Written on October 18, 2013 at 11:26 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
I have always considered myself a “light sleeper.” The tiniest noise or change in room temperature has the ability to mess with my REM cycle, throwing me completely off course for days. Turns out I’m not alone, either. Forty-seven million adults in the United States alone suffer from sleep deprivation, so clearly we can all benefit from a few extra zzz’s, especially us athletes. We need it. That’s why when I met with the co-CEO of SHEEX, Michelle Marciniak, I was intrigued with the company’s devotion to improving sleep performance. From bedding like pillows, mattress toppers, comforters and duvet covers to now first-of-its-kind sleepwear (I’m obsessed with their nightie!), SHEEX brings the benefits of performance technology 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for enhanced comfort and an overall better shut-eye experience. I mean, their motto is “Sleep Better. Play Better.” That’s something we can get behind.
As I’m sure many of you know from experience, traditional cotton sheets and sleepwear trap heat. I mean, hello tossing and turning! “SHEEX changes this by allowing the right amount of body heat to easily and effectively radiate away from the body, while also wicking moisture to provide additional comfort and evaporative cooling effect,” Michelle explained. Translation? Silky-smooth body enveloping that transfers body heat two times more effectively than cotton, which allows the body to cool itself for faster, deeper sleep onset. Oh, and 50 percent better temperature fluctuation reduction. That’s why so many professional and amateur athletes (as well as The National Sleep Foundation) endorse SHEEX!
As a former University of Tennessee All-American collegiate (ahem, my UConn Huskies big rival), professional basketball player and former University of South Carolina coach, Michelle knows about fitness and moreover how quality sleep translates to giving it your all on the court. In 2007, she and Susan Walvius were coaching together and after a long day of teaching camp, were sitting in the gym, exhausted. “Being a former elite level athlete and fitness fanatic, I was wearing my favorite performance fabric athletic gear, which I frequently trained in for triathlons,” Michelle told us. “Susan was also wearing the same gear but made a different connection on that summer day.” While Michelle loved the fabric for its quick-dry, moisture-wicking features, Susan loved “the drape and feel of the fabric against her skin.” That’s when Susan said, “I would love to have bed sheets made out of this stuff.” Without blinking an eye, Michelle was in and SHEEX was born.
So how did the dynamic duo use their basketball knowledge in their entrepreneurial venture? “The key to being a successful entrepreneur is surrounding yourself with people who have the experience and expertise from the industry you are entering,” Michelle explained. Although they had witnessed firsthand the evolution of athletic wear fabric throughout their careers, they were not very familiar with the textile industry. “What Susan and I knew is to wake up every day and get better. You are never satisfied with your performance as an athlete or coach. The day you become satisfied is the day that you will get crushed by your competition,” she said.
There are characteristics that athletes have innately, according to Michelle. “Commitment to excellence and passion that you tend to tap into naturally when dealing with a life after your athletic career,” she said. “You learn to use your sports culture to pivot into a career outside of your comfort zone just by tapping into what you have already known your whole life: Accomplishing goals through a tenacious work ethic and drive.” Life as an entrepreneur is no different. Every day, they set out to be better – setting risks and committing themselves wholeheartedly no matter what challenge arises. “The days rise and fall on your shoulders. If you are not out selling your vision, no one else is.” Whoa, talk about tenacity…discipline…and sacrifice.
So what’s the most important thing you need to make it when starting your own company in this dog-eat-dog world? Guts. “Thick skin, as we said in our athletic worlds,” she confessed. “You have to be willing to listen and learn, yet have the uncanny ability to adjust on the fly, making critical, strategic decisions with the utmost confidence and humility.”
Written on June 25, 2013 at 11:01 am , by Colleen Travers
Find yourself tossing and turning on Sunday nights? You’re not alone. A new survey conducted by Toluna Omnibus showed that more than one-third of adults have the most difficulty falling asleep Sunday night, with 70 percent of those adults reporting it takes them at least a half hour longer to start snoozing than any other night of the week. (Saturday came in second, followed by Monday and then Friday). Not OK! Below, Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and sleep expert shares more insights from the survey and some surefire ways to get to sleep faster any night of the week.
