I always appreciate that the white sales start at the beginning of the year. It is an easy time for you to remember that you bedding needs to be changed. A pillow receives a great deal of wear and tear and accumulates a lot of dirt, skin and other allergens.
You would be amazed at how much better you will sleep when you replace your pillow. The big question is which pillow to buy. That is a tough question to answer. It depends on many things. Do you need one with a great deal of support or that is designed for those who have a bad neck or back? Then a memory foam pillow may be a good choice. They now have ones that have a cooling pad added so you will not overheat.
If you are a person who needs a pillow that you can crumple up and design to your specific design than a buckwheat pillow, my pillow or a shredded foam pillow might be what you need. These pillows conform to a person’s specific needs so they can feel comfortable.
If you do not have specific needs then you should buy a pillow designed for the position you sleep in most of the time. If you are a belly sleeper or back sleeper your pillow may be flatter do you do not put too much pressure on your neck. If you are a side sleeper you may want a higher pillow so you do not wake up with a kink in your neck.
You may also want to look at replacing your mattress if it is over 10 years old. Most mattresses are designed to last approximately ten years if you maintain it properly. If you have had it for more than ten years you might want to consider a new mattress. If you have an inner spring mattress this is the perfect time to rotate your bed. You should flip it if it is a reversible mattress or at least rotate it 180 degrees so you change where the pressure points are on the bed. This will help it to last longer.
Sheets, blanket and other accessories should be changed as you need them. But if you have an electric blanket or mattress pad this is a great time to inspect them to make sure there are no frayed wires.
The New Year gives us a marker of when to look at our beds and our comfort. Comfortable sleep should be a priority since it contributes to your health and to other resolutions such as weight loss. A little time taken to look at your bedding can give you great results.
I talk a great deal about the importance of adding sleep as a part of your lifestyle. What you need to know is how to set and add this to your lifestyle. This is the time of year that most people are setting resolutions or making change; the truth is that most people do not follow through because they do not know how to set a goal that will motivate them to change.
The theory of SMART goal setting is sound but there is a significant key that is missing. The true motivation for the goal. This is not I want more energy or a healthy lifestyle but is something that is personal and is emotionally significant.
I come from a long line of women who develop cancer. Poor sleep can contribute to this condition. I know it is an issue but it is not something that will drive me to change. I am also going to college for my MBA. I am quite passionate about school because it affects my self-worth, my career and education really revs up my life. I know that in order for me to be a successful student I need to be well rested. That will allow me to think clearly so I can take in new information, write papers and take quizzes. This is much more likely to motivate me to change my sleep pattern so I will be more successful in school. Now that I have this emotional motivation I can create my SMART goal to achieve.
I will go to bed at 9:30 pm on weeknights and 10:30 pm on weekends (this hour difference is not drastic and allows me time to be with my son in the evenings on the weekends). I will meet this bed time 26 out of 30 days a month. I will share this with my mentor so I can be held accountable. This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time specific. It allows me to not be perfect. It takes into account what I need to do to achieve it.
If I want to get more specific I would include my sleep routine that would start at 9 pm and would include my 10 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of reading and 5 minutes of night-time hygiene. The more specific it is the more likely I am to follow through.
Once I have achieved one goal as part of my lifestyle than I can add a second goal. I would rather be successful at one thing than to fail at multiple things because I was unable to balance all my expectations.
When we think about health we usually think about disease control or weight or maybe even wellness. One of the few things that will affect all these areas is sleep. If you make sleep your priority you will not only affect your health but you will start to create optimal wellness.
Sleep research has found that sleep deprivation contributes to multiple issues such as dementia, colon cancer and diabetes. Not to mention the daily issues of poor memory, fatigue and the lack of focus that can keep a person from reaching their goals.
So how do we improve our sleep so we can improve ort health? Most people believe that they are short sleepers and that they only need to sleep 5 to 6 hours a night. This is not true. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours. Younger people need even more. But we need to train our body to sleep. Our brains work like computers and like a routine to tell us what to do. They want to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. They like to do the same thing before we go to sleep. That means we need to create a sleep routine just like when our patents created one for us when we were kids. It needs to be between 20 and 40 minutes long and it needs to be personalized so that we are comfortable with it. The following are some suggestions for creating a personal sleep routine.
This week the FDA took a look at sleeping pills and their affect on our system the next day. The issues is more an an issue with women because our metabolism is slower to process medications and so the effects last longer.
Consider that we also put off when we go to bed and take our sleep pills and shorten our sleep and you can see how medication may have side effects. If you read the medications it suggests that you have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Many people take their medications around 11pm because that is there bedtime and then get up at 6-7am thinking that is enough time in bed. The problem is that the medication is still in your system and makes you fatigued.
Driving while fatigued has been shown to be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. With this issue and the number of people taking medication it makes the morning drive time more dangerous.
If you are going to use prescription sleep aids consider using them carefully. Make sure you take them early enough. Taking them at 9-10pm may be a better time. Consider using sleep hygiene to assist you in going to sleep earlier.
This week there has been a lot of publicity about the research that associates obesity to children having tonsillectomy surgery. The idea that a child might gain weight because they had their tonsils removed makes me wonder if the right questions were truly asked. Were the children obese prior to the surgery? Does the family have a weight issue? What is the child's diet and exercise like prior to the surgery? All these can affect the future of the child.
The problem with research is that it is trying to prove an outcome and although the research might prove the question is it truly the reason for the association? Was the outcome then to say we should not do a tonsillectomy because then the child might have weight issues? What would be the affect of continuously having sleep apnea? They are more likely to have learning problems, mood problems, weight problems, long term health issues including diabetes and hypertension. I believe all these outcomes would be significantly worse.
Maybe the question should be are we teaching wellness care to parents and children? There is so much information that contradicts each other on the internet; where many parents get their medical advice. There needs to be more information for them to gather on how to help children sleep. There needs to be information about bedtime routines and the effect of sunshine and dark as a way to help sleep.
I will be adding suggestions for sleep routines and ways to help children and parents with their health issues through better sleep. When we lack sleep we crave more, move less, remember less and are very cranky. We need to get back to the old fashion forms of wellness that include sleep.
Healthy living requires a great deal of planning. Most people do not consider sleep something they have to plan. The benefits of sleep outweigh the work required to plan for a good night sleep. When we focus on our goal to look better, to feel better, and to improve our memory the extra 10 minutes that are necessary to plan a good night sleep seem well worth it. Let’s take some time to review the benefits you may not have thought about.
A good night sleep helps rebuild collagen this gives her skin more elasticity and less wrinkles. This helps improve our overall look and makes us feel younger. When we are feeling good we are willing to do more during the day. Sleep also helps contribute to being able to perform more activities. Those who play golf have noticed that when they get a proper night sleep their scores go down. This is because the brain works better when it is not sleep deprived. The benefit is that the increased exercise allows you to sleep better which then them helps you improve your gain more. Proper sleep also allows for better social function. When we are feeling healthy and well rested we are able to interact with other people on a higher level. We are able to make more successful judgments. We are able to accept more events that do not necessarily fall within the box that we consider normal disability to accept is in direct proportion to the amount of sleep that we have the night before.
A good night’s sleep also helps those that we are with during the day whether it’s our spouse, our children, or our current coworkers. When we are sleep deprived we make poor decisions. When we have enough sleep we are able to access more of our brain more of our memories and more averred areas of judgment and so we are able to communicate better with those around us.
It is our job to ask our doctors when we are not getting enough sleep how to achieve optimal sleep. You must let him know if there is snoring teeth grinding movements or others or getting up to go the bathroom multiple times during the night. Each of these issues can be handled if the physician knows about them.
Our ultimate goal is to be healthy and to be as active as possible for as long as possible. If we can also look good at the same time the entire better. It’s a simple step to get enough sleep so you can achieve all these benefits.
This has been a big year in sleep. The research and knowledge the public has about the importance of sleep has been mind boggling. I have been amazed at the new ideas shared and the growth of new ideas in therapy.
The connection to sleep deprivation and sleep apnea as an independent contributor to diseases from aging to cancer to diabetes to heart disease and glaucoma has really brought to light that sleep is essential. Some of the connections have to do with the continual decrease in oxygen caused by sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation has contributed to memory issues, and other issues of brain disease.
The use of therapies for sleep apnea and sleep deprivation have improved and take into account changes in lifestyle. The use of weight loss, cognitive behavioral therapy and oral appliances to treat mild apnea and PAP intolerance has improved and become more widely available. The idea that using more than one therapy to treat a person is something that really has helped to look more holistically at sleep disorders.
Some of the research also found that we are constantly walking around sleep deprived. Our teens and young adults are so plugged in that they are texting in their sleep. We have done a poor job of associating sleep with good grades and productivity to our young adults.
But to me the most exciting thing is the number of sites out there to educate people about sleep. Doctors, technologist and therapists have been working on changing the average American's view of sleep and its role in our health.
If we can continue to make sleep a priority and understand how much healthier we will be if we get a good night sleep we will have a great New Year.