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A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

Ear plugs are like cars, there are just so many different types!

Not all insomnia and sleep problems are caused by anxiety. When I go through my MOT Sleep Survey to identify the root causes of a clients sleep difficulties, it will often identify either hyper-sensitivity to sound, with an external stimulus issue like the sounds outside; cars, trains, or even aeroplanes; or their neighbours above or next door, the dawn chorus, or their partner’s snoring, or just the sounds of their breathing and so on… babies, children and pets etc… This leads me often to my A to Z of Sleep Earplugs

If hyper-sensitivity to sound is at the root of their not being able to sleep deeply, or for as long as they would like because they keep being woken by sound. I usually recommend a variety of sleep earplugs based on various relevant parameters. Often my clients say they have already tried earplugs and that they didn’t work either because they didn’t block out the sound they wanted to block out. Or, that they were too big and uncomfortable, and often, they said that they didn’t like wearing earplugs because they live alone (most often women living alone with safety issues), or that even though outside noises bothered them, because they have a baby, child or even several children, that they weren’t comfortable blocking out all noise in case of a child based emergency.

All of these reasons of course, are totally valid, although not in my opinion the end of the conversation. There were still essential reasons to explore the various possibilities and solutions to help noise sensitive poor sleepers.

In my deep and varied Sleep Coach tool box, I keep a variety of different earplugs and much more…

My A to Z of Sleep Earplugs collection includes:

1, Very narrow foam ear plugs ideal mostly for people (usually women) who have narrower ear canals or tunnels – excellent sound reduction 36db.

2, Parental ear plugs. These are special attenuated ear plugs which reduce the outside sounds of traffic etc, but still allows the sound of babies and children for parents wanting better sleep but also needing to be able to still hear their children and babies if needed – sound reduction 24 db

3, Various shaped 3-tier Silicone ear plugs (hyper allergenic – medical grade) with various noise reducing densities 22 db upwards.

4, And a vast array of earplugs that vary in shape, size and sound reduction. I also have thicker earplugs of various foam densities that can totally block out up to 46 dB of sound – making lorries, noisy neighbours, or being under the flight path of noisy planes… to lying next to the worlds loudest snorer.

5, There are also a number of hi-tech solutions with incredible noise cancelling properties or even a sound bubble gadget with a noise exclusion zone containing and blocking out your partners snoring that are also most definitely worth exploring if quietness is a priceless commodity. Some of this kit can cost a lot more than good foam ear plugs though!

6, For snorers in a relationship sharing the same bed, there are also a number of other very simple nasal options worth considering if you and your partner want to achieve better sleep. There is a special plastic insert that opens the nose channels wider. There are also a number of pillows and sleep positions that help to reduce problem snoring. There are many options to explore before surgery, sleeping next door or even eventually spitting up.

7, For noisy neighbours there are a number of sound insulation boards for floors, walls, ceilings and doors to explore as well.

So visit a good sleep coach to help you to explore all the various possibilities to reduce or eliminate unwanted sounds.

I hope you found my A to Z of Sleep Earplugs useful to solve any sound issues.

As usual I wish you a really great night’s sleep.

Max Kirsten

10 Better Sleep Tips

10 TIPS FOR QUALITY SLEEP THIS WORLD SLEEP DAY

We teamed up with award-winning Sleep Coach and Eve World sleep Day ambassador Max Kirsten, to help you master the art of quality rest and find 10 Better Sleep Tips.

Max says:

“A good night’s rest is invaluable for both mental and physical wellbeing, so good sleep practices are vital. By monitoring what you consume in the evening, clearing a busy mind and ensuring you have a comfortable and supportive bed, you can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep and regulate important body functions so you wake up feeling refreshed and engerised in the morning”.

