sleep http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5839/all en-US 6 Signs That You're Sleep Deprived http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-youre-sleep-deprived <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-that-youre-sleep-deprived" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tired-businesswoman-178042724-small.jpg" alt="tired businesswoman" title="tired businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yawns, irritability, lack of oomph. These are the tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation we're all familiar with. But studies show a shortage of slumber can have far greater &mdash; and stranger &mdash; consequences on our bodies and minds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hours-9-hours-this-is-how-much-sleep-you-really-need?ref=seealso">8 Hours? 9 Hours? This Is How Much Sleep You REALLY Need</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of some of the less-than-obvious repercussions of sleep loss.</p> <h2>1. You've Got a Shortened Attention Span</h2> <p>A shortened attention span can result directly from sleep deprivation. Now for the scary part: It can also be irreversible. Leading researchers this year found <a href="http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/03/veasey/">evidence of brain damage in people suffering from chronic sleep loss</a>.</p> <p>&quot;In general, we've always assumed full recovery of cognition following short- and long-term sleep loss,&quot; said Sigrid Veasey, the lead researcher behind the study. &quot;But some of the research in humans has shown that attention span and several other aspects of cognition may not normalize even with three days of recovery sleep, raising the question of lasting injury in the brain.&quot;</p> <h2>2. You've Got High Blood Pressure</h2> <p>A single night of inadequate sleep in people suffering from existing hypertension can trigger elevated blood pressure. Researchers believe this may explain <a href="http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk">the correlation between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease and stroke</a>.</p> <h2>3. You're Gaining Weight</h2> <p>Poor sleep is now considered a risk factor for obesity, right up there with overeating and lack of exercise. Studies show that people who sleep less than six hours per night are much more likely to have a higher than average body mass index. People who habitually sleep eight hours or more have the lowest BMI.</p> <p>The bodies of people who are sleep deprived also tend to secrete greater amounts of insulin following a meal. Insulin promotes fat storage, and higher levels of insulin are associated with weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes.</p> <h2>4. You're Making Mistakes Left and Right</h2> <p>Sleep deprivation can impair job performance &mdash; and the consequences can be mammoth. Investigators have determined that <a href="http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-performance-and-public-safety">sleep deprivation played a role in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger</a>, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.</p> <p>Sleep loss is also the culprit behind an untold number of medical errors in hospitals. More than a million injuries and up to 100,000 deaths each year result from preventable medical errors, and many of these may be caused by insufficient sleep, according to Institutes of Medicine.</p> <h2>5. You've Been In a Car Crash &mdash; And It Was Your Fault</h2> <p>A National Sleep Foundation survey found that 60% of adult drivers &mdash; about 168 million people &mdash; have been drowsy at the wheel in the past year, and that more than 100 million people have actually dozed off while strapped in the driver's seat. Another estimate by the Institute of Medicine points to drowsy driving as the cause of 20% of all motor vehicle crashes. That would mean that poor sleep causes approximately 1 million crashes, 500,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S.</p> <h2>6. You're Feeling Depressed</h2> <p>Lack of sleep may trigger depression &mdash; especially in teens. <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/06/272441146/less-sleep-more-time-online-amp-up-teen-depression-risk">Teenagers who don't get enough sleep</a> are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to research from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.</p> <p>Ironically, sleep deprivation is also being studied as a <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-sleep-deprivation-eases-depression/">treatment for depression</a>, the very mental ailment it's known to cause. Research shows that sleep deprivation is successful up to 70% of the time when used as a method to boost the mood of a person who's feeling depressed. But here's the kicker: It only lasts until the person falls asleep.</p> <p><em>Can't get a good night's sleep? What are you doing to sleep more? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-youre-sleep-deprived" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Signs That You&#039;re Sleep Deprived" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips fitness insomnia lack of sleep sleep sleepiness Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1235109 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-prettier-smarter-and-healthier-while-you-sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-get-prettier-smarter-and-healthier-while-you-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-sleeping-460137233-small.jpg" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a whole lot you can accomplish in your sleep &mdash; a battery recharge, brain power refresher, and a more youthful glow among them. Read on for our round-up of the top six ways you can maximize your slumber. Because if you're going to multi-task during the day, you might as well do so at night, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep?ref=seealso">10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lower the Thermostat</h2> <p>We can boost metabolic health and even burn a few more calories each day by sleeping in chillier bedrooms. Researchers say <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24954193">66 degrees is ideal sleeping weather</a> &mdash; it helps our bodies build up the good fats that burn off calories and fends off insulin sensitivity that can lead to diabetes. It's also good for our bank accounts during long, cold winters.</p> <h2>2. Opt for Satin or Silk</h2> <p>A pillowcase made of satin or silk is good for the hair and skin. Unlike cotton, linen, and polyester, dermatologists have found that these fibers actually soften wrinkles because they create only minimal friction between your head and the pillowcase. They're also packed with proteins that <a href="http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00767104">prevent hair from splitting and frizzing</a>.</p> <h2>3. Go to Bed With a Clean, Moisturized Face</h2> <p>It's important to wash your face thoroughly to remove all the dirt and makeup that can clog your pores and lead to unpleasant morning breakouts. It's equally important to moisturize to help improve your skin tone and texture while repairing any sun damage. The good news is there's no need to break the bank on designer night creams.</p> <p>Experts say even the most basic moisturizers are packed with peptides and vitamin C, and those are precisely the ingredients you need to make your skin firmer and prevent new wrinkles from forming. Creams containing retinol can be a bit more costly, but the bang for your buck is big: Retinol is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/fashion/21skin.html?pagewanted=all">one of few ingredients available without a prescription that treats the wrinkles you already have</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sleep on Your Back</h2> <p>Over time, those crease lines you wake up with after a night spent on your stomach or your side will become full-blown wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. But you can avoid smooshing your skin against the sheets by slumbering on your back. Experts say <a href="http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/health-and-beauty/every-stage-of-life/adult-skin/what-causes-aging-skin">it's the best sleeping position</a>, and not just because it minimizes wrinkling. Sleeping on your back also prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux and helps women retain perky breasts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-sleeping-position-may-be-hurting-you">Your Sleeping Position May Be Hurting You</a>)</p> <h2>5. Listen to Classical Music</h2> <p>Playing soft classical music 45 minutes before bed or while you slumber has been linked to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18426457">decreased anxiety, lower blood pressure, and curing insomnia</a>. It also makes you smarter. Studies show that children who listen to Mozart become more intelligent. It's called &quot;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130107-can-mozart-boost-brainpower">The Mozart Effect</a>,&quot; and if it works for kids, it's apt to work for adults, right?</p> <h2>6. Get a Solid 7 Hours of Shut-Eye &mdash; At Least</h2> <p>Sleep experts recommend we all get seven to eight hours of sleep a night if you want to be fresh, sharp, and good-natured in the morning. Those who skimp on their slumber risk more than sluggishness and a grumpy demeanor. Studies show that people who average less than seven hours of sleep at night are nearly three times <a href="http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/169/1/62">more likely to catch the common cold</a> than those who sleep for eight hours or more. Those who sleep less than six hours a night are <a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410832">more likely to have excess body fat</a>. And people who report sleeping less than five hours a night are more <a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410883">at risk for having or developing Type 2 Diabetes</a>.</p> <p><em>Are you getting enough sleep?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-prettier-smarter-and-healthier-while-you-sleep" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Get Prettier, Smarter, and Healthier While You Sleep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development beauty secrets posture self improvement sleep Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1205244 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Hours? 9 Hours? This Is How Much Sleep You REALLY Need http://www.wisebread.com/8-hours-9-hours-this-is-how-much-sleep-you-really-need <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-hours-9-hours-this-is-how-much-sleep-you-really-need" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleeping-girl-clock-178708632-small.jpg" alt="sleeping girl clock" title="sleeping girl clock" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ask anyone how much sleep they should be getting and most people will tell you 8 to 9 hours. But new research suggests that you might actually need less sleep than that &mdash; possibly as little as 7 hours for full rest and maximum health benefits.