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All about sleep and dreams
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Today, we are back to talking about dreams! On a precedent article, we have written plenty about our dreams’ different characteristics and now we are back with many more of them!
It is known that the more you know about your dreams and the more you get to learn about yourself, and obviously the more you get to know how to balance your life in order to sleep better!

Dreams are a vast subject. Indecipherable for some, words of the subconscious for others and revealers of the true inner self. Basically, few people know what they are talking about. So, as we are nice people, we took the time to delve into every corner of the world’s biggest encyclopedia, the internet, so you can sleep smarter tonight.

You dream on average 100 minutes per night

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Obviously, the frequency of dreams is determined exclusively by the memory that you keep. Overall, one person would average 4 to 6 dreams per night for a cumulative duration of 100 minutes. What’s interesting is that the further you get into the night, the longer the dreams go. Thus, from ten minutes for the first dream, we move to a good thirty minutes for your final one!

You are paralyzed during your dreams

No, you have not suddenly become paraplegic, do not worry. The phenomenon is called sleep paralysis and occurs more or less every night. This paralysis is muscular and takes place during the paradoxical sleep phase. Nothing works properly except respiratory muscles, blood circulation and your eyes. It’s a little unsettling and almost scary, but without this paralysis, the sleeper would imitate in the real world the movements he performs during his dreams, which could endanger him or even awaken him. Our brain is quite smart, isn’t it? Thinking about all the eventualities!

Recommended Reading: How to prevent nightmares from disturbing your sleep

You forget 90% of your dreams

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As you know, dreams are very futile in the sense that they belong to that part of your routine you pay no attention to, mechanically performing the tasks your are set to perform. Like the shower you take, toast you grill, your brain does not consider this information of paramount importance. Rather, your brain prefers to erase them very quickly, so as not to be congested. It will prefer to keep in memory everything that relates to your deepest desires. Who talked about having cheated with the neighbor’s wife? Whatever happens, within five minutes of waking up, half is forgotten. We even end up forgetting over 90% of our dreams 10 minutes after waking up. However, it is possible to partially remember dreams when waking during the paradoxical sleep phase.

You spend six years of your life dreaming

More like six years in a parallel world. When we told you that you were elsewhere, in the moon, we were not necessarily making fun of you or joking, eh. When you think about it, that basically means that there are six years that we have forgotten, since we hardly remember them.

Some people do not dream in colors

12% of the population would dream exclusively in black and white. It’s a bit confusing when you know that colors have an importance, perhaps relative, in the interpretation of dreams. Their presence would thus indicate the strength of the feelings and the vivid imagination of the dreamer. When dreams take place in black and white, they to convey a more intellectual or nostalgic aspect of them. After movies, author’s dreams.

You can not dream and snore at the same time

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If the person you have next to you is snoring at night, you can be sure that they are not dreaming, since dreaming and snoring are simply incompatible. We do not know why, but this is what is said on the internet. You might want to look more into it if you truly want to understand the why of it.

Blind people are able to dream too

It sounds all stupid, but it is. Even our blind friends have dreams, but there characteristics depend on the conditions and the gravity of those people’s situation. Those who are born blind never dream of pictures, never. Their dreams are expressed by sounds, tastes, smells and other tactile sensations. Those who have become blind in the long run, on the other hand, continue to dream in pictures, although the other senses may be more and more present.

Babies never dream

Contrary to popular belief, newborns do not dream like children, who spend much more time in their dreamworlds than adults do. Babies, when they do not have to deal with teeth growth, spend half of their sleeping time recording and writing in their brains all the novelties of the day. This is even what would explain the different face facial expressions like the smiles or the cries while they are asleep.

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Only people you know are physically in your dreams

Your dreams are obviously a matter of images first and foremost. Thus, it is impossible for us to create a face of any stranger during our sleep. Only the people that you know or that you already visualized and thus met have faces during your sleep. It is thus no wonder that you find yourself dreaming of the nosy old man who spends his day at home down the street.

Animals also dream

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Just like humans, animals also have a paradoxical phase of sleep, which is necessary for dreaming. This phase, would last 200 minutes for cats or for dogs, against a hundred minutes for humans. For birds, it would only be a few seconds. Which is quite normal when you consider how small their skull and thus their brain is. If their dreams are certainly not as advanced as ours, us humans, they exist and allow them to create memories. This is valid only in all warm-blooded animals. Snakes and other reptiles do not have the ability to do this.

Sleeping hacks for summer

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Summer is just around the corner and these sleeping hacks can come really handy during the next couple of months! If you are one of those people who don’t have the luck to possess AC at home where it is stifling hot, here are some hacks for you to cool your body down and get a comfortable night of sleep despite the heat.

The very first factor you need to think about when it comes to the quality of your sleep is the temperature of your room as well as the temperature of your body. It has been discovered that a good night of sleep requires a cool room and a cooler body. However, with the heatwave currently striking the whole world, you can see how hard it is to have these two conditions checked.

Remember, if you’re struggling to fall asleep during the hot months, you may not need complex solutions like ASMR. Instead a simple air conditioner might be able to help you out with great success.

What happens is that when your core temperature rises because of the heat, your body clock gets disturbed, which in turn messes up your sleep. That is why it is not unusual to find more and more people dealing with sleepless nights in summer. Usually, the first solution that would come to mind is to turn on the air conditioner. However, with how expensive AC is, not everyone has the luxury to cool down their room with such developed technology. Furthermore, many disadvantages of AC have been showing up lately, like the skin or respiratory issues air conditioning may cause. 

Which means that if you need new ways apart from AC to handle the heat and to get the amount of sleep you need, here are some hacks for you.

Drink water

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This one will forever be at the top of every list, as staying hydrated is the very first step towards a more controlled body temperature. It is hard for your body to go through the various steps to regulate your body temperature at night if it hadn’t got the water it needs.

All you have to do is to drink eight glasses of water or 2L throughout the day. However, make sure not to drink water before getting in bed as you may wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Treat yourself with an adjustable bed

Leggett and Platt Prodigy 2.0 ReviewThis sleeping hack is guaranteed to help you fall asleep whether you’re having sleeping difficulties during summertime or winter. An adjustable bed like the Prodigy 2.0 is highly recommended if you can spare the cash.

