16 Most Common Myths about Sleep

From counting sheep to lazy teenagers, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions and sleep myths out there not only for teenagers it seems in kids too.

Usually we get busy busting myths on mattress shopping and uncovering the top brands, but here, we’re tackling the subject of sleep. Let’s set the record straight, scientifically, by separating sleep myths from the real facts.

Do you think you swallow gobs of spiders or that you can make up missed sleep later? Better keep reading! Sleep myths evolve from a variety of sources, including pop culture, old wives tales and things that might seem like common sense.

However, the more science learns about sleep, the more they pull the covers off of some popular sleep myths. Let’s look at what really goes on when the lights go out.

1. Everyone Needs Eight Hours of Sleep

Experts recommend adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Teenagers need a little more, between eight and 10 hours, with all other children requiring more than 10 hours. Twin mattress for kids helps kids for getting an undisturbed sleep for more than 10 hours.

On average however, research finds people sleep closer to seven hours a night. Remember, it’s a spectrum though. Some people get by on seven, others may feel best with a little over eight hours.

Scientists discovered a gene in 2-3% of the population, which allows them to function normally with less sleep, although the vast majority of people need somewhere around 8 hours a night.  For people without the superhuman gene, sleeping less than six hours per night is associated with increased mortality, as is sleeping more than 10 hours every night.

2. You Can Get By on as Few as Four Hours per Night.

Some people claim that they can function normally on four hours of sleep per night. But, unless you have the aforementioned sleeping gene, this simply isn’t true. The thought that humans perform their best with very little ranks high among sleep myths.

Individuals who claim they function normally on fewer hours of sleep actually may be unaware of their degree of impairment. When researchers objectively measured cognitive and neurobehavioral functions in sleep-deprived adults, they found significant impairment in skills such as memory, attention and reasoning versus how the people rated their own abilities.

In other words, when people are sleep deprived their ability to accurately assess performance is impaired, so they may not realize how many mistakes they are making.

3. Older People Need Less Sleep

Sleep patterns may change as you age, but typically the amount of sleep you need does not.  Changes in the circadian rhythms of seniors means they may wake up earlier in the morning. This often means transitioning to bed early as well.

Also, older adults may wake more frequently in the night, fragmenting their slow-wave deep sleep time, or take more time to fall asleep. Thus, more time may be needed to get an adequate amount of rest.

Experts recommend that those over 65 years of age get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting good sleep protects overall health and keeps things like memory functioning normally. Some seniors may choose to supplement a more fitful night’s sleep with a daytime nap (but keeping them under 30 minutes is recommended).

4. You Can Catch Up on Sleep During the Weekends

sleep calendar
Trying to catch up on sleep during the weekends increase sleep irregularities and impairs cognitive performance.

Your week feels chaotic, leaving you missing an hour or two of sleep for several nights in a row. No problem, you can just catch up by sleeping in on weekends, right? Well this isn’t exactly true, as sleep irregularities and short-term deprivation impairs your cognitive performance.

Researchers in the US examined both short-term sleep loss and long-term changes to the body’s circadian rhythm and found that individuals cannot quickly recover from chronic sleep loss. Thus, the idea that you pay back lost rest seems to be joining the rank of sleep myths.

Depending on the sleep debt accumulated, you may be able to catch up on some lost sleep, but be aware that an irregular sleep schedule may cause additional problems of falling or staying asleep if the circadian clock resets to these new hours.

If you stay up too late one night, try to take it easy and recoup that rest the night — don’t let the debt stack up. Chronic sleep loss is not easy to recoup and severely impairs performance later in the day, particularly late at night when performance is naturally low.

5. Counting Sheep is the Fastest way to Fall Asleep

Counting sheep is thought to have come from tallying systems devised by shepherds long ago in Britain. The idea seems simple: a repetitive, rhythmic and boring activity to bore you into sleeping.

Scientists at Oxford University decided to put sheep counting to the test. The competition? Visualizing relaxing scenes while trying to fall asleep, such as beaches or waterfalls. The results: The Relaxing Visualizers were able to fall asleep 20 minutes faster than the Sheep Counters.

Researchers think that counting sheep may actual bore reluctant sleepers too much, causing distraction. Imagining tranquil images may feel engrossing enough to expend just enough mental energy to slip into sleep and fight of distracting thoughts.

As an added bonus, those who envisioned relaxing imagery had less worries and unpleasant thoughts while they went to bed. So ditch the sheep for the gentle lapping of ocean waves, and you will be sleeping in no time.

6. Watching TV Helps You Sleep

Some people ardently claim that the background noise of the television lulls them to sleep. However, there are several reasons why TV is a poor choice for a sleep aid.

Television emits blue light, which delays the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our biological clock and induces sleep. Exposure to blue light makes one feel more alert and awake, keeping you up later. Experts say to avoid it in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Most shows are also designed to be stimulating rather than sleep inducing, so your brain may be paying attention instead of resting. Plus, the changing of volume and lighting can break the quality of your sleep.

For better background noise, ditch the TV and opt for a fan or sound machine. Calming music or an audiobook of something you’ve already read can also provide background sound without the light.

7. Alcohol Helps You Sleep

While it is true that alcohol induces a bit of drowsiness after the buzz wears off, it’s a actually a sneaky sleep stealer.

As your body metabolizes alcohol, the byproducts negatively affect your quality of sleep reducing the deep, restorative cycles. So, it’s best to ditch that nightcap or cut back earlier in the night if you are trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Long-term alcohol use can also obstruct airways, which may lead to sleep apnea, or cause gastric acid reflux

8. Snoring Is Harmless

Approximately 45% of people snore, with 25% classified as habitual snorers.  Of the habitual snorers, 1 in 3 men, and 1 in 5 women suffer from some degree of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea refers to episodes of reduced or no airflow throughout the night. People may wake frequently gasping for breath. This sleep disorder is associated with other medical problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

If you or your partner snores heavily regularly or sometimes wakes up gasping for air, bring it up with a doctor.

9. Lazy Teenagers Just Like to Sleep In

According to experts, teens need at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night, compared to an average of 7-9 hours each night for most adults.

Teens need more sleep due to the rapid period of growth and development they are going through. Their bodies are growing, and their brains face the task of cramming in a lot of learning.

However, their biological clocks keep them awake later at night, and thus sleeping in later in the morning. Parents can help by keeping teens on fairly regular schedule all week round. Turning phones, tablets and laptops off close to bedtime is wise for the whole family, teens in particular. Bright blue light and social distractions just serve to exacerbate the late nights.

So even though the change in a teen’s sleep pattern is not really laziness, it does not give them an excuse to be lazy and skip helping with dishes!

10. Naps are a Waste of Time

Albert Einstein taking a nap
Albert Einstein was known to take naps to increase productivity.

In North American culture, naps tend to get a bad rap for being lazy. However in many other cultures, a daytime siesta is a chance to take a break out of the hot sun. So where do naps fit on the sleep myths spectrum?

Well, recent research yields plenty of good things, from improved attention, better creativity, and better productivity at work. Taking a brief nap regularly around lunch time makes time to restore and refresh your mind, it seems.

So put your feet up, and join the ranks of historically famous nappers: Einstein, Edison, and John F. Kennedy. But keep midday naps under 30 minutes to avoid grogginess, and take them earlier in the afternoon (around lunch time).

11. Exercise Before Bed Help Your Sleep

Overall, getting regular exercise helps you sleep. A study of over 2600 people found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week resulted in a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

This sleep myth might depend more on your own internal clock. Early birds might prefer morning sessions, while night owls afternoon to evening gym visits. But it is best to avoid vigorous exercise one to two hours before bed as it elevates your core body temperature and endorphins, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Keep it at least three hours before bed if prefer nighttime workouts.

However, light exercise, such as gentle yoga and stretching may work to promote sleeping. So if you want to move before bedtime, consider light exercise with gentle, flui movements to ease you to sleep.

12. If You Can’t Sleep, Stay In Bed

If you are having trouble falling asleep, or wake in the night and are just staring at the clock stressing about not sleeping, experts recommend getting out of bed and participating in a relaxing activity. Try going to another room to read or listen to quiet music. Only return to bed when you feel tired.

13. Never Wake a Sleepwalker

Sleepwalking is a disorder that originates during sleep and results in walking or performing complex behaviors while asleep. Sleepwalking episodes may last from a few seconds to longer than 30 minutes, and there have been documented cases of people cooking or even driving while sleepwalking.

The supposed danger of waking a sleepwalker remains one of the top sleep myths persisting around this disorder. The sleepwalker may have little to no memory of the event and be difficult to wake, but they will not die or go into shock if you wake them. They may be startled or disoriented when woken, and react with violent or confused actions, though, so be cautious.

Depending on their environment, it could do more harm to let them continue sleepwalking. Driving, leaving gas burners on, and falling over balconies or down stairs are all examples of dangerous sleepwalking activities.

If you are able to, simply steer the sleepwalker back to their bed or stick around to make sure they don’t injure themselves. If you need to wake them, it is safe to do so.

14. Over-the-Counter and Natural Sleep Aids are Risk Free

Over-the-counter sleep aids are best taken for only a short period to avoid dependency and drug tolerance. Although they use a lower amounts of the active ingredients found in prescription drugs, large doses or prolonged use may cause problems with keeping sleep cycles regular. Some may also affect deep sleep patterns.

As for natural sleep aids, the title ‘natural’ doesn’t always equate to ‘healthy’. For example, natural sleep aid Kava Kava from the Pacific Islands has been reported to be a contributing factor in liver and kidney failure, and now comes with a warning from the FDA.

Try things like a warm bath, calming scents and music and other good sleep hygiene first, and consult with your physician about supplements.

15. Sleeping Less Makes You Skinny

standing on a weight scale
Sleeping less could actually cause weight gain.

This misconception is based on the assumption that less time spent sleeping is related to having a more active lifestyle that burns more calories. Not only does less sleep not help you lose weight, it can actually cause the opposite.

The truth is that the amount of sleep a person gets affects certain hormones including leptin and ghrelin, which affect appetite. These hormones control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, signals the brain when you are full.

