A Keto Intermittent Fasting Tip for Energy & Sleep

Keto & Intermittant Fasting

A Keto Intermittent Fasting Tip for Energy & Sleep

Description: Special dietary plans like the keto diet or intermittent fasting are gaining increased popularity. There are a lot of discussions about the health benefits of these diet plans. However, what is often not thoroughly discussed is how does the keto intermittent fasting affect sleep!

Some people say that a keto intermittent fasting should be exceptionally beneficial for sleep. Meanwhile, others claim that they experienced insomnia while being on a keto diet. So, where is the truth?

When looking at the keto intermittent fasting results, you will observe that in the long run, both of these dietary plans significantly improve sleep quality. However, you will also notice that they can disturb sleep shortly after you use it for the first time.

We are going to take a look now at what is going on when you start with the keto intermittent fasting. Also, we will look at what you can do to improve your sleep.

keto & intermittant fasting helps you sleep

Sleep and the Keto Intermittent Fasting

So, once you start with the keto intermittent fasting diet, your body goes through different processes, and ketosis is crucial among them. But this keto-adaptation intermittent fasting can be quite a shock for the body when you are just starting. In fact, it can lead to something called keto flu and insomnia.

The main problem lies in the fact that the body isn't receiving carbs that are responsible for the supply of amino acid L-tryptophan in the brain. By the way, L-tryptophan is linked with the release of serotonin. This is an issue because serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to a better quality of sleep. Lack of carbohydrates subsequently means that you might have trouble sleeping during the first stages of an intermittent fasting keto schedule.

As we said, the longer you are following these dietary plans, the more your sleep will improve. But in the meantime, it is good to know some tips for better sleep that can help you speed up the process and allow you to sleep better and longer from the start.

Tips for Better Sleep

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Drinking enough water with the best exogenous ketones during the keto intermittent fasting can help curb food cravings, sharpen mental focus, and increase energy levels. Now, if drinking enough plain water doesn't appeal to you, try carbonating it.  However, if you go to bed thirsty, there is a high chance that you will be restless and have trouble falling asleep. It also increases the possibility of snoring due to a dry mouth or nose. Therefore, be well-hydrated before going to bed to make sure you will sleep better and longer.

Eat Healthily

It may sound like we are asking to impose another kind of restriction besides the keto intermittent fasting. But in reality, we aren't – the only thing is that to make sure you enjoy a quality sound sleep during the night, you must consume the ingredients that are beneficial for your body. Try to eat as many whole foods, plenty of vegetables or freshly prepared vegetable juices, and so on.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is relatively simple. You just need to breathe deeply and slowly while being focused on the breathing or do meditation that involves simple moves. It, however, helps a lot when you are figuring out how to do intermittent fasting on a keto. It also helps you sleep more soundly.

Conclusion

As you see, the keto intermittent fasting diet can be super beneficial for sleep quality. Of course, at the beginning, you might run into some difficulties, but here we discussed some ways to overcome them effortlessly. Do you have some tips on how to improve sleep quality?

Guest Author Bio: My name is Adam Reeve and I have been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. Also, I’m a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diets, enthusiast. I can be reached at  <adamreevers@gmail.com

This infographic was created by Factor, a keto meal delivery service

Transient Insomnia – How to Relieve and Sleep Better

How to Relieve Transient Insomnia and Sleep Better

Especially relevant, the National Institutes of Health, describe insomnia as a common sleep disorder in which people have a hard time sleeping. Furthermore, insomnia is classified as either transient insomnia, acute insomnia, or chronic insomnia. In fact, the primary differentiator between these three classifications, is the length of time people suffer from insomnia. Above all, transient insomnia usually lasts less than a week, acute insomnia lasts a few weeks, while chronic insomnia lasts several months or years.

Stages of Transient Insomnia

Most noteworthy, the three stages of chronic, acute, or transient insomnia correspond to the onset of sleep, maintenance of sleep, and end of sleep.

For example, some people have a hard time going to sleep. But, after falling asleep, they may not be able to stay asleep. Or, after falling asleep they wake up too early in the morning. Or, after falling asleep they stay asleep a long time. On the other hand, some people fall asleep right away but, then, they wake up soon after and have difficulty going back to sleep.

Onset of Sleep

In fact, difficulty falling asleep, sometimes for hours, occurs at the onset of sleep. And, this difficulty may be due to:

  • 1
    Stress
  • 2
    Your head wrapped around nagging problems
  • 3
    Fear
  • 4
    Anxiety
  • 5
    Going to bed when you are really not sleepy
  • 6
    Your sleep environment being not conducive to good sleep. For example, sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.

Maintenance of Sleep

Most noteworthy, everyone wakes up at least once in the middle of the night. And most people go right back to sleep, some without even knowing they woke up. But for others, going back to sleep becomes a problem. Indeed, these difficulties may be due to:

  • 1
    An illness that prevents them from sleeping soundly
  • 2
    Pain that causes them to wake up
  • 3
    Going to the toilet
  • 4
    Exposing themselves to bright light after they wake up
  • 5
    Presence of anxiety or depression

End of Sleep

Finally, there are times you wake up too early in the morning and can’t go back to sleep. And, this may be due to:

  • 1
    Sleeping lightly during the night
  • 2
    Older people go to sleep early and so they wake up early
  • 3
    Some people need less sleep than others. So it’s natural to wake up early in the morning
  • 4
    Depressed people spend more time in REM sleep. REM sleep is a very light stage of sleep, where people are easily woken up.

Definition of Transient Insomnia

Most of all, transient insomnia is a temporary form of insomnia which can last from one night to a week. Furthermore, transient insomnia may be one night of poor sleep or recurring episodes of insomnia interspersed with days and weeks of normal sleep. Indeed, transient insomnia is caused by the following conditions.

  • 1
    Changes in the sleep environment, such as sleeping in a hotel
  • 2
    Changes in bedtimes
  • 3
    Depression
  • 4
    Stress
  • 5
    Anxiety
  • 6
    Worrying about something that’s going to happen in the future
  • 7
    A nagging issues such as problems with relationships
  • 8
    Medications used to treat anxiety, stress, and depression
  • 9
    Not feeling well, such as a blocked nose making it hard to fall asleep
  • 10
    Jet lag
  • 11
    Too much excitement
  • 12
    Bad sleeping habits
  • For example, eating a heavy dinner just before bedtime
  • Or, drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening
  • Or, falling asleep with the lights on, watching television
  • Next, using cell phone, computer, or tablet before bedtime
  • Finally, smoking

Definition of Acute Insomnia

On the other hand, acute insomnia can last several weeks and caused by the following conditions.

  • 1
    Long illness
  • 2
    Stress from a bigger or recurring problem
  • 3
    Medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, COPD, strokes, asthma, sleep apnea, heart failure, thyroid problems, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and endocrine problems.
  • 4
    Death of someone close

Definition of Chronic Insomnia

Lastly, chronic insomnia lasts a long time, may be even months or years. And, chronic insomnia may occur for the reasons listed below.

  • 1
    Sleeping environment not being conducive to sleep
  • 2
    Mistiming sleep
  • 3
    Long term health problems
  • 4
    Long term stress and anxiety

Breadth of the Disorder

Meanwhile, at some point in their lifetime, most people have difficulty falling asleep once in a while. However, it’s only when this problem occurs frequently or regularly that people are diagnosed as having chronic, acute, or transient insomnia.

In fact, studies show that up to 95 percent of Americans suffer from episodes of insomnia as some point in their lives. Furthermore, according to the American Sleep Association, 30 percent of adults experience either transient or acute insomnia, while 10 percent experience chronic insomnia. Especially relevant, 770 million people around the world suffer from chronic insomnia.

Gene Region Linked to Chronic, Acute, and Transient Insomnia

Most noteworthy, a February 2019 study, in Nature Genetics, of more than 450,000 people in the United Kingdom identified 57 gene regions associated with chronic, acute, or transient insomnia. Meanwhile, 29 percent of the study participants reported frequent sleeplessness. Furthermore, these gene regions explain why some people get insomnia and other don’t. In addition, the study found that increased insomnia symptoms doubled the risk of coronary artery disease, depression, and a reduced sense of well-being.

Psychiatric Disorders Linked to Chronic, Acute, and Transient Insomnia

Yet, another new study, using DNA from 1.3 million people, resulted in identification of 956 genes. In fact, variants of these genes increased risk of insomnia. Also, the study discovered biological processes, cell types, and areas of the brain that have these genes.

