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Blog posts tagged with 'sleep'

Can one mattress work for everyone?

 

Large warehouse stores are amazing. You need ketchup? Well, there is one bottle of ketchup. You want some cereal? There are several options but only one size…. LARGE. They take the choice out of it. This makes the shopping experience easy. I know I don’t like sitting there debating what size box of flaked corn I need or seeing 12 different types of the same condiment. Choice is sometimes overwhelming.

But choice can also be necessary, especially when we are talking about people’s individual needs, shapes, and specifications. Can there just be one mattress that magically fits all my needs as well as my neighbor’s, best friend’s, and 90-year-old grandfather’s needs? The answer is… if you all have the same body type, sleeping style and habits then YES, but it is rather unlikely.

People are complicated. We all have our own habits. Some people sleep exclusively on their side, others back, and others do a great approximation of a pretzel where their front shoulders are facing towards the bed while their hips are pointing in the opposite direction and their arms are clutching onto their pillow for dear life. All of these sleepers may need different levels of support and pressure relief depending on their individual shape and size as well.

A back is definitely flatter than a pretzel. A pretzel sleeper has curves in their shoulders and hips. Would these two types need the same pressure relief? Could they both be best served by the same mattress? The answer is no. These both could be adequately served by the same mattress, but to get the best out of your nightly sleep both sleepers really need individualized comfort.

Bed in a box companies try for mass appeal, but number one to them is ship ability. The heavier a mattress is the more is costs to ship. Most people are side sleepers, side sleepers need more pressure relief, more pressure relief needs more materials, more materials means more weight which means less profit. Is this the best for your comfort?

Mattresses are not one size fits all.

 

All Mattress Direct factory direct show rooms have mattress specialists trained to fit you for the best mattress for your sleep needs.

Exercise and Sleep

 

New Year’s Resolution time is in full swing and everyone is trying to get their routine down. You have to make a schedule that works best for you. Some people think that morning workouts are the only way to go and that working out at night actually hurts your sleep, but that is just not true. Working out is best whenever you can do it. If you are a morning person and find it easiest to wake up and go---then do it. If you have to work out after work that’s fine too whatever is best for your schedule that you can make a part of your weekly routine.

There’s always been this myth that you cannot work out four hours before you want to go to sleep, but that isn’t true for all. Very few people are affected by this. Most people can even find it easier to fall asleep after working out. Exercise overall improves sleep and allows people to rest more efficiently.

Typically, if you have trouble falling asleep after exercising it is because of temperature. Your core body temperature tends to rise after a vigorous workout and it also rises due to our natural circadian rhythm around the time you are trying to go to sleep. Lowering the temperature to 68 degrees and making sure you have the proper sleep environment is the key to success.

The proper sleep environment includes a dark quiet room, a mattress that is breathable (preferably in this case with cooling features such as cooling gel and/or breeze technology), cooling pillows, breathable sheets and a breathable mattress protector. Keeping you cool will allow you to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. When you are cool it also allows you to reach deeper stages of sleep faster as well.

So don’t worry if the only time in your schedule to work out is late at night. You can still get the proper sleep you need for your rest and recovery. Just make sure to stay cool. 

Why do we Yawn?

 

Why do we yawn? We are not the only species who yawns monkeys, dogs, cats, and even fish and babies inside the womb yawn but why? It is one of those truly unsolved mysteries, but there are some really interesting theories.

The one that seems to be the most pervasive is that it expands your lungs and brings in a ton of oxygen all at once. That oxygen goes to your brain allowing you to wake up. But is this true? It makes sense but scientists have shown that oxygen levels don’t actually rise when we yawn. So if it isn’t taking oxygen to the brain what is it doing?

It seems that there is a decent connection between yawning and temperature regulation. The hotter you are the more likely you are to yawn if you see someone else yawning. Yawns are contagious. I bet at least half of you have yawned just from seeing the picture above and I’ve yawned twice while writing this. It is that weird suggestible thing when someone even says yawn we all respond in kind, but we are less likely to yawn if you are cold.

As you lay in bed every night sleeping heat builds up throughout the night, which is why many of us immediately wake up and yawn. Your brain functions at its best when it is in a cooler environment. So we wake up and immediately cool down our brains. The circadian rhythm determines the heat of our body throughout the day. Typically the highest points are right before we fall asleep and first thing when we wake up. The average person yawns 8 times a day which seems to be a way to regulate our brains temperature.

