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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

      More by this author

      Nena Tenacity

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

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      Last Updated on September 16, 2019

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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      • (1) Research
      • (2) Deciding the topic
      • (3) Creating the outline
      • (4) Drafting the content
      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
      • (6) Revision
      • (7) etc.

      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

      2. Change Your Environment

      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

      6. Get a Buddy

      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

      Reality check:

      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

      More About Procrastination

      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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