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Does Your Pillow Affect Your Sleep?

There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep. It makes you feel great, smarter and better at facing the day’s challenges. Fact is, sleeping with the right pillow does matter and helps with making you sleep better. Experts have it that pillows not only have impact on the quality of your sleep but how healthfully we rest and recharge.




However, the wrong pillows may bring about or worsen headaches, neck pains, sneezing and wheezing, etc. certainly, a bad pillow won’t cause all these problems but it could worsen it. Using the wrong pillow can keep you from having a good night rest and adding to a host of problems.


If pillows thus play important role in our sleep, how do we go about picking the right pillows? Which is the right pillow; and for which occasion?


We will try as much as possible to answer all of the above and see the role that a pillow plays in affecting our sleep.


What To Consider Before Shopping For Your Pillow


You must consider your sleeping style before you shop for pillows. The sleeping styles of individuals differ; and so are the pillows for each of these occasions. The purpose of a pillow is to put your head in a state of 'neutral alignment.' What this means is that your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.


The following are what experts’ advice when thinking of picking a sleeping pillow:


For those who sleep on their back:


Those who sleep on their back, popularly called back sleepers need thinner pillows to avoid their head being thrown too far forward. It’s also important to look for a pillow with extra loft in the bottom third of the pillow to cradle your neck.


For those who sleep on their side:


Those who sleep on their side need a firmer pillow (side sleepers) to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder.


For those who sleep on their stomach:


For those who sleep on their stomach, a thin almost flat pillow would be ideal. It’s true that a pillow may not be needed for your head but you might want to consider tucking one under your stomach to prevent lower back pain.



Types of Pillows and Their Purposes


Different kinds of pillows exist in the market, and for different sleeping purposes and are designed to address specific needs like hot flashes, headaches and neck pains. These pillows could be quite pricey and there is no medical research available to back up how well they work.


Let’s have a look at some of them.


Cervical Pillows


These come in various materials and shapes; and they add some extra cushioning in the lower portion of the pillow to support the neck. It is believed that they can be quite helpful though there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against its usage.


Water Pillows


These pillows are a favourite of many physical therapists and chiropractors. It uses water to create a customized level of density and support.


Cool Pillows


These pillows have been lauded as antidote to hot flashes and night sweats. They include a filling of tiny "beads" that absorb and whisk away head heat, leaving the part of the pillow that touches your face cool.


Oxygen-Promoting Pillows


The science behind this pillow is based on studies of sock fabric that helped promote circulation in diabetes patients. These pillows use the same technology to increase oxygen content in tiny blood vessels by up to 29 percent. What’s the advantage in this? Science isn’t sure, but some people have reported a reduction in pain after using these pillows.


Anti-Snore Pillows


This piece wouldn’t be complete without mentioning these kinds of pillows. Though there is little research that shows that any particular design affects snoring, there have been individual reports that attests relief is possible in some people.


In conclusion, we have seen that pillows could be really important not only in ensuring that we sleep well but that we remain in good health. There is no emphasizing the power of a good night sleep for any normal human.


Take time in picking your pillows!

Soft or Firm Mattress?

Unlike the early cave men that spent their night times on the cold hard floors of a cave, we are fortunate enough to have access to a mattress. Statistics have it that we spend about a third of every day in bed; either blissfully slumbering away or tossing and turning; and this in a large frame depends on your mattress.


Soft or Firm Mattress?


The mattress has a large impact on your sleep; and one way in which it does this is through the network of fine blood vessels called capillaries that run underneath the skin. 


Bearing this in mind, care should be taken when buying or searching for a mattress. Should you go for soft or hard or medium? Ideally, a mattress that reduces the pressure points on your body should give you a better night sleep.


In this article, we will examine the best kind of mattress and why picking the right mattress could go a long way to impacting your sleep; and health in general.


Which Mattress Is Right For You?


Picking the right kind of mattress isn’t all about high-tech brand or spending a fortune. Fact is, a more expensive mattress doesn’t mean it’s the most suitable for you. Picking a mattress is personal. It is always the best idea to think about what you want before picking a mattress. Though there isn’t an abundance of medical fact to back it up that a particular mattress will help you sleep better, it has however been shown that for people with medical conditions, certain mattresses will help them rest better.


For instance, those with neck or back pain should go for a mattress that is not too hard or too soft. This is because, if you are on too soft of a mattress, you will start to sink in. But on too hard of a mattress you have too much pressure on the sacrum, and on the shoulders, and on the back of the head. A medium-firm mattress, or a firm mattress with a softer pillow top, will give your spine that "just-right" balance of support and cushioning.


