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Beware of Football Season

3 Sep

Are You Ready for Some Football? Football season is here and I for one could not be more excited! (High-5 to all my fellow Jets fans out there!)

Whether you’re a football fan or not, football can affect all aspects of your life, including your sleep quality. Think about it. Even if you don’t sit down and watch the game, most likely someone (sister, brother, mother, father) in your house is. All the loud shouting and chanting can affect your stress levels and sleep, even if your not the one cheering. Not only are games an all-day Sunday event but they are also on late during the week. How are you supposed to have a relaxing weekend or night after work, with football on the brain? I know I can’t. I get way too excited knowing a game is looming around the corner. Have fun this football season…don’t let it interfere with your sleep. Here are some points to remember for the 2013 football season.

 

“Waiting all day for Sunday night!”

So Captureit’s finally time for Sunday night football and you’ve invited all of your friends over for the big game. Have fun cheering with your friends! After all that is what football season is all about. Unfortunately there are some consequences to having your friends over for the late night, three hour game and losing out on sleep is the biggest one. No matter what you do you will miss the sleep needed for work the next morning. There’s no way around it. However, here are some ways of dealing with the sleep depriving factors of watching the game.

  1. The night before the big Sunday night event make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep. You want to start the long day off right and make sure you are well rested.
  2. Take a 20-minute nap before your friends come over. “Daytime naps can be one way to treat sleep deprivation, says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” she says. “You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.” A nap will make you feel more refreshed for some of the sleep you will be missing later on.
  3. Make sure to limit your intake of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages and stop drinking them by halftime. You need to give your body enough time to process the alcohol otherwise it can interfere with your sleep. “Deep sleep is when the body restores itself, and alcohol can interfere with this,” explains Dr John Shneerson, head of the sleep centre at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. ” As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up after just a few hours sleep when you’ve been drinking.” It takes on average an hour for your body to process one serving of alcohol so stopping the consumption by halftime is a good rule of thumb.

 

Are you kidding me? We lost again!

It’mark-sanchez-fumbles-off-of-his-teammates-butt-in-a-play-that-pretty-much-sums-up-jets-patriotss after midnight on Monday and you are up thinking about your team’s loss against their biggest rivalry. After a major loss I’m always up rethinking the game and how my quarterback could have won the game if he didn’t make a stupid mistake (prime example: the Sanchez fumble). I’m normally still watching post game interviews, yelling at my television screen. Unfortunately the anxiety and stress does not help with the much-needed sleep for work in the morning. So how do you deal with post-game stress?

  1. First of all stop watching the post game highlights before bed! Record them and watch them the next day. You need to give yourself 35-40 minutes to wind down before going to bed.
  2. Say a prayer for next week’s game! I am not joking! Prayer can reduce stress drastically before bedtime. Not religious? Meditation works just as well. Check out some tips on meditation by visiting http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/12/better-sleep-through-medi_n_676353.html.

Hopefully these tips will help you get the sleep you need throughout this football season. Your sanity, however, will depend on your team’s performance. Good luck and may the best team win!

Children & Sleep – Two things that don’t mix well, especially during the summer months.

8 Aug

Schools out for summer but that doesn’t mean that your child should be breaking all the rules. With summer camps, day trips to the beach and vacations with family and friends, this time of year children need more sleep than ever. This can prove to be very difficult with the increased daylight hours and their constantly changing schedules. Even though there is no “magic” sleep number, toddlers should get around 12 to 14 hours of sleep, school aged children should have 9 to 11 hours and your teenager should get 7 to 9 hours a night. Not only does lack of sleep have an effect on your child’s health but it also causes them to have more fragile emotions, less resiliency, and crankiness. Check out the below tips to help your child get the sleep they need, and you the relaxation you deserve, this summer.

Time large meals and beverWeight-Gain-and-Sugary-Drinksages containing sugar.

Make sure that dinner is served a few hours before your child’s bedtime. Large meals before bed can sit in their stomachs, making them uncomfortable, and can even give them indigestion. You should also make sure they consume all of their sugary drinks earlier in the day. Sugar, like caffeine, will give your child more energy and can make it harder to get them to fall asleep.

Stop vigorous activities at an early hour.duck bath

While I understand it’s summer and your child will want to be outside, running around until the sun goes down, you have to make sure to cut their high-energy activities at least two to three hours before their bedtime. You would think that more activity closer to bedtime would tire your child out but it actually does the opposite. Encourage calm, stress free activities before bed such as reading a book, playing a board game, or making an art project. A hot bath can also help and I am sure they will need it after playing outside all day.

calendarStick to a Routine.

