RSSAuthor Archive for Maria Lucidia

Fall Blankets and Sheets

Fall is coming and it is now the time to focus on the best sheet and blanket options for the season! There are so many options out there that you can choose from to make your bed a haven to cuddle in. There are microfiber, cotton, or flannel bed sheets. There are down comforters, standard comforters, or even bed throws to select from. When deciding on the best sheet or blanket options, you have to take in all of the deciding factors before making the best choice you can.

Sheets

Microfiber

Microfiber sheets are amazing. They are incredibly soft, smooth, and are made from small polyester fibers. The drawback with Microfiber, however, is the tendency to prevent the body from breathing. I personally do not like Microfiber because it makes you sweat a lot during the night. For autumn nights anywhere, you want to be able to breathe!

Cotton

Cotton Sheet SetCotton sheets come in so many varieties and thread counts. In my house, we prefer sateen sheets due to the soft feel. Cotton sheets are probably the best option for fall 2014 due to the fact that it breathes well and is incredibly durable. It comes in every style and color to match whatever decorating style you are going for.

Flannel

For areas where it gets colder in the fall, flannel is a great choice for sheets. It is an incredibly soft fabric that keeps you warm throughout the entire night. It also is really durable and heavy.

Blankets

Down Comforters

Along with flannel, down comforters are great for colder climates. They help hold in the heat from the bodies they cover, keeping everything warmer. We live in an area where it is really warm, so I personally get way too hot under a big down comforter, but they seriously do get incredibly warm and cozy.

Standard Comforters

Standard comforters are exactly that: standard. They are pretty much the most versatile option you can get, which makes them probably the best option for the 2014 fall season. They are great in any climate, go with all decorating schemes, and can be used in any scenario. We use two on our bed because we both like to have our own. It prevents stealing each others.

Bed Throws

Used in warmer climates or for people who tend to get hot quickly, bed throws are thinner blankets used on beds or as decorative accents on couches. I would probably suggest these only for situations like the above as they are shorter, thin, and flimsy blankets.

Regardless of the blanket or sheets you choose, always research before you make your purchase. There are countless options for any decorative or climate situation. Make the educated decision and just pick what is best for you and your family!

Sleep Apnea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Sleep apnea is a somewhat common condition in which normal breathing actually stops during sleep. These moments of apnea can happen many times while you’re asleep. My doctor informed me that the disruption in my breathing could be a sign of an issue regarding the signals in my brain. Just for a brief moment, the brain can literally ‘forget’ to tell the muscles to breathe.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Photo Courtesy of David Goehring

Photo Courtesy of David Goehring

In many cases, certain underlying health disorders are the culprit of sleep apnea like being overweight. That’s originally why I visited my doctor; but later discovered I had sleep apnea. From what I understand, this is quite common in obese people since excess weight can enlarge the tissues in and around a person’s airways. During an episode of sleep apnea, the brainstem doesn’t properly signal the muscles that tell you to breath. Because the brainstem is connected to the spinal cord, any medical disorders that affect the brainstem, heart, or spinal cord can lead to sleep apnea.

Here are some examples of conditions related to sleep apnea:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)
  • Radiation treatments or surgery on the spine
  • Cervical spine arthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease (an age-associated deterioration of key nerve systems that impact muscle control, balance, and overall movement)
  • Congestive heart failure

Symptoms

The basic symptoms of sleep apnea include brief periods when your breathing stops during sleep. For some people, they show signs of extreme shallow breathing rather than actually stopping. The lack of air itself is what caused me to frequently wake up through the night. Obviously, this makes me very tired the next day. The sleep apnea episodes cause insomnia. Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech pattern changes
  • Changes in the voice
  • Overall weakness throughout the body

Diagnosis

My doctor ordered a polysomnography, which is a sleep study test that’s used to diagnose sleep apnea. During a polysomnography test, your breathing patterns, lung function, heart rate, brain activity, and oxygen levels are monitored.

Treatment

The first step in treating sleep apnea is managing any underlying medical issues that may be causing it in the first place. The regulation of air pressure and oxygen supplementation during sleeping are both effective in treating people who deal with sleep apnea. Some of these treatments include:

ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation)

ASV monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep. The innovative system ‘remembers’ your patterns. The system is pressurized and works to help normalize your breathing patterns in order to prevent any future episodes of sleep apnea.

BPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure)

BPAP regulates the air pressure at a higher level once you inhale and back down to a lower level once you exhale.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure)

CPAP provides a continuous source of pressure in the airways when sleeping. While sleeping at night, a mask is worn over your mouth and nose that delivers a continuous stream of pressurized air.

Outlook

For most people struggling with sleep apnea, they respond well to ongoing treatment. The benefits of sleep apnea treatment are varied based on the cause of the condition.

Pillow Options for People With Bad Backs or Necks

Neck and back pain are two of the most common ailments that people suffer from. These problems can be experienced by young and old people alike. Many of these instances of neck and back pain can be traced back to problems during sleep. When people sleep in awkward positions, it often contributes to these issues. My uncle was one of the people that woke up every morning with a stiff back and neck. He thought that he would just have to learn to live with the pain. However, I told him to test out some new pillows to see if that might solve the problem. To his surprise, a new pillow specifically designed to help the back and neck was exactly what he needed. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of these pillows that are currently available:

Travelrest pillow

This pillow is ideal for people who do a lot of traveling and can never seem to have a restful sleep during their trip. This keeps your head from tilting over if you are trying to sleep in a sitting position. That type of tilting can put a lot of stress on your neck. It is easy to inflate to the desired amount of firmness or softness. It helps you to maintain good posture and avoid sudden jerky movements.

