Sleeping With a Top Sheet: The Great Debate

To sleep with a top sheet or not…that is the question. It may seem like a trivial issue, but you might be surprised at just how passionate people can get on this seemingly innocuous topic. People who love top sheets really love them, while people who don’t like them can’t understand how anyone in their right mind would sleep under one.

In the end, it all seems to come down to preference. Sleeping without a top sheet is very European. In fact, some Europeans don’t even use fitted sheets. They tuck a regular (top) sheet in all the way around the bed and sleep with a duvet in a duvet cover for their blanket. In the USA, we tend to be fans of the top sheet, even though it means taking a few extra steps when making the bed.

Pros to Sleeping With a Top Sheet

 

 

Folks who are fans of top sheets have many different reasons for loving them. Here are just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider that extra piece of material.

Laundry is Easier

When you sleep without a top sheet, you have to wash your duvet cover as often as you would normally wash your sheets. If wrestling a duvet in and out of its cover once a week isn’t something you’ll do (and, trust me, it’s always a wrestling match!), you will probably stay cleaner if you stick to using a top sheet.

More Layers for Temperature Regulation

Do you get hot at night? Or maybe your partner gets hot but you tend to be cold. Having a top sheet and a comforter, or even a top sheet, blanket, and comforter, can allow you to achieve the perfect sleeping temperature. It can also allow partners with different thermostats to still be comfortable sharing a bed.

Sheets Don’t Fall Off the Bed

Unless you get a duvet that is extra large for your bed, the darn things have a tendency to end up in a heap on the floor. Then you either have to wake up and haul the whole thing back on the bed, or you end up uncomfortable for the rest of the night. If you do get an extra large duvet, you can tuck it into the bottom of the bed so it will stay. This is often bulky and odd-looking, though.

Protect Your Nice Bedding

Your duvet cover or bedspread will last longer if you’re not washing it all the time. Since people tend to invest more money in these things than they do in their sheets, because they’re buying for the look and for comfort, not just for comfort, it makes sense to try and make it last. Keep sweat stains off it, too, by using a top sheet.

It’s Nice and Cozy

There’s something about a sheet that feels nice and cozy at the end of a long day. The sheet often feels cool on the skin, then gets swathed in the warmth of the blanket over the top. People who like top sheets don’t just love them for ease and cleanliness, but because of the way they feel on the skin that is different from a duvet.

It Feels Cleaner

While you probably won’t sweat any more or less under a top sheet than you do with just a duvet, you may feel cleaner. Because the duvet is attached to the duvet cover, it seems more likely that you would sweat through the cover and have sweat on your duvet than it is that you would sweat through a sheet and have sweat on your comforter. It may not actually be true, but it certainly feels that way to many people.

Pros to Ditching the Top Sheet

 

 

Wondering why someone would want to sleep without a top sheet? Here are some of the most common reasons.

Making Your Bed is Easy-Peasy

Tucking in that top sheet is a royal pain. Ditch it, and all you have to do is throw on a fitted sheet over your mattress pad, then toss the duvet cover on the duvet and put the whole thing on the bed. Easiest bed-making ever. There are even some tricks to getting the duvet where it belongs, so you don’t feel like you’re wrestling an octopus.

Duvets are Meant to be Used Without Top Sheets

There’s nothing like the feel of a soft, fluffy duvet settling around your body. If you use a top sheet, you will miss many of the comfort benefits that duvets are meant to have. In fact, duvets are designed to be used without top sheets, combining the comfort of a top sheet and a blanket into a single item.

Duvets Regulate Temperature, Too!

Many duvets and their covers are designed to regulate temperature for you, so you don’t have to do anything. They will hold heat in when necessary, wick sweat when needed, and more, all so you can sleep and not have to bother with constantly trying to get comfortable.

It Can be Cheaper

Some sheet companies are starting to sell top sheets separately. This means that you will pay more if you want to use a top sheet than you will if you choose to sleep without one. If you like to save money or regulating expenses is really important to you, this is a small step that could help you reach your financial goals.

Less Twisted Bedding

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night, only to find your top sheet twisted around your ankles? If you sleep with a partner, it can be even worse because, when one partner’s bedding gets messed up, it almost always gets messed up for both. Save yourself the hassle of midnight untanglings by skipping the top sheet entirely.