Typically when one person yawns multiple people in a room yawn. This is more than likely an evolutionary process where one person sees another and knows that maybe they should regulate their brain too. It could also be because of empathy or mimicry. Sleeping cool could help eliminate the early morning yawns. When you keep your cool and regulate your body temperature you get deeper sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Experiment.  See if you yawn when you wake up after a nice night’s sleep in a cool bed. 

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.


Beditation

 

 

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.  

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.

Cool Comfort

Rule No. 3

Keep your Cool

with Cool technology.

There are new advances in cool technology that finally provide a solution for hot sleepers.

 


 The coolest mattresses use advanced materials like Tempur-pedic Breeze and Sealy Chill. Gel has some limited cooling properties by itself but phase change materials are more advanced and provide more of a cooling effect that will drop your body temperature so you get to sleep quickly.

You have probably already heard of cool mattresses but how do you find the coolest?  

 


Sealy Chill and Tempur Breeze

Advanced phase change material found in Tempur-pedic Breezemattresses have proven successful in addressing the needs of hot sleepers. Tempur-Sealy is taking the innovation and applying it to more Sealy mattresses with Sealy Chill.

 

Phase change material like Sealy Chill and Tempur Breeze are designed to absorb heat and cool your body. When your body rests on a mattress with this new innovative cooling technology your excess heat is absorbed quickly so you can fall asleep faster.

 

Avoid spikes in temperature.

 

Have you ever pulled your blankets back up in the middle of the night? 

                Phase change material like Tempur Breeze and Sealy Chill help drop your temperature quickly and absorb excess heat to return to you when your body is resting in deep sleep. Your mattress should always keep you comfortable all night long so you get to stay in deeper sleep without interruption.

 

Mattress Direct is a factory direct showroom for Tempur-pedic, Sealy, Stearns and Foster, iDirect, King Koil, and Campbell Mattress of Missouri. We proudly carry mattresses made in USA such as the Sealy Posturepedic, King Koil, Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid, Sealy Conform, Tempurpedic Cloud, Tempurpedic Conform and Tempurpedic Flex, Stearns & Foster Estate, Stearns & Foster Lux Estate, Stearns & Foster Reserve and Stearns & Foster Hybrid. We are locally owned and operated serving the greater St. Louis area and growing. Please visit our factory direct mattress showrooms so you get the lowest price and the very best mattress for your particular needs.

