You are all settled in for the night, cozy and warm in your bed. You start to drift off to dreamland, and all of a sudden you are falling or something hits you in the face. Whatever it is, you are suddenly startled awake with a jolt.
This strange sensation actually occurs on a regular basis to many people, and scientists have finally figured out what it means.
This process of being startled awake is referred to as the “hypnic jerk.” Although everyone has their own unique experiences with the hypnic jerk and describe the feeling a little differently, it is often explained as the feeling of falling.
The hypnic jerk is most often seen when a person falls asleep rapidly during or after an exhaustive state. When the body is exhausted, the brain can process the stages of sleep too quickly. This confuses the brain into thinking that the body and its major systems are failing. The brain then responds by jolting you awake with a burst of chemicals and then builds a dream designed to wake you up.
Check out this video from Discovery News to better understand the hypnic jerk and why we twitch.
Have you ever wondered why you dream? There are many theories as to why we dream. Do we dream as a means of clearing out all the unnecessary junk in our brains? Do we dream so our body can easily rest while our mind focuses on the dream? Are dreams meant to foresee the future or analyze the present? Many people believe that dreams have meanings that represent emotions we feel during the previous days or weeks, or that they represent challenges we face in daily life. Psychologists have noticed recurring themes in many people’s dreams and have studied and assigned potential meanings to the dreams we have each night. Here are the meanings of some themes that occur in most people’s dreams from time to time.
When you dream that you are flying it means that you are “high on life,” that you are feeling empowered, or that you recently broke away from something in your life that you felt was constraining you from moving forward.
Falling in a dream signifies that you may be hanging on too tightly to something in your life, and that you need to let it go.
This dream is probably the one I hear about the most when people are telling me about their nightmares. Being chased in a dream means that you may have a difficult issue in your life that you are avoiding because you don’t know how to confront it.
Death in a dream represents change, endings, and transition. Whether it is you or someone else who dies, it signifies an ending of a part of your waking life. Many times if you have lost a friendship or are getting ready to move far away, or if there are other big changes on the horizon, this type of dream manifests as the change in your life occurs.
Showing Up Late
Journalists, lawyers, students, and others who have regular deadlines are likely to dream about showing up late more often than most other people. People who have this dream have recently given themselves a deadline, whether it is work-related (like a report), or personal (like a weight-loss goal for an important event), and they are likely feeling the pressure to meet that deadline on time.
Teeth Falling Out
In a dream, your teeth represent your personal confidence. If you dream that your teeth are falling out, disintegrating, or get knocked out, you may have a situation in your life that is causing you to doubt yourself or lose confidence in a pursuit.
Now that you have a better understanding of what some of your dreams may mean, check out another OMI blog to see why we dream!
I never thought about how a pillow can affect your quality of sleep and even your quality of life, but it really does make a huge difference in both respects. I grew up, as many of us do, sleeping on cotton or wool pillows. There are so many different types of pillows, and they are all meant for a variety of purposes. So how do you choose the right pillow for you?
Your pillow preference will depend on many factors, including your size, shape, and preferred sleeping position/s. A pillow that is good for a stomach sleeper may not have enough support for a side sleeper. Some pillows are better for people who suffer from allergies. Some can last much longer than others. OMI offers a variety of great pillows to meet your personalized needs. They are made with certified organic Eco-Wool™, certified organic cotton, 100%-natural rubber latex, and/or organic buckwheat hulls, in a variety of styles and comforts and covered in a luxuriously soft certified organic cotton cover.
So how do you know which pillow is right for you?
For those of you seeking a firmer, flatter pillow, our cotton pillows are filled with pure, sanitized 100% certified organic cotton.
If you’d like a pillow that feels soft and springy, offers natural body-temperature regulation, and compacts less than cotton, then our Eco-Wool™ pillow is for you!
Latex pillows are my personal preference. I am a back and side sleeper, and I LOVE how latex instantly conforms to and supports my head and neck. OMI’s molded latex pillow has a comfortable medium support, and is perfect for when I am sleeping face-up. It supports my head and neck without pushing back too much on my head.
The contour pillow is great for side sleepers. It contours to the curve of your neck and successfully keeps your head and neck aligned by filling in the space between your head and shoulders. It has a lower side and a higher side, so you have the choice of less or more support. Plus, dust mites hate latex, which makes them great for people with allergies, and OMI’s 100%-natural rubber latex pillows do not offgas harmful chemicals.
