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Blog posts of '2017' 'October'

Sleep.... Perchance to Dream: 4 Common Creepy Dreams


Is Freddy Krueger living in your nightmares? Are you afraid to fall asleep because that Wendigo will chase you around the forest again? Is Pennywise the clown luring you into the sewers at 2 am? Here are 4 of the scariest dreams, their meanings, and some possible solutions!

  1.        Falling

One of the most common dreams this tends to be about inability to control your own life. Unforeseen circumstances might have changed and put you into a situation out of your control leaving you feeling helpless and alone. Falling from a tall building or mountain illustrates your inability to catch or hold onto something leaving your mind feeling like it is in a free fall.

  1.        Being Chased

Confrontation is the key here. We tend to avoid confrontation at all costs not wanting to bother or antagonize whatever problem we have so we run from it. Having a dream where it is manifested as running from a 60 foot snake or Freddy Krueger is understandable. Avoiding the confrontation builds it up in our minds and we need to escape it hence the dream.

  1.        Teeth Falling Out

There are two prevalent theories on teeth falling out. One is concerned with our own vanity. No one likes being seen as less than and a lot of us have inner turmoil about our outward appearance. The second is about growing older. It is something we cannot stop everyone will age. Teeth falling out represent the decay of one’s body over time especially the fear of aging.

  1.        Being Naked in front of a crowd

This one ties in a little with the teeth falling out; again it is stress about personal appearance and self-image. It is the fear of being judged demonstrating itself in a dream. The person experiencing it is not only feeling embarrassed but they are being judged by everyone there. This is a very anxiety heavy dream.



The science of how to stop nightmares from happening is still rather unknown. This isn’t as easy as popping a pill and making it go away. We have to sleep and with sleep comes dreams, but there are a few ways we can hopefully prevent nightmares.


Clear your mind before sleep. We all have ridiculously stressful lives and if you take those anxieties to bed with you they end up manifesting in your dreams. Try yoga, deep breathing, or chamomile tea and give yourself 20 minutes to wind down from your day so that you can have a restful night. Deal with your daytime stressors and don’t just put it off for tomorrow because it will come after you at night.

Dream journal

If you write out your dreams more than likely you can see where they are coming from. If you wake up every Friday terrified after falling it could be a result of the Thursday staff meeting or class. Typically a pattern will appear and then you can use relaxation techniques to calm yourself while unpacking the meaning of your situation. Also most times when someone wakes up with a particular nasty dream we forget the details very quickly. The faster you can write it down the more information you will have to be able to work through the stress that is causing it.

Optimal sleep environment

Dreams happen in REM sleep. Typically the dreams we remember happen closer to our time of waking. You need to have an all-night optimal sleep environment. What that means is it needs to be dark (as dark as you can make it even red alarm clocks can keep you up, blue light only) and set at the proper temperature. The optimal sleep temperature is 67-69 degrees. Also, the more restless you are the more likely you are the lighter the sleep you are getting and the more likely you will remember your dreams. People tend to be more restless if they are sleeping on a mattress that is not giving the proper support and pressure relief.

Hopefully these tips can help you become a dream warrior at night. 

Halloween Bedtime??


When should I take the family Trick or Treating? When is the best bedtime for Halloween night?

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays as a child. I can remember the excitement of picking out my costume and getting together with my neighborhood friends so we could loop around a few blocks to fill up the bright orange plastic jack-o-lanterns we all had.

You may have memories of night time trick or treating, but an earlier night is better. Experts still recommend more sleep for younger children than older children:If your child is 3-5 years old they should be getting 10-13 hours of sleep; however, 8-9 hours of sleep is still normal for this age. Children 6-13 years of age should sleep 9-11 hours at night but 7-8 hours of sleep is still considered adequate. Sleep is important for growing bodies so establishing a bed time for children and sticking to it is important---even on a holiday. 

You should check local laws on trick or treating in your area but trick or treating early before sunset can allow your children more time in bed after the exciting trip through the neighborhood. If you will trick or treat after dark be sure to remain visible. Brighter high visibility materials or reflectors do not require batteries or replacing next year but blinking lights and glow sticks are also available to help drivers see pedestrians after dark.

TIP: Tape glow sticks or battery-operated LED lights to the inside of an orange jack-o-lantern to make it glow brightly for better visibility near traffic.

TIP: Have children sort candy into daily allotments right away so they don’t get too much candy in one day. Sorting the candy can be even more fun than eating heroic doses of candy in one night. Plus children get to enjoy Halloween for much longer if they put a little candy away for later.