What surprised you most about this survey?
It was most interesting to learn that stay-at-home moms and those who are employed full time have the most trouble falling asleep on Sunday nights, compared to those of other employment status. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full time job, and getting a family ready for the week ahead can cause as much anxiety on a Sunday night as those getting ready for the work week ahead.
Why do you think Sundays are the hardest days to fall asleep?
Many have trouble falling asleep on Sunday night for two major reasons. Over the weekends, because we don’t have the same obligations we do during the week, people tend to go out and stay up later, and sleep in the following morning. It’s crucial to keep a regular sleep routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (even on the weekends), or at least waking up within the same 30 minutes daily, to avoid throwing off your regular sleep cycle. Over the weekend, we also tend to ‘forget’ about our weekly responsibilities, causing many to struggle on Sunday nights, due to transitioning to and anticipating the week ahead.
What are three tips to get to sleep faster any night of the week?
- Use a worry journal prior to going to sleep, to get thoughts out of your head, onto the page and scheduled for active thought at another time. On one side of a piece of paper, write down the things that are bothering you. Next to them, write down a solution, even if it is to think about the worry tomorrow.
- Try taking a natural sleep supplement 30 minutes before bed, like Dream Water, which includes natural ingredients like Melatonin, 5-HTP and GABA that will help you to relax and fall asleep, without the potential side effects of OTC and prescription drugs.
- Make sure your environment is conducive to a good night sleep. I recommend a cool room at about 65-72 degrees and making your bedroom as dark as possible, avoiding any glaring lights from computers, bedside clocks, streetlights, etc. To block out light, consider a sleep mask, like the Dream Essentials Escape™ Luxury Travel & Sleep Mask, which allows for complete coverage without any pressure on the eyes.
When it comes to the debate on exercising at night or in the morning, which is better in order to get a good night’s sleep?
Numerous studies show exercise at any time of day, especially cardio, leads to a better night sleep, but it’s important to ensure your exercise routine does not interfere with your sleep cycle. It really depends on the individual to figure out what time works best. Those who find exercising provides them with a burst of energy should schedule their exercise earlier in the day, at least four hours prior to bedtime; however, it is also important not to sacrifice hours of sleep in the morning, by waking up early to fit in a work out. Bottom line – schedule a workout, but make sure it does not come at the expense of the seven to nine hours of sleep needed daily.
For more sleep tips and advice from Dr. Breus, visit thesleepdoctor.com.
More from FITNESS: The Get-to-Sleep Guide
Written on October 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm , by Colleen Travers
You already know that lack of sleep could lead to weight gain, but did you know that Maine, Montana and Idaho are the sleepiest states? They each clocked in at the average person getting over 6.6 hours of sleep a night, according to the study Gender Differences in a Naturalistic Observational Study of Sleep and BMI by BodyMedia, Inc. presented at the Obesity Society annual meeting this past September. States that got less than 6.3 hours of sleep included Maryland and New York. Some other interesting findings:
- Overall, people with higher BMIs had less sleep, but the increase in weight and sleep is more closely related in women than men. We know, life is not fair.
- The days people sleep the most are Saturday and Sunday. The days people sleep the least are Wednesday and Thursday, as they are most likely caught up in the mid-week work shuffle.
- Younger users got more sleep than older users.
- The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7 to 8 hours, yet the average amount of sleep per night never enters that range, it’s always below. Case in point: We’re not getting enough sleep!
To help you start snoozing faster, check out the FITNESS Get-to-Sleep Guide. From foods to help you sleep to pre-sleep workouts and how technology messes up your sleep patterns, you can rest easy tonight knowing that more Zzzs are in your future!
