Sleep Essentials From A-Zzz (Part 1)

These tips and facts can help you create better sleep habits to increase productivity, energy, and increase the quality of your daily routines. With a few adjustments here and there, you will be on your way to a wonderful nights slumber in no time!

 

A– Avoid caffeine and sugar before bed. They act as a stimulant and can prevent or disrupt sleep. Caffeine cannot replace sleep, but it can temporarily make you feel alert.

B– Ban yourself from anything that will stimulate your brain including computers, work, texting, email, and TV to avoid inviting sleep deprivation.

 
C– Curfew setting should be a priority to help you regulate a natural sleep cycle, and achieve quality sleep.

D– Sleep Deprivation is extremely harmful to your well-being and can take a toll on your immune system. It is important to maintain a routine sleep schedule to avoid this.

E– Energy throughout the day is vital when it comes to productivity. Creating healthy sleep habits that reassure a quality night’s sleep, will provide you with more than enough energy… you may be able to say goodbye to the coffee pot.

F– Falling asleep can be a task when life’s stresses and anxieties kick in. Create a soothing routine, take a bath, read a book, pray or meditate to help encourage rest.

G– Get the most out of your bedroom space by de-cluttering and organizing your slumber-space. Make sure your furniture is the appropriate size for your space. The last thing you want is a crowded cave.

H– Healthy living starts by keeping up with sleep. Sleep deprivation affects your immune system and overall well-being.

I- Invest in a comfortable mattress that will protect your well-being and contribute to a wonderful nights sleep.

J– Jeopardizing a good nights sleep can be detrimental to your health. Creating inconsistent sleeping patterns will adjust your internal clock, making sleep less inviting which will spiral into a whirlwind of negative effects on your body.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Get Your Bed Winter-Ready

W-i-n-t-e-r, now say it with me. Winter. Yes, the season is upon us for bone-chilling days. Though the penetrating frost may not stick around the whole duration, Houstonians are familiar with the fickle weather that just can’t seem to make up it’s mind. When the radiating heat subsides and the nights get longer, that’s your cue to trade in your thin bedding for something a little more cozy and insulating.

The goal here is to not only provide you with a warm and restful bed, but to also, hopefully (fingers crossed) save some green when it comes to your energy bill. Anyone can turn up the heat, but it is time to think about making your room more comfortable by keeping the cold out and the heat in with these tips that can help you warm up your bedroom without breaking the bank:

First Layer:

The key to being “snug as a bug in a rug” is starting with a good mattress pad. Now, considering your geographical location, one night you might experience the bleak chill from good ol’ Mother Nature, and the next you may break out in a sweat and want to turn the fan on. With that being said, a wool mattress pad is a great way to go. Wool repels dust mites and other allergens, making it ideal for year-round snoozes. Wool also insulates to keep you warm on cold nights, and keeps out moisture to keep you nice and cool in the southern heat.

Change Your Linens:

When it comes to staying warm this season, don’t overlook the role your sheets play. We all know the comfort of falling asleep in our favorite fleece hoody. You can have that same satisfaction without the restrictions with a set of performance fleece sheets to bundle up in. Another luxurious alternative are super-soft Microplush sheets. They are inevitably comfortable and keep you nice and warm on the coolest of nights.

Layer Up:

As you sleep your body temperature drops, therefore you will need to be cool enough to fall asleep, yet comfortably warm enough that you are not interrupting your sleep-cycle by waking up and reaching for more blankets. Be sure to trade out your light, summer quilt for a wool, down, or synthetic filled comforter. You can even trade your cotton duvet cover for a flannel, or microplush one to warm up your sleeping quarters immediately. Don’t just add another blanket atop of your current one, it will just add weight and not warmth.

Finishing Touches:

Now that your bed is coming together and I’m sure it’s inviting you on in for a nap right about now, there’s one more thing that some don’t pay much mind to: Pillows. There’s nothing like being encompassed in a warm bed with a plethora of puffy pillows. Throw those puppies in the washing machine, and tumble dry them on low with tennis balls to fluff them right back up. Once you have your pillows dressed and organized on your bed, you can pick a cozy throw blanket to keep at the foot of the bed. This is a nice finishing touch and convenience for those lounging days or night when you don’t want to fully submerge yourself in the comfort of your bedding while watching tv or reading a book.

