Most tips for weight loss analyze your diet and activity, while sleep is overlooked. Sleep plays an important role in reaching your weight loss goals. In fact, less than seven hours of sleep per night can reduce the benefits of dieting properly. Even when you routinely work out and eat healthy food, lack of sleep will rob you from your well-earned weight loss results.
Two hormones that control hunger—leptin and ghrelin—are the link between sleep and weight loss. Understanding how leptin and ghrelin affect our body helps us understand the importance of sleep as part of a dieting regime. Leptin is a protein produced by fatty tissue. This means that the less leptin you produce, the more empty your stomach feels. Ghrelin, a peptide hormone produced in the stomach, reduces the amount of calories you burn and increases the amount of fat you store. Sleeping less than the recommended number of hours each night will depress leptin and stimulate ghrelin, making weight loss nearly impossible. To successfully shed unwanted pounds, you must control these two hormones by getting the sleep your body needs.
Fight unnecessary hunger by remembering to prioritize sleep. Aside from feeling less satisfied after meals, lack of sleep can mean less energy to exercise. Don’t set yourself up for success and then deny your body the rest it needs to refuel. Next time you hit the gym or start a new diet, remember that sleep should be a top priority too.
Are you getting a good night’s sleep? If not, it may be time to consider a new mattress. Check out our mattress finder to start shopping for the right one for you today!
It isn’t just babies that like to be swaddled for a good night’s sleep. The proper blanket can make a difference in adult sleep too! Especially when you’re sleeping away from home, the right blanket can make the difference between a relaxing vacation or a sleepless night.
Whether you’re looking for the right choice to help you snooze in the passenger seat or on an airplane, a blanket is important because it helps your body regulate its temperature. It’s natural for your temperature to drop during sleep, and hit its lowest point during the early morning hours. If you’re too hot, or if you choose a heavy blanket, your sleep can be interrupted because it prevents the natural temperature dip from occurring. Similarly, when you’re too cold, you can have a hard time falling asleep..
Choosing the Right Blanket
When you’re away from home, it’s much more difficult to get the perfect temperature for sleeping. That’s why your blanket is your best friend, just like it may have been when you were a child. Choose a fabric that’s just the right size to cover your body, in a washable and breathable fabric. Throws in cashmere or chenille might be great for throwing on while you watch television in the living room, but they aren’t ideal for a travel buddy. Cotton is a great choice because it’s easy to clean and is usually free from allergens.
Breaking in Your Blanket
Make sure to break in your blanket, just like you would a new pair of shoes. If your body begins to associate that blanket with sleep, it will create a conditioned response in your brain to help you fall asleep faster. So make sure to start sleeping with your new blanket for several weeks prior to your vacation to help build the needed association between the blanket and sleeping.
If you have the perfect blanket and you’re still losing sleep, it may be time to consider a new mattress. Check out our mattress finder to start shopping for the right one for you today!
As the world around us continues to become busier and busier, you might find it’s harder than ever to relax and wind down at the end of the day for a good night’s sleep. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as you settle down, you are kept awake by noises such as the air conditioner, a ticking clock, or worst of all: your partner’s snoring. The use of ambient noise may be the answer to both helping you relax and keeping noises from keeping you awake.
What Is White Noise
White noise can best be described as the combination of all noise frequencies to create a steady “hum” that drowns out other sounds. There are now entire streaming music channels dedicated solely to white noise for those who don’t want to listen to music, but that want to block out background noise! While specialty white noise machines exist, you can get the same benefits by simply turning on a fan while you sleep, or using a white noise app on your smartphone.
There’s also a similar set of frequencies known as pink noise, which have also been found to improve sleep quality by regulating brain waves. Know that relaxed feeling you get when you hear thunder and rain beating against your window? Or hearing waves along the lakeshore? That’s the effect of pink noise.
Benefits of White Noise
Aside from the obvious benefits of drowning out noises and helping you relax, there’s a few other reasons to consider using white noise while you slumber. By masking the noises that keep you from falling asleep in the first place, white noise also prevents those noises from waking you up, along with other changes in the environment that may make sounds occur.
