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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) for Energy

Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) for Energy

Good sleep habits are essential to wellness and healthy living. There are many people who think it’s perfectly fine to function on six or seven hours of sleep. Others seem to believe that an all-nighter like we tried to pull in college won’t affect us.

Though we’re all busy people, staying up at all hours to meet those deadlines will impact your life, which is why it’s important to develop better sleep habits.

In this article, we’ll look into how bad sleep habits affect your mental and physical health and the good sleep habits you should take up to be energetic every day.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

If you don’t have good sleep habits, your professional and personal life will be at risk. Even the most subtle signs of exhaustion can set off major signals to others.

You might be going about your day, believing everything is fine after skipping some hours of sleep, but later, you’re overwhelmed, and your mind is clouded.

People around you will notice if you’re a bit off or can’t keep up at work. If you feel the need to take a nap because you’re tired, that means you didn’t sleep well the night before.

This is an example of a bad sleep habit: you stayed up too late, so the next day, you try to catch up a bit to get through, so you nap for ten minutes, then twenty minutes, and then an hour!

The National Sleep Foundation says that if you nap due to tiredness, you’ll end up entering a cycle of sleep that will mess with your sleep/wake schedule[1].

Scientists call this your circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour internal clock and cycles between sleeplessness and alertness at regular intervals. The clock exists within the brain and determines how much or little energy you’ll have at various points of your day.[2] Consistent interruptions to this natural cycle can lead to sleep disorders or poor sleep hygiene overall.

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Circadian rhythm for good sleep

    If your alertness is always compromised, you’re setting yourself up for frequent disasters.

    There are several subtle and detrimental consequences you might face if you haven’t been getting enough shut-eye. Studies now say it’s critical to get eight or nine hours of sleep. Anything less than that and you’ll suffer work-performance failures or other mishaps. You don’t want to take sleep disturbances and issues lightly.

    One study even found that “people who have slept for fewer than seven of the past 24 hours have higher odds of being involved in and responsible for car crashes. The risk is greatest for drivers who have slept fewer than four hours”[3]. Therefore, sleep deprivation can have very real and negative consequences for both you and those around you.

    Often times, we may think we’re getting enough sleep and don’t know why we’re out of focus and drained. It’s easy to blame it on diet, lack of exercise, or too much work. And yes, those things do factor into the mystery of your lacking energy.

    These days, in the digital age, it’s even more difficult to establish a healthy sleep routine when we’re constantly stimulated by external sources—the news, social media, and friends’ updates keep us constantly “checked in.”

    We live in a time when cell-phone reliance is undeniable and also affecting our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I’ve heard people complain about their email demanding their attention at all hours of the night.

    We’re taking in and internalizing more than we realize, and we need to give it all a rest. This is why a nine-hour night of sleep is imperative.

    4 Bad Sleep Habits to Avoid

    Our brains need sleep to process and unwind. If you’re at a loss about how to structure a healthy sleep life, these are some sleep habits to avoid.

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    1. Putting Your Phone Near Your Head While Sleeping

    Do you tuck your phone under your pillow when you sleep? Do you rely on your phone and use it as an alarm to wake you up in the morning?

    It’s not a good idea to use your phone to start your day. You’ll check your email or other social networks the second your alarm buzzes, which can often lead to immediate stress or a bad mood.

    A clear head will make falling asleep fast and easy with no electronics nearby, and you’ll wake up feeling restored.

    2. Keeping Devices in the Bedroom

    Electronic devices have lights on them, very bright lights that can mess with sleep schedules and prevent healthy sleeping habits. A lit up room will cause sleep disturbances or make you want to do work or other things.Complete darkness will allow the brain to process melatonin, a chemical neurotransmitter that makes you tired and ready for sleep[4]. The blue light exposure on your phone’s screen, for example, is enough to confuse the brain into thinking it’s daylight, which will make it difficult to stay asleep throughout the night.

    Electronics such as electrical toothbrushes, televisions, computers, a diffuser, and others should be in a position where they can’t be seen.

    3. Having a Messy Environment

    Clutter, piles of laundry, piles of papers, and anything you can pile up as high as a mountain should be kept to a minimum if you want a good night’s sleep.A messy environment increases tension on the home-front and leaves you with the feeling of having a lot to do. Eliminating clutter benefits stress levels, promotes calmness, and provides a sense of peace.

    As we get older, it’s easy to hoard everything. Our closets, garages, or basements become a dumpster site. However, living in this way will derail your mental and physical health. You might not recognize how overwhelmed you’re feeling about having so much stuff.

    Take some time to see where you can lighten the load in your home.

    4. Doing Work Close to Bedtime

    If you’re your own boss or work a job where anybody can call you any hour of the day and demand something, it’s OK to say no during the hours before bedtime.

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    It’s tough if you work in a field that requires being on-call. You have the right to draw healthy boundaries and schedule time for yourself to relax in the few hours before bed.

    An evening routine after dinner may be the answer to putting an end to work chaos. If you don’t give yourself these hours of relaxation, you’ll feel off balance.

    If you find that you’re always busy and can’t seem to finish the work day on time, check out Lifehack’s 4 Step Guide to Creating More Time out of a Busy Schedule.

    4 Good Sleep Habits to Include

    After knowing all the bad sleeping habits you should ditch, here are healthy sleep habits for adults to include to wake up energized and ready for the day:

    1. Invest in a Diffuser

    A diffuser has an incredible amount of sleep benefits and is great to include as part of your good sleep habits. For years, essential oils have been used to help insomnia, sleep disturbances, and to rewire the brain while easing anxiety in the mind.

    Essential oils such as lavender or valerian essential oils are the best sleep aids. Lavender calms the nervous system by alleviating bothersome anxiety-driven thoughts, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. These oils, like chamomile essential oil, naturally starts the body and mind’s sleep processes[5].

    Consult your doctor before using essential oils to make sure they are right for you.

    2. Lay out Your Clothes the Night Before

    A system is the best way to overcome stress and anxiety, which interfere with sleep, so make this one of your good sleep habits.

    Mornings should be reserved for the opportunity to squeeze in a healthy breakfast, not rush to pick an outfit and scramble. If this has been you lately, try establishing a routine to make going to bed and waking up less turbulent.

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    A great day really does start the night before. These are mindful practices that can alter the course of your day and life in the long-term. Also try getting to bed at the same time every day as part of this nightly routine.

    3. Use a Different Type of Alarm

    Instead of waking up to a buzzing, ringing, obnoxious alarm in the morning, try implementing affirmations or nature sounds. There are alarm clocks you can set so you can rise to a calming voice telling you positive things.

    Apps on your phone can do this. A shocking alarm can trigger anger and make waking up dreadful, especially if the sound makes you shout curse words the moment you open your eyes.

    Mornings should be for easing into your work day, not doing a jack-rabbit start.

    4. Do a Meditative Activity an Hour Before Bed

    An hour before bed, do something that eliminates racing thoughts from your mind. Doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen is a good way to clear your head and stress after a long day.

    Try going for an evening walk outside, and listen to your breathing, footsteps, and nature around you. When you get home, try five or ten minutes of meditation. Doing something relaxing, even for a short time, will calm the mind.

    Here are some great guided meditations for sleep to get you started.

    The Bottom Line

    You can use these good sleep habits and lifestyle practices as strategies to develop a healthier sleep life. Over time, you’ll feel more energized and will start your day on the right foot, meaning each day will be more productive and fulfilling.

    The early morning and early dusk are critical for your brain to regulate a healthy sleep/wake cycle so you can succeed in your daily life. Use them wisely to improve your sleep.

    More on How to Sleep Better

    Featured photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Tessa Koller

    Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

    Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) for Energy 10 Ways to Step Up Your Personal Growth and Succeed in Life Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day 11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need? (What the Science Says)

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2021

    3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

    3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

    One of the most serious – and common – causes of chronic disease is inflammation.

    High levels of inflammation in the body cause your cells to deteriorate and lose their ability to function properly. In turn, this leads to the development of diseases such as cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and other disorders.

    Inflammation is a necessary biological process that kickstarts your immune system. Chemical mediators alert the body to the areas that need defending or repairing. Unfortunately, when inflammation continues for too long, it can have serious consequences.

    The level of inflammation in your body is influenced by a number of factors, including diet, lifestyle, and environment.[1]

    In the gut, inflammation can also be caused by an imbalance of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. When harmful microbes or yeast such as Candida grow and spread, they can severely damage the lining of the gut. The resulting immune response can cause further inflammation and damage.

    Fortunately, reducing gut inflammation can be a matter of altering the choices you make in everyday life. In fact, there are three simple steps you can take today to reduce inflammation in your gut. Let’s take a look!

    1. Drink More Water to Get Rid of Toxins

    Every single day, we are exposed to toxins. Air pollutants, heavy metals, mold, and airborne pathogens are around us all the time – without us even knowing it.

    Many of our foods are full of toxins too, like pesticides, antibiotics, and even added sugars.

    These toxins are serious contributors to inflammation. They ‘turn on’ genes that promote inflammation causing cancer, heart disease. In the gut, these toxins can cause imbalances in your gut flora that allow inflammatory chemicals to be released. This inflammation promotes changes elsewhere in the body that can lead to chronic diseases.

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    One of the best ways to flush toxins from the body is also one of the simplest. Drink more water! Drinking plenty of water each day is an effective and essential way to help your gut and body detoxify:

    • Your intestinal tract needs water to function optimally, moving waste efficiently through the gut and out of the bowels.
    • Your liver and kidneys are two of your body’s most important detoxification organs. Both of these require a constant supply of water in order to function properly.
    • Your sweat also flushes toxins out of your body. Sweat is largely made up of water.

    Just as importantly, each of your cells requires adequate hydration to carry out its proper functions. Studies have shown that inadequate cellular hydration can contribute to the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and even lead to inflammatory disorders.[2]

    In general, the more hydrated you are, the less inflammation will be present in your body.

    What to Do:

    Try to drink 2-3L of water each day, or six to eight glasses. Make sure your water is fresh and filtered, or at least free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals.

    It may be helpful to carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day, so you can keep sipping it instead of guzzling a large amount of water at once.

    One of the healthiest ways to drink water is with a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and can boost your immunity.

    Not sure if you’re properly dehydrated? There’s an easy way to find out! Check the color of your urine when you’re next in the bathroom. If it’s yellow, your body likely needs more water. If it’s clear, you’re properly hydrated.

    2. Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Detoxification Organs Active

    Daily exercise is absolutely essential for keeping your whole body in good working order, including your gut.

    Physical activity stimulates your body’s major detoxification organs, including your intestines, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, and lymphatics.

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    When these systems are able to move toxins and waste out of the body, inflammation is kept to a minimum.

    New research shows that as little as 20 minutes of exercise could have anti-inflammatory effects on the gut and the entire body.

    Exercise improves the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. This boosts your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. As a result, your body releases hormones including epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, which have the job of activating the adrenal receptors of immune cells.

    In a recent study, researchers examined the effects of a single 20-minute session of exercise on immune system activation. They found that even this small amount of exercise was enough to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by 5%.[3]

    Inflammation is a necessary part of the body’s immune response, but too much inflammation can lead to disease. Chronic inflammation may contribute to diabetes, obesity, celiac disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

    It seems that even short periods of exercise can reduce the body’s inflammatory response, which may lead to exercise being recommended as a part of future treatment plans for inflammatory conditions.

    Exercise also forces fresh blood to your tissues, which reduces inflammation by helping flush away metabolic debris. It provides nutrients to inflamed or damaged tissues, which facilitates repair and restoration.

    Just like hydration, exercise also keeps your digestive system moving and promotes good digestive health, further reducing inflammation in your gut.

    What to Do:

    If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s vital that you make a plan to walk, jog, swim, or stretch for at least 30 minutes every day.

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    Most modern phones now come with some kind of activity tracker. For example, if you own an iPhone then you might already be familiar with the iOS Health app. This handy app will track the steps that you take each day. Many people aim for 10,000 steps per day, which is a very healthy goal to have.

    Equally, try to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. If you work long hours, set a timer to get yourself up and moving on a regular basis, at least every hour.

    And, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to follow your exercise with plenty of water!

    3. Take Curcumin — a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Remedy

    Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a bright orange spice. It’s one of the most powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory remedies on earth, especially for the gut.

    Curcumin aids digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles on the walls and helping with the movement of food through the intestines. It also helps to relieve the buildup of gas and bloating as food is being broken down.

    In the colon, curcumin promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for your immune system to function optimally.  It also encourages cells of the intestinal lining to regenerate and heal following damage caused by pathogenic bacteria or yeast overgrowth such as Candida.

    Recent studies have even shown that curcumin may an effective means of inhibiting intestinal fungal infections. Clinical trials have reported that high concentrations of curcumin have a powerful antifungal effect against this harmful yeast, as well as other fungal infections. There is evidence that curcumin can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans more effectively than common antifungal drugs.[4]

    Research has shown that curcumin’s medicinal activity is largely due to its phytochemicals. These are plant chemicals that harbor antioxidative and antibacterial properties. These phytochemicals may also help to ease nausea caused by mental issues such as anxiety and stress.

    The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity in curcumin may also help reduce gut pain caused by spicy foods, alcohol, or pathogenic bacteria. The incredible compounds in curcumin support your natural digestive processes, which can mean that your gut doesn’t have to work as hard to break down food. 

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    What to Do:

    Taking curcumin is as simple as finding a quality supplement from a good health store.

    You can also blend turmeric powder into smoothies, meals or a turmeric latte. Be sure to add a healthy fat such as coconut oil, as well as black pepper. This helps your body to absorb the active constituents of the curcumin.

    The Bottom Line

    When reducing inflammation in your gut, your first priority should be to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory factors in your diet and lifestyle.

    The three steps mentioned above are very easy to incorporate into your daily routines, and will help to minimize the inflammatory processes happening inside your body.

    By supporting your body’s detoxification functions with adequate exercise and hydration, you’ll be dramatically reducing the amount of harmful toxins that your immune system has to fight every day. Fewer toxins means your body can focus more on healing!

    This is significantly improved by adding curcumin to your daily diet, whether as a supplement or in your meals. Curcumin is a remarkable ingredient for an inflamed gut: it will help soothe those irritated membranes, fight off yeasts such as Candida, and support the healing of the intestinal lining.

    Take these simple steps and start to reduce your inflammation today. Your gut will thank you!

    More Resources About Gut Health

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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