10 Reasons to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Bed

Romancing your partner the best way possible…

While Valentine’s Day spurs most couples to whip out their credit cards for flowers, chocolates, wine – a reservation at a sinfully expensive restaurant – we think the point has been somewhat missed. Doesn’t matter if you’re the little spoon, big spoon or the jetpack, we think a good snuggle on Valentine’s Day is the best way to celebrate this lover’s holiday.

Just a snuggle, you scoff?

Physical affection is so powerful that researchers say even couples who struggle with health issues, financial instability and parenting styles, report being intensely in love if they’re regularly intimate with each other. Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, can take credit for that little bit of magic, not a credit card or a bouquet of roses. The more we touch, hug, snuggle and kiss our partners, the more connected we’ll feel and the happier we’ll be.

Do you really need another reason to go to bed early this Valentine’s Day?

Just in case you answered yes to that question, we’ve put together a list of things you can do together in the bedroom – and they don’t cost a fortune. And while they’re all G-rated, we believe you’ll want to lock the bedroom door and celebrate. Just the two of you…

Start in the morning

Who says Valentine’s Day only begins after work and when the kids are in bed? Begin the day with simple, sweet texts that remind your partner how much you love him or her. But don’t stop there. Buy a stack of post-it notes and stick them in random places throughout your home – or create a trail to the bedroom…

Create an adult’s only spa

Unlike most nights, the goal of your bedroom tonight isn’t to sleep – yet. Transform your sleep space into a soothing spa sanctuary by filling it with succulent scents and luxurious sheets and pillows. Place candles around the room (but be mindful of safety) and turn out the lights. You can manage the rest on your own, we’re sure…

Crack open the bubbly

Drinking too much alcohol before bed isn’t a good idea because of how it interferes with sleep. But it’s Valentine’s Day and if you can’t treat yourself tonight, when can you? We recommend setting your limit before you open the bottle – and taking your last slip at least an hour before you tuck in for the night. Use your imagination to figure out what to do between sips.

Make a picnic

Lay a soft blanket on the floor and spread out a feast of your partner’s favorite foods. Ramp up the ambiance with tiny white Christmas lights draped across the window. Don’t worry that it’s not perfect – the kitschy feel will add to the fun.

Talk it out

Skip the small talk and enjoy an evening of sharing your hopes, fears and dreams. Some of your conversations might venture into tricky (maybe even emotional) territory, but just go with it. A 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science reported that happy couples have twice as many deep and substantive conversations than unhappy couples. Turns out, getting up close and personal with your partner’s brain can be a turn on.

Trade massages

We all live life at an incredibly fast pace, checking emails up to the minute we turn out the light. Doesn’t sharing back rubs sound like a delicious way to spend the evening? What’s even better is that you don’t have to be particularly good at giving a massage. All you need is some scented massage oil, towels to cover the sheets and a willingness to learn what your partner likes. The point here is to touch – a great massage is a bonus.

Fool around

When’s the last time you and your partner tickled out your troubles? A good old fashioned tickle fight that doesn’t end until someone calls uncle? Made a fort out of the sheets? Just because you’re grown up doesn’t mean you giving into boring, right? Lock the door and commit to finding your partner’s most ticklish spot – along with all the other ones that cause uncontrollable giggling. We dare ya!

Watch a movie together

After the champagne, massages and tickle fights, you’ll be ready for some down-time, nestled safely in each other’s arms. Whether it’s a sappy romantic movie, a paranormal movie-thon or a scare-fest that makes her snuggle closer, it’s time to climb into your bed and just relax. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t warn you – some foods don’t belong in bed. Fondue, for example. An open flame + dripping oil = fon-don’t!

Lights out

At the end of the day, its night – and that means time for sleep. Turn the lights out, pull up the covers and snuggle in for the best sleep of your life. You’ve earned it!

Plan for next Valentine’s Day

Now that you’ve learned how much fun it can be to celebrate Valentine’s Day in your partner’s arms in bed, it’s time to take a closer look at your mattress. Is your mattress still a haven of comfort and serenity or is it time to consider replacing it? Shopping for a mattress is hard work – it’s not easy finding the one that’s right for you.

What’s the true cost of a good mattress? If you spent $2,000 on a new mattress and slept comfortably on that mattress for 7 years, the cost of healthy sleep would be $1.27 per night – less than the cost of Starbucks coffee in the morning…

If you’re ready for a new mattress, we’d love to help you find the right one for you. Visit our Find a Retailer page and we’ll locate a store close by where you can lie on our mattresses and talk to a trained sales professional.

