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All Natural Mattress Covers
New Zealand Lambs Wool
What is Visco-Elastic Memory Foam?
Unique Tri-Zone Latex Core
Solid Wood Bed Foundation
About Adjustable Beds
How to Buy the Best Mattress
Lost Sleep Leads to Weight Gain
Stanford Sleepiness Scale
All About Insomnia
Sleep Apnea Risks
The Human Need for Sleep
Preventing Back Pain
Benefits of Good Night's Sleep
Study is Hard on Hard Mattresses
Dust Mites and Allergies
What is Narcolepsy?
Sleep for Kids
Old Beds = Breathing Problems
Memory Foam Alleviates Bedsores
Sleep Disorders
Trouble Sleeping? Try These Sleep Tips
What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?
Healthy Sleep

All Natural Mattress Covers

Lyocell European Cover

Lyocell is produced from cellulose, the main material in plant cells, and constitutes a new fiber for clothing, hygiene, medical and technical applications. The production process for Lyocell is extremely environmentally friendly, resulting in a fiber that is all natural and 100% bio-degradable. Lyocell is approved by the Federal Trade Commission and is used in many industries such as the apparel industry. Similar to cotton, Lyocell is breathable, absorbent and comfortable; it is also strong and durable.

Lyocell is Manufactured But Not Synthetic - it is Made From Wood Pulp!

You can obtain optimum moisture and heat management with Lyocell fiber; never too hot or too cold. The fiber breathes with the body, absorbs a lot of moisture very quickly and then releases this to the outside thus preserving the warmth level. You can therefore feel more comfortable in your sleep environment.

Soft, Breathable, and Moisture Absorbent! While the name sounds hard, the result is incredibly soft! Dormia's soft, breathable, and moisture absorbent bamboo covers are made from bamboo fibers yielded into yarn.

Bamboo Cover

  • Bamboo ticking is made of 100% bamboo fibers
  • Bamboo yarn is very hygroscopic and permeable, it has four times the moisture absorbency of cotton
  • Bamboo is naturally antibacterial. A constant antibiosis in bamboo yields a unique resistance to bacteria, fungi and pests
  • Bamboo has a soft and luxurious feel and stronger than any other fabric in its group

New Zealand Lambs Wool

New Zealand Wool is Hypo Allergenic!

Our Pure Crimped Wool is made from high quality, clean New Zealand lambs wool, which is further processed to accentuate wool's unique benefits. The result is wool with additional bulk and consistency, with minimal fiber migration and which is resistant to felting. These benefits enhance fiber-fill processing and performance, and provide a superior comfort level necessary for use in high quality bedding products.

Our New Zealand lambs wool is both water repellant and moisture absorbent! This unique characteristic means that it will repel liquid water but allows for the absorption of water vapor, keeping your sleeping surface dry. Flame resistant, allergy free and its own thermal regulator are other unique attributes of New Zealand lambs wool. Our wool will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter thus regulating the temperature around you for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

What is Visco-Elastic Memory Foam?

History of Visco-Elastic

Visco-elastic memory foam is a direct result of space-age technology. Developed during the 1960’s for NASA this product was used to cushion and deflect the tremendous effects of gravitational pull experienced by our astronauts during take off and re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. By way of its great success with NASA, the foam began being used to cushion, protect and comfort critically ill individuals in hospital intensive care units. It also provided outstanding healing benefits and comfort to bed ridden individuals in hospital burn centers. As its fame grew, other industries began using visco-elastic foam in car seats, cushions and a wide variety of products. Soon customers, who experienced visco-elastic foam in hospital beds and other sources, began demanding this product for their own use in sleep products. And the rest is history!

Conventional Foam vs Visco-Elastic

Unlike "conventional foam" with its quick recovery – or bouncy feel, visco-elastic slowly and automatically adjusts to your body weight and temperature. In addition to the slow, conforming response, visco-elastic foam offers complete, luxurious and stress free support. Visco-elastic foam accommodates any body anomalies or spinal irregularities – making it a must for those who suffer with scoliosis, arthritis and its resulting bone deformities – and many other situations that make sleeping on a conventional innerspring mattress extremely uncomfortable – and often impossible!

Nighttime Waking is Decreased

Waking at night due to excessive pressure being applied to hips, knees and other parts of the body while sleeping on conventional coiled products is one of the most common complaints from today’s mattress shopper. Additionally, many suffer and awaken during the night feeling overly hot and sweaty on their mattress. These are the two most common causes of a poor night’s sleep. Visco-elastic memory foam eliminates uncomfortable pressure points and adjusts itself based on your own body temperature and weight.

Improved Quality of Sleep

Because of its comforting properties, tossing and turning are dramatically diminished and disrupted sleep patterns greatly eliminated. Thus, you sleep longer without moving, in a more comfortable position and enjoy the benefits of a deeper, more restful sleep pattern. Should you move during the night, your partner is never disturbed due to the lack of reciprocal movement between sleeping partners. Additionally, when you do move in bed, visco-elastic foam gently “fills in” and reshapes itself to your new sleeping posture, cradling every part of your body. Coupled with a visco-elastic contour pillow (which further aligns the spine and supports the head) sleeping on our visco-elastic memory foam mattress will assure you of a great nights sleep!

Unique Tri-Zone Latex Core

Tapping into a Natural Resource

Once you spend the night on a latex mattress, you'll wonder how you ever slept without one! Latex dynamically conforms to you, providing superior support and pressure relief. No more aching back caused by insufficient support, no more aches and pains caused by inadequate pressure relief. See why latex is the fastest growing segment of the mattress industry.

Health benefits of Latex

By gently conforming to every contour of the body, our specially designed Tri-Zone latex core provides superior back support and outstanding pressure relief, reducing tossing and turning. Tri-Zone Latex is a material that has different size holes in different 'zones' of the bed to provide varying body support.

Additional Benefits

Larger holes allow for a comfortable, soft area for the areas of your body that need less support at the head and foot of the bed. The smaller holes in the bed's center allow for firmer back support. The Tri-Zone Latex core also retains its firmness level, regardless of room temperature, and was created to provide superior breathability. Naturally providing the deeper, healthier, more regenerative night's sleep that your body needs!

