Sunday, July 31, 2011

Full vs Queen Size Bed

Do you ever go to a hotel and they tell you all they have left is a room with two queen beds? Then when you get to the room you find out they are not queen beds but full size beds? Why don’t they know the difference between a full vs queen size bed? The queen size bed offers a larger space for couples allowing 30” each while a full only gives them 27” (which is about the width of a crib). The difference is significant as it gives the person room to turn over without having to worry about falling off. As far as cost, the queen mattress sells for more because you are getting more but the variance could be as little as $40.00 or as high as $1200.00 depending on the quality of the bed. Many couples prefer the queen mattress vs a full and the added space is worth the extra money in the long run because it will allow them to fall asleep easy and stay asleep throughout the night and every night for at least the life span of the mattress. The Better Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every five to seven years. But Consumer Reports magazine says a mattress can easily last 10 years or more if you treat it properly.

[caption id="attachment_1415" align="alignright" width="183" caption="Full vs Queen Size Bed - Full too small for you and pets too! Keep pets out of bed for a good night's sleep"][/caption]

If there isn’t a king bed available at the hotel as its dimensions are; 76” wide by 80” long I am truly disappointed when they give me two full beds. A full size bed is 53” wide and 75” long and can accommodate one person comfortably that is 5’5” or shorter. A queen bed is roughly 60” wide and 80” long and is far more comfortable for taller people and couples.

Comparisons between a full vs queen sized bed:

Full Bed

Disadvantage: Some people find the full bed too narrow for couples and too short for tall people.

Size: Full size bed dimensions: 54" wide x 75" long.

Surface Area: 4050 square inches.

Width per person: If two people share the bed the width be 27”.

Space economy: Doesn't take too much space in a room.

Cost: It is cost effective in  accordance to the size and bedding.

Usage: Full beds are better for single people.

Queen Bed

Disadvantage:  Even in the queen bed the space available for a couple is 30” each which can be less for everyday comfort.

Size: Queen bed dimensions: 60" wide, 80" long

Surface Area: 4800 square inches.

Width per person:  The width available would be 30” per person

Space economy: Doesn't occupy too much space compared to comfort.

Cost: It turns out to be a bit more expensive.

Usage: Queen beds are  in the hotel guest room.-right:( and spare bedrooms

[caption id="attachment_1414" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Full vs Queen Size Bed Cartoon"][/caption]

Enough space is an important consideration. This may be obvious to some of you, but couples should sleep on at least a queen size bed. No matter how in love you are, full-size mattresses are too narrow for two people and all the involuntary movement that occurs disturbs your sleep, reducing the duration and frequency of deep sleep that allows you to feel refreshed the next day and no one needs a grumpy, sleepy partner.  Can you charge the hotel for this?

The content provided in Full vs Queen Size Bed 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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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bed Bugs Heat Treatment

My daughter recently rented a trundle bed from a well known furniture rental facility. It was a used trundle that not only was falling apart but in a short time they found that it was also infested with bed bugs. At first they thought they had fleas, but then they started to see the signs of bed bugs; eggs, molted skin and feces. What do bed bugs look like on a mattress? They are brown in color, oval, flat, wingless and when fully mature are about the size of an apple seed. Their eggs or larva are white and look like a grain of rice. As they develop the larva will change colors from white to a hint of brown or golden color. The larva will not respond to chemical treatment and stick firmly to whatever surface they are laid on. Nymphs and adult bed bugs move from place to place but eggs cannot, so it is best to kill them in their larva stage. Bed bugs heat treatment can kill bed bugs and their eggs without harming the environment and can be effective in a single treatment. You can sleep easy since it takes only one treatment, it can be more cost effective than repeated chemical alternatives. The cost for a heat treatment varies on the size of your house and the area in which you live.

[caption id="attachment_1402" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Bed Bugs Heat Treatment - Kills Bed Bug Eggs"][/caption]

Bed bugs will live close to their food source and hide in dark spaces like the seams of mattresses, baseboards, bed frames, behind picture frames, inside TVs and just about any crack or crevice in your home. Bed bug bites are not always noticed as some people are not affected while others may exhibit numerous sores, welts and an allergic reaction. Although no known cases of transmission of infectious disease has been reported, bed bugs do carry at least 28 different human pathogens. Some reports state that they can transmit Hepatitis B through their droppings. Bacterial infections may also occur if the bite creates an open sore. In children some have developed asthma.

If you think you have bed bugs (according to Skyline Pest Solutions) there is a fairly effective and inexpensive way to determine if there are bed bugs in your home. Here is how to search for bed bugs with your own homemade build a bed bug trap:  Also see: How to find bed bugs in your bed

[caption id="attachment_1407" align="alignright" width="227" caption="Bed Bugs Heat Treatment - gets rid of a bed bug problem in one treatment"][/caption]


1. Plastic dog dish with hollow underside
2. Masking tape
3. ½ gallon insulated drink cooler with drain spout
4. Unscented talcum powder
5. 2.5 pounds of dry ice (probably not around the house but easily obtained)


1. Cover the outside of the dog dish with masking tape so that the bed bugs can crawl up and in
2. Turn the dog dish upside-down and place it within 10 feet of the suspected bed bug hiding place
3. Place a small amount of talcum powder within the upward-facing underside of the dog dish so that the bed bugs cannot crawl out
4. Put the dry ice in the cooler, seal the lid, and slightly open the drain spout
5. Put the cooler on top of the inverted dog dish
6. Check your trap in 24 hours

The escaping carbon dioxide will attract any bed bugs present and your handy dandy trap will hold them there for your observation.

[caption id="attachment_1403" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Bed Bugs Heat Treatment - Kills Bed Bug Nymphs"][/caption]

Using heat instead of a toxic chemical can penetrate wall cavities, mattresses and other hard to reach areas. Heat can also kill all the growth stages include their hard to kill eggs. There have been many reports about the temperature and time correlations to kill bed bugs and their eggs. One report stated that in order to kill adults and nymphs the temperature has to be greater than 113ºF for 15 minutes and 60 minutes to kill eggs. Raising thermal room temperature above this temperature and maintaining it for several hours should eliminate a bed bug infestation.

There are several methods used in thermal heating extermination practices. Some companies use high powered heating devices and fans to raise the temperature in an even manner throughout the infested area. An emphasis must be placed on heating the area quickly, as the bed bugs are known to flee from the high temperatures and return once the heat has returned to normal. Thus a thorough inspection and heating of the entire surrounding area is absolutely necessary to ensure success during the thermal heating process. Other risks associated with heat extermination include possible damage to walls and other heat-sensitive structures within the house. Professional heat extermination services usually conduct a thorough examination of all prospective households before beginning the extermination process.

[caption id="attachment_1405" align="alignright" width="263" caption="Bed Bugs Heat Treatment - Be sure to remove all signs of bed bugs"][/caption]

Killing bed bugs is only half the job. It is necessary to remove the dead carcasses, eggs, and fecal matter from your living space in order to entirely eliminate the potential for skin and respiratory irritation from these bed bug leftovers. Trying to pick it all up with a residential vacuum cleaner will often spread the matter around rather than it ending up in the sweeper bag. Some of it can also end up in the cleaner’s hose and fall back out onto the floor when you store your vacuum away. Certified exterminators are a better solution for this problem because they can use industrial strength vacuums to remove bed bug carcasses and other materials from your home.

Removal of dead bugs and remnants such as feces and eggs should be included in your extermination contract. Read the contract thoroughly before signing any agreement for services. Also ask the exterminators questions on anything your aren’t sure of so that you know what the service professional intends to do to find and fix your bed bug problem, and what rights you have if something goes wrong.

What is a bed bug treatment on the skin? By far, the most popular answer is with baking soda and water to make a paste that you then place on the bite and let dry. Here is exactly how to treat the bites...

1) Make sure to wash the bed bug bites with soap and water.
2) Make a thick sticky paste with the water and baking soda, not too runny and thick enough that it will stay.
3) Let the paste stand until completely dry and then wait an hour or so. Some let it stand for hours while others find that an hour or less is fine.
4) Gently wash the paste off and pat dry.

Other natural remedies for treating bed bug bites include:

Witch hazel, St. John’s Wort and Lemon juice - all work by removing the desire to itch (Astringents).

