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How can sleep affect your skin ?

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“Beauty sleep” isn’t a myth. Every single one of us needs their own “beauty sleep” if they want to avoid skin problems.

In a previous article on this website, we talked about the power of a good night’s sleep on the body. In this article, we will focus on the effects of sleep deprivation on one’s skin.

Sleep affects skin? Who knew!!

Just like lack of sleep can have undesired effects on your weight gain, it can affect your skin in a very bad way!

When you get enough sleep, you help your skin to be nourished and rejuvenated, avoiding thus unnecessary stress caused by the apparition of a spot or a pimple on your face. But what about the effects of sleep deprivation on your skin? If sleeping as much and as properly as you should makes your skin feel elastic and young, how does lack of sleep make your skin feel?

Related Articles: Sleep Number 360 Adjustable Bed Review

Your already existing skin problems get worse

When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress levels rise dramatically. It is a well-known fact that stress has the worst effects on your skin, which ends up in you getting even more stressed out, and that’s how you find yourself in an endless loop which has its own bad impact on your sleep quality.

What stress does is that it releases hormones in your body which are responsible for the quality of your skin. They tend to cause severe inflammations leading to bad skin conditions such as acne.

So when you are already dealing with skin problems, lack of sleep and the stress that results from it only end up in making everything worse: the inflammation gets more severe and more serious, and you get more breakouts.

Your skin doesn’t get the nourishment it needs

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. And just like any organ, it needs energy that comes from food. What’s more important Is that sleep is as important if not important than food for the body to function properly. And when you don’t get enough sleep, you basically prevent your skin from being nourished the way it should.

When you are asleep, your body is charged of ridding your skin from all the dead cells accumulated throughout the day, so that it can replace them with new ones. Toxins are also eliminated when you are sleeping.

When you are not getting the sleep you need, none of this happens, which leaves your skin dirty with toxins and dead cells.

Your skin’s pH levels get messed up

Sleep deprivation can cause your skin to lose the moisture it needs as well as have its pH levels drop towards acidity. That makes your complexion look less healthy, and makes you overall lose your glow.

The drop of pH levels makes your skin drier, which can provoke unwanted acne and breakouts.

Dark circles become your enemies

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As we explained above, when you are sleeping, your body replaces your dead cells with new ones.

On the contrary, when you are awake for a longer period of time than you should, those dead cells are conserved, which causes your blood vessels to dilate, and that is basically the source of dark circles.

Lack of sleep makes your skin age faster

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Have you ever heard about how sleeping can help one to grow taller. That is because when you are sleeping, your body releases the growth hormone, responsible on one part for your height, but also for the regeneration of your cells. When your damaged cells aren’t fixed, your skin tends to age much faster.

How to deal with it?

If you want to overcome all these skin issues caused by your lack of sleep, then it is necessary for you to find ways to get the sleep you need. You may want to check our article about sleep deprivation and the benefits of adjustable beds if you want to learn more about sleep deprivation and how to cope with it.

Meanwhile, here are some tips for you to take care of your skin and reduce the damages that lack of sleep may cause:

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  • Drink water: Drinking water will help hydrate your body, and consequently your skin that happens to be drier than usual because of the lack of sleep. That way, you will be able to moisturize your body from within, and you will also help regulating the pH levels.
  • Exercise: When you exercise, you enable your body to get rid of toxins faster than it would on its own, helping thus your skin to breathe after taking a hot shower where you make sure to exfoliate.
  • Use a moisturizer: As your skin gets drier the less you sleep, you need to make sure that you are using a moisturizer that suits your skin type to keep the moisture in your skin. It will help you combat dryness, will make your skin feel fresher and rejuvenated.
  • Conceal your dark circles: Dark circles happen to anybody. You can use a concealer to hide them. You can also use skin-tightening products on them to treat them.

These tips will definitely make your skin feel better, which will reduce a lot of stress that may make you stay awake at night.

How lack of sleep can be the cause of your weight gain

Sleep Deprivation
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If you’re having a hard time understanding why you can’t lose weight despite all your efforts, then chances are, you might not be sleeping enough at night. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with sleep deprivation, but you are definitely not sleeping the way you should: your sleep quality isn’t at its best, and you are probably not getting the amount of sleep you think you need.

Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

In one of our previous article talking about sleep deprivation and the benefits of adjustable beds, we talked about how there was a tight link between sleep and weight, as sleep deprivation could be one of the reasons you might be experiencing dramatic weight gain.

