Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Bed & Bath’

6 Morning Hacks to Make Waking Up Easier

6 Morning Hacks to Make Waking Up Easier

Find the right alarm clock. Traditional alarm clocks don’t always do the trick. The snooze button feature often means trouble for the notoriously nocturnal folk. Instead, try a non-traditional alarm, like a light alarm, or — on the other side of the spectrum — the Shape Up clock. Whatever works for you, invest in it, and never miss out on your day because of that pesky snooze button again. (One helpful tip: make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Otherwise, waking up will remain a struggle you won’t win.)

Un-batten the hatches. Open those shades, sailor! Let the sunlight shine through! The sun’s rays inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Letting the sun hit your skin means you’ll wake up faster and more completely than if you were to spend your mornings in vampiric darkness.

Hydrate, hydrate! Drink a glass of room temperature water the moment you open your eyes. One, it will rehydrate you after a long night of snoozing, which in itself will revitalize your sleepy lids. But equally importantly, drinking a bedside glass of water can prevent you from hitting the snooze button too many times by converting your bladder into an alarm clock fail-safe.

Step outside for a minute. Weather permitting, of course. In the winter, I find the best way to wake up is to stick my head out the door and take 10 big gulps of fresh, crisp oxygen. It’s actually rather pleasant and can lift the dream fog from your mind. If you want to double the benefits, try fitting in some exercise to get your lymph and blood flowing. While your coffee maker is percolating, strap on the nearest pair of sneakers and take a quick stroll outside. Whether it is a shuffle to the end of your driveway, a walk with your dog around the block, or, if you’re lucky, a good jog at the local park, exposing yourself to the morning sunlight and invigorating air can wipe away all signs of sleepiness. Getting some movement in piles on clarity and endorphin-related happiness, meaning those pre-coffee hours don’t have to be spent in groggy misery!

Pre-prep a healthy breakfast. If you’re not a morning person, you may be tempted to grab a sugary pastry in lieu of a more nutritious mouthful. Spiking your body with sugar will only lead to more fatigue and cravings when you crash in a few hours. Instead, stick with a light, nutritious breakfast, while still challenging the ease of a drive-thru pastry. Just as you would organize your clothes and belongings the night before an important day, try prepping your breakfast the night before. Scramble some raw eggs and store them in the fridge in a container; chop up some veggies; get out the pan. That way, in the morning, all you have to do is toss it all in a skillet , and you’ve got a tummy-pleasing veggie omelet in the blink of one of your bleary eyes!

Set a goal. Even if your goal is to watch old re-runs of Friends when you’ve finished your day, give yourself something to look forward to in your schedule every day. It might be a cooking class, a lunchtime yoga class, a special salmon dinner, a nature walk, or drinks with a friend. Having something to look forward to will make it much easier to wake up in the morning, and will even invigorate the rest of your life. Talk about a win-win!

Mornings don’t need to be a struggle. With just a few simple tweaks, those wee hours can be a meditative and relaxing experience. And who knows, with any luck, mornings might even become your favorite part of the day!

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

6 Morning Habits You Need to Dig Into

6 Morning Habits You Need to Dig Into

Stop snoozing. You and your snooze button have quite the relationship, but it would be better if you got up as soon as your alarm goes off. It may take some serious discipline at first, but the snooze disturbs sleep often enough to make you feel more tired than if you had simply awoken, albeit a little groggy, on time. If you fall back into deep sleep and the snooze interrupts your cycle, you will be worse off. Don’t talk yourself out of it, just get up when your alarm tells you to. If you get really good, try using your internal clock to wake up, not an alarm, for better circadian rhythms.

Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm. There is a reason that sayings like this exist. Rising with the sun encourages creativity, productivity, and motivation. Waking up with a positive view of the quiet world is a gift. Likewise, this means going to bed earlier, as skimping on sleep is not the answer. Waking up with the sun is also great for balancing your hormones, as the sunlight hitting initiates all sorts of hormonal responses –like shutting down sleep-inducing melatonin production — that are essential for internal balance.