The gel from the Aloe plant is how many treat bed bug bites and contains anti-fungal and antibiotic properties that work great! Simply trim a tip and apply the exposed area to the bite.

[caption id="attachment_1404" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite"][/caption]

Handed down from generations is the bath with peppermint oil, fill the tub with bath water, then add a half cup of peppermint oil to relieve the itching. Other bath remedies include: Natural Colloidal Oatmeal solution which a long recognized ingredient that relieves itching (widely used for chicken pox) and a hot-hot Epsom Salt bath. There is even an Epsom salt Peppermint combination that reduces inflammation and takes the sting out of bug bites.

How to Treat Bedbug Bites using Over-the-Counter medication.

1. Cortisone cream to stop the itching
2. Calamine lotion
3. Just about any topical anesthetic containing pramoxine
4. Hydrocortisone cream
5. Naproxen or Ibuprofen or a anti-histamine like Benadryl to help reduce swelling
6. Light paste of aspirin and water like you would with baking soda and water

Oh, and please take my advise and never rent furniture, especially a bed, as this is what causes bed bugs to come into your home.

The content provided in Bed Bugs Heat Treatment 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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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Symptom of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) Insomnia

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) which is a chronic neurological disease causing a malfunction of part of the nervous system and the immune system as it responds to tissue damage resulting from trauma due to an accidental injury or medical procedure. It is estimated that 1.5 to 6 million Americans are affected by this disease. The large gap in the estimate is a result of a reported misdiagnosis or unreported cases. The International Association for the Study of Pain has defined two types of CRPS. CRPS Type I (RSD) is defined by the presence of an initiating event or injury with a continuous pain resulting from stimuli that normally doesn’t cause pain, such as a light breeze or clothing. Signs of CRPS Type I include swelling, change in blood flow, variations in skin color, higher skin temperature and abnormal sweating around the area of pain. CRPS Type II (Causalgia) is the presence of continued pain like CRPS Type I but also associated with pain due to hyperalgesia after nerve injury. Symptoms of both are pain, muscle spasm, loss of motion, swelling, circulatory changes and skin changes. As result of these symptoms the person makes lifestyle changes which cause an additional symptom of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (CRPS/RSD) insomnia.

[caption id="attachment_1397" align="alignright" width="219" caption="Mechanisms of RSD"][/caption]

RSD cause changes to the Limbic System of the brain. The limbic system is that part of the brain that controls insomnia. RSD causes insomnia by not allowing the body to drift into REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. This is the sleep that allows the body to use its own healing abilities. Without it, the patient’s pain cycle continues and becomes more intense. As the body cannot heal itself, it becomes harder to achieve the ability to fall asleep easy and sleep deeply, which makes the pain worse and so the cycle continues. Many doctors recommend that you don’t push yourself too hard and take a nap when you need one.

Who can get CRPS/RSD? Anyone, but reports have shown it is more common between the ages of 25 and 55. It is more frequent in women than men and very rare in children under the age of 11. Known as a physical disease, symptoms are not usually visible and a doctor must make his diagnosis using the patient’s history, a thorough physical exam and numerous tests. There is no single test for CRPS/RSD, but early diagnosis and treatment can result in a remission from this disease. Some Doctors will try X-Rays, Bone Scans, thermograms and others methods of testing to confirm a diagnosis of CRPS/RSDS. Understand that while these tests MAY show the presence of CRPS/RSDS, they are rarely conclusive and they should not be used as the sole determining factor in whether a patient does or does not have CRPS/RSDS. The only positive way of diagnosing CRPS/RSDS is a physical exam by a Doctor knowledgeable in CRPS/RSDS.

There are four stages of RSD:

Stage One: or the acute stage can last one to three months and some symptoms include; burning pain, stiffness in joints, increased sensitivity to touch. A person might feel their extremities are very hot, but cool to the touch, a result of lack of blood flow.

Stage Two: or the Dystrophic Stage can last three months to a year. The pain is constant like stage one but it is increased with stimuli. Skin changes are present as the affected area may be discolored or a different shade. Muscle wasting begins and an X-Ray may show signs of osteoporosis. There are also short term memory problems, the inability to focus, they may start to repeat themselves or unable to find the right words when speaking.

Stage Three: of the atrophic stage can last an unlimited amount of time and though pain is constant the severity increases and decreases. RSD may spread to other areas of the body and irreversible tissue damage may occur. Skin becomes cool, thin and shin. Loss of mobility may also occur as a result of decreased joint movement and skin atrophies. In this stage the majority of pain signals are in the brain and not at the original RSD site.

Stage Four: Most people will never advance to stage four as this stage involves the internal organs and is resistant to many forms of treatment. Not all Doctors agree on the existence of a fourth stage.

Treatment may include medications, nerve blocks, nerve stimulation, physical therapy and psychological support. Treatment is individualized as many patients can suffer from symptoms in more than one stage of the disease. Some RSD patients find relief in alternative medicine such as acupuncture, or in relaxation therapy and hypnosis. Psychological counseling can also help patients cope with the frustration and depression that often accompany the disease. A healthy diet is especially beneficial to people with RSD. Avoid coffee, processed foods, sugar and fried foods. Also, leave off foods containing nitrites, such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry, and drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Some RSD patients also find nutritional supplements beneficial.

Beneficial Nutritional Dietary Supplements for RSD:

Boswellia is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Astragalus Root stimulates the immune system and enhances adrenal function.
White Willow Bark is an effective pain killer and fever reducer.
Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory.
Stevia is effective in treating RSD.

Doctors are studying the effectiveness of using ketamine, a drug that blocks the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain to treat RSD. When activated, these receptors contribute to the pain response. By blocking NMDA receptors, however, ketamine can help to provide pain relief. When ingested Ketamine has a wide range of side effects, including analgesia, anesthesia, vivid hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, and bronchodilation. As part of a cream, gel, or liquid for topical application for nerve pain—the most common mixture is 10% ketoprofen, 5% Lidocaine, and 10% ketamine.

Low-dose ketamine is recognized for its potential effectiveness in the treatment of (CRPS), but only should be administered by a trained professional to assess potential adverse effects on patients. There are two procedures with low-dose Ketamine one is an outpatient infusion and the other is done in the hospital. There is also a Ketamine infusion that puts a patient into a coma for five to seven days. During that time they are administered high doses of Ketamine intravenously. This procedure is not done in the U.S. and is very expensive.

[caption id="attachment_1399" align="alignright" width="274" caption="Drug Side Effect Cartoon"][/caption]

Ketamine hydrochloride, or "Special K," is a powerful hallucinogen widely used as an illicit drug and frequently used with other drugs, such as ecstasy, heroin or cocaine. Users sometimes call the high caused by Special K, "K hole," and describe profound hallucinations that include visual distortions and a lost sense of time, sense, and identity. The high can last from a half-hour to 2 hours. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that overt effects can last an hour but the drug can still affect the body for up to 24 hours.

Amy Winehouse’s tragic death has emerged, with claims that she bought a cocktail of narcotics including cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine in her final hours. Although police has not yet released the exact cause of her death, it is claimed she was seen buying drugs

In conclusion, falling asleep can be difficult because pain keeps you awake, or pain can wake you up in the middle of the night. Treating insomnia due to RSD/CRPS involves medications to control pain. The type of medication prescribed is determined by the type of pain experienced by each, individually.

If you think you have RSD due to an injury that isn’t healing causing pain and swelling, contact your doctor. Is there a cure? No, but there is hope. For more information contact: RSDSA at The content provided in Symptom of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) Insomnia 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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Friday, July 22, 2011

Cool Pillow for Hot Flashes

If you are suffering from hot flashes because of menopause you know how it can affect your sleep. During menopause your ovaries slowly decrease their production of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone promotes sleep and when levels drop during menopause or menstruation it makes it hard to fall asleep easy, while lower levels of estrogen can compound the issue by making you more vulnerable to stress. Hot flashes are a rush of adrenaline that can be mild, moderate or severe. Mild hot flashes last less than a minute, produce a feeling of warm, but you experience little to no perspiration. Moderate hot flashes cause you to feel warmer and produce perspiration that lasts 2 -3 minutes. Severe hot flashes will generate extreme night sweats, intense body heat that last for longer periods of time. A cool pillow for hot flashes made with Outlast technology can provide relief and promote a better night’s sleep.

