What Happens to Your Body While You Sleep

Sleep may seem like a fairly uncomplicated thing, especially when it’s going well—you crawl into bed at night, fall asleep in the morning, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. In reality, you pass through many different stages of sleep through the night in a cycle that repeats about every 90 to 110 minutes. These stages are not all the same, and scientists believe that different types of sleep serve different purposes.

There are two main types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement), the type of sleep that includes our most vivid dreaming, and NREM (non-rapid eye movement), which makes up about 75 to 80 percent of our sleep and includes periods of restorative rest. NREM sleep is broken down into four stages, which are followed by a period of REM sleep.

These five stages of sleep progress from half-awake sleepiness through deep sleep to dreaming as follows:

Stage 1—lasts 1 to 7 minutes—In this stage you feel drowsy, and your brain activity starts to slow. However, you’re still somewhat alert and can be fully woken up easily at this point.

Stage 2—lasts 10 to 25 minutes—In this stage of light sleep, your brain waves continue to slow and increase in size on an electroencephalogram (EEG) monitor. Interspersed with these readings are spikes of brain activity called “sleep spindles.” You can still be woken up easily in this stage. Your heart and breathing rate become even and your body temperature drops.

Stage 3—lasts 20 to 40 minutes—In this stage you enter deeper sleep, with sleep spindles disappearing from EEG readings and even slower, taller waves known as delta waves starting to appear. The longer that stage three sleep lasts, the harder it is for someone to wake you up.

Stage 4—lasts 20 to 40 minutes—This is the deepest stage of sleep. Your muscles relax, your breathing slows down, and you are extremely hard to wake up. This is the most restorative stage of sleep, when your body repairs muscles, boosts your immune system, stimulates growth, and gathers energy for the day ahead.

REM Sleep—lasts 10 to 60 minutes—This stage is named for the jerky, fast eye movements that occur beneath your closed eyelids. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate all increase during this stage, and your brain becomes much more active, resembling the EEG of someone who is awake. However, your brain sends signals that relax and immobilize your body. This stage is associated with vivid dreaming. It is also believed to play an important role in processing information and forming long-term memories from our daytime experiences.

When your sleep is cut short or is frequently interrupted, you may not spend enough time in the restorative stages of sleep, shortchanging both your body and your mind. It’s important not only to schedule enough time for sleep, the way you would schedule any important activity, but to make sure that your sleep environment is conducive to getting good quality rest.

At IDLE Sleep, we craft high-quality mattresses designed to last. With different levels of firmness and hybrid, all-foam, and latex construction options, we have mattresses to suit every sleeper. If you’re not getting the great sleep you deserve, don’t wait to make a change. Click here to find the IDLE Sleep mattress that’s right for you.

Does Blue Light Mess with Bedtime?

Of all the common advice given to promote healthy sleep, the caution against using electronic devices such as computers and cell phones right before bed can be the hardest to follow. If you’ve been busy at work or school all day, or you’ve been taking care of your family, the evening may seem like the perfect time to catch up on your social media, watch a few YouTube videos, or even get ahead on some work for the next day. Doing that, however, stands to sabotage your chances of getting a good night’s rest in key ways.

Computers and cell phones emit blue light, and this shorter-wavelength light is more powerful than other wavelengths in resetting your body’s internal clock toward wakefulness. Our bodies evolved to set our sleep patterns based on the natural light of the sun; when you introduce artificial light at all hours, the natural pattern of wakefulness and sleep is disrupted. Because the retina is particularly sensitive to light in the blue wavelengths, exposure to electronics and LEDs is especially problematic.

To begin with, blue light suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps to regulate the sleep cycle. It is present in low amounts during the day, but slowly begins to increase later in the day, finally peaking in the middle of the night. Exposure to blue light in the evening resets this cycle, making melatonin production peak later.

In addition, as part of your normal sleep rhythms, your core temperature also drops by 1 to 2 degrees. This decrease helps you get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night. However, blue light prevents this natural decrease in temperature, illustrating the degree to which it disrupts normal patterns.

What does this mean in terms of how you sleep? First of all, this interference with your natural sleep cycle means that it takes you longer to fall asleep when you do go to bed. During the night you experience less REM sleep, the stage of sleep associated with dreaming and thought to provide important benefits for stress reduction, memory, and mood. You also wake more frequently during the night and wake up in the morning feeling less rested.

To prevent these effects, you should limit your exposure to electronics in the hour or so immediately before bedtime. If you must use your cell phone or computer in the evening hours, use blue-blocking filters or glasses to reduce your exposure. You can also help to reset your sleep rhythms by making sure you do get exposure to bright light early in the day, when its stimulating effect can help reduce daytime sleepiness. Paying attention to your routines can help you reset to a more mindful schedule that promotes healthy rest.

