All of us make sure we plan our training (sometimes overplan), most of us focus at least somewhat on nutrition as part of our overall efforts (to a greater or lesser extent), but how many of us think about recovery, specifically sleep. I do, though with 4 children I don't always have full control of the results.
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
I was really excited to be able to test out the Anatomic Pillow from Technogel, a benefit of being a FitFluential Ambassador. Comfortable pillows are the most difficult aspect of sleeping for me to find -- it seems when I do find one, it's not long before it flattens out, hardens, or somehow is no longer as comfortable. Another thing I find maddening is how hot my head gets, necessitating flipping the pillow for relief.
Since it was suggested by Technogel that the Anatomic version was best for those who sleep primarily on their sides or on their back, that is the one I chose to test out.
First impressions: this pillow is HEAVY! It also felt damp when first laying on it, which was unusual but not unpleasant. For me, the Anatomic ridges were very pleasant, but felt too strange for my wife and son, who both sleep on the world's thinnest pillows (think a pillow cover within a pillow cover). Only negative? The cool-looking gel is covered by a cotton cover.
The gel in the pillows, which has been used in a variety of products since the early 1990s, has several key beneficial properties:
- 3D Deformation - Technogel moulds itself differently depending on the person using it. This means that my experience will be markedly different than my kids, for instance -- I love how supportive the Anatomic pillow is, whether sleeping on my back or sides.
- Thermal Regulation - true to its word, the Technogel kept my head cool - the heat generated by my head was transported through its mass and partially dispersed.
- Durability - Technogel promises the gel will not harden or age, but will keep its elastic and mechanical properties. With 6 people lying on it at one time or another, so far so good.
Technogel asked us to sleep on the pillow for more than a week before writing the review, as it can take a few nights to get used to the feel, and sleep quality improves with time. Two nights in, I had to travel for work, and it became immediately apparent how much of an impact the pillow already made for me. Two nights on hotel pillows were excruciating! Besides seeing my family again, sleeping on the Anatomic pillow was one of the things I was most looking forward to. Two nights after returning from the trip, I had my best night's sleep in a long time! Having the kids sleep through the night probably helped as well. :)
One warning -- Technogel pillows are designed to enhance your sleep and not for other activities like propping up in bed or pillow fights—which their pillows are not intended to do. Not sure how you'd use the pillows for either of those, but I suppose it's worth a heads-up.
More information can be found on the Technogel website, by liking on Facebook, following on Twitter, and subscribing to their YouTube channel. Interested in buying a Technogel pillow? Head to their store locator or search for a site that sells online.
Disclaimer: I was sent this product for review purposes, free of charge. No further compensation was offered or received. Some information was gleaned from the company website and all opinions are my own.
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