[caption id="attachment_1376" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Cool Pillow for Hot Flashes by Outlast"][/caption]

Women and men (men have night sweats too) need to get the best possible night’s rest and some common causes are night sweats, hot flashes and sleeping next to a partner that produces excess heat. When we are tired we're more sensitive to changes in temperature. Our body temperature falls at night, with women reaching their minimum body temperature quicker than men. During menopause women tend to feel like a furnace from hot flashes and hang their legs out the side of the bed to get cool, least snuggle with their partner. The human body naturally sweats to cool the skin, reducing the ability of bedding to keep the body dry and comfortable. The Cool Pillow Cover (Standard) - made with Outlast® can actively regulate body temperature throughout the night absorbing, storing and releasing excess heat so you’re not too cold or hot, but just right. Outlast’s phase-change material, called Therocules, adapts to your constantly changing temperature to prevent sweating as opposed wicking products that make you comfortable after you start sweating. Moisture-wicking products are intended to keep you cooler by transferring moisture away from your body to the outer layer of the fabric.









You can help decrease your symptoms by avoiding hot flash triggers such as; hot/spicy foods, hot liquids, alcohol, white sugar, stress, hot weather (right), saunas, hot tubs, tobacco, marijuana and anger. Hot flashes deplete our body of vital nutrients including; B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium, calcium and potassium. Magnesium, calcium and potassium help you sleep better, so it is important to take a complex vitamin or supplement to get the amount your body needs. It is very difficult to prescribe exact doses for supplements since everybody responds differently. Sometimes it is useful to work with someone who is familiar with supplements and vitamins to get advice on dosages and adjustments. Herbs commonly used to alleviate hot flashes include ginseng, black cohosh, vitex agnus castii, blue cohosh, dong quai, *wild yam root* [natural progesterone, licorice root, false unicorn and sarsaparilla. Evening primrose oil alleviates hot flashes and promotes restful sleep.

[caption id="attachment_1377" align="alignright" width="246" caption="Cool Pillow for Hot Flashes Cartoon"][/caption]

If you have been prescribed HRT (hormone replacement therapy) medication for menopause or taking a natural alternative and need that extra relief for hot flashes during the night a cool pillow may just help. There are a lot of cool pillows for hot flashes on the market. See Chillow Pillow Cool pillows are available online through many accredited retailers including Avon or at local stores like Bed Bath and Beyond or Wal-Mart. An Avon average product rating is 4.2 out of 5 for the Outlast Cooling Pillow. One product review stated: "I JUST ORDERED A SECOND ONE OF THIS PILLOW, I WISH THEY MADE A BODY PILLOW WITH THIS STUFF. IT HELPS WITH THE HOT FLASHES SO MUCH, I LOVE IT. WHEN I WAKE UP WITH NIGHT SWEATS I JUST FLIP MY PILLOW OVER AND HUG IT SO IT GETS CLOSE TO AS MUCH OF MY FACE AND CHEST AS IT CAN COVER AND IT COOLS ME DOWN WITH IN SECONDS, LITERALLY!"

The content provided in Cool Pillow for Hot Flashes 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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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Symptoms of Insomnia in Teenagers

Did you know that one in four teenagers show symptoms of insomnia every day for a month? A study published in the journal Sleep examined adolescents between the ages of 11 to 17 for the following symptoms of insomnia; non-restorative sleep, trouble falling asleep easy, nighttime waking and having trouble falling back to sleep and early morning awakenings. The result found symptoms of insomnia in teenagers is common among those with mood and anxiety disorders, as well as substance abuse.

[caption id="attachment_1370" align="alignright" width="166" caption="Symptoms of Teenagers Insomnia - Can't fall asleep easy"][/caption]

In conclusion of the study, a year later, nearly half of the participants had one or more of the above symptoms and more than a third had at least one symptom in addition to afternoon sleepiness. The additional fatigue and sleepiness during the day suggests that there is a progression to their condition. Part of the teen study analyzed different background variables including; family income, gender, age, ethnic status, physical health, mental health, life stressors (school, work, family) and any behavior disorders (moody, anxious, substance and eating abuse). Excluding behavior disorders, the researchers found just over 23% suffered from chronic insomnia. They also found insomnia more prevalent for those with poor health, dealing with life stressors and being female.

Girls have a 50% higher risk than boys for insomnia symptoms. The risk of development among teenage girls correlates with puberty. In fact, girls were 2.5 times more likely to experience insomnia after their first period. Boys that experience insomnia there was no association with their pubertal development. There was also no significant difference in insomnia common to their ethnicity or parents’ marital status.

The teens’ parents were interviewed regarding their children’s sleep habits and researchers where amazed that they typically didn’t know about insomnia symptoms. Although chronic insomnia should be treated by a physician, here are some tips and techniques to help your teenager get a better night’s sleep.

Help your teenage establish a regular bedtime schedule. They should get up every day and go to bed every night at the same time, even on the weekends. See: How Many Hours of Sleep Do Teenager Need for more information. If they do after school sports make sure they have enough time to wind down before going to bed (2-3 hours). A teenager’s bedroom environment should be focused only about them and their sleep. Make sure it is dark, cool, quiet, cozy and pet free. Take electronic distractions from the room, including their telephone or radio.

Insomnia symptoms may occur in teenagers in conjunction with any number of physical, psychological or environmental/behavioral causes, including: poor health habits, poor diet, lack of guidance, assertion of independence, depression, anxiety, stress and changes in home life. Insomnia symptoms can include other sleep disorders including restless leg syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Insomnia usually is caused by some other indicator that something is going on in the teen’s life and cannot be treated properly until you get to the root of the problem.

The National Sleep Foundation polled a number of teenagers and found that insomnia signs and symptoms are common, but they also discovered that almost 50% experienced stress and considered themselves depressed on a regular basis. Depression is a huge factor in insomnia and is fast becoming an epidemic in America. When teenagers are sleep deprived look and listen to these indicators; they complain about not being about to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake too early in the morning, irritable, aggressive, fall asleep during the day, eat a lot or too little, lack of focus and bad grades, clumsiness and absent or tardy at school, job or social activities.

Remember before your teenager’s insomnia can be treated a doctor must first diagnosis it and determine the cause for their sleep problem. For many teenagers making sleep and sleep habits a priority can relieve insomnia symptoms. But for those teenage suffering with chronic insomnia, they will need a more aggressive therapy prescribed by a physician or sleep specialist. If left untreated it can result in chronic adult insomnia. Chronic insomnia is when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or longer. Chronic insomnia could lead to diabetes, obesity, hypertension or heart disease.

The content provided in Symptoms of Insomnia in Teenagers 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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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chillow Pillow

Have You Heard About the Chillow Pillow? A Chillow Pillow is a thin, soft thermo-regulated pad that slides into your pillowcase on top of your pillow that delivers a very soothing and relaxing effect. It is safe, hypoallergenic and nontoxic unlike other products. The Chillow Pillow is unlike gel filled packs that are usually too cold for comfort, its meant to be cool just enough for you to fall asleep easy, but if you want it colder you can put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. The cooling effect eases your migraines, hot flashes or sunburn. How does the Chillow Pillow work?

[caption id="attachment_1363" align="alignright" width="206" caption="Chillow Pillow"][/caption]

What happens, the Chillow Pillow uses water to absorb the body heat into the pillow. Once the heat is absorbed it dissipates to the surrounding air giving a cool, relaxing night’s sleep. It stays dry on the outside and can be used night after night. Once activated it is easy to reuse your pillow for the next night. All you need to do is leave it out at room temperature. Maintenance is minimal, once a month you need to open the filler cap and sweep out the air.


I recently read an article on June, 14, 2001 by HealthDay News that a cooler head not only helps you to sleep better, a cooling cap is being tested to treat insomnia. What happens when you have insomnia? Your brain is hyperaroused causing a higher brain metabolism in the frontal lobes which explains why you can’t fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. Researchers used a device called the Sleeptime Head-Cooling Cap that has cool water flowing through it, on 12 insomnia patients and 12 healthy adults matching in age and gender. The participants slept two nights with no cap, two nights with the cap’s water temperature at 86 degrees, two nights at 72 degrees and two nights with the coolest temperature of 57 degrees. Their brains were monitored to detect electrical activity, eye movement (REM sleep) and jaw muscle tone during REM sleep that is a sign of sleep paralysis. Conclusion of the study showed that three quarters of those with insomnia slept better with a water temperature at 57 degrees. The cap is not yet available to consumers, although the lead researchers have plans to bring it to market.

