Sleep-Friendly Dinner Recipes

A delish, healthy alternative to sleeping pills

A big, delicious dinner leaves you pushing back from the table, loosening your belt and dreaming about bedtime. Nice on Thanksgiving but deadly for every day. Other than the need for expando-pants, the bigger the meal, the longer it takes to digest it, which will interfere with a good night’s sleep.

Sleep deprivation and obesity are epidemic in the United States. In our opinion, they’re unholy bedfellows who are much too cozy with each other. The later we go to bed, the poorer our food choices. If we’re already sleep deprived, we tend to reach for sweet and salty snacks during the day, which can lead to weight gain and increased risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

But what if your diet could help you sleep better, which in turn would help avoid weight gain? Sleep and diet experts suggest eating your biggest meal before midafternoon and enjoying a light evening meal of 500 calories or less. Chicken, fish or extra-lean meat will make you feel fool and curb middle-of-the-night munchies. Sounds easy, right?

7 ingredients for a meal that sets the stage for sweet dreams

While eating more earlier in the day sounds like a good idea, we often crave savory, flavorful meals at night as we reconnect with our loved ones and wind down from the stress of the day. So what can you eat a night that won’t kill your diet? Start with the ingredients below and then move onto our suggested recipe. Bon appetite and sweet dreams all at once!

  • Begin with milk – Your mom was right when she nudged you to drink milk before bed. It’s loaded with the amino acid, tryptophan, which helps you produce melatonin and serotonin (both are necessary for sleep).
  • Throw in some beans – One cup of soybeans provides your daily dose of tryptophan. One cup of cooked black, navy, lima, kidney or pinto beans and you’ve got half your daily intake. Don’t forget that beans are a great source of fiber and protein so you’ll feel full all night long. Pasta with edamame or maybe a bowl of chili, anyone?
  • Grab some nuts – All nuts have a little tryptophan but walnuts take over-achieving to a new level. What’s more, they’ve got melatonin too. Sprinkle them on pasta or a salad for a flavorful crunch.
  • Make a salad – Chop up some spinach, a vitamin B6 powerhouse that also contains tryptophan and calcium. Enjoy your spinach raw in a salad (with soybeans and nuts) or sautéed alongside your favorite fish. Of course a bedtime smoothie sounds good too!
  • Find your fish – Cod, halibut, tuna, salmon and snapper are all good sources of vitamin B6, which promotes the production of sleep hormones. Fire up the barbeque and enjoy!
  • Or maybe chicken – Chicken has more tryptophan than turkey and paired with rice or quinoa, provides a healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates to help you sleep better.
  • Sweeten with cherries – cherries (especially tart ones) contain melatonin and studies show one glass of tart cherry juice can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep. But cherries and low fat ice cream might be more to your liking – delish!
 Salmon-Potato Cakes

Ingredients

  •  14 ounces fresh skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 cups refrigerated sour cream and chive flavored mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 5-ounce package mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup bottled Honey-Dijon salad dressing

Showtime

Rinse and dry salmon. Place in 2-quart square microwave-safe baking dish; cover with vented plastic. Microcook on high (100% power) for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Break in pieces. In bowl combine salmon, potatoes, bread crumbs, and dill. Form salmon mixture in eight 3-1/2-inch cakes. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook cakes over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until heated through and browned. Place salad greens on plates. Top with salmon-potato cakes; serve with salad dressing. Makes 4 servings. 503 kcal calories. Recipe via BHG.com


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.

Can a Good Night’s Sleep Make You Smarter?

5 ways sleep (and your mattress) affect your brain 

Does sleep affect how ‘smart’ you feel? How many hours of sleep do you need to feel ‘smart’? Ever “slept on it” and woke up with a smart solution to your challenge or problem?

Scientists believe that our brains use sleep to sort and clean – much like the nightshift crew at Target cleans up after a busy day of selling. The aisles are tidied, everything’s put away and the stuff that’s not selling is moved to the backroom. When we don’t get the sleep we need, our messy brains actually start to fall apart, as seen through brain imaging technologies.

So how can you sleep smarter?

If being smart is tied to better sleep, quality and quantity is tied directly to your mattress. A 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey of 1,500 Americans found that 92% of us feel a comfortable mattress is very important to a good night’s sleep. And yet so many people climb into a bed that’s more of a torture device than a soothing sanctuary.

You wouldn’t get into a car without brakes, right? You wouldn’t tolerate a fridge that couldn’t keep food cool, right? But night after night, many of us climb into a bed that’s not only killing our chance of a good night’s sleep – it’s actually making us stupid.

