Like the Milky Way and the Great Pyramid, sleep is one of the great mysteries of life. We still don't understand the far-reaching benefits from sleep, although more is being discovered almost every day.
Both the traditional medical community and natural health advocates alike believe quality sleep is important for overall health. Six to eight hours of sleep per night seems to be the optimal amount for most adults.
So, what can you do to improve your sleep habits and help you get the quality "Zzzzzz's" you need for a restful night's sleep?
'Early to Bed and Early to Rise…'
Whether you find it difficult to fall asleep, wake up too frequently during the night, or feel inadequately rested when you awaken, I have several tips that may provide relief – even if you don't suffer from any of these scenarios and just want to improve the quality of your sleep.
Here's how to optimize your sleep sanctuary, make smarter bedtime prep decisions, and some general lifestyle practices to improve your sleep…
|Tips for your sleep sanctuary
|Sleep in complete darkness
||Or as close to complete darkness as possible. Even the tiniest sliver of light in your room can disrupt your internal clock.
|Keep your room temperature between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (F)
||Keeping your sleep environment cooler or warmer could cause restless sleep.
|Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs)
||EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin.
|Avoid loud alarm clocks
||Not only can alarm clocks cause stress to your body when you're jolted awake, looking at a visible time display while trying to get to sleep doesn't help.
|Use your bed exclusively for sleep
||If you're used to watching TV or working in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep.
|Bedtime prep tips
|Maintain a consistent bedtime
||You should go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day (even weekends). This will help your body get into a better sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep.
|Avoid drinking fluids within 2 hours of going to bed
||This will help reduce the likelihood of interrupted sleep due to the urge to get up and go to the bathroom.
|Go to the bathroom prior to getting in bed
||This will further help to reduce the chances of you waking up in the middle of the night
|Enjoy a high-protein snack several hours prior to bed
||This can help provide L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production. Avoid grains and sugars which can raise your blood sugar and potentially delay your sleep.
|Soak in a hot bath, take a shower or sauna before bed
||When your body temperature is raised in the evening, it will naturally fall at bedtime helping to facilitate your slumber
|General lifestyle tips
||Even though alcohol may make you drowsy, the effect can be short-lived, causing you to wake up later.
|Cut back on caffeine
||At least one study has shown that some people don't metabolize caffeine efficiently. This could leave you feeling its effects long after initial consumption and may keep you from falling asleep.
|Lose excess weight
||Being overweight can increase your potential risk of sleep apnea, which could impair your quality of rest.
|Avoid foods you may be sensitive to
||This is particularly true of sugars, grains, and pasteurized dairy foods. Sensitivity reactions can cause indigestion and other issues that may keep you from sleeping soundly.
|Exercise on a regular basis
||Exercising daily can improve your sleep. But I don't recommend exercising too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake
So more tips include: wearing an eye mask to bed, listening to relaxation CDs, or reading something spiritual or uplifting prior to sleep.
Besides these, you may be able to think of your own ideas on how to better relax and get into a good sleep routine.
There is another area I feel that can be easily overlooked that you probably don't think about it very much. But I believe it can be vitally important to getting a restful night's sleep.
What You Choose to Sleep on Could Determine the Quality of Your Slumber
Your selection of the type of bedding you use – from pillows to your comforter, and particularly, your mattress – can affect the quality of your sleep.
Emerging research on sleep quality reveals it's not simply the thread count of your sheets, the softness of your pillow, or the firmness of your new mattress that can make the difference in your overall quality of sleep.
Scientific sleep studies indicate that your choice of bedding potentially…
- Enhances total sleep time
- Improves sleep efficiency
- Increases the length of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep
REM is considered the most beneficial phase of your entire sleep cycle.
The type of bedding you choose can have a profound effect on your overnight sleep quality. What is the best bedding? I'll report my recommendation coming up, but first let's address some important factors.
Why Room Temperature Plays a Key Role
I recommend keeping your bedroom between 64-68 degrees F, because if it is much warmer or cooler, your sleep could be impaired.
Your body is on a constant mission to regulate your temperature to keep you as comfortable as possible. The term for this is "thermo-regulation."
Here is how thermo-regulation can affect your sleep…
- You could miss out on restorative sleep benefits if your body has to work extra hard to keep you warm or cool (triggering perspiration)
- Even though you might not be wide awake and aware your body is working "overtime" to cool you down (or warm you up), the effort automatically occurs
Helping your body reduce the amount of "thermal stress" needed to regulate your temperature can be key to getting restorative sleep. And interestingly enough, your bedding can greatly impact this. That's why it's essential for you to…
Be Very Selective About the Bedding You Choose
Some of the most popular and inexpensive bedding available today may not help you experience high-quality sleep. Plus, it may be produced using synthetic materials.