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Super Bowl Menu AND Your Sleep

Real simple tips to keep the gang fed without ruining their sleep

When the NFL’s top teams face off on the gridiron, you want to serve touchdown-worthy eats. Maybe you’ve been googling Super Bowl recipes that will feed a big crowd. Or maybe you’re on the prowl for slow cooker recipes for you and the famjam. The Super Bowl is a fun time to get together with friends and family and game day just wouldn’t be the same without a table full of cheesy, meaty eats.

But what about your night’s sleep afterward?

Science (and your gut) support the idea that food affects sleep – and not always in a good way. Foods that deliver your best night’s sleep may not be high on your priority list for game night and we get it. Sleep-healthy foods aren’t exactly filled with the cheesy goodness you’re craving during the Super Bowl. But what if you could enjoy the gastro-goodness of the Super Bowl AND get a good night’s sleep afterward?

Time to set the rules of engagement for game night to ensure a great evening cheering your favorite team – and a great night’s sleep afterward.

Game time snacking menu

Set your own rules for game time this year. Choose classic Super Bowl snacks that are easy to eat and super-easy to prepare ahead so you can get in on the action too. The recipes below will score big on both counts. What’s more, they’ll tease the salty, sweet flavors you’re craving and even ante up with some tequila shots – cooked into the chicken of course. The best part? There’s something in each that will help – not hinder – your sleep afterward.

Drinks

Drinking alcohol can make you feel sleepy but it actually disrupts your sleep later in the night. The drinks we’ve spotlighted below contain alcohol mixed with other ingredients. Control your alcohol consumption on game night by paring down the alcohol and upping non-alcohol ingredients. Also remember to down a glass a water between every alcoholic drink to prevent dehydration, which is what will be waking you up at 3 am with a raging a headache if you don’t. Enjoy responsibly!

Beer Sangria – We love this recipe because of the grape juice, a known contributor to melatonin – that wonderful sleep-hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Prepare this drink before the game begins and serve chilled.

Winner’s Cocktail – Customize this cocktail, depending on whether you’re cheering for the Seahawks or the Patriots. If your team packs as powerful a punch as this drink, be careful…

Bites

Chickpea Avocado Salad – Chickpeas contain Vitamin B6, which helps your body produce melatonin – there’s that amazing hormone again. Spinach is loaded with calcium, which helps the brain process tryptophan to manufacture melatonin and serotonin – and its low in calories. Talk about a winning start!

Slow Cooker Spinach & Artichoke Dip – We love that everything gets thrown into the slow cooker so you can focus on the rest of your menu. Start cooking a few hours before the game and stir every hour or so. Be prepared for lots of wanna-be-taste-testers begging for an early snack. By the way, artichokes are a natural hangover remedy, according to WebMD. Just sayin…

Salsa Guacamole Dip – Paired with homemade tortilla chips and the chicken below, this is the perfect tryptophan combo (for game night at least). It takes about 20 minutes to prepare, which you can do early in the day and chill until game time.

Tequila-Lime Chicken Drumsticks – Prep time is about 35 minutes and can be served at room temperature or fresh from the oven. Proteins are the building blocks of tryptophan, which is why the best bedtime snack is one that contains both a carbohydrate and protein – in moderation of course…

Sweets

Dark Chocolate Mocha Brownies – Everyone knows dark chocolate is a super-food – and it works hard while you sleep. These tasty treats will be the hit of the crowd and you can feel good knowing they’re good for you too. Well, they’re sort of good for you…

We know you don’t want to miss a second of the big game – or the commercials. And with this customized Super Bowl menu, you shouldn’t miss any sleep on Sunday night either.

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Pro Tips for Creating Amazing Spaces

Ever flipped through a home magazine and marveled at how perfect everything looks? While those professionally decorated rooms may seem unattainable, the difference between where-did-I-go-wrong and “wow” is often only a matter of inches. That’s because professional designers know the measuring rules that ensure aesthetically pleasing results.

Let’s go to the (measuring) tape!

2Paint: Before having your favorite color mixed, measure the length and width of your walls to determine how many square feet you need to cover. As a rule, one gallon of good quality pain will cover approximately 400 square feet of wall space. Before beginning, it’s always a good idea to paint a test swath to see how the color you think will look simply divine appears in different lights throughout the day.

