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Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s the mantra of the work-obsessed. You may feel like sleep is an area where you can cut corners, but not getting enough sleep is bad for your health and productivity.

Approximately 90% of people don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that they need every night.[1] Like many aspects of healthy living, we tend to ignore what’s good for us until we notice negative side effects of unhealthy choices.

If you’re forgetful, tired in the middle of the day, or have trouble concentrating, you may be sleep deprived. It’s tempting to work longer hours to get more done, but the reality is that you won’t be able to maintain solid performance without rest. You’ll more likely notice a drop in your productivity as you sleep less.

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Sleep-walking through your life is dragging

Some people think they can make up for a night of poor sleep. Taking a nap the next day or sleeping in on weekends may make you feel like you’ve compensated for lost hours. If you’ve never had a health issue related to sleep deprivation, and you’ve been staying up late throughout high school and college, you might feel that this isn’t a big deal.

    Unfortunately, you can’t just make up for lost sleep. Your body does best when you’re on a regular sleep schedule. Depriving yourself of rest is not like a charge on your credit card that you can pay off later. After you’ve lost the sleep, you can’t pay off sleep-debt. Read more about Why You Can’t Pay off a Sleep Debt You’ve Accumulated Over the Week.

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    Some people say that they can get by on 6 hours or less per night. They may be more tired than they realize. Just because you’re present and conscious doesn’t mean that you’re in top condition.

      A study published on Brain and Behavior shows that our bodies sleep more efficiently if they have to, but our brains won’t be able to achieve peak performance.[2] In fact, the brain of a person who sleeps less than 6 hours per night behaves like they’ve had a few drinks.[3] Clearly, you won’t be able to do your best work if you aren’t well-rested.

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      You’re not yourself when you’re sleep deprived

      Only a well-rested mind has the chance to be healthy and productive.

      • Being tired makes you stubborn. Nothing makes you quite as bull-headed as wanting to take a nap. Even the most agreeable people become stubborn when they’re tired. Change requires energy, so naturally a sleep deprived person will be set in their ways.
      • Forget about being creative. When you haven’t rested, you have to work extra hard to do basic tasks. With rest, you can come up with new ways to solve problems.
      • You won’t feel motivated. Not only does your brain become less efficient after one night of poor sleep, but your drive to work also decreases.[4] Even the easiest tasks seem challenging when you’re tired.
      • Waiting around seems impossible. Patience goes out the window when you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re already tired, you may become impatient with anyone or anything that requires more effort or energy.

        Find out more about how sleep is closely related to productivity here in this article:  8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier

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        Break the sleep-deprived cycle

        There’s still a lot that we don’t understand about sleep, but we know that our brains need it to function well. Just like your body needs to recharge after physical effort, your brain also needs real breaks to restore your energy.

        Your mind has to rest in order to solve problems. If you focus on an issue for too long, you get tunnel vision. Allow yourself to enter diffused thinking mode, in which your brain works on the problem while you are doing other things. When you’re struggling, taking a break or sleeping on the problem is the best thing to do. Take a look at this article to find out Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer.

        Inspired to set yourself up for sleep success? Try Lifehack’s CEO daily routine: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

        Being sleep deprived may not seem bad on the surface, but it can cause a lot of health and productivity problems for you. You can’t be the best version of yourself without rest.

        Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

        Reference

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        Jolie Choi

        Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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        Published on September 25, 2020

        The Effects of Stress on Your Body And Mind (You Never Knew)

        The Effects of Stress on Your Body And Mind (You Never Knew)

        We’ve all experienced the effects of stress in one form or another. Feeling stressed out sucks, especially when it becomes chronic.

        Stress affects everything from your digestion, immune function, cognition, and mood. In simplest terms, stress is your body’s response to changes that take place in your environment that are deemed ‘unsafe.’

        The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect environment for a full-blown stress meltdown. It is normal to feel stressed right now. The world feels like it’s upside down—literally.

        On top of that, the uncertainty and constant health threats surrounding COVID-19 have led to a surge in mental health issues. A study found that 70% of the U.S. population have identified as moderately to severely distressed since the onset of the pandemic.[1] Can you relate?

        It has never been more important to master our emotional health. The pandemic has shown us that, while we can’t control the external world, we always have control over how we respond to it.

