If you’re currently trying or have tried to lose weight, you’ve probably heard ten times over the myriad best practices you should be following, but there’s probably a very simple one that’s been left out: getting a good night’s sleep.
An estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight, according to a recent study, which makes us the country with the highest proportion of overweight and obese people in the world, clocking in at 13% of the global total. Equally concerning, almost a third of Americans report that they are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep.
Sleep scientist Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep suggests that these two statistics may be related, saying that insufficient sleep is “very likely a key contributor to the epidemic of obesity”. “Epidemiological studies,” Walker tells us, “have established that people who sleep less are the same individuals who are more likely to be overweight or obese”.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re currently looking to lose weight, you should make sure that you are getting a good night’s sleep. The science behind it has a lot to do with one of the most important factors of weight loss: your diet.
Skimping on sleep makes you hungrier
Sleep performs two very impactful duties when it comes to your goal of keeping at a healthy weight:
A good night’s sleep gives you the needed energy to get up off the couch the next day and get to your workout.
Sleep puts the brakes on your brain’s impulse control, helping you to both eat better and eat just the right amount.
As we all know, the challenge to eat right rather than gorge on what we may be craving can be a bigger struggle sometimes than getting through the most vigorous workout. The good news? A great sleep can make this choice a bit easier to make.
Your appetite is fueled by two hormones called leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your body when it should be hungry, while leptin signals to your body that you’ve eaten enough. A study at the University of Chicago found that operating on four or five hours of sleep decreased concentrations of leptin and increased levels of ghrelin, throwing them out of their proper balance—a clear sign that your body’s hunger has gone off the rails.
A similar study found that not only does poor sleep encourage you to eat more often than you should, but it also makes you reach for high-fat and high-salt snack foods more often, as your brain’s impulse pushing you toward immediate snacking satisfaction grows stronger on less sleep.
Poor sleep’s sabotaging of your health even extends to your workout: research has shown that being sleep deprived and attempting to shed weight results more often in the loss of muscle rather than actual fat.
Sleep—your best workout partner
As we like to talk about, there’s practically no limit to the amazing positive effects that consistently good sleep can have on our health. The other side of this? Your body’s most important functions will begin to break down and fail without the right amount of sleep. To ensure that your body is working with you in your weight goals, a good night’s sleep is a must.
Reverie Sleep Coach offers personalized 1:1 sessions with a certified sleep coach so you can start sleeping better. It's like a personal trainer, but for your sleep. Learn more.
Posted: March 02, 2018||
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.
Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms.
Ready to start sleeping better?
Here's what people are saying about Reverie out in the big wide world in 2018, with our most recent press coverage first. Click the link to read the story.
Distinguished neurobiologist Dr. Benjamin Smarr, a member of Reverie's Advisory Board, is extensively quoted in this article about waking up before your alarm clock.
Home Furnishing Business magazine
Our very own CMO Lisa Tan was named to their Forty Under 40 List of top furniture industry executives. Everybody here knows this honor is well-deserved.
A long feature article on Reverie Sleep Coach with our CEO Martin Rawls-Meehan.
Reverie CEO Martin Rawls-Meehan talks about consistency as a key to getting better sleep.
Reverie Advisory Board member Dr. Dawn Dore-Stites weighs in on how sleep is linked to migraines in this site dedicated to female empowerment, founded by Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophi Rossi.
Reverie's new Sleep Coach™ program gets detailed coverage.
MSN does a short, fun news video explaining Reverie Sleep Coach.
Reverie's revolutionary new Sleep Coach™ program gets a glowing writeup by this tech-focused site.
Reverie's new Sleep Coach™ platform is deemed a hot trend in this article.
Our CMO Lisa Tan talks to Bustle.com about sleep disorders and how they can affect relationships.
Our CMO Lisa Tan is quoted in an informative article about power beds, aka adjustable bases.
Women's Choice Award®
Reverie wins the award in two categories. Again. The award is based on what women owners say about our beds. Details here.
Nice story on all the ways Reverie power beds are great for moms. Read it here.
Reverie Advisory Board member Dr. Dawn Dore-Stites, a pediatric sleep expert, is prominently featured by Romper, a popular site for moms.
Reverie Advisory Board member Benjamin Smarr, PhD, gives insight on coping with daylight savings time in an in-depth article here.
Our CEO, Martin Rawls-Meehan is interviewed about the sleep biz.
The Wall Street Journal
Our busy and fearless CMO Lisa Tan makes the WSJ (with a full accompanying illustration!) where they discuss her preferred method for de-stressing. Check it out here.
CEO Martin Rawls-Meehan discusses high tech sleep with this fitness-focused blog. Story here.
Reverie's Chief Marketing Office Lisa Tan talks New Years resolutions and weight loss. Story here.
We went to CES, the prestigious Consumer Electronics Show, for our first time ever. And we made quite an impression with our technology and our mind-control bed.
Innovation and Tech Today
Their assistant editor checks out our mind-control bed and interviews us on video at CES.
