Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sleep Quotes

Here are some nice sleep quotes from The Quote Garden:

No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap. ~Carrie Snow

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb

Sleep is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed. ~Arthur Schopenhauer

Sleep... Oh! how I loathe those little slices of death. ~Author unknown, various wordings commonly attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, and Journey to the Center of the Earth

[S]leep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker

People who snore always fall asleep first. ~Author Unknown

Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. ~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake. ~From the movie Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Better Sleep for a Dime a Day

You ask, "How much does it cost for better sleep?" You don't want to spend thousands on a new mattress, and sleeping pills aren't for you?

Here's the solution you've been waiting for (I'll use my own experience as an example):

Every night for over 10 years I have been using ear plugs and a sleep mask. On top of that, I use blackout blinds and a white noise machine (or sound conditioner). I basically employ two layers of defense against both noise and light.

Over a period of 10 years that's been roughly $345, or $34.50/year, or roughly $3/month, or $.10/day. A dime a day for an extra hour of sleep. Not bad, eh?

Here's the math:

  • Sleep Mask: $18 * 1 every 2 years = $90 for 10 years
  • Ear Plugs: $14/year for ear plugs * 10 years = $140 for 10 years (a box of 50 pairs of ear plugs for $14; each pair lasts roughly a week)
  • Blackout Blinds: $45 for all 10 years
  • Sound Conditioner: $70 for all 10 years

What would you pay for an hour of sleep? Hopefully more than a dime. In my book, a dime is a hell of a deal. Visit my wonderful store to get in on it:

-- Paul

Insomnia Is Hell

Insomnia is hell. Have you ever gone 30 days without sleeping more than a few minutes straight? You dread going to bed more than waking up. You feel like the living dead. Trudging your way through the day, you wonder when it will end.

I am sure sleeping pills are a good cure for insomnia, and much insomnia is stress or anxiety-related. However, in between real insomnia and normal sleep, are shades of grey, including periods of very light sleep -- periods when, if you wake up, you stay up because you can't fall back asleep. Or, you toss and turn for hours before actually winding down and dozing off. For me, these periods usually result from high stress. When I wake up, my mind instantly turns to stressful, adrenaline-producing thoughts that I cannot suppress. The same type of thing happens when I hit the sack that night. Then the ultimate irony and death spiral sets in: I can't sleep because I'm stressed out about not being able to sleep and having to face another day of insomniac hell. The less I sleep, the less I sleep... While under normal cirumstances, the trash truck would wake me up and I'd drift back to sleep within a few minutes. However, when I'm in this cycle of semi-insomnia, I simply cannot fall back asleep. I am sure you know what I'm talking about.

In these times, one successful strategy is simply to eliminate the things that could keep or wake you up. Improved "sleep hygiene" can help without pills. One easy way of improving sleep hygiene is to create a better sleep environment -- one that is dark, quiet comfortable and cool.

In the New York Times blog, Curing Insomnia Without the Pills, the writer notes:

"For people with chronic insomnia, studies show that simple behavioral and psychological treatments work just as well, and sometimes better, than popular medications, according to a report in The Journal of Family Practice.

"The medical journal Sleep last year reported on five high-quality trials that showed cognitive behavioral therapy helped people suffering from insomnia fall asleep sooner and stay asleep longer. Another American Journal of Psychiatry analysis of 21 studies showed that behavioral treatment helped people fall asleep nearly nine minutes sooner than sleep drugs. In other measures, sleep therapy worked just as well as drugs, but without any side effects...

"So-called sleep hygiene is also part of sleep therapy. This includes regular exercise, adding light-proof blinds to your bedroom to keep it dark and making sure the bed and room temperatures are comfortable. Eat regular meals, don’t go to bed hungry and limit beverages, particularly alcohol and caffeinated drinks, around bedtime."

It's pretty obvious that most people really should get more sleep. Unforunately, many people simply cannot carve out the time. I include myself in that boat. However, an alternative is to get better sleep.

If you're going to be in bed for seven hours, why not do everything you can to make the most of it -- to make sure you're not tossing and turning until the wee hours because of your night-owl neighbor, or being woken up early by the sun or the morning traffic? If you can't commit to the generally recommended eight hours of sleep, then make the most of whatever time you can commit.