Once school is out it’s hard to keep your child on the same schedule. They want to stay up late and play outside with friends or watch television. They also try to sleep in. Forget about keeping them on schedule while on vacation. However if you try to keep their schedule close to their school year routine, it will help your child get the right amount of sleep they need and it will make your job of getting them to bed much easier, especially when the school year starts up again. Ideally you want to keep bedtime and wake times within an hour of their regular schedule,” says Malia Jacobson, author of “Sleep Tight Every Night” and “Ready, Set, Sleep.” “If kids get in the habit of sleeping until noon, it can take weeks to get back on schedule when school starts.”

While it might be difficult, do your best to enforce these rules and resist their puppy dog eyes and pleas of “Just one more hour!”

Up, Up and AWAY!

11 Jun

il_570xN.370110578_1hp1It’s summer and the vacation season has started, which means that you are more than likely in the midst of booking your flight to some getaway location. Perhaps you are planning a wine tasting tour of Italy, a scenic safari through the dunes of Dubai, or maybe even a trip to the beach in Tahiti to soak up the sun. No matter where the destination, don’t let your lack of sleep ruin it. After all, summer vacations are supposed to be all about fun and relaxation, right? One of the most common summertime sleep disorders is jet lag. Jet lag is a sleep disorder that can cause fatigue, disorientation, impaired concentration, lack of appetite, gastrointestinal disturbances, and headaches. It is brought on after traveling huge distances, across several time zones, and can last for days. What causes jet lag? Jet lag happens because rapid travel throws off your body’s natural rhythm or biological clock. “Cues such as light exposure, mealtimes, social engagement, and activities regulate our circadian rhythm,” says Allison T. Siebern, PhD, a fellow in the Insomnia and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center. “When you cross time zones, it disrupts those, and your internal clock and the external times are desynchronized. Your body needs to get on the rhythm of the new time zone.” How can you get away from home and still enjoy your vacation without the dreaded effects of jet lag? Here are a few tips to get you through those summertime, traveling blues.

1. Pre-flight tips:

  • About a week before your trip, slowly start to shift your sleeping and eating schedule to match that of your vacation spot. This will help your body cope with the time change.
  • Make sure that all of your trip preparations are done well ahead of time. You do not want to be stressed right before your trip. Stress can cause your body to produce more adrenaline, which prevents you from sleeping.
  • Make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before your journey. You want to be well rested since getting quality sleep on a plane can prove difficult for most travelers.

2. All aboard! In flight tips:

  • Change your watch to match your destination’s time zone as soon as you board your flight. “This is mostly psychological,” says Siebern, “but it helps you get into the mind-set of what you’ll be doing in the place where you’re going.” Mimic the time of day at your destination location. If it is nighttime at your destination then sleep and if it is daytime then try to stay awake. This, along with resetting your watch, will help your mind and body prepare for the new time zone.
  • Hydration is key. Make sure to drink plenty of water right before your flight and during your flight. Airplanes are often dry atmospheres, which aid in dehydration. Dehydration can actually cause the same symptoms as jet lag and can add to the fatigue, loss of energy, and headaches that you feel.
  • Minimize sleep distractions. If you are a light sleeper make sure to pack earplugs or headphones, a sleep mask, a pillow, and a blanket for your flight.

3. You’re finally there! Make sure the first day is dedicated to getting your body on track so you can enjoy the rest of your vacation.

  • Watch your food and liquid consumption. Alcohol, caffeine, and large or spicy meals can interfere with a good nights sleep so avoid these your first day in your new location.
  • Make sure that when you are ready to go to sleep that all incoming light in your new location is silenced. Close your curtains, or blinds, and turn off electronics. Light has a direct effect on the body by signaling your brain to wake up and actually stops the body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which responds to darkness.

Vacation is supposed to be a break from the real world. Don’t let the jet lag interfere! Start planning now so that your vacation will be a true trip to paradise.

Summer is Upon Us!

24 May

Grab your swim trunks and your “flippie floppies”! Summer is here! Okay, well maybe summer isn’t officially here yet but this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which signifies the unofficial start of summer. If only mother earth knew! She might not be ready for summer, but I know I am! While summer is the best season, in my opinion any way, it also is the time of the year when Americans lose the most sleep. Even though we all love the warm weather, it plays a huge role in sleep deprivation. I decided to research the many reasons why Americans tend to lose sleep during the summer months and dug up some ways to combat those summer night sleeping woes.

