Category Archives: Sleep

Daytime Nap

The Art of Napping

Taking a nap…

There are some that do it with awe-inspiring expertise, and then there are those who just aren’t daytime sleepers.This post is dedicated to all you non-nappers out there. We’re going to convert you with some great advice and ease you into becoming a member of the napping population!

Did you know that afternoon naps in many other countries are actually a tradition and observed after the midday meal? This rest period revitalizes and prepares folks to tackle the rest of the day. Many recent studies have also confirmed what so many others already know.  A peaceful 20-minute nap does wonders for productivity, energy, and even attitude.

Why aren’t you recharging your batteries on a regular basis? The excuses are usually always the same. “I’m too busy to nap” or “I can’t sleep in the daytime,” or “my mind won’t stop thinking long enough for me to take a rest.”

Napping is an art –pure and simple. If you follow these tips, you too can see how the other half lives!

pjsal peacelovenaps

Get Comfortable (or as much as you can)

If you are a stay at home parent or work from home, this is not a problem. If however, you are one of the millions of people that have to go to your place of employment every day, this becomes a bit more of a challenge but is not impossible. Most people get an hour for lunch so after your meal, close your office door, find an empty conference room or employee lounge, or even go to your car (seats recline wayyyy back). You may need to try a few different ideas but eventually; you’ll find something that works.

Clear Your Mind

It sounds hard, but do your best to put everything that’s going on in your hectic life aside for a little while. Think of people or things that make you smile. Maybe imagine that you’re lounging on a tropical beach with the waves rippling around you. You’ll find that you are transported to a calm, soothing place that allows you to relax.

Cover Up

There’s something about being wrapped in a cozy blanket that just makes us feel good. Covering up will give you a sense of security and well being. Plus, science has shown that when you feel secure, your metabolism falls, your breathing rate slows, and this allows your body to slip into sleep mode much easier.

Lights Out

Again, not always an option for every scenario but if possible, nap in a dark place. Shutting out light tells your body it’s time to go into standby mode. If you can’t turn the lights out, get yourself a sleep mask which will block the light for you.

Keep it Short

If you sleep too long, you will wake with a feeling of grogginess and disorientation. Long naps can also negatively impact nighttime sleep.  We recommend 20 to 30 minutes at the most. Make sure to set an alarm on your phone so you don’t oversleep.

Make it a Routine

If you nap at the same time every day you will stabilize your circadian rhythms and maximize the benefits. Really, the ideal thing to do is just  make it a part of your daily schedule!

Now that you know all the secrets of becoming a napping professional, give it a try. We think you’ll become addicted in no time. And don’t forget… rainy weekends are perfect times to practice and perfect your napping skills – or, lounge around in your pajamas all day if you prefer!

 

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How to Make the Best of Winter

Make the Best of Winter

Each season brings positives and negatives, but according to a recent Gallup poll, only 11% of Americans list winter as their favorite time of year. While the winter months bring the holidays, twinkle lights, parties, and presents, winter also brings cold weather and shorter, darker days — a bit of a bummer for the other 89%. It’s easy to see the glass as half empty, but why not embrace the darkness?

By welcoming winter with open arms and maintaining a positive attitude, we can stave off those pesky winter blues. Brush off that Grinch attitude and see the bright side of nature’s darkest season.

Snuggle Up, Buttercup

Instead of thinking of winter as cold, think of it as cozy. The weather outside is what makes our throw blankets feel softer, our couch feel more comfortable, and our bedroom feel more inviting. Winter is the ultimate excuse to hibernate: laze around in your bathrobe, sip chamomile tea, and curl up under a warm blanket.

When you think about it, winter is just as romantic as spring, the season that gets all the romance glory. Candlelight and red wine are more appropriate in the winter. Activities like snuggling up and watching a movie or dining in a warm, cozy restaurant are practically a given during the colder months. Winter brings us closer.

Indulge in a Little Comfort

If you found yourself saying, “It’s too hot to eat…” at any point last summer, now is your time to take advantage. Make it a point to indulge in all the warm ooey gooey, steaming hot comfort food that you can’t fully enjoy during the warmer months. Bowls of ramen piled high with noodles and thinly sliced pork. Molten chocolate cake and bread pudding on the dessert menu. Baked ziti, spicy samosas, mac n’ cheese.

