Which Came First, the Job or the Sleep Deprivation?

Despite the countless studies and research stating how important sleep is for our overall health and well-being, a good night’s sleep is still not a priority for Americans.  In a world where an 8-hour work day is short and 6-hours of sleep are a lot, it’s no wonder that Americans are sleep deprived.  Shift workers have their own sleep obstacles to overcome, but what about those of us that work a 9-5 shift?  Could the amount of sleep you get be directly affecting your job?

Sleep deprivation causes a myriad of symptoms including an inability to concentrate, morning headaches and memory loss… all of which can negatively affect your job performance.  In a poll from the National Sleep Foundation, 29% of people admitted to falling asleep at work or being overly tired at work, while another 12% said that they have gotten to work late because of a lack of sleep.  Even if you’re not nodding off at your desk, getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night could dramatically affect how well you perform at work.  Getting the proper amount of sleep positively influences your mood, keeps your mind focused and helps to create more positive social interactions, which will all result in a more productive day at the office.

Do you bring your work troubles home with you?  If you have trouble falling asleep at night, stress could be the culprit.  Are you trying to sleep but ideas for next week’s presentation keep running through your head?  Jot them all down.  Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador, suggests you “empty your head when you go to bed.  Don’t bring your work worries to sleep with you”.  Keep a pen and a pad of paper on your nightstand to write down any late night ideas or stresses.  Writing down your worries will free your mind to focus about other, more soothing thoughts before bed.

Sleepless in Chicago: A recent study conducted by Sleepy’s revealed the top ten Chicagoans most in need of a good night’s sleep.  Topping the list as the “Sleepiest Chicagoan” is Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who’s high-pressure, high-profile job may attribute to his loss of sleep.  Sleepy’s recently opened 10 stores in the Chicago area, “marking the brand’s first foray outside of the East Coast”.  You can see the full list of sleepy Chicagoans and more information about Sleepy’s expansion here.

Where in the world is Sleepy’s Snooze Director? 

Today, I visited Sleepy’s Syosset showroom where I met Mattress Professional Fred Hall.  Fred was extremely outgoing and very kind.  He told me all about Sleepy’s One Day Sale, going on now!  Today only save up to 75% and every Sealy’s Beautyrest is on sale!  Visit a showroom near you or shop sleepys.com for these great savings!

 

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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A Sleepover With Mother Nature

“Of course, not everybody likes camping trips. I do not myself enjoy them much, because I’m not outdoorsy, or at any rate, I’m not outdoorsy overnight-without-a-mattress-wise. There’s a limit to the outdoorsiness to which some academics can be expected to submit.”
― G.A. Cohen

While camping might not be for Mr. Cohen, for others it is a summer tradition not to be missed.  There is much to love about camping… the fresh air, campfires, sleeping under the stars, and of course the s’mores.  But, perhaps Mr. Cohen has a point – there has to be a way that we can get a better night’s sleep while camping, even without our mattress.  For those of you who plan on pitching a tent this summer, here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors.

Before you head out on your trip, be sure to do your research.  Check local weather forecasts for any impending heat waves, rain storms, or other inclement weather conditions.  Knowing the weather before you go will help you determine what equipment you’ll need to pack and what you can leave at home.

Just as the conditions of your bedroom effect how well you sleep, the sleeping conditions of your campsite are equally important.  For your best night’s sleep be sure it is dark, cool, and dry.  While nature will take care of the darkness for you, your tent can help you control the other conditions.  If you’re expecting rain, a good quality tent will ensure that you stay dry all night long.  If rain isn’t in the forecast but you’re worried about a heat wave, a screened tent will allow heat to escape from the tent while protecting you from pesky mosquitoes and other bugs.

Sleeping bags are a staple for any camping trip, but they don’t provide much cushioning between you and the earth.  To avoid sleeping on rocks and sticks, elevate your sleeping surface.  Since you can’t transport your mattress to the campsite, use a memory foam mattress topper instead.  Mattress toppers are lightweight and comfortable and it will provide an extra layer of protection between you and the ground.  As an added bonus, memory foam helps to trap heat, keeping you cooler while you sleep.

Forgo using your sound machine to fall asleep and focus on the sounds of nature that surround you.  The singing of crickets, the hooting of an owl and the rush of a flowing stream make up the soundtrack for your outdoor adventure.  These sounds will provide you with natural “white noise”, which can help you to relax and decrease stress, making it easier to drift off to sleep.

