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Still Tired After A Vacation? This Is Probably Why

Still Tired After A Vacation? This Is Probably Why

When you hear the word “vacation”, what comes to mind? For most it means having fun, indulging or pampering themselves to some degree or simply relaxing and catching up on sleep. Most people consider it a time to unwind and recharge away from work and the stresses of life.

However, the reality for some is that they end up feeling even more stressed and exhausted than they did before they went on vacation. Now, how is this possible?

Vacationing the Wrong Way

A common misconception that people have with going on vacation is that they need to make the most out of their trip. They go on every tour they can squeeze in or research 101 places to visit while at their destination and then pack 98 of those suggestions in their itinerary. While making the most of your time away–especially when visiting exotic locations is important, most people over-pack their schedule and overwhelm themselves with busyness which results in more stress and less rest.

In today’s overexposed social media and ultra tech-culture, it is even easier to forget the true meaning of the word “vacation.” Technology and social media has over-promoted and normalized sharing every experience we have–especially while on vacation. The saying, “if you didn’t post about it, did it really happen?” drives our current culture to document and share EVERYTHING.

You Instagram all your meals, snap chat every moment of your time on every tour and check into every “it” spot within 100 miles so you have plenty to post on Facebook. In fact, you spend more time taking the perfect selfie at every stop than you do actually participating in the activity. You end up sacrificing the quality of the trip for the quantity of posts you get out of.

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This flawed “vacation” mindset results in:

Packing too many activities into the trip

You have been wanting to visit Italy for the longest time and you have 2 weeks. You want to make the most out of your trip so you squeeze in every activity (that you have researched on blogs and travel sites) you possibly can. Your vacation days begin early in the morning and ends in the wee hours of the morning. So, you wake up early, go to sleep late and are walking or running around the entire day… And you wonder your body is physically exhausted?

Booking oddly timed flights

In order to maximize your time off of work, you book the first flight out which leaves at the crack of dawn and catch the very the last flight home, with only a couple hours to spare before heading to work the next day. You return to work an exhausted, frazzled and unproductive mess.

Failing to disconnect

During your vacation, you were constantly checking and responding to work emails or completing tasks. Not only are you ruining your vacation because you are not fully present and living in the moment but you are perpetuating the stress you were trying to escape!

The same is true if you spend copious amounts of time snap chatting, Facebooking or Instgramming–updating and showing off for all of your friends and followers– you, again, miss so many beautiful moments.

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Picking the wrong kind of vacation

If you intentionally want to take a break to relax and recharge, then you should pick a place or an activity that does not require intense energy physically (such as hiking to Mount Everest Base Camp) or is mentally draining to plan which counteracts the unwinding process.

Instead, do something that you enjoy or travel to a destination that is tranquil and has minimal distractions.

Vacationing the right way

Learning to appreciate that vacation or holiday time is a chance to unwind and that you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with planning and trying to create the perfect vacation is the first key to having fun while still being refreshed.

It’s a great idea to enjoy the recommended hot spots, attractions, restaurants and activities, but understand and accept that there will be more activities than you have time for–don’t try to do it all.

Plan a vacation that provides you to be flexible. Eliminating the pressure of having to do it all will leave you feeling refreshed and motivated when it comes time to head back to work.

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Keeping in mind the following will help you to better appreciate your vacation time:

Come home a day early

It’s always a good idea to give yourself one day to recoup before returning to work after a vacation. This allows your body and mind to adjust to being back home and get back into the groove of your work routine. Coming home at least a day before going back to work also allows you to settle in, unpack and do some catching up with work–checking emails–before going back into the office. This gives you room to breathe and reduces the anxiety and stress associated with the impending workload.

Take your time

The purpose of a vacation is to relax and enjoy yourself. So when you finally get to take that trip you’ve been looking forward to, take your time and work to be completely present during every experience. Accept the fact that there will always be more to see and do than you can possibly fit in your vacation. Relax and have fun.

Get Enough Sleep

Again, you want to go on vacation to recharge, so don’t over-crowd your schedule with late night and early morning activities. Make sure you rest and get plenty of sleep. It’s okay to schedule a lazy day during your vacation where you can sleep in and not be bound to an itinerary.

Don’t be too lazy

Just as it is critical to relax, your body also needs some activity to help you fight stress and to feel awake and alive. So don’t overdo it with the sleep and relaxing. Try to fit in the minimum recommended amount of daily exercise and if you don’t exercise take this as an opportunity to start a new habit. Start slow. This goes for sleeping, as well. Get the right amount of sleep for your body. Some people need eight or more hours of sleep per night, however, whatever is typical for you and leaves you feeling refreshed is the right amount of sleep for you. Too much sleep can actually backfire and leave you feeling lethargic, and foggy. As with everything, balance is key.