 

 

3Lighting: Strategic overhead lighting can greatly enhance a space if you’re smart about fixture size. To determine the best size for your space, add the length and width of your room in feet to find the size (in inches) of an appropriate fixture. For example, if you room is 15 by 20 feet, look for a chandelier that’s about 35 inches (15+20) wide. Keep in mind that if you’re hanging a chandelier over the dining room table, the bottom of the fixture should end 36 inches above the table.

 

 

4

Windows: In-the-know designers use curtain fullness and spacing to make windows appear larger. As a general rule, curtain panels should be two-and-a-half to three times the width of a window—making each panel one-and-a-quarter toone-and-a-half times wider. Another way to make a window look wider is purchase a curtain rod that is 20 inches wider than the window, then extend the rod ten inches on each side. To create an illusion of height, mount curtain rods as high as possible above the window while letting the curtain panel just touch the floor or fall below it with up to a one-and-a-half break on the floor.

 

5

 

Dining Tables and Chairs: Ever wondered just how many chairs should be placed around your dining table? Here are the guidelines for ideal seating arrangements: Use two to four chairs for 36-inch wide tables, six chairs for 48-inch rounds, and eight armchairs or 10 armless chairs for 60-inch rounds.

 

 

6Fabric: Before you decide to recover an older sofa or
chairs, you’ll need to estimate how much fabric you’ll need, and it’s often a lot more than you might guess. For example, a standard 84-inch sofa with exposed legs and a tight back will require 14 yards of plain, 54-inch wide fabric. For a skirt, add an additional two yards, and if the fabric you love has a pattern or repeat, expect to need an additional one-and-a-half to two times more fabric. To cover a wing or club chair, you’ll need from five to seven yards of fabric, depending on pattern and repeat. Hint: Unless you know your older sofa is of high-quality, using eight-way, hand-tied construction, it’s often less expensive to buy new than recover!

 

 

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop from the pros, your space is sure to be magazine-shoot ready in no time!

How to Choose the Best Sheets for Your Bed

Different types of sheets

There’s nothing better than crawling into a freshly made bed with crisp sheets at the end of a long day, right? How you choose to dress your mattress has almost as much to do with your comfort level at night as the type of mattress you own. There’s an overabundance of options when it comes to bed sheets – different thread counts, feels and fabrics.

Let’s break down all you need to know to pick the best sheets for your bed.

What does thread count mean?

The thread count of sheets is written across bed sheet packaging but what does it mean and is it important when choosing new sheets? “Yes and no,” says Stephen Cardino, home fashion director at Macy’s. “Thread count is often used as the barometer of a sheet’s smoothness and durability. However, this measurement—which should refer to the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric—isn’t always reliable. High thread count is a factor, but the type of cotton can be more significant.” Read more at RealSimple.com

Cotton sheets

Most people sleep on sheets woven from some form of cotton or cotton blend – combed, Egyptian, flannel, Pima or Percale. What’s the difference? Good question.

  • Combed cotton is smooth and soft. Its impurities have been removed or combed out.
  • Egyptian cotton is grown along the Nile River in Egypt. It’s a luxurious bedding fabric with extra-long fibers that are super strong and absorbent.
  • Flannel is a warm cotton blend.
  • Pima cotton is made from soft cotton grown in Pima, Arizona.
  • Percale cotton is a soft combed fabric, usually in combination with polyester to create a wrinkle-resistant sheet. Read more at HSN.com

Other fabrics and blends for sheets

Sateen and satin are often mistaken as fibers when in reality they’re actually weaves and blends of cotton.

  • Sateen sheets are made from a weave of natural fibers and cotton. The way they are weaved together is what gives sateen sheets their sheen.
  • Satin sheets are also a weave and usually a blend of wool, cottons, acetate, polyester, silk or other materials.
  • Silk sheets are the most luxurious and durable fiber – thanks to the silkworm.

What sheets should you buy for your bed?

When shopping for sheets you need to take a few things into consideration:

1.     Are you a hot or cold sleeper? If you’re constantly warm while sleeping, you’ll want a more breathable, light weight sheet. Stay away from sateen or satin sheets as they’re light weight but not very breathable, trapping in heat. If you’re wrapped in a cocoon of sheets and blankets because you’re cold while you sleep, you’ll want a warmer, heavy weight sheet – flannel or even a sateen blend.

2.     What time of year is it and what climate do you live in? Someone living in Boston will have different sheet needs than someone in Phoenix because of the different climates. We’re pretty sure people in Phoenix don’t use flannel sheets, whereas our friends in Boston have certainly needed them this winter.