Whether you’re venturing into the woods or setting up camp in your own backyard, make sure comfort is your main priority.  Getting a good night’s sleep will help you enjoy your camping trip and give you the energy you need to explore the great outdoors.

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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Hot Deals on Cool Beds!

Where in the world is Sleepy’s Snooze Director?  It’s almost 100 degrees outside, and inside our showrooms the deals are just as hot!  Today, I visited Sleepy’s New Hyde Park Showroom, where I met Mattress Professional Mike Luyster.  Mike was very patient and extremely knowledgeable, and he showed me some of the great mattresses we have on sale right now.  If you shop now, you’ll get our Hot Deals on Cool Beds special savings!  Save up to 65% on select beds in store and online at sleepys.com!  Whether you’re in need of a Plush, Pillow Top, Foam, or Firm mattress, be sure to stop by a showroom near you for some really hot deals on our coolest mattresses!

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. Time to Get Up!

There are few sounds in life more irritating than the “beep, beep, beep” of an alarm clock in the morning.  It’s a painful reminder that you need to get out of bed and start your day.  Yet, it’s one of the most common household items, with 89% of Americans waking up next to an alarm clock.

What if we could make the wake-up process more enjoyable?  There is an array of new alarm clock technologies that not only help you wake up more easily, they can make it more fun as well.

How about waking up to the sunrise… or an artificial sunrise, that is.  Progressive alarm clocks make no sound but gradually turn your room from dark to light.  They mimic the actual rising of the sun and slowly add light to your room until it reaches the brightest point – the time you set to wake up.  The artificial light signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up, and is far less jarring than the beeping of an alarm clock or blasting of a radio.

Have you traded in the alarm clock on the nightstand for your cell phone instead?  Well, now there’s an app for that… or several apps for that.  Just type “sleep cycle” into the App Store search and you’ll find over a hundred applications, all claiming to wake you up at the most optimal time.  They claim to set off an alarm at your lightest point of sleep based on what time you fall asleep, an average sleep cycle, and what time you need to wake up. I downloaded one of these apps today, and I’ll be trying it out over the next week.  Check back here for an update to see if the app made waking up any easier or if I felt a difference in the morning.

Are you constantly late in the morning because you don’t hear your alarm?  If you’re a heavy sleeper, there’s an alarm clock for you, too!  How about one that rolls off your nightstand and hides?   Or a clock that forces you to do bicep curls first thing in the morning?  If that won’t wake you up, perhaps the clock that shakes your bed is for you.  If you’re looking for a fun way to start your day, or you need an extra push to get up in the morning, check out these quirky alarms that are sure to get you out of bed!

Now that we’ve discussed some different alarm clock options, it’s time to ditch the snooze button.  It’s so easy to reach over the side of the bed, with your eyes half-open, and hit the snooze button for “just 5 more minutes”.  But these short intervals of shut-eye are making it harder for you to wake up.  As stated on sleep.com, hitting the snooze button is not giving you quality sleep which is just as detrimental as getting less sleep.  Dr. Edward Stepanski says, “You waste hours and hours a week by hitting the snooze button.  Instead, set your alarm for 20 minutes later—that’s how much sleep you actually get when you abuse the snooze button for an entire hour”.  So, disable the snooze button and set your alarm to go off 20 minutes later than usual, you’ll wake up more refreshed than if you got those “5 more minutes”.

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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Are You “Out Like a Light” or “Up All Night”?

How long does it take you to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow?  According to the National Sleep Foundation, it should take an average of 10 to 30 minutes to fall asleep.  This time allows you to unwind from the day, relax, and put your mind at ease before falling asleep.

But what if you fall outside of this 10 – 30 minute time frame?  Having difficulty falling asleep or falling asleep too quickly can say a lot about your quality of sleep and overall health.

If it takes you less than 5 minutes to fall asleep, it could be a sign that you’re sleep deprived.  This is very common among shift workers and those with a significant sleep debt.  Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, decreased immune system, and an increased chance of disease.  If you’re in sleep debt, it’s important to pay it back as quickly as possible.  If you’re not sure what your sleep debt is, use the Sleep Debt Calculator and find out.