At IDLE Sleep, we know that good sleep is the foundation for a successful day. Our luxury mattresses are designed to help you get the quality sleep you need night after night. To choose the IDLE Sleep mattress that’s right for you, click here.

How Much Sleep Do You Truly Need?

Everybody knows that getting a good night’s sleep is important. Even without facts and figures to guide us, the feeling of trying to slog through a day (or several days) after insufficient sleep is enough to tell us that without proper rest, our bodies don’t get what they need to function at peak efficiency. So what is the right amount of sleep? It turns out that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question.

Most people, if asked, would say that everyone needs to get eight hours of sleep a night. Contrary to this common belief, experts have found that the optimal amount of sleep varies not only from person to person, but also according to how old you are. At any age, getting too little sleep and getting too much sleep are associated with poorer health—however, instead of a single figure for how much sleep you should be aiming for, there is a range of what is considered a healthy amount of slumber.

The National Sleep Foundation, based on extensive research, has identified ranges of proper sleep for key developmental stages. In general, the younger you are, the more sleep you need. Their recommendations are:

Newborn (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day

Infant (4-11 months): 12-15 hours each day

Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day

Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours each day

School-age children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours each day

Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours each day

Younger adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours each day

Adult (26-64 years): 7-9 hours each day

Older adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours each day

Especially for young children, the total amount of sleep is likely to include daytime naps. For most adults, there’s a two-hour range of what is considered a typically healthy amount of sleep, which means if you get more sleep one night and less another it’s nothing to be concerned about, as long as you’re generally falling within the overall range.

Even these recommendations are not set in stone, though. The National Sleep Foundation recognizes that some individuals may need more or less sleep than is generally recommended—for example, you may have a preschooler who gets by just fine on 9 hours of sleep. While the numbers are a useful guideline, quantity of sleep is only one factor to consider when you’re deciding how much rest you need.

The true test of how much sleep you need is how you feel during the day. If you feel alert, productive, and energetic on seven hours of sleep per night, then you don’t need to worry about increasing the time you spend in bed. However, if you’re sleeping eight hours and still waking up groggy, then perhaps you aren’t getting enough rest. You also need to evaluate the quality of rest you’re getting—a night spent tossing and turning will not have the same restorative benefits as one where you drop off to sleep quickly and spend your hours in blissful slumber.

At IDLE Sleep, we design our luxury mattresses with the latest materials to promote quality rest. With superior temperature regulation and pressure relief, our mattresses help you get to sleep and stay asleep night after night. To find out which IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you, click here.

Best Sleeping Positions for Your Neck and Back

If you want to wake up feeling refreshed and restored after a night of slumber, how you sleep is a critical factor to monitor. Sleeping in the wrong position can exacerbate or even cause neck or back pain. Before such problems get to the point where you feel like you need medical attention, you should analyze your regular sleep position to see if it might be contributing to your discomfort.

Your sleep position should be one that maintains good spinal alignment, without putting undue stress on your back or neck. Your spine naturally has three gentle curves in it, in your neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic), and lower back (lumbar). Ideally, your spine should be in a neutral position whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down, which means that all three curves are in the correct alignment. Maintaining a neutral spine position while you sleep avoids putting strain on the neck or back.

So which sleep positions are best for achieving that goal? The best option for supporting your neck and back is to sleep on your back. Make sure that your pillow is not too high or firm, which can throw your neck out of proper alignment. A pillow under your knees can also help ensure that your spine stays in its natural curved position comfortably. Unfortunately, if you are prone to snoring, sleeping on your back can make the problem worse. Back sleeping is also not recommended for those who suffer from sleep apnea or for pregnant women.

The next best sleep position is on your side. For the most benefit, you should try to sleep with your legs as straight as possible. Sleeping on your side with your legs tightly bent upwards curves your upper back and neck out of neutral alignment, which can cause back pain. A more relaxed bend is kinder to your back. A pillow between your knees can help keep your spine in the correct position. In a side sleeping position, the pillow under your head should keep your nose aligned with the center of your body so that your neck is lined up properly with the rest of your spine. (Side sleeping is considered ideal for snorers, those with sleep apnea, and pregnant women.)

The one sleep position everyone should avoid, whether you’re suffering from back pain already or not, is sleeping on your stomach. This position puts strain on your back by flattening out its natural curves. In addition, sleeping on your stomach forces you to keep your head turned to the side throughout the night, which can cause pain in your neck and upper back.

To keep your body feeling healthy, where you sleep is as important as how you sleep. Even the best sleep position can’t help if you’re sleeping on a sagging, lumpy mattress that’s well past its prime. At IDLE Sleep, we’ve created a line of long-lasting luxury mattresses designed to help you get the quality sleep you deserve. To find out which 2-sided IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you, click here.