Unfortunately for you and fortunately for the lucky trick or treaters, there will be a major haul of candy to sort through and consume when everyone gets back home. Just be careful to consider the effects sugar has on the bodies of both adults and children. The average 4-8 year old child consumes 21 teaspoons of sugar on an average day. The recommended safe amount of sugar for children to consume in a day is closer 4-6 teaspoons. Even on the average day children are getting very high levels of sugar but there is some good news for parents.

Sugar does not cause alertness so sleeping after a candy binge should not be difficult. If you can get your children back from trick or treating with enough time to get 10 hours of sleep you can avoid a sleep deficit and allow your children all the time they need to rest and recover after adventuring through the neighborhood collecting candy.

Why a scary movie might be keeping you awake at night


You probably remember seeing a movie or a TV show that kept you awake at night. For me that show was Unsolved Mysteries. The show would highlight various unsolved gruesome crimes then highlight the fact that whoever did the heinous act they had just reenacted was still roaming free and ready to strike again. 

Perhaps there are nights you can remember lying in bed after a scary movie or television program.

What is going on in our body that makes a TV show affect us so much? Why do some people like to be scared even if it makes them lose sleep over it?

While you watch a good horror movie your heart rate and breathing speed up. Scary movies make you feel scared (go figure) and for many people watching a scary movie makes your body react the same way it would if there was something really scary there that could hurt you. You may have heard the term fight or flight, but the increase in heart rate and breathing helps your body supply more oxygen and blood flow to areas that would normally be needed to run away from something. Instead you may just need to run to get a refill of popcorn.

If you are really feeling scared your body may even tense up or even squeeze or move involuntarily that’s noradrenaline’s fault. Noradrenaline is a hormone that carries signals around the body and that tense feeling is a signal that something important is going to happen. Scary movies trick you into feeling like you are in danger so you tense up.

Scary movies can make you feel so stressed that cortisol levels in the body can rise. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and is linked to memory loss and depression. It can also trigger bad memories because cortisol is released during trying times. Scary movies play with our fight or flight and stress management systems in our body. Adrenaline levels also spike. Scary movies make your body feel excited. The fun of watching a scary movie is being scared which may not seem to make a whole lot of sense.

However, recent research shows that dopamine gets released by your brain during a scary situation. Dopamine is generally considered a chemical the brain released to feel a sense of pleasure but it is also released during stressful and upsetting circumstances as well. This release of dopamine may be why we seek out scary movies despite the stressful feelings they may cause us to feel.

If you are not as affected by scary movies the reasons may be genetic. I no longer feel the strain of Unsolved Mysteries when I catch it on reruns. Scary movies may not cause strong reactions in every one but some research has suggested that some people may be more likely to be affected by disturbing imagery than others based on the doubling of a particular gene. If you have two copies of this particular gene you are much more likely to feel scared by scary movies.

No matter how scary a movie is you should not suffer from sleepless nights very long. Your body should be able to comfortably relax in bed most every night. If you are lying awake or feeling less than refreshed in the mornings visit Mattress Direct for a proper mattress fitting. Trained sleep specialists from Mattress Direct can keep you from feeling like a zombie or any other horror monster by ensuring you get the right mattress with characteristics that match your body type and sleep styles.

Attack of the Zombie Mattress


It’s dark, your body aches and you are covered in sweat. You feel exhausted as if some unrelenting monster has been pursuing you at a steady pace. No time to rest. You never get to rest. You are not in some remote summer camp being chased by Zombies through the woods. The constant exhaustion is caused by a terrible monster. A monster that doesn’t eat brains, instead this monster drains brains of their energy. That monster is……


A zombie mattress.

Unfortunately, zombies are undead just enough to torments us. They keep up pursuit and never let you rest. Zombie mattresses manage to cling to just enough life to torment us as well. Maybe we wake up in a sweat. Many modern mattresses are designed to help you sleep better than before. Mattresses by Tempurpedic, Sealy, Stearns & Foster and King Koil have much better cooling solutions than what was available just a few years ago. Don’t lets your dead mattress be a mattress zombie. Replace it and start sleeping better.

If your zombie mattress feels like it’s killing your back or draining your brain after you wake up then be your own hero. You don’t need a baseball bat with nails in it to bash your sleep issues. You can take some time with the sleep specialists at Mattress Direct. Finding the right mattress and getting good rest are incredibly important.

What are signs your mattress is a zombie mattress?

