If getting a good night’s sleep were easy, the world would probably be a better place. The truth is, there are lots of things that get in the way of restful, restorative, healthy sleep. We’re doing our part by offering up a range of natural luxurious mattresses tailored to meet the needs of diverse physiologies and sleep styles. But, being frank, getting the right mattress is only the start.
Disrupted sleep takes lots of forms, but some bumps in the night can be addressed with small changes in how you tackle your day. We dig into the two most prevalent sleep disorders below and offer up some easy ways you can manage the issue to get a good night’s sleep.
You’re in a meeting at work, Rick is on his fridge etiquette soapbox again, and suddenly your chest seizes; you can’t find air. You’re in line for brunch with your friends, pining for bottomless mimosas and avo toast, and out of nowhere you’re punched breathless. If in our waking lives we found ourselves momentarily unable to breathe, we’d probably freak the eff out, but that’s exactly what happens with sleep apnea, a disorder that keeps more than 22 million Americans from having healthy, uninterrupted sleep.
Sometimes lasting 10 seconds at a pop, sleep apnea disrupts continuous sleep as your airway temporarily closes bringing waves of disturbed breathing. Your body wakes up each time the disruption occurs — often without you knowing — keeping you from entering the deeper sleep states that promote regeneration and proper rest. Not only do you wake up under-rested and groggy, those that suffer from sleep apnea stand at greater risk for other health concerns like hypertension and heart disease.
If you find yourself overly tired during the day after a full night’s sleep, start looking at your sleep patterns for signs of sleep apnea. You may not be aware that you’re waking up frequently, but look for heavy snoring or occasional gasping, both indicators that sleep apnea might be an issue. But don’t worry, you don’t have to watch yourself sleep. Your favorite app store has lots of useful sleep tools for monitoring your activity at night. Paired with a wearable like a smartwatch or fitness tracker, you’ll get a clear picture of what’s going on while you sleep.
What to do?
Like so many things that ail us, sleep apnea is often the result of certain lifestyle choices. Positive, long-term ways to mitigate or eliminate the effects of sleep apnea include maintaining a healthy body weight, staying away from smoking, and keeping the booze to a minimum.
If the problems persist, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a specialist or a sleep test, or you may find yourself donning a sweet CPAP mask. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device fits over your nose and mouth, forcing small amounts of air to ensure that no obstructions or interruptions disrupt your sleep. This is a long-term, highly effective solution — plus, you’ll kinda look like Darth Vader which wins you points with the kids. Of course, while popular, the CPAP isn’t the only option. From dental devices that put your jaw and tongue in the right position throughout the night to permanent corrective upper airway surgery, your doctor will likely offer up a range of solutions to help tackle your sleep apnea.
Like sleep apnea, insomnia is both common and a real threat to getting the good stuff that comes with healthy sleep. If you’re regularly experiencing fatigue, memory, or mood issues throughout the day as the result of not getting enough sleep, you’re probably dealing with some degree of insomnia.
The American Medical Association defines insomnia as an inability to fall asleep, or if asleep and then awake, an inability to fall back asleep. By some estimates, nearly 20% of Americans experience some degree of insomnia and the factors are pretty far-reaching. Stress, diet, emotional and psychological state can all contribute to insomnia. Understanding your current sleep patterns (even if the easy answer is: I’m not getting any) is the first step in understanding why you’re struggling with insomnia. A sleep journal at your bedside is a good place to jot down notes not only about time, position, duration, and quality, but also about how’re you’re feeling physically and emotionally. What’s psychological is often physiological, so checking in on your thoughts and feelings can help give you some insight into how your biology is doing its thing.
In addition to journaling your sleep behavior and woes, take some time for concentrated relaxation. Spending a quiet moment meditating or reading, tuning out the challenges of the day, and maybe even lighting one of those Yankee Candles in the hallway closet, might be the ticket to turning your brain down and getting some good sleep.
If documenting your sleep patterns and carving out pre-bedtime relaxation sessions doesn’t correct the issue, don’t be shy — seek out some medical help. Bring your sleep journal with you, your doctor will get a better picture of what’s actually going on. They may recommend a number of sleep training activities to help get you into healthier sleep patterns, including additional relaxation techniques, exercises, or even prescription sleep aids.
The impact of not getting the right amount of good sleep can be devastating to your body and brain. While everyone’s different, doctors agree that adults need between 6-8 hours to function properly and effectively during the day. When that’s compromised, we face huge physical and cognitive issues that can range from forgetting important things (pick up the kids!) to getting drowsy behind the wheel. Don’t take the chance; if you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep — like many are — pay attention and seek out help to get the rest you need.