Here are many ways to understand why lack of sleeping can be the cause of your weight gain:

The less you sleep, the more you produce your hunger hormone

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When you’re not sleeping enough, the production of hormones gets a bit out of hands. Lack of sleep may cause your body to over-produce a hormone called “ghrelin”, which is responsible for making you hungry.

What’s worth talking about is the fact that how much sleep you need or how many hours of sleep doesn’t really matter when it comes to the overproduction of ghrelin, in the sense that you could be very well missing only half an hour of sleep and that enough would make the ghrelin production go out of control.

Related Articles: How to prevent nightmares from disturbing your sleep

The less you sleep, the less you produce your satiety hormone

Let’s keep talking about hormones for a while. When you are not sleeping, the hormone responsible for satiety, also known as “leptin”, isn’t produced. Which means that, when you are lacking sleep, your body is not able to make you feel full, and automatically, you tend to feel much hungrier than usual.

The thing is, when you’re not sleeping, not only don’t you produce leptin to not feel like eating, but on top of that, you also produce a lot of ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry all the time. It is thus only natural for you to gain weight when sleep deprived, because your body requests food all the time.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism is slowed down

  • It is quite curious to see how much effect sleep has on your body.
  • Not only does it disturb your hormone production, but it also slows your metabolism then, making you hence gain weight.
  • To put it simply, when you are suffering from sleep deprivation, your thyroid, which is an organ responsible for regulating your hormones, produces less hormones which boost the metabolic rate.
  • Moreover, not sleeping enough causes your body to process glucose properly, and that is how you end up with more glucose in your system than you should. And that leads to gaining weight.

When you don’t get enough sleep, exercise seems an impossible task to achieve

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When you are not sleeping as much or as properly as you should, you tend to feel exhausted during the whole day.

That has a dramatic impact on your mood as your motivation drops to its lowest. Which naturally takes you away from exercising.

If you are used to going for a run in the morning, you would naturally prioritize getting more sleep instead or drinking more coffee after a night of practically no sleep. And if you are used to exercising in the evening, you will obviously refrain yourself from doing so because the exhaustion from the whole day will be getting to your mind and your body at that time of the day, and you will systematically opt for trying to sleep earlier rather than exercise.

Needless to say, not being able to exercise when sleep deprived is another reason you can’t seem to be able to lose weight. This is why we recommended energy boosting food and drinks for a good night’s sleep on a previous article.

Lack of sleep makes you crave junk food instead of paying attention to your diet

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When you are not getting the sleep you need, making decisions and simply thinking properly becomes a hard task.

And that is how you find yourself eating junk food without even realizing that it is bad for your health. Saying no to burgers or pizza is something you don’t even think about, as such greasy snacks help diminish the hunger faster than any other foods.

Not only that, but when you’re not sleeping, you get more prone to stress, which makes your body release cortisol, the stress hormone. Not only does this hormone make you hungry, but it also makes you crave junk food because it is what takes the least time to prepare and what makes you feel full the fastest.

If you want to avoid putting on weight while being sleep deprived, you might want to find a way to overcome your lack of sleep as shown in our article talking about sleep deprivation and the benefits of adjustable beds on it.

If you can’t deal with sleep deprivation, you can at least try the following tips:

  • Even if it is hard, try paying attention to what you eat. A little discipline won’t harm anyone.
  • Try using exercising as a way to fall asleep faster at night and at the same time prevent yourself form gaining weight.
  • Don’t buy junk food so you can’t find any when you are craving it.
  • Fill your fridge with vegetables and healthy food to make sure you are eating healthily.
  • Fill your stomach with water whenever you feel hungry when you actually shouldn’t.

How to prevent nightmares from disturbing your sleep

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Have you ever woken up gasping, your heart hammering in your chest, your hands shaking and sweat running down your back and your forehead? That is probably because you had a nightmare. Nightmares are quite common, in the sense that every single one of us has had a nightmare at some point in their lives. Nightmares are usually defined as ‘scary dreams’, and can severely disturb one’s sleeping patterns. There are two types of nightmares: garden-variety nightmares and post traumatic nightmares.

Why do we have nightmares?

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Unlike what many people may think, nightmares can be beneficial to our health, whether they are garden-variety or post traumatic. Nightmares have been shown to be necessary for many reasons.