Do you experience sudden urges to toss and turn at night?
Does your shoulder or neck feel sore throughout the day or in the morning?
Does your spouse or sleep partner complain about your mattress?
When you wake up do you already feel sore?
Do you suffer from a lack of energy because of poor sleep?
Are you waking up too hot after adjusting your home thermostat and your number of blankets?

If you answered yes to any of the questions listed above you stand to gain from a new mattress. You should wake up feeling refreshed and your body should feel rested in the morning. Many people struggle with a zombie mattress in silence. Don’t struggle in silence. Visit one of the factory direct Mattress Direct showrooms as soon as you get the chance and get fitted. Then you won’t feel like a zombie when you wake up either.

Eat Pumpkin! Sleep like a baby!

Fall Foods that help you Fall Asleep

Pumpkins are a staple of Fall. All the delicious pumpkin products are available to enjoy. Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin spiced everything but you may be surprised to learn that pumpkins contain a wonderful sleep aid inside.

Pumpkin seeds are very small but each pumpkin contains hundreds of them and they are packed with incredibly valuable nutrients. Consuming just a small amount of will provide your body with significant quantities of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.

An ounce of shelled pumpkin seeds provides the body with manganese, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, heathy fats, protein, antioxidants and other benefits.

Some studies have shown that in people with low magnesium levels getting more magnesium can help with sleep. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium. These wonderful seeds also contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes sleep. Additionally, the zinc found in pumpkin seeds is also used in the body to convert tryptophan into serotonin in the brain.

You can also find tryptophan in another delicious nap-inducing meal.

Turkey is famous for putting over-stuffed families celebrating Thanksgiving to sleep after the big meal. How does this work? Even though turkey contains tryptophan not all of the credit for putting you to sleep can be given to this one amino acid. More than likely, the cause for feeling tired after eating Thanksgiving dinner is the massive amount of carbohydrates and food your body has to process. When we eat large amounts of carbs our insulin spikes which initiates rapid glucose uptake. When a fall in blood glucose takes place afterward we feel tired. Often this is referred to as a sugar crash.

If turkey  or pumpkin seeds aren’t your thing don’t worry because many foods contain tryptophan such as nuts, red meat, chicken, seeds, lentils and eggs.

If you like to have a warm glass of tea as the temperatures and leaves begin to fall you can still help yourself fall asleep. Chamomile tea is often cited as a popular remedy to get to sleep. Also, passionfruit tea has been listed by many as a great choice to help you sleep. Just drink a glass of chamomile or passionfruit tea an hour before bed. At the very least you can enjoy a nice cup of warm tea without worrying about excess caffeine that can keep you alert and unable to sleep.

What a great season to enjoy a moment of rest. Fall is the season for delicious food, warm tea and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!




Does this sound familiar?  You’re lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, but your mind is racing.   You’re exhausted, but can’t turn off your brain.  Instead, you lie awake, remembering the things you didn’t get done that day, the argument you had with a co-worker, that time in 3rd grade you threw up on the field trip to the zoo.   The next thing you know it’s 2:00 AM and you still haven’t fallen asleep.    Sadly, for many Americans, this is all-too relatable.  

Luckily, here at Mattress Direct, we’re always available to provide helpful (and free!) tips to help you get a deeper, more restorative night’s sleep.  Today, to reduce anxiety that can lead to insomnia, we’d like to recommend meditation. 

Several sleep studies show even twenty minutes of focused meditation can lead to falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer.  Meditation can seem a little intimidating to the uninitiated, but at its simplest, it’s really just practicing mindfulness of moment-by-moment thoughts and experiences.  By focusing on breathing, you can keep your mind from drifting to the stresses of the past and future.   Some people focus on the way their lungs fill and empty, others on the sounds their breathing makes, and still others focus on the flow of air in and out of the nose.  Experiencing each breath for what it is, allows you to focus on the present, which is the essence of mindful meditation.   Becoming distracted, and letting thoughts creep into your mind as you meditate is normal.  Instead of trying to push them away, recognize what is happening, and then shift your focus back to the rhythms of your breathing.   Don’t worry if It’s hard at first, most things are! 

The longer you stick with it, the easier it will be.

Focused meditation will allow your body to become accustomed to relaxation, which you can then use to push away “inner chatter” at bedtime.  Falling asleep faster, and staying asleep longer will mean more deep, restorative REM sleep, which means more energy and alertness during the day.  There are plenty of other resources online for best meditation practices for beginners.  Find some that work for you!  Good luck, and good night.  

Benefits of Chamomile tea


Should you drink a glass of chamomile tea before bed? 

