It’s America’s favorite weekend activity: catching up on sleep. But when you sleep in, are you really making up for lost sleep?
Please click on the below link to find out more
Everyone has a sleepless night occasionally. You’ve got something on your mind, one of the kids is up with a fever, a loud thunderstorm, or the person sleeping next to you is snoring. Any of these can keep you awake. Fortunately, research shows that not sleeping every now and then is relatively harmless. However, if you’re awake night after night, then there’s a problem. Las Colinas sleep doctor Dr. Kent Smith at Sleep Dallas can help. Let’s begin with what you can do at home to set yourself up for a restful night. Follow these suggestions to establish a healthy sleep routine.
Marco knew something was different, but he couldn’t put his finger on just what it was. He was constantly exhausted, irritable, and was often confused throughout the day. And his partner was feeling the effects, too — she was having trouble sleeping due to Marco’s loud, chronic snoring. He talked to his doctor and decided to have sleep testing in DFW performed. And you know what? Marco says it’s the best decision he could have made. After examining the results of the sleep test, his sleep doctor told him he had sleep apnea — and with that diagnosis came treatment.
Sleep apnea is a common condition that is most noted by loud, chronic snoring. However, the condition involves much more than snoring. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires treatment to protect your health and quality of life. Dr. Kent Smith has everything you need to know about sleep apnea in Irving TX. We’ll provide the treatments you need to gain control over your sleep apnea.
We’re usually so busy running around trying to get ready, dashing out the door at the last minute, that we forget to address the areas of our lives that need the most attention and improvement such as our physical health, mental wellness, and of course, our goals and aspirations. The truth? Most of us lack the good morning habits that will help empower us; rather, we tend to repeat bad habits that hold us back. In fact, our mornings are usually spent reacting to life’s events rather than tackling things head on before they can turn into harmful or potentially disastrous situations.
If you have children, then undoubtedly this is even harder. We all know how much time goes into helping the family get ready for the day. But regardless of your personal situation, developing an empowering morning routine should become a priority if you want to achieve some of those lofty goals you set for yourself.
And, while there are plenty of good morning habits can help largely benefit you at the start of the day, five habits in particular will help to supercharge your morning routine, taking it to the next level. Because, let’s face it, without a platform of good habits that help to support us in the morning, achieving our goals can seem next to impossible.
#1 — Wake Up Early
An absolute necessity to building an empowering morning routine is the habit of waking up early. While we might not all be morning persons, we all know, deep down inside, that without waking up early, executing an empowering morning routine can be down right difficult.
This doesn’t mean you have to go from zero to hero overnight. In fact, if you do that, you’re far more likely to throw in that proverbial towel. Use the micro-changes approach to accomplish this. The goal? Wake up at least 2 hours earlier than you’re waking up right now. But don’t do it quickly.
For the first week, set your alarm back just 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes. That’s all it takes. Adjust your body to waking up 15 minutes earlier and do it every single day for the next 7 days. Then, adjust back another 15 minutes the following week.
Do this for at least 8 weeks straight until you’re waking up 2 hours earlier than you are now. Habits are formed over time (studies indicate they take an average of 66 days to form), and it’s far easier to institute any good habit or even break a bad habit if it’s done slowly.
Cold turkey might work for some people as long as they have a deep-enough reason, but for the most part, the micro-changes approach is far more likely to succeed and can help to put your desire for self improvement on autopilot.
#2 — Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Most of us don’t need someone to tell us that eating a healthy breakfast is a great morning habit to have in your routine. We know the benefits of it. We’ve heard them extolled time and time again. Yet, we’re all well aware that even though we might know that something is good for us, it doesn’t mean that we necessarily do it.
But eating a healthy breakfast shouldn’t be something that’s ignored. Not only is it an essential meal, but eating a healthy breakfast has a number of benefits, both physically and mentally. Not only does it help to maintain a healthy body weight, but it also lends itself to lower cholesterol levels, increased focus and concentration, and a decreased likelihood towards eating junk throughout the day.
When we just snack or only drink coffee, we’re really robbing our bodies of the essential vitamins and nutrients necessary to get us through the day. Avoid fatty foods in the morning such as donuts and opt for healthy foods such as whole grains and lean proteins. This is a simple and effective way to really supercharge your morning routine.
#3 — Do a Light Workout
Another great habit to have in the morning is to workout. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run a 10k every single day; it just means that you need some lightly-strenuous activity to get the blood flowing and the mind going. Even if it’s just a brisk 15-minute walk around the block a few times, working out should be an essential part of your morning routine.
While 15 minutes of brisk walking might not sound like a lot, similar to the habit of waking up early, it’s the momentum that will help to improve your life. If done regularly, those 15 minutes of brisk walking might turn into 15 minutes of light jogging. And after a few more weeks, it might turn into a rigorous run.
It doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need to commit to something huge in the beginning. All you need to do is get the momentum on your side by taking action little by little. Remember that an object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest, well, we all know that it likes to stay at rest.
The benefits of working out in the morning can be monumental. Not only is it physically beneficial in that working out oxygenates and increases the blood flow, it also aids in the release of happy hormones into our minds and bodies such as dopamine and serotonin while limiting those pesky stress hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine.
#4 — Practice Morning Gratitude
How often are we grateful for the things that we have in our lives, no matter how small or minute they might be? Oftentimes, we complain about the things that we don’t have rather than celebrate the things that we do have. We get caught up in the status quo and tend to compare our lives to people who have more than us rather than those with less.
When we do that, we live in a state of lack. We look upon our lives negatively, steeped in complaint, living in the midst of anger, fear, regret, stress, and anxiety. Anytime we live in a state of lack, not only does it affect us mentally and emotionally, but also physically as well.
Stress, anxiety, worry, and fear can easily translate into physical ailments, limit the ability of our immune systems to fight off diseases, and even decrease reproductivity while also increasing the chances for serious illnesses such as heart disease. The goal? Stay away from living in a state of lack. And move towards a state of abundance.
To live in a state of abundance, we have to be grateful for what we have in the here-and-now. Even if all we think we have are problems, there are plenty of people in this world who would gladly trade your problems for theirs in a heartbeat. There are people who lack the basic necessities in life, live in impoverished countries, or are immersed in the misery of totalitarian regimes.
There are plenty of things to be grateful for when we stop to think about it. Spend every morning, for at least 15 minutes, writing out what you have to be grateful for. Do it for a minimum of 90 days and watch as your life transforms before your very eyes. It won’t happen overnight. But it will happen. It will just take time.
#5 — Daily Goal Setting
The last, but certainly not least, good habit to help supercharge your empowering morning routine is daily goal setting. It’s not enough to just set goals in our minds or even in the long-term. While our goals need to be written out and specified, they also need something to fuel them on a daily basis. Your goals need a massive action plan.
Daily goal setting helps give fuel to the fire of your long-term goals. They help to guide you towards the milestones and over the uphill battles. When you know what needs to be done on a daily basis, it’s harder to get sidetracked. But, when you look at the enormity of a major goal, it can seem overwhelming to say the least.
Spend the mornings setting daily goals. You can define this through your Most Important Tasks of the Day (MITs), or simply detail out a set of things that need to be done today to move you towards your long-term goals. In time management, these are also known as your quadrant 2 activities, the not-urgent-but-important tasks.
Before you begin your workday, set some daily goals. If you’ve already laid out your long-term goals and you’ve broken those goals down into shorter-term goals such as monthly and weekly milestones, setting daily goals shouldn’t be too difficult. If you haven’t done the former, then that needs to happen first.
The biggest problem when we begin our days is that we can get drawn into one thing or another. There’s this push-and-pull that occurs of our time, and we’re torn by having so many things to do, which is often enough to overwhelm us. But, when we take care of the important things first, and clearly outline that through daily goal setting, we feel just a little bit more at ease, reducing some of that mental clutter that’s crowding our minds.
But, regardless of which habits you choose for your empowering morning routine, make sure to stick to them and make them count. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t form them overnight. Build up your good behaviors by doing a little bit each day until they become full-blown habits.
Remember, habits aren’t created in a day; they take time through constant repetition. Keep that in mind as you flesh out your empowering morning routine.
It’s America’s favorite weekend activity: catching up on sleep. But when you sleep in, are you really making up for lost sleep?
Please click on the below link to find out more
Middle-aged and older women who regularly get less than six hours sleep a night are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research just published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Assn. for the Study of Diabetes But the news gets worse: Those who do manage to add two hours a night to their sleep also increase their risk of developing diabetes.
So to recap: With damned if you do, damned if you don’t results, the connection between sleep patterns and the risk of developing adult diabetes has been reinforced by this study of almost 60,000 women aged 55 to 83. The study out of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanent research division in Oakland, Calif., found that women who chronically sleep six hours or less per day, as well as those who increase their sleep duration by more than two hours per day, may have a modest increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, said a press release. But after adjustments were made for body-mass index, associations of chronic short sleep duration with diabetes became non-significant, while associations of increases in sleep duration with diabetes persisted. Notably, women who increased their sleep duration were more likely to have been short sleepers to begin with, suggesting that the adverse influence of short sleep duration in mid-life may not be compensated for by later increases in sleep duration.
Diabetics often have poor sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 63 percent of American adults do not get enough sleep needed for good health, safety, and optimum performance. Obesity, or too much body fat, is often associated with snoring and apnea. Obesity also increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and arthritis.
It’s no surprise that a night without enough Zzzs can lead to a groggy morning. But bleary eyes and gaping yawns aren’t the only things that can happen when your body needs more shut-eye.
Indeed, there are more nightmarish side effects to sleep deprivation.
If a person is deprived of sleep, it can lead to “tremendous emotional problems,” said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, the director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. “Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture,” he said.
There isn’t a clear definition of exactly how long a person must go without sleep, or how little sleep a person has to get to be considered sleep-deprived, and different people need different amounts of sleep, so there may be no universal definition of “sleep deprivation.” Rather, a person is considered sleep-deprived if they get less sleep than they need to feel awake and alert, researchers say.
But still, research over the years has shown that people can be physically and psychologically damaged from not getting enough sleep, said David Dinges, a professor of psychology and the director of the Unit for Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
In fact, the damage is so apparent that it is unethical to coercively deprive someone of sleep, Dinges said. In the studies of sleep deprivation that Dinges and his colleagues conduct in their lab, healthy volunteers are placed in medically safe environments and constantly monitored.
But studying sleep deprivation is important, according to these researchers and others who study the condition. They say that learning what happens in people who are deprived of sleep can help researchers better understand the function of sleep and its importance for both physical and emotional health.
The problems can start on a somewhat minor scale. “Clearly, your brain doesn’t work very well when you’re sleep-deprived,” Feinsilver said. Even a low level of sleep deprivation has an impact on cognitive and emotional function, he said. Dinges explained that some of the first emotional impacts of sleep deprivation involve positive emotions. “When people get sleep-deprived, they don’t show positive emotion in their faces,” Dinges said. A sleep-deprived person may say they’re happy, but they still have a neutral face, he said.
And they won’t recognize other people as happy, either. A positive look on someone’s face can appear neutral to a sleep-deprived person, and neutral look is often interpreted as a negative look, Dinges said. The sleep-deprived brain may not be as capable of detecting positive emotions as a more rested brain, he said. And sleep-deprived people also don’t tolerate disappointment very well, Dinges added.
As little as a single night of sleep deprivation can result in a person having a phenomenon called “microsleeps,” the next day, Feinsilver said.
A person begins to fall into mini-snooze sessions, which last up to 30 seconds. Some people’s eyes remain open during microsleeps, but the disturbing thing about microsleeps is that during sleep, the person is essentially blind, even if their eyes are open, Feinsilver said. They’re not processing information, he said.
Studies show that during microsleeps, the brain goes into a sleep state rapidly and uncontrollably, Dinges said. People can force themselves awake, but they will soon fall into another microsleep, he said. Both Dinges and Feinsilver said that this condition can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you’re behind the wheel.
People often say they feel loopy after a night of no sleep. But in more extreme cases, losing sleep may cause delirium. True delirium occurs when a person becomes completely disoriented, Feinsilver said. “Sleep can play a role in that,” he said. Patients who have been hospitalized in intensive care units — where lights and sounds may continue all day and night — can develop a condition that doctors call “ICU delirium,” he said. And while it’s unclear if sleep deprivation is the cause of this delirium, doctors do think that loss of sleep is one reason people in the hospital for extended periods develop bizarre behavior, he said. The worst thing you can do for sleep is put someone is a hospital, Feinsilver added. It’s fairly common for for hospitalized patients to develop insomnia, he said.
Seeing things that aren’t there can be a side effect of chronic sleep deprivation, but whether sleep deprivations can induce true hallucinations may be up for debate. Feinsilver said he personally experienced hallucinations due to sleep deprivation, in October of his first year out of medical school. A newly minted medical resident, Feinsilver said he had been chronically sleep-deprived for several months. “I [knew] it was October, because I was in the ICU after a night on call,” and there was pumpkin by the nurses’ station, he said. “I had a very vivid feeling of the pumpkin talking to me,” he said.
But Dinges was more skeptical about hallucinations.
“There’s no question that misperceptions can occur,” Dinges said. When people are very sleepy and performing a task, they may see something flicker in their peripheral vision, or they may think they see blinking lights, but not be sure, he said. All of these are indications that the brain isn’t interpreting information clearly, he said.
In a famous series of animal experiments, researcher found that total sleep deprivation could kill lab rats. In 2012, a Chinese man reportedly died after going 11 days without sleep. However, it’s unlikely that lack of sleep alone caused his death (other factors likely played a role, such as drinking and smoking). Of course, studying this phenomenon in humans is difficult – even when you put aside the clear ethical dilemmas. “Can you die of sleep deprivation? It’s not easy,” Feinsilver said. “Because you’ll fall asleep,” he added. Dinges agreed.
Routines are described as sets of behaviors that are regularly repeated, usually in the same time and place. They’re steeped in habit, vigorously reiterated throughout the course of our lives. Most of our routines have been part of our daily rituals for years, if not decades.
The quality of our lives is very much derived from the same routines that we repeat daily. But of all the routines that we might posses, it’s our morning routines that are quite possibly the most important. What we do in the morning helps to set the pace for the day.
And, while we would all love to have empowering morning routines that might include 30-minutes of exercise, eating a healthy breakfast, and writing out our gratitude, it clearly doesn’t always work out that way.
In fact, most of our routines at the outset of the day can’t be described as empowering; they can only be labeled as chaotic. Because usually, it’s a frantic rush to get ready for the day, multi-tasking our way out the door.
If you have children, then your morning routine is probably even more jam-packed. It likely involves getting the kids ready for school, making them breakfast, and ensuring they have a healthy lunch packed. Usually, this leaves little time for much else.
Yet, the mornings are the single most important part of the day. What we do in the morning helps to shape the trajectory of our lives, defines our priorities, and helps determine our likeliness to achieve our goals. Small wins and a little bit of momentum in the morning can push us a long way.
But if you feel frustrated with your morning routine, and are filled with a general sense of anxiety, fear and stress when you leave the house, then it’s time to make a change. These five steps to a better morning routine will help to drastically improve our lives.
When chaos ensues in the morning, it’s usually because we lack organization. When we’re organized, we can leave room for personal development. But, when we lack organization, just the opposite happens.
Yet, getting organized is easier said than done. Often, it involves a complete overhaul of our homes and our schedules. However, if you’ve heard the saying, “clean house, clear mind,” then you know just how true this is.
Recent studies have even confirmed that clutter creates chaos. Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute determined that clutter prevents the mind from focusing properly, and usually ends in frustration. When we’re frustrated, we often opt for silent resignation, allowing things to control us rather than tackling them offensively.
Specifically, they stated the following: “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”
Start by organizing your home one section at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Pick a drawer and organize it, or pick a small space such as your cupboard and organize that. Go out and buy a cork board you can pin items to or even a chalk board you can write on. When you can visually see the things that need to get done, it’s far easier to follow through.
By organizing small spaces, one at a time, we don’t feel overwhelmed and we build momentum, slowing gaining more confidence.
Time management is a skill that some might even call an art form. But if you’re juggling multiple responsibilities all at once with little room for “me time,” then you need an effective time management system.
The most popular one is the Quadrant System, initially introduced by President Dwight D. Eisenhower but later popularized by Stephen R. Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
The system categorizes all of our activities based on two factors: urgency and importance. Things are either (1) both urgent and important (short term crises and problems), (2) not urgent but important (long-term goals), (3) urgent but not important (distractions or interruptions), or (4) not urgent and not important (time-wasters).
Take one week to audit your time. Jot down every activity you do in the day and next to it write the quadrant it’s associated with and circle it. How much time did you spend on things that could have been avoided (quadrant 3)? How about on your long-term goals (quadrant 2)? And, how much time did you waste with quadrant 4 activities?
This should give you a strong sense on where your time is going, and allow you to better manage the little amount of time that you do have. By better managing your time, you can remove some stress and anxiety, and better prepare for an empowering morning routine at the start of your day.
It goes without saying that in order to develop a better morning routine, you need to wake up early. Simply crawling out of bed at the last minute won’t cut it. You need to train your body and your mind to wake up early.
How early? That’s entirely up to you. But you should leave yourself with at least one hour of quiet time before things get hectic. Don’t know how you’ll manage to wake up at least one hour earlier? Try starting with 10 minute increments.
