Should you nap after lunch?

We all know that sleep is essential, and at times, so are naps. But, what about napping after lunch? While the ultimate decision is yours, here are a few pros and cons of napping after lunch.Should you nap after lunch?

Napping has been proven to have many benefits, including relaxation and improved mood, and a nap after lunch has additional advantages, according to various research studies.

  • Reduced fatigue. A short 20-minute nap after lunch can help prevent daytime drowsiness and can improve productivity.
  • Brain power. Research shows that napping is good for your brain. According to studies, people who nodded off for an hour after lunch increased their learning power and ability to absorb new information.

However, according to Livestrong.com, there are certain disadvantages associated with sleeping immediately after eating.

  • Heartburn. Taking a nap right after eating can increase stomach acid levels and trigger heartburn.
  • Weight gain. While sleeping after eating does not always cause weight gain, it may reduce the body’s ability to burn calories.
  • Acid reflux. Lying down right after eating can aggravate acid reflux, a condition that allows stomach acid to back up into your throat causing a burning sensation.
  • Stroke. According to a study done at the University of Ioannina Medical School in Greece, sleeping right after a meal can increase the risk of having a stroke.

Bottom line: whatever you decide, the most important thing is to make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night. The Luxury Adjustable Pillow System can ensure a comfortable night’s rest, whether you sleep on your side, stomach or back.

Six healthy snacks to eat before bed

We’ve all had those nights when we’ve already eaten dinner, but still feel hungry. Luckily, there are many healthy bedtime snacks that will not only help satisfy your hunger, but will also promote better sleep. In fact, many foods naturally contain sleep-inducing vitamins and minerals.

Here’s a list of six healthy bedtime snacks that will leave your stomach feeling content and your body ready for sleep.Six healthy bedtime snacks

  1. Bananas. Bananas are packed with the minerals magnesium and potassium, which help to relax your muscles for a better night’s sleep. Bananas also contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.
  2. Nuts. Grab a handful of your favorite nuts – almonds and walnuts in particular –for a healthy bedtime snack. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which plays a role in regulating sleep. Walnuts contain melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep, and have also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant. 
  3. Cereal and milk. You may find this to be odd to eat before bed, but cereal and milk is actually the perfect bedtime snack because of the combination of carbohydrates and protein, which can increase the level of tryptophan in the blood when eaten together. Other carb/protein combos include cheese and crackers or peanut butter and toast.
  4. Cherry juice. This tart juice is a natural source of melatonin and tryptophan. According to research, drinking tart cherry juice twice a day can help you sleep nearly 90 more minutes a night.
  5. Fish. Most fish – especially halibut, salmon and tuna – are high in vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles.
  6. Leafy greens. Green leafy vegetables like kale or spinach are loaded with calcium, which helps produce melatonin.

It’s also important to avoid eating certain foods right before bedtime as they may lead to a less than stellar night’s sleep.

And if you need a little extra help getting to sleep at night, the Luxury Adjustable Pillow System can ensure a comfortable night’s rest, whether you sleep on your side, stomach or back.

How to spring clean your bedroom: a five-step checklist

Spring has officially sprung and for many of us that means spring cleaning time. But, if there’s one room in your home that you should pay particular attention to, it’s your bedroom. How to spring clean your bedroom: a five-step checklist

For a fresh and healthy sleep, here’s a five-step checklist for spring cleaning your bedroom.

  1. Flooring. If you have hardwood floors, it’s a good idea to give them a quick vacuum or sweep before mopping. If you have carpeting in your bedroom, consider getting it steam cleaned.
  2. Bedding. Wash all of your bedding, including sheets, pillow shams, bed skirts, mattress pads and comforters. It’s recommended to wash your sheets at a temperature of at least 130 F (54 C) – so that it’ll kill any dust mites and other allergens that may be harboring in your sheets, which can also trigger allergy symptoms. And don’t forget about your washing your pillows; they can carry dust, mold and bacteria.
  3. Draperies and Curtains. Take down any draperies and curtains to have them washed or dry cleaned.
  4. Hard Surfaces. Use a microfiber cloth to dust any hard surfaces in your bedroom, including ceiling corners, vents, fans, shelves, dressers and lamps. It’s also a good idea to wipe down baseboards and windowsills.
  5. Mattresses. Flip your mattress horizontally and vertically to keep the wear even. If your mattress is more than seven years old, it may be time to invest in a new one.

