I had lunch with a friend today and as we scoffed our delicious wholewheat sarmies we got chatting about health, life and overall wellness. He is one of those extremely health conscious people, you know the type. He is pedantic about hydration (the H2O kind), fitness and watches everything he eats, to the point where he is the first to check the nutritional chart on every box, packet or carton. But what I figured out early on in the conversation was that although he is so into health and fitness, he actually knows very little about sleep.
I’m not sure if I’m alone here, but this seems to be a very common trend. Is it because ‘healthy eating’ is so widely publicized that we are all so conscious of it? Would the same be in reversed then about sleep? There is hardly enough information out there to get us all into a sleeping frenzy! Perhaps if we had ‘sleep billboards’ and advertising campaigns promoting sleep (without the medication) we would all be a little more aware of the health benefits.
So, due to my lovely lunch and the realisation that more and more people should know the how’s, what’s and when’s, I’ve decided to post this sleep blog again. I hope you enjoy it, for a second time, and if it puts you to sleep – then I’m happy…..
When you sleep, your body rests and restores its energy levels. However, sleep is an active state that affects both your physical and mental well-being. A good night’s sleep is often the best way to help you cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from illness.
What Happens During Sleep?
Sleep is prompted by natural cycles of activity in the brain and consists of two basic states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which consists of Stages 1 through 4.
During sleep, the body cycles between non-REM and REM sleep. Typically, people begin the sleep cycle with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. Dreams generally occur in the REM stage of sleep.
What Is Non-REM Sleep?
The period of NREM sleep is made up of stages 1-4. Each stage can last from 5 to 15 minutes. A completed cycle of sleep consists of a progression from stages 1-4 before REM sleep is attained, then the cycle starts over again.
- Stage 1: Polysomnography (sleep readings) shows a reduction in activity between wakefulness and stage 1 sleep. The eyes are closed during Stage 1 sleep. One can be awakened without difficulty, however, if aroused from this stage of sleep, a person may feel as if he or she has not slept. Stage 1 may last for five to 10 minutes. Many may notice the feeling of falling during this stage of sleep, which may cause a sudden muscle contraction (called hypnic myoclonia).
- Stage 2: This is a period of light sleep during which polysomnographic readings show intermittent peaks and valleys, or positive and negative waves. These waves indicate spontaneous periods of muscle tone mixed with periods of muscle relaxation. The heart rate slows and the body temperature decreases. At this point, the body prepares to enter deep sleep.
- Stages 3 and 4: These are deep sleep stages, with stage 4 being more intense than Stage 3. These stages are known as slow-wave, or delta, sleep. If aroused from sleep during these stages, a person may feel disoriented for a few minutes.
During the deep stages of NREM sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and appears to strengthen the immune system. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. Aging is also associated with shorter time spans of sleep, although studies show the amount of sleep needed doesn’t appear to diminish with age.
What Is REM Sleep?
Usually, REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one may last up to an hour. Polysomnograms show brainwave patterns in REM to be similar to that recorded during wakefulness. In people without sleep disorders, heart rate and respiration speed up and become erratic during REM sleep. During this stage the eyes move rapidly in different directions.
Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened brain activity, but paralysis occurs simultaneously in the major voluntary muscle groups. REM is a mixture of encephalic (brain) states of excitement and muscular immobility. For this reason, it is sometimes called paradoxical sleep.
The percentage of REM sleep is highest during infancy and early childhood. During adolescence and young adulthood, the percentage of REM sleep declines. Infants can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage of sleep, whereas adults spend only about 20% in REM.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on the individual. The need for sleep depends on various factors, one of which is age. Infants usually require about 16-18 hours of sleep per day, while teenagers need about 9 hours per day on average. Most adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep per day.
The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep. People do not seem to adapt to getting less sleep than they need.
What Are the Consequences of Too Little Sleep?
Too little sleep may cause:
- Impaired memory and thought processes.
- Decreased immune response.
Sleep deprivation also magnifies alcohols effects on the body, so a fatigued person who drinks will become much more impaired than someone who is well-rested. Sleep deprivation also increases pain perception on pain simulation testing. Caffeine and other stimulants can temporarily overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation, but cannot do so for extended periods of time.
Reviewed by The Sleep Medicine Center at The Cleveland Clinic.