Try ice packs!

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Ice packs are very common among athletes but also among non athletic people as they are very helpful with soothing injuries. But mind you, they are not used only for that. Ice packs are actually very effective to cool your core temperature down in summer, just like hot water bottles are used to keep you warm during winter.

If you get yourself a bottle of iced water into bed, it will keep you cool the whole night. 

And of course, if you are by any way worried about getting your sheets wet, you can always use spare sheets to wrap it in them, or simply a towel.

It is by no way easy to deal with the heat brought upon us by summer. Especially since things are getting worse with climate change, lately. But if you try out some of the tips we’re listing on here, you’ll realize you won’t have to worry much about losing your sleep because of the heat.

Related Reading: Best and Worst Drinks for Sleep

Linen is what you should go for!

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Just like adjustable beds, linen sheets are necessary for you if you wish for a quality sleep. So don’t hesitate to invest in some linen sheets as well as an adjustable bed if you haven’t done so yet! They will allow you to feel much more comfortable, especially since they are very smooth and allow your whole body to « breathe ».

Unlike the synthetic ones, sheets made out of linen hardly ever feel heavy on your body. You don’t feel like you are getting bruises when sleeping out of their harsh fabric, and they don’t stick to your body during summer as they stay dry. 

The « Egyptian method »

This one is quite tricky but extremely useful. All you have to do is to wet your sheets or a large towel and cover yourself with it. Of course, if you don’t want to get water everywhere, you can put them on top of a dry towel that could absorb the excessive water. You can also try to hook the wet towel right in front of your window or a fan so that humid and cool air is blown into your bedroom, effectively cooling down the whole room.

Fans

If you really can’t afford AC, or if you simply don’t want to invest in it, you can try buying fans. Not only are they less expensive, but they also are highly effective to cool your room down during summer. 

There are two types of fans we will view in here:

  • Box fans:

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The thing is that, rather than using it as a way to move around the air in the room to create sensations of coolness, you can use it as a way to get all the hot air out of your room. All you have to do is to turn it the opposite way so that it gets the hot air from the room and blows it outside, thus lowering your room’s temperature.

  • Ceiling fans:

Since we are already talking about fans, let’s see the benefits of ceiling fans.

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Naturally, those are the most effective ones, and if you really do possess a ceiling fan, then you don’t have to worry about summer heat. However, did you know that there was another way to use your ceiling fan? A way that may be much more effective that how you are used to using it?

All you have to do is to change the setting of the fan so that it blows the hot air out of where you sleep.

Put your sheets in a freezer!

Once again, this one has the same concept as the Egyptian method. This tip consists in freezing –literally – your sheets until you are ready to go to bed. If you are feeling too hot, then laying down covered by frozen sheets will definitely cool you down and make you fall asleep fast. The only problem is that throughout the night, the sheets may not stay frozen, but at least you will have quite effectively lowered your core temperature.

Choose the proper clothes

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You have talked countless times about how your body temperature has to be cool for you to sleep well. Naturally, that means that you have to be conscious about what you wear to bed, as it shouldn’t impact your body temperature. Meaning that you have to make sure to wear clothes that will allow the air to flow in and out rather than stay trapped between your clothes and your body, thus causing your core temperature to rise. Loose clothing is the go-to choice. But if you don’t possess those, you can always settle for shorts and cotton tops. And of course, if you don’t want to bother with any additional clothes on top of the already existing sheets, you can sleep naked — many people actually do that. It all depends on what you like and what makes you comfortable.

An alternative to AC

A bit like the Egyptian method, this one consists in putting some ice in a glass or in a bowl that you place in front of a fan. That way, the air blown by the fan will go through the ice, which will cool it down and make it fresher. It may sound exceedingly easy but surprisingly, it works.

« Cross breeze »

This one is called cross breeze because all you have to do is to make the paths of two « blocks » of air to cross. Technically, it just means that you have to place, for instance, a fan across your window so that the air that gets in gets mixed up with the air blown by the fan, thus creating a much cooler breeze. You can also do that by putting several fans in your room, which will cause the air to blend and cool down.

How can ASMR help you sleep better?

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You have probably experienced this before: Tingles at the back of your head, your limbs feeling lighter, a sensation of floating and of feeling free and at peace as if you were in deep meditation. It may be caused by soft whispers, cutting scissors, or turning pages of a book; all these can trigger such sensations in your brain and body.

But how does that happen? And does it only happen to you?
Well, you have to know that you aren’t the only one experiencing this. Many people have shared their own experiences regarding this phenomena nowadays called « ASMR » which stands for « Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response ». 

ASMR helps you deal with stress, relieve anxiety, and most importantly, it has been discovered that it allows you to fall asleep faster and better. 

Nowadays, ASMR has become more and more popular as many people have opened their own YouTube channel dedicated to ASMR and the community won’t stop growing. The said YouTubers who call themselves « ASMRtist » have been deeply exploring ASMR and its benefits, each of them coming up with new ways to achieve the best results, to which viewers react differently.

It has appeared that the tingling sensations didn’t happen to all the viewers, thus proving that ASMR doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, and when it does, it works differently. Those who do experience the tingles would comment on saying they would feel drowsy and sleepy fast, others would talk about how relaxed they would feel upon listening to the ASMR sounds, etc.

Out of the different ASMR sounds, perhaps the most popular ones are those made by tapping on objects like cups or wooden boxes, as well as whispers or random mouth sounds.

What are the sensations triggered by ASMR?

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At the same time mental and physical, ASMR is a series of sensations and feelings you experience upon hearing some specific sounds. It gets to the point where ASMR has its own symptoms, which can help you determine whether you have experienced it before or not. Some of these symptoms are divided into two categories: mental and physical symptoms.

Mentally wise, those usually satisfying feelings that help you fall asleep are:

  • Happiness
  • Feeling relaxed and comfortable as if you were sleeping on a sleep number bed
  • Calmness
  • Feeling drowsy and sleepy

Physically wise, those symptoms are equally as satisfying and are usually felt throughout your whole body, but mainly at your nape area as well as at your scalp and spine. Some of them are:

  • Goosebumps
  • Tingles
  • Your body temperature rising to a pleasant one
  • Butterflies in your belly

How does ASMR help you fall asleep?