Cooling the brain or “frontal cerebral thermal transfer” as the cooling is called reduces brain metabolism in the frontal lobes and it improves sleep. From previous studies sleep experts know that as the body core temperature cools, our sleep improves, and with warming of the core temperature, we have more restless sleep. So if you can’t sleep and tried counting sheep, drinking a glass of warm milk or even taken a sleep aid and nothing seems to work, maybe you should try cooling your brain with a Chillow Pillow or the All-Natural SootheAway System.

[caption id="attachment_1362" align="alignright" width="300" caption="SootheAway System"][/caption]

The SootheAway Continuous Thermal Therapy System (Includes 1 Front & Side Head Relief Pad) - a Natural Pain Relief Treatment for Migraine Headaches, Tension, Stress, Heat Stroke, Occipital Neuritis, Neck & Back Pain, and More is pricier than the Chillow Pillow, roughly $350.00 vs 25.00, but it works by circulating water continuously through its therapeutic relief pad. After you select the temperature level, it creates a combination of compression and temperature that has been proven to be effective for pain relief and relaxation. Cooling the brain shrinks blood vessels that reduce pressure on the nerves alleviating headaches and allowing you to sleep better all night.

The content provided in Chillow Pillow 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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Side Effects of Melatonin Supplement

Melatonin is not U.S. FDA regulated, its primary medical role is an over-the-counter supplement that treats insomnia. Insomnia is when a person can't fall asleep easy, finds it difficult to stay asleep during the night, wakes up too early and has trouble staying awake during the day. Melatonin Definition: Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by the pineal gland. It plays an important role in regulating the circadian sleep-wake cycle, but has also been reported as a powerful antioxidant. Researchers believe that this hormone has the capability to restore a healthy immune system. Studies have revealed that people who are consistently exposed to artificial light, especially if they work the late shift, usually do not get enough sleep therefore they can compromise their immune system. Other studies reveal that cancer especially breast cancer was associated with low levels of melatonin.  What are the possible drug interactions and side effects of melatonin supplement?

Almost nothing has been recognized about interactions between the melatonin function and other drugs and health problems, but because melatonin is a potent natural hormone, caution should be used regarding the timing, dosage, etc. Taking melatonin along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some possible melatonin interactions with sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others. Do not drive or use machinery for four to five hours after taking melatonin. WebMD states the following additional precautions and warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Melatonin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in pregnancy. Don’t use it. Melatonin might also interfere with ovulation, making it more difficult to become pregnant. Not enough is known about the safety of using melatonin when breast-feeding. It’s best not to use it.

Children: Melatonin should not be used in most children. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Because of its effects on other hormones, melatonin in children might interfere with their development during adolescence.

High blood pressure: Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure. Avoid using it.

Diabetes: Melatonin might increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and take melatonin.

Depression: Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse.

Seizure disorders: Using melatonin might increase the risk of having a seizure.

Melatonin and melatonin-containing supplements should be avoided in people with lupus and other autoimmune disorders because they may stimulate the immune system. In addition, people with these conditions should also avoid the prescription sleep aid Rozerem (ramelteon), because it mimics melatonin in the body. It is important that you understand the necessity of avoiding both melatonin and Rozerem, since sleep aids are often used to help people with fibromylagia and other conditions to attain normal sleep patterns. In general, be sure that you speak with your physician before taking any new medications or supplements.

[caption id="attachment_1357" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Side Effects of Melatonin Supplement Cartoon"][/caption]

Melatonin supplement side effects include; Tolerance, fatigue, nightmares, hypotension, sleep disorders, abdominal pain, among others have been reported. Long term administration of a pharmacologic dose (3mg) may disrupt, rather than improve, sleep in some individuals. Some authorities say melatonin use on consecutive nights should be avoided and only the lowest effective hypnotic dose should be taken. More research needs to be done on potential effects on reproductive hormones, deleterious metabolites, effects on the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and platelet aggregation, glucose metabolism, immunology and cancer.

Dosage: The 'pharmacologic dose' is 3 mg, but some research indicates lower doses (0.3 mg) are effective and 3 mg may result in disrupted sleep. The pharmacologically effective melatonin dosing has not been established by rigorous studies. Can you overdose on melatonin? Melatonin can accumulate in the liver if used in high does for a long period of time, several months or more. This can lead to higher than normal melatonin levels in the morning hours when they should be lowest, making it hard to awaken, causing mental fogginess, etc. High melatonin levels can also suppress normal adrenal function, especially in the early morning hours, leading to fatigue and lethargy. Melatonin should be only be used on a short term basis, in small doses (1-3 mg. are generated naturally when healthy) and as needed to correct abnormal sleep patterns, due to stress, jet lag, etc.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article there may be new sleep drugs on the market as several pharmaceutical companies are working on new approaches to treat insomnia. While most prescription drugs are generally safe, they can have side effects that act on the brain’s neurotransmitter GABA. The GABA drugs are effective, doctors say, but can come with significant side effects including daytime drowsiness, sometimes called the hangover effect, and memory and balance problems. They can be dangerous when combined with other sedatives, notably alcohol, and there are some concerns that the medications can be addictive and abused. The drugs also can cause people to engage in strange nocturnal activities—sleep eating, sexsomnia and sleepwalking—that they don't recall the next day. The hope is developing a sleep aid that has fewer side effects without the possibility for dependency and cognition problems the following day.

Neurim Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is seeking FDA approval of Circadin, a prescription form of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. The drug, which delivers melatonin in a prolonged-release formulation, is already available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Neurim states that Circadin is the first drug shown to significantly improve quality of sleep and morning alertness in primary insomnia patients aged 55 years and older-suggesting more restorative sleep, and without withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. Circadin’s inactive ingredients include calcium and magnesium which are known to help those with sleep problems. See Magnesium Sleep for more information. Notes: In the U.S. melatonin is currently classified as a dietary supplement and not subject to FDA approval. In Europe, melatonin is classified as a neurohormone and cannot be sold over the counter. There is very little data on the toxicology of melatonin.

Remember, many medical conditions can contribute to insomnia including depression, sleep apnea, heart failure, arthritis and chronic pain. There is mounting evidence that a predisposition to insomnia may be partly genetic as well. Stress, alcohol, caffeine and menopausal symptoms can also fuel insomnia. Sleeping pills are not an alternative to taking a look at your life and figuring out why you're having a sleeping problem.

The content provided in Side Effects of Melatonin Supplement 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.

When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Serotonin Foods

Serotonin definition: a monoamine neurotransmitter that’s functionally important in neural transmission for regulating the sleep/wake cycle, depression and memory. Serotonin foods high in the amino acid tryptophan can maintain healthy serotonin levels, but lifestyle choices like traveling abroad or working a split shift can cause erratic sleep schedules that will disrupt serotonin production. When serotonin levels are low, the inability to sleep easy and other health issues can result, including depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

[caption id="attachment_1352" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Serotonin Foods - serotonin supplement cartoon"][/caption]

What does serotonin do to your sleep cycles? High levels of serotonin are associated with wakefulness and lower levels with sleep. Serotonin is naturally produced by foods that contain tryptophan in the pineal gland to make melatonin. Melatonin is known as the “hormone of darkness” as it is directly related to regulating out body’s internal clock and its highest levels of production are during the night between 2 and 4 am. Melatonin appears to have some use against other circadian rhythm sleep disorders as well, such as jet lag and problems for those working rotating or night shifts. When melatonin is taken as a dietary supplement, it helps people with sleep disorders fall asleep easy, but excess melatonin levels can also lead to trouble sleeping and other health issues. Some unwanted effects in some people, especially at high doses (3 mg/day or more) may include: headaches, nausea, next-day grogginess or irritability, hormone fluctuations, vivid dreams or nightmares, reduced blood flow, and hypothermia.

While serotonin levels are at their lowest during sleep, they are especially low during REM or dream sleep. Serotonin is active during all stages of sleep except REM, as it appears to act as a REM inhibitor. If you take an antidepressant it may increase your serotonin levels and reduce your dream sleep. An antidepressant is prescribed to increase serotonin levels resulting in improved mood, decreased anxiety and inhibition of panic. According to the Mayo Clinic common antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s, that include popular drugs such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, cause a sleep disorder called REM behavior disorder, in which people may act out what they are dreaming.

