8 Holiday Sleep Tips So You Don’t Become the Grinch!

 

The holidays can be full of magic, family fun, delicious foods and more but they can also be full of stress, guests and interruptions of your regular schedule. Here are some ways to ensure the holidays are enjoyable and you get all the zzz’s you need to bring joy this season!

  1. Get ahead of the holidays

This time of year is always hectic. There are many things that need doing, from decorating for the holidays to baking to shopping for presents, preparing for guests, and more. Many of us put these jobs off until the last minute, which makes for a stressful holiday. It is no fun to be running around on the eve of the holiday looking for the last-minute gifts you forgot to order or grocery shopping on the day of a big dinner.

To avoid stress and sleep deprivation, get a jump start on your holiday planning. Make a list of things that need to be done and begin to make a timeline for when the tasks need to be done. If after writing your to-do list you still feel overwhelmed, ask for help!

  1. Don’t overload yourself

The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. What better way to make your holiday less stressful than to recruit your family to help you prepare for the holidays? Plan a shopping trip or a baking day to help bring fun to tasks that can feel overwhelming. If you are hosting a dinner, ask family members to bring a dish to help minimize the amount you need to prepare.

  1. Don’t stop exercising

Active retired couple playing in the snow

Routine exercise is one of the greatest promoters of good, quality sleep. While it is tempting to take some time off during the holidays, don’t do it! It’s not only good for the body, it is great for the mind as well. Exercise is a great tool to help eliminate stress. You can always adapt your exercise routine around the holidays. If you have company staying, try picking activities that they can be included in, such as walks or outings. If you have young children, get outside and enjoy the outdoors, build a snowman, go snowshoeing or skiing, etc.

  1. Don’t overdo the snacking, especially at night.

All the yummy foods and desserts make an appearance this time of year, and the temptation to indulge can be a constant battle. It is ok to have some treats here and there, but stuffing yourself right before bed can cause your body to have to work harder to break down all that food while you are asleep. When your body has to focus more energy on processing those gingerbread cookies, it takes away from repairing and refreshing itself during sleep. Also late-night snacking can increase acid reflux, which can make falling asleep and staying asleep that much more difficult.

So what foods are best for nighttime snacking? Shredded wheat cereal with milk, or crackers and cheese, make great snacks. Complex carbs, milk and cheese are great at promoting sleep.

  1. Don’t drink too much

Drunken Gingerbread cookie man in a Christmas cocktail

Be aware of those tempting eggnog and peppermint specialty drinks this holiday.

While alcohol can induce drowsiness and help you fall asleep more quickly it can also disturb your rest and lessen the quality of your sleep. Alcohol decreases the amount of REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs and learning and when memories are stored.

  1. Keep your regular sleep schedule

It is easy to stay up later than normal, catching up with old friends, attending Christmas parties, wrapping presents, etc. but those late nights can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. It is important to keep your regular sleep schedule, but if disruptions are unavoidable, try to limit them to no more than an hour off your regular schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood and behavior changes, so if you don’t want to become Scrooge, make sure that sleep is a priority.

If you are traveling across time zones, it can be harder to keep your regular schedule. Try to maintain as close to a regular sleep schedule as possible, especially on “mini vacations,” so it won’t affect you in the long run.

  1. Turn off that technology

Mom with child reading book and relaxing by the fire place some cold evening, winter weekends, cozy scene

To promote restful sleep, it is best to have a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off tablets, phones, computers, etc. at least an hour before bed to allow your brain to “power down.”

Electronic devices emit a light similar to that of daylight. Our brains get tricked by this light, as it associates it with daylight, which can delay the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

Be sure to not let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber you not only crave, but need to make it through to the new year.

The dangers of common dust in your home

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Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.

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The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here

Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.

In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.

This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.

Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.

To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE

Social Media Can Be Damaging Your Sleep

Every night our routine is the same. We put on our cozy pajamas, wash our face, brush our teeth, and then climb into bed. But rather than close our eyes and think of all the wonderful things that happened in the day and then drift off to sleep, we grab for our smartphones or tablets and begin the scrolling marathon.   We check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Reddit, Pinterest…. the list goes on and on. Before you know it, you just spent 30 minutes in Internet land when you could have been blissfully asleep.