I guess we have all heard of Space-age memory foam mattresses, which runs into thousands of dollars? Evidence exists that they do aid with back problems and improve sleep, but their advantage over a regular coil mattress is only minimal. Where memory foam mattresses can really help you sleep is if you have an active bed partner who is keeping you awake. Foam mattresses reduce motion transfer, letting you lie still while your partner tosses and turns.




So, which should you go for? Soft, firm or medium? That would depend a lot on you; as well as if you have any medical issues or if your partner prefers one over the other. Generally, the best option would be to go with the medium as it suits almost everyone. Picking the wrong mattress could result in issues like back pain, neck pains and sleeplessness.

Bizarre Sleep Disorder: Sleeping Beauty Syndrome

Kleine-Levin Syndrome, also known as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome, is a rare sleep disorder that affects teenage boys, women and some adults. The main symptoms are intermittent hypersomnolence, cognitive and behavioral disturbances, hyperphagia and hypersexuality. Episodes last from a single week up to two months and one can have ten or more episodes a year. Those who experience Klein-Levin Syndrome are asymptomatic between Kleine-Levin episodes. 


Sleeping Beauty Syndrome




Those with Kleine-Levin syndrome or KLS have feelings of excessive tiredness and hypersomnia (prolonged sleep). Sufferers may sleep up to 21 hours a day during episodes. Unusual cravings and excessive appetites are also part of syndrome. Marked changes in moods and cognitive abilities plus severe apathy are also indicators. One third of patients experience delusions or hallucinations. Some patients have anxiety and depression. Most sufferers of Kleine-Levin syndrome will not remember what happened during their “sleeping beauty” episodes. 


There have been cases where brief insomnia is a symptom before the episode. Patients are usually very happy, energetic and talkative after their episodes. 


Most patients have KLS experiences after symptoms that are similar to the flu or encephalitis. Often there is an airway infection involved. Other viruses that might move along the episodes are Epstein-Barr virus, varicella zoster virus, herpes virus and Influenza a virus subtypes. After these types of symptoms appear, the patient is very tired and after three days, KLS starts. 


Getting Help with KLS


Kleine-Levin Syndrome is a very rare condition. There are few reported cases and you may see only one case in five or six years. An assessment by a sleep specialist is a requirement for an accurate diagnosis.


It is highly advised not to try and wake up a person with Kleine-Levin Syndrome. The patient often gets very aggressive or hostile and someone will get hurt. Be a support and realize that this a disorder that cannot be cured. Keep the patient surrounded by a supportive network of people who are aware of the condition. Someone who suffers with this condition is unable to go to school or work and you must be understanding.


Discuss the syndrome with your doctor. There may be medications that can address frequently occurring cases of Kleine-Levin Syndrome. Lithium and valproic acid have often been used to decrease the occurrence or recurrence. 


Science has discovered a previously uncharacterized chemical that stimulates the GABA-A receptor. Activated GABA receptors result in drowsiness. GABA receptors are the mechanisms where Valium and Xanax work. Finding this chemical suggested a possible treatment. Flumanezil treats Valium and Xanax overdoses and reverses the effects of compounds used in anesthesia. Perhaps this drug could reverse the effects of the chemical that activates GABA-A in Kleine-Levin syndrome. 


More research is being done to determine if Flumanezil or a similar drug can be an effective treatment. Figuring out what is influencing the GABA-A receptors might be the key to determining how to combat other types of sleep disorders like abnormal sleepiness as well as insomnia attacks.

Why Do We Yawn?

One of the most distinct and noticeable characteristics of humans would be the yawn. We always yawn when we feel tired, bored, listless, stressful or sleepy. Your yawns are not ruled out when you feel the opposites of those situations, not too mention the transmittable nature of yawns that is equally inexplicable.


Why Do We Yawn?


Yawns are fascinating. The fact that a yawn can be triggered by way of a lot of specific emotions varying from tiredness, boredom, to being sleepy is simply interesting. What is more fascinating is the fact that yawns are somewhat contagious as you're compelled to yawn right after you see somebody else do it. So what are yawns exactly and how come we undertake them? In this article, we are going to explore the certainty concerning yawns.


Yawning can be an involuntary behavior during which your mouth uncovers wide, therefore you inhale deeply then exhaling. When you say involuntary, consequently you have no treating this action similar to other reflexes for example blinking or sneezing therefore you cannot do almost anything to suppress it nor consciously deal with it. Yawns are not only limited to human beings as all animals experience yawning as well. When we yawn, there are numerous neurochemical changes that happen in the brain.


Although there isn't concrete proof that explains why we yawn, there are lots of explanations that explain why we do yawn. Some researchers have a theory that yawning is often a process accustomed to cool our minds off.


Your mental faculties are like a CPU of any computer. They function to be a machine where each of the actions and movements of the other areas of your body originate from this part. That is why it truly is called the central section of your body or nerves because just as a CPU is to some computers, you are unable to function well if your mental faculties are not functioning well. Because your head works 24/7, it would 'overheat' just like a CPU will if it doesn't get the rest it needs or perhaps just some cooling off. So, just what the brain does would be to inhale cool air, through yawning for cooling off the brain.


When you yawn, air will come in and it cools off the brain. When your mental abilities are cool, it is likely to be superior to when your mental faculties are tired or possibly nearing 'overheating.' This theory is termed the brain-cooling hypothesis or perhaps the radiator hypothesis.


Another explanation for why you yawn is because it can be the brain's means of telling you to bring more air into the lungs. At a normal rate, you do not get to utilize the majority of your lungs' capacity, hence, time frame oxygen levels if you are breathing normally. Therefore, for your lungs to not get stiff because of low levels of oxygen, the human brain urges someone to sigh or yawn.

8 Surprising Ways That Animals Sleep

Isn’t it amazing how different types of animals have their own quirky sleep habits? You might complain about your spouse taking all of the blankets or too much bed space while sleeping, but it could be worse. You don’t have to worry about waking up to find your spouse flying around the room while sleeping just as an albatross is known to do. Let’s look at some other odd sleeping habits of animals.


1. Bats Sleep Upside-Down


Bat Sleeping


Most people are probably somewhat aware of the fact that bats instinctively sleep upside-down but have you ever wondered why? It is largely due to the facts of life in the wild. If something dangerous comes along the bat can most easily fly away to safety from an upside-down position. A bat is not powerful enough to fly away from an upright position so it must drop into the air before being able to fly.


2. Fire Ants Can Be Chronic Power-Nappers


Fire Ants Napping


Have you ever seen somebody take a snooze for a few minutes in a chair and then go work for several hours only to take another nap later? Well, that person has nothing on some fire ants. One study revealed that fire ant workers can stop for a snooze that is approximately one minute long before going back to work. That may not sound unusual by itself but these ants are known to do this over 250 times in a single day.


3. The Term "Half-Awake" Really Means Something To Dolphins


Dolphins Half Awake


You probably know that dolphins use echolocation (a sort of biological type of radar) to perceive the murky ocean environment around them. As you might imagine, a period of sleep could be very dangerous in a wild area full of predators. Dolphins get around the problem of needing rest and keeping an eye on things by sleeping with half of their brains remaining active enough to keep using their echolocation ability. Remembering to surface for a breath of air is an added bonus.


4. African Papio Baboons Are The Ultimate Light Sleepers


Baboons Sleeping Lightly


Some people have the annoying ability to wake up right away, get dressed and go to work all in the space of a few minutes. The plains of Africa also happen to be a place where heavy sleepers are heavily penalized. In order to be able to escape hungry predators, these baboons climb up a tree and sleep crouched on their heels so they can bound away at a moment’s notice.


5. Felines Are Really Night Owls


Cat At Night


Have you ever wondered why your cat spends all night wailing and redecorating your furniture? It is not the cat’s fault- it’s genetics. Cats can sleep over 12 hours during the daylight hours and love to stay up all night hunting critters. It isn’t just a Tabby who does this either. Lions and tigers have been known to exhibit the same behavior. 


6. Cows Only Sort Of Sleep While Standing Up


Cow Sleeping


While cows can technically sleep while standing up, they can only enter deep sleep if they are lying down. The same is true of horses; you could put them in a narrow stall but if they only have room to stand then they won’t be able sleep deeply or have dreams.


7. Many Animals Who Live In Icy Environments Come With Built-In Face Warmers


Husky Keeping Warm


If you ever get the chance to see a Siberian Husky, a timber wolf or a snow leopard sleeping in the winter, you may see them curled up in a circle with their tails over their noses. This is a side benefit which allows them to keep their noses warm at night.


8. Warning! Ultimate Cuteness Incoming!


Cute Otters Sleeping Together


The final unusual sleeping habit we are looking at today is the otter. These little water-babies sleep while holding hands with their mates. The reason? They don’t want to float away from each other! This is a species who knows they want to wake up next to the one they love!

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