Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sleep Easy Beauty Secrets While Getting More ZZZs

“I need to get my beauty sleep” is a common saying, but does it have any truth to it? Dr. Michael Breus author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep tells us how to use the five senses to create the idyllic sleep environment and get the quality and quantity of zzzs you need. Here is my rendition of some of his sleep easy beauty secrets while getting more zzzs:

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Sight: I’ve discussed the reasoning behind how light affects our biological clock as it manages our sleep/wake cycle. Making sure windows are covered with blinds, curtains or black out shades that reduce sun or street light from coming through your window. When traveling and can’t control the amount of light in your hotel room an eye mask not only does the trick, it is very affordable.

Sound: Hearing sounds can either disturb or sooth your sleep. While noisy neighbors, barking dogs or heavy traffic can wake you from a deep sleep, listening to nature sounds, white noise and easy listening music will not only block out distracting noise, but can lull you to sleep. When traveling you can take your favorite sleep music on your Mp3 player, turn on a fan or wear ear plugs to eliminate external noises.

Touch: Making sure your bed is cozy affects your ability to get better zzzs. I just purchased what I consider the best pillow. I not only have it at home, but since I travel a lot I take one with me. Hotel pillows come in all sizes and fillers, while some are too hard, I have discovered that the new pillows are much smaller in size. What is up with that? Since we use our pillow on average (if we sleep 8 hours a night) around 2,920 hours a year, it is imperative to have one that suits your needs. My favorite pillow is the Home Classics two-in-one pillow which features a molded memory foam side and a plush microfiber side to give you double the softness and support. Ideal for all sleepers (side, stomach and back) from Kohl’s on sale for 44.99. Serta 2-in-1 Memory Foam Pillow, which can be purchased on for 34.82.

Bedding is just as important as a pillow, and Dr. Breus explains the thread count myth (the higher the tread count the higher the comfort and durability). According to him, it is impossible to get more than 500 threads in a square inch of fabric and anything above 400 you won’t be able to tell the difference. There are many fabrics that are used today; cotton, polyester, blends, satin, silk, cashmere and flannel. The best, per Dr. Breus, are wicking sheets they are sateen sheets, a cotton/silk blend, that feel great and last. Moisture wicking sheets by Wildblue tout that theirs are great for those suffering from night sweats due to their Heat Release Technology. I found a Wildblue King Size set (new) on eBay for $144.99 and Queen $129.99, both made of a cotton/poly blend.

Smell: Research has shown that Aromatherapy allows the body to relax enough to go to sleep. Lavender which decreases heart rate and blood pressure also shortens the time to fall asleep, reduces the severity of insomnia and provide a sense of calmness or as Korean researches put it, self satisfaction. Lavender can increase deep sleep which in turn your body produces more growth hormones which is very important for weight loss and looking/feeling younger. Lavender can be purchase in many forms; spray (spray on bedding), dried to fill pillow or an eye mask, oils for bath or reed diffuser and candles.

Taste: Eating right not only helps control our weight it also is a factor when it comes to our quality and quantity of a good night’s sleep. Studies have proven that some foods promote sleep such as; tuna, halibut, turkey, pumpkin, avocados, eggs, nuts, oats, bananas and milk. These foods contain healthy vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and the amino acid tryptophan which causes us to become drowsy. A good rule of thumb is to eat your dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime and refrain from eating anything hot and spicy. If you like to have that midnight snack eat light and food rich in tryptophan. Avoid caffeinated foods, beverages and medications prior to bedtime. If you have trouble falling asleep it might be advised to cut caffeine at least 6 hours before bed or altogether, as caffeine can stay in your system up to 14 hours. Remember that nicotine is also a stimulant and alcohol even though a depressant which can help you to fall asleep once the affects wear off you will wake up during the night. Dr. Breus’s advice drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to reduce its effect.

More information see: Sleep Easy Tips and Techniques to Get More ZZZs

The content provided in Sleep Easy Beauty Secrets While Getting More ZZZs is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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