You may not realize just how many times you wake up in the night! Without having your sleep interrupted, you’ll feel more refreshed in the morning.
Also, you can bring your white noise anywhere! While you may not be able to control certain aspects of your environment when you’re away from home, such as the temperature or the softness of the pillows, you can simply turn on your white noise app and block out the noises may that cause you difficulty sleeping.
If you’re looking for more “sound advice” about getting a better night’s sleep, it may be time to consider a new mattress. Check out our mattress finder to start shopping for the right one for you today!
Your pet may be known as man’s best friend, but what sort of impact does your feline or canine friend have on your sleep?
According to a Mayo Clinic study, having a pet in the bedroom can actually help you sleep better, because it provides a sense of security. However, this study was limited to adults who only lived with one pet. The authors of the study found that having multiple animals in your bedroom increased the probability that your sleep would be disrupted.
This study also recommends having a dog not sleep directly in bed with you—rather, in a pet bed or crate next to your bed. This maintains the emotional connection between you and your animal without having a “bed hog” taking up room in your sleep space.
According to a study by the American Pet Products Association, 2% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs, and 32% of large dogs still do sleep with their owners. For feline friends, the number is even higher: 62% of cats sleep with their adult owners, and another 13% of cats sleep with children.
Having your pet in your bed isn’t necessarily the cat’s pajamas. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, sleeping in the same bed with your pet can definitely impact your sleep. Using a HEPA filter in your bedroom is a quick way to alleviate some of your symptoms. Also, some diseases can be transferred from pets onto humans, especially those who share sleep space, according to the Center for Disease Control.
If you’ve chosen to let your pet come into your bed and now regret your decision, prepare for a few sleepless nights while you re-acclimate your animal to a new nightly slumber space. This is especially true for cats, who can have very negative reactions to being displaced from a place that used to be their territory. Experts recommend providing your cat with toys or putting a cat condo by a window with a light outside so kitty can scope out the bugs and moths. Dogs are much more adaptable to this type of change, especially if you make it a game where they can be rewarded for proper behavior.
If you (or your pet) think it’s time for a new mattress to improve your sleep, check out our mattress finder online, or stop into a Jonathan Stevens store to find the best choice for you!
Sadly, we can’t let Fido try out the mattresses in the store. He’s just going to have to trust your judgment!
With the cold winter months in full swing, this brings the cold and flu season everyone is dreading. Did you know that sleep is actually one of the best medications for fighting off a cold?
A good night’s sleep boosts your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off a virus. If do manage to get sick, sleep can also help your body bounce back quicker. A full night of rest maximizes your body’s infection fighting antibodies that you naturally produce.
A stuffy nose, fever, or sore throat can sometimes make it harder for you to fall asleep, but sleep is vital in a quick recovery! Here are some simple strategies to manage your cold symptoms so you can get better faster.
One of our favorite remedies is tea with honey. Not only can the steam from the hot beverage clear up your stuffy nose, the honey can also soothe your sore throat. Honey is also a great way to quickly suppress a cough! Having some tea with honey is one of our favorite ways to knock out multiple symptoms at once.
If that doesn’t do the trick, a steam shower or humidifier may help by for clearing your airways. Steam showers will provide relaxation, while a humidifier acts as a double threat that adds moisture to the air while also soothing your dry sinuses.
If all of these tricks are still not helping you fall asleep, try giving yourself a break. Read a few pages of your favorite book, listen to some soothing music, or sip another cup of tea. Give yourself some time to de-stress, and try falling asleep again in another few minutes.
So gear up for the cold and flu season, and make sure to get some shut-eye!
Are you still having trouble being able to sleep off your cold? It may be time to look into a new mattress to help aide in a better night’s sleep!
Have you ever wondered if there is a connection to the way animals and humans sleep? Well, you’d be surprised to find out there is a strong correlation between the two.The way animals sleep is essential to understanding how humans sleep. In fact, Jerome Siegel, professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research, explains that the only way we are able to understand human sleep is by studying animals.
The common thread between animal and human sleep boils down to the existence of rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, which is the sleep state associated with dreams. Both humans and animals display the same increased heart rate and level of brain activity during REM sleep. You may have seen dogs bark or twitch their paws during their sleep, which is comparable to the way humans talk or move around in their sleep.