We found this very interesting and I’m sure you will too.
We’ve done extensive work in nanotechnology, which is evident in our new line of gorgeous linen’s, but this is beyond us……and, WE LIKE!! Who knows, maybe we can produce that brain wave monitoring pillow sometime soon!
ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2010) — Consider this T-shirt: It can monitor your heart rate and breathing, analyze your sweat and even cool you off on a hot summer’s day. What about a pillow that monitors your brain waves, or a solar-powered dress that can charge your MP3 player? This is not science fiction — this is cotton in 2010.
Now, the laboratory of Juan Hinestroza, assistant professor of Fiber Science and Apparel Design, has developed cotton threads that can conduct electric current as well as a metal wire can, yet remain light and comfortable enough to give a whole new meaning to multi-use garments. This technology works so well that simple knots in such specially treated thread can complete a circuit — and solar-powered dress with this technology literally woven into its fabric will be featured at the annual Cornell Design League Fashion Show on Saturday, March 13 at Cornell University’s Barton Hall.
Using multidisciplinary nanotechnology developed at Cornell in collaboration with the universities at Bologna and Cagliari, Italy, Hinestroza and his colleagues developed a technique to permanently coat cotton fibers with electrically conductive nanoparticles. “We can definitively have sections of a traditional cotton fabric becoming conductive, hence a great myriad of applications can be achieved,” Hinestroza said.
“The technology developed by us and our collaborators allows cotton to remain flexible, light and comfortable while being electronically conductive,” Hinestroza said. “Previous technologies have achieved conductivity but the resulting fiber becomes rigid and heavy. Our new techniques make our yarns friendly to further processing such as weaving, sewing and knitting.”
This technology is beyond the theory stage. Hinestroza’s student, Abbey Liebman, was inspired by the technology enough to design a dress that actually uses flexible solar cells to power small electronics from a USB charger located in the waist. The charger can power a smartphone or an MP3 player.
“Instead of conventional wires, we are using our conductive cotton to transmit the electricity — so our conductive yarns become part of the dress,” Hinestroza said. “Cotton used to be called the ‘fabric of our lives’ but based on these results, we can now call it ‘The fabric of our lights.’”
For more information about the Cornell Design League annual fashion show, visit: http://www.rso.cornell.edu/CDesignL/shows.php
Nothing starts your day off better than getting a good night's sleep. And sleeping with the right pillow can help.
"Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how healthfully we rest and recharge," says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep.
But the wrong pillow may worsen headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing, notes orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Hecht, MD.
"A bad pillow won't be the cause of any of these problems, but using the incorrect pillow can certainly exacerbate many of the underlying problems linked to these symptoms, and it certainly can keep you from getting a good night's rest," says Hecht, the co-chief of spine surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.
And if your pillow is past its prime, it may contain skin cells, mold, mildew, fungus, and dust mites, which make up more than half of an older pillow's weight, Breus notes.
Is it time to buy a new pillow? Experts say the general rule is to buy a pillow every 12 to 18 months. After two years, it's definitely got to go.
Pillow Shopping: Consider Your Sleeping Style
Before you buy a new pillow, think about your sleep position.
"The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a 'neutral alignment,' meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward," says Kammi Bernard, PT, a physical therapist at the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.
Some expert advice:
- If you sleep on your back: "Back sleepers need thinner pillows, so their head is not thrown too far forward," Bernard says. Also look for a pillow with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle your neck.
- If you sleep on your side: Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder.
- If you're a stomach sleeper: Look for a very thin, almost flat pillow. You may not even need a pillow for your head, but consider tucking one under your stomach to avoid lower back pain, Breus suggests.
Pillow Stuffing Options
There is no shortage of fillings you can find stuffed in a pillow these days. The most common ones are down-feather combinations, foam, or polyester fiberfill. Memory foam and latex pillows have become quite popular in recent years, particularly among people looking for additional neck support.
What's right for you? That may depend on how you're feeling on a given day, says Breus, who recommends that most people have more than one type of pillow to choose from. A pillow wardrobe, in other words.
"Pillows serve multiple purposes," Breus says. For instance, you may want a pillow to support your neck if your neck is bothering you one day. But once your neck feels fine again, that same supportive pillow may not be the most comfortable for you, Breus notes.
