Sleep Tips

How to Choose Your Pillow

If you want to sleep soundly at night, then you have to make sure that you practice proper sleeping posture. Well, finding the right pillow is the key to achieving this.

With the right pillow, you can get the support that you need to keep your body in proper alignment and you won’t also wake up with headache.

The Questions You Should Ask Yourself to Choose the Right Pillow

You already know that not all pillows are created equal. But if there’s one thing that you should know, it is the fact that choosing the best pillow is a matter of personal preference.

That is why this article won’t tell you what the characteristics you should look for are. Instead, it will give you the three essential questions that you should ask yourself to find the best pillow for your needs. Here are some of them:

  • What’s your sleeping position?

Do you like your pillow fluffy, soft or firm? Before you answer that, you may want to answer this question first—how do you sleep? Do you sleep on your back, side or stomach? The answer to this can help you figure out which type of pillow you need.

How do you sleep

How do you sleep

If you sleep on your back, a medium firm pillow will gently prop up your neck and head, supporting the natural curvature of your spine.

If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow can follow the contour of your body and cradle your head and neck area.

If you sleep on your stomach, a soft pillow will keep your head in place and prevent it from turning too much on either side.

  • Do you have an allergy to feathers?

The answer to this can help you choose which type of fill material you can use. If you are allergic to feathers, it is best that you opt for a pillow with either a synthetic or poly-cluster fill.

If you don’t have any allergies, then you can go with whatever fill material will make you feel the most comfortable. Here are your options:

Down

If you want a soft and comfortable pillow, the best material for you would be down. In addition to its comfort factor, this type of material retains warmth—one feature that you would want during cold nights.

However, down may cause allergies too but there is a workaround that you can try. You can use a pillow with down fill material that has been specially cleaned to remove the common allergens.

You can also use a hypoallergenic cover to protect yourself from possible allergies.

Read more: Stomach Sleepers- The Definitive Guide

Memory Foam

This is one of the most advanced fill materials being used today. This material conforms to the shape of your head when you lie down on it and return to its original form when you stand up. Because of this feature, this fill material is suitable for combination sleepers or people who toss and turn at night.

Memory foam also distributes weight evenly, making it a suitable choice for people with spinal and neck problems.

Memory foam also distributes weight evenly

Memory foam also distributes weight evenly

However, this benefit comes with a price. In short, memory foam pillows are not as affordable as all the other options that you have.

Polyester

This is the most affordable fill material of all. Moreover, polyester pillows are supportive and firm enough to hold its shape well.

The sad part is, it is the least durable fill material of all.

Buckwheat Hulls

This option is eco-friendly and natural. Another benefit of this material is its shape-conforming abilities which are highly useful for combination sleepers.

The downside of this fill material is its noise.

  • What is the size of your bed?

After you have figured out the first two questions, the next thing that you should think of is the size of your bed. This will determine how many pillows you need to pile on your bed.

If you have either a twin or twin XL bed, a standard sized pillow will do. If you have a double or queen bed, you would need two standard or queen-sized pillows. For people with a King or California King– sized bed, you would need either two king-sized pillows or three standard or queen-sized pillows.

To make sure that you will choose the right pillow, you must be aware of the common pillow mistakes stated in this video:

In Summary

There you have it—all your questions on how to choose your pillow answered. I do hope that after answering the questions mentioned, you will be able to find the perfect pillow for you.

Sleep apnea test and diagnosis that you should know about

Sleep Apnea Test and Diagnosis That You Should Know About

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that afflicts about 20 million adults in the US. This disorder causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you are sleeping.

Sadly, most people mistake sleep apnea as something simple like snoring, and that is why it is often ignored. The dangerous part is, this condition, when left untreated, may increase your risk of developing different health concerns like diabetes and hypertension.

Because of this, it is a must that you determine if there is more to your snoring than you think.

Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

The very first thing that you need to do is to watch out for possible signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Here are some of them:

  • Loud Chronic Snoring

When someone complains that you snore loudly at night, you would feel embarrassed and look for a way on how to stop snoring. Before you do that, why don’t you try to dig a little deeper?

Someone complains that you snore loudly at night

Someone complains that you snore loudly at night

Snoring is the sound your body produces as a result of vibrations in your upper respiratory tract. There is nothing wrong in snoring, but if it is regular, disruptive and loud, you may need to consider sleep apnea.