Although rare (only 5% that take the medication are reported having it) REM behavior disorder can be potentially dangerous. Normally when we are in the REM stage of dream sleep our skeletal muscles are paralyzed, preventing us from acting out our dreams. Those with REM behavior disorder, however, don't experience this protective paralysis. If the person is dreaming they may actually be kicking and punching their spouse lying in bed next to them. Although scientists don't know the exact mechanism, they believe that these antidepressants affect the same neurotransmitters responsible for sleep paralysis. Patients who experience REM behavior disorder due to an antidepressant can be easily be treated by switching them to an antidepressant like Wellbutrin, which does not seem to trigger the disorder.

For those with low levels of serotonin it may interfere with sleep and cause sleep disorders like insomnia. Stress and anxiety are common low serotonin symptoms, resulting in disrupted sleep, depression and afternoon sleepiness. Eating serotonin rich foods that are high in tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, like potatoes, grains, cheese and some meat can help you to get a better night’s sleep as well as general mood pick-me-up. Experts believe foods high in carbohydrates along with some daily exercise like yoga and practicing meditation has been linked to higher levels of serotonin. However excess serotonin like melatonin can be toxic to the brain and lead to a condition called serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome occurs when you take medications that cause a high level of the chemical serotonin to accumulate in your body. Increasing your dosage of such a drug, adding a new drug, taking a serotonin sleep supplement and certain illicit drugs are associated with serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of excess serotonin are; mild shivering and diarrhea, to severe muscle rigidity, fever and seizures. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal, if not treated. Milder forms of serotonin syndrome may go away within a day of stopping the drugs or supplements that are causing symptoms and doctors may recommend taking other medications that block serotonin production.

[caption id="attachment_1351" align="alignright" width="296" caption="Serotonin Foods - Spinach rich in tryptophan and folic acid for a good night's sleep"][/caption]

Natural serotonin is produced by the body during the digestion of foods that contain the amino acid L-Tryptophan; commonly known as tryptophan. The body cannot make its own supply of serotonin; therefore, it has to come from our diet or from dietary supplements. The key to making serotonin is eating tryptophan enriched foods. So, if your diet doesn’t included foods with tryptophan you will not produce serotonin. Low levels can lead to aggressive behavior and increased symptoms of anxiety and depression along with impulsive traits that are associated with suicidal acts. Serotonin and depression are linked to levels of very low carbohydrate diets.

Natural serotonin boosters include; turkey, flaxseed/flaxseed oil, buckwheat, wild fish and seafood, whey protein, bananas, eggs, sour cherries, beef and dark chocolate. Other foods that are good for you and increase serotonin levels are asparagus, avocado, pecans, pineapple, eggplant, spinach, walnuts, oats and some coffee. If you serotonin levels are too low food may not be enough to put them in proper balance. Talk to your doctor as he may recommend taking a 5 HTP supplement and/or Folic Acid which like tryptophan are precursors to serotonin. You can also increase your folic acid by eating chicken livers (yummy), lentils, kidney beans, black beans, chick peas, oranges, melons, strawberries, leafy greens, broccoli, spinach and asparagus.

Serotonin is your key to being happy and sleeping well. But resolving a serotonin imbalance can be more complicated than just taking it as a supplement or trying to use chemicals in your brain to change the metabolism of serotonin in the body. You can literally eat your way to happiness with food rich in tryptophan and folic acid, the building blocks to maintaining high levels of serotonin.

The content provided in Serotonin Foods 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.

When purchasing a supplement on line it is recommended that you do not solely rely on the information presented. The information and statements regarding their products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Therefore, they (the online distributor) and assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements made about the products.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

How Many Hours of Sleep do Teenagers Need

Why is sleep important? The National Sleep Foundation recognizes that sleep is food for the brain. During sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. Lack of sleep can be the reason you to look bad, make you feel moody and perform poorly. A brain that is hungry for sleep will cause your teenager to have daytime drowsiness which can affect job or school performance and even be deadly if they fall asleep easy behind the wheel. When you do not get enough sleep, you are more likely to have an accident, injury and/or illness. How many hours of sleep do teenagers need?

[caption id="attachment_1347" align="alignright" width="297" caption="How Many Hours of Sleep do Teenagers Need? 8 1/2 - 9 1/4 hours or they will fall asleep easy in school"][/caption]

Just like the air we breathe and the food we eat, sleep is vital for our health and well-being. Teenagers will eat better and can manage the stress more efficiently in their everyday lives. As we get older our biological sleep patterns alter towards later times in both waking and sleeping, meaning it is natural not to be able to fall asleep easily before 11pm. Teenagers need roughly 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep to function at their best the next day. It has been reported that only 15% of teens get 8 ½ hours or more of sleep on school nights. Why? This is due to irregular sleeping patterns that affect their biological clock which hurts their quality of sleep. Staying up late either on weekends or during the week cramming for an exam while getting their after school activities done alters their sleep/wake cycle making it harder for them to get up in the morning, let alone feel well rested to get through the day. Continuous disruption of their sleep cycle can cause other sleep problems like; narcolepsy, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.

Getting Too Little Sleep:

In 2006 the Sleep in America did a poll and found that many teenagers who showed signs of a depressive mood often were more likely to have a sleep problem. Almost half of the teens polled (46%) had some feelings of hopelessness, were nervous or tense, worried too much and generally felt unhappy, sad or depressed, 37% scored moderately high and 17% scored high. Those in with the high score range were more inclined to take longer to fall asleep on school nights, get less sleep and have sleep related problems. In fact, 73% of those teens who said they were unhappy, sad or depressed also reported that they were not getting enough sleep and fought afternoon sleepiness.

While many adults may think that teenagers problems that caused them to be nervous, tense or worry too much aren’t that important because they feel teens have things easy – the opposite was found true according to the poll. Most teenagers were likely to say they worried about things too much (58%) and/or felt stressed out and anxious (56%). They also reported feeling of hopeless about their future or feeling unhappy, sad or depressed much or somewhat within the past two weeks of the survey.

Lack of sleep affects mood and a depressed mood can lead to less sleep. This catch 22 can be defeated with a proper course of action. Experts recommend teenagers establish healthy bedtime habits starting with getting 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night, even on the weekends. If teens need up to 9 ¼ hours of sleep and find it easy to fall asleep around 11pm that would add up to  waking  up around 10:15am, so one way for them to get their required amount of sleep is to start school later. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating a 11am school start time, but I am stating that a teenagers natural sleep cycle conflicts with the school's schedule. Most schools start classes very early in the morning and often teenagers need an alarm clock or their parents to wake them. They get ready for school in a daze and find it hard to pay attention in class because they are sleep deprived. Schools need to understand teen’s natural sleep/wake cycles and make their first class later in the morning. For example, starting class at 9am instead of 8am would mean their students would get five more hours of sleep each week. Enrollment and attendance records would improve and students performance levels would get better as well as their general overall mood and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation's recommendation is the creation of "sleep-smart schools" that adopt sleep education curricula and review school start times that more adequately respond to a teen's biological shift to a later sleep/wake cycle. Everyone in favor say I!

Getting Too Much Sleep:

Recently wrote an article about a rare disorder that affects teenagers some call “that sleeping sickness” and also known as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. Kleine-Levin syndrome is marked by periodic periods of excessive drowsiness during which the teen can sleep for 24-48 hours only getting up to go to the bathroom and eat. Other than the sleep disorder, hypersomnia that causes an individual excessive sleepiness with long sleep times, Kleine-Levin is characterized by compulsive eating, called megaphagia, hypersexuality and almost everyone has cognitive and mood dysfunction.

Doctors don’t know what causes Kleine-Levin syndrome, but half of the reported cases were preceded by a mild infection. It’s this infection that triggers an autoimmune reaction. Today it is known to affect teens and early 20’s and 70% of those that have it are male. The excessive sleepiness or episode lasts more than two days and less than four weeks which is intermixed with long intervals of normal alertness. Episode onset is often abrupt, and may be associated with flu-like symptoms. Additional symptoms include: irritability, childishness, disorientation and hallucinations may be observed during an episode. Mood can be depressed as a consequence, but not a cause, of the disorder. Affected individuals are completely normal between episodes, although they may not be able to remember afterwards everything that happened during the episode. It may be weeks or up to one year before symptoms reappear. The average course of the disease is roughly eight to twelve years and each episode eventually decreases in frequency and intensity. Symptoms may be related to malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus, parts of the brain that govern appetite and sleep. Recent studies also suggest that there may be a link to a deficiency of dopamine transporter density in the lower striatum.