When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels decrease so you don’t feel full after eating, and ghrelin levels increase, stimulating your appetite so you crave more food. Simply put, less sleep can mean more weight.

16. During Sleep, Your Brain Rests

During sleep your body rests, but your brain remains active. Even in the deepest sleep our mind can process information and control bodily functions, such as breathing.

Your brain also manages to get recharged and to clear out the waste byproducts of daytime neural activity. Dreaming is thought to consolidate long-term memories and build neural connections, too.

How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam has had a revolutionary effect on the mattress industry. Compared to traditional materials, memory foam does a fantastic job of contouring to your body to relieve pressure and eliminate neck and back pain. Memory foam is quickly becoming the go-to material for anyone who is looking to find the best mattress possible.

It’s essential to keep in mind that memory foam is a petroleum-based material, and as such, cleaning it is different from cleaning other mattress materials. Proper care is essential to ensuring your new mattress maintains its plush and responsive feel.

Keeping your bed clean is the best way to protect your investment and ensure that it will provide you with years of restful sleep. Today, we’re going to examine what you’ll need to do to keep your mattress in excellent condition throughout its lifespan.

1. Vacuum the Entire Mattress

The first thing you’ll need to do when cleaning memory foam mattresses is to strip your bed and thoroughly vacuum the entire surface of the bed. A handheld vacuum cleaner works best for this purpose, but a standard vac will do the trick as well.

Since most memory foam mattresses have elaborately stitched covers that can become magnets for lint, dirt, and debris, you should be vacuuming all those nooks and crannies when cleaning your mattress.

The small brush attachment tends to work quite well for this purpose. You may also want to use the crevice tool or upholstery attachment to get into hard to reach areas, like the sides of the mattress.

2. Make a Mattress Cleaning Solution

Now that your bed is free of any hair, debris, and other detritus; we’re ready to make some cleaning solutions.

For most stains, a diluted fabric cleaner, dishwashing liquid, or mild detergent is all you’ll need to remove them. Pick the cleaner of your choice, dilute it in a 2:1 ratio with two parts of warm water for every one part of the cleaner, and add it to a spray bottle.

For tough stains, make a solution with ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar. For urine stains and severe discoloration, you’ll also want to have baking soda handy, too. For traditional mattresses, a hydrogen peroxide solution can be used, but you’ll want to avoid using it on memory foam as may discolor the cover or affect the foam underneath.

3. Spot Clean the Mattress

Next, identify any stains you have on the mattress and prepare to spot clean them. For light stains, the fabric cleaner solution will work best.

Lightly spray the solution onto the stain, being careful not to apply too much liquid. If you overspray the stain, the bed will absorb the solution, which can create other issues like mold or mildew.

Once the spray is on the stain, take a rag or a clean sponge and clean the mattress with a small circular motion. Next, wipe the stained area again with a clean cloth and allow it to dry.

For more persistent stains, follow the same cleaning process for removing them. But, use the vinegar solution instead of the fabric cleaner solution. Once clean, follow up by wiping the area with a clean, damp cloth.

For more severe stains, like pet urine or vomit, use a liberal amount of vinegar solution. Next, pat the area dry with paper towels, and cover it in baking soda. The baking soda will absorb the liquid, deodorize, and also help to pull the stain to the surface. After about eight hours, vacuum all the baking soda off the mattress.

4. Dry the Mattress

Since memory foam has a propensity for absorbing liquid, the drying process is a critically important step. If you have a blow dryer at your disposal, now is a great time to break it out.

Hold the dryer about 4-6 inches above the surface of the mattress and move the dryer in a circular pattern until the wet spot is dry to the touch. Avoid using the hottest setting, as too much heat may damage the mattress.

If you don’t have a hairdryer available, that’s okay too. You can use a fan instead. Position the fan over the damp areas of the mattress, put it on its highest setting, and let it do its thing for a few hours.

Once your bed is fully dry, you can replace your sheets and get ready to enjoy a great night’s sleep on your newly cleaned mattress.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Memory Foam Mattress

Not only does regular cleaning keep your mattress looking it’s best; several other benefits aren’t quite as obvious.

Regularly cleaning your mattress will:

  • Help extend the useful life of your mattress
  • Reduce dust mites and other allergens which can compromise sleep quality
  • Provide you with a cleaner overall surface to sleep on (no dead skin cells or dust mites)
  • Remediate any mold or mildew that may be growing on or in the mattress
  • Improve the air quality of the room

Caring For Your Memory Foam Mattress

Caring for your memory foam mattress is simple; just follow these easy steps:

  • Make sure the mattress foundation or box spring provides adequate support
  • Vacuum the surface of your mattress each time you change the sheets
  • Rotate your mattress twice a year
  • Bathe your mattress in direct sunlight when possible
  • Never use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean your mattress
  • Consider using a waterproof mattress protector or memory foam mattress topper to protect your mattress
  • Always default to the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your mattress.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to get the most value possible from your bed, learning how to clean a memory foam mattress is a critical skill to have. Following the steps above will help ensure that your mattress remains clean and hygienic so you can get the most out of your investment.

Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need Box Springs?

Getting a good night’s sleep is important to the physical and mental health of an individual. When researching online for the best mattress for your needs, you’ll discover there is a lot to consider, such as how will your mattress be supported?  Traditionally, a mattress sale would include purchasing a box spring. But, what about memory foam mattresses? Do they need a box spring to get optimal comfort and sleep? If not, then what does a person use to support a memory foam mattress?

Before answering those questions, let’s take a moment to discuss the characteristics of memory foam. What makes memory foam popular? What is the difference in a box spring versus a foundation?

Characteristics of a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses are quite popular these days. They offer something new and improved for the consumer to consider. The idea that a mattress can mold to one’s body and cradle them as they sleep is revolutionary. This is a far cry from the traditional mattress that contains springs that may wear out or break with extended use.

There are characteristics of a memory foam mattress that consumers should consider when deciding to make the switch from traditional to memory foam. The first characteristic to consider is the weight of a memory foam mattress. They tend to be heavy and need a solid foundation. The ideal setup would include a solid with a flat surface to lay the mattress on. You will then need a bed foundation to rest the mattress and support on.

Secondly, memory foam mattresses have the ability to aid in the treatment of chronic back problems and poor circulation. While sleeping, memory foam can relieve pressure points and spinal pressure. The average individual spends one-third of their life in bed. So, it seems sensible to have a mattress that would aid in the treatment of chronic ailments.

Temperature can be an overlooked aspect of sleep. The bedroom should be at an optimum temperature of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range allows the body to decrease its temperature which helps us to reach a healthy state of sleep. Memory foam is a type of mattress that molds to the body, this helps with pressure relief but can cause sleeping hot concerns. Just make sure you’re shopping for quality memory foam beds that don’t restrict airflow.

Lastly, memory foam is a material labeled hypoallergenic. This means that while you sleep, the threat of needing an antihistamine in the morning is low. Because of the material used, consumers are less likely to have an allergic reaction during their sleep.

The characteristics of memory foam are all positive for getting a good night’s sleep. Aiding in chronic ailments, controlling our body temperatures, and alleviating allergen issues are not what consumers might call traditional. This mattress will deliver. Sleep problems directly affect our lives. Memory foam is a material that will partner with you to combat sleep problems. While it is a heavy material that needs a firm foundation, it can be a great addition to your home.

What is a Box Spring?

Box springs are a combination of wood and steel springs. They serve as a foundation for traditional mattresses. They help to absorb shock from unnatural movements like jumping on the bed or natural movements like rolling over.

A box spring is usually purchased either as a set with a new mattress or individually. Sometimes a box spring can outlive a mattress.  This brings up the question of can I use a box spring with a memory foam mattress?

Box Spring versus Foundations

Consumers purchasing a new mattress are going to find themselves wondering if they have the correct foundation. Because a traditional box spring is commonly known as the foundation, we need to take a minute to understand the differences in each.

As stated before, a box spring is the most known and used foundation. It does contain springs that help absorb movement. For innerspring mattresses not containing memory foam, this is an acceptable option.

A foundation is a solid or slatted piece used with memory foam and latex mattresses. They are made of particleboard or wood slats spaced strategically spaced apart. The best foundations for memory foam mattresses will be budget-friendly and designed to support you and your bed.

So, Does a Memory Foam Mattress Need a Box Spring?

Memory foam is a unique material that enables us to sleep with ease as we are cradled into the mattress, unlike a traditional bed with an innerspring mattress. These unique mattresses are designed to treat chronic ailments and keep our bodies at an optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep.

Box springs are the go-to choice for most types of mattresses. Traditionally, this choice would serve its purpose well. Memory foam mattresses are not traditional and thus need a little more than a box spring can give. They are heavy and need a firm foundation to allow them to breathe and not begin sagging.

Our takeaway from this knowledge is that a box spring is not the ideal choice, rather, a more firm foundation is. A firm foundation will allow the memory foam to do what it is designed for and help extend the life of the mattress. It will provide enough support without losing the incredible benefits of a memory foam bed.

The short answer is a proper foundation is key to the life of a memory foam mattress. Foundations are usually solid. A thick piece of plywood, a bunkie board, or even the floor can serve as a solid foundation. Another good choice is a metal or wood slat foundation with evenly spaced horizontal slats.

We can conclude that a memory foam mattress does not need a box spring. It needs a foundation instead. Box springs are not designed to support the weight of a memory foam mattress. They are constructed using metal springs that could harm the structure of your new memory foam mattress. In the best interest of your memory foam mattress and your sleep quality, choosing a mattress foundation that best suits the weight of the mattress will benefit you best.

How to Keep Cool on a Memory Foam Mattress

Is your memory foam mattress too hot? Unfortunately, many people jump at the opportunity of having a memory foam mattress because they think it’s going to change their life. While they are comfortable to sleep on and very plush, that comfort can quickly turn into heat buildup, tossing and turning, and frustration.

Since memory foam mattresses cause you to sink in so much, they create quite a bit of heat. There are a few things you can do to help cool yourself down when sleeping. By the end of this article, you should find yourself sleeping cooler and more comfortable.