Next, they found that parts of these genes play an important role in the functionality of axons (which allow neurons to communicate with each other). In addition, some of the genes were active in cells of the frontal cortex and the brain’s subcortical nuclei. Especially relevant, recent brain imaging studies showed these same brain areas as suspects in people with insomnia.

Also, the study found a strong genetic similarity between insomnia and:

  • 1
    Depression
  • 2
    Anxiety
  • 3
    Stress
  • 4
    Other psychiatric disorders
  • 5
    Metabolic disturbances in obesity and diabetes

Finally, the study reported that vulnerability to insomnia runs in families.

Remedies for Transient Insomnia or Acute Insomnia

Because insomnia doubles the risk of coronary heart disease along with links to other conditions, insomnia needs to be treated. Moreover, treatments for acute or transient insomnia are given in the section below.

Treatments for Insomnia

  • Working
  • Emotionally upsetting conversations
  • Scary movies
  • Thrilling novels
  • Smoking – Nicotine is a stimulant making it hard to fall and stay asleep. In fact, studies show that nicotine increases insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep problems. In addition, nicotine suppresses the restorative Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep.
  • 2
    Next, get ready for bed by taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or reading a soothing book
  • 3
    Meanwhile, alcohol can disrupt your sleep by interfering with your sleep cycle, causing you to wake up too early. In addition, alcohol blocks the deep restorative REM sleep. On the other hand, if you must drink something, drink soda water or freshly made fruit juice.
  • 4
    And, if you must snack, eat easily digestible snacks before bedtime. For example eat cheese, fruits, or cereal with milk.
  • 5
    Moreover, to allow time for food to be digested, do not eat one hour before bedtime
  • 6
    Most of all get an aerobic workout, such as speed walking outdoors or on a treadmill, elliptical stepper, recumbent cross trainers, compact elliptical machines, or long stride elliptical machine, during the day
  • 7
    And, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Regrettably, caffeine is found in many foods and drinks, so you really have to watch out for those kinds of foods.
  • 8
    Also, if you get too tired during the day, take a quick 20 minute nap in the middle of the afternoon but definitely before 5 PM.
  • 9
    Finally, try a foot massager to get a Shiatsu massage, a foot spa massage, or a massage chair, that can totally relax you. 

Bedroom

  • 1
    Keep your bedroom quiet. For example, a fan may be able to drown out noise that you can’t control (such as street noise entering through the windows).
  • 2
    Don't forget to make the bedroom as dark as possible. For example, heavy shades help block outside lights.
  • 3
    Put your clock in a location that makes it difficult for you to look at it while lying down on your bed.
  • 4
    The bedroom should be free from all blue light emitting devices, such as cell phones, TV, and tablets.

Most of all, if none of these remedies work, it is important to see your doctor.

Best Therapeutic Pillows for Cervical and Back Pain

Best Therapeutic Pillows for Cervical and Back Pain

A good sleeping posture not only helps you sleep well but also ensures that you wake up without pain or stiffness. In fact, a good sleep posture means that your knees, hips, spine, chest, shoulders, head and neck are all aligned. In addition to the mattress, therapeutic pillows like the contour cervical pillow for neck pain helps you get that right sleeping posture. For instance, a cervical pillow helps align your head with the spine.

Table of Contents


Cervical Pillows Reviewed

Comparison of Best Cervical Pillows

Filler

Nature's Guest: Hypo-allergenic microfiber

EPABO: Memory foam

UTTU: High density dynamic memory foam

ZAMAT: Memory foam

Mkicesky: Polyurethane memory foam

Thickness (inches)

Nature's Guest: 5"

EPABO: 3.9" standard size, 5.3" queen size

UTTU: 2.8"/3.9" or 3.5"/4.7" lofts

ZAMAT: 3.9" in the front, 2.4" in the rear

Mkicesky: 4.72" in the front, 3.93" in the rear

Unique Features

Nature's Guest: Dip in the middle for back and stomach sleepers; side sleepers use thicker outer parts of pillow

EPABO: Contoured memory foam; cavity for head

UTTU: Usable by back, side, and stomach sleepers. Loft adjustable with removable insert.

ZAMAT: Usable by back, side and stomach sleepers

Mkicesky: Usable by back, side and stomach sleepers

A/A+ Feedback

Nature's Guest: 70%

EPABO: 77%

UTTU: 85%

ZAMAT: 83%

Mkicesky: 73%

1-5 Rating

Nature's Guest: 4.1

EPABO: 4.4

UTTU: 4.6

ZAMAT: 4.5

Mkicesky: 4.3

1. Nature's Guest

Nature's Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow, Contour Pillow for Neck and Back Pain Relief - Used by Back and Side Sleepers

Most of all, Nature's guest support pillows are firmer and designed with a center indentation to better support the neck. Meanwhile, those who prefer to sleep on their sides, use the two sides of the pillow. However, this therapeutic pillow is not recommended for anyone looking for a soft, fluffy pillow or a hi-loft pillow.

Construction

First and foremost, Nature's guest support pillow for neck pain implements a proven contoured pillow design that is based on input from chiropractors and orthopedics. Next, the dual zipper design makes it possible to adjust the firmness of the pillow in both the back (neck roll cushion) and side sleeping areas of the pillow. Especially relevant, the pillow filler uses premium quality, hypo-allergenic microfiber. Furthermore, the silk trim gusseted sides use a filler that provides increased air flow, which, in turn, promotes a cooler more restful sleep.

Cover - Pillow

Next, the Nature's guest pillow uses a premium hypo-allergenic ultra-luxurious 233 thread cotton fabric cover. As a result, there are no harsh chemical odors and there is no need to be concerned about skin allergies.

Dimensions

In addition, this cervical pillow for neck pain is 24 inches long, 16 inches wide, and a loft that is 5 inches high.

Features and Uses

First, the Nature's guest support pillow for neck pain provides optimal cervical support that maintains a proper head, neck and spinal alignment while you sleep.

Also, the gusseted edge design provides support for side as well as back sleepers.

Moreover, the gusseted edge allows you to effortlessly shift from back to side sleep positions.

Next, the cervical pillow’s firmness can be adjusted from soft to medium firmness by simply adjusting the amount of filling in both the neck roll area and the side sleeping areas of the pillow.

In addition, the filler provides cool, comfortable support, while relieving neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Finally, the cervical pillow for neck pain reduces neck, back, and shoulder pain while providing optimal cervical support that maintains proper head, neck, and spinal alignment.

PROS

First, the sleeper can effortlessly shift between sleeping on the back and sides.

Also, the filler, in neck and side sleeping areas of the pillow, can be adjusted for desired firmness.

2. EPABO

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow - Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow - Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain - for Side Sleepers, Back and Stomach Sleepers

Construction

First and foremost, the contour memory foam pillow contains breathable memory foam. Consequently, there is better air circulation to keep you cool and dry.

Also, the pillow case is made of hypoallergenic rayon/polyester. In fact, this proprietary blend feels silky soft and smooth while providing protection from dust mites. In addition, this premium fabric keeps you cool and comfortable throughout the night. Finally, all materials are chemical free.

Features

First, the proven contour design perfectly supports and aligns your head, neck, shoulder and back. However, some discomfort may be experienced during the first two weeks while your body is trying to adjust to the correct position.

Second, the contour cervical pillow is for back sleepers, stomach sleepers, or side sleepers.

Third, to prevent the head from being in an elevated position when lying on the back or stomach, the pillow has a removable piece of 0.8 inches thick memory foam.

Finally, the pillow case is machine washable. Simply, unzip the pillow case and remove the memory foam insides. In addition, this pillow for neck pain can be tumble dried.

Dimensions

Next, the queen size EAPBO contour pillow is 24 inches long, 15 inches wide, and has a loft that is 4.8 inches on the front. However, without the removable piece, the loft is 4 inches high.

PROS

First, the EPABO pillow is made of contoured memory foam.

Next, the contour cervical pillow has a cavity to support your head.

Finally, the EPABO has an adjustable loft for stomach and back sleepers.

3. UTTU

UTTU Sandwich Pillow - UTTU Pillow - UTTU Memory Foam Pillow

Construction

First, the UTTU pillow is made of patented, skin-friendly, and breathable 3.5-pound high density dynamic memory foam.

Second, the foam never gets hard in cold weather.

Third, the memory foam has a natural neck contour with a slow 5 second rebound.

Fourth, the pillow dynamically fits the head. Consequently, it provides the best pressure relief and better spinal alignment.

Also, the premium patented memory foam used in this tempurpedic pillow conforms to the natural curve of your body and supports your neck and head to ensure comfort.

Lastly, this pillow has a cooling cover made of 40% bamboo viscose. As a result, you stay cool all night long. Incidentally, the fully removable pillow cover is machine washable.

