To-Do List a Mile Long? Go to Bed.

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If you’re staying up late because there’s too much on your plate, you may want to reconsider your strategy.

Research suggests people get more done when they’re refreshed, so cutting corners on sleep can be counterproductive.

“A good night of sleep is restorative, both physically and mentally,” says Jonathan Alpert, a sleep expert and licensed psychotherapist in New York City. “It prepares us for the next day and allows us to be productive.”

Here’s how a little extra sleep can lead to getting a lot more accomplished.

Sharper Focus

When you’re drowsy, it’s hard to tune out the distractions that can bring productivity screeching to a halt.

“Your brain simply isn’t working at full capacity,” Alpert says. “It’s more difficult to maintain focus and concentration.” If you’re getting sidetracked frequently, consider turning in for the night and starting fresh in the morning.

Better Problem-Solving Skills

A good night’s sleep can make complex tasks and tough decisions seem less daunting. In a Lancaster University study, participants were given a set of difficult problems to solve. They were allowed to revisit any problems they failed to solve—some after sleeping, some after a short break and some immediately following their first try. The group who slept before their second attempt had the best success rate, suggesting that sleep may help you find solutions you overlooked while groggy.

Fewer Mistakes

Sleepiness can muddle your thinking and slow your decision-making process, which makes it easier to slip up.

“Reaction times are slow and it’s hard to concentrate,” Alpert says. “This leads to an inability to perform tasks that require complex thinking.” Case in point: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 80,000 crashes each year are caused by tired drivers.

Memory Retention

Lack of sleep makes it difficult to recall information, so tasks may take longer to complete or get overlooked. According to the journal Physiological Reviews, research has shown that sleep improves memory retention because your brain moves new info into long-term storage while you snooze.

“Without adequate sleep, this process doesn’t occur,” Alpert says. Playing catch-up on the weekends doesn’t cut it. For optimal memory retention, you need to get a full 7 to 8 hours on a regular basis.

Less Burnout

Burning the midnight oil can make a jam-packed schedule seem even more overwhelming. “It’s a bit of a double-edged sword because poor sleep will make someone more prone to stress, and stress will interfere with one’s ability to sleep,” Alpert says. Resist the urge to pull an all-nighter; you’ll be better able to tackle all the tasks at hand if you’re well-rested.

Gifts for a Good Night’s Rest

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The holiday season is here! As you search for the perfect gift for each person on your holiday list, consider giving something that will last – like the gift of sleep. Here are some sleepy-time gift ideas to help everyone on your list get their best Zzzzzs.

For Those Who Deserve to Be Pampered

There’s nothing like settling in for the night feeling like a queen (spa, anyone?). For the spa-minded or those who deserve a little TLC, pamper them with a soothing pre-bedtime treat.

A package of calming caffeine-free herbal tea, silk pajamas and eye mask like the Bedtime Bliss Contoured & Comfortable Silk Eye Mask can make anyone feel special.

Add in a book (or bookstore gift certificate) to help ease them into bedtime mode, and perhaps a Drift Light, a self-dimmable LED bulb that gradually darkens over 37 minutes, mimicking the setting of the sun. The gradual dimming signals to the body that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed.

Or maybe they’d like LATHER’s Bedtime Stories, a collection of bedtime bath, body and aromatherapy treatments featuring lavender essential oil, which is known to have calming properties.

Add in an Ultraplush Throw, and let the relaxing begin.

For Light Sleepers

Some people are more sensitive to light and sound than others, which can be a challenge when it’s time to sleep. Help them rest easier with a white noise machine to mask distracting sounds.

If they like drifting off to music or meditation, SleepPhones are soft headbands with speakers built in. They connect to many audio devices with a standard headphone jack and are comfortable for sleeping.

And if light-blocking shades aren’t your idea of a gift, think smaller: a light blocking eye mask can help. The nodpod, a microbead eye pillow with both warming and cooling capabilities, or a velvet Remedy Heat Sensitive Memory Foam Sleep Mask may just fit the bill.

For Techies

Many of us have a techie in our life – the one who just can’t seem to let go of screens, even as bedtime approaches. The Sleep Number® Tech-e® Pillow will hold their tablet, e-reader or laptop at just the right angle for reading or surfing the web.

It’s been shown that blue light inhibits our bodies’ production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep. Computers, TVs and other electronics emit blue light, so help those who use screens into the evening prepare for sleep with a pair of BluBlocker Sunglasses that block blue light so sleep onset need not be delayed by evening screen use.

