For some people, sunlight is an involuntary wakeup call; they’re roused from a deep sleep by the sun’s rays, sometimes hours before they need to get up. If this sounds like you, then you might be wondering: do light-blocking curtains help sleep?
Also known as blackout curtains, light-blocking curtains are usually made of a heavy material or fabric, and are machine-washable for easy care. These are not the same as regular curtains; most curtain fabrics let through a surprising amount of light—even materials like heavy velvet! Whether you work at night and sleep during the day or are trying to keep your kids from waking up at the crack of dawn (and thereby, waking you up), light-blocking curtains may be the answer to your problem. These solid curtains serve a number of purposes:
• Of course, blocking out light, whether it’s sunlight, car headlights, streetlights, or that annoying all-night porch light on your neighbor’s home.
• Dampening noise from outside your home. If you live on a busy street or in a party neighborhood, these curtains may be a sleep-saver by keeping out noise when you’re trying to rest.
• Helping to moderate the temperature in your home and bedroom. Light-blocking curtains serve as a layer of insulation, keeping rooms from becoming too warm or too cool, depending on your desired temperature. Besides helping you rest easier, these curtains save you money on your energy bill.
• Increasing your privacy. Blackout curtains are impossible to see through, even when backlit, which can make you feel safer and more secure, helping to sleep better.
When you combine light-blocking curtains with other ingredients of a good night’s rest, like a comfortable mattress, supportive pillow, and other quality products, you’re sure to have a winning recipe. Browse our selection for quality sleep products to see how Parklane Mattresses can help you get the rest you need.
The better sleep secret.
“What can help me sleep?” is a common question for millions of Americans these days. It’s estimated that, on any night of the week, over 50 million people have trouble getting the rest they need. However, a recent study offers these rest-deprived people new hope. It confirms that most people get better sleep after exercise. Aerobic activity is especially beneficial for those seeking more slumber.
Physical Activity and Sleep Latency Linked
Sleep latency is a fancy term for how long it takes to doze off. A group of researchers in New York were interested in whether there is a link between sleep latency and how active persons are during the day. To find out, they compared people who engaged in aerobic workouts with those who didn’t.
The results were clear. Those who made time for sufficient exercise fell asleep much quicker than their sedentary counterparts. The difference was often as great as 30 minutes. In addition, those that exercised stayed asleep longer, getting an average of one hour more rest per night than the study participants that did not exercise.
Results Confirmed by Other Studies
Scientists at Northwestern University conducted a similar project in 2010. They studied 23 adults over a period of 16 weeks. None of the group members regularly exercised prior to their participation. For this study, they were divided into two groups. These groups were assigned an aerobic exercise regimen comprised of walking, riding a stationary bike, or using a treadmill. One group exercised for two 20-minute sessions four days out of the week. The other group worked out for 30-40 minutes four days a week. Each participant reached 75% of his or her maximum heart rate during the sessions.
A separate control group was also organized. These people didn’t exercise at all. Instead, they engaged in mentally stimulating activities, such as listening to lectures or attending classes. They met for 45-minute sessions held three to five times each week.
The results were conclusive. The groups that regularly exercised dramatically improved their sleep after exercise in terms of both quality and hours per day spent asleep. None of these benefits were noted in the group that remained physically inactive.
Dr. Kathryn Reid, who led the research team, later released a statement in which she praised aerobic exercise as a safe, healthy alternative to sleep medications, which can be habit-forming and often cause troubling side effects, such as daytime fatigue and dream disturbances. She also noted that group members who worked out had more energy during the day. “Better sleep gave them (the study participants) pep, that magical ingredient that makes you want to get up and get out into the world and do things,” she said.
“How can I get started?”
Fitness experts recommend the following steps for those new to aerobic exercise:
1. Meet with your health care provider for a physical and to discuss your exercise goals. You should also find out what your target heart rate (THR) is. Target heart rate will differ from individual to individual based on certain criteria.