Take a deep breath and check in with yourself. The first thing you should do, once you’ve sat up out of bed, is a take a few deep inhalations to check in and ground yourself for the day. Take 10 breaths and clear your mind. Step outside onto your deck if you have one and feel the crisp morning air caress your face. Take your time and enjoy the quietude of morning before you bustle off to work or peruse the internet.

Get some exercise. Whether it’s 15 minutes of yoga/stretching or an hour long jog, working out in the morning has some major perks. It gets your blood flowing and helps you become more awake and energized throughout the day. It also ensures that you fit in some form of physical activity without getting stressed or too busy. Once you’ve exercised, your day will seem to open up with ample energy and less stress.

Drink warm water with lemon before coffee. If the first thing you do when you wake up if brew a pot of joe, try this instead. Not only will it wake you up on a more natural level than caffeine, but it will hydrate your dehydrated body and gently arouse your digestive system. Water in the morning also boasts other benefits, like clearer skin, better weight maintenance, increased nutrient absorption, and balanced lymph.

Eat when you’re hungry. There’s no need to shove breakfast into your mouth the second you awaken. Sure, many seem to say that eating breakfast within an hour of waking is important, but if you aren’t hungry or have a hard time eating that early, don’t sweat it. Your body will tell you when it’s time for food. Let it complete its nighttime clean-up before you overwhelm your digestive system with a hearty meal. Your body WILL survive in the interim.

Not everyone is a morning person. If you are a night owl and regularly stay up well past midnight working or unwinding, then so be it. But for most with traditional 9 to 5 jobs, waking up even an hour earlier could jumpstart their energy and productivity, allowing them to relax and de-stress at night. Seize your day! Utilize the morning hours and feel great all day.

By Jordan Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member Inernational Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

According to a recent study, the temperature of your bedroom actually has a direct impact on your fat composition, and potentially your metabolism. How so? It turns out that cooler temperatures result in an increase in brown fat, a metabolically active fat that, until recently, was not thought to exist in adults. Brown fat has been shown to burn ordinary white fat and increase insulin sensitivity. Adults contain mere teaspoonfuls within their necks and upper backs, but according to a study published in Diabetes, it can be altered by changing your sleeping habitat.

In the study, five young, healthy men slept in a controlled room with a controlled diet for 4 months — the first and third months spent sleeping at a neutral 75 degrees, the second month a cool 66, and the final month a very warm 81. Their findings were quite astounding. The men, while remaining neutral in the 75 degree bedrooms, actually doubled their levels of brown fat and improved their insulin sensitivity during their month in the 66 degree bedroom. This is because cooler temperatures, while still being above shivering, activate brown fat deposits, which start increasing and fervently burning fuel. Their ignition also improves the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is an important finding for diabetes and insulin resistance research.

On the other hand, the volunteers’ time spent sleeping in the 81 degree bedroom actually reduced their initial quantities of metabolically active brown fat, meaning they had less than they started out with. Luckily, this study shows that brown fat levels are not stagnant, and may be adjusted as easily as turning the thermostat down while you sleep. Plus, the lower heating bill can’t hurt in the winter!

Brown fat is mostly found in great quantities in infants and young children, gradually decreasing with age, as the elderly show the least amount. How else can you increase the brown fat you do possess? All-mighty exercise actually has the potential to morph some of your white fat into brown and burn more calories. It also helps to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and keep a positive outlook on life if you are looking to shed some pounds. If nothing else, that will help with anything.

Leesa recommends Taking Dr. Oz’s Sleep Quiz ….

By Jordan Corrmier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chews ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

7 Home Color Tips from a ‘Color Whisperer’

7 Home Color Tips from a ‘Color Whisperer’

Jeanette  Chasworth is a designer who specializes in color and the author of the newly  published book, What’s Color Got To Do With it? She is often called a “color whisperer.” She can go into a room and communicate with it, intuiting the  colors that are needed based on the client’s desires and the messages she picks  up from all of the objects in the room.