And if that’s not enough, you can always tackle the closet next.

2015 spring allergies: what allergy sufferers can expect

Allergy season is quickly approaching and this year is expected to be “the worst” for spring allergies. Why will this allergy season be the worst? According to weather.com, there are a couple of reasons.

  • Rising temperatures. According to research by allergist Leonard Bielory, pollen counts will average 21,735 grains of pollen per cubic meter in the year 2040. To put this in perspective, the average pollen count in 2000 was just 8,455 (yikes!). Hotter summers can also result in a more intense pollen season the following spring.Spring allergies: what allergy sufferers can expect
  • Heavy precipitation. Low temperatures and heavy precipitation in the fall or winter may cause more grass pollens to flower early and more heavily in the spring. In other words, increased allergy symptoms.
  • The “priming effect.” The priming effect is when temperatures rise briefly and then dip again, which causes pollen levels to rise, then fall, then rise again. This constant re-exposure causes allergy sufferers to become “even more hyper-sensitive or hyperactive to the new pollen.”

Regardless of the fact that this may or may not be the worst allergy season, there are some things that you can do to help combat spring allergies, including:

  • Keeping the windows closed
  • Taking a shower and washing your hair
  • Taking medicines before symptoms start
  • Rinsing out your nasal passage

In addition to the above, preventing allergens from entering your home, especially where you sleep, is critical. Mattress encasements and pillow protectors, like the AllerZip® Smooth Mattress Encasement and AllerZip® Smooth Pillow Protector, are designed specifically for allergy sufferers to provide a protective barrier against dust mites, bacteria and other allergens.

Why can’t I sleep? Five common sleep problems solved.

Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night or have trouble falling or staying asleep? Whether it’s insomnia, a full bladder or an anxious mind, here are five common reasons why you can’t sleep and how to solve them.Why can’t I sleep? Five common sleep problems solved.

  1. Your room is too light. According to the National Sleep Foundation, bright light directly inhibits the release of melatonin – the hormone that our body produces to prepare us for sleep. Exposure to light during the night tricks our brains into thinking it’s time to wake up and reduces the production of melatonin.
  2. You’re a worrywart. We’ve all woken up suddenly in the middle of the night worrying about tomorrow’s big presentation or if we remembered to close the garage. If you do wake up because of anxious thoughts, try not to let yourself continue to worry. If you do, you’ll only be awake longer. Some experts suggest writing down a physical list of your worries prior to going to sleep.
  3. Your partner snores. People who sleep next to a snorer are reported to have higher levels of fatigue and sleepiness and may even be at higher risk for hearing loss. Try having your partner sleep on his or her side as one solution to minimizing snoring.
  4. You have allergens. If you find yourself constantly waking up in the middle of the night with allergy symptoms and it’s not allergy season, you may be sharing your bed with other allergens, like dust mites. In fact, the average bed is home to anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites, which can trigger allergy symptoms. Washing your sheets once a week in hot water can help. Mattress encasements and pillow protectors, like the AllerZip® Smooth Mattress Encasement and AllerZip® Smooth Pillow Protector, can help. They’re designed specifically for allergy sufferers to provide a protective barrier against dust mites, bacteria and other allergens.
  5. You sleep in on the weekends. A little extra sleep on the weekends can’t be bad, right? Wrong. Studies show that sleeping in a few extra hours on weekends actually disrupts the body’s internal clock so much that it makes you even more tired on Monday morning.

Still can’t sleep at night? Consider starting a sleep diary to help you learn about your sleep patterns and issues that may be caused by your sleeping habits.