3.     Who are the sheets for? If you have kids, a cotton-poly blend is probably best because they’re durable and easy to clean. If you are shopping for an elderly parent, again keep in mind that when you’re older your blood flow isn’t what it used to be and you tend to run cool. Your elderly parent may need a heavier weight sheet to stay warm while they sleep.

Once you’ve found the right sheets for you, take care of them so they’ll last longer than just one season. Experts recommend stripping the bed weekly to remove a build-up of dust, debris, sweat and other icky things that take up residence in your bed. If you sleep in the nude, consider changing your sheets twice a week for hygienic reasons.

If you’ve just bought new sheets and still aren’t sleeping as soundly as you’d like, it might be time for a new mattress – and we’d love to help you find the right one for you. Visit our Find a Retailer page and we’ll locate a store close by where you can lie on our mattresses and talk to a trained sales professional. Use these links to begin your online research:

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com.

 

Oh So Indigo

From the fashion runways of Paris, New York, and Milan to the cover of Pottery Barn, the deeper mid- tones of blue have never been more popular. Perennially popular blue/white combinations are being softened and made new again with the infusion of grey/cream under tones and blue hues that are on the decidedly darker and richer side of their color spectrum. Gone are the harsh bright white/navy combinations. They feel all too hard edged and modern. Instead the considerably softer combinations of cream or pearl or salt / indigo or lapis or royal all are right on-trend with a more contemporary and relaxed aesthetic. Interior designers like Ralph Lauren and Barclay Butera have for several seasons now embraced this classic design approach.

indigobedHelping to drive this renewed interest in blue/white combinations are multiple Asian referenced design themes which are prevalent in home design as well as at the highest levels of haute couture. Japanese tie-dyed and shibori designs and motifs have never been more popular and feature the many shades of their artisanal denims. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, has recently extended twice their exhibition of “China Through the Looking Glass” as hordes of devoted fashionistas and design devotees have flocked from around the world to see this exhibit. Included in the exhibit is a whole section on the influence of the famous blue/white Willow Ware, and how it has been translated into almost an endless range of fashions and home accessories. Textile collections from major mills all jumped on these restful patterns and color combinations in their latest exhibits at the international Showtime market this past July .The influence of the hill tribe Hmong peoples from the boarder territories between Vietnam and China are especially current also, as their cultural patterns and color combinations of indigo touched with ruby, dominate textile and jewelry design.  So put away those stone washed jeans and splurge on a new pair of indigo dungarees. Team them with an ox blood chambray shirt and you’ll be right in fashion!

In your home we like to compliment these cobalt/snow combinations with a single strong tertiary color. As mentioned above, using ox blood or ruby is one approach to an updated red-white-blue combination. But to our eye a bright yellow, or glamorous malachite makes an even more modern and on-trend combination. Keep your metal accents in soft pewter or nickel tones and you’ll have a room that’s timeless, energetic, and easy to take either more or less casual depending on how you complete the accessories and complementing case pieces.

Your Heart and Sleep

Sleeping your way to a healthier heart

February is American Heart month. In honor of keeping our hearts happy and healthy, let’s take a closer look at how sleep and cardiac health affect one another. Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and obesity. In turn, symptoms of heart disease, such as angina (chest pain) and sleep apnea (when breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep), can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.

Your heart health is a literally a life and death matter. Sleep, the one thing that’s good for us that we actually enjoy, may be one of the most important keys to a longer, healthier life. We’ve dedicated this post to showing you just how heart health and sleep are related and simple things you can do to keep your heart healthy.

The importance of sleep in heart health

Although studying the link between sleep and heart health is relatively new, in 2011 the European Heart Journal reviewed 15 medical studies involving almost 475,000 people and found that short sleepers (6 hours or less each night) had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease in a 7 to 25-year follow-up period. Researchers caution though that the mechanisms behind shortened sleep and heart disease aren’t completely understood. “Lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily cause heart disease,” says Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It really increases the risk factors for heart disease.” Read more at WebMD.com

Heart disease and interrupted sleep

The relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease is evolving quickly. Researchers now know certain symptoms of heart disease can impact how well you sleep. For example, angina can be so painful it wakes you up in the middle of the night and people with cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke have a high prevalence of sleep apnea. Read more at SleepFoundation.org

How to keep your heart healthy

Although there’s still much to learn, there’s no doubting a link exists heart health and sleep. Sleep is just one of the many factors in keeping your heart healthy. Here are a few other ways to make sure your ticker keeps on ticking a little longer:

·Exercise often – Exercise is important for so many reasons – keeping your heart healthy is just one of them. Just 30-60 minutes of cardio exercise a day will do the trick. By the way, a walk before work, on your break or after work qualifies. Easy, right?

