February 14, 2017

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders, Symptoms, & Remedies

 

Jet lag, shift work, and other sleep rhythm disorders can disrupt your circadian rhythm, leaving you sleepless. Below, we discuss a few of these circadian sleep rhythm disorders and how they can impact your overall health

Circadian Sleep Disorders Also known as our “body clock”, the circadian rhythm is a biological cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, when to wake up, and when to eat, among other things. It regulates many of our natural, physiological processes and is extremely important in maintaining our overall health and wellbeing. According to WebMD, brain wave activity, hormone production, and cell regeneration can all be linked to this internal body clock.

A study by the UCLA Sleep Center found that genetics play a key role in our circadian rhythms. However, this body clock is mainly affected by different environmental cues such as sunlight and temperature. Your body clock is determined by the presence of natural light over a 24-hour period as well as fluctuations in internal body temperature.

For example, people with normal sleep-wake cycles feel ready to wake up when the sun comes out and start feeling tired when the sun goes down (a process that many people take for granted). Cooling of the body’s core temperature can also initiate circadian rhythm sleep triggers, while warming in the morning may initiate wakefulness.

There are a variety of factors that can throw this body clock off, causing you to have problems sleeping at night. Rhythm disruptions can make you feel sluggish, disoriented and sleepy throughout the day. 

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Sleep Disorders

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders can be broken down into two basic categories: intrinsic, or built-in, disorders and extrinsic, or circumstantial, disorders.

Intrinsic sleep disorders occur when an individual’s internal body clock is “off” and can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including:

  • Falling asleep and rising earlier than normal
  • Falling asleep and rising later than normal
  • Falling asleep later and later each day
  • Fragmented sleep patterns

Extrinsic sleep disorders occur when an individual’s circadian rhythm is in-sync with the 24-hour cycle of lightness and darkness. However, their internal body clock has been disrupted by work hours, school, or travel demands.

Common Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Jet Lag

Jet lag is the most common contributor to circadian sleep problems. Jet lag occurs when an individual travels to a location with a new time zone, typically a location that is two time zones away from home. Because individuals must adjust to a new sleep-wake cycle in a new time zone, it disrupts their circadian rhythm, potentially causing insomnia, indigestion, irritability, and poor concentration.

For some travelers, it can take almost a week to adjust to the new time zone, but others can adjust within a couple days. Prepare yourself by adjusting your sleep patterns a few days before the trip.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Having varying work schedules is another cause of circadian sleep disorders. People who work the early morning or night shifts must force their brain to stay awake when it wants to go to sleep. These shift workers tend to get less sleep overall and usually experience fragmented sleep. Some people find it very difficult to handle this sleep-wake pattern for any length of time, while others may adjust to this schedule fairly easily.

Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASP)

ASP is usually found in aging adults, with roughly 1% of middle-aged or elderly people experiencing ASP in their lifetimes. This disorder causes melatonin levels and body temperatures to cycle much earlier than others, making individuals feel sleepy earlier in the evening (6:00 to 8:00 PM), which often leads to an earlier bedtime. People with Advanced Sleep Phase disorder also tend to wake up earlier and have trouble getting back to sleep.

While the cause of advanced sleep phase disorder is not completely understood, there appears to be a strong genetic link. Scientists have found that people with ASP have a 50% chance of passing it onto their children. And while this disorder is not deemed “dangerous” or “unhealthy” by the medical community, it can have negative effects on an individual’s family, work, or social routines.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSP)

On the other end of the spectrum is Delayed Sleep Phase disorder (DSP). DSP occurs when your circadian rhythm is delayed. People with DSP are unable to fall asleep at a normal time (at night). Many people with DSP tend to stay awake until 1:00 to 6:00 AM and sleep until 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, which can interfere with work, school, or other commitments.

DSP typically develops in adolescence and persists into early adulthood, with approximately 15% of teens and adults experiencing it within their lifetimes. Similar to ASP, DSP also has a genetic link. Studies show that individuals with a family history of DSP are three times more likely to have it than someone with no family history of the disorder.

DSP can also be caused by environmental factors. For example, a lack of sunlight exposure in the morning and overexposure to sunlight at night can sometimes lead to the development of DSP.

Tips for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

While you should always discuss ongoing sleep problems with your doctor, some helpful tips to try on your own include:

  • Adjusting your normal sleep times a few days before an evening shift or business trip and allowing for extra time to adjust to a new schedule
  • Ensuring that your schedule includes time for rest when traveling
  • Avoiding caffeine and nicotine before bed
  • Getting regular exercise

For more tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, check out our blog post on tips and tricks to improve sleep hygiene!

February 09, 2017

What Causes Night Sweats in Men?

 

Night sweats are noted by episodes of excessive nighttime sweating that can soak your bedding or pajamas at night. While many people tend to associate night sweats with hormonal imbalances in women, night sweats in men can occur just as frequently.