2. Find an activity that you like. Walking is the most common, as it requires no special equipment other than good shoes and can be done virtually anywhere. Other popular choices include basketball, stair climbing, swimming, jogging, or using equipment like treadmills and stair climbers. The important thing is to pursue an exercise that you enjoy, so you’ll be more motivated to actually do it.
3. Start slow. If you haven’t exercised in a while, then begin with two to three weekly sessions, making sure to have a rest day in between. You want to go for a minimum of 30 minutes, but don’t let it bother you if you can’t do this at first. Work out as long as you can without over exerting yourself. Even five minutes or less will have tremendous benefits, and your endurance will grow as the weeks go on, so long as you’re consistent in your sessions.
4. Start each workout with a few minutes of light activity, such as stretching or walking at a slow pace. This will limber your muscles and get you warmed up for more strenuous activity.
5. Measure your heart rate during your exercise. Be sure to check it yourself; the digital devices on treadmills and other pieces of equipment are notoriously inaccurate. Count your heartbeats over a 15 second period, and then multiply this by four to get your per-minute rate. Try to keep moving while doing this. You will need a watch or wall clock with a second hand.
6. For most people, a good goal is to reach approximately 75% of their THR and maintain that for a period of 20-30 minutes. Be certain to stop immediately if you feel yourself getting winded, dizzy, or have chest pains. You want to feel like you are stretching your abilities without over-taxing them.
7. Wrap up your workout with a few minutes of cool down time. Slow your pace gradually to a complete stop. Then take a deep breath, wipe the sweat from your brow, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
Tips For When You Advance
A lot of people maintain an exercise program for a few weeks, only to abandon it once the results become less obvious or when they get bored with their chosen activity. Here are ways to avoid these problems:
• Switch activities. If you’re burned out on basketball, try racquetball or bike riding. If you’ve had enough walking for a while, then change over to stair climbing or aerobic dance. Treadmill users can avoid boredom by reading a book or listening to music while they tread away their extra pounds.
• Join a group of fitness enthusiasts or start one of your own. The members can encourage each other to stick with the program and give you positive reinforcement for your efforts.
• Keep track of your progress, such as how much longer you can walk or how many inches you shed from your waist. Keeping a journal of your results can also be a powerful motivator, as can making a series of before and after pictures.
• Vary your pace and routine. For example, you might try a longer, slower pace for a few days, then switch to shorter, faster-paced sessions. This will help to keep your interest level high and prevent you from reaching a plateau that won’t let you advance to higher levels of fitness.
Sleep Should Be Enjoyed
You work hard, and you deserve quality rest. Rest can be hard to obtain if you’re lying on a mattress that’s too hard or too soft, if your pillow doesn’t keep your neck and head at a comfortable height, or if you’re suffering from allergies due to materials in your blankets, sheets, or sleep surface. That’s why you owe it to yourself to browse an extensive selection of sleeping products that can improve sleep.
You’re sure to find something that will make your sack time more relaxing and refreshing, as well as improved sleep quality and boost energy to take on the day. Choose the products you want, and then place your order using our secure online form. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you might have. At Parklane Mattresses, our goal is to help you get the quality rest you need.
The better sleep secret.
We spend a third of our lives asleep, so the bedroom is certainly one part of our homes that should be decorated. But in these budget-conscious times, most of us don’t have a fortune to spend on interior designs. So here are some bedroom decorating ideas on a budget:
1. The bed – This is the central point of focus in the bedroom, and should be in proportion to the room’s overall size. Too large, and it crowds everything else out; too small and the room seems empty. Here at Parklane, we can help with our fantastic selection of mattresses and bed frames. For example, our standard bed frame offers great support and adjustability; giving you the flexibility to pair it with the right mattress/box spring set for you.