Heat is one of the major reasons Americans lose sleep during the summer months. The temperature of your bedroom directly affects REM sleep. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature, the temperature your brain is trying to achieve, goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point and causes you to wake up which in turn affects your quality of sleep. So how can you fix this problem? Simply turn up the AC right? Well if you don’t have central air or if you want to keep your electric bill down, like me, here are some tips to cool down those summer nights.

1. Keep your windows and shades completely closed during the day and then open your windows when you go to sleep at night. By doing this you will block most of the daytime sunlight from entering your room and in turn will lower the overall temperature of your bedroom.

2. You get a new wardrobe in the summer, why shouldn’t your bed? Just like you store away your winter coats and sweatshirts, put away your comforter and flannel sheets. Try using sheets made with natural fibers. Sheets made of natural materials are more breathable versus synthetic materials, which don’t allow ventilation. You can also try a light-colored sheet. Light shades reflect light rather than absorb it, keeping your bed nice and cool.

3. “Go to the mattresses!” Go to war against the summer heat by literally going to the mattresses. Just like the material of your sheets matter, so does the material used in your mattress. Go natural! Not only is this good for the environment but it also helps you catch some extra ZZZ’s. Mattresses made with natural materials keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer. Why? Because they are more breathable than man-made materials and help wick moisture away from the body. Looking for a natural, hand-made mattress? Shifman Mattress Company helps reduce the carbon footprint by only using materials that are natural, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, which is why the number one material used in their mattresses is cotton. They actually use up to 83 pounds of it in one mattress! With a cotton mattress in your arsenal you are ready to go to war again the heat of summer.

In addition to heat, sunlight has a direct effect on the body by signaling your brain to wake up. The light actually stops the body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which responds to darkness. Long summer daylight hours can make sleeping difficult. In the summer the sun rises at around 5:30am! Doesn’t the sun know that summertime is for sleeping in? Unfortunately the sun doesn’t rise and set by the simple flick of a switch. So what can you do?

1. Use dark, heavy blinds and curtains. This will block most of the morning sunlight from seeping into your room and waking you up. It will also put you in control, not the sun, of deciding when you want to wake up.

2. Still too much light coming in? (What are you a vampire?!) Try using an eye mask. By using all three of these sun-blocking tools, you are ready to go to battle against the morning sun.

Summer is for fun in the sun and for rest and relaxation. By following these tips you are sure to kick off your summer right and keep you going strong all season long!

We <3 Cotton!

14 Feb

Cotton HeartIt’s Valentine’s Day and while others are filling their funnels with chocolates and red wine, we’re filling our premium mattresses with up to 83 lbs of 100% all natural cotton.

A good night’s sleep is all about comfort and cotton makes all the difference. Inside every Shifman mattress is the highest grade all-natural cotton, which pads both sides of the mattress to perfection.

Shifman loves cotton because cotton is quality. It’s good for our bodies and it’s great for the environment. Cotton is a natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable fiber. Additionally, it’s had mankind’s back for 7,000 years! Therefore it’s pretty much the superhero of upholstery materials.

Cotton has proven to be both resilient and durable, providing long-lasting comfort for many years. Processed on premises for over 100 years, Shifman utilizes a garnetting machine to effectively produce layer upon layer of luxurious cotton.

Why compromise true comfort when you can breathe easy on a two-sided Shifman mattress, made of all-natural cotton?

Love your body and love your mattress. Happy Valentine’s Day!

New Year’s Resolution #1

21 Jan

Happy WomanSleep Better Every Night!

Whether your New Year’s Resolution is getting more exercise, eating right, bringing up your grades, or living a less stressful life, sleeping better can actually help you to achieve all of those goals! Sleep is good for your body and great for your mind. Whatever your resolution may be, make sure you use sleep as a tool to enhance your results.

Remember these quick points:

  • Too little sleep leads to poorer eating choices and therefore weight gain!
  • Similar to stress, sleep deprivation affects the immune system!
  • A study conducted in 2012 showed that sleep can turn off the obesity gene.
  • Inadequate sleep can lead to poorer test scores for students.
  • Fatigue translates to a higher risk of error at your job.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation contributes to increased anxiety levels.
  • A 2012 study showed that too little sleep is linked to an increased risk of stroke!
  • Sleep is vital to help your body recover—even after one particularly challenging workout. On the flip-side, adequate sleep is also beneficial to prepare your body for daily exercise.
  • Researchers say that power naps regenerate the brain’s functioning abilities, and therefore contributes to improved memory and learning as well as increased alertness and productivity!
  • Sleeping more can effectively improve your physical attractiveness.