·Eat your fruit and veggies – Eat fruits and veggies, whole grains, avoid red meat and sugary, processed foods, and avoid foods high in sodium.

·Don’t forget about healthy fats – Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease and have an anti-inflammatory effects. Cold water fish, such as trout and salmon, are a good source of omega-3.

·Load up on quality protein – Fish, chicken, turkey, eggs and diary are all good sources of protein. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.

·Drink lots of water – Water is the key to life – literally. Drinking 64 ounces a day not only keeps your heart healthy – bonus, it boosts healthy skin tone, making you look younger. Talk about the fountain of youth!

·Manage stress – It’s important to learn how to recognize how stress affects you, learn how to deal with it and develop healthy habits to ease your stress. Read more at GoRedForWomen.org

 

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

New Year’s Resolutions

See you later 2015!

2015 is about to be history. You know what that means – it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! If you’re like me, you begin the new year with the best intentions to get in shape or volunteer more, promising yourself this is the year you’re really going to stick with your plan longer than January 31st.

I know myself well enough now to know that making these kinds of resolutions never stick. It’s not that working out and giving back aren’t important – it’s just challenging to stay committed. All. Year. Long. So this year I decided to make resolutions that are a little easier to stick with and, hopefully by starting small, I can work up to the bigger ones, like hitting the gym.

My list of resolutions for 2016

  • Put clean clothes right away – I always end up with a pile of clean clothes on the floor in the corner. They never make it to their proper storage place. In 20156, my bedroom will be a shining example of organization.
  • Choose comfort over fashion – Ladies, how many times have you sacrificed comfort in order to be in vogue? No more sore feet because 5” heels are what’s in style. For me, it’s all about comfort in 2016, which doesn’t mean frumpy.
  • Become an early riser – I am notorious for procrastinating when it comes to getting out of bed and starting my day. I always roll over and try to fall back asleep. I’m going to work on waking up earlier and take better advantage of each day.
  • Just go to sleep already – Just as I procrastinate getting up, I procrastinate going to sleep. For 2016, I’m going to assign myself a bedtime and stick to it (as much as possible).
  • Take more photos – My friends and I are not part of the #selfie movement. We rarely take pictures of ourselves and I find this to be a little sad. We need to document our fabulousness more.
  • More sunshine – I’m not very outdoorsy. I prefer the comfort of my house to ruggedness of nature. I’m going to spend more time in the sun, even if it’s just a short walk around the block on a sunny day.

These are my small resolutions. Hopefully, I’ll stick with them past January 31st. And hopefully being able to stick these out will encourage me to tackle bigger ones like finding a way to enjoy working out or learning to cook next year.

What are your resolutions? Have you ever made a resolution and seen it throw? Share your resolutions with us. We love hearing from you.

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

The Mystery of Yawning

What’s the deal with yawning – and why am I suddenly doing it?

We all yawn multiple times a day. Yawns appear to be contagious and seem to travel through a room at the speed of light. But why do we yawn? What purpose does yawning serve, if any? While scientists aren’t 100% in agreement why we yawn, they have some intriguing theories.

Do you yawn when you see someone yawn? We dare you to watch this video and NOT yawn. Go!

So what’s the real deal with yawning? Take a look at what these scientists have to say…

A cool down

Some research suggests yawning is a biological mechanism in humans to keep the brain from overheating. “Brains are like computers,” reports Andrew Gallup, a researcher in the Department of Biology at Binghamton University who led the study. “They operate most efficiently when cool, and physical adaptations have evolved to allow maximum cooling of the brain.” Read more at ScienceBlogs.com

A wake up call

Boredom, hunger, fatigue: these are all states in which we may find our attention drifting and our focus becoming more and more difficult to maintain. A yawn, then, may serve as a signal for our bodies to perk up, a way of making sure we stay alert. When psychologist Ronald Baenninger, a professor emeritus at Temple University, tested this theory in a series of laboratory studies coupled with naturalistic observation, he found that yawning is more frequent when stimulation is lacking. In fact, a yawn is usually followed by increased movement and physiological activity, which suggests that some sort of “waking up” has taken place. Read more at NewYorker.com

It’s contagious!