We understand that many people choose to do a healthy “reset” in January… but winter is long. Before that hot humid weather rolls back around, be sure to treat yourself to a delicious meal that warms you right down to your soul.

The Most Creative Time of Year

Winter drives us indoors, making it the best time of year to start that hobby you’ve been putting off: learn French, make homemade pasta, or learn how to knit. In the warmer months we almost feel guilty when we spend time indoors. During the winter, we can stay at home and learn to watercolor in the comfort of our living room without shame.

Remember, being creative doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. If you find winter to be a lonely time of year, you’re not alone. Or at least you don’t have to be. Start a book club, crafting meet-up, or learn to knit with a friend. Surrounding yourself with good people and good conversation makes any dark day brighter.

Apres Ski Classic Flannel Pajama Set by PJ Salvage

Apres Ski Classic Flannel Pajama Set by PJ Salvage

Read Yourself a Bedtime Story

“Summer reads” have their place, but why not make your way through some winter reads too?  Because it gets darker earlier, most people tend to go to bed earlier in the winter months. The cold weather makes us eager to jump into our flannel pajamas and put our feet up. Pick a book and get into the habit of reading a chapter each night before you go to bed. Not only is reading before bed great exercise for the mind, some studies have suggested that reading before bed also helps you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Once you get into the groove, you’ll be surprised how many books you get through by spring. Far more than you’d ever knock out in a weekend at the beach!

An Excuse to Sleep In

Here’s the absolute best part about winter: it stays dark longer. What’s that? You thought the darkness was a negative? Think of the darkness as nature’s blackout curtain. A later sunrise means that this is the best time of year to comfortably sleep in. It’s as if nature is saying, “Go ahead, take a break. You deserve it.” Sleep in on the weekend and enjoy long, lazy mornings warm in your pajamas just because you can. Soak up the comfort of your warm, cozy bed like you would rays at the beach.

We hope you make the most of the remaining winter months, whether you’re hitting the slopes or hitting the couch with a good book. For more ideas for family fun this season, check out The Pajama Company Blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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10 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Decompress

10 Bedtime Rituals to Help You Decompress

Your work schedule, the kids’ school schedule, Halloween, Thanksgiving, holiday shopping… is anyone else beginning to feel the crunch of this busy season? It’s as if the lazy days of summer are actually a rest period so we have the energy to make it through the marathon holiday season of the fall and winter.

As we approach this busy time of year, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of self care. The more hectic our schedules get, the easier it becomes to move your health and happiness to the bottom of the list. Apart from drinking enough water and eating our veggies, our most basic health requirement is sleep. We hope these simple bedtime rituals will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Dog Pattern Flannel Pajamas

PJ Salvage ‘Think Pawsitive’ Classic Flannel Pajama Set in Antique White

Bedtime Rituals to Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

1. Make a to-do list.

Your to-do list can be as simple as few things you want to accomplish the next day, like clearing out your inbox, paying your phone bill, or tackling the first step of a project at work. By writing down each task, you’re actually creating an action plan for the day. This allows you to rest easy knowing that you will wake up with purpose and direction.

2. Stretch before bed.

Try a incorporating a simple yoga practice into your nighttime routine. The stretching will soothe aching joints and muscles and the breathing techniques will help you exhale all the stress you’ve accumulated throughout your day. This 7-minute bedtime yoga sequence is so simple you can do it your pajamas, no spandex required.

3. Try micro journaling.

Journaling is a healthy, reflective practice that allows you to acknowledge your successes and note areas for improvement. Micro journaling is simply writing down three things that went well that day and three things that didn’t. This practice gives your day closure, sealing it in the past. This keeps you focused on the positive and prevents you from dwelling on the negative, silencing that end-of-day chatter that keeps you up at night!

4. Take an evening stroll.

If you can slip away for twenty minutes, take a walk around your neighborhood. Studies have shown that walking, especially in green spaces like a park, can have the same stress-relieving effects as meditation. This would be a great time to think about what you’re grateful for today and what you want to accomplish tomorrow. The key to a restorative walk is to do it unplugged — no ear buds! After a hot shower, you’ll go to bed feeling rested and refreshed.

5. A cleansing soak.

Whether it’s a long leisurely bubble bath or quick a 5-minute foot soak, wash away your stress in the tub. Immersion in water is known to be very therapeutic, especially when you combine it with the relaxing effects of aromatherapy. In the evening, add lavender oil to the water to promote a deep sleep. After you towel off, wrap yourself up in a warm fluffy bathrobe to create a spa experience.