  • Chronic Fatigue

Do you feel tired all the time? This may be because even if you sleep for 8 hours every night, you still don’t get enough rest due to breathing pauses which interrupts your sleep.

Signs of excessive daytime fatigue include lack of energy, feeling of tiredness all day long, the need to take frequent naps and difficulty in concentrating at tasks at hand.

  • Frequent Pauses in Breathing

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, the fatty tissues of your throat or tongue get relaxed while you are asleep. As a result, it may restrict your airflow which may lead you to stop breathing for a few seconds.

  • Hypertension

When you stop breathing for a few seconds, your brain will realize that it is not receiving the right oxygen levels and will then cause a spike in blood pressure to restrict the blood vessels and jumpstart your oxygen system.

  • Headaches

Pause in breathing may lower the oxygen levels to your brain. As a result, blood vessels dilate which may cause your head to ache upon waking up.

  • Mood Swings

Lack of quality sleep will cause you to be irritable and moody. Long-term sleep deprivation may lead to increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

If you wish to know how sleep apnea takes place, watch this video:

The Sleep Apnea Test

So you see, sleep apnea is dangerous and may cause a wide array of health issues when neglected. To prevent that, you need to have yourself checked right away.

The first thing that you can do is to share your signs and symptoms with your family practitioner. If the doctor thinks that your disorder is indeed sleep apnea, he may refer you to a sleep disorder center. When you visit there, further evaluation will be conducted by a sleep specialist.

To determine if you have sleep apnea or not, some of the tests that he may use are the following:

  • Nocturnal polysomnography

This sleep apnea test is called as a sleep study which uses surface electrodes to place on your scalp and face to detect and records certain physical activities while you are asleep. These electrodes will then send signals to the measuring equipment beside you.

Besides, belts and will be placed around your abdomen and chest to determine your breathing activities. You will also have an oximeter probe bandaged around your finger to determine the amount of oxygen you have in your blood.

Read more: Why You Wake Up with Headache (and What You Can Do About It!)

  • Home sleep apnea test

If the doctor deems that you do not have any other medical issues aside from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, he may consider this test. For this type of test, you are allowed to sleep in the comforts of your own bed.

Home sleep apnea test

Home sleep apnea test

However, you will have to wear a small device that is far less complicated than the ones used for polysomnography. However, it performs the same functions—monitor your blood oxygen levels and, measure your breathing and heart rate.

Other less commonly used tests for sleep are electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyogram (EMG), electrooculogram (EOG), electrocardiogram (ECG), snore microphone, and nasal airflow sensor.

In Summary

Sleep apnea is one disorder you should not take for granted. Keep in mind that oxygen is needed to facilitate almost all our bodily functions. If you want to stay healthy and avoid complications associated with sleep apnea, call your doctor so he can perform a sleep apnea test on you right away.

Why You Wake Up with Headache (and What You Can Do About It!)

Do you suffer from a dull, pulsating ache in your temple every time you wake up in the morning? I know, it’s the worst way to start your day! But you will be surprised to know that your condition is not that uncommon.

In fact, the American Migraine Foundation has discovered the following findings:

  • 50% of migraines are experienced between 4:00 and 9:00 AM.
  •  80% of people who have experienced these migraines wake up with a headache and exhaustion.
Do you have a headache every time you wake up in the morning

Do you have a headache every time you wake up in the morning

If you regularly wake up with headache, then you have a condition that experts call an awakening headache. To know why it happens and how you can prevent it, you need to read this article!

Why You Wake Up with Headache

Let’s start with the most important thing of all—the reasons why you wake up with headache. It has been discovered that the following sleep issues may cause morning headaches:

  • Insomnia

This condition is described as having difficulty to fall or stay asleep. Keep in mind that sleep is the perfect time when our boxy relaxes and recovers. When you have insomnia, you will suffer from poor sleep quality and the recovery of your body will be impeded. This may lead to a headache in the morning.

You will also suffer from chronic sleep deprivation which can also negatively impact your mood, memory, and focus.

  • Sleep Apnea/ Snoring

Aside from insomnia, the next two most common cause of morning headaches are snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Both are caused by difficulty in breathing

Both are caused by difficulty in breathing

Both of these sleeping issues are caused by difficulty in breathing and may ultimately lead to sleep disturbances at night which will again, prevent you from enjoying quality sleep.