Solid Wood Foundation

Strong and Durable

Our foundations are made of solid Black Spruce imported from Quebec. Black Spruce is a tight grain, slow growth tree - producing wood that is strong and durable. Each foundation is hand crafted by the Pennsylvania Amish. We use premium materials and surpass the industry standards in construction. Why Dormia Beds Need a Sturdy Frame.

Old-Fashioned Wood Slat Systems Give Minimal Support

Slats were used in the days of the pharaohs. They sagged then, and they still do. Old-fashioned slats never really offered any support in the center of the bed. The side rails twist and bend outward under the load, damaging the structure of the bed frame and causing the slats to slide off the side rail edges. The proper Support System provides rock solid and complete center support for any bed, and can never slip, slide, twist or turn.

Don't Wake Up To A Collapsed Bed!

The highest quality bedding supported by slats or other old fashioned supports can result in someone actually dropping off the support system, sending the bedding, and a peaceful sleeper, crashing to the floor.

Today's Mattresses Are Heavier Than Ever!

The bedding being sold today is not like the bedding Grandma used. Beds are wider and bedding is thicker than ever before. On the average, mattresses are 45% thicker and almost 50% heavier than just 15 years ago. Mattress development has steadily progressed toward more comfort with designs that nurture good physical health. Bed support has definitely not kept up with these bedding innovations, and most bed frames and supports are indistinguishable from those Grandma slept on.

Structural Damage Can Result From Improper Support

Improper bedding support, including slats that cause wooden and metal side rails to twist and provide no center support, puts all the stress on the wrong parts of the bed frame. Ultimately, side rails and the joints at the headboard and footboard take the beating, resulting in damage to the wood bed.

About Adjustable Beds

Why is an Adjustable Bed Better than Sleeping Flat?

The most common reason that people don't sleep well at night is because they toss and turn on their mattress. The number one reason people toss and turn is pressure points; innerspring mattresses put pressure on different areas of your body causing circulation to be restricted to those areas, when it becomes uncomfortable your body turns to a new position.

Another reason is improper spinal alignment. Since a traditional mattress is flat and our bodies are curved, the traditional mattress fails to offer enough support in the lumbar region often allowing your lower back and hips to sink below the rest of your body. This causes pressure and discomfort in that area which in turn causes your body to turn to a new position.

Abed's adjustable sleep systems offer you several great benefits. First, all of our mattresses are designed to relieve pressure as well as to give you the ultimate in lumbar support. When put on one of our adjustable bases the sleeping experience is enhanced to a whole new level. Imagine if you could sleep in a totally pressure free environment. What would that environment be? Well our astronauts experience it all the time, floating in space. In studying the way astronauts sleep in space we have discovered a few interesting things. First, we see that their heads stay slightly elevated allowing for easier breathing. Secondly and probably most importantly, we see that their knees naturally bend and elevate slightly above the heart. This position takes pressure off the spine as well as allows for increased blood flow to the heart. Only an adjustable bed can mimic this extremely comfortable and healthy position. Keeping your body in our natural sleep position reduces the pressure on your skeletal frame more than 85% insuring you will get the deepest most restful sleep possible.

How do I know if I should purchase an Adjustable Sleep System?

There are many reasons why people purchase adjustable sleep systems. Whether for health reasons or simply for convenience and comfort an adjustable sleep system can be an integral part of your day to day life. Take a look at the following questions if you answer yes to any of them you may be a good candidate for an adjustable sleep system.

1. Do you suffer from back problems?

2. Do you suffer from neck or shoulder pain?

3. Do you suffer from arthritis?

4. Do you suffer from circulatory problems?

5. Do you experience gastric reflux at night?

6. Do you snore at night?

7. Do you suffer form asthma or breathing problems?

8. Do you sleep on your side at night?

9. Do you put a pillow between your knees at night?

10. Do you like to read or watch T.V. in bed?

Aren't Adjustable Sleep Systems just for Older People?

NO! With the many demands of today's active lifestyles and the renewed focus on our health and well being, more and more people are realizing the benefits of owning an adjustable sleep system. Having a product in your home that helps to better your health is a good investment for people of all ages. Also the benefit of having a comfortable solution to doing the things you already do in your current bed such as reading or watching television is something many people value as well.

Aren't all Adjustable Sleep Systems pretty much the same?

Absolutely not! An adjustable sleep system consists of two parts, the base and the mattress. For starters all of our bases are different. Each unit offers different features and benefits depending on what your personal needs are. Even more important is the mattress which you are sleeping on. Many companies offer old fashioned innerspring mattresses that don't really work very well with an adjustable base and often need replacing every five years. Our mattresses are all designed to offer you pressure relief, proper spinal alignment and a more breathable sleep surface. As a result they will work in concert with the adjustable base to provide you with the ultimate adjustable sleep experience. They are made from highly specialized foams and are more durable than innersprings as a result you can feel confident that your mattress will last for twenty years.

This material is designed for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

What's The Best Mattress for You?

The Best Mattress for Back Sleeper

The general rule of thumb for back sleepers is that when shopping for a mattress, go firm. Unfortunately, people often mistake a firm, supportive mattress for one that is just plain hard. The reason a firm mattress works better in this case than a softer type is simply that the spine needs to be kept straight when you are on your back. A mattress that gives too much or bends inwardly will not be supportive enough for the spine.

Back sleepers have a larger area to lie on than side sleepers, which translates to less weight per square inch of the body. Therefore a mattress that is more firm will hold the spine in check without irritating the muscles and joints. Placing a pillow or using a support knee elevating wedge under your legs while on your back will be beneficial, as it can reduce the traction from the psoas muscles attached to the spine. The best mattress for back sleepers will have a supportive and firm density, but also have enough give to conform to the joints, with a softer overlay to provide more comfort for the muscles and joints.

The Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Don't be fooled by all those promotions which state that firm mattresses are necessary for good support. Firm mattresses work better for back sleepers than they do for side sleepers. This does not imply that a soft mattress will be more beneficial. A mattress that gives too much or bends inwardly will not be supportive enough for the spine. However, back sleepers have a larger area to lie on than side sleepers, which translates to less weight per square inch of the body. Therefore a mattress that is too firm will put too much pressure on the very sensitive areas of the hip and shoulder, thereby causing irritation to those regions over time.