If they love to be connected, the Sleep Number® Bed With SleepIQ® Technology lets them track their sleep so they can learn what helps them sleep their best. It connects to smart devices and apps to tell them how room temperature, exercise and more affect their sleep.

For Morning Sleepyheads

Does morning come too soon for someone in your life? The Aura Connected Alarm Clock is both a bedside lamp and an alarm clock that brightens progressively – like a natural sunrise – to wake them gradually. It also plays music for an energizing wake up.

For Frequent Travelers

To help them feel home away from home – or at least a little more comfortable along the way – give your frequent flyer, camper or road-tripper one of these gifts to rest easier on the road. A U-Neck Pillow offers comfy neck support for in-transit naps and comes with a cozy microfiber cover.

Another option is the Trtl Travel Pillow, a lightweight fleece scarf with built-in support that holds the head in a natural position.

Campers might like the washable Sheex Sleep Sax, which can be used as a sleeping bag liner or sleeping bag alternative.

Slip a personalized note or travel journal into the package to remind them of home to bring happy thoughts and sweet dreams.

Sleep Number Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction in 2016 J.D. Power Mattress Report

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Company also ranked highest in 2015

November 30, 2016 10:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–J.D. Power today announced that Sleep Number® ranks highest in customer satisfaction with mattresses. The J.D. Power 2016 Mattress Satisfaction Report measured customer satisfaction with mattress purchases based on seven factors: comfort, price, support, durability, warranty, features and customer service. Sleep Number achieved an overall satisfaction index score of 887, which is 32 points above the industry average of 855. In addition, Sleep Number achieved the highest score in the warranty and features study factors.

“It is an honor to be rated highest in customer satisfaction with mattresses by J.D. Power two years in a row.”

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The J.D. Power 2016 Mattress Satisfaction Report is based on responses from 2,622 customers who purchased a mattress in the 12 months prior to fielding the survey. The report was fielded in October 2016.

“Our customers’ satisfaction is the direct result of our team’s dedication and passion to improving lives by delivering unparalleled sleep experiences,” said Shelly Ibach, Select Comfort president and chief executive officer. “It is an honor to be rated highest in customer satisfaction with mattresses by J.D. Power two years in a row.”

About J.D. Power
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit jdpower.com. J.D. Power is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About Select Comfort Corporation
Nearly 30 years ago, Sleep Number transformed the mattress industry with the idea that ‘one size does not fit all’ when it comes to sleep. Today, the company is the leader in sleep innovation and ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Mattresses” by J.D. Power in 2015 and 2016. As the pioneer in biometric sleep monitoring and adjustability, Sleep Number is proving the connection between quality sleep and health and well-being. Dedicated to individualizing sleep experiences, the company’s 3,600 employees are improving lives with innovative sleep solutions. To find better quality sleep visit one of our 530 U.S. Sleep Number® stores or SleepNumber.com.

Contacts

Select Comfort
Susan Eich, 763-551-6934
susan.eich@selectcomfort.com

 

Is Your Home Guest-Ready for the Holidays?

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When out-of-town family descends on your home this season, don’t let poor sleeping conditions ruin the happy anticipation and warm feelings.

Kids, parents and other family members … sleeping bags, a pullout sofa in the den. A house full of guests sometimes requires pulling out old quilts and past-their-prime pillows.

In the movies, these arrangements may seem quaint and lead to some great photo ops. But in reality, the morning-after could find someone cranky because the sofa-bed hurt their back all night and the children wouldn’t hush. A lack of sleep can set a negative tone for the rest of the stay.

While no one wants more tasks added to their holiday to-do list, some preparation can pay off when everyone is ready to tuck themselves in for the night.

  • Sleep like your guests. Whether you have a dedicated guest room or are wheeling a cot from the attic into your bedroom, test out the bed and the sleeping space before your guests arrive. How else will you know if the den is too drafty for sleeping, if the shades in the living room don’t close properly, or if the clock in the office will keep people awake? After eight hours in that bed, you’ll know if you need a new mattress or if the carpets need cleaning.
  • Upgrade where you can. Few folks can afford a bed designated specifically for guests in a separate room. But that doesn’t mean they have to suffer in the basement. Invest in a few niceties, like Sleep Number® pillows. Have foam pillows for those allergic to feather pillows. Options designed for side sleepers are a bonus.
  • Stock up and stack up. Aunt Alice might not want to bother you if she needs an extra blanket, but she also may feel awkward rifling through your linen closet. Stack an extra throw or quilt in the room where she’s sleeping. If cousins or siblings are bunking together, earplugs can be a godsend to those not used to sharing rooms.
  • Mirror, mirror on the wall. If you have a full house, chances are you have full bathrooms, too. Alleviate some congestion with a mirror in the bedroom for tasks like applying makeup, freeing up the shower for others.
  • Control the climate. Add a fan if rooms run warm, suggests author Kathy Bertone, in her book “The Art of the Visit.” If you use space heaters, remember to advise everyone how to use them safely, including keeping them away from bedding.
  • Do the laundry. Of course you put away all those extra sheets clean. But if they’ve been packed in a linen closet since last year, wash them again before you make the beds to make sure they aren’t musty.
  • Think ahead. If someone is sleeping in the living room or your home office, grab anything you might need from that room the night before so your guest can sleep in peace. If you still have a landline, turn down the volume.