Features

First, the pillow maintains the natural curve of the neck, with a cervical contour area to support your neck. Also, the center cavity helps to cradle your head for optimal support.

Second, the high contour fills the space between the head and the mattress of side sleepers. As a result, it relieves pressure on the shoulders while keeping the spine properly aligned.

Third, the 3.5 inch or 3.9 inch loft helps the head and spine of back sleepers be on the same level for easier breathing.

Fourth, by reducing neck strain, the 2.8 inch loft is ideal for stomach sleepers.

Next, the removable bamboo cover is machine washable. Simply, unzip the rayon/polyester pillow cover and remove the memory foam.

Finally, the premium quality memory foam has been approved by CertiPUR-US.

Dimensions

Now, the UTTU pillow is 23.6 inches long and 14 inches wide. Moreover, it has a removable middle layer to provide two sets of contoured lofts. For example, in the presence of the middle layer, the pillow has a contoured 3.5” loft in the front and 4.7” loft in the back. Without the middle layer, the pillow has a contoured 2.8” loft in the front and 3.9” loft in the back.

Weight

Finally, the pillow weighs 2.5 pounds.

PROS

First, the memory foam does not get hard in cold weather.

Second, the removable middle layer allows you to get two lofts to better fit your body contour.

Third, the 40% bamboo viscose cover helps the pillow stay cool during sleep.

Finally, the pillow has been approved by CertiPUR-US.

4. ZAMAT Pillow

ZAMAT Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Construction

First, this therapeutic pillow for neck consists of a high-quality odorless memory foam that is CertiPUR-US certified. Moreover, the foam is firm enough to support your neck and shoulder when you are sleeping on your side, back, or stomach.

Meanwhile, the therapeutic pillow for neck has a breathable inner cover containing the rebounding memory foam. In addition, the pillow has a skin friendly outer cover with a high-quality zipper.

Built with double pillowcases, the outer quilted cover adds some additional plushness. Also, this cover is made of hypoallergenic cotton/polyester with a stretchy polyester liner to help the pillow hold its shape and is perfect for keeping you cool throughout the night.

Features

First, the contoured, cervical, design and memory foam cradles the natural curvature of your neck and provides support for ensuring an aligned spine.

Second, the contour cervical pillow has a soft facial area on each side that relieves facial pressure and provides neck and head support for side sleepers. Also, the contour cervical pillow has a neck support area in the middle, protecting the cervical spine, for back and stomach sleepers. Lastly, the shoulder area fits the shape of shoulders while supporting the neck and relieves pressure from the shoulders.

Third, the removable 0.8” thick memory foam inserts can be added or removed to adjust the pillows loft.

Fourth, rotating the pillow 180 degrees provides a low loft for thin pillow sleepers. In fact, this construction makes it easy to switch from an orthopedic pillow to an ordinary pillow.

Now, the pillow can be used by back sleepers, stomach sleepers, side sleepers, or thin pillow sleepers.

Finally, the outer cover is machine washable. Simply, unzip the outer cover and remove the memory foam.

Dimensions

A typical ZAMAT pillow is 23.6 inches long, 15 inches wide, and has a loft that is 3.9 inches on the shoulder side, while a loft that is 2.4 inches on the opposite side. Also, the pillow has a 7.1 inches wide contour for the neck.

PROS

First, the pillow is made of rebounding memory foam.

Second, the pillow has a soft facial area, a neck support area, and areas for the shoulders.

Third, removable inserts allow the pillow’s loft or height to be increased or decreased.

Finally, the pillow has a smaller loft in the back that turns it into an ordinary pillow.

5. Mkicesky Cervical Pillow

Mkicesky Contour Pillow - Mkicesky Memory Foam Neck Pillow - Mkicesky Memory Foam Pillow

This therapeutic pillow for neck is for anyone who want to improve their cervical spine or suffering from neck pain.

Construction

First, this therapeutic pillow for neck consists of medium firm 100% hypoallergenic polyurethane memory foam with 5 seconds slow rebound.

Second, the memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified and encased in a breathable inner pillowcase.

Third, this therapeutic pillow for neck is encased in a pillowcase that uses skin-friendly fabric that is machine washable.

Finally, the cervical contours support the natural curve of the neck. Also, with the medium firm memory foam, the pillow provides just the right balance between support and comfort. Consequently, you get the most restful sleep. In addition, you breathe more freely with less snoring.

Features

First, the top of the pillow has a hollow design, for back sleepers, to relieve head pressure. Also, a soft facial area on each side that relieves facial pressure for side sleepers. In addition, the pillow has a neck support area in the middle of the long edge, that reduces neck and back pain and promotes proper spine alignment. Lastly, the two shoulder areas on each end of the long edges alleviates shoulder stiffness and avoids shoulder compression for side sleepers.

Second, the therapeutic pillow for neck can be used by back sleepers, stomach sleepers, or side sleepers.

Finally, it comes with a 100-days guarantee.

Dimensions

Next, the Mkicesky Neck pillow is 23 inches long, 14.56 inches wide, and has a loft that is 4.72 inches on one long side, while a loft that is 3.93 inches on the other long side. Incidentally, the two lofts allow the pillow to be used by those who prefer sleeping with a higher loft or with a lower loft.

PROS

First, the pillow is made of memory foam capable of rebounding in five seconds.

Second, the pillow has a soft facial area, a neck support area, and areas for the shoulders.

Finally, the pillow's two loft heights allow it to be used by those who prefer the higher loft or those who prefer the lower loft.

Therapeutic Pillows Buyers Guide

The therapeutic pillows buyer's guide gives you insight into therapeutic pillow's features.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Best Orthopedic Pillows To Be Free Of Back Pain

Best Orthopedic Pillows to be Free of Back Pain

An orthopedic pillow by providing proper support to the spine helps fight spinal degeneration and other spinal disorders such as spondylosis and arthritis. Most of all, orthopedic pillows, such as the cervical neck pillow or the contour neck pillows, help you sleep well and wake up with, hopefully, no back pain. Moreover, orthopedic pillows, like the contour neck pillows, are also sometimes referred to as therapeutic pillows.

Do Sleeping Positions Change?

Especially relevant, observational studies show that adults change their sleeping position an average of 11 to 13 times during the night.

Indeed, a majority of sleep time is in the side sleeping position. However, adults only spend 59 to 73 percent of their sleep time in the side lying position. Consequently, 27 to 41 percent of sleep time is in the back position.

Therefore, choosing a pillow specifically designed for side sleepers may not work when you sleep on your back and vice versa. In fact, a side sleeping pillow may cause problems for those who change positions during the night and sleep on their backs. Similarly, a back sleeping pillow may cause problems for those who change to sleeping on their sides.

Therefore, if you do get a pillow designed for only side sleepers, first verify that you always sleep in that position all night long. Ultimately, a good pillow should allow the free motion of sleeping position changes during the night.

Most noteworthy, there are many factors that influence the number of sleep position changes during sleep. Some of these factors include:

  1. 1
    First, not feeling well
  2. 2
    Next, sleep apnea
  3. 3
    Also, drinking caffeine and/or eating heavy meals before bed
  4. 4
    In addition, alcohol initially decreases sleeping position changes. However, sleeping position changes increase later in the night.
  5. 5
    Next, dreams
  6. 6
    Also, uncomfortable beds
  7. 7
    In addition, room temperatures that are either too low or too high
  8. 8
    Next, sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings
  9. 9
    Also, noise permeating into the sleeping area
  10. 10
    Finally, anxiety and stress

What are Orthopedic Pillows for the Neck?

Most of all, orthopedic pillows such as cervical neck pillows are used to:

  1. 1
    First, prevent cervical hypolordosis. In fact, hypolordosis is a condition where the curvature of the spine is less than normal.
  2. 2
    Next, relieve cervical spasms
  3. 3
    Also, remove minor tensions or strains
  4. 4
    Finally, maintain or resume the natural cervical lordotic curve while at rest

Benefits and Use of Cervical Neck Pillows

Most of all, by providing proper neck support, cervical neck pillows help with:

  1. 1
    Tension headaches
  2. 2
    Neck muscle and joint strains and sprains
  3. 3
    Morning hand stiffness and swelling
  4. 4
    Stiffness
  5. 5
    Snoring
  6. 6
    Arthritis
  7. 7
    Temporomandibular disorders
  8. 8
    Whiplash injuries

Features of Cervical Neck Pillows

Traditional pillows work fine at first, but then they flatten out and stop providing support for the head and neck. On the other hand, a cervical neck pillow provides support and comfort to the neck and head. Most noteworthy, the cervical neck pillow’s contour and it’s content provides support and comfort. In fact, a pillow that is lacking in these features may end up causing increased pain, discomfort, pressure, headaches, or simply a loss of sleep. For example, a pillow that has the wrong contour and/or made from low quality material may be too hard, create heat, has allergens, or can harbor microbes or dust mites. By the way, if dust mites are a problem in your bedroom, its good to filter the air in your bedroom and vacuum the floor, especially if the floor is carpeted.

