All Entries For sleep
Wrist watch…reset. Alarm clock…check. Oven and microwave…done and done. This Saturday, just prior to going to bed, you will find me buzzing around my home and bumping up each clock by one hour to spring forward into Daylight Saving Time.
YUCK! I really hate this time of year when I lose one hour of sleep. It seems so harmless--one little hour, just 60 minutes. Then why the heck does it take about 2 weeks for my body to eventually adjust? I am one of those people with a very strong, internal alarm clock. Messing with the timing of my machine really hampers my performance for days. I find myself to be more irritable and cranky, drowsy, moody, unproductive and my creativity comes to a screeching halt. Call me crazy…but I also find that I am hungrier for days following this sudden switch in time.
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"Night owl" is not a term anyone has ever used to describe me. Even in my younger years, before kids made me more tired than I ever thought possible, I didn’t stay up late. I can comfortably last until around 10 p.m., and then it’s time for bed. But getting up early doesn’t bother me. I like to get a lot of things done early in the day, including exercise. So most days around 5:30 a.m., you’ll find me on the treadmill or in front of the T.V. doing an exercise video.
I know people who say that although they’ve tried hard to become a morning person, it never happens. My mother-in-law, for instance, does her treadmill run around 8:30 every night- just as I’m winding down for the day. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another. But sleep experts say that with time and effort, it is possible to reset your biological clock and become that morning person you’ve always hoped to be. Read More ›
Think the solution to your fatigue is an earlier bedtime? Getting enough sleep is important, but it’s also the quality that counts—and there’s more to it than just a comfy bed. Also complicating things: As you get older, your sleep patterns change, making it harder to fall (and stay) asleep. But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to be sleep-deprived. You can improve your slumber without tacking on hours in bed—and it’s not hard to do. Just turn the page to get started.
Every little habit—from what you eat and drink to when you exercise and watch TV—can impact your sleep. Here’s a sample day that shows you what you can do to get the best zzz’s possible. (Adjust it for your wake and sleep times.)
6:30 A.M. - Skip the snooze button. It’s tempting to turn over and squeeze in an extra 10 to 15 minutes of shut-eye when your alarm goes off, but doing that can actually make you more tired. “You spend so much energy going back to sleep and waking up again that you don’t get any additional deep sleep,” says Kathryn Lee, RN, PhD, professor and associate dean for research at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing. And you’re more likely to wake up groggy. “So you’re using more energy but not sleeping more to make up for it.”
7:30 A.M. - Exercise. Not only does it give you a shot of energy that’ll help you power through the day, but exercising in the morning may also decrease levels of stress hormones, making it easier for your body to wind down and fall asleep faster, says Scott Collier, PhD, director of the Vascular Biology and Autonomic Studies Laboratory at Appalachian State University. In a recent study led by Dr. Collier, people who got 30 minutes of moderate exercise at 7 a.m. (compared with 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.) significantly improved the quality of their sleep that night, spending 75% more time in deep sleep. Read More ›
Yes, we at FITNESS love a great early-morning workout. But we also know about the importance of a good night's sleep, and not just because sleep deprivation is tied to weight gain. Here, the most interesting health facts that warn against burning the candle at both ends. Pace yourself, people.
If you're sleep-deprived before getting your flu shot, it can take three to four weeks for the vaccine to kick in. Those who don't get appropriate rest have a weaker immune system, which hinders the vaccination's effectiveness.
By Lynda Liu, Fitness Magazine
Ask any woman the one thing she wants more of, and energy will most likely top her list. While getting more sleep would seem to be the obvious solution (Americans average seven hours of sleep a night), daytime exhaustion has a host of other, often surprising, causes -- all of which are easily treated. "In many cases, low energy can be traced to a certain behavior and fixed in a few weeks," says Martin Lipsky, MD, a professor and chair of the department of family medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. (If fatigue persists without explanation, however, talk to your doctor. It could be a sign of a more serious illness.)
Want to get your energy back? Here are 14 reasons why there's less pep in your step, plus the easy fixes that will get you up and running. Your vitality makeover starts right now!
You Don't Exercise
At least 30 minutes of a sweat-inducing workout during the day may help you sleep deeply, says Thomas E. Scammell, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His research suggests the increase in body temperature during exercise activates sleep-producing cells in the brain.
Fit in half an hour of cardiovascular exercise four days a week, says Wil Maxton, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist in Philadelphia. Even a daily 30-minute walk in the morning or after dinner can raise your body temperature enough to improve your energy level and help you fall asleep. To give your heart a good workout, walk briskly while still being able to maintain a conversation. Keep in mind, though, that exercise also raises your metabolism, which can heighten alertness and interfere with sleep, says Dr. Scammell. Work out early in the day when possible, and if you have to exercise in the evening, wait at least three hours before going to bed.