More from FITNESS: Find Out What Your BMI Is
Written on June 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Hummus ice cream…Would you dare? — Today Show
- Some days, getting enough high-quality sleep can be more important than working up a sweat. — Ali on the Run
- Tuning in to your hunger can help you eat healthier and happier. Here’s how one woman learned to embrace mindful eating—on her own terms. — MizFit Online
- Craving Mexican? Slash your dinner bill while savoring the same satisfying takeout flavors by making your own burrito bowl! — Edible Perspective
- A garden can teach many important life lessons. Check out these 10 that have nothing to do with food. — The Great Fitness Experiment
Written on May 21, 2012 at 9:21 am , by Samantha Shelton
We know you’re a busy girl with a lot of things to cross off that to-do list. When you’re crunched for time, what’s the first health factor that gets short-changed? Sleep. But Bob Greene, famously known as Oprah’s trainer, wants you to pause before deciding to skip out on those z’s. After all, they may be the key to your weight loss success. Greene chatted with us to explain why sleep is so important, then let us in on how Oprah’s slimming down these days.
What are the important concepts expressed in your book, 20 Years Younger?
The book is a strong exercise program geared toward anti-aging. I’ve never been a fan of “diets”—that’s perceived as a temporary way of eating. I’m about a lifestyle change. Here I explain that when you get a solid amount of exercise, be mindful of what you put in your body nutrition-wise, take care of your skin and get enough sleep, you’re going to be so much happier.
Out of those four things, what do you see sacrificed most?
Sleep is most ignored by people, but it’s tied to everything.
Sleep is so much more important than we ever give credit. When you’re not getting adequate sleep, and most people aren’t, it increases your risk of virtually every known ailment. It’s the easiest thing to fix, so you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do that.
But what’s the big deal if you miss some beauty sleep?
If you’re not sleeping, the hormone that’s responsible for laying down belly fat spikes, so it’s intimately tied to weight gain. If you don’t want it to spike and protect your body from being more prone to multiple diseases, then you need sleep.
Keep reading to find out all about Greene’s experience training Oprah!
Written on May 15, 2012 at 7:00 am , by fitsugar
Working a nine-to-fiver is mandatory for most people, and unfortunately, a long commute often comes with the territory. According to a study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who travel 16 or more miles each way weigh more and have higher blood pressures than those with less than 10-mile commutes.
Of the almost 4,300 residents from Dallas and Austin involved in the study, researchers discovered that for every 10-mile increase in driving distance, the commuter’s BMI (body mass index) rose .17 units. People with lengthy commutes are nine percent more likely to be obese, either because they didn’t exercise as much, are eating fast food while driving, or they’re not getting enough sleep because their long commute forces them to wake up early.
Weight isn’t the only thing affected by a long drive to work. Spending that much time in the car, especially stuck in traffic, also makes a person tired, moody, and stressed out, which is one reason 52 percent of those in the study with a longer commute suffered from high blood pressure.
So what’s a commuter to do? Quitting your job is obviously not an option, and if working at home part-time isn’t feasible and neither is finding a job closer to where you live, here are some things commuters can do to avoid weight gain and other health issues.
- Make time to move: With an extra hour or two stuck in the car, it may be tough to exercise before or after work, so set aside 30 to 60 minutes during your day to hit the gym. Make it a priority just as you would any other scheduled appointment. Follow our time-saving tips for a lunchtime workout.
- Get enough Zs: Not getting enough sleep is linked to weight gain, so if you know you have to get up early to hop in the car, be sure to hit the hay early enough to get at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye. Here are some tips on how to get quality sleep.
Keep reading to learn what else commuters can do to avoid weight gain.
More from FitSugar:
Written on May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm , by Lisa Haney
Want a chance to win an all-expense paid trip for two to New York City to meet Serena Williams and watch some tennis? You’ll get a shot each time you purchase Sleep Sheets, a new sleep aid product that Serena launched last week, at Walgreens stores through July 31, 2012, the two companies announced. Random packages contain winning golden tickets, Willy Wonka-style. Visit facebook.com/takeasheet for contest deets.