2. Bed coverings – On our site you’ll find sheets in a wide variety of fabric and color choices. So whether you like your bedroom bright and energetic, or soothing and restful, we can help you set the mood. And when you’re on a budget, pick a duvet cover in a neutral tone, so it can blend in with a variety of shades. Our Novosuite Cluster Ball Fibre Duvet comes in a luxurious off-white that works well with any décor, especially with its 230+ organic cotton exterior and generous fiber stuffing. That way, you can makeover your bedroom with new colors as often as you want without having to buy a new bed cover every time.
3. Traffic lanes – Keep open areas at least 24 inches wide so you can move around the room easily and give the room an inviting appearance. Deal with clutter by using under-bed storage containers and other creative solutions.
4. Don’t forget the foot – Of the bed, that is. Almost nothing beats an end-of-bed chest or trunk there, both for looks and practicality. But a bench, coffee table, or even two chairs can look great there as well, when creatively decorated.
5. Wall art – This is largely a matter of personal taste, of course. But here’s a suggestion: mirrors grouped together on the wall enhance appearance and make the room seem larger. Give it a try.
Our mission at Parklane is to not only help make your bedroom more beautiful, but also more restful and relaxing. So take a few minutes to look through our site and see what we have to offer.
The better sleep secret.
It is that time of year again, allergy season. Allergies can have quite the negative impact on your day-to-day life and damaging results on your sleep. The best way to get back into a healthy sleep pattern is to keep your allergies at bay, or at the very least, find a way to minimize your body’s reaction to them.
For starters, you will want to see your physician to identify what all you are allergic to. You and your physician can then figure out the best medications to treat your allergies. If you are experiencing a stuffed nose, it is likely that dust, mold, and allergens have entered your nasal passage causing inflammation. Your doctor may recommend a nasal spray. Another option is “nasal irrigation,” a process in which you mix a measured out combination of water and salt together. You will use that mixture with a small bulb syringe to clear your nasal passage.
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to steer clear of anything you are allergic to. If you are allergic to grass or pollen, it may be a good idea to hire a lawn care service. If you are sensitive to one of your own pets, do not allow them in your bedroom and be sure to bathe them regularly. Shower with eucalyptus or just rinse off if you are experiencing a lot of symptoms. Make sure to wash your bedding and clothes regularly. When you are vacuuming the carpet don’t forget to hit rugs and blinds as well. If you have allergies to grasses or pollens, it is best to have an air conditioning unit in your home, as opposed to leaving windows open. Make sure you are changing out the filters on both your cooling and heating systems regularly. Last but certainly not least, be sure to have a protector on your mattress and pillows, they are life savers!
The better sleep secret.
Having trouble getting the kiddos to bed at night? Is it constant battle? Do you hear things like my tummy hurts, I’m thirsty, I had a bad dream, my head hurts, and as I’m sure you know, the list goes on. We have a few methods that may be worth a shot.
First things first- Educate your child on why we sleep and why it is so important that we do so. Sleep helps our body and brain grow and develop. Your brain needs to sleep so you can remember what you learn in school, pay attention and concentrate, as well as be able to solve problems and think of new ideas. Your body needs to sleep so your bones and muscles can grow and so your body can fight sickness.
How much sleep does your child need?
Children three to five years old- 11 to 13 hours of sleep per night
Children six to ten years old- 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night
Next, you need to explain how sleep works- While you are asleep your body and brain are hard at work getting you ready for another day of running on the playground, learning at school, playing with your friends, and spending time with your family. You are just like a car: your gas tank is full in the morning but if you are going all day, eventually you will run out of gas and like a car you have to refuel. A car is refueled when mom and dad take it to the gas station; you are refueled when you sleep at night.
Then explain what happens if they don’t get enough sleep- If you don’t get enough sleep you will forget what you learned about at school, it will be challenging to make good decisions, you will have a harder time playing sports, and you might get grumpy with mom or dad, or even a friend.
Sleep affects your Child’s ability to function:
Mood- They will become bad-tempered, fussy and irritable if they don’t get the proper amount of sleep.