If you spend $15 on a sleep mask and gain an extra half hour of sleep each day, isn't it worth it -- by a long shot? How about ear plugs for <$10 for another half hour extension? I'd almost pay $25 for an extra hour of sleep for one night, let alone a month. If someone said, "Give me $25, and I'll give you an extra hour of sleep for a month", wouldn't you pay it? Every night for over 10 years I have been using ear plugs and a sleep mask. On top of that, I use blackout blinds and a white noise machine (or sound conditioner). I basically employ two layers of defense against both noise and light. Over a period of 10 years that's been roughly $345, or $34.50/year, or roughly $3/month, or $.10/day. A dime a day for an extra hour of sleep. Not bad, eh? Here's the math:
  • Sleep Mask: $18 * 1 every 2 years = $90 for 10 years
  • Ear Plugs: $14/year for ear plugs * 10 years = $140 for 10 years
  • Blackout Blinds: $45 for all 10 years
  • Sound Conditioner: $70 for all 10 years

I'll give anyone a dime for an hour of sleep, I don't know about you. Visit my wonderful store to get in on the deal:

-- Paul

Ways to Get Better Sleep

If you believe the advertising hype, the only products that help you sleep better are mattresses and sleeping pills. These are certainly the most advertised products (see the “Sleep Industrial Complex” article in the New York Times). But they are also the most expensive, and potentially addictive and unhealthy.

Luckily, there is a whole family of sleep products that is neither expensive, nor addictive, nor unhealthy (see the “Curing Insomnia Without The Pills” blog in the New York Times). These products are smaller and less costly than mattresses -- and drug-free, unlike sleeping pills. These products as a whole might be described as “sleep accessories.” Their purpose is to improve “sleep hygiene” by providing an optimal sleep environment – one that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. This is precisely the type of environment recommended by The National Sleep Foundation in its “Healthy Sleep Tips”. Other medical sources recommend a similar sleep environment (see the Mayo Clinic’s “10 Tips for Better Sleep”, or Web MD’s “How to Sleep Better”).

In this blog, we will review the products in this product family, indicating their usefulness, features, and price range. The products include: Sound Conditioners (or White Noise Machines), Sleep Masks (or Sleeping Masks or Eye Masks), Ear Plugs, Blackout Blinds (or Blackout Liners), and Sleepwear (particularly those made of wicking material). Light Therapy products will also be reviewed for people suffering from Season Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) or having difficulty waking up (products include Light Boxes and Sunrise Alarm Clocks). We believe the reader will come to recognize the cost-benefit advantage these products have over mattresses and sleeping pills.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Obsession With Sleeping Better

Hi, this is my first sentence in the blogosphere. My name is Paul and I am a very light sleeper. For years I had trouble falling asleep, or waking up early, due to loud noises or distracting light. This made me miserable during the day. While in college it got so bad I bought some ear plugs to spare me from the guys who had a penchant for lifting weights at 2:00am on a tile floor directly above my dorm room. I also needed some help because I had 6 roommates, all with different schedules, waking me up (or keeping me awake) at all hours. The ear plugs changed my life.

Soon I also bought a sleep mask to block out the morning sun and the light slipping through the crack beneath my door. The sleep mask helped me make another quantum leap forward in sleeping better and not being so cranky during the day.

Over the next few years I purchased some blackout blinds to eliminate even more light from my bedroom, plus a white noise machine (or sound conditioner) to further reduce the noise level.

The annoying thing about shopping for these products was that I had to go to a different store to purchase each one. I thought: why isn't there a store that sells all of these products -- that does nothing but help people sleep better by improving their sleep environment? Sleep is one of the most basic of Maslow's hierarchy of needs -- right up there with food, water, and even sex.

Entire industries revolve around satisfying these and other basic needs, yet the "sleep industry" seemed very fragmented. In fact, the only well-known products dealing with sleep were (and still are) mattresses and sleeping pills. But mattresses are expensive and not portable; and sleeping pills are potentially unhealthy and the best ones require a prescription.

So I looked in the mirror and asked: why don't I do this myself? Why don't I start a business specializing in products that help people sleep better (excluding mattresses and sleeping pills). Several years later, I started an online business doing just this called The Complete Sleeper (

These days I sleep much better than I used to. Every night I use ear plugs, a sleep mask, a sound conditioner AND blackout blinds. Whenever I travel, the ear plugs and the sleep mask (an sometimes the sound conditioner) come with me. If I forget one of these, I panic and usually do not sleep very well.

Anyway, I decided to start a blog on how to get better sleep -- and about sleep in general. I hope you find it useful. And yes, there is a commercial angle to this, as I will be referring to the products that I sleep in my store. These are the type of products that have really improved my life. And I hope they can improve yours, too.