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Sleep Number

Meet the Smart Bed That Warms Your Feet

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Sleep Number

You may recognize Sleep Number from the evenings you’ve stayed up watching infomercials while splayed out in your antiquated coil-spring bed. The company started as an adjustable-position alternative to conventional mattresses; lately, they’ve been rolling out products with built-in technology that claims to help resolve back alignment, snoring, and other issues.

With the Sleep Number 360, the newest of the company’s offerings, users can now aim for a sleep experience previously available only to rich oil barons … or people with electric blankets. The bed will use a timer to preheat the foot of the mattress so that your feet will never again have to experience the indignity of being even slightly cold.

It’s an unusual feature, but Sleep Number claims to have conducted research indicating that people fall asleep faster when their feet are slightly warmer than usual. The timer used to begin the warming process is connected to the bed’s app, which tracks a sleeper’s bedtime habits and can make adjustments based on that data.

The Sleep Number 360 is expected to become available to consumers sometime this year, with prices to be announced.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Lush Cosmetics North America
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Health
Insomniacs Are Swearing By This "Sleepy" Body Lotion
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Lush Cosmetics North America

Insomnia can take a huge toll on the body. It's the most commonly reported sleep disorder—an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. population has it—and causes lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, among other effects. And severe insomnia is usually chronic.

So it's understandable that people who have trouble sleeping are always on the lookout for a new treatment. Some people say they've found it in a lotion made by Lush. According to the Independent, insomniacs are calling Lush's Sleepy body lotion "magic."

Is it really a magic potion? No. Will it help you sleep? It's hard to say, but there's some research to suggest it could. It certainly isn't a panacea for insomnia, and people with severe insomnia probably won't see much effect from a lotion.

Lavender has long served as an herbal remedy to relax and soothe. A 2012 review of studies on lavender and sleep advised, "Early results appear promising, but they should be viewed with caution," since most of these studies are very small, and noted the results "suggested lavender oil may be of small to moderate benefit." For instance, a 2017 study on ICU patients found that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 days increased sleep quality and reduced anxiety levels. A 2015 study on college students found lavender to be an effective sleep aid, particularly in conjunction with good sleep hygiene.

Making lotioning up a part of your nighttime routine could mean that you're placing more focus on sleep hygiene, which is a proven way to enhance your sleep quality. According to a report from India's National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, poor sleep hygiene can perpetuate insomnia. To get better sleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends establishing a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, like taking a bath or reading a book. Applying lotion would count, too.

Plus, recent studies have found that even placebos can help insomniacs sleep a bit better. In a review of 13 published studies, participants who received placebos in sleep studies reported sleep improvements compared to people who took part in the studies but didn't receive any kind of treatment. So even if the lavender doesn't help—most studies on lavender have analyzed inhaling the essential oil, not rubbing a lotion on your skin—having a ton of faith in Lush's ability to cure an affliction that plagues millions of people might. At least a little.

[h/t Independent]

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Live Smarter
5 Tips for Becoming A Morning Person
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iStock

You’ve probably heard the term circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that influences your daily routine: when to eat, when to sleep, and when to wake up. Our biological clocks are, to some extent, controlled by genetics. This means that some people are natural morning people while others are night owls by design. However, researchers say the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle, which is good news if you want to train yourself to wake up earlier.

In addition to squeezing more hours out of the day, there are plenty of other good reasons to resist hitting the snooze button, including increased productivity. One survey found that more than half of Americans say they feel at their best between 5 a.m. and noon. These findings support research from biologist Christopher Randler, who determined that earlier risers are happier and more proactive about goals, too.

If you love the idea of waking up early to get more done, but you just can't seem to will yourself from out under the covers, here are five effective tips that might help you roll out of bed earlier.

1. EASE INTO THE HABIT.

If you’re a die-hard night owl, chances are you’re not going to switch to a morning lark overnight. Old habits are hard to break, but they’re less challenging if you approach them realistically.

“Wake up early in increments,” Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker at Compassionate Counseling in St. Louis suggests. “If you normally wake up at 9:00 a.m., set the alarm to 8:30 a.m. for a week, then 8:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m.”

Waking up three hours earlier can feel like a complete lifestyle change, but taking it 30 minutes at a time will make it a lot easier to actually stick to the plan. Gradually, you’ll become a true morning person, just don’t try to force it to happen overnight.

2. EXERCISE IN THE MORNING.

Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so jumping on the treadmill or taking a run around the block is a great way to start the day on a high note. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising early in the morning can mean you get a better overall sleep at night:

“In fact, people who work out on a treadmill at 7:00 a.m. sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.”

If you don’t have much time in the morning, an afternoon workout is your second best bet. The Sleep Foundation says aerobic afternoon workouts can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often throughout the night. “This may be because exercise raises your body’s temperature for about four to five hours,” they report. After that, your body’s core temperature decreases, which encourages it to switch into sleep mode.

3. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM IDEAL FOR SLEEP.

Whether it’s a noisy street or a bright streetlight, your bedroom environment might be making it difficult for you to sleep throughout the night, which can make waking up early challenging, as you haven’t had enough rest. There are, however, a few changes you can make to optimize your room for a good night’s sleep.

“Keep your bedroom neat and tidy,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based doctor of psychology on staff as an expert in sleep hygiene at Seasons Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggests. “Waking up to clutter and chaos only makes it more tempting to crawl back in bed.”

Depending on what needs to be improved, you might consider investing in some slumber-friendly items that can help you sleep through the night, including foam earplugs (make sure to use a vibrating alarm), black-out drapes, light-blocking window decals, and a cooling pillow

Another simple option? Ditch the obnoxious sound of a loud, buzzing alarm.

“One great way to adapt to rising earlier is to have an alarm that is a pleasing sound to you versus an annoying one,” Dr. Irwin says. “There are many choices now, whether on your smartphone or in a radio or a freestanding apparatus.”

4. TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY WIND DOWN.

Getting up early starts the night before, and there are a few things you should do before hitting the sack at night.

“Set an alarm to fall asleep,” Torgerson says. “Having a set bedtime helps you stay responsible to yourself, instead of letting yourself get caught up in a book or Netflix and avoid going to sleep.”

Torgerson adds that practicing yoga or meditation before bed can help relax your mind and body, too. This way, your mind isn’t bouncing from thought to thought in a flurry before you go to bed. If you find yourself feeling anxious before bed, it might help to write in a journal. This way, you can get these nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Focus on relaxing at night and stay away from not just exercise, but mentally stimulating activities, too. If watching the news gets your blood boiling, for example, you probably want to turn it off an hour or so before bedtime.

5. GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF LIGHT.

Light has a immense effect on your circadian rhythm—whether it’s the blue light from your phone as you scroll through Instagram, or the bright sunlight of being outdoors on your lunch break. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists compared the sleep quality of 27 subjects who worked in windowless environments with 22 subjects who were exposed to significantly more natural light during the day.

“Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions—role limitation due to physical problems and vitality—as well as poorer overall sleep quality," the study concluded. "Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

Thus, exposing yourself to bright light during the day may actually help you sleep better at night, which will go a long way toward helping you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Conversely, too much blue light can actually disturb your sleep schedule at night. This means you probably want to limit your screen time as your bedtime looms closer.

Finally, once you do get into the habit of waking up earlier, stick to that schedule on the weekends as much as possible. The urge to sleep in is strong, but as Torgerson says, “you won't want your body and brain to reacclimate to sleeping in and snoozing.”

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