The best mattress for side sleepers will have a supportive density, but also have enough give to conform to the bumps and curves of the body, with a softer overlay to provide more comfort for the muscles and joints. When lying on your side, always put a pillow or orthopedic leg space between your knees to prevent rotation of the pelvis and spine. This measure will combine to keep your spine in a more correct alignment while sleeping. A leg space helps prevent torque on the spine from pelvic rotation when you are on your side, while moving with your body if you roll on your back.

The Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach can be irritating to your neck and back due to the complete rotation of the neck to one side while in this position. While it is not recommended that you sleep on your stomach, if you can't make the change to your side or back, keep the following in mind: Pick a mattress that is soft enough on the surface to substitute for the lack of a pillow, as using a pillow while on your stomach will only push the neck further to a rotated and backward extended position. This compression can be a source of irritation to the joints and soft tissue of the spine.

Don't be fooled by all those promotions which state that firm mattresses are necessary for good support. Firm mattresses work better for back sleepers than they do for side or stomach sleepers. This does not imply that a soft mattress will be more beneficial. A mattress that gives too much or bends inwardly will not be supportive enough for the spine. The best mattress for a stomach sleeper will have a supportive density, but also have enough give to conform to the bumps and curves of the body, with a softer overlay to substitute for the lack of a pillow and provide more comfort for the muscles and joints.

When lying on your stomach, always put a pillow wedge under one side of the pelvis and same side leg, thereby limiting the amount of rotation of upper spine. While this will still not be a perfect position, these tips should combine to keep your spine in a more correct alignment while sleeping. Leg spaces are recommended for side sleepers to help prevent torque on the spine from pelvic rotation. Stomach sleepers that want to break the habit can use a wedge to help keep you on your side, while moving with your body if you roll on your back.

The Best Mattress for All Sleepers

A mattress that properly supports the body should be solid enough to not cave inward with body pressure and yet have enough give to allow contouring of the body. This is especially important with side sleepers, as a lot of pressure is placed on the shoulders and hips. While back sleepers can get away with a more firm mattress, the contouring of the body that occurs with a mattress that gives with pressure applied will hold the body in a more proper position for a comfortable sleep. Sleeping on your stomach can be irritating to your neck and back due to the complete rotation of the neck to one side while in this position. While it is not recommended that you sleep on your stomach, if you still move around to all positions, or if you have a bed mate which sleeps in a different position than you, keep the following in mind: Pick a mattress that is soft enough on the surface to substitute for the lack of a pillow when on your stomach, as using a pillow in this position will only push the neck further to a rotated and backward extended position. This compression can be a source of irritation to the joints and soft tissue of the spine.

The best mattress for all position sleepers will have a supportive density, but also have enough give to conform to the bumps and curves of the body, with a softer overlay to substitute for the lack of a pillow and provide more comfort for the muscles and joints. When lying on your stomach, always put a pillow to wedge under one side of the pelvis and same side leg, thereby limiting the amount of rotation of the upper spine. Back sleepers can place a pillow under their legs to reduce traction on the spine. When lying on your side, always put a pillow or orthopedic leg space between your knees to prevent rotation of the pelvis and spine. We recommend a leg space, as it helps prevent torque on the spine from pelvic rotation when you are on your side, while moving with your body if you roll on your back. This measure will combine to keep your spine in a more correct alignment while sleeping. While back sleeping is still the most supportive position for the spine and stomach sleeping will still have the potential to irritate the muscles and joints, these tips should combine to keep your spine in a more correct alignment while sleeping.

Dormia's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation May Cause Weight Gain

By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY

Scientists have known for years that not getting enough sleep makes people tired and cranky. It can raise their risk of being in a traffic accident, or making mistakes at work and home. But preliminary results of a new study also suggest that sleep deprivation may promote weight gain, at least for the short term.

Eve Van Cauter, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and colleagues are studying more than 30 young men and women who are lean and fit. Some of them sleep less than 6 hours a night; they are categorized as short sleepers. The others sleep 7 to 8 hours a night and are labeled normal sleepers.

So far, results of the study indicate that the short sleepers have an impaired ability to dispose of glucose using insulin, which may put them on the pathway to obesity, says Van Cauter, who will present the study at a professional sleep meeting in June.

Researchers don't know whether people who have short-changed themselves of sleep on a regular basis can improve insulin sensitivity by sleeping more.

In a previous study, Van Cauter and colleagues followed 11 men in their 20s who were allowed to sleep only four hours a night. After a week, the men's metabolic levels and their ability to process carbohydrates had diminished. In the long term, such alterations could foster obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental sluggishness, Van Cauter says.

The sleep loss affected many biological processes, including thyroid function and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which was abnormally high in the evening in the sleep-deprived men, she says. But after the men made up for the sleep loss, they showed no signs of permanent damage, and their metabolic levels returned to normal. "The changes could be reversed in young men submitted to just one week of sleep loss, but we do not know whether the alterations can be reversed if sleep loss is more chronic," she says.

Van Cauter is not sure how lack of sleep might lead to weight gain. "We believe it's quite complex," she says. It may be a physiological response to the stress hormone cortisol, she says. It's also possible because the brain senses a lack of energy and encourages the person to eat, even if they've had enough calories for the day, she says.

James Walsh, executive director of the Sleep Medicine and Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis, says this work "is significant because researchers are finally assessing the impact of sleep loss on basic physiology, and I think that's a major step forward."

Obesity researcher George Blackburn, of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, says: "A good night's sleep is important to weight management, appetite and hunger control. You need to awaken refreshed so you can plan healthy eating and exercise for each day."

Dormia's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Stanford Sleepiness Scale

This is a quick way to assess how alert you are feeling. If it is during the day when you go about your business, ideally you would want a rating of a one. Take into account that most people have two peak times of alertness daily, at about 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Alertness wanes to its lowest point at around 3 p.m.; after that it begins to build again. Rate your alertness at different times is an indication that you have a serious sleep debt and you need more sleep.

  Degree of Sleepiness   Scale Rating  
  Feeling active, vital, alert, or wide awake   1  
  Functioning at high levels, but not at peak; able to concentrate   2  
  Awake, but relaxed; responsive but not fully alert   3  
  Somewhat foggy, let down   4  
  Foggy; losing interest in remaining awake; slowed down   5  
  Sleepy, woozy, fighting sleep; prefer to lie down   6  
  No longer fighting sleep, sleep onset soon; having dream-like thoughts   7  
  Asleep   X  

DormiaDirect.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

All About Insomnia

The amount of sleep needed to feel alert during the day varies from person to person. After a night of inadequate rest, it is not unusual to feel sleepy the next day. Difficulty getting sufficient rest even though you had the opportunity to sleep is known as insomnia. Be assured, it is not unusual to have trouble sleeping at some point in your life. In the past year, one-third of American adults had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Insomnia has many causes and is often viewed as a symptom of another problem, much like a stomach ache. It normally lasts only a night or two, but can persist for weeks or even months.

Common symptoms or indicators of insomnia:

difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

repeated nightly awakenings

daytime fatigue

restlessness

Three standard types of insomnia defined by doctors:

Transient insomnia is considered a few nights of poor sleep often brought on by stress, excitement or environmental changes. A person may have trouble sleeping the night before a big meeting or after a fight with a loved one. Temporary changes in sleep patterns are also caused by traveling across time zones and using certain medications.

Short-term insomnia constitutes two or three weeks of poor sleep that can be caused by ongoing stress at work or home, as well as medical and psychiatric illnesses. Alleviating the source of the episode usually returns sleep to its "normal" state.

Chronic insomnia is considered poor sleep that lasts two weeks or longer. It can be related to underlying medical, behavioral or psychiatric problems. Chronically poor sleep generally leads to decreased feelings of well-being. Recurring episodes are not uncommon.

Difficulty sleeping at night is only part of the problem. The daytime symptoms of insomnia include anxiety and significantly impaired concentration and memory. To minimize episodes of insomnia, sleep specialists recommend practicing good sleep hygiene.

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Sleep Apnea Risks

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a person stops breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night, and often for a minute or longer. A sufferer of sleep apnea has frequent episodes (up to 400-500 per night) in which he or she stops breathing. Sleep apnea warning signs include excessive snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep. There are three different types of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and mixed (a combination of the two).

The Greek word "apnea" literally means "without breath." With each apnea event, the sleeper's brain briefly arouses in order to resume breathing, causing sleep to be extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that can cause many health problems if left untreated. Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institute of Health.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when the airway remains open, but the brain's nerve signals fail to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations. CSA occurs during sleep because when a person is awake, breathing is usually stimulated by other signals, including conscious awareness of breathing rate.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is thought that about 1-10% of adults are affected by OSA; only about one tenth of that number have CSA. OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes off during sleep. Obesity, especially obesity in the neck, can increase the risk of developing OSA, because the fat tissue tends to narrow the airway. In some people, the airway is blocked by enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue, jaw deformities, or growths in the neck that compress the airway.

A combination of the two forms is also possible, and is called "mixed sleep apnea." Mixed sleep apnea episodes usually begin with a reduced central respiratory drive, followed by obstruction.

Some of the risk factors for sleep apnea include:

Yet sleep apnea can affect both males and females of all ages, including children and any weight.

Most Common Symptoms: (You should visit your doctor if you have several of these symptoms)

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause or worsen:

How do you Know if You have Sleep Apnea?

If you or someone you know has some of the common symptoms or risk factors for sleep apnea, it is important to see a doctor for an in-depth examination and diagnosis. Diagnosis of sleep apnea is not simple because there can be many different reasons for disturbed sleep. Several tests are available for evaluating a person for sleep apnea. Some of the most common tests and procedures used to access sleep apnea are Polysomnography, and the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Diagnostic tests are usually performed in a sleep center, but new technology may allow sleep studies to be conducted in the home.

How is Sleep Apnea treated?

The treatment of Sleep Apnea can be very complicated and not every patient responds as well as others to the various attempted methods. The common treatments can include surgeries like Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), and Tracheostomy. Other options include oxygen administration, Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and dental appliances that reposition the lower jaw and the tongue. Medications are generally not effective in the treatment of sleep apnea.

Behavioral changes to help ease mild sleep apnea:

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

The Human Need for Sleep

Sleep Is a Basic Human Need

Sleep is a natural part of everybody's life, but many people know very little about how important it is, and some even try to get by with little sleep. Sleep is something our bodies need to do; it is not an option. Even though the exact reasons for sleep remain a mystery, we do know that during sleep many of the body's major organ and regulatory systems continue to work actively. Some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and the body produces more of certain hormones.

Sleep, like diet and exercise, is important for our minds and bodies to function normally. In fact, sleep appears to be required for survival. Rats deprived of sleep die within two to three weeks, a time frame similar to death due to starvation.

An internal biological clock regulates the timing for sleep. It programs each person to feel sleepy during the nighttime hours and to be active during the daylight hours. Light is the cue that synchronizes the biological clock to the 24-hour cycle of day and night.

Problem Sleepiness Has Serious Consequences

Sleepiness due to chronic lack of adequate sleep is a big problem in the United States and affects many children as well as adults. Children and even adolescents need at least 9 hours of sleep each night to do their best. Most adults need approximately 8 hours of sleep each night.

When we get less sleep (even one hour less) than we need each night, we develop a "sleep debt." If the sleep debt becomes too great, it can lead to problem sleepiness – sleepiness that occurs when you should be awake and alert, that interferes with daily routine and activities, and reduces your ability to function. Even if you do not feel sleepy, the sleep debt can have a powerful negative effect on your daytime performance, thinking, and mood, and cause you to fall asleep at inappropriate and even dangerous times.

Problem sleepiness has serious consequences – it puts adolescents and adults at risk for drowsy driving or workplace accidents. In children, it increases the risk of accidents and injuries. In addition, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on children's performance in school, on the playground, in extracurricular activities, and in social relationships.

A child who has not obtained adequate nighttime sleep is at high risk for symptoms of physical and/or mental impairment. The child may fall asleep in school, have difficulty concentrating in school and other activities, and/or exhibit behavioral problems. Some children who are sleepy become agitated rather than lethargic and may be misdiagnosed as hyperactive. Not getting enough sleep is one cause of problem sleepiness. Undiagnosed/untreated sleep disorders can also cause problem sleepiness.

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Tips for Preventing Back Pain

Nearly everyone will experience minor back pain or problems in their lifetime. Nearly all of these problems are preventable if we just take the time to care for our backs properly. The majority of back stiffness and chronic back pain can occur while we are sleeping. Apply the following ideas to help prevent back pain.