</p> <p>A recent Wall Street Journal article examined several sleep studies and concluded that most <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/sleep-experts-close-in-on-the-optimal-nights-sleep-1405984970">people would be better off with 7 hours of sleep</a> than with 8 or 9 hours. Getting too much sleep may be just as harmful or even <em>more</em> harmful to your health than getting too little sleep. So, why is 7 hours better? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <p>One study examined by the article tracked the self-reporting habits of 1.1 million people and found that those reporting 6.5 to 7.4 hours of sleep had lower mortality rates than those getting more or less sleep. Another study used a device to track how much sleep 450 elderly women got and concluded that those women getting more than 6.5 hours or fewer than 5 hours of sleep had higher mortality rates.</p> <p>Perhaps my favorite study involved placing five adults in &quot;Stone Age like conditions&quot; in Germany for over two months. They didn't have electricity, clocks, or running water. The study found that &quot;participants fell asleep about two hours earlier and got on average 1.5 hours more sleep than was estimated in their normal lives.&quot; Their average amount of sleep per night: 7.2 hours.</p> <p>As a sleep deprived mother of a 4-week-old I have a hard time believing that getting too much sleep can be just as harmful as getting too little sleep. (Especially after reading this study that shows that <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/sleep-study-shows-new-moms-dangerously-exhausted-months/">new moms are dangerously exhausted</a> for months after their little ones are born.) But being so sleep deprived, 7 hours of sleep currently does sound like a lot.</p> <p>So, if, on average, people only need 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep, how do you know how much sleep <em>you</em> need?</p> <h2>Factors to Determine How Much Sleep You Need</h2> <p>The following factors influence how much sleep you need.</p> <h3>1. Your Gender</h3> <p><a href="http://blog.bufferapp.com/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need-to-work-productively">Women need more sleep than men</a>, by an average of about 20 minutes a night. And pregnant women in their first trimester need even more sleep than that.</p> <h3>2. The Quality of Sleep You're Getting</h3> <p>Anyone who is frequently awakened by the blaring siren from the fire station down the street or the cries of a hungry newborn knows that 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep is extremely different from 7 hours of pieced together, interrupted sleep. Similarly, sleeping on rocky ground while camping or on your in-laws pull-out couch is much different that your own mattress. The better the quality of your sleep, the less you'll need.</p> <h3>3. How Much &quot;Sleep Debt&quot; You're In</h3> <p>If you've been skimping on sleep for awhile you likely will <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">need more sleep to catch up</a> than if you are continually well-rested.</p> <h3>4. Your Age</h3> <p>Newborns sleep up to 20 hours a day, toddlers 11-14 hours, twenty-somethings 7.5 hours, and the downward trend continues up to 80 year olds who sleep less than 6 hrs a day. So, depending on your age, <a href="http://jamesclear.com/better-sleep?hvid=5x3MK2">you may need more or less sleep</a> than others.</p> <h3>5. Your Genes</h3> <p>As with most differences between individuals, genes play a role in how much sleep you need. If you're someone who has almost always needed a lot of or very little sleep, chances are your genes are playing a role, too.</p> <p><em>How much sleep do you get a night? Do you feel like it's too little, enough, or too much?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hours-9-hours-this-is-how-much-sleep-you-really-need" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Hours? 9 Hours? This Is How Much Sleep You REALLY Need" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development enough sleep Health sleep sleep research Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1195554 at http://www.wisebread.com The WORST Time of Day to Do Everything http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-yelling-465641459-small.jpg" alt="man yelling" title="man yelling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that there tend to be optimal times during the day for everything from scheduling a doctor's appointment to taking a nap to making the most of a workout to having a productive meeting at work. There are plenty of guides out there telling you when you should do these things to get the ideal result. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-time-of-the-day-to-do-everything?ref=seealso">The Best Time of Day to Do Everything</a>)</p> <p>However, these guides ignore the other side of the time puzzle: when is the <em>worst</em> time of day to do various activities? Because missing out on an optimal time for an activity is certainly less than ideal, but actually choosing the worst possible time could be frustrating, inefficient, and counterproductive.</p> <p>So here is a primer on how <em>not</em> to schedule your day if you want to avoid aggravation, wasted time, and even death:</p> <h2>7:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Have an Argument</h2> <p>Early in the morning is a time of hope and promise for a great new day. It might seem like a good time to bring up your engagement to Spike to your disapproving dad.</p> <p>Unfortunately, early morning is the worst time of day to have a stressful conversation or argument. That's because a <a href="http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/98/1/31.full">cardiac arrest is more likely to occur early in the day</a> (between 6 a.m. and noon) according to researchers. So if you have some shocking news to share with an elderly relative, wait until the afternoon to reveal it. Grandpa will thank you.</p> <h2>9:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Schedule a Meeting</h2> <p>You might think first thing in the morning is the best time to get all of your co-workers together to go over your TPS reports. But as it turns out, 9:00 a.m. is just about the worst time of day to schedule a meeting &mdash; despite often being touted as the best block of time for <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/time-management/best-time-day-just-about-anything-10000001053802/page2.html">memory retention</a> and <a href="http://lifehacker.com/the-best-time-of-day-to-get-ideas-according-to-science-1541494290">creative thinking</a>. Keith Harris, chief technology officer of the scheduling app <a href="http://whenisgood.net/">WhenIsGood.net</a>, examined 2 million responses to 530,000 scheduled events and found that the first part of the workday is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2014/02/19/the-best-and-worst-times-to-do-things-at-work/">when you'll have the most no-shows at your meeting</a>.</p> <p>Instead, if you need all hands on deck for your meeting, plan it for around 2:30 p.m. or 3:00 p.m., when your workforce is most flexible.</p> <h2>11:00 a.m. &mdash; Don't Go to the Doctor</h2> <p>You schedule your appointment at 11:00 a.m., thinking that you'll be able to see your doc and maybe have a little time left over for lunch before you have to get back to the office. Instead, you cool your heels in reception for 40 minutes just waiting to be taken back to the exam room &mdash; where you wait another 10 minutes for your doctor to see you.</p> <p>Just like the rest of us, doctors tend to get behind in their work, and the <a href="http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2002687669_healthdoctorvisit18.html">appointments just before their lunch</a> (and before the end of the work day) are going to be when they are the most behind. Doctors often get caught up over the lunch hour (no new patients to see during that time), but those poor individuals watching their 11:00 a.m. appointment time come and go are going to be the ones bearing the brunt of the doctor's lateness.</p> <p>Instead, either take the earliest appointment in the day, or the first appointment after the lunch hour.</p> <h2>12:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Work Out During Your Lunch Hour</h2> <p>Trying to find the time to fit exercise into your life can be difficult. You might be tempted to skip your lunch and go for a short but intense workout in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, you won't necessarily be doing yourself any big favors by working out then.</p> <p>According to researchers at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, our <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041027143621.htm">lungs lose power in the middle of the day</a>. Just like the rest of our bodies, our lungs follow a circadian rhythm. Lung performance is at its lowest early in the morning and in the middle of the day. It's at its highest between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. And noon exercisers experience as much as 15% to 20% of performance lost &mdash; although anyone with healthy, strong lungs will not necessarily find such a difference noticeable.</p> <p>If the only way you can fit exercise in your life is to work out during your lunch hour, then you're definitely better off for it. However, if you are working toward a race or otherwise attempting to improve your performance, wait to work out until late afternoon, when your lung function will work for you instead of against you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly?ref=seealso">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a>)</p> <h2>1:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Try to Learn Something New</h2> <p>You probably remember the difficulty you had staying awake in Mr. Medvetz's 1:00 Trigonometry class in high school? How about finding him as interesting as Ben Stein (&quot;Anyone? Anyone?&quot;) in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BNX4MC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BNX4MC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6KVJLPZQI7CN7NTP">Ferris Bueller's Day Off</a>.</p> <p>As it turns out, you may have misjudged your old teacher, since taking that class after lunch meant you were fighting your body's natural circadian rhythm.</p> <p>In the early afternoon, our bodies experience a dip in body temperature, similar to the temperature decrease we feel just before going to bed at night. That lowered temperature in the early afternoon can make you want to pull a George Costanza and take a nap under your desk.</p> <p>But even if you fight through the sleepiness, you will find that trying to learn something new while you are drowsy will <a href="http://educationnext.org/do-schools-begin-too-early/">impair your ability to recall the information</a> that you learn. Rather than force yourself to take in new information while fighting your urge for a siesta, go ahead and close your eyes for about 15 to 20 minutes &mdash; and no more than 30 total, or you'll feel groggier than you did when you started. The quick nap can help improve your cognitive performance.