Cognitive ability- They will have a hard time focusing, paying attention, and problem solving.
Behavior- They may become non compliant and disobedient.
Family- Their sleep problems will begin to affect the entire family.
Some kids really just can’t sleep. If your kiddo has a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep they may have insomnia or some other kind of sleep disorder. Start by trying to get them into a regular bedtime routine. Every night at 7:30pm, for example, have them go take a shower, put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, and then read a relaxing bedtime story. That will help the kiddos body to know that it is bedtime. Don’t forget that they should not be eating or drinking too late at night. Be sure to have a really dim nightlight if they have to get up to use the bathroom, that way they aren’t turning lights off and on.
Things to include in your bedtime routine:
-Talking about your day
-Last trip to the restroom
-Kisses and hugs
Things to stay away from:
-Crazy time: No running around and acting wild, time to wind down
-Electronics: No TV, video games, computer time, especially not in the bedroom
-No food or drink before bed, especially caffeine
Make it fun- Making a bedtime chart can be a fun and effective way to get your kids to bed. The chart should show every step of the bedtime routine. Have images of story time, teeth brushing, and pajamas. Let them check off the chart as they complete the steps for bedtime. You can give your kids a free pass but be sure to remain as consistent as possible. You can reward them for good behavior by taking them on special activities.
Good luck parents!
The better sleep secret.
There are plenty of products on the market that promise to stop snoring. A tour of the Internet will quickly reveal sprays, strips and lotions that promise to end the buzz-saw sound that emanates from millions of mouths every night. Unfortunately, most of these items fail to deliver as promised. However, one device that has a strong track record of restoring quiet to the bedroom is an anti-snoring mouthpiece.
Known to doctors as a mandibular advancement splint (MAS) or simply a mandibular splint, an anti-snoring mouthpiece treats snoring and sleep apnea by pushing the lower jaw forward slightly. That in turn tightens the soft tissues inside the throat, preventing the airway from being obstructed during sleep. This same tightening also keeps the upper airway tissues from vibrating as air passes over them.
Types of Mouthpieces
These devices fall into two general categories. One kind can be bought over the counter at drug or department stores or on the Internet. In both design and function, they’re very much like the mouth guards worn by teenage football players, boxers, and other athletes who frequently come into hard contact with competitors.
These are commonly called “boil and bite” mouthpieces because of the way that they are custom-fitted to the user’s mouth. They’re dropped into boiling water that softens the plastic material. Then, after partially cooling, the person puts it in his or her mouth and pushes the lower jaw forward, holding it in place until the material hardens. When worn at night, it keeps the airway open.
The other type is made by a dentist, who custom-fits the device to the patient’s mouth. In general, these offer advantages over the ones bought without a prescription. They fit the user’s mouth better, allow freer breathing, and in many cases, do a better job of treating the underlying condition. The primary drawback is the cost involved. For those lacking dental insurance, out-of-pocket costs can run as high as $2,000, although this can vary widely, depending on the individual dental practice and its particular fee structure.
What Studies Show
Researchers have conducted several studies over the last ten years to determine the effectiveness of MAS mouthpieces. One study conducted by Dr. Edmund Rose of the University of Freiburg in 2004 showed a success rate of 88% in improving the symptoms of sleep apnea patients who wore MAS devices during a trial period. The participants showed greater daytime wakefulness, reductions in high blood pressure, improved memory function and alertness, and other positive results.
These findings were reinforced by a follow-up study in 2008, as well as several others. In particular, the anti-snoring mouthpieces are increasingly being used in the US, Canada and Europe as a less invasive, lower-cost alternative to the most common treatment for snoring and sleep apnea: the CPAP machine. Overall results show that the two approaches are equally beneficial to patients.
An MAS mouthpiece isn’t a perfect solution to obstructive breathing issues. One commonly reported problem is discomfort in the jaw, especially upon wakening after a night of wearing one. Doctors recommend a series of mouth exercises to deal with the stiffness that causes this.
