best position for sleeping

What is the Best Sleep Position?

Sleeping is easy, right? I mean, even babies can sleep.

However, the position you choose to sleep in isn’t quite as simple. Your sleep position could be causing you back and neck pain, exacerbating snoring or sleep apnea, causing heartburn and stomach problems, and even leaving you more tired than you were when you went to bed.

While it’s true that everyone knows what position is comfortable for them, it can be worthwhile to change if your sleep position is causing you problems. Here are some common sleep positions, ranked from best to worst.

The Winner: Sleeping on Your Back

Pros: Sleeping on your back usually gets you the best support from your mattress. This means that your spine stays in alignment all night so you shouldn’t have to deal with any nagging back pain when you wake up. Back sleepers are also less likely to suffer from acid reflux at night, as long as they use a good pillow to keep their stomach below their esophagus. Finally, people who sleep this way are less likely to develop facial wrinkles.

Cons: Back sleeping is tied to sleep apnea. In fact, some doctors even recommend changing sleep positions as a first-line treatment for the disorder. Sleeping on the back can also make snoring worse because it allows the tongue to fall backward into the throat and partially block the airway. Finally, a supported spine may not be the most important factor that contributes to a good night’s rest. One study shows that people who sleep on their backs tend to have poorer quality sleep than those who chose other positions.  

Runner-Up: Sleeping on Your Side

Pros: The majority of people find some sort of side-sleeping position to be the most comfortable and the one they end up in night after night. With the proper mattress, side sleepers can get a high quality of spinal support, similar to that of back sleepers. Sleeping on your side also lowers the chances that a person will struggle with acid reflux or heartburn at night. As long as you don’t curl up into too tight of a ball, side sleeping also keeps the airways open, making it less likely that a person will snore.

Sleeping on the left side, specifically, is recommended during pregnancy. It improves circulation for both mom and baby, and it relieves some of the stress on the back. However, this advice may be nothing more than an old wives tale.

Cons: Sleeping on your side can lead to more wrinkles since your face is usually pushed against a pillow all night. It can also put extra pressure on your internal organs, like the stomach and lungs, though rolling over in the night can alleviate some of this. Side sleepers often struggle to find a place to put their arm, and most have experienced an arm falling asleep in the middle of the night. Some try to hook it around their head, but this can cause pain and discomfort. Finally, side sleepers keep all of their weight on one shoulder, all night long. This can lead to long-term shoulder pain.

Last but Not Least: Sleeping on Your Stomach

Pros: Stomach sleepers are the least likely to snore. In a few cases of sleep apnea, this seems to be a better position for resting than side sleeping.

Cons: Stomach sleepers will struggle to keep their spines in any sort of alignment at night, and will often struggle with aches and pains during the day because of it. They also put awkward and prolonged pressure on their muscles, nerves, and joints, and so can struggle with numbness, tingling, and more. Finally, most stomach sleepers have to sleep with their neck cranked to one side, which can cause airway issues and neck pain.

In the End

You may sleep however is comfortable for you, as long as you don’t suffer negative side effects. If you begin to feel pain, struggle with snoring, or develop sleep apnea, though, it may be time to change your position. It can take some time and effort, but it will be worthwhile when you reduce your symptoms and are getting high-quality sleep again.


How Long Should You Nap

Time Your Nap for Optimal Rest

Who doesn’t love a nap? There’s nothing like retreating somewhere in the middle of the day, curling up, and taking just a few minutes to yourself.

Even if you don’t love it, science says that napping has benefits like improving your mood and alertness and helping you perform better. Napping also seems to fit the natural, circadian rhythm for most people. We tend to have a lull in energy in the afternoon, indicating that our bodies may be intended to nap during that time.

Napping is good for the body, too. When you nap, you’ll lower your stress level, which also lowers your risk of developing diabetes, gaining weight, having a heart attack, and suffering from a stroke.

There can be a downside to napping, though. Nap for the wrong amount of time and you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and confused. This is called a sleep hangover or sleep inertia, and it can make you feel more tired, lower your performance, and make it harder for you to get back to doing the things you need to do.

How can you know how long to nap? Science has some things to say about that.

The Power Nap

If you have less than 90 minutes available to rest, aim for a 20-minute power nap. When you limit the length of your nap, you make sure that you don’t get into deeper, REM sleep. Waking up in the middle of this type of sleep is what gives you a sleep hangover.

Instead, a 20-minute nap keeps you in Stage 2 sleep, which is light but still refreshing. It may only feel like a little bit of rest, but you will still wake up in a better mood, with improved motor skills and higher levels of alertness. You will be able to concentrate better and get more done.

The Longer Nap

If you sleep much longer than 20 minutes, you will want to let your body get through an entire sleep cycle before you wake up. Otherwise, you’ll wake in the middle of deep sleep and suffer the sleep hangover, as mentioned above.

Most people cycle through deep sleep and come back to light sleep in about 90 minutes. If you have the time to take this sort of nap, and you’re tired enough to stay asleep that long, this may be the ideal nap length for you.

In addition to the other benefits of napping, this kind of nap also improves your memory and creativity. If you are looking to perform tasks that specifically need those aspects of your mind functioning well, a nice, long nap could help you do your best work.

The length of nap you should take depends on how long you have to sleep and what kinds of tasks you’ll be completing when you’re done. A short, 20-minute nap will benefit just about anyone. If you are tired and have the time to take a longer nap, 90 minutes will help you catch up on missed deep sleep.


The Science of the Sleeping Together

The Science of Sleeping with a Partner

Some people dread sharing a bed with a partner while others love it. It often seems like there’s no rhyme or reason to who wants to spend the night, who wants to cuddle all night, and who needs their own space in bed. However, researchers have found that there are both benefits and drawbacks to sharing a bed, particularly if you are a woman.

The Benefits of Bed Sharing

Sleeping in the same bed with a partner seems to enhance sleep. In one study, researchers studied sleep patterns over six to eight years. They found that women in long-term relationships fell asleep fast and woke up less frequently through the night than single women or those who gained and/or lost partners during the study.

Sleeping naked might enhance relationships, too. Partners who slept nude and shared a bed are more likely to say they are happy in their relationship than those who sleep any other way. Sleeping naked may or may not be causal, though. Skin-to-skin contact has long been known to soothe and comfort. However, it may be that these couples are already happy with each other, which is why they are comfortable sleeping together without clothes.

With or without clothing, it seems likely that sharing a bed often involves cuddling, which is known to raise the levels of oxytocin in the body. This hormone lowers anxiety levels and may have something to do with a person’s circadian rhythms. Bed sharing also reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and lowers the number of cytokines in the body (these control inflammation).

It doesn’t even seem to matter whether the couple has one bed that they share or whether they alternate sleeping at both partners’ homes. Both partners are likely to sleep better when they are sleeping together, regardless of where that occurs.

This makes it seem pretty straightforward: sleeping together is better than sleeping alone.

The Difficulties of Bed Sharing

However, sharing a bed with your partner may not be all wine and roses. An older study showed that women woke up more often when they slept in bed with a partner than they did when they slept alone, though there was no difference in wakefulness for men. It is likely true that some women struggle to get good rest when they sleep with their partners.

Other differences between partners can cause conflict. If one partner likes to get up early and the other likes to stay up late, it can be impossible for the couple to get on a single schedule. While one person may try to alter their preferences for the other, the truth is that some people are just wired differently this way. Couples can let this particular difference cause conflict, or they can accept their partners and work around it.

In addition, the overall state of the marriage can either enhance sleep or make it problematic. If there are a lot of negative interactions in the relationship, women are less likely to sleep well. For me, the causation reverses. They are less likely to have negative interactions in their relationship if they rested well the night before. However, when things are going well, both partners sleep better than they do when there is a lot of conflict. Clearing up this conflict, then, could be one step towards better sleep for everyone.

In Conclusion

Snoring can be a big rest disruptor, and it’s a problem that couples should tackle together. Often, a doctor can help determine the cause and can offer some solutions to the problem. It may also be an option for the non-snorer to wear earplugs at night, to minimize the sound of the snores.

Sleepers, especially women, need to figure out for themselves whether sharing a bed with their partner is helpful for their rest. Some couples may find that it helps to sleep with separate blankets, buy a bed that minimizes movement disruption during the night, and resolve their conflicts before they rest. Others may find that cuddling before sleep is helpful, even if they end up actually sleeping in separate locations. Whatever, the issue, it’s possible to come up with a compromise that helps couples get the benefits of sleeping together without disrupting the sleep of either partner.


The Caffeine Nap

Fuel Your Nap With…Caffeine?

Do you feel sluggish midway through the day? Maybe you’ve tried everything, but you still hit a slump about 3 pm. You may begin to wonder if there’s any possible way to get through your days without this afternoon crash.

Enter the caffeine nap.

It’s easy. Drink a cup of coffee, espresso, or other caffeinated beverage of your choice. It takes the caffeine about 20 minutes to kick in. Spend those 20 minutes taking a short nap. The combination of caffeine and rest can get you through your afternoon without your usual energy crash.

Sure, it sounds counterintuitive. After all, most of us use caffeine to wake up, not to sleep. Here’s why the caffeine nap works so well.

Caffeine and Adenosine: A Tale of Two Molecules

Adenosine is a chemical that makes you fall asleep. When it binds to nerve cells, it slows down their activity. It’s common to find high levels of adenosine in people who feel sleepy, drowsy, or exhausted.

Caffeine can bind to the same cell receptors as adenosine. When the caffeine molecule is there, the adenosine can’t bind to that cell. Therefore, caffeine keeps you from feeling drowsy by blocking adenosine from binding to nerve cells.

The more adenosine molecules that get bound to your nerve cells, the sleepier you’re going to be. The more caffeine you have there, the more awake and alert you will be.

Enter the Nap

It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to pass through your stomach to your small intestine, get absorbed into your bloodstream, and travel to the relevant nerve cells. However, the caffeine can’t bind to those cells if adenosine is already there.

One of the best ways to clear adenosine from your system is to get some sleep. This signals the cells to release the adenosine molecules because your body doesn’t need to rest anymore. When the adenosine is released, the caffeine has a place where it can bind.

Your 20-minute nap is the perfect way to get the most out of your afternoon coffee. Since you have about that much time before the caffeine is metabolized anyway, you may as well spend it clearing the adenosine out of your nerve cell receptors so they can use the caffeine when it gets there!

Still Not Convinced? Science Says…

The caffeine nap gets better results than either caffeine or napping do on their own.

Scientists in the United Kingdom found that people who drank coffee and then napped for 15 minutes did better on a simulated driving test than those who only had coffee or a nap. Similarly, scientists in Japan found that the coffee nap was very effective at helping tired drivers. They noted that people were more awake and alert for more than an hour after the nap.

If you’re not a good napper, don’t worry! Even if you don’t fall all the way to sleep in 20 minutes, half-sleep or dozing had similar effects to napping.

You don’t even have to like coffee for this to work because any source of caffeine will do. So you can take a coffee nap, an espresso nap, a Mountain Dew nap, or even a Monster nap. As long as you take in caffeine and then nap, the process should be effective for you.


Sleep Products for Christmas

9 Stocking Stuffers for the Sleepers in Your Life

Everybody sleeps…but some people love it more than others. If you have someone in your life who adores sleep, who sleeps a lot, or who is obsessed with sleep because they’re not getting any, one of these stocking stuffers might be right up their alley.

Beddit Sleep Monitor

Source: Beddit.com

Beddit is a cool sleep monitor that you don’t have to wear. Just slide the provided pad under your sheets, set up the app, and go to bed. The monitor will track your heart rate, your respiration rate, and more. From there, it will determine what stage of sleep you’re at and how long you stay there. You’ll get a sleep score, which takes all factors into account to determine how well you’re sleeping. If you’re buying for a data nerd, this is just about perfect.

Fitbit Charge 2

Source: Fitbit.com

The Fitbit Charge 2 is an awesome wristband activity tracker that also gives data on sleep. It uses its onboard heart rate and motion sensors to determine when you’ve gone to bed (so you don’t have to tell it). Then, it continues monitoring and gives you a summary of how long you’ve slept, how long you spent in different stages of sleep, and more. You can even set a sleep goal and it will tell you how often you’re hitting it.

Motion Activated Night Light

Source: Mylight.me

Affix Mylight.me’s bedlight under your bed, place the motion sensor, and you have the perfect night light. The soft light will turn on whenever you move, so you’ll have plenty of illumination for those midnight bathroom runs. Because the light is soft and comes from under the bed, though, you don’t have to worry about it waking up your partner or making your eyes struggle to adjust to a harsh, bright light.

Warm and Cool Mist Humidifier

Source: Boneco

Most of the time, you want cool mist in the bedroom to help calm dust and allergens and help keep nasal passages moist. Some sleepers, though, prefer warm air and it can be beneficial for folks with certain conditions. Make everyone happy with this top-selling humidifier from Boneco that does both. This unit also features a digital screen, automatic shut-off when the tank is empty, and nearly silent operation.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Source: UrPower

If your sleeper struggles to sleep, an essential oil diffuser could help them get more rest. All they need to do is add water and a few drops of an essential oil that helps sleep, like lavender, and turn it on. The diffuser will slowly release the oil into the room and the scent will lull them to sleep. This diffuser, from UrPower, will run for 10 hours before it needs more water. It can also serve as a nightlight, turns itself off when it runs out of water, and needs cleaning once a week.

A Humidifier/Diffuser Combo

Source: Victsing

If you’re considering a humidifier or a diffuser, why not buy a unit that does both? VicTsing’s essential oil diffuser and humidifier looks like wood on the outside and can be used with or without essential oils. It is super quiet, has a large capacity, and produces more mist than a diffuser would on its own. It has a light with color adjustment and four timer options. It also turns itself off when it runs out of water.

Stay In Place Knee Pillow

Source: Hammacher

If your sleeper is a side sleeper who suffers from back, knee, or hip pain, this pillow may help them feel better. When the knees rest against each other, it can pull awkwardly on the body, causing pain and discomfort. This pillow fits between the knees to help the sleeper realign their spine. It’s comfortable and easy to use, so it won’t interfere with sleep.

Counting Sheep Coffee

Source: Amazon

Is your sleeper also a coffee lover? Look no further than Counting Sheep’s 40 Winks decaffeinated coffee with added valerian root. The coffee tastes like…well…coffee, and the valerian root functions as a natural sleep aid. If someone needs help falling to sleep, they may as well get that help in a form that they love, right?

Celebrate sleep this holiday season with one of these fun, helpful, sleep-themed gifts. The sleepers (and non-sleepers!) in your life will thank you.


Best New Sleep Products

11 New Trends and Sleep Technology for 2018

Sleep technology is developing by leaps and bounds. There’s always something new on the market, some new discovery being made, or some new way to track and enhance our sleep.

Since every person needs 7-8 hours of sleep each night and some people find those hours hard to come by, each discovery means more sleepers and better health. Investing in your health is never, ever a bad idea. Here are some of the most exciting ways you can invest in your sleep in 2018.

 

Using the Apple Watch to Track Sleep Apnea

The Apple watch is useful in a lot of ways, and many wearers aren’t even interested in the heart rate sensor. However, a new study demonstrates its accuracy and usefulness beyond giving wearers an approximation of their heart rate when they’re working out. The watch, and other wearables with heart rate sensors, can detect sleep apnea with 90% accuracy. Since the disorder is underdiagnosed, this new use of the technology promises to help sleepers get better, and safer, sleep.

 

Beddit

Beddit is a sleep sensor comprised of a thin rectangle that you place under your sheets. From there, it monitors your sleep, including different sleep stages, your heart rate, your respiration rate, and more. It has some of the best sensors on the market, and it even connects to your Nest to help tweak your environment for better sleep. You don’t have to turn it on every night, just go to bed and trust that it will be monitoring. It also connects to a medical records company, so you can upload your data and tell your doctor how you’re sleeping.