For both men and women, night sweats can be disruptive to a restful night’s sleep, which can in turn, negatively impact your overall health and wellbeing.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and solutions for night sweats in men can help ensure consistent, quality sleep night after night.

Causes of Night Sweats in Men
There are a variety of reasons men can suffer from night sweats. Sometimes they are relatively benign, while other times, not so much. Health conditions can trigger them, as well as stress, environmental stresors, and diet.

Natural Temperature Changes
Some men suffer night sweats due to normal body temperature variations that occur throughout their sleep cycle. Core body temperatures tend to increase before we wake up and decrease before we fall asleep at night.  Hot bedrooms, memory foam mattresses that trap heat and excessive layers of bedding can all contribute to very normal reasons for sweating.

Andropause & Night Sweats in Men Over 40
Andropause is the male version of menopause, where levels of testosterone decrease as a man ages, more often over 40. Although more gradual than menopause, andropause night sweats occur if testosterone levels dip below average. These hormonal imbalances impact the area of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat, which trigger mixed signals, which trigger hot-flashes, which subsequently trigger night sweats.

Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term when people sweat without any obvious medical cause. Diet, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine have been associated with causing night sweats in men.

Medical Causes
Viral and bacterial infections like HIV, osteomyelitis, tuberculosis, and endocarditis have also all been linked with night sweats in men. In addition, patients who suffer from hypoglycemia can experience night sweats when blood sugar levels take a nosedive.

Men with cancer (especially lymphoma), can suffer from night sweats which can also be an early warning sign in patients who haven’t yet been diagnosed. Stroke patients also report experiencing night sweats.  
In addition, certain medications, such as antidepressants, have been linked to night sweats. Neuro disorders and conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also cause night sweats in men.

Associated Symptoms of Male Night Sweats
Along with excessive sweating, other symptoms can occur depending on the underlying health issue. Cancer patients may experience weight loss, while infections can cause fevers.

If medications are the culprit, sometimes additional side effects related to the medication itself may be experienced. Chills are common, especially when also dealing with a fever.

If you notice any strange rashes, experience a swollen lymph node, or notice a drastically reduced appetite alongside severe sweating, you should call your doctor and schedule a visit, just to be safe.

Solutions for Male Night Sweats
If night sweats are due to hormonal imbalances, some men might find relief through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or talking to their doctor about anticholinergic agents. However, there are other at-home solutions to help remedy night sweats:

Diet - Avoid triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods as well as smoking. In addition,  try eating earlier in the evening and not right before bedtime, and drink plenty of water.

Bedding - Make your bed as cool as possible by using breathable materials for your sheets and pillowcases, and choosing lighter blankets over heavy comforters and duvets. Don’t negate the effect by wearing hot and uncomfortable clothing. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics for PJs as well.

Bed Temperature Control -  Invest in an external cooling product that will cool your bed to your ideal sleeping temperature.

Stress - Manage stress and anxiety with healthy habits like relaxation and breathing techniques, daily exercise (even if it’s just a walk around the block), and mindful meditation. Yoga, running, and reading are also great stress relievers.

Sleeping environment - Keep your environment cool. Use floor and ceiling fans to circulate air, and set your AC thermostat at temperatures conducive to sleeping. If your fans have a remote, even better - adjust as-needed right from the comfort of your bed.

Ask your doctor about a prescription-strength antiperspirant to use on your armpit, groin, and other particularly sweaty areas.

While night sweats can be uncomfortable, they are usually benign. If you have any reason to suspect they may be caused by something more serious, please get in touch with your healthcare provider immediately.
February 08, 2017

5 Stages of Sleep: Your Sleep Cycle Explained


Every night, without fail, people across the world climb into their beds and shut down for hours. This phenomenon we call “sleep” is something we are all very familiar with, but how exactly does it work? Up until the 1950s, it was widely believed that sleep was just a passive period of unconscious rest, but now we know that it’s a complex process that is essential to the rejuvenation of the body and mind.

During sleep, the body moves through five different stages of both REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. Over the course of the night, the body will go through this five-stage cycle four to six times, spending an average of 90 minutes in each stage.

Each stage of sleep serves a unique restorative function, including muscle recovery, hormone regulation, and memory consolidation, making it essential to allow enough time to cycle through all sleep stages. Without a full night of sleep, your body and mind are deprived of the essential elements needed to help you conquer the day.

Stage 1

Stage one of sleep, also known as the transitional phase, occurs when one finds themselves floating in and out of consciousness. During this NREM stage, you may be partially awake while your mind begins to drift off.

This period of drowsiness eventually leads to a light sleep. This is also the time when the muscles jerk, followed by a falling sensation that jolts you back into consciousness. This experience is known as hypnic myoclonia. After winding down in stage one, your sleep cycle will slip you into stage two.

