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Alert: Screen Time Can Affect Your Hormones And Health A Lot

Alert: Screen Time Can Affect Your Hormones And Health A Lot

Ever returned home after a long dreary day and jumped into bed hoping to hit dreamland and phase out until the morning light – but sleep just does not come? You try counting and breathing and watching the ceiling, but still nothing. So then you switch to screen time by powering up the TV, or browsing your smartphone? And you are left wide awake, in the serene silence of the night?

The Inner Workings of the Body Clock – Melatonin

The pineal gland in the brain creates a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for your logging the control pattern of the biological clockwork program in the body. It controls the cycles of day and night and coordinates the dreamland journey into the next morning.

This body clock influences the amount of melatonin hormone that the pineal gland creates as well as the exposure to light. Melatonin levels begin to rise by mid evening after sunset. Melatonin levels stay elevated all night in darkness. Early in the morning as the sun rises they begin to drop as you wake up to a brand new day.

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    How melatonin largely affects your health

    Melatonin levels studies have indicated that they peak before menstruation and coordinate patterns according to the length of days. If there are disturbances due to shift work or other reasons the sleep clock ticks off into disarray. [1]

    Many are aware that melatonin is linked to sleep yet, it is also linked to prevention of other conditions like of heart disease, migraine headaches and Alzheimer’s. It has a role in strengthening the immune system and weight loss as well. Due to the interference of artificial lighting, many lack this wonder hormone

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    If your thoughts are flowing in a direction of ensuring enough melatonin production, remember that supplements may benefit, but the natural melatonin production of the body is naturally more beneficial and less pressing on regular digits of your budget. A few products have a slight percentage of melatonin like almonds, sunflower seeds, Goji berries as well as cherries and coriander.

    Yet by optimizing production in the body following steps of sleep hygiene, you create the perfect melatonin dosage your body requires. Improving your flow of sleeping will optimize melatonin.

    Sleep Hygiene

    How to increase your melatonin levels and sleep better

    Release gadgets an hour or so before bed

    In the evening or an hour or so before bed, log off and shut down the computer and TV and your smartphone. These techno gadgets emit blue light and the brain receives a daytime signal. The brain starts to emit melatonin at about 9pm. These light rays intercept the process.

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    According to the National Sleep Foundation, scientific documentation has revealed the role of light in promoting wakefulness. Photoreceptors present in the retina senses dark or light and message the brain on the outside world that aligns in tune. Light emitted from smartphones and tablets send false signals to the brain confusing sleep cycles. [2]

    Get exposure to the bright sun

    Get a few minutes of the bright morning sun if this is possible, setting the internal clock into motion that a new day has  arrived. Get exposure to the bright sun. The pineal gland will produce more melatonin approximating contrasts of lighting exposed to in the day and the darkness. If you stay indoors all day, with no difference detected, melatonin production is reduced.

    Try to ensure complete darkness at sleep time

    Try to ensure complete darkness at sleep time. A slight invasion of light can disrupt the melatonin production in the pineal gland. Even the glow of a clock radio or your mobile phone. Either get rid of these gadgets or cover them. Move electrical devices away from your bedroom.

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    Consider covering windows in blackout shades or drapes or wear an eye mask when sleeping. If you need light for night navigation, use a red light bulb as this bandwidth of light is less intrusive than blue and white lights. Salt lamps come at handy for this purpose.

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      Jump into a warm bath a few hours before bedtime

      The temperature should be kept lower than seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Jump into a warm bath a few hours before bedtime. This increases body temperature and signals the body you are prepared for slumber motions.[3]

      Try to avoid alarm clocks

      Avoid the use of alarm clocks. To be jolted up suddenly every morning can jerk up stress, and with sufficient sleep patterns in order, an alarm clock may not be needed. [4]

      Get a good flow of sleep hygiene, shut down, and get ticking away into the venture of dreamland wonders!

      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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      Nena Tenacity

      Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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