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Relax and hang loose!

Everyone deserves a vacation or break every now and then to escape the day-to-day grind. It is crucial to ensure that the vacation you take does indeed serve its purpose of letting you feel relaxed and recharged again.

When you feel refreshed and motivated to head back to work, you can perform better and look forward to the next vacation!

Featured photo credit: Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Published on December 26, 2018

The Importance of Deep Sleep for Your Mind and Body and How to Get It

The Importance of Deep Sleep for Your Mind and Body and How to Get It

Do you want the secret to health and wellness?

Sure you do, everyone does. Everyone is looking for the miracle supplement, workout or tip that can change their lives seemingly overnight. Well such a thing does exist, is available to you anytime, and will cost you nothing.

It’s sleep — specifically deep sleep.

The Epidemic of Chronic Sleep Deprivation

If you’re like the majority of the population, you are probably depriving yourself of it on a nightly basis.

Sleep has been called the “force multiplier” in that it has the ability to enhance, or worsen, whatever state that you’re in.

If you are eating well, controlling stress, and exercising often, then getting good sleep on top of all that will help enhance the benefits of all those healthy things that you’re doing.

On the other hand, if you are eating poorly, not exercising, are constantly stressed, and overdoing it with medications or other substances, a lack of sleep is going to compound and multiply everything.

It’s like being kicked while you’re down

And when you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including the following[1]:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Digestive disorders
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Irritability

How to Get the Best Deep Sleep

Deep sleep is so important for not only your body, but your mind. Here are 10 ways to get the best deep sleep possible:

1. Start Going to Bed Earlier

You’re going to bed too late each night. I get it though, there are too many distractions that can keep you up late.

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First among all those is entertainment. The amount of programming through cable and streaming services could sink a battleship. It’s like there isn’t enough hours in the day to consume it all.

And let me tell you, there isn’t. When you combine this with the distraction of social media, you can find yourself still scrolling at 2 am.

You would be doing yourself a favor by putting off all those shows for another time and allow yourself to get to bed earlier. Trust me, those shows aren’t going anywhere and we’ve become content consumers, thinking it’s like an assignment to finish that next series on Netflix.

There is no assignment, those things are there for your enjoyment. So enjoy them on your on terms and don’t let them interfere with getting deep, consistent sleep.

2. Create a Wind Down Routine

This is key in getting deep sleep. Your body craves routine and responds favorably to it.

You want to create a wind down routine that you start at the same time each night and follow the order of. This wind down routine will allow your body to know that sleep is coming. This is going to allow you to fall asleep sooner and get that valuable deep sleep.

It doesn’t matter really what type of routine it is, but find out what works best for you and stick with it. It may be taking a shower and then reading or it may be some yoga and then listening to music. The key thing is that its important to create some structure for your body to help unwind with to eventually get that deep sleep.

3. Turn down the Light

Remember all that entertainment all around you? It may be seriously degrading your ability to get deep sleep.

We live in a 24/7 artificially lit world. As the sun sets, the opposite happens and your house springs into action. Lights are blaring, T.V’s are on, screens are being fully used. All this artificial light is disrupting your circadian rhythms and throwing off your ability to get deep sleep. The blue light emitted from electronics has the ability to prevent melatonin release from the brain which is crucial in your sleep cycles.[2]

So turn off those electronics 1 to 2 hours beforehand and you’ll be surprised at the positive impact this can have.

4. If You Really Have to Use Those Electronics, Make Use of These Tools

There are going to be times when being on your laptop is required or you do have to use your phone. Fortunately, along with your modern technology, comes some ways to make them have a less harsh impact.

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The first one is a tool for if you need to be on your lap top doing work. It’s called F.lux. This takes away that blue light from your lap top screen and gives it a more natural warm and orange glow. It can replicate the brightness all the way down to candle light and embers from a fire. Reducing the blue light is going to help you avoid the sleep disruption it causes.

I’m actually using it right now as I write this.

If you use an iPhone, you can switch on the night shift mode which also takes away from some of that harsh blue light. If you have to be up watching T.V, at least switch it into “movie” mode on your picture settings. Most T.V’s have “standard”, “dynamic”, and “movie” mode. Movie mode will give it a bit of warmer glow and cause less of that blue light disruption.

5. Keep Your Room Dark

This goes along with all this melatonin/blue light we’ve been talking about.

Just as blue light prevents your brain from secreting melatonin, darkness helps to produce it. When it gets dark, your body realizes the cycle of the day is ending and your sleep cycles should match up with that. Your sleep cycle involves this melatonin secretion so you want to help encourage it by keeping your room as dark as possible.

This can be tough in our modern world but your best friend in this situation are black out curtains. These are available most everywhere from Walmart to Amazon. They help to eliminate all that outside light to keep your environment as dark as possible. These are what hotels use and you may have noticed how dark those rooms can be compared to the amount of light that is usually prevalent outside.