Women's Polar Bear Bathrobe

Munki Munki Women’s Fluffy ‘Polar Bear’ Fleece Robe

6. Unplug and open a book.

An hour before bed, unglue yourself from screens: television, phone, and computer. Put on your softest, comfiest pajamas and curl up in bed with a good book. The light from these screens has been shown to disrupt our sleep patterns. Not only will reading at the end of the day help you get to sleep faster, avoiding the glow of your electronics will help you stay asleep longer. Check out our fall classics reading list for ideas.

7. An evening cup of tea.

Simply the act of making a cup of tea can be a meditative practice. Waiting for the water to boil. Prepping the tea bags if you’re making loose tea. The scent of the water hitting the dried herbs. Get in the habit of making a cup of herbal tea before bed. Chamomile, jasmine, and mint are soothing herbal teas that won’t keep you up at night.

8. Adult coloring books.

Adult coloring books have been all the rage in the last few years, used mostly as a stress-relieving technique. Coloring is an easy way to be crafty and creative, no matter how much time you have at the end of the day. Coloring stimulates areas of the brain that most of us non-creatives don’t use every day, making it a soothing and helpful brain exercise that promotes creative problem solving. The perfect pre-bedtime activity.

9. Meditate for 5 minutes.

Meditating for as little as five minutes each day can reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep. There are many guided meditations available online, so you can learn breathing techniques and practice helpful, relaxing visualizations. Meditating is a great way to clear your mind before bed, especially if you find that overthinking keeps you up at night!

10. Invest in comfortable pajamas.

We know, we know… to someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail! Believe it or not, investing in comfortable sleepwear will help you get to sleep faster. When you were a kid, pajamas weren’t just something to wear after your bath — they also acted as a signal to tell you that it was bedtime, mentally preparing you to wind down. The same logic can be applied as an adult. A ritual as simple as putting on pajamas says, “My day is finished. It’s time for me to rest.”

We hope these ideas for bedtime rituals help you get a great night’s sleep. For more sleep tips and ideas for family fun this fall season, visit The Pajama Company Blog at thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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8 Hot Chocolate Alternatives to Enjoy in Your Pajamas

8 Soul-Warming Drinks to Sip in Your Pajamas

Work hard, nap hard. We believe that weekends should be dedicated to rest and relaxation after a long week. Weekends are for takeout menus, Netflix binges, and ignoring your inbox. Now slip into your favorite flannels and a fluffy bathrobe and don’t take them off until Monday.

During the winter months, there is no better pairing than your couch, cozy pajamas, and a cup of hot chocolate. Slowly sipping a warm beverage is like hosting a spa day for your soul. Hot chocolate is everyone’s favorite go-to, but if you want to mix it up, give one of these hot drink recipes a try.

Lounge in your favorite pajamas this weekend.

Safari Toile Luxe Pima Cotton Set from The Cat’s Pajamas

Hot Chocolate Alternatives for Winter Lounging

1. Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy is the quintessential winter cocktail. Infused with lemon juice, bourbon, and honey, it was also an old-school remedy for relief from a bad cold. Tart and sweet, bright citrus is the perfect compliment to rich, smoky bourbon. You don’t need to be ill to enjoy this drink on a cold winter’s night.

Get the adult recipe on epicurious.com.

Get the non-alcoholic version on thespruce.com.

2. Chai Tea

Chai Tea has the creaminess of hot chocolate that you love, but with an extra kick from cinnamon, fresh ginger, cardamom, peppercorn, and anise. The spicy aroma alone would be enough to warm you up on the coldest of winter days.

Check out the recipe on realsimple.com.

3. Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum is another beverage made with warm spices such as orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. The spices are used with brown sugar to flavor the — you guessed it! — hot butter that is blended into the drink. The brown sugar and bright orange zest enhance the deep flavor of the rum in this sweet treat.

Get the adult recipe on marthastewart.com.

Get the non-alcoholic version on barefeetinthekitchen.com.

4. Hot Mulled Cranberry Cider

When you think of drinks to enjoy in cold weather, on your couch, in fuzzy slippers — cider is right up there with hot chocolate. The cranberry cocktail in this recipe adds a tangy twist to the classic. It’s the perfect drink if you’re in the mood for something warm and sweet with a little bite.