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ASMR is still a fairly newly discovered phenomena, so there aren’t many explanations regarding the way it works, or why it leads to such results and sensations. Nonetheless, some scientists have been exposing the theory that ASMR triggers parts of our brain responsible for our relationships and bonds, as deep as those may go such as filial or brotherly bonds. It is because ASMR usually is based on sounds related to gentleness, cautiousness and care. Hence why those areas of the brain are activated.
Actually, some tests have been done on both animals and humans, and studies showed that those activities and actions related to bonding and human (or beyond) interactions tend to trigger the production of many feel-good hormones such as the hormones we have talked about before in our article about the hormones involved in sleep.
So basically, ASMR can help you fall asleep by stimulating the production and activity of hormones such as:

  • Oxytocin: This is the hormone responsible for your body to get loose and to feel relaxed and comfortable.  It is one of the main hormones released by your body to get you ready for bed. It is also responsible for making you trust others and the universe more easily, thus effectively reducing your feelings of fear and anxiety, which helps you sleep better. Furthermore, it also makes you much more receptive to endorphin, which is another hormone released when listening to ASMR sounds. And finally, it makes you release more serotonin, another hormone promoting sleep.
  • Endorphin: Endorphins are the hormones that make your body feel all tingly and send shivers down your spine. They increase your feelings of contentment and happiness, typically by triggering the production of dopamine.
  • Serotonin: Serotonin is a hormone produced by your body near bedtime to get you ready for a full night of sleep. It highly promotes satisfaction and contentment, which makes you feel drowsy and relaxed very easily. It is the main hormone responsible for raising your mood, and as you already know, what’s better than sleeping in a good mood to have a relaxing night?
  • Dopamine: Finally, the last main hormone released thanks to ASMR is dopamine. It is known for being responsible for happiness and contentment which is why it usually is the main cause for addiction. Dopamine also helps your body release more endorphins.

Ways to experience ASMR

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If you have issues with sleeping and you are trying to find a way to fall asleep faster, then ASMR may be a good solution to go to.
You can achieve the results you are seeking either through external or internal stimuli.

 Though the easiest way may be for you to go through YouTube ASMR channels to find what is good for you, you should now that during your days, it isn’t rare for you to experience ASMR experiences and sensations.
As we stated previously, there are different types of ASMR, and depending on who you are, you will react differently to each type. It is thus up to you to find what works best for you as in what makes you fall asleep the fastest.

Some of the ASMR triggers are:

  • Whispers
  • Mouth sounds like sucking, licking
  • Low talking
  • Light tapping or nail scratching
  • Chewing and eating
  • Sounds of fire and nature

Funnily enough, ASMR sensations aren’t only triggered by sounds, but by touches and pictures as well. For instance:

  • Neat hand-writing
  • Eye contact
  • Some hand movements
  • Soft textures like blankets or some pets’ fur
  • Playing with hair
  • Massage

It is quite obvious to see, through this list, that what ASMR triggers have in common is that sense of repeated gentleness and softness. As your brain unconsciously feels like you are being cared for and in security, it makes you feel much better about yourself and about where you are, which in turn helps your body relax, ready for sleep.

Meditation and sleep

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Because the quality of your sleep isn’t the best, you probably feel exhausted during your day. You feel like you lose more and more energy throughout the day, and regardless of how tired you happen to be, every night, you still find yourself struggling with sleep.

And you are in a vicious cycle where your mood, motivation, energy levels and productivity decrease to their lowest point. You are more stressed out than ever, and you just feel completely helpless and lost. Even your skin has begun to look horrible.

When you don’t treat your sleep disorders and try to overcome them, you end up having to deal with more health issues such as weight gain, poor memory skills, uncontrollable emotions and so on. So if you want to avoid such things to happen to you, you need to make sure that your sleeping schedule is fixed and well respected.

There are fortunately many ways that can help you get your sleep under control once again, without needing to take any pills or consulting any doctor.

One of the best ways is meditation, especially meditation for sleep. It is highly effective, and is 100% natural and medication-free.

Scientists have recently been doing many researches regarding the benefits of meditation on sleep, and here are some ways meditation actually helps you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep:

Meditation helps producing the brain waves required for you to sleep

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If you think that the quality of your sleep isn’t at its best because you spend your nights tossing around on your bed, then it must be because of an excess of beta brain waves in your brain, which normally controls our consciousness when we are awake.
Those brain waves are activated when we start thinking and thus engaging a specific part of our brain responsible for alertness, anxiety, decision-making, etc. Overthinking and having negative thoughts while in bed is also a way to stimulate that part of your brain which causes the emission of beta brain waves which are usually not needed when you plan to sleep. That is how it becomes harder for you to fall asleep, as you get more and more anxious the more time passes.

Meditation is here to help you deal with those negative thoughts, as you learn how to prevent yourself from responding to them. What meditation does is that it makes your brain produce more alpha, theta and delta brain waves which are usually responsible for rest and relaxation, thus making it much easier for you to loosen up and fall asleep. Those brainwaves emitted while you meditate are a good way to neutralize the beta ones that keep you awake.

You don’t HAVE to always adopt the relatively uncomfortable meditation posture to be a good meditator. You can use any adjustable bed like the Glideaway Elevation adjustable bed that will help you stay upright and as long as you can keep your focus in one place, the seated position on your adjustable bed will do just fine.

Meditation teaches you how to shift your focus to the present moment

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How many times did you stay up all night worrying about all the tasks waiting to be done the following day, thinking and thinking about what you have to do and worrying about whether you will have enough time or whether you will succeed at everything or not?
That is something that happens to everyone, and, thankfully, it is actually okay and even normal to lose sleep over such things.

In this case, meditation helps you shift your focus back to the present moment instead of projecting yourself non-stop in the future. It makes you realize that what matters the most is what is happening now, and not what will happen after. What meditation does is that, with practice, it enables you to grow out of your space of worries and anxiety to one of calmness and peace, thus helping you to fall asleep faster than ever. You learn how to be aware of your thoughts, your feelings and your body. And that is how you become much more skilled at ignoring your thoughts, letting yourself fall asleep deeply.
Meditation at night, right before you go to bed, is one of the best ways to achieve a full night of quality sleep.