Serena got involved as a co-founder of Sleep Sheets—which contain sleeping aids (3 mg of melatonin, 3 mg of L-theanine, and 1 mg each of goji berry and chamomile extracts) and dissolve on the tongue like breath strips—after fighting sleep troubles for years. Taking a sleep med in the past left her too groggy the next day, she says, so she was interested in developing a product for catching more Zzzs that would also keep her feeling fresh on the court.
“I think sleep is underrated and people don’t get enough,” Serena told FITNESS. “[When I get enough] I train better and the better I train the better I can play. And the better I train, the more fit I can become. And the better you can look. So it all boils down to getting some good rest.” With a busy summer of the Grand Slams and the Olympics coming up, she’ll need it!
More from FITNESS:
Written on March 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Steal slim kitchen secrets from top chefs. Surprise: Brownies are still on the good-for-you menu! — iVillage
- Whether your schedule is too packed for a gym visit or you’re looking for a commercial time workout, try one—or all—of these 50 body weight exercises. — Greatist
- Jazz up a ho-hum bowl of oats with these unique sweet and savory combinations. —Q by Equinox
- Beat boredom on the treadmill with these interval workouts. — Carrots ‘N’ Cake
- Wake up! These bedtime habits aren’t doing you any energy favors. — Fit Sugar
- Bypass the snack cookies and slushies and grab one of these 10 convenience store snacks when you’re road tripping for spring break. — Snack Girl
Written on January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Thinking about signing up for the MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon coming up in April? Steal tips from a recreational racer here. — Peanut Butter Fingers
- Nappers may be on to something…Here are five reasons why sleep should be a priority (even if you have a busy schedule). — Fit Sugar
- Instead of a fast or cleanse, try just one “detox lite” meal. — MizFit
- The keg stands may have stopped after college, but the excessive alcohol? Apparently not. One in six Americans binge drinks, on average, weekly. — The New York Times
- Here are how most Americans cope when they’re stressed about money, work and relationships. — American Psychological Association
More from FITNESS: Learn more about (and sign up for) our half-marathon!
Written on December 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm , by Karla Walsh
“Just like in store environments, the season is really busy for people,” says Dr. Josh Riff, Target’s chief medical director. So for that reason, he has cart loads of advice to share with shoppers and co-workers to stay healthy while still enjoying the fun that comes along only once a year. If you make smart choices during your everyday routine, you have more room to splurge when celebration time arrives, Riff adds.
Here are his three top prescriptions for everyday and party day, so when 2012 rolls around you’ll have little resolving to do!
- Rest up. “Get at least seven hours of sleep. It decreases levels of stress and cortisol, a stress hormone. You’ll feel so much better the next day if you make sleep a priority.”
- Practice stealth health. “‘Moving’ is more important that ‘exercise.’ Host a walking meeting at work rather than sitting, or find fun family activities that are active, such as dancing or throwing a ball.”
- Save your treats. “Pick one place, like at work or at the mall, and only eat food that you’ve made or brought. Pack snacks like apples, real fruit strips and granola bars to avoid grabbing a cookie every time you pass the platter at work or dessert shop at the mall. I also save calories by bringing my lunch to work Monday through Thursday, then treat myself to a cafeteria meal on Fridays.”
Party Day Rx…
- Sneak in nutritious treats. “I make simple substitutions to transform typically indulgent recipes to more diet-friendly versions. For example, I add blueberries to chocolate cookies or muffins to add antioxidants and swap in sweet potatoes for white.
- Share the gift of health. “The right gear can make fitness more fun. This year, I’m loving C9 athletic wear, Polar heart rate monitors and Gaiam yoga mats to motivate my loved ones. I also put together wellness-minded gift baskets, including freeze-dried fruit, a bottle of red wine and dark chocolate.”
- Pick your pleasure. “There are no bad foods; there’s moderation. One piece of cake is great—six pieces, not so good. Fill one plate with the foods you will really enjoy and nurse that throughout the party.”
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Now tell us: When the ever-present cookies are calling your name for the fifth time today, how do you avoid temptation?