6. Keep Your Room Cooler

Again, our modern environments create overly bright, overly warm living situations. This warmth is great but is not the most conducive to sleep.

Sure, warmth may make you drowsy but doesn’t promote that deep sleep you’re looking for. You want things to be a touch on the cool side to promote better sleep.

When you’re asleep, your body temperature actually drops and by creating a cool environment you can actually speed up the process of getting to sleep. Your body senses the coolness and can transition easier into sleep while also engaging in deeper sleep.

If you can control your room temperature, the sweet spot seems to be at around 5-10 degrees cooler than your average daytime temperature. At the very least, your sheets should feel cool to the touch, then you’ll know you’re in the right range.

You can check out a few more things you can do to improve your room in this article too:

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Are You Sure Your Bedroom is The Best Setting for Your Sleep?

7. Don’t Eat Too Much Before Bed

It’s hard to go to bed hungry and a little snack can be o.k, but you want to avoid heavy meals later in the night. This keeps your body up digesting and doesn’t allow you to naturally wind down and get that deep sleep.

Also, just the discomfort and bloating makes it tough to get settled. At the same time, your body can think it’s in the middle of the day as the focus appears to be on digestion and absorption as opposed to sleep. This can cause some more havoc with your body clock which hasn’t been allowed to naturally do it’s thing.

If you’re up all night eating and exposed to bright lights from screens, in your bodies mind, is like being outside in the middle of a bright sunny day. Sleep is the furthest thing from its mind in this situation and it doesn’t know the difference between it being noon or three in the morning.

Scenarios like this make the ability to fall asleep, and stay in deep sleep, extremely difficult. On the other hand though, here’s some things you do what to drink and eat to promote better sleep:

This is How You Can Eat and Drink Your Way To A Good Night Sleep

8. Check out What You’re Sleeping On

There’s a bit of a science to your bed and mattress and getting it just right is pretty crucial.

If you think about the majority of purchases in your life; house, car, schooling, etc your mattress needs to be right up there. Seems kind of ridiculous but it’s where you spend 1/3 of your life – or 1/2 of it if you have teenagers – so it should be considered a significant purchase.

The usual idea is going for the softest mattress possible. There are a lot of options for that now with memory foam mattresses and super soft mattress toppers. To get the best deep sleep possible, you’re going to want to go for more of a medium-firm one. The same way I like my steaks…

If you like the softer pillow top mattresses at least go for a firm mattress underneath for better support. A firmer support will give more support and cushioning to your spine and this is important for helping you sleep.

When things are too soft there is a lack of support for you spine and body and even slight movements can be disruptive to your sleep.

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Here’re some guides for you to pick the right mattress and pillow:

9. Watch out for the Caffeine

No surprise here that caffeine can keep you up but you might not know how long it can cause this to happen.

Caffeine can kick in around 10 to 20 minutes on average, and the noticeable effects can last for 2 to 3 hours in your body. If you over consume caffeine, it can take more and more of it to feel its effects to the point you’re injecting espresso.

It would seem to make sense that you want to cut caffeine out 2 to 3 hours before bed but this probably won’t do the trick. Caffeine has what’s called a “half-life” meaning its existence, and effects in the blood stream, can last longer. This half life can last around 5-6 hours,[3] so you might have to do some new math as to when it will be best to have your last coffee of the day.

10. Easy on the Alcohol

It seems like I’m taking all the fun away but caffeine and alcohol can really disrupt your sleeping patterns.

Alcohol may knock you out quick but it prevents you from getting that deep quality of sleep you are looking for. We’re looking at that body clock getting screwed up again with alcohol.

Alcohol turns on a brain pattern called “alpha activity”. This type of brain pattern doesn’t usually happen when you’re asleep but when you’re awake and alert. This now disrupts your circadian rhythms and in turn can block your REM sleep.[4]

Add this all up and you may pass out after all those Jager bombs but your body is not going to get any benefit or deep sleep from it. All you’ll have to show for it is the inevitable hangover the next day.

Final Thoughts

In society today, many people seem to wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honor. There’s this sense of “sleep being for the weak” and the desire to burn the candle at both ends.

Not only is this not a sustainable way to live, you may be causing a lot of damage to yourself while you’re at it. The ability to get deep sleep on a continuous basis is critical for your body and mind to be at their best.

In this article, you’ve seen some things that you can start doing tonight to start getting better sleep. From making a more suitable environment, to watching out for the things that you consume, hopefully you have a better idea now of how your body responds to all these.

The best part is that most of these tips are easy and won’t cost you anything but are only going to enhance your health and wellness.

Featured photo credit: Rex Pickar via unsplash.com

Reference

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