Most experts agree that adults should get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night to stay physically and mentally healthy. Without it, certain bodily functions and processes will struggle to perform at high-levels. It’s important to note, though, that there are two stages of sleep; REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM.
REM sleep occurs about an hour and a half after you fall asleep, and it stimulates different parts of the brain associated with learning and memory retention. Non-REM sleep accounts for 40% of the time you spend asleep, and during this stage, your blood pressure decreases, your mind relaxes, and your breathing patterns slow down. As a result, you experience an increase in blood supply which helps repair muscle tissue, muscle growth, and strengthen your immune system. Thus, as a veteran and somebody who values fitness, sleep plays an essential role in recovery after a strenuous workout. Luckily, there are a variety of sleep accessories on the market that assist the body during its natural recovery process and contribute to your overall health.
1.) Celliant Products
Celliant is a somewhat new technology, and started making its way into products in the early 2000’s. It’s a combination of 13 different thermo-reactive minerals that can be infused into a multitude of different fabrics like pajamas, sheets, mattresses, socks, and more. The minerals absorb your body heat and converts it into infrared energy, which is then safely distributed back into your body. This process improves blood circulation, and like sleep, aids in the recovery of your muscle tissue.
In the words of Hologenix CEO, the company who founded Celliant, “our technology can be used in everyday products…to create an increase in local blood flow thereby increasing energy, boosting performance, and speeding muscle recovery.”
Different products that take advantage of Celliant technology include the Bear Mattress, Lunya Restore Pajamas, and Sleepletics performance sheets.
2.) Orthopedic Knee Pillow
After returning home from deployment, many veterans have to deal with physical pain or a disability that occurred during their service. In 2015, for example, the Annual Benefits Report noted that about half a million veterans receive disability funds for issues pertaining sciatic pain. If you’re somebody who suffers from back pain or even hip pain, an orthopedic knee pillow is a great accessory because it relieves pressure on your lower back and hips while you sleep. The pillow may not completely rid you of your pain, but it ensures your legs and hips are in proper alignment with your spine and improves circulation, which will help ease the pain and promote a more restful sleep so you can hopefully get the 7-9 hours that your body needs.
3.) Weighted Blankets or Sleep Masks
Weighted blankets and sleep masks are much heavier than your typical throw blanket or silk sleep mask, and are meant to help sleepers who suffer from insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, autism, fibromyalgia, and more. Weighted products are filled with either glass microbeads or polypropylene pellets, so it stimulates a deep touch pressure when you lay it over your body, making you feel like you’re receiving a hug from a loved one or being cuddled. Weighted blankets are actually backed by science, as the deep touch pressure increases the levels of serotonin in your blood, a.k.a the “happy chemical” that your body naturally produces. As a result, you experience a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, prompting you to feel happier and more relaxed.
4.) Cool Flash Pad
The Cool Flash Pad is beneficial for veterans who go to physical therapy or workout later in the evening, and hot sleepers who experience disrupted sleep because they wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat. It’s activated by body pressure, so you don’t need to bother with water, refrigerating the pad, or plugging it into an outlet. Once you lay on the pad, it absorbs your body heat and actively tries to cool you down using the brand’s patented gel technology. The Cool Flash Pad stays cold for up to three hours and automatically recharges in 15-20 minutes. The brand also claims that you can use it for hot or sore feet, sunburns, hot flashes, and to treat an injury. It’s available in a pillow size, or you can spend a little more money to buy the larger body pad.
5.) Hot & Cold Gel Bead Sleep Mask
These are a little different than a weighted sleep mask because instead of glass or polypropylene pellets, the mask is filled with microwave and refrigerator safe gel-like beads that are meant to provide relief using hot and or cold treatments.
Pop the mask in the microwave for 10 seconds for improved circulation to your eye region, or when your sinuses are feeling congested. Alternatively, you can place it in the fridge for 15 minutes and use it to relieve tired and puffy eyes, or use it as a nice wake-me-up before you drink your morning cup of coffee.
McKenzie Dillon is a blogger and sleep enthusiast for The Slumber Yard, a leading bedding reviews website. When she’s not sleeping, McKenzie likes attending comedy shows, hiking and cooking.