  • First of all, just like dreams, in general, nightmares are a way for you to get to learn more about yourself. Each nightmare has a meaning and each nightmare is a way for your body, your mind and your subconscious to tell you something about yourself.
  • Secondly, nightmares can be a huge source of inspiration, as they usually are organized as a story with its own plot and very graphic images. Many artists have produced art based on their own nightmares, as the universes seen in such dreams go beyond one’s imagination and can be borderline fascinating – despite being scary.
  • Nightmares are a way for your mind to train you for further incidents that may eventually happen in the future.
  • Nightmares happen frequently to people who suffer from PTSD or other disorders like anxiety and depression. It is a way for your subconscious to make you live again and again what is causing In you the anxious feelings, in order for you to get used to them and be more and more exposed to them so that you can overcome them.

What are the effects of nightmares on your health?

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It may be true that as stated above, nightmares can have a positive impact on you. However, nightmares can also be linked to many negative consequences on your body and may hinder not only your sleep, but your well-being in general.

  • Nightmares can be one of the many reasons of sleep deprivation, which we have talked about in our article talking about lack of sleep and the benefits of adjustable beds. Some people who cannot tolerate the anxious feelings brought upon them by nightmares start avoiding going to bed in order not to dream, which ends up in a dangerous condition of lack of sleep.
  • Nightmares are mainly characterized by the intense fear one can feel during their sleep. Naturally, that ends up leading to a very restless, fitful dream, since the emotions are felt and deeply affect the mind. Hormones like adrenaline are produced, which is kind of not compatible with the resting, calm and peaceful side of sleep. This explains why people who experience nightmares tend to sleep less than people who don’t.
  • It has been shown that nightmares have been linked to suicide, even if the relationship isn’t clear yet.

When the effects of nightmares get out of hands, it is important to fight treatments.

How to treat nightmares and their negative side effects?

When nightmares become repetitive and affect your health, here are some ways to handle them:

  • The first basic step you should take to prevent nightmares would be setting a comfortable sleep routine. You can check on our websites the different ways to improve the quality of your sleep. You can also try to invest in adjustable beds that work magic on your sleep. If you are interest, check our article talking about the pros and cons of adjustable beds.
  • Understanding the meaning of your nightmares may help with accepting them, which makes them automatically less scary, and even chase them away once and for all.
  • Writing your nightmares down may be helpful for you to decipher them. It also can help you get them out of your brain, and take a more objective look at them, lessening thus the fear and the panic.
  • It is possible to change the ending of your nightmares, so that they can become less frightening. In order to do that, you can try to imagine during daytime the ending you would like for your nightmare. Doing this task everyday will eventually lead to your nightmares changing, enabling you to sleep more peacefully.
  • If your nightmares are caused by medication, try to talk to your doctor to find a way to reduce the dosage of your medication.
  • If your nightmares are caused by other mental disorders, it is only natural for you to treat your mental illnesses in order to prevent those nightmares.
  • Finally, if you can’t find any solution to stop your nightmares, make sure to get professional help

For more dream and nightmare related articles, please stop by our blog

Sleep and dreams: Why do we need to dream when sleeping?

Why we dream
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In many previous articles, we have talked about sleeping and the benefits of sleep, of adjustable bed bases and of sleeping disorders. How about we go further than that and try to explore what comes after falling asleep: dreams.

Dreams and Sleep

If you are anything like me and happen to have a rich oneiric world, then you must for sure look forward to going to bed every day in order to go back to that blissful world you can travel to only when asleep. Some people however dread going to bed every night because that would mean yet another night where they would have to face nightmares and cold sweats and drown in anxious feelings.

If people like me think dreaming is a blessing, some others are convinced dreaming is nothing but a curse. And while opinions on dreaming may differ, scientists have affirmed that dreaming is necessary for your brain, body and emotions.

Why dreaming is both necessary and useful?

Dreaming brings unconscious desires and wishes to the surface

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You have probably heard about interpretation of dreams before, or how your dream can be some sort of premonitions. While it may be true that figuring your future out might be too good to be true, you have to know that our dreams are nevertheless a huge source of self-knowledge as well as the largest door to your subconscious.

Dreaming is a way for your brain to express all your inner desires. That is what dreams’ interpretation is all about. Interpreting your dream simply means to decipher and understand what you are truly wishing for deep inside, but unable to express openly, consciously.

Common desires and wishes dreams can express

We dream for a reason. Almost every dream you dream of can be interpreted by dream experts.

  • Books: You are looking for knowledge and power in life.
  • Jumping really high: You want to be free and run away from your current situation.
  • Talking to aliens: You want to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
  • Sex: You’re looking for more sex or better sex with your current partner.
  • Killing people: You want to kill the part of yourself that represents the personality of the person you are killing in your dream.
  • Demons and monsters: You want to change some aspects of your personality that you don’t like.
  • Death: You are looking for a new beginning.