Check out the recipe on thekitchn.com.

5. Mexican Hot Chocolate

If you’re in need of some heat, look no further than Mexican Hot Chocolate. Chocolate and crushed chiles or smoky cayenne go surprisingly well together. Add vanilla and cinnamon and this drink becomes a decadent treat. We doubt you’ll make hot chocolate any other way after trying this recipe.

Check out the recipe on bonappetit.com.

Moroccan Mint Tea in Your Pajamas

When made with fresh herbs, mint tea soothes upset stomachs — even heartburn! — and promotes healthy digestion.

6. Moroccan Mint Tea

Detoxing after the holidays? Freshly brewed Moroccan Mint Tea is a light and sweet hot cocoa alternative. When made with fresh herbs, mint tea soothes upset stomachs — even heartburn! — and promotes healthy digestion. The perfect remedy after an overindulgent feast or a long week of late-night takeout.

Check out the recipe on epicurious.com.

7. Tom and Jerry

A clear indicator that a cocktail is from the 1920s is the presence of eggs. Like the classic Egg Cream, the ‘Tom and Jerry’ is made with fluffy beaten egg whites. Brandy, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice are what make this cocktail “Christmas in a glass.” It is considered a classic Christmas cocktail throughout much of the midwest today. You might want to pull out your favorite footies for this one.

Get the adult recipe on tablespoon.com.

For the non-alcoholic version, replace the brandy, rum, or whiskey with hot cider or freshly brewed cinnamon tea.

8. White Hot Chocolate

White chocolate is an acquired taste, but is more popular in the United States than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the U.S. consumes more white chocolate than all other countries combined! Whether you’re a fan or not, you’ll love this warm creamy drink made with vanilla and quality white chocolate.

Check out the recipe on celebratingsweets.com.

For more ideas for winter fun in your PJs, visit The Pajama Company at our blog, thepajamacompany.com/blog.

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5 Bedtime Rituals for Better Sleep

Have you ever noticed that how you get ready for bed can have a big impact on how easily you fall asleep?

Here are some tried and true things to do before bed to help you sleep better:

1. Wind down before bed.

We know you probably love to catch up on your favorite shows in the evening, but it’s best to do your TV or movie watching a little earlier in the night.

Give yourself time to wind down – at least 30 minutes – before it’s time to close your eyes.  Turn off the TV and grab a book or magazine and get cozy.

2. Quiet your mind.

Mind chatter can get in the way of good sleep. If you have something on your mind, it can be hard to shake. Journaling is a great way to empty your mind of those thoughts.

Spend a little time reflecting on your day or simply do a brain dump of thoughts, things you need to do, or bright ideas. This will help you to get to a more peaceful place so you can rest with ease.

3. Indulge in some aromatherapy.

Essential oils are a really nice way to end the day.  Scents like lavendar, chamomile, and sandalwood are known for their calming properties.  You can simply take a few drops and rub them into your skin or incorporate into your hand lotion and give your hands or feet a brief massage.

Or treat yourself to a cozy pair of spa slippers complete with scented grain packs for relaxation.

4. Listen to soothing music.

There’s nothing like music to change your state. Find some relaxing music and make a practice of listening to it before you drift off. We love this set of soothing music with nature sounds.  I-tunes and Youtube have many varities of music to calm you, so find what you like!

5. Try a relaxation practice.

Take a few minutes to ease into relaxation.  Kind of like counting sheep, but a little less active. Try a muscle relaxation exercise or visualization. These breathing techniques may also help you to relax.

How about you?  What rituals have you incorporated into your nightly routine for better sleep?  Share with us in the comments below…

Photo Credit: Wicker Paradise via Compfight cc

 

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How to have sweet dreams

Ahhhh…sleep…

Getting quality sleep is of course important for good health but it also just plain feels good! Sleeping well helps reduce stress and also sets you up to have a good day, and generally feel happier and peaceful.

Here’s how to set yourself up to catch some good zzzzzzzz’s:

1. Make it easy to fall sleep.  Click here to read 7 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster and start a night time ritual that helps you drift off with ease.

2. Determine if you’re an early bird or a night owl and the embrace the sleep pattern that comes naturally to you.

3. Help your self to get better quality rest with our best tips for a solid night’s sleep.

4. Make your bedroom your personal sleep sanctuary: How to Create a Cozy Bedroom Retreat.

Sweet dreams, friends!

