Are You Smarter Than A Bed Bug?

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A good night’s sleep is essential to your mental, emotional and physical health. Yet most people do not get the necessary seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Better sleep can be as simple as getting a better mattress from your local Houston mattress store.

The Better Sleep Council, a non-profit organization, was established in 1979. Its goal is to educate the public about the importance of sleep, how it affects your health and how the value of your mattress and sleep environment impacts your sleep.

Do you think you know what the perfect bedroom is like? Test your knowledge on mattress care, sleep surroundings and more by taking The Better Sleep Council’s quizzes at http://bettersleep.org/about/quizzes/

After you’re tested your knowledge, take advantage of other features and information on their site such as sleep positions, sleep disorders, sleep aids and more!

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.

Natural Sleep Aids

While a few sleepless nights can be an annoyance to our daily routine, habitual sleep deprivation can have much longer-lasting affects on our overall health. Sleep depravation can be caused by many factors but for many of us, extended periods of sleeplessness aren’t a matter of “if” but “when”.

When those seasons of tossing and turning dawn there are a plethora of remedies to help us fall asleep, although not many of them are particularly healthy in the long term. Pharmaceuticals have their place and over short periods of time can certainly help combat the affects of insomnia but over longer stretches of restlessness, the medicines can often create unhealthy dependencies that can have far worse effects on your body and mind than the problem they’re trying to correct.

But, there’s hope! Whether your struggling with a lengthy stress-filled season of life or chronic bouts of insomnia, there are healthy, natural alternative measures available that can help you get the rest you desperately need without leaving you with nasty side effects or chemical dependency issues. Keep in mind the following list of natural sleep aids are suggestions for you to research and explore, preferably with the assistance of your physician. This list is not intended to be a replacement for your doctor’s diagnosis or treatment.

That said, Mattresses For Less offers the following suggestions for natural sleep aids:

 

Valerian

This is an ancient herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to help with insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness. Many people have had successful results with this all natural sleep aid but it should be noted that this product has not been conclusively studied by the medical community at large. One of the concerns most sleep specialists have with this (and all natural remedies) is the lack of consistency in the quality or quantity of the herbal remedies on the market today. So, while there are plenty of anecdotal evidence of Valerian’s effectiveness against sleep deprivation issues, anyone looking to this or any other natural sleep aid should do their due diligence in researching and asking questions before use.

Chamomile

 

 

Another ancient herbal remedy that has become quite popular among natural herbal remedy users, Chamomile is widely available in a variety of products from ointments to tea. As with Valerian, Chamomile’s effectiveness against insomnia has not been widely researched in humans although animal studies have proven it to be an effective sleep aid. Just do your research and if you have any questions, ask your doctor.

Melatonin

 

 

This product is actually a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the human brain. This hormone is widely believed to be critical to the body’s circadian rhythms which regulates our sleep patterns. There is evidence that synthetic melatonin helps with circadian rhythm disorders from jet lag to delayed sleep phase disorders but has not been fully tested or proven to help with insomnia.

 

 

 

 

 

While these natural remedies have not been fully tested by the medical community, the effectiveness of these products does have a rather large following. Keep in mind as you do your research that anecdotal evidence, while compelling, is not conclusive evidence of a product’s effectiveness. So if you’re considering using some of these natural sleep aids, Mattresses For Less strongly suggests you include your doctor in the conversation. If your research reveals nothing to concern either you or your doctor, these herbal remedies may be just what the doctor ordered to give you the full benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Dealing With Night Terrors

It usually happens in the middle of the night. The kids have been in bed for several hours and you and your spouse are settling into your own REM sleep. Suddenly the house is flooded with screams of terror from one of your children. Blankets and pillows fly through the air as the two of you scramble to your child’s room to find them lying in bed screaming at the top of their lungs. Assuming a nightmare, you try to rouse them from sleep only to discover they are in a deep sleep, despite their screams. All efforts to snap them out of their terror-filled trance fail and you’re left to watch and worry until the terror subsides on its own.

Sleep specialists call these episodes “night terrors”. Different from nightmares, this particular sleeping disorder normally occurs in the transition between Stage 4 to REM sleep. What this means is during a night terror, the individual is actually asleep despite all evidence to the contrary. Many people who suffer from night terrors often appear awake, complete with open eyes, screaming, and movement of the extremities. In reality, they are in such a deep level of sleep that most sufferers of night terrors have no recollection of the event.

Cause of Night Terrors

While night terrors can occur at any age, most reported cases occur in small children. Statistical research reveals up to 15% of children report having experienced at least one night terror. Most of the scientific community believe night terrors are caused by an over-arousal of the central nervous system. While most children do seem to outgrow this condition, there have been recorded instances of adults who suffer from this disorder usually during periods of heightened stress. This, of course, can lead to other sleeping disorders, not the least of which is simple sleep deprivation.

Researchers have suggested a link between pediatric sleep apnea and night terrors. With this in mind, it is a good idea to have your pediatrician check your child for sleep apnea if they are suffering from night terrors. Sleep apnea can prevent the sufferer from getting enough rest. This restless sleep coupled with periods of stress can trigger episodes of night terrors in those who are most susceptible to them.

 

How To Handle Night Terrors

No matter who in our household is suffering from night terrors, the effects of an episode can be traumatic. At first there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done to stop a night terror event. However, with a cool head and a few common sense steps, the night terrors can be handled by anyone:

Try To Keep Yourself Calm
The first step in any potentially traumatic situation is to stay calm. Adding your own panic to a situation will do the exact opposite of what you want to do; namely help your loved one. Most likely the individual will not remember anything from the event although adults who experience night terrors report a feeling of comfort coming from calm, reassuring voices from their loved ones. With that in mind, offering words of comfort and safety in a calm, soothing voice is often a very helpful step you can take to alter the effects of night terrors.

Minimize The Stress
Research has linked intense periods of stress to most cases of night terrors. With that in mind, it is important that the stresses of life be lessened as much as possible. If it is a small child, major developmental changes like potty training or a change in their daily schedule should not be introduced during this time, if at all possible. Also keeping emotional stressors like yelling, arguing, or severe punishments (if it’s a child) to a bare minimum is extremely helpful. Eliminating T.V. for a period of time can also be a big stress-reducer. In short, do everything in your power to lessen the stress load on the individual suffering with night terrors to help lessen the effects, if not shorten the time period, of the episodes.

Do Not Use The Force
Trying to force an individual awake during a night terror episode can often be more traumatic for the sufferer than the episode itself. The natural inclination may be to “snap them out” of their terror, but most sufferers who are forced awake often suffer from extreme disorientation often to the point of temporary amnesia. As difficult as it may be for you, letting the episode play out is always the better choice.

Watch For Patterns
There are often discernible patterns to night terrors like the time of night each episode occurs. If you are able to determine a recurring pattern to their frequent terrors, waking the individual 15 minutes before the episode normally occurs will “reset” their sleep pattern and often prevent the terror from occurring.

Dealing with a loved one suffering with night terrors is not an exact science, and these tips are simply suggestions that may or may not succeed in helping, depending on the severity of the condition. As always, when it comes to any clinical sleeping disorder, a professional medical expert who specializes in sleep disorders is your best bet to find the answers you need to help you and your loved ones get the sleep you need.

Listening To Your Internal Clock

The responsibilities and stresses of life have an incredible impact on our physical bodies. Over time, that impact can manifest itself in many ways that adversely affects our physical well being. The human body can only take so much before it needs to rest and recuperate. Most of us are aware of the need for sleep but many do not know just how much the body requires it.

As a matter of fact, the human brain is equipped with a specific mechanism to regulate what is known as our internal clock. The clinical term for this clock is the “circadian rhythm”. This biological mechanism is what regulates and controls our body’s daily routines and physical patterns like blood pressure, body temperature, and hormone release. Our need for sleep is also regulated by this internal clock and our ability (or willingness) to follow this clock is a huge part of our sleep patterns and overall health.