Also, many patients report a buildup of saliva during sleep that frequently runs out of the mouth and onto their pillow or bedclothes. Some have tried wearing a CPAP-style mouth cuff to prevent this. However, this leaves the nostrils as their only way to breathe, which can actually contribute to sleep issues if the patient suffers from clogged sinuses.
One other potential drawback is long-term damage to the teeth from wearing an MAS device for several months or years. Any who use these mouthpieces regularly should get regular dental checkups as well.
Of course, without a comfortable, supportive mattress, even the best anti-snoring mouthpiece can’t offer much help. That’s why we at Parklane Mattresses will be happy to match you with the ideal sleep surface for your particular needs. Check out our sleep solutions, and let us know if you have any questions. We want your sleep time to be everything it’s supposed to be.
The better sleep secret.
Studies show that 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Usually this common ailment is associated with daily activities such as gardening, walking or performing manual labor. One aspect of it that receives little press attention, however, is how sleeping on the wrong mattress or in the wrong position can greatly aggravate the patient’s suffering and slow their recovery time. On the other hand, a knowledge of the best sleep positions for back pain can have just the opposite effects, reducing pain and discomfort, and speeding recovery time.
The best position for back pain sufferers to use when sleeping is lying down on their side, with a pillow between the upper and lower legs. This helps to maintain the spine’s normal curvature, letting the strained muscles relax. The pillow prevents the upper leg from sliding forward and onto the mattress for support, which is bad for the back because it forces the spine to rotate. Keeping this position during the night offers the best prospects for a fast recovery from the injury.
One problem many report is of the pillow sliding out from between the legs. There are a couple of different alternatives for preventing this from occurring. Some people use pillows with adhesive straps that cinch the cushion to the leg. Unfortunately, these often come loose during the night, allowing the pillow to slide off anyway. A more effective strategy is to use several pillows to prop up the one supporting your leg. This should help keep your leg balanced. Each person is different, so experiment with several methods over the course of a week, and take note of what position you wake up in each morning to find out what works for you.
While the side position is optimal for those suffering from back pain, some people simply cannot sleep unless they are lying on their back. If this is the case, then the next best thing is for the sufferer to place a pillow directly under their knees. This will keep the legs in a bent position, which eases stress on the spine and helps the locked-up muscles to loosen. The sleeper should have their head supported as well by a firm yet comfortable cushion or pillow. Often a towel that is rolled up tightly and placed directly under the neck offers additional relief. Some may find that this pushes their jaw out uncomfortably and actually causes pain. Whether to use it or not is entirely at the discretion of the patient.
While both side and back sleepers can find positions that alleviate their spinal distress, those who prefer to sleep on their stomachs face greater challenges. Lying down on the belly causes part of the natural curve to go out of the spine, misaligning it and potentially worsening the original injury. One way to minimize this effect is to place a pillow directly under the hips and pelvic region. This will help to keep the spine in its natural curved shape. Stomach sleepers may also use a pillow under their heads, provided it doesn’t cause distress and discomfort to the back injury. If it does, they should try sleeping with their head directly on the mattress. A double pillow top mattress can come in handy in such a situation, as it offers additional cushioning.
No matter what position the sufferer falls asleep in, chances are they will move about while slumbering, possibly shifting themselves into a shape that will aggravate their injury. This is especially true if the sleeper tends to roll over onto their stomach. Some people have been able to train their bodies not to do this by sewing a tennis ball into the front of their pajamas, or other such object. The inherent discomfort makes the person shy away from lying on their belly. Trying any of these sleep positions for back pain could dramatically change the way you feel from day to day.
Here at Parklane Mattresses our goal is to not only help you with your sleep but with your overall health as well. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding sleep positions for back pain or other issues that can be helped by a comfortable, supportive mattress or pillow.
The better sleep secret.