[caption id="attachment_1348" align="alignright" width="293" caption="How Many Hours of Sleep do Teenagers Need Cartoon"][/caption]

There is no definitive treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome and sometime waiting the episode out under a watchful eye is better than prescription medication. Some doctors prescribe stimulants to treat sleepiness but they can increase irritability and will not improve cognitive abnormalities. Lithium and carbamazepine medications have shown to prevent further episodes. This disorder should be differentiated from fatigue during the premenstrual period in teenage girls, which may be controlled with birth control pills. The doctor should also make the distinction between Kleine-Levin syndrome symptoms which are similar to those that occur from encephalopathy, recurrent depression or psychosis.

Sleep experts say habitually sleeping more than 10 hours can be indicative of other medical problems. Common causes of excessive sleepiness in teens or young adults: sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm disturbance such as delayed sleep phase syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia and depression.

How important is sleep? Parents and teenagers need to know the benefits of making and sticking to a nighttime routine. The earlier parents start helping their children establish good sleep habits, the easier it will be to maintain them through the teenage years. The content provided in How Many Hours of Sleep do Teenagers Need 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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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Magnesium Sleep Aid

All vital minerals are equally significant, but some are required in larger amounts for adequate nutrition. The difference in the amount required is referred to either as macro-mineral or micro-mineral. Macro-minerals are the larger minerals that the body needs to maintain a fluid balance and they include: calcium, magnesium and phosphorus that work together or independently and electrolytes; sodium, potassium and chloride. Micro-minerals or trace minerals are a larger group of nutrients that include chromium, copper, iodine, zinc and selenium, among others.

[caption id="attachment_1343" align="alignright" width="199" caption="Mighty Minerals - magnesium sleep aid"][/caption]

Magnesium accounts for about .05% of the body’s total weight and is involved in many essential metabolic processes including activating enzymes in the cells that are necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. Magnesium promotes absorption of other minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. Magnesium is also required for the proper function of nerves, muscles, and many other parts of the body. According to WebMD magnesium is also used for treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, leg cramps during pregnancy, diabetes, kidney stones, migraine headaches, weak bones (osteoporosis), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), altitude sickness, urinary incontinence, heart disease, high cholesterol, asthma, hay fever, multiple sclerosis, and for preventing hearing loss. A deficiency of magnesium can also interfere with your ability to fall asleep easy and cause other sleep disorders such as: anxiety, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, muscle spasms and irritability. Most people get enough of this nutrient from their diet, but sometimes a magnesium sleep aid is needed if there is a deficiency.

Because this mineral helps relax muscles taking magnesium supplement before bed can relieve insomnia and reduce movement that causes those that suffer from restless leg syndrome from staying awake at night. If you toss and turn due to your mind racing from stress and anxiety, magnesium can help you wind down and relax.

A study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota titled "Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women." It's important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is beneficial to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together in a 2 to 1 ratio for best results.

Magnesium sleep aides are available in the form of Magnesium Citrate - 180 - Capsule, powder, chewable or liquid. The best magnesium supplement to take is the one that has the most absorbable form such as: magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or asparate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good. Magnesium can also be attached to an organic acid and come in the form of magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate. Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements). Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.

Doses vary depending on age, sex and other factors. Children up to three; 40 to 80 mg daily, Children four to six years; 120 mg daily and seven to ten years; 170 mg daily. Adolescent and adult males; 270 and 400 mg daily; adolescent and adult females should take 280 to 300 mg daily. Pregnant females need a slightly higher dosage of 320 mg daily. Do not give children magnesium supplements before asking a doctor first. Talk to your doctor about what dosage is right for you as some medical websites have recommended up to 1000 mg daily. You can also absorb magnesium by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision.

A magnesium sleep aid is one way to get the magnesium you need to get a better night sleep, but adding some food with magnesium can reduce your deficiency. Spinach and Swiss chard are excellent food sources of magnesium, while mustard greens, summer squash, fish (e.g. halibut, tuna and salmon), nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, potatoes, some bread (buckwheat, cornmeal, wheat), cereal products (oatmeal), broccoli, peppermint and turnip greens are also very good.

Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe magnesium deficiency can result in arrhythmias, increased nervous irritability, and hypocalcaemia and hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the blood).

An overdose and side effects can occur when taking medications that contain magnesium such as antacids and laxatives. Symptoms of magnesium overdose include drowsiness, cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness, decreased reflexes, hypotension, difficulty concentrating and staying alert and decreased rate of breathing. Side effects in some people using magnesium have shown to cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, to name a few. Some medications may lower magnesium levels in the body. These include chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, digoxin (Lanoxin), hormonal supplementation, steroids, and certain antibiotics.

The content provided in Magnesium Sleep Aid 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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Sunday, July 10, 2011

How to Find Bed Bugs in Your Bed

Can you see bed bugs with your eye? Yes, bed bugs are small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm blooded animals. Their hatchlings are the size of poppy seeds and they will grow to roughly 1/4th of an inch at maturity. As an adult they are oval in shape and looking at them from the side they appear to be flat from top to bottom. Color ranges from almost white when they just molted to a light tan, deep brown or even a burnt orange. You can see the host’s blood within the bug’s body as a dark red or black mass. They do not have wings and when disturbed will scramble to find shelter in cracks and crevices. How can you find bed bugs and sleep easy?

Learn how to find bed bugs in your bed by carefully inspecting the bed frame and mattress. Look for signs that may indicate an infestation like bloods spots and molted skin on the sheets. Search for crawling bugs and eggs in the seams on the side of your mattress. Remember eggs are very small and their larva is as tiny as a grain of rice. Females lay their eggs after feasting and place them in isolated, protected crannies until they hatch one to two weeks later into nymphs. Nymphs feed immediately and if there is a healthy blood supply and warm surroundings they will grow to adulthood between 14 and 30 days. During that time they will shed their skin five times. Once mature they will mate, so the entire time from egg hatching to egg laying takes approximately 4 to 9 weeks.

Remember that bed bugs are visible to the eye. Prepare to inspect your bedroom in addition to your mattress and bed frame. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to look for reddish-brown spots (fecal deposits) and/or molted skin on the mattress. Check all nooks and crannies for live bugs, eggs and larva. Additional areas are wall sconces, behind electrical plates, behind frames, between books and even inside your TV or alarm clock.

If you find bed bugs it is advised to work with a pest management professional. Most pest professionals recommend mattress encasements which can eliminate bed bugs sooner, avoid bed bug bites and protect an expensive mattress.

The BB ALERT has a range of products includes monitors to provide early Bed Bug detection and devices to safely eliminate Bed Bugs from personal items and soft furnishings such as mattresses. The BB ALERT activator pads arrive in a sealed package. When opened and exposed to the air it starts to generate heat, which mimics the signs of animal respiration that trigger a feeding response in bed bugs.

The activator is placed inside the BB ALERT Active monitor's base and enclosed by the insulated top cover. When in place, the insulated top cover leaves a specifically designed gap around the unit's base. This restricts the flow of air, creating a micro-climate within the device and a controlled flow of heat to the outside. This temperature gradient leads the Bed Bug into the monitor. IT is recommended that you do not sleep in the bed when using a BB ALERT Passive monitor. To completely isolate the bed use ClimbUP Insect Interceptor or use BB Alert Passive Monitor in combination to catch bed bugs climbing off or on the bed.

Isolating the bed has been very questionable, and though it may help people who are being bitten very badly or who have serious allergic reactions avoid sleeping elsewhere, other than their bed. When doing so the bed bugs spread out even further in your home looking for a warm body to prey on. The idea behind isolating the bed is to trap them on their way while avoiding being bitten while you sleep. But remember, if they cannot bite you during the night they will attempt to do so during the daytime. So many pest authorities would prefer to protect rather than isolate the bed and use other forms of treatment. Your pest control professional should remove all bed bugs from the mattress, box springs, headboard and frame while making sure that there are no tears or gaps which would allow bed bugs to get inside. It is still recommended to use the BBB ALERT to monitor for any new bed bugs and you should inspect for signs on a monthly basis.

Note: You should call your pest control professional once bed bugs are seen. Do not clean your mattress, frame until bed bugs have been verified otherwise if you live in an apartment treatment may be denied by the landlord. Once verified the pest control operator will treat the home including your bed with pesticides. After the pesticide has dried he may encase the mattress and box springs. Protect-A-Bed AllerZip® Terry Allergy Mattress Protector encasement is 6-sided, waterproof and eliminates bed bug entry, escape and bites which provides the ultimate in allergy protection. They also have a Protect-A-Bed encasement for pillows and cribs.

If you need to replace your sheets and comforter you may want to purchase white sheets for easy monthly inspections. Cotton sheets and blanket are easy to wash and will hold up well in a hot dryer. If you are isolating the bed you need to keep the sheets and blankets off the floor by using bed risers. The bed risers must fit inside the Climbup well. Climbup Interceptors are placed underneath each riser or leg of the bed.

Another option, besides Climbup Interceptors, is four bowls with mineral or tea tree oil (bed bugs hate it) under the legs of the bed. Note: some people have traditionally recommended placing a row of vaseline and a separate row of double sided tape around the bed legs, above the mineral oil cups. I am not sure of the value of this if you are using cups of mineral or tea tree oil. People tell us double sided tape does not often catch bed bugs. However, if you are using Climbup Interceptors as recommended, do not place vaseline or double sided tape on the bed legs. You want bed bugs to walk into the Climbup discs and be trapped; you do not want them to be deterred by barriers.

If you have a wood frame Murphy’s Oil Soap is a bed bug contact killer and good for cleaning the wood. You may have to replace your wood frame if there was a large infestation and the pest controller couldn’t eliminate all the bed bugs. A new metal frame is better. Thinking about discarding your mattress for a memory foam mattress because you heard bed bugs can’t survive inside memory foam therefore, you think you are safe from another infestation? Remember that bed bugs get on mattresses and while they may not be able to get into the actual foam, it hardly matters. They can harbor on the foam, in the seams of the mattress cover or in the bed frame. Remember the mattress itself is not the bed bug attractant, the host that uses it is. So bed bugs do not have to live inside the mattress in order to breed or feed on you at night. They might crawl down from the picture frame hanging above your bed or from some other location.

[caption id="attachment_1339" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Can You See Bed Bugs with Your Eye? - Bed Bug Stages to Look For"][/caption]

Once your pest professional has encased the bed and bed frame there are additional steps to take to rid your home of further bed bugs. Place all bedding into garbage bags and tie it tightly so no air escapes. When you launder this bedding, wash in HOT water and dry on HIGH HEAT. When you take it out of the dryer put it in another garage bag. Vacuum all around the bed and place vacuum bags or bagless vacuum containments in ziploc containers as soon as possible. Otherwise bed bugs or larva can survive in the bag/container and escape. If you use another encasement other than a Protect-A-Bed you should probably tape the zipper and the zipper closure on your encasement. This tape must not be allowed to come off and keeping it on can be very difficult. People have used Scotch Blue Painter’s tape, and National Allergy sells this along with their encasements, to be put over the zipper.

Use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth 10 lb. by Natures Wisdoma dust insecticide for killing bedbugs with long lasting control. This DE is milled at a consistency much like flour and is a fossilized shell (diatom). This bed bug killer is considered safe and organic for home and garden use and has been a staple in organic gardening for many years. This diatomaceous earth, from one of the only four deposits in the US that are considered food grade, is purchased and used for control of bedbugs all around the country. Apply DE powder in all cracks and crevices, closets, baseboards, under the fridge and stove, mattresses, your favorite chair and anywhere bedbugs may hide. It is safe for use on your bed, food areas, pets and children while still killing the bed bugs.

Remember not to let your sheets and blankets drag on the floor while you sleep. Realize also that you may carry bed bugs into the bed, for example, by simply sitting on a chair where a bed bug was able to crawl onto your clothing. If you isolate the bed, try to wear clean bed clothing that were also isolated and kept in sealed plastic bags.

Consider repeating the steps above of cleaning have it treated with pesticides, to ensure bed bugs are not living in the bed. And in any case, continue professional treatment approximately every two weeks until bed bug bites and all other signs are long gone. The content provided in How to Find Bed Bugs in Your Bed 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 or in this case, a pest control professional.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Tempurpedic Mattress Topper

A Tempurpedic mattress topper has become very popular over time. Due to the cost of the memory foam mattress a memory foam mattress topper can save you money, but be aware of cheaper imitations. There are a few guidelines for density, construction, the pressure and body movement reduction nature and warranty on each product. You should be able to distinguish between a good memory foam mattress topper and a discounted replication. I received a memory foam mattress topper for Christmas. I needed one because I have degenerative disk disease in my lower back making it very uncomfortable to fall asleep easy and stay asleep throughout the night. I would also wake up with stiffness and pain in my lower back which would take several hours to overcome.

[caption id="attachment_1333" align="alignright" width="253" caption="Tempurpedic Mattress Topper - No More Mornings with Lower Back Pain"][/caption]

I knew I couldn’t afford a memory foam mattress and my coil mattress is still in good condition. My 3 inch memory foam mattress topper is a great sleep aide due to how it contours to my body alleviating pressure on my shoulders and hips. I also find that this limits the number of times I turn over during the night. The reason it contours to your body is due to the fact that the foam is temperature sensitive and as a result becomes softer in areas where it absorbs your heat.

Density determines how well the memory foam mattress topper will wear over time. Tempur-Pedic has a density over 5 lbs per square foot. This high density will wear well and allow the user to feel as if he is floating on air. When looking for a memory foam mattress topper it is recommended to be at least 5 lbs or it will break down quickly and not support your pressure points over time. If the retailer doesn’t tell you the density or it is of lower quantity (2.5-3.0 lbs), it is best to shop elsewhere.

Next is the construction of the mattress topper. Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress toppers are composed of their own TEMPUR® material which is not the same as generic memory foam—it’s more comfortable, supportive, and durable. This material is engineered by Tempur-Pedic scientists and manufactured in company-owned facilities, upholding the highest quality standards.

If you buy a Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress make sure you get a removable, washable terry cloth cover as this will allow the air to flow between you and the mattress topper. The memory foam mattress cover is used to protect the memory foam mattress and to keep your body comfortable and cool. It is waterproof yet breathable and has an allergen barrier that deters bacteria and dust mites. The Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress cover comes with a ten-year warranty.

One of the main features of memory foam is the reducing nature of the material. Originally used for NASA then in hospitals and nursing homes, Tempur-Pedic mattresses have proven in clinical trials that they provide a much lower surface pressure rating than air or coil mattresses by reducing pressure sores.

One reason you may toss and turn during the night may be due to your coil mattress as the springs pushing upward and your body weight bearing down causing your skin and muscles to develop sore spots. Especially when you lay on your side your pressure points will be your hip and your shoulder, this leaves your body weight unevenly distributed causing neck cramps or a sore lower back. The Tempurpedic memory foam mattress topper allows your weight to be distributed across the surface and your hip and shoulder will sink in and the foam will contour to other areas providing support for your whole body.

This feature also allows the foam to resist motion transfer thus creating body movement reduction, which is great if your partner has a different work schedule than you. There are two ways to test the body movement reduction in a memory foam mattress topper:

First sit on the edge of the bed and have a friend sit on the opposite edge. Close your eyes and ask them to stand up. Did you feel any motion?

Second is the 'wine glass test'. Place a glass full of wine on the edge of the memory bed. Sit on the opposite edge and repeatedly stand up and sit down. If the bed is made of good memory foam like a Tempur-Pedic, the wine will not spill. Do you remember the Tempur-Pedic's® commercial on television showing a person jumping on a bed with glass of red wine? Do you sleep with a person that tosses and turns during the night? By sleeping on a memory foam mattress pad these movements will not affect the other person.