Stage 2

Almost 50% of the time spent asleep over the course of the night is spent in stage two. Stage two is also a non-REM phase and is one of the lighter stages of sleep. Even though it is a light stage, the heart rate begins to slow and the core body temperature decreases.

During stage two, eye movement stops and brain waves slow with the occasional burst of waves called sleep spindles. Stage two can also be characterized by the unstructured periods that alternate between muscle tone and muscle relaxation.

Stages 3 & 4

Stages three and four are characterized as the deep stages of sleep, and are often the hardest to wake up from. If you try to wake someone up when they are in stages three or four, they will most likely be disoriented and groggy for minutes after they awake. Stages three and four are often grouped together because they are the periods of slow wave sleep (SWS).

Slow wave sleep is a NREM phase of sleep, and is the deepest sleep that your body enters throughout the night. It is called slow wave sleep because the brain waves slow to what are known as delta waves with the occasional faster wave. As the body moves from stage three to stage four, the number of delta waves increase and the faster waves decrease.

In addition to the deep sleep caused by the delta waves, blood pressure drops even further, and breathing becomes deeper, slower, and more rhythmic. During slow wave sleep there is no eye movement, and the body becomes immobile.
However, even though there is no muscle movement, the muscles still have the ability to function. These are the stages when children sometimes experience nightmares, bedwetting and sleepwalking.

Stages three and four of sleep are extremely rejuvenating to the body. During slow wave sleep, hormones are released that aid in both growth and appetite control. The growth hormones help to replenish muscles and tissues that were exerted over the course of the day, and the appetite controlling hormones help limit feelings of excessive hunger the following day.

These hormones are essential to the development of a strong body and help control unnecessary over-eating. In addition to the release of critical hormones, the blood flow to the muscles increases, providing restorative oxygen and nutrients.

Stage 5

Stage five is the only stage of rapid eye movement (REM), and is unlike any other sleep phase because the brain is bursting with activity. Most adults spend about 20% of sleep in REM, while infants spend almost 50%. During non-REM sleep, the mind rests while the body heals, but in REM sleep the mind energizes itself while the body is immobile.

REM sleep is called as such because the eyes dart in various directions while the limbs and muscles are temporarily paralyzed. Breathing becomes shallower and irregular while the heart rate and blood pressure rise from the levels they were in previous stages.

Most dreaming takes place in stage five as a result of heightened, desynchronized brain waves, almost similar to being awake. This stage of sleep revitalizes the brain, supporting sharp and alert daytime function.

Individuals begin waking up at the end of stage 5. Upon waking up, an individual’s core body temperature begins to rise in order to prepare the body for the activity of the day ahead.

Understanding how sleep cycles work is important in order to maintain a healthy mind and body. BedJet helps you get quality, uninterrupted sleep each night. Using proprietary biorhythm sleep technology, the BedJet utilizes temperature control to help promote your body’s optimal core temperatures throughout the night. In turn, this helps trigger your body to get to sleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed.  

February 03, 2017

The Importance of Sleep for Athletes

 

It is said that professional athletes figuratively “eat, sleep and breathe” their sport, but many players are starting to take that second point a bit more literally. Between hectic travel schedules, early morning practices, and late night games, sleep is often pushed to the sidelines.

However, recent studies have proven that a good night’s sleep is directly linked to recovery and performance, making it key to athletic success.  Both doctors and athletic trainers are now promoting sleep to be just as important to our health as exercise and nutrition.  From top performing superstars such as the New York Jets to the everyday individual, sleep is a key ingredient in recovery.

Sleep and Muscle Recovery

After eight hours of sleep, there is a reason you feel better prepared for the day, both physically and mentally. During sleep, your body cycles through various stages, including REM and non-REM sleep. When you fall into stages three and four of the non-REM cycles, you enter what is called slow wave sleep.

While in slow wave sleep, your breathing deepens and your blood pressure drops, increasing the blood supply to your muscles. As this takes place, the blood flow delivers restorative oxygen and cells to the muscles and tissue, aiding in muscle recovery and growth. Growth hormones are released during slow wave sleep, providing the body with the tools it needs to recover.

When the sleep cycle is interrupted or cut short, the body does not have the opportunity to deliver these key nutrients to recovering muscles. By depriving the body of sleep, not only do muscles and tissue miss the nutrients they need to heal and grow, but the body is also at risk for reduced exercise ability and loss of muscle mass due to the lack of hormones.

Sleep & Mental Ability

Just as non-REM sleep is crucial to physical recovery, REM sleep is essential for mental recovery. Although one might not immediately associate mental acuteness with athleticism, being mentally on the ball is one of the most critical keys to success. From memorizing playbooks to keeping stress levels low with only two seconds left on the clock, the mental recovery that takes place during sleep drastically improves athletic performance.