Don’t give up on your goals! You may encounter difficulties, but keep in mind that you can always sleep on it. Or you can sleep it off. Or you can keep the dream alive and work hard to enact positive change in your life.

All in all, better sleep can help you achieve your goals (and sleeping on the best mattress will contribute to a better night’s sleep).

Sleep and be well!

How To Sleep Better When You’re Sick

11 Jan

sickinbed“Nope! I rarely get sick!” I said proudly.

Flash forward two weeks and here I am… tissues, cough drops, a deep gargoyle-ly voice, and a puffy face to boot. Pretty!

During this unfriendly time, I started noticing that I was having difficulties getting a good night’s sleep. As I tossed and turned in bed, I could only concentrate on how my throat felt raw, that my body temperature was all over the place, and that I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Instead of waking up refreshed and re-energized, I woke up sore and sad.

Therefore, I decided to do some research on how to get a better night’s sleep during a cold. Here’s what I dug up:

  1. First off, make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the day. WebMD recommends that you drink 64 ounces. It sounds like a lot, but the fluids will help hydrate your nasal passages and throat, which can help you to feel more comfortable while you fall asleep. If your liquids include fruit juices high in vitamin C, you’ll also get a nutritional boost!
  2. Drink a cup of warm, caffeine-free liquid before bedtime! Teas, decaffeinated coffee, or clear broth can open nasal passages, soothe a sore throat, and help you sleep.
  3. Suck on a cough drop or hard candy before sleep to moisten the throat. Keep a water bottle nearby to hydrate. This will help to relieve a midnight coughing episode.
  4. Don’t take a sleeping pill – sleeping pills can make you feel groggy in the morning and are dangerous to take if you are also taking cold medicines.
  5. Turn on a humidifier. Humidifying the air will keep your mucous membranes moist and will help relieve coughs while you sleep.
  6. Raise the head of the bed, or prop yourself up with pillows. This will help improve your breathing by keeping your sinuses open.
  7. Follow your doctor’s orders and take medications as prescribed. Overlapping medication could be bad for your health and elongate the time-frame of your sickness.

All in all, when you sleep better, you feel better. It’s important to get a great night’s sleep the whole year round (not just when you’re sick). People who are chronically sleep deprived are more susceptible to illnesses than those who receive 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Keep your immune system top-notch! Sleep and be well!

Aaahh!!! Bed Monsters

22 Oct

When I think about bed bugs, The Twilight Zone’s theme song immediately comes to mind.

Here’s why I’m slightly amused: as children we grow up worrying about the monsters under our bed. Our parents, clearly irritated by our “naive” adolescent anxieties, ensure us that there are NO monsters and we are coaxed to sleep. AND THEN ONE DAY in your 20s, you learn there has been a bed bug infestation in your city and you think to yourself: Wait a sec, there’s actually no difference between bed bugs and monsters… and everything you’ve ever learned growing up has been a complete and utter lie. At this point an existential crisis ensues, anxieties form and on top of it all, you might be sleeping with the enemy.

AT ANY RATE, bed bugs are pretty scary, and it is Halloween time, so let’s indulge, shall we?

First of all, if you’ve had a bed-bug outbreak in your home, you might be thinking: “Hey, I’m a CLEAN person. This is bologna.”  My answer to that is #1. Deli meat and bed-bugs have nothing in common. #2. Unless of course you’re feeding your bed-bug infested pet bologna in your bed.

What you need to know about bed-bugs:

  • Bed bugs are nocturnal parasites that feed on blood. (i.e. Vampires)
  • Bed bugs prefer dwellings inhabited by other animals or humans which is why they can be found in homes, vehicles, luggage, hotels, movie theaters, clothing AS WELL AS the nests of bats, birds and rodents.
  • Bed bugs use an adhesive substance to attach themselves to humans, pets, clothing or luggage.
  • Bed bugs are elusive and can sometimes go undetected.
  • Aside from bite symptoms, signs that you might have bed-bugs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and molts.
  • Bed-Bugs were almost completely eradicated in the developed world in the 1940s, but sometime around 1995 they increased in prevalence. (You don’t really NEED to know this fact, I just thought it was really interesting).

What’s the difference between bed bugs and vampires? They’re both nocturnal, blood-sucking mattress dwellers. Except of course that BED-BUGS ARE REAL.