If your mattress has seen better nights, we’ve found 5 benefits of sleeping on a new mattress.

1. A new mattress can zap your stress

“In a small 2009 study, 59 healthy men and women slept for 28 consecutive nights on their regular mattresses, then another 28 nights on new, medium-firm mattresses. They were asked to evaluate their stress levels based on factors like worrying, racing thoughts, nervousness, irritability, headaches, trembling and more. The new beds resulted in “a significant decrease in stress,” according to the study, possibly because of the related increase in sleep quality and decrease in pain associated with the firmer setup.” Read more: HuffPost.com.

2. A new mattress can soothe a hurting back

Sore and aching backs send more people to doctors than any other single complaint and the busier we get, the more we suffer. Sitting all day at a desk or standing in heels wreaks havoc on spinal alignment and sadly, we’re just not exercising enough to undo that damage. Sleep can help heal the abuse we throw at our backs but most of us don’t sleep on a supportive enough mattress to get the job done. And when we don’t give our backs the rest they need, mornings can be painful. Read more: Restonic.com.

3. A new mattress can help you lose weight

While you weren’t sleeping, your body cooked up a perfect recipe for weight gain. Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control. So it’s a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions. When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving. You might be tempted to skip exercise (too tired), get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full. Read more: WebMD.com.

4. A new mattress can help 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. Read more: Restonic.com

5. A new mattress can make you happier

A change in your sleep habits is one of the most common effects of depression. Lack of sleep can start before depression, be a symptom of depression, and make depression worse. “Depression and sleep are closely related,” says Prashant Gajwani, MD, associate professor and vice chairman of clinical affairs in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. “Depression is a brain illness, and it affects many types of brain functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. Once this biologic clock has been disturbed, it can make sleep even more irregular and that adds to the depression. It can become a vicious cycle for many people.” Read more: EverydayHealth.com.

What’s the cost of a good night’s sleep?

If you spent $2,000 on a new mattress (for example) 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 a 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. 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. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Can Temperature Affect How You Sleep?

I’m hot but she’s not – and neither of us can sleep!

What keeps you up at night? Stress? Lumpy mattress? Sick child? You might be surprised to learn that temperature is often the single biggest defining factor between a good night’s sleep and one that leaves you grumpy and tired the next day. Every night across this great nation, the “I’m hot, she’s not” syndrome is robbing Americans of sleep.

Sleeping too hot leads to sweaty sheets. Sleeping too cold leaves you shivering. Neither is a pretty – or comfortable – way to spend the night.

We believe that sleep is a right, not a privilege. What’s more, we also believe that all this struggling over temperature throughout the night is needless. If you’re playing hide and seek with sleep it’s time to stop playing games and get serious about your sleep health.

How temperature affects your sleep

Experts agree on the temperature of your sleeping area and how comfortable you feel in it affect how well and how long you snooze. Why? “When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down,” says H. Craig Heller, Ph.D., professor of biology at Stanford University, who wrote a chapter on temperature and sleep for a medical textbook. “Think of it as the internal thermostat.” If it’s too cold or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point. Read more on WebMD.com.

The importance of temperature control in your bedroom

When your body overheats or is chilled, it works hard to regulate the temperature to ensure your organs continue working and you stay alive (in extreme circumstances). But if it can’t control your temperature internally, it moves to more aggressive tactics, like making you sweat or shiver or increasing (or decreasing) your heart rate. If you’re asleep when your thermostat soars or dips, you’re in for a restless night and a not so great morning. Trouble is, our perception of temperature is as unique as our fingerprints – two people in the same bed can feel very different about the micro-climate (the temperature under the covers). Read more on Restonic.com.

Is sleeping in a cold bedroom better for you?

Ask any insomniac about the perils of a hot pillow: When you’re trying to sleep, your brain loves the cold. Wearing a cooling cap helped insomniacs snooze almost as well as people without sleep problems, found a study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and there’s also some evidence that yawning helps your brain offload heat before bedtime. Read more on Time.com.

What temperature should your bedroom be?

During the course of a normal day, your body temperature rises and falls slightly. This pattern is tied to your sleep cycle. As you become drowsy, your temperature goes down, reaches its lowest level around 5:00 a.m., and climbs slightly as morning begins. This is why the air in your room can affect the quality of your sleep: if it’s too hot, it may interfere with your body’s natural dip and make you more restless through the night. In fact, studies indicate that some forms of insomnia are associated with an improper regulation of body temperature. Of course, each of us has a slightly different optimal temperature for sleep, so experiment with keeping your room cool and find what makes you most comfortable. Read more on SleepFoundation.org.