Meditation stimulates the production of melatonin

We have talked in a previous article of hours about the hormones involved in sleep, and we evoked and explored the role of melatonin. Basically, melatonin is a hormone produced by our pineal gland, responsible for our alertness during daytime and for the stability of our sleeping schedule.
Studies have shown that people who are used to meditating tend to produce much more melatonin when the night would approach, unlike those who didn’t meditate at all whose melatonin levels stayed low despite even after nightfall. So melatonin’s production was promoted by meditation.

Nevertheless, scientists still haven’t found an explanation to the relationship between melatonin levels and meditation, but regardless of that, it has been proved that meditating right before bed was a much better option to overcome sleeplessness than taking melatonin pills or any other type of sleeping medication.

Meditation makes you go through REM sleep more frequently than normal

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Sleeping a lot doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping well. So if you happen to be extremely tired and lacking energy throughout the day despite being convinced that you are getting the sleep you need just because you have been sleeping for 8 hours every night, then you may be deceptively wrong about the way you evaluate your sleep. The quality of your sleep is actually determined by the quality of your REM sleep.
During REM sleep, your brain emits waves like the ones it emits when you are awake and deeply engrossed in thoughts or any other mental activity; waves such as the alpha and theta ones, but also mainly the beta ones. That is REM sleep is often considered as that stage in your sleep where you dream. It is the last stage of sleep and each time it is interrupted, your whole sleep is messed up and turns out to be completely useless because you end up being tired and fatigued throughout the whole day.
This REM stage is launched thanks to an area of your brain responsible for the regulation of melatonin production. And what scientists have discovered was that this area was very stimulated by meditation. That explains why people who are used to meditating are very likely to dream a lot as they go through many REM stages, and thus have the best quality of sleep.

How to meditate?

If you have never meditated before, then don’t worry, there are many simple and easy meditating exercises for beginners to get you more and more familiar with meditation, while still benefiting from all its advantages.
The best way would be for you to go through guided meditation before sleep as all you have to do is to lay down and listen to the instructions given to you (preferably through your headphones) in order for you to practice mindfulness. That is actually a highly effective way for you to fall asleep while meditating and getting a good night of sleep. 

And the more you practice meditation, the more you will get used to it and the more you will master all the different tools you need for you to become good at meditating on your own, without the help of any book or audio guide, and that will be a sure and safe way for you to be sure of getting the sleep you need.

Things you should never do before bed

Things to avoid before bed
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On this website, we have mainly talked about common issues with sleep. We have listed explanations and reasons as to why they occur, we have shown how to deal with them in order to overcome them, but we’ve never ever really paid attention to how we can prevent such issues from happening to us.
In this article, we will mainly focus on the things you should never do before bed, in order to avoid having sleeping issues.

  • Drinking coffee

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Let’s start with the obvious.

It has been discovered that there are approximately 110 milligrams of caffeine in one cup of coffee, which is why one should not drink it before bed. Nevertheless, many people still enjoy taking their cup of a hot drink before going to bed, as a part of their routine. And even if that hot drink happens to be coffee, people still don’t realize that although they still don’t plan to sleep, that sole cup may disturb their whole sleeping schedules because of the caffeine it contains. That is because caffeine isn’t flushed out of the body before 12 hours after its consumption. Which means that even a cup of coffee drunk at lunch may hinder one’s sleep.

And curiously, studies have shown that even decaffeinated coffee isn’t that safe, in the sense that it has been found that some decaffeinated capsules still contained around 20 milligrams of caffeine, which of course may disturb one’s sleep. However, there exist some brands of decaffeinated coffee which, despite containing a little bit of caffeine, are composed of valerian as well, which is a herb used to treat insomnia.

  • Texting a friend or a family member

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Whenever you feel like texting a friend, a family member or joining a conversation in a group chat before or even when you are in bed, then think twice. You probably think that texting instead of making a phone call is less likely to make you lose sleep, but that is just a myth. You have to know that the mere fact of having your phone near your bed when you’re sleeping is enough to disturb your sleep as you keep expecting texts and replies.

Actually, a study has shown that around 10% of teenagers wake up every night in the middle of their sleep because of a phone call or a text.

The best way to deal with this would be to turn off your phone when you get in bed. You should make sure that your kids don’t use their phones before sleep, because as we’ve highlighted in the past, sleep is really important to young children.

  • Drinking water right before bed

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You have to pay attention to the words « right before » because that’s the most important. Of course, drinking water is essential for your body and your brain. But you have to restrict it to daytime and make sure to get yourself the amount of water you need hours before bed. Otherwise, if you drink water before going to bed, you may wake up in the middle of the night, needing to urinate, which disturbs your sleep.

  • Exercising immediately before bed

Just like drinking water, even if it sounds counter-intuitive, you shouldn’t exercise right before bed. 

It is of course good to do so during daytime, but not when you’re going to sleep. It is because when you move your body to exercise, your brain releases endorphins and just basically all those hormones responsible for lifting up your mood and making you hyper. Your heartbeat increases and that is how you become much more alert and awoken, thus not being able to fall asleep.

Remember, exercising doesn’t necessarily have to be doing 10 jumping jacks, even exerting yourself by simple actions like making the bed before you jump on bed can potentially delay you falling asleep.

  • Arguing with someone

Even if it has been discovered that feeling angry is good for your health, if you don’t deal with it the way you should, then that may badly affect your mental health and that may endanger your relationships.
When you have an argument with someone before you go to bed, then your whole mind gets focused on either fighting or closing off, which obviously hinders the quality of your sleep. Besides, as your blood pressure increases with anger, that makes it more likely for you to wake up in the middle of the night in a very bad mood, your sleep thus completely disturbed.

For this reason, some scientists advise to keep arguments out of the bedroom and dedicate the bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only. Even if you argue outside the bedroom before you go to bed, the bad temper can really mess with your sleep hormones.

  • Eating chocolate

We have talked about it before already, but you should note that aside from coffee and tea, another way to consume caffeine is through chocolate, in particular dark chocolate. And even more than that, but all the people who are especially sensitive to caffeine should even avoid eating chocolate or coffee ice-cream as the little bit of caffeine it contains might perturb your sleep.