Next to back pain, neck pain is one of the most prominent afflictions a person can get from sleeping on the wrong mattress or in the wrong position. If your spine and head do not get the proper support on your mattress, you will wake up with neck pain. Continuing to ignore this issue will result in a constant ache and a very uncomfortable lifestyle. Neck pain relief can come from certain stretches and purchasing the proper pillow, but if you do not get to the root of the issue by choosing a mattress that best suits your needs, it will never go away completely.
When choosing a mattress to aid with neck pain relief, it is first important to determine what sort of support you may need. The firmness of the mattress you need depends on the position you most commonly fall asleep in. If you tend to sleep on your side, you need a softer mattress that will conform to your curves. If you tend to sleep on your back, you should buy a firmer mattress, so the negative space created by your curves while lying on your side will not be present. Generally, sleeping on your stomach is not recommended. So, before going out and testing out new mattresses, be sure to take special note of the way you sleep and, most importantly, in what position you tend to wake up. If you toss and turn after lying down on your back and end up waking up on your side, chances are you spent most of your sleep cycle in that final position. It is important to also take into consideration that neck pain relief will not be possible without the right mattress and pillow combination. Make sure your head and neck are well supported by a pillow. Your head should not be raised too far up because it will not be properly aligned with your spine and the rest of your body.
Choosing a mattress that is the best one for you means deciding on a product that will help you do away with nasty aches and pains like chronic neck pain. Neck pain relief means picking the best mattress firmness for your favorite sleeping position and combining that with the proper pillow. Always test a mattress out in the store for several minutes; it takes that long for your body to settle and you to notice where the pressure points will be. Additionally, make sure you test the mattress out in your favored sleeping position.
The better sleep secret.
Adjustable mattress bases are a comfortable alternative to flat and stationary mattress. They help you relax and sleep in whatever position that is most comfortable for you. These moving bases are also an amazing alternative sleeping source for those who suffer the bane of nighttime heartburn. Adjustable mattress bases can move your head and feet up and down at several angles, so they help to create the suggested sleep position that doctors recommend to cure, or at least abate, painful heartburn pain.
Heartburn is an uncomfortable and painful experience defined as a burning feeling below or behind the breastbone, usually rising from below the esophagus. This may rise to your chest or even your neck and throat. When digesting food or drink, materials enter your stomach, and your esophagus closes by way of a band called the esophageal sphincter. When the sphincter does not close, acid from the stomach rises, irritating the esophagus and creating heartburn. This annoying pain is not uncommon, and most people experience it at one time or another. Those who experience it very often suffer from what is called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
GERD pain can be especially prominent at night as it is more likely to happen while you are lying down because gravity does not force the stomach contents down. Doctors suggest that one who suffers from heartburn or GERD does not eat a meal 30 to 60 minutes before bed, since heartburn is at its worst post-mealtime. Additionally, saliva is not produced at night, which means the esophagus is much less active in those bedtime hours.
In addition to the many suggestions said to cure heartburn—like weight loss, smaller meals, looser fitting clothing and avoiding exercise just after eating—most doctors recommend that those who suffer from this ailment sleep with their head raised six inches from the rest of their body. Lying with your head higher than your stomach helps prevent stomach contents from making their way upward into the esophagus. Some people choose to prop their bed frame up with bricks or books, but this can wear down your bed frame, as well as look rather messy and unsightly. Purchasing an adjustable mattress base is a much more convenient alternative to let you determine when your bed is in this position. If you only get heartburn due to certain foods or are simply suffering due to a pregnancy, you can adjust your bed back at any time with the click of a button.
Adjustable mattress bases are a comfortable cure for the nasty pain of nighttime heartburn. Heartburn is prevalent at night, a time when most people are laying flat, causing the stomach contents to rise much more easily. By propping your head up at least six inches above your stomach, you can prevent the nasty feeling. An adjustable mattress base will do this while helping you avoid lasting side effects like decay in tooth enamel. As always, if your symptoms are severe and lasting, consult a doctor.
The better sleep secret.