Category Archives: Sleep

Tips and products for getting better, more-refreshing sleep.

Top 8 Daily Routine Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

sleep tips

At Relax The Back, we believe in a ’24-hour approach to a good night’s sleep’. What does that mean exactly? From the minute you wake up to the minute you get ready for bed, the actions you take during the day affect the quality of your sleep.

In addition to the tips we have already provided, here are 8 more daily routine tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:

  • Engage in regular exercise – exercise is helpful when completed at least 2 hours prior to sleep.
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.
  • Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing. Experts recommend reading a book, listening to soothing music or soaking in a hot bath.
  • Don’t skimp then splurge – skipping midday meals can throw off your body’s normal sleep pattern.
  • Avoid Nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products)- smokers experience withdrawal symptoms from nicotine when they go to sleep. Nicotine can cause difficulty falling asleep, problems waking in the morning, and may also cause nightmares.
  • Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime awakenings to go to the bathroom.
  • If you can’t go to sleep for over 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something monotonous in dim light until you are sleepy.
  • Don’t be a party victim – avoid fatty and spicy foods, which spark indigestion and reflux.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more sleep tips and facts or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists.

Are you too sleepy? Use the Epworth Sleepiness Scale to Find Out.

It is natural to feel tired throughout the day however; it is possible that you can be too sleepy. The Epworth Sleepiness Scale helps determine if you are getting adequate sleep, need to improve your sleep hygiene or need to speak with a sleep specialist or your physician.

How likely are you to fall asleep or doze off in the following activities, in contrast to just feeling tired? Choose the appropriate number for each situation in reference to recent times. Once you have filled out the form, tally your total points and see how you scored using the results below:

 

Score Results:

Less than 8: Congratulations, you are getting adequate rest!
Between 8 and 11: You have mild sleepiness.
Between 12 and 15: You’re moderately sleepy and must reevaluate your sleep habits.
Between 16 and 24: You’re seriously sleep-deprived.

If you scored 12 or more you should work on improving your sleep hygiene. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for tips and facts on ways you can improve your sleep or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates.

“Rethink Sleep” Giveaway

From the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, the decisions you make throughout the day affect your quality of sleep. With the average American spending 1/3 of their life in bed, it is incredibly important to be sure you are obtaining adequate sleep. Not only does sleep loss take a toll on our physical health but also our emotional health.

At Relax The Back, we believe in the importance of a good night’s rest. Throughout the next 8 weeks we will be giving away 8 sleep products that will help you sleep more comfortably.

Head over to our Facebook giveaway tab to enter our every week for your chance to win one of the following prizes:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for tips and facts to help improve your quality of sleep as well as your physical and mental health.

Benefits of a Personalized Sleep System

Whether you’re a couple with different sleep habits and needs or an individual looking for a more comfortable night’s rest, you might want to consider an adjustable bed. Adjustable beds allow you to personalize your own sleep system, providing that perfect position to ensure a very convenient, comfortable, and even therapeutic experience. Here are the numerous benefits:

Lifestyle Benefits

  • Massage: Enjoy a relaxing massage to ease tension and anxiety as most adjustable beds provide massage options.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Snoring: Sleeping with your head raised slightly will decrease or eliminate snoring. It will also help with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
  • Watching TV, Reading: Spend more time being comfortable as adjustable beds make it very easy to watch television or read in bed.

Medical Benefits

  • Back Pain Relief:  Raise and/or lower your head and feet any way you want, including the zero gravity position which is the most ideal position for rest. This position redistributes pressure across different parts of the body, which can help reduce back pain.
  • Heart Health: Raising your legs while asleep allows your heart to work less difficultly.
  • Increased Blood Flow Circulation: The adjustable positions and massage feature promotes increased circulation and blood oxygen levels.
  • Swelling: Raising your legs above your heart can help with swelling 

Adjustable bases are simple to operate, and you can even program it to automatically recline into a pre-set position, so all you have to do is push a button and fall asleep. Learn more about which adjustable base model is the right one for you. And now through May 5, 2013 you can SAVE up to $400 on TEMPUR-Ergo™ Advanced.