 

SleepScore Labs S+

The S+ is a sleep monitor that sits next to you, instead of under your sheets. It’s still highly accurate though, measuring all of the important data pertaining to your rest. In addition, it monitors your sleep environment, so you can correlate times of wakefulness or restlessness with changes there, too. Once your data is in, you will receive individualized sleep advice, approved by a sleep specialist, based on your trends.

 

2Breathe

If you struggle to fall asleep, 2Breathe will guide you through breathing exercises designed to lower your heart rate so you can rest. Simply wrap their sensor around your middle, then use the app to follow their guided breathing exercises. Use it for 10 minutes a day, and you could be sleeping significantly better within a few days.

 

NuCalm

Need to relax before you can catch some zzzzs? Do it the holistic way through meditation. NuCalm is one of a new generation of meditation systems that helps you relax, feel better, perform better, and sleep better. Place the device on your neck with a tiny amount of cream under it, put on an eye mask and headphones, and let the stress ooze away. You will need a doctor’s prescription to get a device, but that isn’t hard to obtain.

 

Muse

Muse utilizes a special set of headphones and an app to help you meditate better. It monitors the state of your brain and uses sound to help you attain and maintain calmness. The app allows you to track your progress, gain rewards, store your data, and more. If you struggle with stress and it interferes with your sleep, Muse can help you take control of your mind and rest more.

 

Sleep Headphones

AcousticSheep has produced a comfortable pair of headphones that you can wear while sleeping. Most headphones are uncomfortable to wear lying down, get lost when you move at night, or have wires that tangle over the course of a night. These new headphones are encased in a soft fabric band, so they stay comfortable. You can purchase them wireless or wired, to meet all of your resting needs.

 

Helia Bulbs

Soraa has developed a smart light bulb, Helia, that helps filter blue light as bedtime approaches. Since blue light can keep your brain from producing the melatonin that helps you fall asleep, this bulb could help you fall asleep faster. It has a patented sensor setup that assesses the light and light quality in your home and adapts accordingly. It also emits more blue light in the morning, to help you wake up faster.

 

Cooling Mattress Toppers

These mattress pads help keep you the right temperature for sleeping. For those who love to sleep on memory foam, this can be a lifesaver! Foam tends to sleep hot, but it’s also comfortable and offers superb spinal support. These toppers come in various forms. Some use water to cool your bed, others let you and a partner sleep at different temperatures, and some utilize fabric technology to keep your bed cool. Get more, deeper sleep with Kryo, Chili, Nacreous, and more.

 

Nightingale

Plug each of the two Nightingale units into plugs on opposite sides of the room, and the technology will produce sound that helps block all sorts of outside noise. Since blocking sound and sleeping with white noise or pink noise helps you sleep better, this device should help you fall asleep and stay asleep. You can choose from five different sounds, so there’s sure to be one that works for you.

 

Recovery Sleepwear

Under Armour has developed its Recovery Sleepwear line to help you rest, recover faster from strenuous activity, and have lower inflammation. It absorbs your body heat and reflects far infrared rays back into your body. These promote all sorts of good things, culminating in helping you get a good night’s rest. It sounds crazy, but it already has one study backing up the technology.

 

Conclusion

No matter the reason that you sleep poorly, technology can help you improve your sleep. It can help you be more comfortable at night, block the sounds that keep you awake, change the type of light you experience, calm your mind, or give you the data you need to improve your sleep on your own. You don’t have to despair of ever getting that perfect night’s rest! Try something new until you find what works for you!


15 Plants That Help You Sleep

15 Plants That Will Help You Sleep!

Plants not only enhance the look and feel of your bedroom, but they can help you sleep better, too. They can help remove toxins from the air, fight off bacteria, and even aid with asthma and allergies. If you have a green thumb and you need to get better rest, try surrounding yourself with the following plants.

Lavender

Lavender smells wonderful and acts as a natural relaxant.

Lavender not only offers one of most craved aromas in history, but it has also been shown to help babies sleep deeper and to enhance deep sleep in men. Depending on the type of lavender you buy, the stalks are usually about 12” tall with deep purple flowers on the ends. They need a lot of light when they’re starting out, but they maintain easily and thrive in a dry environment.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plants purify the air so you rest easy.