Everyone has experienced a night of lying in bed for what seems like hours, staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to wash over you.  Between the stress of work, kids, money and everyday life, it’s normal to have an occasional loss of sleep.  However, if it takes you an unusually long time to fall asleep on a regular basis, it could be the sign of a more serious problem.  “Having trouble falling asleep at night” tops the list of symptoms for insomnia.  There are a number of other influences that can also give you trouble when you’re trying to fall asleep including outside distractions, caffeine, anxiety and certain medications.  If you have concerns about insomnia, or any other sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.

If you want to decrease the time it takes you to fall asleep, exercise could be the answer.  According to a 2013 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, your exercise, or lack thereof, directly correlates to your ability to fall asleep.  24% of people who don’t exercise have difficulty falling asleep every night or almost every night.  On the other hand, over 60% of people who exercise regularly claim to rarely or never have difficulty falling asleep.  If you’re up all night counting sheep, you may benefit from a few extra minutes of exercise each day.  Walk around the block, take an extra flight of stairs, or do 10 more minutes on the treadmill… it could save you a few precious moments when you’re falling asleep.

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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Pillow Talk

You’ve decided it’s time to replace your old, worn out, pancake-thin pillows.  That’s great!  But where do you begin?  This is where I come in – I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to help you find your perfect pillow.

Have you ever heard the saying, “there’s a lid for every pot?”  Well, now there’s a pillow for every sleeping position.  The most important factor to consider when picking out a pillow is ensuring that your neck and spine stay in their natural alignment while you sleep.  This means that each sleeping position requires a different type of pillow.

If you’re a side sleeper, then you’re not alone.  57% of people fall asleep on their side according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.  While on your side, the fetal position tends to be the most comfortable because it allows your spine to curve naturally.  You’ll need a pillow that supports your neck and spine, while also distributing the weight of your head evenly, like the Bed Gear pillow specifically designed for side sleepers.  For extra comfort, Dr. John Schubbe suggests using a rolled-up towel or smaller pillow under your waist to raise it slightly, making your spine into a straight line.

For back sleepers, extra support under your shoulders is necessary to alleviate pressure on your back and neck.  Using the right pillow is especially important in this position because it can help reduce snoring.  Pillows shaped like a wedge, such as the No-Snore Deluxe Pillow, are ideal for back sleepers because they align your neck and spine, opening up your airways and dissipating any snoring.  Dr. Schubbe also suggests placing a small pillow under your knees for added comfort.  Lifting your knees will mimic the natural C-curve of the spine, similar to the side sleeping fetal position.

Stomach-sleepers tend to have the most difficulty finding a pillow that’s right for them.  You need a pillow that’s thinner so it won’t arch or turn your neck.  The Bed Gear pillow designed for stomach sleepers is ideal because it conforms to your facial features and helps to prevent airway constriction, all while still supporting your neck.  For extra relief from back pressure Dr. Schubbe says, “place another relatively flat pillow under the stomach to help the spine keep its natural alignment”.

So how many pillows should you use?  The number of pillows you sleep on depends entirely on your own personal preference.  Personally, I like two pillows under my head, while my fiancé is comfortable sleeping with only one.  No matter what your number is, just make sure that your neck and spine stay in line and adjust the thickness of your pillows accordingly.

When choosing your new pillow, remember that comfort is the key.  Make sure that you’ll love your pillow for at least a year or two (that’s about how long a pillow will last before you’ll need to replace it).  For a more in-depth explanation of how to determine when it’s time to replace your pillow, check back here for my first Snooze News video, coming soon! 

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and Snooze News.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

Posted in Pillows, Sleep, Sleepy's, Snooze Director | 1 Comment

Daisy: A Snooze Director’s Best Friend

When I was interviewing to become Sleepy’s Snooze Director I was asked a simple question, “Do you have any interesting or unusual sleeping habits?”  To which I had to respond honestly, “I sleep with my 50 pound dog”.

Daisy, and her toys, getting comfortable on my bed.

Daisy, my 5 year old Beagle/Yellow Lab mix, has slept at the end of my bed every night since the day I brought her home.  I adopted Daisy when she was 10 weeks old, and after sleeping in a small crate for the majority of her life, my Queen size bed opened up a new world for her.  My family had dogs in the past who were never allowed to sleep on the bed, but Daisy was different.  Daisy was my dog, and I wanted her to sleep wherever she was most comfortable.