A top tech magazine gives us their CES Editor's Choice Award.
Innovation and Tech Today magazine gave us their Editor's Choice Award for 2018. Story here.
Check out our CES video.
They go to CES and feature our bed in this episode. Reverie coverage starts at 2:15 in the video.
Sleep tips with Tech Republic at CES.
Video sleep tips from our CEO, Martin Rawls-Meehan. See video.
Our smart bed with Tech Republic.
Our CEO discusses how reading your brain waves will lead to better sleep in the future. See video.
Our CMO, Lisa Tan, gives advice on best sleep positions, depending on what your situation is.
Pregnant? New parent or have small kids? Tired? Get tips and info on our special site for exhausted moms.
Ready to start sleeping better?
For those that struggle with insomnia (or even with milder forms of “I just can’t sleep”), the list of solutions is slim and even dangerous. The most popular treatments are sleeping pills, but the negative impacts of sleeping pills don’t seem to have been widely publicized.
Currently, sleeping pills do not have the ability to naturally imitate sleep. Instead, they more closely resemble a sedative rather than mimicking natural sleep patterns. Put more simply: when people use sleeping pills, they aren’t getting any of the necessary restorative benefits of sleep. And to go one step further: sleeping pills are tied with earlier death across the board.
So where does that leave a bleary-eyed sleeper in the middle of the night, lying awake, tossing and turning?
This is where cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (or CBT-I) comes into the picture.* Right now, it’s being used in medical communities around the country as the front-line treatment plan for insomnia. The best part? No pills necessary.
How does CBT-I work? Well, it’s a collection of behavioral principles for better sleep health, and it’s also built on your body’s remarkable ability to form associations. You want to make your bed a place that you (and your body) associates calm, rest, and sleep rather than middle-of-the-night mind racing. Here’s the short list:
1. Go to bed and wake up at a consistent time.
Your circadian rhythm loves consistency. The more you can get your body into a wake/sleep consistent habit (within an hour, even on weekends), the easier it will be to feel tired when it’s bedtime and alert when it’s morning.
2. Go to bed only when sleepy.
Many insomniacs have trouble falling asleep, which becomes a downward spiral of sleepiness. Although the principle of delaying bedtime until sleepy seems counterintuitive at first, the reason behind this one is simple and goes back to association. If your body isn’t tired when you go to bed, you’re missing out on that clear signal that tired equals bedtime. This principle also uses sleep pressure to its advantage, so the longer you stay awake the stronger your urge for tiredness. We need that sleep pressure to build a bit so you’re body is actually tired when you go to bed and sometimes that might take sleeping a little less than recommended to start.
3. Get out of bed if you can’t sleep.
If you are lying in bed and your mind starts racing, it’s best to get out of bed. Again: you don’t want to associate your bed with stress. Go to a different room (dim lights, no screens) and do something relaxing like read a book, meditate, or listen to music until you find yourself getting sleepy (at which point, return to bed).
4. “Mentally decelerate” before bed.
Give yourself 30-60 minutes to wind down at the end of the day. Take up a bedtime routine and do everything in the same order each day. The best mental deceleration doesn’t involve TV, reading the news, or scrolling through social media (as these are all very brain-stimulating activities). Do try listening to calming music, journaling, reading books, or even just catching up on the day with your partner.
5. Remove visible clock faces from bedroom.
This one might seem a little odd, but the idea behind it is that you want to avoid the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night and looking at the clock, which just adds stress to the fact that you can’t sleep.
Next time you find yourself in a period of stress and have a few nights of angsty wakeups, try a few of these principles as an all-natural return to better sleep.
*We are not attempting to diagnose or treat insomnia. If you feel you or a family member is struggling with insomnia, visit your health care provider.
It’s an unfortunate but nearly universal fact that as we age, we become a little less…um…what’s the word we’re looking for… quick. Or, as our slowed synapses might have it, the brain don’t work so good no more. This is nothing to get down on yourself for—deficits in cognitive performance are a universal consequence of the aging process. It can start from as early as 45 years old, and its myriad forms—cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease—stem from the same basic condition: age. Like your skin and your bones, your brain gradually becomes weaker over time, and things like learning new skills, retaining memories, and using language become more and more difficult. For most, it usually happens so slowly that it’s hard to notice that anything is happening at all.
So is there anything you can do to halt, or at least slow down, this process? For those of us already in the age group most likely to suffer from dementia and mental decline—65 years and older—a variety of methods may help slow the onset, including managing blood sugar levels, staying physically active, consuming a lot of antioxidants (berries are a brain favorite), and keeping the brain challenged with activities like crossword puzzles, ongoing study, and meditation.
But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What can be done to reduce the risk of cognitive decline? How can we stop it before it’s begun? The tactics above are certainly useful, but there’s an undervalued factor that’s as simple and effortless as closing your eyes.
Oh yeah, we’re talking about sleep.