 

Foods and Drinks That Get in the Way of a Good Night’s Sleep

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Research shows that certain foods and drinks can decrease our chances of falling and staying asleep:

Alcohol

While alcohol induces sleep, a study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that drinking any amount disrupts sleep during the second half of the night. Kicking back a few too many during waking hours can also lead to daytime sleepiness.

Caffeine

Guzzling 500 milligrams of caffeine or more per day can lead to insomnia, according to a review study published in the journal Current Signal Transduction Therapy. Two tall coffees from Starbucks or two and a half 5-Hour Energy shots equal roughly 500 milligrams of caffeine, as noted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Spicy Foods

Foods that cause heartburn and indigestion—including spicy items—can impair sleep too, according to UCLA’s Sleep Disorders Center.

High-Fat Foods

Unhealthy fat intake can negatively impact the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. People who consumed the most saturated fat experienced lighter, less restorative sleep than those who consumed less saturated fat, according to another study published there.

Sugary Foods

High sugar intake is also associated with lighter, less restorative sleep and more arousals from sleep, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

 

Staying Fit for the Holidays

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Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the midst of holiday hoopla may have you despairing until the new year. But, stay the course; there are ways to remain fit and healthy through the season, while still enjoying that extra slice of pumpkin pie.

“During the holiday season, the biggest culprits leading to holiday weight gain are too much indulgence and a disruption of your regular routine,” says Chicago-based holistic wellness coach Erin Clifford.

“Instead of hitting the gym or cooking a healthy meal after work,” she says, “many of us find our schedules filled with holiday parties, cookie swaps and family dinners, not to mention the late-night frozen pizza after too much eggnog.”

Clifford offers these strategies to help survive the holidays without missing out on your favorite treats:

  • Never arrive hungry. Before going to a party, have a high protein-and-fiber snack, such as half a turkey sandwich on sprouted grain toast, an apple with almond butter, or flax crackers with a piece of string cheese. “This will help you pass on the high-calorie appetizers that are a big contributor to holiday weight gain,” says Clifford.
  • Choose your splurge. When you go to a holiday party, choose one food item that you cannot live without and then fill the rest of your plate with protein and vegetables.
  • Be mindful of drinking your calories, and do so in moderation. “Yes, that candy cane Frappuccino and bottle of wine count,” Clifford says.
  • Be wary of social pressures. “Don’t let friends talk you into that extra glass of wine or second slice of pecan pie,” says Clifford.
  • Keep a food journal to track your food and drink intake. “A food diary encourages you to eat fewer calories and make healthier choices because it increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you are eating,” says Clifford.
  • Don’t skip your workouts. If you don’t have time for your full routine, schedule time for a few sessions during the week, even if it’s just an extended walk with your dog or 30 minutes over your lunch hour. “Working out also decreases our stress levels, which is something we all need to survive the holiday marathon!” says Clifford.

When it comes to a fitness routine, Matt Masarsky, director of fitness operations for the nationwide fitness gym chain Retro Fitness, says it’s important to be realistic, and never more so than during the holidays.

“If you’re not a morning person, don’t promise to go to the gym every morning at 5 a.m.,” he says. Similarly, if you aren’t a fan of biking, don’t join a spin class.

“Take both your lifestyle and interests into consideration, and from there, construct a workout routine comprised of activities you enjoy,” he says.

Masarsky says the holiday season is a great time to incorporate new workout “tools” to keep your workouts interesting, which will keep you motivated. If weight training is getting a bit old, for example, how about jumping rope, or using resistance bands or stability balls?

The American Council on Exercise has tips for ways to stay active during the holiday season that won’t keep you away from holiday merriment, such as organizing a neighborhood caroling event, having a snowball fight or inviting house guests for a walk.

As Dani Singer, the Baltimore-based fitness director of Fit2Go Personal Training, puts it: “Remember that exercise is not a punishment and food is not a reward. They are simply tools for enhancing your quality of life.”

 

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