Perhaps my answer wasn’t as unusual as I thought.  According to the American College of Veterinary Medicine, 62% of Americans allow their pets to sleep in their bedroom or on their bed.  There are, of course, positives and negatives when allowing your pet to sleep on your bed.  If you allow your four-legged friend to sleep with you, the most important thing to keep in mind is ensuring that your sleep is not disrupted.

Having enough space in the bed can be a serious point of conflict between you and your pet.  Despite obvious issues like the size of your pet and the size of your bed, sleeping position can also play a role in your comfort level.  Similar to humans, there are a variety of different canine sleeping positions.  Being able to share a bed with your pet and still sleep in your preferred sleeping position is very important for a good night’s sleep, for both you and your pet.  Luckily for Daisy and I, I am a side sleeper and she curls up into a ball when she sleeps, so space isn’t an issue for us.

Sleeping near your pet can also cause unwanted wake-ups.  Whether it’s a wagging tail hitting a bedside table, whining because of a nightmare, or a need to go the bathroom in the middle of the night, your pet can prevent you from sleeping soundly through the night.  Over the past 5 years there have been a number of times that Daisy has woken me up in the middle of the night for various reasons, but she needs a good night’s sleep just as much as I do, so those nights are few and far between.

Personally, the positives of having Daisy sleep with me outweigh any of the negatives.  There is a heightened sense of security and safety when she is in the same room as me.  Having her near me allows me to worry less and I sleep more soundly.  According to Dr. Rose from Baylor College of Medicine, there are both psychological and physical benefits to sleeping with your pet.  She says, “pets can create a sense of safety, security and comfort, and the rhythmic beating of their heart as well as the release of bonding hormones such as oxytocin may aid the owner with their own sleep”.

Allowing Daisy to sleep with me was my decision, and although it isn’t right for everyone, it was right for Daisy and I.  If letting your pet sleep in your bed isn’t for you, give them their own place to relax at the end of the day.  Providing your pet with a comfortable pet bed to sleep on can help ensure a great night’s sleep for everyone.  Where you allow your pet to sleep is an individual decision that only you as an owner can make.  Just make sure that whatever your decision may be, you don’t lose sleep over it!

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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Dealing with a Midnight Wake-up Call

Its 2am, you’re deep into your night’s sleep, when suddenly a nightmare jolts you awake… now what?

Waking up in the middle of the night is a common problem.  Whether it’s getting up to use the restroom or being awoken by a crying baby or a nightmare, many of us suffer from this same dilemma.  What most of us don’t know is how to handle the situation, and in turn end up staying awake much longer than we need to.  To beat that midnight wake-up call, here are a few tricks you can use to ease right back into sleep.

When you wake up in the middle of the night a common reaction is to do something about it.  You try watching TV or reading a book thinking, “I’ll do this until I get tired”, but this isn’t the case.  Stimulating your brain with activity will signal it to stay awake for longer, so try to keep the distractions to a minimum.  If you need to do something to keep your mind from wandering, try counting sheep!  As cliché as it may sound, doing a dull and repetitive mental exercise like counting sheep helps you to expend mental energy and you’ll eventually lull yourself to sleep.

If you have to get out of bed, try to keep the area as dark as possible.  Light signals to your brain that it’s time to wake up, which can make it harder for you to fall back to sleep.  Try to using nightlights or low lighting to avoid turning on bright room lights.  The less light that your brain sees while you’re awake, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep once you’re back in bed.

Now I’m ready for a good night’s sleep because today we filmed my first Snooze News video in Sleepy’s Huntington showroom.  Be on the lookout for the finished product, which will help you figure out when it’s time to replace your pillow!

These are the final days of Sleepy’s July 4th Holiday Sale, so be sure to visit a showroom near you or go to sleepys.com.

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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Is 9pm-5am the new “9-5″? How to Sleep Around Shift Work

Growing up, my parents didn’t work typical “9 to 5” jobs.  My Mom is a teacher, so I was lucky enough to have her home with me in the morning and after school in the afternoon.  My Dad on the other hand, always worked strange hours.  He would sleep during the day, go to work at 12am, sleep for a couple of hours, then go back to work at 4pm.  It was as if he had a different schedule every day, which I could never keep track of.

Now as an adult, I still find myself surrounded by “shift workers”.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, shift workers are “anyone who follows a work schedule that is outside of the typical “9 to 5″ business day”.  It’s no surprise that working overnight shifts and odd hours can cause erratic sleep patterns, which can lead to shift work sleep disorder.  This can become a serious problem, leading to fatigue, health issues, trouble concentrating and sleep deprivation.  If you have trouble sleeping due to shift work, here are the 3 “R’s” you need to get your sleep back on track – Repay, Recreate and Repeat.