1. Create Air Circulation

While you can’t create extra airflow through the mattress, you can set yourself up for success by getting the bed up off the ground. Make sure there is plenty of space underneath the mattress for air to work its way through.

When air gets trapped under the mattress, it causes your body heat to build up. When our body heat builds up and has nowhere to go, it causes us to sweat. We need a more breathable mattress to get a good rest.

Excess heat during sleep causes us to break our deep REM sleep, which quickly turns into a restless night and frustrating mornings. That memory foam bed you spent a bunch of money on quickly starts to feel like a waste.

2. Use a Gel-Infused Mattress Topper

We’re starting to see more and more gel-infused items becoming popular in the mattress industry. In addition to gel, there are also charcoal and copper infusions that you can buy for your mattress topper.

These mattress toppers help cool you down by sucking out all the body heat and dissipating or dispersing it somewhere else. When we sleep, and body heat builds up, we’re creating an environment that doesn’t promote healthy sleep. Having a useful mattress topper like one of these options will help keep you fresh through the night.

3. Cool Down the Room

If all else fails, turn down the thermostat and make the room cooler. Research suggests that sleeping in a cold room improves the quality of your sleep. While your mattress might be warm, the room is cool, so the two balance each other out. Where you might encounter a problem is when it’s time to get out of bed in the morning.

If you don’t want to turn down the heat because it may impact the quality of someone else’s sleep, you could always install a ceiling fan or purchase a small fan that can blow on you while you sleep.

Read our guide on the best temperature for sleeping for more tips on how to stay cool throughout the night.

Why is Memory Foam Hot?

If you’ve got a memory foam mattress too hot to handle, there are a few things you want to know. There are reasons why this foam is so comfortable but so hot, let’s take a look.

The airy structure of the foam is there to hug out body and contour to our shape. That reason is why so many people turn to this type of mattress. Many people who deal with back or neck pain will use memory foam because it helps them sleep better.

The problem with something hugging you while you’re sleeping is that sinking into the mattress is what causes us to get so hot. The porous foam has tiny little bubbles, and when you combine them, the mattress becomes quite dense. Since the bed is so compact, it’s not breathable.

If we compare this to a box spring or innerspring mattress, there is a lot of space in the mattress for air to move around. When you sleep on an innerspring, your body heat can flow down into the bed and make its way out.

Since the mattress is dense and it only becomes denser when you lay on it, there is nowhere for that body heat to go. As a result, the mattress itself becomes hot, you become hot, and everything becomes a big sweaty mess.

However, the best mattresses available, whether memory foam or some other material, have found ways to combat sleeping hot. There are gel-infused memory mattresses and plant-based memory foam mattresses. Whatever type of bed you end up shopping for, just check to make sure the company has addressed the “sleeping hot” factor.

What About Hybrid Mattresses?

Hybrids are an excellent option for people looking to get the many benefits of memory foam without the hot sleeping concerns. Hybrids contain foam, but they often include springs and even gel, as well.

The gel memory foam combination works well because you get the comfort of the foam with the breathability of the gel. Hybrid mattresses lower heat retention while still cradling pressure points and preventing overheating.

Overall, hybrid mattresses are the best option for people who think memory foam sleeps too hot. While they are the best option, they also are quite expensive because of the many components and benefits they provide. You also cannot flip a hybrid mattress because they need to be set up in a specific way, so you get the benefits of the many layers.

What About Mattress Pads?

There are many different options for memory foam toppers, and these are also a great solution for your hot sleeping issues. Is your memory foam mattress too hot? If so, you’ll want to create a barrier between you and the foam. When you have the foam underneath the topper, you’ll still get all the benefits and comfort from the foam without having to sleep on it.

Putting a mattress protector on top of the foam will keep your cool because you’ll have a layer of protection between you and the memory foam. There are many different types of toppers with different materials.

Wool is one, for example. It might seem like wool would make you hotter, but it works well in a few ways. First, wool is allergy-resistant, and it absorbs moisture. Part of the reason why memory foam gets hot is that it doesn’t absorb moisture well.

When we are hot and sweaty that moisture sits around in the foam, making us hotter and setting us up for mold and mildew buildup as well.

You can choose with mattress topper material works best for you and put it to the test. This trick is a great option for people who aren’t looking to go out and spend a bunch of money improvising your mattress.

What about Moisture Wicking Sheets?

Another great option for removing moisture comes from your sheets. If you decide to get, moisture-wicking sheets make sure you go for high quality 100% cotton because these will ensure you don’t get too hot at night. These sheets get made mainly to prevent excess moisture buildup that causes you to get hot when you sleep.

Many people use a heavy comforter that acts as an insulator. You want to keep everything cool by using a cooling mattress cover with a gel foam mattress topper. Combining all these breathable materials will help turn a hot mattress into a cool oasis.

Conclusion

If you’re currently dealing with a memory foam mattress that is too hot, you’re not alone. Many people run to memory foam when they need a new mattress. They think it will dramatically improve the quality of their sleep. While this factor is true for many, it also brings about the problem of excessive heat buildup during sleep.

Use the tips and tricks outlined above to help cool down your nights and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Good luck and rest easy!

BEST SLEEPING POSITION FOR LOWER BACK PAIN & OTHER AILMENTS

CHAPTER 1

Prepare Your Bedroom for Sleep

We have both temporary and permanent solutions to make sure you doze off quickly, pain-free, and waking up every morning feeling alert, refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

After all, a good night’s sleep will help prevent future back, neck, hip and shoulder pain, muscle cramping, impaired circulation, headaches, heartburn, acid reflux, poor digestion, and even help prevent premature wrinkles too.

Who knew a good night’s sleep could make you look 10 years younger?

So, in the rest of this article, we’ve separated out the different types of pain, issues and suggested different, and proven, sleeping positions to help you.

These may only provide a temporary fix, but should give you at least some relief until you can get a new mattress specifically tailored to your needs, one that fits your body type, as well as personal preferences for a comfortable position, so that you can get your 40 winks with no complaints.

It’s possible, even likely, that the main reason you can’t sleep without pain and discomfort is that your mattress isn’t right.

In what you’re about to read, we’ve also added extra tips for more specific conditions, issues, and common problems with sleep. These are split into sections, so that everything is nice and easy to find. Do have a scan through the whole article as well, and make sure you’re sleeping right for you. (After all, everyone is different!).

Before we get into specific sleep positions, I thought it might be worthwhile to check if there are other factors potentially causing pain. There may be changes you can make right now, or for the future, that can help you sleep a little better.

Let’s take a quick look at preparing your bedroom for sleep.

First of all, keep it clean.

This sounds simplistic, but a messy and cluttered room makes for a messy and cluttered mind. A cluttered mind can contribute to keeping you awake even longer.

If you notice most hotels you visit will often have a minimalist approach to their decor. Many hotels spend millions in the process of researching and testing different layouts, colors, objects, lighting, and designs to make sure you get the most peaceful night sleep possible. There’s a reason they often choose minimalism for their decor, and often it’s to help you get the best night’s sleep possible.

Temperature

Sometimes, the temperature in a room can make you feel a bit like Goldilocks.

If it’s too hot, you’re going to wake up!

If it’s too cold, you’re also probably going to wake up.

So be sure to set the thermostat, or crack open the window slightly, so that the room gets to a temperature that you feel comfortable with.

Lighting

As a child, I always had the door slightly open and a light outside of the room on, or even a little night light in the room. I think my parents did this so that if I needed to get up in the night, I could see where I was going.

Realistically though, having a light on can prevent you from getting to sleep. If you can make your room pitch black, then generally speaking you will get a much more restful night of sleep.

By turning off lights inside and outside of the room, unplugging any electronics so you don’t have any standby lights illuminating the room, you can remove sources of light that may prevent getting an excellent night of rest

Also, blackout blinds can really help.

CHAPTER 2

Clothing, Mattress, Pillows, Duvet/Comforter

Keep your bedding clean, especially if you have allergies, breathing challenges, or sinus issues.

Again, taking a look at the hotel industry, they use materials which have a low potential to cause allergic reactions, and they keep everything washed after every use.(Well, you’d like to think they do anyway.).

That may not be practical in your own home, but even simply the feel of nice clean sheets, pajamas, pillows, and duvet/duvet cover statistically helps most people get to sleep quicker too.

Adding a washable cover to your comforter (if you’re using a comforter/blanket) can make it much easier to keep the comforter clean as well.

Clothing

Keep the clothing that you sleep in loose fitting, and light.

The last thing you want to be doing is wearing anything that’s going to catch or restrict your movement while you adjust your sleeping position throughout the night. If your clothing catches, even that could end up waking you.

Pillow

Pillow types are a personal choice.

You can get all sorts of shapes, sizes, densities, and materials.

One of our favorites is a memory foam pillow, which often provides a significant level of comfort for a variety of sleeping types..

Realistically, if you like pillows, you can never have too many, as you will see from the rest of this article. Pillows can make perfect “barriers” and support items to help with positioning. However, if you don’t like extra pillows, it’s okay to sleep with just 1 or 2 as well.

Duvets/Comforters

A bit like with pillows, there are multiple different sizes, weights, material and thickness of duvet/comforter.

It all comes down to what you prefer.

The personal recommendation here would be to get a duvet/comforter that separates into two parts: a duvet cover (which is usually like a heavy sheet that snaps or zips over your comforter), and then a heavier part that goes in the cover. You can use the thinner part in summer and then mix and match between both for winter, or just the heavier part..

It all depends on how heavy your duvet/comforter is, how you like to sleep, and how cold or warm the room temperature is.

CHAPTER 3

Food, Drink, & Routine

This part is a little more boring, can be kind of obvious to some, and it may feel a little like I’m a parent telling you what not to do. However, it is essential if you want to ensure you have the highest likelihood of getting a consistent good night’s sleep.

Food

Keep your foods somewhat PH neutral (especially if you suffer from acid reflux). This means don’t eat food that is highly acidic, especially right before bed.

Eating cheese can actually be good for some people to help them sleep!

