Jonathan Stevens Blog

The Jonathan Stevens blog is where you can come for quick tips, videos, and articles to make your mattress buying experience a dream.

Sleep Helps You Lose Weight

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!

Wrap Up For Better Sleep: The Blanket is the Key

 

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.

 

Temperature

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!

 

Summer Vacations and Improved Sleep

  sleep tips summer sleeping health
Monday, July 31, 2017

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!

 

Pleasant Smells and Sleep: What’s the Connection?

  sleep tips health sleep trouble Sleep Health
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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
  • Soaps
  • Scent sticks
  • Pillow sprays
  • Bath oils
  • Body washes
  • Candles
  • 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!

 

Sleeping with Fall Allergies

  health sleep trouble
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall is officially in full force. Most us can tell it’s fall by the leaves changing colors, but for some of us, stuffy noses and congestion might be a better indication of the autumn air. From October to mid-November, fall allergies can peak with everything from mold to ragweed being at the highest levels of the year. If fall allergies are keeping you up at night, try a few of these tips for a better night’s rest.

Keep It Clean

Since nighttime temperatures are dropping, it might be time to take out your flannel sheets, but don’t forget to wash them first. Since dust can be a major trigger for fall allergy sufferers, it’s best to keep your bedding fresh and clean. Make sure to wash pillowcases, sheets and pajamas in warm water to remove any allergens. It may seem obvious, but once your laundry is washed, be sure to keep it in the dryer until it is completely dry. Damp bedding or pajamas can lead to mold or mildew, which can make allergies worse.

Once you’ve made sure your bedroom is clean, you have to make sure you are too! Even if you usually take showers in the morning, it might be a good idea to rinse off before bed. This can help remove allergens from your hair and skin, allowing you to rest easy. If you have congestion, a steamy shower can help with your stuffy nose too.

Sneaky Allergens

If you’re used to sleeping with pets in the bed, now might be the time to reconsider. Even though you might not be allergic to Fido himself, you could potentially be allergic to the pollen and ragweed from the yard that he collects on his fur. When pets bring allergens inside, it can make symptoms worse.  

Another place allergens can hide is in your furnace. Since you might be turning on the heat for the first time in months, it’s common for dust and other allergens to have settled in vents, which will blow into your living space. Be sure to change your furnace filter frequently and try to purchase allergy-friendly filters.

Managing Symptoms

Despite your best efforts, you still might have allergy symptoms before bed. If you’re taking allergy medication, try to avoid taking decongestants close to bedtime. Often, decongestants can have a stimulant effect that makes it hard to sleep. Other allergy medications like antihistamines can help with sleep, but can make you feel groggy in the morning. It’s best to work closely with your doctor to determine what medication will work best all day and night.

 

Fixing a Broken Sleep Schedule

  sleep tips health sleep trouble
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Did you know that if you make a resolution in August, you’re the most likely to stick to it? Sure, everyone seems to ditch the new years plans by February, but making a change at the end of summer can be easier to keep. Looking ahead to a busy fall and trying to squeeze the last bit of summer fun into your schedule, why not make a resolution to fix your sleep habits?

People often say that they wish they could get more sleep. We’ve previously discussed why that’s important, and how much sleep you really need to be bright and happy, but how do you go about fixing your sleep schedule when it’s broken? Let’s take a look at a few things to consider as you plan your new night and morning habits, and we’ll throw in some handy tips on how to reach that better night’s sleep.

Your Evening Routine

What you do at night before you go to bed can have a big effect on when you nod off and how well you sleep. Most people know how much caffeine will interrupt their night and when they should stop drinking it, but take a close look at your schedule if you’re finding it hard to settle down at night. Maybe that afternoon coffee is giving you some energy longer than you think.

Are there other foods and drinks to avoid in the evening? Yes. Many people find that spicy foods can affect their quality of sleep, or cause indigestion and discomfort that keep them awake. Alcohol is also a typical culprit of poor sleep.

