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Tag Archives: sleep cycle
Few things will snap you out of a glorious slumber than the feeling of tiny fingers prying your eyelids open and a small voice uttering “Mommy are you awake?” It’s a moment where your heart melts and you want to commit a crime at the same time. Little does this tiny human know that despite the fact that you are in fact awake (now), that you have already been awake several times throughout the night. Was that a cough? Better go check. What was that sound? Better go check. Is she too hot? Too cold? Better go check? Did I finish my wine? Better go check.
In order to be a mom, or a functioning person for that matter, getting good sleep is totally necessary. And I don’t mean good sleep as in “I got a full 40 minutes, Buddy-the-Elf” style of sleep, I’m talking 8 hours of sleep, the type where you actually haven’t had caffeine since 4 pm, didn’t drink too much wine, and you got off of your screen at a reasonable time before you went to bed. Will the stars ever align for those things to actually happen? Not while Netflix keeps putting out new releases. However, one thing that actual experts agree on is that sleep is crucial to holistic health and for some insane reason, sleep seems to be the one thing we all compromise on, because one more episode won’t hurt, will it?
On my search for this mystical thing called sleep, I wanted to reach out to my friends and co-workers and see if they feel like they are getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep (I had to look up how many hours of sleep we actually need to get) and it is no shock that 99% of them agreed that they sacrifice their sleep because of their addiction to Netflix, video games, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and cat videos on YouTube. Okay, that last one is me. Here’s what the staff of pillows.com (you know, the “experts”) had to say about their own personal quests for quality sleep.
Question: How many hours of sleep per night do you average?
Jordan: “On average, I sleep 6 hours a night.”
Chelsea: “I try my best to get 8-9 hours. I always make sure that I turn off the lights by 10:30 pm AT THE LATEST!”
Q: What is your ideal sleep environment?
Faydra: “Dark and quiet, squishy supportive pillow for my head and two body pillows for optimal pillow nesting.”
Toni: “Next to the ocean, listening to the waves.”
Q: Would you say you need more sleep?
Omar: “I think I need uninterrupted sleep more than more hours of sleep. I’ve tested it and 6-7 hours seems to be a good number for my body. But, unintentionally, I always seem to drink a lot of water before bed so I sometimes get up multiple times during the night.”
Chelsea: “I think I could invest more time for sleeps on the weekends. I tend to let go of my strict sleep schedule on Saturday nights. However, during the work week’s I’m very good at getting enough sleep.”
Q: Do you think technology gets in the way of your sleep?
Chris: “I do think that technology can get in the way of a normal sleep routine if you are trying to go to sleep at a decent time. Having a phone or laptop near the bed might lead to staying up much later than needed. Although I do have insomnia and sometimes staring at a screen watching a video or reading can make my eyes heavy enough that I am forced to close them long enough to doze off.”
Toni: “Yes! I sleep with the phone by my side and any text or noise letting me know I have a new email wakes me up.”
Q: Do you need white noise to sleep?
Chelsea: “I love white noise and absolutely need it. Sometimes when I can’t go to sleep, I’ll put on a show like “The Office” and fall asleep to the sound of Michael Scott whispering in my ear.”
Q: If you could give yourself one sleep goal to achieve this year what would it be?
Chris: “My one sleep goal for this year is to start meditating again when trying to sleep. Meditation relaxes my very active mind and can sometimes calm it enough to allow me to get some sleep. I used to meditate often before bed, but I have not done it in a while. It has helped before and I am sure that it will help again.”
Dana: “Spend time reading more before bed rather than being on my phone wasting time.”
Q: Do you have bad habits that interfere with your sleep?
Faydra: “Other than video games and my Instagram addiction, I would say no.”
Jordan: “The only bad habits I’d say I have are staying up to catch the last seconds of a TV show/movie and not going to bed at a more reasonable time.”
Can any of you relate to our staff? We all want more sleep but also want to finish that last episode or beat one more level. So, where do we go from here to make sleep a priority in 2018? Of course, my first spot to find all the answers would be Pinterest! Here is a list of 21 tips for better sleep but I have to warn you that I’m pretty sure that #2 is contestable.
We at pillows.com are going to commit to sleeping better together! Wait! You know what I mean! We’re going to hold each other accountable to getting quality sleep. In our own beds, separately. Oh man, I need more sleep.
Everyone knows that certain foods promote sleep. From drinking a glass of warm milk right before bed to avoiding caffeine anytime after lunch, there is plenty of advice on foods you can eat (or not eat) to get a good night’s sleep. What we put into our bodies can have significant impact on mood and behavior and the key to enjoying a restful night of sleep can be found through your stomach.
Tryptophan containing foods are first on everyone’s list of foods that make you sleepy. It stands to reason: everyone knows that turkey has tryptophan and after that third serving of sweet potato casserole (don’t judge: marshmallows and sweet potatoes are heaven!), a snoozy drowsiness sets in. Unfortunately, while turkey does contain some tryptophan, it is far from the richest source and that post meal crash is more due to your stomach full of carbohydrates than it is to the relaxing benefits of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter well-known to regulate mood. It also regulates sleep, and a whole host of other things that keep us functional human beings—basically serotonin is awesome! Eating foods rich in tryptophan is believed to increase serotonin production, which will help regulate your sleep cycle. It also functions in the production of melatonin and niacin, two more things which help regulate sleep cycles. Eat eggs, bananas, peanuts, honey, and milk for an extra hit of tryptophan.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate circadian rhythms—it helps you sleep when you’re supposed to and feel awake when you’re not. Available in supplement form, melatonin can also be found in cherries, bananas, and citrus fruits. Eating tryptophan or calcium-rich foods can also boost melatonin production: snack on spinach, almonds, or cheese.
Magnesium and potassium are two minerals that promote muscle relaxation (and overall muscle health), which means they are great for priming your body to sleep soundly through the night. Try bananas, avocados, spinach, peanuts, and whole grains to get these.
Try to incorporate some of these foods into your dinner, or have a snack at least an hour before you go to bed—this gives them time to work and prevents a too-full stomach from keeping you awake. Select foods that are rich in protein or complex carbohydrates for extra sleepy-goodness: the longer your food takes to digest, the more stable your blood sugar remains and the less likely you are to wake up feeling hungry. Many of the above foods can provide more than one benefit, so eat more of those! Try whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, or a salad with spinach, vegetables, and nuts. Or a handful of cherries with some slices of cheese or almonds. Try to avoid excess sugar and alcohol, which can interrupt sleep, as can very spicy foods right before bed. Why not snack your way to a better, more restful, night of sleep?