There is, in much of the world, a myth that you should have “no cheese before bed”.

It turns out that cheese can actually help you to have pleasant dreams and sleep better (when eaten in moderation, of course).

A study by “The British Cheese Board” (admittedly biased) proved that cheese actually helped people fall asleep more easily. There is science behind this, and it’s possibly due to the amino acid called tryptophan, which is found in cheese (and also in turkey).

Your body naturally uses tryptophan which can be converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan).

5-HTP is used to make the feel-good hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate mood, making you feel nice and calm before you sleep.

The University of Michigan Health System has done their own studies and reports that tryptophan can be highly effective for sleep in people with insomnia.

Drinks

No alcohol!

It may seem illogical to stop drinking alcohol in order to sleep better. After all, after a heavy night of drinking, you always seem to pass out or fall asleep very quickly.

However, the groggy head in the morning, potentially still being drunk, and feeling awful, isn’t a good result for your health or overall restful sleep..

Alcohol will actually dehydrate you and can often send your mind racing. For quality sleep, you need to be calm and relaxed.

If you are going to drink something other than water, make sure it’s low sugar and no fizz!

Ideally, just plain water is the best choice for a pre-night time drink.

Routine

In our modern day society, having a set routine is not always 100% possible.

Especially since the invention of the electric light, we’ve been throwing ourselves a bit out of whack compared to our previous million+ years of history as humans. Today though, technology is both enabling us with tools to have routines, and also so much more easily pulling us out of those routines. Add to the technology things like split shifts, night work, kids, pets, and just having a healthy social life, a routine can be a hard thing to establish., However, having a routine (just like when you were a child) does actually help you sleep better.

If you try to always go to bed at a particular time (within an hour or so) and wake up at a specific time, after a few weeks your body will naturally start to feel tired at your bedtime. Likewise, when the morning comes, you will typically begin to wake up even before your alarm clock goes off.

It’s not always going to be possible but try as best as possible to keep some sort of routine and timing.

CHAPTER 4

Your Bed/Mattress

This can be the most overlooked, and yet the most critical, part of getting a good night sleep.

If you’ve gone to a hotel, stayed at a friends house, or slept on the sofa and realized just how uncomfortable it was, then you know how important it is to have a good quality surface to sleep on.

A mattress should be good quality, not older than 10 years, and should be the right type for your body.

Some people like to sleep on hard surfaces, while others like to sleep on softer surfaces.

Regardless of your sleeping preference, there are sleeping positions which can help you to sleep better, which we will talk about. However, you’ll want to be sure you have the right mattress for you, in order to get the perfect night of sleep for you, as many nights as you can.

CHAPTER 5

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, congratulations!

Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to have aches and pains.

After all, your body is going through changes every single day, and your old “norm” when it comes to sleeping positions will, more than likely, no longer be comfortable.

The best position for sleep while pregnant is the SOS position.

No, you don’t need rescuing.

It stands for Sleep on Side.

Tip: If you can, sleep on your left-hand side, as this can help the blood flow and nutrients to the placenta, and your new baby.

Keep your legs and knees bent and try placing a pillow (or a pregnancy noodle/pillow) between your legs. If that isn’t comfortable, you can add another pillow under your abdomen, that should help alleviate back pain.

Heartburn?

Shortness of breath/breathing difficulties?

Well, prop your head and/or upper body up with some pillows.

This usually does the trick.

CHAPTER 6

Hip Pain

Now, let’s take a look at the best sleeping position for lower back and hip pain.

If you’re a side sleeper, try the more obvious position and sleep on the side that doesn’t hurt, or shift to lying on your back to equalize the pressure on both sides.

Put a pillow between your knees too. That way your hips will stay aligned.

Try one pillow underneath your legs, or create a wedge-shaped pillow, with a folded blanket, to help.

It could well be that your mattress is either too soft or too hard for your hip(s), so a new mattress tailored to your sleeping preferences could be a permanent fix.

CHAPTER 7

Herniated Disc

One of the best sleeping positions for a lower back herniated disc, or in fact a herniated disc at any point in your spine, is either on your side or flat on your back.

Whatever you do, try not to sleep on your stomach. This may cause more damage and pain as it is the position which puts the most pressure on the natural curvature of the spine.

If you sleep on your side and place a pillow between your knees, this can help to reduce tension while allowing your muscles to relax, which can improve the alignment of your hips and spine.

While lying on your back, you can place a pillow under your knees and lower back. This may be more comfortable for you.

CHAPTER 8

Upper Back, Neck, Shoulder Pain & Impingement, & Rotator Cuff Injury

Although obviously separate pain points, these 3 areas for sleeping can be grouped together with the same problem-solving sleeping positions.

Try using 2 pillows for your head, one slightly higher up than the other, so that your head and shoulders are more supported as you sleep.

Lying on your side or your back may help too.

Cuddles!

Yep! Hugging your pillow can actually help with your neck and shoulder positioning, allow more relaxation for the muscles in the area of your upper back.

If you’re lying on your back, try putting a pillow behind your thighs.

If you’re on your side, it can be a good idea to try putting a pillow between your legs.

This can help take the pressure off of your spine which may be triggering your upper back, neck and/or shoulder pain.

CHAPTER 9

Sciatica Back Pain

The trick here is to elevate those knees.

This will minimize the pressure that your lumbar discs place on your nerve roots and can help you sleep more comfortably.

Lie flat on your back and keep your buttocks flat to the bed too. Slowly raise up your knees and bring your feet back towards you.

As you do this, place pillows below your knees until you find that spot where it feels closer to just right.

The pillows are there to keep your knees in that comfortable position, so that you can be more comfortable throughout the night.

Extra Tip: Try taking a hot bath just before bed. This generally helps relax muscles and can massively help with sciatica back pain.

For a longer term solution, a firmer mattress can often minimize sciatica pain that flares up while sleeping.

Some people find that the firmer the mattress is, the less sciatica pain they have.

CHAPTER 10

Mid Back Pain

Try sleeping on your side with a pillow under your upper arm and a contoured cervical pillow (or rolled blanket) under your neck to keep your spine aligned.

Knee pillows will also help, as these can help to keep you aligned while you sleep.

Try not to sleep on your stomach if you have mid back pain. This may be comfortable for a short time, but when you’re on your stomach, you’re actually compressing your back and spine. This can make issues worse in the long term.

Trust me on this! I always sleep on my stomach (I know, I know, take my own medicine), and I often wake up with back, neck, and shoulder pain in the morning.

If you have mid back pain, you may want to consider a more supportive, softer mattress. Having a mattress that is supportive, while soft, can help to allow your spine to stay supported and aligned, which can help to alleviate mid back pain.

CHAPTER 11

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Breathing, Asthma, & Snoring

All of these are based on your breathing and the compression of your windpipe as you sleep.

To help alleviate that pressure, you need a sleeping position that opens up and stretches your windpipe as much as possible, while obviously still being comfortable and practical too.

The best position is called the “lateral sleeping position” or “relaxed fetal position”.

Here’s how it works.

While lying on your side, place one arm underneath the pillow and the other arm on top. You may also find it helpful to place a pillow between your knees if you have any back or hip pain while in this position.

If you’re sleeping next to your partner, then ideally face the other way (in case you snore), and they are a light sleeper. The last thing you need is to be woken up by them and told to sleep on the sofa.

Try not to sleep flat on your back or likewise on your stomach. Both of these actually compress your airways because of gravity. On your belly, you also need to move your head awkwardly to the side, which constricts your airway passage.

CHAPTER 12

Vertigo

If you experience vertigo, it may actually be linked to sleep apnea. There has never been anything concrete to suggest they are connected, but there is some anecdotal evidence for it, and it may just be worth keeping that in mind as a symptom.

Give sleeping on your back a try.

Use some pillows around your head and neck so that you are less likely to change positions while sleeping.

Elevate your head with pillows. A travel pillow or even a folded blanket will work. Use whichever is most comfortable for you.

CHAPTER 13

Constipation, Haemorrhoids, & Digestion

On your left flank squadron!

Sleeping on your left-hand side is the best sleeping position if you deal with digestion issues that cause pain while sleeping.

Sleeping on the left-hand side helps to have less pull from gravity squishing down on the vital organs that process your food

Place a pillow between your legs, as well as between your upper arm and your neck (hugging it), if you get any other discomfort.

Sleeping on your stomach can work, especially for haemorrhoids; although a hot bath, ice before bed, and side sleeping are better overall.

Extra Tip: Side sleeping (on either side) can turn you into Einstein! That’s not completely factual, but there has been some evidence to say that sleeping on your side can boost brain power by helping your brain get rid of something called “interstitial waste”. Less interstitial waste can also help to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases.

CHAPTER 14

Scoliosis

This is, unfortunately, the hardest one to give a definitive answer to, as each spine is different and, as such, each sleeping position is unique to each person.

Fortunately, though, a bad sleeping position won’t make scoliosis any worse, although sleeping in the wrong position can make the symptoms stronger.

The only position you shouldn’t be sleeping in if you have scoliosis is flat on your stomach.

This is the most unnatural spine position. Especially with your head facing sideways, it will put even more pressure on your spine and neck and send it entirely out of alignment.

Use lots of pillows, and experiment with sleeping on each side, raising your head slightly and building a pillow fortress around you once you find that most comfortable position.

Realistically, if you suffer from scoliosis, then you need to be sleeping on a mattress that suits, supports, and gives you a great night sleep without having to spend 20 minutes fighting with temporary pillow positions (which will probably not hold up once you move in your sleep anyway.

CHAPTER 15

Heart & Blood Pressure

A bit like with constipation and digestion (although obviously not linked), sleeping on your left-hand side is the best sleeping position here too, alleviating pressure on the primary blood vessels.

There is some research that shows that sleeping on your stomach can actually reduce your blood pressure by more than 15 points (vs. lying on your back). [Yasuharu Tabara – Ehime University School of Medicine – Ehime, Japan]

Which position you choose depends on you, but whether you sleep on your left side or on your stomach, either position has the potential to help your heart pump blood around your body easier at night, which can lower your blood pressure and help you to wake up healthier and happier each day.

