To many of us, caffeine is like a superhero—swooping in to save us from the drowsy morning or mid-day slump and carrying us through the rest of the day. What we tend to forget in all of our appreciation of the trusty caffeine buzz is that it is a stimulant drug—and a very powerful one at that. While this substance does an awesome job of pumping us up mid-afternoon, it has terrible effects on our sleep later on. But wait!—before you close this page, grab your grande and run, let us tell you why and how you can drink coffee while still protecting your sleep.
Caffeine sticks around in your system for a while. Caffeine has a half-life of roughly five to six hours. What does that mean for you? Say you drink a grande coffee at 4 p.m. (clocking an impressive 300 mg of caffeine), then fast forward to 10 p.m. and you still have more caffeine in your system than if you had downed an energy drink. This is problematic when it comes to trying to fall asleep.
Even if you’re somehow able to fall asleep with caffeine still kicking around in your system, you risk the chance of losing out on restorative deep sleep and decreasing your total sleep time by up to an hour. And the last thing you need is to be getting less sleep!
Holding back sleep
A chemical compound called adenosine is responsible for creating “sleep pressure” in our brains. It works along with our circadian rhythms, it builds all day while we’re awake, and then releases at night while we sleep. When the pressure builds enough, that’s a signal to our body that we’re tired.
Caffeine tricks your body into thinking that it’s not tired by creating a barrier between your brain and the building adenosine. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep explains: “...caffeine blocks and effectively inactivates…[adenosine] receptors, acting as a masking agent”. He describes it as similar to “sticking your fingers in your ears to shut out a sound”.
All the while, sleep pressure builds up behind this dam of caffeine, and when the dam finally wears down hours later, the big wave of sleep pressure comes in all at once. This process is problematic for people drinking caffeine late in the day, because the dam stays strong long into the night, keeping you from the sleep pressure that aids your brain in initiating sleep.
Last call for coffee
As promised, the sleep-smart way to get your coffee: commit to a strict cutoff time of 2 p.m. for any caffeinated beverages, in order to give yourself plenty of time for the caffeine to wear off before bedtime. So this means you’re good to get your dose of caffeine in the morning if you need a quick perk-up—that’s what caffeine is for anyways, right? However, if you find yourself relying on caffeine to get you through every morning, you may want to examine the quality of the sleep you’re getting every night. After all, the best all-natural way to ensure happy, alert mornings will always be a great night’s sleep!
By Dr. Amelia Bailey, Ob/Gyn
We teach our children how to do everything: eat, talk, play. But do we remember to teach our children to sleep? That’s right ... sleep, while a natural part of our biorhythms, is still a behavior that needs to be cultivated. Here are a few ways to ingrain this important skill starting from the time they're an infant.
As soon as your baby is born, he desires a schedule. Early on, that timetable is most closely attuned to feeding intervals; but sleep is a normal part of each full cycle of eating, interacting, and resting. Granted, your little one may seem to fight you on this every step of the way. Remember that they are learning how to do every skill necessary for survival while becoming accustomed to multiple new stimuli. Be flexible with the clock, but try to adhere to a predictable order in each cycle: feed, play, sleep, repeat. The amount of time taken to complete each cycle may fluctuate, but the pattern should be the same so your baby knows what she is expected to do next. It is one of your first forms of communication with her.
Have a wind-down routine.
Your body takes time to go from “full steam ahead” to “sleep” mode, and your baby’s body is no different. Establish a set of steps that takes about fifteen minutes and signals to your newborn that sleepy time is nearing. There isn’t one right routine, so you may want to experiment a little at first.
What might a routine look like?
At my house, I would give the baby a bottle at 6:30pm while we snuggle, then close the blackout curtains, turn on the sound machine, change her diaper, put on pajamas, and talk for a few minutes before setting her into her crib with her pacifier around 6:50pm. She usually fell asleep by 7:00pm. Over this time, she had received non-verbal clues (physical, auditory, and visual) that it was her bedtime. Your child may need more cues or fewer, so tailor your evening routine to what works for your family. For example, your infant may fall asleep after a bath and massage with lotion whereas mine did not. You are the parent. You will learn your baby’s preferences quickly.
Once you establish a time and routine, stick to it. Of course, illness and unforeseen circumstances will lead to occasional disruptions, but you are responsible for adhering to the schedule you set for newborn as frequently as possible. Type a document that you can easily update and print for other caregivers so they are prepared to follow the same rituals. This will help your baby and the caregiver, both of whom want an easy night.
When to see a doctor?
Certainly, if your baby cries like he is in pain when you lay him flat or has bouts of projectile vomiting, you should call your pediatrician for a gastrointestinal evaluation. A small percentage of babies have sleep disorders, so if you implement a routine and your baby still is sleeping poorly after a couple months, you may want to have her evaluated for that.
Sleep isn’t just for your baby.
You need it too. Lack of sleep affects every area of health: intellectual, emotions, and physical well-being. For example, the immune system is less capable of fighting off infection when we are tired, which is certainly important if you have older children in school. Create a relaxing place to rest in order to fall asleep faster and have more restorative sleep. A bed and pillow that support your body in any sleeping position as well as comfortable pajamas and bedding are essential. Top that off with a white noise machine and lavender sheet spray, and you are setting yourself up for success!
Sometimes following these tips is hard. You want to snuggle longer, your little one does not want to go to bed yet, requiring you to put in more effort that night. Or activities and plans keep you out later than anticipated. That is okay. No one is a perfect parent; we are all just trying to do our best for our loved ones. Give your baby the gift of sleep, and your hard work will pay dividends. Good luck!
Dr. Amelia P. Bailey is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility (REI) specialist in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery for her practice and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, where she served as Chief Resident, followed by a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. While in Boston, she was a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School and conducted joint research projects between Boston Children’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As an REI, Dr. Bailey treats patients who are having difficulty conceiving or who have complicated gynecologic conditions and follows women throughout early pregnancy. Her expertise in sleep and women’s health, including pregnancy, stem from professional as well as personal interests. As the mother of two young children, she knows how important it is to get a good night’s rest and has used the Reverie Sleep System throughout both of her pregnancy and postpartum periods with excellent results.
Posted: April 17, 2018||Tags: sleeping while pregnant , sleeping during pregnancy , sleep during pregnancy , pregnant with back pain , pregnant feet , pregnancy feet , pregnancy back pain , pregnancy and sleep , pregnancy and insomnia , new moms and sleep deprivation , insomnia during pregnancy , expectant moms , c-section relief , c-section recovery , c-section pain , c section relief , c section recovery , c section pain|
If you're pregnant or already a mom, you know that sleep is both the sweetest thing and the hardest thing to get at the same time. What if there was something that would help you get comfortable, something that would make your life a little easier every day and every night?
You may have heard about power beds or adjustable bases before. Your grandma might have had one, and if so, you may be picturing an old clunky medical-looking device that sounds like a dying power drill when it moves. Well, it's like the power beds of old have aged backwards and got their braces off: today's models seamlessly blend into your Insta-worthy bedroom and are quiet when they move. They connect with your phone, some have massage, and they have life-enhancing, marriage-boosting positions like anti-snore. These aren't your grandma's power bases anymore. And let me tell you: they make every minute in bed more comfortable.
SIX POWER PERKS FOR PREGNANCY AND BEYOND
Find comfort with unlimited adjustability.Pregnancy is nine months long. That's 275 nights and 2,190 long hours if you're trying to get comfortable. A power bed gives you individual degrees of customizability: it's like having a couch that can be turned into a chair, a chaise, or a lounger at the touch of a button. We recommend zero gravity (which raises your feet and head to induce weightlessness) for side sleeping.
Give relief to your swollen feet.
Sure, during the day you might be cramming your new sausage feet into the last pair of shoes that still fits, but at the end of the day, you just want sweet relief. Forget the tipsy stack of throw pillows: with a power bed you can easily elevate your feet with a power base to reduce the swelling.
Get the support you need after delivery.
Your body is absolutely amazing—pregnancy is proof, but having a baby still does quite a number on a lot of areas down there. If you had a C-section, your body is recovering from both childbirth and a major surgery. In either instance, you can probably use all the help you can get. A power base gives remarkable support for your stomach and abs while getting in and out of bed for the umpteenth time.
Feed your baby comfortably.Power beds turn your warm bed into a nursing chair in the middle of the night and make nursing or bottle feeding ten times easier. You can even get split or split-top mattress options so you can be feeding while your partner is still silently in anti-snore position next to you.
Experience stress-relieving massage.
If there were ever a stage of life to get extra stress relief from long days, the early stages of motherhood would be a perfect time. Many power beds come with massage options that have proven circulation-enhancing benefits.
Have a bed that fits your lifestyle.You probably use your bed for more than just sleeping: it might be your living room for reading or watching your favorite show, it's a table for breakfast in bed, it's the best spot for snuggling with your partner and your growing family. Power beds make those sweet, normal, everyday moments a lot more comfortable.Being a mom is no easy feat, and power bases make it just a little bit easier.
Any new dad will tell you that there’s nothing more magical and life-altering than the arrival of your new baby. Among the major adjustments new fathers face, the most taxing is a severe alteration to their sleep schedules.
During the first 24 months of your child’s life, you will lose an average of six months of sleep. But it’s the first three to six months that will really be grueling with your newborn waking up every two to three hours demanding to be fed or have their diaper changed. Lucky for all you zombie dads, there are some easy ways for new fathers to cope with sleep deprivation.