Repay your debts.  My fiancé’s schedule is completely erratic and he rarely gets the amount of sleep he needs in-between shifts.  If you take the hours of sleep you need and subtract the hours of sleep you actually get, that number is your sleep debt.  In order to prevent fatigue, it’s important to repay your sleep debt as soon as possible.   Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein of the Harvard-affiliated Sleep Health Centers suggests repaying your sleep debt over the course of a week or two weeks by sleeping a few extra hours on your days off.  You can also repay your sleep debt by napping during the day, but only if it won’t affect your sleep schedule later that night.

Recreate the night.  My best friend is a nurse, and her 7pm-7am schedule creates a constant battle between her need for sleep and the rising sun.  To help you fall asleep more easily during the day, make your room as dark as possible.  Using blackout curtains on your windows can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight that comes into your room.  You can also use an eye mask to block out any other light that seeps into your room.  Although you may be trying to sleep, the birds chirping outside and the construction site down the road aren’t going to stop just for you.  Use a white noise machine or earplugs to drown out the external noises and help you drift off into sleep.

Repeat a routine.  It’s important to establish and follow a routine that you can do every day before bed.  Repeating a familiar routine will signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep.  Make your routine simple and calming – you can take a shower or bath, read a book, or have a cup of decaf tea – but try to avoid using electronic devices in your routine, the less distraction before bed, the better.

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

 

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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How to Beat the Heat and Get Some Sleep

We’re well into the month of July, and here in New York that means we’re also well into a heat wave.  With no sign of the weather cooling off any time soon, it’s time to be proactive and figure out how to get some sleep, despite the heat.

Keep your home cool.  As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the optimal temperature to fall asleep in is between 54 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.  During the day, try to prevent some of the outdoor heat from getting inside.  Keep your blinds and curtains closed to block the sunlight from pouring in your windows, which will keep your home cooler.  At night, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, turn on the AC, or use a fan to make sure your room is at the perfect temperature for a great night’s sleep.

Use your pillow as a cooling device.  At a barbeque over the weekend, my friend told me a trick he used to beat the heat, “put your pillow in a plastic bag and then put it in the freezer”.  As I listened in disbelief, I had to check it out for myself, and lo and behold when I opened the freezer door there it was… his pillow.  I thought to myself, “there has to be an easier way”, and there is!

Putting your pillow in the freezer? There's an easier way to stay cool!

There are now pillows and products that can give you the chill you’ve been searching for, without the hassle.  The Gellyroll Hot and Cold Pillow has a unique hot or cold gel pack, that you can either microwave or freeze depending on your desired pillow temperature.  This pillow also has heat sink technology that dissipates your body heat to reduce perspiration, which is great for these hot summer nights!  If you love your current pillow but wish there was a quick and easy way to cool it down, you’re in luck!  The Pillow Pad attaches to your pillow and absorbs your body heat as you fall asleep.  There’s no need to freeze or plug anything in, the Pillow Pad stays cool on its own with a layer of revolutionary ChillGel.  So get your pillow out of the freezer and try one of these instead!

Put away the flannel.  You’re bedding can have a direct effect on how you sleep.  For the hot summer months switch your bedding to something lightweight that won’t trap the heat, like cotton.  Cotton is soft and breathable, so it keeps your bed cooler and helps to prevent sweating.

Stay hydrated!  Go to bed with a cool glass of water on your bedside table.  The dry, hot summer air can cause you to wake up with a dry, scratchy throat.  Having a glass of water nearby to drink when you wake up can help to alleviate some of the discomfort.

 

This morning I visited Sleepy’s Levittown showroom where I met store manager Ted Goldspiel.  He gave me a tour of the showroom and reminded me that Sleepy’s Fourth of July Holiday Sale has been extended and is going on now!  If you’re in the market for a mattress, be sure to visit a showroom near you or go to sleepys.com.

I’ll be visiting a new showroom every week, so keep checking the Sleepy’s blog for pictures and information.  You never know when I may visit a showroom near you!

For more information follow me on Twitter and Instagram @SnoozeDirector, like Sleepy’s on Facebook, and be sure to check back here for more sleep tips, tricks, and snooze news.

Contributor: Elizabeth Murphy

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