OMI also offers 100%-natural shredded rubber latex pillows. Shredded latex pillows are great for sleepers who would like the benefits of a latex pillow, but are not sure what kind of loft would be best for their needs. The Wool-Wrapped 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow and the Crush™ 100%-natural shredded rubber pillow both offer customizable comfort.
The certified organic cotton zippered cover allows the owner to add or remove the shredded latex to create a lighter or fuller comfort. The wool-wrapped shredded latex pillow has an outer chamber filled with our certified organic Eco-Wool™, which helps you to sleep cooler.
The wool-wrapped buckwheat pillow is another great option for sleepers who prefer to customize their pillow loft. In this dual-chambered pillow, the outside chamber is filled with organic Eco-Wool™, which cushions both the feel and the sound associated with buckwheat pillows. The inner chamber is filled with certified organic buckwheat hulls, which you can add or remove to customize your comfort.
No matter what your needs or preferences, OMI has the pure, organic pillow for you!
Click here for more information or to find the nearest OMI retailer.
Have you ever had trouble sleeping when you are in a new place? Do you toss and turn or easily wake when you travel or sleep somewhere other than your own bedroom? If so, you are not alone. According to a new study published in the journal “Current Biology,” it is a very normal occurrence for your first night’s sleep in new surroundings to be less than satisfactory.
Researchers at Brown University found that, similar to some animals, only half of the human brain “sleeps” the first night a person sleeps in a new environment. Research showed that the left hemisphere of the brain, the more logical and analytical side, was still actively “awake” throughout the night. The researchers believe that it is our brain’s way of “keeping watch” in unfamiliar territory. Though humans no longer worry about predators lurking in the darkness, our brains evolved during a time when that threat was very real.
So next time you are traveling or house sitting, plan accordingly, because your first night of sleep away from home will most likely not be as good as usual.
For more information, check out NPR’s article, “Half Your Brain Stands Guard When Sleeping In A New Place.”
Our whole lives, we have been told by parents, doctors, teachers, the media, and even our government that it is very important to incorporate foods into our diets that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals support our bodies’ functions by increasing the efficiency of our bodies’ systems. Sleep is one of our most important functions because it allows us to rest, renew, and detoxify during the night. A good, deep rest also supports cell regeneration.
Some vitamins and minerals that support sleep are Vitamin D, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and potassium.
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to cause daytime sleepiness. As our modern lives get busier, we are getting outside less than previous generations. Less time outside means we are getting less exposure to the sun, and therefore, not producing enough Vitamin D.
You can easily and naturally increase your Vitamin D by spending a bit more time outside, though it takes 2-3 months of regular sun exposure to build up the Vitamin D your body needs. Other options include adding fortified cereal or milk to your diet or taking a Vitamin D supplement.
Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are important minerals our bodies need for a good night’s rest. Both nutrients are imperative to the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by our bodies to help us feel sleepy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia. Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans and various nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Salmon, halibut, and tuna are good sources of Vitamin B6.
Potassium has been shown to help people stay asleep and have a deeper, more restful sleep. Though we think of bananas as a potassium-rich option, winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and yogurt provide more potassium per serving.
Making sure you are getting enough of these four vitamins and minerals will help you fall asleep faster and sleep better and longer.
Check out the following articles for more information on the benefits of adding these vitamins and minerals to your daily diet.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? One of the easiest ways to combat insomnia and sleeplessness is to utilize the benefits of natural essential oils. Whether you apply the oils topically, add them to a warm bath, diffuse them, or spritz* them onto your pillowcase or eyemask, certain essential oils provide relief for insomnia and aid in falling and staying asleep.
By now, many people know that lavender helps to soothe and relax tired minds and muscles. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.” It is also beneficial as a bug repellent and antibiotic, for all you avid campers.
This essential oil is one of my favorites for relaxation, probably because of its fragrant floral notes. It reduces stress and relaxes the nerves. I like to mix a couple drops of this with lavender or chamomile for added benefits.
Roman Chamomile has a sweet, fruity aroma. It has a calming effect, and is great to diffuse for a soothing and peaceful environment, i.e., one that promotes and supports sleep.
Bergamot is a good choice for someone who loves citrus scents, but it is much more calming than the more stimulating oils of grapefruit or tangerine. It is great for “clearing your head” in preparation for a peaceful night’s rest.
This essential oil is extracted from the root of the vetiver plant. It has a warm, earthy scent, and promotes sleep while also relieving stress and muscle tension.
* I recommend adding a couple drops of essential oil to a water-based spritzer so the oil does not stain your bed linens.
It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?
According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep! For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html