Having worked with energy in my own Feng Shui practice for many years, I love  the way that she sees color as a way to energetically shift the room so that her  clients feel as if the room is embracing them. She likens it to the way you feel  in your favorite outfit…”as if you can do anything. That’s what you should feel  in your home,” Jeannette continued, “empowered, relaxed, happy. What does a hug  feel like? Safe, warm, and comforting.  Your home can do that for you  too.”

Jeanette’s most asked question is how a client can change their space for the  least amount of money. The answer is always color,  which is often something that can leave people feeling stuck when working on  their home.

I asked Jeanette to tell me about the emotional and physical effects  of color and to talk about color do’s and dont’s:

“Color affects us every day. It can drain you, make you  hungry, calm you down, or invigorate you. We all have color in our homes and how  we use it affects our lives. We all have unique personalities and so does color.  Every color can create a certain “energy” in a room and it needs to match the  people in it.

I often get clients that are in a place of change…new home, new career, or  even someone who has died. Our homes are a mirror of who we are and when there’s  a change in our lives, we need to reflect it in our home.  I have found it  really helpful in people dealing with the last stages of grief. They are  rediscovering who they are and have to make some changes in order to find that  person. Some take the opportunity to finally get a piece of furniture they  always wanted or to create their dream kitchen or bathroom. Combining old  memories and making room for new memories is really important.”

What are seven color do’s and don’ts that you run into most often  that might help us in choosing color for our own homes?

1. Don’t Paint Your House White Because You Don’t Know  What to Do: Somewhere, somehow we got the idea that a white house was perfect. It made the house seem bigger and look fresh and  clean. Well, maybe, but it’s also hard to keep that way, and most  people like a little more color in their lives. Do you dress in all white every  day, or eat all white food every day? Most likely not; as humans, we want  variety. Your home is no different.

2. Don’t Pick a Color Because it’s Trendy: You need to pick  a color for YOU!

3. Don’t Paint for Resale: Too many people paint with the  idea of resale in mind. This works if you are actually selling the house  immediately but often that’s not the case. Would you go out on the street and  give the next person walking buy all the money for your remodel project? That’s  what you are doing if you design just for resale. You don’t know  what the next person will like or who they are, so how can you pick something  that they will buy? Look around your home — how much have you changed from the  previous owner?    Typically people live in a house for several years.  It’s important that it fits who you are and your needs first, not the next  people who may buy it.

4. Don’t Play it Safe Just to Be Safe: Many people will  select light colors or pastels because they think they will make it look bigger.  This is a huge myth. It’s not how dark or light a room is but it’s how much  light the paint reflects. A barely off-white blue can suck light out of a  room.

Always get a sample and always paint a large sample on the wall, particularly  in doorways where you can see into the next room. See how the color changes  throughout the day because it will. Test it to see how much light is reflected;  the one that reflects light is the one that will make your room look bigger.

5. Do Be Bold: Don’t be afraid to go into the middle of the  paint sample strip. Most people play it safe with the lighter colors at the top – the first or second sample. Don’t be afraid to look at the third, fourth, and  fifth samples. Don’t be afraid to have accents of the darkest colors at the  bottom.

You are an amazing and unique person and it’s important that the colors on  your walls have as much character as you do. Are you bold? Go bold! Don’t  be afraid. Reach into that inner you and ask… what color am I?

6. Do Look Up at the Ceiling: This is the  forgotten element of most homes. Most people think it needs to be white, and  when asked why, the answer is always, “It’s supposed to be white.” Says who?  Start really looking around you when you are in public places and you will see a  lot of other colors. You can paint it a lighter shade of your wall, the same  color as your wall, or if you want, something really bold – darker than the  walls. Just think about doing something a little different and see how much it  changes your room.

7. Do Think About What Mood You Want to Create: Color  creates a mood and each color has specific moods that it creates. Think about  how the room will be used, how you want to feel in it. Do you want to relax or  do you want to re-energize? Color can influence all kinds of things from how  much you eat to how much you sleep. Use it as your friend to improve your  life.

By Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is a  motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to  their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui  speaker, green living columnist, teacher and the author of the book Small  Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of  the West  Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection. Find out  more at www.ericasofrina.com

10 Habits for Better Sleep

10 Habits for Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep ensures more than extra spring in your step each day.  According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, chronic sleep loss can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakening of the immune system! Conversely, good sleeping habits boost the ability to learn and remember things, keep weight in check, keep an upbeat attitude, maintain cardiovascular health, fight off disease, and avoid accidents caused by drowsiness. If you struggle with getting quality zzzs, the following tips can help you develop sleeping habits to live by.

Go to bed at the same time every night.
One of the best ways to ensure you get enough sleep it to create a routine that you and your body become accustomed to. And step number one in establishing a healthy sleep routine is setting and sticking to a bedtime that allows you to get enough sleep—but not too much sleep. (The National Sleep Foundations claims the “right” amount of sleep is based on the individual and his or her age.) Select a bedtime that gives you between seven and eight hours of snooze time and you’re on the right track.

Wake up at the same time every morning.
The yin to the above tip’s yang, waking up at the same time each day not only assures you don’t oversleep. It also enables your body to get into a rhythm, and lots of studies have shown that longstanding routine—as well as adequate sleep—has been linked to longevity.

Nap if you go off schedule.
Travel, deadlines, worries, and all kinds of other routine interruptions can put a damper on your sleep schedule. But rather than try to make up lost time by sleeping in, it’s better to take a midday nap when you can. Otherwise, you will throw off your new routine.

Don’t drink caffeine in the evening.
The drink that gets you going in the morning is also the one that will keep you up at night—if you drink it too late in the day. Know your limits and avoid caffeine too close to bedtime. After all, the last thing you want to do is tuck yourself in only to stare at the walls as your heart races thanks to an after-dinner espresso.

Don’t use technology in your bedroom.
Your TV, smartphone, and computer are all gadgets that get your mind buzzing, not relaxing. In order to calm yourself down, it’s a good idea to keep all distractions out of sight, lest you be inspired to click on the news or check your email one last time. In fact, your bedroom should only incorporate items conducive to sleep.

Create darkness.
Your body is designed to take sleep cues from darkness. So why not help it out by making your space nice and dark? Use thick curtains or shades, cover or hide the clock, and help your brain power down for the night.

Use a noise machine if necessary.
Some noises are soothing, such as the sound of the ocean or the whisper of the wind. But other noises—like loud neighbors or honking cars—can keep you from getting the zzzs you need. Luckily, there are plenty of noise machines on the market that offer a variety of “white noise” options. Even a fan can help drown out unwanted decibels if you’re in a pinch.

Eat on the early side.
Big meals right before bedtime force your body to digest rather than rest, while especially rich or spicy meals may cause sleep-depriving discomfort as they make their way through your stomach. Eat light and on the early side and you’ll ensure your food won’t keep you up.

Avoid alcohol before bed.
Sure, alcohol can make you drowsy and even help you fall asleep. But it also tends to wake you up in the middle of the night, lessening the overall quality of your sleep. Steer clear of libations, or go moderate early in the evening, to increase your chances of solid sleep.

Make sure your bed is comfortable.
If ever there were an investment worth making, it’s a quality mattress and bedding. Yes, these items are expensive. But consider them a preventative medical expense—seriously. A good mattress and comfy sheets and pillows help ensure you get the sleep you need—and all the health benefits that come with it.

By Molly, from DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

How to Recover From a Sleep Deficit

How to Recover From a Sleep Deficit

Economic woes keep many of us awake,

but you can give yourself a bedtime bailout package.

