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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Try 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two decades ago, college students used to sleep an average of seven to nine hours a night. Studies show that today’s college students get no more than six hours of sleep each night. The practice of staying awake past two o’clock in the morning may help students squeeze the most out of their twenty-four hours, but it impacts academic performance. Scientists and independent surveys have found that sleep deprivation among students is one of the leading causes for poor academic performance.
A major complaint among university boards is that students simply don’t sleep much at night, at least not anymore. It’s no secret that students shorthand sleep, but the current generation is worse. They skip out on sleep, even before exams, with the belief that cramming late into the night will help them better prepare for exams. Because of such beliefs, 75 percent of current undergrads do not get enough sleep and, thus, feel exhausted throughout the day, unable to retain information for long periods of time. In fact, 19 percent of students report that sleep deprivation is a leading cause for their drop in academic performance.
Multiple studies and surveys have come to one simple conclusion—the total amount of sleep a student manages to get each night ultimately predicts their academic success. This is because, through sleep, students can fix and prevent rapid decay of memories, and feel less fatigued in the morning.
Additionally, Reut Gruber, the director of Attention Behavior and Sleep Labs at Douglas Research Center, Canada, conducted a study of elementary children, their sleeping habits, and their performance at school. The study evaluated the sleep duration and school performance of twenty-four students between ages seven and eleven. Half of the group was put to sleep early and the other half was intentionally allowed to stay up late. The students’ teachers, who had no idea about the sleep patterns of each child, reported a huge difference between the behavior and learning ability of the two sets.
The sleep-deprived students not only appeared to be more tired but were also more irritable and more impulsive than the others. They lost their tempers faster, got frustrated more easily, and were more prone to emotional imbalance. Alternatively, the children who had been put to bed earlier showed better emotional stability and were highly alert in class.
All studies point to one simple fact—a good night’s sleep helps promote better student performance, whether it’s among elementary school kids or undergrads preparing for an exam.
For a better nights sleep stop by your local Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co. factory store.
RADIO_INTERVIEW: Talk of the Town, Grand Rapids, MI on News Radio 1300 and 106.9FM with Steve Kelley and Ron Zagel of Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co.
STEVE: This is news radio with 1300 and 106.9 FM. You are listening to talk of the town, and I am Steve Kelley. This morning when you got up were you happy with your bed? JonathanStevens.com is the website. There are eight convenient locations right here in West Michigan and from Jonathan Stevens, Ron Zagel joins us right now. Welcome to Talk of the Town.
RON: Thanks very much for having me Steve.
STEVE: Wouldn’t miss it for the world. You know, it’s important to have the right bed. It’s good for your health amongst other things.
RON: Absolutely, a lot of people don’t realize it, but there is really a health triumvirate. Not only do you have to exercise. Not only do you have to eat right, but if you don’t get your good night’s sleep, you just aren’t going to be very productive in the day.
STEVE: And we’ve certainly all been on bad mattresses, and you can get a backache from that as well, so now productivity is in play too.
RON: Absolutely, do you realize that there are more accidents with cars from people who didn’t get a good night’s sleep than from drinking and driving?
STEVE: No kidding?
STEVE: And that’s Jonathan Stevens is so successful. First of all tell us who Jonathan Stevens Mattress is.
RON: Well, Steve we started out back in 1945 with the idea that if we could just build a good mattress and sell it direct to the public, that we can give them a good value and save them money, and here we are 68 years later. We still have a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility. We build all of our own mattresses and sell them direct to the public.
STEVE: And you mentioned convenient location, eight of them here in West Michigan. It’s a local product.
RON: Absolutely. We are 100% local. Everything we do stays local. Everything that we buy and for our products is either local or made in the United States, and we have five stores circling Grand Rapids, one in Kalamazoo, one Muskegon, and one in Holland.
STEVE: You know, if you’ve been in business since 1945, you’re doing something right. Let’s get to the basic. What really makes a good mattress?
RON: Well, Steve, I am glad you asked that question because it’s more than a pretty cover that people will go in and see on the mattress, and it’s more than just that initial feel. There’s really two parts to a mattress. One is the fact that you’ve got to have good support so that your body is supported properly and you have good posture when you wake up, and the second part is the cushiony materials that give you that comfortable night’s sleep. It’s very easy to make a mattress look good but not last a long time, and Jonathan Stevens is known for putting good quality components inside, so you are going to get that good night’s sleep just year after year.
