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Sleep & Insomnia
Getting a good nights sleep is key for your health and wellness. Some days getting that recommended amount of sleep might be a bit challenging. As well, you may lay down to sleep, but struggle to fall asleep. What can you do to hit the hay faster? Here are a few ways to fall asleep naturally and get the good nights sleep you need.
Set the temperature of your room to a cool 68, keep it clean, dark and quiet. You have to create ideal conditions to make your sleep more sound. Keep any night lights you choose to have in your room at a distance, to keep the room as dark as possible.
The clothing you wear to bed are important too. Pajamas should be soft and comfortable and not too tight. Make sure they are breathable.
The next preparation I like to consider sleep meditation, or mindfulness. This really ties in the ‘counting sheep’ visualization. You need to lie down and tense up all your muscles, then work on slowly releasing and relaxing those muscles. You have to tell your body it is time to relax and go to sleep. Take deep, consistent breaths, while visualizing something thats repetitive, like counting sheep. (Just writing about this is making me sleepy! )
Another step that can help you fall asleep is again to set the mood in the room. Loud sounds will keep the body alert and tense. These sounds could be a dog barking, honking traffic or maybe a train going by. They are not going to allow your mind or body to relax for sleep. So try to create some white noise to drown out those distractions. Play some light classical music, or some earthy music like the sound of raindrops, waves, or wind. These light consistent sounds can coincide with your breathing and soothe the body and mind to sleep.
The last couple suggestions are again targeting at preparing your body for calm, still rest. Turn off the electronics, TV and work at least an hour before bed. This allows the brain to turn off work mode and realize it is dark and time for bed. The lights from electronics trick the brain into thinking it is still daytime and prepares the brain to stay awake. Read a book instead.
I hope some or all of these tips might help you get a better nights sleep. I know its time for me to shut down my computer and prepare for bed. Good night everyone!
Why do we need sleep? Well sleep benefits you and I in many ways. For one it actually helps your immune system’s function. Other ways it helps is with your metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. How many hours of sleep do we need? Well, 3-6 year olds need about 10-12 hours a day. 7-12 year olds need about 10-11 hours. 12-18 year olds need about 8-9 hours a day. If you noticed, you don’t need as much sleep as you get older. With teenagers, it’s because their teenager social pressure conspires against the proper amount of sleep.
Being disturbed while sleeping can result in you not being able to process something you learned. When having a good night’s sleep, it will allow you to process what you had learned better. When you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t focus as well as someone who did get enough sleep. So make sure you get enough sleep to stay at your best.
Today’s featured Kids Corner blogger is Kaila, age 11
Exercise and the brain go hand in hand. As previously discussed, it reduces the risks associated with certain diseases, and combats depression and stress, and much more. You just need to find your reason and set an exercise goal! Here’s another one, which especially applies to those of us (including me) experiencing the brain fog that comes with age: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
Exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a plethora of hormones, all of which participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells, improving memory and thinking skills!
So remember when you go to blow off that New Year’s exercise resolution remember these tips from BrainHQ.com:
- In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
- Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a “first aid kit” on damaged brain cells.
- Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
- When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a dance class.
- If you like crunching time at the gym alone, opt for circuit work outs, which both quickly spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
- Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises.
Are you emotional, stressed, or depressed? How would you feel if I tell you to go take a jog? Will that make you more emotional, stressed or depressed? I sure hope not, because the link between the lack of exercise and emotional problems is real. Maybe a single jog around the block can help a little, but adding a regular exercise program will give you the most beneficial results for your mind and body.
Doctors have always encouraged staying physically active. Well have you ever wondered why? Not only does exercise help your physical condition and fight disease, it is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration. Exercise is vital for enhancing ones overall cognitive function as well. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. So if you feel tired and make that excuse to not exercise, you could be hurting yourself more!
Stress can directly affect the brain, because the brain has many nerve connections. Those nerve connections make the rest of the body feel the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins too. But a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy. I have long heard of a phrase called ‘runners high’, but until recent did not understand the medical or scientific connection. Personally, taking a run has always been a tremendous source of mind clearing peace. That jog or run has been triggering the release of endorphins, and Harvard researchers even claim that the effects of exercise last longer than anti-depressant medications too.
Scientific studies have shown that regular participation in aerobic exercise can decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. So get ready to start the new year with a plan to improve your whole body, reduce stress, and implement a regular exercise program. No excuses! Even the American Psychological Association supports the idea! So go take that jog!
You have a ritual for many other things in your life, whether it is family, work, or socially related. You also need to develop a sleep ritual habit. Find a relaxing activity in the evening to prepare for sleep. Continue Reading Insomnia tip #3: Develop a Sleep Ritual.
Are you one of the Americans who have to have your morning cup of coffee to get going? One cup is usually okay, but many cups of caffeinated coffee, or other caffeinated beverages, throughout the day, and especially in the evening, can lead to poor quality of sleep. Continue Reading Insomnia tip #2
According to the National Sleep Foundation, close to 60% of American adults complain of insomnia. The number jumps to more than 66% among women and the elderly. We are clearly a sleep-deprived nation. If you have occasional bouts of sleeplessness, there are many tips to follow… but do they really work? Continue Reading Insomnia tips… do any of them really work?
In the year 2007, the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that approximately 64 million Americans suffered regularly from insomnia each year. Women suffer 1.4 times more often than men. Continue Reading Why can’t I fall asleep, stay asleep, and why do I wake up early?
Insomnia is a common problem in the US and around the world. You, or a loved one, may have trouble sleeping, but may not have the same type of insomnia. Continue Reading All about different types of insomnia – and what can be done about them.
Sleep habits and environmental factors greatly influence the quality of our sleep. Collectively, they are referred to as “sleep hygiene.” Once under control, they can help improve our sleep, so that we wake refreshed and stay alert throughout the day. Continue Reading INSOMNIA: Sleep Hygiene