Outlast – the new temperature controlling miracle

Restonic mattresses contain Outlast, an NASA-developed temperature controlling system that proactively regulates temperature to adjust to the body’s microclimate for optimum comfort. When it’s too warm, Outlast absorbs and stores the excess heat. Outlast then adapts to the body’s microclimate so overheating and sweating are reduced. As your skin cools, the heat is then released back to the body to maintain a balanced temperature. The cycle works continuously, compared to other performance materials that manage temperature and moisture by reactively pulling moisture away from the skin by wicking, Outlast technology proactively manages heat while controlling the production of moisture before it begins.

Ready to go mattress shopping and start sleeping better? 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.

Holiday Stress Turning You into the Grinch?

Take pressure off the holidays with these smart strategies

The carols are playing, the mulled cider is steeping and everyone’s oozing happy holiday cheer. Someone strings popcorn on the freshly cut tree while mom pulls fresh baked gingerbread from the oven.

Time for a reality check.

While the Norman Rockwell image is charming, it glosses over odd family rituals and quirky relatives that send nerves-a-twitching before stringing that popcorn…

Peace, joy and hope…

Before you grinchify yourself and sign off Christmas completely this year, remember that the holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Not the “Stressed-out-how-am-I-going-survive-another-holiday” season. If you’re barely surviving, you’re missing the point.

We asked our Facebook friends how they pack more joy into the holidays and while some offered up the usual quips about ensuring the wine is always filled, we also got some very smart and thoughtful suggestions.

Holiday stress survival strategies

Ready to thrive this Christmas season instead of just survive? Feel free to steal what you need from this list to make your holidays happy.

Lisa Hanly – Yoga, on a regular basis.

Ruth Morton – I keep things simple. If family is coming, I use a service for Christmas dinner. We pick and choose what events/parties to go to – we don’t need to go to all of them. I let go of having everything perfect and go for having fun and making memories.

Jenn Annis – I am protective of my time around Christmas. I have very few “must attend” events… I don’t stress over perfection and book evenings in on the calendar so I can truthfully say “I’m booked” to avoid over scheduling myself.

Bob Muenkel – Sleep well. Eat everything you love in moderation. Keep your fitness routine. Treat all your relatives & friends like it’s the last time you will see them. Be thankful for the little things. Laugh, laugh and laugh again.

Linda Carey – Less is more. Focus attention on the spiritual notion of gratitude and selflessness serving the preponderance of the less fortunate in our midst.

Bob Curley – Try to go with the flow of the season. It’s dark and cold and ideal for napping and early bedtimes, especially when accompanied by good wine, warm fires, and hearty meals. Rest when your body says you should!

Michele Wojciechowski – The best thing I’ve done to relieve stress is to realize that the holidays aren’t perfect, nor am I. I want to enjoy the time, not chase something that doesn’t exist.

Jenn Smith Nelson – Remember you can say no – to that extra glass of wine, extra goodie, extra helping, etc. It’s ok to moderate even during the holidays. Also, listen to your body, as always. If it’s begging for rest, slow down.

Greg Wright – Meditation for me. Not over committing. Not over spending. The last one at least makes for a stress-free January.

Wanda Suitt Horton – Compartmentalize the to-do list. It’s often overwhelming to think of ALL that you have to do and at once. Some people try to tackle the biggest things but sometimes I can blaze through the little items list and I feel accomplished and energized to get to tackle the bigger thing(s). And sometimes, after looking at the little things, I may decide something really isn’t that important to include. I’ve also decided that I can’t pack it all into one season. Give love, words and tokens of appreciation throughout the year. It tends to make us feel less pressured to be so perfect during the holidays.

Julie Martin Sunich – Long naps…

Alison Boozer Cherry – I do as much as possible beforehand. Be it shopping, cards, food, planning out parties etc. and this is with 2 kids and trying to tie up yearend business stuff. I also remind myself that my family is blessed. My children do not need more “stuff”, they would rather have me. I love entertaining so it’s not as stressful for me as it might be for others. I choose to view it as loving on others. I think stress can be mitigated a lot by the frame of mind you take about things. Are people going to remember the perfect table setting or the laughter they shared around your table?

Patricia Hart McMillan – K.I.S.S. Keep it simple! And for holidays and all days, learn how to offload! Too many of us think we must do it all! Not so–offload…delegate!

