Tag Archives: sleep
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
What sound do you hear when you think about falling asleep? Is it the sound of your ceiling fan whirring above, or a noisy heater in another room? Maybe it’s car horns, or other noises from the streets below. Whatever comes to mind, chances are it isn’t complete silence. While you may think that complete silence is the best thing to hear when you’re lying in bed right before drift-off, there are a number of studies that show certain sounds help us sleep better; that silence isn’t necessarily golden when you’re asleep.
Even while your asleep, your brain processes sound to varying degrees depending on your own sensitivity and the type of noise perceived. Some people may be able to sleep through a fire alarm, while others will awaken at the sound of a floorboard creaking on the other side of the house. The type of sound can also aid or disrupt sleep depending on whether it is an alarming sound, like a fire alarm, or a relaxing sound, like waves crashing onto the beach.
Since everyone is different, it’s important to find out what type of sounds relax your mind while sleeping and which ones do not. Below, are several different types of noise that people generally find relaxing. You’ll have to experiment a bit to figure out which one works for you, but it can pay off handsomely once you know.
White Noise is created by combining all the available sound frequencies together into one, similar to how white light is the product of all the other colors in the visible spectrum. Since white noise contains all frequencies, it is often used to mask other sounds. A ceiling fan is a good example of white noise that is commonly used as a sleep aid to drown out unwanted noises. There are also white noise generators that can create the “perfect” white noise, and are generally available for listening online.
Nature Sounds are another popular type of noise to fall asleep to. Whether you prefer the sound of rainfall, waves crashing against the shoreline, birds or wind chimes sounding, or crickets chirping in the night, many people find that listening to the sound of nature helps them sleep better. Additionally, you may find that certain sounds are better for blocking out different types of unwanted noise. For example, rainfall is better at blocking out household noises like appliances.
Music has long been a favorite type of noise to fall asleep to, though it may not actually help you sleep as much as it makes you happy to listen to your favorite band. If you’re goal of listening to music before bed is to actually sleep better, then you should consider very down-tempo, “chill” tracks, like the kind of music you would expect to hear at a massage salon.
Silence some people can’t stand the sound of anything when they are falling asleep, and if you’re this type of person then you have a bit of work cut out for you. Sound proof windows, well-insulated walls, and tuned-up in a very remote location are about all that’s going to
When using sound for better it’s important to experiment and figure out which sounds works best for you. If you’re looking for sleep-inducing sounds, try listening to playlists available through Internet radio stations like Pandora, Spotify, or LastFM for inspiration. And, as noted earlier, you may even find that certain sounds help you sleep better for different occasions, like if the neighbors are being loud one night, or you suddenly can’t stop focusing on the sound of the refrigerator.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
One thing you’re unlikely to hear someone complaining about is getting too much sleep. In fact, most of us long for sleeping in on the weekends or catching up on some much needed sleep that work, family, and other responsibilities deprive us of. However, sleeping too much or oversleeping can be just as unhealthy as not sleeping enough. The trick to sleep, like many things in life, is balance.
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, just like different cars need a different amount of gasoline to travel the same distance. The general rule is that you should try to get around eight hours of sleep per day, and most people will fall within one hour of this requirement. Your actual need for sleep depends on the amount of stress your experiencing and how physically active you are, to name a few. If you don’t sleep enough, you accumulate a sleep debt; however if you sleep too much you don’t necessarily accumulate a sleep credit.
Oversleeping, also called hypersomnia, is a serious medical disorder. Symptoms associated with hypersomnia include anxiety, low energy, mental problems, and a constant need for more sleep. Hypersomnia has also been linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, depression, heart disease, and even death. If you’d like to read more about how hypersomnia increases your health risks, check out this article on oversleeping by WebMD.
The good news is that hypersomnia is a very fixable problem. Sometimes, hypersomnia is brought on by underlying medical conditions, which you’d need to see a doctor for; however, it’s more common that hypersomnia is simply a result of poor sleep hygiene. Below is a list of tips and suggestions to help you regain control over your sleep habits.
1. Establish a regular sleep routine. Humans are creatures of habits, and if you can discipline yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, getting the right amount of sleep will be easier. It takes about 30 days of doing something or not doing something before it becomes a habit, so it’s important to stick with your sleep routine for at least one month.
2. Plan your day. If you have a plan of attack going into each day, you’ll know exactly how much time you need to get everything done. Having a plan can help you realize that oversleeping is depriving you of doing the things you want during the day.
3. Optimize your wake up routine. It’s important to look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. Since the morning commute likely isn’t a big motivator, think about all the things you love doing before you officially start your day. Set aside some time in the morning especially for yourself. Do you love a fresh, hot cup of coffee in the morning? Do you like to read the newspaper before getting your day started? Maybe you like to take a hot shower with an invigorating body wash. Whatever it is, figure out what makes you happiest in the morning and you may actually look forward to getting out of bed.
4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before you go to bed. Stimulants and depressants can affect your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to drink something to help you sleep, try a warm glass of milk before bed.