You probably already know that when you’re tired, your mind moves a little more slowly than usual, and science has proven this from every angle. Sleep deprivation severely diminishes your ability to learn and retain information, all while decimating your coordination and reaction time to boot.
What’s really troubling is that these problems compound over the long term. One day of low sleep will disrupt a litany of hormonal reactions that your body needs for optimal function. Fortunately, catching up on those lost Zs with some better sleep will more or less right the wrong—the body is nothing if not good at bouncing back.
But what happens if the body isn’t given the time it needs to recover? What if one day of bad sleep is followed by another, and another? A 2014 study in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine sought to answer that question by looking at 2,822 men with a mean age of 76 years. After using a wrist actigraph to study their sleeping habits over an average period of three and a half years, they found that fragmented sleep resulted in a 40 to 50 percent increase in the odds of clinically significant cognitive decline. This is such a severe increase that the study authors equated it with adding on five years of age. They also noted that cognitive impairment is actually increasing in the elderly, making it all the more important to nail down its causes.
Sleep (or lack thereof) is a pretty darn big one, and other studies have found plenty of reasons why. Sleep apnea, for instance, disturbs sleep quality and can result in less oxygen reaching the brain, and a 20-year study of Californian women found that women with problematic sleep were almost twice as likely to experience dementia or cognitive impairment. Other research has found that fragmented sleep, whatever its cause, results in an overall reduction in slow wave sleep, which is crucial for normalizing cortisol and inflammation, which can both lead to mental decline.
In the end, sleep isn’t just important; it’s a pillar of a healthy lifestyle, equally as crucial as diet, exercise, and mental health. Indeed, it has a profound effect on all three. While six pack abs may be impossible to maintain in a nursing home, cognitive function is—especially if you start sleeping better tonight.
If you’re trying to sleep better and nothing seems to be working, consider this your daily checklist for more restful nights. Anybody got a pen?
1) Eat Plenty of Magnesium
It’s been called “the most powerful relaxation mineral available,” but that’s not the only reason you want to increase your intake of this oft-forgotten nutrient: It also helps to control inflammation and lower your risk of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that optimal magnesium intake is important for sleep regulation, so aim for 310 to 420 milligrams of the stuff every day, especially as you approach bedtime. Good sources include leafy green vegetables (cooked spinach has 157mg per cup), pumpkin seeds (156mg per ounce), black beans (120mg per cup), and oatmeal (63mg per cup).
2) Limit Spicy Food
If spicy food agrees with you then let the hot sauce flow, but for many, it can lead to heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, a common cause of missed sleep. If you love chili con carne but a burning feeling in your chest is keeping you awake, lay off the jalapenos for a time and see if your symptoms improve. Same goes for overeating: Stuffing yourself and then lying down is a foolproof recipe for acid reflux.
3) Ditch Sugar
Sugar can cause some people to wake up with a craving once it leaves their system. Stick to low glycemic carbs, and if you love sweets after dinner, have some berries and cream – the fat will slow the sugar absorption and dull the insulin spike.
4) Meditate On the Regular
Getting your “om” on has been shown in several studies to not only make it easier for insomniacs to get to sleep, but also to increase sleep quality for non-insomniacs. Not sure where to start? Try these three effective meditations to fast-track your zen.
5) Work Out
The earlier the better if you have trouble nodding off at night. Like meditation, exercise has been shown in study after study to improve sleep quality, and the more consistent the exercise habit, the better the results – some insomniacs have reported better sleep after a 16-week exercise program than after the first session.
6) Get Right Out of Bed In the Morning
If hitting the snooze button is the first thing you do each morning, you might want to reevaluate your getting-up ritual. Though you might feel like you’re giving yourself five more minutes of rest to fuel your day, you’re actually doing the opposite. Those between-alarm minutes of dozing are very light, and actually less restful than the sleep you just emerged from. Counterintuitive as it might seem, getting out of bed right away will improve your overall sleep quality.
7) Keep a Journal
If you’ve got a lot on your mind, journaling has been shown to not just help us focus more on the positive aspects of our day to day lives, but also to help us avoid restlessness once we climb into bed. Think of it as a “brain dump” – a place to put your neuroses and leave them until tomorrow.
8) Wake Up At the Same Time Every Day
An irregular bedtime and wakeup schedule can lead to poor sleep quality. Especially as we get older, the body is a big fan of consistency. Train yourself to sleep and wake at the same time each day, and it becomes almost impossible to stay awake past bedtime.
9) Get Outside
Exposing yourself to daylight helps regulate the body’s internal clock, improve melatonin production, and reinforce your sleep schedule.
10) Get Plenty of Iron
Being low on iron is a surefire way to feel fatigued day in and day out – and it’s the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Most people should shoot for 8 to 18 milligrams of iron per day, and if you don’t like supplements, try your grocery store: Beans and meat are both terrific sources of the stuff, with a cup of white beans containing eight milligrams, and six ounces of beef packing around six.
There you have it! Ten science-backed tips to help you sleep better. Remember, be mindful of your health during the day, and good sleep is sure to follow at night.