Why do we dream?

Dreaming is a therapy in itself as it prepares you to face threats and helps balance your emotions

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Dreaming is also a way for your brain to heal itself and to keep you emotionally healed and stable. Basically, when you are dreaming, the production of the molecule inducing anxiety, also known as noradrenaline, is stopped. At the same time, your brain replays all of your memories during the dream itself. That is how you get to live the same events you lived before, but in a much more peaceful and in a calmer state of mind. That way, your body is able to associate new less chaotic emotions to the same scenes you may have went through during daytime.

This is a crucial characteristic of dreams that plays an essential role in the recovery from PTSD or any anxiety disorder, as it helps you learn from your dreams and progressively move on and carry on with your life.

Related Articles: Worst Drinks for Sleep

Dreaming enables you to process your memories and stock in your mind what should be remembered from your days

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You may have noticed how in those dreams you have been able to remember, many things that appeared in them have occurred earlier in the day. Scientists are still making researches about this, but it has been revealed that the reason for your dreams to make you re-live parts of your day is that your brain needs to organize all the information gathered during the day through your sense and your thoughts. While doing so, many flashes of your day may emerge in your dreams, without necessarily meaning anything, while other scenes may appear because they mean something particular about your personality or about your desires.

Other reasons why we dream

There are other reasons as to why we dream, such as:

  • Preparing your mind and your body for upcoming threats by making you go through eventual events you may have to face in the future.
  • Helping you learn how to cope with your emotions.
  • Training you to the fight-or-flight response you may have in real life situations.
  • Interpreting the different forms of stimuli received by the brain during sleep.

With how dreaming seems to be helpful in many ways for the well-being of the brain, it only adds on to how important sleep is for the body.

Worst Drinks for Sleep – Avoid These Before Sleep

drinks to avoid before sleep
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This is part 2 of our previous post, Best and Worst Drinks for Sleep. While the current post will tell you about the 3 worst drinks that should be avoided before bed, the previous article discussed 7 awesome drinks you can have before going to bed.

Drinks to Avoid Before Bed-Time

While the majority of the population will find the drinks below to be interfering with their sleep, these drinks may have no effect on the sleeping patterns of certain individuals. This is just like some people don’t get jet lagged, while some people get hit with jet lag like a wall.

  1. Soda

If you consume soda right before bed-time, you will experience heartburn and acid reflux from the bottom of your stomach just like bubbles in the soda that pop from the bottom. This uneasy sensation will keep you awake all night or at least during the initial phase of sleep. Plus, soda contains high amounts of caffeine and sugar, both of them lead to sleep deficiency and additional health problems. Hence, say NO to bubbles in the night.

Related: Adjustable beds for Heartburn and Acid Reflux

  1. Caffeinated drinks

Caffeine is a type of stimulant that makes you alert and awakens your senses. It increases your blood sugar level while also boosting your mental performance and respiratory rates. Caffeine is present in coffee and in small amounts in tea as well. Coffee can keep you wide awake for 4-6 hours so consider not to consume it during dinner for better sleep quality. It can also lead to Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) in some people. Restless Legs Syndrome is a neurological defect in which you constantly feel an urge to move your legs and never put them to rest. Caffeine acts as an aggravator in RLS leading to an uneasy pulling and throbbing feeling in your leg and you want to keep moving them. Of course, you cannot sleep with moving legs, right?

  1. Alcohol

I could hear some of you say, ‘Hey, alcohol gives me a high and helps me sleep faster’. Yes, alcohol does help you relax and go to sleep quickly but it disrupts your sleep in the second half of the night. As soon as the alcohol is digested by the body, approximately 4-5 hours, you find yourself awake like an owl and extremely frustrated if you can’t go back to sleep. Resultant tossing and turning will leave you drowsy and restless the next morning. Some people are also known to snore after alcohol consumption at night.

Go ahead, give one of these a shot or attempt one each night to see which is best for your taste buds and sleep hormones.

Best and Worst Drinks for Sleep

Best and Worst Drinks for Sleep
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A good night’s sleep is one of the most beloved rituals in a human’s life. A relaxing nap in the night helps you rejuvenate your body and mind for the following day. Given the anxieties and stress one feels in today’s competitive world, many people find it difficult to shut off their brains while hitting the hay. Many attribute this to a bad mattress or pillow; but there are many other factors that affect sleep other than your bed or pillow.