Now, a cervical neck pillow:

  1. 1
    First, properly support the neck
  2. 2
    Second, should lift and support the head
  3. 3
    Next, should be made of non-toxic foam that is certified to not emit any harmful gases
  4. 4
    Also, should be resistant to dust mites
  5. 5
    Next, should be antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
  6. 6
    Finally, should not contain any metals, toxins or flame retardants

In conclusion, an ideal cervical neck pillow keeps your body in a neutral sleeping position. Indeed, this neutral sleeping position keeps your back and neck in their ideal position. As a result, there is no unnecessary pressure on the spine’s discs, muscles and nerves.

Back Sleeper Needs for Neck Orthopedic Pillows

For a back sleeper, a cervical pillow must have the right height. In fact, if it’s too high, the pillow will push the head forward. And, if it’s too low, the head will be too low and not in alignment with the spine.

Side Sleeper Needs for Neck Orthopedic Pillows

For side sleepers, the orthopedic pillows should have the right height to main alignment with the spine. Not too low nor too high.

Stomach Sleeper Needs for Neck Orthopedic Pillows

Sleeping on your stomach is tough on your spine, because the back has an excessive arc and the neck is turned to the side. Stomach sleeping places too much strain on neck joints and muscles. Consequently, a very low height pillow or even no pillow is best. Most of all, it is important not to use a firm or higher height pillow, especially with a soft mattress.

The best pillow for stomach sleepers is a cervical pillow for stomach sleepers in that it is designed for that purpose along with options for back and side sleeping. In fact, the cervical pillow allows stomach sleeping with a better cervical posture, reducing rotational and extensional damage that can cause neck problems, as well as providing better air flow. In addition, the cervical pillow is a very versatile pillow in that you can use it for any sleeping position, making it the ideal pillow to transition from stomach to side and back sleeping.

Meanwhile, preferred sleeping positions are often set early in life and can be tough to change, not to mention that we don't often wake up in the same position in which we fell asleep. Still, it's worth trying to start sleeping on your back or side in a well-supported, healthy position.

Finally, placing a flat pillow under the stomach and pelvis area can help to keep the spine in better alignment.

What is the Best Sleeping Position for Cervical Pain?

Two sleeping positions are easiest on the neck, on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head. This can be achieved by tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter, softer pillow, or by using a special pillow that has a built-in neck support with an indentation for the head to rest in. Here are some additional tips for side-sleepers and back-sleepers.

  1. 1
    First, try using a feather pillow, which easily conforms to the shape of the neck. Regrettably, feather pillows will collapse over time, however, and should be replaced every year or so.
  2. 2
    Also, another option is a traditionally shaped pillow with "memory foam" that conforms to the contour of your head and neck. In addition, some cervical pillows are also made with memory foam. Lastly, manufacturers of memory-foam pillows claim they help foster proper spinal alignment.
  3. 3
    Next, avoid using too high or stiff pillow, which keeps the neck flexed overnight and can result in morning pain and stiffness
  4. 4
    Finally, if you sleep on your side, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head

Getting the Right Orthopedic Pillow

Above all, most reputable pillow companies do not allow returns due to Federal and State Health Regulations regarding bedding or contaminable items.

Also, companies offering money back guarantees are usually selling very cheap pillows. In fact, there has been a flood of very cheap pillows. Meanwhile, companies usually do not make it easy to return pillows. In theory, companies should dispose of returned pillows and not repackage and re-sell. In fact, many companies play the odds that, even if you don’t like it, you will not go through the trouble of returning the pillow.

There are usually multiple conditions and factors related to neck pain. Therefore, it is usually best to find a pillow that suits your particular sleeping conditions and comfort requirements. In general, softer – more accommodating pillows are recommended for more painful conditions such as from injury or inflammation. Once past this point, a firmer pillow can be used if well tolerated.

Especially relevant, a transition phase from an accommodating pillow to a firmer or different design pillow can be challenging and should only be attempted when pain and discomfort levels are no longer tolerated by the existing cervical pillow.

Buckwheat Orthopedic Pillows

Pillows filled with buckwheat mold to the neck and upper shoulders. However, unless this orthopedic pillow is designed so the amount of buckwheat can be changed, the pillow may be too thick or too thin and won’t allow spinal alignment.

Moreover, high-quality buckwheat pillows always have a zipper. And this zipper helps you adjust the amount of buckwheat hulls in the pillow. As a result, you’re able to change the thickness of your pillow.

In addition, the irregular and hollow shaped buckwheat hulls create airspace inside the pillow. Consequently, buckwheat pillows are cool and dry. Finally, chemical fertilizers are rarely, if ever, used on buckwheat crops. Consequently, buckwheat hulls are free of many of these contaminants. However, buckwheat pillows tend to be noisy.

Contour Neck Orthopedic Pillows

You can purchase contour neck pillows made from memory foam. Moreover, these contour neck pillows have chemical properties that allow the contour neck pillow to mold to your body. Furthermore, after you get out of bed, the contour neck pillow returns to its original shape. Consequently, a contour neck pillow provides consistent support and help you prevent neck pain.

However, the foam in the contour neck pillow can sometimes build up heat depending on the temperature in your sleeping environment. Indeed, great alternatives are gel foam cooling contour neck pillows that use a cooler technology in soft memory foam to control and release the build-up of heat. Buckwheat Pillows are also a good option for keeping your head cooler in warmer environments if you like firm pillows.

Orthopedic Pillows with Separate Back & Side Sleeping Areas

It is important to know if you are aware of deliberately changing sleep positions while sleeping. Or, do you not wake up and unconsciously change sleep positions while sleeping. There are cervical pillows with multiple height areas. These cervical pillows are very popular. However, they do require deliberate positioning from the back area to the side area and from the side are to the back area.

The thing to keep in mind is that if you are asleep and unaware that you are changing positions a lot, you may find yourself waking in wrong areas of the pillow.

The idea for a multiple height pillow is good in that back sleeping requires a lower pillow height while side sleeping required a higher pillow height because of the shoulders. Indeed, multiple height pillows provide great support. By the way, the most popular of these is the so called “Orthopedic Pillow”. In fact, this pillow has soft angled transitions making it easy to change sleep positions. Also, this pillow is very good in that it can be measured to fit well and keeps a good posture for both side and back sleeping.

And, if you are a strict side sleeper, the so called “Side Sleeper Pillow” is an option that provides soft support and height for your shoulders, however, it is mainly for side sleeping.

On the other hand, if you are unaware of your changing sleeping positions, pillows with a continuous surface work well. Also, you may find that an adjustable pillow may help get better pillow height for different sleep positions. Next, there is the question of a pillow’s firmness - which is determined by the quality and quantity of material that can be adjusted.

Other Orthopedic Pillows for the Neck

Especially relevant, a soft memory foam orthopedic pillow is a great solution for more advanced degenerative conditions. Also, for adults and children, the so called “chiropractic pillow” gives you sizing options and a sound ergonomic design.

Next, the latex pillow uses high end Talalay processed latex and is very good for neck conditions, whereas the dunlop latex pillow tends to be bouncy. Furthermore, there are pillows that use zones that allow a traditional shaped pillow to function like a contour pillow. These memory foam pillows also have an option for natural infused aromatherapy like lavender and are a great combination of softness and firmness. Finally, these orthopedic pillows are also available in a special side sleeping version.

What are Orthopedic Pillows for the Lumbar Region?

First and foremost, the lumbar spine is part of your lower back. Furthermore, the spine curves in toward your belly and then back out toward the sacrum. And, in the sacrum your pelvis connects with the spine’s fused lower vertebrae.

Most of all, the purpose of these curves is proper weight distribution. Indeed, the lower vertebrae of your lumbar spine support the weight of your entire torso. Because of that, the lower vertebrae are prone to stress. For example, after years of wear and tear, the soft discs between your lower vertebrae can start to bulge. As a result, the soft discs put pressure on the nerves surrounding them. And this pressure can lead to symptoms including numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness.

Therefore, it’s essential to protect your back while you sleep. In fact, if you don’t have proper lumbar support, your hips and shoulders will sink into the bed and your natural spinal curve will be flattened out. In fact, sleeping on a bad mattress on a nightly basis can lead to lower back pain as well as early onset of arthritis or other symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

Therefore, to better support your body, place an orthopedic pillow, like the lumbar pillow, under your pelvis and lumbar region.