Benefits of Sleeping Early

Busy schedules and lack of sleep go hand in hand—after all, when you’ve got a long to-do list, it’s tempting to work into the wee hours to try to get ahead of the curve. However, it turns out that shortening your sleep schedule night after night is a bad idea. If you want to be sharp and productive, you’re far better off going to bed early and making sure you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Experts recommend scheduling sleep the way you would any other vitally important activity, because striving for a consistent, early bedtime is critical for deriving the most benefits. Here’s why:

You’ll be healthier in mind and body: A myriad of studies have connected getting enough sleep to better memory and problem solving, improved mood, stronger immune function, stable weight, and more. When you’re rested, you can be more productive and focused in your daytime hours, rather than dragging through tasks wearily. You’ll also feel better physically, which will help you have the energy you need to tackle your goals.

A consistent sleep schedule helps you sleep better: When your bedtime is all over the map, late one night and early the next, you may find that you’re tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep even when you feel exhausted. This is because your body’s internal clock follows a rhythm that adjusts slowly and responds best to routine. Keeping your bedtime and waking time consistent throughout the week trains your body as to when you should be sleeping and when you should be awake, making it more likely that you’ll drop off when you’re supposed to.

Early bedtime improves your mornings: Many of us have to get up early, whether we want to or not, due to commute times, our children’s school schedules, or other obligations. Going to bed earlier makes it easier to get up at the right time, because you’re less likely to hit the snooze button for a few more moments of rest when you’ve already gotten a satisfying amount of sleep. You’ll also have a better quality morning, because higher energy levels will help you get more done in the early hours, rather than lingering over your cup of coffee trying to pry your eyelids open.

Of course, to get the greatest benefit out of an earlier sleep schedule, you have to set the stage for a successful night’s sleep. This means adopting good sleep hygiene practices such as not working out immediately before bedtime, limiting caffeine and other stimulants in the later part of the day, and getting off of electronics an hour or two before bedtime. You also need to be sure that your bedroom is set up to promote sleep, eliminating stray light that can make it hard to get and stay asleep and making sure your bed provides the proper support so you can rest comfortably.

At IDLE Sleep, we take good sleep seriously. That’s why we’ve designed a line of top-quality, double-sided mattresses with the latest in high-tech materials to provide supportive, temperature-regulated rest night after night. If you’ve been missing great sleep, it’s time to find out which IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you.

10 Homeopathic Ways to Alleviate Back Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is one of the most common medical problems in America. If you’ve been dealing with back pain that doesn’t seem to be going away on its own, you may fear having to rely on painkillers or having to consider surgery to get rid of your pain. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for back pain that can help you feel better, and which, used in combination, may help resolve the cause of painful back problems. Here are ten things worth trying:

  1. Heat and cold: Hot and cold packs can take the edge off of back pain. In general, you should use ice packs if you suspect your back pain is caused by inflammation, while back pain caused by tight muscles or spasms is better soothed with heat.
  2. Epsom salt bath: The minerals in Epsom salt (magnesium and sulfate) can be absorbed through the skin and are beneficial in reducing inflammation and promoting proper nervous system function. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your Epsom salt soak can make the experience even more relaxing.
  3. Capsaicin cream: This topical treatment is made from the active ingredient in chili peppers. It is believed to change the way the body processes pain and has been shown effective in reducing back pain.
  4. Arnica: To relieve muscle soreness or joint pain in your back, this herbal remedy can be used two ways: applied directly to the affected area as a topical gel or cream or taken orally as a tablet.
  5. Acupuncture: Modern studies have confirmed what practitioners of this ancient Chinese therapy have known for centuries—acupuncture can be effective in helping to treat back pain.
  6. Supplements: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can contribute to underlying problems that create back pain. If your back pain is due to osteoarthritis, a glucosamine sulfate supplement can help. If, on the other hand, your problems are due to muscle spasms, you may benefit from calcium and magnesium. Low vitamin D levels can weaken your bones and muscles, so consider boosting this vitamin as well.
  7. Good mattress: Back problems often stem from sleep problems. If your mattress is old and not providing proper support, or its firmness is poorly matched to your preferred sleep position, your poor nighttime posture may result in ongoing back pain.
  8. Massage therapy: A series of regular massages can help relax strained or tense muscles in the back and relieve pain. Studies have demonstrated that the therapeutic benefits of massage can persist beyond the weeks of the treatment period.
  9. Walking: Although the idea of exercising may seem intimidating if your back hurts, inactivity exacerbates the problem by weakening your back muscles over time. Gentle walking on flat terrain can help promote healing. Start slowly and gradually increase your pace and distance.
  10. Yoga: Yoga is well-known for helping to strengthen muscles, increase range of motion, and promote relaxation. Look for a class targeted to back relief, or discuss your concerns with your yoga instructor so they can help guide you through the poses correctly for maximum benefit.