Don’t worry! It is a problem faced by many and can be solved with no trouble. There are some beverages that you can consume and avoid before you go to bed that will accentuate your sleep hormones. Give the brainwave of those easily available sleeping pills a skip and try one of these relaxing and sleep-inducing drinks that will help improve your quality of sleep.

Best Drinks to Consume Before Bed-time

  1. Milk

This a very well-known drink that people consume before sleeping. I am sure since childhood, all of us associate a glass of warm or cold milk to bed-time. Milk contains an amino acid called Tryptophan. This amino acid is an originator for the hormone called melatonin that induces sleep. Milk just powers the onset of sleep while the rest is done by the human body depending on its level if fatigue.

Recommended reading: Bedroom Solutions Blog

  1. Cherry Juice

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Cherries are known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help you fall asleep quickly. It is ideal to consume 100 percent sugar-free cherry juice in a 14-ounce or 16-ounce glass at evening to get more sleep in the night. You can even make a concoction of cherry turmeric tea by adding a cup of cherry juice in your tea along with a small amount of turmeric. Cherry juice is so powerful that even workers who work in night shift can drink it in the morning to fall asleep.

  1. Hot Chocolate

You can never say no to hot chocolate. A steamy cup of cocoa with a dash of peppermint and cashew butter guarantee a full night sleep that results in a healthy and relaxed you in the morning. Make sure you do not add sugar as it heightens endorphins that give you a ‘happy high’ feeling.

  1. Chamomile Tea

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In my article about essential oils to fight sleep deprivation, I had mentioned Chamomile oil and how it has a calming effect on you helping you to sleep better. Chamomile tea has the same effect on you. You may drink the tea with plain water or combine the water and lavender oil or passion fruit along with honey to give it that extra zing. The tea has a straight impact on your nervous system calming it from stress and tension that you feel during the day.

  1. Banana Smoothie

Banana is a direct source of natural muscle relaxants – magnesium and potassium. It also contains the amino acid L-tryptophan and has the same effect as a glass of milk does. To fight sleep deprivation and enjoy a night full of lovely dreams, combine bananas with cherry, chamomile oil and oats in a mixer and enjoy that cup of sleep wonder.

  1. Blueberry Marvel

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Blueberries are rich in sleep-promoting polyphenols that make is a great bed-time drink. You can blend it with other sleep-inducing agents such as avocado, lavender, or banana to make a delicious blueberry marvel. Besides, it is also full of fiber so you can get that dose fulfilled too.

  1. Bone Soup

A hot cup of bone soup is an ideal before bed-time drink especially in the cold nights of winter. Embrace a wide-mouthed cup in between your hands and enjoy the snowfall. The slow fall of flakes and the warm cup of bone soup will definitely calm your mind and slowly put you to sleep.

 

4 Easy Steps to Make Your Bed

Have you ever entered a hotel room and wondered how they made the bed so neat and tidy that you actually do not want to spoil it by sleeping on it? Well, you are not alone! We all want to get that perfectly tucked in a duvet and aesthetically placed pillows on our bed. And it is not that hard to achieve.

Here’s how to make your bed

Considering our bed is the most sought-after place after a hard day at work, here are a few tips and tricks to follow that will help you succeed in having a five-star-hotel-type of bed. In reality, designing your bedroom is not as complicated as you might think it would be. All you need is (i) Padding, (ii) Sheets, (iii) Duvet and (iv) Pillows.

Step 1 – Decoration and Padding

This is an optional one but if you want, you can add a layer of a dust ruffle or a mattress pad. A dust ruffle is placed above the box spring such that is hides anything that is beneath the bed. It is like a pleated skirt worn by your bed. If you like a contemporary style of bed, you may want to give this a skip. A mattress pad is placed over the mattress that adds extra cushioning to the bed. Besides, providing extra comfort, the mattress pad protects the mattress from spill stains and dust.

Step 2 – Sheets

Once you have the mattress and padding in place, you lay the sheets. You can either opt for fitted sheets or flat sheets. Fitted sheets have an elastic that easily slips over the corners of the mattress. When using a flat sheet, lay the sheet on the bed such that the four corners of the bed align the four corners of your sheet. You should also ensure that the sheet is evenly hanging on all four sides of the bed. Now, tuck the sheets under the mattress starting from the head board, the two sides and lastly at the foot board. Before you tuck the sheet at the foot board, slightly pull the sheet to ease out the wrinkles.

How to fold hospital corners?

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  1. Spread out the bedsheet such that all the four sides have even share of the sheet.
  2. Tuck the sheet hanging near the foot board making sure the extra sheet is hanging on either side of the bed.
  3. At the right corner, lift the extra sheet that is hanging and lay it over the mattress. While doing so, see that the sheet is smooth around the corner. Tuck all of the hanging sheet under the mattress
  4. Now, fold the sheet lying on top of the mattress at a 45-degree angle with the mattress cover and tuck it on the side.
  5. Repeat the above mentioned steps in all corners.

If you want your bed to not just look good but also feel good, invest in a good bedding set. Choose a cotton material bed sheet as it a premium product while keeping you cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Thread count is another aspect that matters. Be on the look-out for anything between 300-430 thread count for a long-lasting good-quality bed sheet.

Step 3 – Duvet or Comforter

After the sheets, it is time to put the duvet. Spread the duvet or comforter evenly over the bed and fold one-third of it back from the head board to show-off the contrasting pattern on the other side. You may even tuck the duvet under the mattress for a neater look.

A duvet of a contrasting color or pattern adds a visual appeal to the bed. You can put a duvet cover on the comforter. Try getting one with natural or synthetic down that will keep the covers warm and cozy.

Step 4 – Pillows

It’s time to make the finishing touches. A bed is incomplete without the pillows. Just as it is important to choose the right mattress, it is also essential to pick out the perfect pillows.

Related articles: How to Pick the Perfect Pillow 

It is a good impression to have two shams, two sleeping pillows, and one decorative throw pillow to complete the look. The shams ought to be in the same color as the duvet cover, the sleeping pillows will be covered with the covers that come with the bedding sheet set and you can experiment with the throw pillow cover to enhance the aesthetics of your bed.

You may keep an empty basket near the bed to keep the shams and throw pillow at night.

Trust me, there is nothing more comforting than coming home to a beautifully made fluffy bed (and a welcoming family of course!). Once you have read all the steps in detail, here is a watch and learn video on how to dress a perfect bed with the soft sheets, fleecy duvet and comforting pillows, all arranged to style a king (or queen) bed. Go ahead, follow these steps and make yourself a luxury hotel bed each morning! And then at night, sleep like a baby in your perfectly made hotel bed night after night!

 

 

Why sleep is important for your children – Part 2

sleep is important for your children
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If you haven’t read part 1 of this article series, we highly recommend that you do so by visiting the above link. Let us continue with the various benefits of proper sleep for growing kids.

Benefits of sleep for growing kids

Sleep lets your child to grow taller

Another way sleep has a good influence on your kid is how it helps them to grow taller. It is believed that bones grow the most during sleep, hence why many kids wake up their parents at night complaining about leg pain. It is because while laying down, your child’s bones don’t have to support their weight, which enables them to grow and make your child taller the day after.

But naturally, don’t hesitate to take your child to the doctor if they keep complaining about pain in their legs!

Sleep improves your child’s immune system

The more your child gets the amount of sleep they need, the less you have to think about taking trips to the doctor’s. When your child is sleeping, their brain is working on its own and producing hormones responsible for your child’s immunity and good health, such as the hormones leading white blood cells towards bacteria and foreign bodies.

An interesting research regarding this matter has shown that children who slept right after getting a vaccine have been able to release almost two times more immune cells resulting in a much better immune system than those who didn’t.

Moreover, just like for teenagers and adults, children who don’t sleep enough end up releasing much more cortisol than those who do. And we know that cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress which has a destructive impact on one’s immunity, which is why you need to absolutely make sure your child is getting enough sleep every night.

Related reading: Bedroom Solutions Blog

Sleep makes his heart healthier

It seems like children who get the amount of sleep they need and don’t suffer from sleep deprivation are less likely to develop heart related illnesses. Getting enough sleep actually helps preventing them from suffering from blood pressure or insulin issues. Studies are still being done and conducted regarding this matter, but in a nutshell, the substance (it is a protein) responsible for blood pressure issues is more produced the less a child sleeps.

Sleep prevents your child from becoming hyperactive

Is your sleep-deprived child used to throwing tantrums right before they « have to » get into bed? Then you would probably agree with the fact that children who suffer from lack of sleep tend to have anger issues or tend to have difficulties socializing and spending time with children without it ending up in a catastrophic situation every time. The main problem is much deeper than that. You have to be aware that children who suffer from lack of sleep at a young age are very likely to develop mental disorders later on, especially anxiety and depression.

Recommended reading: Leggett & Platt S-Cape adjustable bed review

For instance, have you ever noticed how you child tends to be much less stimulated than usual by « happy events » such as birthdays or presents? They just seem to be less happy and excited about life. And that is because the parts of the brain that are activated under any kind of emotion felt by your child are highly sensitive to lack of sleep. That actually causes your child to have a harder time processing their emotions and simply identifying and/or understanding them. That may lead your child to interpret fear as indifference or anxiety as fun, etc. When in reality, the brain needs enough energy and sleep to be able to associate dangerous situations with anxious feelings and happy situations with joy and smiles.

It is believed that as much as 40% young boys don’t get enough sleep and this might very well explain their hyperactive behavior.

Socializing skills get improved thanks to sleep

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It may sound far-fetched, but sleep actually helps your child with socializing and bonding with their relatives as well as with their friends! What happens is that at night, when sleeping, your child is very likely dreaming about their relatives and their friends, which contributes to a more positive behavior as well as better real life bondings with their surroundings.

Why sleep is important for your children

Importance of sleep for children
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No matter how many activities you made your child sign up for, whether they’re physically draining ones such as football and swimming, or emotionally and mentally demanding ones such as music and arts, trying to make them as active and as productive as possible, you may be missing on something very important: your child’s sleep. Rather than filling their day with countless activities, you may want to focus more on their sleeping schedule and their sleeping habits as those are much more important for their health and their well being. They don’t need an expensive, high-quality adjustable bed; all they need is a decent mattress and a quiet environment to help them fall asleep.

It has been shown that sleep is essential for the growth of your child as well as their emotional and physical condition. Besides, it is a well known fact that lack of sleep leads to mood swings, anxiety, obesity, etc., which you would want to avoid at all costs for your child.

Let’s see further why sleep is so important for your child!

The link between sleep, appetite and weight gain (or weight loss)

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A study has been done to prove the relationship between sleep and appetite. The experiment consisted in not allowing a bunch of children to sleep for more than three hours for a day. Even naps were forbidden. What was noticed was that the children had almost a quarter more of calories then usually took. And the day after, despite their sleeping habits going back to normal, they still kept consuming more food than usual.

Further than that, the study has shown that the risk of obesity went up the less a child slept, where as the more a child slept and the less likely they were to be overweight. Another study has shown that children who got less sleep for a week were at least 5 times more likely to suffer from obesity than those who got the amount of sleep they needed.

Research explained this whole connection between food and sleep through two reasons:

  • When children get the amount of sleep they need, they prevent their appetite hormone also known as ghrelin from increasing in their blood, while they keep the production of the satiety hormone called leptin balanced. Both of these hormones are released during sleep. So without enough sleep, your child will naturally have the rate of ghrelin production increasing while that of leptin production decreasing.
  • The second reason is much less scientific but as much logical: the more your child will stay awake, and the more likely they are to pass by the kitchen for a quick snack on their way to their bed.

Benefits of sleep for young children

Sleep enables your child’s brain to process information

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All what you child learns throughout the day, such as basic mathematics or a new polite expression, is processed by their brain and stored into their memory during their sleep. What isn’t needed is deleted, and what is necessary is saved in their memory. This actually explain babies’ need to be asleep most of the time; after being born, they are in contact with so much knowledge and new things that they exceedingly need more sleep compared to everyone else. It is because during REM sleep, the areas of your brain responsible for learning and memory are heavily stimulated and much more alert and reactive due to the countless connections formed between neurons.

One effective way to see how much sleep can help with memory and learning is by checking your child’s grade after sleeping well on a regular basis. You’ll be surprised by how much they will improve!

This is why reading before bed is a highly recommended activity for not only adults, but also kids.

Focusing and concentration skills improve with sleep

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Throughout the day, your child uses « functional » skills such as time management, learning and memory skills, as well as focusing and socializing.  What is important to know is that the level of those skills is tightly linked to sleep. It actually has been shown that children who suffer from lack of sleep tend to act the exact same way as children who suffer from a psychological disorder called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which causes some children to be constantly hyperactive. Which simply means that the less your child sleep, and the more likely they are to be hyperactive and unable to focus or concentrate. And that is why it is of the utmost importance for your kid to sleep as much as they need, and why not as much as possible (without going overboard of course).

Part II of this article will be published soon.

How to Pick the Perfect Pillow

How to pick the perfect pillow
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When I wrote an article on pregnancy pillows, I received a lot of requests for a Pillow Guide to general pillows, thus here is your definitive directory of how to choose the right pillow for you that will take you to dreamland.

