Having a Sense of Purpose Might Just Help You Sleep Better in Your Later Years

It’s a fact that the older you get, the less sleep you tend to get. Seniors experience sleeping problems due to change in one’s sleep architecture. This doesn’t mean that sleeping less is okay, though. Seniors still need to get about 7 to 8 hours of zzz’s nightly to give them ample rest and energy for the next day.

If you’ve been trying to look for ways how to remedy this issue, you might be glad to know that a new technique has been discovered by experts. Apparently, according to a new study, having a sense of purpose can really help you sleep better.

In a study led by neurologist Jason Ong from the Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, they found out that people who have a good reason to get up in the morning tends to sleep better at night. They also have lower risks of experiencing sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome, boosting the quality of their zzz’s.

The research surveyed 800 people with ages 60 to 100 to learn about their sleep and motivations in life. Those who have responded to have found meaning and purpose in their lives tend to have better sleep quality overall, which makes scientists think that one’s outlook in their lives can really aid in sleeping better.

We know this information can up the existential crisis some people may already be experiencing. But who knows? You might just find your life’s purpose one of these days and that might benefit you in your twilight years, so that’s another great thing to look forward to, right?

 

 

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Sleep Challenge: Start Improving Your Sleep Today

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If you don’t get 6-8 hours of solid, undisturbed sleep nightly, there’s a very high chance that you are sleep deprived. With the wide array of things that could hinder our slumber, it’s not so surprising that a large chunk of our population is buried in sleep debt.

But how do you deal with sleep debt? The answer is pretty straightforward: you have to improve your sleeping habits. By having a regular and complete sleeping schedule, not only can you avoid piling more sleep debt to what you already owe, but you may even be able to catch up.

Being in the sleep business for so long, though, we know that improving your sleep isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Creating a healthy and regular sleeping routine does not come naturally for many, especially those who have to work in shifts, so a little hard work will be required for you to start getting a solid night of shuteye.

So, how do you start improving your sleep? If you’ve been reading our blog, you will know that we have been sharing a lot of sleep tips and information for a while now. You can find some handy articles by clicking on the blog’s Sleep & Health category and you’ll surely learn a trick or two in how you can improve the quality of your sleep.

The biggest challenge, really, in any sleep challenge is to keep yourself disciplined to get more zzz’s. Again, there’s so much to do nowadays that sleep is easily relegated to the last spot in a lot of people’s to-do lists, so focusing on the goal of getting quality slumber is a necessity. If you’re not really into improving your sleep, there’s very little assurance that you will be successful in improving your sleep.

If you think getting quality zzz’s is a huge undertaking, stop right now. It may sound daunting, but there’s really only a few things you need to do and remember if you want to have better sleep:

  1. Be consistent. This is where your discipline is required, because sleep makes great use of your body clock which only sets itself after a few days of following a consistent routine. With consistency, you can get yourself feel sleepy and wake up naturally at the same time everyday, helping you get the same amount of shuteye every night.
  2. Stop stressing yourself out. Stress is the number 1 enemy of sleep. It produces cortisol, a hormone that makes dozing off a lot more difficult.
  3. Get a good mattress. Many may not think much of their mattresses when it comes to its effects in helping you sleep, but mattresses actually play a large role in dozing off easily at night. Make sure that it is comfortable and provides ample support, you can avoid waking up due to body pains. You may also want to find a mattress that can minimize partner disturbance, so you can be guaranteed that you won’t be woken up by your co-sleeper’s nocturnal movements.

The best time to start working on your sleep? Tonight. The faster you get quality sleep, the better for your overall health, so don’t delay and start taking steps in improving your nightly slumber starting tonight.

What is Quality Sleep?

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When it comes to a good night’s sleep, you should not settle for anything less than quality sleep. While sleep can be achieved by many, one with quality is not necessarily available to everyone. With our hectic schedules and modern lifestyles, a lot of us run on little to no sleep that getting a few hours more feels energizing already.

But what exactly is “quality sleep”? Most define quality sleep as the regular, ample nightly slumber you get which leaves you feeling rested and fully restored by the morning. Technically speaking, though, it means that you’re getting enough sleep cycles, letting your systems do its job in restoring your body to its best shape.

If your goal is to train yourself how to get quality sleep, the very first step is to understand sleep better. What a lot of people don’t know is that sleep is composed of 4 different stages of sleep, which are the following:

Stage 1: Light Sleep

This is the time when your body drifts off to sleep and your muscle activity slows down. Light dreams are also typically experienced during this stage. It is also typically characterized by sudden muscle contractions and that sensation of falling. 5% of your total time asleep is composed of your stage 1 sleep.

Stage 2: Light Sleep Phase 2

By stage 2, your body is already falling into deeper sleep. By this time, your breathing and heart beat slows down, as well as your temperature starts to drop, easing you to a more relaxed slumber. This stage is highly important as it is the time when alertness is being restored. For naps, sleep should only reach stage 2, as it is all you need to bounce back from a midday slump.

50% of your total time asleep is spent in stage 2. It can help make you feel rested and awake, but it is not exactly enough to keep you running for a long time.

Stage 3: Slow Wave Sleep

Also known as the official deep sleep stage, stage 3 is when your body rests as your heart beat slows down and your muscles relax to achieve an engrossed slumber. Your brain also pauses dreaming at this point and all of your energies are focused on restoring, healing, and regenerating your body.

Deep sleep is extremely essential as it is when your immunity is worked on. Protein and enzyme regenerations are also done during this phase, getting your body ready for the next day.

Only 20% of your overall slumber is spent on stage 3, though, making it all the more important. Missing out on this phase could compromise your overall health in the long run, especially since it is your immunity that needs this time of your day to take a break and rebuild itself. However, for naps, entering stage 3 could be a unideal. Getting woken up in stage 3 can leave you groggy and disoriented, making your sleep feel all the more tired and unfulfilling.

Stage 4: REM Sleep

REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the most interesting sleep stage. While it is still not fully understood by scientists, research proves it to be a very important phase during our slumber. 25% of our overall slumber is spent in REM sleep, wherein we experience dreaming, our memories committed and stored, as well as our emotions stabilized. It is also an essential for infant’s brain growth, as it is the time of the day when your little one’s brain is being developed.

While our body is immobile during the REM phase, our brains are totally hard at work at this time of the night, making this stage a paradoxical one. This makes the REM phase a completely interesting process.

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According to experts, a complete sleep cycle takes 90 minutes, and to achieve quality sleep, you need to get at least 4 to 5 cycles in. This is why it is recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly, so you can be at your best everyday.

Quality sleep is also all about undisrupted slumber. As sleep stages normally reset once you wake up, getting woken up frequently at night will definitely affect your sleep cycles and prevent you from getting a full night’s rest.

By completing all of these sleep stages and cycles, you can better enjoy the many benefits of quality sleep. With all of the important processes that take place during sleep, getting to know the them is just one simple step in understanding the importance of your slumber. While you will need additional effort in developing a healthy sleeping habit, knowing the seriousness of your nightly shuteye may already be a big step in helping you work on getting some quality zzz’s.

 

The Best Pre-Sleep Timeline Ever

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We’ve said it before, establishing a bedtime is always an essential for a good night’s sleep. It’s really not just for young children, but adults may benefit greatly from a regular bedtime as well. It can easily improve your health, make your skin better, give you more energy, help you lose weight, and even boost your memory. Of course, it can also fight sleep deprivation and all of its ugly consequences, making a sticking to a bedtime one of the most important habits you should have.

However, some may argue that establishing that bedtime can be quite difficult. This is generally true, especially if you’re not too fond of routine and are always coming up with something to do with your time in the evenings. There’s a way to get you in the right track, though: get to know how your evening activities can affect your sleep.

According to experts, the things you do before you hit the hay at night can easily affect your slumber. For example, you like to have some coffee in the evening, then it’s very likely that you’ll have to endure wakefulness until the caffeine wears off well into the night. As you would know, substances and activities have great effects on the human body, so choosing which ones to avoid in the evening would be helpful to your sleep.

Check out this infographic from the Huffington Post:

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Coffee: 6 Hours Before Bed

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In this infographic, various activities are drawn in a timeline, noting how far apart certain items should be from you going to bed. First in the timeline is drinking coffee, or any beverages with high caffeine content. Caffeine, being a stimulant, can really disrupt one’s sleep and even hamper the person’s ability to enjoy quality slumber. In a study conducted by researchers from the Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital’s Sleep Disorders & Research Center and Wayne State College of Medicine, they were even able to discover that caffeine consumed in less than six hours before bed can be detrimental to one’s sleep. This is why they suggest that anyone who’s interested in having a good night’s rest should avoid drinking coffee at least six hours before they turn in.

