Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cheap Christmas Sleep Gifts

The Christmas season is upon us and the rat race has begun from decorating, get-togethers, family fun and shopping, who has time to sleep! We crave sleep and we just don’t have time for it. 43% of Americans between the ages of 13-64 have reported that they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep during the week. If you or someone you know has run raged this holiday season and needs a good night’s sleep…get them the gift of sleep along with some Christmas sleep gifts. Sleep gift gadgets are helpful, but their effectiveness does not replace good sleep habits like; going to bed the same time every night, limiting caffeine and giving yourself (or them) some “me” time to relax at night. So, give yourself or your sweetie a night off, take a nice bath with lavender scented oil or curl up on the couch and read a good book. Some sleep related gadgets can help you to doze off. Here are a few ideas to promote sound sleep.

Let there be peace and quiet! In order to fall asleep easy some people need to eliminate noise either inside the house from a snoring partner or those neighbors who are always having a loud Christmas party. What are some gadgets that mask or reduce sound? WebMD suggests the following three items:

White noise machines and apps. Whether it’s the sounds of rain, the crackle of thunder, or the pounding of horse’s hooves, white noise can help you tune out the sounds that can disrupt sleep. “White noise is ideal to help block noise,” says Shelby Freedman Harris, Speed, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Harris says she prefers machines to apps because the noise on machines is gentler.

Music. Playing music that relaxes you may promote better sleep. Studies have found that music can improve sleep in elderly adults, people with schizophrenia, and young adults. Helene Emsellem, MD, director of the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders in Bethesda, Md., and author of Snooze or Lose: 10 No-War Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits, recommends creating a playlist on your MP3 player of soothing songs, be it hard rock, the blues or jazz -- whatever relaxes you.

Ear plugs. They’re cheap and easy, and they actually work, experts say. “I have many patients who use earplugs to block the noise of snoring bed partners,” Harris says. “Silicone earplugs are often better at blocking noise than the usual foam ones.”

Personally I love to fall asleep to a self-hypnotic relaxing CD that offers soothing hypnotic dialog that not only will reduce external sounds this CD: Daydreaming by the Sea: Guided Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief and Restful Sleep will keep your mind focused on every relaxing word and not your Christmas to-do-list. It also features four pleasant, effective relaxation techniques to calm the mind and body; relaxation breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery guide and meditation.

What do you know about your sleep? There are gadgets on the market today that can tell you what sleep cycle you are in at any given time, monitor your quantity of sleep and can tell when it would be best to wake you up. Your sleep cycles run every seven hours, so you can get up when you are in a deep sleep. Waking up during a deep sleep when your body is restoring itself can leave you fighting afternoon sleepiness. Sleep monitors aren’t cheap this Zeo Mobile Sleep Manager runs around $100.00.

You can control the quantity and quality of sleep by going to bed and getting up at the same time. In fact if you train yourself to do exactly that you can learn to wake up when you need to without an alarm. But in the meantime if you or someone you know has a hard time waking up why not get an alarm that will get you out of bed to turn them off? I know what you are thinking…why not just put the alarm clock you have out of reach. Sure, but if you need to buy a novelty gift for the person who has everything a Flying Digital Alarm Clock maybe just the gift. When the alarm goes off, a helicopter flies into the air, carrying the key to turn off the alarm. The only way to silence the alarm is to get out of bed and find the key! The true late sleeper has finally met their match!

But if you or your sweetie needs an alarm clock with nature sounds and a light feature that mimics the sunrise a BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model with White Noise has the ability to set different dawn and dusk cycles of 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes, adjustable display brightness, fade to nightlight, snooze feature and more. This model has a white noise option that can mask distracting sounds and lull you to sleep faster. It can cover up the sound of street traffic or a snoring roommate. The white noise can be programmed to fade out as the sunset light goes out, or stay on all night. Only down side it is a bit pricy, so I wouldn’t consider it a cheap gift at around $135.00.

Your bedroom environment is very important when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. I mentioned above taking a bath in lavender oil will help you to relax. A 2005 study at Wesleyan University did a study that determined smelling lavender helped people get better sleep. What can you get to lavender up your bedroom? Try a lavender scented eye pillow, candles or incense. If you don’t like lavender there are other scents commonly used to induce sleep including; Rose, Sandalwood, Cypress, Marjoram, Chamomile and Petitgrain (Petitgrain comes from the name 'small grains' due to the oil originally being distilled from the small fruits of the Orange as well as the Lemon and Mandarin trees). The scents can either be diluted into water and then vaporized into the air by means of a heat source usually a candle or light bulb, or they can be added with a “carrier oil” such as sweet almond, and then applied directly to the skin or added to a hot bath.

Scented eye pillows are cheap (around $9.00) and make a great stocking stuffer as does any eye mask. To suppress light at night aides the natural production of melatonin the hormone that is essential in controlling our sleep/wake cycle. Eye masks are great in eliminating external lights like those coming from electronics including your alarm clock. They are especially helpful when you travel and do not have control over external light sources.

One important note if buying anything for the bedroom like; sheets, pillowcases, comforters etc. keep the colors on the calming side such as soft blues, greens, purples and warm neutrals. If they like bright colors (red, orange or yellow) go for the light softer shades or pastels.

The content provided in Cheap Christmas Sleep Gifts 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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