How to pick the right pillow

Often ignored, the two most important things for a refreshing sleep is pillow and mattress. We spend a lot of time and money in choosing that fancy iDealBed 4i custom adjustable bed or that expensive Tempur-pedic mattress, but pay very little attention to the pillow. Just like the mattress, the pillow also plays a very crucial role in the quality of our sleep and our overall wellbeing. So come, let’s do some pillow talk!

Can the pillow make a difference?

How to pick the perfect pillow
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Having a comfortable sleep is key to a happy and successful day. Nothing kick starts the day better than a peaceful slumber. Sleeping in the correct posture with the help of the right mattress and pillow is essential to wake up without body pain or discomfort. The correct posture should bring into line the body from the head, neck, shoulders through the spine maintaining the curve in your lower back to the knees.

A bad pillow can worsen headaches, give you nightmares and lead to stiffness and numbness while a good pillow, that supports your shoulders, neck and head, will give you a good night’s sleep.

How to make the right choice?

The right pillow is a personal preference but before you make that choice, you should identify your sleeping style or position.

  1. Side Sleeper

This is the most common position generally people sleep in. Interestingly, sleeping in this style produces a major distance between your shoulder and ear and hence a thick or firm pillow is recommended as it provides the much desirable care to your neck and head.

2. Back Sleeper

In this sleeping position, the pillow should be soft enough to support the natural curve of your spine and hard enough to sustain your head at four to six inches off the bed. The wrong pillow will give you a stiff neck in the morning or a backache to crib about all day.

3. Tummy Sleeper

This sleeping style requires the least amount of support but adds some additional stress to the back and neck. A thin or flat pillow would be ideal for this neutral position. Some people who sleep on their tummies do not even use pillows.

Different types of pillows based on the pillow filling

Once you have identified your sleeping style, the next step is to look out what the pillow is made up of. The wrong type of pillow filling can lead to sleep deprivation and I’m sure you don’t want that. If you are the one who does not care about the pillow filling, don’t worry you are not alone. Most people are not aware nonetheless, there is a wide variety of pillow fills available in the marketplace.

Down pillows

Down pillows are made of either goose or duck fibers. They are extremely soft and light. Given the raw material used, down pillows are expensive and come in a combination of down, feathers and other synthetic materials. However, one has to be careful regarding sensitivities and allergies to down. Allergic reactions may occur in some people when the down filling is of low quality and dirty leading to discomfort.

Cotton pillows

Cotton pillows are universal pillows easily available in all stores. They are naturally hypoallergenic and do not attract mold or dust mites easily. They can be purchased in a firm or a soft form whichever suits you right.

Memory Foam pillows

This filling material is fast gaining popularity in the last few years. Memory foam pillows adapt to your individual contour by retaining your body heat and mass. They align themselves with the shape of your head, neck and shoulders. These pillows are a good choice but since they retain heat, one has to make a smart decision.

Wool pillows

Wool pillows are made of wool and are very firm so most ideal for side sleepers. They, like are cotton pillows, are resistant to dust mites and mold while also being hypoallergenic. Wool pillows regulate the body temperature by absorbing moisture from your head and neck.

Latex pillows

Latex pillows like memory foam take the shape of your crown while being steady and comfortable. They give extra support to the head and control movement during your lovely sleep.

Different sizes of pillows

Besides the fill, you should also take into consideration the size of the pillow. Too large or too small pillows affect the relaxation they are required to provide. A standard-size pillow should be just correct such that it aligns the head and neck along with the shoulder and spine.

Specialty pillows

There are some specialty pillows that can be considered.

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Cool pillows

Cool pillows are made with tiny cool beads that whisk away the night sweat and hot flashes one feels. The part where your face touches the material is always cool.

Cervical pillows

These are recommended by doctors. They provide additional cushioning and stability to the neck area.

Water pillows

This type of pillow is preferred by physical therapists who believe that these pillows use water to make a personalized level of support and thickness.

Maternity pillows

These come in a range of shapes and sizes and are used by women during pregnancy. I have gone in to great detail on maternity pillows elsewhere. (link below)

Related article: Types and Benefits of Pregnancy Pillows

Snuggle into a soft and comfortable pillow or a firm and relaxing one, the choice is up to you! When you invest in the most accurate pillow, you will notice a drastic improvement in the quality of your sleep. Now head straight to the store and take your time selecting that masterpiece for your head.

Sweet Dreams!