The National Sleep Foundation reported that sleep is responsible for functions such as “memory and attention, complex thought, motor response and emotional control.” Even the most athletic bodies are rendered useless if they lack the ability to make split second decisions or maintain high-functioning motor responses. By getting an adequate amount of sleep, the body is able to mentally prepare for the demands of the sport.

Sleep and Exercise Recovery

Another reason sleep is crucial to athletic recovery is because it keeps athletes on the court or field as opposed to the doctor’s office. Studies have shown that lack of sleep is the highest indicator of athletic injuries, even above grueling practices or the physical demands of the game.

Slow reaction times, weakened immune systems, and insufficient hormone production caused by a lack of sleep are directly tied to sports injuries, hindering athletes’ ability to play. In a study conducted by the NBA, athletes who received enough sleep experienced 60% fewer injuries and 54% less sickness. Sometimes the best way to recover is to arm the body with the preventative ammunition it needs to stay strong and healthy.

Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Although there is an abundance of physical and mental benefits of sleep, the negative consequences of sleep deprivation can be even more detrimental. Not only does the body miss out on essential growth hormones, but harmful side effects can also disrupt athletic performance.

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that those who did not get a restful night of sleep “reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad and mentally exhausted.” In addition to higher stress and agitation, overall cognitive function decreases when the body does not receive enough sleep.

A shocking study organized by researchers at Stanford University found that individuals who received a below-average amount of sleep scored as low on reaction-based tests as those who were intoxicated by the standard of many states.

Elite athletes wouldn’t consume alcohol the night before a game, let alone during the main event. However, the impact of sleep deprivation can yield similar results, making sleep imperative to high-level performance.

Putting it to the Test: Andre Iguodala

A sleep tracking technology group put the benefits of sleep for recovery to the test with NBA’s Golden State Warrior, Andre Iguodala. After receiving over eight hours of sleep, Iguodala’s game-day performance increased drastically.

Just some of the astounding results included a 29% increase in points per minute, a 9% increase in free-throw percentage, a 45% decrease in fouls committed, and a 37% decrease in turnovers. Multiple athletes and studies have uncovered similar findings, linking a good night’s rest to recovery and optimum athletic performance.

How Much Sleep Do Athletes Need?

From all-star athletes to Average Joes, sleep is critical to recovery. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get anywhere from seven to nine hours a sleep per night, with teenagers at nine and a half hours.

However, many athletic experts recommend that athletes sleep for at least nine hours per night. Due to the physical and mental rejuvenation that takes place during both REM and non-REM stages, sleep is the most essential element to athletic recovery.

This is why the New York Jets started using BedJet to help their athletes sleep better during intensive summer training camp.  The New York Jets athletic department purchased BedJet machines to issue to their star players and returned back for a second round of BedJets after very positive feedback.

BedJet’s climate control system for beds creates the perfect sleep environment with on-demand cooling, warming, and night sweat management.  With temperature control, the players get better sleep, allowing their muscles to recover faster and making them less prone to injuries. Watch the video below!



January 27, 2017

How Temperature Affects Sleep

 

You toss and turn. You kick the covers off and then scurry to pull them back up as your teeth begin to chatter. Only to do it again, and again, and again. We’ve all been there. Trying to sleep peacefully when you’re uncomfortable is a losing battle.

How temperature affects sleep

Restlessness and an endless night of tossing and turning is often a result of being too hot or too cold. This is because your body has to work harder to self-regulate when external temperatures aren’t optimal, and ‘working hard’ is diametrically opposed to ‘resting’.

When external temperatures aren’t ideal, your body will switch back and forth between sweating as a cooling mechanism, and shivering as a warming mechanism, except during REM sleep.

During the REM stage, your body’s sweating and shivering mechanisms are impaired, so your body is forced to adjust to whatever the ambient room temperature may be. However, when you come out of this stage, you may be too hot or too cold, depending on your bedroom environment.

It is at this time that you may start sweating or shivering, which can cause you to wake up, disturbing an otherwise healthy sleep cycle. A deficiency in REM sleep can contribute to poor health and weight gain, not to mention make you a groggy mess when you finally open your eyes in the morning. Furthermore, a REM sleep deficiency has also been linked to clumsiness or forgetfulness.

What is the Best Temperature to Sleep in?

Most sources cite the best sleeping temperature as somewhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your (or your partner’s) sleeping habits. If you tend to use more blankets or pillows when you sleep, set your thermostat for lower temperatures. If you prefer less blankets, opt for higher room temperatures.

When creating an optimal sleep environment, a good rule of thumb is to create an atmosphere that is cool, dark, and quiet. Your body naturally begins cooling itself when you are trying to fall asleep. Therefore, if you keep the temperature in your bedroom cooler rather than warmer, it will be much easier to get to sleep and avoid restlessness or insomnia.