</p> <h2>4:00 p.m. &mdash; Don't Hit Your Local Starbucks</h2> <p>By 4:00 in the afternoon, your morning coffee and lunchtime Diet Coke have both worn off, and you might feel the need to run to your favorite coffee shop for some hot, sweet caffeine. While you'd never drink coffee with dinner &mdash; or even after 5:00 &mdash; you know that you've got more than enough time before bed to let this late afternoon pick-me-up get out of your system.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, you don't. According to new research, caffeine taken as many six hours before bed can not only make it difficult for you to fall asleep at bedtime, but it can also <a href="http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=29198">reduce the duration of your night's sleep</a> by more than one hour.</p> <p>If you must re-caffeinate in the afternoon, try to cut yourself off from the coffee by 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. at the latest. Alternatively, taking a brisk walk outside for about 10 minutes can give a more natural jolt of energy (and endorphins) that will help you focus for the end of your workday.</p> <h2>Don't Fight Nature</h2> <p>Circadian rhythms and the human tendency to misuse time are both things that you can plan around to avoid wasting time each day. As you get the most out of each conversation, meeting, appointment, workout, and cup of coffee, you'll be glad you paid attention to human nature.</p> <p><em>When is the worst time for you to do&hellip; anything? Now's a good time to share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-time-of-day-to-do-everything" class="sharethis-link" title="The WORST Time of Day to Do Everything" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development circadian rhythm productivity sleep time Fri, 27 Jun 2014 09:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1149833 at http://www.wisebread.com Science Proves It: You NEED to Take a Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/science-proves-it-you-need-to-take-a-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/science-proves-it-you-need-to-take-a-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-477210609.jpg" alt="suitcase" title="suitcase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;All who wander are not lost.&quot; &mdash; J. R. R. Tolkien</p> <p>Fifty-seven percent of American workers <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/244771/americas-war-on-vacation-by-the-numbers">don't take all of the vacation days</a> they're given by their employers. As many as <a href="http://donjosephgoewey.com/vacations-rebuild-the-brain/">half a billion vacation days</a> go unused, and 92% of people who do take vacation check in at the office at least once during that time. Most developed nations &mdash; 20 out of 21 &mdash; have mandated vacation benefits. The U.S. is the lone exception, and that could be harming the productivity and health of the American workforce. Here are five scientific studies that highlight the holistic benefits of vacation.</p> <h2>1. Vacation Fires Up the Brain</h2> <p>Time away from work, all work, actually ignites the brain. In the mid-1990s, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/">show that while people concentrate</a> on a task, parts of their brain experience a drastic reduction in activity. When those same people let their minds wander, those same parts of the brain light up like a Christmas tree. Downtime is actually a <em>stimulant</em> for the brain.</p> <h2>2. Vacation Sparks Creativity</h2> <p>If you like to spend your vacation time exploring other cultures, chances are <a href="http://www.cob.niu.edu/ibs/students/Be%20a%20Better%20Manager,%20Live%20Abroad.pdf">your downtime will supercharge your creativity</a>. Scientists found that people who spend time abroad are forced to learn to navigate the world on very different terms than they usually experience in their everyday lives. Being a stranger in a strange land strengthens our creative muscles, literally and figuratively, and those benefits linger long after the vacation ends. These experiences also make us better managers, negotiators, and collaborators.</p> <h2>3. A Rested Brain Is a Connected Brain</h2> <p>For too long, sleep was seen as a waste of time. Now there are <a href="http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep">a plethora of sleep studies</a> that show sleep and rest are the very best methods to assimilate new information into knowledge we can use in future circumstances. We are bombarded by information, data, and many other forms of stimuli during every waking moment. When we rest, our brains have the opportunity to connect all of these disparate dots, and those connections lead to insights great and small. Sleep and rest also improve memory. So, be sure to get plenty of rest on your next vacation!</p> <h2>4. The Shortest Bridge Between Despair and Hope Is a Good Vacation</h2> <p>This is more than a clever turn of phrase. It's actually grounded in science. Studies show that <a href="http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/11/19/dr-max-gomez-helping-depressed-patients-get-some-sleep/">people who sleep 7-8 hours per night are happier and healthier</a>. If you're feeling low, rest and relaxation via a vacation may be exactly what the doctor will order. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/24/vacation.mental.benefits/">Vacation gives us a chance to truly let go</a>, and that's food for the emotional centers of the brain that will bring it back into balance.</p> <h2>5. Vacation Reduces Stress</h2> <p>Stress is one of the root causes of disease. It's been shown to cause cellular degeneration and increase blood pressure, sugar levels, and blood lipid levels that increase the risks for heart disease and stroke. It also negatively impacts the respiratory and digestive systems. In short, stress kills. <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/30/health/la-he-brain-on-vacation-20110530">A true vacation gives us a chance to detox</a> the body of stress, and that detox is crucial for our long-term health. It recharges us mentally and physically, with a particularly positive impact on brain health and cognitive function.</p> <p>With all these benefits of vacation, it's time to get out those travel books, fire up your search engine, and start planning your next great getaway. Don't think of it as time off; think of it as an investment in your most valuable asset &mdash; you and your health!</p> <p><em>Have you noticed how vacation improves your productivity? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-proves-it-you-need-to-take-a-vacation" class="sharethis-link" title="Science Proves It: You NEED to Take a Vacation" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity creativity productivity sleep stress vacation Fri, 09 May 2014 09:00:18 +0000 Christa Avampato 1138609 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How You Speed Up Your Morning Routine (and Get More Sleep) http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-speed-up-your-morning-routine-and-get-more-sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-you-speed-up-your-morning-routine-and-get-more-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/morning-5281353-small.jpg" alt="morning" title="morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How you handle your morning impacts the productivity of your entire day.</p> <p>When you get a good night's rest, your mind is clearer, more focused, and more energetic than it would be if you didn't get enough sleep. It doesn't matter how many energy drinks or cups of coffee you guzzle down; nothing can replace sleep. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning?ref=seealso">13 Things Successful People Do Each Morning</a>)</p> <p>The routine that you put in place whenever you wake up is critical when it comes to getting work done and moving through your to-do list. For those looking to take advantage of that clear mind and fresh morning air, the goal should be to streamline the morning routine and maximize productivity, all without sacrificing your Zs.</p> <p>It sounds like a tall order, but we can get it done in a number of practical ways.</p> <h2>1. Figure Out When to Go to Bed Based on When You Have to Get Up</h2> <p>Our bodies are programmed to <a href="http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/sleep-101">sleep for certain amounts of time</a>, based on five to six sleep cycles. Each cycle is about 90 minutes long. A website called <a href="http://sleepyti.me/">sleepyti.me</a> actually lets you calculate what time you should go to sleep based on when you want to get up.</p> <p>It'll give you a few different bedtime options. Getting up early doesn't necessarily mean going to bed earlier. What's more important is timing it so that you wake between cycles, rather than in the middle of one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps?ref=seealso">Great Sleep-Tracking Apps</a>)</p> <h2>2. Set Your Clothes Out</h2> <p>Somehow, getting dressed seems to take longer in the morning than it does in the evening.</p> <p>Choose and set out your outfit the night before so that you don't need to spend time deliberating about what to wear or where to find it. Figuring that stuff out at night is much easier, and you'll save yourself anywhere from five to ten minutes in the morning.</p> <p>Or you can do what I do: I pick out a whole week's worth of outfits from my button-down and pants to my undershirt and undies, iron them (not the undies), and put them together on one hanger per outfit in the closet in order of when I want to wear them. It makes my mornings less of a chore &mdash; and allows me more time to snooze. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine?ref=seealso">Change Your Bedtime Routine, Change Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>3. Don't Check Facebook</h2> <p>You know you do it. The next thought you have after, &quot;Crap, I've got to get up&quot; is to check your Facebook account. Maybe it's not Facebook. Maybe it's email or your RSS feeds, Twitter, or something sports related. Whatever it is, it's taking time away from both starting your day and time that you could've been sleeping.</p> <p>If you decide to get up, leave your phone be until you get to a point in the day where you've gotten some work under your belt and you need to take a break. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">Breaking Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <h2>4. Get a Quick Breakfast</h2> <p>Don't skip breakfast in the morning if you can help it.</p> <p>It's really the one meal that can work with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-easy-breakfasts-for-people-on-the-go">quick solutions</a>, so don't pass it up just to save time. Eating breakfast helps you focus, gets your metabolism going, and gives you energy to get you through to the lunch hour.</p> <p>You might feel like you're saving time by skipping it, but it's counterproductive, even on a good day. Cooking a big breakfast isn't necessary, but use some of the quick ideas to nourish your body before you head out the door.