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

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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

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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

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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.

10 Sleep Facts That May Surprise You

We all know that sleep is a very important part of everyday life. Most of what we know about sleep has come about in just the last 25 years. We might think we know all there is to know about sleep, but here are a few facts about sleep that may surprise you.

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  1. Dolphins are very unique in their way of sleep. One half of their brains are awake while the other half is asleep. This is called “unihemispheric sleep.” Dolphins also sleep for, 1/3 of their lives, just like humans.

  2. The word “catnap” means short sleep. Some people take catnaps with their eyes open and may not even be aware of it.

  3. When a person wakes up in the morning, half of a dream is forgotten in the first 5 minutes. 90% of the dream is gone within the first 10 minutes.

  4. 12% of people dream only in black and white.

  5. People can survive longer without food than without sleep.

  6. A snoring partner affects a non-snoring partner by waking the non-snorer an average of 20 times per night, making the non-snorer lose approximately 1 hour of sleep each night.AdobeStock_71711347.jpeg

  7. Our brains are more active during sleep than they are while watching television. Sleeping also burns more calories than watching television.

  8. The phrase “good night, sleep tight” came from woven mattress bed frames that were tightened with a key when the ropes started to sag.

  9. The largest bed ever made was in Great Britain. It was built in 1596, measured 11 feet by 11 feet, and could sleep 12 people comfortably.

  10. The famous Charles Dickens was an insomnia sufferer. He claimed that he could fall asleep fastest by sleeping in the middle of the bed, facing north.

    How many of these sleep facts did you already know? For more information on these fun sleep facts, visit HERE

 

 

Top 10 Best and Worst Cities for Sleep

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Ever wonder where your city ranks for getting the best night’s sleep?

Here’s a study that has the answer. Find out if your city made the top 10.

“Sleep in the City” Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness

A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night’s sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep while Detroit was identified as the least likely city in which to wake up. New York City is notorious for being “the city that never sleeps.” Perhaps that’s why it was ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.

The analysis was based on five criteria, including:

  1. Happiness index
  2. Number of days when residents didn’t get enough rest or sleep during the past month
  3. Average length of daily commute
  4. Divorce rates
  5. Unemployment rates

 

Best Cities for Sleep

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Northern NJ
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Austin, TX
  10. Kansas City, MO

 

Worst Cities for Sleep

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Cleveland, OH
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. New York, NY
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Miami, FL
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. St. Louis, MO

 

For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep overall. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night’s sleep. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.

For more information on this sleep study, visit HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep Apnea and the 7 Health Concerns Related To It

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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

Back-to-school sleep tips

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Summer vacation is almost over, and whether kids break from summer, winter, spring, or even a long weekend, they seem to want to stay up later. Late nights can lead to difficult mornings transitioning back into their normal school routine. It is important for parents to put healthy sleep on the back-to-school list of necessities. Here are some helpful tips to get kids prepared to go back to school.

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  1. First, calculate how much sleep your child needs. Preschoolers need 11 to 12 hours of sleep. Ages 5-10 need 10 to 11 hours, and teenagers 9 to 10 hours.

  1. About 10 to 14 days before school starts, parents should gradually start adjusting their child’s bedtime schedules. Have them go to bed 15 minutes earlier each day before school starts. This will help set their circadian clock to school time. Try to also keep the same sleep schedule, even on weekends, to keep sleep rhythms regulated.

  1. Stick to an age-appropriate bedtime routine to help them wind down. For younger children this may consist of taking a bath before bed, brushing their teeth, or reading a bedtime story. For older children, they may want to read a book to relax or find a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises.

  1. Control the sleep environment by keeping the room cool, quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electronics such as, cell phones, televisions, video games, and computers should be turned off an hour before bedtime.

  2. Limit caffeine intake after lunch or at least 6 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and inhibits sleep. Healthy meals and regular exercise can help promote quality sleep.

  1. Avoid food close to bedtime, especially spicy foods that can cause acid reflux and raise body temperature, both of which inhibit sleep.

  1. Practice what you preach. Studies have shown that parents who set rules and abide by them themselves are more likely to have children follow their example. The right amount of sleep every night can help your child do better in school and help with mood and anxiety. 13717923_10205279444144540_1107853922_o.jpg

    These strategies can help you and your child have a healthy, successful upcoming school year.

What it means when you are suddenly jerked awake when falling asleep

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.

How to Choose the Right Pillow for You

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?

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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?

 

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OMI’s Certified Organic Cotton Pillow

For those of you seeking a firmer, flatter pillow, our cotton pillows are filled with pure, sanitized 100% certified organic cotton.

 

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OMI’s Certified Organic Eco-Wool™ Pillow

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.

 

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OMI’s 100%-Natural Rubber Molded and Contour Pillows

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.

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OMI’s Wool-Wrapped 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

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.

 

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OMI’s Crush™ 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

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.

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OMI’s Wool-Wrapped Certified Organic Buckwheat-Hull Pillow

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.