Tempur-Pedic Pillows for Your Sleep Personality

Although known for their mattresses, Tempur-Pedic offers a quality line of pillows that can do wonders for your sleep. Whether you prefer ergonomically contoured shapes for more support or gentler, shapeable pillows for different sleep styles, there’s a match for you. To find your pillow match, start with your “sleep personality”:

  • Side Sleeper – Consider The TEMPUR-Side Pillow, which was designed by doctors for sleepers especially like you. It cradles your shoulder and neck when you sleep on your side for better alignment and support. You might also consider a body pillow, which is ideal for side sleepers as it provides extra stability and support for your entire body.
  • Back Sleeper – Ensure proper alignment of your head, neck, and shoulders for the perfect night’s sleep! The dual-lobe design of the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow will allow for just that.  It’s important, however, to choose the proper pillow thickness based on your shoulder dimensions so your head is neither too high nor too far back.
  • Stomach Sleeper – You may want something on the softer side like our TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow. It combines the traditional feather pillow feel with the support that only Tempur materials can provide. Aptly named, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.

Tempur-pedic pillows are designed to complement their mattresses, from more basic models to the luxurious ones. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if you snore or have an injury, or if you just want a better night’s rest, Tempur-Pedic has a pillow for you.  Stop by your local Relax The Back store to get properly fitted for a pillow by one of our trained associates. It’ll make all the difference.

 

 

Benefits of Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds allow you to personalize your own sleep system, providing that perfect position to ensure a comfortable relaxing sleep experience. Adjustable bases provide two basic types of benefits: lifestyle advantages and medical benefits.

Lifestyle Benefits

  • Massage: Enjoy a relaxing massage to ease tension and anxiety as most adjustable beds provide massage options.
  • Zero Gravity Position: Positions your body in the least resistance from gravity
  • Reduce or Eliminate Snoring: Sleeping with your head raised slightly will decrease or eliminate snoring. It will also help with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Heart Health: Raising your legs while asleep allows your heart to work less difficultly
  • Watching TV, Reading: With the ease of raising your head, adjustable beds make it very easy to watch television or read in your bed

Medical Benefits

  • Back Pain Relief: The adjustable positions allow to redistribute pressure across different parts of the body which can help reduce back pain
  • Increased Blood Flow Circulation: The adjustable positions and massage feature promotes increased blood flow
  • Getting out of Bed: Raising the head makes it easier to getting out of bed, compared to laying on a flat mattress
  • Swelling: Raising your legs above your heart can help with swelling 

Adjustable beds put you in control, allowing for virtually unlimited number of ergonomic positions and rejuvenating massage.  Here are two options of adjustable beds from Relax The Back:

TEMPUR Advanced Ergo System™

Combine a Tempur-Pedic mattress with our exclusive TEMPUR Advanced Ergo System for the ultimate sleep experience. The wireless remote lets you control movement from the comfort of your bed, as it electronically adjusts to your every whim. Create a place of true renewal whether you’re sleeping or relaxing in bed.

ContourSleep Zero Gravity Adjustable Base

The ContourSleep Adjustable Base is the only adjustable base that features a true zero gravity position. The touch of a single pre-set button on the wireless remote control lets you gently recline to the zero gravity position. At zero gravity, you can reduce the pressure off your spine. Another touch of a button brings you back to the flat position, or you can choose any recline angle in between and enjoy a massage at any 3 speeds with 10, 20 or 30 minute timers.

 

 

Heat-Beating Tips to Stay Cool While You Sleep

Summer is here, bringing with it long, sunny days – and potentially sleepless nights. Falling asleep can be difficult when temperatures climb, especially if you’re facing weak air conditioning or none at all. Here are some simple, inexpensive things you can do to cool down and catch some shut-eye.