Here's what to look for in each type of pillow filling:
- Foam: "Go by the density," Breus says. "The higher the density, the less breakdown, and the more support you will have without getting too soft."
- Memory foam: These are popular because they reduce pressure points by continuously molding and adjusting to the shape of your body as you move throughout the night. Memory foam pillows come in various shapes, including a popular contoured S-shape, which is meant to support the neck. Breus notes that memory foam material is known to make sleepers hot, and can sometimes emit an unpleasant chemical odor.
- Latex: This is the firmest type of pillow, and it resists mold and dust mites, Breus says. Latex pillows may also help with back and neck alignment, as they're often contoured for neck support.
- Wool/cotton: Wool and cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and resist mold and dust mites. Both also tend to be quite firm. So if you love a squishy pillow, these fillers aren't for you.
- Down/feather: Many sleep experts recommend these as one of the best pillows for a good night's rest. "One of the great things about down pillows is that you can move the stuffing around so that you have the most support where you need it," Bernard says. "Plus, it's soft, yet firm enough to give you the support you need."
A combination of 50% feather and 50% down works well because the feathers act like springs and are "quite supportive," Breus says.
Do you avoid down or feathers because of asthma or allergies? Several studies have shown they pose no greater risk than a synthetic pillow -- and may, in fact, be better for you. But if you're allergic and prefer not to take a chance, synthetic down pillows are an option.
If a good-quality down pillow is out of your price range, other options include polyester fibers, such as Primloft, that mimic down. But Breus warns that although alternatives to down pillows are cheaper than some pure down pillows, they also won't last as long.
Shopping for your Perfect Pillow
When shopping for a new pillow, keep these tips in mind:
- Consider more than cost. "Just because a pillow costs more does not automatically make it a better pillow or the right pillow for you," Bernard says. "What matters is how the pillow feels to you. Most of the time, you can find something that works without breaking the bank."
- Try it out in the store. "If you're in a store and there's the option to lie down, do that," Breus says. If that's not an option, Breus suggests that you stand next to a wall in the position in which you like to sleep, put the pillow against the wall as though the wall were a vertical mattress, lean your head against it, and ask someone to tell you if your neck is tilting one way or another. Your neck should be in line with your spine.
Specialty Pillows: What You Should Know
Here's a quick look at some of the options:
- Cervical pillows: Available in various materials and shapes, these pillows add extra cushioning in the lower portion of the pillow to support the neck. Doctors say that occasionally they can be of some help, but a research review, conducted by the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability in 2007, showed insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of these pillows.
- Water pillows: Favored by some physical therapists and many chiropractors, these pillows use water to create your own customized level of density and support.
- Cool pillows: Touted as an antidote to hot flashes and night sweats, these pillows include a filling of tiny "beads" that absorb and whisk away head heat, leaving the part of the pillow that touches your face cool. "You lay your head on it and it's like you always have the cool side of the pillow," Breus says.
- Oxygen-promoting pillows: This pillow technology is based on studies of sock fabric that helped promote circulation in diabetes patients. These pillows use the same technology to increase oxygen content in tiny blood vessels by up to 29%. What can that do? Doctors aren't sure, but "some people have even reported a reduction in pain after using these pillows," Breus says.
- Anti-snore pillows: There is limited research showing that any particular pillow design affects snoring. But individual patient reports, and a study published in 2005, show that relief is possible in some people.
- Positional pillows: These pillows are designed for back, stomach, or side sleepers. Experts say some can be very helpful. If you choose one, look for support, comfort, and the right size for your body.
We hope you enjoyed this article and we wish you a good nights sleep!
Due to an abundance of shopping over the festive season, our Mother Earth Queen size set is currently out of stock.
This may be bad news for some, but there is good news......
As we're always looking to improve our product, we've invested tons of time and resources into experimenting with nanotechnology. The results are outstanding and we're excited to be the first company globally to launch a nano-line!
New uuber cool (and extremely healthy) line will hit stores in Feb 2012. Please email us if you would like to be put on the waitlist.
The Burnt Oringe Team
|Fantastically written by Alan Schwartz, President, Superior Uniform Group|
There has been much discussion of late concerning the future direction in the pricing of healthcare and image apparel textile products.
This is an exceedingly complex subject, fully dependent on ever changing global conditions, encompassing both supply and demand equations. This update will discuss the following topics: