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Monthly Archives: September 2014

  • The Importance of Memory Foam Mattress Density

    If you’ve been waking up on your old mattress feeling achy and uncomfortable and have found that when you sleep at a hotel or at someone else’s house you wake up feeling fine, there’s a good chance that it’s time to buy a new bed. The average life of an inner spring mattress is just shy of ten years, so if you can’t remember when you bought the bed, it’s probably time. When you’re ready to make a mattress purchase, make sure that you do all of the appropriate research. A mattress is a big investment and it’s easy to get confused by all of the different terminology that mattress salesmen use. By reading up on mattress types and benefits, you’ll start off with a good sense of what you need to know and what you’re looking for.

    In the last several years there has been a shift in the type of mattresses that people are purchasing, with many selecting memory foam mattresses rather than the traditional inner spring mattress. There are many great reasons for choosing memory foam, as they generally provide great comfort and minimize the problem of pressure point pain that so many people experience on a coil mattress. But walking into a store and simply saying that you want a memory foam bed is not good enough. It is also important that you know what a memory foam mattress’ density is.

    Memory foam density is an indication of how much the foam actually weighs. The more memory foam is condensed, the more it weighs, as the measurement is an indication of how compressed the material is into a specific amount of space. A low density memory foam mattress will have a rating of between 2.5 and 3 pounds per foot, while a high density memory foam mattress’ rating will be 5 pounds per foot or more. It is important to remember that density is not a reflection of a mattress’ firmness.  Firmness is measured by a different quantifier known as an indention force deflection, or IDF – that measurement shows how quickly the mattress bounces back in response to pressure. Continue reading

  • The Simple Things that May Be Keeping you from Sleeping

    If you’re having trouble getting the rest that you need and are wondering why, then you’re not alone. Sleep deprivation is a problem for a lot of people. Whether your problem is that you can’t fall asleep when you put yourself to bed, you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, or you are finding yourself waking up too early in the morning, it is a frustration that affects millions in the United States and worldwide.

    Trying to figure out what is causing your problem can be frustrating, but it is a good idea to sit down and take a personal inventory before you head off to see a physician or start popping over-the-counter sleeping pills, which can some negative side effects.  In a lot of cases, with a little bit of education about what can have an impact on your sleep and an honest look at your own habits, you can identify and fix your problem for yourself. According to Dr. Frank Ralls, medical director for Adult Sleep Medicine Services at the University of New Mexico and the program director for the UNM Sleep Medicine fellowship, the problem could be anything from advancing age to the medications that you are taking to address other medical problems. Continue reading

  • Putting a Stop to Waking in the Middle of the Night

    There are few things more upsetting than turning in after a full day, looking forward to a well-deserved good night’s sleep, then finding yourself suddenly waking up a few hours after you laid your head down and unable to get back to sleep. It seems to be happening to more of us every night, and there’s no doubt that it is adding to short tempers and frustration for those who are going through it. There are a lot of reasons why this midnight awakening may be happening. Possibilities include medications you may be taking, depression, menopause, pregnancy, pain, alcohol or poor sleeping conditions, among other reasons. If you can figure out what’s causing you to wake up then you’re already half way to solving the problem. Unfortunately, it isn’t always that simple. Continue reading

  • Stress and its Impact on Sleep

    Many people who suffer from anxiety experience problems getting a good night’s sleep. In order to understand why this happens, it is helpful to know the role that stress hormones play in our nightly sleep patterns, and how they can be disrupting our ability to get the rest that we need.

    Every normal sleep cycle is made up of periods of light sleep and deep, slow-wave sleep. We also experience rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. We move through these different levels several times per night, and it is this cyclical pattern occurring repeatedly that provides us with the restorative sleep that makes us feel alert and energetic in the morning. Continue reading

  • Sleep Position and Other Choices We Make

    Though you probably think that the position that you sleep in is completely out of your control, the truth is that it is a choice that we make. Depending upon your age it may feel as though switching from one position to another, or changing any of your sleep-related habits for that matter, would be impossible. But the truth is that there are very good reasons for taking a hard look at the way that you sleep, and making modifications too. Let’s take a look first at the positions that we put ourselves in when we go to bed each night, how they are hurting or helping us and what modifications we can make, and then we’ll look at some of our other bed-related habits to see what they say about us as well. Continue reading

  • Sleep Aids Motor Skill Learning

    It has long been known that getting a good night’s sleep is an important part of scoring well on cognitive tests, and even that our reflexes are slowed when we have been sleep deprived. Scientific evidence of this has repeatedly been used as reason for encouraging students to get to bed earlier, and even as support for changing middle and high school starting times to allow adolescents to get the sleep that their bodies need in order to increase their ability to remember and retain their lessons. But now a report out of the University of Montreal is providing yet another example of how important sleep is to learning – they have found why it is that a good night’s sleep contributes to our bodies’ ability to learn sequences of movements. Continue reading

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