You're an Irregular Sleeper
If you're getting up at the crack of dawn during the workweek, then sleeping in on weekends, you're disrupting your body's natural sleep schedule (or circadian rhythm). The more your patterns vary from day to day, the more tired you'll become. Stay reasonably consistent in terms of when you go to bed and wake up to avoid throwing off your internal clock, says Dr. Scammell. Otherwise, you're at risk for sleep deprivation. Research shows that an irregular wake-up time impacts daytime sleepiness more than an erratic bedtime does. Read More ›
I'm someone who needs a lot of sleep. I've never been able to get by on 6 or 7 hours a night (unless it's by necessity when my kids were newborns.) I've found that during those periods where I am consistently not getting enough shut-eye, I tend to eat more. Research has shown that sleep loss can increase hunger and affect your body’s metabolism, making weight loss more difficult. Now new research is quantifying exactly how much more sleep-deprived people tend to eat. Read More ›
If you're trying to lose weight, you've probably been paying a lot of attention to what you eat and how much you exercise. It's great when everything is going right and you're losing like you expected. But it's frustrating when you feel like you're working so hard but aren't getting the results you were hoping to see. What could possibly be going wrong?
Our bodies are very complicated, so it's not always just about activity and food. There's another magic ingredient that can help or hinder your weight loss efforts. What is it? Sleep. Read More ›
My kids have always been pretty good about going to bed when I tell them it's time. I'm someone who likes to stick to a schedule, so we stay consistent with bedtimes (although what time they get up and how long they nap is a totally different story.) My friends who don't have kids and my relatives with grown children don't understand (or have forgotten) why I can't be a little more flexible. The bedtime routine is so important in my house because if my kids don't get enough sleep, the effects are felt for days to come. New research shows that sticking to a schedule and getting enough sleep could give young children a developmental boost.
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We know that we deserve and are meant to live an inspired life that rises above mere existence, but how? In A Life Worth Breathing, yoga teacher and spiritual philosopher Max Strom shows us the way. This is an excerpt from that book:
These techniques are to be done in tandem, and results should begin in two weeks or less. But this is more than a two-week experiment, these are new habits to aid you in staying relaxed as a new way of life. Becoming more relaxed will not disempower you or cause you to be less mentally sharp, conversely, living in a more relaxed state will empower you, and help you to not only focus, but know what is important to focus on.
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It's true- I LOVE to take naps. I think it comes from my dad, who has always been a napper. My mom used to joke that he could sleep anywhere- on a bus, at a party, etc. The naps never had to be long, but they were (and still are) always a crucial part of his day. These days I'm just like him. That's why I was interested to read a new study that claims and afternoon nap might refresh the brain's capacity to learn, making you smarter. Read More ›
We put a lot of the blame for childhood obesity on fast food, school lunches, and sedentary lifestyles, and certainly all of these factors (along with many others) are at play. But can we really do much about these factors, especially in the short-term? Fast food is here to stay. While these restaurants offer more healthy options than ever before, people are still ordering the old standbys. Parents are busy—too busy to cook at home or aren't knowledgeable about how to prepare homemade meals at all. And when we're too busy to cook dinner, the same goes for lunch. School lunches are a way of life for busy and low-income households that rely on them. And kids aren't as active—we know that. But we don't live in the times we used to, when kids could go outside all day long without supervision—something we'd never allow this day and age. So are we powerless to change the fate of our children?
New research published in Pediatrics shows that reducing your child's risk of obesity is simpler we may think. In fact, three easy household strategies can decrease a child's obesity risk by 40%--and not one of them has anything to do with fast food, school lunches, exercise or overhauling your family's lifestyle. Read More ›
Do you find that it's easier to stick to your diet when you're well-rested? Is it difficult to stay on track when you're not? New research shows that not getting enough sleep can affect the food choices you make when you're awake. That's just one more reason to make sure you're getting enough shut-eye! Read More ›
We've often heard that being more physically active improves sleep patterns. For a lot of people, better sleep is one of the more immediate benefits of an active lifestyle. Have you found that it's easier to fall asleep if you've had a good workout earlier in the day? A new study of school-age children confirms that the greater the daytime activity level, the easier it is to fall asleep at night. And now they are measuring just how significant the benefit might be. Read More ›
In addition to the physical benefits of yoga, it has plenty of mental benefits as well. Certain poses can help energize you and others can help relax you.
While I wouldn't recommend a full yoga practice just before bed, doing a few of these gentle, restorative poses before going to sleep can help you rest easier.
You can do most of these poses in your bedroom while wearing your pajamas. You might want to have a mat under you for comfort.
To facilitate your voyage to dream land, turn off the TV and dim the lights. Before beginning, come to a comfortable seated position on your mat and close your eyes. Start breathing in and out through your nose, in long, even breaths. After 10 breaths, open your eyes and begin these poses. You can hold each one for as long as you'd like, at least five breaths.
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This past weekend most of us throughout the United States, with the exception of Hawaii and Arizona, had the pleasure of gaining that extra hour of sleep as we bid farewell to daylight savings time. In 2007 Congress shifted the beginning of daylight savings time from the first Sunday in April to the second Sunday in March. They also extended the end to daylight savings time from the last Sunday in October to first Sunday in November. And while many of us have grown to appreciate the added hour for what it is worth, we do know that eventually we will be trading it in for one less hour of sleep or activity come March.
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