Focus on the head, neck and feet. These areas can have significant impact in bringing down the overall temperature of your skin and body. Simple options for keeping them comfortable include using damp towels under the neck or on the forehead, wearing chilled socks, or using a compress like the Koolpress. Do not apply ice directly for prolonged periods.

Get a cooling pad or pillow. Even in the hottest environments, having a cool place to lay your head can make it easier to fall asleep. Of the many types of cooling devices on the market, we recommend the popular ChillowPLUS or Mini Chillow pillows, and the ChiliPad mattress pad with temperature controls.

Try the “Egyptian Method.” Using a technique that dates back to ancient Egypt, simply soak a thin sheet or blanket in cold water, then wring it out until it is damp but not dripping wet. While lying on a dry sheet, use this damp layer as a long-lasting cooling blanket.

Cool down before heading to bed. Take a shower or bath and do not dry your skin before heading to bed, allowing you to drift off to sleep in comfort while you dry. If a shower or bath is not an option, rinse your face, wrists and feet under cold water. Alternatively, use a spray bottle of equal parts water and rubbing alcohol to spritz your body when it feels overheated.

If you don’t have air conditioning, fake it. If a lack of adequate air conditioning is the issue, begin my opening windows that will allow for a cross breeze. Then try filling a large shallow container with ice and placing it at bed level between you and a fan. The ice-cooled air should bring relief in no time.

In The Midst of Disaster, A Good Night’s Sleep

Think about how great it feels to curl up in bed after a long day.

Now imagine the same experience if your mattress was removed and replaced with rocky soil, a muddy road, or a concrete slab.

In the aftermath of a disaster, that’s exactly where many people find themselves. This means that on top of facing extreme physical challenges, they also suffer from the lack of nature’s most restorative activity: sleep. The effects of this can include increased stress hormones, decreased immune function, and mental and emotional instability.

WorldBed was founded in response to this core human need. Based on efforts after Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti, the WorldBed humanitarian initiative and its partners have provided more than 11,000 people with a better night’s sleep through portable, waterproof Emergency Field Beds. The organization’s long term goal is to deliver 200,000 WorldBeds to those devastated by disasters.

If the WorldBed mission speaks to you as it does us, consider supporting their efforts at www.worldbed.org. Also, when you make select purchases, Relax The Back will give a financial donation or provide a field bed for disaster relief efforts. Find out more about the products here.

 

 

Sleeping Together: 10 Tips for Couples to Get a Good Night’s Sleep


More than 60% of American adults share their bed with a significant other. Although this can mean a sound and cozy sleep, it can also bring about issues with snoring, distractions, temperature control, and tossing and turning. If this applies to you, help is on the way.

Following are ten tips that should bring you a more restful night’s sleep in no time:

  1. Make getting a good night’s sleep a top priority. Don’t let it fall to the bottom of the list, since it affects your mental and physical health, responses to stress, and even productivity at work.
  2. Find the right pillow, and keep it fresh. Your pillow is key in helping you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up pain-free.  Find one that works for you, and replace it every two to three years. During that time, it both changes shape and collects enough dust mites, bacteria, mold, and perspiration to make it unhealthy.
  3. Invest in the best mattress for both of you. About half of all married couples would now choose a mattress as their first purchase. Try out a number of options, ideally with an expert, to find a mattress with lasting comfort and support for two. A good option can be memory foam, especially since it diminishes the effects of tossing and turning.
  4. Try staggering bedtimes. If your partner’s snoring or movement keeps you from falling asleep, head to bed first so that you’re sleeping soundly by the time they join you.
  5. Control the temperature under the covers. Since people often have different temperature preferences, try using separate blankets. If you want to avoid the bedspread barrier, a ChiliPad or similar item could be the answer. ChiliPad is a dual-zone mattress pad that both cools and heats, setting a separate temperature for each side of the bed.
  6. Keep the room dark. Even a small amount of light can make a difference in your ability to sleep deeply. If necessary, use a sleep mask – some of which feature the added benefit of adding warmth, coolness, or the relaxing scent of lavender.
  7. Turn off the TV and close the laptop. These are two big distractions that keep your brain awake, your bedroom lit, and you and your partner from sleeping deeply.
  8. Pay attention to your sleeping position. Whether you sleep on your back, side or stomach can affect a number of things, from snoring to causing or relieving pain. Discuss sleeping positions with your partner and, if needed, explore options like a body pillow or ContourSide pillow.
  9. Minimize disruptions. If at all possible, keep the kids and pets out of the bed. It’s good for your sleep – and your relationship.
  10. Relaaaax… At the end of the day, your bedroom is an ideal place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other. Curl up and enjoy your zzzzzzz’s.