This led scientists to conclude that all mammals have the same fundamental sleep cycle. During both animal and human sleep, scientists recorded the same kind of twitching, eye movement, and paralysis. There is a lot still unknown about the way sleep works, but what we do know is that brain wave pattern during REM sleep is the same between animals and humans.
The study of animal sleep has actually helped scientists identify and treat sleep disorders. Dogs have especially helped advance the treatment of narcolepsy. Scientists found that dogs displayed similar symptoms as humans, such as sudden collapsing and muscle weakness.
It turns out, man’s best friend is not only a great play mate, but also a great aide in helping scientists study human sleep!
The holiday season is officially among us, including Christmas feasts to New Year's celebrations. It is no secret that this season brings a surplus of food and drinks, which makes it easy to eat and drink your day away.
While most people are aware that the holiday’s can put a strain on their waistline, many do not realize how this season can also affect your quality of sleep. Heavy meals can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, so here are a few of our best tips to keep in mind this holiday season.
Do Not “Save” Calories
A common myth around heavy meals is to starve yourself during that day if you are planning on having a big meal later. This actually has the opposite intended effect. Showing up to a meal with an empty stomach can actually make you eat more and lead to an crash later on. The best way to prepare yourself for a heavy meal is to eat light, scheduled meals early on so that you will have greater control over your food intake later.
While it may be tempting to grab everything on the table once dinner is served, try to keep your portion size down. Large portions make it harder for your body to digest, which leads to a rougher night’s sleep later on. According to an expert nutrition coach, an average meal takes between one to three hours to properly digest, but a large meal can take between eight and twelve hours. Do your future sleepy self a favor, and focus on your portion size this holiday season.
Timing is Key
In addition to preparing your body and keeping your portion size down, timing of your meal is one of the most important factors when eating a big meal. Because it takes so much additional time for a heavy meal to digest, you’ll want to eat early. If you eat too late, your body will keep you up as it digests. To ensure a quality night of sleep, plan ahead and make sure your holiday feasts are early!
With these tips, your holiday celebrations will be fun, tasty, and promote a better night’s sleep!
Looking for that right holiday present for a loved one? Try a Jonathan Stevens mattress, custom made just to their liking!
Did you know that you spend around ⅓ of your life in the bedroom? Your bedroom should make you feel relaxed, at home, and should be the most comfortable room in your house. A messy bedroom however, can actually keep you up at night according to recent studies.
Your brain naturally wants to clean up clutter, which means that a messy room will subconsciously work against your natural instincts and cause anxiety. A study by St. Lawrence University proved that those with more clutter in the bedroom had more sleep disturbances throughout the night as opposed to those with less clutter.
The study goes on to explain that the more clutter in your space, the less functional and comfortable your bedroom is. A messy bedroom is considered “unusable” in the study, which therefore can increase cognitive dysfunction, depression, and stress as your sleep health also worsens.
Not only does clutter make it harder to fall asleep at night, but it can make you feel restless the next day. Cleaning a messy bedroom will not only relieve the tension in your mind, but it will allow you to take advantage of your bedroom’s intended benefits.
Keeping your room tidy is important in order to get a good night’s sleep, but some other tips to keep your sleep environment healthy are:
- Stay off your phone or other technology before bed.
- Keep the room dark and cool.
- Use a fan or other device to help with sound elimination.
- Eat and/or drink lightly before bed.
Above all, the environment you sleep in can either positively or negatively affect your sleep. A mattress that is too old or not working properly can also lead to restless nights, so be sure to check out the Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co mattress selector here!
September is National Yoga Awareness Month, and Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co. is taking a deeper look at the benefits of yoga and how it can help you sleep. Whether you are 15 or 50, yoga is an activity that is made for all ages and all experience levels.
Before we get into how yoga can improve your sleep, you may be asking yourself, What exactly counts as yoga? Yoga is defined as an ancient spiritual science that includes breath control, simple meditation and the practice of specific body postures. A common misconception of yoga is that you have to bend your body in all sorts of positions in order for it to be yoga, when in reality, yoga could be a simple meditation routine before bed.
