmness, the Toddler Pillow is a perfect choice for a crib or a little one’s first bed. Measuring approximately 14” x 19”,  the hypoallergenic Toddler Pillow is filled with 100% hollow fiber polyester, and has a pure cotton cover. It’s machine washable, so there’s no need for a pillow case that could potentially be a suffocation hazard. The small size, light weight and portability make it perfect adult travel pillow.

The PharMeDoc Toddler Pillow is only available online.

Sit ‘n Sleep For All Your Sleeping and Bedroom Needs

Whether your pillow shopping for a small child, teenager or yourself, check our selection of pillows online. Better yet, stop by one of Sit ‘n Sleep’s 39 Mattress Superstores conveniently located throughout Southern California. Speak with one of our knowledgeable sleep consultants, who will be pleased to answer your questions and help you choose the right pillow for your child.

From mattresses and support systems to linens and accessories, you’ll find everything you need at your nearby Sit ‘n Sleep outlet.

Some Simple Tricks to Help Get You Out of Bed in the Morning

When you hear the alarm on your clock or smartphone go off in the morning, are you ready to wake up and take on the day? Like lots of people, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button – sometimes repeatedly – just to spend a few extra minutes dozing off before getting out of bed. If this sounds like you, you may wind up staying in bed longer than you had planned and end up being late for work or an important appointment. What’s more, you might spend the rest of the day feeling tired and groggy and walking around in a fog.

Hitting the snooze button is actually a waste of time. Although admittedly it’s tempting, falling back asleep for a few more minutes won’t give you the benefits of deep, REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. To avoid the possible negative consequences of oversleeping, here are some simple but effective tips you can use to make sure you get up quickly and effortlessly each morning feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Develop a Regular Sleep Routine and Stick to It

Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day will help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the overall quality of your sleep. Choose a bedtime that’s around the time you usually begin to feel tired and stay with it. Although you may not notice the difference at first, after a few days you’ll start waking up refreshed and relaxed.

The starting point for creating a regular sleep routine is establishing a set schedule for the hours leading up to bedtime and sticking to it.

As an example, it’s a good idea to get some fresh air and exercise. Take a walk or engage in a similar low impact activity two or three hours before bedtime to help you relax. Eating a healthy evening meal is also a good idea, but make sure it’s at least three hours before you go to bed. If you’re still feeling hungry, it’s OK to have a light snack an hour or so before retiring for the night, so long as you stay away from spicy foods and avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

It’s also important to remember to shut off all electronic devices at least a few hours before going to bed. Doing this should make it easier for you to fall asleep and rest soundly throughout the night. A National Sleep Foundation study found that 95% of the people they surveyed used digital devices either shortly before retiring or while in bed, causing them to lose the sleep they need to avoid early morning grogginess. Most digital devices also emit blue light, which the brain interprets as being daylight and interrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and prevents sleep. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid using the devices close to bedtime.

Try Not to Nap Too Much During the Day

A prolonged nap or naps during the day can instantly throw your sleep routine off the track, so limit the duration of daytime naps to 20 or 30-minutes to improve your chances of consistently getting a good night’s rest.

Many people find that a brief nap in the afternoon helps them to “recharge the batteries” and maintain higher levels of productivity and efficiency. A nap that extends beyond half an hour, however, could disrupt your nighttime sleep routine and make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.

Place Your Alarm Clock in the Right Spot in Your Bedroom

Think carefully about where you set your alarm clock or smartphone alarm before you go to bed. Choose a spot such as somewhere across the room that’s more than arm’s length away, but still close enough to hear when it goes off in the morning. If it’s too close to your bed, you may be tempted to hit the snooze button, roll over and go back to sleep. On the other hand, if the alarm clock is on the opposite side of the room, you’ll need to get out of bed to turn it off.

Download an Alarm Clock App to Help You Wake Up

There are lots of alarm apps available online that can be downloaded for both iOS and Android devices. Some are meant to start your day with soothing sounds or soft, pleasant, music. If you’re a person that has trouble getting out of bed in the morning, however, it’s obviously best to avoid these alarm apps. Others are designed to get even the groggiest of sleepers out of bed and “up and at ‘em”! Here are a few examples:

  • Wake N Shake is an alarm clock app that could very well convert you into becoming a morning person, and with good reason. Available from the App Store, when an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, with Wake N Shake installed goes off at the pre-set time, you’ll need to shake it to turn off the alarm sound. There are 16 shake level settings to choose from, which range from just a gentle side-to-side motion to vigorously shaking the device to stop the alarm from sounding.
  • BetterMe uses humor through social media as a means of ensuring you wake up on time. Whenever you’re late getting out of bed, BetterMe will publish a message on your Facebook wall to let the online world know you overslept. Available for most iOS devices, some of BetterMe’s other features include goal tracking progress and GPS check-ins for scheduled appointments. As with the app’s alarm feature, BetterMe will post a message on Facebook whenever you miss a deadline or fail to keep an appointment.
  • Loud Alarm Clock is another app for Apple devices that’s sure to awaken even the soundest of sleepers. Although you have the option of using the music of your choice from iTunes, you can also select one of the app’s several truly annoying sounds, such as a blaring siren or nails scratching on a chalkboard. The alarm can be set to randomize the sounds so that you don’t learn to sleep through the ones you’ve gotten used to.
  • Alarmy is one of several alarm apps for heavy-sleeping Android users. Available on Google play, Alarmy refers to itself as the “world’s most annoying alarm clock,” and with good reason. The user chooses a registration spot outside the bedroom, and when the alarm goes off, the only way to stop the sound is for the person to get up and go to the registration spot.

Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary

Consider keeping your bedroom technology free, and make it a sleep sanctuary. Here are a few suggestions to make your bedroom conducive to the sound, uninterrupted sleep that will allow you to bound out of bed and seize the day in the morning:

  • Remove and use computers, televisions and other electrical devices from the bedroom and keep them in other areas of the house. At first it might be difficult, but after a few days you should be sleeping better and waking up refreshed and relaxed.
  • Keep the room cool. A slight decrease in body temperature promotes sound sleep, so it’s important to keep the room on the cool side. Sleep experts recommend a bedroom temperature of 68° or less, so be sure to adjust the thermostat before calling it a night.
  • Block out noises that can prevent you from falling asleep or abruptly awaken you in the middle of the night. If the source of the noise is beyond your control, such as neighbors or heavy traffic, consider blocking it with a sound machine that gives off soft, soothing sounds throughout the night. If all else fails, try using a pair of quality earplugs.
  • Keep the room dark, and the darker the better. Light reduces the production of melatonin, which is the naturally occurring substance that regulates the body’s internal clock. If the light that keeps you awake comes from outside the home, consider replacing your drapes or blinds with blackout curtains.

Sleep on the Right Mattress

Replacing that sagging old mattress can make a huge difference in the way you sleep. The right mattress will allow you to rest comfortably for hours and awaken feeling refreshed. Some things to consider when shopping for a new mattress include your body shape, sleeping position and any physical ailments such as back pain, neck pain or allergies. Choosing a mattress, however, can be confusing. That’s why all Sit ‘n Sleep Southern California Locations have sleep consultants on duty to help you select the mattress size, comfort level and bed type that’s best for you.

Use these simple tricks and you’ll sleep soundly and wake up in the morning relaxed and refreshed – so much so that you’ll probably forget your alarm even has a snooze button!

Resources:

  1. https://www.sitnsleep.com/blog/5-simple-tricks-to-get-up-in-the-morning
  2. https://www.fastcompany.com/3041455/8-tricks-to-make-yourself-wake-up-earlier
  3. https://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicaprobus/leave-your-bed-sleepy-head?utm_term=.bjggoeogk#.cfeEWqWE1
  4. https://medium.com/the-mission/8-tips-for-waking-up-early-conquering-the-alarm-clock-262e041e3c66

Starting and Sticking to a Sleep Routine (and Why it’s Important)

Everyone knows that a good night’s rest is essential for physical and mental health and well-being. Many people, however, go to bed at night and lie awake tossing and turning, unable to go to sleep for hours on end. The result is waking up the next morning feeling groggy and hitting the snooze button to postpone the inevitable just to spend a few more minutes in bed.

Both sleeping in too long or waking up earlier than you would like make the situation even worse. Failure to sleep well affects your mood, interactions with other people and on-the-job productivity throughout the day. This is particularly true for older teenagers and some young adults, who tend to stay up late but need to wake up early for work, school or other commitments. This is combination over time can result in serious cases of insomnia. Chances are, your inability to sleep is due to a poor sleeping schedule. It is, however, possible, to reset your’ body’s clock for a happier, healthier and more rewarding life.

Creating a Sleep Routine that Works

Although it’s a problem for many people, regularly getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t necessarily need to be difficult. What’s required is a sleep schedule that lets you fall asleep at the same time each night, sleep soundly and get up on time feeling rested and ready to go. All that’s needed to develop and maintain that schedule is some time spent experimenting with different sleeping and waking times, along with self-discipline and determination.

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Is Technology Interfering With Your Sleep?

From the time we get up in the morning until retiring at night, computers, cell phones, tablets and similar electrical devices have become part of virtually every aspect of our daily lives. The ability of these devices to digitally receive, store, process and disseminate information truly borders on the amazing. There are, however, downsides to these technological wonders, one of which is their interference with the way we sleep.

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