CHAPTER 16

Acid Reflux

It’s all about elevation for this one!

Experts recommend you keep your head and neck elevated between 6 to 8 inches.You can do this with pillows or by folding a blanket.

If this is something you suffer from regularly however, and diet, medication,and lifestyle changes aren’t making a difference for you, then an adjustable bed has good potential to be a long term solution for you.

You can also get specific sleep wedges which are designed to help elevate your upper body. Elevating your upper body can keep that acid in your stomach, where it belongs.

Sleeping on either your back or your left-hand side is the best sleeping position for acid reflux. The left-hand side allows the oesophagus to stay as open as possible and gravity helps keep everything down.

CHAPTER 17

Sinus Drainage

Head elevation is the solution here, too!

Grab some pillows, or a folded up blanket, and prop your head up a little higher than your body. This will help reduce the pooling of mucus. As long as you aren’t using 20 pillows and almost touching the ceiling, this will keep your airways clear too.

Allergies may be at play here, so look into a mattress that is hypo-allergenic type. You could also look into a mattress encasement, but whatever you get, you want something that won’t store the dirt and other allergens that are making your sinuses go crazy while you sleep.

Likewise, no alcohol before bed. If you live in a drier climate, try a steam shower or use a dehumidifier in the bedroom to keep moisture levels up. Especially in drier climates, this can stop your sinuses from drying out and becoming irritated.

Finally, stay hydrated!

Summary

We do hope these positions, tricks, and hacks help you get a better night of sleep either tonight, right now, or over the next few weeks.

However, please do remember that these are only temporary, and you shouldn’t have to sleep in a specific way to be able to get a good night of sleep.

After all, most people, without even realizing it, will move in their sleep. Even if you get the right position when going to sleep, you may still end up waking up in pain, and not having the perfect night’s sleep you were hoping for.

The real answer to solving pain or sleeping issues is a combination of the right position(s), the right mattress, and if necessary, a visit to the doctor.

You can find a range of different mattresses on our website or speak to us. One of our mattress experts will help guide you to find an excellent option tailored to your sleeping preferences, so that you can get a great night of sleep, 365 days of the year.

While you’re here, don’t forget to leave a comment, or share this post if you found it helpful.

We would love to hear if we helped you sleep better, or if you have found a perfect sleeping position combination that we didn’t specifically mention above.




Stages of Sleep

Ever wake up in the morning and feel like you barely slept at all?  We’ve all been there.  Many factors could contribute to this, but at the end of the day, it’s most likely that you just never got deep enough into the stages of sleep for your body and brain to recuperate.

Understanding Sleep Cycles

Don’t let the closed eyes and placid expression of someone sleeping fool you—plenty of activity is going on during those sleeping hours. Once we settle in beneath the covers, not only are there five distinct stages of sleep happening, but the stages repeat themselves throughout the night. Sleep is actually a very fascinating topic when you drill down into the details.

What makes each stage of sleep unique are the variations of brain wave frequencies, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle mobility, and breathing that characterize each specific phase we pass through. Between the time we hit the hay and, 7-8 hours later, then awakened by that alarm, our brain wave activity will have bounced back and forth from nearly no activity to intense activity repeatedly.

All of this sleep activity was virtually unknown prior to the 1950s, when sleeping and dreaming were simply a mystery. Up until then, sleep was thought to be nothing more than a quiet, unconscious rest period for bodies, and brain activity was thought to cease. All that changed in 1953 when scientists used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves during sleep. Through that technology, in addition to recording movement of the eyes and limbs, it was discovered that there were various stages of sleep involved.

The 5 Stages of Sleep

The complex sleep journey includes five distinct stages, four non-REM (rapid eye movement) stages, and the REM stage, each with a specific restorative role to play in maintaining our health and wellness. This explains why there is such emphasis on getting quality sleep, as it is essential to both our physical and mental health. Consider the sleep cycle as akin to a charging station, preparing us to be alert and high functioning for day ahead.

Sleep researchers use something called a hypnogram to record sleep activity. In charting the typical sleep pattern, as we traverse between the five stages of sleep each night, the resulting graphic, called sleep architecture, resembles a skyline. Peaks and valleys reveal the repetitive nature of sleep, and how long we might spend in each particular sleep stage. On average, each stage is experienced for about 90 minutes total each night, although a larger piece of the pie is spent in the second stage of sleep. The brainstem controls sleep architecture patterns, blood pressures, breathing, and heart rate.

Stage One: This NREM stage features the lightest phase of sleep. We are drifting off, transitioning from wake to sleep, allowing our brains to shut down from conscious thought as our bodies begin to relax. As we fall sleep, breathing is still at a regular rate, eye movement is slow, rolling, and muscle tone is present. The sensation of falling and abrupt jerking movement called myoclonic jerk may occur. During this drowsy stage, EEG brain frequency is a bit slower, referred to as alpha waves, than during wake

 Stage Two: During this stage, eye movement stops and slow waves, known as theta, ensue. Approximately half of our sleeping hours are spent, collectively, in this stage of sleep. Stage two features light sleep, with a slowing heart rate and lower body temperature. During this phase, muscle activity alternates between muscle tone and muscle relaxation. Occasional bursts of rapid brain activity known as sleep spindles will occur.

 Stages Three and Four: During these deep stages of sleep, awakenings rarely occur, and when arousing someone in this phase they will appear groggy and disoriented. Brain waves slow further, referred to as delta. During this phase, sleepwalking, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances may occur. There is no eye movement, breathing becomes deeper, slower, and noisier, and blood pressure drops further. This slow delta wave sleep is the most restorative phase of sleep, during which growth hormones replenish tissue and muscles.

 Stages Five: This is the unique rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, during which the brain is extremely active and sharp, nearly as active as in the wake state. In fact, the EEG during the REM phase of sleep resembles that of someone who is wide-awake. The REM label is due to the rapid darting movements of the eyes in this phase of sleep. During REM sleep, the body is virtually paralyzed, heart rate and blood pressure rises, and breathing becomes shallower and more erratic. We spend about 20% of our sleep cycle in this REM stage. The REM stage is the phase that dreams occur, so when we are woken during this stage we tend to recall our dreams.

The sequence of the various stages of sleep occurs out of order once the first cycle of non-REM stages has occurred. This means that after the first pattern of stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been completed, a return to stage 2 happens before a short REM stage is entered. Following this, stage 2 is repeated again, with longer REM periods occurring, and so on. Sleep is certainly not boring.

Tips to Not Sleep Hot

Cool down at night with these tips for people who sleep hot.

One of the main complaints customers have about their mattress is that they sleep too hot on it. This is especially true of mattresses that have a lot of memory foam. So how can you sleep cooler on your mattress? This comes down to your sleep environment, your bedding, and the mattress itself.

Sleep environment

  • Keep your room cooler. This is one of the most obvious solutions, yet it sometimes gets overlooked, so I have to include it. To get a good night’s sleep, experts recommend keeping the temperature in your room down. For best results, you should be somewhere between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Experiment a little to see what’s the most comfortable.
  • Use a fan. I am a big fan (pardon the pun) of this tip, because I use a big fan in my bedroom. Here’s the model I use (link goes to Amazon. That model may be excessive for some people and rooms, but I like the power behind it). This will help keep your body temperature down and will create airflow to help pull the warm air through the mattress. Furthermore, a fan acts as a source of white noise. On nights I use my fan, I don’t need my white noise machine.

Bedding

  • Mattress protector. If you use a mattress protector (which I recommend), make sure it is breathable. Many of the cheaper plastic-y ones don’t breathe well, and can keep a mattress warmer than it should be. If you suspect the protector might be the culprit, remove it for a night or two to see if that helps. If it does, buy a more breathable protector. If there’s no change, put the protector back on.
  • Sheets. Some sheets are more breathable than others. Flannel sheets are great at keeping you warm in the winter,for example, but that can be rough when it’s warmer. Cotton sheets tend to be hit or miss, depending on exactly what kind of weave they use. If the threads are woven too densely or they’re too thick, air can’t flow through as easily.
  • Blanket, comforter, duvet. Make sure you’re using the appropriate thickness of blanket, comforter, or duvet. I personally like a thick comforter to go along with my cold room, but if you’re sleeping hot, you might need to switch to a thinner blanket.

Mattress

I saved the mattress for last, because it’s the hardest one to change. But, if you’re mattress is getting old anyway, it’s something to consider.

  • Make sure your mattress has some kind of airflow. Things like convoluted foam (which is egg-crate shaped), holes in the foam, and ventilated sides can help airflow through the mattress, pulling some of the heat from your body through the mattress. Innerspring mattresses generally have more airflow than foam mattresses, but an innerspring mattress with a thick foam layer up top can still have issues.
  • Latex foam keeps a more neutral temperature. Latex foam can still get warm, but it warms up more slowly than polyurethane foams like memory foam. Additionally, it generally has small holes that run through the foam that can add more airflow. If you have a memory foam mattress that sleeps too hot, consider getting a latex topper to put some space between you and the memory foam.
  • Phase change materials. This part is a little technical, but some mattresses have something called “phase change materials,” which are materials designed to keep the mattress a more neutral temperature. Instead of warming up or cooling down when energy is added or subtracted, the material changes phase (say, from a gel to a solid and back. This is the same principle as melting ice water. No matter how much you heat it up, until the ice is melted, it stays the same temperature). Phase change materials can also be found in mattress protectors.
  • Gel, etc, in the foam. Some memory foam claims to sleep cool because it uses gel mixed into the foam. For the most part, this is a very minor effect that really isn’t noticeable. It may take very slightly longer to warm up, but that’s about it. Gel foam can have other benefits, like making the foam feel thicker or a little more supportive, but it doesn’t really keep you cool. If any mattress claims that it “sleeps cool” merely because it uses a layer of gel foam, be very skeptical about that claim. This is one of the most oversold new features in mattresses.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many possible factors that can keep you sleeping hot, and not all of it is the mattress. Your environment and your bedding also play an important role, perhaps even more than the mattress in some cases. Additionally, be very wary of the hype surrounding gel memory foam. It doesn’t make a big difference. The other factors overwhelm any benefit gained from mixing gel into the memory foam.