</p> <h2>5. Eat Lunch at Work</h2> <p>If lunch cuts into your morning routine, free up that last half-hour by packing a lunch the night before and eating at your desk.</p> <p>It's cheaper, it's better for your health than restaurant food, and it frees you from having to drive somewhere at 11:30 a.m. for a noon lunch.</p> <h2>6. Shower the Night Before</h2> <p>Some people need a shower in the morning to wake up, but if you prefer to just get up and head out the door, take your shower right before you go to bed, and you'll be fine to go without one in the morning.</p> <h2>7. Brew Your Own Coffee</h2> <p>It's a much quicker process to brew your own coffee than it is to go through the trouble of getting to Starbucks and waiting in line for somebody else to prepare your morning pick-me-up. It's also a lot cheaper. If you have a coffee maker that you can set and forget, your hot cup of joe will be ready for you to take on the go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-coffeemakers?ref=seealso">5 Great Coffeemakers</a>)</p> <h2>Take Advantage of the Morning Hours</h2> <p>While you don't want to short change your sleep, the morning hours and the routine that fills them will set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to get around seven or eight hours of sleep, and then streamline your morning activities as much as possible.</p> <p>The sooner you get to the point where you can start being productive, without having sacrificed much-needed sleep, the better off the rest of your day will be.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to speed up your morning routine and get more sleep? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-speed-up-your-morning-routine-and-get-more-sleep" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is How You Speed Up Your Morning Routine (and Get More Sleep)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Organization mornings routine sleep Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:48:23 +0000 Mikey Rox 1135031 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/morning-86504292.jpg" alt="breakfast" title="breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Going to bed is one of those things I tend to take for granted. After all, I've done it every, single night for over 35 years (well, except for a few in college!). At this point in life, I don't think much about it &mdash; I go through my sparse routine and then curl up under the blankets.</p> <p>However, it turns out that getting things done before bedtime &mdash; and in fact incorporating them into your nightly routine&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;can help you make major changes to your life. Think about it &mdash; if you complete tasks before bed, then you don't have to do them after you get up in the morning. (See also: </span><a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning?ref=seealso">Life Hacks That'll Save You Time in the Morning</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">)</span></p> <h2>1. Ask Your Questions</h2> <p>This comes straight from Benjamin Franklin himself. Choose a question or two that will help you <a href="http://parade.condenast.com/35748/parade/what-was-benjamin-franklins-daily-routine/">focus on your values or achieve your goals</a>, and contemplate it before you go to sleep. Franklin's question, for example, was &quot;What good have I done today?&quot; He valued contributing positively to the world, and answering this question helped him focus on that.</p> <p>It may help you to journal your answers. This can mean anything from simply jotting a few words in a notebook to writing several pages or paragraphs. You can also dictate your answers into a voice recorder, so that you can access them later.</p> <h2>2. Disengage</h2> <p>If you want to sleep well and wake refreshed for the day ahead, take some time to disengage from work, family, and life in general before you try to sleep. This doesn't just mean clearing your mind of the day, but gives you time to think through what happened, evaluate your day and/or yourself in it, and make some choices about how to proceed in the morning.</p> <p>Disengaging can take many forms. Some people take a short walk. Others read a book. Still others spend some time talking to a trusted friend or family member. You may want to try several options before you choose what seems to work best. And remember: once you have disengaged, go to bed. Don't give yourself a chance to re-engage before you try to sleep.</p> <h2>3. Prioritize Tomorrow</h2> <p>Many people find that they think best at night. Even if this isn't you, though, nighttime is when you have the entire past day still fresh in your head. Use this to your advantage by jotting down three things that absolutely have to get done the next day or that need your focus before anything else. This will help you in the morning, and you won't have to perform higher-level thought processes when you might be sleepy or disoriented.</p> <p>Writing these things down also gets them out of your head. Once they're out, you won't have to try to remember them, so they won't distract you as you are trying to sleep. And you will know when you wake that you have a plan of attack all ready to go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day?ref=seealso">Wake Up Fast and Attack the Day</a>)</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Dishes</h2> <p>Cleaning your dishes, or loading them into your dishwasher if you're lucky enough to have one, doesn't take too long. However, waking up to <a href="http://frugalbits.com/fitness-health/how-housework-can-make-you-happy/">a clean house will make you feel happier</a> and, therefore, more ready to take on your day. It even makes getting breakfast easier, because you don't have to dig through the dirty dishes or even wash anything before you do it.</p> <p>Many people find that putting their homes in order also seems to put their minds in order. If this is you, then doing the dishes before you go to sleep can help you relax. If nothing else, getting the plates clean before the food has a chance to crust onto them makes getting them clean a whole lot easier! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-keeping-your-kitchen-clean-while-you-cook?ref=seealso">How to Keep Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook</a>)</p> <h2>5. Prepare Your Clothes</h2> <p>Even if you're not doing anything huge in the morning, getting the next day's clothing ready can help you make sure that you have everything you need, including accessories, belts, shoes, socks, jewelry, and everything else. And, if you somehow end up running late in the morning, you won't have to worry about choosing an outfit or making sure you've pulled it all together because you took care of that the night before.</p> <p>If you go to the gym or do any other activity that requires a special wardrobe, you can also get that ready before you go to bed. If you don't have to pack a bag or make sure you have everything you need to shower at the gym, you will be able to sleep longer in the morning.</p> <h2>6. Set a Timer</h2> <p>This is especially useful for people who struggle to get to bed on time, but it can help anyone focus their bedtime routine so that they get done what needs to be done before they sleep. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and put your entire bedtime routine into that time. This gives you plenty of time to do everything on this list, and makes sure that it doesn't eat up your whole evening and that you will be able to sleep when you want to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours?ref=seealso">Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours</a>)</p> <p>If 30 minutes doesn't work for you, tweak the time frame. Maybe you only need 20 minutes, or maybe it takes you 45 to get everything done. The important thing is that you have a set time in which to get to bed, and you stick with it. This also helps you get the sleep that you need to be successful the next day.</p> <p><em>What is your bedtime routine? Do you do anything before bed that improves the overall quality of your life?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine" class="sharethis-link" title="Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Productivity bedtime nighttime outine productivity sleep Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:24:26 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1129621 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Better Sleep With These 5 Great Sleep-Tracking Apps http://www.wisebread.com/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleep-177703194.jpg" alt="sleeping man" title="sleeping man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sleep isn't a luxury; it's a necessity. Half of all Americans believe that they <a href="http://www.bettersleep.org/better-sleep/the-science-of-sleep/sleep-statistics-research/better-sleep-survey">don't get enough sleep</a>, and most accept it as a way of life. How much shut-eye we get every night has enormous impact on our short-term and long-term health. With less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night, people are susceptible to weight gain, heart disease, greater risk of stroke, and delayed reaction time to name just a few outcomes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet?ref=seealso">Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <p>Awareness is the first step toward making healthy lifestyle changes. A plethora of sleep apps are on the market right now to help us become aware of our patterns and habits, and then they help us chart our progress on our quest for a good night's sleep. They use this data to give us insight into the optimal time to wake up so that we feel refreshed and well-rested. Additionally, some of them help us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, offer pleasant alarm sounds, link to our music playlists, and provide beautiful graphs and charts that we can use for our own sleep analysis or share with our health care professionals. Here are five of the best options.</p> <h2>1. Sleep As Android</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D3S1QD6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00D3S1QD6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sleep As Android</a>, on the Android platform, tracks your sleep cycles and then using a smart alarm clock it wakes you at the most optimal moment with pleasant morning sounds from nature or your music playlist. It graphs your sleep cycles, tells you when you're running at a sleep deficit, and even tracks your snoring. If you like it you can keep it after two weeks for $2.99.</p> <h2>2. Sleep Cycle</h2> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-cycle-alarm-clock/id320606217?mt=8&amp;uo=4&amp;at=%3C%3Ctoken%3E%3E">Sleep Cycle</a> for iOS is similar to Sleep As Android. It uses the same movement tracking information to chart your sleep cycles, has a gentle alarm clock that uses your playlists or soothing nature sounds to wake you during the lightest sleep cycle closest to the wake time you set, and delivers all of your sleep information in aesthetically pleasing charts and graphs. At only $0.99, it's a wonderful option.</p> <h2>3. Sleepbot</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TNXGGE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004TNXGGE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Sleepbot</a> is a free app on the Android and iOS platforms that packs a powerful punch. It tracks movement as well as sound (and it records your sounds so that you can play them back when you're awake and analyzes your sleep cycles), reminds you when it's time to hit the hay, and when you're having trouble sleeping, it delivers advice to help you fall asleep. It also has a gorgeous interface and will back-up all of your sleep data on mysleepbot.com. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep?ref=seealso">Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>4. Blue Sleep Therapy</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YFB9WU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004YFB9WU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Blue Sleep Therapy</a> costs $0.99 and is an app that uses a soft blue light to help us fall asleep and stay asleep by taking advantage of our bodies' natural reaction to blue light. This blue light is especially helpful for people who are challenged with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a common problem that plagues many people in the winter when daylight is limited. The lack of natural light throws off our sleep rhythms. This app projects a soft blue light onto the wall or ceiling. The slight pulsing and gradual fading of the light lulls us to sleep. It is only available on Android, though iOS offers a very similar app named <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-blue/id525496707?mt=8&amp;uo=4&amp;at=%3C%3Ctoken%3E%3E">Sleep Blue</a>, and it's free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/winter-blues-13-proven-ways-to-beat-seasonal-affective-disorder?ref=seealso">13 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder</a>)</p> <h2>5. Sleep Time</h2> <p>A lot of sleep experts advise that we go to bed at the same time every night to develop a routine for our bodies. This routine helps to cement a predictable rhythm. <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abdul.sleeptime">Sleep Time</a>, a free app on the Android platform, takes its lead from the idea that it takes the average person 14 minutes to fall asleep and that sleep cycles last 90 minutes on average. Given those measurements, it tells you what time to wake up based on when you go to bed so that you wake up in-between sleep cycles when you're likely to feel more rested. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-reset-your-sleep-cycle-overnight?ref=seealso">How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle</a>)</p> <p>If you have an iPhone, there is a nearly identical app also called <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-time-alarm-clock-sleep/id555564825?mt=8&amp;uo=4&amp;at=%3C%3Ctoken%3E%3E">Sleep Time</a> created by a different developer that is also free.</p> <p>Because sleep rejuvenates the body, mind, and spirit, it's critical to our health and the wellbeing in every part of our lives to get the optimal amount of rest every night. These sleep-tracking apps arm us with information and tools to help us make that happen. Sweet dreams. Sweet life.</p> <p><em>Do you use a sleep app to help you optimize your sleep? Which one?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-better-sleep-with-these-5-great-sleep-tracking-apps" class="sharethis-link" title="Get Better Sleep With These 5 Great Sleep-Tracking Apps" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Technology insomnia sleep sleep apps sleep tracking Thu, 13 Feb 2014 10:48:14 +0000 Christa Avampato 1124458 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5295197-small.jpg" alt="stretching" title="stretching" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though the National Sleep Foundation advises healthy adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, a recent study found that 30% of working Americans sleep less than six hours per night. According to the National Academy of Sciences, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/">sleep deprivation is bad for your health</a>; it elevates the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and it increases weight-gain and stress. In desperation, many people turn to sleep aids to make their sleep more effective. The pharmaceutical <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2725254/">sleep aid market</a> is estimated to be $4.5 billion annually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet?ref=seealso">Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried</a>)</p> <p>There's got to be a better way to make sleep more effective, however many hours you are able to devote to it, right? In fact there are several, and they're mostly free. All you need is personal discipline and the commitment to trade unhealthy habits for healthy ones.</p> <h2>1. Practice Yoga Nidra</h2> <p>Yoga Nidra is a method of meditation that has been taught in India for centuries. There are currently many research studies underway to analyze the <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099097/">health benefits of a regular Yoga Nidra</a> practice. Early results show that it improves our ability to reap the benefits of deep sleep in less time than normal sleep cycles.</p> <p>Here's how it works: In between our waking and dreaming cycles in normal sleep, there is a short window of time (roughly three to five minutes) called the &quot;<a href="http://dreamdoze.com/hypnagogia-secrets-tricks-solutions-transitional-hallucinations/">hypnagogic state</a>.&quot; In this state, tension is greatly reduced and our bodies are most at ease. Yoga Nidra, sometimes called &quot;dreamless sleep,&quot; teaches us how to consciously extend the hypnagogic state and gives our bodies more time to deeply relax. When we relax, our blood pressure and blood sugar levels decrease and we reduce muscular tension and fatigue. With reduced muscle tension, we are literally able breathe easier and we can get nourishing oxygen to our cells more efficiently. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-solid-yoga-tricks-to-help-you-relax?ref=seealso">Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax)</a></p> <h2>2. Stick to a Bedtime Routine</h2> <p>It's so simple, and yet most of us don't do it. We have to prepare the body for sleep to make our sleep effective. Power down the electronic devices, block outside light, turn down the thermostat, and do some very light exercise such as gentle stretching before hitting the hay. Otherwise you'll waste time powering down by lying awake in bed.</p> <h2>3. Watch What You Eat and Drink</h2> <p>When our digestive system is active, it disturbs our sleep. Eat earlier in the evening so your body has a few hours to digest before heading off to bed. Also, reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine because they throw off our natural circadian rhythms making sleep more difficult and less beneficial.</p> <h2>4. Consider Some Natural Supplements</h2> <p>Herbal teas such as <a href="http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html">chamomile</a> and <a href="http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-valerian.html">valerian root</a> have the potential to help us naturally relax and enhance sleep. The warmth of a glass of <a href="http://www.uamshealth.com/?id=6752&amp;sid=1">warm milk</a> may help us relax, although there's really nothing in it that can make us feel drowsy or actually help us sleep. Always consult your physician before taking any supplements. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep?ref=seealso">Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>5. Exercise</h2> <p>Exercise has many health benefits, and one of those benefits is more effective sleep. One of the best pieces of news on the <a href="http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/encouraging-exercise-can-help-improve-sleep/article/305879/">link between exercise and sleep</a> comes via a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation that found the time of day we exercise doesn't matter. Additionally, any intensity of workout has a positive impact on sleep. So walk, jog, or sprint &mdash; day or night. All that matters is that we get our regular workouts in some form.</p> <h2>6. Apply Technology</h2> <p>Today we have incredible technology in the form of mobile apps that can track the quality and quantity of our sleep. If you have an iPhone, try <a href="http://www.sleepcycle.com/">Sleep Cycle</a>. If you have an Android phone, try <a href="http://mysleepbot.com/">SleepBot</a>. By tracking your sleep patterns, you'll discover the best time for you to fall asleep, and the best time to wake up. (See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-sleep-tracking-apps?ref=seealso">Great Sleep-Tracking Apps</a>)</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-50-year-old-gadget-may-be-the-best-cure-for-insomnia">white noise machine</a> is another option. They've have been around for decades for one good reason: They work. There are many options on the market today at a variety of price points, so it's easy to find one that fits within your budget.</p> <h2>7. Go Polyphasic</h2> <p>The experts are clear that we really should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But if you really want to get by on less sleep &mdash; significantly less &mdash; follow the lead of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci. They were rumored to follow &quot;polyphasic&quot; or <a href="http://www.highexistence.com/alternate-sleep-cycles/">alternate sleep cycles</a>. People who utilize this method sleep for a few consecutive hours several times per day. If you give this method a try, however, exercise caution. Don't drive, operate heavy machinery, or make any critical life decisions until you know how this kind of sleep schedule will affect you. It works for some people and not for others.</p> <p>Ideally, we want to have both good quality sleep and a sufficient amount of it. These remedies, or a combination of them, can help. Experiment with them and use the ones that work best for you.</p> <p><em>What helps you sleep better? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle enough sleep sleep sleep aids Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:36:13 +0000 Christa Avampato 1125163 at http://www.wisebread.com Why a 50-Year-Old Gadget May Be the Best Cure for Insomnia http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-50-year-old-gadget-may-be-the-best-cure-for-insomnia <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-a-50-year-old-gadget-may-be-the-best-cure-for-insomnia" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleep-4960212-small.jpg" alt="man sleeping" title="man sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Babies are known to sleep better when they&#39;re near the sound of a vacuum cleaner, noise of blow dryers, or soft hums of fans.</p> <p>So-called &quot;white noise&quot; is not just for restless infants, either. Sleep experts now recommend white noise for insomnia sufferers of all ages because it&#39;s an <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12422383">effective alternative to &quot;pharmacological&quot; treatments</a> &mdash; pills &mdash; for sleeplessness. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleep-better-with-calming-words">Sleep Better With Calming Words</a>)</p> <p>And in my own case, nothing promotes a good night&#39;s rest so well as the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv-pkTfK_PY">steady thrum of a diesel fishing boat engine</a>.</p> <p>But what do you do if there isn&#39;t a fishing boat or a vacuum cleaner nearby to generate the white noise you need to drift off? Enter the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KUHFGM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KUHFGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner</a>.</p> <h2>Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner</h2> <p><a href="www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KUHFGM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KUHFGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/dohm-ds.jpg" style="height:500px; width:500px" /></a></p> <p>One of the oldest players in the white noise making business is <a href="http://www.marpac.com/">Marpac</a>. The company&#39;s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KUHFGM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KUHFGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner</a> is not much to look at, but it is wildly popular with Amazon shoppers (4.5 stars; 3300+ reviewers) and the <a href="http://www.marpac.com/Marpac-Dohm-NSF/dp/B006Z8J9I0">National Sleep Foundation</a>.</p> <p>The Dohm-DS produces non-digital white noise via an internal fan and some adjustable air vents, which you can shift around for the sound you like best. What&#39;s it sound like? <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n339NUw2Heo">Rushing wind</a>.</p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t just handy for insomniacs. Use it to drown out the noisy neighbor or office chatter. If music is too distracting, the machine can help provide a steady, rhythmic sound to boost productivity and creativity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">How to Block Out Noise</a>)</p> <h2>The Science Behind the Noise</h2> <p>What most of us refer to as white noise, sound engineers and other sound expert types have categorized into several different kinds (and sounds!) of noise, based on some mathematical descriptions of the energy and frequency of the sound waves. True white noise consists of every human audible frequency at the same energy level &mdash; kind of like white light consists of every visible color on the spectrum. Other colors of noise feature differing amounts of energy at different frequencies. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_noise">Pink noise</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownian_noise">brown noise</a> are two common colors of noise many white noise apps and generators produce to help us concentrate or sleep. Pink sounds a little higher than plain white noise and brown sounds a little deeper.</p> <p>Whatever its color, the white noise &quot;drowns out&quot; other sounds in the environment. More importantly, the sound waves &quot;mask&quot; other sound waves by matching their frequency and canceling them out. This is similar to the principle that allows <a href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/noise-canceling-headphone3.htm">noise-canceling headphones</a> to work. The result is less sound reaching sleepers&#39; ear drums, which means sleepers&#39; brains can continue to relax and recuperate rather than respond to strange or alarming noises and waking the sleeper up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-noise-canceling-headphones">Top 5 Noise-Canceling Headphones</a>)</p> <p>Even better? Pink noise, such as falling rain or wind ruffling through the leaves, appears to <a href="http://en.coe.pku.edu.cn/news/312.htm">slow and regulate brain waves</a>, even when sleeping. This allows deeper, more restful sleep than simply blocking or masking other sounds.</p> <h2>White Noise Recordings</h2> <p>There are also all sorts of smartphone apps available, free and paid, that will generate noise in whatever style you prefer. There are also plenty of <a href="http://www.whitenoiseplayer.com/">websites</a> and YouTube videos <a href="http://www.youtube.com/channel/HC1n0Sp5lMvVE">that will play white noise</a> for you, too, whether recorded from nature, made by machine, or both, such as the recording of the boat engine linked above, or a &quot;recording&quot; of the hum of the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPoqNeR3_UA">Starship Enterprise&#39;s mighty matter/antimatter engines</a>. You can even find digital recordings of the soothing, masking noise of a simple <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t7QUU9cQbo">desk fan</a> or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt7oypE8FAw">a box fan</a>, if you don&#39;t happen to have either of the real thing handy.</p> <p><em>Do you sleep better with white noise?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-50-year-old-gadget-may-be-the-best-cure-for-insomnia" class="sharethis-link" title="Why a 50-Year-Old Gadget May Be the Best Cure for Insomnia" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty insomnia sleep sleep aids white noise Thu, 31 Oct 2013 10:24:03 +0000 Lars Peterson 1049127 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/drinking-3960609-small.jpg" alt="man drinking milk" title="man drinking milk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Dalai Lama says &quot;sleep is the best meditation.&quot; And he should know. Leonardo Da Vinci, a genius in many ways, said, &quot;a well-spent day brings happy sleep.&quot; But what if it&#39;s not that easy? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Effective Sleep Tips</a>)</p> <p>Often, what we eat and drink during the day can have an adverse affect. Instead of filling your days with coffee and other stimulants, maybe you should look to food and drink as a way to help you sleep better, and thus, not need that caffeine jolt every morning.</p> <p>Here are 10 options to consider.</p> <h2>1. Tart Cherry Juice</h2> <p>The juice of tart cherries is rich in melatonin, which aids sleep. A study at Britain&#39;s Northumbria University saw that adults with chronic insomnia experienced some relief <a href="http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-01/diet/30588076_1_cherry-juice-melatonin-shut-eye-time">by drinking a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day</a>. One serving of cherry juice contains the juice from 90-100 cherries, a powerful sleep-inducing cocktail.</p> <h2>2. Bananas</h2> <p>The curvy yellow wonder tops many lists when it comes to food sleep-aids. Magnesium and potassium in bananas serve as muscle and nerve relaxants. The B6 found in fruit also converts tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin, <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/164617-bananas-depression/">increasing relaxation</a> even more. Try this easy bedtime smoothie &mdash; one banana and one cup of milk or almond milk (a really great choice, see number 3). Ice if desired. Blend.</p> <h2>3. Almonds</h2> <p>These nuts are winners when it comes to foods to aid sleep. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1583335145/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1583335145&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution</a> says, &quot;Almonds contain magnesium, which promote sleep and muscle relaxation. They have the added benefit of supplying proteins to help maintain stable blood sugar level while sleeping, and promote sleep by switching from your alert adrenaline cycle to your rest-and-digest cycle.&quot; One tablespoon of almond butter or marzipan, or a one ounce portion of almonds (20-24 almonds) taken before bed, is a great way to get your body to relax. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-nuts-by-nutrition-and-price">The Best and Worst Nuts</a>)</p> <h2>4. Yogurt, Cheese, and Dairy</h2> <p>Calcium is directly related to our sleep cycles and is plentiful in dairy products. In one study, calcium levels in the body were shown to be higher in the deepest levels of sleep, such as REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The study concluded that disturbances in sleep are often related to a calcium deficiency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-get-calcium">8 Great Ways to Get Calcium</a>)</p> <p>Chronic insomnia is also one of the main central symptoms of magnesium deficiency; sleep can be agitated with frequent awakenings. <a href="http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php">A balance of magnesium and calcium is crucial to sleep function,</a> and yogurt and other dairy foods contain these, along with tryptophan. That glass of warm milk given to you before bed as a kid&hellip;that&#39;s proven to give you that sleepy feeling.</p> <h2>5. Parmesan Cheese Popcorn</h2> <p>Two magic sleep ingredients come from this delicious snack &mdash; carbs and dairy. As mentioned before, dairy products aid sleep due to the tryptophan, a precursor to a sleep inducing hormone, along with the magnesium and calcium. This sprinkled over the carbohydrates in popcorn help your brain absorb the tryptophan better. Using the parmesan to flavor it, so you can avoid excess fat and butter, make it a wonderful late-night snack. Just brush your teeth after.</p> <h2>6. Seaweed</h2> <p>It may seem like a strange addition to this list, but it&#39;s perfectly suited. Dried seaweed is bursting with melatonin and at just 10 calories per sheet, it&#39;s a worry-free choice if you&#39;re watching late night eating. Happy dreams.</p> <h2>7. Miso Soup</h2> <p>Who doesn&#39;t love a simple, tasty soup? Miso soup, however, has some secret ingredients to aid sleep. Namely, those wonderful amino acids, like tryptophan, which naturally increase the production of melatonin.</p> <h2>8. Oatmeal</h2> <p>It&#39;s not just for breakfast. Along with that warm, soothing feeling it gives you, oatmeal is a serious sleep aid. It&#39;s rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, ideal for relaxing the body and the nerves. Go easy on the sweeteners to avoid an adverse reaction, and top with fruit, such as banana slices, and a splash of milk. &quot;Grains in oatmeal trigger insulin production, raising your blood sugar naturally and make you feel sleepy. Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relax the body,&quot; according to Cynthia Pasquella &ndash; CCN, CHLC, CWC.</p> <h2>9. Sweet Potatoes</h2> <p>Now popular as an alternative to traditional potato fries, they are high in potassium, which is great for relaxing muscles. As a sweet potato is also a complex carbohydrate, the body digests it slowly, releasing body-repairing energy. It doesn&#39;t cause a significant rise in blood sugar and it&#39;s easy on your digestive system. Roasted sweet potatoes can also help clear acid from your body, those that stop tryptophan from being as effective as it could be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/71-sensational-sweet-potato-recipes">Sensational Sweet Potato Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>10. Kale Chips</h2> <p>If you are one to want a snack at night, like popcorn or chips, then kale chips could be just what you&#39;re looking for. Green leafy vegetables, like kale, contain a hefty dose of calcium. Baked kale chips make a crunchy, salty snack. The addition of <a href="http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2012/08/10/10-healthy-uses-for-apple-cider-vinegar/">apple cider vinegar</a>, that some swear a tablespoon of alone helps promote sleep, adds more flavor. Season with a little coarse ground salt.