Sleeping

  • Your pillow should support your neck, but too many pillows can cause neck strain. Sleep on a contoured pillow to avoid neck strain - you want to keep your neck and spine in-line while you sleep.
  • Try putting a small pillow between your knees when you sleep. This will help keep your hips in-line, avoiding lower back stiffness.
  • Ensure your mattress is big enough for you and your partner. If you are sharing a small mattress, you may sleep in awkward positions because you are being crowded out.
  • Buy a better mattress. How old is your mattress? A saggy mattress contributes to muscle stiffness and chronic back pain.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, try lying on your back with a pillow under your knees, or sleeping on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between your knees.
  • Your bed should be a height that makes it easy to get into and out of. When getting in, sit on the edge, lower your body on to one elbow and shoulder, and draw up your knees and then feet. Reverse the procedure to get out.
  • Your bed should allow ease of movement but mold to the contours of your body.
  • Don't assume that a bed marked 'orthopedic' is what you need - the word can just be used as a marketing tool.

Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep

A truly restful, good night's sleep rejuvenates your entire body. The more your sleep is disturbed, the more your heart is unnecessarily taxed. A conventional bed's harder surface causes you to toss and turn more keeping your heart beating harder than it should. Too much mattress pressure on shoulders and hips also affects circulation causing your heart to beat harder to keep blood flowing. Synthetic foams found in most U.S. mattress reflect body heat and humidity making the heart work harder to compensate.

The right mattress creates the kind of environment that promotes the deep sleep that gives your heart a rest by providing better support even weight and pressure distribution which allows better circulation and minimizes tossing and turning. These sleep systems absorb excess body heat and humidity better than conventional synthetic mattresses.

Your sleep comes in 2 phases: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. Non-REM sleep is the quiet sleep that does the most good for your body: your cells replenish, your spine reabsorbs water to stay flexible, muscles fully relax, skin re-hydrates and heals and circulation is steady.

Conventional synthetic beds or mattresses with a hard surface provide improper support and reflect heat and moisture - this disturbs non-REM sleep and forces you into REM sleep. During REM sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, breathing is shallow and your brain waves increase resulting in very little rest. Studies have shown that proper posture and support promote non-REM sleep. The right sleep system fosters all the principles that lead to this deep, healthy sleep.

The hot topic in sleep research is the effect of temperature and humidity on the body and the quality of sleep. Thermal imbalance is probably the single greatest detriment to sleep. Synthetic bedding and mattresses trap and hold moisture causing higher humidity. The heart rate increases; by as many as ten more beats a minute. Blood pressure climbs, sleep becomes shallow, so there is less non-REM. These synthetics provide a perfect climate for molds, mildew and dust mites to thrive. The right sleep system will absorb body heat and conducts moisture away from the body.

The more we read about U.S. mattresses, the clearer it becomes they're just not healthy for us. A standard flat mattress puts higher pressure on shoulders, hips and thighs, which constricts the veins and disrupts cell structure. Heart rate increases as the heart pumps harder to keep blood flowing causing blood pressure to climb stressing your body. Major studies show that pressure becomes unhealthy at levels over 40 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Standard US mattresses put an average of 56 mmHg on weight bearing surface of the body. When lying on your side, you can be receiving 61 mmHg of pressure on the hip alone. This causes people to toss and turn up to 200 times a night as opposed to 12 to 40. The more restless you are, the less rest your body gets.

Study is Hard on Hard Mattresses

Finds 'medium-firm' ones better for people with back pain

By Amanda Gardner

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDayNews) -- When it comes to mattresses, harder does not necessarily mean better.

A new Spanish study has found "medium-firm" mattresses are actually better than firm ones for low back pain.

"What kind of mattress should I use?" is a common question asked in doctors' offices, and it's one that has no reliable answer because there's no reliable evidence, say the authors of the study, which appears in the Nov. 15 issue of The Lancet.

The query does seem to be an important one, with 95 percent of orthopedic surgeons in one survey saying they believed a mattress played a part in the management of low back pain.

This study looked at 84 men and 229 women with low back pain, or pain that is generally not linked to any underlying disorder such as a fracture and which, more often than not, has no apparent organic cause. All of the study participants reported having backache while lying in bed and upon getting up.

The participants were then randomized to receive a firm mattress or a medium-firm mattress. (The mattresses were rated on a European scale, with 1 being the firmest and 10 the softest; the firm mattress in this study was rated 2.3 while the medium-firm was rated 5.6.) The patients were unaware of what kind of mattress they had been given, as were the workers who installed the mattresses.

Overall, after 90 days, people who used the medium-firm mattresses were twice as likely to feel less pain when lying in bed, getting out of bed, and in disability associated with back pain. They also reported less use of painkillers.

"The effects of the mattress [were] superior to the majority of medical treatments for this type of patient," reports study author Dr. Francisco Kovacs, director of the scientific department at the Kovacs Foundation in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. "In fact, the change of mattress was associated not only with a marked improvement in pain, but it also improved the degree of disability, which few medical treatments have achieved." The Kovacs Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to medical research, health care and the promotion of public health.

Kovacs doesn't know why the medium-firm participants might have experienced such an improvement, but he hypothesizes that "a medium firmness mattress adapts better to the normal curves of the back, allowing for greater support."

The report, however, may have simplified a topic that is not at all simple.

"The study basically said that a density of 5.6 was the 'ideal' mattress. That's like saying who is the ideal mate for you," says Dr. Gerard Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation at New York University/Rusk Institute and an associate professor of rehabilitation medicine at New York University School of Medicine. "That's multifactorial. It has to do with a lot of different variables, and it's the kind of thing that takes trying out. You have to go on a few dates."

Although selecting the right mattress (and the right partner) is highly individualistic, Varlotta generally counsels his patients to get a mattress that is "firm, but not too firm" and "one that contours to the body. You want a bed that can take pressure and equally distribute it and not put you in an abnormal position."

The best mattresses are often those with individual coils so they contour to the body, but these also tend to be the most expensive, Varlotta says. If you want to spend less money, pick a mattress that's "firm but not too firm," with a quilted pillow top. A box spring is nonessential.

Whatever you decide to spend, it's important to road test the mattress before committing. "You need to try one," Varlotta says. "If it doesn't feel good in the store, it's not going to feel good at home. It's like a shoe. You have to try it out to see if it's appropriate for you."