It’s the Ultimate in Being Low Maintenance

If you kick your top sheet to the bottom of the bed and never touch it again, what’s the point of having it in the first place? If you’re not going to fix it every morning, there’s no reason to bother putting it on the bed.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to sleep with a top sheet, the most important thing is that you do what works best for you and your partner. If you feel gross without one, putting a top sheet on a bed is not all that hard. If you love the feeling of a duvet, then you may decide to sleep without one. Try them both and do whatever works best for you!


Chronotypes: Early Birds vs. Night Owls

Are you definitely a night owl or an early bird? Maybe you can’t sleep past 5:30 AM, or you can’t go to bed before 2 AM. Some of us have very clear preferences when it comes to what time we get up and when we go to bed. Other people seem to be more adaptable, able to change their schedules, at least somewhat, without major consequences.

Have you ever wondered why you want to sleep and get up when you do? It all comes back to your chronotype. If you’re not sure what that is or how to leverage it to live your best life, here’s everything you need to know.

 

What is a Chronotype?

While it may sound intimidating, “your chronotype” is just a fancy way of saying “your preferences for when you like to wake up and fall asleep.” It goes back to the Greek word “chronos,” which refers to time.

Most people fall into one of two chronotypes. They are either early birds, who prefer to get up early and go to bed early, or night owls, who prefer to go to bed late and get up late, too. Some people say that there are other variations, that not all early birds are the same, for instance, but these are the two main types.

 

What Causes Your Chronotype?

Your chronotype is determined by your circadian rhythm. This is basically your body’s clock, and it tells you when to get up and when to go to sleep. It also determines things like when you are hungry, what times during the day you experience a lull in energy, and when your body produces certain substances like neurotransmitters and hormones.

The circadian rhythm is guided, more or less, by light. When the light goes away, the body wants to sleep. When the light comes back, it’s time to wake up. However, not everyone responds to light in the same ways, or at the same time. Some people begin to feel sleep within an hour or two after sunset, while others don’t feel sleepy for several hours or more.

Indoor lighting, especially the blue lights that come from screens, can influence this to a certain extent. If we flood ourselves with indoor lights and screens, we will probably struggle to sleep at an early hour. However, blue light doesn’t seem to influence chronotype, as early birds still want to fall asleep earlier (even if they can’t) than night owls.

Instead, research shows some evidence that chronotype is genetically determined. A recent study asked people to report whether they were night owls or early birds. Researchers found several 15 genetic variants that seemed to be associated with being an early bird. Seven of these were located close to genes already known to influence the circadian rhythm. While this study isn’t definitive, it indicates that your chronotype is influenced, if not determined, by your genes.

 

What are the Differences Between the Chronotypes?

 

 

There are some interesting and scientifically-backed differences between early birds and night owls. These don’t seem to have much to do with when you go to bed or when you get up, but they are consistent in the research.

  • Night owls score higher on intelligence tests. Conventional wisdom says that the early birds are the smart ones, but a 420-person study proved them wrong. Night owls did better on tests that measured everything from mathematical acuity to reading comprehension and processing speed.
  • Night owls have more vices. A study of 537 people showed that night owls take in more nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol than do their early bird counterparts. A big part of this is that night owls are more likely to participate in nightlife, like going to bars, clubs, or parties, where these things are present. Caffeine intake may be tied to the fact that night owls often don’t get enough rest, given their chronotype and the way society is structured.
  • Early birds are perfectionists. A study in Spain showed that early birds are more likely to persistently pursue a goal without getting frustrated or feeling like it is difficult. Night owls, on the other hand, often struggle with impulsiveness and extravagance. In general, early birds like stability and night owls prefer excitement.
  • Both early birds and night owls are more creative in their off hours. Night owls tend to experience their most creative time of day in the morning, while early birds are more creative at night. Scientists think that this happens because people have less inhibitory control when they are not at their peak, so they are willing to consider and implement more creative solutions. So if you have a difficult problem, think about it when you’re sleepy!

 

Chronotypes and Sleep Disorders

For most people, their chronotype doesn’t interfere with their lives and, therefore, is not at all in the category of a sleep disorder. For a few people, though, their chronotype becomes disruptive. It’s either so overwhelming that they cannot deviate from it, even if they want to, or it pushes them to extremes that make normal life very difficult.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome is a diagnosis given to extreme night owls. They get tired much, much later than other people and also want to wake much, much later. People with this disorder often fall asleep after 2 AM every, single night, no matter what they try to do to change that. These are the people who feel hopeless about ever falling asleep like a normal person or getting enough rest.

People with Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome have the opposite problem. They want to go to bed very early, like 7 PM, and then they find themselves wide awake in the middle of the night, sometimes as early as 2 AM. This person’s body is ahead, rather than behind, that of the general population. While this sleep schedule works for some people, many find that it interferes with their work and social life.

 

Can You Change Your Chronotype?

You probably can’t change your chronotype completely. Because your chronotype seems largely dependent on genetics, it is predetermined for you. However, you can train yourself to go to bed and wake up at more suitable times of day.

It’s usually night owls who have to figure out how to do this. Most common schedules work well for early birds. They have time to get up, take care of themselves, and get to work on time. While they may not be the life of the party at night, they go to bed when they’re tired and get the rest they need.

Night owls don’t fit most common schedules well. They can’t go to sleep when they want to and get up when they want to and still make it to work on time or do the things they need to do.

While they can’t change their night owlishness, these folks can train themselves to go to bed earlier. It helps to set a goal, then move toward it in 15-minute increments. If you usually got to bed at 2 AM and you’d like to go to bed by 11, start slowly. Get yourself in bed by 1:45 for a few nights, then move it back to 1:30, and so on. It will take some time and some dedication, but you should be able to sleep earlier so you can get the rest you need.

You can also use melatonin to make your body sleepy earlier than usual, and use a broad spectrum light to help yourself wake up – and feel awake – in the morning.

 

Make Your Chronotype Work for You

 

 

Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, it’s best to embrace your chronotype as much as possible, rather than resisting it or feeling frustrated with yourself. Since it’s largely out of your control, there’s not a lot of point in resisting it unless you must do so to function well at work, etc.

If you’re an early bird, try to get things done in the morning, especially if you’re up before everyone else. This is the perfect time to sit quietly with a cup of coffee, journal, exercise, or finish up anything that needs to be done before you go to the office. Getting it done early means you won’t feel pressure to stay up late.

If you’re a night owl, accept the fact that your mornings will probably be rushed. Do your best to get yourself to bed in time to get plenty of sleep, but otherwise, don’t put pressure on yourself to go to bed earlier. Instead, get your stuff done at night. This can be a great time to work, work out, or get in your alone time.

No matter which type you are, you need to take care of yourself. As long as you are getting enough sleep, though, there’s no reason to pressure yourself to change. Instead, accept yourself as you are and do what is best for yourself in light of that.


Weighted Blankets

Weighted Blankets: Do They Live Up to the Hype?

Have you heard about weighted blankets? In some circles, they are all the rage right now. People claim that they calm anxiety, help people with ADHD, autism, or sensory processing disorders, calm tantrums in children, and more. But is this true, or is it another old wives’ tale? If you’re wondering if a weighted blanket might help you sleep better, here’s everything you need to know about them to make an informed decision about whether they might work for you.

 

What are Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets are blankets that are filled with sand or some other heavy substance. Handmade versions usually have the weighting substance sewn into little pockets or pouches, while mass-produced weighted blankets have other methods for keeping the weighted substance evenly distributed throughout the blanket.

These blankets are made to be heavier than regular blankets. It is this weight that people claim makes them feel better, feels like a hug, calms them, and more! They usually weigh somewhere between 4 and 30 pounds, and the weight of blanket you buy depends on the size and weight of the person using it.

 

Do Weighted Blankets Really Help You Sleep Better?

 

 

The short answer is that yes, they do. People who use weighted blankets have more serotonin in their bodies when they sleep under the blanket than they do when they don’t. Serotonin helps facilitate rest and sleepiness in several ways, not least of which is that it helps produce melatonin. This chemical is directly connected to helping you fall asleep.

Weighted blankets also calm the central nervous system (CNS). They do this by simulating deep pressure touch (DPT). This therapy uses firm pressure from the hands to help people with serious anxiety and stress to relax, and the blanket produces the same effects. Basically, the pressure calms the physical body so that it is not having hyped-up responses to stress anymore. When people can let this kind of stress go, they sleep better.

Even spending a very short time with a weighted blanket can significantly reduce anxiety. This means that you don’t necessarily have to sleep under the blanket all night long to reap its benefits. Instead, you can curl up with it on the couch before you go to sleep or push it off you before you fall all the way asleep.

Another study used weighted blankets on dental patients with anxiety about their treatment. Using the blankets actually caused physical changes in the patients’ CNS, which helped them to feel calmer during their dental work. If it can work at the dentist, it can certainly work in your house!

All of this culminates in a study showing that weighted blankets reduce insomnia. People who slept under a weighted blanket slept more, and they also moved around less. This means that their sleep was less disrupted and that they found it easier to settle into sleep. The subjects agreed with the findings of the study, reporting that they fell asleep easier and faster when they used the blanket and that they felt better in the morning after having used it.

