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How to Cope with Common Sleep Problems: Insomnia, Snoring, and Waking Up Groggy

How to Cope with Common Sleep Problems: Insomnia, Snoring, and Waking Up Groggy

Sleep problems can take many forms, from trouble falling asleep, to having your sleep disrupted in the middle of the night, to waking up fuzzy-headed. What these problems share in common is they really and truly stink. They impact your physical and mental health in countless negative ways and can make you feel more like a zombie than a real live human being.

Improve your sleep—and your life—with the following strategies for coping with the common sleep problems of insomnia, snoring, and waking up groggy.

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How to Cope with Insomnia

Insomnia manifests as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping enough to feel rested. It plagues upwards of 40 percent of American adults. If you’re one of them, then you know how debilitating constant sleep deprivation can be. The good news is a variety of strategies can help you start sleeping better. Here are several proven ways to cope with insomnia:

  • Don’t do anything but sleep in your bed. Banish late-night work sessions, screens, mail sorting, and laundry folding from the bed. When you use your bed for nothing but sleeping, your body will start to associate the bed with sleep time. There’s also evidence that dimming the lights in the hours leading up to bed can help your body gravitate toward sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark. Studies consistently find that people sleep best in rooms that are relatively cool—anywhere from 60 to 75 degrees—and dark. That means turning off the glow of screens, nightlights, and/or streetlights from your room (even if it means investing in blackout curtains).
  • Ditch alcohol before bed. That nightcap is doing more harm than good. Drinking alcohol (whether it’s a beer or a glass of wine or spirits) before bed can make it harder for your body to fall asleep and increase your risk of waking up in the middle of the night. Abstain after 6 pm whenever possible.
  • Reduce stress in your waking life. Chronic stress is a major contributor to insomnia, so you’ll sleep better if you can get your stress under control. Exercise regularly, practice meditation or breathing techniques, and pursue hobbies that help you release tension in your daily life. This will make it that much easier to drift off to dreamland when nighttime comes.

How to Cope with Snoring

Snoring might seem like little more than an annoyance for the snorer’s bed partner. But it’s actually more serious. Snoring disrupts sleep stages, which means it seriously reduces the quality of your sleep. Over the long haul, lack of good sleep can result in physical and mental health issues including memory loss, poor concentration, and a higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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If that sounds terrifying, don’t panic. Instead, implement these strategies for coping with snoring:

  • Don’t drink before bed. Not only can nightcaps contribute to insomnia, they can also increase your risk of snoring during the night—thereby further degrading your sleep.
  • Quit smoking. There’s a strong link between smoking cigarettes and snoring. So if you need yet another reason to ditch the dirty habit, here it is: You’ll snore less and sleep better if you stop smoking.
  • Stay hydrated. There’s evidence dehydration can provoke snoring, because it makes nose and throat secretions more viscous and increases the potential for friction in these areas. (This is one of the sources of that “chainsaw” snoring sound.) In contrast, drinking plenty of water can reduce friction within and between your mucous membranes.
  • Perform throat exercises. It sounds weird, but a loose throat palate can increase your risk of snoring. Firming up these tissues can reduce the odds of them rattling while you breathe in your sleep. Practice these mouth exercises on a regular basis to help reduce snoring caused by loose throat tissue.

How to Cope with Waking Up Groggy

The fancy term for morning grogginess is sleep inertia. Whatever you call it, you know it by the feeling that your mind just isn’t quite “there” for the first 30 minutes (or more) after you wake up. Here’s how to beat back the fog as quickly as possible:

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  • Expose yourself to sunlight ASAP. Sunlight triggers our bodies and minds to wake up—so the sooner you get some sun, the sooner you’ll banish the morning fog. At a minimum, open the curtains throughout your apartment or house as soon as you wake up. Even better? Head outside for a short stroll. The combination of physical activity and sunlight is a one-two punch in the fight against morning grogginess.
  • Get a move on. Speaking of physical activity… When you’re feeling groggy in the morning, the thought of working out can seem like a mild form of torture, but it might be the best thing for you. Morning exercise helps boost circulation and increases energy levels, which can help you feel clear-headed faster. Even if you can’t muster up the energy for a high-intensity workout, consider doing a few jumping jacks or some dynamic stretching in the living room.
  • Don’t hit “snooze”. Look, I know how tempting it is to hit that snooze button and live in blissful denial of your eventual wake-up for just a few more minutes. But research says those last few minutes of rest are doing more harm than good. Because you’re likely to fall back into a deep sleep (rather than a lighter sleep stage), you’ll feel that much worse when the alarm goes off again.
  • Take a hot shower. The change in body temperature that’s elicited by a hot shower can help your body transition into alertness.

When you’re not sleeping well or you’re constantly waking up groggy, it can start to feel like you’ll never feel well-rested again. It’s important, however, not to lose hope. Instead, muster the energy to adopt these strategies. While it might take some time to turn them into habits, they’re all but guaranteed to help you feel more rested over the long haul.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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