Researchers recommend lowering your room temperature a mere 2-3 degrees in order to fall asleep more easily. Our body’s core temperature is thought to reach its lowest levels just before you wake up, in the wee morning hours, which is why setting your bedroom thermostat to adjust between nighttime and morning can help you sleep longer, and more deeply.

Tips to Keep Your Body at the Perfect Sleeping Temperature

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that temperature is a bigger player in the role of sleep regulation than first thought, so taking measures to create a comfortable sleeping temperature is important.

A bath right before bedtime could help you slip into sleep faster. When you get out of a hot bath, your body immediately starts working to cool itself down, which is what it wants to do anyway at bedtime. The bath merely helps speed up the process, and it may even help you sleep more soundly.

You can also put your AC on a timer to lower temperatures during the night, and raise it up in the morning to help maintain the perfect sleeping temperature for you.

Try layering your bedding and experimenting with what you wear to sleep. Breathable fabrics are best, while polyesters and synthetics should be avoided. Bamboo and wool fabrics are good for wicking away moisture and keeping temperatures regulated.

Investing in a mattress or bedding that offers heating and cooling components is also a great way to keep your body temperature happy, (despite your partner’s preferred sleeping temperature), and your sleep habits uninterrupted, simplifying your efforts to strike that ‘just right’ balance.

Learn about how BedJet uses circadian sleep rhythm technology to regulate core body temperature.
January 24, 2017

7 Most Common Sleep Problems & How to Find Relief

 

Adequate sleep is vital for optimal health and can have significant effects on your mood, hormone levels, and weight. However, many people are not getting the quality sleep they need to function properly during the day and support overall health and wellbeing. In fact, according to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, at least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep issues and another 20 to 30 million experience occasional sleep problems.

 While people experience a wide range of different sleep problems for various reasons, there are a few sleep disorders that are most prevalent. Learn about the most common sleep problems in adults and how to find relief.

#1. Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in adults. In fact, according to sleep expert Dr. Eric Cohen, over 50% of Americans won’t be able to fall asleep at least once this week.  Most cases of insomnia are caused by stress. It can be hard to separate yourself from thoughts about the previous day or day ahead.

Insomnia can also be caused by jet lag, medications, and health conditions such as depression or anxiety, among others.

Changing your lifestyle habits is the quickest and easiest way to prevent or limit those sleepless nights. Make sure that you are getting plenty of exercise during the day and are partaking in calming activities, such as reading, writing, or meditating, at night. It may also help to keep a sleep diary that you can use to record any stressful or nagging thoughts before bed.

#2. Snoring

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and the National Sleep Foundation occasional snoring is not serious but more of a nuisance to your sleep partner. However, for habitual snorers, medical assistance is usually needed to get a restful night’s sleep.

Snoring is usually caused when the airflow between the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Some of these obstructions can be caused by sinus infections, deformities such as a deviated septum, poor muscle tone in the throat or tongue, bulky throat tissue in overweight people, or the dangling tissue in the back of the throat, as described by Mark A Rasmus, MD on WebMD.com. Consult a sleep specialist to find ways to prevent or control snoring issues. 

#3. Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that affects 20 million Americans, making it the second leading cause of sleep disorders. Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. Because this condition causes major strain on the heart muscle, it can be a precursor to various heart conditions. If you experience sleep apnea, it is recommended that you seek help from a medical professional immediately in order to prevent any further complications.

#4. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterized by poor control of sleep-wake cycles. People with narcolepsy have a tendency to fall asleep whenever they are in a relaxing environment. According to the National Sleep Foundation narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but can occur at any age. Narcolepsy can be treated with medication, lifestyle adjustments, or therapy. If you think you may have narcolepsy, contact a medical professional today.

#5. Restless Leg Syndrome

As described on the National Sleep Foundation website, approximately one in ten adult Americans suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease. This sleep-related movement disorder is best known for its overwhelming and often unpleasant urges to move the legs while at rest. The symptoms usually occur during inactivity and are most severe during evening and nighttime hours. This can disrupt a person’s life tremendously. Seek help from your doctor and see if any medications can help you.

#6. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Circadian rhythm disorders occur when there are disruptions in a person's circadian rhythm -- a name given to the "internal body clock" that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes. The normal 24-hour clock is set by the light-dark cycle during any 24-hour period.

There are a variety of factors that can disrupt an individual’s circadian rhythm, including shift work, pregnancy, time zone changes, medications, mental health, or medical problems. Therapy for this disorder usually combines proper sleep hygiene techniques and external stimulus therapy, such as bright light therapy or chronotherapy.  