If you struggle with insomnia, especially but not necessarily insomnia that stems from anxiety, then you might be the perfect candidate for a weighted blanket! You’ll never know, though, until you try one.

 

Who Benefits From a Weighted Blanket?

Anyone who suffers from anxiety or insomnia should benefit from using a weighted blanket. In addition, children and adults who have ADHD, autism or a related disorder, or sensory processing problems often find the blankets especially useful, though not always for sleep.

As long as the blanket doesn’t make you feel claustrophobic, you should be able to benefit from one. Even if you already sleep well, if you’re interested in using a weighted blanket, there’s no reason not to try one. After all, you may find that you sleep even better or that you feel calmer when you are upset, even if you aren’t trying to sleep.

It’s a great idea to just keep a weighted blanket around. We all have those nights when we just can’t sleep, when some crazy thought or situation is causing enough anxiety and rumination that we can’t close our eyes. On nights like that, a weighted blanket could help even the best sleeper. And we all get emotionally upset, sometimes, too. Weighted blankets could help all of us calm down and feel safe and secure, even when the outside world is upsetting.

So anyone could benefit from the use of a weighted blanket. While insomniacs or those who suffer from anxiety will find them the most useful for sleeping, I don’t think there’s a person out there who wouldn’t find some benefit from one of these blankets.

 

How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?

 

 

The weight of your weighted blanket will be largely determined by your body weight. Most manufacturers and makers of these blankets say that adults should use a blanket that is 5-10% of their body weight. You may want to try several blankets to find one that feels like a hug and not like it is suffocating you.

For children, it’s very important to get a blanket that is not too heavy. While it might feel fine, or even good, on the child while he or she is awake and falling to sleep, it may impair breathing overnight. The rule of thumb is that a child should use a blanket that is 10% of their body weight, plus 1-2 pounds. It can also help to have an adult remove the blanket from the child once the child falls asleep. That way, the child can reap the blanket’s benefits without suffering any negative consequences from using it.

If you have any doubts about the proper weight of a blanket for you or a child, contact a doctor or an occupational therapist. They should know what weights are safe and will still offer all of the therapeutic benefits that you’re looking for.

 

Which Weighted Blankets are the Best?

We recommend several weighted blankets.

Weighted Idea Abilitations Blanket – $160

This weighted blanket comes in many sizes, from 5 pounds to 25 pounds. Each size is a different price. The one linked to here is 20 pounds and is designed for adults between 180 and 200 pounds. The blanket comes without a removable cover, which you can buy separately, and is a great size for using on king and queen beds. Customers love this blanket, saying that it has helped them treat everything from Restless Legs Syndrome to Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy. On the emotional side, they have successfully used it to help treat sleep disorders in people with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more.

Platinum Health Premium Weighted Blanket – $199

This 12 pound weighted blanket is great for larger children and adults. It offers technology designed not only to weight the blanket but to keep the weight evenly distributed all night long, no matter how much the sleeper moves. While the blanket only comes in one size, the manufacturer suggests using part of it or even doubling it if you don’t want as much weight. Customers love the minky feel to the blanket and have successfully used it to treat similar ailments to the ones listed above. The only downside to this blanket is that it sometimes gets separated from the cover which can make it harder to use.

ZonLi Premium Weighted Blanket – $164

This is another blanket that comes in multiple sizes and price points, from 12 pounds and $119 to the one listed here, at 20 pounds. You have your choices of colors, too, so you can make it match any bedroom. This blanket is sewn into small squares, with non-toxic pellets in each square, and you can buy a duvet cover for the blanket if you so desire. Customers love this blanket for treating all of their needs, and many claim significantly better sleep when they use it. The only downside is that the blanket can begin to leak pellets after sustained use.

YnM Weighted Blanket – $139.90

This blanket also comes in many sizes and weights, from 5 pounds to 25 pounds, with each size a different price. You can choose from several different patterns and colors, for both the blanket and a duvet cover for it. The blanket linked to here is 15 pounds and is the right size for use on a queen bed. Customers adore the way this blanket helps them sleep better, though some say that it holds a lot of heat. It does not seem to leak pellets, though. Some customers say they have never slept better than they do with this blanket.

If you’d like to try a weighted blanket, these are all great choices. Choose the one that fits your bed and your budget, and that is the right weight for you. If you’re sharing a bed with a partner, find one that will work for them, too. Hopefully, you’ll soon be having some of the best sleep of your life.