Back pain may be common, but it doesn’t have to be forever. At IDLE Sleep, we’ve designed our luxury mattresses out of superior materials to give our customers a restful, supportive night’s sleep. Find out today which mattress is right for you.

Why Sleep Is Important for the Rest of Your Day

When you’re busy, it’s tempting to simply stay up later to get a few more things done before you turn in for the night. After all, you might reason that you’re not going to be able to sleep anyway with a list of all your undone to-do list items scrolling through your head. Shorting yourself on sleep is not a good long-term strategy, however, if you want to remain healthy. Sleep serves several important functions to keep both body and mind in top shape. Here’s why putting a priority on getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is a good idea:

Sleeping improves learning and memory: Sleep is an important time for your brain to reset and prepare for the next day. While you sleep, your brain is forming new connections, making it easier to recall information you’ve just learned. A good night’s sleep can also enhance your problem-solving and decision-making skills. More recent research indicates that the brain also sweeps out toxins during sleep. You’ll gain more in next-day productivity by getting a good night’s rest than you will by trying to hammer out extra work in the wee hours.

Sleeping boosts your mood: Missing out on sleep is likely to make you irritable and angry, according to psychological studies. It can also make it harder for you to regulate your reaction if something doesn’t go well. Unfortunately, feelings of stress and anxiety aren’t just a result of sleeplessness—they can also be a cause of it. Many people can fall into a vicious cycle of insomnia and anxiety feeding off of one another. Making an effort to get a proper amount of sleep each night can help promote a more positive, resilient mood.

Sleeping promotes physical health: The hours of sleep are when your body repairs damage to cells. Sleep is also when your body heals your heart and blood vessels and boosts muscle mass. On the flip side, lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When you don’t get enough sleep, hormonal changes stimulate your appetite, making you eat more. Lack of sleep can also interfere with your body’s ability to control blood sugar effectively. If your efforts to exercise and eat better don’t seem to be paying off, it could be that getting insufficient sleep is unintentionally making it harder to see the benefits.

Sleeping promotes healthy immune function: Your body needs sleep to help your immune system function properly. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get sick when you’re exposed to a virus.

Making the right amount of time for healthy sleep and promoting it with good sleep habits is essential for getting the most out of your day. One of the most important things you can do is make sure that you literally have the best foundation for sleep by buying the right mattress. IDLE Sleep’s two-sided mattresses use the latest in foam technology for superior pressure relief and temperature control to give you the best possible rest. Find out today which IDLE Sleep mattress is right for you.

Can’t Sleep? Here Are 5 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

If you feel like you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re not alone. According to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Nobody likes the groggy feeling that comes with being poorly rested, and fighting a lack of sleep can make every task you face throughout the day seem harder. Fortunately, you can improve both the duration and quality of your sleep by reviewing your habits and your sleep environment and making some simple changes. Here’s how:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule: When your sleeping and waking schedules vary widely from day to day, your internal clock is constantly being reset, which makes it harder to go to sleep when you want. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time consistently, even on weekends. The National Institute of Health recommends that you get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to be well-rested, so make sure you are allowing enough time for sleep as well.

2. Gear your bedroom toward sleep: Your bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet. If light is leaking from around the blinds or shining from LEDs on electronics, this can interfere with your ability to get to sleep or stay asleep. The temperature should be around 65 to 70 degrees to promote rest. Turn off anything that might make random noise to disturb you at night.

3. Watch what you consume: What you eat and drink can have a profound effect on your ability to sleep well. Stimulants like caffeine are an obvious thing to avoid, but did you also know you should not drink alcohol right before bed? Although a nightcap may feel relaxing, alcohol reduces your ability to achieve the restorative deep and REM stages of sleep, impairing the quality of sleep you get. Large meals right before bed can also make it hard to rest.

4. Avoid stimulation before bedtime: While getting exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night, you shouldn’t work out too close to bedtime because the residual adrenaline in your system can make it harder to fall asleep. The blue light from electronics, such as cell phones and computers, can also interfere with your ability to doze off, so put them away about an hour before bed.

5. Check your mattress: Your mattress should be both comfortable and supportive to promote sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning, the culprit may be a mattress that isn’t right for you, or one that is too old. Even a high-quality mattress doesn’t last forever. If you’re waking up sore, or if your mattress has obvious lumps or saggy spots, a replacement may be exactly what you need to improve your rest.

At IDLE Sleep, we know a good night’s rest is the foundation of a happy, productive day. We design our two-sided mattresses to provide support and comfort combined with superior pressure relief. Our Buoyancy Foam and Thermocool fabric help maintain a cool, comfortable sleeping temperature. If you’re ready to discover the IDLE Sleep difference, click here to find out more.