You can learn more about how to choose a mattress and pillow, as well as the benefits of different sleep positions by clicking here.

3 Keys To a Good Night’s Sleep: Finding the Best Mattress, Pillow and Sleep Position for You

If you ever wake up with back pain, joint stiffness, muscle tension or just generally feeling unrested, you could open up a new world of deep and restful sleep with the 3 keys of MPP: Mattress, Pillow, Position.

Here’s a handy guide that can help. Click to learn more about different types of mattresses and pillows, as well as how to best accomodate your sleeping position and any health conditions.

 

 

Review: Tempur-Pedic RhapsodyBed

We recently bought a Tempur-Pedic mattress for our master bedroom. We replaced our traditional, coil mattress, which we had for 10 years. Before purchasing one, we tried Tempur-Pedic’s entire line at our local Relax The Back. We went up and down the row of mattresses, comparing each one’s characteristics. At the end of day, we chose The RhapsodyBed by Tempur-Pedic, known as one of the firmer mattresses by the Swedish company.After a month, we can say that it was an excellent decision.

The difference between sleeping on a traditional coil mattress and sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic mattress is dramatic. The Tempu-Pedic RhapsodyBed cradles every contour of my frame. Instead of tossing and turning to get comfortable, the bed conforms to me. My lumbar, shoulders, and back are fully supported, but without the pressure points. After a while you wonder how you slept on anything else.

The most surprising thing we’ve noticed is that we wake up in the same position we went to sleep. Because of the Rhapsody’s contouring qualities, there’s a lot less fumbling around, trying to find a comfortable position.

The Rhapsody, like all Tempur-Pedic mattresses, is temperature sensitive, so you reach full comfort after it’s absorbed some of your body heat.  It takes a little getting used to. When you’ve slept on a traditional coil mattress your entire life, making the switch to a high-quality, ergonomically friendly mattress can be a little jarring. But in a good way, like switching from bologna to filet mignon. When we lie down on the Rhapsody, we can feel the difference, as the mattress conforms to our bodies.

To complete the experience, we also purchased a pair of Tempur-Pedic’s ClassicPillows. As someone who usually needs 2-3 pillows to get comfortable, it was a bit of adjustment sleeping on it. Over the last few weeks however, I have gradually stopped using the other pillows. It comes as a surprise to me, but the ClassicPillow provides so much support for my neck and head that I no longer feel it is necessary to sleep on more than one pillow.

Taken together, these features create a sleep experience that leaves us fully refreshed, reassuring us every morning that we made the right purchase.

Proper Sleep Positions

It is estimated that the average American sleeps 1/3 of their total lifetime. For someone who is 75 years of age, this is a total of 25 years spent sleeping! Considering this huge percentage of our lives spent sleeping, it is crucial to understand why the way in which we sleep is so important.

Many people are concerned with their posture while they are awake and living their lives, but have no idea that the way they sleep can be having negative effects on their posture and overall health as well. The following are the proper sleeping positions for the stomach, side and back sleeper.

First, we’ll take a look at stomach sleepers. I will go ahead and say that if you are a stomach sleeper, I would strongly recommend you try to train yourself to sleep in a different way as sleeping on your stomach puts an enormous amount of negative pressure on your cervical spine (your neck). Think about having your neck turned one way or the other for 8 hours at a time, this is essentially what is happening when you sleep in this position. However, if this is the only way you can sleep, I recommend a pillow that does not have a lot of resistance or density to it, for example a buckwheat pillow.

Next, let’s move on to side sleepers. If you are a side sleeper, there are two key things that you should consider. The first being support for your neck and head and the other being support for your pelvis. Let’s start with the neck and head support. The ideal side sleeper pillow accomplishes two things: 1) it supports the cervical spine in a neutral position; and 2) it supports the musculature between the neck and shoulder on the side you are laying. There are some companies that make pillows specifically for side sleepers, however it is important to have a qualified retailer or healthcare professional assess which size is right for you. The second thing to be aware of if you are a side sleeper is that you need some sort of support between your legs to keep your pelvis in neutral as well. Because of the biomechanics of our pelvis and lower extremities, when we lay on our sides without a support between our legs our pelvis becomes torqued due to the gap and gravity. This torsion can lead to severe back pain and unfortunately most people would never look to their sleeping posture as the culprit!

Lastly, let’s talk about back sleepers. This is by far the best way to sleep for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that if you have the right pillow, it can actually be therapeutic for your cervical spine. Your cervical spine is designed to have an anterior curve, or lordosis, in it. Because of the way we sit at desks, in front of the TV and our posture in general, a large percentage of the population develops what is called anterior head carriage. Anterior head carriage is a result of a straightening of the cervical spine due to the repetitive load placed on it. This in turn, causes stress to be placed on your spinal cord and allows the degenerative process to begin. Many problems besides just general neck pain can be attributed to this straightening of the cervical spine. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this and sleeping on a good cervical pillow on your back is one of them. Cervical pillows are designed to gently reinforce the proper curve in your cervical spine while you are sleeping. Much like the side sleeping pillow I referred to earlier, it is a good idea to have someone qualified in sleeping posture assessment to evaluate and fit you with the proper sized cervical pillow.

In closing, I would like to reiterate the importance of taking steps (if you haven’t already) to improve the way in which you sleep. A number of problems can be prevented, alleviate or at the very least greatly reduced simply by making sure your body is supported correctly while you are sleeping.

Author
Kayla Smiley, D.C.
Performance Life Chiropractic & Wellness
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Phone: (405)286-1259

How to Choose a Tempur-Pedic Pillow: What’s Your Sleep "Personality"?

Tempur-Pedic Symphony Pillow
If you want more sleep, try a pillow from Tempur-Pedic

Known for their mattresses, Tempur-Pedic offers a line of quality pillows for every sleep position. If you sleep mainly on your side, then you’ll want to try Tempur-Pedic’s SidePillow. This pillow’s unique shape was developed by doctors to encourage proper head and neck alignment. Because of its ergonomic friendliness, it promotes deep relaxation, for long-lasting pain relief. The SidePillow also helps prevent snoring by providing improved alignment for your neck, head, and shoulders, which opens up your airway. For best results, rest your head in the center of the pillow. This keeps your chin away from your chest, further opening up your airways.

For particularly loud snorers, your sleep partner will be so thankful.

Tempur-Pedic Body Pillow
The Body Pillow

The BodyPillow is another great one for side sleepers. This pillow is 48”, so it’s a little longer than most models. Its long design, however, provides support for the entire body, making it an ideal pillow for expectant mothers. The TEMPUR material also makes it easy to shape it to your unique body contours.

For Back Sleepers

Tempur-Pedic Rhapsody Pillow
The Rhapsody Pillow.

If you’re a back sleeper, you may want something a little more traditional. The Rhapsody Pillow comes in a conventional shape, with the same pressure-relieving material as the SidePillow. The Rhapsody cushions every contour of your neck, shoulders, and head with a super-conforming inner sleeve. If you have allergies, you can relax with this pillow under your head. It is allergen and dust mite resistant, with a washable cover.

