Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lucid Dreaming

The difference between a normal dream and a lucid dream is that in the latter, you're aware that you are dreaming.

Flying is one of the most regular dreams of lucid dreamers.

It is almost universally accepted that lucid dreaming occurs, and many people report the moment of clarity in their dream when they realise that in reality they cannot fly or actually be part of the bizarre plot and non-narrative structure of their dreams.

But there is considerable debate around the proponents of lucid dreaming's central hypothesis: that you can control your dreams, consciously deciding to "visit" specific places or undertake specific activities.

But for those that believe in our ability control our lucid dreams, the potential practical implications of dream control are enormous, varying from training one's brain to overcome fears or phobias, relieving post-traumatic stress syndrome through to controlling nightmares.

If it all sounds a bit bizarre, prepare to be more confused by watching the movie Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

In fact, watch it twice - you might understand it second time round.

Here The Snoozery, we're intrigued by anything that can help you sleep better, and that could possibly mean controlling dreams. In the meantime, we're going to keep our eyes on a product due to launch in the US shortly called Remee which promises to enhance lucid dreaming.

Check out their website for more details, or better still watch their video on funding platform Kickstarter where the founders managed to raise over $500k whilst trying to raise just $35k.

Sleep tight.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Snoring - what's it all about?

Snoring is categorised as a coarse noise made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose & throat. For the purposes of getting a good night's sleep snoring can be very bad news for your partner. 

There are many different kinds of snoring or snorer depending on where the vibrations come from - the nose, throat or soft palate, or some combination. Sleep apnoea is a more serious condition where the blockage can cause oxygen deprivation.

Snoring is caused by turbulence inside the airway whilst breathing in. The turbulence is caused by a partial blockage that may be located anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. The restriction is more likely to occur during sleep because our muscle tone is reduced  and there may be insufficient muscle tone to prevent the airway tissue vibrating. During waking hours muscle tone keeps the airway in good shape; that's why we don't tend to snore when awake.

The fact that there are many different types of snore means that to manage the condition requires a tailored solution. It is more about managing the condition rather than curing it though.

This website here is very informative british snoring and sleep apnoea association It offers some solutions and a way to tell what kind of snorer you are.

Alternatively it may just be a matter of investing in some good earplugs for your partner. Here's the new range from The Snoozery. Handy Bags of Earplugs

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to sleep well at a hotel II - watch out it's the snore police!

Further to my last post about getting a good night's sleep at a hotel I came across this piece about the Crowne Plaza introducing Sleep Monitors to detect loud snorers in their quiet zones.

crown plaza snore-monitors

Apparently if you are snoring too loud in the quiet zone then you get a knock on the door from the snore police (aka the snore monitors).

Now whilst snoring is a big nuisance for those that want a great night's sleep. Ask my wife - I snore like a drain. I can't help feeling if I'd paid good money for a hotel room and got woken up because I was snoring I may not be best pleased.

However good PR for Crowne Plaza and well done for having a go and putting a good night's sleep on the agenda.

Isn't the real issue about the architecture and design of hotels to control unwanted noise pollution from wherever it comes?

Friday, May 4, 2012


It is estimated that c.10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills are issued every year in England alone.

That's a heck of a lot of pills.

But then again, as many as one in four people in the UK are thought to suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives.

Sleeping pills typically hail from 2 "families" - the Benzodiazepine family (Temazepam being the most well known) and the newer (and allegedly less addictive) Z-drugs family (with variants such as Zolpidem and Zopiclone).

The various side-effects and downsides of sleeping pills are well documented (and pretty scary once you get into the detail), so before you even consider heading down to your GP and asking for a prescription, why not consider doing the following:

Sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to sleep well at a hotel

As someone who frequently travels around the world and stays at a lot of business hotels there are a few ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep at a hotel. Here’s what I have found…

Keep the noise down…
Before the trip checkout the hotel in terms of its location and proximity to noise sources such as roads, railways, airports, bars and clubs. Take a look at a good cross section of reviews on Tripadvisor – I tend to look at a reasonable spread of reviews to get a decent picture.