Rock yourself to sleep

Rock Yourself for Better Sleep

Do you struggle with insomnia? Or maybe you sleep all night but you never feel rested. Either way, you’d probably love to find a way to get the good sleep that you need. Otherwise, you’ll suffer all the ill effects that come with not getting good rest. Besides, not getting good sleep feels miserable, and who wants that in their life?

New research shows that rocking yourself to sleep can actually improve your rest. I know, it sounds crazy. After all, only babies and small children get rocked, right? While that’s the way we use rocking, it turns out that all of us could benefit from being rocked to sleep.

 

Rock yourself to sleep

 

Why Would I Rock Myself to Sleep?

Sure, it sounds a little crazy, or maybe a little childish. But rocking yourself to sleep really works. Science says so.

A recent study out of the University of Geneva, in Switzerland, looked at the effects of rocking on the sleep of 12 men. None of these men reported sleep disturbances or difficulties, so they were all considered normal sleepers. They were also well-rested when the experiment started, to eliminate sleepiness as a factor in the research.

These men each took two different 45-minute naps, on different days. One was on a regular bed, while the other was on a bed engineered to mimic the motion of a hammock. Researchers monitored each of the men with an EEG, which measures brain waves and brain activity.

This study produced several interesting findings.

  • Every single man fell asleep faster on the rocking bed than on the regular bed. While this is a small study of people without insomnia, this finding has exciting implications for insomniacs. It’s quite possible that most people will fall asleep faster when they are rocked than they do when they aren’t.
  • 8 out of the 12 participants liked the rocking bed more than they liked the regular one. They indicated to researchers that they found that nap “more pleasant” than the nap on the regular bed. This means that rocking doesn’t just make people sleep better, but it makes them feel better about their sleep, too.
  • Sleepers on the rocking bed moved more quickly into Stage 2 sleep, instead of staying longer in Stage 1. This is important because we spend most of the night – about 50% though it can vary from person to person and night to night – in Stage 2 sleep. Most people spend about the same time in Stage 1 every night, so hastening that process means getting to restorative stages of sleep faster.
  • Certain types of brain waves and other brain activity are closely associated with deeper, continuous sleep. Sleepers almost always report that deeper sleep is more restful. This means that rocking could not only help people fall asleep, but it could also help them stay asleep longer and get more out of the time they spend asleep. Again, this research is promising for insomniacs.

 

How to Rock Yourself to Sleep

You don’t have to bob back and forth like a crazy person to rock yourself to sleep. There are several different ways you can achieve the sensation of rocking. Some of these involve making a significant investment in your rest, while at least one is completely free.

 

 

  • Buy a rocking bed. This is a bed frame that you can put under your current mattress. When you turn the bed on, it gently rocks back and forth. The motion is comforting and seamless and feels a little like being in a hammock. You will simply slide back and forth all night long. This is an expensive option, but less so when you consider how much better you could end up sleeping. If possible, test out rocking sleep before you spend a lot on this bed. If you know you love it, it’s worth the money!
  • Use an electronic device to simulate rocking. There is a device out there that is about the size of an MP3 player and fits just behind your ear. It sends electrical impulses through your vestibular system, which makes you feel like you are rocking even though you are lying completely still. This device has been shown to reduce insomnia in 67% of people who have it significantly down to insignificant levels. That is huge! Clearly, you don’t actually have to be rocking to feel like you are, and the sensation is all that you need.
  • Visualize yourself rocking. You don’t have to actually sway but pretend that you are. Get into it! Visualize yourself in a hammock somewhere. Think about the scenery and about what you would hear and smell and taste. Or visualize yourself on a boat or a raft, gently rolling back and forth on small waves. You can even add music if the beat helps enhance your rocking sensation or it helps you get into your visualization. The more real you can make it, the more you will feel like you’re rocking and the greater benefits you can reap.

Rocking might sound a little crazy, but it seems to work. After all, women have been rocking and swaying with their babies for years, and most people get sleepy in the car. Even if you feel skeptical, it’s worth a try, especially if you struggle with insomnia. Who knows? You might have just found a way to sleep better for the rest of your life.


 


Short Queen Mattress

Choosing Between a Short Queen and a Queen Mattress

When you’re getting a new bed, it’s not uncommon to hear lots of phrases tossed around, but it can be hard to know what all of these mean. In order to get the bed that is right for you and for your living situation, though, it’s important to understand exactly what these words mean. They can clue you in to options you might not otherwise have considered.

One of the less common mattress sizes is the short queen. Here’s everything you need to know about it and about what might influence you to choose it, so you can make an informed decision for your home.