Can’t sleep? If you find yourself looking up at the ceiling at 3 am thinking about your financial future, know that you are not alone. A third of Americans say that they have been losing sleep over the state of the economy and personal financial concerns, according to the results of a poll released last month by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The economy has added to the already epidemic number of Americans experiencing sleep difficulties: 72 percent of American adults report sleeping less than 8 hours a night, up from 62 percent in 2001. And 20 percent of adults report sleeping less than 6 hours a night, up from 13 percent in 2001.

Losing sleep does more than make you tired. Insufficient sleep is related to numerous cognitive, emotional, and medical conditions, including impaired concentration and anxiety, depression, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, as well as memory and immune dysfunction. Sleep deprivation is a public-safety issue as well, causing tens of thousands of car and truck accidents every year. In the recent NSF poll, 54 percent of drivers said they had driven while drowsy at least once during the past year, and 28 percent said they had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving a vehicle. When sleep-deprived subjects are brought into the lab to perform a driving simulation, they perform more poorly than intoxicated subjects.

WHAT IT MEANS: If you are one of the millions of people who are not getting the sleep you need, there are several strategies you can use to improve your sleep:

1. Stick to a schedule.

Do your best to fall sleep at about the same time each night and wake up at about the same time each morning, weekends included. Your body does best with a regular sleep-wake rhythm.

2. Stay away from food and alcohol.

Avoid eating for at least 3 hours before going to bed. Avoid drinking alcohol late in the evening. While a drink or two might relax you at first and help you fall asleep, the effect can wear off during the night, causing a rebound alertness that can wake you up and make it hard to get back to sleep.

3. Exercise.

Engage in vigorous exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. “Vigorous” means that most of the time, you’re too out of breath to speak more than a few words. If exercising in the evening makes it hard for you to get to sleep, do your workout in the morning or afternoon.

4. Create a restful bedroom.

Make sure your bedroom environment is conducive to sleep. It should be dark, quiet, cool, and uncluttered. We spend so much time in our bedrooms that we tend to overlook the simple changes that could help us get more sleep, such as hanging thicker curtains to block out light, or moving the bed away from a noisy window.

5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

The moment you get into bed, you want to have a feeling of rest and relaxation that invites sleep. But if you engage in brain-stimulating activities in the bedroom, such as watching TV, sending e-mails, or talking on the phone, you become conditioned to associate your bed with energy and alertness, and that interferes with sleep.

6. Learn how to relax your body and quiet your mind.

Simple relaxation techniques like slow abdominal breathing, progressive relaxation, or guided imagery allow your body to release tension and your mind to settle down so you can ease into sleep. If it’s worry and anxiety that keep your mind from settling down, keep a notebook by your bed and jot down your concerns (and any possible solutions) before you turn out the light. The act of recording your worries so you can tackle them later helps you feel more in control.

7. Don’t worry about falling sleep!

While this might sound like the ultimate catch-22 for someone struggling to sleep, this may be the most overlooked tactic of all. The truth is, you can lessen the struggle by changing the way you think about sleep. Instead of thinking, I’ll never get to sleep. I’ll be a wreck tomorrow, say to yourself, Eventually, I’ll get to sleep. Even if I don’t get a full night’s sleep, I’ll be able to function tomorrow. I always do. Try turning your alarm clock to the side so you won’t be constantly confronted with how late it is.

By Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, Rodale.com

Jeff Rossman, PhD, is a Rodale.com advisor, and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. His column, Mind-Body-Mood Booster, appears most weeks on Rodale.com.


Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice. Rodale.com features a Daily Newsletter, and provides simple, powerful tools including Recipe Finder and Home Remedy Finder to help audiences improve their health and their environment. Rodale.com also includes “Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen,” a personal blog where Editor-in-Chief and Rodale, Inc. CEO and Chairman Maria Rodale is “Cooking Up Trouble, Dishing Out Advice.”

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