The main goal of yoga is to boost your relaxation and bring the mind and body together as one cohesive unit. In fact, a recent study at Harvard proved that yoga before bed can actually help beat insomnia because it puts your mind and body in a relaxed state. The study also found improvements in other aspects of sleep, such as sleep efficiency and wake-up time.
There are several yoga poses that are great for beginners and perfectly designed to soothe your mind and body. Here are a few of our favorite poses to try before bed:
- Head-to-knee pose (“Janu Sirsasana”)
- Bound angle pose (“Baddha Konasana”)
- Wide-angle seated forward bend (“Upavistha Konasana”)
- Thread-the-needle pose
- Reclined twist post
- Legs-up-the-wall post (“Viparita Karani”)
Check out the article linked to see visual depictions of each pose, as well as step-by-step instructions. While performing yoga always make sure to keep your mind clear, dim the lights for optimum relaxation, and don’t forget to watch your breathing!
Tried yoga and still feel like your sleep isn’t as good as you want it? It may be time to find a mattress made custom for you and your sleep needs! Check out Jonathan Stevens’ online mattress selector here.
There are many benefits associated with waking up early in the morning. Whether it is having more time to ease into your day, or enjoying a relaxing breakfast before a hectic day at work, the morning is full of possibilities. According to The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, only 1 in 10 people are naturally early risers. However, there are plenty of proven tips and tricks designed to help you become a morning person.
While an alarm clock may seem like the most conventional way to wake up early in the morning, many people find that they have trouble resisting the urge to hit that snooze button and get out of bed. Instead, try sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, and using your alarm as more of a guide until your body naturally adjusts. After a few weeks of going to bed at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each morning, your circadian rhythm will begin to adjust naturally, and it’ll be easier to wake up.
However, if you are a night owl who is used to waking up at noon every day, waking up at 8 am every day may not be the easiest thing to do cold turkey. Try to ease into an early morning routine by waking up 20 minutes earlier each day until you reach your desired wake up time.
Another way to help make you a morning person is to avoid the urge to nap. While napping may feel good in the moment after a long day, it actually throws off your body’s natural rhythm and makes it harder to fall asleep later on. If you are in the pattern of taking frequent naps throughout the week, try to take one less nap a week until you are in the routine not to nap at all.
If these tips still aren’t doing the trick, here are a few other methods designed to help you become a morning person:
- Eat healthy throughout the day, making sure you are not going to bed too hungry or too full.
- Exercise in the morning.
- Leave your shades open to allow more brightness into your room.
- Come up with a morning goal to motivate you to get up. This could be different breakfast recipes to try, or even a new workout.
- Make sure your room is cool (around 65 degrees) as cooler rooms are proven to promote better sleep.
- Try to eliminate all noise from your room.
If you find that you are still having trouble waking up early after implementing several of these tips, it may be a sign that it is time for a new mattress! Check out Jonathan Steven’s online mattress selector here.
Have you ever wondered why you feel extra refreshed after a vacation, and find yourself sleeping so much better the days following? Studies prove that a change in environment can actually promote a better night’s sleep. Whether you take a day off and relax for an extended weekend, or spend a week on vacation, a temporary change in environment is linked to an increased quality of sleep.
The summer months are known to be the peak vacation season. Several families choose the summer months because the kids are out of school, but even millennials without children tend to take vacations in the summer to take advantage of outdoor activities and the warm weather. Some vacations can be more relaxing than others, like going on a tropical vacation versus going camping, but the main takeaway from any type of vacation is your refreshed return from a change in your routine.
Not only does a vacation promote a change in environment which helps for better sleep, but it is a much needed break from all of your daily responsibilities. You are able to leave those stressful activities behind for a few days, and give your mind and body that much needed break.
Another reason that summer vacations are linked to better sleep is because of increased outdoor activity. Although it is possible to spend time outside when you are not on vacation, many people’s jobs, school work, or other priorities tend to get in the way of that. Studies show that being exposed to sunlight in the early hours of the day improves your daily night’s sleep. Sunlight helps to regulate your body’s biological clock and keep it on track. Of course, make sure when you are in the sun to take the proper precautions and protect yourself with SPF.