        Everyone experiences stress, but not everyone deals with it in the same way. The good news is that you have the power to effectively manage your stress so that your world doesn’t feel like it’s falling apart every time you’re hit with a challenge.

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        Before you can do that, it’s important to understand how the mind-body connection works.

        The Mind-Body Connection and Stress

        Despite popular opinion, the mind and the body are not two separate entities. Your physical body impacts your emotions and visa versa. As you can imagine, if there is disharmony in the body, there will also be disharmony in the mind, which in turn will influence your stress levels.

        One study found that the type of energy patterns that are carried by certain words and intentions can cause physical changes in DNA structure which become the building blocks of your body.[2]

        Have you ever felt a nauseous feeling in your stomach when you’re anxious about something? If so, you’ve experienced the mind-body connection at play.

        The next time you find yourself saying something negative, remember that your thoughts determine how your body behaves. Negative emotions contribute to dis-ease in the body. Be mindful of the words you speak because your body is always listening to you. What you think, you become.

        The Effects of Stress on the Mind and Body

        Life is a rollercoaster ride which means that stress will happen. You cannot hide from it. The best thing that you can do is take preventative measures to ensure that stress doesn’t wreak havoc on your mind and body over the long-term. Here are 3 lesser-known effects of stress.

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        1. Weakened Immune System

        Your health is your wealth. Without you, you have nothing. If you don’t have a strong immune system, your body won’t be able to fight off disease and/or viruses.

        COVID-19 has taught us how important it is to take care of our immune systems. If you want to maintain a strong immune system get a good night’s sleep, do regular exercise, eat healthy foods, take immune-boosting supplements, and commit to relaxation practices.[3] This is how you will train your immune system to work for you instead of against you.

        2. Gut Problems

        There is a strong correlation between digestive health and stress. The gut and the brain are constantly communicating and sending signals to one another.

        Have you ever felt like you were punched in the gut after receiving awful news? Have you ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous about something? These reactions happen for a reason.

        An imbalanced intestine can send signals to the brain, just as an imbalanced brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach pains can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.[4]

        So, the next time you have an unexplained stomach ache, your stress levels could be the culprit. Avoid foods that can irritate your stomach and aggravate the symptoms of stress, like refined sugars and fried foods. I like to take acidophilus regularly which helps to increase healthy bacteria in the gut.

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        Lastly, I encourage you to create a daily Kundalini yoga practice. Kundalini yoga is great for stimulating the flow of energy in the body. There are specific Kundalini exercises that support healthy digestion, some of which include Breath of Fire, Stretch Pose, and Sat Kriya.

        3. Depression

        Stress is a normal response to positive and negative life experiences. However, if you have trouble coping with stress over the long-term, you can put yourself at risk for developing depression. Sustained or chronic stress leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine.[5]

        When you experience heightened levels of stress, you are more likely to experience a low mood. Unfortunately, a low mood will make you more prone to not engaging in healthy activities, like exercising and eating well. As a result, your mood will suffer even more.

        This toxic spiraling effect is what causes a lot of people to experience symptoms of depression, like fatigue, anxiety, loss of appetite, or in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.

        COVID-19 has put a lot of people at risk for depression. With everything that is currently going on in the world, people are more susceptible to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness which can precipitate the onset of depression.

        One of the best ways to prevent yourself from falling into a spiral of sadness is to seek professional help. A psychologist or a coach can help you navigate through the difficult times and give you tools for reducing stress and anxiety.

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        Secondly, create a daily mindfulness-based practice and make it a non-negotiable. Mindfulness can be in the form of meditation, yoga, dancing, tai chi, or breathwork.

        Practicing mindfulness helps you reprogram negative thoughts and reassess difficult experiences with a more calm mind.

        Don’t Allow Stress to Take Over Your Life

        You have two choices—you can either let stressors suffocate your health and well-being, or you can transform your wounds into wisdom and rewrite a new story.

        If you’re scared, it’s okay. You’re human. Allow yourself to feel everything, but don’t lose yourself in the mess. Take a deep breath and trust that your strength is greater than any struggle.

        Tips on How to Deal With the Effects of Stress

        Featured photo credit: Christian Erfurt via unsplash.com

        Reference

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