Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. For full details visit the disclosures page.
Bed tents are a great way to get away from the noise and seal yourself in an exciting private space. They provide you the privacy and comfort you desire without the need to have a separate space. It is a perfect way to share accommodation while in college or even share a room with your sibling. For kids, this gets even better. They can have a complete camping experience all from the comfort of their room every night!
With their growth in popularity over the years, the market is flooded with various types to suit each preference. You have single-use ones to bed tents with multiple functions. With so many choices out there, it can get very overwhelming to pick the right one. This list will help you narrow down your choices and make tent bed shopping fun rather than daunting. The products on the list are chosen for their blend of features, versatility, flexibility, price point, and durability.
What is a Bed Tent?
Bed tents are tents that can be attached to your bed. The tent is secured very snugly around the bed to give you a place to relax, nap, or sleep on with the privacy of a closed bedroom. The tent comes equipped with zipped doors on both sides. The bed can be made of solid foam, or it might be the inflatable type. The tent is made of polyester or lightweight mesh material. Bed tents give you a subtle private spot to get away from the world and are perfect for your kids to explore the feeling of camping and to let their imagination run wild.
Advantages of Bed Tent
Bed tents are an amazing product to have in your house. Their versatile nature makes it a must-have in any home, especially one with kids. They give you a private space with comfort to relax, unwind, sleep, and be the perfect cozy play area for the kids. Some advantages of having a bed tent are:
- Perfect for guests
- Ideal for camping or hiking
- Adequate protection in the great outdoors
- Wonderful for children
Buying Guide for Bed Tent
You should keep in mind certain things while shopping for the perfect bed tent. This purchasing guide lists all the factors you need to make the right choice:
Size matters a lot when you are shopping for a big product, like a bed tent. You should measure your floor space or the truck space you have before indulging in the purchase. The bed tent needs to fit into your room or your truck if you want to use it for hiking or other outdoor activity. Also, take into consideration how many people you want to fit in that bed tent. If you have kids, then you might be better off with a large adult size so the whole family can fit.
You should choose a bed tent which is made of a material that suits your needs. If you are going to use your bed tent for outdoor activities, then you need to ensure that it is durable and can provide protection again winds or rain. Polyester might be a better choice for this purpose than cotton.
On the other hand, if you reside in a hot and humid area, then cotton might be preferable because of its breathability.
It is important to get a bed tent that is easy to set up. Getting one that might look nice, feel comfortable but is not easy to install might spoil all the fun. It is better to pay a little extra and buy one that is easier to set up and stays put without coming down on you.
If your main purpose is outdoor sleeping space, then you need to factor in portability as a high priority. You don’t want to buy a bed tent that doesn’t fit easily in the back of your truck or weighs too much to be carried around. Look for one that can fold up easily and is lightweight.
Different bed tents have different properties. Some are too hot to sleep in during summers, and some might have a lower ceiling making it unsuitable to sit in. Accessibility is another factor you should look into carefully. Secure models with zips are always better than only that have a tied opening, especially when outdoors.
Other things to look for are windows and air meshes to keep your bed tent ventilated during sleep.
Tents with floors attached to them give a better, more stable structure than the ones without. This is not a problem when you are attaching it to your bed because the bed frame and mattress keep the tent secure and in shape, but when outdoors, it is always better to have a tent with a floor.
Lastly, you need to look at the cost of the tent. You must have a clear and well-defined idea of how much you are willing to pay for the tent. You should also look at the value for money aspect of the product you want to buy.
Top 7 Bed Tents
The bed tent from BESTEN comes without a floor attached. This causes a little stability issue but not much to hamper your safety or make you think twice about purchasing this product. Its versatility has made it one of the most popular indoor bed tents on the market shelf.
It can easily be installed on any mattress without fear of it damaging the mattress in any way. You get plenty of color options ranging from grey to pink and blues. The range is sure to have a complimentary color to match your bedroom décor.
The material is polyester, and it is fitted with three doors for accessibility. These are located in the front, back, and on the side. This tent can trap indoor heat, making it very comfortable and cozy to use in winters. The mesh vent at the top also ensures that the tent remains well ventilated.
- Polyester material
- 3 entry-exit points
- Top mesh vent
- No floor attached
- Has adhesive hook and loops at each corner
- 2 sizes and 4 color choice
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|To Buy||Not to Buy|
|Four color choices||Can become stuffy during summers|
|Fits all bedding size||Fit is an issue for big size bedding|
|No damage to the mattress||Assembly is not very user friendly|
|TPU band doubles up as a home theatre|
Privacy Pop is a well-known brand with bed tents. The pop bed tent is designed to provide security as well as comfort and privacy. It helps alleviate any anxiety that you or your kid might suffer from during sleep. It is especially helpful for children just branching out to sleep on their own or those prone to nightmares. The tent canopy provides a snug, warm, and safe place to doze off.
The product is both simple and durable with an easy assembly line that can be assembled by almost anyone. It comes in three sizes and has color choices to fit your preferences. The sides feature zip and mesh cutouts for easy air circulation and ventilation. The entry and exit points are located on both sides of the tent.
- Polyester fabric
- Two-way entry and exit from either side
- Zippered mesh windows on both sides
- Double-stitched seams to prevent tearing
- Sturdy under the mattress tent
- Available in 3 sizes
- 5 different color choices
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|To Buy||Not to Buy|
|Easy assembly||Mattress must be placed inside the tent|
|Good ventilation||Gets too warm for summer|
|Size and color choices|
|Twin||$129.99 + $15.00|
|Full||$149.99 + $15.00|
|Queen||$159.99 + $15.00|
The Alvantar Canopy Bed is a perfect choice for outdoor activities like camping. It features a pop-up design that can be set up in under a minute. The frame is also easily portable and sturdy enough to withstand the outside elements. Further, the cover does a good job of protecting you from the dust, rain, and heat.
It also makes a good choice for indoor tents. You can easily set it up for your bed and enjoy the privacy it accords. The frames are stable and do not allow for any bent and wobble. The best part is that it is washing machine friendly and you can easily clean it without fearing any shrinkages or color fades.
- Pongee fabric
- Patent-pending design
- 2 entry and exit doors
- Weighs 5.8 lbs.
- Fiberglass pop-up rods
- Available in 4 sizes and colors
- 1-year limited warranty
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|To Buy||Not to Buy|
|Washable covers||No mesh windows|
|Large doors for ease in entry and exit||Not so suitable for indoor use|
|Features hanging loop|
The DDASUMI warm tent is the perfect bill for a bed tent that does not feature a floor. It is large, giving you ample interior space, and perfect for older kids or even adults. Made from durable polyester material, it successfully traps heat, making it ideal for colder areas.
It comes in 2 different varieties and can fit twin, double, and queen mattresses. In the auto version, you can assemble the product with one click in less than 10 seconds. The frame is fiberglass making it very flexible. The design is very user friendly, and you can easily install it without any hassles. The mesh vents on sides allow for good ventilation.
- Polyester fabric
- Fiberglass poles
- 100% machine washable
- 3 color options
- 3 mesh windows
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|To Buy||Not to Buy|
|Design is like an outdoor tent||Size is too large|
|3 zip mesh vents||Not easily portable|
|Machine washable||Gets too hot during summers|
|Double Bed Auto||$125.00|
This privacy bed tent from Wintreal is a highly ventilated tent with two large side doors and windows. It is fitted like a bedsheet with sides tucked in, which makes it easier for you to change your bedding. It fits both twin and full mattress sizes and is compatible with almost all bed frames types. Bunk beds might be a challenge, but most are compatible with this indoor privacy bed tent.
It is a pop-up design and is easily stored and transported. This makes it ideal to have in the house whenever you feel like getting the outdoor experience.
- 2 side doors and windows
- Water-resistant nylon material
- Fiberglass poles
- The outer material is light dimming
- Available in 2 sizes
- Comes with storage and transport bag
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|Not to Buy|
|Only available in neutral colors|
|Comes with a floor for better structure||Difficult assembly|
Easily Foldable and Stored
The Pacific Play Tent house is the perfect gift for your kid. It comes with an attractive tree house graphics that will set your child’s imagination on fire. This bed tent features high on durability and sturdiness to give your child the safest and most secure tent experience.
It comes in twin size and can easily fir two children at a time. The polyester fabric is child friendly and free from BPA and harmful phthalates.
- Tafetta polyester material
- G3 super poles
- 2 doors on sides with mesh windows
- 77 x 38 x 35 inches in dimension
- Comes with a carry bag
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|Not to Buy|
Optimal ventilation with 4 doors
|Difficult to transport|
|Blocks out light well|
This bed canopy from DalosDream makes all those outdoor trips extra special. The size is comfortable enough for two adults to fit in easily, and it is a breeze to set up. It is designed for indoor use, but the sturdy and durable built can easily withstand the outdoors.
It comes with a waterproof cover that is made of polyester that adds to the protective layer. The frames are aluminum with fiberglass poles that is foldable in two parts. The construction takes under 5 minutes and is very simple, with clearly given instructions.
- Polyester material
- Fiberglass poles
- 2 doors on sides
- 80 x 60-inch dimension
- Mesh on heat and foot
- 30 days return period
Reasons to Buy or Not to Buy
|Not to Buy|
|Not very sturdy|
|2 side mesh for bug control and high ventilation|
Bed tents are excellent ways of getting privacy and excitement into your and your children’s lives. It is also a wonderful option for outdoor activities. Just ensure that you purchase a bed tent that is easy to assemble and is highly portable with convenient storage.
The chilly winter months are known to breed flu, common cold, and other annoying infections and viruses. If you are one of those unlucky ones to contract one or more of these winter illnesses, you know how difficult it is to get some sound sleep while you are constantly getting those sniffles and coughs. Well, there are some simple solutions to get a peaceful night’s sleep while battling with common cold and cough.
Take a Steamy Hot Bath
Taking hot steam in the shower can prove to be effective in opening your nasal passages while loosening the dried mucous and cleaning the airways. It is also a good way to relax and wind down before hitting the bed. The body becomes cold when you have a cold, and a steamy shower can help you to energize and reduce the symptoms of a blocked nose and running sinuses while making the nasal muscles relaxed.
Sip Some Tea with Honey
Just like a bowl of hot soup, a hot beverage can also loosen the mucus from your sinuses. But not all hot beverages will give out the same results as some hot tea with honey. Adding honey to tea not only helps in soothing a sore throat but can also prove to be effective as a cough suppressant to help you get rid of that sore throat.
A Humidifier or Vaporizer Can Work Wonders
Dry air and the cold season go hand in hand. Under such weather conditions, a good vaporizer or humidifier can add the required moisture into the air and soothe the sinuses. But it is necessary to clean the humidifier regularly to avoid making it the breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Change the water daily and clean the tank every couple of days to keep it clean. If there is a child inside the room, use a cool-mist vaporizer as warm mist units can cause burns to children who get too close to it.
Maintain an Optimal Sleep Environment
Just because you have a cold, don’t be tempted to overheat the room. Keep the room temperature at normal levels and stack up blankets so that you can remove them if you begin to overheat. It is also important to maintain the humidity of the room. Combine that with a good humidifier and you are sure to get a problem-free sleep at night.
Reconsider Your Sleep Position
Some people think that stacking an extra pillow under their head can provide relief from the cold and flu and help them get better sleep. But this can make the situation even worse by causing the head to sag forward and worsening the breathing problem. Instead, you can use a foam wedge that will help to raise your upper body, letting the nasal packages drain. Don’t lay on your back as it may worsen postnasal drip. Sleep on the side opposite to that of your blocked nose.
