Posts for tag: rest
Sleep is a tricky thing these days, particularly if our goal is adequate (in terms of time), healthy (in terms of quality) and rejuvenating (in terms of whether you wake up ready to take on the world – or ready to go back to bed again). The unfortunate reality is that as a culture, we're experiencing poorer sleep overall and suffering the short- and long-term health consequences.
What can we do about it? There's a science to good sleep we can rely on to ensure we awaken well-rested after an uninterrupted night's sleep. Here are three to help motivate you to get the ZZZZs you need.
1. Embrace the Darkness: Can't get to sleep or find yourself waking up frequently during the night? Maybe your room isn't dark enough. Beyond the fact that our eyes are sensitive to light and will be disturbed by too much light, our body's sleep-wake cycle is based on adequate darkness. The Solution: Turn off all lights and the TV at least 15 minutes before settling in for the night. Use curtains on all windows and avoid a nightlight if at all possible.
2. Technology Is a Turnoff (and Needs to Be Turned Off): We've become accustomed to lounging in bed for hours, watching TV or trolling the Internet with our laptops, tablets or cellphones. All that does is keep your brain on high alert, rather than settling it down for a relaxing night's sleep. The Solution: Make your bedroom a place of peace and tranquility, not a computer lab / video arcade. Do you even need a television in the bedroom when you've got multiple TVs throughout your home? Prepare for sleep the right way – the technology-free way.
3. Drink All Day (But Not at Night): Your body needs water, and if you exercise, you need even more. But drink too much / too close to bedtime, particularly as you age, and you'll find your sleep interrupted multiple times for groggy trips to the bathroom.
The Solution: Try not to drink liquids after 6-7 p.m. whenever possible. Throughout the day, go to the bathroom when the urge strikes to help keep your bladder empty (and avoid bladder infections).
You deserve a good night's sleep, so why are you making it so difficult to achieve? Take these tips to heart and talk to your doctor about other easy ways to kick the sheep to the curb and sleep soundly – tonight and every night.
By Editorial Staff of To your Health
Whether you're a night owl enjoying the social scene until early morning; a compulsive couch potato destined to watch the boob tube until the clock strikes midnight (or beyond); a parent – new or seasoned – struggling to find enough time in the day to relax, much less sleep; or an overworked, overstressed office worker resigned to daily desk doldrums, fatigue is something we all fight on a daily basis. For some, all that's required is a few extra hours of sleep a night; for too many others, it requires changing your behavior permanently to make relaxation the priority and put fatigue on notice. Here are five ways to fight fatigue and improve your mental and physical health:
- Put your body in motion: Regular exercisers understand that the secret to long-term energy actually comes from expending energy through exercise. Counter-intuitive to non-exercisers and even new exercisers, of course, but a simple strategy for building energy that lasts throughout the day. Not only does the act of exercising naturally “wake you up” from your fatigue-draining day, but it also encourages the production of endorphins, chemicals that reduce pain perception and improve mood. What's more, the more muscle you build and the higher your metabolism, the more your body can handle the demands of your busy day – giving you more energy to get out there and show off your great physique.
- Eat to win: This is an easy one when it comes to energy production, but unfortunately, it's ignored on an ever-increasing basis. Fast foods, processed snacks and nutrition-deficient meals not only provide short-term energy that quickly fades, leaving you fatigued – not to mention hungry, which can lead to overeating and weight gain (a definite energy-sapper); the sugar and fat content of many of the foods Americans commonly eat also “weigh us down,” literally and figuratively, draining us of our physical ability (and mental desire) to do anything except lie down and take a nap. In short, our eating habits are a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying energized. The solution is straightforward: Replace some of those burgers and shakes with nutrient-dense fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins that provide your body with an all-day source of energy.
- Get into a sleep rhythm: Research suggests that the amount of sleep you get is less important than the regularity and quality of sleep when it comes to proper restoration / rejuvenation. That means if you get eight hours of sleep a night, but it's interrupted by barking dogs, crying babies or countless trips to the bathroom, there's a good chance you'll be fighting fatigue more than the person who only gets six hours a night, but does so in peaceful, uninterrupted fashion. What's more, timing is pivotal when it comes to sleep: go to bed at about the same time every night (and wake up at about the same time every morning) and you'll find yourself more refreshed and energized than if your sleep schedule varies widely.
- Get away: Pure and simple, if you never have a chance to relax and restore your energy levels, you'll gradually wear down until the meter's on empty. Whether it's taking a few vacations away from the office – and the city you live in – every year; reserving 15-20 minutes a day to read a good book, soak in the bath or just take a walk and process your day; or reminding yourself that the paperwork on your desk can wait until tomorrow, keep your energy levels high by making some you time to remind yourself that life is great – and so much more rewarding when you've got the energy to enjoy it.
Daylight saving time can be a problem for sleep-deprived
Sunday's start of Daylight Saving Time will throw off the clock only by an hour, but that's enough to leave people feeling groggy for a day or two, sleep expert say.
By setting clocks ahead an hour, daylight saving time allows us more light through the spring, summer and fall. But when the time changes at 2 a.m. Sunday (except in Arizona and Hawaii), it will cost one hour of sleep. We'll regain that when the clocks fall back on November 1, 2015.
"Losing an hour is harder than gaining an hour," says Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York "It's sort of like a mini jet lag."
It takes no more than 48 hours to adjust to a one-hour loss, says New York pulmonologist and sleep specialist Nicholas Rummo of Northern Westchester Hospital's Center for Sleep Medicine. "The day or two after people aren't quite alert," he says. "Most people might feel it Monday into Tuesday."
Some people will be more sluggish than others Monday morning — particularly those without regular sleep habits, such as waking up at a consistent time or snoozing seven to eight hours each night.
"Millions of Americans can ill afford to lose one more hour of sleep given that so many of them are so sleep-deprived," says Russell Rosenberg, board chairman for the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep directly affects health and safety, Rosenberg says, and the sleep loss associated with daylight saving time has been linked to increases in traffic and on-the-job accidents the Monday following the time change.
Specialists encourage people to use this, the National Sleep Foundation's National Sleep Awareness week, to adopt good habits so that next year, it won't be quite so tiring to make the leap forward. Sleep doctors offer a few tips for making up for lost z's:
- Start early. Move your schedule up a few minutes each day — eat dinner and go to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier every night.
- Take a nap Sunday to "build up a little sleep in your sleep bank," says Russell Rosenberg, board chairman for the National Sleep Foundation, noting that siestas should be less than an hour.
- Every minute counts, so set the alarm clock for the last possible minute Monday morning.
- Soak up the sun. Sunlight jump-starts our bodies and sets our internal clocks forward, so sip your coffee in front of a window for an extra jolt. "Light in the morning makes us want to go to bed earlier," says New York pulmonologist and sleep specialist Nicholas Rummo.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which interfere with the hormones and chemistry that regulate our bodies and make it more difficult to fall asleep and wake up, Rummo says