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Getting a Better Night's Rest

Introduction

There are only a few things in life we cannot get enough of and one of those things is enough quality sleep. Most people don't give this any serious thought, they figure they go to bed and that's all they can do but in actuality there's a lot you can do to ensure a better night's sleep. And if you can get even 15 minutes of additional high quality rest that can make all the difference in the world. Combine that possibility with the fact that you can increase the entire quality of your sleep by taking note of a number of potential sleep disturbing factors and you can really feel like a changed person in a short amount of time.

Here is an article to help anyone expose the enemies that lurk in your bedroom, sabotaging your sleep, to help you regain a better, more productive life.

Your Mattress

Sleep Center in Edinburgh, Scotland, found that the latest mattresses give you up to 42 extra minutes of sleep per night.1)

Sleep and chiropractor experts recommend testing a mattress at least for a 5 minute period, something hardly anybody ever thinks about do it as most people try out their new mattress for maximum 1 minute which is hardly enough time.2) And because it’s such a large item, most don’t bother returning it for a new one because it’s simply too much of a hassle. Lie down on it and if you are with your spouse, ask him/her to do the same and test it out in a real world scenario.

Wait to be comfortable – Now ask yourself, I would like this to feel a bit more firm or a bit softer.

Whatever you ultimately choose, be sure to change after 10 years for structural strength weakens over time, even if they recommend a 15 guarantee. And the Cushion is recommended to be replaced after 2-3 years. This may be a bit much for more people, especially if you spend lots of money on a pillow top mattress or even a foam mattress.3) These are simply what experts recommend while in the real world you should always listen to your back and your sleep.

If your back is starting to hurt or you sleep is no longer what it used to be then that’s when it’s time to buy a new mattress. And most mattresses do come with a 20 year warranty just be sure to follow the cleaning and maintenance schedule. Some require that you flip the mattress over every so often so you get an even wear and prevent bulging in the middle section of the mattress, so be sure you keep up with whatever the manufacturer recommends.4)

Diet - Low Level Blood-Sugar

You already know that dinner should be taken at least 2 hours before bedtime to prevent indigestion issues at night, but if you go to bed hungry you may not have an easy time falling asleep.5)

Lack of food leads to hypoglycemia, therefore the body feels indebted to release adrenaline. Eating things such as yogurt and nuts before bed is a good idea, because both contain tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, which is a natural antidepressant. If you’re on a diet then try the low fat or low yogurt but be careful as the lower the fat the more sugar they put in yogurt and the sugar will then keep you awake. The best thing is plain yogurt, where the only sugar is natural sugar from the lactose which your body will treat very differently than the sugar or corn syrup used in most “fruit yogurts”.

Fancy Bed-Sheets

You love expensive fancy linens? Well, materials that do not require ironing might have been treated with a resin based composite formaldehyde, which can cause insomnia. Silk is nice but the body sweats on average over a liter per night and silk simply doesn’t absorb moisture so the best thing to use is cotton. Not as fancy but your mind will thank you for it when you get an optimal night’s rest.

Furthermore, internationally required standards are stringent when it comes to treating fabrics with formaldehyde, but imports from China are very cheap bedding, and like one would expect, you get what you pay for. You get better sleep as you move towards organic linens – organic cotton being the best. If you have allergies you may want to check for specific treatments or dyes used in your bedding, which is why organic is the best way to go. It may cost a bit more but it’s the safest and it guarantees no allergic reactions.

Curtains

Lights in bedroom windows and will naturally disrupt your sleep, something that is common sense but most people don’t give it a lot of thought and thus lose precious, final minutes of sleep every morning – and it’s usually those final minutes of sleep which are the most rewarding.6)

Your brain reacts to the darkness, forcing the brain to produce melatonin in the right quantity, so the room where you sleep needs to be as dark as possible when you turn off the light. I say in the right quantities because some people take melatonin capsules and that’s not always a good idea. Melatonin is a hormone and so if you take too much of it your body will have to do something to bring itself back into balance and when there is too much melatonin in the brain you are essentially causing a hormone imbalance which can lead to serious problems after years of overuse.7)

As with any vitamins, take them in moderation and give your body a break on a regular basis. With melatonin, I usually don’t take more than a 3mg tablet and I try to never take it more than twice per week. Treat it just like you would any other drug, because the side effects can be just as bad with prolonged use. Invest in heavy curtains or blinds that completely block outside light and you will truly enjoy those final 20 minutes of rest every morning.

Plasma or LED TV in Your Bedroom

Are you one of those people who fall asleep watching TV before bed? This is a serious enemy of sleep. Why, you ask?

Basically all TV screens emit a blue-white light that inhibits the production of melatonin – this is the hormone I mentioned earlier which plays a vital role in regulating the biological clock and sleep functions.8)

And it’s not just TV’s, studies have found that smart phones and electronic tablets (iPads) emit a similar light, so try not to leave the gadgets turned on in the room where you sleep and try to not watch TV right before bed.9)

And the same is true for your alarm clock. How many times per night or early in the morning have you woken up to see what time it is, so place the clock away from you so you cannot see it while still using it for an alarm clock. And if you don’t need an alarm clock then simply remove the clock from your bedroom altogether.

Dust Under the Bed

Here’s one nobody ever thinks about. But did you forget to vacuum under the furniture in the bedroom? Dust mites and dust particles build up over time and create a deposit of substances that affect your breathing and can even cause insomnia.

And while we’re on the subject of dust and dust mites – it’s a good idea to change out your pillow every 2-3 years, some say even more often, due to the fact that dust particles and dust mites migrate into the pillow itself and eventually build up in very large quantities. And that’s where your nose is buried every night, all night long. Or you can buy special pillow covers which prevent dust mites from entering your pillow and since these are synthetic covers just place your organic pillow cover over it and then if you have a $300 down pillow you don’t have to throw it out after a just a couple of years.

- Maximilian Wilhelm

Citations


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