Here are Max’s top 10 tips, vital for ensuring the quality of your sleep…

1. Reduce caffeine. Basically caffeine can keep you awake, and believe it or not stays in your body much longer than you would think, I recommend reducing your caffeine about eight hours before bedtime will help you fall asleep easier. You will find caffeine not only in coffee and tea, green tea and many carbonated soft drinks. Also be careful of eating too much chocolate which contains cacao (which acts very similarly caffeine as it’s in the same family). If you’ve already had too much caffeine, try eating carbohydrates like bread or biscuits to help reduce the effect.

2. Drink alcohol in moderation. Although alcohol may help you to fall asleep, it can also cause symptoms like dehydration, nightmares, headaches and sweats. If you must drink alcohol before bed, I recommend that you also drink water, but be careful not to drink too much water because that alone will have you waking in the night. Alcohol can interfere with your sleep architecture. During the evening drink less water. A glass of water right before bed may cause you to wake in the night disrupting deep sleep. In bed, I recommend the only sip water minimally as needed.

3. During the day get tired. It’s important that we use up energy, at least go for healthy walks whenever possible. Have a a 21st-century sedentary lifestyle were most of our time is spent sitting on a chair is going to lead to a slow unfulfilled energy feeling. Being active, and going, or doing something that pushes your physical body regularly to the limit means that in the evenings when you climb into bed you are ready to relax and let go. However going to the gym in the evenings before bed can increase your heart rate making it difficult to relax. in the evenings, if you must do something try stretching, yoga or a relaxing swim. Learn how to relax.

4. Control your environment to sleep. Ideally your bedroom should be dark, comfortable and quiet. Optimise and control your sleep environment (the bedroom). Evaluate your bed, and of course the mattress upon which a third of your life is being spent. If your bed is uncomfortable – too soft, to hard, or just unsupportive – invest in a better bed.  If you haven’t changed your mattress for between 5 to 8 years look into replacing it with something like perhaps an Eve mattress. Also the temperature of your bedroom for sleep should ideally become lower by a few degrees which has been shown to improve deep and restful sleep. The Bedroom for sleep should be as dark as possible, ideally switch off electronic devices. Ideally keep the TV out of the bedroom.

5. Reduce late-night exposure to blue LED light. Sleep research has shown that bluelight from smart phones, tablets, and computer screens reduces the production of the sleep hormone melatonin that is produced in the pineal gland in your brain. Blue light through the optic nerve tells your brain that it is still daytime. Either switch off all devices a few hours before bedtime. Television however is still fine, as the screen is far enough away so as not to cause this problem. Or get filter for your screen that reduces bluelight, I recommend f.lux. Or get some glasses that filter out bluelight instead.

6. Develop a good sleep routine. Ideally go to bed at the same time every night. Obviously there will be times when you break your routine, such as a late-night, or travel. It’s useful to begin to wind down work-related emails many hours before bed, take a hot bath, or if not a hot shower before bed as this has been shown to improve the speed at which you relax.

7. Avoid large heavy meals and alcohol late at night. Digesting a rich heavy meal makes it harder to fall asleep. Eat light and clean. Vegetables like tomatoes, fruit, even a bowl of cereal is better than going to sleep on an empty stomach which can also keep you up. Although alcohol in small doses can be helpful for sleep, the downside is that it also can interfere with your sleep architecture. Meaning that you will probably be waking feeling dehydrated in the middle of the night, so at least keep a little water by the bedside.

8. Clear your mind before sleep. If there is a lot on your mind get into the practice of writing things down so that there then the morning. Then when you turn out the light, learn techniques that help you to relax physically and then mentally so that you can begin to drift off. I recommend you take three deep slow breaths and after each breath relax your body and mind just before going to sleep.

9. Avoid exposure to disturbing films, gaming, and even watching the world News. These subjects can cause disturbance, anxiety, adrenaline and are not conducive to winding down and relaxing before bed. Ideally you should have sent your last email or text communications should.