It is true that when you first open your memory foam mattress pad it has an industrial smell, but this gradually dissipates over time. It is recommended to let it breathe for 72 hours without making the bed as this will help the smell to go away faster. Also letting it breathe for 72 hours allows the foam to expand to its full potential. I found that my 3 inch mattress topper covered my entire queen size mattress in 3 hours.  A full vs queen size bed cost a little less and takes less time to expand.

[caption id="attachment_1334" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Tempurpedic Mattress Topper - Doesn't Transfer Motion"][/caption]

Finally the product warranty will tell you how long the manufacturer expects the product to last. With a Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress or any high quality bed you should at least expect 20 years of warranty. Also Tempur-Pedic will offer a prorated warranty which means that the company pays less towards damages or claims over time. Not only should you read the warranty but you should check the retailers return policy also. Many stores will offer 30 to 90 days in which you can return a mattress that is in good condition. If you are a first time memory foam buyer and not sure how you will adjust to it, make sure you can return or exchange it prior to purchase.

Before considering any memory foam mattress topper do some online research. Make sure your bed is still in good enough condition to warrant a topper as it shouldn’t dip in the middle or be either too hard or too soft. Your body heat only extends down about 3 inches, so that the underlying layer remains firm in its original shape to provide support. This is why a uniform underlying mattress is so important. This also means your memory foam mattress pad should be at least 3 inches thick. Remember the thickness of the pad is relative to its cost. I hope these guidelines will help you if you are buying a memory foam mattress topper, as you can save by buying a Tempur-Pedic and enjoying it for many years to come.

Tempur-Pedic ® is a registered trademark of Dan-Foam A/S Corporation. We do not sell the Tempur-Pedic ® brand and we are in no way affiliated with Tempur-Pedic ®. See the Tempur-Pedic website for more information about their prices, warranties, product descriptions and return policy. The content provided in Tempurpedic Mattress Topper 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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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Easy Ways to Fall Asleep

What are some easy ways to fall asleep? Do you have an occasional problem falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night? Is your sleep pattern consistent or do you sleep four hours one night and another ten. On the nights you only get four hours do you fight afternoon sleepiness and try to take a nap? Do you sleep better on the weekend or during the work week? Every time you go to bed can you relax or does your mind race causing anxiety and stress? At A Sleep Easy Kat found a number of ways that may help you to get the deep restorative sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed the next day. The following are her tips and techniques:

[caption id="attachment_1328" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Easy Ways to Fall Asleep-20 min power nap at work"][/caption]

For older adults it may be easier to get the required number of hours of sleep by switching to a biphasic sleep pattern. A biphasic sleep pattern is when you get 5-6 hours at night and take a 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon. Remember to stick to a sleep schedule even for your nap time and nap early enough in the afternoon so you don’t interfere with falling asleep at night. For younger adults a power nap is suggested by many sleep experts. A power nap is approximately 20 minutes long and should also be early in the afternoon. If you can squeeze a short nap into your lunch break when you’re naturally inclined to sleep, this can reenergize your mind to make it through the rest of the day.

Take a warm bath, not a hot one. Taking a hot bath right before bed will only increase your body temperature and heart rate which will only keep you awake. If you love a hot bath at night take one 2 hours prior to your scheduled bed time. This will give your body enough time to cool down.

If suffer from hot flashes or night sweats doctors recommend that in order to sleep well your bedroom temperature should be around 60 degrees. Otherwise, 65 degrees is the best temperature to keep your body temperature down to sleep through the night. I personally love a cool room, so I can use my heavy comforter.

A new report found that people who exercise in the morning are inclined to get more deep sleep than those that exercise in the afternoon or evening. The best way to exercise in the morning is to walk/jog/run outdoors. The morning sun keeps your body’s internal clock set and you benefit by getting vitamin D. A recent case study has shown that for some patient with severe sleepiness are prone to have a vitamin D deficiency. Other studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to metabolic syndrome, muscle pain and even type 2 diabetes.

Among all alcoholic beverages, red wines have the highest concentration of melatonin. According to research currently underway at the University of Milan, the melatonin found in grapes is modified in the fermentation process to a melatonin similar to that produced in our bodies. For this reason, grape juice and grapes themselves will not give you the same sleep benefits as red wine. But stick to one glass before bedtime, because drinking a few glasses of wine may put you to sleep, however, it also can disrupt normal sleep patterns, resulting in increased fatigue and physical stress to the body. Alcohol use can aggravate sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea; those with such disorders should be cautious about alcohol use.

Keeping a sleep habitual ritual that works for you. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep at night. So, if you have to get up at 6am to get ready for work this means you need to be “asleep” by 11pm. In order for you to fall asleep by 11pm you should start getting ready for bed around 10pm. Your 10pm sleep ritual may include; putting on you pajamas (if you wear them), brushing your teeth, locking up the house, having a cup of decaffeinated sleepytime tea or glass of warm milk, powering down the electronics and generally getting your house and mind in order so you can relax enough to fall asleep. This may also be the time to make sure your bedroom is cozy, cool, dark and quiet. Blocking out noise and light is crucial for sleep. If you are a light sleeper you may want to have a fan running or a CD that consists of white noise or other sleep inducing sounds like; the ocean waves or a rain storm. If you have a lot on your mind and feel stressed you may want to include meditation as part of your ritual. Sometimes when you lay there thinking about what you have to do the next day you come up with some brilliant ideas to solve your problems. Keep a pad of paper and pen next to your bed so you don’t forget what’s important. Getting your problems down on paper and out of your head allows you to focus on what’s important at 11pm…sleep.

A study done by Sar Bir Khalsa, PhD found that simple stretching exercises create deeper and longer sleep. Yoga stretches include breathing slowly allow you to concentrate on relaxing parts of your body which will make you ready for sleep. Edward Vilga is a nationally certified yoga instructor created Yoga in Bed. This DVD features an energizing morning series to prime you for the day ahead -- plus a relaxing evening routine to chill you out. The moves will relax your body and mind, but the best part is that you can do them all in bed!

Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation With Focused Breathing and visualization techniques are available on self-hypnosis CDs and sleep mp3s which are another method that helps you to relax and fall asleep easy.

Love to have a snack before retiring? Eat ones that are rich in carbohydrates and tryptophan. These foods will make you feel drowsy and relaxed. Avoid sugar and caffeine. This means no chocolate, coffee, soda or foods that increase insulin levels. Watch out for caffeine in cold medicine and diet pills, read the labels. See more about foods with tryptophan.

Aromatherapy using essential oils of lavender have been used widely and it is known as a natural sleep aid. Put a drop or two on your pillow or wear a lavender scented eye mask (pillow). Burn a lavender scented candle or add lavender oil to your warm bath at night. Studies show that when Lavender oil was applied to the hands and feet there was a noticeable decrease in elevated pulse and respiration. Relaxation was seen and family members stated that they noticed a decrease in agitation in their ill loved ones. Lavender is thought to produce a sedative effect similar to some sleep aides, without the nasty side effects.

[caption id="attachment_1327" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Easy Ways to Fall Asleep-EFT tapping points"][/caption]

Try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to overcome stress and anxiety and improve emotional health. The EFT Manual is a psychological acupressure technique that helps remove negative emotions, implements positive goals, reduce food cravings and alleviates or eliminates pain by tapping the fingertips on areas of the body and voicing positive affirmations. This tapping works to clear emotional blocks from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance. The tapping points, and their abbreviations, are explained below, and in the exact order in which they should be tapped.

1. Top of the Head (TH)

With fingers back-to-back down the center of the skull.

2. Eyebrow (EB)

Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.

3. Side of the Eye (SE)

On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.

4. Under the Eye (UE)

On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil.

5. Under the Nose (UN)

On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.

6. Chin (Ch)

Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily.

7. Collar Bone (CB)

The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. This is a very important point and in acupuncture is referred to as K (kidney) 27. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie). From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is referred to as Collar Bone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se.

8. Under the Arm (UA)

On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit.

9. Wrists (WR)

The last point is the inside of both wrists.

EFT is a new technique to me, but I know that stress and anxiety are the number one non-medical reasons for not being able to fall asleep at night. What might work for one person, may not work for another. If you feel your inability to fall asleep and staying asleep all night is causing insomnia or another medical condition it is important to contact your physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment. For those of us with an occasional sleepless night the bottom line is to condition ourselves with a positive association with just letting go of your daily stress and getting some sleep.

The content provided in Easy Ways to Fall Asleep 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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