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.

Advertisements

Your Guide to Better Sleep During the Holidays

12 Ways to Protect Your Right to Sleep

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! It all kicks off this weekend with shopping and crowds and back-to-back diet-busting parties. Don’t forget the endless chats with quirky relatives, a few temper tantrums and tangled Christmas tree lights that refuse to unwind thrown in for good measure.

With all this awesomeness, it’s easy to understand why sleep is often sacrificed at this most wonderful time of the year. But it doesn’t have to be. Yes, we’re serious.

From sleep-survival strategies to stress-busting and mood-brightening foods, here’s your cheat sheet to better sleep during the holidays.

Eat breakfast before caffeine – Coffee on an empty stomach can spike blood sugar levels, which can make you very grumpy and cause attention problems. Food first, coffee second. And remember to finish your last cup for before 2 pm because we all know coffee and sleep don’t mix.

Soak up the sun – Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone that combats Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Get outside for a walk or sit near a sunny window early in the day and remember that light controls your sleep – so dim the lights in the evening.

Exercise – When it comes to better sleep, exercise can be a powerful tool. While sleep is the fuel you need to function, exercise is the mileage that consumes that fuel naturally – unlike sitting at a desk all day. Tire your body naturally with exercise and sleep is pretty much guaranteed. What’s more, research has shown that exercise can boost your mood for up to 12 hours.

Sniff citrus – A whiff of lemon or orange first thing in the morning can energize you and relieve stress by nudging your body to produce norepinephrine, a hormone that helps improve your mood. In the evening, breathe in the soothing scents of lavender, chamomile or jasmine to help your body relax into sleep.

Squeeze your hand – That fleshy area between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot. Traditional Chinese medicine says squeezing that spot for 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension. Try adding this to your bedtime ritual and fall asleep easier, stress-free.
Stick to routine – The holidays can wreak havoc on your body’s circadian rhythm. If you can’t say no to holiday parties or yet another cookie-bake-a-thon, block out time in your calendar to relax and go to bed early.

Tune into your favorite tunes – Music is the universal language. It has the power to soothe or excite, bring us to a meditative state or spur creativity. Create playlists for different times of the day, letting your music lead you where you want to go.

Follow a sleep diet – What you eat directly affects how you sleep. If you’re entering a no-sleep-marathon, choose from foods known to disrupt sleep. If sleeping well through the holidays is your goal, create your very own sleep diet.

Put electronics to bed – Constant connectivity has been linked to higher incidents of depression and anxiety, especially in women. Turn off your gadgets during mealtimes and holiday get togethers and enjoy face time the old fashioned way. At night, put your cell phone on silent or set it to ring only from certain numbers.

Say yes to time alone with your partner – It’s no secret that sex and orgasms increase your body’s production of endorphins (nature’s own pain reliever) and oxytocin levels. But did you know that regular sex promotes better sleep? According to Women’s Health Magazine, women report sleeping better after sex.

Do less, enjoy more – Stop focusing on perfect and concentrate on what brings you joy. Twenty years from now the kids won’t remember if the turkey was done to perfection but they’ll remember the giddy, crazy moments that had everyone in the room laughing. A happy holidays is bound to help you sleep better, right?

Plan a vacation – If holiday stress has taken its toll on you, plan a staycation that keeps you home – but cutoff from the outside world – or a real vacation in the sunny south. Either way, the time away from stress will help you get through the holidays well-rested and happier.

How do you protect your sleep during the holidays? Share your ideas below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and let’s all sleep better this holiday season!

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.

Bedroom Therapy with Wanda S. Horton

Beautiful bedroom serenity

Although we spend most of our time in our bedroom with our eyes closed, feeling welcomed and comforted plays a big part in being able to close your peepers for long periods of time. Does your bedroom soothe your weary soul at the end of the day? Does it make you sigh ahhhhh as soon as you cross the threshold?

As part of a new series – Bedroom Therapy – we’re taking a peek at the inner sanctuaries of interior designers and design enthusiasts. If you haven’t met Wanda S. Horton and experienced how she balances beautiful design with streamlined organization, get ready to get excited. Wanda began her design journey as child, following her mother to antique markets. Her grandmother’s love of investment pieces inspired her to believe that everyone can live well, whether you live in a cottage or a castle.

Bedrooms that balance fresh with well-aged

Given Wanda’s love of antiques, it’s no surprise that she prefers a romantic, traditional bedroom. “I love being wrapped in an escape of soft pillows, special details and a little sparkle.” Her current bedroom design began with her beautiful, four poster bed, the Pavilion Bed from Councill Furniture. “It’s definitely the statement piece in the room. “

And even though Wanda’s beginning to think about remodeling her bedroom, the Pavillion bed is now a permanent fixture. “I’m sure I’ll do something different with the walls and the bedding,” she shared. “But there will always be a touch of sparkle!”

How Wanda uses her bedroom

Some people invite electronics and big screen TV’s into their bedrooms – but Wanda has very clear opinions (and boundaries). “My bedroom is my sanctuary, a respite from the rest of the world,” she explained. “It’s also the first place in which I greet the day – a place where my closets are located so it doubles as a dressing space.” While she makes room for a centerpiece bed, closets and a small fan for white noise, there’s no room here for electronics.

“I’m an avid reader and often the only time I have available to enjoy a novel or the latest design magazine is in the evening,” she said. “I love technology, but for me, it’s about the tactile experience of turning the pages. It’s also a softer ‘thump’ to the forehead when I drift off to slumberland.”

And then we asked Wanda about her mattress

Wanda bought a new mattress five years ago and prefers a medium-firm mattress with a soft comfort layer closer to the surface of the bed. “I like a mattress with good padding to soften contact to the pressure points, which I feel a bit more of these days.”

She’s an equal opportunity sleeper – back, stomach and side – but usually begins on her back because she often falls asleep reading. “Somehow I always wake up on my stomach though…”

We’re always eager to know if people make their bed in the morning and why. And everyone we ask shares something truly unique.

“Absolutely!  My mother instilled habits of keeping the world orderly. I suppose that’s why I love design.  Life may get messy but our homes don’t have to be!”

Want more Wanda in your world?

59-wanda

Catch up with Wanda S. Horton online:

 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.