How to Clean a Mattress?

Regularly cleaning your mattress is an important task for keeping your sleeping area fresh and healthy. However, it is often overlooked. Cleaning your mattress removes allergens, dust, bacteria, and eliminates serious mattress problems including mold and odors.

To keep your mattress clean, safe and healthy, perform routine cleaning and address bigger problems like stains, spots and odors, and especially nasty bed bugs and dust mites.

The first step, of course, is to wash your sheets and pillows regularly. Additionally, routine cleaning makes your bed a more comfortable place to sleep and it will also protect your mattress from more serious problems. Keeping your mattress clean is important and it’s not difficult.

As it has been already said, you just need to wash your bedding regularly, vacuum every few months, and add a mattress protector. But even more intensive cleaning like spot removal or even removing odors is usually about as simple as spraying your mattress down and giving it a good scrub.

In this article you’ll learn when to clean your mattress, how to manage regular cleanings and even take care of odors, bed bugs and dust mites. Also, you will learn when it’s time to just give up on your old mattress that’s not worth saving and buy a new one.

Signs That It’s Time to Clean Your Mattress

  • Your mattress hasn’t been cleaned in a few months –  To keep your mattress fresh, it needs to be cleaned every few months.
  • Your mattress has an odor –  Bodily fluids, dust, skin build up and mold can cause your mattress to smell. Odors on your mattress are not only gross but can be quite disruptive when sleeping. They can also be a sign of bigger problems.
  • Allergies – Dust build up can aggravate your allergies and cause discomfort at night. It’s probably time to clean up the dust if your allergies flare up when you are in bed or as you wake up in the morning.
  • Obvious stains on your mattress – Clean the stains on your mattress as soon as you notice them. Waiting will only make cleaning them more difficult later and can cause unpleasant smells. 
  • You notice bugs, strange bites on your skin and itching – Bed bug infestations may not always be obvious, especially in the early stages. But look for signs like strange, red, itchy bites on your skin, microscopic blood stains or insect waste spots on your mattress. 

Keeping Your Mattress Fresh

Even if there are no stains, odors, or other cleanliness concerns about your mattress, you should clean it every few months to keep it fresh. This will prevent the build-up of dust, dirt, and growth of bacteria. It’s also important to adequately protect your mattress from spills and stains.

  • Change your sheets – Bed sheets should be washed with hot water every one to two weeks. Change them more often if you’re sick, you notice stains, or you’ve been particularly sweaty at night.
  • Address spills, stains, and odors right away – Avoid letting stains or odors sink into your mattress. Quickly spray down stains and disinfect odors as soon as you notice them.
  • Vacuum your mattress – Vacuum and clean up dust and dirt every few months while you’re sheets are off the mattress. Use the upholstery tool on your vacuum to cover the top and sides of the mattress as well as the bed spring. Be sure to press firmly reach the dirt below the surface. Clean the quilting and other small details with the crevice tool. 
  • Air out your mattress – Fresh air and sunshine is great for getting rid of odors and bleaching out stains. Wait for a clear day and find a clean spot where you can set your mattress to air out for a few hours. Even if you can’t get your mattress outside, simply standing it up near a sunny open window can help air it out a bit.
  • Don’t make your bed right away – Air out your mattress every day by simply leaving your bed undone for thirty minutes or more in the mornings. While you’re getting ready for the day, pull the covers all the way back and let moisture and odors escape before making your bed.
  • Add baking soda – Baking soda freshens your mattress by absorbing odors. Sprinkle a light layer on top, let it sit for several minutes, then vacuum it up before making your bed.
  • Prevent excessive sweating in bed – Everyone sweats in their sleep from time to time but if you’re waking up soaked most nights, it could be a problem for your mattress. Sweating encourages the growth of mold and mildew. To prevent excessive sweating, you can adjust your thermostat, wear different clothes to bed, get a lighter comforter and sheets, and you can consider getting a breathable mattress topper if your mattress sleeps hot.
  • Use a mattress protector  Mattress covers are always worth it. It’s much easier to throw a mattress cover in the washer than it is to try to remove a stain or smell from your mattress. Look for a waterproof mattress protector that will protect your mattress from spills, odors, and bacteria.

Cleaning Stains, Odors and Infestations

Everyday mattress freshness is very important, but you need to take things even further if you have spots, stains, odors, or even bugs. Always clean up the mess quickly and avoid damaging your mattress. 

Washing Spots and Stains

Spots and stains are a common occurrence on a mattress. Accidents happen and food, drinks and sweat can end up on your mattress and leave stains, so it’s best to take care of these as soon as possible. If left to set, the stains can cause odors and the appearance of mold. Here are some instructions on how to clean a mattress if some accidental spill occurs: 

  • Blot thoroughly – Be sure to blot up any liquids. Use a towel or other clean cloth to remove as much liquid as you can and prevent it from soaking into your mattress which can further leave stains or encourage mold growth and odor.
  • Spray areas with a dish detergent mix – Clean spots and stains with a 50/50 mix of water and dish detergent. Let it sit, then scrub thoroughly. Repeat spraying, sitting, and scrubbing a few times for stains that won’t come up easily. Just be careful not to let your mattress get too wet by blotting up any excess moisture from the spray mix.
  • Remove bodily fluids with laundry detergent – Laundry detergent is formulated to break up urine, blood, and other bodily fluids, so use detergent and water to remove them from your mattress. Hydrogen peroxide will work as well, just don’t use hot water with it as it will leave stain

Removing Odors

Sleeping on a smelly mattress is simply unpleasant. Mattress odors can interfere with your sleep and comfort and lead to bigger problems like bacteria and mold growth. Clean your mattress regularly and remove all odors to keep it smelling fresh.

  • Vacuum your mattress – Vacuuming won’t remove every odor from your mattress, but it’s a good preparation for getting things clean and ready to scrub down.
  • Spray your mattress – Spray the smelly area with vinegar or an odor eliminating agent like Febreeze, then blot and scrub it. However, you should be careful not to use to much vinegar as the odor from vinegar may also be unpleasant to sleep with.
  • Use baking soda – Baking soda is a great odor eliminator. Sprinkle it directly onto your mattress, let it sit, then vacuum it up and it will pick up odors.
  • Air out your mattress – Let your mattress sit for a while outside on a direct sunlight. It will eliminate odors and dust mites.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

No one likes bugs in their bed, but regardless of how clean is your mattress, they can still invade your bed. But the good news is that you can successfully treat most infestations.

  • Wash thoroughly everything – Bed bugs won’t just attack your bed, but your bedding, blankets, pillows, curtains and even your clothes. So, you should put everything that can be washed into your washing machine and run it on the full-length cycle if it is a cotton. That will certainly kill all bugs and their larvae.
  • Try to bag other objects – Bed bugs can stick to hard surfaces, too. They can hide in your phone, laptop, clock radio, books, and other personal items. Bag these items and place Nuvan strips inside to kill the bugs.
  • Search and destroy bugs on your mattress – Vacuum every part of your mattress to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs, but don’t use vacuum attachments with brushes or bristles as bugs may cling to them. Remove the cover of your mattress if it’s removable and inspect the layers in detail to see if there are any traces of bed bugs and vacuum them as well.
  • Inspect other furniture – As bed bugs can stick to hard surfaces, they may spread to other furniture in your home as well, including your bed frame and dresser. Look inside and under all furniture with a flashlight and search for bugs and eggs and vacuum them too.
  • Clean every surface –  Scrub every surface in your home even if it is not infected. Look in baseboards, cracks, and holes in walls and scrape and vacuum the surface of rugs and carpets to pull bed bugs out.
  • Use mattress encasement – A mattress encasement will act like a protective barrier. Bed bugs won’t be able to get in or out of your mattress through the encasement and those that are still trapped in your mattress will eventually starve and die.
  • Vacuum dead bugs after a year – Bed bugs will be dead after a year, then you can remove your mattress encasement and vacuum up what’s left of the bed bugs.
  • Call for help: Some bed bug infestations are beyond the skills of a DIY bed bug exterminator. If you have troubles getting rid of bed bugs as they constantly keep coming back, then it is better to call professional exterminators.

Treating Dust Mites

When compared to bed bugs, dust mites are not such a great evil, but you definitely don’t want them to accumulate in your bed. They can usually be found in all mattresses as they feed on dead human skin in warm, humid spots. They are not dangerous at all, but if you don’t clean your mattress and let them pile up, they can cause allergies and make your mattress an uncomfortable place to sleep. To get rid of dust mites you can: 

  1. Wash your sheets once a week – As we have already mentioned, dust mites live on dead human skin and they can also be found in your sheets. To remove them, you only need to wash your sheets and pillow cases every week in hot water.
  2. Dry your sheets outside – Direct sunlight kills dust mites, so if you hang your sheets outside to dry that will kill any of the remaining dust mites that survived the washer.
  3. Get a new pillow – Dust mites can accumulate in pillows as well, and while shredded foam and fiber pillows are usually washable, other pillows made entirely of one block of foam are not and you should make sure you change your pillow at least every year.
  4. Take a steamer to your mattress – Steam vapors will kill dust mites (and bacteria), so run a steam cleaner all over your mattress and be sure to cover all surfaces as you won’t be able to see dust mites.
  5. Vacuum your mattress – You can remove dust mites from your mattress by vacuuming them up with your upholstery attachment. Use a crevice tool to get into quilting and reach other tight spots.
  6. Use a mattress cover – A mattress cover won’t keep dust mites out of your bedding, but it can keep them from burrowing into your mattress where they’re tougher to get rid of. If you use a mattress cover, you’ll only need to wash your sheets and pillows regularly and you will not have to worry about dust mites getting into your mattress.

When to Replace Your Mattress instead of Cleaning

For stains, spot cleaning, odors, and even bed bugs and dust mites, it’s usually best to simply clean your mattress rather than replace it. After all, mattresses can be expensive to replace, and there are so many ways to clean them effectively. But if a mattress is too much damaged and is beyond any help then perhaps it is time to replace your mattress and get a new one. (See what are our top mattress choices and pick one that will best work for you.)

  • Mold – Mold on your mattress is a sign that you’ve left it dirty or wet (usually both) for far too long. Once mold appears, it can be really tough to get rid of. Even if you clean it thoroughly, you may never know if you’ve actually eliminated the mold. Sleeping on a mattress with mold can cause some serious health issues, so it is best to get a new mattress.
  • You can’t get rid of bed bugs – If the bed bugs invade your mattress and if you manage to eliminate them before they get out of control, it’s fine to keep your treated mattress. However, a serious bed bug infestation will leave your mattress covered with tiny specks of blood, insect waste, and more creepy crawlies that can be impossible to remove. In such situation you should consider getting rid of your mattress. But remember that even if your infested mattress is gone, bed bugs may still remain in your home, so you’ll need to treat your clothes, personal items, furniture, etc. before you get a new mattress.
  • Old mattresses – An average lifespan of most mattresses is 7-10 years. After this period, they may become worn out, uncomfortable and incapable of providing you with a quality and restful sleep. In such situation, getting a new mattress is the only solution.

What Is the Coffee Nap and What Are the Benefits?

The workday is not quite over and the clock strikes 3:00 pm. You have hit that wall and are longing for a wonderful daytime nap.

A mid-day siesta is embraced by many cultures but in the United States we feel that we can not afford that couple of hours of downtime in the afternoon. Also, sleep inertia, which can happen if you nap for too long, takes a while to shake off.

However “power naps” are much more accepted and common in today’s society. (For example, powerhouses like Google, Uber, Home Away and Ben & Jerry’s have dedicated nap spaces for their employees.)

What Are the Benefits of the Power Nap?

It is scientifically proven that a 20 minute afternoon nap increases cognitive capabilities, memory and alertness. Listed below are several of the studies:

  • A University of Michigan study found that participants who took a power nap were able to handle frustration better and were less impulsive than those who watched an hour long nature documentary instead of sleeping.
  • A NASA study found that tired astronauts, after taking a short power nap, had improved alertness by 100%.
  • The National Sleep Foundation reports that power naps can enhance performance, restore alertness and reduce accidents and mistakes.

With this said, we know that many of us love the power nap, which is an excellent way to restore our body and revitalize our mind. But what if I told you there is an even better way to enhance alertness and maximize your sleep time!

The “Coffee Nap”

Can you believe that drinking a cup of coffee before heading to sleep actually makes you more refreshed and invigorated than coffee or a nap by itself! It’s been scientifically proven that drinking a cup of coffee, followed by a 20 minute nap restores your mental alertness!

Adenosine is a chemical compound in your brain that causes drowsiness and clouds your mind, making you fuzzy. The nap, on its own erodes your brain of this adenosine so a nice 20 minute nap clears those fuzzy cobwebs from your head making you more alert.

The Coffee Plus Nap Effect

What happens is that right about the time you wake up from your nap with your brain cleansed of adenosine, the caffeine kicks in giving you that big boost of energy.

The coffee would not be as effective delivering that jolt of energy and focus without the nap because it would have to compete with the adenosine. After a restorative nap, however, which wipes out the adenosine, the caffeine hits your “cleansed” brain receptors like an 18 wheeler!

Why Do Caffeine Naps Work So Well?

When scientists observed the cognitive and behavioral effectiveness of the coffee nap, they found that it’s more productive than coffee or naps by themselves.

  • One of the first studies looking at the positive effects of the coffee nap was conducted by the University of Britain at Loughborough. Sleep researchers gave a driving test to several fatigued drivers and found that after a 15 minute coffee nap, they made fewer mistakes than those who only took a nap or only drank coffee. 
  • In another study, 24 young men went without adequate sleep for 24 hours. Half took coffee naps and took a series of cognitive tests, performing significantly better than the half who napped without taking caffeine beforehand.
  • In another study in Japan, researchers found that those who took a caffeine nap before taking a series of memory tests performed better than those who just took a nap or took a coffee and afterwards had a bright light shined in their eyes or washed their faces.

How To Take a Coffee Nap?

  1. Drink a cup of coffee.
  2. Drink it when your body is ready to go to sleep.
  3. Drink the coffee quickly. This is to give the caffeine a long window to pass through the gastrointestinal tract and bloodstream.
  4. Lie down in a dark, cool place so you can fall asleep. If needed, use earplugs and a sleep mask.
  5. Don’t stress if you don’t fall asleep easily. Relaxing half naps are just as helpful.
  6. Only nap for 15-20 minutes, so as not enter a deep sleep mode. If needed, set an alarm.

The Relationship between Sleep and Memory

As children we often fell asleep on our way to school and soccer practice because we stayed up late. We sneaked comics to our bed and stayed up reading them till the end. That resulted in foggy first moments after waking up, dozing in class and lack of attention.

These were few visible results of sleep deprivation that we could understand even as children. However, there are other complex connections between sleep and brain function, which even adults struggle to understand.

Not getting enough sleep before tests, studying until the morning and living on caffeine till the exams are over are familiar scenarios for almost everyone. It often happens that we go through the same lesson over and over again and yet we fail to recollect the precise information during the examination.

That’s a nightmare that everyone has gone through at least once in their lives and is a result of the huge amounts of stress we put ourselves through. The lack of sleep keeps us from performing at our very best.

Proper rest affects more than your physical appearance. Namely, It improves your memory too. So, when you stay up all night going over your lessons and revising the notes, you deprive your brain of the necessary rest it needs to transfer the information from temporary memory to long-term memory. And long-term memory is what you need during examinations and interviews, as in such situations we often pull the details from our long-term memory.

What Is the Memory? How Are Sleep and Memory Related?

Deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) can promote the consolidation of all memories you have formed recently, small facts like where you put your keys yesterday after coming home or have you turned the oven off before leaving home. Yes, you do not need to remember them forever, but you need to remember these small details for your convenience and safety.

How memory forms and how sleep aids in the conversion of short-term memory to long-term was once a mystery to the scientists. Now, thanks to the advances in sleep studies and neuroscience, scientists learned the intricate relationships between memory formation and sleep.

Having enough of a quality sleep at night and several daytime naps can consolidate memories, stabilize them and link them through common facts. That is how we can apply the unitary method while calculating gas prices or use simple arithmetic to calculate the final payable at the POS of a store. Whatever we have learned during high school and college starts to make sense later in life, even if we are not consciously making an effort to remember it.

Which Parts of Our Brain Help in the Formation of Memory?

Every memory consists of three parts: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. The acquisition is a part of our wakefulness and precedes the consolidation process. Consolidation involves the transfer of the short-term memory to the hippocampus. It also consists of updating old memories and that is why we call it an ongoing process and how we can learn new facts and recall them later.

All three types of sleep (light, sleep, and REM) are necessary for the formation of memories. Sleep and memory share an intricate relationship that scientists have been trying to explore for a very long time.

Our brain has an extraordinary mechanism for choosing which memories to store and which to retrieve. That fact has always baffled both ordinary people and scientists. A term that is used for this is “cherry picking”. It refers to the way our brain picks which memories to consolidate and which ones to leave behind.

The hippocampus and neocortex use separate mechanisms to store the memories. The hippocampus emphasizes the consolidation of episodic memory, whereas the neocortex paves the way for understanding patterns. Scientists state that the neocortex enables the formation of semantic memory.

While the short-term episodic memory is a function of the neural activity patterns, the long-term memories are the result of more permanent changes in the brain structure. The latter involves the formation of new neuronal connections that remain longer. That is one way to understand the impacts of short-term amnesia on the memories that are less than 12 hours old and the persistence of long-term memories in spite of the short-term amnesia.

How Does the Brain Selectively Store Memories?

A 2004 publication shows that the pruning happens at night. According to Ken A. Paller and Joel L. Voss, the brain shuffles the memories and selects the ones that will go into declarative memory which is the ability to recollect specific facts. The communication between the neocortex and the hippocampus allows the recent information you have learned to “brush up” the memories in the neocortex.

Interestingly, even when the specific memory of an event gets lost, the emotional impact remains. You could say that the instance still contributes to the overall knowledge a long time after the loss of the initial episodic memory. The unique directional communication between the hippocampus and the neocortex allows the brain to “remember” the overall impact of episodic memory, even when the actual memory is gone.

What Happens to Your Memories when You Sleep?

During the slow-wave sleep, human brain experiences a decoupling process from the sensory neurons. The neurons do not provide new information to the mind during deep sleep, but the brain and several areas in it remain active.

Hippocampus, a small part of the limbic system, remains active during this point. In an EEG you should be able to see sharp wave ripples emanating from this region. Large-amplitude slow oscillations are ubiquitous to the outer layers of the cerebrum aka the cortex. During sound sleep, the brain goes through alternate periods of activity and passivity.

During this phase, the episodic memories you have acquired during your wakefulness, travel from the hippocampus to the cortex. This transfer of memory from the hippocampus to the cortex results in the formation of long-term memory.

Slow oscillations during the slow wave sleep are susceptible to the brain wave activity of the hippocampus. These patterns determine the changes in the synaptic wave patterns in the cortex. The synaptic changes can affect the pattern of the slow waves that can reinforce specific patterns of slow oscillations resulting from the sequential firing of neurons in the cortex. It leads to the replay of one or more particular memories.

That brings us to the next question – why do we spend one-third of our lives sleeping? By now it must be clear that sleeping is anything but a complete state of brain inactivity. Our brains never go into a complete state of stasis even during the deepest slumbers. Throughout the day we gather new information, and at night our brains process it to create new memories or to update the old ones.

According to the synaptic homeostasis hypothesis, our brains collect the information by strengthening the connections between our brain cells and finally, our mind saturates itself with the info. That requires incredible amounts of energy. That is why we need sleep. When we sleep, the energy expenditure of our brain goes down. Rest gives us the chance to consolidate our memories and begin the next morning fresh.

Why Does the Brain Need Sound Sleep for Proper Memory Consolidation?

