Tips for a Good Night’s Rest

A productive day begins with a great positive mood, but to even achieve that starts with a good night’s rest. I get it, after a long day of work and adulting, your body can still be “on the go” mode and it can be difficult to relax your mind and body completely. Keep in mind, patterns of bad sleep can result in other prolonged sleep disorders and sleep deprivation.

The National Sleep Foundation shows studies of progressive bad sleep can contribute to hypertension, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, depression, and possibly other chronic diseases. It was researched that 50 to 70 million Americans were tested positive in showing signs of chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems.

Pills are an easy solution to sleep problems versus organic alternatives to healthy sleep. Pill usage, to fall asleep, is on the rise. The Addiction Center announces that between 2006 to 2011 a sleeping pill, Ambien, had approximately 38 million prescriptions. Though sleeping pills can be a great short-term fix to treating disorders like insomnia, there are some possible risks, such as dependency.

I know it sounds intimidating, but of course, this can be all hypothetical when finding sleep aids that can work for you. Here are a few tips to incorporate into your night routine or to even create a new one.

  1. Develop a routine, and stick to it!  Try to go to bed at the same time, every night, and wake up at the same time.  As routine progresses, our body’s systems naturally prepare for and anticipate events. Eventually, your body will recognize when it is time to relax and become sleepy prior to bedtime and become more alert in the morning.
  2. Take a hot shower before bed. This will relax your muscles so you sleep without the fatigue from your busy day.
  3. Aroma Therapy. Scents such as, commonly used, lavender serves a purpose to reduce stress, anxiety, generate calmness and wellness.
  4. Avoid drinks before bed. About an hour or two before bed, don’t intake any liquids. This way you can avoid or limit your trips to the bathroom during the night. Just in case, keep a small light in the bathroom.
  5. Adjust room temperature. Making sure your sleep environment is comfortable and cool will be effective, especially if you get hot and restless during the night.
  6. Minimize electronics. The usage of electronic devices can alter or delay your body’s internal clock. Your alertness at bedtime is going up when it should be reducing. Which means your release of melatonin is being suppressed, making it hard to fall asleep.
  7. Limit noise. The less noise during the night, the higher the chances your sleep not being disturbed.
  8. Keep your sleeping space dark. Melatonin is a chemical released to the body to allow us to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. So, even the slightest amount of light can interrupt this production.
  9. Don’t go to bed hungry. Who enjoys the feeling and hearing their stomach growl through the night?  Your sleep is enhanced when your stomach is satisfied.
  10. Exercise. Exercise increases body temperature, so your post-exercise temperature drop can trigger falling asleep faster. Exercise can even relieve symptoms of insomnia such as anxiety and depression.
  11. Possibly, see a doctor. After trials and errors trying to find the perfect way to sleep peacefully, reach out to doctor assistance in figuring out what could be keeping you up at night.

Houston Astros elite pitcher, Justin Verlander, gives his sleep expertise with the New York Times giving away his secret that more sleep is the key to a successful day. His methods include making sure he uses blackout blinds and preventing any cell phone distractions before bed.  “I just kinda do what makes me feel good,” Verlander says.  “Your body will tell you what to do.”

As your sleep improves, so can your days. Soon your work-place may start to get friendlier, your energy a little brighter, the sky looking quite clearer, and your heart feeling a lot happier.

Returning to Work After Vacation

Mid way through the summer and the warmer weather also calls for vacation! Going on vacation and having a few days off is always an exciting time. You can go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

Although taking a few days off for vacation sounds amazing, returning to work after a vacation can be daunting, whether you were only gone for a few days or you took an extended trip. Regardless if you went out of town or you simply use your off days to stay at home and decompress, the first day back at work after some time off can be a little rough. Here are some tips for productivity and so that you can make the transition back a little less difficult.

Before you leave:

  • Make a list of projects and/or assignments.
  • Make sure your area is organized – get rid of unnecessary clutter and organize your desk/cubicle drawers.
  • Delegate tasks to others. Give some tasks that you might normally do to other people. This will help so that your responsibilities aren’t totally being neglected while you’re gone, and you don’t feel as swamped when you come back.
  • Let your co-workers know that you’ll be gone and when you’ll be back. Even though you may have let your supervisor know and you formally requested the time off, your coworkers might not be aware. Let them know so that they can coordinate with you.
  • Do extra work before you leave. If you do more assignments before you leave, you can get ahead so that when you get back, you can have a somewhat light workload for the first few days back.
  • Turn on auto-response messages on your e-mail informing people that you will not be in the office. Set your voicemail to explain that you are on vacation and make sure you let people know when you will be back.
  • Pre-vacation. If your schedule permits, give yourself a full day in between your last day of work and the day before you are scheduled to leave for vacation. Try to stay off your electronic devices and not think about what’s going on in the office.

During vacation:

  • Unplug. Try to avoid looking at your emails and messaging your co-workers.
  • Enjoy your time away and relax! It’s important to use this time for its intended purpose. Going on vacation does a lot to keep you healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • Adjust your sleep schedule. Make sure you go to sleep at the same time as when you know you have to work the next morning. If you’re not on vacation for very long, make sure your sleep schedule doesn’t get too off-track.

When you come back:

  • Come home early – Give yourself a few days to adjust to your normal routine. Try to dedicate a day to personal errands alone, whether that’s grocery shopping and cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, or just sleeping the whole day.
  • First day back at work – come in early, if you can, and catch up. Give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour to check emails, voicemails, and figure out what problems happened while you were away. From there, you can make a list of what you need to do, starting from most to least important.
  • Take it easy. If you throw yourself in full-force, it will cause you to be overly stressed, which will hurt the quality of your work.
  • Catch up on emails. Check in with your supervisor and colleagues as soon as you can. Find out what you missed while you were away.

You don’t have to feel flustered the minute you go back to work. With some planning and a positive attitude, it won’t take you long to get back into your normal routine.

 

Written my Dami Falade

The Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks

While you’re indulging in your cold energy drink, do you really know the contents that are going into your body? Do you believe that the only thing energy drinks do is give you a boost in energy? According to Statista “about 47 percent of respondents indicated to consume energy drinks several times per week.” and it’s unknown if consuming energy drinks is beneficial or deficient. Here are some pros and cons to consider when digesting an energy drink.

PROS –

Gives a boost in energy Two key ingredients in energy drinks are sugar and caffeine. The combination of these supplements is what charges your mind and body to stay awake and energized to combat a long day. When you’re energized, you’re able to effectively complete your task.

Can improve your mood and attitude Once you’re high on energy, you’ll feel like you’ll be able to take on anything. Eliminating the groggy and temperamental mood will lead to constructive relationships among your peers and family.

Convenient Purchasing energy drinks is accessible at almost any retail store. They are also affordable with prices ranging from $1 to $5 depending on the brand.

Boost performance for workouts – Energy drinks have a high source of vitamin B, which is used to give you energy. Gulping down an energy drink before a workout can help with your performance and endurance.

Zero calorie option – A healthier option is available as its purpose is to limit weight gain and sugar consumption while having the same effect with those with sugar and calories.

CONS –

Cardiovascular problems – One of the most important factors you should keep in mind when consuming an energy drink would be the effect it could have on your heart. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association “It could actually be playing some nasty tricks on our hearts, leading to emergency room visits and even death.” If you’re not careful, excessively gulping energy drinks can lead to dangerous consequences.

High on sugar – one serving of an energy drink contains about 25 g – 39 g of sugar. Large quantity of sugar consumption can lead to the following: Jitters sleep disorders, dental problems, obesity and diabetes.

Weight gain – Energy drinks can be useful for the gym due to high amounts vitamin B, but it can also have the opposite effect if you just drink and lay on the couch. The high amounts of sugar and calories can sneak up on your body and develop unwanted weight gain if you’re not careful.

Addictive – Energy drinks can become very addictive, especially for children. Due to a high sugar intake, teens are more prone to latch on the addictive trait which could potentially become a gateway for other substances.

There are both positive and negatives when gulping an energy drink. Although, it’s up to on how you choose to drink. If you are a casual consumer, then these health effects shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, if you choose to abuse the consumption of energy drinks, then it could spell danger.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Spring Cleaning

As our homes and lifestyles have changed, so have our cleaning habits. Now that the spring season has officially started and the weather is getting warmer, some may look at it as a fresh start. Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning your home in the spring time – it’s all about clearing out and getting rid of the items you no longer use. You can downsize your home and take on tasks that only need to be tackled once or twice a year.

Deep cleaning your home doesn’t necessarily have to take place in the spring months, but it’s a great time to celebrate the warmer weather. Spring cleaning may seem like a daunting task for some. However, thoroughly cleaning your home and all the nooks and crannies not only sets a healthy environment for your home’s inhabitants, but it also helps to keep your house well-maintained. Here are some ways that you can make spring cleaning as enjoyable as possible.

  • Plan ahead for time-consuming tasks. If you know that some areas of your house are more cluttered than others (garage and kitchen) clean those first.
  • Get mentally prepared to clean – avoid procrastinating. The longer you wait to clean, the harder it will be to actually get started.
  • Start slow – focus on one task at a time. Cleaning more than one section at a time may cause you to feel overwhelmed.
  • Be realistic and break it down – make a list. Utilize a detailed checklists for deep-cleaning the areas of your home that need extra attention. You can skip the items that have already been cleaned recently.
  • Store things based on how you use them.
  • Establish new cleaning habits. Simple 15 minute cleanup routines can be practiced at least once a week, if your schedule permits. This will reduce clutter so that the next time you need to deep-clean your home, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
  • Clean room by room. Don’t feel pressured to have a specific day where you clean the whole entire house. For example, you can dedicate one Sunday to clean out your garage, and the next weekend you can work on the kitchen.
  • Spring cleaning may be more enjoyable if you have your favorite music playing in the background. Put on upbeat music to dance to and to keep your energy levels high.
  • Gather your supplies –broom, dustpan, sponges, vacuum cleaner, mop bucket and mop stick, paper towels, cleaning gloves, trash bags, etc.

Crossing things off of a to-do-list will feel make you feel good, no matter how small the task. Spring cleaning is a lot of work and can be challenging, but it’s feasible and easier when you have a schedule and a plan. De-cluttering your home will change your mindset and improve your overall productivity.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Effects of Stress on Your Health

Stress is the body’s reaction to unfamiliar situations. Stress is a normal part of everyday life, and so is our response to it. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to protect yourself. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight”, or the stress response. During this process, your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens, your muscles start to tighten, and your blood pressure rises.

Some causes of internal and external stress include major life changes (pregnancy, getting married, or a new job), relationship problems, financial responsibilities, and academic pressure as well. Stress may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. Stress can affect your body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

The effects of stress on your emotional wellbeing are:

  • Constant worrying
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability (agitated behavior – twiddling your fingers, clenched jaw, grinding teeth)
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social withdrawal – decreased contact with family and friends
  • Overeating or undereating

The most common physical symptoms of chronic stress are:

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Digestion issues – nausea or constipation
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight gain

Here are some coping mechanisms and ways you can manage your stress better.

  • Identify what’s causing your stress. Ask yourself about your feelings and the problems that you’re having. Is it something that you can control or is it always going to be an issue?
  • Exercise on a regular basis. It’s important to make time to exercise at least 3 times a week if your schedule permits.
  • Utilize techniques for physical relaxation. Activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation will make a huge difference in your overall outlook and help you to relax.
  • Socialize with family and friends. Talk to someone close to you about what’s on your mind. You’ll feel much better when your feelings are out in the open, instead of just bottling them up.
  • Find a hobby that you can enjoy. Read a book, draw, or listen to your favorite music.
  • Journal your thoughts. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, writing down your feelings is a great way to get it out of your system.
  • Sleep! Getting enough sleep is key. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your mood. Make sure you are sleeping at least 6 -7 hours per night.

Stress is inevitable. It’s always important to have a plan so that your stress levels aren’t getting too out of control. Finding stress-reducing routines that work well for you is the first and most important step of increasing side effects of stress, both emotional and physical. Learning how to manage your stress takes time and practice.

However, if you have tried all above steps and your stress becomes more difficult to manage, or if you start to develop more serious symptoms (chest pain, difficulty breathing, or irregular menstrual cycle) it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade

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