And not only caffeine, but studies have shown that chocolate contains theobromine as well, which is a stimulant that promotes sleeplessness and that also increases one’s heartbeat.

  • Checking your mails

When you use your phone or laptop to check your mails, the light emitted from those devices unfortunately hinder the quality of your sleep, as they either make you less sleepy, or make your sleep fitful and restless. There are also other issues related to checking your mails before going to bed or while being in bed. It is obvious that if you consult anything that has something to do with work will make you think or even overthink your work and what you have to do the day after, which may keep you awake for much longer than you expected. That is why it is strongly advised to not use your phone at all before you sleep. A poll has even shown that people who check their phone for work at night tend to feel more tired the day after.

  • Eating spicy food right before bed

If you eat too much before bed, then you will feel bloated which will make it very uncomfortable for you in bed to fall asleep. It is even worse if you have spicy or greasy food as these tend to cause acid reflux which will make it very uneasy for you to lay down to fall asleep. In this case, you would be very lucky if you had an adjustable bed as adjustable beds allow you to sleep in the position you want. That way, you could set your adjustable bed in a way that you wouldn’t have to lay down.

Scientists advise to eat your last meal of the day at least two hours before going to bed so that you have enough time to digest what you have eaten. Naturally, you should absolutely avoid late night snacks.

Instead of doing any of the above, what you should really do is to listen to some nice, calming sleep music. That is bound to help you relax and fall asleep like a baby!

Music and sleep

Sleep and music
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In a previous article of ours, we talked about sleep deprivation and about ways to cope with it, such as the use of adjustable beds or the consumption of specific food. But aside from what you taste or how you lay down, your sleep can be influenced by what you hear as well. And interestingly enough, music happens to have a consequent impact on the quality of your sleep.

Throughout the latest centuries, it has been discovered that music was a good and effective way to deal with sleep deprivation, to soothe down anxiety, and to even help one combat illness. Naturally, sleep issues happen to be another issue music could help with as people have noticed that it was easier for them to fall asleep after or while listening to relaxing music. Calm music may lead one to feel much more at peace, which is the ideal state of mind to have in order to achieve a good night of sleep.

Choosing the right type of music to sleep to

As you have probably already guessed, there are specific types of music to help you fall asleep. After all, you can’t really imagine yourself feeling sleepy when listening to heavy metal or any other kind of music that might be too up-lifting and energetic.
However, it is also absolutely true that music remains a matter of taste and choice, so you may want to listen to whatever you want to, as long as it helps you deal with your difficulty to fall asleep.
Nevertheless, here is a list of music we made to help you find fast what may work the best for you. But first of all, as we have stated before, note that you need to avoid your favorite songs at all costs. That is because such songs would either stimulate your thoughts or emotions too much, as you could link them with past events or memories that are either precious or negative to you. That will only keep your mind alert and awake as it would view and review all those scenes linked to such songs instead of relaxing and getting your body ready to sleep. In such cases, it is much better to opt instead for music that would quiet your brain. For instance:

– Nature sounds:

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Of course, sounds of nature like the sound of rain, of the ocean, of birds or of snow help soothing down your body as they are not only repetitive sounds, but the sole fact that they are purely natural calm down your guts. It is because us humans belong to Nature which we funnily-enough call « Mother Nature », which brings a sense of safety that instantly makes your brain comfortable.

Furthermore, the fact that such sounds are so repetitive is a good way to make you forget about your worries and your thoughts, which of course helps you fall asleep much faster.

– Classical music:

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Did you know that classical music was used in hospital to help heal the patients? Or that it was also used to help plants grow? Classical music has wonderful effects on living beings. And what is not so surprising anymore is that it also helps to overcome insomnia as it puts you to sleep much faster than you would expect it.
It goes without saying that you should of course avoid upbeat partitions or concertos that would stir up your emotions. You should instead opt for relaxing and slow compositions that would quiet your thoughts and calm your emotions down.

– Ambient music:

Ambient music is usually used by students when studying as it helps them disconnect from the outer world and focus instead on the task at hand. It is a bit like nature sounds as it consists of repetitive sounds without being disturbing or perturbing. So, typically, putting on some ambient music in your room even before you get into your bed is a good way for you to prepare your mind and body to sleep.

– Audiobooks and podcasts:

If you are one of those people who would rather listen to people talking instead of simple recurrent sounds, then don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you. Podcasts and audiobooks are also a good way to relax before you get in your bed. Just like music, people’s voices can also help distract you from your own disturbing thoughts, which makes you less prone to insomnia. Of course, it is useless to precise that you should avoid books with suspense and an interesting plot that may keep you awake instead of putting you to sleep.

However, after several studies, it has been discovered that audiobooks weren’t as effective as classical music or nature sounds, in the sense that letting them playing while you are asleep may disturb your sleep and interfere with your dreams, especially in the case of young people.

Regardless of that, older people can be assured that music or podcasts can be quite effective and can help them improve the quality of their sleep. Not only do they help one fall asleep faster, but they are also a good way to get sleep of a proper quality as they keep your brain and body soothed and relax throughout the whole night. 

How music makes you fall asleep

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Now, let’s see how music actually makes you fall asleep.

First and foremost, it has been discovered that music  helps lower you heart beat and slow your breathing. Classical music especially allows your nervous system to slow down and your blood pressure to drop a little bit. Music can also reduce the release of a stress hormone called noradrenalin that is usually heavily produced by patient suffering from insomnia.

Furthermore, music also helps you release those feel-good hormones such as dopamine which would put you in a good mood right before sleeping, thus erasing all those worrying thoughts that may keep you up at night.

Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that in order for music to work well on your sleep, you need to first get used to it. So even if you have a hard time the first days to fall asleep with music, you will see that with time, it will become much easier for you to join the dreaming world as your brain will have gotten used to music and will see it as a trigger to make you fall asleep.

Hormones and sleep : Which hormones are involved in sleep ?

Sleep hormones

We have talked about sleep hormones all over our blog to emphasize their importance. We have also talked about certain specific hormones in order to explain whichever disorder or condition we are talking about, whether it be sleep deprivation or insomnia or sleep apnea, etc. It is because sleep is regulated by some specific hormones. Sleep can also be disturbed by other hormones.