  • Sleep Movement Disorders

Do you suffer from sleep bruxism or restless legs syndrome? Sleep bruxism is a condition wherein you unknowingly grind or clench your teeth as you sleep. The grinding and clenching act places too much pressure on your chewing muscles. Once these muscles get over-stressed, it may cause painful spasm which can affect your head.

On the other hand, restless legs syndrome is a condition where you experience “pins and needles” feeling on your lower limbs when you are in a supine position. To alleviate this, you would need to toss and turn at night which may prevent you from getting adequate sleep.

To know more about this condition, please watch this video:

  • Awkward Sleeping Position

I know that this is not a sleep disorder but your sleeping position can affect how well you sleep at night too. Sleeping in an awkward position can cause strain in the muscles in your head and neck area which may also result in a headache.

See also: How to Choose Your Pillow

What You Can Do About It

Now that you know the reasons, the next thing we should figure out is how to prevent or resolve such issues. Here are some of the things that you can do about it:

  • Get proper support.

Awkward sleeping positions are usually due to the lack of support you have in your bed. Choosing the right mattress can help you maintain your body in proper spine alignment. On the other hand, the right pillow can place your neck, and head are in the right and comfortable position all night long. Because of this, it is crucial that you learn how to choose your pillow and mattress correctly.

  • Make your bedroom more conducive to sleep.

If you want to achieve quality sleep, you must pay attention to your sleeping environment.

To begin with, you have to make sure that your bedroom is free of clutter, visual or noisy distractions (TVs, Radios and the likes). Moreover, you must keep your room as quiet and dark as possible.

Make your bedroom more conducive to sleep

Make your bedroom more conducive to sleep

Last but not least, you must maintain proper temperature – low- to mid- 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower may cause headaches in the morning.

  • Get enough sleep regularly.

Studies have shown that we must have 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. Anything less or more than that may trigger a headache.

  • Seek professional help.

If you are suffering from other sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, sleep bruxism, and restless legs syndrome, it is best that you consult a doctor.

In Summary

It is never a good thing to wake up with headache, but the good news is, you can do something about it! The key is to get enough (quality) sleep at night and the tips mentioned can help you do that!

Stomach Sleepers the Definitive Guide

Stomach Sleepers- The Definitive Guide

Are you a stomach sleeper? If so, then you will be surprised to know that you are part of a rare breed. In fact, studies show that only 16% of the population sleep on their stomach.

People have always claimed that sleeping on your stomach is uncomfortable. After all, how can you even breathe when your face is buried in your pillow. Well, only you can answer that! However, most experts claim that sleeping on your stomach can be a danger to your health while some claim that it is perfectly safe for you.

Are you a stomach sleeper

Are you a stomach sleeper

So which is which true? I know it can be confusing, so we have decided to create this simple yet comprehensive guide to help you figure this out!

The Benefits of Sleeping on Your Stomach

Many deem this as the worst sleeping position of all, but you will be surprised to know that this sleeping position offers health benefits as well.

One of the most significant benefits of sleeping on your stomach is that it can help you solve your snoring or sleep apnea issues.

The Cons of Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sadly though, the disadvantages of sleeping on your stomach trump its advantages. When you lie on your stomach, your body takes on a few awkward twists and bends which can mess up proper spinal alignment.

In fact, when analyzed your sleeping position closely, it places your neck in an awkward upward bend, your hips in an uncomfortable downward bend. It may also force your neck to twist extremely either on the left or right side.

Because of this unnatural position, you may end up with neck and back pain that persists through the entire day.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Sleeping Position

Many would recommend that you try to change your sleeping position. But if you have a hard time doing so, you will be happy to know that there are a few ways on how you can make this sleeping position as comfortable and healthy as possible. These are as follows:

  • Choose the right pillow.

The most common problem of most stomach sleepers is whether they should use a pillow or not. The solution here is simple—you choose the option that can help put your spine and neck in proper alignment. In short, using a pillow is always the best idea.

The problem now lies with the type of pillow that you should use, so you need to learn how to choose a pillow.

Most stomach sleepers find pillows in the market to be either too thin or thick. When you use a thin pillow, you will tend to compensate for it by putting your arms on top of the pillow. This will keep your neck aligned, but your arms would tend to move around at night so the alignment would not be consistent. Worst is, you would end up with strained arms.

Compensate for it by putting arms on top of the pillow

Compensate for it by putting arms on top of the pillow

When you use an overly stuffed pillow, it will impede good airflow to your head, and you might end up sweating all night long.