Talalay latex pillow

This is ideal for both side and back sleepers. Your neck and head will be kept cool by the ventilated foam. Because the pillow is four inches high, many people say it is a good pillow for someone with a large body who enjoys sleeping on their side.

Lumbar wedge pillow

This type of pillow is made by many manufacturers. As the name indicates, it is shaped like a wedge. This type of pillow can be used in two different ways. It can be used by people who need to sit at a desk all day at their job because it provides support to the lower back. There are also larger wedge pillows that can be used for sleeping. Their shape has been shown to reduce tossing and turning. It also enables people to get out of bed easier.

Cylinder pillows (also called a roll pillow)

This is another pillow that is produced by many companies, so a person will need to test out a few different ones to see which one they like best. You can find these pillows stuffed most frequently with either beans or foam. If a person uses them while sitting in a chair, they will provide support to the lumbar region of the back, where many people frequently experience pain. They can also be placed under your neck when you are sleeping to give your neck the amount of support it needs.

3 Great Costume Ideas Using Old Bed Sheets

While most of the little boys in our neighborhood wanted to be superheroes for Halloween, my son wanted to dress as his favorite fruit: grapes. After driving to several costume retailers and not being able to find what we were looking for, I decided it was time to seek alternative options. I researched homemade costumes and found an array of cheap and simple methods of creating my sons look as well as many others. Utilizing some old beds sheets and a couple of other materials, I was able to create a fantastic bushel of grapes. Not only did my homemade creation earn me some extra cool points with my little one, but I was able to save lots of money as well.

Dressing up is one of the best aspects of Halloween, however, it can also be one of the most wasteful. Every year, millions of parents purchase ready-made-costumes for their children. Their costume is usually worn one time then it’s cast aside. Instead of purchasing another costume, join me and get creative. With minimal materials, you can easily make some of the most unique and fun Halloween outfits for your children. It’s okay if you don’t know where to start as I have included 3 costume ideas you can make just by using some old bed sheets.

1. Grape Costume

Photo Courtesy of Coolest Homemade Costumes

You will need:

  • A purple or green sheet
  • A pack of purple or green balloons
  • Safety pins
  • A piece of green felt
  • A stocking cap
  • Scissors

Instructions:

First, take your scissors and cut out a hole from the sheet for your child’s head. Next, fashion sleeves out of the sheet and fasten them together with the safety pins. Now blow up balloons, and begin fastening the edge of them all over the sheet until no empty space remains. Finally, cut leaf shapes out of the felt and fasten them to the stocking cap. Now your child’s costume is complete.

2. Mummy Costume

You will need:

  • A white sheet
  • Scissors

Instructions:

With your scissors, begin cutting a variety of strips to accommodate all the different parts of your child’s body. Once you have cut all your strips, begin wrapping them around your child. Voila, you child is a mummy.

3. Greek or Roman

You will need:

  • A white sheet
  • A gold rope or belt

Instructions:

Fold the sheet in the middle, and place the folded part over your child’s shoulder. Open the ends of the sheet to wrap around your child’s body. The neckline can be as low or high as you’d like. Just remember that draping is the key. A gold rope or belt can be used to secure the sheet at the waist.

Selecting The Right Mattress For Your Body & Sleep Habits

Choosing the right mattress can make the difference between years of satisfactory sleep or endless nights trying to find a comfortable position. Your body type has a bearing on the type of mattress you should select for best support. Your personal sleep preferences should also be taken into account when selecting the right mattress for your need

Side, Stomach or Back Sleepers

Your sleep position is a significant factor in selecting a mattress. Ultimately, a good mattress should keep your spine in a straight alignment regardless of what position you take. However, many back sleepers find that a firm mattress offers the necessary support of the lower back. Side sleepers need a bit more “give” to allow them a comfortable position that still offers support. For these sleepers, a medium firmness is a good choice. If you sleep on your stomach, a soft mattress will make you fall into it face down too readily, causing a deep curve in the lower back and neck. Choose a medium firmness mattress to allow some support for both upper and lower body.

Broad Shoulders

Individuals who have broad shoulders and are side sleepers will probably prefer a mattress on the softer side. Too much pressure on the shoulders can be uncomfortable, so softer support can be a better choice. The right mattress can be especially important for those with shoulder problems. A firm mattress can allow too much pressure on the shoulder joint, leading to aches and pains upon waking in the morning.

Wide Hips

Similarly, those individuals with wide hips may find that a firm textured mattress places too much pressure on tender hipbones. Older people who are troubled by hip pain may find this particularly uncomfortable. Give considerable thought before committing to the purchase of a mattress. A store with a good return policy may be a good idea for people who may have difficulty finding the right firmness texture for their needs.

Weight Factors

Thin individuals can generally tolerate any thickness and firmness of mattress unless they have other health issues that may come into play. However, heavy individuals generally prefer firm mattresses that are over nine inches in thickness to avoid unnecessary pressure.

Mattress Accessories

Many consumers find that adding one of the mattress accessories that are available can help to make a mattress more comfortable for their particular body type. Padded mattress covers and mattress pads can additional softness when needed and can be removed when the sensitive body part improves. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of products that can help to raise the comfort level of their mattress for a better night’s sleep.