This time, let’s see which hormones help regulate our sleep and how they exactly work, scientifically wise.

Melatonin

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Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is an organ that exists in both human and animal bodies. The role of melatonin is to regulate sleep as well as ensure a balance between sleep and wakefulness.
And not just by animals and humans, but melatonin is produced by within plants as well. But unlike us humans, plants use melatonin mainly to defend themselves against oxidative stress, which is a condition existing in all living beings where not enough anti-oxidants are produced, resulting in cells damage — especially mitochondria and DNA.

When it comes to animals — and this is where it gets interesting — melatonin helps synchronizing the circadian cycles. In other words, melatonin is necessary for the regulation of blood pressure, typically during sleep, and the control of the amount of sleep needed.
Like for many other hormones, melatonin’s effects are activated through receptors for melatonin.

This shows that melatonin is needed if you wish for a proper night of sleep. And luckily, you can find it as a pill in any nearby pharmacy. However, even if it is used to treat insomnia, it still hasn’t been scientifically proved to be efficient against sleeping disorders.

Cortisol

Cortisol is said to be a diurnal hormone, meaning it’s a hormone mainly active in daytime. Its amount in the blood vary through the day. At the beginning of the day, around 7 or 8 am, the levels of cortisol are at their peak. And the more time passes, the lower cortisol levels get in

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the blood. At the end of the day, around midnight, the levels are at their lowest.
Logically, this means that high levels of cortisol keep you awake (throughout the day), whereas low levels of cortisol help you fall asleep.
So you want to make sure your cortisol levels are high to get the energy you need, except for when you want to sleep. In that case, you want for your cortisol levels to be at their lowest so that you don’t have excess of energies that would keep you awake.
The problem is when your cortisol levels aren’t low enough for you to fall asleep at night. That is when you know something is wrong. And that is also one of the reasons you might be dealing with insomnia, or any other sleeping disorder. The principal reason your cortisol levels stay high is obviously stress. Under any form of stress, your mind goes into it’s fight-or-flight mode, which keeps your whole body alert through the increase of the production of many hormones such as adrenaline and of course cortisol. And that is how you lose your ability to fall asleep and have pleasant dreams.
If you don’t learn how to deal with the regulation of your cortisol levels — in particular through managing your stress, then you may face some serious issues.

But worry not, here is a list of all the little things you can do that can tremendously impact your sleeping habits, and effectively help reducing stress and thus cortisol levels in your blood at night.

Tips to lower cortisol levels
  • Have a bedtime routine consisting of habits you reproduce every single day until your mind starts pairing them up with sleep. You may want to drink a hot cup of tea or any other beverage at a specific hour before bed everyday, or you may want to meditate on a daily basis right before going to sleep. Hot showers before bed can also be a good way to relax your body and mind and get them ready for sleep. Some people also like to read, write or draw before bed in order to empty their minds and rest their bodies before getting into bed. 
  • Try essential oils. Those are highly effective to make your mind buzzy before you get into bed, and help soothe out any anxiety symptoms that may be hindering your sleep. The lavender essential oil is by far the most popular one used against stress, as well as the most effective. You can simply put some drops on your pillow and sheets, or even in your bath — why not. And if you are in fancier stuff, you can always invest in a diffuser.
  • One other good way you probably haven’t thought about would be the use of adjustable beds. We have talked plenty of times about adjustable beds on our website, as they proved themselves to be highly effective against sleeping disorders such as insomnia or sleep deprivation. Laying down on your adjustable bed to enjoy a good book before going to sleep is a positive way to de-stress and thus lower your cortisol levels to be able to sleep.

Related Articles: Food to avoid before sleep

Female hormones

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It is impossible to talk about hormones regulating sleep and not talk about reproductive hormones.
When it comes to women’s hormones, these happen to have an immense impact on the sleep-wake cycle. Their effects especially depend on the menstrual cycle.
Right before getting their periods, women tend to have issues with the control of their body’s temperature, which leads to a disturbed sleep. That is actually mainly caused by the sudden drop of progesterone levels in the blood; progesterone being one of the main female hormones.

In the case of women suffering from the PMS (premenstrual syndrome), melatonin levels get messed up, which is why most of those women tend to experience daytime exhaustion and sleepiness, yet have troubles with sleeping at night.

When a woman is pregnant, her hormone levels change dramatically as well. The levels of progesterone in the blood spike up, causing daytime sleepiness and insomnia.  The levels of estrogen — the other main female hormone — increase as well, leading to snoring as the muscles of the throat area get swollen. 

Finally, when a woman reaches her menopause, her estrogen levels drop largely, thus disturbing the sleeping patterns and the sleeping cycle. The loss of estrogen can also cause further snoring or even sleep apnea. As progesterone levels get messy as well, the control of body temperature is lost, and the increase in the levels of adrenaline may both lead to sleeplessness and fitful sleep.

Male hormones

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When it comes to men’s hormones, testosterone is the first to come to mind. In the case of testosterone, its levels are at their peak during sleep. It has been noticed that when a man suffers physical problems, from sleep deprivation, or simply when he ages, his levels of testosterone drop, thus leading to a perturbation of sleep patterns and the sleep cycle, as well as to a deterioration of the quality of sleep.

Surprisingly enough, it is possible to take testosterone as a pill to improve the quality of sleep for men, but it shouldn’t be taken too much or else one may have to deal with other sleep issues.

https://www.sciencealert.com/chemical-messengers-how-hormones-help-us-sleep

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Food you should avoid before bed

Sleep Foods
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We wrote an article beforehand about how tightly linked sleep and the food you eat are. It showed how there were plenty of food to eat in specific ways and in a specific time to get the most peaceful sleep out of your nights. We also viewed a series of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for the quality of your sleep such as GABA and others.
But if such food exists, then there must be some types of food which have the exact opposite effects on your body, right?

Actually, there are some aliments you should avoid at all costs if you are hoping for a calm and peaceful night. It is because they can trigger your brain to release hormones which tend to stimulate your body, thus keeping you awake instead of making you sleepy. In fact, some of these foods can even make you snore.

Let’s take a look at which food is your sleep’s biggest enemy.