#7. Shift Work Sleep Disorder

This sleep problem occurs when your work schedule and your biological clock are out of sync. This occurs most commonly in people who work the night shift, early morning shifts, or rotating schedules. While some people can handle the varying shift changes, others may never get a full night’s sleep and wake up exhausted.

Not only does this lack of sleep affect productivity, but it also puts individuals at risk for injuries. Of course, many people don’t have complete control over their work schedules. So, how do you prevent shift work sleep disorder from occurring? 

Try regulating your sleep cycle by using bright lights when working and darkened rooms when sleeping. Also, try to avoid computer and TV screens before sleeping so your body will adjust to the new sleep cycle. 

Finding Relief

If you suffer from one of the conditions on this list of sleep disorders, find the relief you need with a BedJet. Using biorhythm sleep technology, the BedJet helps you sleep more soundly by creating a custom sleep temperature profile designed just for you. Try BedJet today!

January 19, 2017

Why Are You Overheating on Your Memory Foam Mattress?

 

Memory foam mattresses, while very comfortable, can often be the culprit behind a hot and sweaty night spent tossing and turning. According to Sleep Like the Dead, the largest independent sleep review site in the USA, about 8% of memory foam mattress owners report overheating or sleeping hot on their memory foam mattress. But, relief from a hot memory foam mattress is achievable.


It’s important to note that only 
some memory foam mattresses are hot at night and depending upon brand and type, there can be significant differences between heat retention levels.

WHY IS YOUR MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS HOT? 

Foam Structure

The memory foam structure itself can cause overheating.   In some industries, foams are used as an insulator.  Because the foam material needs to be dense enough to support your body, air circulation between your mattress and body and within the mattress may be constricted.   

As a result, heat stays trapped and mattress temperatures continue to increase as the night wears on due to the restricted ventilation. Some foam mattresses are more dense than others and the higher the foam density, the higher the heat factor.

Some memory foam mattress brands have changed materials and introduced gel cooling components or plant materials to offset the hot mattress issues. Foam mattresses made from plant material are reportedly slightly cooler than other models.

A foam mattress infused with gel cooling beads may start out a bit cooler than gel-less counterparts. However, the heat reduction is only temporary, as the gel beads only absorb heat rather than dissipate heat out of the bed.  Once the memory foam gel beads (or in some cases phase change material) absorb heat to their maximum capacity, they actually become heat reservoirs, holding onto your body heat even longer than a regular mattress. Although gel mattresses may feel cooler to the touch, as the night wears on, this cool feeling goes away.    

Foam Material

Memory foam is soft, and one of its key advantages is that it molds to your body – essentially enveloping you in a cocoon. As a result, more of your body’s service area touches the mattress which restricts airflow and traps heat. The softness of your memory foam mattress is a primary contributor to hot sleeping.

The firmer your mattress is, the more opportunity there is for ventilation between your body and mattress, which helps keep you cool. Memory foam isn’t firm enough to allow the necessary airflow. Many people cite the same problem with foam mattress toppers as well.

Body Heat

Sleeping with a partner can also cause you to overheat on your memory foam mattress.  As on all mattresses, two people create more body heat than one, and the memory foam can trap that heat between the two of you, resulting in a hot and restless night of sleep.

HOW TO KEEP COOL ON A MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS

Breathable Bedding

Sheets and pillow cases made from non-breathable materials can result in overheating. Materials like cotton or bamboo allow air flow as well as offer moisture wicking, which helps to keep you cool. Of note, sheets with a high a thread count (over 400) can restrict air flow considerably, while not providing a softer feel or higher quality sheet.  

Same goes for your blankets and comforters. Choosing ones that are lighter in weight than you might otherwise use with a regular mattress could be a smart play to keep you sleeping soundly through the night.

Consider the Type of Mattress You Are Buying

In order to avoid buying a hot mattress, it’s important that you do your research ahead of time. However, according to Sleep Like the Dead, in general foam mattresses run hotter more often than non-memory foam mattresses.

Bed Cooling Products

If you find yourself overheating on your memory foam mattress, consider a powered bed climate comfort system like BedJet. BedJet uses air to control the temperature of your bed in order to keep both you and your partner at your ideal sleeping temperatures.

BedJet’s Dual Zone system allows you and your partner to adjust your side of the bed based on your individual preferences. Half of the bed can remain cool while the other side is warmer. It’s a win-win.

Compatible with any kind of bed or mattress, the BedJet circulates air through the bed, eliminating moisture and keeping temperatures precisely regulated to your specifications.  

While comfortable, memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hot due to their material and structure. Make sure that you are getting a good night’s rest on your memory foam mattress by doing your research before purchasing and consider using an external cooling system like BedJet. The BedJet provides more powered cooling ventilation than any mattress can supply on its own.    
January 17, 2017

How to Sleep Better: 10 Tips For Improving Sleep Hygiene

 

Getting a great night’s sleep is something that everyone hopes for but can’t always achieve on a regular basis. Because the human body depends on sleep so it can function during the day, it is important that you do all you can to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Sleep hygiene is defined as “habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.” 