Can't Sleep? Drug free alternatives that really help
Insomnia is a widespread sleep problem among adults. Nearly 40% of men and women in the U.S. experience some symptoms of insomnia in a given year, and as many as 15% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. Relaxation techniques are considered a standard form treatment for insomnia by sleep professionals, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. These techniques include:
  • Muscle relaxation exercises
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Imagery and visualization
These effective therapeutic practices are inexpensive, drug free, easy to learn and integrate into a daily routine, and can be very effective in improving sleep. Non-pharmaceutical sleep remedies are attractive to many people who don’t want to use medication to treat their insomnia and other sleep problems. This often leads people to seek other options in an area known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). CAM is defined by the National Institutes of Health as "a group of health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine." The NIH estimates that as many as 38% of adults in the United States use some form of CAM, most often in conjunction with conventional medicine, rather than in place of it. Despite its popularity, we don’t know a great deal about how people use relaxation techniques and CAM, including what health problems they're being employed to treat. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine sought to remedy this by conducting this study to assess how people with insomnia use relaxation techniques and CAM to treat their sleep disorder. They found that while many adults with insomnia are using these therapies, only a small percentage of them are using them specifically to treat insomnia. Researchers used data from the National Health Interview Survey, a large-scale, in-person survey on a wide range of health issues conducted by the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control. The final study group included 23,358 adults. Researchers in the current study investigated the prevalence of relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, muscle relaxation, biofeedback and guided imagery. They also examined the use of CAM, which they separated into four broad categories:
  • Alternative and mind-body medicine: including meditation, yoga, Tai chi
  • Manipulative practices: including massage, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments
  • Other CAM practices: including acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy
  • Natural products: including non-vitamin and non-mineral supplements, particularly those used for insomnia treatment, such as melatonin and valerian
Researchers collected information about reasons for using relaxation and CAM, and whether people used these therapies specifically for insomnia. Finally, they asked whether people who used these treatments had informed their physicians about their use. They found that use of both relaxation and CAM techniques are common among people with insomnia—more common than in people without insomnia. However, the vast majority of people with insomnia who use these therapies are not using them specifically to treat their insomnia. Here are some of the details:
  • 18% of those included in the study had regular insomnia or difficulty sleeping in the past year. More women than men suffered from insomnia, as did older people, and those with lower education and income levels.
  • Of those people with insomnia, 22.9% used some type of relaxation therapy in the past year, compared to 11.2% of people without insomnia. Deep breathing exercises were the most common type of relaxation therapy used.
  • Fewer than one-fifth—only 19.1%--of people discussed their use of relaxation therapy with their primary physician.
  • 29.9% of those with insomnia reported using relaxation exercises for specific medical issues, but only a very small number—30 individuals in total—reported using relaxation techniques to treat their insomnia. This was too small a figure for researchers to calculate a population-based estimate.
  • When it came to CAM, 45% of adults with insomnia used some form of complementary or alternative medicine in the past year, compared to 30.9% of those without insomnia.
  • Natural products were the most commonly used of the four categories, followed by manipulative practices. However, researchers found that use of natural products specifically for insomnia was very low.
  • 54% of adults with insomnia used some form of CAM for specific health problems, but only 1.8% reported using CAM to treat insomnia.
  • In the case of both relaxation techniques and CAM, women were more likely than men to use these therapies, as were people with higher levels of education and income, and people who reported higher levels of physical activity.
There seems to be a real missed opportunity here, to improve insomnia by applying therapeutic techniques that people with this sleep disorder are already using. These broad categories of relaxation and CAM cover a wide range of treatment options. Not all of these techniques will be right for everyone. And further research is needed to fully evaluate the effectiveness of specific therapies. But there exist a number of relaxation and CAM therapies, including meditation and visualization, yoga and acupuncture, that have shown promising results in helping alleviate insomnia and other sleep problems. Talking with your doctor is an important step in making the most of relaxation techniques and complementary or alternative therapies to improve insomnia.  It’s disappointing to see that most people who are using these remedies are not discussing them with their physicians, according to this current research. Increasingly, conventional medical practitioners are open to, informed about and encouraging of techniques such as these. Don’t go it alone. Your “regular” doctor can be a valuable resource in making choices about “alternative” therapies for insomnia and other sleep problems. Sweet Dreams, Michael J. Breus, PhD The Sleep Doctor™ www.thesleepdoctor.com The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan:  Lose Weight Through Better Sleep Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep™ twitter: @thesleepdoctor Facebook: www.facebook.com/thesleepdoctor

Fibromyalgia or Chronic Arthritis? Relief can Come from your mattress.

Fibromyalgia or Chronic Arthritis? Relief Can Come From Your Mattress.

By: Dave Robben

During my nearly decade in the bedding industry, I have come across countless consumers actively seeking a solution for their chronic widespread pain. Many find it nearly impossible to even get out of bed in the morning.

For those people suffering from the debilitating effects of conditions such as chronic arthritis, fibromyalgia, or even osteoporosis, mornings can prove more difficult for most than any other part of the day.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia affects between 3 and 6 million Americans. It primarily occurs in women of childbearing age, but children, the elderly, and men can also be affected. There is no “cure” for fibromyalgia, there are just suggestions of how to “manage the pain.” Fibromyalgia causes constant pain through the body. This pain can be heightened by long periods of sitting, laying or inactivity.

Outside of the helpful prescription medications, many are finding relief in their sleep system. Those who are affected by these conditions often suffer through the night due to their extreme hypersensitivity to pressure. While there have been tremendous strides in mattress technologies, most affected with these conditions are still sleeping on a surface constructed of hundreds of metal coils that are designed to push back against their body. This typically leads to pain and restless nights of tossing and turning.

Luckily, there are now many options in the marketplace that offer specific solutions to those afflicted with these conditions. New mattress models that offer proper back support and excellent pressure relief are becoming more and more commonplace. Some new mattress models are specifically constructed for people with fibromyalgia and additionally some even carry the Arthritis Foundation’s “Ease of Use Commendation.”

If you are struggling through the pain of one of these conditions, relief can be as simple as a new sleep surface. In your situation, the true definition of support is the “absence of pressure.” I would recommend consulting with your local sleep specialist and explaining your condition. A new mattress coupled with pain management could help you achieve a more normal and active lifestyle.

Dave Robben has been in the bedding industry for nearly 10 years. He has worked in corporate training, product selection, and consulting for major retailers and manufacturers. Mr. Robben currently works as Director of Retail Sales for Mattress Direct Inc., and serves as a guest columnist for Sleep Savvy magazine. Dave can be contacted by email at [email protected], and on twitter at @stlmattress

Bedtime Namaste: How Yoga Improves Sleep

Whether you love yoga, hate yoga, or just don’t understand what all the fuss is about, chances are there’s one pose you love. We’re talking about the pose we all know is coming after an hour or so of twisting, balancing and stretching your body. It’s the well-deserved rest that is the culmination of each class: savasana.