Depriving the body of adequate fluid can make your nasal cavities dry. It is necessary to keep the body well-hydrated so that the entire respiratory system stays wet and prevent any breathing problems. You can also sip a hot caffeine-free beverage to give your throat some relief during bedtime. It will provide you with a short relief period during which you can slip off to slumber.
Try Out Some Over-the-Counter Remedies
Whether you are feeling hot, stuffy, and achy or any uneasiness due to cough and cold, you can always reach out for some over-the-counter medications. If the condition is severe, consider seeking medical advice from a doctor or an ear and teeth specialist. Some medications can escalate the problem if not taken at the right dosage. You can also ask a pharmacist to get the right solution for your cough, cold, or sinus problem.
Prepare Yourself for the Night’s Sleep
If you find yourself maintaining a relaxed posture, tossing and turning in bed, get out of your bed, and engage in some other activity. You can read a book by dimming the room lights or listen to some soothing music. Get into some low-intensity activity unless you feel sleepy. Don’t go to bed until you are feeling sleepy to promote healthier sleep habits throughout the year.
Things to Avoid
Besides the effective tips for sleeping with a cold, there are some don’ts that you should keep in mind to avoid making the situation even more complicated.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol as it will dry out your breathing passage and making it difficult for you to breathe. Also, it can swell up your sinuses and react adversely with your cold and flu problems.
- Don’t engage in any high-intensity activity as it will interfere with your sleeping routine and make it difficult for you to sleep.
- You cannot force yourself to sleep. So, don’t lie down forcefully expecting that sleep will come off naturally. Read a book or listen to some soothing music.
- Don’t use any gadget or digital device that will impact the release of melatonin by the body. Devices that are known to emit blue light can severely interfere with your sleep routine.
- Many people think that overheating the room will help them combat the common cold and get a better night’s sleep. But that is a complete myth as it might lead to night sweat and make you wake up in the middle of your sleep. Maintain normal room temperature to set the stage for a relaxed night’s sleep.
The good news is that common cold and flu will not last for more than a few days, or at most a week. Although they are irritating and uncomfortable, they are your on-and-off companion. Just make sure that you take some precautionary measures and necessary steps to help you combat the irritation when they occur. It will improve your health condition and help you to get rid of such problems quickly for a calm and relaxed night’s sleep.
Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. For full details visit the disclosures page.
It’s your best friend’s birthday, and you finally decide to head to the new Italian restaurant that you had been eyeing for a long time. You dine with mindless abandon– from garlic pasta, spicy sausage, homemade tomato sauce to tons of wine. When you return home fully sated, you have only one thing on your mind– long, deep, restful sleep. But the moment you lie down in bed, it hits you like a train. What? Acid reflux.
We have been in such a situation many, many times, when we have gobbled down food and washed down alcohol like there’s no tomorrow, only to stay awake all night with a tummy ache, discomfort, and heartburn. Acid reflux is extremely common, and that’s mostly because of our eating habits. Of course, there are people with weak digestive systems who are more prone to acid reflux, but it almost always happens because of the things we eat or drink.
Among the many reasons that can disrupt sleep at night, there is acid reflux. Anyone who has ever experienced acid reflux will be acutely aware of how difficult it makes sleep. You keep tossing and turning, drinking water, pacing up and down the room, downing digestives in hopes of making it better, but it isn’t easy to get rid of. The result is that the next morning you aren’t just sleepy, but also not feeling your best. All because of the birthday dinner that you so enjoyed.
Acid reflux can be prevented, but there are times it happens suddenly. Don’t be surprised if you get acidity even without eating a heavy Italian meal for dinner. There are various reasons why acid reflux happens, but no matter why it happens, it always makes falling asleep an impossible task.
Because acid reflux is so common, a number of manufacturers have come up with a special pillow that are supposed to help with acid reflux symptoms and make it easier to fall asleep. With normal pillows, you keep stacking then but don’t get the support that you need to ease the heartburn. That’s why these special pillows are intended to help you sleep even when you have acid reflux symptoms.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Before we go into details about the pillows made for acid reflux, let’s first discuss what acid reflux is and why it happens. Although we know it by many names – acidity, indigestion, dyspepsia – it’s the same thing – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
The condition is characterized by a burning sensation and discomfort located in the throat, chest or stomach. Sometimes it also leaves a sour taste in the mouth, besides nausea, bloating, flatulence and belching. With all these symptoms it’s no wonder that acid reflux makes it difficult to fall asleep.
What Exactly Is the Cause of Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is caused by hiatal hernia, a condition in which a part of the stomach pushes up towards the chest. This is the cause of acid reflux, when the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter push above the diaphragm. The diaphragm muscle is responsible for helping keep acid in our stomach. When a part of the stomach pushes up, and above the diaphragm, the acid moves up into the esophagus. The muscles of the diaphragm are supposed to be taut, keeping the opening leading from the stomach to the esophagus closed. During eating or drinking, these muscles relax to allow the food to pass to the stomach, and then they tighten again. In people with GERD, the diaphragm muscles are weak, and they don’t relax when they should. This prevents the esophageal muscles from closing completely and allows stomach contents to push back up the throat. This is what causes indigestion, bloating, heartburn and discomfort.
Acid reflux is more common than any other condition. About 60 percent of the American population experiences acid reflux every year, with more than half of them getting weekly symptoms. Acid reflux clearly needs more attention than just popping digestive supplements.
There are several factors that cause acid reflux. Some of the most factors are:
- Eating too close to bedtime
- Consuming acid triggering foods, such as alcohol, spicy or fatty foods, and caffeine
- Wearing tight clothing to bed
As we realize, most of the factors that cause acid reflux are manageable. But since acid reflux mostly happens at night during bedtime, it affects sleep more than anything else. This is why the things we consume close to bedtime have a maximum effect on our digestive system.
Do Wedge Pillows Work for Acid Reflux?
There are quite a few treatments and prevention options for acid reflux. Taking antacids prescription medications and surgery are some of the means for those who experience regular acid reflux symptoms. However, none of these offer any immediate improvement and also have an animal of side effects. Popping an antacid when you have acid reflux during bedtime can offer relief but take a few hours to work. So until then, you have to keep tossing and turning or pacing around your room.
There is however a quick and easy relief option when you experience acid reflux at night, and that is by elevating upper portion of your body while you are lying down in bed. The elevation is proven to be one of the quickest solutions for acid reflux because it prevents stomach contents from coming up to the throat through the esophagus. Several studies have found the usefulness of elevating your head or the upper portion of your body to get immediate relief from acid reflux symptoms.
There are quite a few ways to elevate your head while you lay down, including stacking up the pillows and elevating the head of the bed. However, if you elevate your head simply by stacking a few pillows, you are creating excessive strain on your neck and spine, as well as creating pressure on your abdomen and aggravating acid reflux symptoms. Unfortunately, that is the way most people are used to elevating their head, but it isn’t of much use.
This is when you should use wedge pillows that have been specially designed to keep the head elevated while supporting the rest of the body. While wedge pillows have a number of different uses, they are mostly used for elevating certain parts of the body such as the head the shoulders the back or the legs. As the name suggests, these pillows are shaped like a wedge and are a little firmer than regular pillows, which allows them to provide better support. Wedge pillows are also used for elevating the head for people who snore or have sleep apnea or need support during pregnancy.
Wedge pillows are a simple, affordable, and risk-free solution to treat nighttime GERD quickly. It won’t make your symptoms disappear but will make sleeping at night a lot easier. It is also far safer than popping pills or undergoing surgery. Wedge pillows are available online and at major bedding stores.
5 Best Wedge Pillows for Acid Reflux?
Wedge pillows are primarily manufactured for acid reflux relief. They are rising in popularity, and various manufacturers have started to bring out their own versions of the wedge pillow. But remember that there is a difference between ordinary wedge pillows and those that have been specifically designed for acid reflux relief. There are various cheap alternatives to wedge pillows available, but they are not capable of providing the support that therapeutic pillows do. That is why when purchasing a wedge pillow make sure it is meant for therapeutic use.
Here we look at the top 5 wedge pillows capable of providing elevation and support.
This pillow is the result of a collaboration between Cleveland Clinic and medical device company Amenity Health. After Cleveland Clinic conducted a research to find if sleeping on the left side could improve symptoms of acid reflux, it collaborated with Amenity Health to create this system that contains a wedge pillow as well as a body pillow, designed to keep sleepers on the left side throughout the night while keeping their head elevated. This is one of those systems that prevent the sleeper from sliding down from the wedge pillow while providing support to the entire body with the help of the body pillow.
The dual-component system has a patented design to create an elevated and side sleeping position for relief from acid reflux. The system can also be used for snoring and sleep apnea. Because you aren’t going to slide down this pillow, you remain in the right position all night long and get maximum relief.
If you aren’t naturally a side sleeper, then the patented arm pocket of the Advanced Positioning Wedge not only prevents you from sliding down the pillow but also prevents any pressure on arms and shoulders. The body pillow prevents you from rolling on to your back, and also allows you to keep your knees tucked to take the pressure off the lower back. The pillow can also be washed.
FitPlus Premium Wedge Pillow
If you are interested in a doctor recommended wedge pillow for acid reflux, snoring, sleep apnea, and CPAP devices, then consider FitPlus Premium. This pillow has an underlying polyurethane foam wedge with a 1.5-inch layer of memory foam on top to provide you with comfort as well as support. The pillow has been designed in such a way that it keeps your torso elevated and supported throughout the night in case of acid reflux congestion snoring sleep apnea and any other condition that requires elevation. The pillow has a gentle elevation that is meant to provide cervical alignment and support to the torso while providing an inclination of 7.5 inches.
Aside from relief with sleep apnea acid reflux and congestion, this wedge pillow can also be used for elevation doing the reading, watching television and working. It has a soft cover that is washable and easy to maintain. You may also use this pillow for leg elevation or for inclining any part of the body. Design for both back and side sleepers, the highlight of this pillow is the cushioning that the memory foam layer provides. However, some customers have complained that the pillow is too high and a little too firm to be comfortable.
A common complaint about wedge pillows is that they are too small or too narrow and do not offer enough room the spread or move about without sliding off. Most wedge pillows are the same size as a regular pillow designed only for the head and neck. However, wedge pillows are also meant to support and incline the torso, which isn’t possible if the size of the pillow is small. Even if a small wedge pillow is capable of providing the sleeper with enough inclination and support, it’s easy to slide off during the night because there is not enough room to move about.
This is where the MedSlant Wedge Pillow is a winner. Not only is this pillow longer than usual but is also 28 inches wide which is half the size of a queen bed. Although this pillow elevates the torso up to 7 inches, the gradual slope does not make the incline too steep. Whether you are a back sleeper side sleeper or a combination sleeper who likes to move about during the night, this wedge pillow fits a number of different requirements. Made from a soy, polyurethane foam, it has a cushion of memory foam but also with a firm foundation layer underneath, with zero off-gassing. The zippered cover made of microfiber is easy to take off and wash and allows more breathability and airflow to keep you cool in any season. The size of this pillow offers you to adjust your sleeping position better, and also makes this a more suitable option for all kinds of sleepers.
If the size of the pillow is important to you, then another great option is the wedge pillow by Xtra Comfort. What makes this pillow stand apart from the rest is the incredible 12 inches of elevation. Yes, the adjustable loft of this pillow can be increased up to 12 inches, so you can remain supported and inclined for a number of different purposes, from sleeping to reading to working. Besides the torso, the legs can also be elevated using this pillow, and the high elevation is useful if you have a fracture or sprain.
This folding pillow is made from dense memory foam, has a firmer feel than most other wedge pillows, and also offers more control because of the 3 in 1 design. The clever design of the pillow makes it useful for both the back and the rest of the body. The soft, microplush cover can be removed for washing, and the zipper keeps it snug and secure. There is also a handle on the cover, which can also be used for easy storage and portability. Because the pillow is large, the handle is useful. However, some users have said that the pillow is a little too firm and takes a little time to get used to.
The Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Bed Wedge Pillow is made by layering two solid wedges, which make the sleeping surface soft and comfortable while accommodating both side and back sleepers. The sleeping position offered by this pillow not only allows the head and the neck to sink into the surface for better support and spinal alignment but also keeps the body inclined at a 30-degree angle. This helps reduce symptoms of acid reflux, sleep apnea and snoring.
The pillow has a plush bamboo cover that facilitates not only excellent airflow but also provides maximum comfort to the sleeper. The pillow can be used to support other parts of the body, such as the back, the legs, and the knees. However, even though the pillow is mostly a great product for back and side sleepers that suffer from acid reflux, some users have complained about off-gassing and the pillow being too firm.
How to Sleep If You Have Acid Reflux?
Because acid reflux is more common than many other conditions, it is one of the biggest causes behind disrupted sleep. Acid reflux can happen at any time during the day but is notorious for striking at night, just when you’re trying to sleep. This happens particularly when you consume a big heavy meal close to bedtime or smoke or drink or have a natural tendency for GERD. In some people, everything they eat gives them acid reflux. And the problem compounds at night, just when you’re lying down in a supine position. In such cases, medicines are not much help, and surgery needs to be done in order to get rid of chronic acid reflux.
Acid reflux or GERD is notorious for disrupting sleep quality. The heartburn, pain, and discomfort can keep you up for several nights if the problem persists. As a result, you are weary, sleepy, tired, and unable to feel comfortable because of the dyspepsia. There are actually people who go through this very frequently but don’t know what to do about it. Sleep position can have a vital role to play in managing nighttime acid reflux.
As several studies have already found, elevation is the key to battling nighttime GERD. The point is to prevent the stomach from sending its contents to the throat through the esophagus. When you keep your torso elevated, the stomach acids are unable to come up towards the throat.
When the acids reach the back of the throat or larynx, it prompts choking or a coughing fit, which wakes you up. You may also wake up when you get regurgitation when some amount of stomach acids come up into the mouth through the esophagus. All these aren’t pleasant things to experience when you’re trying to fall asleep.
GERD or acid reflux is also known to be a risk factor for sleep apnea, a respiratory disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts through the night when the person is asleep. It is believed that the acids cause spasms in the voice box, blocking the airways and preventing air from flowing into the lungs.
What makes matters worse is the mechanisms of sleep. Just the act of being flat on your back or side increases the risk or acid reflux. When you are in an upright position, sitting or standing, the force of gravity keeps the stomach acids from rising. When you are lying flat, it’s a lot easier for the stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
When a person is asleep, they swallow less frequently. As a result, the regular esophageal contractions that help keep food down in the stomach are slowed. When people are asleep, they also produce less saliva, which hinders the role it plays in keeping esophageal pH levels normal after acids are refluxed.
That means you must revise your sleeping position in order to prevent instances of acid reflux. We need to lay down in order to sleep, and it can’t be changed. But what can be done is to keep the torso elevated to prevent the stomach acids from flowing back towards the throat. And what better way to achieve this than with the help of a wedge pillow?
How High Should You Elevate Your Head?
Although elevation is key in preventing the risk of acid reflux, there are a few do’s and don’ts of inclining your torso. First and foremost, remember that keeping your body supported during sleep is more important than anything else. If you fail to keep your neck, spine, and shoulders supported while you sleep, you are going to hurt your posture, and end up with aches and pains. That’s even worse than acid reflux.
Before going out and buying a wedge pillow, remember that your torso shouldn’t be inclined any higher than six to eight inches. Yes, so that 12-inch pillow that you read about, keep the highest inclination only for the legs and stick to six to eight inches for the torso. Any higher and you have the risk of ending up with a stiff neck and sore back.
Sleeping on your back is also a risk factor for acid reflux. When you sleep on your back, the pressure created on the stomach helps drive the acids back into the esophagus. That is why you must have noticed that lying flat not only increases the discomfort but also makes you prone to regurgitation. If you’re overweight or obese, the risk is even greater. Overweight or obese people should avoid sleeping on their back to prevent instances of acid reflux.
Sleeping on the right side is also another factor that contributes to acid reflux. When you sleep on your right side, it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, which tightens to prevent acid reflux. The loosening of these muscles increases the chances of acid reflux. Sleeping on the right side has also been found generally disruptive to sleep quality. Even if you do not suffer from acid reflux, you should practice sleeping on your left side.
In various studies, it has been found that sleeping on the left side is best for optimal sleep quality. Whether you have trouble falling asleep, suffer from constipation or are prone to snoring, sleeping on your left side can be much better for quality sleep.
How to Manage Nighttime Acid Reflux?
Nighttime GERD is most often caused by eating habits and aggravated by sleep positions. If you frequently suffer from nighttime acid reflux, try the following for relief:
Don’t Eat or Drink Too Close to Bedtime: This means you should stop eating and drinking at least two hours before going to bed. Also, make sure to avoid caffeine after 2 in the afternoon because it is also a potential cause for acid reflux at night.
Avoid Acidic Foods: There are plenty of foods that seem harmless but are actually acidic or cause acid reflux. From tomatoes to red wine to coffee to garlic, the list is never-ending. Make sure to avoid these foods before bedtime to reduce the chances of acid reflux.
Lose Weight: Excess weight and obesity is often a trigger for nighttime acid reflux, because of the pressure created on the abdomen. Losing weight, in that case, is the best solution to prevent acid reflux.
Wear loose clothing to bed: Wearing clothing that is too tight to bed constricts the stomach and makes digestion difficult. Remember to wear loose-fitting clothing to bed, to reduce instances of acid reflux.
GERD or acid reflux may be common, but it’s also easily manageable. Simply make some lifestyle changes and get a wedge pillow to elevate your torso and enjoy a better sleep every night.
There is often an endless list of factors that can affect sleep. Many of these factors are not what people usually consider to be associated with sleep in any way, but they go a long way in determining the amount and quality of rest you get every night. From the number of hours, you work every day to the kinds of food you eat to the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume to your bedroom environment– all of these factors influence sleep quality in one way or the other. For instance, if you eat a big heavy meal very close to bedtime, your sleep quality that night will be negatively affected.
When it comes to food, there is a lot that’s connected to sleep. Not only does the amount of food you eat every day have an impact on your sleep quality, but your overall diet also goes a long way in influencing your quality of rest. There is a lot of social awareness about eating healthy and exercising right in order to stay in shape, reduce stress and get the right amount of sleep. But even when people think they are doing everything right, they may actually be following a diet that’s not beneficial for sleep.
Recently, an acidic diet has come under the scanner for being harmful to sleep quality. But the majority of the global population follows an acidic diet even without knowing it. But this kind of diet is often responsible for insufficient or poor sleep quality. If you wake up feeling tired every morning an acidic diet could be responsible for it.
What Is an Acidic Diet?
You have an acidic diet when most of the foods that you consume have a pH level of 4.6 or lower. These types of food produce more acid in the body and make your entire system more acidic than alkaline. The pH level of any substance tells you if it is an acid, an alkali or neutral. For instance, the pH level in a battery is zero, which is extremely acidic. But your toilet cleaner has a pH level of 14, which is completely alkaline. Water, especially if it’s pure distilled water, has a pH level of 7, which is neither acidic nor alkaline.
In the same way, different parts of our bodies have different pH levels. The pH level in your blood is more alkaline than the pH level of your stomach. This is because various acids are produced in the intestine help break down food. Your blood should generally remain alkaline. If the pH level of your blood is too low, you have too much acid in your system.
Consuming acidic foods on a regular basis contributes to a low blood pH level. When the pH level in your blood is low, it interferes with the pH level of your stomach and leads to various digestive and gastrointestinal issues. Generally, the low pH level of the stomach is beneficial for proper digestion of food. But if the pH level of your blood is also low, then this can cause a problem. If you suffer from frequent indigestion, it could be a sign that your body is acidic.
What Foods Are Acidic?
There are several everyday food products that are acidic in nature, and regular consumption of these can make the blood pH level lower than it should be. Some of the most acidic foods are:
- Dairy products
- Processed food like pizzas, fries, burgers, pies, cookies, donuts, etc
- Both fresh meat and processed meat, such as ground beef
- Sodas, alcohol, and other sweetened beverages
- Protein-rich food and protein supplements
- Fruits and fruit juices
- Certain vegetables
These are all common foods that we consume daily, but they contribute to making the blood acidic and hurt not only the digestive system but also sleep quality.
How Acidic Diet Affects Sleep
Most people follow an acidic diet, without realizing that it affects their sleep quality. The stomach produces enough acids on its own, but excessive consumption of acidic foods increase this normal level of acids and cause problems. This is the reason why you have trouble falling asleep after consuming certain foods for dinner or why you are asked to not consume citrus fruits late in the evening.
It requires the brain a lot of energy to help us sleep. When the system is focused on digestion throughout the night, it cannot focus on falling asleep. Any acidic food increases the time taken for digestion, making the intestine work harder. And when the intestine is working hard to break down the acids, the brain is unable to fall asleep. Even if does manage to fall asleep, the sleep quality is poor. If you wake up tired even after getting 8 hours of sleep, it could be the effect of an acidic diet.
Benefits of Alkaline Diet
Foods considered alkaline have a pH level higher than 7. They help balance the acids already present in your system. Alkalizing foods should be a major part of any diet because they keep the digestive system healthy as well as contribute to better sleep. Alkaline foods include:
- soy, tofu, miso, and soybeans
- most fresh vegetables
- unsweetened yogurt and milk
- certain fruits
- herbs and spices, not including salt, nutmeg, and mustard
- lentils and beans
- some whole grains, such as millet and quinoa
- healthy fats in nuts, olive oil, seeds and avocado
- herbal teas
To keep your diet on the alkaline side, you should replace acidic foods with alkalizing ones. This isn’t hard to do if you cook your own meals and eat at home. But if you regularly eat out or consume packaged foods, you are more at risk of a higher acidic level. Alkaline diets focus more on plant-based foods and eliminate processed food. Sticking to an alkaline diet isn’t possible if you regularly eat out, but small changes can be made slowly to improve health as well as the quality of sleep.
Anyone who has ever consumed alcohol knows that it makes people drowsy. This is the very reason why many people consume alcohol before going to bed because it helps them fall asleep faster. In many cultures, it is a custom to drink a nightcap after dinner or before going to bed because it is supposed to help the person relax and fall asleep faster. In that case, drinking any warm beverage, such as milk or herbal tea, aids in sleep. But there’s nothing that works like alcohol. The moment you consume alcohol, your nerves start to loosen up, and you feel drowsy and sleepy. Naturally, after drinking any alcoholic beverage, it does not take long at all to fall asleep. That is how most people consider the relation between alcohol and sleep.
About 20 percent of Americans use alcohol as a sleep aid. It’s true that alcohol induces sleep quickly but what we don’t realize is that alcohol also negatively impacts the quantity and quality of sleep. There are people who regularly use alcohol as a sleep aid to reduce sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep). But constant use of alcohol for sleeping results in alcohol dependence, just like any other sleep aid.
Because alcohol disrupts the quality and quantity of sleep, people usually wake up with a hangover. Keep in mind that alcohol is not like other sleeping aids that are specially formulated to help people sleep. Alcohol is consumed for pleasure, and that is what it should be limited to because consuming alcohol for sleep has both short- and long-term effects.
Why Use Sleep Aid?
There is only one reason why people use sleep aids, and that’s for falling and staying asleep. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who consume sleeping pills or other sleep aids on a regular basis do so without consulting a healthcare practitioner. Not all sleep aid requires a prescription, making it easier for people to consume sleeping pills randomly. Most people do not know how to consume sleeping pills safely. As a result, the dependency on the sleeping pill slowly grows and makes it impossible to sleep without it.
A large number of people around the world suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. In many cases, the sufferer is not even aware of the condition. Certain sleep disorders can go for years without being diagnosed or treated. This means the sufferer keeps losing precious sleep to the disorder.
In some cases, healthcare practitioners prescribe sleep aid for any of the three reasons:
- To aid in falling asleep
- To help in staying sleep
- To prevent frequent episodes of wakefulness during the night
When healthcare practitioners prescribe sleeping pills, they are aware of the effects and side effects and can guide the patient to use the pills safely. They also know when to instruct the patient to slowly go off the pills and try to sleep without them. In cases like insomnia, sleeping pills are regularly prescribed by doctors to prevent the person from sleep deprivation. Sleeping pills are also prescribed when the patient suffers from some other disorder that prevents quality sleep. But when a sleep aid is prescribed by healthcare practitioners, it is done after considering the overall health of the person and the side effects of the sleep aid.
Although many people consume alcohol as a sleep aid, you will never find a healthcare practitioner endorsing this idea. Alcohol might help you fall asleep faster, but the side effects outweigh the benefits.
How Alcohol Disrupts Sleep
At first glance, it seems that alcohol is an effective sleep aid. But there are several ways in which alcohol disrupts sleep. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it reduces the alertness and hinders the function of the nervous system. Once you know that alcohol is a depressant, it isn’t hard to understand why any alcoholic beverage causes drowsiness and hangover and robs the person of all sensibilities.
Alcohol not only affects you negatively while you are awake but also when you are asleep. The following are the five ways in which alcohol disrupts your sleep cycle and quality.
Disruption of Sleep Cycle
There are four stages of sleep, and all of them are equally important in ensuring that you wake up refreshed and alert. If you spend a long time in one stage and do not spend enough time in the other, your sleep cycle is disrupted. It’s true that alcohol reduces the time taken to fall asleep, but there is an important way in which alcohol gets in the way of restorative sleep. This is by turning on both delta wave and Alpha wave activity. Delta wave activity happens when the person is in a deep sleep. This is responsible for memory formation, focus, and learning. But at the same time alcohol also turns on another brain pattern called alpha activity. The problem is alpha activity is not supposed to happen when the person is asleep. It takes place when the person is awake. When Delta and Alpha activities take place at the same time, it can prevent restorative sleep and leave you feeling tired in the morning.
Impact on Circadian Rhythm
While alcohol may help you fall asleep easily, it severely impacts the quality of sleep. Even if you fall asleep quickly, it’s common to wake up in the middle of the night. The reason behind this is that alcohol disrupts production of the chemicals that balance sleep and wakefulness. When you consume alcohol before bedtime, it produces adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain. Adenosine brings on sleep very fast, but it also fades away just as quickly, making you wake up even before you’ve had enough sleep.
Blocking REM Sleep
Have you ever wondered why you wake up with a hangover after consuming alcohol? One of the reasons is that alcohol hinders the normal functioning of the nervous system and makes you feel confused and disoriented. There is another reason why consuming alcohol before bedtime leads to feeling groggy and confused in the morning. The reason is that alcohol prevents REM sleep. The final stage of sleep is called the REM phase and is considered the most restorative type of sleep. The brain becomes active in this sleep stage and boosts alertness, memory, and concentration. In short, this is the phase when the brain recharges and gets ready for the next day. When you miss out on REM sleep, you are more than likely to wake up confused groggy and disoriented because the brain hasn’t had time to recharge.
Aggravate Breathing Problems
Alcohol works by relaxing all the nerves and muscles of the body. That is why alcohol feels so relaxing before bed because it makes you drowsy and helps you fall asleep faster. But if you suffer from problems like snoring or sleep apnea alcohol aggravates these problems by causing breathing difficulties. When the nerves and muscles relax, the throat muscles also relax, obstructing the airway and preventing normal breathing. Even if you don’t normally snore, sleeping after consuming alcohol can make you more prone to snoring because of the relaxed throat muscles. When this continues for a long time, it can become chronic sleep apnea.
Waking Up for The Bathroom
Your body knows that sleep is a time for rest and not for frequent trips to the bathroom. This means your bladder is also sleeping through the night. But alcohol being a diuretic, increases your need to go to the bathroom during the night. While there is nothing harmful with going to the bathroom during the night, waking up frequently can prevent you from having a quality restful sleep. Every time you go to the bathroom you are turning on a light, which blocks the production of melatonin and makes it harder to fall back asleep.
Sleeping Naturally Without Alcohol
When you regularly consume alcohol for falling asleep fast, it can seem like there is no other way you could ever fall asleep. But that’s not the truth. There are ways to fall asleep without depending on alcohol, and one of the first steps is to treat any existing sleep disorder.
Sleep disorders are the biggest cause behind insufficient sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. To get proper nightly sleep, sleep disorders must be diagnosed and treated before they go out of hand. To kick the habit of using alcohol as a sleep aid, you should talk to your healthcare practitioner about natural sleep aids.
Once you stop consuming alcohol before bedtime, it can be initially difficult to sleep without it. But if you give your body enough time to adjust to the change, it’s possible to kick the habit and sleep without alcohol. Natural sleep aids like lavender oil, acupuncture, and melatonin supplements work to help you fall and stay asleep without side effects.
Sleep is very touchy. Even the slightest things can scare it away and make it elude you for long nights. For instance, if you’re sick, you may be unable to sleep for many nights. If you’re too stressed, sleep can evade you. If you’re too excited about something, it can make sleep go away. When you regularly experience stress, hyper arousal, or medical conditions, it can wreak havoc on your sleep quality and quantity.
Modern women are often under greater stress than men. Today’s women aren’t staying at home and cooking and cleaning anymore. They are going to work, managing demanding careers, raising children, caring for aged parents, and also doing their bit for the community. Women are capable of single-handedly managing both home and work and taking care of every little detail. But as a result, they also suffer from greater stress.
Around the age of 35 through 40, women begin to experience perimenopause symptoms. This is when women approach the end of their reproductive phase. Various symptoms mark the onset of menopause, from weight gain to mood swings to hot flushes. But a common complaint is insomnia or poor sleep quality. Several women approaching midlife complain of sleep difficulties. More often than not, the cause is perimenopause or menopause.
Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause doesn’t happen in a day. It begins from the time a woman crosses 35 and continues until the age of 45 or more. This transition phase is called perimenopause. Some women reach menopause too early while others can keep having children till 45. It all depends on the genetic makeup of the person.
Both perimenopause and menopause have similar symptoms. Not all women experience all of them, though. Some of the most common signs of perimenopause and menopause are:
Irregular Periods: As a woman crosses 35, irregular periods is the biggest sign of perimenopause. With time, periods become severely irregular and scanty, before stopping altogether. However, irregular periods can also be a sign of some other medical condition that only a doctor can diagnose.
Heavy or Scanty Periods: As the fertile phase of a woman comes to an end, periods are not only irregular but also heavier or scantier than usual. However, these may also be an indicator of some other underlying medical condition, especially if you haven’t yet reached the age of perimenopause.
PMS-Like Symptoms: Premenstrual syndrome usually gets worse in the years approaching menopause. Mood swings, breast tenderness, weight gain, bloating, and abdominal cramps are some of the symptoms that are common during perimenopause.
Hair and Skin Changes: Because menopause is all about hormones, these changes can affect your hair and skin. You may notice graying of hair or severe hair fall.
Night Sweats and Hot Flushes: Bodies of women approaching menopause get hot very easily. When others in a room are feeling cold, they might feel hot. This more commonly happens at night, making sleep difficult. Night sweats and hot flushes are tell-tale signs of menopause, especially when they happen at night. Feeling stuffy and uncomfortable can make it hard to sleep. All these factors contribute to insomnia and poor sleep quality.
Some other symptoms of perimenopause are:
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of libido
- Forgetfulness and concentration problems
- Muscle cramps
- Urinary tract infections
Insomnia during perimenopause or menopause isn’t because of one factor. Several factors combine to make sleep difficult for menopausal women.
What Happens During Menopause?
The transition from perimenopause to menopause is marked by the decline in production of certain hormones. These are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These three hormones not only regulate the reproductive and menstrual cycle but also have a significant impact on energy, mood, libido, cognitive and emotional functioning, and sleep. When these hormones start to decline, there is bound to be some problem to the normal functioning of the body.
Both estrogen and progesterone are responsible for promoting sleep and relaxation and keeping away anxiety and depression. Progesterone is not only the one behind each monthly cycle, labor, and breastfeeding but also regulates mood and keeps the sleep-wake cycle normal. Loss of progesterone also contributes to osteoporosis.
As the hormones fluctuate and decline all through the perimenopausal and menopausal stages, sleep often tends to be increasingly disrupted. When women cross perimenopause and enter menopause, it is not unusual for women to routinely experience insomnia and have a hard time falling and staying asleep.
Treating Insomnia During Menopause
It must be noted that as long as a woman continues to have irregular or scanty periods, she is experiencing perimenopause or menopause. The end of this stage is post-menopause when periods have been absent for 12 months or more. This means that the hormone rebalancing is now complete, and the body is not producing estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone anymore.
Not all women experience severe insomnia during perimenopause or menopause. But if sleep difficulties are keeping you up night after night, it’s time to take the necessary steps to stop or prevent them.
Instead of treating insomnia, healthcare practitioners are generally suggesting treating the root cause. Are hot flushes keeping you up? Are you experiencing rapid heartbeats or hyperarousal? Are you always too hot to be comfortable?
These are some common complaints during menopause, but there are steps to get relief.
The first things to control are your sleep habits. As your body changes, your sleep habits must also change along with it. Certain things to follow to ensure proper sleep hygiene are:
Sticking to Specific Sleep and Wake Times: When your sleep and wake times keep changing every day, the body is confused. Instead, stick to a particular bedtime and the same wake-up time every single day, even on weekends. This habituates the body to a rhythm. For instance, if you go to bed at 10 every night and wake up at 6 every morning, the body will automatically feel sleepy when it approaches 10 o’clock, and also be able to wake up without an alarm clock in the morning. Routine bedtime and wake-up time is the first step in healthy sleep hygiene.
Preparing Your Body for Sleep: As part of healthy sleep hygiene, you need to prepare yourself for sleep, so that the brain and the body know it’s time to shut down for the day. When you keep working till late or continue to use electronic devices, the body doesn’t get the indication that it’s time for bed. Instead, you should unplug, turn out the lights, take a relaxing bath, and do some light reading to induce sleep.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco: Certain things can interfere with your sleep hygiene, alcohol and tobacco being two of them. If you are in the habit of smoking or drinking before bed, it’s time to kick the habits when you reach perimenopause. Both alcohol and tobacco interfere with melatonin production and delay the onset of sleep. Alcohol also hinders REM sleep, the most restorative stage of sleep linked to cognitive functioning and memory formation.
Evaluate Your Bedroom: Often, we don’t have the right conditions for falling asleep. The room is too cold or too hot, the bed is uncomfortable, and ambient noise keeps making its way in. When you’re experiencing menopause-related insomnia, you need to take a good look at your bedroom and change what’s needed. If the room is too hot, you will only feel more uncomfortable. Keep your room as cool as possible to keep the hot flushes and night sweats away. If the room is too cold, turn up the thermostat to bring it to a comfortable temperature or use blankets. Also, change the mattress if it’s sagged and doesn’t provide the best support. You can also keep a bucket of ice beside your bed to cool off if you get hot during the night.
Don’t Stress Over Sleep: Stressing oversleep is one of the worst things to increase your insomnia. If you wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep, don’t stay in bed tossing and turning and worrying about not being able to sleep. Instead, get out of bed, have a nice, soothing drink, turn on a reading light and read a relaxing book. However, make sure to stay away from electronic devices and bright lights, because they can make it even harder to go back to sleep.
Remedies for Menopause-Related Insomnia
Because menopause is purely hormonal, the oft-suggested medical remedy is hormone replacement therapy. But not only is it expensive but can also have various side effects. Instead, there are natural remedies you may try for beating insomnia and having a better sleep.
Some of the non-drug ways to treat insomnia are:
- Melatonin supplements
- Acupuncture and acupressure
- Relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing
In many cases, a mild dose of birth control pills may also be prescribed to balance the hormones and control symptoms of menopause.
If menopause has been giving you sleepless nights, do not hesitate to consult your general physician or gynecologist to work towards the best remedy.
Not many of us usually connect our diet to our sleep quality. But the nutrition that we provide to our bodies determines the sleep quality and quantity to a great extent. There are various kinds of diets that a person can follow, in order to lose weight or stay healthy. But getting into a new diet can affect sleep. Some diets can cause insomnia while others can make you feel excessively sleepy.
There are foods that are good for sleep. Not only do they keep you healthy, but also keep your sleep cycle normal. Including those foods in your diet can improve your quality of sleep. But there are certain foods that can interfere with sleep. Foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates or processed food are the biggest enemies of sleep. It is often recommended that large, heavy meals should not be consumed close to bedtime. This is because sugar and carbohydrates take time to be broken down and digested by the body, which increases metabolism and interferes with sleep.
The quality of sleep that a person enjoys is an indicator of his health. If he sleeps well without any interferences or disturbances, it indicates good health. Poor quality or quantity of sleep is linked to internal weaknesses or nutritional deficiencies.
One diet that can cause insomnia in some people is the ketogenic diet. Various diets come and go, and there are several people who like to try them out, in the hopes of losing weight or becoming healthier. But before starting any new diet, no matter how beneficial to other aspects of health, its effect on sleep should be carefully studied.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
Although the keto diet has been around for a while, it has recently started to gain massive popularity because it claims to help in weight loss and fat burn. In this diet, you need to cut down on carbohydrates and increase intake of healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables low in starch. The most significant aspect of this diet is the drastic cut-down on carbohydrates. You have to consume little to no carbohydrates, with most of the energy being provided to the body by fats and proteins.
The word “keto” comes from the small fuel molecules called ketones produced by the body as an alternate source of
Ketones are produced by the liver when both carbs and proteins are in short supply. Carbohydrates and proteins are what convert into glucose to provide fuel for the body. But when these aren’t sufficient enough, the body uses up fat to produce ketones, which serve as fuel for the body and the brain.
A keto diet is thought to be beneficial for weight loss because it helps the body burn fat rapidly. It also has other effects such as less hunger and a higher metabolism. However, there are significant side effects too, which happen when the body is in a state of ketosis.
What Is Ketosis?
When there is an excess of ketones in the body, it’s called ketosis. This is usually triggered by an insufficient amount of carbohydrates and proteins in the body when the metabolism is fueled entirely by fat. It also happens in diabetic patients when the blood sugar levels rise suddenly but can be managed with insulin.
However, when ketosis is a result of a keto diet, there can be a number of side effects. Some of the side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Sleeplessness is one of the most significant side-effects of ketosis.
Even though every person’s reaction to the keto diet is different, insomnia is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. This is more noticeable when beginning the diet, as the body takes time to adjust to it. Insomnia, at first glance, may not seem as bad. But going without sufficient sleep, especially when you’re on a diet, can do more harm to your body than good. If you suffer from any sleep disorder, you must consult your doctor before going on a new diet.
The Connection Between Ketosis and Insomnia
There is a scientific explanation for the loss of sleep associated with ketosis. Since carbohydrates are usually the main source of energy to the body, they constantly supply the body with glucose and provide the brain amino acid L-tryptophan into the brain. This amino acid helps in the production of serotonin, a hormone that aids in relaxation, sleep, and overall wellbeing. As day turns into night, serotonin is converted into melatonin, the sleep hormone.
This usually happens in the initial stages of the diet, when the body is still getting used to the new system. Insomnia and inadequate sleep are one the most commonly reported symptoms of ketosis, which also helps people understand that the diet is starting to work.
There may also be other reasons behind insomnia triggered by ketosis. One of them is a high metabolism and extra energy. A keto diet is supposed to fuel energy and boost metabolism, making you more active and alert. However, on the downside, it can also cause delayed sleep onset and insomnia. When you’re bursting with energy all the time, it’s hard to fall asleep.
How To Prevent Insomnia Due to Ketosis
Generally, insomnia or sleep difficulties caused by a keto diet go away on its own once your body gets used to the new diet. To make sure this happens quickly, you must stick to the diet religiously. However, if your sleep problems keep getting worse and if it’s related to the new diet, then it’s an indication that the diet isn’t right for you.
Sleep disorders are omnipresent. Regardless of climate, daylight hours, or culture, a large number of people experience a wide range of sleep disorders, either on a regular basis or very frequently. Suffering from insufficient sleep once in a while is normal and doesn’t affect our health or normal bodily functions, but when we go without sleep for a long stretch of time, it can lead to various other health problems. Loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, hypertension, obesity, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, hormonal imbalance, and risk of cardiac problems are some of the issues that arise out of chronic lack of sleep.
There are people who can go forever without getting diagnosed or treated for their sleep problems. And then there are those who are ready to use just about any remedy if it helps restore normal sleep. None of these options are right. Sleep disorders shouldn’t be left un-diagnosed, but sleep remedies shouldn’t be randomly chosen either. Wherever possible, prescription remedies should be avoided, and natural remedies adopted. Natural remedies have no side effects and show results with continuous use. But unfortunately, most people who suffer from sleep disorders typically resort to over the counter sleeping pills. When sleep aids are chosen without considering the overall health of the person, they can have severe side effects.
If you would like to try a natural sleep remedy that has no significant side effects, you should try Dream Water, a sleep aid drink. Developed in 2004, Dream Water is designed as the water that’s supposed to help you sleep and dream. It is also endorsed by various celebrities like Demi Moore, Katy Perry, and Paris Hilton.
What Causes Sleep Disorders?
In modern society, sleep issues are usually caused by lifestyle disorders. With no fixed time for bed, erratic mealtimes, hectic work schedules, alcohol, and tobacco consumption, and excessive attachment to electronic devices are some of the factors that contribute to not only sleep disorders, but other health issues like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
In many cases, sleep disorders are also caused by environmental factors such as noise, light, temperature, and comfort of the bed. Those who live in a crowded neighborhood with the noise of traffic, loud neighbors, and ambient light creating a menace till late in the night are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. The temperature of the room and the feel and support of the mattress are also significant factors behind helping a person fall asleep or keeping them awake.
Medical conditions can also be responsible for sleep disorders. Insomnia is a medical condition, so is sleep apnea. If not diagnosed and treated, they become chronic and hard to cure. Remember, if sleep disorders are chronic, natural sleep remedies often have no effect. That’s why, before starting a new supplement or sleep aid, make sure to consult your doctor and consider other health conditions that you might have.
What Dream Water Claims?
As the name suggests, Dream Water looks like water but is infused with three different ingredients that work together to help you relax, fall and stay asleep. If herbal teas or warm milk haven’t done anything for you, maybe you should try this beverage that’s made with natural ingredients used for years for their proven effectiveness. Unlike most other sleep aid, Dream Water can also be consumed before a long flight to help you relax and has been designed in such a way that you can easily go through airport security.
Plain, natural water is more appealing and safer than any other beverage. It’s something that anyone can drink without second thoughts. So when water comes infused with a sleep aid, it is bound to create a hype. After Vitamin Water and CBD water, we now have Dream Water. It is natural and pristine water but loaded with sleep-inducing ingredients that are also natural and do not affect the purity or safety of the water.
How to Use Dream Water
Dream Water is made with three ingredients:
- Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid: It aids in relaxation and anxiety relief by blocking the impulse transmission from one cell to another in the central nervous system.
- Melatonin: This sleep hormone is responsible for governing the body’s internal clock and properly regulating the natural sleep-wake cycle.
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan: This promotes sleep and relaxation and stimulates melatonin production.
However, before you end up believing that this product is going to work for you, take advantage of the money-back guarantee and try out the water for at least two weeks. Everyone’s bodies and sleep issues are different, and what works for others may not work for you in some cases. That’s why it’s important to try out the product for at least two weeks to give the ingredients time to take action. If there’s no result in two weeks, the product isn’t right for you. You can then take the company up on their money back guarantee.
Cost of Dream Water
Dream Water is packaged like bottled drinking water and priced at $39 for a pack of 12. There’s also free standard shipping.
What Users Say about Dream Water?
The most commonly noted factor about this drink is that there’s no groggy or disoriented feeling in the morning, the kind that happens with other sleep aid. Rather, most users have said that this drink refreshed them and not only helped them in sleeping better but also made waking up in the morning easier.
Dream Water has invented a brilliant idea of combining natural ingredients into plain water. If other soothing drinks like herbal teas and warm milk aren’t doing it for you, and you also don’t want to take prescription sleep medications, then Dream Water can turn out to be an effective remedy. The product has had mostly favorable reviews so far, and the money-back guarantee makes it safe to try at least once.
Having said that, it must not be assumed that the drink will work for everyone. If you have existing sleep disorders, you should consult your healthcare practitioner before starting to take any sleep aid.
We are all familiar with that feeling during the first 15-minutes after waking up in the morning. Our eyes are crusty, our breath stinks, our hair is a mess, and we feel grumpy and sluggish. Waking up in the morning is always hard. You sit up in bed but you’re still actually asleep, and all you want to do is roll over and hit the snooze button. Waking up in the morning becomes even harder in winter when it’s all warm and cozy in bed, and the thought of getting out of it is not so appealing. Even putting toothpaste on your toothbrush can seem complicated when you are half asleep.
This grogginess that most of us experience in the first moments after waking up in the morning is called sleep inertia. This is a transitional stage between sleep and wakefulness when parts of your brain are still asleep while the body is trying to wake up. All of us experience morning grogginess, but now we know it also has a name and can be worse than being drunk. That’s right, during morning grogginess the brain is as inactive as when drunk. Therefore, if you try to drive right after getting out of bed, you can actually end up in a crash.
What Is Sleep Inertia?
It’s all in the brain. Going to sleep or waking up, feeling fresh or groggy – it’s all in the brain. No matter how long or well you sleep at night, when you wake up in the morning, you’re almost always likely to feel tired for the first few minutes. Most people think that getting enough sleep at night can help them avoid morning grogginess. But the unfortunate truth is that morning grogginess has no connection to how long or how well you sleep at night. In fact, the deeper your sleep, the worse the sleep inertia.