According to NASA, aloe helps filter toxins that are common in many homes, like formaldehyde and benzene. In exchange for these, it emits oxygen. These succulents end up between 24” and 39” tall, and they do best when you leave them alone. In fact, the most common reason aloe plants die is that they receive too much water!

Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is beautiful and useful, too. It also filters toxins, per NASA, and it can also raise your bedroom’s humidity by up to 5%. This can help you avoid dryness in your sinuses, throat, eyes, and more, which can wake you at night. It can also help suppress airborne particles that can cause allergies. Most of the plants grow up to 16” and they will produce more flowers with more light. Water them once a week and they’ll be happy plants.

Passion Flower

This flower’s bright colors will make you feel better, but the scent is also as effective against anxiety as certain medications. If anxious thoughts keep you awake at night, try keeping this by your bed and inhaling its fragrance before you sleep. There are over 400 types of this plant, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs. To thrive, plant the passion flower so it will drain well and put it by a window.

Chamomile

Source: Sihayako

Chamomile can help you breathe better and sleep better, especially when you use its leaves in tea. Keep one close by your bed so you can sip the tea right before you fall asleep. The plants are usually 8”-24” in height. They require full sun or partial shade and a moderate amount of water.

Chinese Evergreen

This plant is also known for its ability to remove toxins from your air, and it is low-maintenance and hardy, too. The toxins these plants remove can cause disease or make it harder to breathe. The plants can live almost anywhere, but they like indirect sunlight, soil that drains well, and a moderate amount of water.

Jasmine

Jasmine’s sweet scent reduces anxiety and improves sleep quality, so there’s really no reason not to keep it nearby when you’re sleeping. You can let your jasmine grow into a tree or prune it to a more manageable height. The plants prefer direct sunlight and you can water them until the soil is moist to the touch.

Snake Plant

The Snake Plant is another NASA-approved toxin remover. Specifically, it takes formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, toluene, and xylene out of your air. It is inexpensive, with leaves that grow up to a foot tall. Indirect sunlight is best and don’t water it too much!

Rubber Tree Plant

This is yet another plant that will help remove dangerous toxins from your air. It can grow up to 50 feet tall, but you can prune it to the right size for your room. It’s sparse green leaves require quite a bit of water in the growing season but less for the rest of the year. If the leaves collect dust, feel free to wipe them with a damp cloth.

Gardenia

Gardenias have a natural sedative effect, lulling you to sleep.

This is another flower with a potent smell that helps you sleep, potentially as well as taking a Valium. Gardenias vary in size based on the type you buy, and they require some finesse to maintain. Finding the right balance of light and water for the plant in your home may take some effort, but that’s worth it if you are sleeping well!

Spider Plant

NASA found that the Spider Plant, all by itself, reduces toxins in the air by up to 90%! These plants can thrive almost anywhere, though they prefer temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Water your Spider Plant sparingly, and it will stay around for a long time.

Valerian

The scent of Valerian can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. The long stalks with tiny pink or white flowers on top can grow up to 5 feet tall, though most houseplants will be smaller. Make sure the plant gets 6 hours of sun a day and your new sleep aid should stay around for a long time.

English Ivy

English Ivy is a workhorse of air purification. It helps sufferers of asthma and allergies, so they can rest easy. It works fast, too, removing up to 94% of the feces in the air and 78% of the mold in just 12 hours! The plant will spread to fill whatever space you give it, at a height of up to 8 inches. It only needs moderate sunlight and water. Just make sure your pets and kids can’t get to it, as the leaves can be toxic.

Golden Pothos

Golden Pothos is another popular air purifying plant. It can be quite large, sometimes over 10 feet tall!! It’s easy to care for though, only requiring a couple of hours of sunlight every week and a little bit of water. These leaves are also toxic, so place your plant accordingly.

Elecampane

Not only does Elecampane feature yellow, daisy-like flowers, but it is also effective against every kind of streptococcus bacteria, including MRSA. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat lung diseases, too. Your Elecampane will end up between 3 and 6 feet tall. It needs full or partial sunlight and should not be overwatered.  