For those who don’t know, savasana is also called corpse pose, and it involves, well, lying still like a corpse. On your back, with your eyes shut, arms at your side with palms up, and muscles relaxed. And it feels amazing. So utterly relaxing and luxurious that it’s not unheard of for yogis to drift off to sleep right there in class.

And this is no accident—the relationship between yoga and sleep is well-documented. The findings can help you improve the quality of your shut-eye—in the bedroom, not the yoga studio (though no judgment).

Shot of yoga class with young women relaxing on floor. Yoga class lying in the Corpse pose, Savasana.

Rest assured, yoga is good for sleep

Numerous researchers have looked at the relationship between yoga and sleep from various different angles. The basic conclusion of all of them is this: yoga improves sleep. Here are some of the subtler and more specific takeaways:

  • Insomnia relief. Insomnia is a real issue—one that affects 10-15% of American adults. Yoga may offer some real relief. In one study of insomnia sufferers, the subjects were trained in and then performed a simple daily yoga practice for eight weeks. At the end of the clinical intervention, they reported improved quality of sleep, shorter time to fall asleep, and longer duration of sleep overall.
  • Heat it up to sleep it off. If you’re a fan of heated yoga, good news: the practice could help you chill out more easily come bedtime. In a study of Bikram practitioners, subjects reported fewer sleep disturbances on days they practiced yoga as compared with non-yoga days.
  • Benefits for cancer patients. A study of 39 patients with lymphoma compared a control group with a group who practiced Tibetan yoga daily for three months. The results showed that those in the yoga group reported significantly better subjective sleep quality, faster sleep latency, longer sleep duration, and less use of sleep medications.
  • Not just for the young’uns. Mindfulness meditation, a practice of its own right but one that is closely tied to yoga, has been shown to improve sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep disturbances.

Sun Salutation Yoga. Young woman doing yoga by the lake, sunset

Why sun salutations help you snooze

There are a number of ways in which yoga is known to improve sleep (and likely more that haven’t been studied yet). One of the biggest factors is also the most obvious: stress reduction. The physical release caused by stretching and twisting muscles, coupled with a focus on deep breathing, makes yoga the perfect exercise for chilling out—not to mention the fact that yoga studios are specifically designed to be serene environments. Over the long-term, regular yoga practitioners can even lower their level of the stress hormone cortisol, but the short-term relaxation effects can be felt immediately. Plus, the mindfulness your instructor encourages throughout class can significantly reduce psychological stress.

Calming the racing mind

Mindfulness has also been shown to target a particularly insidious (and insomnia-inducing) brand of stress: rumination. Think of rumination as that brain-on-a-hamster-wheel phenomenon that keeps you awake at night. Perhaps because of overall stress reduction, or because it improves the brain’s ability to focus on one thing, mindfulness helps put the kibosh on these unproductive patterns of thought so that you can get to sleep.

Besides relaxing the mind, yoga can also help bring about physiological changes that promote sleep. This is because yoga and meditation initiate the parasympathetic response—the “rest and digest” nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s unconscious actions like digestion and sleep. You can increase this effect by focusing on poses like forward bends and spinal twists that promote blood flow to the abdomen.

For those whose sleep is impeded by physical pain, yoga can also provide a solution. Targeted poses help relax tight muscles and work out knots. And the mental benefits of yoga can alleviate physical pains you can’t work out. By increasing cognitive and emotional control, yoga reduces pain perception and allows you to more easily stop fixating on negative sensations.

And then there’s the fact that yoga is, well, exercise. Exercise is an essential part of good sleep hygiene, as it helps promote healthy sleep-wake cycles (as long as you’re not working up a sweat right before bedtime). The physical fatigue also makes it easier to fall asleep when you crawl into bed at the end of the day.

Step up to the mat

Yoga can seem intimidating to those who don’t have a regular practice. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, yoga is one of the most equalizing types of exercise. You can do it anywhere, with no equipment. At its core, yoga teaches us that there is no “perfect” version of a pose—whatever version your body can do is perfect for you.

If you’d like to get started on your own, check out some of the best sleep-promoting poses you can do right in your own bedroom. Add some simple meditations for good measure.

And if you’re already deep into your practice, feel good about choosing a fitness path that improves your mind, body…and bedtime.