A fascinating study from Nature Communications shows that when the brain is in a sleep-deprived state, it can be easily excited. Eleven men and nine women between the age of 19 and 25 were the test subjects. Nissen and his students subjected the entire group to the same tests, under same measurable parameters either after a whole night of rest or after an entire night without sleep.

The coordinators watched closely during the nights of wakefulness. They did not get caffeine or other stimulants on those nights. They stayed up by playing games, taking walks and cooking food. The next morning, Nissen subjected them to the first round of testing. The staff used magnetic pulses to fire neurons in the brains of the participants. That caused a muscle in the left hand to twitch.

Results showed that on the days following nights of wakefulness, weaker pulses were enough to make the muscles twitch. On the other hand, strong vibrations were necessary to make the muscles move after a night of sound sleep. That shows that rest deprived brains can be easily excited. 

In another study, the group wanted to mimic the neuron firing sequence during memory consolidation. Nissen and his group found it difficult to reproduce the mechanism when the subjects did have enough sleep. That shows how a lack of proper rest can impair the formation of new memories.  

Both tests show that rest is necessary for the brain to form new memories by calming its activity. You can think of a sleep-deprived brain as non-working machinery with loose cogs. It will make a lot of noise, but its production level will remain minimal. Any sleep-deprivation test will show that tired volunteers will perform much worse than the well-rested.

How Does Sleep Affect the Formation of Overnight Memory?

This far, we have learned that the lack of proper rest can cause memory loss and it can affect the formation of long-term declarative memory. Insomnia is a common problem among the elderly. People suffering from undiagnosed REM-sleep behavior disorder and other forms of parasomnia often experience worsening symptoms of temporary forgetfulness with age.

Poor quality of sleep in the elderly leads to the loss of memory. The older adults have less deep sleep than younger population which also means that they have worse memory functions as well. They experience worsening symptoms of dementia unless they receive medical care for their sleep-related problems.

Age-related memory loss can occur due to the worsening quality of sleep. As people grow old, the quality of their night’s rest decreases. Young adults experience better rest than the elderly on any given day.

Early studies state that REM sleep is necessary for the creation of declarative memory. However, more recent research shows that the memory formation remains constant in people who do not experience REM sleep. 

One study by Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley sleep researcher shows that the non-REM stages of slumber facilitate the production of slow waves from the frontal lobe. This part of the brain deteriorates as we grow old. A majority of the senior population suffers from the lack of restorative sleep due to the depreciation of the structure of the middle frontal lobe which prevents the permanent storage of memories at night.

Another study conducted by a group of researchers from Germany showed that better sleep can be achieved through stimulation of the brain, especially its middle frontal lobe. A deeper resting state through electric stimulation improved the formation of memory during the night.

Both studies have opened up new areas for research on age-related dementia and pointed to the possible treatments for memory loss in the elderly. They put forth key findings that illustrate the mechanisms of overnight memory formation and their direct relationship with sleep quality.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Memory at an Old Age?

We need to invest in our health while we are still young by adopting healthy sleeping habits and consulting a sleep expert if you have any problems with your sleep. This will improve and preserve your memory as you age.

Several studies show that white noise and pink noise help us fall asleep. White noise consists of different frequencies of sound. It has a fixed amplitude throughout the entire audible frequency. Therefore, you can find it in nature, in factories and even in traffic.

The sea, rain, crickets, washing machine, air conditioning units, and even an aircraft interior are sources of white noise. Even a continually rotating fan without any creaking is a source of it. Other than that, you can always download free applications on your smartphone for enjoying relaxing white noise before falling asleep.

Older adults, as well as newborns, can enjoy the benefits of white noise during their phase of rest. It calms the cognitive system and stimulates better sleep.

On the other hand, pink noise is exclusively beneficial for the elderly. It is a collection of soothing, soft sounds. Each octave belonging to this sound category possess equal energy.

A study by Dr. Phyllis Zee and his colleagues involved 13 older adults between the age of 60 and 84. They subjected the senior participants to acoustic simulation during one night and fake simulation during the other. These simulations were seven days apart. The acoustic simulation was pink noise, and the team synced this simulation to their brain wave as the volunteers slept.

Each session involved two memory recall tests, one after and one before the resting periods. The memory recall was much better after the participants had enough of a quality night’s sleep. Pink noise stimulated rest resulted in three times the average improvement. The improvement of the memory recall was a result of the enhanced quality of the slow wave sleep (SWS).

Acoustic simulation is a smart way to improve sleep quality at an old age and it doesn’t have any side effects. While sleeping medication can always pose some physical or mental health risks in the elderly, pink noise does not have any negative impacts. Many researchers are thinking of adopting pink noise as a long-term solution to insomnia and parasomnia. 

How Can You Improve Your Memory Function With Regular Sleep?

This brings us to the favorite part of this article, where we tell you to get more sleep. Sadly, less than one-third of the American adults get enough rest each night. Most of them need at least one more hour of rest than they get right now.

The lack of rest can take a significant toll on the memory functions. Several studies showed that children who had had the chance to get enough sleep on the night before the exams performed much better than those who didn’t get enough rest. The hours of preparation did little to help when the brain was in a state of easy excitability.  

Another interesting study shows that getting enough sleep helps people memorize new skills. For example, while you are learning how to play the piano getting the right amount of rest will help you turn everything you learn into more permanent skills. If you take a short nap of 30 to 40 minutes right before your next piano lesson, you should be able to learn the next lesson much better.

Most people who tend to memorize things fast are great sleepers. Sleep is the key to a brilliant memory. If you compound the time of your nighttime rest, you might have to study or practice way less than you do right now.

What Happens When You Choose to Call It a Day?

Right before bedtime you should shut down your laptop, turn off the sound on your phone, use some relaxing essential oil and switch off the lights. It will help you set the mood and prepare yourself for the sleep you deserve. Your brain might remain in a state of high activity, but you need to prepare yourself for a quality restorative sleep.

Clean the Trash

The cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the brain more effectively during your sleep. Think of it like a vacuum cleaner mechanism. Not cleaning the waste including the molecular debris and toxic protein deposits can worsen symptoms of dementia. When you are fast asleep, the CSF acts as a vacuum cleaner which removes these toxins so you can wake up refreshed.

Picking Important Memories

Have you ever noticed how stress impacts your memory? When you are under a constant stress you may often struggle to remember certain things, like where you put your home keys and whether you locked the front door, etc. The lack of sleep takes a toll on trivial memories and more emotional ones like your first date, your first kiss or your child’s graduation.

It Helps Regulate Your Circadian Rhythm

When you sleep, your brain regulates everything. It transfers the episodic memory from the neural cortex to the hippocampus. Sound sleep helps process the melatonin as high levels of melatonin that remain in your body after you wake up can cause excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) that can impede your cognition and productivity.

Ensures a Complete Stage 4 Sleep

Sleeping correctly at night ensures a complete stage 4 sleep. This stage of rest stops the nerve impulses that relay across the spinal cord. This causes temporary paralysis which protects you from acting out while dreaming and from possible injuries. 

Keeps Your Body Healthy

Your body requires sleep to refresh the purification and filtration mechanism. Rest not only helps with memory function and cognition, but it also helps improve the outputs of different organ systems. Proper rest boosts the immune system.

How Can Napping Make You Smarter?

Adults often do not have enough time for 8-hour slumbers. We barely catch 5 to 6 hours during the week, and we try hard to make up for the lost rest on the weekends. But, sleeping longer during the weekends can’t make up for the sleep deprived days.

So what should you do? According to the latest research, people should spend at least 20 to 30 minutes per day napping. Since almost 85% of the mammals are polyphasic sleepers, it is not difficult to switch to a biphasic (siesta) routine, when you have the time. Very few offices have the facility to promote nap hours. Some corporate offices in Japan and the USA are introducing nap rooms for their employees to increase their productivity.

Research shows that napping can stimulate the REM sleep and non-REM deep sleep you are missing at night. That’s why nappers are smarter and more productive that compulsive workers who deprive themselves of necessary rest. Sir Winston Churchill, JF Kenndy, Napoleon, Ronald Reagan, Albert Einstein, George W. Bush, and Thomas Edison valued afternoon naps and were known for their napping rituals. 

There are three different napping systems:

  1. Planned napping – You pick a fixed time for heading to bed in the middle of the afternoon (preferably around 2 pm). You set the alarm for 2:30 or 3:00. It is a great way to gain extra energy, especially when you are sure that you will go to bed later than usual.
  2. Emergency naps – These are genuinely urgent, and you need them when you think you are about to drop. You might feel super tired due to a late-night party or due to the flu season. These naps can help you recharge your batteries before an important event and prepare you for the upcoming challenge.
  3. Routine napping – Think about children who always doze off at a particular time during the afternoon. For adults, napping can be a part of the daily routine as well. If you make it a habit of dozing off for an hour or so after lunch every day, you can become a habitual napper. It helps regulate the circadian rhythm and is necessary for those suffering from insomnia or delayed sleep onset syndrome.

A short nap is beneficial. Always stick to a maximum 30-minute nap. Prolonging the resting period during the afternoon or evening can impede your sleep onset at night To improve the quality of your sleep and naps you will need a good mattress and if you don’t have one, you can check out our top 10 best mattress reviews and pick a perfect mattress for you.

Why Should You Care More about Your Sleep Quality?

The lack of deep sleep can impact your social life, health and finances. Research shows that the effect of sleep deprivation is similar to that of alcohol. Driving while being sleep-deprived is equally dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or some psychoactive substance.

People often go through their entire days feeling fuzzy when they do not get enough sleep for a few nights. But, people fail to understand that the fatality from sleepiness-related car accidents is close to that of DUIs.

Apart from promoting your consciousness, sleep improves your memory. If you tend to forget details about your coursework, office work or your family, it might be the result of sleep deprivation. Several studies have linked the lack of sleep to the early onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Getting enough restorative rest during the night can delay the onset of almost all neurodegenerative diseases. Senior citizens, who get proper rest at nighttime often have a better memory than those who don’t. 

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