It’s that time of year again! Our twice-a-year furniture market extravaganza in fabulous Las Vegas. Let’s all go talk about sleep and not get any at all.
Want to make it a little easier this year? Here’s your plan for prepping your sleep for Vegas market.
Vegas Sleep Survival Guide
If you’re already short on sleep, my advice is simple: sleep more now.
Go to bed earlier.
You don’t want to pile sleep deprivation on sleep deprivation: one study showed those running on less than 6 hours of sleep showed the same levels of cognitive dysfunction as the group that didn’t sleep at all. (What’s even worse: the folks in the six-hour group didn’t rate their sleepiness as being all that bad). How about that. So to you folks: get some sleep before Vegas. Your brain will thank you.
If your body is well rested, check out my recommended schedule below.
Vegas is three time zones away.
Give yourself three days to adjust, pushing your bedtime and wake up an hour later each night.
For example: you’re flying in on Thursday, so you would start adjusting Monday night. Instead of going to bed from 10:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., you would try to go to bed at 11:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m.
Each day, keep pushing your bedtime and wakeup times back by a half-hour to hour without sacrificing the duration of your sleep (getting ENOUGH sleep takes priority in this case to a later bedtime).
Central time zone
Vegas is two time zones away.
Give yourself two days to adjust, pushing your bedtime and wake up an hour later each night.
For example: you’re flying in on Thursday, so you would start adjusting Tuesday night. Instead of going to bed from 10:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., you would try to go to bed at 11:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m.
The next night, push your bedtime and wakeup times back another hour without sacrificing the duration of your sleep (getting ENOUGH sleep takes priority in this case to a later bedtime).
Vegas is one time zone away.
Lucky you! You only have to adjust one hour.
The night before you leave, try to go to bed and wake up an hour later than usual.
BE SURE TO PACK:
Ear plugs (Because...Fremont Street). The hotel typically provides ear plugs but if you want to bring your own feel free. Either way, just have them available.
Anything that is part of your home bedtime routine: reading a book, a magazine, essential oil, your usual pajamas or lack thereof. Whatever you can do to keep a consistent thread between home and travel will benefit your sleep.
You probably won’t be getting MORE sleep than usual in Vegas so it’s so important to protect the sleep you do get with a few tools for light-blocking and noise blocking.
Nerd out with me briefly here as we talk about dolphins. Yes, dolphins.
So dolphins have this cool ability to put half of their brain to sleep while the other half stays awake. This is thought to be so they can stay alert and ward off predators and not drown in the ocean, that sort of thing. It’s called unihemispheric sleep. There’s your six-point word for the day.
Anyway, humans can’t do this (giant bummer, I know). BUT. Brain scans have shown that we exhibit a sort of baby version of this unihemispheric sleep: in that there’s a little more activity and alertness in half of our brain when we’re sleeping in a new place. Tracking?
So when you sleep in the hotel on the first night, you’re kiiind of like a dolphin in that half your brain is sleeping a little lighter to watch out for a rogue zipliner who might come crashing through your window (which isn’t actually going to happen, but your ancestors had to go through a lot, OK?). So, to counteract all of these survivalist instincts of ours, an eye mask and ear plugs will help that lively half of your brain shut down a little more, and help you sleep better on the first night in Vegas.
ON THE FLIGHT
Permission to nap. A jacket with a hood, a neck pillow, or noise-cancelling headphones will all help in this endeavor.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Start acting like you’re on Vegas time. Your sleep pregaming will pay off here.
Pay attention to your light. If it’s daytime, seek light. If it’s nighttime, seek darkness as much as possible. This will help your circadian rhythm do a hard restart.
Sweet Dreams and see you all in Vegas!
P.s. More sleep tips coming soon for coping with Vegas....
A little preview:
Q: What should I do if I was raging at 2 a.m. and the Starbucks line is too long in the Golden Nugget?
A: Fear not, you sleep-deprived soul. There’s a Starbucks a 7-minute walk away from the Golden Nugget (on S Casino Center Blvd). Mobile order that trash and get some sunshine and exercise in your day.
Q: It’s 3 p.m. on Monday and I AM SO TIRED.
A: Well, what do you know. That’s your circadian rhythm in action! There’s a natural lull in our energy around mid-afternoon. Throw in some late night parties and drinks and you have yourself some full-blown exhaustion. Skip the coffee and take a power nap instead. Might I suggest a fine Reverie mattress and base in our showroom for your testing purposes.
Q: I don’t remember too much from last night’s dinner. I met 14 people and forgot all of their names.
A: Yeah...that’ll happen. I’m guessing there was some alcohol sloshing around in your liver last night too. While drinking helps us fall asleep faster, it creates a kind of “fake” sleep, and you miss out on all the neat and tidy sorting of the day's factoids (like remembering names) during this drunky sleep cycle. Might I suggest:
Frantically searching through LinkedIn
Trying a firm handshake, arm slap, and “Heyyyy buddy” upon meeting again
Try a few and see what elicits the most positive response. I recommend starting with some popular picks such as Bob, Greg, or Sara.
Want more sleep tips or to talk 1:1 about YOUR sleep? Come visit me (Sleep Coach Rachel) at our Reverie showroom.
Las Vegas World Market
July 29 - Aug 2 | Showroom B-925
At some point post-childhood, sleep seems to lose a bit of its luster in our eyes, and we start to see it more as a burden than a welcome relief. In truth, sleep becomes that much more necessary in our lives the more we grow and develop. No matter what stage of the game you’re in now, take a look at our rundown on how sleep needs change throughout our lives, as well as some great tips for getting the best sleep of your life—every night.
Along with needing a higher total of sleep than your average adult, the teenage sleep schedule is also quite different. In adolescence, our circadian rhythms are pushed far forward past the more stable rhythm that’s closely aligned with the regular twenty-four hour cycle. This means that teens are much more likely to feel tired later (around eleven p.m.) and want to sleep in the next morning until nine or ten a.m.
As most teenagers can attest, this peculiar sleep schedule is often met with some resistance from parents and misunderstanding from older adults in general. Here are a few tips that’ll help teenagers get the best sleep possible:
Communication is key during this time when your sleep schedule requires some debate and negotiation. It’s important to make sure you’re (tactfully) communicating to your parents that staying up later and needing to sleep in is a biological need, and it doesn’t stem from any poor choices on your part.
As much as it’s under your control, wake up and head to bed at the same time every day (even on weekends!), as this will help your body settle into a great pattern of sleepiness and alertness at just the right times.
As a young adult, your circadian rhythm is swinging back from the later teenage rhythm to a rhythm more closely aligned with the regular twenty-four hour daily cycle. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your sleep at this point in life is in any way average.
To ensure better sleep even in your roaring twenties, here are a couple good tips:
Start making room in your schedule for sleep now. Your body’s health for the many years to come will thank you.
Try not to get into the habit of depriving yourself of sleep during the week and using the weekend to feast on it. As good as it might feel to sleep in till noon on Sunday, maintaining consistent wake up and sleep times is an essential part of good sleep hygiene.
If you do tend to go out on the weekends and wouldn’t have it any other way, do try to find a “compromise” bedtime between the week and weekend for more consistent bedtimes—so maybe instead of 10:30p.m. on the weekdays and 1:00a.m. on the weekends, you shoot for a bedtime of 11:30p.m. on both weekdays and weekends.
If you find yourself in your forties or fifties, it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that your sleep at this stage is not guaranteed to be as good as it was in your teenage and early adult years. This simply means that your sleep requires a little more TLC now than it did in years past:
Maintain your sleep hygiene. Most important at this stage of the game? Making your bed a no-screens zone. Keep your work at work: you can’t get your best sleep when you’re staying up late to complete reports or lying in bed responding to emails. Reserve your bedtime only for sleep.
As always, make sure and consult your doctor if your sleep is consistently poor, as this can have serious effects on your health both in the short- and long-term.
Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults—it’s a fact. The sad reality, though, is that so many in this stage of life get used to making do with a small amount of sleep—and suffer the negative health effects of sleep deprivation all the while.
Here are a couple steps that will help ensure you get the sleep you need during this time:
Again: don’t underestimate the power of good sleep hygiene. Keeping up with a regular exercise schedule has been proven to raise the quality of your sleep, but it also does wonders for your health overall, keeping you fit and active.
Due to their circadian rhythms being pushed back earlier, older adults tend to feel ready to turn in for the night some time in the mid to late afternoon. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep tells us that, when older adults who wish to stay up later respond to this tiredness with a nap, they ruin their body’s ability to generate sleep later on that night. “Instead,” he tells us, “older adults who want to shift their bedtime to a later hour should get bright-light exposure in the late-afternoon hours.”
From the day we’re born, sleep adapts to meet the various needs of our bodies. It’s just as powerful when we’re young as when we’re old, and if you give it the chance, it’ll be there to back you up no matter what life throws at you.
Hey there! How did you wake up this morning? Were you up and at ‘em as soon as the first alarm buzzed? Or did you have to hit snooze just once (okay—maybe a couple times)?
Now, maybe it felt good to snuggle inside your blankets for a few minutes more, but, chances are, hitting snooze didn’t change how tired you were overall. As it turns out, hitting the snooze button isn’t really the quick fix that we want it to be. Let’s take a look at why snoozing fails to perform as advertised, as well as some better ways to wake up in the morning:
Broken bits of sleep
Sleep after your first alarm tends to be really shoddy in quality—you hit snooze, sleep a few minutes, hit snooze, sleep a few minutes, hit snooze…it’s very fragmented sleep.
These piecemeal sleep fragments are light sleep. Your brain doesn’t have enough time to drift into deep, quality sleep, so instead, you’re kept just at the surface level. That means the snooze sleep isn’t sleep that’ll defeat your drowsiness (or give you any of the other awesome benefits of sleep either). In fact, it might make your drowsiness worse.
That grogginess and disorientation that we experience upon the first few moments of waking is called sleep inertia. Hitting the snooze button repeatedly disorients your body, raising the chances of this sleep inertia extending two to four hours into your morning. We’re sure the last thing you need is to be tired for longer.
Starting over from zero
Pressing snooze can compound this sleepiness even further, as you always face the risk of falling into another sleep cycle during your snooze sleep. This is because your brain may kick into “sleep mode” even though you’re really just trying to grab a few more minutes of shut-eye. If you do manage to slip into a deep sleep as this cycle progresses in between alarms, after being buzzed awake again you will feel more tired than you were when your first alarm went off. Doesn’t seem like ten more minutes is worth that, right?
In for a shock
Need a bit more convincing? When you artificially wake yourself from sleep by an alarm, it’s a shock to your system, spiking your blood pressure and accelerating your heart rate.
Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his informative Why We Sleep details the toll this shock takes on your average worker with a habit of punching snooze: “If alarming your heart...were not bad enough, using the snooze feature means that you will inflict that cardiovascular assault again and again within a short span of time”.
“Step and repeat this at least at least five days a week,” he explains, “and you begin to understand the multiplicative abuse your heart and nervous system will suffer across a lifespan”.
Resist the snooze
What a reliance on the snooze button means is that you are either not getting enough sleep, or you are setting your alarm for too early in the morning, and using snoozing as a buffer until you’re ready to get up. Here are a few tips to help prevent the snooze button slugfest:
First, make sure that you are giving yourself an eight hour sleep opportunity or more (that means laying in bed without screens or other distractions) every night.
Set the same alarm every day (even on weekends).
Wake up at the very first alarm. It may not be easy when you first start off, but getting your body in to that pattern will condition it to be more awake and alert over time.
In a perfect world, we’d wake up every day after a full night of sleep without the help of any annoying buzzing, but for most of us, that’s just not realistic. In a world with 8 a.m. meetings and inflexible school start times, alarms are just a necessary safety net. The best thing you can do is remember that hitting snooze is (at best) delaying the inevitable, so when your day begins, begin it in earnest!
It’s not hard to guess why 20% of American adults use alcohol to help them fall asleep—after all, the reasoning behind it seems sound. Consuming even a little bit of alcohol leads to drowsiness in most people, so, for believers in the nightcap, a little drink before bed serves as a way to drift easily into sleep without any tossing or turning. The problem is that sleeping is so much more than being unconscious.
During natural sleep, your brain is very much like the conductor of a symphony orchestra. It draws you in with a soft and quiet prelude, and then it progresses through the movements (or stages) of sleep in a beautiful cycle, culminating in a finale where we wake refreshed and energized for the new day. Throughout this symphony of sleep, your brain is performing lots of intricate maintenance, either on the body (developing and repairing) or on itself (strengthening memories and making connections between your daytime experiences).
“Sleeping” with the help of alcohol, on the other hand, is really only a poor imitation. If natural sleep is an hours-long, detailed symphony, a tipsy sleep is more like listening to radio static—it’s an unpleasant experience, and there’s not much going on during it. Let’s take a closer look at the many reasons that a nightcap just can’t quite match up with sleep au naturel:
Up all night
In his eye-opening book Why We Sleep, sleep scientist Matthew Walker tells us that the sleep we enter after drinking is more like anesthesia than real sleep, due to alcohol’s sedative effect. As Walker says, instead of helping you fall asleep, alcohol merely “sedates you out of wakefulness”.
Also, unlike natural sleepiness, the drowsiness of alcohol eventually wears off part way throughout the night, leaving you more prone to small wakeups that steal away any good rest sleep has to offer. Walker adds that, since most will not remember these small wakeups, they fail to associate the next-day tiredness they feel with the alcohol-caused wakeups they experienced throughout the night. It’s thanks to this that evening drinking looks completely innocent in most people's eyes, despite most likely being the culprit behind their fatigue.
A not-so-dreamy sleep
The most ruinous effect of alcohol is actually something much less obvious to the lay-sleeper. Walker tells us that, as a by-product of your body metabolizing alcohol, the chemical aldehyde is created, and aldehydes are known to block your brain from entering REM sleep (also known as dream sleep).
One of REM sleep’s primary roles is solidifying complex memory in your brain, helping you to make connections and identify patterns. This useful skill is thus impaired by the effects of alcohol on your sleep. And as far as waiting for the weekend goes: alcohol’s blocking of REM can dismantle learned information even when you enjoy evening drinks days after your brain has gathered and stored the information.
Making this nightcap an ongoing habit will simply introduce more long-term problems. Studies have shown that alcohol throws your very helpful circadian rhythm off-balance, preventing your sleep and alertness pattern from syncing up with the natural flow of daylight. Our circadian rhythms also dictate a lot more than just our sleep-wake cycle, so continuing to throw it off also means heightening the risk of developing various health problems (along with wrecking the consistency of your sleep).
The best advice
If you are one of the many who use an occasional nightcap as a sleep aid, the best thing you can do for your sleep is to start scaling back. The not-so-fun but healthy ideal is to cut out any alcohol remotely close to bedtime. The truth is that it’s just not worth the risk to your sleep health, and your health overall.
If you find yourself constantly fighting to get to sleep naturally and you’re stuck looking to alcohol as your only help, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. A long-term problem with falling asleep can often be a sign of an underlying condition.
If you’re unwinding with a glass of wine every once in a while, chances are you’re aware of your need for sleep—that’s a good thing! Just remember: what the science behind alcohol’s effect on sleep shows us is that, when it comes to sleep, there’s nothing quite like the real thing.
If you’re currently going through pre-menopause or menopause, you know that it doesn’t just come on in a vacuum. There is a lot going on in your life right now, whether it’s caring for aging parents or for children who may be transitioning into adulthood, or dealing with the regular stresses of life that come from having a demanding career and trying to stay active. Your life doesn’t get put on hold just because of this change in your hormones. You still need energy, which means you still need sleep, but great sleep is unfortunately hard to come by during menopause. Let’s take a look at why, as well as some tips to help you get the best sleep possible.
Menopause and sleep loss
The last thing anyone with a busy life needs is to be suffering from sleep loss, but unfortunately, this is a reality for an overwhelming majority of women experiencing the symptoms of menopause. Two of the hormones which go into a steady decline during menopause—estrogen and progesterone—are also two very important sleep-promoters in our body. The loss of these hormones often translates to prolonged insomnia for many women going through menopause.
Of course, insomnia isn’t the only cause of sleep problems during menopause and pre-menopause. The decline and fluctuations of the hormone estrogen lead very often to hot flashes, which are a substantial cause of sleep interruptions for women in this period of their lives.
As you probably already know, hot flashes are unexpected feelings of heat all over the body accompanied by sweating. Leading up to a hot flash during sleep, body temperature rises, causing an awakening. Hot flashes can last on average for three minutes, with the accompanying sweat sometimes requiring the changing of bed clothes or bed linens, leading to further loss of sleep.
These frequent awakenings rob you of sleep time and sleep quality, which can lead to constant next-day tiredness. Most women can experience hot flashes for about a year, with 25% experiencing them for an even longer period.
So: whether it’s due to hot flashes or general insomnia, you know that you’re not sleeping great—now what can you do about it?
How to improve your sleep
First things first—we should make sure that we’re keeping up the habits of ever-trusty sleep hygiene:
Try out a relaxing activity before bed every night such as meditation or journaling. Make sure to speak with a behavioral health specialist if you are feeling depressed or constantly anxious.
Keep your bedroom cool, completely dark, and quiet.
Keep screens out of the bedroom, as the blue light can keep your brain from beginning the sleep process.
Cut off caffeine around 2 p.m. in order to get it out of your system before bedtime.
Exercise daily, ideally in the morning, making sure not to exercise during the two to three hours before bed as this can keep sleep from setting in.
For hot flashes specifically, avoid eating spicy or acidic foods, as these may be a trigger.
If you are experiencing a constant lack of sleep that you believe is due to insomnia, we strongly recommend that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. They may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, which connects you with a therapist that can help you ease the the anxiety connected with getting to sleep, as well as make sleep habit recommendations specifically suited for you.
Don’t quit on sleep
Whatever methods you choose to help get your sleep back, we want to make sure that you do not settle for a lack of sleep even when going through pre-menopause or menopause. Sure, it’s tougher to get great sleep while going through this phase but a little extra attention to your sleep health and sleep hygiene goes a long way in helping to combat some of the unfortunate sleep effects of this phase. Getting good sleep at any age is vital as a boost to your health and a protection against bodily deterioration, and we cannot recommend it strongly enough.
Sleep may be the most influential aspect of our health that is widely taken for granted. Many these days aren’t surprised to learn that a large number of the population makes due with six hours of sleep or less on average, but they are surprised to learn that six hours of sleep a night puts your health at serious risk.
This widespread indifference towards sleep is partly due, of course, to the fact that so many of us tend to look at sleep as a burden, something that keeps us from friends and family, from our entertainment, and from getting things done. But a much deeper reason is just that so many are unaware of the profound difference getting good sleep makes in our lives, even in our day-to-day experiences.
Sleep is the difference between a productive work day, and a day spent fixing an avoidable mistake. Sleep is the difference between being an understanding parent and coworker, and becoming frustrated and angry with others at the flip of a switch. Sleep is the difference between a long life with a strong heart, and living under the shadow of heart disease due to high stress. Sleep makes a difference.
If you’re here and reading this, then that means you’ve already given yourself a leg up on getting better sleep. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back! You now have some idea of the importance of sleep, and you know you want to get the best sleep possible—this is a great place to start.
So, how can you start to make that change for the better? Well, by talking with the experts in sleep, of course.
Enter Reverie’s amazing Sleep CoachTM program.
We offer one-on-one sessions with certified sleep coaches to help you get a customized plan for better sleep going forward.
Wondering what makes a sleep coach, well, a “sleep coach”? We’ve worked with our Sleep Advisory Board—comprised of scientists and doctors from leading universities—to take the latest in sleep science research and translate it for your life. Our sleep coaches come from wellness backgrounds and have gone through intensive training to become experts on the latest in sleep science and how it applies to your life. They’re here to educate, motivate, encourage, and hold you accountable to your sleep goals.
Sound good? It is! When you schedule a one-on-one, it’s like meeting with a personal trainer who cares a lot about your sleep and wants to see you succeed.
Better sleep is possible, and it’s right here at your fingertips.
Interested in talking to a sleep coach? Schedule your free 10-minute introductory call today.
Settling for less-than-awesome sleep means settling for a less-than-awesome life. Don’t leave your sleep up to chance—take advantage of our Sleep Coach program and start sleeping like you mean it.
The Fourth of July. BBQ, apple pie and flag-waving. Hey, we’re all proud, and we all want to celebrate. Some more loudly than others. While we appreciate a great fireworks display, it can be challenging for parents of young kids and people with beloved dogs. We can’t make the noise go away, but we do have a few tips to help.
ATTENDING FIREWORKS WITH AN INFANT OR A DOG
The advice is simple. Don’t do it. “Yay, fireworks!,” thought no dog ever. Fireworks are terrifying to dogs, so leave them home after taking some precautionary measures discussed below. And human babies? They’re a triple whammy. Most crucially, their hearing is far more sensitive than adults’, so loud noises put their hearing at risk. Fireworks, if you’re close enough, can be 170 db or more, way over the danger limit for babies. Babies also are too young to comprehend fireworks conceptually, so you can’t explain away the fear caused by bright flashes and loud noises. Lastly, infants are supposed to sleep 16 hours a day. Keeping a regular schedule is key to getting little ones to sleep, but fireworks don’t start until long after they should be in bed.
ATTENDING FIREWORKS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Keep at a safe distance from the noise and consider noise-cancelling headphones. Once again, you’re breaking their normal sleep schedule, so try to minimize it by taking them to the fireworks in their PJs, then hustling them off to bed the minute you get home. The next morning, give them a little extra time to sleep in, then get back to your regular schedule right away. Realistic expectation: a cranky child the next day. #patience
STAYING HOME WITH KIDS
First of all, no child under 12 should ever handle fireworks. Even sparklers, which many people mistakenly think are harmless, can reach 3000 degrees. Every year, hundreds of people are severely injured by handling fireworks. It’s easy to keep your child from being one of them. Say no. It may provoke whining, but they’ll survive.
If you stay home and don’t do fireworks yourself, you may still see or hear fireworks, courtesy of your neighbors. In Michigan, where our HQ is located, people are legally allowed to shoot guns into the air on holidays, and many people do so, way past midnight. Good times. Extreme downside is that home celebrations are closer, louder and more accident-prone than a city fireworks display. Here’s how to help kids and pets cope, as best you can.
White noise is your friend
As sleep experts, we’re fans of white noise in every bedroom year-round, including yours. If you don’t have a white noise machine, now’s the time to invest. Try cranking the white noise up a click on nights when you anticipate fireworks.
Stick to their usual bedtime routine
A baby’s deepest sleep is within minutes after they doze off. Once they’ve fallen into that, chances are good they’ll sleep right through. Keep your concerns about the fireworks to yourself, or you may wind up with a fearful child before bedtime. If they do wake up, you can always deal with it then.
If they wake up
Extra coddling is fine. One night does not a bad habit make. Hold them, allow them to crawl into bed with you for a while, then once the noise subsides, back off to wherever they normally sleep. If they’re toddlers, explain the noise in a positive way, to avoid scaring them. Example: when grownups are happy, many times they celebrate by making a lot of noise. Kids over five are old enough to understand fireworks, so explain, then hang out with them in their bedroom until they fall back asleep.
If you feel like a neighbor’s celebrations are endangering your home, don’t be afraid to (nicely) rain on their parade. Call them or walk over for a tactful convo if you have a good relationship. They may not have thought about the effects on kids or realize how loud it is on your side of the fence. If you don’t know the neighbor or aren’t on good terms, call the police and ask to keep your name anonymous. You don’t need a fire or worse. Please remember that the police are busy on a night like this, so only use this option if you are really, truly worried about safety, not just merely annoyed by the noise.
YOUR OTHER BABY: HOW TO HELP YOUR DOG
Realize that dogs have much better hearing than we do. So fireworks are louder, scarier and more painful for them than us. They’re not being wimpy, they’re just understandably traumatized. Truth is, no matter what you do, they’ll likely be skittish. But here are a few things to lessen the effects and help soothe your best buddy.
Exposing dogs to loud music occasionally beforehand can do the trick. There are online tutorials for this, as well as long videos with fireworks for this purpose.
The day of the fireworks is a great day for a long afternoon at the dog park playing fetch. Tire your dog out so he’ll have less energy to get worked up about fireworks.
Bring your dog inside
Do it even if Fido is normally an outdoor dog. Even if your yard is fenced in. Fireworks are dire times for dogs. They are pretty resourceful creatures and may try harder than usual to escape. Which means they might. Dogs have been known to escape from houses during fireworks, too, so please make sure your dog is microchipped.
Draw the curtains and blinds
This simple trick helps to lower noise and reduce the flashes of light. Some dogs have even attempted to jump through the windows, trying to escape.
Distract, distract, distract
Play music and games with your dogs. Keep them occupied. This has the double effect of distracting them and also comforting them with your presence. It’s a great time to dig into that magical panacea knowns as the T-R-E-A-T jar. Forget your usual limits and throw them a few extra.
Other calming measures
Many people swear by the Thundershirt, which uses compression to help your dog feel more secure. Melatonin can also be an option, but always check with your vet first, as different breeds and sizes react differently.
All in all, fireworks can usually be handled with TLC, common sense and some extra patience. We wish you, your kids and your dog a safe, peaceful holiday.
Looking for other ways to relax at bedtime? Check out the latest major university study on our proprietary 3D-Wave™ massage.
If you’re like many people, your busy life probably keeps you going until you hit the pillow. And if you are like many people, your head hitting the pillow doesn’t mean your mind stops racing—in fact, often the opposite is true. Somehow the moment you decide to get some rest, you recall that you forgot to make lunches for the kids, and Christmas is coming up fast, and you have got to put new tile down in the kitchen, and you should probably figure out retirement right now before it gets too late…
If this describes you, what’s probably missing from your busy life is a moment of mental deceleration before bed. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) finish up vigorous exercise without a good cool down, right? The same principle is working in mental deceleration. Your mind needs some time to calm down from all the stimulation of the day before it settles in to the tranquil waves of sleep.
Sounds great, right? But what sort of activities can help you relax? Obviously that will come down to your preference, but here are just a few of the endless possibilities:
Listening to calming music or tuning in to a podcast (again, ideally a rather tame one).
Reading a chapter of a book, or a short story (make sure not to leave the light on too close to bedtime!).
Brew some herbal tea. Chamomile is a great option that’ll help you prep for sleep.
Luxuriate in a warm bath. Baths have the added benefit of raising your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin (where they’re better exposed to the air), allowing for a post-bath body-cooling effect to set the stage for deep sleep.
Journaling about the day now behind you, which is shown to have proven positive effects for you mentally in addition to helping you wind down.
Trying meditation. While meditating might seem a little “out there” to some, it really can be something as simple as focusing on calm breathing. Meditation increases “feel good” hormones, lowers stress hormones, and reduces inflammation in the body.
You want to make sure that whatever activity you do end up choosing, you try to keep it screen-free. The daylight-mimicking blue light found in most of our screens puts a serious damper on the release of melatonin which your body craves for sleep.
Protecting your bedtime
The most important aspect of mental deceleration is that you make sure you have some transition time between the busyness of your daily life and the calm sanctuary that should be your bedtime. This will help not only to settle your brain, but it also treats your brain to much-needed consistency and much-beloved rhythm. Keeping up the habit of mental deceleration will help your body to better know that it’s time for sleep, and bring some welcome peace to your life as well.
While traveling can be an adventure, exposing us to new places and experiences, it can also be a rough time for our sleep. Leaving the familiar rhythm of our time zone opens us up to jet lag, which can keep us up late into the night or have us sleeping long past the start of business hours (check out our post full of awesome jet lag-beating tips written by a doctor of neurobiology and behavior here). Apart from jet lag, though, there’s one other source of discomfort we run into when traveling—the unpredictability of our unfamiliar sleeping environment.
Few things make falling asleep more difficult than being in a new place, in a new bed, and trying to force yourself to be as comfortable as you usually are at home. It’s really not a problem that we think about until we find ourselves in this situation, but the comfort of our own bedroom (thanks to the detailed control we have over our home environment) plays a big role in getting us to sleep quicker.
The good news is, with a few small additions to your bedtime setup, you can turn any hotel room or guest bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary of sleep. Assemble these recommendations to make your own sleep travel pack—they’ll fit in a small bag the size of a dopp kit or makeup bag. Bring these bedtime boosters along next time you travel to help you get a good night’s sleep no matter where you are.
Eye mask: Even a sliver of light can give your body trouble with trying to start up the sleep process. An eye mask is a great way to ensure that no light slips through (especially useful in hotels where lights from the hallway or city can slip in through doorways and windows). Here’s an option for an affordable, lightweight eye mask.
Ear plugs: especially handy for travel when nighttime noise can be wildly unpredictable (rooming with snoring family or friends, for example). Here’s a pack that should last you a few trips.
White noise: White noise helps to create a consistent aural environment so you’re less likely to be awakened by intermittent noises, of which there are plenty in hotels, with people checking in at odd hours and many up late dealing with jet lag themselves. Try out this portable option.
Lavender essential oil: lavender has long been known for its relaxing properties. Bring a diffuser along, and with a few drops of lavender essential oil, you can change any room into a calming environment.
There really is no place like home, but when it comes to making sure you’re sleeping right while traveling, you should try to get as close to the real thing as possible. Hopefully these traveling companions will help!
Bon voyage and sweet dreams!