Sleep has four stages. The first three stages are non-REM stage sleep while the final stage is REM sleep when dreams occur. During the first stage of sleep, the brain is still active, and it’s easy to wake up from that stage. During the second stage, it is slightly harder to wake up, but there is no grogginess even if you wake up from that stage. But during the third and fourth stages of sleep, the brain is completely inactive, and it is harder to wake up. When a person is in deep sleep it takes them some time to realize that someone is trying to wake them up. It takes even longer to wake up and start comprehending things.
Sleep inertia occurs because parts of the brain takes time to fully you wake up even after the person is awake. This is also the reason why we keep yawning till an hour after we wake up. The mechanism behind this is not very complicated. The part of the brain that’s responsible for our physical functioning is called the brainstem arousal system, and the part of the brain that controls our thinking, decision-making, and self-control is called the prefrontal cortex.
The brainstem arousal system becomes active the moment you wake up. But the prefrontal cortex takes some time to become active and alert. Until the prefrontal cortex becomes active, we feel tired, groggy, and keep yawning.
Why the Delay?
You could well ask why the prefrontal cortex takes time to become active when the rest of the brain becomes active the moment a person wakes up. This is because of melatonin, the sleep hormone. The brain rests when we sleep because of melatonin production. When it’s time to wake up, the melatonin levels slowly start to diminish. This helps some parts of the brain to wake up immediately. But the remaining levels of melatonin continue to affect other parts of the brain until they are completely diminished.
Sleep inertia is worse in two cases: when we oversleep and when we get insufficient sleep. To reduce the impact and duration of sleep inertia, we must not only get sufficient sleep but also try to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle instead of in the middle of one.
Overcoming Sleep Inertia
In most cases sleep inertia is normal. There are parts of the brain that take time to wake up completely, and that is not unusual. But in some cases, sleep, inertia can last longer than usual. When sleep inertia lasts for few hours after waking up, we feel sluggish and cannot focus or concentrate.
However, there are steps we can take to minimize the effects of sleep inertia. The following are some of the ways to overcome morning grogginess and feel fresh and alert.
- Get Sufficient Sleep: Getting proper sleep is one of the most important factors behind minimizing the impact of sleep inertia. When we fail to get sufficient to sleep at night the melatonin produced in the brain takes a long time to diminish. The longer the melatonin remains in the brain, the worse the sleep inertia.
- Avoid Oversleeping: Have you noticed that you feel groggier when you sleep longer than usual? This happens when you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle instead of at the end of one. Our sleep inertia is more significant when we wake up in the middle of the REM stage. Therefore, to avoid feeling groggy in the morning be careful not to oversleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day reduces the impact of sleep inertia.
- Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed: Caffeine and alcohol are known to block the neurotransmitters responsible for melatonin production. Avoiding these close to bedtime can help you get sufficient sleep and minimize morning grogginess.
- Maintain a Sleep Routine: Preparing to go to bed by staying away from backlit devices, vigorous activities, and heavy meals can bring on sleep more easily and help you get your full quota of sleep. This reduces sleep inertia.
Sleep quality depends on several factors, waking up the right way and feeling refreshed is one of them.
Sleep is as common as breathing. We don’t need to wonder why it happens. It’s what we always do. Every living creature has a set time for sleep, including humans. It’s an intrinsic part of our daily routine, so normal that we never question our sleep habit.
The need for rest has existed since the beginning of time. Ancient humans had several other habits besides sleep that they later grew out of with the dawn of civilization. The eating habits have also changed as civilization has progressed. However, the need for sleep is something that has remained unchanged. The ancient man needed the same amount of rest that the modern man does. What has changed are the sleep habits and patterns.
While the need for sleep has remained unchanged, a lot has changed about the way people get their sleep. The ancient humans got their sleep in ways different than what we are familiar with today. Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, had first suggested the need for sleep by all living creatures. At first glance, sleep can seem like a bad idea. In fact, most people consider sleeping a waste of time. Being unconsciousness for several hours every day robs people of the time to accomplish various necessary activities. When creatures sleep in the wild, they also have the danger of being hunted down by predators. But sleep is something that everyone engages in, nevertheless.
Sleep is mostly needed because it’s a means to conserve energy and replenish the energy lost during the day. Energy is what helps us remain active and alert throughout the day, and without a period of rest, the body has no way to replenish the energy that’s being used up by the cells during the waking hours.
Changes in Sleep Patterns Over the Years
Most of us enjoy sprawling on a soft, comfortable bed in a quiet, cozy bedroom to go into snooze mode. But it wasn’t this way always. The sleep habits of humans have undergone significant changes over the centuries. Did you know that in the 16th and 17th centuries, people went to sleep as early as 6 in the evening? That’s because there was no electricity and nothing to do after dark. Turning out the lamps and going to sleep was also a way to save on energy because oil to light the lamps could be expensive.
After electricity was invented, people started going to bed later because they could work after dark. The dinner and supper times also changed, because people no longer had to go to bed because there was nothing to do. The invention of electrical and electronic devices such as the transistor and the television further influenced sleep patterns, because people enjoyed entertainment after work.
Over the years, sleep patterns, positions, timing, and bedding have undergone tremendous changes. Beginning from the early man to the Egyptians to the modern man, sleep has kept changing throughout the years.
Early Man: Very little is known of the early man’s sleeping habits. But from carvings on cave walls and other ancient documentation, it can be deciphered that they slept in beds of grass and other soft materials on the ground. Because these beds were small and round in shape, it is understood that the early men slept in the fetal position.
Ancient Civilization: At the beginning of civilization, the man had grown out of the wild stage, but still didn’t have the light of knowledge. Sleep, therefore, was a mystery, and people were scared of it. The Egyptians worshipped sleep because they considered it akin to death. With the dawn of civilization, the man had also started to make houses and beds to sleep in. For instance, the Romans had tiny bedrooms with low ceilings and small beds.
Middle Ages: In the Middle Ages, people had proper houses and rooms, but the whole family usually slept in one big bed, in order to conserve heat. Bedframes and mattresses had already been developed, while bedframes started to become ornate and decorative in China.
Industrial Revolution: This is the period when electric light sources are developed, and people start to shift from a mainly agrarian economy. Beginning from the Industrial Revolution, people start going to sleep later. They not only work after sundown but also enjoy reading and other forms of entertainment, thanks to electricity. Having separate bedrooms also becomes the norm from this time.
19th and 20th Centuries: This is the time when metal bedsprings are invented. During the latter part of the 19th century, the waterbed and the Murphy bed are invented. At the end of the 20th century, memory foam is invented and eventually becomes affordable enough for the average people.
21st Century: Sleep is a whole industry today, with various sleep aids and technologies to help people get sufficient and restful sleep. However, technology is also often the reason behind the lack of enough sleep.
Sleep Habits – Then Vs. Now
Sleep habits and practices, as well as bedding, have undergone massive change over the years. How we sleep today is dramatically different from the way our ancestors slept. From the duration of sleep to the types of beds, to the sleep patterns, everything has gone through various changes over the centuries.
During early civilization, beds were of no standard size. Beds were individually made, according to the size and preference of the person. However, today beds have standard sizes and aren’t usually made individually. Mattresses are usually customized, but bed frames are of standard sizes.
Sleep patterns have also changed over the years. Today, people have a monophasic sleep pattern, i.e., sleeping in one long chunk. However, earlier, people slept in two chunks of four hours each, with around two hours of break in between. During this break, people read, visited neighbors, or had sex. By the 1920s, this polyphasic sleep pattern had become unusual.
Bed springs were later used to support mattresses. But earlier, ropes and wool straps were used to make bedframes. Today, there are various types of bed frames, made from iron, wood, as well as engineered wood. Mattresses are also made of various materials and are often have computerized controls.
An interesting fact is that spouses slept in separate bedrooms, while all the children slept in one room. This is unlike today when spouses usually sleep in the same room while children have separate rooms.
Importance of Sleep
We tend to believe that sleep is a period of inactivity. But actually, sleep is when the body and the brain undergo various processes for rejuvenation, development, and growth. When we sleep, our body conserved energy and prepared for the next day.
Some of the things that sleep helps with are:
- Immune system
- Heart health
- Stress management
- Weight management
Although science still cannot pinpoint exactly why we need sleep, we do know that it’s good for us. Going without enough sleep for a long time affects appetite, mood, productivity, concentration, weight, and physical health.
Benefits of Napping
When you’re sleep deprived, napping can provide much of the same benefits. Napping has been found to enhance productivity and performance, reduce accidents, and boost alertness. In some cultures, napping is a regular part of the daily routine. Workplaces have recently started making provisions for employees to nap during the day. Although napping can never make up for sleep, it helps to a great extent.
When napping, remember to set the alarm so that you wake up right after you complete one sleep cycle. Any longer, and you risk entering sleep inertia. Finding a quiet and dark place is also important. Napping is extremely beneficial to physical and mental health, so don’t feel guilty about sleeping in the middle of the day.
Throughout the US about 70 million people suffer from unsound sleep. They don’t necessarily have to suffer from a sleep disorder; poor quality sleep or not getting the necessary hours of rest often has the same effects as a sleep disorder. Blame it on hectic work schedules or an unhealthy lifestyle, but poor sleep quality has been on the rise for the last many years. Some people suffer from chronic insomnia, some have fragmented sleep, while some people stay up because of ambient factors. Yes, believe it or not, but external factors are often responsible for causing unsound sleep. From noisy neighbors to the sound of traffic, to snoring (leading to the question how to stop snoring), various environmental factors are responsible for contributing to disturbed sleep.
Sometimes the source of distraction maybe right next to us. We are talking about snoring. At the same time, snoring is both a disorder and a distraction. However, snoring is also more normal than any other sleep issue. In fact, it isn’t considered an issue at all, not until it starts to disturb the people around the snorer. Snoring is a problem that only the people around the snorer are aware of. Once the person is asleep, they do not know if they snore. In some cases, they may refuse to believe that they snore when told by others. It is often embarrassing, and not many like to admit that their snoring keeps others awake at night.
Every person snores at some point. They may snore softly when in a deep sleep or when they have a cold. But it isn’t something regular or permanent. Such snoring is also quite tolerable to others around the sleeper. The problem arises when the snoring is loud enough to not only keep the people in the room awake but also disturb the others in the house even through closed doors. This is when snoring is considered a sleep disorder and needs treatment.
What Is Snoring?
Simply put snoring is the result of a blocked air passageway. It generally happens when there is an obstruction to breathing. When a person sleeps the muscles in the body relax. The problem is, in snorers, the throat muscles also relax and block the air passage. This creates obstructed air movement and does not let the person breathe freely. As a result, the strained breathing creates a noise.
It is easy to simply brush aside snoring and not consider it a problem at all. But the fact is the sound of snoring can sometimes exceed 100 decibels, which is louder than the sound of a road drill. Even if the person remains unaware of the fact that he or she snores, the loud noise can cause sleep disturbances to others around him forcing them to seek remedies to stop snoring. The loudness of snoring can lead to chronic insomnia and for sleep quality in others sharing the room with the snorer.
Snoring is not a problem when it is transient or because of a condition like a cold. It is also more common among men and those above middle age. Habitual snoring affects around 90 million people in the US alone. Children can also sometimes be habitual snorers, but the generally outgrow it as they get older.
What are the Most Common Causes of Snoring?
As already discussed, the primary cause of snoring is obstruction of the air passage. But the obstruction can stem from various causes. Snoring is more an annoyance than anything else. It is not readily seen as a sleep disorder or a health problem. Snoring can often remain undiagnosed, and even though it may not be dangerous for the person, it can lead to various other problems.