Many forms of synthetic bedding simply fail to help your body effectively thermo-regulate while you sleep. Polyester, for example, has been shown in studies to get too hot to keep your body thermo-regulated while you sleep.
Here are some other concerns I have with synthetic-based bedding:
- Many sheets you may see advertised as "wrinkle-free" (or "no iron") may contain risky perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Plus, many bedding fabrics contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- Certain chemicals added to bedding to increase softness, help prevent shrinkage, and make them resistant to fire, can emit formaldehyde gas.
- The polyester filling stuffed into many bedding products is essentially plastic (made from polyethylene terephthalate – PET). This stuffing deteriorates over time.
With mattresses, there's another heightened concern because of a mandatory US safety standard that became effective in 2007.
How This Safety Standard Created a Potential Health Risk
On July 1, 2007, all mattresses manufactured on or after that date had to meet the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) flammability standard. This mandatory mattress standard, known as "16 CFR Part 1633," is a performance standard limiting the release of heat in the case of a mattress fire.
Certainly, this standard's intent is very commendable in trying to reduce injury from mattress fires. According to CPSC estimates, thousands of people are injured and hundreds of deaths occur every year due to mattress fires.
But unfortunately, this standard led to the creation of another issue.
As mattress manufacturers scrambled to find inexpensive ways to conform to the safety standard, many started dousing their mattresses with highly toxic flame-retardant chemicals. I believe one of the most detrimental chemicals is polybrominated diphenyl ether, better known as PBDE.
One of the most alarming points about PBDE, is that its use in mattresses (or in other furniture and household goods), does NOT have to be disclosed in any way. You won't know if your mattress contains this toxic chemical that's banned in Europe, Canada, and even some states.
Here are other examples of flame-retardant chemicals approved for use in the mattress you might be sleeping on…
- Boric acid
Stop and think for a minute: You sleep several hours (up to a third of your life if you sleep 8 hours) every night with your face close to your mattress.
I have an excellent recommendation for an alternative but you may have already jumped the gun and be thinking about a goose or duck down mattress. The solution is obvious, right? Not so fast.
The 'Downside' of Down Bedding
Bedding made from down material is often thought to provide superior comfort.
Although there are benefits in using down bedding over bedding made with synthetic materials, there are some real shortcomings.
I don't recommend down bedding, and you should consider being "down" on it too, because down…
- Doesn't breathe or insulate enough to regulate your body temperature.
- May be unable to keep your body temperature within the 64-68 degree F comfortable range even when your room temperature is within the range. As you already know, this type of "thermal stress" can cause you to expend too much energy.
- Creates microclimates where temperatures may vary significantly from one section of a down comforter to another – Once again this will cause your body to expend too much energy in thermal-regulation.
Down mattresses are extremely flammable. The technique often used to reduce flammability to satisfy the CPSC standard is synthetic flame-retardant chemicals (like the ones I mentioned above).
But I have an excellent solution. Even if you are still a doubter, there's another reason to be "down" on down bedding…
Is Your Bed a Favorite Hangout for Dust Mites?
Consider that an estimated 10% of the US population (over 30 million people) is affected by dust mites on an annual basis.
Your bed could be the perfect breeding ground for dust mites?
These tiny critters enjoy feeding on dead skin cells your body naturally sheds every day.
Whether it's your mattress, comforter, or pillow, down bedding dries at a very slow rate and doesn't effectively wick away moisture when you sweat. The fiber creates a humid environment perfect for dust mite infestation.
Your down pillow can accumulate up to two pounds of dust mite feces over the course of two years. Imagine how much your down mattress might be accumulating!
Let me introduce you to a phenomenal bedding solution and alternative that pretty much eliminates most of these concerns.
Could This Simply Be the Best Bedding?
As was the case when I first introduced you to my wool bedding a few years ago, I still advise wool as your best possible choice for a mattress.
I believe it can enhance your overall sleep experience, as outlined below.
|Resists mold and mildew
||Breathability of wool helps wick away moisture and keeps it dry.
||Wool fibers keep a pocket of air close to your body while you sleep. This helps regulate your body temperature by insulating you when it's cold and breathing when it's warm.
|Helps resist and reduce dust mites
||Prevents dust mites from thriving in your bed.
|Is inherently hypoallergenic
||Perfect if you have sensitive skin.
||Wool's ability to breathe is a key advantage over other bedding choices for sleep and body temperature comfort.
|Provides superior resilience
||Should hold its crimp and loft longer than most other fillings for added comfort.
|Uses a sustainable resource
||Unlike down, wool comes from sheep which aren't sacrificed for the sake of your bedding comfort.
|Avoids the use of synthetic materials
||100% handpicked wool bedding is not treated with harsh chemicals.
|Resists fire without added chemicals
||Wool is a natural flame-retardant and doesn't require synthetic chemicals to pass the US CPSC mattress standard.