</p> <p>So there we have it. Ten foods you should consider adding to your diet to help you get a good night&#39;s sleep. Of course, avoiding a lot of caffeine and sugar during the day also lets these natural sleep-aids do their job better.</p> <p><em>Do you have a surefire food or drink to help you get to sleep more easily? Let us know.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-foods-that-can-help-you-sleep" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Foods That Can Help You Sleep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty nutrition sleep sleep foods Tue, 08 Oct 2013 10:24:07 +0000 Paul Michael 998088 at http://www.wisebread.com Sleep Better With Calming Words http://www.wisebread.com/sleep-better-with-calming-words <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sleep-better-with-calming-words" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleep-4733369-small.jpg" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Via <a href="http://lifehacker.com/improve-your-sleep-by-reading-a-few-key-words-1334626426">Lifehacker</a> and Men's Health comes word of a surprising discovery reported in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jasp.12123/abstract">that people sleep better</a>, and perhaps fall asleep faster, simply by exposure to &quot;sleep-related&quot; words and phrases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-reset-your-sleep-cycle-overnight">How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep Cycle</a>)</p> <p>Notably (and suggested by the study's title, &quot;The Effect of Subliminal Priming on Sleep Duration&quot;), participants did not actually read the magic sleep words; they picked up the suggestion unconsciously from words in the environment around them. In the experiment, some subjects were exposed to words such as &quot;cozy&quot; or &quot;relax&quot; for five minutes. Others were exposed to &quot;neutral&quot; words. Sleepy word subjects slept 47% longer, and their heart rates were reduced, compared to the neutral word group.</p> <p>Study lead author Mitsuru Shimizu suggested to <a href="http://news.menshealth.com/the-exercise-that-helps-you-fall-asleep-faster/2013/09/17/">Men's Health</a> the finding could be a cheap substitute for sleeping medication:</p> <blockquote><p>Write down slumber-centric words like &ldquo;calm,&rdquo; &ldquo;rest,&rdquo; and &rdquo;drift away&rdquo; on notecards or sticky notes. Place them in your bathroom, on your bedside table, or anywhere else you&rsquo;ll see them in the hour before you go to bed, Shimizu suggests. Exposing yourself to this kind of language should improve your sleep, he says.</p> </blockquote> <h2>What's Going On?</h2> <p>In psychology &quot;priming&quot; is understood in terms of the creation of pathways to <a href="http://www.laymanpsych.com/what-is-priming/">a memory, stimulus, or construct</a>. Repeated exposure to the stimulus causes the pathways to deepen, and recognition of the thing or word to &quot;rise&quot; more readily to our conscious minds. This is why after hearing a new word once, we seem to notice it everywhere. It isn't that the word is suddenly everywhere; it's that our brains now have a pathway to its memory and we quickly recognize it. This is also why cramming for a test rarely works very well. We need to give ourselves enough repeated exposure to the material for the pathways to develop and the knowledge to stick. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">Improve Your Memory and Get Smarter</a>)</p> <p>However, intentionally priming the unconscious with words and other cues to achieve a particular goal such as sleeping sounder, or performing better on tests, or unlocking creative potential &mdash; &quot;goal-priming&quot; &mdash; <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/opinion/sunday/psychology-research-control.html?_r=0">is not without its critics</a>. Controversy erupted earlier this year when several of the most important experiments in the field <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/disputed-results-a-fresh-blow-for-social-psychology-1.12902">were found to be &quot;irreproducible</a>,&quot; which suggests that the original studies were somehow flawed, or perhaps even fraudulent.</p> <p>Who's right? Who knows? This test is simple enough to try at home and reach your own conclusions. Create your own sleepy time cue cards, rate the sleep that follows, and please report back with your findings!</p> <p><em>How do you fall asleep faster and stay sleeping sounder?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleep-better-with-calming-words" class="sharethis-link" title="Sleep Better With Calming Words" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks priming psychology sleep Wed, 18 Sep 2013 22:28:35 +0000 Lars Peterson 988369 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Sleeping Position May Be Hurting You http://www.wisebread.com/your-sleeping-position-may-be-hurting-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-sleeping-position-may-be-hurting-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleep-5295188-small.jpg" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you experiencing discomfort, exhaustion, or pain that doesn't seem to have a cause? You may want to consider changing your sleeping position to see if that helps you feel better.</p> <p>While we often don't notice discomfort while we're asleep, the fact that we spend so many hours asleep means that our bodies can end up in awkward and uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. And even the positions that are comfortable can lead to chronic problems by unbalancing our bodies and putting them out of alignment for those extended time periods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-back-the-zombies-4-ways-to-avoid-sleep-deprivation">4 Ways to Avoid Sleep Deprivation</a>)</p> <h2>Side Sleeping</h2> <p>While the jury is out as to which sleeping position is the best overall, some experts think that getting your zzz's on your side is <a href="http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/best-sleep-positions">the winner</a>. However, this is only true if you have your pillows positioned properly (and have plenty of them!).</p> <p>First, you'll need a pillow that fills up the space between your head, neck, and shoulder. Otherwise, you could end up with <a href="http://www.sharecare.com/health/neck-pain/how-sleeping-side-neck-pain;jsessionid=A888A967F4AA07C610FCF317DCD3B44B">neck and upper back pain</a>, not to mention <a href="http://www.activebodyclinic.com/blog/top-five-ways-to-relieve-your-tension-headache-without-using-pain-killers/">headaches</a>, over time. You'll also need to place a pillow between your knees. If you don't, the weight of your top leg can pull on your lower back and cause chronic pain there, too.</p> <p>Finally, only sleep on your side if the possibilities of <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/19/healthiest.sleep.position/index.html">wrinkles and/or saggy breasts</a> don't bother you. Gravity will pull on your skin, stretching it over time. That may sound silly, but think about how many hours you will sleep over your lifetime. While these side effects probably won't cause you physical pain, they may be more than annoying psychologically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-natural-diy-facial-products-you-have-to-try">4 Easy, Natural DIY Facial Products</a>)</p> <p><strong>NOTE:</strong> The <a href="http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/sleepingpositions.html">American Pregnancy Association</a> suggests that all pregnant women sleep on their sides, as both back and stomach sleeping can be dangerous for the unborn child.</p> <h2>Back Sleeping</h2> <p>The other sleep position that some <a href="http://www.bistromd.com/health-tips/the-best-sleep-position-for-better-health-what-suits-you-best">experts proclaim as best</a> is sleeping on your back. Not only do you avoid the upper and lower back problems that can come from side sleeping, but you don't have to worry about pillow positioning for support, either.</p> <p>In fact, one of the only ways you can injure yourself sleeping on your back is by placing your head too high. If you stack pillows so that the angle of your neck is too steep, this can cause misalignment and spasms, both of which are painful.</p> <p>While sleeping on your back can be, well, good for your back, it's not recommended if you have any problems breathing. Back sleeping can make both <a href="http://greatist.com/happiness/best-sleep-positions">snoring and sleep apnea</a> worse. If you've ever suffered from either of those conditions, you may want to find a different sleep position (and even if you don't, your partner may think otherwise!). After all, both snoring and sleep apnea can <a href="http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/02/20/which-position-gives-you-the-best-nights-sleep/">disrupt your sleep</a>. Even if you don't wake up, you won't feel as rested in the morning and your body won't perform as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>Stomach Sleeping</h2> <p>When it comes to sleep positions, the one thing that <a href="http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/sleep-positions">experts do agree on</a> is that sleeping on your stomach offers the most chances for injury and other discomfort. Because sleeping this way flattens out the natural curvatures of your spine, over time it can distort your spinal alignment. This can cause pain up and down your back, offering chances for discomfort to develop from your spine to your tailbone. This misalignment can also put pressure on the nerves in your back, which can lead to tingling and numbness anywhere in your body.</p> <p>In addition, sleeping on your stomach puts stress on your vital organs. They're forced into the most unnatural positions when you're sleeping this way. While this probably won't damage your organs, it can cause discomfort and lead to restless sleep, which won't allow your body to revitalize and heal the way it needs to.</p> <p>Once again, sleeping on your stomach can also lead to saggy breasts and wrinkles. Gravity will pull on your skin in ways that aren't beneficial, and over time can enhance any problems here that might already exist. It can also <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324595704578241642030220064.html">make acid reflux worse</a>, which is definitely not a comfortable experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-solutions-for-acid-reflux-disease">5 Affordable Solutions for Acid Reflux Disease</a>)</p> <p>In the end, it's worthwhile to change your sleeping position if it's hurting you. While it may take some work, as your body is habituated to sleep in the same position every night, it will be worthwhile if it improves your quality of life. However, if your sleep position is working for you, there's no need to change until it's causing you pain.