Whether you have a few plants in your room or many, make sure they are ones that will help you get the sleep you need.


Foods to Help you Sleep

What to Eat to Get to Sleep

Everyone knows that it’s a good idea to avoid caffeine for a few hours before bedtime, but did you know that what you eat can help or hinder your sleep, too? If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, try adding a few of these foods to your diet. Eat them before you go to bed, and you may find yourself sleeping like a baby.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain melatonin, which is a hormone that helps set your sleeping and waking cycles. When you don’t have enough of it, it’s hard to fall asleep.

Research from the University of Texas shows that eating walnuts will raise the amount of melatonin in your blood, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Munch on a handful of nuts an hour or two before bed and sleep should come easier than usual.

Cherries

Cherries, especially the tart variety, also offer a natural way to raise the amount of melatonin in your system. Researchers from universities in Pennsylvania and Rochester, NY, found that they can help people with insomnia fall asleep faster.

You can eat a handful of the fruit or drink tart cherry juice. The juice offers a more concentrated way to take in the nutritional goodness, though some people find it too tart to drink regularly.

Kiwi

A study performed in Taiwan suggests that eating 2 kiwifruit every night before bed can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It’s no wonder – kiwi contain significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and serotonin, all of which can help improve your sleep.

You can eat your kiwi straight, or you can cut them up and put them in a fruit salad. You could even combine them with cherries and bananas for a sleepy fruit cocktail.

Fish

Vitamin B6 is essential to producing melatonin which, as was mentioned above, helps you fall asleep. In fact, without this vitamin, your body cannot produce melatonin even if it has all of the other ingredients readily available.

Fish — especially tuna, salmon, and halibut — all contain high levels of B6 and have been shown to help people fall asleep faster. Consume your fish at least an hour or two before bedtime so your body has a chance to produce what it needs for sleep.

Bananas

Potassium has been shown to help people sleep better, and bananas are a great source of this nutrient. They also contain magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant.

In case the presence of these two nutrients wasn’t enough to convince you to eat bananas before bed, they also contain the amino acid L-tryptophan. This is converted to 5-HTP, which is essential for the production of both serotonin and melatonin, both of which help you sleep.

Dairy

Dairy contains calcium, which helps you fall asleep better. Calcium is also high when your body is in the deepest levels of sleep, which suggests that it may be essential for achieving better quality sleep. Your body uses calcium when it performs the chemical reactions necessary to convert L-tryptophan into melatonin and serotonin.

Get your dairy via a glass of milk, some yogurt, or a few chunks of cheese. Consume it an hour or so before bedtime.  

Kale

Eating leafy green vegetables, like kale, mustard greens, collard greens, or spinach, is another good way to get more calcium.

These will help you sleep in a way similar to dairy, making that avenue open for even the lactose intolerant. Try sauteeing them with olive oil and garlic to make them go down easier.

Jasmine Rice

In a study from the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, foods high on the glycemic index increased the amount of L-tryptophan in the bloodstream. This can then convert to 5-HTP and then to melatonin and/or serotonin as needed.

In particular, study participants who ate jasmine rice 4 hours before bedtime falling asleep faster than usual, and faster than other participants who ate foods lower on the glycemic index. Eat a bowl of rice with your dinner every night, and your sleep should improve.

If you’re trying to get better sleep, consider changing up your diet. Introduce one or two of these foods at a time so you can figure out which ones aid your sleep the most.


Signs You Need to Replace Your Mattress

10 Signs Your Mattress Needs Replacing

Getting a new mattress can be a wonderful thing. A new bed can help you sleep better, which can improve your physical health and your outlook on life.

Sometimes, though, the process of getting a new bed can feel like a chore. It means spending time researching and shopping and making big decisions that could affect your life for a long time. There’s no point in going through that if you don’t have to!

If you’re thinking about getting a new mattress but you aren’t sure you need one, here are some signs to look for.

Signs From Your Mattress

Your mattress can’t talk, but it can definitely tell you when it’s not doing a good job anymore!

