Tag Archives: sleep

Naps: harmful of beneficial?

Are naps harmful or beneficial? This long-held debate has some research behind it that may change the way you think about naps.
Naps have been around forever. Your grandparents did it (and still do) and even your hardworking ancestors. Historians actually claim that modern day sleeping habits (i.e., 7-8 hours a night, uninterrupted, etc.) are just that – modern. They say that our ancestors would sleep 3-4 hours at a time, waking to do much needed farm, labor, and house work.
While we don’t need to wake up in the middle of night to do chores anymore, many still find themselves needing a rest mid-day. Whether due to sleep deprivation or much-needed relaxation time, naps can be both harmful and beneficial, depending how you do it.
While naps can reduce tiredness, boost alertness, improve mood, as well as improve work or school performance, they aren’t for everyone. Naps can cause grogginess upon waking and sleep problems at night, especially if you’re prone to bouts of insomnia.
That being said, there are ways in which you can nap that can boost the beneficial effects and ward off the harmful ones.
When should you nap?
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely fatigued, take the nap.
Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be missing out on sleep later, plan ahead and take a nap. Your body will thank you later.
How should you nap?
Keep it short. Keep your naps between 10-30 minutes. This will help you rejuvenate quickly, without effecting your sleep later.
Find your restful place. Napping where its quiet and comfortable will ensure those 10-30 minutes are as restful as possible.
Ultimately, listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else. Happy napping!

Are these foods messing with your sleep schedule?

Sleep is one of the most important body functions we have. During sleep, our body restores, resets, and repairs. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it allow your body to conduct crucial functions, it helps your mind, mood, and weight as well.
Scientists suggest making a sleep schedule and sticking to it, in order to ensure quality sleep each night. This means sticking to your bedtime, even on the weekends. But of course, that’s easier said than done. And new research suggests some foods could be messing with your nightly zzz’s.
Nutritionists have researched how late-night snacking interferes with your quality of sleep. Particularly, how these late-night snacks can be derailing your sleep health.
Sugar-filled treats. Sugary treats such as candy, ice cream, and chocolate delay the release of melatonin in your body. Melatonin manages your sleep-wake cycle, so when it gets out of whack, so does your quality of sleep.
Caffeine. This one could probably go without saying, but we’ll say it anyways. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, the chemical responsible for making you feel sleepy. No sleepy feeling chemicals to your brains means your brain stays feeling awake.
High sodium foods. Everyone’s favorite – high sodium foods, such as French fries, burritos, and Asian food wreak havoc on your hydration levels. Dehydration is what causes you to wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you could drink a pool.
Heart-burn causers. Onions, garlic, and hot sauce are common heart-burn causers, especially in those prone to acid-reflux. Eating these foods before lying down can irritate the esophagus, causing you to experience pain and gas.
Alcohol. This one may be surprising to some, as having a drink before bed is a common American past-time. While alcohol may induce sleep, it doesn’t keep you asleep. This is due to alcohol altering the production of chemicals while you’re asleep. This interferes with REM, causing you to miss out on the deep, restorative sleep our bodies need.

The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep

Sleep is one of the most important body functions you experience. During sleep, your body restores, resets, and repairs.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is a key factor in living a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it allow your body to conduct important functions, it helps your mind and mood as well.
With so many benefits, it’s hard to believe that most individuals don’t get enough sleep. After all, who doesn’t love a good snooze?
Unfortunately, due to busy lives, adults in general are not getting enough sleep. This habit could be causing your aches, pains, mood swings, and halting your body from conducting some of its most crucial functions.
Most doctors recommend getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. While this task can be easier said than done, we’ve compiled a list of a few reasons why you should prioritize a good night’s sleep.

  • Improves memory – during sleep your mind strengthens and practices memory skills.
  • Helps you live a longer, happier life – research has shown that those who get adequate sleep live longer and are happier.
  • Prevents inflammation – inflammation is linked to a plethora of diseases. Studies have found that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have more inflammatory proteins in their body.
  • Sparks creativity – want to bring more creativity to your job and life? Get more sleep. This benefit has to do with memory which helps spur the creative process.
  • Improves stamina in the gym – studies have been conducted that evaluated athletes who got 8-10 hours of sleep versus those who got less and found that those with more sleep performed better on the field.
  • Helps you keep your grades up – those who have trouble sleeping are more likely to struggle with learning. Keep your brain sharp by sleeping more.
  • Allows you to sharpen your attention – lack of sleep can cause similar symptoms as ADHD. Keep your focus by focusing on sleep.
  • Maintains a healthy weight – did you know your body burns fat while you’re sleeping? It’s true. Metabolism is processed during sleep. This means that not getting enough z’s can keep you from your weight goals.
  • Lowers stress – it’s no secret stress contributes to illness. Keep yourself healthy by getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Wards off depression – not only does sleep improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and curb irritability, it provides increased emotional stability as well.