Because the weight of their hips and belly pulls their lower spine down into the mattress, stomach-sleepers have the worst sleep position. Indeed, these sleepers are prone to lower back problems.

What are Orthopedic Pillows for the Knee?

First and foremost, a knee pillow is an orthopedic pillow meant only for side sleepers only. Indeed, sleeping on the side causes the upper leg to pull the spine out of alignment. Consequently, this puts stress on the hips and lower back. Therefore, if you are a side sleeper, use a firm pillow between the knees. In fact, this knee pillow, an orthopedic pillow, prevents the upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment. Also, don’t forget to pull your knees up slightly toward your chest. Finally, a knee pillow improves blood circulation in the legs.

Because of its ability to respond to heat, knee pillows use memory foam. As a result, when the room becomes colder, the knee pillow becomes firmer. On the other hand, when the room becomes warmer the knee pillow becomes softer.

In addition, a knee pillow made of memory foam automatically adjusts to the contour of your knees but reverts back to its original shape when you don’t use it. Meanwhile, a hypoallergenic knee pillow is free from common allergens.

For those who have osteoarthritis, an orthopedic pillow like the knee pillow is actually a knee pad that does not slip when you get up. It is often used to align the spine properly but also as a solution for pain in the knee from the osteoarthritis.

Next, inflatable knee pillows can be adjusted for firmness, don’t occupy too much space when packed, remove pressure on the knees, and provide support for the lower back and hips as well as reduce any pain associated with those areas.

Side and back sleepers suffering chronically from lower back pain use knee pillow bolsters. Usually around 27 inches long, this type of knee pillow enables you to move in bed without moving the knee pillow.

How to Find Pillow Thickness for Yourself?

One of the biggest challenges of ordering pillows online is figuring out the thickness or height of orthopedic pillows such as cervical pillows, lumbar pillows, and possibly knee pillows. Moreover, the thickness of the pillow has a huge impact on its effectiveness.

So, to get a rough idea of pillow height, stand against a wall in your favorite sleeping positions.

Side Sleepers Using Orthopedic Pillows

First and foremost, stand straight but perpendicular to the wall with your arms against the wall. Next measure the distance from your ears to the wall. This distance represents the thickness of the orthopedic pillow you need with your head resting on the pillow. Consequently, with a firmer orthopedic pillow, this distance is little less that the thickness of the pillow you need. On the other hand, a softer pillow would need to be thicker. Regrettably, the only way to know the thickness of a softer pillow is to try it. However, you do have the minimum thickness of the pillow.

Next, measure the distance of large gaps between your body and the wall. For example, if there is a gap between the hips and the wall, measure that distance. Consequently, to maintain a straight spine, a firm lumbar pillow of that thickness will keep your spine straight.

Next, measure the distance between the knees and the wall. When you lie in bed, the knees would towards the bed, which could cause stress on your hips. So, a pillow between the knees with thickness close to the measured distance will help minimize the stress.

Back Sleepers Using Orthopedic Pillows

First and foremost, stand straight against the wall with the wall behind you. Next measure the distance from the back of the head to the wall. This distance represents the thickness of the orthopedic pillow you need with your head resting on the pillow. Consequently, with a firmer orthopedic pillow, this distance is little less that the thickness of the pillow you need. On the other hand, a thicker softer pillow works. Regrettably, the only way to know the thickness of a softer pillow is to try it. However, you do now know the minimum thickness of the pillow.

Next, measure the distance of large gaps between your body and the wall. For example, if there is a gap between the hips and the wall, measure that distance. Consequently, to maintain a straight spine, a firm lumbar pillow of that thickness keeps your spine straight.

Stomach Sleepers Using Orthopedic Pillows

First and foremost, stand straight against the wall with the wall in front of you. Next, if your head is the only part touching the wall, measure the distance from the wall to the hips. Consequently, to maintain a straight spine, a firm lumbar pillow of that thickness keeps your spine straight. And if there is another gap between the head and the hips, another orthopedic pillow of lesser thickness may be needed to fill that gap.

Is your Spine Aligned When Sleeping in Bed?

First, to answer this question, lay down near the edge of the bed in your favorite sleeping position or positions. Next measure the following distances.

For Back and Stomach Sleepers

  1. 1
    First, from the middle of the knee joint to the floor
  2. 2
    Next, from the middle of the hip joint to the floor
  3. 3
    Next, from the middle of the shoulders to the floor
  4. 4
    Finally, from the ears to the floor

For Side Sleepers

  1. 1
    First, from where the knees meet to the floor
  2. 2
    Next, from the crotch to the floor
  3. 3
    Next, from the mid-point between the shoulders to the floor
  4. 4
    Finally, from the nose to the floor

Next, plot these points on a graph paper. And, if you don’t see a straight line, use appropriately sized pillows to get a straight line.

Finally, the other option, is to take a picture with you on the bed and draw a line on the picture between the middle of the knee area to the ears or nose. This lets you know where you need orthopedic pillows to align your spine.

Alzheimer’s Effects – How Good Sleeping Practices Help

How Good Sleeping Practices Delay Alzheimer’s Effects

First and foremost, dementia is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Most of all, alzheimer’s effects worsens over time. It is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

Especially relevant, Alzheimer’s effects include poor sleep.

Also, nearly 10% of Americans age 65 and older and one-third of Americans age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, of those with Alzheimer’s, 81 percent are age 75 or older.

Alzheimer’s Effects - Protein tau

First and foremost, in one study, scientists studied 119 adults aged 60 and older. Also, 80% of these adults had no thinking or memory problems. While, the others had only mild thinking or memory problems.

In any case, among these adults, the study found that adults with reduced slow-wave sleep (also known as deep sleep) or poor sleep had higher levels of the brain protein tau. Incidentally, these elevated levels of tau are one of Alzheimer’s effects. Moreover, brain damage and mental decline caused these elevated tau levels.

Hence, Alzheimer’s effects include poor sleep or reduced slow wave sleep in older adults. So, poor sleep is a warning sign for the presence of Alzheimer's.

Observational Studies of Alzheimer’s Effects – Amyloid Plaques

First of all, observational studies also found reduced slow-wave sleep as a common factor among adults, over age 65, who had amyloid beta plaques in their brain. In fact, amyloid beta plaques in the brain, are a physical sign of Alzheimer’s effects. Yet these adults did not show signs of Alzheimer’s effects, such as memory loss and cognitive decline.

Incidentally, slow-wave sleep (which is part of deep sleep phase) consolidates your memories. As a result, reduced slow-wave sleep hurts the memory consolidation process.

Especially relevant, amyloid beta proteins accumulate in the brain every day. Also, amyloid beta proteins are thought to be a waste product from the energy used by brain cells to communicate with each other. However, your brain sweeps out the excess amyloid beta proteins every night during slow-wave sleep.

Regrettably, some studies suggest that, interrupted slow-wave sleep causes build up of amyloid beta proteins to form plaque in brain tissue. Incidentally, scientists believe, this sign of Alzheimer’s effects, is also the first stage in the development of Alzheimer’s. Indeed, plaque can build up two decades before symptoms of memory loss and confusion appear.

PET Scans of Alzheimer’s Effects – Amyloid Beta Levels

Meanwhile, a 2015 study in Nature Neuroscience imaged the brains of 26 adults, between the ages of 65 to 81. Also, these adults had not been diagnosed with dementia and did not report any sleep problems. First, PET scans on the adults measured their brain's amyloid beta levels. Then they were asked to memorize 120 pairs of words and tested on how well they remembered a portion of them.

The adults then slept for eight hours. During this time their brain waves were measured. And these brain waves searched for sleep disruptions, as well as to find out if they woke up during the slow-wave phase. The next morning, as they tried to recall the memorized words, their brains were scanned again.

Over all, adults with the highest amyloid beta levels in their brain had the poorest quality of sleep. Moreover these adults performed worst on the memory test. In fact, some forgot more than half of the words. In conclusion, then, improving the quality of your sleep results in the brain's lowest amyloid beta levels.

Also, the high amyloid beta levels still remaining in the brain after sleep, likely turns to plaques. Therefore, these high residual amyloid beta levels are another growing sign of Alzheimer’s effects.

Role of Sleep

Lastly, 119 people aged 60 and over participated in a study to discover how sleep causes Alzheimer's effects. Therefore, researchers related the participants measured brain waves, amyloid beta and tau levels with sleep. And, researchers found that decreased slow-wave sleep coincided with higher levels of tau in the brain along with a higher tau-to-amyloid ratio in the cerebrospinal fluid. Moreover, total sleep wasn't a factor. In fact, people with high tau levels were sleeping longer, even taking afternoon naps, but they weren't getting enough slow-wave sleep.

Conclusion

In the meantime, other studies report that aerobic exercise helps you get better sleep quality. Also, because overweight people tend to have more sleep problems, it's important to lose weight by a combination of dieting and exercising.

In conclusion, exercising, losing weight, and practicing good sleeping habits helps you improve your sleep. Which in turn protects you from both amyloid beta plaques as well as tau proteins, both of which are growing signs of Alzheimer’s effects. In addition, good sleeping habits, like sleeping 8 hours every day, also protects you from all the other bad consequences.

Sleep Loss Induced Diabetes – Best Proven Way to Win

Sleep Loss Induced Diabetes – Best Proven Way to Win

First and foremost, sleep loss increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Most of all, more than a third of Americans routinely suffer from sleep loss because they don’t sleep the recommended 7 to 8 hours.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2017 reported that more than 100 million Americans either have diabetes or are prediabetes. Also, the CDC reports that nearly 1 in 4 Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. And lastly almost 90 percent of prediabetes Americans aren’t aware of their condition.

What is Diabetes

When your body causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal, you have diabetes (or hyperglycemia). Also, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

What is Insulin

First and foremost, the pancreas produce the hormone insulin. Also, insulin enables cells in tissues and muscles to absorb glucose from blood in circulation.  Most of all, tissues and muscles use the glucose to generate energy.

Regrettably, cells can become resistant to insulin. As a result, the cells are less able to absorb the glucose in the blood. And, this is called insulin resistance. As a consequence, the pancreas make extra insulin.

But, if this continues for a long time, the pancreas aren’t able to make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. As a result your blood glucose levels rise. And you have what is called type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, sometimes the pancreas stop producing enough insulin. And because there isn’t enough insulin, cells can’t absorb enough of the blood glucose. Which also results in blood glucose levels to stay high.

In conclusion, Type 2 diabetes develops, if over time, blood glucose levels continue to stay high, cells continue to stay resistant to insulin, or the pancreas stop producing enough insulin.

Role of Sleep Loss

Regrettably, one side effect of frequent sleep loss episodes is the potential for development of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, when you aren’t able to sleep 8 hours frequently your body suffers.

Circadian Rhythm

Persistent sleep loss affects the circadian rhythm. In fact, disruptions to the circadian clock reduces the effectiveness of insulin and over time contributes to insulin resistance.

Moreover, the latest research indicates that insulin also operates on a daily cycle. And the circadian clock controls this cycle by changing the timing of production and release of insulin by the pancreas. In addition, there are times of the day when cells are more sensitive and less sensitive to insulin.

Pancreas

Sleep loss also appears to affect the health of cells in the pancreas. In fact, sleep loss creates stress in pancreatic cells and also disrupts blood glucose levels.

Insulin

Most noteworthy, Stage 3 of the sleep cycle, also known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, is important for the body to be able to use insulin for regulating blood glycose or sugar.

And, research shows that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep:

  1. 1
    First of all, decreases insulin sensitivity, which means your body has a harder time using the insulin.
  2. 2
    Also decreases the speed and effectiveness of the body to remove glucose from the bloodstream.

Studies Relating Sleep Loss to Diabetes

First of all, a study of 54,000 adults, reported that those who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

In addition, a meta-analysis of 11 studies reported that the risk of type 2 diabetes goes up as sleep loss increases as well as when they sleep become longer than 9 hours. In fact, the risk of getting type 2 diabetes was least with regular 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Finally, four large studies reported a strong relationship between frequent sleep loss and risk of developing diabetes.

Above all, studies show that those who suffer from frequent sleep loss take up to 40% longer to properly regulate blood sugar after a high-carb meal. As a result, over time, the pancreas are subjected to added stress. And this can lead to type 2 diabetes.

What You Can Do with Sleep Loss Induced Diabetes

Existing Type 2 Diabetes – Combination of Aerobic & Resistance Workouts

Most of all, if you suffer from frequent sleep loss, you can exercise. In fact, a study reported that combining aerobic workout with resistance training improved glycemic levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the study reported that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training had better results that each workout on its own.

Not Diagnosed With Diabetes – Combination of Aerobic & Resistance Workouts

Following up on the combination concept, another study looked at the effect on potentially preventing or at least delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes caused by frequent sleep loss episodes. So, the study, in the Journal of Diabetes Investigations, reported that the combination resulted in at least delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Description

Meanwhile, the study involved 10,680 Japanese women with an average age of 57.8 years. Also, these women had a mean BMI of 23.2 kg/m2. And these women participated in an exercise program with 24 minutes of combined aerobic workout and resistance training followed by 6 minutes of stretching.

In addition, the women were grouped into four categories, depending on the number of exercise sessions they attended over a 5 month period.

  1. 1
    First of all, category 1 consisted of women who attended 67 to 125 sessions.
  2. 2
    Next, category 2 consisted of women who attended 55 to 66 sessions.
  3. 3
    Next, category 3 consisted of women who attended 42 to 54 sessions.
  4. 4
    Finally, category 4 consisted of women who attended 1 to 41 sessions

Results

And, the study reported that women in category 1 had the lowest risk of getting diabetes. Next, women in category 2 also had low risk of getting diabetes. Finally, women in category 3 had about the same risk of getting type 2 diabetes as the women in category 4.

Most noteworthy, researchers found a negative linear relationship between number of sessions and risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Moreover, this negative linear relationship applied to women in all four categories. Which means that the more they worked out, the lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, in each category, researchers found that women with lower BMI had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women with higher BMI.

Conclusion

Above all,  resistance training increased skeletal muscle mass. And, the aerobic workouts (such as running on a treadmill) used those larger muscle mass to absorb and convert to energy, more blood glucose. As a result, blood glucose levels fell and more fat was burned.

In conclusion, going on an aerobic workout combined with resistance training program is a good way to counteract the downsides from sleep loss. Moreover, the workout program may help make sleep loss less frequent.

How Restful Sleep is Good for Your Heart

How Restful Sleep is Good for Your Heart

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of adults in the United States don’t get the right amount of restful sleep.

Also, according to the CDC, numerous studies have linked not getting enough restful sleep with an increased risk of heart problems. In fact, not getting enough sound sleep results in problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.

Restful Sleep Duration Study – European Heart Journal

Now, the 2011 European Heart Journalreviewed 15 medical studies involving about 475,000 people.

Short Sleepers

First and foremost, short sleepers are those who sleep less than six hours a night. Above all, short sleepers may be prone to risk factors resulting in either coronary heart disease or stroke. Indeed, 48 percent of short sleepers developed or died from coronary heart disease in a seven to 25-year follow-up period.

Also, 15 percent of short sleepers developed or died from stroke during this same time period.

Long Sleepers

Meanwhile, long sleepers, averaged nine or more hours of sleep a night. Also, long sleepers may be prone to risk factors resulting in either coronary heart disease or stroke. Indeed, 38 percent of long sleepers developed or died from coronary heart disease in a seven to 25-year follow-up period.

Lastly, 65 percent of long sleepers developed or died from stroke during this same time period.

Restful Sleep Study – European Society of Cardiology

Next, a study at the 2018 European Society of Cardiology conference reported best durations for restful sleep. In fact, the most beneficial sleep durations, for a healthy heart, were six to eight hours of sleep a night. Indeed, anything more than eight or less than six hours is detrimental to the health of your heart. Moreover, both short and long sleepers had a greater risk of developing or dying from coronary artery disease or stroke.

Restful Sleep Study – American College of Cardiology

Meanwhile, a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study reported on the benefits of getting adequate restful sleep. Indeed, the study reported that anyone can mitigate risks of heart attack by sleeping between six to nine hours. Moreover, that includes people who have a genetic predisposition to heart disease.

Now, this study looked at people between the ages of 40 to 69 who never had a heart attack. Indeed, the study found those sleeping less than six hours were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack. While, those sleeping more than nine hours had a 34 percent greater chance of experiencing a heart attack. Incidentally, on average, the further people fell outside the six to nine-hour duration, the greater their risk of heart attack.

In addition, the National Sleep Foundation, reported on the effects of sleep duration on stroke and heart attack. Indeed, adults sleeping less than 6 hours have almost twice the risk as those sleeping 7 to 8 hours.