5. Exercise regularly. Exercise is linked to a number of health benefits, including better sleep. Going for a jog, participating in a yoga class, or lifting weights at the gym helps cleanse your body of impurities that build up throughout the day. Exercise also drains any extra energy you may have left over from the day, which can help you fall asleep faster.
The above suggestions are just a couple ways to help you improve your sleep hygiene. If you find that you cannot break yourself of oversleeping, you may also want to consider making an appointment with your doctor.
Do you sleep too much, or not enough? Do you have any morning rituals you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Although most people prefer silence for falling asleep, some people need some soothing music to help slow down the brain. I know I used listen to the same record every night. But even if you like quiet whilst drifting off, relaxing music before bed can help to calm the body for bed. I have compiled a few albums which I find particularly good at getting me ready for sleep.
Everybody knows that classical music is the stereotypical “peaceful” music (though I often find when I’m looking to relax, my local classical station is playing the “Kettledrum and Trumped in a Dryer Suite) and the gentle melodies of French pianist Frédéric Chopin are some of my favorites. Just beware some of those “Best of” collections which will go from a quiet nocturne to a peppy Waltz, leaving you jumping out of your slumbering skin!
This is just one track off of his album BTTB and it sounds to me like sadness and raindrops and saying goodbye and snowflakes and melancholy and peacefulness. Buy the one track and put it on repeat. You can thank me later.
This album, which is a collaboration between Tucson-based Calexico and the French Amor Belhom Duo is lovely. I’m not a music reviewer, so I apologize. Just don’t listen to the long, meandering, experimental tracks and stick to the haunting and beautiful other pieces.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
We spend a lot of time (well, almost ALL of our time) here on the bed blog talking about how to sleep comfortably, how to beautify where we sleep and how best to make the falling asleep and the waking up as pleasant as possible. But what about sleep itself? That’s what all of this revolves around, after all. Well, I have decided to troll the depths of the Internet to find some fascinating factoids about that most-beloved pastime, sleep.
Ducks sleep with one eye open.
It’s true! Needless to say, being a duck can be hazardous to one’s sleep. In order to avoid being eaten by crocodiles, coyotes or owls looking for a midnight snack, ducks keep one eye open. What’s even better is that if they are dozing in a row, the middle ones close both eyes. Fun!
The Weird Truth About Light on Knees
Apparently, if you shine a bright light on the back of your knees, it can reset your internal clock. I don’t know what kind of scientist decided to try the old light-on-the-back-of-your-knees trick, and I’m not totally sure what this means or what purpose it may serve, but it’s good to know!
Dolphins Sleep One Half at a Time
Not unlike the duck, dolphins are susceptible to predators when sleeping. They also need to be conscious to breathe. So their fantastic way of dealing with this is to sleep half a brain at time. Imagine how much we could accomplish if we could do that! I’m pretty sure my brain is only half-awake most of the time anyways!
For Further Reading
There is a great episode of Radiolab about sleep. It’s full of very interesting stuff: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/may/24/
Nova on PBS also had something on sleep: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/sleep.html
The Internet seems to have a few resources as well. Some of my facts I got from this site: http://listverse.com/2007/10/29/top-20-facts-about-sleep/
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Do you sleep on your side or your back? Is the way you sleep affected by whether you share your bed with your significant other? Has the way you sleep changed over the years? Your answers to these questions can offer insight into your personality and relationships. It’s hard to fake body language in bed, as we are most honest asleep.
The most common sleeping position is the fetal position; whereby, you curl up in a ball on your side often hugging a pillow or other sleep comfort. Studies show that upwards of 40 percent of respondents indicate sleeping in the fetal position. Furthermore, women are twice as likely to sleep in this position than men. Psychologists believe that fetal position sleepers can be summed up as being soft on the inside with a tough exterior.
The second most popular way people sleep is on their side. There are variations of slide sleepers, the most common of which include sleeping with your arms by your side or sleeping with both arms out in front. If you sleep with your arms at your side, a position called the “log”, you are said to be an easy-going, trusting extrovert. On the other hand, sleepers who put their arms out in front, called the “yearner,” are likewise open and outgoing, but can be suspicious and cynical.
The third most popular way is to sleep is on your back. In this position, sleepers either put their arms to their side or above their head. The “solider” position, where you place your arms by your side, is indicative of a quiet and more reserved personality. Back sleepers who put their arms over their head, a position called the “starfish,” tend to be good friends and listeners tending to avoid the center of attention. If you snore, you may want to avoid sleeping on your back, as the weight of your chest can burden your breathing.
Last but not least are stomach down sleepers, a position called the “freefall.” Freefall sleepers are the most sensitive of the bunch. They are characterized by a disdain for criticism and extreme situations. This position is said to be the best for digestion.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to sleep; it’s purely a matter of choice. The best sleep position is the one that allows you to get a sound night’s rest. And while people are reluctant to change their sleep position, sometimes we have to sleep in new position out of necessity. If you are experiencing sleep difficulties, however, you may want to try a new position. A change in the way you sleep could be just what your body needs for the New Year.