How to Sleep Better: The Science Behind Sleep and Health
Have you been feeling a bit bewildered lately? Maybe you've been having trouble sleeping too? If so, it may be time to learn more about the correlations between sleep, home furnishings, and health. Believe it or not, all three subjects are related. Below, we'll dive into some of the connections and illustrate how to sleep better.
The Need for Non-REM Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation, like many others in the field, notes that healthy bodies typically go through five, distinct stages of rest every night. Accordingly, changes in sleep patterns may be indicative of underlying problems. Scientists believe such is the case with certain forms of dementia. Many people don't realize that there is more than one type of dementia. Reason being, the media tends to focus on one heavily. Namely, Alzheimer's disease. First mentioned in the early 1900s, it affects millions of people each year and scientists know more about it today than ever before. They also believe that findings show it has a connection to sleep loss.
The Connection Between Sleep and Dementia
One recent set of findings to highlight the connection between sleep and dementia was published in JAMA Neurology last January. These findings seemed to confirm what medical professionals have long believed about the third stage of non-REM sleep: It's essential to brain health. Why the third stage of non-REM sleep and not necessarily the others?
It has to do with what usually takes place within the body at that stage. During that period, the body is thought to be removing plaque and completing other tasks. Plaque is the gummy substance known to impede brain cell function. It occurs naturally in the body and, like other sticky substances, it prevents the nervous system from sending signals correctly. Thus, if it stays put, a person's thoughts may become jumbled. There could also be problems with learning new tasks or completing activities of daily living.
Other Health Issues
Also, people may experience weight gain and increased episodes of illness without the proper rest. Why are these things likely to happen, too? It's because plaque removal isn't the only healing activity that takes place during sleep. Our bodies typically recharge in a variety of ways throughout the night, including the restoration of natural antibodies.
Reaching Stage 3 of Sleep
So, what prevents the body from reaching this critical stage? In a few words, it's a lot. Other health problems may disrupt sleep, as well as external factors like the type of home furnishings one has in place. For instance, did you know that mattresses have the potential to keep people from reaching the third stage of non-REM sleep? It's true. For confirmation, check out this study, which appeared in an issue of Physiology & Behavior. It makes an excellent case for using temperature-controlled mattresses.
In the study, you'll note that the researchers talk about slow wave sleep. That's just another way to say non-REM, stage three sleep. Remember we already talked a little bit about how it influences a person's brain cells. Well apparently, our bodies need to be at the right temperature for brain waves to slow down enough for stage three to begin. So, what's the right temperature? Not surprisingly, the magic number may vary based on the individual. Thankfully, today's temperature-controlled mattresses consider that factor.
Your Mattress Can Help
Temperature-controlled mattresses are designed to help regulate skin temperature. Skin, because of its sheer size, is one of the most crucial organs we have. And yes, it dramatically influences core temperature, which can promote or inhibit our ability to reach any stage of non-REM sleep.
Every mattress at Nest Bedding® has its way of helping people regulate their respective body temperatures. However, they tend to have one key feature in common. It's Thermic Change Cooling Fabric. Thermic Change Cooling Fabric has been around for several years now, but it's certainly not found in all home furnishings, just the high-quality items at our store.
For those that may not be familiar with the technology, please allow our Nest Bedding® Team to explain:
Also called phase change material, it is designed to absorb heat from a person's skin and move it around evenly until a comfortable, surface temperature is reached. Thus, a person sleeping on mattresses covered in the material are more likely than others to maintain their respective body temperatures. And as we've already noted, keeping body temperature constant is essential for reaching the various stages of non-rem sleep.
Going Beyond Body Heat
Of course, maintaining a certain temperature is just one part of the equation. A person hoping to reach stage three of non-REM sleep must also be pain-free and have the ability to breathe easily. Today's mattresses can help sleepers achieve those goals as well. Just look at three of the products we've listed below:
Love & Sleep
The first product on our short list goes right to the issue of respiration. It's GREENGUARD Certified. As such, sleepers are less likely to have their rest disturbed by chemical orders or allergens. Remember, chemicals used in manufacturing and other irritants are known to cause respiratory problems. Accordingly, the fewer odors there are in a person's sleeping environment, the better.
The last two products on our list address the issue of musculoskeletal support. Like the right temperature and an odor-free environment, it's also needed to remain asleep long enough to reach stage three. Plus, no one wants to wake up with muscle pain or roll over and land abruptly onto the bedroom floor because the mattress is too small.
Items in the Alexander Signature Series and Alexander Signature Hybrid will help prevent all of those mishaps. They also pair well with Easy Breather Pillows, organic bedding, and strong foundations, too. If you’re wondering how to sleep better, each of these items has the potential to do the trick. And don't even get us started on the benefits of adding calming masks and comfy, chemise pajamas into the mix.To learn more about how to sleep better, please contact our Nest Bedding® Team today.