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Every New Year millions of Americans resolve to lose weight, get better organized and spend less money. You know, the typical run-of-the-mill New Year’s resolutions. But how many of us resolve to be healthier by getting a good night’s sleep? Too few according to sleep experts who say one of the most important things to improve your health is doing everything you can to ensure you sleep deeply every night. This is why resolving to sleep better is one of the best New Year’s resolutions you’ll ever make and can be started anytime.
It’s a shame sleep doesn’t get the same kind of publicity weight loss programs and health fitness centers do every December and January. The sad truth is, sleep doesn’t get such publicity and it should. Especially since poor sleep has been linked to a myriad of health problems like diabetes, heart disease and an increased risk for cancer.
In fact, when a person doesn’t get enough sleep, their immune system is altered too. People who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to illness. Sleep deprivation affects your metabolism and causes weight gain. Lack of sleep is a factor in many auto accidents. And, when you don’t get enough sleep you’re less productive at work.
Many of us lead fast-paced lifestyles because we feel pressure from the demands of our family and at work. As a result, millions of us burn the candle at both ends. Though we might be able to sustain this pace for a while, it can’t be sustained and is bound to result in undesirable consequences.
It’s time more Americans think of sleep as a relaxing hot shower for the brain. When we sleep toxic waste products are scrubbed out from around the cells in our brains. When we sleep the brain gets cleaned. This is why we’re able to think more clearly and perform better in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
When it comes to sleeping soundly, many are under the misconception that the lucky people are the ones who can do it. The ones who don’t have kids to worry about, haven’t lost their job, or don’t have any stress. But the truth is all sorts of habits contribute to poor sleep. The good news is they’re easy to change.
If you use caffeine, nicotine or alcohol, avoid taking these substances within six hours of your bedtime. Make it a daily habit of sleeping the same eight hours every night. If you stay awake later on weekends or get up earlier in the morning on weekdays, you won’t have any consistent sleep schedule. So, establish a regular sleeping routine for better sleep.
One of the best ways to go to sleep each night is vigorous exercise during the day. Be sure to exercise during the day and not too close to your bedtime.
The Fitbit sleep tracking app can tell you what time you went to bed, when you woke up, what periods of time you were restless at night, and the total amount of quality sleep that you had each night. The Fitbit Flex 2 Smart Fitness Activity Tracker is even waterproof, so you never need to take it off. These are all useful statistics for determining how to best optimize your sleeping arrangement.
Getting a good night’s sleep means controlling your sleep environment. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool every night. You can use eye masks, earplugs and blackout shades to make your sleep space more relaxing. With a completely dark bedroom and silence for eight hours each night you’ll see remarkable improvement in the quality of your sleep.
Something else that helps you to wind down before you turn in for the night is a warm shower or bath. This relaxes you and puts your body in the perfect state for crawling under the covers and going to sleep. Avoid watching TV, listening to the radio or your IPod. Make your bedroom your sleep oasis.
Finally, make sure you have a comfortable mattress and kick out the cat or dog. The last thing you want is Fido taking over your bedroom.