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Walk Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

Get Moving for a Good Night

Many Americans do not get enough sleep. Eight hours per night is the recommended amount but for some people this seems like an impossibility. The blame for lack of sleep is often put on our busy schedules, jobs, kids, work, etc. These things can’t really be eliminated from our lives but there are ways to make sure that we get a better night’s rest. Taking a daily walk around the neighborhood is one of these things that can help you sleep better and more restful.

There are a few different things that people can do to help them get a good night’s rest. Eating the right types of foods can contribute to the quality of our sleep. Not eating spicy or acidic foods before bedtime can help. Mediation and drinking herbal teas (free of caffeine, of course) is also beneficial to some people. Another good way to help you rest better at night is to get plenty of exercise during the day.

Just because you work a nine hour job and have a family to look after doesn’t mean you are getting the proper amount of exercise. Being busy is no replacement for a good workout that will get your heart rate going and your blood flowing. Walking a mile or two or even a few blocks every day is a good way to get this daily exercise. Taking a walk after dinner every night will not only help your body burn off calories but it will contribute to keeping you body functioning at its optimal level. It will also help you sleep better, provided you don’t do it too close to your bedtime.

How does exercise relax you so that you sleep better? The answer is: exercise gives melatonin a boost. Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that help regulate your sleeping cycles. Exercise makes melatonin do its job better so that you can sleep better. Better sleep has many benefits and it helps fight depression and disease.Exercising, even going for a walk, can vastly improve your sleep. Find out how and why!

Foods & Snacks to Eat (and Avoid) Before Bed

What NOT to Eat Before Bed

It is generally not recommended to eat before bedtime. If you suffer from heartburn or indigestion, for example, there is a good chance your stomach isn’t going to allow you drift off to a peaceful slumber mere minutes after your head hits the pillow. Sometimes, due to our busy schedules eating before bedtime is unavoidable. However, there are some things you can do that will make falling asleep easier and that will help you get a full night’s rest so that you’re not dragging and groggy the next morning.

It should go without saying that it is not a good idea to consume caffeine before bedtime. Coffee, tea and cola should be avoided and so should chocolate. If your time schedule doesn’t allow for much flexibility in the times when you eat your meals, there are some foods that you can eat that won’t keep you up tossing and turning. Fruit is a good food to eat if you must eat within an hour of your bedtime, but just make sure it’s nothing to acidic, especially if you suffer from heartburn. A banana or an apple or even grapes are a safe bet. Bland food is safer than spicy food. Bread and butter or a high carb snack like crackers can trigger the release of serotonin in the body which can help with sleep. Foods that are difficult to digest like corn and nuts should be avoided.

Healthy Foods to Eat Before Bed

In a broader sense eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is going to ensure that you have energy throughout the day. By being energized and active all day and burning off calories, your body should be more than ready to recharge over night. People who maintain healthy diets and get plenty of exercise generally sleep better.

Also, make sure you eat slowly and chew properly. This will help your body digest meals better so digestion won’t interfere with your sleep!

Feather Pillow vs. Cotton Pillow: Which is Best?

On average we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping so having a quality pillow is important for spending that time in comfort. Choosing the right pillow depends on your preferences but with so many choices, you may feel overwhelmed. Let’s take a look at the differences between feather and cotton pillows and try to make the process of choosing a new pillow simpler!

Feather Pillows

Feather pillows are generally considered the more luxurious option between the two choices. The pillows are often made with goose feathers that are flat and have quills running through their centers. Feathers are soft but not as fluffy as pure down, however they do provide firmer support than down pillows.

Some benefits of feather pillows are that they are soft, warm, and can easily be shaped for better comfort and support. These types of pillows are very durable if well cared for and can last for years. Another great feature is that most feather pillows are washable.