 

What is the Short Queen?

The short queen is just what it sounds like: the same width as a queen, but shorter. Specifically, the queen bed is 60 x 80 x 11, while the short queen is 60 x 75 x 11, though you can find them as short as 74”.

 

Mattress Size Dimensions
Twin  38″ x 75″
Twin XL  38″ x 80″
Full  53″ x 75″
Full XL  53″ x 80″
Short Queen  60″ x 75″
Queen  60″ x 80″
Olympic Queen  66″ x 80″
California Queen  60″ x 84″
King  76″ x 80″
California King  72″ x 84″

 

Who Chooses a Short Queen?

It may seem odd to shorten a bed by only 5”, but there are some places where this really works. If you’re buying a bed for an RV, the short queen can save you precious space. While 5” may not seem like much, it is a lot of room when your entire house is only a few hundred square feet. For the same reason, these mattresses are also popular in tiny homes.

Similarly, bedrooms in older houses are often much smaller than modern ones. If you live in an older home and don’t have the option to remodel or don’t want to, a short queen can give you the comfortable width of a queen without sacrificing so much of your room for your bed.

Other times, people choose a short queen for design purposes. If you’re trying to fit a piece of furniture at the end of your bed, for instance, it may not fit with a traditionally sized queen. A short queen, though, might do the trick. Similarly, some bedroom designs just work better with a short queen than they do with the traditional size. If you think you’d like to try something different, the short queen may be just the thing for you.

 

Things to Consider About the Short Queen

One of the most important considerations when deciding between a short queen and a queen is the height of the people who will be sleeping on the mattress. Short queen beds are, quite simply, uncomfortable for tall people. When your feet are hanging off a mattress or you can’t straighten all the way, sleeping can be hard. Since sleep is important, a comfortable mattress is key. This is one reason why many tall people avoid RV or tiny house living.

Short queen beds can also be more expensive than regular queens. Since they aren’t as popular, the demand is lower and the price can be higher. There are still affordable options out there, but you need to consider accessories, too. Unless you are buying a mattress for your RV, in which case the bed frame is usually already installed, finding sheets, blankets, toppers, protectors, bed frames, and more for a short queen can get expensive.

 

 

You may also have fewer options if you choose a short queen. Since the demand for them is much lower, manufacturers don’t produce all of their beds in this size. You may have to choose a mattress that feels less comfortable for you or offers less support, in order to get the short queen that you want. While you should still be able to find a bed that will work well for you, the process may be more difficult than it would otherwise have been.

You should consider your room size, too. In general, you want at least 2 feet of space on each side of your bed, and many people prefer 3. If you can’t get this with a regular queen, you may measure again to see if a short queen would work better.

In the end, you need to choose the bed that will work best for you. Consider the size of the room, the size of the sleepers, whether you need a specialty mattress, and your budget. If you can, try out a short queen before you commit to buying it, or get one that you can return if it doesn’t work out. That way, you can see if it will work for you and your space without having to commit to it forever.


Olympic Queen vs Queen Mattress

How is an Olympic Queen Different from a Queen Mattress?

Mattress shopping can be confusing. After all, it can feel like there are a million different kinds of beds out there and choosing the one that’s right for you is hard. When it comes to your options for different sizes of beds, that can feel confusing, too. You may be surprised to learn that there are bed sizes you probably haven’t heard of before. While these are less popular, they may be exactly what you need.

There are several different options when it comes to queen sized beds. One of these is the Olympic Queen. If you’re trying to choose between this and a regular queen, here is everything you need to know.

 

The Olympic Queen

While it may sound like a title for a top female sports here, an olympic queen is actually a mattress that is wider than a regular queen while still being narrower than a king. A traditional queen measures 60” x 80” and the olympic version is 66” x 80”. This extra space can mean more comfort, less fighting over mattress space, and can even mean that there’s room for a dog or a baby in the bed, too.

 

Using the Olympic Queen

There’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to who buys an olympic queen vs. a queen. For the most part, it has to do with space. You need to find a balance between the space available in your bedroom and the space that you need to sleep.

How much space a person needs in order to sleep well can vary widely. Some people don’t move much at night and sleep straight or curled up in a little ball. These folks can sleep comfortably on small beds. Other sleepers like to stretch out, relax, or prop themselves up with several pillows. All of this means that they will take up more space.

Whether or not you sleep with a partner also comes into the equation. Sleeping with another person almost always means taking into account how they sleep as well as how you like to rest. If both you and your partner like to take up a lot of space when you sleep, then a regular queen could very well be too small to provide the space you both need to get comfortable.

When it comes to the size of your room, think about everything you want to fit in the bedroom. You’ll want at least 2 feet of space around the bed except for the side that’s up against the wall, preferably 3. That’s so you can walk around the bed comfortably, without worrying about tripping or falling.

You will also want your bed to balance the space well. A bigger space will require a bigger bed, while a smaller space will need a smaller bed. Queen mattresses, in general, are perfect for medium-sized bedrooms. If your room is wider than it is long or you don’t quite have room for a king, then an olympic queen could fit perfectly in your room.

 

 

Things to Consider When Choosing Between a Queen and an Olympic Queen

Outside of the space concerns mentioned above, the biggest consideration when you’re choosing between a queen mattress and an olympic queen is the price. Because the olympic queen is less popular, it’s often more expensive. This price difference can vary, though. For some manufacturers, the olympic queen is only $50-$100 more. For others, it’s a more significant cost increase.

Similarly, all of your bed accessories will be more expensive when you’re getting an olympic queen. This includes your bed frame, any mattress pads and protectors, bedding, and more. While you can always use king sized bedding as a workaround, it won’t look the same as bedding made for your olympic queen sized bed.

Outside of price, you may not have as many options in the olympic queen size as you will if you buy a regular queen. Many manufacturers don’t make this bed in every type of mattress, and some don’t make it at all. If you have your heart set on getting a particular type of bed from a particular manufacturer, make sure it’s available in olympic queen before you decide you need that bed size.

In the end, you need to choose the bed that will work best for you. Consider how you and your partner sleep, the size of your room, your budget, and whether the mattress you love comes in the size you need. Put all of this together, and you should find a bed that’s perfect for you.


 


Why Are Yawns Contagious

Why is Yawning Contagious?

When you see someone yawning, do you feel the urge to yawn, too? This is called contagious yawning, and researchers have done numerous studies trying to determine why we do it. After all, we don’t tend to imitate every action we see. Why yawning? What makes it so special?

There are several theories for why we yawn when we see others doing it. While the consensus seems to be that we need to do more research to figure out why this happens, the results we have so far are interesting.

Empathy

For years, people have wondered if contagious yawning is a sign of empathy. If this is true, then highly empathic people would be more likely to yawn than those with less empathic ability. One study that seems to support this shows that contagious yawning doesn’t begin until about age 4. Since this is also when empathy skills begin to develop, it would make sense that the two are connected.

Another study seemed to tie the two more directly: the more empathy a person had, the more likely they were to catch a yawn. This could mean that studying contagious yawning might have implications for autism and schizophrenia, as individuals with these disorders often have less empathy and also show less contagious yawning. However, this study has not been replicated, and other studies seem to indicate other causes for contagious yawning.

Temperature

While yawning could be tied to something in the brain, there’s also a chance that it is no more than a reaction to the environment. One study shows that all yawning, including contagious yawning, is more likely to occur when the ambient temperature is right around 68 degrees.

Since yawning is associated with sleepiness and this is within the window of ideal sleep temperatures, it’s possible that the temperature triggers the brain to try and fall asleep. It’s also possible that yawning activates some sort of heating or cooling mechanism in the body, though that is purely theoretical at this point.

Age

Yet another study shows that the only possible cause of contagious yawning is age. Young children don’t do it and the response slows down as we get older. However, this only accounts for 8% of the variation between people when it comes to the ability to catch a yawn. In some studies, though, it’s the only possible cause that stands out.

Whether age is a cause of contagious yawning remains to be proven. It may be that we gain and lose some other ability at certain ages, and it is this ability that allows us to catch a yawn from someone else.

 

 

Evolution

It’s quite possible that contagious yawning has some evolutionary advantage. There’s some evidence that whether or not a person catches a yawn from someone else has to do with how much activity that person has in their motor cortex. The more activity, the more likely they are to yawn. When researchers stimulated that cortex with electricity, the propensity increased even more. This could mean that yawning has something to do with the fight or flight reflex: maybe it helps activate it or helps us move when movement is essential to survival.

Another study that supports this theory shows that yawning activates the amygdala. This part of the brain handles fear and heightens our attention. It is essential in activating the fight or flight reflex. Thinking evolutionarily, if yawning helps wake this part of the brain up so we can run, it makes sense that the whole group would move into action together. It follows, then, that one yawn would set off others until the entire group was ready to move.

