What Can Sleeping Do For You?
Dec22

What Can Sleeping Do For You?

It can be easy to underestimate the importance of sleeping in your life. Consider all of the tasks you have to accomplish each day. Some may use the excuse of not having enough time to get sleep a full night’s sleep. In reality, though, much of the way you conduct your daily routine relies on the amount and quality of sleep you got the night before. Basic reflexes and the immune system can be strongly affected by sleep. So why is getting enough good quality sleep so important? What exactly can a solid night’s sleep do for your body? Increases Physical Health Think of everything you do during the day – whether it’s mainly mental or physical labor, or a little bit of both. Your body uses the time that it’s asleep to recharge, reset and repair itself from all that it’s done during the day. Not only is this time critical for repairs, but sleep deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other things. Without enough sleep, your immune system can become weakened, making you more susceptible to common infections. Proper sleep also aids in balancing out hormones. Promotes Healthy Brain Function You probably think a lot during the day. While sleeping, your brain gets a mini break. Preparing for the next day, your brain will be able to more easily retain information or remember things from the past. Your creativity also flows much more freely after a good night’s sleep. Betters Emotional Well-Being Sleep deficiency can make it much more difficult to control emotions or behaviors. It’s not uncommon for someone to be cranky after not having had enough sleep the night before. Improves Performance Throughout the Day It probably goes without saying that your functionality during daily tasks seems much more daunting when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Better sleep means quicker reflexes, the ability to think more clearly and hone in on tasks with focus and concentration. Things like the ability to problem solve and have strong attention to detail can be lost without enough sleep. This can negatively affect your productivity at work or increase your risk of making mistakes in the workplace or elsewhere. What Can You Do? There are a number of ways to not only help you fall asleep in the first place, but also to help you in getting great quality sleep after you do doze off. Try taking a warm bath, putting lavender on your pillow or avoiding electronics before bed....

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5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Happy and Healthy
Nov17

5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Happy and Healthy

As we get older, the realization that our brains are getting older too can really start to kick in. We might begin to wonder what we can do, if anything, to keep our brains happy and healthy. Can keeping our brains strong and healthy help slow the aging process? Research does show that there are several things you can do to slow down the cognitive aging process. Check out these 5! Stay Active With aerobic exercise comes an increase in oxygen intake. Providing your brain with the oxygen it needs can help slow down the aging process of your brain. Consider spending about 30 minutes a day – if not more – being engaging in a physical activity. Also stay up-to-date with your blood pressure. High blood pressure can have negative effects on the brain, so make sure you’re keeping it in check. Stick with Healthy Eating Incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Consuming less meat and increasing your intake of nuts, beans and fish can help protect against cognitive aging. A low solid fat diet is the way to go. Get Enough Sleep It’s certainly important to get the right amount of sleep, but it’s also important that the sleep you do get is of good quality. Taking warm baths at night can help wind your body down physically. You might also try using lavender on your pillow or lighting a lavender candle (and making sure it’s out) before hitting the hay. Try not to look at your phone or television too close to bed – it’s important not to engage your mind so actively before trying to fall asleep. Keep Yourself Engaged Challenge your brain. Whether it’s discovering a new hobby that requires a different thought process than what you’re used to, or working on a puzzle, keeping your brain engaged can actually increase it’s functioning life. Spend a little more time reading or writing to keep your brain lively. Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption Some medications or drugs can definitely have a negative impact on the functionality of the brain – especially if overused. Alcohol can actually go hand-in-hand with other drugs in this situation. High consumption of alcohol can lead to a quickening in cognitive decline. If you do choose to drink, it’s important to do so in moderation. While the results in the brain from heavy drug and alcohol consumption might not be present immediately, it’s still something that could be seen years down the line. A positive outlook and a healthy lifestyle are great ways to increase the longevity of cognitive...

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Is Alzheimer’s Preventable?
Jul29

Is Alzheimer’s Preventable?

Despite ongoing research, currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s, affects over 5 million Americans. While an estimated 5.2 million people are age 65 and old and often seen as an “elderly disease”, approximately 200,000 individuals are under the age of 65 and are diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. While memory loss is one of the major signs of Alzheimer’s, it can affect each individual differently.   According to the National Institute on Aging, when Alzheimer’s occurs, there is a loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons are responsible for transmitting messages between different parts of the brain and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. As neurons become damaged and die, the hippocampus (responsible for memory) is typically the first part of the brain to be affected, but damage can spread, ultimately shrinking the brain.   Although there is no cure, some treatments may slow down the progress and while there are many factors that can contribute to Alzheimer’s, some researchers believe that the disease can be prevented. While the disease itself remains a mystery and the research is a constant work of progress, here are some tips to keeping your brain healthy and possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease: Regular Exercise   Exercise is an important component to being healthy and regardless of your age, it’s never too late to take charge of your health. Not only can regular exercise reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but it may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as it can stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to healthy cognition. Research reveals that after a year long study, older participants who exercised on a daily basis showed improved connectivity in the part of the brain that engages in daydreaming, envisioning the future, or recalling the past. They also had an easier time plan and organize tasks. Healthy Diet   Like exercise, eating well can benefit your mind and body, overall. Every couple of months, there seems to be new research surrounding diets or “super” food and it can be overwhelming. Is that extra cup of coffee actually good for you? How about that glass of red wine? Experts recommend to try out the MIND Diet, which is a combination of a heart healthy and Mediterranean diet.   Additional Prevention   In addition to regular exercise and eating well, some research has shown that staying social and engaging in intellectual activities may prevent or slow Alzheimer’s. Whether you enroll in a continued education class or meet with friends on a regular basis, stay active...

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Summer Heat and Your Brain
Jun30

Summer Heat and Your Brain

During a perfect Sunday summer afternoon, you probably don’t think twice when you feel relaxed, unmotivated, and without a care in the world. However, have you ever wondered what puts the “lazy” in those lazy days of summer? The heat’s effect on your brain may have a lot to do with your productivity, or lack thereof, when the temperatures rise. What’s Happening in Your Brain?   When you’re sitting outside, getting a much needed dose of natural Vitamin D, the sun feels good for awhile, but the more time you spend outside (particularly as the temperatures start to rise), you may start to feel sleepy and lose all ambition for the day. So, how come some people start to feel tired, weak, or have a hard time focusing when they get too hot? Your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that is responsible for controlling your body temperature (among other things), stops working efficiently the more the temperatures rise.   As your body heats up, your sweat glands work hard and draw water from the bloodstream to make the sweat that carries heat through pores, onto the skin surface, and heat is released. However, when more blood goes toward your body surface for cooling off, less blood is available to your brain and other muscles and organs. The more you sweat, the the more water your body loses and unless you stay adequately hydrated you may feel symptoms of heat illness such as poor concentration, fatigue, confusion, and even unconsciousness. Change in Behavior and Mood   Even if the heat makes you feel sleepy, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get that much needed sleep for your brain if you’re unable to cool down. Not only can the warm temperatures put you at risk for a dangerous heat-related illness and a poor night of rest, but the heat can change your mood and behavior. Ever wonder why people seem a little more irritable or why the incidences of conflict seems higher in the summertime? It’s a safe bet that the heat plays some part in the way that we act and feel, especially when the heat forces our adrenaline to rise, resulting in the classic “flight or fight” response. How Hot is Too Hot to Stay Motivated this Summer?   While it may sound like an excuse, the temperatures can be responsible for how much you’re able to accomplish throughout the day. Chances are, the hotter you are, the less you’ll get done. Take work, for example. How many times have you struggled through the morning, only to realize that you’re overheated and the temperature in the...

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What Causes You to Feel Pain?
Jun15

What Causes You to Feel Pain?

While no one ever expects to get hurt in a slip and fall accident, it happens all the time. Being injured in a fall, a car accident or at work can cause your body to react in ways that you never thought possible. Oftentimes, your body reacts in an uncomfortable way. It is going through a lot of pain and isn’t sure how to react. However, it is important to remember that not every type of pain is the same. If you break your bone, the level of pain you feel is going to be significantly different than if you were to get a papercut. Just like all injuries are different, every person is going to react to the injury differently as well. While you might be able to deal with a lot of pain, someone else might not be able to. Injuries Affect Your Brain After an injury, your body is going to react a certain way: There are certain parts of your brain that are activated following an injury. A signal is sent through your spinal cord and to the area that was injured causing you to feel pain. This natural reaction is what allows you to make it through the injury and begin recovering. If you never felt pain, it would make it quite difficult to recover from the injury. Whatever you do, don’t try to walk an injury off. It is only going to amplify the problem and make things far worse for you down the road. Especially if the accident has caused brain damage or head trauma. These injuries can be serious and even life threatening. You need to give your body time to process what happened and go through the healing process. Your doctor can walk you through the process and what you need to do to make a full recovery. Don’t ever attempt to treat your injuries on your own. You need to take things slowly and follow-through with what the doctor orders. If they tell you to take a week or two off of work, you need to do it. Time is of the essence. Give your body what it needs and you can expect a full recovery. Pain Can Last Your Entire Life Depending on what type of injury you sustained, the pain could stick around for quite some time. Roughly, 25 percent of all individuals injured will end up dealing with moderate to severe pain a year after the accident occurred. One out of every three people will end up dealing with significant pain three years after the accident took place. A slip and fall lawyer will go to...

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