Having a late dinner may interfere with your internal clock as well. With all of our commitments and not enough hours in the day, it’s easy to push dinner later into the evening with preparation and cook time, but try to keep dinner at a reasonable hour. Eating too late might make it harder to sleep, and you should allow time to digest food before lying flat in order to prevent indigestion and heartburn.

Do you find that you linger on the couch or in the kitchen when you know you should be in bed? Try this tip: set a bedtime alarm. A little reminder can go a long way. If it helps, put an alarm in your phone for 20 minutes before when you want to go to bed and use that time to wind down. Get tomorrow’s outfit ready, start the dishwasher, or do that last little bit of chores before heading to bed.

Go to bed at the same time every night. It’s easy to throw off several days of sleep by staying up entirely too late over the weekend, thinking you’ll just sleep later the next day. Don’t mess up your ability to fall asleep Sunday night by staying up too late Friday and Saturday.

Are you guilty of screen time in bed? Computers, TV, and other devices have been found to keep us up later and make it harder to fall asleep. Most experts agree that settling down with a book before bed is much better than looking at a device. Not much of a reader? Try listening to a book on tape or a podcast.

Your Morning Routine

It’s crucial to set yourself up for a good night with a consistent evening routine, but making sure you have a wakeful and consistent morning routine will also help you feel energized during the day.

First, check out your alarm clock. Does it do the job? Many people use their smartphones as an alarm, but dead batteries and volume settings can be an issue if you don’t set your alarm right. On the bright side, many smartphone alarm clock apps have built-in features to rouse the heavy sleeper. Are you difficult to wake up? Chronic snoozers can get an app that makes you solve puzzles and answer questions correctly before it shuts off, increasing the likelihood that you’ll wake up all the way and stop snoozing.

Speaking of snooze, multiple snoozes can mess up your day. Studies show that snoozing leads to feeling more tired later in the day, and getting an overall poorer quality of sleep. When you doze for a few minutes, your body starts getting into a new sleep cycle. Waking up repeatedly makes you groggy, which can be hard to shake. Some studies show that the grogginess from snoozing can last as long as 90 minutes! You’re better off going to bed a little sooner and then getting up at your first alarm.

As far as “regular” alarm clocks, the new versions are filled with options that are anything but traditional. Rolling alarm clocks are truly for the relentless snoozer who actually needs to be drawn out of bed in order to wake up. Other more gentle options emit light similar to the sun rising, and play soothing noises at an increasing volume to help you wake up slowly.

Get up at the same time every morning. Sleeping in on Saturday sure sounds like a good idea, but when you are not tired Sunday night because you’ve spent the weekend sleeping in and staying up late, you will not be happy!

Have you ever heard that you should avoid exercising at night because it can interfere with sleep? It turns out this may not be true. A study in Sleep Medicine based on the 2013 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll found that participants who exercised at night reported no negative effects on their quality of sleep. The catch? People who work out in the morning still report the best sleep. Adding a workout to your morning routine should help you sleep well and have energy all day. Whenever you can work out, try to get some exercise. There are big benefits to moderate exercise, including deeper sleep.

If you set yourself up for a restful night with a predictable evening and a cheery morning, but you’re still waking up tired, it might be time for a new mattress. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your energy levels, but talk to Jonathan Stevens if your old mattress just isn’t cutting it. We’ll help you find the perfect mattress for your sleep oasis.

The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

  sleep tips health sleep science sleep benefits
Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everyone knows the obvious benefits of sleep: you feel well-rested and energized, you’re happier, and you can focus. Did you know that a lack of sleep can have some alarming side effects, like increasing everything from headaches to your risk of stroke? Even a week of sleep deprivation (six hours or less) can cause big problems that are hard to recover from. Plus, your risk for some major health problems can raise—even double or quadruple that of a good sleeper. Here are some interesting benefits of getting a good night’s rest, and surprising effects of not enough sleep!

