Find the Perfect Pillow
Sleep has a profound impact on mental and physical health. In the next 10 years I think we will understand the connection better, but already we know it is very important. Risk of heart disease, blood pressure, and mental health problems are all linked to sleep disorders. To find the perfect pillow for you, there are 10 things you need to consider.
If you sleep on your back this isn’t as big of an issue, but for those who rest on their side at night, this is very important. You need to keep proper neck alignment through the night. When on your back or stomach your neck will be in a good place unless you have some extreme pillow thickness or shape. I highly recommend sleeping on your side, which is healthiest, but keeping your neck in the right spot is much harder. If the head is too high it takes the neck out of alignment and can cause neck pain. If the pillow is too thin, the head droops toward the ground. The result is the same in either case, you get neck pain. The right thickness is very important. Most people will find a four-inch thickness works best. This will support the head while sleeping on your side. If you have broad shoulders you may need a five-inch pillow. If you have narrow shoulders look into three-inch thickness. Here’s an easy way to verify if have the right height. When you wake up is your neck stiff? If it is, elevate your pillow slightly by putting a towel underneath. Try again the next night and see how it feels. At no point should you feel like your head tilts up. This is a sign your neck is not properly aligned.
Firmness is the second most important key. If you sleep on your side that means your ear and the side of your head press against the pillow as you sleep. If you have too much firmness, your ear will hurt. If you have too soft a pillow, you will not get the neck support you need. Going back to the first paragraph, your neck needs to stay in a neutral position. You can have four of five inches of thickness, but if it is too soft, you won’t get the support you need and your neck will be out-of-place. I recommend selecting a medium firm pillow. This will give you the support you need, but keep pressure off the ear.
There are some pillows that stay cool better than others. A high quality pillow will almost always give good heat management. Some pillows have special materials and construction to stay cool. Keeping your head cool will help you sleep better, especially in summer. Some natural pillows excel at this, such as buckwheat pillows. If you tend to sweat at night, look for a special pillow designed to keep cool.
Buckwheat isn’t hypoallergenic, synthetic fiber pillows normally are hypoallergenic. Look for a clear label stating hypoallergenic if you have allergies. Also, if you have asthma, avoid memory foam as some memory foam pillows have a distinct smell that can trigger asthma.
Many pillows don’t come with a pillowcase so verify this before you buy. If you have plenty of pillowcases don’t buy the model that comes with a pillowcase. If you are buying a new size of pillow, realize you may need a new set of pillowcases. So, a king size pillow probably won’t work with you queen size pillowcases. If you are getting an extra thick pillow, you’ll want to get the right size pillowcases.
Thread count, material, and personal preference are important when it comes to pillowcases. Pay attention and realize that each person’s preference is different. You don’t want to go below 180 thread count if you are looking for a good finish. Anything above 200 thread count is high quality and the average person can tell that a 400 thread count pillowcase is softer than a 200 thread count pillowcase. You get what you pay.
Expect a pillow to last about a year. After a year many pillows will lose their shape and support including some memory foam pillows. The notable exception is buckwheat. As they age you can buy and add more buckwheat hulls to make it feel like new.
8. Environmental Impact
Everything we buy affects the environment in some way. There are ways to decrease that when you buy a pillow. Buckwheat pillows offer similarly priced organic options. If you opt for a synthetic pillow look for minimal packaging to avoid waste.
9. The Veto
Be sure to talk to talk to that special someone in your life who holds the veto in you house before buying a pillow and pillowcase. If you can’t agree on your first pick of pillows, start discussing number two on your wish list.
While most pillows and pillow cases come in white, there are many other options that can help you add a more personalized feel to your room. See key 9 when picking a wild color. White is great until it’s not white. Darker colors aren’t a bad option.
If you pay attention to these 10 keys you’ll enjoy your pillow more, sleep better, and have less neck pain. Learn more about the best pillow for side sleepers. You can also see a detailed comparison of sleep apnea pillows.
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In a recent study sleep apnea and blood pressure were studied. What the researchers found is that untreated sleep apnea or sleep apnea treated with supplemental oxygen is not nearly as good as treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine.
The CPAP machine keeps the airway open at night and allows the sleeper to maintain normal blood oxygen levels throughout the night and have normal sleep patterns. This is important because more and more research points to a lack of sleep contributing to mental and physical disorders. In order to see if it was the blood oxygen bubbles that were contributing to the high blood pressure in many studies patients were given supplemental oxygen at night or CPAP. Those with the supplemental oxygen did not receive the same benefits as those with the CPAP.
What does this mean for you? This means if you have sleep apnea you need to seek treatment. The first step should be seeing your physician and getting a consult for a sleep study. The sleep study will examine sleeping and breathing patterns throughout the night. It will be able to diagnose if you have sleep apnea. You will then have a second sleep study to see what level of air pressure you need from your CPAP. At the end of that second sleep study you will be given a consult to go to a medical provider to pick up your CPAP and associated gear. Take the time to properly fit the skier as it will save you a lot of pain and discomfort in the long run.
Once you have all this gear you will sleep with your CPAP on through the night. Your CPAP will keep your airway open while you sleep. This will keep your blood oxygen models at normal levels and will also contribute to decreased blood pressure, if what the study suggests is true. The bottom-line is that if you have sleep apnea there is only one option, treatment. There are many promising alternatives to a CPAP but none that are as reliable or effective as a CPAP today.
Don’t wait for your symptoms to get any worse or for your daytime drowsiness to affect you anymore before you seek medical attention for your sleep apnea. You can even get a battery for your CPAP which will allow you to use it wherever you go. There is no reason anymore you shouldn’t have and use your CPAP. It may just be the best thing you do for your health this year. As if you didn’t need more reason to use a CPAP, it will also silence your snoring.
Life is busy and we have less time than ever. Every generation probably thinks that and ours is no different. Most people find themselves exhausted and some are always exhausted. If this is you, there are four easy things you can do right now to help.
Get Outside To Avoid Being Exhausted
1. Get outside. Each day make a point to get outside and walk while enjoying nature. Sunshine and a bit of activity can be extremely effective if you are always tired.
2. Go to bed at the same time each night. Try to keep it to keep it within one hour if you can. Your body will learn your bedtime and you will fall asleep faster and easier.
3. Talk to people you care about. It sounds strange but positive interaction with those you care about (who likely care about you) can work wonders.
Control Your Room
4. Sleep in a clean, dark, cool room. This can greatly improve your sleep and make you feel rested and refreshed each morning. You can do this easily. Clean your room – every day. Make your room as dark as you can and look where any light is coming in. Reduce the biggest light offenders and search again. Finally adjust your heating/cool to get your room to a cool and comfortable temperature. Cooler is better than warmer.
If you are doing all this but are still exhausted you should see your doctor. There are a number of serious issues that could be causing you to feel tired all the time. Most can be effectively treated but all should be treated seriously. The more we learn about sleep the more important we discover it is.
You don’t have to settle for feeling exhausted all the time, take these four simple steps and listen to your body.
A lack of sleep ages the brain faster researches from Duke have determined. Here’s what they did. They measured the brain volume from MRI scans as people aged and they also tracked how much sleep they got. Can you guess what they found?
Lack of sleep ages brain faster
While it is no surprise that sleep improves athletic performance, cognitive performance, and health – now you can add anti-brain aging to the list of things sleep helps.
So, what does that mean for you?
Get Enough Sleep To Protect Your Brain
It’s that simple, get enough sleep. What does that mean though? It means getting at least seven hours per night. Interestingly, they have also found that getting too much sleep – say nine hours or more, may be harmful also. Those who sleep too long don’t get extra benefits of sleep, they start to see negative trends over people who get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
What should you do?
- Go to bed consistently
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep
- Practice active relaxation before bed
- Control your room’s temperature
- Have good bedding
That’s It Right? Nothing Else?
Wrong, if you do all this but you drink alcohol right before bed guess what? Poor sleep… I’m all for a drink each night (so is the science it appears, but that’s still being worked out). Just don’t drink say two or three hours before bed. If you need a drink to get to bed substitute deep breathing. Deep breaths in for three seconds, hold for five, exhale for five. If that doesn’t feel right adjust it as required. Just concentrate on breathing for a 20 minutes before bed. You’ll have an easier time getting to rest each night.
What About My Spouse?
What should you do if your spouse can’t get on the program? You have a few options:
- Different beds
- Different rooms
- Sleeping masks
- Stern discussion
My advice is talk with your spouse about your need for rest, how it puts you in such a good mood. How your good mood translates to such a happier life (for both of you). Simply going to bed at a reasonable hour the same time each night would really show his/her love for you.
Who wouldn’t go for that talk? I’d adjust my bedtime based on that request.
Adjusting that bedtime could make all the difference. Remember, sleep is a marathon not a sprint. Remember, this study was on older people – you want healthy sleep habits your entire life.
You set your alarm every morning to wake up, why not set another alarm to tell you to go to sleep? We all have alarms in our pockets these days.
It’s no secret we love good pillows, that’s what this site is about. You can learn more about CPAP pillows on our homepage. If you want help winding down in the evening you could check out our friend’s blog on yoga.
According to Dr. Andrew Varga of NYU Sleep Disorders Center who recently appeared on NBC’s Today Show, woman are sleep deprived. Surprised? You should be. I know that I always thought of men staying up late to do things like watch movies or play games. Not the case, apparently women are having their own late nights.
According to the segment a quarter of Today Show viewers who are woman got five or fewer hours of sleep. That’s shocking and here’s why, sleep is more important than we previously knew. In what ways? Continue reading A Closer Look at Womans Sleep Health
You might not think a drink ( like Neuro Sleep) or sleep supplement can help you sleep. That’s what I thought so I decided to try it out. By the end of this post I’ll show you actual sleep data that shows Neuro Sleep did help me have better deep sleep and REM sleep as well as sleep longer. I’d been under lots of stress and sleeping poorly and was willing to try Neuro Sleep. Everyone has had an occasional sleepless night. After a while you can even predict when it is going to happen. There’s a big test tomorrow and I’m super nervous, I’m not going to sleep well. I meet my in-laws tomorrow, I’m not going to sleep well tonight.
I’ve got a big report to give the boss tomorrow and I can’t seem to settle down. Tomorrow the families are all coming for the holidays, there goes my night of sleep. You get the idea, we’ve all been there and had an occasional, terrible night of sleep. We toss and turn, we can’t settle down, our minds are racing, and we spend the night staring at the dark ceiling. We wake up the next day tired and ready for a nap and spend the day dragging until we try to relax and enjoy a good night of sleep. Well, Neuro Sleep, a drink claims it can and I think I believe it after collecting sleep data I’ll share in a moment. Continue reading Neuro Sleep Review – Does it work?