Effects of Inadequate Restful Sleep on the Heart

Study

Now, new research was conducted, at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research in Madrid, Spain. And, their results were recently reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In this study, coronary 3D heart ultrasound and cardiac CT scans tracked arteries of 3,974 Spanish adult bank employees. Incidentally, at the start of the study, these adults, of average age 46, did not have heart disease. Also, two-thirds of the adults were men.

Results

Above all, research showed that the odds of accumulating fatty plaque in arteries increased with inadequate amounts of restful sleep. Moreover, fatty plaque increased significantly when lack of restful sleep was chronic. By the way, atherosclerosis is the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries. Also, this accumulation of fatty plaque narrows the arteries and makes them stiffer. Regrettably, atherosclerosis increases the odds of getting a heart attack or stroke.

Next, researchers compared adults sleeping less than six hours a night with those sleeping seven to eight hours. And, they found those sleeping less than six hours were 27 percent more likely to have body-wide atherosclerosis. Strangely enough, the study found women sleeping more than eight hours a night also had increased risk of body-wide atherosclerosis.

Furthermore, researchers compared adults who woke up frequently or had difficulty falling asleep with those who slept well. And, they found adults who didn’t sleep well were 34 percent more likely to have body-wide atherosclerosis.

Incidentally, adults who had six hours of good quality sleep fared better because the quality of their sleep was good. By the way, good quality referred to how often a person woke up during the night. Also, good quality considered how frequently a person moved during sleep.

Above all, the study showed the importance of getting seven to eight hours of good sleep for your cardiovascular health. And, the heavy price paid, on their cardiovascular health, by poor quality sleepers or those chronically deprived of restful sleep.

Meanwhile, previous studies reported that lack of sleep increased heart disease risk factors. For example, risk factors such as glucose levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and obesity.

Atherosclerosis

Now, as described above, not getting enough restful sleep increases the odds of accumulating fatty plaque in arteries. By the way, atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

So, to better understand atherosclerosis, the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital studied mice genetically engineered to develop atherosclerosis.

Therefore, half the mice had their sleep cycles repeatedly disrupted. While, the other half slept normally. Meanwhile, after 16 weeks, the sleep-disrupted mice had greater arterial plaques than the mice who slept normally. By the way, the study in Spain also reported more arterial plaque in the sleep deprived.

Furthermore, the sleep-deprived mice had twice the level of certain white blood cells than the non-sleep deprived mice. Also, the sleep-deprived mice had lower amounts of the hormone hypocretin.

Incidentally, the brain regulates sleep and wake states by producing the hormone hypocretin. Meanwhile, experiments showed that hypocretin suppressed production of stem cells that make white blood cells in their bone marrow. Therefore, falling hypocretin levels results in production of more white blood cells.

So, sleep-deficient mice that received hypocretin supplements tended to produce fewer immune or white blood cells. Consequently, they developed smaller artery wall plaques than mice that weren’t given the hypocretin supplementation. Therefore, these results suggest that hypocretin loss during disrupted sleep contributes to inflammation and atherosclerosis.

In summary, the brain of the sleep deprived likely cuts back on the production of their hypocretin hormone. Which, in turn, increases plaque in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis.

Infrequent Versus Chronic Sleep Problems

In general, according to health experts, short-term sleep issues won’t do much harm. However, chronic, continuous sleep disturbances can lead to serious heart issues and make existing heart problems worse. Incidentally, about six percent of the US population has chronic insomnia. Also, chronic or frequent, sleep disturbances, can lead to serious heart issues or make existing heart problems worse.

In fact, those who struggle with getting restful sleep on a regular basis should speak with a sleep expert. Finally, good sleeping habits also help you avoid other problems associated with sleep deprivation.

Insomnia

Finally, a meta-analysis demonstrated that frequent insomnia was associated with increased risk of future heart attack and stroke. By the way, symptoms of insomnia included difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining restful sleep, and non-restorative sleep.

Now, as many as one in two adults experience short-term insomnia at some point. On the other hand, nearly 1 in 10 may have long-lasting insomnia.

Most of all, insomnia can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Also, over time, poor sleep can lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart. For example, these bad habits include high stress levels, little motivation to be physically active, or having unhealthy food choices.

Be on the Lookout for these Sleep Loss Symptoms

Be on the Lookout for these Sleep Loss Symptoms

Regrettably, sleeping less than 6 hours or a disturbed sleep where you were awake off and on during the night, has detrimental effects on your body. Therefore, it’s important for you to take recovery action the following day. However, to make that decision, it is useful for you to be able to recognize your sleep loss symptoms.

The Body’s Sleep Loss Symptoms

First and foremost, your body’s signs are listed below.

  1. 1
    First, you may see signs of acne. In fact, sleep loss along with sweat and stress triggers acne.
  2. 2
    Also, you may get a headache.
  3. 3
    Or, you may have puffy eyes & dark circles. Indeed, a study of 200 women with puffy eyes & dark circles, reported 40 percent were sleep deprived.
  4. 4
    Next, you may see weight gain. In fact, sleep loss imbalances your hormones causing you to feel hungry. In addition, your body becomes less sensitive to insulin causing your blood sugar to rise.
  5. 5
    Or, everything hurts. Indeed, sleep loss increases inflammation in the body, which in turn increases pain.
  6. 6
    And you may feel like you have a cold.
  7. 7
    Lastly, you may feel fatigued.

Cognitive

Next, your cognitive related sleep loss symptoms are listed below:

  1. 1
    First, you have reduced alertness.
  2. 2
    Or, shortened attention span.
  3. 3
    Or, reduced awareness of the environment and situation.
  4. 4
    Also, you can’t concentrate.
  5. 5
    Or, your decision-making skills are suffering.
  6. 6
    Or, you may feel disoriented.
  7. 7
    On the other hand, you may act impulsively. Indeed, you need a certain type of energy to make good decisions. And sleep loss drains energy, thereby resulting in poor impulsive decisions.
  8. 8
    And you may show poor judgement.
  9. 9
    Also, studies show you may have difficulty reading emotions in other people. As a result, you may not be able to react to threatening situations.
  10. 10
    Next you may suffer from the sleep loss symptom of low motivation.
  11. 11
    And poor memory. In fact, procedural memory, used in learning new tasks, is associated with REM sleep. And declarative memory, used to recall an event or fact, is associated with non-REM sleep. As a result, sleep loss that affects REM and non-REM sleep, seriously interferes with your memory.
  12. 12
    Also, you may make a mistake by forgetting to do something.
  13. 13
    Or you may do something, but choose the wrong option.
  14. 14
    Next, you may fixate yourself on one thought
  15. 15
    Too, you may have difficulty learning new concepts.
  16. 16
    Also, you may suffer from blurred vision or vision problems. Moreover, sleep loss can harm your visual working memory. Indeed, this is your brain’s ability to store pieces of visual information while at the same time filter out what you don’t need.
  17. 17
    Regrettably, you may become forgetful.
  18. 18
    Or you may display impaired motor skills.
  19. 19
    Or you may become clumsy or get butterfingers. In fact, sleep loss makes it hard to keep your fine motor skills in tune.
  20. 20
    Finally, you may show slower than normal reaction time

Food

Next, your food related sleep loss symptoms are listed below.

  1. 1
    First, you may see an increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings.
  2. 2
    Second, you may crave for salt, sugar, or junk food.
  3. 3
    Finally, you may sip more caffeine.

Sleep

Also, your sleep related symptoms are listed below.

  1. 1
    First, you may sleep through alarms.
  2. 2
    Or you may go back to sleep.
  3. 3
    Or you may groggy when waking in the morning.
  4. 4
    Also, you may, unintentionally, fall asleep.
  5. 5
    Or you may show a tendency to doze off when not active for a while; for example, when watching television.
  6. 6
    Or you may feel sleepy or  groggy all day long.
  7. 7
    Regrettably, you may start nodding off while driving. In fact, an estimated 5,000 people died in 2015 in crashes involving drowsy driving, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report. In addition, according to the American Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. And, about 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year.
  8. 8
    Finally, you may be yawning frequently.

Mood

And, your mood related sleep loss symptoms are listed below.

  1. 1
    First you may be in a depressed mood.
  2. 2
    Or, you may suffer from moodiness.
  3. 3
    Or, you may be feeling down.
  4. 4
    Regrettably, you may become irritable.
  5. 5
    Finally, you may display a bad temper.

Other Sleep Loss Symptoms

Finally, the other signs of sleep loss.

  1. 1
    First, you may experience a reduced sex drive. In fact, REM sleep helps produce testosterone. So, REM sleep shorted by sleep loss, decreases testosterone levels, which, in turn, reduces your sex drive.
  2. 2
    Or feel stressed.
  3. 3
    Also, you may become cranky.
  4. 4
    Too, you may suffer from paranoia.
  5. 5
    Or, hallucinations.
  6. 6
    Finally, your work efficiency suffers.