Most Common Causes of Snoring
Excess Weight: Overweight or obese people are more at risk for snoring. In fact, more than half of the total number of people who snore are overweight or obese. Any person with a body mass index of 29.9 or above is considered overweight, while a body mass index of 40 and above is considered obese. BMI is not always the sole yardstick for measuring excess weight. Men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or higher are also at risk for snoring. This is because overweight people have thick palates that narrow down the airway and obstruct breathing. This is not really a disorder but more of a lifestyle problem, affecting a vast number of people in the US.
Alcohol: Many people are fond of consuming an alcoholic drink after dinner or before bed because they find it relaxing. Indeed, alcohol does have a relaxing effect on the body. Alcohol is known to relax all the muscles of the body including the throat muscles. When throat muscles relax, they block the airway and obstruct breathing. That is the reason why any person with sleep disorders or respiratory troubles should avoid alcohol at least two hours before bedtime.
Nasal Problems: Respiratory or nasal problems can often be the reason behind loud snoring. Chronic nasal congestion and deviated nasal septum are one of the biggest physiological reasons behind snoring. Nasal congestion can have a variety of causes including allergies, common cold, sinusitis, environmental irritants, and nasal polyps. The septum is the wall between the nostrils. When it is crooked, it leads to a condition called deviated nasal septum. This causes airway obstruction and prevents normal breathing, leading to snoring. All types of nasal congestion require a medical diagnosis.
Sleep Deprivation: Snoring and sleep deprivation are connected in two ways: sleep-deprived people tend to snore more, and those who snore are also usually sleep deprived. When sleep deprived people finally get to rest, they are more likely to snore than others.
Sleep Position: The position in which a person sleeps is also a possible reason for snoring. Those who sleep on their back are more likely to snore than those who sleep on the sides or on the stomach. This is because when a person sleeps on the back, the air passage is narrowed down due to the relaxed throat muscles. Those who sleep on their backs and snore loudly may try changing the sleep position to see if there is any improvement.
What Habitual Snoring Can Lead To?
Snoring may not always be the problem itself. Throat muscles relax in every person when they sleep, but when it begins to obstruct the breathing, it becomes a problem. When snoring goes undiagnosed, it can lead to other issues. Some of them are:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: In several cases, snoring is a sign of a more serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is of a number of types, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the air passage is blocked by the relaxing throat muscles. This not only causes snoring but also makes the breathing stop and start abruptly throughout the night. As a result, the person fails to get proper rest, wakes up with a dry mouth and throat and feels tired throughout the day. Snoring is usually the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Deprivation: When a person snores it means the breathing is obstructed. And when the breathing is obstructed sleep is hampered. When a person fails to breathe normally, it wakes them up several times at night, leading to chronic sleep deprivation in the long run.
Inability to Concentrate: Snoring causes sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness. As a result, concentration and productivity suffer and the risk of accidents at work and on the road also increases.
Health Problems: Failing to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can lead to various health problems including heart disease and the risk of strokes in heart attacks. Insufficient sleep has also been linked to hormonal imbalances and an increase in appetite and weight gain.
Sleep Divorce: Relationships are often affected when one of the partners snores. In fact, it isn’t surprising to find couples who have broken up or divorced because one of them was a loud snorer. Although underestimated, snoring is a big enough reason behind the degrading of relationships.
7 Effective Remedies to Stop Snoring
Although snoring can lead to various problems, it isn’t the end of the world. Snoring can often be managed with a few easy remedies. Some of them are:
Changing Sleep Position
Since back sleepers are more likely to snore, the first remedy to try is changing the sleep position. If you are a back sleeper, try sleeping on your side for a change. If that seems difficult in the beginning use a body pillow for help. When you sleep on your side, your throat muscles do not relax into the air passage and do not obstruct the breathing. Many back sleepers who snore have reported a marked improvement when sleeping on the side.
Most snorers are overweight, and in that case, losing weight is the only option. Although not too easy, maintaining the ideal body weight is one of the most effective ways to stop snoring. Following a proper diet and exercise is the best place to begin. A healthy BMI is between 21 and 25. Anything lower is underweight, and anything higher is overweight. Besides fat-burning exercises, strength training is also helpful in shedding fat, building muscles, and boosting metabolism.
Avoiding Alcohol and Sedatives
Alcohol and sedatives work the same way. They relax the muscles of the body, including that of the throat. When a person consumes alcohol or sedatives before bedtime, they are more likely to snore because the throat muscles relax further under the influence of the sedatives. Habitual snorers who consume alcohol or sedatives before going to bed should avoid them. This can bring about a significant improvement in snoring.
Practicing Better Sleep Hygiene
Snoring can often be a result of sleep deprivation and a lack of sleep hygiene. Maintaining a proper bedtime routine can alleviate most of the problems. Having a fixed sleep schedule, avoiding coffee and nicotine, and taking short naps are some of the ways to bring about quality sleep and reduce snoring.
Mattresses, pillows, and sheets house millions of dust mites and allergens. No matter how many times you wash them, they keep trapping dust and allergens. When a habitual snorer sleeps on such pillows and sheets, it causes allergies and adds to respiratory distress, making snoring worse. That is why pillows and sheets should be regularly changed and kept clean all the time. Also, make sure that the pillows keep your head and neck properly supported. If possible, stack two or three pillows to keep your head elevated while you sleep.
Warmth helps clear blockages in the airway, removes congestion, and ease respiratory distress. Besides, a warm bath or shower will also help you sleep deeper. This could help lessen snoring that starts in the nose. You could also keep a bottle of saltwater rinse in the shower for rinsing your nose out with to open up the nasal passages. Besides taking a hot bath or shower, you may also consider buying a neti pot to clear the nasal passages with a saltwater solution.
When the body is dehydrated, it produces thicker fluids. When your nasal secretions become thick, it blocks the airway and causes snoring. Dehydration can be one of the biggest reasons behind snoring sometimes. There are snoring sprays that prevent the nasal passages from sticking together. Drinking enough water during the day often reduces snoring in dehydrated people. However, drinking too much water before bedtime isn’t recommended because it will only make you get up for the bathroom.
The causes and treatment for snoring aren’t easy to determine without a medical diagnosis. There are anti-snoring devices such as Tongue Stabilizing Devices (or TSDs) and mandibular advancement devices that open up the airway, to prevent obstruction. These mouthpieces should always be used under the supervision of a doctor because only a healthcare practitioner will be able to determine the reason behind the snoring and suggest the right treatment options. In the meanwhile, home remedies and sleep hygiene can be tried to alleviate the distress for the snorer and others around.
Snoring though may seem innocuous can be an indicator of a serious underlying health condition. It may even be affecting you in ways that might not be apparent – like affecting your sleep quality, diminishing your capabilities to concentrate on work, or even affecting your relationship with your partner.
We have also created an infographic on this subject, feel free to share it with your friends and on your social networks. Happy sleeping!
Editor’s Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. For full details visit the disclosures page.
Sleep is one of the most important functions for humans. Sleep is often considered essential than food because it helps our body repair and heals itself. Without sleep, our energy resources get depleted, our brains fail to function normally, and our productivity suffers. Lack of sleep over an extended period also leads to various kinds of health ailments.
More important than sleep itself is the sleep-wake cycle. Although sleep is necessary, it doesn’t mean a person can sleep at any time during the day. For instance, it isn’t all right to stay awake at night and sleep at work. Feeling sleepy when the person is supposed to stay awake is a sign of lack of sleep, and may even indicate a sleep disorder. Excessive sleepiness is also one of the biggest causes of road accidents.
Lack of sleep is often caused because of a busy work schedule and lifestyle. But in some cases, it could also be because of an underlying disorder. Sleep disorders often go undiagnosed, but in order to understand sleep disorders, we have to understand the factors affecting sleep.
What Is the Role of Sleep Hormones?
The normal sleep-wake cycle in living is called the circadian rhythm. In humans, this cycle is influenced by hormones to a great extent, and also adjusted according to external cues. Daylight is often the biggest cue for the human brain to wake up and get to work. In nocturnal beings, like owls and bats, daylight indicates its time to go to sleep. These cues generate from the hypothalamus of the forebrain and naturally synchronize or reset according to the 24-hour rotation cycle of the Earth.
The most important hormones affected by this natural sleep-wake cycle are melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin is entirely dependent on the circadian rhythm. Produced in the pineal gland in the brain, this hormone lowers body temperature and causes drowsiness, indicating it’s time for sleep.
Since humans are diurnal beings, they are supposed to be naturally active during the daytime and sleep during the night. For sleep to occur at the right time, the production of melatonin is highly important. Melatonin normally is produced between 8 pm and 9 pm and stops being produced between 7 am, and 8 am in the morning. This period clearly marks the time when we should be ending the day’s work and getting ready for bed. Melatonin is absent (or minimal) during the daytime.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Simply put, melatonin is the hormone responsible for drowsiness and sleep. It is what makes us tired and sleepy and indicates its time to rest. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Because melatonin production is absent during the day, the brains understand it has to stay awake and active. Melatonin production signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep, whether it’s day or night.
A vital factor in sleep regulation is exposure to light or darkness. When we are exposed to bright lights, a special region in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) sends a signal to other parts of the brain that it’s time to get up and be active. This includes a rise in core body temperature and the release of the stimulating hormone cortisol. During this phase, melatonin production is absent.
Melatonin is often called the Dracula of hormones because it is produced only after dark. Even artificial bright lights have been found to hinder the production of melatonin. Most sleep problems are caused because of disrupted melatonin production, although it is hardly diagnosed. In fact, the primary cause for sleep disorders is always something related to melatonin levels.
What Causes Excess Melatonin Production?
As we have already seen, normal melatonin production is what sleep depends on. A person with a healthy sleep-wake cycle has normal melatonin levels. But quite often, people may suffer from abnormal melatonin levels, leading to various sleep and hormonal disorders. Since melatonin is a hormone, it is interconnected with other hormones in the body. When melatonin production is disrupted or elevated, the rest of the hormones are also affected, resulting in various disorders of the system.
An elevated level of melatonin isn’t unusual. In fact, a lot of people suffer from naturally elevated melatonin production. This is most noticeable during certain times of the year. An increased melatonin level is characterized by sleep disturbances and extreme tiredness. Other symptoms of elevated melatonin levels include:
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Excess daytime sleepiness
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Low body temperature
- Depression and anxiety
- Foggy memory
What Affects Melatonin Production?
Too Little Sunlight
Spending a lot of time away from sunlight has been found to cause elevated melatonin levels. This is most noticeable in the darker months of winter when there is little sunlight around. This is when melatonin production rises because the brain thinks it is always time for sleep. An elevated level of melatonin is the biggest reason behind seasonal affective disorder (SAD), most noticeable during autumn and winter when days are shorter and darker.
Like all hormones, melatonin is also metabolized in the liver. If there is an excess of any hormone, the liver helps eliminate it from the system. But when the liver function is abnormal, it hinders the removal of the excess hormone from the system. This is why liver dysfunction can lead to an increased level of melatonin in the system, causing excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime.
High Intake of Vitamins B3 or B6
Low levels of vitamins B3 or B6 are often responsible for lack of sleep. But when the intake of these vitamins becomes more than normal, it can lead to excess melatonin production.
Certain antidepressants mimic sleep, causing drowsiness and fatigue. This is because antidepressants are supposed to calm down the brain and help the person sleep. Because depression makes the brain overworked and the nervous system overwhelmed, antidepressants make the melatonin production rise and cause sleep.