Alcohol

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A study has shown that alcohol tends to make your body rests 10% less than it should while you’re asleep. To put it simply, the smallest intake of alcohol leaves a considerable impact on the quality of your sleep. And the more you drink, the more uncomfortable and fitful your sleep will be.
There are more specific reasons for which alcohol worsens your sleep quality, such as:

  • REM sleep is disabled by alcohol

    REM sleep is known for being the cycle of your sleep where your body gets the rest it truly needs. However, it has been discovered that alcohol literally blocks that necessary step, which leads to the dramatic decrease of your sleep’s quality.

  • Snoring and sleep apnea

    As you may probably know, alcohol helps relaxing your whole body, especially your muscles. While doing so, it doesn’t spare your throat muscles, as those loosen up as well when you drink.
    We saw in previous articles how loose throat muscles lead to breathing difficulties, which results in either snoring and sleep apnea. These two conditions have been showed to have negative impacts on the quality of your sleep, hence why alcohol shouldn’t be drunk if you wish for proper sleeping patterns.

  • Your circadian rhythm is disturbed

    It is true that alcohol makes you feel fuzzy and makes your brain groggy when it is time for bed. It especially helps you fall asleep extremely fast. On another hand, alcohol interrupts your circadian rhythm as well.
    Basically, when you drink, your body releases adenosine, which is a hormone that makes you sleepy, which induces sleep rapidly. However, if alcohol has the ability to makes you release that hormone fast, it also has the ability to lessen that hormone as fast. That way, you end up waking up much earlier than you should, which prevents your body from getting the sleep it needs.

  • The urge to urinate

    After drinking alcohol, your body feels the urge to urinate much often and much insistently than it usually does. That typically leads to you waking up frequently in the middle of the night in order to go to the bathroom, which effectively disturbs your sleeping patterns.

Caffeine

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Caffeine is known to be the most consumed drug in the world. As much as It can help with your daily life by providing you the energy you need to get through your day, it can also disrupt your sleeping patterns, making you further dependent of it. That’s why it’s popular as one of the worst drinks for sleep.

Caffeine affects the body and your sleep in different ways, by doing the following:

  • It increases dopamine in your system. When dopamine is released, the parts of your brain responsible for pleasure are activated. That makes you much more awake and alert than you should be.
  • It stops adenosine, which is responsible for your own sleepiness. Throughout the day, your body produces adenosine in order to get you sleepy for bed time. However, drinking coffee blocks the release of adenosine, which ends up in you being wide awake at 11pm.
  • It removes melatonin from your body. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by your body’s pineal. It helps regulating your sleeping cycle by making you sleepy near bed time. When you drink coffee, the melatonin is blocked, which disturbs your sleeping patterns.

You should keep in mind that while it may be true that the effects above might be required during daytime, but caffeine needs around six hours to be flushed out of your body, hence why you should avoid drinking it after lunch.

Black Tea

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It is unsurprising that black tea makes it to this list, as it contains caffeine. We have seen how badly caffeine affects your sleeping patterns. While black tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, it still has enough of it to disrupt your sleep. Not only that, but as any other typical beverage, drinking tea before bed might make you wake up in the middle of the night in order to go to the bathroom, which you would like to avoid.
If you still want to have a cup of tea before bed, it is a much better choice to opt for herbal teas or any type of tea which doesn’t contain caffeine.

Orange juice

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Yet another drink! Orange juice is known for its amazing effects on the human body, as it promotes alertness, youth and overall better performances.
Nonetheless, it is not as much of a good idea to drink juice right before bed, as it would definitely mess up your sleeping patterns.
First of all, oranges contain Vitamin C, which will give you unnecessary energy at bedtime – unnecessary because you want the exact opposite to fall asleep: no energy. It is even worse if your orange juice contains sugar, as this will make your energy levels spike up.
Not only that, but once again, drinking before bed will more than likely wake you up at night to go to the toilets, or simply get your bladder full for the night, which may result in a very uncomfortable sleep.

If you are dealing with sleeping issues, you can always take a look at our previous articles. There is a whole section dedicated for sleeping issues, where you can check the benefits of adjustable beds by the way.

How does the food you eat impact your sleep?

It is a well-known fact that sleep is necessary for us human beings to survive. Staying awake six days in a row actually happens to be lethal. It is not the same with food as you can go for almost two weeks without eating and still manage to survive.
What’s interesting though, is that sleep and food are tightly connected, as sleep influences your appetite, and food impacts your sleeping patterns as well as the quality of your sleep.

Let’s take a look at the food that has great benefits on your sleep, and how it works so that you sleep better.

Bananas

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Bananas contain magnesium and potassium. Banana is the fruit which contains the highest levels of magnesium. Magnesium is helpful when it comes to sleep in the sense that it helps you fall asleep faster and makes you stay asleep for longer. It is usually used again insomnia. On top of that, the magnesium contained in bananas helps with controlling your hormonal balance. It also enables your brain temperature to drop so that you can sleep better.
Although there is not much potassium in bananas, the quantity it contains added to the magnesium in it makes a great and effective duo when it comes to sleep, as they both help with relaxing one’s muscles and nerves, preparing the body for a good night sleep.

Cherries

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It has been discovered that cherries – more specifically cherry juice – are composed of elements which help with reducing the production of chemicals that may hinder your sleep.
They also contain procyanidins and anthocyanins, two flavonoids which carry out important functions such as infections and help regulating cell growth.
Moreover, cherries also happen to be a source of melatonin, also known as the hormone responsible for sleep as it tends to regulate your sleep cycles and overall your sleep patterns.

Milk

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Often, we are advised to drink a glass of milk before going to bed, in order to fall asleep fast.
First of all, milk contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that triggers the brain to produce serotonin, a hormone that helps you relax and loosen up to prepare your body for sleep.
Besides, milk also contains calcium, which Is a mineral that is usually used in hospitals to make patients fall asleep fast.
Nevertheless, up to now, scientists are still debating over whether milk effectively puts you to sleep or not. Some studies have shown that tryptophan and serotonin didn’t work well together, but nothing has been decided yet. A glass of milk can also be helpful if acid reflux stop you from falling asleep.

