Tag Archives: Sleep

Making Science Cool and Getting Sleep

We live in a generation where teachers make a fraction of what professional athletes take home. People can become celebrities by being really good at Twitter and you could get an MTV show by being able to ride in a shopping cart and crash into things, so we think it’s kind of cool how science and learning is making it’s comeback and our current favorite is the #SciShow on Youtube!

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Helping Your Health Intentions

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Most of us start every year trying to lose a few pounds.
It’d always be nice to run faster, jump higher, lift heavier.
Whether it’s finally having those six pack abs or faithfully sticking to a healthy diet, getting healthier and staying there can be a lifelong process, so what are the best ways to do that? And are our best laid plans helping or hurting our goals?

1. Diet sodas aren’t helping your diet. The easy solution to losing weight while still fulfilling those carbonation cravings seems like switching from your favorite full calorie drinks to the diet version. Sad news: one study showed that the greater the number of diet sodas consumed, the greater the chance of being overweight. Another linked it to higher risks of metabolic syndrome.

2. Get a little extra shuteye. Sleeping the day away may feel lazy to us but the truth is a difference of even 16 minutes can show big differences in the health of test subjects. Feeling tired throughout the day might be an indication of not enough hours of sleep but it can also indicate a variety of disorders that could be keeping you from sleeping soundly through the night. A little tired? Take a nap. Persistent tiredness? Time to do some investigating.

3. Packaging Promises. The grocery store is bursting at the seams with good that will lower your cholesterol, boost your metabolism, gives you extra calcium to prevent osteoporosis, everything but a granola bar that will make you live forever! Who knows. It could be around the corner…

Recently, it seems the hot topic is probiotics and yogurt. It appears not all bacteria is bad for you and the microorganisms commonly associated with yogurt can help get your digestive system back in order after being ravaged by stress or a potato chip diet. They can also help with gas and bloating so you’re feeling good throughout the day.

The thing to know is some food products are vague about revealing how many bacteria are left in the product after processing. It may not be enough to make a difference unless you’re consuming it in bulk. In addition, the key to probiotics is delivery to the intestines which means they have to be strong enough to survive stomach acid. Most packaging has less to say about that, so do your research on bacteria counts and what is actually being promised. A cup of yogurt every now and then may not be enough to really affect your digestive health so consider natural probiotic supplements. One product, SCD Essential Probiotics, contains 11 strains of probiotics grown together and designed to survive stomach acid to actually do what you’re hoping. It’s also all natural and made with organic ingredients. Good news all around.

We support your intention to be a healthier you and staying informed helps you make wise choices, so learn and grow!

 

 

Great news and ideas sponsored by:
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The Spirituality of Sleep

how-to-fall-asleepIn our fast paced culture, sleep is often elusive. The proliferation of news on sleep research makes clear that the quality and quantity of our sleep directly impact the quality of our health and lives. What happens during sleep remains mostly a mystery for most. We lie down and surrender to slumber.

Yet, how we feel during our waking hours is often tied to how we slept. Sleep is essential to our mental, physical and emotional well being. But what of our spiritual well being? What role does sleep play in this integral facet of our Being, beyond the dimensions of body and mind?

The fascination with sleep and where we go during this seemingly still period has puzzled philosophers, masters of wisdom, writers and spiritual seekers for millennium. Amidst a wealth of literature and religious texts are insights about sleep, communicated long before modern scientists could quantify the stages of sleep. This powerful information offers a gateway to balance in our lives, both when asleep when and awake.

Literary masters have had much to say about sleep. Shakespeare proclaimed in 1599, “Sleep may be the image or brother of death, for in sleep the body rests while the soul remains awake, so in death the body rests while the soul and spirit live.” From a religious perspective, abundant references to sleep can be found in the Bible, Torah, Kabbalah, Koran, and in Buddhist teachings. The spiritual traditions of Kabbalah and Tibetan Buddhism offer methodologies to prepare for and arise from sleep, including gratitude, breathing and dream techniques.

From the wisdom of Kabbalah, going back millennium, we can glean a foundation from which to explore sleep’s part in the rejuvenation of our spirit. Upon going to sleep, the body and mind settle down from daily activity. Our eyes are closed. Consciousness drifts away from the pace of our waking lives. Our physiology and neurology begin their critical restorative processes (which is another story for another time). And for the soul, now unencumbered by the body and mind, rejuvenation can begin. The soul leaves the body and travels towards the Light, towards God to connect and recharge.

But what if we aren’t properly prepared for sleep? Could our souls be inhibited from taking this night journey? How can we get the quality and quantity of sleep we need? How do we set the stage to experience the deep sleep essential for our souls, our spirits, to take this valuable and necessary night journey? How do we optimize the sleep we do get, both in quality and quantity, so our body, mind, emotions and spirit are given the rejuvenation and restoration they need?

A first step is to learn the basics of sleep, a course which most of us have never taken. The resulting understanding of what happens during 1/3 of our lives leads to a respect for sleep. In turn, a self assessment of our personal sleep habits and behaviors helps us determine what needs modification, be it our bedtime routine, our sleep environment, the schedules we keep, or what and when we eat and drink. These and other practical sleep strategies set the stage for sleep improvement. Furthermore, knowledge about sleep can lead to seeking medical diagnosis and treatment if a sleep disorder is suspected. Sleep provides a portal for your body, mind, and spirit to embark on their rejuvenating night journey so you can awaken to live fully.

5 Quotes from Deepak to Help You De-Stress During the Busy Holiday Season

As we enter the height of the holiday season we know that emotions are running high. It’s an exciting time of year! But with that comes a lot of stress – between family, money, personal and professional success – so there can be a lot of negative thoughts hanging out as well. When trying to think of coping mechanisms to offer our readers naturally the first person who popped into our heads was the man who hasn’t lost his temper in over 20 years. What does he say about stress? There are dozens of Deepak recommended stress relief routes but we compiled a few of our favorite quotes to help you get started.

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Being able to take a step back from a situation that is causing you to go negative can be beyond helpful. In some cases simply being able to let go of a problem because it’s not worth the negative energy is amazing. In others, walking away entirely may not be an option but if you can gain a new perspective you can see a new possible solution that refreshes your efforts and makes the problem easier to solve. If you know that certain situations cause you a higher level of stress then you can create the wherewithal to avoid them.

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Realizing the power, or lack there of, of your thoughts can be really helpful as well. Allow your mind to have them but don’t assign them any particular weight. Take a moment to be silent, allow your mind the thoughts that are causing you so much trouble and then let them go, because they are just that – thoughts. That only changes when you allow them to become actions.

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People constantly underestimate the value of sleep. When you are feeling tired and fatigued, allowing your body to refresh can give you a whole new round of energy to tackle your battles. If you can do yourself just one favor this holiday season make sure it is that you are allowing your body (and thus your mind and spirit) to take a break every once in a while. Being refreshed automatically puts you in a healthier state of mind to take on the tasks of the day.

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Our physical state reflects how we are experiencing the world – so if we stay in a state of stress or negativity it will manifest itself in our physical presence. This is why it is so vital not to dwell in those states. Remember to breathe, walk away if you can, or find the place within yourself where you feel centered and calm. Look for the positive silver linings of a situation to help you wade through the darker aspects. When you have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel you create a brighter outlook for yourself and that outlook will also manifest itself physically and give you more motivation to move on.

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Meditation. It is our number one recommended method of detoxing your body and spirit of stress and negativity. You don’t have to spend hours a day – just take two minutes between your tasks to be silent and breathe. Just sixty seconds can allow you to find your center and calm. Taking these mini breaks can help you remain balanced when everyone and everything else is driving you crazy. Every little bit helps and if it stops you from exploding then you’ll feel all that much better for it.

Do you have a favorite quote that helps you de-stress in a moment of panic? Share it with us in the comments below!

Why Sleep is Vital to Your Overall Health

sleeping-kittenBy: Ali Jan Qadir

The embrace of sleep can be one of the most coveted things a person can ask for after a long day. While the reason we need sleep as yet eludes medical science, it is inarguably necessary. Most of us have experienced the feeling of being tired and spent and then gone to sleep only to wake up completely refreshed—so where does the stress and tiredness go? Well obviously something happens while a person sleeps which alleviates the physical, emotional and mental exhaustions of a day. Even doctors sometimes recommend sleep as a remedy to slight fevers and stress induced headaches etc.

The virtues of sleep are far and wide and affect us in critical ways. How we generally function; our physical and mental productivity, well-being, and activity are all related to the hours of sleep we put ourselves through. Even Psychological health has been found to be effected by our sleeping habits.

Sleep has a restorative quality. While we sleep our body calms down to very low metabolism rate (basal metabolism rate) and general tiredness falls off us as we are weaned off a tiring agent (adenosine) produced by our brain while we are awake. Repairs also take place as muscle growth, protein synthesis etc. are speeded up. So when we wake up we feel refreshed as both our cognitive and physical function have completely recovered and we are again full of energy.

Uninterrupted sleep also hugely impacts the capacity to learn and our memories. When we sleep the new information we have acquisitioned in the hours we were awake is stabilized and consolidated and is stored as memory from which it is easy to recall when we’re awake; so sleep helps retain knowledge and hence enhances our learning process and memory: It makes us more productive—why this is, is a matter of conjecture but studies have found this to be the case, the more hours of sleep the better memory recall and learning a person can have and therefore the more productive a person can be.

Sleep also affects the cognitive brain functions, for right handed people, the right side controlled functions of the brain like reflexes expressive and receptive speech, complex verbal and mathematical skill are all profoundly affected by sleep—the more one sleeps the sharper all these functions will become, being able to perceive and express things better will definitely improve the on our social lives so that is a plus most will welcome.

Nowadays, in the internet age: with everything happening at super speeds and connectivity at an all-time high people care less about sleeping habits and a healthy sleeping routine, they caffeine up and take life late into the night while making room for only patches of sleep. Lack of sleep can cause irritability, moodiness, stress, and even depression–which basically translateto a nose dive in the quality of life. Motivation levels start to tank and this can lead to even worse problems. And all this can turn into a vicious cycle as stress and depression are known to cause insomnia, so one can get caught in a very bad place if one isn’t careful about sleeping habits: A person’s peace of mind will completely be ruined by such a turn of events.

To overcome sleeping disorders a very basic and simple answer is to start exerting yourself physically. Physical exertion causes fatigue in the muscles and increases body temperature so in turn is compensated by the brain by adding hours to deep sleep by cooling down and allowing muscles to relax, and it also helps in making one sleep faster and easier. Mental activities also help as one can try their hands at things like Sudoku or simpler still trying to use your unfavorable hand( left hand for someone who is right handed) etc.  This improves sleep regulation by the brain as its activity rate is improved. Distractions are also a source of lack of sleep which needs to be removed. But that doesn’t mean that one should tax the brain, because it needs to calm down for sleep to come. So the brain should be allowed to be in a relaxed state when a person is about to go to sleep—about a couple hours before bedtime that is. Caffeine drinks like Tea and Coffee or soft drinks, Alcohol and other such beverages should be avoided because both adversely affect sleep; caffeine is a well-known brain stimulant while Alcohol although it makes one drowsy at first ruins sleep after a couple of hours as it has slow acting stimulants. Another important thing is to correct one’s biological clock by making a steady routine for bedtime and getting up in the morning.

So by getting an ample amount of sleep on a regular basis one can avoid all the issues that may pop up from sleep deprivation and restore ones peace of mind, sleep is also a stress relieving exercise and additionally on top of it powers of rejuvenation it also increases productivity so it not only maintains one’s quality of life it actually improves on it. So while ‘early to bed, and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise’ may be a clichéd and hackneyed phrase it is in fact a wise motto to believe in.

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Ali Jan Qadir is passionate about sharing what he learns. His articles always aims to give useful advice to his readers. His writing ranges from productivity to art. He also runs a blog about sleep and beds where his questions answers like what’s the best bed for back sleepers.

Watch: Adorable Girl Creates Her Own Fireworks

Sometimes you want to see fireworks even when it’s not the Fourth of July or New Years. Such was the case with this little girl who couldn’t sleep because she was sure she could hear them. To calm her down her dad picked up a ukelele and the two tried a duet. Of course, there were demanded breaks to watch the fireworks happening in this little girl’s imagination.

It just goes to show life is always better with a little imagination. Let’s give a thumbs up to dad of the year on that pink ukelele as well! What  did you think of the video? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

5 Ways to Get the Best Sleep of Your Life

Sleeping beauty

Sometimes a good night’s sleep can mean the difference between a disjointed, unproductive day and a fulfilling, enjoyable one. Why is that?

Sleep is a time of rest and repair, but even more than that, it allows us to process short and long-term memories, metabolize emotional experiences, and is instrumental in learning. It would follow, then, that sleep deprivation might lead to difficulty with memory, emotional imbalance, and loss of focus, all of which can contribute to a fragmented and uncomfortable state of mind.

There is a reason sleep aids have carved a powerful niche in the pharmaceutical industry, and if you’ve ever experienced insomnia then you can probably relate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4% of American adults over 20 years old use prescription sleep aids in a month period. And apart from prescription aids, there are boundless other sleep remedies people try, from melatonin to warmed milk and everything in between.

Here are 5 great articles on how to improve your sleep, from some of our favorite sources for wellness content around the web:

Do Sleep Aids Really Work? (Greatist)

14 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight (MindBodyGreen)

Sweet Dreams: How to Sleep Better, Lose Weight, and Live Longer (DrHyman.com)

How Does Sleep Affect Your Sex Life? (She Knows)

 Yoga for Sleep: 10 Poses to Induce Restfulness and Combat Insomnia
(Huffington Post)

We hope these resources help you get a full and restful night’s sleep tonight and every night after! What sleep remedies have worked for you? Let us know in the comments section!

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

What to Do When Nature Calls

Surprised businesswoman with CoffeeMy last blog was about finding purpose, “5 Essential Questions to Lead You to Your Calling.” In this blog I want to address another calling — nature’s calling. And there is only one answer to that calling: When nature calls, we must honor it.

I was recently at a meeting with a young girlfriend. She’s a passionate entrepreneur, and I was introducing her to some investors for her new venture. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and it went very well. As we were leaving and going down the elevator to exit, my friend grabbed my arm, crossed her legs and in a panic said, “We have to find a bathroom right away because I am dying to pee.” I looked at her in amazement and asked her, “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom while we were in the meeting?” She responded, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want to interrupt the meeting.” We ran to find her a restroom at a restaurant next door and when she came out I said to her, “Here’s a piece of advice. Honor your bladder first, and if you do, you are going to be much more present in everything you do. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, how important the meeting is, who you are with. First and foremost you must honor nature’s calling.”

After speaking at an event recently, I had a similar experience. I was signing books and kept wanting to go to the bathroom, but there was a long line. So I kept going, and an hour later I turned to a girl who was helping me and said, “I MUST go to the bathroom,” and she said, “just go,” as if I needed permission for somebody to tell me it was okay to go. I ran to the bathroom, came back and everyone was of course still in line waiting for me. Since then I have spoken to many friends and they have all shared with me that they often too delay going to the bathroom not to interrupt whatever they are involved in. So it got me thinking: What is the issue?

If we do not listen to our basic needs, eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, stretch when our body is tense, or drink water when we are thirsty, what other signals are we ignoring? What else in ourselves are we neglecting? Why do you think we do that? Could it be that we don’t want to appear normal, vulnerable, or human or that it may cause the wrong impression? Or do we think our meetings are more important than our physical well-being?

Our basic needs to go to the bathroom, to eat and to sleep are completely natural urges, and if we suppress them for the sake of what we consider social correctness, we are paying a price.

It is interesting that Michael Bloomberg, during his radio show this week, stated as one of the keys to success, “Take the fewest vacations and the least time away from the desk to go to the bathroom or have lunch.” I say the opposite. Take as many bathroom breaks as you need, recharge in every way you can and return to work renewed and full of energy instead of dragging yourself, and I promise you you are going to be way more productive and, yes, even more successful. Dear Mr. Mayor: When it comes to the question to pee or not to pee, there is no question. Make the time. Interrupt the meeting. Excuse yourself. Visit the closest bathroom.

Do women do this more often than men and why? You must all have a story or two. Would you share it with us?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

How Light Affects Our Sleep (And Overall Happiness)

moring in prague

Anyone who has ever experienced insomnia can tell you that lack of sleep is one of the cruelest barriers to happiness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of the U.S. population reports not getting enough sleep, and a whopping 10% reports chronic insomnia! Not only are we stressed, sick, and overweight in this country, but we are dangerously under-slept – and all of these circumstances undoubtedly have something to do with one another.

In addition to temperature, stress, and other factors, light has been shown to have a major effect on the circadian rhythm. Timing, intensity, and quality of light all play into either promoting or detracting from healthy sleep patterns. Imagine the difficulty night shift workers have to establish their sleep cycles! But even those of us who work regular hours and expect our sleep time to comfortably overlap with the dark hours can be negatively impacted by a disturbance in our light exposure. Think: computer and cellphone screens, artificial light, television, and the like.

Doctors and scientists in recent decades have developed light therapy treatment for various issues, including sleep disorders, and their results are promising. One study published in the American Psychological Association journal reported patients’ improvement in circadian rhythms after two hours of bright light exposure in the morning in conjunction with light restriction around bedtime. Another study published in Biological Psychiatry reported that bright light therapy can reduce the incidence of relapse in patients after other forms of sleep therapy – the results of which, by the way, may have a major affect of reducing depressive symptoms in patients with depression. The future looks bright, indeed.

Bright light therapy has also been shown to help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as reduce the incidence of behavioral disorders in patients suffering from dementia. All evidence points to the fact that light gravely affects not only our sleep patterns, but also our minds, emotions, and overall pursuit of happiness. With that in mind, it’s heartening to know that there may be measures we can take, which include light therapy, to increase overall health and wellness.

 Here are some tips on promoting sleep health with light therapy:

  1. Put your phone, computer, and television away after dark, or at least close to bedtime. Those moments right before bed might seem like the perfect time to catch up on email or your favorite show, but doing so may inhibit your ability to fall asleep. So save it for the morning, and pick up a book or sketch pad, instead.
  2. Go to sleep a bit earlier to align your sleep rhythm more closely with the day. This is hard to do, especially if you’re a parent, student, or busy professional. But going to sleep earlier might just allow you to wake up a bit earlier, too, and not lose an inch of productivity!
  3. Try using candlelight and natural light as much as possible. Artificial light has been implicated in the growth of sleep disorders – and again, much of this has to do with laptops and television screens. Turn it off, unplug, and opt for natural light.
  4. Make sure your bedroom is lit (and unlit) as much as possible by natural light. For instance, keep it dark after dark and around bedtime, but be sure the morning sunlight makes it in, as well. Exposure to bright light upon awakening, as we mentioned, can help promote healthy circadian rhythms. So let the light in!

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18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

How to Keep Your Mind and Body in Shape While Traveling

Yoga in MalaysiaBy Kendra Thornton

Heading out of town for a business trip or vacation can be a stressful time, but you should really try to minimize this stress and focus on the experience of being in a new place. Here are a few tips that can help you stay mentally and physically prepared for whatever journey is ahead of you:

1. Keep it Nutritious

Nutrition is a very important factor to be conscious of when traveling, especially during the warmer summer months. When I travel alone, one of my top priorities is staying happy, healthy and focused, which is why I make sure that I bring along some nutritious snacks, like cut up fruit, trail mix and similar treats. These kinds of foods are easy to carry around and have the added bonus of helping regulate body temperature, which is ideal when you’re in a hot airport or on a warm hike!

2. Select the Right Hotel

You can find some hotels in W. Scottsdale, Arizona that offer complimentary yoga classes, even to those that aren’t staying at the hotel! They’ve created a partnership with Lululemon Athletica to make 60-minute Vino & Vinyasa classes available two times per month. Before I pick a place to stay, I like to skim through Gogobot’s travel review site to find places like this that offer similar perks. For example, when I went to California I found a ton of really great San Diego hotels by looking through their reviews! I found out that the Porto Vista hotel had sunset yoga on their rooftop terrace – how cool is that!

3. Don’t Slack on Your Yoga Time

Even if you’re about to head out for a vacation, business trip or family adventure, you don’t have to leave your yoga routine at home. Take a yoga mat, a few candles and some of your favorite tea with you to get your yoga on wherever you find yourself. A happy mind promotes a healthy trip, so feel free to set up your mat right in your hotel room!

4. Stress Doesn’t do Anyone Any Good

It’s no secret that flights rarely go off without a hitch, be it due to excessive turbulence or a rowdy passenger. So, in these situations, I like to help relieve stress by focusing on my breathing. A bit of meditation right in your seat can do wonders for travel anxiety. Just focus on your breathing or put on some relaxing music, let your thoughts pass and you’ll be feeling more at peace in no time.

5. Regulate Your Sleep

Find yourself jetlagged in a new time zone? Get used to your new surroundings by exploring as soon as possible. If the sun is out on a nice day, head over to the beach and soak up some rays! MacGregor of Yoga Journal attests that your internal rhythm is rested when spending time in the sunlight, so get to it!

Keep in mind that a vacation or trip should be enjoyable and stress-free, so utilize these tips and keep your mind and body in the best shape possible to maximize your fun!

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HeadShot 8.38.02 AMFormer Orbitz Director of Communications, Kendra is now a full time mommy of three. Before becoming a mom, she traveled all around the world – 28 countries on 6 continents. She has been quoted in the news about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the United States, and she is excited to share some of her favorite tips on how to travel in a peaceful and balanced mindset.

Visit her website for more!

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