Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when you’re awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habits—known as “sleep hygiene"—that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work. Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality.
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good sleep hygiene. Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis: Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you [...]
Waking later at weekends can have the same effect as jetlag – and lead to weight gain, reduced mental performance and chronic illness. But there is a solution. Do you set an alarm to wake you up on weekdays, then hit the snooze button at weekends because you need more sleep? If so, you could be experiencing social jetlag – a condition associated with weight gain, reduced mental performance and chronic illness. “Social jetlag promotes practically everything that’s bad in our bodies,” says Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, who coined the term. It occurs when we go to bed later and wake up later at the weekend than on weekdays. Like normal jetlag, it is a consequence of being forced to shift our bodies between [...]
Which Type Of Insomniac Are You? Study Suggests Different Sleep Problems Require Different Solutions
While many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, not all of our struggles are the same. New research examined a range of reasons why people don’t sleep well and found that insomnia generally falls into one of five types. Which type you fit into, the study suggests, affects which solutions may help you break out of the sleep-loss pattern. Insomnia is a disorder characterized by "chronic complaints of unsatisfactory sleep, despite having an adequate opportunity to sleep" according to the National Sleep Foundation. Insomnia complaints include "difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, and/or having sleep that is not refreshing." The researchers analyzed survey responses from more than 4,000 people participating in the Netherlands Sleep Registry, a project that tracks information on the factors [...]
"Early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy & wise." When we look into our body’s daily detox "schedule”, we may discover the perfect explanation to this old adage. Here’s what our body is up to when we should be in bed fast asleep: Sleeping late and waking up late disrupts the natural detoxification process and can cause toxins to accumulate in our body.
“Before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life, ask yourself: what is my truest intention? Give yourself time to let a ‘yes’ resound within you. When it's right, your entire body will feel it.” - Oprah Winfrey Which of these is stress to you? You get promoted at work Your car breaks down You go to a fun party that lasts until 2.00am Your dog falls sick Your new bedroom set is being delivered Your best friend and her family are staying with you for a week You get a bad case of flu All of the above If you think stress is something that makes you worry or moody, think again. Stress can derive from happy things, sad things, [...]
Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems. Effects of Stress Think illness is to blame for your nagging headache or frequent forgetfulness? Recognize common stress symptoms — then take steps to manage them: On your body On your behaviour On your thoughts & feelings Headache Chest pain Pounding heart Shortness of breath Muscle aches Clenched jaws Tooth grinding Stomach upset Constipation Diarrhea Increased sweating Tiredness Sleep [...]
When we’re stressed we often turn to diet-busting goodies for comfort. Instead of soothing our frayed nerves, many of them ultimately make us feel worse. Why? After the initial rush, the body's insulin response kicks in, causing a sudden blood-sugar drop that triggers the release of stress hormones. Soon you're feeling more jangled than you were before you wolfed down those sweet desserts. #1. Berries, Any Berries For those tough times when tension tightens your jaw, try rolling a frozen berry around in your mouth, one by one. Since the carbs in berries turn to sugar very slowly, you won't have a blood-sugar crash. #2. Guacamole Avocados are loaded with B vitamins, which stress quickly depletes and which your body needs in order to maintain nerves [...]
Type A personality characteristics can bring an increased risk of health problems since they are more ‘high-strung’ or always in a state of chronic stress. Researchers believe that Type A characteristics are more of a reaction to environmental factors, or tendencies toward certain behaviors, and are influenced by culture and job structure. Here’s why: Many jobs put heavy demands on time, so people become very concerned with getting things done quickly if they’re to adequately get their jobs done. Some workplaces put heavy penalties on mistakes, so efficiency and achievement becomes extremely important. Other jobs just create more stress, making people less patient, more stressed, and more prone to 'Type A' behaviors. Other people do have a natural tendency toward being more intense, but this tendency can be exacerbated by [...]
Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. One study that examined data from 3,000 adults over the age of 45 found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours per night. It’s not completely clear why less sleep is detrimental to heart health, but researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation. REM sleep begins with signals from an area at the base of the brain called the pons. These signals travel to a brain [...]