But thanks to a study published by the journal Preventive Medicine, we now have a compelling reason to put the phone down – and not just at bedtime.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine released findings showing that young adults who spend many hours on social media during the day or who check in frequently are more likely to experience sleep problems. The study analyzed questionnaires of 1,788 U.S. adults ages 19-32 regarding the top 11 social media platforms:

“On average, study participants spent a total of 61 minutes per day on social media and accessed their various social media accounts 30 times per week.

“Nearly 30 percent of participants reported high levels of sleep disturbance. Perhaps even more telling? The young adults who reported the highest levels of social media use on a daily basis were twice as likely to experience sleep problems and those who spent the most time on social media throughout the week were three times more likely to have problems sleeping.

‘This is one of the first pieces of evidence that social media use really can impact your sleep,’ lead author Jessica C. Levenson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Pitt’s Department of Psychiatry, said in a statement. ‘[The findings] may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media.’”

For the full article, click HERE.

So put down those phones, log off the Internet, and enjoy the day. Keeping your phone out of your bedroom will help set up a more restful environment. For more tips on how to set up a sleep-friendly bedroom, visit our blog Tips for Creating The Perfect Sleep Environment.

Fall Into Cozy with OMI Pillow Tops

Made with certified organic Eco-Wool™ and/or 100%-organic natural rubber latex, our pillow tops offer a welcome layer of plushness. Wool is a wonderful natural choice for a sleep surface. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it wicks away moisture and dissipates it into the air over time. Certified organic natural rubber adds a supportive softness, cushioning pressure points while resisting body impressions. Covered in certified organic cotton sateen fabric, our pillow tops add a luxurious feel to any mattress.

The Wooly Lite (1½”)

woolyliteThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly Lite is perfectly suited for the sleeper who needs just a little extra surface cushioning.

Starting at $395

The Wooly (3”)

woolyhighThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly is well suited for sleepers who need a softer surface depth or who enjoy a bed with a “nesting” feel.

Starting at $595

The Wave (3”)

new_waveThe Wave pillow top is made of 3” of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. The Wave features a sculpted surface to provide comfort for sleepers with pressure-point issues. This comfortable and resilient natural-rubber pillow top provides added surface depth for sleepers, but with more firmness than a wool topper and without reducing the support of the mattress.

Starting at $795

The Allura (2”)

new_alluraOur 2” thick natural rubber topper offers surface softness. It is made with a single core of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex sap, and is covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.

Starting $895

The Verona (2”)

new_veronaTwo inches of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. This super-soft layer adds that extra “Ahhh” to any OMI mattress.

Starting at $795

For more information on our pillow toppers and other OrganicPedic® products click HERE.

Sleep Apnea and the 7 Health Concerns Related To It

Woman Sleeping

Have you ever noticed your partner sleeping at night and all of a sudden gasp for air or stop breathing? It can be a scary thing to witness. There is a term for it; it’s called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea will cause you to stop breathing multiple times a night anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute in length. You may notice you have it if you take that first deep breath and it sounds like a gasp for air, if you snore loudly, or if you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

In an article written by Market Wired, they discuss 7 health concerns that can result from sleep apnea:

  1. High Blood Pressure – Thirty to 40 percent of people with high blood pressure, and up to 85 percent of those who have treatment-resistant high blood pressure, have sleep apnea. Research shows that when sleep apnea is treated with oral appliance therapy, blood pressure can be reduced. Oral appliance therapy is offered by select dentists and uses a custom-fit, mouth guard-like device to support the jaw in a forward position and keep the airway open, without the need for a mask or constantly running CPAP machine. 


  2. Heart Disease – A study from the University of Wisconsin found that sleep apnea is common in people who have heart disease. The study also shows that those who suffer from untreated, severe sleep apnea may be five times more likely to die from heart disease.


  3. Depression – Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that men who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are more than twice as likely to exhibit signs of clinical depression, such as feeling hopeless and uninterested in everyday activities. The study also found that women who were diagnosed with sleep apnea were five times more likely to report symptoms of major depression. 


  4. Erectile Dysfunction Men with sleep apnea commonly suffer from erectile dysfunction and overall sexual dysfunction. In a study conducted in Germany, researchers found that this relationship may be due to the repetitive drop in blood oxygen levels that occurs during sleep as a result of sleep apnea. 


  5. Acid Reflux – It has been shown that people who have sleep apnea often suffer from acid reflux, which can increase sleep disruption and daytime sleepiness. However, treating sleep apnea can help improve the symptoms of acid reflux.


  6. Diabetes – Research shows that up to 83 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes suffer from sleep apnea but are not aware of their sleep disorder. As the severity of sleep apnea increases, glucose control within the body weakens.
  7. Stroke – Research shows that untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for stroke, even without the presence of other risk factors. Obstructive sleep apnea is also frequently found in people who have already suffered a stroke, which contributes to impairment of the brain’s recovery.

If you or a loved one suffers from sleep-related issues like sleep apnea, there is good news! There is a solution to help it or prevent it from happening altogether. Please reach out to your family doctor and express your concerns about your sleeping habits. You will be put in touch with a sleep expert, who can run simple tests to determine what is needed to get you sleeping again.

For the full article, click HERE

The color of your sheets can be attracting bed bugs!

Beautiful contemporary bedroom

According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs have a favorite color.   These creepy little bugs are attracted to darker colors, with over 28% being attracted to red and 24% preferring black. The preference for darker colors is due to the fact that the bugs can burrow and hide more easily in them as opposed to sunny locations. To help minimize the chance of bed bugs being attracted to your sheets, you should switch to ivory or white, as they are much brighter and therefore offer less appealing hiding places.

Another great way to prevent those bugs from getting into your mattress is to encase your mattress in an OMI organic cotton Mattress Barrier Cover. Our barrier covers are made from tightly-woven 100% certified organic cotton and close with a heavy-duty brass zipper. Unlike other synthetic versions, our soft, breathable organic cotton barrier offers a more healthful sleep. The barrier is available in different depths and sizes to meet your specific needs.

MattressBarrierCover

For the full study from the Journal of Medical Entomology click HERE.

Now that you are sunburned, here is how to ease the pain.

Man with a sunburn

We have all done it; forgot to put sunscreen on, or thought that maybe we won’t be long. We have all burnt ourselves by being in the sun without protection. Here are a few relief suggestions that are natural and will have you on the road to recovery in no time.

If you don’t have an aloe plant already it’s definitely worth investing into one, as nothing soothes better than natural aloe straight from the plant. If you are like me and have cats that think that all plants are a form of food for them, then having a bottle of pure aloe on hand is definitely the way to go. Aloe is great for cooling any hotspots and soothing the skin. It also helps to moisturize the skin and to keep it from drying out. If you apply it often enough you might be lucky and not peel.

Aloe Vera Leaves

Another common side effect when you get burned is inflamed skin. Witch hazel is one of the best natural remedies for any kind of swelling. Dampen a cloth with witch hazel and put it directly on the affected area. If you do not have any witch hazel lying around, cold water will also do the trick while having a fan blowing directly on you.

If you don’t have the two above solutions in your house you could always turn to your fridge. Here are a few things that are a staple in most kitchens that will help with your burn.

  • Cornstarch – Add enough water to make a paste and apply to affected areas
  • Yogurt – Apply yogurt to affected areas and then rinse off in a cool shower
  • Teabags – Place teabags soaked in cold water on your eyelids. This will also help to bring the swelling down
  • Fat-Free Milk – Mix 1 cup of milk with 4 cups of water and add ice cubes. Use a cloth or cotton balls to apply to your skin
  • Freezer Packs – You can always use a freezer pack or bag of frozen peas. Just make sure to wrap the freezer pack in a cloth before applying to your burn

The key here is to keep your skin moisturized by applying non-perfumed moisturizer like Aveeno or something similar. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and veggies to stay hydrated. Often a bad sunburn is followed by heat stroke, so keeping yourself hydrated is very important.

Last but not least, get plenty of rest. Your body needs to recover from the trauma, and being active will not help.