Copycatting

Some researchers think that contagious yawning is nothing more than a social phenomenon. We think that yawning is contagious. So we yawn when we see other people yawn. In this theory, we don’t have to yawn when other people do. There’s no compulsion and nothing biological that causes us to do this. We simply believe that this is what happens, so we make it happen. If we believed differently, we would act differently, too.

These researchers are quick to point out that they may be wrong. Their main point is that we assume yawning is contagious, but we haven’t actually proven that. Before we study why we yawn contagiously, we should make sure that it’s an actual phenomenon and not a product of our imaginations.

For most of us, yawning feels good. Even if we don’t know why we yawn, especially when we aren’t particularly sleepy or bored, it seems to have a restful effect on the body. So there’s always a chance that, when we see someone doing something that is easy and feels good, we usually decide to do it, too.


 


Help house guests sleep better

Help Your House Guests Sleep Better

Whether you love having house guests or having them around stresses you out, you want them to be comfortable. That can be harder than it sounds when you also use your guest room for something else, when your guests keep a different sleep schedule than you do, or when you have children or animals who make noise at night.

No matter your situation, you can help your guests have a better night’s sleep. Taking just a few simple steps can mean the difference between guests who can’t sleep at all and ones who love to stay at your house and want to come back again and again.

Have a Comfortable Mattress

This might seem easy until you think about it. Finding a mattress that most people will find comfortable, that is supportive no matter your guest’s sleeping position, and that doesn’t break the bank can be hard. However, there are options out there that will work for you.

One idea is to go with a firm, supportive innerspring mattress with an optional foam topper. If your guests like firm beds, remove the topper. If they like soft ones, put it on and they may not even notice how firm the bed is. You could also go with a hybrid mattress option, as these combine the best of innerspring and foam or latex. A medium-firm mattress, no matter the type, is also a good choice for a guest room.

 

 

Offer Pillow Options

A person’s favored sleeping position and their own comfort sensibilities usually determine which pillows they find the most comfortable. It’s not hard to have several options for your guests, so they can choose the one that will give them the best night’s sleep. You don’t have to break the bank on these. Usually, you can get good quality pillows online for less than they are in the store, or you can wait for a sale.

Some pillows are designed to work no matter how your sleeper sleeps. These are usually a bit more expensive, but if you want to invest in them for your guest bedroom, you can ensure that your guests will have the neck and head support they need.

Make the Room Inviting

There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a room when you feel like you’re not wanted there. Even if your guest room doubles as an office, a craft room, or storage, you can do a few things to let your guests know how happy you are that they’re there. Put a small candle on the bedside table. Make sure there’s a lamp set up so they can read. Offer a selection of blankets so they can choose how warm they want to be.

Get the Temperature Right

Ideal sleeping temperature is around 60-65 degrees, though it can vary depending on the person. Let your guests set their own temperature by letting them know they can open the window, or providing a space heater, a fan, or even a portable air conditioner. This acknowledges that their ideal sleeping temp may be different from yours, and invites them to do what they need to do to sleep well.

Include a Clock

Many people use their phones as alarm clocks, but it’s always nice to be able to wake up in the night and see what time it is without having to check your phone. In fact, many people will sleep easier if they know what time it is, especially in a strange place. Put a digital alarm clock somewhere where they can easily see it from the bed, but where the light from the clock won’t be in their faces while they’re trying to sleep. Make sure the clock isn’t too bright. Red is always a good color for clock numbers, as it doesn’t disrupt night vision.

 

 

Keep the House Quiet

When you have pets, children, or noisy neighbors, it can be hard to make your house quiet enough for guests to sleep well. This is particularly true if your guests aren’t used to any of these noises. Do your best by putting your guest room as far away from the main living spaces as possible. You may also want to avoid putting it in the basement, as the sounds of people or animals walking around above can seem amplified when you’re down below.

Offer Sleep Aids

There are all sorts of sleep aids you can offer your guests. They may not use them (and most won’t use them all) but having them says that you care and can help your guests sleep better. Offer earplugs, in case your guests like them or there’s unexpected noise. An eye mask can block ambient light. Essential oils and a diffuser can help set the tone for a restful night.

Let Them Use Ambient Noise

Some people sleep better with white noise or natural sounds. An inexpensive noise machine can let them select the sounds they want so they can sleep well. They may not use it, but they will always be glad that it’s there for them if they need it!

There’s always something you can do to let your house guests know you care about them. Helping them get a good night’s sleep can go far towards showing your love and making them feel welcome, wanted, and desired. If you want your house guests to return again and again, help them rest.