A good example of this would be a hotel I have stayed at a few times in Los Angeles. A lovely hotel in many ways with great food and helpful staff. However the hotel is a an experience of two halves – rooms on the front of the hotel look out onto a noisy road, rooms on the back look out over the Hollywood hills. There is also an LA stlyle open air bar (with DJ) at one end of the hotel. Great if you want to hang out, but lousy if you want a good night’s sleep.

Use your knowledge to request a room on the quiet side as early as possible.

When you get to the room check out the potential noise sources – the main culprits in my experience are – lifts, ice machines, dripping taps, refrigerators and air conditioning. It’s much easier to change rooms at this moment before you are settled in so make a quick decision about whether you accept the room at this point. It’s not always possible to change, especially if the hotel is full, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.

Once in the room you need to manage your environment carefully. The trickiest choice is about air conditioning in hotter climates. These units can be really noisy. These days I will keep it on until I go to bed and turn it off at that moment.

The other things to watch out for are in room refrigerators that can be noisy. As someone who generally does not use the mini-bar I tend to turn them off at the wall as soon as I arrive.

What you cannot legislate for is noisy neighbours, some folks like to party hard and if you find yourself next door to them that’s generally bad luck. If it keeps up then complain firmly but politely and asked to be moved.  If there is a planned party at the hotel that affects the noise levels at your room a good hotel will advise you of the fact when you are booking.

Lights out…
Electronic devices in the room tend to have stand-by functions that can cause a lot of light interference, again switch them off at the wall. Also avoid the temptation to get sucked into late night telly or films.

Curtains and blinds vary dramatically in terms of their effectiveness. Not much you can do about this except come prepared with a good sleep mask.

Creature comforts….
Beds in hotels differ widely in terms of their quality and comfort. The Westin chain in the US make a feature of their “Heavenly Bed” which in my experience lives up to its name. Some even offer pillow menus. Seek out those hotels that see this as important.

I know some folks who insist on taking their own pillows wherever they go. This is a bit impractical for airline business travel but if you are in the car and have plenty of space it’s an option.

Sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite
More unusually the hotels in New York have in the last couple of years been known to harbour bed bugs. I also know of someone who had that experience recently in Singapore at a good hotel. So that’s a whole new dimension to watch out for and in hotter climes the mosquito remains a menace at night without a net.

Happy sleeping!


Well don’t worry – your somnambulating little cherub is not alone!

Sleepwalking – which is thought to be hereditary - is fairly common in children between the ages of 5-12 – and there’s absolutely no evidence that it’s a sign of something being emotionally or psychologically wrong.

The good news is that as most children tend to sleepwalk within an hour or two of falling asleep (during stages 3 or 4 of their first sleep cycle), it’s more than likely that you’ll still be up and about and on hand to guide them back to bed.

You should, however, take precautions so that your sleepwalking child is less likely to come to harm. Even though their eyes are open, they don’t see the same way they do when they’re awake and they often think they’re in different rooms in the house or different places altogether. 

Top tips to keep your sleepwalker out of harms way:
  • Try not to wake them up as this might be scary – gently guide him or her back to bed (sleepwalking occurs during deep sleep anyway, so you might struggle to wake them up at all)
  • Lock doors and windows so they cannot wander out into the night.
  • Think twice before installing a bunk bed
  • Remove sharp or breakable thing from around their bed and keep dangerous objects out of reach
  • Close the safety gate at the top of the stairs.
Unless the episodes are very regular, cause your child to be sleepy during the day, or your child is engaging in dangerous sleepwalking behaviours, there’s usually no need to “treat” sleepwalking. But if the sleepwalking is frequent, causing problems, or your child hasn’t outgrown it by the early teens, it’s probably worth talking to your doctor.

Sleep tight.