5 Sleep Accessories That Help With Recovery
By McKenzie Dillon
It’s common knowledge that everybody needs sleep to maintain their sanity, but did you know sleep is also essential to maintaining your muscular structure? Without getting too scientific here, there are essentially two stages of sleep your body switches between during the night -- REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, your brain is stimulated, energized, and restored so you can fully function when you eventually do wake up.
During non-REM sleep, which accounts for about 40% of the time you’re asleep, your blood pressure decreases, your breathing slows way down, and your brain is at rest. Since there is little activity going on inside your brain, your muscle’s blood supply increases. Subsequently, increased circulation promotes tissue repair, recovery, and muscle growth. This is an essential bodily process to ensure your efforts after a day of yoga, pilates, weight lifting, or any other strenuous activity are actually contributing to your body composition.
Below, you can find a list of sleep accessories that are designed to enhance your body’s natural recovery process and promote more restful sleep, thus benefiting your overall health.
Celliant is a type of performance fabric that contains 13 different thermo-reactive minerals designed to absorb your body heat, and convert it into infrared energy. That infrared energy is then redistributed into your body (safely and naturally), which increases your circulation and aids in the recovery of your muscle tissue.
When you sleep on a mattress manufactured with Celliant, like the Bear mattress or Brooklyn Bedding’s Spartan mattress, the technology works together with the natural recovery process during non-REM sleep to really boost the restoration of muscle tissue. The fabric is usually woven into the cover of the mattress, and it’s able to penetrate through several layers so you won’t have to worry about your sheets interfering with the technology. You can actually buy bedding linen made with Celliant fabric, along with pajamas, sleep masks, socks, gloves, wet suits, and even airplane seats. Products made with the fabric are usually more expensive, but it seems to be worth it for individuals who live an active lifestyle.
Weighted Blankets/Sleep Masks
In case you’re unfamiliar, weighted blankets are manufactured with small glass microbeads or plastic polypropylene pellets inside to make it heavier than your average blanket. They usually range anywhere from 7 to 25 pounds, with the optimal weight being determined by your size and preference. They’ve become incredibly popular among consumers with insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, autism and even fibromyalgia.
How do weighted blankets work, exactly? The weight induces a deep touch pressure reminiscent of a hug or being cuddled, which subsequently releases a neurotransmitter called oxytocin that is responsible for making you feel loved. It also increases the amount of serotonin in your body, which is often referred to as the “happy” chemical. As a result, your heart rate and blood pressure decreases, causing you to feel happier and more relaxed.
Weighted blankets have been proven to be beneficial for folks with a range of health conditions, and really help people get a better night’s sleep. Sleep masks that are weighted work the same way, while also blocking out the annoying light that peeks through your window in the early hours of the morning.
Hot & Cold Gel Bead Sleep Mask
A hot and cold gel bead mask is a useful accessory to have in your bed-side table because it serves multiple purposes. Not only can you use it during sleep, but it also helps soothe sudden headaches, aids in the relief of your sinuses when you’re feeling stuffy, and more. The secret is in the squishy, gel beads inside the mask that are meant to be warmed up in the microwave or cooled down in the fridge. Essentially, you have the option of cold or heat therapy, depending on your particular needs. For an increase in blood flow to your eye area and maximum relaxation during a headache, warm the mask for the allotted time on the packaging. Alternatively, you can leave the mask in the fridge for about two hours for when you wake up with puffy eyes and dark under-eye circles after a long night out.
Leg Elevation Pillow
Ditch the old fashioned method of using your down pillow to elevate an injured foot or knee, and consider using a leg elevation pillow instead. Not only does it prevent you from putting your dirty feet all over your pillow, but it’s a sturdy and effortless way to keep your leg elevated after an injury or surgery. It helps promote a faster recovery by decreasing the blood flow to your injury, and alleviating pressure to any sore joints. It also keeps your foot, ankle, or knee in a stable position so you don’t have to worry about aggravating your injury during sleep.
Even if you live a clean and healthy lifestyle, dust and annoying airborne allergens are inevitably going to meander and float around your sleeping space. An air purifier is a great way to remove dust mites, pet hair, mold spores, and bacteria from the air in your bedroom that could be contributing to stuffiness, or even poor sleep.