SOURCES: D. Francisco Kovacs, M.D., Ph.D., director, scientific department, Kovacs Foundation, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Gerard Varlotta, D.O., director, sports rehabilitation, New York University/Rusk Institute, and associate professor, rehabilitation medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Nov. 15, 2003, The Lancet

Copyright © 2003 ScoutNews, LLC . All rights reserved.

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Pillow and Mattress Allergies

Dust Mites in Your Pillow or Mattress May Cause Allergies

Many people blame pollen or animal dander for their asthma and allergy problems, when in reality, dust mites are recognized to be the main cause for asthma, chronic Rhinitis (hay fever) and other allergies.

You cannot see them with the naked eye ... but they are there! They are so small six of them will fit on the end of a pin. They thrive in warm humid conditions. Their favorite spot is your mattress, your pillow, and your bedding ... where they feed on dead skin cells and body fluids you excrete when you sleep. They are DUST MITES, tiny relatives of ticks and spiders. Your mattress may contain as many as two million of the tiny scavengers at one time!

Dust mites are about 1/4-1/3 mm long. Male dust mites are slightly smaller than females. They are whitish in color and thus can only be seen in dust samples when they are moving on a dark background, or when suspended in the air in a ray of light. They have 8 legs, no eyes, no developed respiratory structures and by volume are mainly a walking stomach and respiratory system ( Mites and Allergens, MADD 1, 1993).

There are three types of dust mites commonly found in American homes. These include Storage Mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae) which are found in food products, grain, and old books, and the Predatory Mites (Cheyletidae) which are larger and predate on domestic mites.

The house dust mites found in bedding, carpets, upholstery, stuffed toys, and clothes are called the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and also the European house dust mite (D. pteronyssinus), their names literally mean "skin-eating mites."

Mites are found in places in houses which provide a source of food and shelter with adequate humidity. Traditional innerspring mattresses are perfect for their needs! The fibrous and cellular structure of these environments allows mites to cluster and reduce water loss. Dust mites live around three to four months each, and females lay 25 to 50 eggs every three weeks.

What is Narcolepsy?

For some people, no amount of rest seems to satisfy their body's frequent and irresistible need to sleep. They can fall asleep while at work, during a conversation with a friend or even when driving a car. A "sleep attack" can last a few seconds or more than 30 minutes. This condition of excessive daytime sleepiness can be a symptom of a disorder known as narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder affecting a region of the central nervous system that regulates sleep and wakefulness. As the dreaming stage of sleep (REM sleep) interrupts daytime wakefulness, a series of symptoms commonly appears. Excessive daytime sleepiness is often the first sign to emerge which slowly develops over several months or years. Cataplexy is another characteristic, marked by a temporary decrease or loss of muscle control. These attacks are sudden and can be brought on by strong emotions like laughter, anger or surprise.

Common Symptoms of Narcolepsy

Most people with narcolepsy experience vivid dreamlike images called hypnagogic hallucinations. They frequently appear as a person is drifting off to sleep or immediately upon awakening. The hallucinations can be mundane or nightmarish and often cause great anxiety

During the transition into sleep or wakefulness, sleep paralysis causes a narcoleptic to be unable to move or speak. At times only the breathing muscles are active, though it may be difficult to breathe deeply. People with narcolepsy can also experience disturbed nighttime sleep and automatic behavior.

Narcolepsy is not as rare as once believed. It affects nearly one in every thousand people. Symptoms typically begin to appear between the onset of puberty and age 25. Although it cannot be cured, its symptoms can be controlled with proper behavioral and medical therapy.

For more information contact
Narcolepsy And Sleep Disorders
PO Box 51113 Palo Alto, CA 94303
http://members.aol.com/path2pub/home.htm
e-mail: Path2Pub@aol.com
Phone: 1-800-829-1933

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The ABC's of Sleep for Kids

The ABC's of Sleep - Publisher's Message
Sleep Review, September 2002

By Tony Ramos

This fall, children across America will say good-bye to summer camp, put away their swim trunks and tank tops, pack their school backpacks, and bid farewell to staying up late during the week. Well, three out of four is not bad.

Based on recent research published in the September 9 issue of US News & World Report, many children are still staying up late even though a new school year has already started, and it is having a negative impact on their health and performance in school. According to Jodi Mindell, PhD, a psychologist at St Joseph's University, Philadelphia, and associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, sleep-deprived kids do not perform as well in school, and have trouble maintaining friendships because of poor behavior. Many of these children are being misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), when in fact they are just plain tired.

Children need different amounts of sleep based on their age group, and most parents would probably fail if they were tested on how much sleep a 9-year-old should be getting; they would be shocked when they discovered that the correct answer is 10 hours. In fact, even at the ripe old age of 13, children should still be getting 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep. While many parents of active teenagers would laugh themselves silly at the thought of their son or daughter getting 9 hours of sleep, this amount is indeed how much their bodies need. It appears as if our biological clocks failed to inform American society that the frantic and hectic lifestyle of many families does not allow for an adequate night's rest.

The following are some tips that you as sleep specialists can share with parents and their children on the effects of too little sleep and ways in which parents can help their children get the required amount of sleep.

Twenty-five percent of children in the United States suffer from some form of sleep problems. Who is at fault? Believe it or not, many times it is the parents who simply refuse to lay down the law about going to bed. Parents need to provide their children with a routine by setting a standard bedtime and sticking to it, even on the weekends. They should consider staying up past their child's bedtime as a reward and not the norm. They need to recognize that most kids will want to stretch the limit when it comes to bedtime, but they need to be firm.

Sleep-deprived children are cranky and this leads to a shortened attention span. While many parents simply assume preteens and teenagers are going to be cranky because "that's their nature," sleep-deprived children often do not have the same social skills as their peers who are getting enough sleep. A rested child is often a pleasant child.

Parents should give their children a chance to settle into a restful state before going to bed. They should not expect their kids to immediately stop what they are doing 5 minutes before bedtime and lay their heads down and go to sleep. Getting children into a sleep state can take as little as 30 minutes and can be accomplished by reading to them or playing a board game in a quiet setting. Forget about watching television even if only for 15 to 30 minutes prior to bedtime since this will further stimulate their minds and make falling asleep more difficult.

Pick a proper bedtime and add a 15-minute cushion, If parents want their children to be asleep by 9 pm, then they should plan on having them in bed by 8:45 pm. With the number of distractions that occur within the average household, parents will need those 15 minutes in order to hit the planned target. As for distractions, creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere within the house prior to bedtime is a real plus. Turn off the television, radio, and washer and dryer, and, if need be, take the phone off the hook.

