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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5 Simple Tips for Improving Your Quality of Sleep
May20

5 Simple Tips for Improving Your Quality of Sleep

Life can be pretty hectic sometimes, and it can be difficult enough to actually get a decent amount of sleep each night. With work, school, a significant other, kids, or other obligations, it’s not uncommon for us to feel like we’re being pulled in ten different directions at once. So if you’re already struggling to fit sleep into your schedule at all, it’s especially important that you understand how the sleep you are able to get is helping you wake up well rested each morning. Here are 5 easy tips for improving your quality of sleep, helping you fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling restored and rejuvenated. Check Your Sleep Position You most likely have a sleep position that you’ve maintained for the majority of your life. Maybe you can’t even imagine switching it up. Better posture and less back pain is said to come with side sleeping, but what’s best for your brain? While we sleep, our body clears the glymphatic pathway of toxins more so than while we’re awake. Side sleeping appears to help the functioning of this pathway. Ultimately, sleeping on your side helps filter out damaging proteins that can build up around the spinal and brain cord. Listen to Classical Music Listening to classical music at any time can help lower your blood pressure and relieve stress, so think about how great it can be for a good night’s sleep. As a baby, your parents or other family members might have sang lullabies to help you doze off. Things are no different now! The instruments used in classical music like the harp, piano, and orchestras are incredibly soothing and have been proven to reduce sleep problems. Look Away from Electronics The last thing you want to do before settling in for a relaxed slumber is to really excite your brain with the bright light from a phone screen. Try to settle in with a book instead to help relax your mind. Exercise Early Exercising is great for falling asleep and sleeping really soundly if it’s done at the right time. While exercising, the stimulation of the body tells the brain to secrete certain hormones that keep the body alert. This works out really well while you’re exercising, but it’s also the reason you should try to finish exercising at least three hours before bedtime. Establish a Pre-Sleep Routine Create a really relaxing bedtime ritual for yourself. Give yourself a little extra time each night to do the things that help you unwind. Do you love to take hot baths? Right before bed at night is the perfect time to take them. The quick...

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Sleep Positions and Your Brain
Oct19

Sleep Positions and Your Brain

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for survival. Good, consistent sleep keeps your immune system functioning properly, reduces the risk of disease, and keeps your brain sharp. Think about all the nights when you lost a few hours of sleep. Your brain was deprived of valuable sleep and it was obvious as you struggled to think clearly and do other things such as driving, working, or even walking. Not only is a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep one of the best things you can do for your brain, but the way you sleep can also affect your brain health. Positioning for Good Sleep   A majority of sleepers have a “tried and true” sleeping position. Whether you sleep on your back, stomach, or side, it’s likely you have slept in that position your whole life. Sleep experts recommend side sleeping for better posture and less back pain, but recent research suggests that side sleeping also benefits your brain. When we sleep, our brain clears its glymphatic pathway of toxins more efficiently than during the waking hours. Scientists found that mice, who slept on their sides (a natural sleeping position for humans and animals), had better functioning glymphatic pathways.   Side sleep helps to filter out damaging proteins, that lead to brain diseases, that build up around the spinal and brain cord. When toxins build up in the brain, neurological conditions such as Alzheimers or Parkinsons. Additionally, side sleeping is often a more “sound” sleeping position. The fewer sleep disturbances may mean fewer issues in brain health such as memory loss. Stay on Your Side, Stay Asleep   Proper sleep positioning can help you sleep longer and without interruptions that can keep your glymphatic pathway working. According to researcher, Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, many types of memory issues are linked to sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep. The increase of sleep disturbances can result in greater chance of memory loss, hence the importance of having a restful night of sleep.   What if you’re not a natural side sleeper? It may take some time to acclimate to side sleeping, but over time you may notice the benefits. If you’re worried about shifting to a different sleeping position in the middle of the night, put a pillow behind your back to prevent easily rolling onto your stomach or back.   Falling asleep or staying asleep are issues that many not-so-sound sleepers face on a nightly basis. If you struggle with sleep, check out these natural sleep solutions for a better night’s sleep and for a healthier...

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