STEVE: We’re talking to Ron Zagel of Jonathan Stevens and the website is JonathanStevens.com, eight convenient locations here in West Michigan. Now, how do I know that I am getting a good value in a mattress?
RON: Well, one of the things you really have to look for is how much am I spending on that mattress. There are so many gimmicks out there today. You can go in and buy a mattress and get a free TV.
STEVE: Umm hmmm
RON: Well, you know, I called John Borgman over at Borgman Ford, and I said, “Hey, John, I want to give a free vehicle away,” and he says, “Ron I’ll set you up with a vehicle here, a real nice one, for $22,000,” and I said, “Well, great! I am going to sell my mattress for $27,999, and I am going to give a free Ford away,” and you know, that carries to a little bit of an extreme, but you see out there today people are giving a free TV away with a mattress. Well, basically you’re paying for your mattress, and you’re paying for the TV.
STEVE: [laughs] That’s right.
RON: And you’re not getting the type of mattress you thought you would get.
STEVE: People just don’t realize that they do those things for a living, and they do it on purpose.
RON: That’s for sure, so basically how much money are you going to take out of your pocket to invest in a good night’s sleep. We actually worked it out at one time, and if you bought a good quality mattress from Jonathan Stevens, and you went and bought your own TV, you’d actually be spending less money than the people who are throwing a free TV in. You’ve got to lie down on that mattress, find out what’s in it, make sure you’ve got good quality components, and what are you going to take out of your pocket to pay for that mattress. That’s how you determine the value.
STEVE: You know, they always say you get what you pay for. Well, we’re on with Ron Zagel on Talk of the Town from Jonathan Stevens, again, JonathanStevens.com. How long on average does a Jonathan Stevens mattress last?
RON: I am actually glad you asked question because the last time we did a survey the national statistics say a mattress will last about 10.2 years. Well, we surveyed our customer almost 15.4.
RON: Now that’s not to say that every mattress is going to last that long because they do wear out, and you will even start noticing some wear in that five to seven year range, so we basically ask you to ask yourself a couple of questions. When you wake up in the morning are you more sore and stiff than when you went to bed. If so, you probably need to start looking for a new mattress.
STEVE: And if you buy a cheap mattress and you have to buy another cheap mattress in five years, what have you really helped out? You’re not comfortable and you’re spending more money in the long run.
RON: You’ve got it. What we usually do is people come in and say, “I want a cheap mattress.” Basically what we like to ask is, “You want that mattress cheap to buy or cheap to own?”
RON: You know, if you buy a chap mattress, you’re going to buy it again in the near future. If you buy a good quality mattress, it’s going to last you two or three times longer, and you’re going to wind up spending less money over all.
STEVE: Tell me Ron the importance of you being a factory-direct store?
RON: One of the big advantages we have that will give people a better value is the fact that first we control everything we put in the mattress. We use only the highest quality components because we have our name on it, and we’re right here in the neighborhood, so we’ve got to make sure it lasts or we won’t stay in business, so basically you’re buying right from the factory. You don’t have all those extra national distribution costs, national advertising costs, so I can actually put more money into the mattress and sell if for less.
STEVE: And that makes a whole lot of sense. Visit JonathanStevens.com to find their array of mattresses and sleep accessories, but I would imagine it would behoove you to stop by one of the eight convenient locations in West Michigan, and like you said, “You better lay down on that thing before you buy it, right?”
RON: Absolutely. You know, you go into a store, and the mat may be up against the wall, and you push against it, and it looks pretty, and you say, “Oh, that’s a good deal.” Well, that’s not the way to buy a mattress. What you need to do is come into our stores. Wear comfortable clothing. I know in the winter you probably got a heavy jacket on.Take that jacket off. Lie on that mattress and relax for a few minutes. Make sure you got a proper pillow because that adds to the comfort and just relax on that mattress, so if a salesman is trying to get you off that mattress too quick, you may want to try a different store.
STEVE: There you go, factory-direct, eight convenient locations in West Michigan. JonathanStevens.com in West Michigan since 1945. Ron Zagel. Thank you for coming on Talk of the Town.
RON: Hey, it’s my pleasure Steve. Thanks very much for inviting me.