Our circadian rhythm is set when we’re infants; normally within the first few months of life. It is during this early stage of our lives that we develop our sleep schedule. Most Americans are “programmed” to sleep between midnight and dawn and a somewhat diminished interval in the afternoon. Anyone who has tried to stay awake all night can testify to the body’s reaction to that decision. Whether you sleep the day before or not, there is an inherent need within the body to sleep at night and that need is dictated by your internal clock.

While the clock can be reset to a different time (for example, for night shift work), most people find the transition to be (at best) unsettling and (at worst) impairing. While most can eventually change their sleeping patterns, the need for sleep at specific times is so rudimentary to our existence that we can feel the negative effects of that change for years.

Why is this circadian rhythm so important? Ignoring your body’s need for sleep should be an obvious problem. Without regular sleep intervals, our bodies will make the need for rest known in many forms of sleep disorders. Sleep studies have shown our circadian rhythm sleep patterns go a long way toward correcting, if not outright preventing, many of the sleep disorders that plague us. In other words, it’s not just important that you get some sleep; you need to sleep when the body is telling you to sleep. While there are times in our lives that the clock has to be ignored, habitually hitting the “snooze” on your internal clock has never ended well. That gentle head-bob while driving at night can quickly become a tragic incident if ignored for too long. Taking over-the-counter remedies for drowsiness like energy drinks, coffee, or legal amphetamines (like “No-Doze”) can delay the body’s need for sleep, but sooner or later, the rhythm is gonna get ya.

So, listen to your body. Anyone who has been deprived of sleep can testify there’s nothing that can recharge the batteries and reboot the brain like a good night’s sleep.

Dealing with Sleepwalking

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night in your kitchen, confused as to how you got there? If you are a person who often finds themselves in random locations with no recollection of getting there, as I’m sure you have already realized, you are probably a victim of sleepwalking. Depending on its frequency and severity, this condition is often accepted with a certain degree of levity. However, if you are a chronic sleepwalker, you would be wise to take it seriously and take certain precautions before you accidentally hurt yourself or others.

If you know yourself to be a sleepwalker, there are some things you will want to avoid before you go to sleep that could be possible inhibitors of such behavior. The first factor often linked to sleepwalking is stress. Try and limit the amount of stress you encounter each day, especially in the hours leading up to sleep. This may seem obvious and stress is often unavoidable but if you live a high-stress life style you should consider taking a while before bed to relax and meditate to attempt to rid yourself of some of your excess stress. Also, as we mentioned before, you should avoid any high-stimulation media right before bed. No TV, computer, or mobile devices before bed will often give you a better nights sleep and prevent the restlessness that can lead to sleepwalking.

You will want to make sure all of your doors and windows are locked before you get in bed. If you are unable to leave your bedroom while you’re sleepwalking there is much less of a chance that you will hurt yourself. If you attempt to open a locked door while asleep, you probably won’t think to find a key.  If, by chance, your bedroom door does not have a key lock than you should think about installing a small alarm on your door that beeps every time your door is open. This way, if it is loud enough, the chime will wake you up before you continue on your sleepy journey.

You may also want to think about hiding objects in your bedroom that you could use to hurt yourself or others. Move any weapons or sharp objects that happen to be in your bedroom to a place that you either wouldn’t typically think to look or a place that is hard to reach. It is also a good idea to put your car keys in a similar place as it has been documented that some people wake up from sleepwalking in the middle of a joy ride.

All of the advice provided here is apt but you must keep in mind that we are not doctors. If you attempt these techniques and your sleepwalking persists, it is our recommendation that you seek out a physician as you may have a sleep disorder such as rapid eye movement behavior disorder. This can be quite dangerous if you do not seek help and get properly treated. But, before you try any of the advice provided above, you may just want to try a more comfortable mattress. If you force yourself to go to sleep on an uncomfortable mattress and your subconscious self keeps try to escape it, maybe your body is telling you something. Try one of the vast array of extremely comfortable mattresses at Mattresses for Less and its likely both your conscious self and your subconscious self will agree that you never want to get out of bed.