10. Work out your pre-sleep routine. Poor sleep preparation can lead to having poor sleep. Research shows that taking a hot bath, is helpful, in fact better, more effective at helping you to relax than taking a shower. Feeling clean, with a hot body that cools slowly in bed with a wonderful feeling. Comfortable bedclothes, pyjamas or whatever makes you feel comfortable in bed, some prefer to sleep naked with a T-shirt. Some prefer sleep socks (low-cut socks) that help keep the feet warm during sleep – usually more for the older adults.

 

*Note: This post originally appeared on http://blog.evemattress.co.uk/10-tips-for-quality-sleep-this-world-sleep-day

Discover Sleep Insomnia Sleep Coaching with The Sleep Coach London

Sleep Insomnia breathing techniques

If you can’t sleep? If you suffer from sleep insomnia? If you just have difficulties falling asleep? Here are two simple breathing techniques that can help you to relax and begin to drift off…

Firstly, learn how to use the “4-7-8 breathing technique”.

The 4-7-8 sleep breathing technique

Originally developed and pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil in the US. The technique is very simple, in fact deceptively simple. It involves your breathing to various counts of 4, 7 and 8. It enables your lungs to fill with oxygen, and helps to calm the mind and to relax the muscles in your body, and your nervous system helping to reduce tension as you exhale.

This technique has been described as a natural tranquilliser. The technique is simple, takes almost no time, requires no special equipment and can be done almost ANYWHERE!

In order to do this technique correctly it’s important to understand that the key elements.

Firstly when doing the 4-7-8 breathing technique you will always be breathing in through your nose.

Then while you are doing this, you will have placed your top of your tongue against the front of your upper palate just behind your teeth, held against your upper gum. With your tongue held in position for 4 and 7 you will breathe in through your nose for four seconds, and then keeping your tongue in place, you will hold your breath seven seconds, and then with a “whooshing” sound you then exhale, pushing the breath out powerfully through your mouth for eight seconds. so that your lips make a “Phhhh” sound.

Then you will repeat the 4-7-8 technique again placing your tongue back against the back against the upper gum, and breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding the breath of seven seconds your tongue still against the back of your upper gum behind the teeth, before releasing the breath with the wooshing sound “Phhhh…” from your mouth slowly for eight seconds.

*Note: you always inhaled quietly through your nose, hold and exhale audibly through your mouth with a “Phhhhhh…” whooshing sound.

Repeating this 4-7-8 breathing technique three or four times will be enough to relax and slow you down completely if done correctly. It helps to release all inner body tension.

Doing this in fact relaxes the para-sympathetic nervous system, the oxygen calming you, and helping you to feel more connected to your body – whilst at the same time distracting you from your everyday thoughts that can disrupt falling asleep.

This technique is also very good for reducing anxiety. Dr Weil says that if you practice this technique twice a day, for six weeks until you’ve mastered enough to be able to fall asleep in just 60 seconds.

Here’s another simple breathing technique to help you fall asleep. This one is called the Bumble Bee sleep technique, it’s very simple but really only works if you sleep alone as you’re likely to annoy or disturbed whoever is with you whilst doing it.

The Bumble Bee Sleep Technique.

This technique is very simple, easy to do, and really quite extraordinary.

1, You just close your mouth, and breath in through your nose.

2, Then while keeping your mouth closed, you then hum like a bumblebee as you breath out through the nose for as long as possible for about 5 mins.

The vibration that you create whilst humming and exhaling both at the same time is very relaxing to the nervous system. It can help reduce your blood pressure, and help rebalance serotonin levels, you will begin to feel more relaxed. It also helps you to stop reacting to all your thoughts.

The Bumble Bee Sleep technique helps change your brain waves from lifestyle busy beta moving towards relaxing nourishing theta brainwaves. This is definitely the most unusual breathing techniques that I have ever found to help you to naturally fall asleep and overcome any insomnia. Research says that if you practice this for at least five minutes continuously, the body’s nervous system will start to settle down. Most people don’t sleep because they are “overthinking the overthinking”, and are unable to unwind and relax with a busy mind.

These two techniques I hope will be enjoyable and useful for Zzzz…

I wish you a great night’s sleep.

Max Kirsten