Alcohol: 3 Hours Before Bed

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If you’re more inclined to have a glass of wine or whisky as a night cap, make sure to do so at least three hours before lights out. Why? This is because while most folks can argue that drinking can make them drowsy, therefore making them sleepy right away, having an alcoholic drink before bed is still sleep- disruptive. In a study conducted at the University of Melbourne, their research shows that consuming alcoholic beverages right before bed will resort to the interference of the alcohol to deep sleep, preventing your brain from executing full restoration which is important for a good night’s rest. Articles from TIME magazine and the Huffington Post discuss the study more closely, so you can also head there for more information.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink at all in the evening. What experts suggest is to have it at least three hours before you try to sleep, so the effects can wear off, and you can give yourself a better chance at having a good night’s sleep.

Dinner: 2-3 Hours Before Bed

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To quote Chef Cheryl Forberg, RD, “The time that you eat dinner is not as important as how close it is to your bedtime. If you’re eating dinner too close to your bedtime, you may experience reflux (heartburn), not sleep as well as you otherwise might, or skip breakfast the next morning (this is quite a common pitfall).” These are just some of the few things you’ll experience if you sleep immediately after you’ve consumed dinner, not to mention its effects on your sleep. Big meals typically affect a person’s metabolic rate and will increase body temperature, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Experts say that 2-3 hours before bed is the best time for a meal, as it will allow your body to digest the food without making you hungry before you nod off. Hunger pangs are something you should also definitely avoid if you want a good night’s sleep, as the discomfort will definitely keep you up all night.

Of course, what you eat before you hit the sack is also important to look at if you want quality sleep (and prevent weight gain). According to this article, it’s okay to have a light snack presleep, but you have to reach out for complex carbohydrates instead of junk food to ensure quality slumber and avoid packing some pounds.

Exercising: 2 Hours Before Bed

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There’s no doubt that breaking a sweat from a good workout is good for the body. It gets you in great shape and a number of studies even show that it can also have great effects on sleep, although, as to exactly how and why, scientists are still about to pinpoint it out. In most people, they like to exercise so they can tire themselves out before they go to bed. This offers an easier way for them to doze off, using exhaustion as a lullaby.

However, according to sleep medicine professor, Dr. Stuart Quan of Harvard Medical School, working out so close to your bedtime may have the opposite effect on some people. While others find it easy to wear themselves out after an hour of rigorous exercise, others may feel effect of having high levels of adrenaline, making it difficult to wind down. This can impact sleep negatively as you’ll need your body to calm down in order to fall asleep.

To ensure a good night’s sleep, some sleep experts suggest giving yourself some time to cool down after a nighttime workout. Schedule your training to finish at least two hours before you sleep, so you get the chance to ensure the great quality of your slumber.

Working, Studying & Stressing + Fiddling with Electronics: 1 Hour Before Bed

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Many of us try to do more by squeezing in a last task for work or finishing a paper for school before hitting the hay. In most cases, though, it’s not the most efficient thing to do, as you either do not finish what you started doing, or you end up sleeping way later than your target bedtime. Both situations can easily cause you to toss and turn in your bed while you lie sleepless, fidgeting about how you have to finish that task you left hanging or how you have to be up so early the next morning.

Stressing out is another cause of sleeplessness among a huge chunk of the population. The thing here, though, is that there are so much reasons for getting stressed, that avoiding it entirely can be very difficult. In the end, it can cause you a great forty winks, because you can’t stop thinking about an issue you can’t possibly handle right then and there while you’re lying down on your bed.

With the rise of the electronics in the recent years, recent studies now show how these screens can affect sleep. According to the several sources, the blue light electronics emit easily affects people’s wakefulness, so having backlit screens glaring so close to your face at night could certainly have a negative effect.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t do all of these before bed, though, but like the other items in this list, we suggest you do them a few hours before you try to nod off. At least give yourself an hour of winding down after you work, study, stress yourself out, or use your electronics, allowing you to become calmer and more ready for slumber.

Follow this timeline and you’ll get a good start at creating a bedtime routine that will help you improve your sleep. Of course, you also shouldn’t forget about your comfort, as it may be your mattress that’s causing you some sleepless nights. At Salem Beds, we make sure that we only offer the best surfaces for sleep, so you can guarantee some quality shut-eye.