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.

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.

Dust and the Health Concerns It Brings

 

House dust

Dust is everywhere in your home, from under your bed to on your walls and, of course, on the floor. Did you know that not only is it a common allergy, but researchers have found that common household dust exposes people to harmful chemicals on a daily basis?

A team of researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University have found harmful chemicals in 90% of dust samples collected throughout the USA. As you read below, you’ll notice that flame retardants play a role in this study.

  • Ten harmful chemicals are found in ninety percent of the dust samples across multiple studies, including a known cancer-causing agent called TDCIPP. This flame retardant is frequently found in furniture, baby products and other household items.
  • Indoor dust consistently contains four classes of harmful chemicals in high amounts. Phthalates, substances that are used to make cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring, and other products, were found in the highest concentration with a mean of 7,682 nanograms per gram of dust-an amount that was several orders of magnitude above the others. Phenols, chemicals used in cleaning products and other household items, were the number two highest chemical class followed by flame retardants and highly fluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware.
  • Chemicals from dust are likely to get into young children’s bodies. A flame retardant added to couches, baby products, electronics and other products, TCEP, had the highest estimated intake followed by four phthalates–DEP, DEHP, BBzP and DnBP. The intake numbers in this study probably underestimate the true exposure to such chemicals, which are also found in products on the drug store shelf and even in fast food the authors say.
  • Phthalates such as DEP, DEHP, DNBP, and DIBP, are not only found at the highest concentrations in dust but are associated with many serious health hazards. Phthalates are thought to interfere with hormones in the body and are linked to a wide range of health issues including declines in IQ and respiratory problems in children.
  • Highly fluorinated chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS are also high on the potential harm scale. These types of chemicals, which are found in cell phones, pizza boxes, and many non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant products have been linked to numerous health problems of the immune, digestive, developmental and endocrine systems.
  • Small amounts can add up. Many of the chemicals in dust are linked to the same health hazards, such as cancer or developmental and reproductive toxicity, and may be acting together. Exposure to even small amounts of chemicals in combination can lead to an amplified health risk, especially for developing infants or young children, the authors say.

For the full article, click HERE

When it comes to buying a new mattress, there are options out there to make sure you get a mattress without flame retardants. When purchasing a 100% certified OMI mattress, you get NO synthetic materials and NO flame retardants – truly certified mattresses made with only certified organic materials in a manufacturing facility that is also free from chemicals. Employees do not smoke, wear perfumes, or wash their clothes with fabric softeners. Chemical sensitivities are becoming more common, so having an option to sleep without chemicals can be a life saver. Contact your local retailer for more information on our mattresses or click HERE.

We also offer a great Wool Underpad for platform beds. This way when you flip your mattress, it is free from dust that has gathered under it.

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

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

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.

Dream a Little Dream and Know What it Means

Beautiful night

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.

Dreams of travel

Flying

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.

Hiker free falling from the mountain. Man in fatal situation

Falling

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.

Businessman running away from a huge hand

Being Chased

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.

woman in mourning at cemetery in fall

Death

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.

Businessman Running To Catch Bus Stop

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.

sad girl with a defective teeth painted on paper over her mouth

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!