Chamomile has been used since ancient times for many medicinal reasons. Now varieties of this great herb can be found at just about any supermarket.  Chamomile preparations have been commonly used for ailments such as upset stomach, inflammation, insomnia and even hay fever.  The essential oils of chamomile can be found in cosmetic products.  However, the use most commonly thought of for this spectacular herb is tea brewed from dried flowers from the Matricaria species.

Chamomile tea can be consumed to help calm upset stomach or as an evening beverage to help you get to sleep.  Common recommendations are for you to drink a warm, freshly brewed cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed. Sedative effects of chamomile tea may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin which binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.

Should you try chamomile tea if you are having trouble sleeping?

There are many steps you can take to ensure you get the most rest possible during bed time. Cutting out caffeine in the afternoon is a great first step. Also be certain you have a mattress and sleep environment that provides good support and pressure relief so it fits you is the first step. If you are not able to be comfortable while you sleep your body will not be able to sleep well.

Chamomile tea can help to eleviate your mind to get the rest you deserve, but there is more than just being able to fall asleep.Many of the aches and pains we suffer with are caused while we sleep on an uncomfortable mattress. If you get a good mattress for your needs and let your body wind down for bed you are setting yourself up for success. Perhaps a warm mug of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed would be the perfect signal to your brain that it’s time for bed.

Is chamomile safe? (From webmd)

“The pollen found in chamomile preparations may cause allergic reactions. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen, you may not be able to use chamomile. Chamomile may interfere with blood thinners (anticoagulants).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicine. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:

  • Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse.
  • The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known. “
Fall into Bed with Exercise

Recently, Mattress Direct posted a blog entry about the link between exercise and sleep.  Today, we want to give you some extra motivation to help you along your way to more alert days and more restful nights!  While it may not be the usual time of year people think of when they consider making a change to a more active lifestyle, (that’s usually New Year’s Eve and swimsuit season!) we think Autumn is a great time to turn over a new leaf!  (Pun intended.) 

First, and this is especially true in the St. Louis area, Fall has the best weather for outdoor exercise.  Walking, biking, hiking, and even running are at their most enjoyable in the crisp, temperate days of early fall.  While it’s easy to get discouraged in the 100-degree, 80% humidity dog days of summer, the 50-to-70-degree days of October and November are simply ideal to get in a great workout and enjoy the changing colors of the season.  Additionally, many families experience “back to school” at this time of year, and may have more free time than they did over the summer. 

If you find your mornings and afternoons have suddenly been freed up now that the kids are out of the house, take advantage and get active!   If you’re the type of person that prefers exercising with a group, consider finding a nearby club of walkers, hikers or bikers to keep you motivated and accountable. 

You don’t have to wait until you wake up January First with a hangover and a muffin top to make the commitment to better health and a better night’s sleep.  Here are some great hiking and bike trails in the St. Louis area that we recommend you check out during the next few weeks of gorgeous fall weather.  Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below!

Exercise your way to Healthier Sleep

sleep exercise


One of the most frequently asked questions we hear as Sleep Specialists is “What are some easy things I can do to get a better night’s sleep?”  While there are many things that influence how much deep, restorative sleep a person gets, one is probably overlooked but still incredibly important: physical activity. 

 A recent study in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity among 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18-85 found that people who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week improved sleep quality by 65%.  Additionally, the study found a 68% decrease in leg cramping and a 45% decrease in difficult concentrating compared to those that did not exercise. 

Many other studies show similar findings.  For example, a study at Northwest University found that exercise and sleep were mutually beneficial to one another.   Good sleep led to longer, more intense workout sessions, which led to better sleep and strengthened circadian rhythms, creating a cycle of improved health and well- being.   Experts suggest thinking about the relationship between exercise and sleep in the same way as exercise and weight loss – that it is a gradual process, not an overnight fix. 


Regarding when to exercise: there have been some surprising developments in research on that topic!   Conventional wisdom told people not to work out too close to bedtime, which could lead to restlessness.  But a 2013 sleep poll found that people who exercised at any time of the day slept better than those who didn’t, even if it that activity took place at nighttime.

 For many busy adults, burdened with work and family responsibilities, right before bed may actually be the easiest time to work up a sweat, so don’t let an outdated idea keep you from getting in the workout your body craves for optimal sleep. 

The idea that exercise is healthy isn’t news to anyone.  We all know mood, metabolism, blood pressure, and risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes can be influenced by how active you are.  But as sleep scientists explore the link between sleep and physical activity more and more, it seems clear that if you’re tossing and turning, and having trouble feeling alert during the day, reaching for your running shoes may be a better choice than reaching for those sleeping pills.