A solid building needs a firm foundation. Starting early and training children about how to stick to a standard bedtime will help them later in life. While adults may be able to fake their way through the day assisted by three or four runs to Starbucks, children simply do not know how to handle sleep deprivation and will unfortunately pay the consequences with poor school performance and social skills that are less than desirable.

A solid building needs a firm foundation. Starting early and training children about how to stick to a standard bedtime will help them later in life. While adults may be able to fake their way through the day assisted by three or four runs to Starbucks, children simply do not know how to handle sleep deprivation and will unfortunately pay the consequences with poor school performance and social skills that are less than desirable.

Tony Ramos, Publisher

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Why Old Beds Can Cause Breathing Problems

Blah Blah Blah

Around 12 million people suffer from breathing problems, including asthma, and this figure is increasing each year. These conditions can be aggravated by sleeping on old beds with an accumulation of dust mite irritants.

Beds and Bedding Tips

  • Keep only one bed in the bedroom
  • Encase box springs in a zippered dust-proof or allergen-proof cover
  • If a second bed must be in the room, prepare it in the same manner

Washing Tips

  • Use only washable materials on the bed
  • Sheets, blankets, and other bed clothes should be washed frequently in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lower temperatures will not kill dust mites
  • If you set your hot water temperature lower (commonly done to prevent children from scalding themselves), wash items at a laundromat which uses high wash temperatures

Mattress Pad Tips

Use a synthetic mattress pad and pillow like latex, memory foam, or Dacron Avoid fuzzy wool blankets or feather-stuffed comforters and mattress pads

Asthma Facts

  • Asthma is the most common chronic disease of children
  • Approximately 17 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma
  • An estimated 4.8 million children under the age of 18 suffer from asthma
  • One of the main triggers for Asthma is the house dust mite
  • The bed is one of the house dust mite's favorite hiding places

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

how Memory Foam Can Help

Memory Foam Can Help Prevent & Eliminate Bedsores

People who spend a great deal of time confined to a bed may see improvement or prevention of pressure-related health problems when resting on a memory foam mattress.

Bed sores are sores which appear on the bodies of people who spend a lot of time confined to bed. Bed sore problems occur to one in ten bed-ridden patients in hospitals, and they especially affect the elderly. The sores form at points where the patient's body presses against the surface of the bed, and causes pressure. The pressure cuts off the blood supply to the skin along the spine, lower back, shoulder blades, elbows and heels and injures the skin cells, if not killing them altogether. Bedsores can be extensive, extending through the skin and exposing muscle or bone. When this happens, infections and even death can occur.

Patients who are immobilized are most likely to develop bedsores. Common problems preventing activity include: severe arthritis, lengthy surgery recovery, extended treatment in an intensive care unit, or incapacitating neurological problems that reduce the patient's ability to feel the pain or discomfort (stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis). People with circulatory problems (caused by atherosclerosis, long-term diabetes or localized edema, for example), are at greater risk for bedsores because of a reduced blood flow in their skin. Persons with anemia are also at risk, because their blood doesn't carry high levels of oxygen to the skin. Even people who have limited activity due to mild arthritis, pregnancy, or moderate injury recovery can benefit from a memory foam mattress.

Visco-elastic, or memory foam, can improve or prevent pressure-related health problems. The foam cushions the body by responding to both temperature AND pressure. Though intended to relieve the strain of G-forces when blasting off into space, memory foam is now widely used in bedding products. In the medical industry, memory foam has been used to effectively reduce and prevent bedsore injuries.

Memory foam is comfortable, breathable, hypoallergenic, dust-mite free, and reduces pressure points. Even for individuals with no serious health problems, memory foam can be extremely beneficial for overall health and well-being. Why? The pressure-relieving characteristics can ease suffering from back and neck or joint pain, sciatica, muscle ache, sports or work injuries, and fibromyalgia. The hypo-allergenic properties help ease allergies and headaches. The comfort of pressure-reduction can reduce tossing and turning to help alleviate stress and insomnia.

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Sleep Disorder Dictionary

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Constant tired feeling that persists even when an individual gets enough sleep. Usually a sign of a larger health problem or disease.

Excessive Snoring - Frequent snoring is often a sign of a more serious sleep disorder, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Even if it isn't serious, it can be a great nuisance to sleeping partners, and can cause relationship problems.

Fibromyalgia - A disorder which causes muscle pain and fatigue.

Hyperactivity - Affliction of children that prevents them from falling asleep or from sleeping at the proper times.

HyperSomnia - Excessive sleeping or sleeping for inappropriately long periods of time.

Hypnagogic Startle - Involuntary twitching that occurs before the onset of sleep.

Insomnia - A disorder in which an individual has a difficult time falling asleep, wakes frequently during the night, or wakes up earlier than they would like, which persists for an extended period of time and prevents proper sleeping.

Narcolepsy - A disorder which causes individuals to fall asleep at inappropriate times such as when walking or driving. It can be accompanied by Cataplexy, feelings of paralysis and limpness during waking hours.

Nightmares - Frightening or stressful dreams.

Night Terrors - Nightmares in which the sleeper appears to be awake, and experiences extreme distress, yet cannot be awakened from REM sleep.

Nocturia - Frequent urination at night.

Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting) - Accidentally urinating while asleep.

Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND) - An abnormal condition in which a person must keep the head elevated (sit or stand) to breathe deeply or comfortably.

Pickwickian Syndrome - A disorder that affects overweight individuals which causes them to be sedentary, sleepy, and have a low concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Somnambulism (Sleep Walking) - Walking or moving around during REM sleep. This can be a disturbing disorder as it may cause injuries or accidents.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) - Sleep disorder characterized by an itching, creeping, or crawling sensation in the legs that tends to occur when an individual is asleep.

Restlessness ("tossing and turning") - Difficulty in sleeping comfortably, moving frequently during the night.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) - Disorder in which REM motor atonia is partially or completely absent (sleeper retains physical motion) and the individual acts out the ongoing dream.

Sleep Apnea - A disorder that causes a sleeper to stop breathing for a short period of time while sleeping.

Sleep Bruxism - Clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep. This can cause dental and jaw problems.

Sleep Debt - Sleep deficit caused by an individual sleeping for a shorter period of time than is healthy, usually to accommodate a busy or stressful lifestyle. Sleep debts accumulate over time and can cause mental and physical health problems.

Sleep Deprivation - Not getting the required amount of sleep.

Sleep Hyperhidrosis - Excessive sweating during sleep.

Sleep Inertia - Feelings of grogginess or sleepiness that persist longer than 10 to 20 minutes after waking up. Commonly seen as people who "can't function" without caffeine.

Sleep Paralysis - Waking and not being able to move for a short period of time, occurs when waking out of REM (dream) sleep.

MSomnolence / Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) - Excessive and inappropriate sleepiness during daytime hours and activities. This can cause many problems such as poor school or work performance, or accidents.any

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - Sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant, whose death remains unexplained after the performance of an adequate postmortem investigation. Death usually occurs during sleep.

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Trouble Sleeping? Try These Sleep Tips

Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep or having trouble sleeping. Tossing and turning as your mind is racing, going over everything that happened today. Night noises keep you awake. What can you do? There ARE things you can do! Here are some sleep tips to help you sleep better and fall asleep faster!

Sleep only when sleepy

This reduces the time you are awake in bed. If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy. Sit quietly in the dark or read the warranty on your refrigerator. Don't expose yourself to bright light while you are up. The light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up.

Don't take naps

This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you just can't make it through the day without a nap, sleep less than one hour, before 3 pm.

Get up and go to bed the same time every day

Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.

Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime

Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep better, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.

Develop sleep rituals

It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine free tea, do relaxation exercises.

Only use your bed for sleeping

Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, pay bills, do work or reading. So when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex is the only exception.

Stay away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end up having fragmented sleep.

Have a light snack before bed

If your stomach is too empty, that can cause trouble sleeping. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere with falling asleep as well. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. Tryptophan is probably why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended.

Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime

A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy. Read about the study done on body temperature below.

Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable

A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a "white noise" machine.

Use sunlight to set your biological clock

As soon as you get up in the morning, go outside and turn your face to the sun for 15 minutes.

Bibliography:
http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/howto.html

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

What is Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, causes an individual to have irritating sensations in the limbs, primarily the legs, which are very distracting and uncomfortable, but usually not painful. Patients describe the sensations as having itchy, "creepy-crawly," or twitchy legs. The condition creates a need for movement of the affected limb for temporary relief. Restless leg syndrome was described as early as the 16th century but was not studied until the 1940s. The exact cause of the problem is still unknown. RLS is included in the sleep disorders since it causes periodic limb movements and feelings of restlessness during the night. RLS symptoms increase during times when a person is resting or sleeping. A RLS sufferer may be partially or fully aroused from sleep from 5 to 50 times per hour. Even if the individual is not awakened by the limb movements, this creates very unhealthy, disjointed sleep and leads to fatigue during waking hours.

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome:

The main symptom of RLS is an uncomfortable sensation in the legs. However the sensation can also sometimes appear in the arms or trunk area.

These sensations have the following features:

What Causes RLS?

Currently, the cause for Restless Legs Syndrome is still unknown. However it is known to have a strong genetic link and to be present in people with other serious health problems, especially nerve damage disorders and poor circulation.

Who is Affected by RLS Symptoms?

Restless leg syndrome is more common in:

How is RLS Diagnosed?

It is important to rule out the possibility that the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome are not actually symptoms of a more serious problem like nighttime seizures or neurological disorders. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether uncomfortable limb sensations are caused by RLS, anemia, poor circulation, nerve damage, or another disorder. Doctors diagnose RLS by testing to preclude the existence of a more serious problem, studying family health history, and by conducting thorough physical examinations of the patient.

How is Restless Legs Syndrome Treated?

The treatment of RLS depends on what health problem is causing the condition. Doctors may suggest treatment involving change of diet, stress reduction, or medication, depending on the individual.

How Can You Get Relief from RLS?

Mild RLS sufferers may feel relief from their symptoms by:

DormiaDirect.com's website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Dormia is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

Healthy Sleep

What constitutes healthy sleep?

What constitutes healthy sleep? The amount of sleep you get is extremely important. But the type of sleep you get also determines how well-rested you’ll be when you awake.

Why you need good, healthy sleep

You need good, healthy sleep so that you can function well — both mentally and physically — during your waking hours. Good, healthy sleep can enable you to work productively, make sound judgments, avoid harm, and interact with other people effectively.

Sleep also helps us in less visible ways. During sleep, the body secretes a hormone that repairs and regenerates tissue throughout the body. Sleep may also be instrumental in reinforcing our memories and, some experts believe, essential to processing complex emotions.

Your personal sleep needs

Different people require different amounts of sleep. The vast majority of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Some people need more than nine hours, and that’s perfectly normal for them. Some others can sleep less and wake up completely refreshed.

How to know if you’re getting enough sleep

You should sleep uninterrupted. When you wake up, you should feel well-rested and ready to go. Most importantly, you should generally have no sleepiness during the day, even when involved in boring or mundane activities.

If you’re feeling drowsy during the day, you may not have gotten enough healthy sleep.

The types of sleep you need

In healthy sleep, we experience different kinds of sleep and — just as important — we experience them in a particular sequence of stages.

There are two primary sleep stages

Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) accounts for longer periods of sleep during which our brain activity and bodily functions slow down. Rapid-eye movement (REM) happens in brief spurts of increased activity in the brain and body. REM is considered the dreaming stage of sleep.

Healthy sleep is characterized by a specific “sleep architecture,” or sequence of stages. The sleep cycle usually begins with a period of about 80 minutes of NREM sleep followed by about 10 minutes of REM sleep. This 90-minute cycle is repeated four to six times each night. If the sequence is interrupted (for example, by external noise or a sleep disorder), the quality of our sleep suffers.

How sleep loss affects you

You know firsthand that sleep loss is not just a “nighttime” problem. Its impact can extend far into the day, limiting how well you can function physically and mentally. The table below lists just a few ways that a sleep deficit becomes a “daytime deficit.”

And while there is clearly no substitute for a healthy sleep, there are ways to increase your chances of staying alert on the job and behind the wheel. It’s also helpful to know how (and how long) to nap.

Above information seen on www.shuteye.com; Sanofi-Synthelabo, Inc.

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