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The Year that Just Wouldn’t Quit

The Year that Just Wouldn’t Quit

I think we can all agree that 2016 needs to come to come to an end…the sooner the better. Preferably yesterday.

Down with 2016!

Every social media outlet, friends and family have stressed the trials that 2016 has brought. If you conduct a search on the internet, you will come across countless articles with the same theme; Predictions I Wish Didn’t Come True in 2016. Dear 2016: You are the Worst Year and Here’s Why. Hashtags revolting against this year have emerged to join forces against the evil powers that be.

#RIP; to some of the greats; Price, David Bowie and Muhammad Ali to name a few.

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#BlackLivesMatter; in the wake of shootings and racial injustices creating national conversations.

#Election; creating chains of discussions and arguments around one of the most controversial elections in history. Even a flurry of memes have emerged displaying the “before and after” effects 2016 personally bestowed upon them.

“Me at the beginning of 2016 vs. the end of 2016” are hilarious, yet so utterly truthful. Oh, Leo, we all get it, trust us.

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    Twitter

    Universe, I beg of you. Have we not suffered enough?

    Exploring my own personal struggles, I can’t remember a time where I have felt more pain and anguish spanning over months. Not just a single event, but continuous, hard blows to my psyche. So much change was surrounding me at once that I had never experienced before. My coping strategies were lacking and eventually had a breakdown. My company swallowed a 15% budget cut; which equated to 24 talented and cherished employees. Both my parents were diagnosed with cancer and I was divorced. Those are certainly heavy crosses bear. Somehow, though, every single morning I woke up. I opened my eyes to a day reset. Another chance to take on the world; or in 2016’s case, dodge some more bullets.

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    One of the few good things that I can point out, is the birth of my nephew. But even that was veiled in irony; he was born on April 1st. The universe literally had a laugh at our expenses. Twisted, I know.

    Enough is enough.

    It’s exhausting to regal over all of these events, but it is with purpose. I’ll put a gentle reminder back out to everyone; we are all in the same boat. Though all from different walks of life and experiences, we are sharing the same struggle. We all get it. I have never felt such a rise of empathy and unity. So in the moments where your life has beaten you down and you’re dragging your feet; remember, we are here for you. We support you. As much turmoil as there was, there was a collective joining of forces across not only the nation, but globally. Social media certainly dampened the mood on 2016, yet let us not forget that positive events were still occurring, just may not have been broadcasted as well. The bad always seems to outweigh the good, doesn’t it?

    So as 2017 rapidly approaches, let us collectively have a shift in our mindsets. We shouldn’t let the negative forces follow us into a new year; a mark of a chance to start anew.  Let us instead take our trials, our worries, fears and bad memories and mold not only 2017 but our entire futures with a stronger, braver outlook. We have made it; we have done it. Let’s hold on to that thought and use it as momentum to carry us forward. For time has not crumbled and given up on us. The world is still happening and evolving around us. Let us be an integral part of that with our knowledge and experiences. Though it was hard, the proof of our strength is that we are still standing, persevering and moving forward day by day. So when you find yourself in 2017 facing adversary, frustration, struggle and doubt; just stop and say to the universe:

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    “Try me.”

    #2017strong

    More by this author

    Jillian Skoczylas

    Clinical Liaison for Intensive Care Management at Beacon Health Options

    The Year that Just Wouldn’t Quit Hindsight is 20/20: 5 Lessons From Your Life

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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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