A good night’s rest is vital when it comes to your health and well-being. While winterizing your bedding, it is always a good idea to keep up with the age and condition of your mattress. Anyone who has been deprived of a good night’s sleep due to an old, warn out mattress will tell you, there is literally nothing like quality rest. At Mattresses For Less they have thousands of trusted name-brands to chose from, and shipping available, so you can make tonight’s sleep the best yet.

 

 

Recharging Your Brain

You glance at the time just to find you are only half-way through your day and there are still workloads to be managed. As you take a deep breath and strategize your next move, whether it be to the coffee pot or the nearest vending machine, your eyes begin to feel heavy and your train of thought comes to a screeching halt. When these symptoms occur, the only thing you can think about is crawling under your desk and taking a snoozer. Well, it’s time to act on those thoughts, and take the steps necessary for your well-being and recharge those batteries.

Napping leaves you feeling mentally refreshed. It increases serotonin levels which puts you in a better mood and increases performance. For a boost of alertness, experts advise a 10-20 minute nap is suitable to restore brain activity and heighten procedural memory. For intellectual memory processing, a 60 minute nap may add even more value to your day. Of course this depends upon whether your employer allows you an extensive break, or if you have time in-between classes.

In this unyielding, fast-paced world, prioritizing your workload and personal life may seem asymmetrical at times. So, instead of brewing up another pot of joe, close your office door, dim the lights, and shut off the nagging voices in your head. Try holding a set of keys or a pen in your hand as you doze off, the prop will usually fall 15-20 minutes into your nap (before you enter a different phase of sleep) and wake you up. If you aren’t particularly fond of naps because you find that you wake up groggy, the next time you take a siesta, try sipping on a cup of coffee before hand. Caffeine usually takes 20 minutes to kick in, and won’t hurt such a short break and should lessen the effect of sleep inertia upon awakening.

Don’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes to recharge. Enjoy a “cat-nap” and reap the benefits of improved productivity, energy, creativity, and extended mental capacity that it provides.

The Chemistry Behind Sleep

We all have had those tossing, turning, exhausting nights that last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you struggle with any type of sleep disorder you are fully aware of the negative affects it may have on your productivity and performanc in life as well as your health.

When sleep is interrupted it could be a number of things, but before you turn to a “magic” pill that promises you a rejuvenating nights rest, make sure your “biological clock” is being maintained.

A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is based on circadian rhythms which should be viewed as the master clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. It is set by visual commands of light and darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway to the circadian clock (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) that tells other parts of the brain that controls hormones, body temperature and other functions that make us feel sleepy or awake.
A major hormone that is under rule by this clock is Melatonin which is a natural hormone your body produces in the Pineal Gland located in the brain.

Melatonin levels rise in the mid to late evening, making sleep more inviting. This hormone is called the “Dracula of Hormones” only coming out at night, or in dark where natural light and some artificial light can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.

Because Melatonin is a hormone that is part of the human wake-sleep cycles, some individuals with sleep deprivation find that taking a small dose in a pill form has helped them fall asleep or stay asleep longer. Some studies also show a decrease in the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce the amount of awakenings throughout the night.

Melatonin may be helpful to shift workers on an irregular shift who need to adjust their sleeping patterns, as well as jet lag. When traveling across time zones, your body has a hard time adjusting to “home time” and the new time. Jet lag is a physical condition that can make you feel hungry, sleepy and alert all at the wrong times and is caused by a disturbance of our “master clock” (circadian rhythms) associated with sleep deprivation. For this dietary supplement to be helpful, the correct dosage, method and time of day it is taken must be appropriate. Taking it the “wrong” way may reset your biological clock in an undesirable direction.

If you suffer from any of these exhausting symptoms, there’s hope without having to turn to a prescription. You can find this natural dietary supplement in your local health food store and you can finally be on your way to the restorative nights sleep you have been dreaming of.