9 Reasons to Sleep More

The ultimate pro-sleeper cheat sheet

You’ve heard the frightening list of things that can happen when you don’t get the sleep you need. From short-term avoidable accidents to long-term disease risk and early death, it’s enough to send us racing to our bedrooms. But what about the amazing benefits that are yours for the taking when you do get the sleep you need?

After all, wouldn’t you rather hear about the rewards for a change?

In the interest of brevity, we cut our list off at 9 but we challenge you to share more. Leave a note in the comments below and let the world in on your sleep secrets.

Live longer

When it comes to how long you’re going to live, there’s a lot of truth in the saying that genetics is a loaded gun – but your environment is the trigger. You may carry genes for a multitude of diseases, but whether you get them or not is largely dependent on how you live your life. If you want to live longer, sleep can be your best defense against a slew of diseases.

Maintain a healthy weight

Mattress manufacturers should consider giving away a free bathing suit with every purchase. Think we’re crazy? As wild as the idea sounds, substantial medical evidence suggests fascinating links between sleep and weight. According to WebMD.com, “Researchers say that how much you sleep and quite possibility the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your appetite.”

Manage stressful situations better

Some stress is good for us – like date night with your partner or accepting an award for a job well done. But some stress has the power to turn us into impatient toddlers, especially if we didn’t get a good night’s sleep. If you’re averaging four to five hours sleep a night, your brain reacts to stress as if you’ve gone for three consecutive nights without any sleep. Imagine the power you’ll have the next time your boss wigs out and you’ve had a good night’s sleep…

Reduce inflammation and pain

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging all have strong ties to inflammation. If you sleep less than six hours a night, your blood levels of inflammatory proteins may be higher than people who sleep more. Show your heart some love – put it to bed.

Enjoy physical activity

When’s the last night you had a terrible night’s sleep and bounced out of bed in the morning, energized and ready for a 10K run? We thought so. Sleep is the mop-up crew for your brain and body, cleaning up spills, reorganizing memories and repairing muscle tissue. Skip that important recovery time and you look more like the energizer bunny who didn’t make the cut.

Avoid accidents

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that sleepy drivers are responsible for the most single car crashes – even more than alcohol. What’s downright sobering though is that even one sleep deprived night can impair your driving, mimicking the effects of an alcoholic drink.

Embrace lifelong learning

Just as sleep repairs muscle tissue, it also cleans out the synapses in your brain. Sleep facilitates the processing of memories, moving the important ones to storage and discarding the ones you won’t need tomorrow. Without sleep, your memories all stay in the short term retrieval area and learning complex skills becomes nearly impossible. So in essence, that 8-hour void of doing nothing other than sleep actually makes you smarter.

Fight depression

The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders. But the evidence is clear: people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Enjoy more creativity

Ever notice how creativity ebbs and flows during the day? Depending on whether you’re a night hawk or early bird, you’ll enjoy spurts of creativity throughout the day – when your brain is most awake and energized. Without sleep, your brain lacks the fuel it needs to get into that creative zone. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy – without sleep, he’s really a drag.

Now you know the amazing benefits of a good night’s sleep. Who’s tucking in early tonight?


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.

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.

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.

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.

Hacks to make it through the Work Day

How to have (or at least fake) a productive day at the office

Have you ever found yourself dosing off at your desk? Take comfort in knowing you’re not alone in the struggle to make it through the work day conscious. According to the CDCP, 30% of adults run on 6 or less hours of sleep each day. (See, told you, you weren’t alone.) This is lower than the 7 to 9 hours recommended by sleep experts.

Obviously there is no substitute for real sleep, but here are some helpful hacks to help you fake it on days when you’re too tired to actually try hard:

  • Schedule smart– Schedule important meetings for the time of day you’re most alert. For us, that’s the morning, right after we’ve had our first cup of coffee.
  • Power nap – If you’re able, take a quick 20 minute nap on your lunch break.
  • Be active – Get up from your desk and take a lap around the office or go for a short walk on your break.
  • Turn it up! – Listen to your favorite tunes (preferably with headphones so not to disturb your coworkers). What’s more, studies have shown that music helps you concentrate better.
  • Breakfast – Mom was right – it really is the most important meal of the day. Start your day with the fuel needed to power through.
  • Caffeine – Coffee is a great pick-me-up, just watch your consumption later in the afternoon or you won’t be sleeping soundly at night.
  • Freshen up – If possible, use the power of scent to give you a jolt. Scents such as citrus and cinnamon help reduce mental fatigue and increase energy.
  • A plant – Get a plant for your office or cubicle. Not only to they add some color but they also help detox and add oxygen to the air around you. More oxygen can help you concentrate better. A spider plant or peace lily is great for offices. Read more at Experteer-Blog.com

In this day and age, it can be hard to unplug and leave work at work. With laptops, smartphones and tablets, work seems to follow us home. Just remember no report or project is worth the years (yes, years) lack of sleep can take off your life. For when those late nights at the office can’t be avoided, hopefully these tips and tricks can help you through a day when you’re feeling sleepy.

Do you have an office hack? Share it with us.

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.

Your Heart & 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.