Therapeutic Pillows Buyers Guide

Therapeutic Pillows Buyers Guide

Therapeutic pillows buyers guide give insight into therapeutic pillows that are reviewed elsewhere on this site. Also, use the therapeutic pillows buyers guide along with therapeutic pillows frequently asked questions to find the best pillow for your needs.

First and foremost, a therapeutic pillow should be comfortable. Next, the therapeutic pillow should provide adequate support. Consequently, the pillow should be firm enough to prevent your head from sinking into the pillow. Because, when your head doesn’t sink, your spine will be in a neutral position. Therefore, a firm pillow helps to relieve back pain.

Also, a therapeutic pillow should cradle your head and neck to support the upper portion of your spine. Regrettably pillow protectors aren’t always completely successful in fulfilling their role. As a result, pillows that use these protectors hold lots of allergy triggers like mold and dust mites.

Back Sleepers

Above all, back sleepers do best with thinner neck pillows and those that have extra padding in the bottom to support the neck. Consequently, visco-elastic polyurethane foam neck pillows are best because the memory foam molds to your neck. Also, if you sleep on your back, your neck pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. The Purple Pillow is also an ultimate choice for the back sleepers.

Incidentally, as you sleep on your back, you can prop up your knees with one or more pillows. As a result, by flattening out your spine, you wake up with less tightness and pain.

Most of all, back sleepers should generally look for medium fill neck pillows. If you sit up straight, this is the same angle that your pillow should provide when lying down. Moreover, if your chin is angled towards your chest, then the pillow is too thick. On the other hand, if your head falls back, then the pillow is too thin.

Also, as the picture on the left shows, when you sleep on your back, gravity can pull the lumbar (or the lower) area of the back towards the mattress and flatten out the spine’s natural “S” shaped curve. Consequently, the lower back comes under stress and may cause pain. On the other hand, placing a pillow under the lower back and the knees can restore the natural contour of the spine.

Also, as the picture on the left shows, a thick pillow pushes up your head causing the spine to bend upwards. While the picture of the right shows that a pillow that is thicker underneath the neck and thinner in the back flattens out the spine.

Stomach Sleepers

Most of all, those preferring to sleep on their stomach, do best with the thinnest pillow possible or no pillow at all.  Consequently, these sleepers should generally look for higher-fill pillow or neck/contour style pillows. Also, the pillow should support your neck, keeping a natural angle. In fact, a pillow that is too shallow can cause your head to bend inward and may place strain on your shoulder.

And, as the picture shows, when you sleep on your stomach, gravity pulls the lumbar (or the lower) area of the back towards the mattress. As a result, this bending exaggerates the spine’s natural “S” shaped curve. Consequently, the lower back comes under intense stress and causes pain. On the other hand, placing a pillow under the pelvis will raise the lower back and help maintain the natural curve of the lower back, thereby reducing muscle strain.

Also, as the picture on the left shows, a thick pillow pushes up your head causing the spine to bend upwards. While the picture of the right shows that a pillow that is thicker underneath the neck and thinner in the back flattens out the spine.

Side Sleepers

Incidentally, if you sleep on your side, use a thicker, firm pillow to keep your head in line with the rest of your body. Better still, try to find a pillow that has an extra-wide gusset that will help with the space between your ear and shoulders.  On the other hand, a pillow that is too thick can force your neck to bend away from the pillow causing tension in your neck.

First and foremost, when sleeping on the side, the spine should be parallel to the mattress.  And, as the picture on the left shows, when you sleep on your side, gravity pulls the spine from its naturally straight shape towards the mattress. As a result, the lower back bends downward. Consequently, the vertebrae has an unnatural position which strains muscles and ligaments. On the other hand, placing a pillow under the abdominal area will raise the lower back into alignment with the rest of the spine and thereby reduce muscle strain.

Also, as the picture on the left shows, a thick pillow pushes up your head causing the spine to bend upwards. While the picture of the right shows that a pillow that is thicker underneath the neck and somewhat thinner in the back flattens out the spine. Especially noteworthy, the back of the pillow needs to be thick enough to keep your head aligned with the spine.

Knee Pillows

By the way, those who prefer to sleep on their sides can use a firm knee pillow between their knees. Indeed, the knee pillow reduces strain on your back. In fact, without a knee pillow, the leg on top will pull down the pelvis which in turn pulls your spine out of its neutral, resting position. Consequently, by adding a knee pillow that supports your top leg helps to keep the spine aligned properly.

Body Pillows

Incidentally, you may try sleeping on your side with a body pillow. Indeed, a body pillow is a pillow that extends from head to toe. Also, this pillow is a favorite for many who prefer to sleep on their sides, since it can be hugged to the chest to prevent shoulder pain caused by an awkward arm position. Moreover, the pillow can be placed between the knees to keep the spine straight. In addition, the pillow gives you a feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.

Finally, the pillow supports both your head and neck as well as provide the necessary buffer between your knees. However, don’t put one leg over the body pillow without any other support, since that can twist the spine and cause undue stress.

Cervical pillows

Especially relevant, when you lie down, there is some space between your neck and the mattress. Consequently, your neck is without support which contributes to misalignment. However, adding a cervical pillow, known as orthopedic or neck pillow, provides support, which is helpful to those with neck and upper spine problems.

Hip Pain

First and foremost, the best way to reduce hip pain is to use a therapeutic pillow to elevate your legs or knees in such a manner that the hip is perfectly aligned. Moreover, a good knee or body pillow is one of the best ways to provide the right support for effective relief from hip pain. In addition, you can also try changing your sleeping position and use pillows as supports to find a position which causes you the least pain.

Therapeutic Pillows FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Therapeutic Pillows FAQ

Therapeutic pillows FAQ or frequently asked questions give insight into therapeutic pillows that are reviewed elsewhere on this site. Incidentally, use the therapeutic pillows FAQ along with therapeutic pillows buyers guide, while comparing therapeutic pillows to find the best.

What is a therapeutic pillow?

A therapeutic pillow is a pillow that provides adequate support for the head and neck. Also, the pillow keeps the spine in correct alignment throughout the night so that the muscles of the neck are able to relax. As a result you won't suffer from aches and pains when you wake up.

How can therapeutic pillows alleviate back pain?

First and foremost, a pillow that feels flat or lumpy can’t provide adequate support. Indeed, a pillow like that may cause your neck and spine to not be aligned properly. Consequently, this leads to pain and discomfort when you wake up in the morning. Therefore, a pillow that feels flat or lumpy should be thrown away. Also, in general, pillows need to be replaced every 18 months.

Next, if you have back or hip pain when you first wake up and that gradually goes away as the morning goes on, then your mattress and/or your pillow may be the cause of the pain.

Most of all, a head pillow should hold your head at the same height as the rest of your spine. So, if a pillow is too flat your head will be lower than your spine. And if the pillow is too thick your head will be too far above your spine. In fact, this non-alignment causes pain in your back and neck.

Also, sometimes an extra therapeutic pillow under the lower back or knees increases support for the spine. Moreover, when pillows are used properly they can reduce your back pain and you get a better sleep.

What kind of therapeutic pillows alleviate back pain?

First and foremost, to prevent or reduce the effects of back pain, these pillows must have the right thickness. In fact, being either too thick or too thin are not good for your back. However, feather pillows can cause allergies in some people. So, if you get stuffy or sneezy at night, throw away the feather pillow and replace it with a hypo-allergenic pillow.

Next, visco-elastic polyurethane foam pillows conform to the shape of your head. As a result, they provide excellent support and help align your neck with the spine. Incidentally, visco-elastic polyurethane foam pillows can last up to three years.

By the way, orthopedic pillows are usually made of visco-elastic polyurethane foam. Also, lumbar pillows are usually made of visco-elastic polyurethane foam and designed to support the lower back.

Are there things you can do to reduce back pain?

First and foremost, sleeping without a pillow can help your back extend and may result in better spinal alignment, which might relieve back pain. Above all, whatever your preferred sleeping position, you need proper alignment of your spine. In fact, the best way to do this is to align your ears, shoulders, and hips so that they are in the same horizontal plane.

Next, gaps between your body and the bed may strain muscles and spine. Therefore, reduce the stress by using pillows to fill these gaps.

Finally, when you turn while sleeping, your body can get out of alignment by the twisting and turning motion. Therefore, when you turn, move your entire body together, keeping your core tight and pulled in. Furthermore, it may be helpful to bring your knees towards your chest as you roll over.