Outdoor activity not only promotes more sunlight, but it causes people on vacation to typically get more exercise. Daily exercise is also linked to an improved sleep quality. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going to a gym, but it could mean a run on the beach or even a walk through town. Vacations work well for our bodies because they tend to get us moving around more, and in different ways than our normal routines.
Summer still has another month remaining, so it is not too late to squeeze in that last minute vacation. Upon return, not only will your body and mind feel refreshed, but you will come back sleeping better. If you found that you slept noticeably better on vacation than you do normally, it may be time for a new mattress.
The only thing we can think of that is better than a vacation is a great night’s sleep, so why not kill 2 birds with stone!
Have you ever been exhausted all day, practically counting down the minutes until you can go to bed, and then the second your head hits the pillow you find yourself having trouble falling asleep? Sleep is something that is often easier said than done, with your stresses of the day lingering when trying to fall asleep. However, a great relaxation technique to help combat sleep problems is a pleasant smell.
A scent you like is extremely effective at promoting relaxation and helping to aid sleep. In fact, not only is aromatherapy becoming increasingly more popular, but it has been recognized by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists as having both psychological and physical benefits.
The great part about aromatherapy is that there are endless combinations of scents, meaning that there is a scent for everyone. A scent that one person may absolutely love, another person may hate, but it is easy to test out what scent works for you. Some of the most popular scents that have been linked to relaxation and better sleep are: lavender, vanilla, jasmine, chamomile, sandalwood, clary, clary sage, rose, and valerian.
Essential oils in a diffuser is an easy way to incorporate a pleasant smell into your nighttime routine, but there are also a lot of other methods you can try. Some of our favorite picks are:
- Creams and lotions
- Scent sticks
- Pillow sprays
- Bath oils
- Body washes
- Aromatic spritzers
- Scented pillows
- Scented mattress and pillow protectors
- Scented laundry detergents
Not only can a pleasant smell help with relaxation and sleep, but a bedtime scent can actually make your bedroom more inviting. Pleasant scents are linked to better moods, which will translate into a better sleep for you that night. There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep so, on your next sleep, try incorporating aromatherapy or another one of our picks!
When you hear the words sleep disorder, the first few conditions that come to your mind may be sleepwalking, insomnia, or even sleep apnea. However, most people do not think of texting while asleep as a sleep disorder at all, let alone a common sleep disorder. Sleep texting is growing to be more common among teenagers, and the phenomenon has been quickly finding itself more and more popular in the news.
Sleep texting means that a person is reading and responding to messages in their sleep with no recollection of this behavior come morning time. Experts say that this type of behavior stems from an unconscious phenomenon that young people cannot be apart from their phones. Texting while asleep is abnormal, unpredictable behavior, just like sleepwalking, that can take place during any time of the night.
People tend to think of sleep in two ways: either fully asleep or fully awake. However, there are several in-between stages of your sleep. In the case of sleep texting, the area of the brain that controls motor skills wakes up, while the area of the brain that controls memory does not. This explains how other sleep disorders work as well, and why we are able to walk, talk, or even text when we are still asleep.
An expert from the pediatric sleep disorders program at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota says that sleep texting is an automatic response, and even goes as far as to compare it to how a mother responds to her crying baby in the middle of the night. He says that a baby crying is a trigger that wakes mothers out of the deepest of sleeps, and that cell phone dings do that same thing to teenagers.
A doctor from Fairview Sleep Center estimates that over half of his young patients who have reported sleep problems have sleep texted. Studies show that one in three teenagers send more than 100 text messages a day, and four out of five teenagers admit to sleeping next to their phones.
The reliance on cell phones, especially among teenagers, has created this new sleep behavior that has been growing in numbers for several years. Because this disorder occurs in an unconscious state, it can be a difficult behavior to break. One of the only ways to reduce the likelihood of this disorder is to sleep with your phone far from your bed or bedside table, or better yet put your phone in another room.
Texting is a fun pastime, but more fun when you can actually remember the conversation.