 

If you have a stiff neck….

The NeckPillow, in particular, is recommended for those who need a more therapeutic sleep posture. The dual lobe design supports the curve of you head, neck

Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow
Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow

and shoulders for optimal spinal alignment. However, make sure you choose the proper pillow thickness based on your shoulder dimensions and sleeping position. Proper alignment and posture are absolutely essential for a good night’s rest, so if you’re interested in the NeckPillow, choose the proper pillow thickness according to height and width of your shoulders in your natural sleeping position.

Another pillow that can help relieve neck pain is the TEMPUR-Cloud. The Cloud is built for people who often wake up with a stiff neck or knotty shoulders. It’s an extra soft pillow that provides proper support for the head and neck. It’s designed to increase your relaxation and it got its name for a reason – after a few nights you’ll feel as if you’re sleeping on a cloud.

Designed to Fit Your Body

Part of what makes Tempur-Pedic pillows different is that they are designed for the human body. Their ergonomic friendliness can be especially beneficial if you have suffered an injury or have a chronic condition. In fact, their pillows are designed to complement their mattresses, from basic models such as the ClassicBed to the luxurious CelebrityBed. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if you snore or have an injury, or if you just want to get a better night’s rest, Tempur-Pedic has a pillow for you.

If you would like to get fitted for a proper pillow, please visit your local Relax The Back store to receive a personal fitting by our staff who are trained in ergonomics, posture, and spinal disorders.

Review: The PureRelax Mattress by Relax The Back

PureRelax Mattress by Relax The Back
The PureRelax Mattress by Relax The Back

People have been sleeping on mattresses, in some form or another, for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians slept on palm boughs heaped in a pile in their homes. The Romans slept on bags of cloth filled with wool or hay. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that the science of sleep took a leap forward. In the decade after the Moon landing, scientists at NASA developed a material that became known as memory foam.

With a memory foam mattress, there are no pressure points to strain the joints or muscles. Pressure points can be the cause of restless tossing and turning, preventing you from sleeping the entire night through. This interrupted sleep can be detrimental to your health over time. For years, studies have linked lack of sleep to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, weight problems and more. Although there is disagreement in the medical community about the exact effects of little sleep, anyone who’s pulled an all-nighter can tell you it throws off a host of body functions.

With that in mind, I tried the PureRelax Mattress by Relax The Back. The common wisdom with memory foam mattresses is that you have to try them for 15-30 minutes in the store without getting up. Then, if you like what you feel, you should try it in your home for a minimum of 30 days. The reason behind the 30-day minimum is that it takes that long to get the mattress’s full benefit.  Because, although it looks comfortable, it takes a while to get used to it. At first, it was awkward, trying to adjust my shoulder blades (and posterior) to the memory foam. But, after a week, I found myself a lot more comfortable. When I adjusted to the memory foam technology, my body’s shape, weight and temperature did all the work, making the bed my own.

Because I now experience less tossing and turning, I find that I wake up ready to start the day. With the PureRelax mattress, I hit the snooze button a lot less. Perhaps the best thing about my foam mattress experience is that my expectations have been raised. Now, I expect to sleep longer and more deeply, as well as wake up more refreshed. I realize that I don’t have to spend the night drifting in and out of sleep on a flat mattress, in which I conform to it, rather than the other way around.

People often balk at the price of memory foam mattresses and I don’t blame them. Let’s face it – Tempur-Pedic and other memory foam mattresses don’t come cheap. But, for me, it was about making an investment in my health and well-being. I wake up now feeling much better than I used to. For me that’s hard to put a price on. It also goes with my philosophy that you should spend the extra money on things you use every day for extended periods of time. For example, it pays to have quality shoes, cell phones, and computers because of how much and how often we use them.  The same goes for mattresses, where we spend, hopefully, eight hours a day.

Or, more accurately, a third of our lives.