To solve this, you should use an adjustable pillow which comes with a zippered opening that allows you to remove or add fluff to suit your preference.

  • Pick the best mattress.

Aside from the pillow, you also need to be careful in choosing the mattress that you use. A good mattress will adjust to your pressure points, removing the stress on your neck and tummy. If you decided to go pillow-free, the mattress might act as your headrest too.

An excellent mattress for the stomach sleeper is one that removes pressure from your stomach and head and at the same time, providing the support that your pelvis and neck need.

And since stomach sleepers are positioned in a way that they are hugging the mattress, they are more prone to trapping heat in their body as compare to other sleepers. Because of this, you need to choose a mattress that is designed to promote proper airflow and disperse body heat.

  • Address the bend in your lower back.

Most of your weight is concentrated on your pelvic area. Because of this, this body part sinks a lot farther into the mattress than any other parts. The position of your hips places unneeded pressure on your lower back muscles.

To reduce the pressure that this part receives, the best thing that you can do is to place a pillow under your hips which will keep it a bit elevated. As a result, the downward bend of your back will be prevented.

Another option that you have is to go for a firmer mattress. If your mattress is too soft, your hips will sink lower, and the bend in your back will be a lot bigger.

  • Perform the child’s pose when you wake up.

You can combat the effects of your sleep position on your lower back with the child’s pose. To perform this pose, assume a sitting position with your shins in direct contact with the floor and your toes pointing backward.

Push your pelvic area downwards then place your hands forward as far as you can while they touch the floor. To extend both sides of your back, alternate putting your right and left hands forward.

For more tips on how to sleep on your stomach, please watch this video:

Frequently Asked Questions of Stomach Sleepers

  • Can and should pregnant women sleep on their stomachs?

If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, you may have to make adjustments to your sleeping position for your and your baby’s sake.

You see, different parts of your body will receive unwanted pressure as your baby grows. When your baby develops, your uterus grows bigger too, and its size can compress the veins that bring blood from your heart to legs, causing it to pump more. As a result, you may feel dizzy, have difficulty breathing and higher heart rate. This risk increases when you sleep on your stomach.

When you sleep on your back, this blood flow is decreased and so does your heart rate.

  • Are there sleep accessories that can enhance the form of stomach sleepers?

Yes, actually. Nowadays, body pillows are widely available. These pillows are designed to position your body as you sleep properly. Also, there are also contouring body pillows that conform to the shape of the body, giving it the support it needs.

If you want to go all out, you can try investing in a full body positioning system which allows the sleeper to lie face down while lifting his hips for proper alignment.

  • What does sleeping on your stomach says about your personality?

Believe it or not, many people believe that your sleeping position has plenty of things to say about your character and sleeping on your stomach is no exception.

Most people refer to this as the “free-fall” sleep position. Because of this term, people claim that people who sleep on their stomach are risk takers. Since this position is also known as the skydiver, this type of sleepers is also known to be open, playful, and adventurous.

But despite their fun nature, many claims that the free fallers don’t have the thick skin to deal with criticisms properly. If you take a look at their sleeping position, you may notice that it is quite a defensive stance. And with his back on other people, it seems like he is trying to hide his vulnerable parts of his body. This shows that he is not confident enough to take on criticisms head-on.

Sleeping on your stomach says about your personality

Sleeping on your stomach says about your personality

Moreover, these sleepers may also find themselves too vulnerable when they are in a relationship. In fact, they may show signs of fear and anxiety when they share a bed or life story with their partner.

  • How can you train yourself to sleep in a different position?

If you want to take the easy way out, your best option is to try and switch to a different sleeping position. Below are some tips on how you can do that:

– Use a body pillow to assist you from switching to sleeping on your stomach to sleeping partially on your stomach. By sleeping with a body pillow, you will get the feeling of lying on your stomach minus half of the pains and aches.

– Sleep with sleep pants on and place a tennis ball in its pocket. When you are tempted to roll into your stomach, the ball will poke into your body which would cause you to turn the other way.

– Sleep on the couch. The lack of surface area will make it difficult for you to lie on your stomach so you will be forced to sleep on your side.

In Summary

Sleeping in your stomach is not as harmful as many people think it is. But if you wish to manage its disadvantages, you must keep in mind the sleeping tips that we have provided in this short yet comprehensive guide.