Some cons to consider would be that pillows of this type can feel sweaty and hot to some who sleep hot. Feathers flatten easily and need to be coaxed and pulled into the shape you want every time to change positions. Another consideration is allergies. How sensitive are you? Many have found themselves to be allergic to feather or down pillows so do not commit to buying one unless you’re sure that it won’t be a problem for you.

Cotton Pillows

Cotton pillows provide wonderfully soft, gentle yet firm lift for all the natural support you need as you sleep. This type of pillow is natural, and rarely contains allergens that would affect the sensitive sleeper.

Some benefits of cotton pillows are that since the fiber is naturally absorbent, you will not have to deal with a sweaty, hot pillow on an average night. Cotton pillows are much firmer than feather ones. The surface is smooth, plus there’s no chance of being startled awake by a rogue feather!

Some cons with cotton filled pillows are that as time passes the cotton can compress and begin to feel very hard and may even be described as lumpy by some. This pillow type does not contour easily to body curvature. If the pillow is not cleaned regularly it can create an attractive environment for dust mites and molds, as cotton can retain water.

Sleeping Style vs. Pillow Type

The way you sleep will determine the firmness of your pillow. Those of us who sleep on our back or side often prefer a medium support pillow that cradles the natural curvature of the spine. Stomach sleepers enjoy a soft, plump pillow that cushions the head and neck at a comfortable angle.

Everyone has a different image of their perfect pillow. For me being a side sleeper and having many allergies, a cotton pillow is the perfect match, but it may not be for everyone. Make sure to find your perfect fit for all your bedding because remember, we spend 8 hours of our day sleeping – if we’re lucky!Feather pillows or cotton pillows? Find the best for your bed... and head!

How Many Hours of Sleep is Enough?

What constitutes a good night’s sleep? The generally held consensus on the appropriate amount is 8 hours per night for adults. The average American gets less than seven hours per night and that’s not enough for them to function at their best. A lack of sleep can have a variety of negative impacts on our lives from an increase in disease susceptibility to an unhealthy gain in weight.

Making a Good Night’s Sleep Great

When we are overly tired, we also have slower reaction times which can have consequences when we are driving. Lack of sleep can result in a rise in blood pressure and can trigger hormonal imbalances that increase our appetites while making us tired during the day and less likely to exercise. This can lead to obesity and diabetes. Many obese Americans suffer from sleep apnea where normal breathing can become interrupted as many as 400 times per night.

When we are able to sleep well the benefits are immediate. Our memory improves, losing weight is easier and so is fighting depression. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, make sure your bed is comfortable and your mind is clear at bedtime. Drink caffeine-free herbal tea and avoid checking your electronic devices which can throw off your body’s natural clock.

Are Screens & Gadgets Stealing our Sleep?

More Screen Time = Less Sleep Time

It would probably be no surprise to anyone that we spend about half of our waking hours staring at a screen. Whether that’s a desktop or laptop computer screen, a cell phone or a tablet, we are completely engaged with our electronic devices for much of our waking hours. It is now believed that this much exposure to the artificial lighting of these screens can adversely affect our sleeping patterns.

As the use of these types of technologies increases, so does the amount of sleep disorders we experience. With so many of us watching TV in bed on our smartphones and checking messages or using our tablets right before bed, we are disrupting our body’s normal and natural sleep routine.

Good Night Tech, Good Night Moon

The lighting used to illuminate these devices may be tricking our bodies into thinking it’s daylight. The natural production of melatonin is affected by the amount of light outside. When the sun goes down our bodies start telling us that it is time to go to sleep. The use of gadgets with artificial lighting sources may be interfering with this natural process which makes it harder for us to fall asleep at night.

As great as technology is and with as many great benefits as the Internet delivers to us on a daily basis, there’s always a tradeoff. In this case, it may mean that checking your e-mail in bed will have you feeling groggy in the morning.

One solution is to rid your bedroom of tech devices, creating a sanctuary for sleep and signaling to your brain and body that your bed is a place meant for resting and sleeping, not tweeting and Instagraming.