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Which One Is More Like Your Kitchen? It Might Reveal Your Diet And Health

Which One Is More Like Your Kitchen? It Might Reveal Your Diet And Health

Rising rates of people who are overweight or obese is a problem both in the United States and around the world. One of the reasons for this is that weight gain (and loss) is more than just about eating fewer calories or exercising more. Hormonal imbalances, medical conditions, and even the environment can affect the way weight is gained and lost, and a new study out of the University of New South Wales in Australia underlines just how important the environment can be to a healthy diet.

The Experiment

messy kitchen
    Chaotic Kitchen
      Neat Kitchen

      In order to understand a little more about the relationship between stress, eating habits and the environment, 100 college students were chosen to participate in this study. The students were divided into 2 groups, one being placed in a neat and tidy kitchen environment while the other was placed in a kitchen which was chaotic and cluttered. Once there, the students were encouraged to think and talk about times they had felt in control of a situation and times when they had felt stressed or out of control. Cookies, crackers, and carrots were provided to the students as part of the study.

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      The Results

      The result of this study were starker than many of the researchers had expected: the students who were in a more chaotic frame of mind and in the cluttered kitchen ate more of the cookies than those who were situation in the neat and tidy kitchen. As a matter of fact, they ate more than twice as many calories as the other students.

      The research suggested that eating in a chaotic environment is not recommended for those who are wanting to lose weight or to keep it off, as it encourages overeating and makes it easier to consume more calories than you realize, making it easy to put on weight and to derail attempts at weight loss.

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      Researcher’s noted that “Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mindset against the environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.”

      Reasons for The Students’ Behavior

      The reasons for the behavior the students in the chaotic environment are not, perhaps, surprising, considered that other studies have found that the mental chaos which arises from being in a cluttered or chaotic environment can easily lead to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain. Part of this is because that when the body feels like it is under stress — as it can do in a surroundings that are chaotic — it produces chemicals and hormones that make it easier to gain weight. One of those chemicals is called betatropin, which blocks the activity of an enzyme that burns fat and cortisol, a hormone which rises in response to stress and which signals to the body that it needs to store fat, particularly in the abdominal area.

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      What to Learn from This Study

      This might be a small study, but there are a lot of important lessons to take away from it. The most important lesson to learn is that chaos and clutter around the house really can affect the quality of your environment — which, in turn, can affect your eating habits. The trial mentioned above is not the only one to find this link: another study in 2008 found that people who struggled with organizing their homes or work spaces were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese. Thus, while it may seem difficult to do, decluttering your home and providing yourself an organized, neat environment to be in can actually help your efforts to lose weight.

      The Importance of Decluttering

      This study underlines the importance of decluttering one’s life in order to reduce stress (and cortisol levels) in order to make it easier to lose weight, and while decluttering won’t happen overnight, you can make a difference if you are persistent and take care of the problem over time.

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      Tips for a good clean-out include:

      • Making sure you have the materials (such as storage bins) ready ahead of time
      • Choosing one area at a time to work on for decluttering
      • Buying the products (such as hooks for car keys or filing cabinets for papers) that are tailored for your particular needs.
      • Be sure to sort papers into “like” piles to make it easier to organize and file them.

      In short, decluttering might feel like a lot of work — and even seem overwhelming at times — but as studies like this one show, the short— and long-term benefits you will derive from this activity more than make up for the effort you will put into it.

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      Brian Wu

      Health Writer, Author

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      1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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