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite sleeping position?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-sleeping-position-may-be-hurting-you" class="sharethis-link" title="Your Sleeping Position May Be Hurting You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty back pain neck pain sleep sleeping positions Wed, 28 Aug 2013 10:36:42 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 981553 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-sport-3911856-small.jpg" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If it's a workday, chances are you hardly have an ounce energy left by quitting time. About <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17215708" target="_blank">40% of workers report</a> feeling fatigued at work on any given day. I've definitely been there; too little sleep, too much stress, and the feeling that you just can't get enough done can wear you right down until all you can think about is sliding into bed, pulling the sheets over your head, and staying there...forever.</p> <p>The irony is that that cycle only drags down your overall productivity, not to mention your health and happiness. Plus, there's something just a little sad about spending all afternoon counting down to the end of the workday only to slog home, collapse onto the couch, and spend all evening watching other people doing fun and exciting things on reality TV. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-back-the-zombies-4-ways-to-avoid-sleep-deprivation" target="_blank">Beat Back the Zombies: 4 Ways to Avoid Sleep Deprivation</a>)</p> <p>Want more energy to enjoy your own time? Here are some things that have worked for me.</p> <h2>1. Turn Off Your Brain</h2> <p>When you feel exhausted, exercise seems like the most counterintuitive thing you can do, but it isn't, especially if you have a desk job. Think about it. If you work at a computer, chances are the only muscles you use all day are the ones that type emails, answer the telephone, and turn you head to gaze longingly out the window. That means that even if you <em>feel</em> tired, what's often really fatigued is your brain.</p> <p>I try to get a run in after work. And while some days it feels like I barely have the energy to slip on my shoes, once I'm out the door, my body doesn't feel tired at all. It isn't long before the rest of me is ready to tackle a few more hours of the day, too. So turn off your brain, slip into jock mode, and do something that'll get your blood pumping. It'll energize you immediately, and also improve your health so that you have more energy all day. It may even help you sleep more soundly come bedtime.</p> <h2>2. Hit Reset</h2> <p>If you really are sleep deprived, a short nap can significantly improve your energy levels &mdash; and help you pay back some of the sleep debt you've been accumulating. I say a <em>short</em> nap because while it may be tempting to pass out for hours, that can leave you feeling like a zombie, not to mention disrupt the sleep you get at night. In other words, it'll make you feel <em>more</em> tired.</p> <p>So how long should you nap? A 1995 study by NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board found that a <a href="http://swampland.time.com/2011/04/26/memo-to-the-boss-naps-increase-performance/" target="_blank">26-minute nap was ideal</a> for improving alertness among air-traffic controllers. For best results (and less fiddling with your alarm clock) aim for 20 to 30 minutes.</p> <h2>3. Have an Appetite for Energy</h2> <p>Blood sugar levels greatly affect energy levels. (Anyone who's seen a seven-year-old's birthday party knows that.) So, if your energy is flagging after work, chances are you haven't fueled yourself properly during the day.</p> <p>The best fuel comes from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and protein, because they release energy more slowly into the bloodstream than, say, whatever's beckoning from the vending machine. Eat a healthy breakfast, pack a lunch, and bring nutritious snacks to fend off an afternoon crash. If your blood sugar's stable, your energy levels will be more stable, too. Studies show you'll probably also make better decisions. One study of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">parole board members in the Israeli prison system</a> found that men whose cases were heard after the board had eaten were significantly more likely to get parole. Yikes!</p> <h2>4. Tuck In Early</h2> <p>I've often <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet" target="_blank">had trouble sleeping</a>, so I know about that weird thing that happens when you're totally dead exhausted. Right around bed time, you get a surge of energy that keeps you up eating cereal and watching late-night TV until well past your bedtime. It's kinda fun...until you wake up the next morning feeling (and looking) like you've aged at least 15 years.</p> <p>Remember how your mom used to tell you to get to bed &mdash; NOW!? Give yourself the same tough love and set a bedtime that's at least seven hours from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day" target="_blank">your early morning wake-up call</a>. Then, try to spend an hour or so beforehand winding down with a good book, a bath, or an episode of your favorite TV show. (Unless it's on HBO. That stuff will keep you up all night.)</p> <h2>5. Skip the Caffeine High</h2> <p>Caffeine's a crutch; you can limp along on it for quite a while (it got me through college), but<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-being-a-slave-to-starbucks-how-to-quit-caffeine" target="_blank"> it isn't a solution</a>. If you trade coffee for sleep for too long, eventually it'll be a case of the lights are on and nobody's home &mdash; your tired, bloodshot eyes will be open, but you'll only be doing stupid things faster and with more energy. No need to cut caffeine out entirely though. It has some <a href="http://science.howstuffworks.com/caffeine5.htm" target="_blank">health benefits</a>, and there's some evidence that moderate caffeine intake can help you live longer. Plus, let's face it. There will always be days when it's what makes life worth living.</p> <h2>6. Be Good to Yourself</h2> <p>I tend to take on too much, saying yes to too many projects and then finding myself scrambling around trying to get it all done. It's hard <em>not</em> to be exhausted when you put yourself in that position. There's an old saying that you can sleep when you're dead, but personally, I'd rather enjoy it. I've learned that if I want to do that, I have to remind myself that my to-do list is arbitrary and that sometimes, rest needs to be bumped to the top.</p> <h2>7. Consider the Cause</h2> <p>They say that sleep is a cure-all, but for everything that sleep can't cure, there's prescription medication. It's important to consider that sometimes fatigue has a medical cause, such as iron deficiency, sleep apnea, or depression, among a long list of other things. If you think your exhaustion may be a sign of something more serious, go visit your doctor.</p> <p>If you think all these suggestions seem simple, you're right. They <em>are</em> simple. But that doesn't make them easy. Changing habits is hard, even when we want to (and let's face it, we often don't). Of course, the other option is to continue staggering around like the walking dead. And let's face it: Even that gets pretty tiring after a while. Now if you'll excuse me, it's almost my bedtime.</p> <p><em>Where do you find the energy to get through the day (and then some)?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development Productivity diet exercise fatigue healthy eating healthy living insomnia sleep Tue, 16 Jul 2013 09:36:45 +0000 Tara Struyk 980465 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Science of the Perfect Nap http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-science-of-the-perfect-nap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-science-of-the-perfect-nap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6051846102_7f313d99c6_z-1.jpg" alt="The Science of the Perfect Nap" title="The Science of the Perfect Nap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on the science of the perfect nap, places not to use a debit card, and tax-saving deductions.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/5950732/the-science-of-the-perfect-nap">The Science of the Perfect Nap</a> &mdash; Want to take the perfect nap? Start by finding a quiet, dark place. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.themillionairenurse.com/2012/10/11/4-places-not-to-use-a-debit-card-ever/">4 Places Not to Use a Debit Card-Ever</a> &mdash; Don't use a debit card at gas stations. [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2012/10/dont-overlook-these-tax-breaks.html">5 tax-saving deductions &amp; credits</a> &mdash; Make sure you take advantage of job related moving expense tax deductions. [Don't Mess With Taxes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2012/10/10/handling-a-financial-windfall/">Handling a Financial Windfall</a> &mdash; If you ever get a financial windfall, deploy it gradually. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/10/how-much-should-i-save-toward-retirement-if-im-starting-late.html">How Much Should I Save Toward Retirement If I'm Starting Late?</a> &mdash; When saving for retirement, it is a good idea to save 15% of your take home pay every year. [Free Money Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moolanomy.com/6279/the-cost-of-buying-and-selling-a-home/">The Cost of Buying and Selling a Home</a> &mdash; Are you thinking about buying or selling a home? Don't forget to factor in transaction costs. [Moolanomy]</p> <p><a href="http://beingfrugal.net/4-tips-to-help-you-avoid-fast-food-drive-thru/">4 Tips to Help You Avoid Fast Food Drive-Thru</a> &mdash; If you want to avoid the drive-thru, cook ahead of time. [BeingFrugal.net]</p> <p><a href="http://www.goodfinancialcents.com/winning-the-lottery-tips/">5 Strategies for Winning the Lottery</a> &mdash; The number one way to win the lottery is to not play it in the first place. [Good Financial Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Sites-Apps-Last-Minute-Travel-25369238">5 Tech Tools For Stress-Free, Last-Minute Travel</a> &mdash; Save money on last-minute travel by checking out AwardWallet. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/rock-the-vote-5-election-year-activities">Rock the Vote: 5 Election Year Activities</a> &mdash; When election day rolls around, take your kids to the polls with you. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-science-of-the-perfect-nap" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: The Science of the Perfect Nap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips best money tips nap napping sleep Fri, 12 Oct 2012 10:00:00 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 955068 at http://www.wisebread.com