Once the root cause of the elevated melatonin levels has been found, it can be corrected by several means, such as spending time outdoors in the sun or improving the liver function.
What Causes Low Melatonin Levels?
This is a more common complaint, compared to excess melatonin. Decreased production of melatonin is often the biggest reason behind insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness. When melatonin isn’t produced when it should be, it keeps a person awake even when it’s time to sleep. Sleep disturbances increase susceptibility to diseases, poor concentration and memory, and mood swings, among other problems.
Melatonin production decreases as people age. This is why older people sleep less than younger people. But owing to busy schedules and modern lifestyle, several people often suffer from a lack of melatonin.
Excess Exposure to Daylight: In summer when there is abundant sunshine, people often love to sunbathe or spend more time outdoors. This has a negative effect on melatonin production. Because of the excess exposure to natural light, melatonin production is reduced, and sleep is affected. Spending more time outdoors in the sun makes people more active because of the suppressed melatonin.
Excess Exposure to Artificial Light: Those who spend long hours in front of a backlight device, often complain of lack of sleep. This is because the artificial lights hinder melatonin production. Artificial light mimics sunshine and signals the brain that it should remain alert and awake. Watching late night TV, working long hours on the computer, or spending too much time on the phone are all reasons for lower melatonin levels.
Lack of Serotonin: The well-being and happiness hormone serotonin is directly related to melatonin. A neurotransmitter and the precursor to melatonin, serotonin is first acetylated in the pineal gland, and then methylated to produce melatonin. When serotonin is low, melatonin is also low.
Medications: Certain medications are known to hinder the production of melatonin. For instance, beta blockers, which control heart rhythm and reduce blood pressure, often lead to sleep disorders because of decreased melatonin levels. This is because the adrenergic beta1-receptors are inhibited by the medication. Many medications for neurological ailments also lead to sleeplessness because of lower melatonin levels.
Caffeine and Alcohol: Melatonin is produced by neurotransmitters in the brain, which can be affected by consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Excessive consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages close to bedtime affects the melatonin-producing neurotransmitters and causes sleep issues. Those who suffer from sleep disorders should always avoid drinking these beverages close to bedtime.
Exercising Late in The Evening: For some people, exercising late in the evening or before bedtime has been found to cause sleep disorders. This is because exercising increases heart rate and metabolism, and hinders the melatonin level.
Stress: While stress can take various forms, one thing it always does is increase the level of cortisol. As already mentioned earlier, cortisol and melatonin are directly affected by the sleep-wake cycle. Also known as the hormone behind stress and inflammation, cortisol significantly reduces the production of melatonin. The higher the level of cortisol, the lower the level of melatonin. In people with a lot of stress, melatonin production is greatly reduced, leading to problems like insomnia, fragmented sleep, and changes in appetite and mood. If stress is the reason behind lack of sleep, then cortisol levels need to be lowered first.
What Are Melatonin Supplements?
Sleep disorders are more common than we think, and because they are uncomfortable and cause significant stress to the sufferer, people are ready to try anything that promises a good night’s sleep. Sleep aids are routinely administered by healthcare practitioners to people who suffer from sleep-related disorders. While sleep disorders can be caused by several factors, including sleep apnea, snoring, and other neurological problems, the ones caused by low melatonin levels are often treated with melatonin supplements.
When our bodies are unable to produce sufficient amounts of necessary hormones naturally, they have to be supplemented externally. For instance, those who don’t produce sufficient levels of progesterone or testosterone often need to go for hormone replacement therapy. It is quite similar in the case of melatonin. Supplements are available in the form of pills, liquids, or chewable tablets, either natural or synthetic.
How are Melatonin Supplements Made?
As mentioned above, melatonin is either natural or synthetic. Natural melatonin is what is produced naturally in the body, by the pineal gland. However, the supplements available in the market aren’t exactly natural. Melatonin supplements have been available since the 1990s. Back then, it was specifically used to treat primary cases of insomnia in those above 55 years of age. Because melatonin production drops as people grow older, melatonin supplements were seen as a natural way to keep the hormone level normal and regulate sleep. But these days melatonin is used more like a sleep aid by anybody and everybody because it’s thought to be natural.
Melatonin supplements are actually synthetic melatonin produced in the laboratory under controlled conditions. This was first done in 1958 by A.B.Lerner. In the laboratory, melatonin can be produced in a number of ways. It can be produced by reducing 5-methoxyindole-3-acetonitrile with Ethanol and Sodium. The resultant product is acetylated using acetic anhydride and glacial acetic acid. Most of the melatonin supplements sold around the world are actually from chemically produced melatonin blended with an inert carrier.
The question is: why chemically produce melatonin when it is naturally available? This is because natural melatonin is taken from the pineal glands of cows. Natural usually means “good” as opposed to chemically manufactured, but melatonin taken from natural sources is usually contaminated with bacteria, viruses and abnormal proteins called prions, which do more harm than good. It must also be noted that melatonin chemically produced in the laboratory is identical to natural melatonin in our bodies. There is no chemical difference between the two. Synthetic melatonin is pure and free from impurities and biological contaminants.
Who Should Take Melatonin Supplements?
Melatonin supplements have become very popular these days as an increasing number of people suffer from sleep-related disorders. When melatonin was first created, it was meant to treat insomnia in those above 50 years of age, because that is when melatonin production naturally drops. But today it is used as a natural sleep aid if people have trouble falling or staying asleep. Melatonin is also sometimes taken for other sleep problems such as delayed sleep phase disorder, where it is tough to fall asleep before 2 a.m.
Melatonin supplements are used when people have jobs that disrupt normal sleep schedule, a condition known as sleep work disorder. These supplements may also be used to treat or prevent jet lag; the tired, worn-out feeling people get when traveling across different time zones.
Melatonin is available as over-the-counter dietary supplements in the US and can be purchased without a prescription. However, in certain countries like the United Kingdom, all sleeping pill, including melatonin, is available only on the prescription of a medical practitioner. Over the counter, melatonin isn’t regulated by the FDA. It must be noted that melatonin isn’t a magic sleep aid, and work differently for different people. It is advised that melatonin is taken only after consulting a doctor.
Are Melatonin Supplements Safe?
Since melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body, it is thought to be safe. But anything in excess is bad for health, and the same applies to melatonin. A melatonin level of 10 picograms per milliliter during the daytime and 100 pg/ml after dark is normal. Any more or less than this level can cause sleep disruption and other problems.
Although melatonin has fewer side effects compared to sleeping pills, there are few things to keep in mind before reaching for the over-the-counter melatonin supplement:
Melatonin can have side effects: Although minor, melatonin can have a few side effects, such as daytime sleepiness, headache and dizziness, digestion issues, anxiety and confusion, and depression. This is why melatonin supplements shouldn’t be taken continuously. It is hard to get addicted to it, but taking melatonin at a stretch for a long time can lead to excess melatonin in the system.
It interferes with certain medications: Melatonin supplements are known to interfere with certain drugs, such as anticoagulants (blood thinners). Melatonin makes blood thinner, so taking it along with anticoagulants will lead to excessive bruising and bleeding. Birth control pills are also known to produce extra melatonin, so taking the supplement along with it will cause excessive sleepiness. Melatonin also interferes with immunosuppressants. Therefore, it is best to take melatonin after consulting a doctor and letting him know about other medications you are taking.
It may not be entirely safe: Over-the-counter melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and therefore, may not have entirely safe ingredients. The only other ingredient in synthetic melatonin is the inert carrier, but over-the-counter melatonin supplements may also carry certain unknown additives. These additives can have unwanted side effects when taken in higher doses. The amount of actual melatonin can also vary in these supplements. In many cases, the amount of melatonin may be very low, and the amount of additives can be high. Not only do these supplements cause side effects but also fail to regulate sleep.
There is no correct dose: Since melatonin is not prescribed medication, there is no recognized dosage for people with sleep disorders. The patient must always consult a physician before taking melatonin, and then follow the instructions on the right dosage. The supplement should be made in a lab and not taken from animal sources, because these are more likely to have contaminants. If there are any side effects, the patient must stop taking the supplement and consult the physician.
It is not a miracle cure: When people start taking a sleep aid, they believe that it is the end to all their sleep issues. That isn’t often the case. While melatonin can help treat sleep disorders to an extent, it is not a magic cure for insomnia. It may help induce sleep, but it may not be able to help you stay asleep. This is the reason why melatonin supplements are most effective to treat the seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, cluster headaches, and helping people sleep after surgery. If a person responds well to the supplement, they can keep taking it without serious side effects, but depending upon the supplement all the time will de-sensitize your receptors and make them unresponsive to lower doses of melatonin. This will make you keep taking higher doses.
It isn’t safe for kids: No sleep supplement is entirely safe for children, including melatonin. Since children are in the growing stage, the supplement affecting their hypothalamus and pituitary glands can cause problems. Changing the normal system of their bodies with this unregulated substance can be potentially dangerous. Instead, children should be taught proper sleep hygiene to help induce sleep more easily. No supplement should be given to children without first consulting a physician.
It isn’t the only solution: Since melatonin supplements can be purchased without a prescription, it is easy to pop a pill whenever you cannot get to sleep. But that isn’t how it should be. Instead of reaching for supplements right away, consider altering your lifestyle and practicing proper sleep hygiene. If you must take supplements, consider starting with natural aids like essential oils and chamomile tea. Melatonin supplements should always be the last solution.
Can Melatonin Really Help Induce Sleep?
Although different people may react differently to the supplement, it has been found in several studies that melatonin positively affects the sleep cycle, including reduced sleep onset latency, increased sleep duration, and efficiency.
What Is the Appropriate Dosage of Melatonin Supplement?
It must be noted that excess melatonin supplement can be harmful. Only a single dose of 0.1 to 0.3 milligrams should be taken in 24 hours. This is the proper dosage, sufficient to bring the nocturnal plasma concentration of melatonin to the normal levels. Even though melatonin is largely non-toxic, it should never be taken in doses as high as 10 milligrams, because that will raise the plasma levels sixty times more than normal.
When Should Melatonin Be Taken?
Melatonin shouldn’t be taken earlier than 60 minutes before bedtime. If you want to sleep earlier than usual, you should take 0.1 to 0.3 mg of melatonin two to three hours before the desired bedtime.
Although melatonin supplements are easily available and very popular, they must always be taken with proper care, and after consultation with a physician. In all cases, a sleep aid should be taken only after all tried and tested measures to induce sleep have failed. A sleep physician is the best person to advise on the correct dosage and duration of melatonin supplements.
Entrepreneur has another article on the latest trends and research on sleep or sleep hacking. Despite all the claims, the doctor in this article says there’s really no way you can function optimally on a reduced sleep schedule. The article covers the latest sleep hacking gadgets and trends in sleep hacking including poyphasic sleep.
Polyphasic is a method of sleeping in small increments usually no longer an hour at a time so that you aren’t sleeping at all for long periods. People who practice polyphasic sleep say that they can function on less that 5 hours of sleep per day. Polyphasic sleep was made popular in pop culture by Kramer from Seinfeld who tried it, with poor results!
There are claimes that Tesla and DaVinci also practiced polyphasic sleep but there is really little evidence to back this up.
It will be interesting to see what technology actually is effective in promoting sleep efficiency and sleep quality. I don’t think the sleep hacking trend is going to die down anytime soon. However, I would warn against trying to achieve polyphasic sleep as few if any who try it find it successful and there’s emerging research that your brain is doing work while you are sleeping. People who get the recommended 8 hours of good quality sleep have better memories and moods.