So how can you prevent bed bugs? Well, frankly, it’s not that easy. You certainly can’t live in a bubble your entire life. (Or maybe you could and then get your own reality show on TLC). The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that although bed-bugs are “successful hitchhikers” a few simple precautions can help prevent a bed bug infestation in your home.

AT HOME:

  • Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed-bug infestation
  • Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs and eliminates many hiding spots. The light color of the encasement makes bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing and check the encasements regularly for holes.
  • Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.

WHEN TRAVELING:

  • In hotel rooms, use luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor.
  • Check the mattress and headboard before sleeping.
  • Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully.

With the Halloween backdrop upon us, it’s easy to make light of bed-bugs and the fear that is often associated with them. But, the reality is that they’re REAL and can be dangerous to your health. Keep in mind that bed-bugs aren’t just a seasonal problem; an infestation can happen at any time of the year. In fact, studies show that bed-bugs can live for an entire year without feeding! So be cautious when you travel and keep your home tidy.

And one day, when your kids are complaining about monsters under the bed, don’t lie to them, advise them: Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Fall – Asleep

17 Sep

The pungent aromas of pumpkin spice and chimney char permeate the atmosphere. The early morning fog brushed with an autumnal glow of crimson and gold saturates the scenery. The crispness of the air… the rolling leaves… the enduring night… all subtle indications of a dawning autumn.

You snuggle up to your favorite someone -windows open wide- inhaling authentic air (an air quality unconditioned) and warmly welcome the changing season.

A good night’s sleep is an effective way to calm your spirit and improve your mood so you can appreciate the little things (like the gently evolving seasons). Controlled breathing, a good morning stretch and a comfortable mattress can help relax your muscles and ease your mind.

Sleep and be well. Happy Fall.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain

28 Aug

Is back pain wreaking havoc on your mornings? Slamming your snooze button, stumbling to the shower and leaving your home with an unfriendly pain in the you-know-what, doesn’t have to be your morning routine! Don’t let early morning anguish pave the way for a bad day. (Right Daniel Powter?)

 

Cheer up! It’s not that you’re waking up on the wrong side of the bed, it simply could be that you’re waking up on the wrong mattress. In fact, sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause lower back pain or worsen existing back pain. A mattress that lacks support reinforces poor sleeping posture which absolutely contributes to body aches.

Everyone has a different definition of comfort. Finding a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive is the key to a good night’s sleep. It’s also important to invest in a mattress with a long comfort life as well (since buying a mattress is as much of a health decision as it is a financial decision).

  1. Choose Comfort! First and foremost, it’s important you choose a mattress that is comfortable. Make sure you try out all of your favorite sleep positions before you purchase. Lying flat on your back isn’t a great indicator of how comfortable a mattress is if that’s not normally how you sleep. Feel free to sprawl out and roll over. Remember, this is your hard-earned cash, spend it wisely. Also, if you share a bed with a partner, make sure that he/she finds it comfortable, too!
  2. Mattress Ingredients: Know what’s in your mattress! Having a little knowledge about what your mattress is made of goes a long way. Don’t buy a mattress that has a history of body impressions. Take advantage of the internet and online reviews. Keep in mind that you’re trying to solve your achy back problems, not add to them.
  3. Proper Support: Make sure your sales rep educates you on how the mattress components work together to provide proper support. Coil construction, upholstery materials and boxspring information are components you’ll want to know about. I highly recommend buying a mattress set with a true boxspring (not a solid wood foundation). A true boxspring acts as a shock-absorber and decreases the wear and tear of the mattress. In addition, investing in a two-sided mattress (and turning it regularly) will help decrease the onset of body-impressions. A lot of companies will tell you that their one-sided mattresses defy the laws of gravity and don’t need to be flipped. Sure it’s a great marketing tactic, but it’s simply not true. Always remember that two sides are better than one!
  4. Be A Discriminating Shopper: Know what mattress is right for you! If the goal of your purchase is to alleviate back pain, make sure that you buy a supportive mattress that caters to correct sleep posture, pressure relief and improved circulation. A mattress that adapts and reacts to contour the curves of your body will help reduce pressure on the spine and help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
  5. Know When To Buy A New Mattress: A quick fix is not what you need. If you see that your mattress is sagging and you’re waking up with back pain, then know that the solution to this problem isn’t a new mattress topper; it’s an entire new mattress set!

A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and energized in the morning. Starting the day off with a negative attitude because of your saggy mattress is not the way to live your life. Make things easier on yourself, buy a supportive mattress. And then maybe, just maybe, you could be that person on a beach in the early morning silhouetting a sunrise, enamoured with the shining prospect of a new day.

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