Having good sleep hygiene can help you maximize your sleeping hours. Use the sleep hygiene tips below to start sleeping better today!

Good Sleeping Habits

#1. Create a Daily Sleep/Wake Cycle

Having consistent sleeping habits is key to good sleep hygiene. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps to keep your sleep/wake cycle continuous. If you can, use the same sleep pattern during the weekend too so you don’t throw off the progress you’ve made during the week.

#2. Create a Soothing Sleep Environment

Calm, relaxing, and dark atmospheres trigger your brain to slow down and relax. A dark environment tells the body and brain that it’s time to rest. Consider using extra thick curtains, a comfortable sleep mask, or external cooling devices to improve your sleep quality.

Keep your sleep space cool by keeping the room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have thin walls or a snoring partner, try a white noise machine to keep things quiet.

#3. Stay Active During the Day

Exercise is very important for your overall health and wellbeing. By staying active during the day, you will release any pent-up energy, allowing you to sleep more soundly at night. Make sure to exercise early enough during the day so that your adrenaline isn’t still pumping when it is time for bed. Cortisol, a stress hormone released during exercise, diminishes as the day progresses, which will help you sleep better at night.

#4. Limit Caffeine and Heavy Meals Before Bedtime  

Try to avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and other drugs that can interfere with your sleep. Most of the items listed here are stimulants, which are designed to energize you. Therefore, ingesting any of these before bed is counterintuitive.

#5. Go to Bed with a Clear Head  

To get a good night’s rest, it is important that you separate yourself from the stress of the previous day. This is easier for some people than others. If you have trouble clearing your mind before bed, consider using relaxation techniques such as meditation, taking a hot bath or shower, or reading. A racing mind is not indicative to a restful night’s sleep, so it is important to find time to relax before bed.

#6. Teach Yourself Ways to Fall Back Asleep  

If you do happen to wake up in the middle of the night, do not focus on the time or the fact that you are awake. Instead of stressing out that you are awake, focus on your breathing. Concentrating on your breath takes the focus off of the time and allows you to move towards relaxation. If you still can't clear your mind, try writing down your thoughts or reading.

#7. Go to Sleep When You’re Truly Tired

Waiting to hit the hay until you are truly tired will help your body and mind adjust to sleep. Laying down and looking at your emails, social sites, and other apps are poor sleep hygiene habits. Try waiting until you truly can’t keep your eyes open any longer to go to bed.  

#8. Establish a Pre-Sleep Routine

Taking a bath calms your body and senses and the varying temperatures help to prepare your body for sleep. If you can, avoid stressful conversations, don’t dwell on the mistakes of the day, and try not to engage in strenuous exercise before bed. If your mind is running a mile a minute, try jotting down your emotions and taking a look at them again in the morning with fresh eyes.

#9. Don’t Watch the Clock  

Try not to spend hours focusing on the sleep you are missing out on or how much time is left before the alarm goes off in the morning. Worrying about missed sleep isn’t going to bring back the hours of fitful sleep. Turn your clock away from you to avoid any temptations.

#10. Invest in Helpful Sleep Aids  

Your sleeping area should be cool, dark and very soothing. Creating this kind of atmosphere can be accomplished with a great bed and helpful sleep aids, such as a BedJet Climate Comfort System.

BedJet is the most powerful heating and cooling product available in the bedding industry. Using biorhythm sleep technology, BedJet uses personal information such as your age, sex, and body type to create a custom sleep temperature tailored for you to ensure that you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Getting a good night’s sleep is a lot easier said than done. By doing your research and practicing good sleep hygiene, you will notice a marked improvement in your ability to get a quality night’s rest.
January 05, 2017

Thermoregulation & Sleeping Problems: Understanding the Connection

 

Medically Related Thermoregulation & Sleep ProblemsEveryone loves a good, uninterrupted night of sleep.
However, it’s hard to sleep well if you suffer from a medical condition that interferes with your ability to correctly regulate body temperature or temperature sensation.  

A healthy internal body temperature falls somewhere between 98°F (37°C) and 100°F (37.8°C). When your body temperature creeps beyond those ranges, it can impair your body’s ability to function properly, thus disrupting your ability to sleep. If you tend to feel unusually cold or warm in otherwise “normal” room temperatures, it can have a debilitating impact on your quality of sleep.  Below we highlight a few common medical conditions that are associated with temperature sensitivity and sleep quality.

 

MS Sleep Problems

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients commonly experience temperature related challenges. Many MS patients experience temperature sensitivity as well as an inability to regulate their core body temperature.  