Good Sleep May Decrease Diabetes Risk

Studies suggest that insufficient sleep can alter the way the body processes glucose. This inappropriate processing of sugar is one of the factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Pair that with the fact that good sleep helps people have energy to exercise, maintain a healthy weight by resisting junk food cravings, and burn body fat, and it’s easy to see the link between poor sleep and diabetes.

Heart Health

Cardiologists can tell you that not getting enough sleep can lead to heart problems. Symptoms like high blood pressure and even heart attack have been associated with lack of sleep. When you’re not sleeping enough, your body is stressed and releases cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” This hormone makes your heart work harder, and takes a toll on your cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Sleep Reduces Stroke Risk

Here’s another alarming effect of lack of sleep: even without other risk factors including family history or being overweight, regularly sleeping fewer than six hours a night can increase your risk of stroke by four times that of someone who gets the recommended amount of sleep. This may be because a lack of sleep causes the symptoms that raise the risk of stroke, but are usually associated with better-known conditions like smoking, diabetes, blood disorders, and high cholesterol. Insufficient sleep can lead to increased blood pressure, higher weight, inflammation, and stress hormones, which may be setting up the correct circumstances for a stroke in older adults.

Immune Health

Sick and tired of being sick and tired? One of those may be causing the other. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to catching colds, and have trouble kicking colds, flu, and other infections. Not only do you need sleep to recover from illness, but you need sleep to prevent getting sick.

Sleep More for a Trimmer Waist

Taking a nap isn’t going to burn many calories or give you washboard abs, but adequate sleep has been linked to having a healthier weight. The flipside of this is that not getting enough sleep is linked with gaining weight, and being overweight. When you don’t sleep enough, ghrelin (a hormone) production is increased. Ghrelin increases your appetite. The hormone that tells you when you’re full, leptin, decreases with decreased sleep as well. You’ll have lower energy, be hungrier and stressed, making it harder to prepare healthy meals and resist the urge to eat easily available junk food. According to Prevention, sleep deprivation can even affect the way that your body keeps weight on. You might be able to lose weight, but you won’t lose as much fat as someone who is well-rested.

Drive Safely

Part of the problem with a lack of focus caused by insufficient sleep is that most people operate heavy machinery every day. Driving without good focus, and with a slower reaction time, increases your chance of a car crash. Many sources find that driving tired is as risky as driving under the influence. People who sleep six hours per night are twice as likely to get in an accident as the full night (eight hour) sleepers. According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, less than five hours of sleep a night quadruples your odds of getting into a car accident!

Sleep Improves Physical Performance

A lack of sleep won’t leave you with much energy to hit the gym, but the good news is that getting enough sleep can improve physical performance in many ways. You’ll be faster, with better coordination, quicker reaction time, and your muscles will recover more easily after a hard workout. A 2013 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that, after a night of bad sleep, muscles had reduced strength and power during the following day’s workout. Plus, later in the day and in the afternoon, the effects were the worst as your body is already tired from lack of sleep and being up all day.

Sleep is Nature’s Mood-Booster

Sure, you may not wake up with perfect hair and makeup like on TV, but the feeling of waking up well-rested (something most people don’t usually get, or only sneak in on the weekend) is great! You can’t help but be in a better mood when you have slept enough. Sleepiness, however, leads to more emotional reactions to negative situations, higher stress with less ability to focus on problem solving, and even a poor memory surely to leave you in a fog. Tired and cranky? It’s no wonder! Sleep can help relieve your crankiness.

The Effects of Pain

Did you know that not getting enough sleep even makes you react differently to pain? A study in the journal Sleep found that people were not as able to handle a pain stimulus when they lacked sleep. They’re not sure why this is true, but people who slept nine hours were able to tolerate the discomfort 25% longer. Sleep, in turn, is a natural pain reliever that helps people experiencing pain to recover and cope better.

Have Better Relationships

This one is a bit more anecdotal as there aren’t studies to back it up (yet!), but some sources note that better sleep will also lead to improved relationships. It makes sense that, if you’re tired and cranky, you’re going to have more disagreements and be prone to dissatisfaction with life in general. Rest and a clear head will help you be optimistic instead of finding fault with your circumstances and the people around you.

There are so many more benefits to sleep. Even minor things like nicer skin and a sharper memory can have a profound impact on your quality of life. Make sure that you’re going to bed with enough time to fall asleep, and can sleep at least seven to eight hours before waking.

Better Sleeping for Two – Pregnancy and Sleep

  sleep tips health sleep trouble
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Being pregnant can be a wonderful, magical time, but for most women it is not without at least a few symptoms that are less than magical. One notoriously irritating symptom is poor sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation's Women and Sleep poll, 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. Hormonal and physical changes and limitations can lead to sore hips, back pain, heartburn, restless legs, and insomnia. To get the best sleep while pregnant, here are a few tips to help.

Sleep on the left side and/or at an incline to help ease heartburn. According to the American Pregnancy Association:

Heartburn occurs when the valve between the stomach and the food pipe (esophagus) are unable to prevent the stomach acids from passing back into the esophagus. Pregnancy can increase the frequency of heartburn because the hormone progesterone causes the valve to relax. This allows the stomach acid to pass into the esophagus and irritate the lining.

Some women experience such severe heartburn that they resort to sleeping in a reclining chair. This is less than ideal for many reasons! Your doctor may have suggestions on how to treat your heartburn with prescriptions or over the counter medication, but sleeping on an incline and on your left side can also help stomach acid stay down and give you some better Z’s. Also, avoid spicy food, late meals, and midnight snacks which can make heartburn worse.

Use a body pillow. There are several brands of body pillow made specifically for pregnancy (including the popular Snoogle, and Boppy maternity pillows), but even a basic, long body pillow can help. The purpose is to ease hip and knee pain by going between your knees, under your belly to support your back, and to give you something to wrap your arms around if you prefer. You might find that this becomes a habit for comfortable sleep even after having the baby.

Keep cool. Hormonal changes can make a normally chilly sleeper into a total furnace regardless of the time of year. According to a 2010 study from the University of Pennsylvania, hot flashes affect more than half of pregnant women. The hormone to blame is primarily estrogen, which tends to soar during pregnancy.

To sleep cooler, wear lightweight materials and use a lighter blanket. Consider sleeping with a fan (some people also like the white noise a fan creates). If you’re normally a hot sleeper, visit a Jonathan Stevens store to try a Cool-Gel memory foam mattress specially made to give you a cooler night.

Pregnant and sleeping for twoTry not to worry. Pregnancy can cause a lot of stress as you consider the future and wonder how your family will adapt. Anxiety and depression are common during pregnancy, and should be discussed with your doctor. If you’re simply trying to wind down and stop worrying so that you can get better sleep, try getting your thoughts out. Write down your thoughts at night or talk to someone about your concerns. Discussing your worries with someone who understands can help ease your mind, and make the transition to sleep easier.

Treat pain. According to Parents magazine, you can also try a warm shower before lying down. Their expert, Kellie Flood-Shaffer, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas, suggests treating nighttime aches with acetaminophen, which is considered safe during pregnancy.

The National Sleep Foundation also suggests:

  • Drinking lots of water, but not too much before bed
  • Getting screened for sleep apnea if snoring and paused breathing occur
  • Talking to your doctor if you believe you’re experiencing Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Get out of bed if you can’t sleep, do something relaxing, and try again
  • Use a nightlight in the bathroom instead of turning on the light, which can be too arousing and cause you to wake up more during bathroom breaks
  • Nap during the day if you need to, but make sure naps are early and brief so they don’t prevent nighttime sleep

Why is it especially important to get good sleep during pregnancy? Poor sleep has been linked to negative outcomes for birth and mood in pregnant and new mothers. A study found in the November 1 issue of the journal SLEEP (2011) found a link between risk for preterm birth in women who had sleep disruptions during their first and third trimesters. “This supports the growing evidence that poor sleep is an important risk factor for preterm birth,” said Michele Okun, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Learn more from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Plus, University of California at San Francisco researchers found that women who slept fewer than 6 hours per night had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have cesarean deliveries.

It’s important to get plenty of rest and to give some extra time for sleep, especially if you’re frequently getting up during the night. Relax and enjoy preparing for your family’s new addition!

That’s Snore Way to Sleep

  snoring sleep tips health
Monday, December 2, 2013

Snoring, a phenomena experienced globally might seem ubiquitous enough but look closely and you will find a health hazard lying underneath in the form of sleep apnea. These sleep disorders interrupt a person’s breathing during sleep and in apnea, one’s breathing can even stop repeatedly, over hundreds of times. The natural consequence of this is the deprivation of oxygen to the body. One major cause of snoring or sleep apnea is a blocked nasal passage or airway and this can be fixed to a certain extent with the right kind of mattress and pillow. Jonathan Steven’s specially designed mattresses suit any kind of sleeper from sideways to on the stomach, helping the airway remain open throughout the night.

Who Is At Risk

Although sleep apnea can happen at any age and even to children there are certain risk factors such as being male, overweight and above 40 increases the chances. Some other indicators are having a large neck size, larger tongue, tonsils or a smaller jaw bone. Family history of sleep apnea, GERD or sinus complications due to allergies too increase the risk.

The Effects Of Snoring And Apnea On The Health

There are a growing number of health problems associated with sleep apnea and sleep disorders attributed with excessive snoring. Prime concerns are stroke, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, ADHD, depression and more. In fact, the daily symptoms of this condition include poor performance in daily activities, at school or work, inability to react to situations while driving, during studies and so on.

Change Your Sleeping Habits

While the exact treatment of sleep apnea aren’t certain yet but your sleeping habits are a good indicator of how well you manage snoring. To start with, sleep always on your sides. This will prevent the airway from blocking due to one’s own body weight. To prevent yourself from sliding onto the stomach or back, sew a pocket to the back of your pajama and put a tennis ball in it. This ought to prevent you from straightening up. Also, keep your head portion raised as opposed to the legs of the bed by either using special cervical pillows or putting bricks under the bed.

Left untreated, sleeping disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea gradually grow and eventually lead to a plethora of health complications. It all starts with sleeping at the right times, on the right mattress and in an appropriate environment.

Not a Pretty Phase

  sleep tips health
Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Delayed phase disorder, in layman’s term refers to falling asleep at inappropriate times late at night and thereby waking up several hours later. This isn’t an inherent health problem but one that is acquired by habitual practice. 90 percent of sleep disorders in teenagers is of this type and it is closely associated with one’s internal body clock that regulates the 24 hour cycle of biological processes. Unfortunately, science isn’t yet advanced enough in this realm to completely explain the phenomenon but from what is known, those with phase disorder usually don’t feel sleepy until hours past normal bedtime. Biologically, the body isn’t yet ready to sleep as its hormone production, brain wave activity, cell regeneration and other processes are unfinished. At times it is due to the brain not sending out sufficient sleep stimulators and at other times, it is the habit to delay sleep that causes this situation.

The Biology Behind Phase Disorder

Suprachiasmatic nucleus or the SCN is the circadian clock in the human body, a group of cells situated in the hypothalamus of the brain. It determines sleeping patterns and also the ultimate cause for changes in the same.

The Various Factors That Contribute To This Situation

Pregnancy, time zone shift, medications, routine changes, shift work, are a few common causes of phase disorder. You may have experienced Jet Lag where the sudden change in daytime because of time zone changes causes the internal clock to go haywire and you feel sleep midway through the afternoon rather than the night. Then there are folks with DSPSor Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome who tend to go to bed late at night and hence have problem waking up early for social engagements, school or work. Folks with DSPS can also suffer from snoring and eventually sleep apnea.

How Can It Be Treated

Treatment is case specific since every person sleeps and hence suffers from a unique situation of phase disorder. The goal of any treatment therefore is to alter the sleep pattern to fit a particular schedule. It involves using light stimulus therapy and a personal change in timings. Even changing the mattress to make it more comfortable is a start. Jonathan Steven’s foam mattress range for example remembers the manner in which you sleep and hence will relax your body and mind the moment it hits the bed. These are just speculative methods of trying to change phase problems and get over such sleeping disorders. Until science can gather more evidence and conduct more concentrated research, assured treatments of this condition won’t be possible. For now, those who suffer from sleep deprivation or sleeping issues can at best use light therapy and in serious cases medication to help change their circadian clock timings.

Insomnia vs. Trouble Sleeping

  sleep tips health sleep trouble insomnia
Saturday, November 23, 2013

Everyone goes through a certain phase in life when they find it difficult to sleep at night. This can be attributed to emotional issues, physical problems and even mental complications. However, there is a major difference between the occasional bout of sleep deprivation and insomnia. For starters, sleep disorders that prevent you from sleeping at night but let you sleep in the afternoon or morning hours isn’t the same as insomnia. In fact, this situation is called phase deprivation and it is mostly because of habitual deprivation of sleep. On the other hand, insomnia is a condition of the body where it remains awake for days at a time disrupting life and your emotional balance. One simply doesn’t feel sleepy enough to sleep for days. It is a serious health complication than what one would think.

The Hazards Of Insomnia

To start with insomnia has similar effects on the central nervous system as drinking or being intoxicated. Reactions are slow, brain activities aren’t concentrated or mostly conscious because of which, the patient is in grave danger of accidents with heavy machinery, driving and even walking down the street.

How To Find Out Whether You Have Insomnia Or Trouble Sleeping

Unable to sleep through the night but you feel sleepy in the day, only to ultimately hit the bed flat for hours the next night? This is not insomnia but troubled sleeping. Such a person will eventually fall asleep at some point of time out of exhaustion, which the brain understands. Those who suffer from insomnia can stay awake for over days without the feeling of sleepiness. Yes, the body feels tired and agitated but the mind simply won’t shut off. If you haven’t slept for more than three days and still don’t feel the urge to go to sleep, it is insomnia unless you are seriously depressed or suffering from an emotional turmoil. Regardless, it is best to visit a therapist to get things sorted out.

Short Duration Sleep Deprivation

Even single day sleep deprivation is hazardous to your daily schedule. Not sleeping through the night makes the body weak in the day, your attitude cranky and you feel overall irritated. Chances of falling asleep while driving, or even standing, increase exponentially, which is a dangerous condition. It is best to get some shut eye, even for a few hours if this situation arises.

Can Changing The Mattress Help?

Jonathan Steven’s one of the premier mattress manufacturers, suggests changing mattresses to deal with sleep disorders. Memory foam mattress for instance helps induce sleep quicker as it contorts to the manner in which you sleep the most. If nothing else works, it won’t be a bad idea to give this a try.

Rapid Eye, Periodic Limb

  health sleep tips sleep trouble
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A lesser known sleeping complication is PLMD or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. While many are aware of sleep disorders such as snoring and phase disorder, PLMD – the jerking or cramping of legs, is experienced by many without any awareness. This is also the only movement disorder that happens during sleep. Moreover, it happens every 20 to 40 seconds in a rhythmic manner. PLMD is a sleeping disorder because it leads to daytime sleepiness and disrupts the normal sleep cycle.

This syndrome was first observed and described back in the 50s and was then called nocturnal myoclonus. This problem can appear at any age although like most sleep disorders it is most common in older folks.

PLMD and rapid eye movement occurs mostly due to some underlying medical condition but it can also happen as the primary condition although no known causes have yet been linked with it. Scientists believe that it is due to abnormalities in the nerve signals travelling between the brain and limbs although no proof has been given for this. Some secondary causes for PLMD include spinal cord tumor or injury, diabetes mellitus and iron deficiency. Sleep apnea too associated with deep snoring is attributed to this issue. Even Uremia (build up of waste in blood) and narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness and urge to sleep during morning hours) are considered to be valid causes of PLMD.

While medication such as antidopaminergic agents and neuroleptics help in relieving PLMDthey aren’t entirely successful. No known cure for this condition exists but some believe that proper sleeping posture and sufficient hours can help reduce the symptoms over time. Using medicinal mattresses such as memory foam mattress from Jonathan Steven’s may help along with the right set of medication.

How To Diagnose If You Have PLMD

Obviously as the name suggests, you can expect leg movements during sleep but poor sleep and laziness throughout the day are also associated symptoms. In fact, the problem with this sleep condition is that many are unaware that it exists in them until their partners alert them of it.

Leg movements can include one or both the limbs, the ankle, knee joint or all bottom joints. It can either be jerky, strenuous, thrashing or repetitively kicking in nature lasting anywhere from 2 seconds or much slower over a cyclic period of 20 to 40 seconds. If you experience sleep deprivation during the day time, feel the need to sleep but can’t, it might be a good idea to ask your partner to observe your sleep through the night for any rhythmic jerks in the lower body. Above all start sleeping well and change the mattress to a medicinal one.

Don’t be (or take) a pill

  sleep aids health sleep tips sleep trouble insomnia
Thursday, November 14, 2013

A night without enough and good sleep can be a bad experience and one would often resort to taking sleeping pills to get some sleep. The question is how effective and healthy are these pills? And are there negative effects that come with taking sleeping pills? Agreeably, most medical experts discourage the taking of sleeping pills. The reason could be attributed to some negative consequences, which is detrimental to health. Insomnia is a sleeping problem among many people and they often resort to taking some pills. Medically, sleeping pills have been associated with problems as discussed in this article.

What are sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills usually referred to as sedative hypnotics by definition are a class of drugs which help bring about sleep and maintain it for a given period of time. However, as a natural process and in most cases involuntary, inducing sleep using pills may become detrimental to one’s health. The common problem associated with sleeping pills is the slowing down of breathing rate. The breathing also becomes less deep. This is not advisable for people with asthma as death can be in the offing. Asthma folks have lung problems and when breathing rate slows down, it becomes quite dangerous.

What are the side effects of sleeping pills?

Just like any other drug, sleeping pills too have side effects. Apart from slowing breathing rate as mentioned earlier, sleeping pills can cause drowsiness when overused. When taken in large quantities, they can cause oversleeping as one can feel sleepy for the better part of the day. This is closely associated with being inactive.
Another common problem associated with sleeping pills is dizziness. When taken in excess or in an overdose, sleeping pills can become detrimental to brain functioning. Slow breathing will consequently result in lack of enough oxygen supply to the brain. This may be a major cause for many cases of hallucinations associated with sleep sickness.

Constipation is another problem closely associated with taking an overuse of sleeping pills. This can also be linked to loss or changes in appetite. Further, sleeping pills have been scientifically proven to be a cause for headache especially when one oversleeps, dry mouth and throat as well as weakness. Oversleeping attributed to intake of sleeping pills would amount to general weakness of the body and consequently making one inactive for most of the day. Consequently, sleeping pills are not as advisable as having a good sleep for a healthy living.

It’s Just a Stage You’re Sleeping Through

  health sleep tips sleep science
Monday, November 4, 2013

Sleeping is an integral part of healthy living and as a result one is advised to have enough sleep every night as an essential for good thinking. For many, Jonathan Stevens Mattress is the best mattress brand for sleeping solutions. Well, while many would take sleep as a normal daily routine, scientifically there are many twists and bounds that have been proven to have been derived from sleep. The scientific community has already given sufficient proof that sleep helps the body repair itself. During sleep, it is said the body metabolism is well balanced as the person is at rest without the disturbance from usual daily routines. This means, the body gets reorganized and will work better after waking up. Another scientific stand on sleep is that, it helps improve weight loss, memory and in some instances prevent common cold.

While sleeping is a normal routine that we involuntarily find ourselves in, there is the aspect of scientifically sleeping. This point towards certain stages in sleeping and in this case, we shall look at five stages in sleeping from a scientific angle. Science recommends eight hours for a good sleep but the question is what actually transpires during these eight hours?

Sleeping stage one: Nodding off (Non REM)

Sleep starts slowly at a stage usually referred to as nodding off. During this stage, the brain produces slow theta waves and this stage usually last for about ten minutes. Many people in this stage of sleeping naturally deny they are asleep when they are awoken.

Sleeping stage two: Starting Up the ‘Z’ factory

In this stage, the brain is tuned to sleep and ostensibly takes over. The brain starts to produce sleeping spindles or signals and the waves of sleep become rapid and rhythmic. The heart beat slows down and a significant decrease in body temperature is witnessed. At this stage, one can begin to snore and when awoken will jerk off with a surprise.

Sleeping Stage Three: Going in.

This would be compared to puberty in teenagers. At this stage, one is deep asleep and is hard to wake up.

Sleeping stage Four: The fun stage.

The delta waves of sleep in this stage are deep and funny things can happen ranging from sleep walking, dreaming aloud to wetting your bed. Basically, everything at this stage is involuntary.

Sleeping Stage Five: Sweet dreams (REM)

This is the final stage scientifically suggested in sleep. In this part of sleep, many actually end up waking up even before it is complete as daybreak happens. It is the sweet dreams stage.

Quality Trumps Quantity

  sleep tips health sleep trouble sleep science
Saturday, November 2, 2013

How much is enough when it comes to sleep? And does quality trump quantity of sleep? Well, there could be a thin line between quantity of sleep and quality but using basic scientific sleeping principles, the two can be gauged on many ends. Someone exhausted after having done a physically strenuous job will need a quality sleep to recover lost strength. There is the necessity of going through all the sleeping stages to call it a complete sleeping cycle.

The next question which would come to the fore is, what is the difference between quality and quantity sleep? While quality sleep would denote going through all the sleeping stages and wake up feeling replenished and stronger, quantity sleep is a scenario where one slumbers for many hours without the feeling of relaxation or satisfaction.

For a good sleep quality, Jonathan Stevens mattress would draw closer to thought. Medical prescriptions of quality sleeping are inclusive of lying on a good mattress that does not strain your back. Scientifically, sleeping should be undertaken in a certain posture in order to reap maximum benefits from it.

The benefits of quality sleep.

Quality sleep is closely associated with a healthy living and as a consequence yields forth many benefits to the body with regard to its normal functioning. Quality sleep is beneficial in terms of providing sufficient strength during the day necessary for undertaking physical duties at work. Sleeping in itself is a process of recuperating during which memory and general strength gets replenished. Further, quality sleep is not about the number of hour one has slumbered or taken a nap but the effectiveness of all the sleeping stages and in particular the Rapid Eye Movement sleeping stage (REM). The Rapid Eye Movement sleeping stage is an integral part of quality sleeping, which aids in brain development especially in young people. It is also a stage instrumental towards memory consolidation and in this case procedural and spatial memory. Basically, quality sleep involves the REM cycle by default and without this stage one simply cannot experience the benefits of a quality sleep.

Disadvantages of quantity sleep.

Quantity is the opposite of quality. Scientifically sleeping, quantity is disapproved given its limited or no benefits to human health. Sleeping for long hours say form 8p.m to midday the following day is closely linked to laziness as it often results in fatigue rather that strength. Actually there are no scientifically documented benefits of high quantity sleep. And hence by far, quality subdues quantity when it comes to sleeping.