Related Articles: Worst Drinks for Sleep

Herbal teas

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Since many centuries, herbal teas have been used as sleep aids. The most popular ones are:

  • Chamomile tea: usually used to tame down anxiety, chamomile tea is one of the best – if not the best – sleep inducers. It contains an antioxidant named apigenin, which reduces anxiety and relaxes both your mind and your body.
  • Valerian tea: Just like chamomile, valerian is an herb that has been popular throughout the whole world during centuries as a natural tranquilizer. It helps soothing down anxiety and inducing one’s body to sleep. It is said that valerian tea is so effective when it comes to sleep because valerian triggers the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA, which helps your body to fall asleep.
  • Lavender tea: Lavender is a flowering plant popular for its soothing fragrance. It is becoming more and more present in households, as a plant or as an essential oil, as it helps combat stress and anxiety.
    Lavender can also be used as an infusion. When drunk before bed, it relaxes one’s nerves and prepares the body for sleep.
  • Lemon tea: Just like lavender, lemon is also known for its fragrance, and used for aromatherapy. Lemons’ leaves are dried and used for tea to diminish stress. Just like valerian tea, lemon tea also triggers the production of GABA, thus inducing sleep.
  • Magnolia tea: For centuries already, magnolia has been extremely used in Asian countries, especially in China, for medical purposes. It helps with bloating and stress.
    It is now used in tea as a sleep inducer. Similarly to lemon tea and valerian tea, magnolia tea increases the production of GABA in your brain, thanks to its abundant compound called honokiol, which makes you fall asleep faster.

Water

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Last but not least, staying hydrated throughout the day is essential for you to sleep well at night. When your brain is well hydrated, it tends to work better and overall feel better, thus enabling you to relax and rest properly. However, you have to avoid drinking water right before going to bed as it may increase your need to urinate, which would disturb your sleeping patterns.

Eating properly is primordial for you to sleep well. But it is important to also make sure you exercise regularly and respect your sleeping schedules. If you still struggle to fall asleep despite all of your efforts, you may want to check up adjustable beds as they happen to be extremely helpful against insomnia and sleep deprivation. If you want to learn more about adjustable beds, you can take a look at our article about sleep deprivation and the benefits of adjustable beds.

You can read more sleep related tips on Bedroom Solution’s blog.

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How to stop snoring

How to stop snoring
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Have you ever spent your whole night awake because of how much the person sleeping next to you was snoring? You are not the only one to experience that.

Snoring is a condition that can happen to anyone, especially to men and people who are overweight. It is also a condition that tends to get disregarded, until it becomes unbearable for the people who have to deal with their partner or relative’s constant night noise. If you want to learn how to treat snoring to get a better sleep, you have to first know what snoring is, what causes it, and what are its remedies.

What is snoring?

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Snoring is a condition in which the air flowing through the airway meets a certain resistance. It becomes thus turbulent, which provokes the vibrations known as snoring.

Here are some interesting facts about snoring:

  • Snoring is common but abnormal.
  • Snoring is hereditary.
  • Snoring increases the chances of stroke and heart attack.
  • Snoring can be treated through surgery.
  • The more people age and the more they tend to snore.

What are its causes?

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When the nasal airways are obstructed, usually because of allergies caused by climate change or when they catch a cold, snoring occurs. It’s because that makes breathing much more difficult, hence the vibrations.

When the muscles of the throat and the tongue are too relaxed, they end up blocking the way for the air to circulate properly. Aging and alcohol consumption are two out of the many causes of muscles’ relaxation. That’s why aged people and people who consume a lot of alcohol tend to snore.

Another cause of snoring is the shape of one’s palate or one’s uvula (it is the tissue you can see dangling at the back when you open your mouth). When the palate is too soft or when the uvula is too long, the airway becomes obstructed, which leads to snoring.

How can you deal with snoring?

There are many ways to deal with snoring. Here are the most effective ones out of them:

Sleeping on an adjustable bed

Sleeping on an adjustable bed is one of the easiest tricks of stopping snoring. Nowadays, most high-end adjustable beds have a built-in anti-snore button which automatically elevates your head. This elevation helps clear your trachea/airway and stops snoring right away.

Checking your sleeping position

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The first way for you to stop snoring would be to check your sleeping position and change it if it is the cause of your snoring. You have to make sure that you are not lying flat on your back as that makes the muscles of your throat relax, which causes vibrations. The more you elevate your head when sleeping, the easier it becomes for you to  breathe. In order to do so, you can either put two pillows under your head, or you can also invest in adjustable beds which you will be able to adjust based on the sleeping position that fits you the most. You can learn more about adjustable beds in our articles on this website.

If you don’t want to elevate your head, you can always try to sleep on your side rather than on your back. That will effectively prevent the snoring.

Related Articles: 9 Tips to Stop Snoring

Clearing your nasal passages

Another way for you to avoid snoring would be to rinse your sinuses before going to bed. As we mentioned before, having a stuffy nose obstructs airways, which leads to snoring.

If you have a cold, you can use nasal sprays to help with the rinsing.

Keeping the air in your bedroom moist and humid

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Dry air may irritate your nose and throat, which would cause them to swell. In order to avoid that, try using a humidifier in your bedroom to make air moister.

Exercising

Once again, this tip makes it to yet another list. It is not secret that exercising has the best impact on your health. It actually helps as well to stop snoring.

First of all, exercising helps you lose weight, which is one of the main causes of snoring. When you lose weight, your throat is no longer obstructed, and you can breathe more easily, which effectively reduces snoring.

Not only that, but snoring also helps toning your muscles, and not just your biceps and thighs, but your throat as well. When your throat’s muscles are used to exercise, they become more toned, which makes them less soft and much firmer. That way, they don’t block the way and allow air to flow properly in and out your mouth, which eliminates snoring.

Avoiding alcohol and smoking

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Alcohol and smoking have the worst impacts on your throat. They make its muscles wobblier and looser, which blocks the way to air, causing vibrations.
Don’t drink alcohol before bed to keep your throat muscles firm. And try to consult your doctor about your smoking habit so that you can go through a therapy to stop smoking.

Medical treatment

If none of the solutions given above help you eliminate snoring, you should consider finding other ways with the help of your doctor. Medication can actually be advised.

As you now know, sleep affects not only how you eat, drink, have sex, and how you perform at work, but also, how you snore 🙂