Exposure to extreme temperatures may cause MS symptoms to flare up and temporarily worsen. As a result, MS patients tend to be intolerant to heat and high humidity. Sudden temperature fluctuations, as well as extreme cold exposure, may also exacerbate MS symptoms and trigger a flare-up. MS sufferers may experience bedtime disruptions like:

  • Heat sensitivity or cold sensitivity ( ie, feeling too hot/cold even in a normal temperature bedroom)
  • Burning sensation in the feet
  • Nocturnal leg spasms (night leg cramps)
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disordered breathing

Since healthy thermoregulation in MS patients is impaired, a good night of rest can often seem just out of reach. For those who suffer from MS, finding ways to enhance sleep and reduce fatigue through better temperature control is important to improving quality of life.

Raynaud’s Disease and Sleep

Raynaud’s disease affects the way the blood vessels in the skin regulate body temperature. When you are cold, your brain sends messages to thermoregulatory blood vessels in your body to redirect your blood flow to vital organs in order to keep you warm. This pulls blood away from your extremities, like your hands and feet. Individuals who suffer from Raynaud’s disease can experience this reaction even with very slight changes in temperature.  

As a result, when people who suffer from Raynaud’s disease try to sleep, they often experience chronically cold hands or feet in a bed that never seems to warm up, regardless of how many blankets they use. Therefore, many doctors recommend using external warming or temperature control products in bed to help alleviate the discomfort caused by Raynaud’s disease.   

Chemotherapy & Cancer Sleep Problems

Healthy sleep patterns are important for everyone, especially patients fighting cancer. When we sleep, our body releases stress and directs healing energy where we need it most. Poor sleep can stifle your body’s immune system and interfere with your body’s ability to heal itself.  Cancer patients often suffer from a variety of sleep problems, including:

  • Chemotherapy induced hot flashes and night sweats
  • Cold sensitivity, feeling cold and shivering in bed    
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleeplessness and insomnia

Proper sleep is conducive to proper body temperature regulation. Therefore, when there is a disturbance in thermoregulation, many people experience poor sleep quality, which in turn hinders your body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities. Finding ways to be more comfortable in bed when suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, or cold sensitivity can improve your sleep, which consequentially, will positively impact your overall health.

Hypothyroidism Sleep Problems

Often referred to as the “body’s thermostat”, your thyroid gland helps your body regulate heat. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is underactive and can’t produce enough hormones. Individuals diagnosed with hypothyroidism often find that they are cold in bed, causing them to have trouble sleeping. As a result, the body tends to overcompensate, further taxing the thyroid, leading to fatigue and other barriers to good health.

Plenty of rest is key to giving your underactive thyroid a break. Avoid extremely cold temperatures when possible and utilize external heat measures when needed to stay warm.

Sometimes hypothyroid sufferers swing the other way and lose sleep from overheating and night sweats. Utilizing temperature control products to help bring down your body temperature may be helpful so that you can obtain the rest your body needs.

Circulatory Problems and Sleep

If you’ve ever woken up to cold and tingling hands or feet, you understand how circulation problems can disrupt and contribute to a poor night’s sleep. Blood flow and thermoregulation go hand-in-hand.

Poor circulation contributes to a lower body temperature, causing individuals to feel cold, especially in their extremities. On the other hand, stimulating blood flow and proper circulation helps your body stay warm. Many people who suffer from circulatory problems report numbness in hands while sleeping as a result of poor circulation.

Body temperature regulation is not only important to your health, but it also contributes to restful and healing sleep. If there is a kink in your body’s thermoregulation, quality of sleep suffers, and as a result, your health does too.

Learn how to regulate your core body temperature throughout the sleep cycle. 

November 23, 2016

Sleep better and start living better.... with a BedJet



Sleeping well may be an investment that leads to better mental functioning later in life, a new review finds. The findings were published in the January issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science.

"If sleep benefits memory and thinking in young adults but is changed in quantity and quality with age, then the question is whether improving sleep might delay – or reverse – age-related changes in memory and thinking," Michael Scullin, PhD, director of the Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory at Baylor University in Waco, TX, said in a university news release. 

Scullin and colleague Donald Bliwise, PhD, of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, analyzed 50 years of sleep research. "We came across studies that showed that sleeping well in middle age predicted better mental functioning 28 years later," Scullin said. He and Bliwise defined middle age as 30–60 years old.

"People sometimes disparage sleep as 'lost' time," Scullin noted. However, even if the link between sleep and memory weakens with age, "sleeping well still is linked to better mental health, improved cardiovascular health, and fewer, less severe disorders and diseases of many kinds," he said.

The BedJet cooling, heating and climate control system brings dramatic improvement to your sleep quality. Get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer by creating your own perfect sleep temperature with the BedJet.  The BedJet combats bedtime overheating, hot flashes and night sweats and does away with those chilly feet and cold legs that keep you up at night.