You Haven’t Bought a Mattress Since the Clinton Era (or Even Bush)

If you haven’t bought a new mattress since before Clinton left office in 2001, you are seriously overdue for a new bed! Even if you bought while Dubya was president, you’re probably due for an upgrade. Most mattresses last about 7 years, with 10 often being the maximum amount of time that you should sleep in the same bed. After that, while you may not see a change, your bed won’t be supporting you as well.

Your Bed Stops Responding

We’ve all had so-called friends who suddenly become ghosts, and the same thing can happen with your bed. It won’t disappear, but it will stop returning to the same position after you leave it. This tends to happen with memory foam, though it can also happen with some latex beds. Sure, the foam is supposed to respond and conform to your body. But once you’re out of bed, it’s supposed to bounce back. When you can see an outline of where you slept and you’ve been up for hours, you need a new mattress.

Your Mattress Sags

Does your bed dip in the middle? Even a small sag can mean that your mattress is no longer supporting your body like it should. People tend to only look for sags when they have a mattress with springs, but the truth is that all beds can sag. Memory foam gets softer, fibers compress, and springs degrade over time. Whenever there’s a sag, it’s time to get a new bed.

You See Lumps in Your Mattress

Similarly, you shouldn’t see lumps in your mattress. This indicates that the padding has shifted over time, and is especially significant when you can’t push the lumps down or redistribute the padding. Lumps may feel soft to the touch, but when you sleep on them they can create pressure points that shouldn’t be there. This can cause pain or a lack of spinal alignment, neither of which are good for you.

Your Mattress Changes

 

 

Any time your mattress changes significantly, it’s probably time for a new one. Changes in responsiveness, sagging, and lumps, as discussed above, mean it’s time to go shopping. Your mattress can also feel like it changes in firmness, becoming soft where it was once firm or feeling firmer than it once did. Memory foam is especially susceptible to this, because it is made to respond to heat. When kept in the cold, it can become too hard, and it can get too soft when temps are high.

Signs From Your Body

Listen to your body! It will also tell you when it’s time for a new bed.

You’re Allergic to Your Mattress

Over time, dust mites and even bacteria can build up in your mattress. In addition to being gross, this can cause major allergy problems for some people. If you are waking in the night all stuffed up but you’re fine for the rest of the day, or if you sneeze whenever you go near your bed, it’s likely time for a new mattress. You can mitigate some of these problems by covering your new bed with a full mattress encasement, to keep mites and other buggies away.

Your Back Only Hurts When You’ve Been in Bed

You feel fine…except when you wake up in the morning. If you wake up in pain every day, your bed may very well be the problem. This is especially true if you wake up with the same pain every day and, once that pain gets worked out, it doesn’t return until you go to bed again. Mattresses can lose their ability to support your body properly long before you see signs of wear, so listen to your body and buy a new bed.

You Sleep Well…Anywhere but Home

 

 

When every other bed is more comfortable than yours, it’s time to go mattress shopping. Your bed should be your refuge, your castle, your safe place. When you aren’t comfortable in it, you may think the problem is you. But when you sleep well in hotels and on trips and even on Aunt Jenny’s fold-out couch, it’s definitely the bed. Replace your mattress and regain the joy of a comfortable bed.

You’re Always Tired

Maybe you sleep well, but you’re always tired. While it’s a good idea to go to a doctor to rule out any medical problems, your bed may be the culprit. You won’t sleep as well or as deeply in an uncomfortable bed, so you’ll lose many of the benefits sleep can offer. Level up your sleep game with a new mattress, and you may even give up your morning coffee.

You’d Love to Sleep…But You Can’t

Do you toss and turn all night, even when you’re not anxious, upset, or stressed? Do you feel like you just can’t find a good position for sleep? Maybe you’re just uncomfortable or your body isn’t being supported well enough for you to sleep well. A new mattress could help eliminate your insomnia so you can get a full night’s sleep again.

If your mattress needs replacing, don’t hesitate! The process will be worth the effort when you’re sleeping deeply, waking up pain-free, and going through your days feeling rested and strong.