Photo Credit: ·júbilo·haku· via Compfight cc

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7 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

Falling asleep after a long day can sometimes be a challenge. Especially if you’re feeling charged up and stressed out and have a lot on your mind.

We’ve gathered some tips for shaking off the day and getting to sleep faster. You might even consider doing one or more of these things regularly and build a night time ritual. Doing these things regularly can act as a cue to your body that it’s time to slow down and relax, making it even easier to drift off.

1. Take a bath or hot shower.

I won’t go into the science, but basically raising your body temp helps you get to sleep faster. Use lavender or some other aromatherapy for even better results. There’s something very soothing about getting into warm PJs after a nice hot bath!

2. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea.

Sitting and sipping a cup of hot herbal tea is a great way to relax into sleep mode. Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief is my favorite soothing tea with lavender, mint, and chamomile. Make this into your nightly thing and you’re likely to look forward to it each night!

3. Be sure your room is dark enough.

If there’s any kind of light around you, it will definitely be harder to fall asleep. If it’s a street light or even a bight moon, you might invest in black out shades or curtains. Or consider using a mask like this one.

4. Read to relax.

If your mind is racing and you can’t stop obsessing over the events of the day, reading before bed is a surefire way to distract yourself. Sometimes if you’re in the middle of a really good book, reading it before bed might be a little too stimulating. If that’s the case, pick up something less exciting – maybe a magazine article – and lull yourself to la la land…

5. Release your thoughts.

Depending on what’s going on in your life, you may need to release some of your thoughts and ideas in order to clear your head and get to sleep. Use a journal to work out what’s occupying your mind for a few minutes before bed, and you’re bound to find it easier to relax.

If you are not so into writing, you may want to get a set of Guatemalan worry dolls. Tell your concerns to these tiny dolls, and place them under your pillow. The legend is that the dolls take on your worries and allow you to rest peacefully. Try it out!

6. Visualize your happy place.

Picture a relaxing and serene place. Think about what is most soothing about that place. Maybe the sound of the waves crashing in shore. The feel of cool grass beneath your feet. The warm sun or gentle breeze on your face. Imagine yourself there, feel the sensations, and let any tension melt away.

7. Check your comfort level.

If you toss and turn before sleep, give it some thought. Are your pajamas and bedding truly comfortable? When you get into bed are you able to easily find a comfy sleeping position? If not, you may need to switch out your PJs or your pillow or blanket. Check out this article for more information on when to replace you

Photo Credit: thejbird via Compfight cc

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Are You an Early Bird or Night Owl?

Have you ever noticed how some people are clearly morning people while others are seem to be night owls?

Early birds, or “larks” as some call them, rise early and easily.  They’re typically in a good mood (which can really annoy night owls!) and can be pretty productive or creative in the wee hours of the morning.

Night owls, on the other hand,  start getting into their groove later into the evening or night.  This is usually the time of the day when they get their best work done and have the most energy.  And, they’ll usually tell you outright that they are NOT morning people!

If you have a preference for one over the other, there are some real reasons why.  According to WebMD being an early bird or a night owl is all about your personal circadian rhythm – also know as your internal clock. There’s also other research that shows actual differences in the brain between the two types as well.

Does it Matter?

You’ll hear people say that “the early bird gets the worm” and that getting a jump start on the day will help you to get more done.  And it may be true for some people.

But it has also been said that night owls can be more productive and creative.  Some also say that they’re more relaxed, and on average need less sleep.

But as we always say, go with what works for you!  No matter what your preference, its important to embrace your own natural pattern and not struggle to make yourself different than how you are.

Early birds definitely benefit from the fact that a day time schedule is what the outside world works on.  But, if you’re not an early riser, no need to fight it.  Take advantage of the night hours when your brain is at its best and most creative.  Sleep in and arrange a later work or school schedule if you can.

And the same goes for early birds.  If you get up early you might need a mid-day nap.  And, there’s no need to force yourself to stay awake for those late night movies either. We say get in those PJs and go to bed as early as you want!

Not sure where you fall on the spectrum?  Take this quiz over at Real Simple and find out!

We also love Buzzfeed’s funny take on the topic… “You Know You’re a Night Owl When…”

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc

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