Give Yourself More Credit
Most people assume that in a co-parenting couple, it’s the mom who loses more sleep during the earliest days of a newborn’s life. That assumption is especially understandable when you consider a woman’s role in breastfeeding and the fact that infants awaken at night every two to three hours. Alas, leave it to science to disprove our educated guess.
Studies have found that dads get less sleep than moms and experience more confirmed fatigue during the day. But before you text your wife this link announcing your plans to sleep in tomorrow, we should note that the same study showed that while new mothers received more sleep over the course of the day, that rest was disturbed more often. The takeaway is that you are both exhausted and it’s your duty as a new dad, partner and employee to find ways to cope.
If you’re surprised to learn that you’re getting less sleep than your better half, consider this: it’s not just women who have strong neurological reactions to an infant’s cry. The sound of a baby crying (even one that’s not your own) triggers a heightened emotional response that’s almost impossible to ignore.
It Takes a Toll
Your newfound sleep deficit affects everything from your relationship to the U.S. economy. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you have a harder time reading emotions, making misunderstandings with your partner more frequent and harder to resolve.
And remember our mention of the economy? Researchers in 2016 found that the U.S. economy loses $411 billion a year due to insufficient sleep. When you aren’t sleeping well, you’re an unproductive employee.
You Can Make It Better
The good news? You will get through this and eventually your baby will sleep through the night. Until that happens though, it’s important to find ways to cope. Here are some ways to improve your sleep:
1. Take turns with the baby.
Unless you’re bottle-feeding, you won’t be able to pitch in as well as you’d like when it comes to night feedings. Do your best to establish a routine that ensures you are both getting sleep. Maybe that means sending your better half to bed early while you stay up late until the first feeding, or rising early to let mom snooze.
This is also a great time to start using that extra guest room if you have one. Whichever one of you is on deck can rest in the spare room to ensure your better half is getting uninterrupted sleep. You’ll soon discover what works for you both, but the important part is to communicate openly and be consistent.
2. Get a white noise machine.
Newborns make noise when they sleep, even when they’re not crying. Adding a white noise machine to your sleep routine helps ensure that you don’t awaken to every little squeak and sigh. Still sleeping with the baby in your room? You’re in luck—white noise machines benefit the quality of baby’s sleep as well.
3. Take a cat nap.
A 20-minute nap can work wonders in restoring your brain functions midday, making you a more productive employee. If your office has a nap room, use it. If they don’t, consider having a conversation with your boss about dedicating some space to a little shut-eye.
4. Avoid the midday caffeine boost.
Caffeine has a half-life of five to seven hours in humans. If you have a cup of coffee after 3 p.m., your body won’t fully be rid of the caffeine until 1 a.m. or later. Foregoing that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon may feel painful in the moment, but will pay off later when you’ve fallen asleep faster. If your brain’s really struggling to let go of its afternoon reward, try filling the void with a short afternoon walk or treat yourself to a square of chocolate.
5. Put your phone down.
Your phone’s blue light messes with your melatonin production, reducing your body’s urge to fall asleep. Additionally, being on your phone means you’re more likely to be checking your email, which gets you thinking about work and worrying over tomorrow’s responsibilities. The best thing you can do is put your phone down and save it for the next morning.
Armed with a little extra knowledge, we hope that you start catching some extra sleep and reap the rewards in all aspects of your life. Keep up the good work, dads, and enjoy this special time with your little one. Before you know it, they’ll be 15 years old and sleeping until noon every weekend.
If you have a sneaking suspicion that you’re not getting enough sleep every night, you can find a little comfort in knowing that you are definitely not alone. A recent study by the CDC states that 1 in 3 Americans are getting an insufficient amount of sleep, which means less than 7 hours of shut-eye a night.
Losing more than sleep
If you are one of the many Americans who are content if they can get five or six hours of sleep a night, you might think, “Well, what’s an hour more or less of sleep?” It turns out that hour can make an enormous difference. Spread out over months, years, or even (sadly) an entire lifetime, this condition is known as chronic sleep deprivation, and it comes with serious consequences, such as an increased chance of developing hypertension and diabetes.
As sleep is one of your main protectors against rampaging diseases and debilitating conditions, losing out on an hour or two every night means lowering your defenses, and taking unnecessary risks with your health.
What’s in an hour?
Not only is it dangerous to constantly get less than 7 hours of sleep, but it also deprives you of getting quality sleep.
When you’re asleep, your brain is cycling through the two main types of sleep: rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM) and non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (NREM). Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep tells us that waking up too early or going to bed too late can steal away the time you should be spending in these important phases that work to keep us physically and mentally in good shape.
Walker gives us the example of going to sleep at midnight and instead of waking up at eight in the morning, you’re up at six a.m. for an early meeting. The logical answer to how much sleep you’ve lost would be 25 percent (as you’ve lost two hours from the recommended eight), but that’s not entirely true. “Since your brain desires most of its REM sleep in the...late-morning hours,” Walker tells us, “you will lose 60 to 90 percent of all your REM sleep, even though you are losing 25 percent of your total sleep time”.
Similarly, if you wake up at eight a.m. but don’t go to bed until two a.m., “then you lose a significant amount of NREM sleep”. According to Walker, losing these precious couple of hours at the beginning or ending of sleep is “[s]imilar to an unbalanced diet in which you only eat carbohydrates and are left malnourished by the absence of protein”. Clearly, when it comes to the efficient operating system of sleep, an hour is much more than just an hour.
Put sleep on the schedule
If you’re like a lot of people, you may spend the end of your day in bed, unwinding by going through Facebook notifications or scrolling through your Twitter feed. Screens do a fantastic job of keeping our brains itching to refresh the page just one more time before shutting off for the night. Despite tucking yourself in at nine p.m....you may not actually be going to sleep until much later. This common activity could be shaving off an hour or two every night from your sleep.
A solution? Giving yourself an eight-hour “sleep opportunity”. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be asleep for eight hours, but you are going to carve out that time to give your body rest every night. This eight-hour span of time should be reserved especially as “sleep time”—not a refresh-the-feed time.
This “sleepportunity” gives you enough cushion to fall asleep, have an occasional night time wake up, and still give your body those beautiful seven to eight hours of sleep.
A friend indeed
Sleep is our constant companion for one-third of our lives (one-third!), and just like any special relationship we want to keep going strong, it requires us to carve time out of our day and make it a priority. If you treat your sleep well, you can be sure that it will return the favor many times over.
Posted: March 02, 2018||Tags: wave massage , sleep science , msu sleep lab , massage technology , massage chairs , massage beds , massage bed , massage and sleep , insomnia help , insomnia , furniture massage , clinical sleep trials , bed massage , 3d wave massage , 3d wave|
A recent Michigan State University study showed that Reverie’s 3D-Wave massage goes well beyond the obvious feel-good benefits during the massage. Namely, using it for 30 minutes at bedtime can help you wake up feeling happier and more alert. And those effects last well into the day.
A quick recap on the massage itself
Our 3D-Wave technology is truly revolutionary. Using the scientific principle of resonant frequency, we developed a more dynamic massage with a circular motion not found on other massage furniture. It’s also gentler and quieter. No crude shaking of the bed or bruising shiatsu. Just a travelling, zen motion that increases blood flow and circulation. And because we’re Reverie®, we designed it so you can adjust it to your own needs. Up to four wave patterns at your beck and call, plus 10 levels of intensity. We have a short video explaining more here.
The methodology, in human-speak
So here’s how the study went down. Male and female college students were studied for approximately 24 hours. One group of participants slept with a 30-minute 3D-Wave massage at bedtime, and the other group did not. Both groups were given cognitive tests before going to bed to establish a baseline and also given standard physiological tests throughout the night to track their sleep quality.
Upon waking, they were evaluated across several measures. They were asked about their quality of sleep, and given another cognitive test. They rated their initial alertness and mood. Once they left the clinic and went about their normal lives, they were then texted every two hours throughout the day and asked to keep rating their alertness and mood.
The group that had the massage was compared to the group that didn’t. And the results were heartening. People who had used Reverie 3D Wave™ massage the night before woke up feeling happier. Better yet? The effects were not fleeting. Those who had 3D-Wave massage were more alert throughout the day and also in a better mood.
What does it mean for you?
Sleep is a complex thing. It is different for all people, and at Reverie, we view it as a puzzle to be solved on many fronts. For a long time, we’ve felt massage helped, and now we have some objective proof. Massage is just one of many things we invest a lot of energy into to help you succeed at great sleep.
There’s really no way to go wrong with our 3D-Wave massage. It feels amazing, and many of us who sleep on the bed ourselves feel strongly that it helps us fall asleep. This study also supports the idea that it will help you feel happier and less tired all day long. At Reverie, this truly makes us happy. Our tagline is “Sleep well tonight. Live better tomorrow.” We mean it, and hope that you experience life-changing sleep every night.
For our data hounds:
Here’s the science behind the study:
- EEG, EOG, EKG, respiration and oxygen levels measured to determine sleep quality.
- Stanford Sleepiness Scale to measure alertness.
- UNRAVEL computerized place-keeping test to measure cognitive fitness.
- PANAS test to measure mood.
This study was funded in part by Reverie and by a grant from the SCIP/TCA program from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.