Jodi McCulloch Szimanski – Take a day off in the beginning of the week and get the last of my Christmas shopping done when there’s no one in the malls.

Barbara Dundas – I keep to my scheduled workouts and add fun physical activities – skating, skiing, nature walks – as family outings.

Lisa McDonald – Shop before the weather gets bad. Nothing is more stressful than driving on icy roads!

Where do you find joy during the holidays? Share your ideas below and let’s load up on a happy holiday season together!

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 Simple Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep mistakes worth correcting – tonight!

Yawning your way through your workday? According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 30% of us sleep fewer than 6 hours a night. For the record, sleep experts say we should aim for somewhere between 7 and 9 hours.

Welcome to our insomnia-crazed culture.

Shortchanging ourselves on sleep can have big-time negative effects on health. Weight-gain, a stressed immune system, inability to focus and reduced memory are just a few of the short-term effects. Long term health effects from sleep deprivation include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes – to name just a few.

If you’re one of the estimated 40.6 million adult Americans who could stand to spend a few more hours in bed each night, it’s time to make sleep a priority. Check out our list of sleep savers and start sleeping better tonight.

Practice yoga in the evening

If you’re a yoga aficionado, you already know the amazing health benefits yoga offers. Doing yoga later in the day reduces pent up muscle stress and helps you begin the relaxation needed for sleep – long before you get to bed. If yoga’s new to you, start slow and don’t overstretch. This yoga tutorial will help you with poses that are believed to be best for preparing for rest and relaxation.

Drink warm milk

What if a better night’s sleep was a close as a bedtime snack? Sleep experts have long believed diet can directly impact sleep quality and quantity. Our mothers have always known this. Whether its glass of warm milk or a cup of chamomile tea or even a nibble of dark chocolate, food can be powerful medicine. Enjoy your bedtime snack.

Set a bedtime and stick to it

We’re creatures of habit and sticking to a sleep routine is the easiest way to get the sleep we need every night. Set a doable bedtime and stick to it. Anticipating that moment you’ll lie your head down on your pillow and close your eyes will set off a complicated set of triggers in your brain – all aimed at shutting things down so you can rest.

Set a bedtime for your electronics

Light plays an important role in our ability to sleep and wake at expected times. Electronics emit a cool, bright light that’s similar to sunrise – not the deep, warm colors of sunset. While cool light helps us see our screens better, it also sends a wake-up call to our brains. Stop sending mixed signals to your brain by powering down electronics an hour before bed. .

Cool and darken your room

When it comes to sleep, light is to your brain as temperature is to your body. Too hot and you’ll be tossing and turning in an effort to cool down. Too cold and you’ll be shivering and hunting for another blanket in the middle of the night. Set your thermostat for 65-69F or crack open your window if your bedroom is naturally warm. A temperature-controlled-mattress is another great option.

Read a book

Now that you’ve put electronics to bed and the TV’s off limits, we recommend a good old-fashioned book. Snuggle up in your favorite chair or crawl into bed and dive in – best sleep medicine in the world.

Hydrate earlier in the day

If you’ve ever taken a prescription to help you sleep, you either slept like a dream or felt it was a waste of your money that delivered nothing more than a slew of uncomfortable side effects. If you want to stay on the drug-free side of healthy sleep, start with a big glass of water – before your first coffee in the morning. Early hydration and a protein-rich breakfast kick starts your metabolism, which will help you make healthier choices for the rest of the day. Click over to our sleep right cheat sheet: 17 ultimate sleep hacks.

Cut out the caffeine earlier in the day

If you’re a coffee person, giving up your morning cup-a-joe may be too high a price for better sleep. While no one can tell you exactly how much coffee is safe before life with less sleep is your reality, research is helping us understand what constitutes sensible consumption. This post will help you sort out the coffee conundrum.

Meditate during the day

If you’re stressed, your sleep suffers and suffering from sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress – talk about a vicious cycle. So how do you slow down, de-stress and sleep better? There’s no one answer that will work for everyone but a few tweaks to your sleep schedule may help you slow your pace and catch a better night’s sleep. These tips will help you reduce stress and sleep better.

Create a sleep spa

Sleep spas are the newest thing with the spa-goer set. It might be a fad but what if you could create a sleep spa in your own bedroom? We’re betting you’ll wake up bent on maintaining your status as a newly anointed sleep ambassador. Thankfully creating a sleep spa at home isn’t difficult – as long as you’re focused on the goal. Learn how to create your own sleep spa.

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.