But I don't recommend rushing out to purchase any wool bedding without closely scrutinizing the details.
There's More to Wool Bedding Than Meets the Eye
What's the big deal about being so selective about purchasing wool bedding?
Just like any bedding, there are good wool options to choose from and not-so-good ones.
Here's a quick checklist my research team used when narrowing down the specific wool mattress to be offered on the site. Make sure the wool…
- Is 100% handpicked virgin wool – Why settle for anything but the best when it comes to wool bedding?
- Has NOT been treated with any risky synthetics or chemicals – Believe it or not, some wool bedding has been treated with questionable chemicals.
- Utilizes a completely natural cleansing process without carbonization – Carbonization uses sulfuric acid in the wool cleansing process, which can potentially cause issues if you have skin sensitivities.
- Retains its natural lanolin oil – Certain cleansing processes, like carbonization, can reduce this oil which gives wool its soft and supple feel.
- Uses "hand tufting" instead of a machine process – Tufting is a way of anchoring the wool together in the mattress. Hand-tufting can make the wool fluffier and create a more comfortable mattress.
Plus, since I believe it's important for longevity purposes to flip your mattress every 6 months (twice a year) or so, I recommend you avoid any wool mattress that comes with pillow tops. Pillow top mattresses include an extra layer of pillow-like padding sewn onto the top of the mattress making it impractical to flip this mattress. However, the mattress is firm, so if you would like some additional padding, I recommend our American Wool Mattress Pad.
I encourage you to use this checklist and the tips to track down the perfect wool mattress and bedding that suits you.
A Mattress to Rest Your 'Soul' On
You know I wouldn't settle for anything less than the best possible wool mattress for you – one that would help give you a good night's sleep.
As is the case with the American Wool Comforter, Pillow, and Mattress Pad, the American Wool Mattress is made in the USA in a traditional woolen mill established back in 1894.
Using and perfecting the same high-quality natural techniques employed for over 100 years, I believe this mill creates some of the finest wool bedding found anywhere in the world.
Here are some of the fantastic features of the American Wool Mattress and the extraordinary mill behind its meticulous creation.
|American Wool Mattress Features
| Uses only locally-sourced and hand-selected 100% American wool
||The mill believes in providing support to local ranchers, farmers, and businesses.
| Is not treated with harmful synthetic chemicals
||The mill avoids the use of questionable and unnecessary chemicals in its processes.
| Utilizes a natural cleansing process
||Avoids the carbonization process altogether.
| Controls movement of the wool within the bedding
||Other natural materials (such as down) never seem to be where you want them to be in the bedding. Because the wool used in the American Wool Mattress doesn’t migrate inside the mattress, you’ll have the comfort you want where you need it.
| Retains natural lanolin oil
||The wool retains its soft and supple feel by not using harsh chemical cleansing processes.
| Does not use machines in the “tufting” process
||Only hand tufting is used to help create fluffier wool.
| Avoids pillow top padding layer
||So you can flip the mattress regularly (to preserve longevity), pillow top padding is not included.
| Features a thinner spring system
||By using thinner mattress springs and encasing them in wool, this enhances your overall comfort.
Plus, the American Wool Mattress passed the CPSC fire safety standard as described above. So, not only will you enjoy a good night's sleep on this mattress, you can rest assured that it passed the flame-retardant safety standard… without added chemicals.
As you can see, the American Wool Mattress is a special wool mattress that is a fantastic "bed fellow" to the American Wool Comforter, Pillow, and Mattress Pad.
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And they'll even take your old mattress and dispose of it for you – all for just an additional $50.
Spoil Your Body with the Peaceful Sleep It Deserves
Isn't it time you got the relaxing night's sleep you deserve?
Creating the most relaxing sleep sanctuary (your bedroom environment) and what you sleep on can play significant roles in your quality of sleep.
When you experience the benefits of sleeping on a handpicked virgin wool mattress, I believe you'll feel the difference. And if you've not experienced this before, you'll realize for the first time what it means to really get a restful night's sleep.
So, order your American Wool Mattress right away, and start experiencing sleep like never before… in utmost comfort.
The American Wool Mattress comes in King, Queen, and Twin. Order yours today!