The type of food or drink consumed before bed can make a big difference on the quality of your sleep. There are several sources called sleep promoters that can help you fall asleep quicker and more soundly. However, there are also food and drinks called sleep stealers that make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Caffeine and sugary foods are well-known things to avoid before bed, but there are a lot of other factors that people don’t realize go into sleep quality. Levels of melatonin and tryptophan also affect sleep. Here is a list of some of the top food and drinks to support a good night’s sleep.
Nuts are a great before bed snack because they are a good source of healthy fat. Specifically, almonds and walnuts are the best nuts to eat because they contain melatonin, a hormone designed to help regulate your sleep cycle.
There are also fruits that contain melatonin, to help you sleep more soundly and fall asleep much quicker. Cherries, bananas, pineapples, and oranges are some of the top sources of melatonin.
Fruit can also help combat sleep disorders because they are such a high source of antioxidants, which can balance out the body from some sleep disorders. For example, those with insomnia have found that eating 2 kiwis before bed every night increases their amount of sleep by an hour over the course of a month. Berries, plums, prunes, and raisins are the highest antioxidant fruits.
Milk contains a combination of melatonin and tryptophan, the combination of which creates serotonin in the body and induces sleep. Low levels of serotonin are linked to insomnia and poor sleeping conditions. Tryptophan is the same amino acid that makes us tired after eating turkey on Thanksgiving. Drink a tall glass of milk before bed to ensure you fall asleep right when your head hits the mattress.
Decaffeinated tea is another great drink before bed, as it is known for causing the body to relax. The most calming tea choices are chamomile, ginger, and peppermint.
Cottage cheese is high in lean protein. This means that it is packed with tryptophan, and a perfect bedtime snack. Pairing cottage cheese with berries can sweeten up the snack, and add some melatonin into the mix.
You have a lot of choices every day when it comes to what you eat or drink, but what you consume before bed can completely make or break your sleep quality that night. Next time you are at the store, pick up a few of these items and conquer that good night’s sleep you have been dreaming of.
Have you ever noticed that your sleep changes based on the weather?
Spring is finally here, which means warmer weather and a change in your sleep habits. The outside environment plays a huge role in our sleep routine. There are many factors that affect sleep that we can control, like a comfortable mattress for example, but weather is not one of them. Here are a few things that may change the way you sleep this spring.
Sunlight is one of the most noticeable changes in spring. The days get shorter in the fall and winter months, which means we often go to work before the sun even rises. Less exposure to the sunlight means less Vitamin D, which can negatively affect our sleep-wake cycles. Vitamin D produces serotonin, and when our body does not get enough seratonin, we experience greater daytime drowsiness. This then can make your body feel tired earlier than your usual bedtime. Luckily, spring brings more sunlight, and more sunlight means a better night’s sleep.
Another factor that changes in the spring season is temperature. After long winter months, a warmer spring temperature is much anticipated. However, studies prove that we actually sleep better in colder temperatures. Our body temperature naturally cools down as we prepare to sleep, and so cold air supports the body’s sleep environment.
Not only do we feel physically uncomfortable when the weather is hot and humid, but it is harder for our bodies to be comfortable during sleep as well. Warm air temperatures can prevent our bodies from settling into a deep sleep.
Whether you are a heavy or light sleeper, thunderstorms can interrupt your sleep. Although winter months typically bring a lot of snow, snow fall doesn’t tend to wake us up from our sleep like a thunderstorm does. It is common for people to enjoy falling asleep to a relaxing rainfall, but most people would agree a loud clap of thunder or a bright flash of lightning is not what they had in mind.
Springtime means that everything begins to bloom again after the cold winter months, but the new season also brings new allergies. Tree and grass pollen are common allergies in the spring, and often cause stuffy noses, itchy eyes, and sinus irritation. These symptoms may seem minor, but they can affect the quality of your sleep more than you would think.
While spring is a great break from the cold, the change in weather can cause some sleep issues. Some ways to help combat these issues and save our sleep routines are:
- Try and go to bed at the same time every night
- Keep the temperature in your house as cool as possible
- Invest in a fan next to your bed
- Stock up on allergy medicine to clear your sinuses
- Use white noise to try and drown out storms
With these tips and the added sunlight during spring, you are on your way to a better night’s sleep!