It’s true! One study found that when shown videos of yawning, around 50 percent of people also began yawning. Even merely thinking – or reading! – about yawning can trigger one. Turns out, it’s not really that strange of a reaction, Robert Provine, a psychology and neuroscience professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, told WebMD. Other very human reactions are equally “contagious”, such as laughing. A number of studies have tied this catching nature of yawns to empathy, says Decker. Read more at HuffingtonPost.com

We may never fully know why we yawn or why yawning is so contagious. All I know is I’ve been yawning my way through writing this post. So I have to ask – how many times have you yawned reading this?

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

 This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Why Alcohol & Sleep Don’t Mix

Alcohol is not a sleep aid, contrary to popular belief

A glass of wine at the end of a long day is a common way to unwind. It’s relaxing, settling and prepares us for slipping into a long and peaceful slumber. Well, not exactly. That seemingly innocent glass of wine may actually be doing more harm than good. While it might help you unwind and fall asleep faster, it hinders the quality of sleep you achieve. Talk about a rotten catch-22.

Here are some ways that glass of wine before bed affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

REM sleep – When you consume alcohol before bed it reduces REM sleep, which happens approximately 90 minutes after you fall asleep. It’s the cycle of sleep when you dream and is thought to be the most restorative – when your brain resets. “Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night,” says researcher Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the U.K. Read more at WebMD.com.

Sleep apnea – Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and can slacken throat tissues more than usual during sleep, making the airway more vulnerable to obstruction. This makes sleep apnea worse for those who suffer from it. Read more at USNews.com.

Tiptoeing to the restroom – Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it moves through your system quickly, taking other fluid with it. Even if nothing else keeps you awake, trekking back and forth to the bathroom will.

Women – The effects of alcohol on sleep are even more predominate in women. In one study, women who went to bed tipsy sleep much less soundly than men who had the same blood-alcohol content. Although researchers aren’t certain why these gender differences exist, it could be because women’s bodies clear alcohol from the bloodstream more quickly. Read more at CNN.com.

The hangover – Ever wonder why you tend to wake up early after a night of drinking – with a headache as an added bonus? It’s because your body’s craving the fluids it lost during the frequent trips to the bathroom you made last night. You’re dehydrated. Replenish your body with water and electrolytes as soon as possible when awake. Read more at EverydayHealth.com.

It’s understandable that you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage after a long day every once in a while. Keep your nightcap to one glass and enjoy it at least 2 hours before bed. Alcohol is not a sleep aide and using it to relax is a dangerous road to travel. Instead, work on developing better sleep habits that way you’ll wake up well-rested and refreshed ready to take on your day.

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Why so SAD?

Ever find yourself feeling kind of sluggish and more irritable once the cooler weather and shorter, darker days of winter set in? Perhaps you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (kind of an appropriate acronym, right?). SAD is a type of depression that’s related to the change in seasons.

Symptoms

SAD symptoms usually begin in the fall and continue throughout the long winter months. Symptoms include anxiety, problems sleeping and lethargy, feeling anti-social and overeating. According to MayoClinic.com, “It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.”

How to deal

While SAD can be a downer, there is hope. Here are 5 ways you can cope:

  • Lighten up – If a lack of sunlight is the problem, it makes sense that more light could be a solution. Research has shown light therapy is effective at combatting seasonal depression. You can buy a light box for your home or office that provides the kind of bright rays that elevate your brain’s serotonin levels.
  • Get outside – Spending just 30 minutes a day outside can help combat SAD. Buddle up, grab a friend or 2 and go for a brisk walk. Read more at Today.com
  • Exercise – If you don’t want to endure a walk in the cold, hitting the gym is a good substitute – even better if you can grab a machine near the window. As with depression, exercise is key in elevating your spirit. Bonus, this helps fight the holiday bulge we all struggle with each year.
  • Stick to a schedule – People who suffer from SAD often have a hard time sleeping. Maintaining a consistent schedule of when you go to bed and wake up can help. Read more at EverydayHealth.com
  • Take a vacation – If possible, head somewhere warm and sunny. Getting out of the cold and into some warm sunshine can help fight SAD. Read more at TheOlypian.com

Regardless of how you choose to cope with SAD, it’s important to remember you are not alone – millions of people suffer from the effects of SAD each year. Also, don’t be afraid to seek help. If you’re having a hard time coping, contact your doctor.

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This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.