For example, you could set your alarm clock 10 minutes back for the first three days, then another 10 minutes the next three days, and so on. Habits build slowly over time. And if you want to instill the habit of waking up earlier, you might not want to do too much too fast.
If you increment slowly by waking up earlier by 10 minutes each time, you can rewire the neural pathways in your mind over time. Even if you’re not a morning person, this process will still work for you.
Think about strengthening the tension on a guitar or piano string. By doing too much too fast, the string can snap. But, if it’s slowly tightened little by little, that tensions sets in, making the string slowly adapt. And the mind works very much in a similar way.
If you’ve set some goals in your life, then waking up early should become a priority. But you can’t just set goals in your mind; they need to be written out before you. The act of actually writing out your goals makes a significant difference in your ability to achieve them.
Set goals that are specific, measurable, and time-based. Come up with some strong enough reasons on why you must achieve those goals. As long as your reasons are profound enough, you’ll do what it takes to follow through.
Building your empowering morning routine, then, should involve tackling things that can help to advance those goals forward, also known as quadrant 2 activities when it comes to effective time management.
As long as you can organize your space and manage your time, you’ll leave room to work on the things that will matter most to you in life. Strong goals will help inspire you to move forward and slowly build momentum over time.
Your morning routine should also be focused on health and wellness. You need to ensure that you’re targeting a sound mind, body, and spirit. There should be an exercise component involved, no matter how small it might be. Even 10 minutes of brisk walking is enough to develop the deeper habit of more strenuous exercise over time.
Another component of your morning routine should involve gratitude. Find everything you can be grateful for in your life, and write it down in the morning. Have nothing to be grateful for? There’s always plenty to be thankful for when we truly search.
The act of writing out our gratitude for even 5 minutes in the morning helps to shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do have. That move from a state of lack to a state of abundance translates into everything that we do because our thoughts are that powerful.
Other things like eating a healthy breakfast, meditating for 15 minutes, and creating a massive action plan for the day should take center stage. But none of this can be done without waking up early, and in part ensuring that you get enough sleep.
Building an empowering morning routine doesn’t happen overnight. But, over time, with the insertion of small changes, it does evolve into something wonderful. The biggest hurdle is not to allow bad habits to creep back in and to revert back to our old ways.
Listen, we can’t lie to you. Sleep drugs are fantastic. Ambien, Lunesta… even regular old Advil PM. That stuff WORKS.
The side effects, however, can be a little less than optimal. Dependency, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and liver strain are just a few of the not-so-awesome things that can happen when you pop your nightly pills in a desperate attempt to avoid tossing and turning through the wee hours.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a few remedies that can help send you off to the Sandman in a more natural way.
Melatonin is sometimes known as the “Dracula of hormones,” which is pretty badass. Here’s why: it’s a hormone your body releases at night to signal you that it’s time to go to sleep. When the normal release is delayed or reduced, you might not be able to fall into a restful slumber.
Fortunately, you can buy it as a dietary supplement — just be aware of your dose. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Taking a typical dose (1 to 3mg) may elevate your blood melatonin levels to one to 20 times normal.” No need to go quadruple strength here.
Not everything your mother tells you is true, but you can totally believe the warm milk trick (even if it’s kind of gross). A glass of warm milk before bed is a good way to put you into sleep mode. “Warm milk, the old folk’s remedy, does contain a good dose of tryptophan… there are studies that suggest the dose of tryptophan is high enough to induce sleep, and improve quality of sleep, but is somewhat debated,” says Lucas Hausler, herbalist, acupuncturist, and owner of East Wind Herbs in San Diego.
Ginseng root is one of the oldest sleep remedies in the book, and has been used for more than 2,000 years. According to a review out of the University of Chicago School of Medicine, ginseng — specifically Korean ginseng, American ginseng, and Vietnamese ginseng — may help maintain normal sleep and wakefulness cycles. The study recommends a daily dosage of 1-2g of the crude root, or 200-600mg of extracts.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, who’s a New York Times best-selling author and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, we should think of magnesium as “the relaxation mineral.” And insomnia may really point to a magnesium deficiency. “This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.” Magnesium can be found in foods like almonds, cashews, buckwheat, walnuts, dandelion greens, garlic, avocado, shrimp, and more. You can also take magnesium supplements to help hit the 300mg per day dosage our bodies require.
Aside from smelling pretty damn heavenly, lavender has been used throughout history to help with insomnia. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders.