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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

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

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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.

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    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 October 7, 2021

    Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

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    Under the Weather? 13 Immune Boosting Foods for a Quick Recovery

    Immunity truly does encapsulate the entire physiology of a person.

    When you target your immunity by eating a variety of immune boosting foods, then you really can improve your entire body, both physically and mentally.

    The immune system of a human being involves all aspects of one’s physiology and one’s daily experience. Eating certain foods can boost your health in a variety of ways. Below I outline several foods that will get you back on track if you’re feeling under the weather.

    In order to even broach the topic of foods good for one’s immune system, it’s important to consider all aspects of the human body and experience.

    What I mean by the human experience is one’s day to day mood, energy levels, and many other factors that signify how one engages with themselves and the world around them.

    Before indulging in these foods below, I suggest striving for consistency with diet, activity levels, rest, and incorporating the practice of meditation or spending time in nature as part of your daily routine as well.

    If you’re ready to feel better, not just when you’re under the weather but all the time incorporate these foods in your diet regularly.

    Be sure to stock up on these foods if you’re in need of a boost.

    1. Water is a Wise Choice

    Yes I know I’m starting things seemingly simple, but one of my most popular YouTube videos discusses the importance of water!

    When I ask people how much water they drink a day, the majority of time the answer begins with ‘not enough’.

    So if you know you don’t drink enough water, why continue this pattern of behavior?

    Now if you’re one that does hit that 5+ and more (pending activity levels) 8oz glasses a day – good for you! Water is life, and that’s where I’ll leave it.

    2. Eggs — The Most Complete Protein

    Widely regarded as the universally most complete nutritional protein source, eggs are packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and 9 essential amino acids.

    Egg whites are rich in Vitamins D/E/K, B2, B5, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

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    Meanwhile, egg yolks pack the calories and fats along with cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and lecithin.

    It’s important to note that the average medium egg contains 76 calories, 7.5g protein, 5.1g fat, 1.4g sat fat – so consider this while integrating this near perfect super food in your next dish!

    3. Raw Spinach Supports Immunity

    This leafy green is a personal favorite of mine due to its versatility and great taste!

    Spinach is loaded with vitamin C which helps fight cold, flu, and reinforce the immune system.

    It’s also quite high in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which supports our immune system in fighting infection and viruses.

    When enjoying this plentiful plant, do so raw. Its nutrients are best absorbed when the vegetable is raw; consider adding spinach as a fresh salad, rather than to a cooked dish, to reap the most immune system rewards.

    4. Turmerics Benefit on T-Cells

    Gaining popularity for its delicious taste, this powerful spice is also gaining notoriety for its anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin (which also creates the vibrant orange-yellow color).

    A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology notes that curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are of the primary cells fighting on behalf of your systems immunity. [1]

    5. Garlic is Really Good for You

    This popular food not only tastes great but packs quite a punch.

    Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which boasts a variety of medicinal properties. Garlic is also not very calorie dense; 1 ounce yields about 42 calories with 1.8g protein and 9g carbs.

    Garlic also boasts Vitamin C, B6, Fiber, and Manganese.

    The properties mentioned above helps maintain healthy bones, prevent diabetes and epileptic seizures, regulate thyroid, combat osteoporosis, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve cognitive function, and regulate glucose metabolism!

    So, forget about garlic breath–eat this food in abundance!

    6. Wild Salmon is Wonderful

    A personal favorite of mine, wild Alaskan salmon is one of those super foods that covers all your nutrient bases!

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    Salmon can be cooked a variety of delicious ways, and yields some of the highest immune system boosting benefits.

    Salmon contains fish oil Omega-3’s, which protect against developing heart disease and heart attack. Oils contained within such fish are quite unique in that they have Omega-3 fatty acids that are not present in any other food.

    Also consider that wild salmon contains (per 4oz) 128% Vitamin D, 95% Vitamin B12, 94% tryptophan, 62% selenium, 53% protein, 53% omega 3’s, 45% Vitamin B3, 37% phosphorus, 32% Vitamin B6, 19% choline, 14% potassium, and 8%(157) calories.

    This is one of those super foods that you could stand to have in your diet several times per week. Beyond the incredible taste, its nutritional benefits make it well worth seeking out.

    7. Essential Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Many home cooks consider this an essential ingredient in preparing dinner. But it’s also quite good for you!

    Extra virgin olive oil is widely regarded as being a healthy addition to any kitchen, with modest amounts of Vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids.

    Per 100g of olive oil you can expect 14% saturated fat, 73% Monounsaturated fat, 10% Omega-6, 1% Omega-3, 72%, and 75% Vitamin K.

    It also boasts an impressive antioxidant profile. This includes the anti-inflammatory oleocanthal, as well as oleuropein, a substance that protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

    8. Natural Greek Yogurt Has Many Benefits

    When I talk about natural Greek yogurt, I mean the type that is not flavored in any way. Those added sugars won’t help boost immunity.

    Many people have convoluted the immunity and health benefits of natural yogurt with the all too popular sugary treats that flood grocery stores. But it’s the plain stuff that’s the best to include in your diet.

    Natural Greek yogurt not only goes great with many dishes, but it contains vast amounts of protein which will leave you feeling satisfied.

    The reason why I’ve specified ‘Greek yogurt’ is because one cup of plain, low-fat conventional yogurt typically has 5 to 10 grams of protein, where Greek yogurt averages about 13 to 20 grams of protein.

    Greek yogurt also contains essential probiotics (live microorganisms). These are bacteria microbes that help improve digestive function, the immune system, and overall gut health.

    Add natural Greek yogurt to your diet, whether as a breakfast food, a substitute for sour cream, or as an addition to a healthy smoothie.

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    9. Ginseng Tea — Chock Full of Ginsenosides

    Ginseng tea’s primary health benefits are due to the naturally occurring chemicals called ginsenosides present in the root.

    One of ginseng’s most widely understood benefits include it’s rich anti-cancer properties. [2]

    Studies also indicate that people who drink ginseng tea have a lower risk of developing cancer.

    Ginseng tea can also help relieve menstrual cramps, lower blood pressure, and improve brain function; and it has also been shown to help with sexual (erectile) dysfunction in men.

    10. Green Tea Fights Aging

    Just as powerful as ginseng tea, this extremely popular tea is rich in polyphenols that have effects like reducing inflammation and aiding in the fight against cancer.

    Green tea is in fact 30% polyphenols, including large amounts of a catechin called EGCG. Catechins are natural antioxidants that aid in the prevention of cell damage and provide several other benefits.

    EGCG, and substances like it can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, helping protect cells and molecules from damage.

    Free radicals such as these are commonly known to play a role in aging and all sorts of other diseases.

    This wonderful also tea contains small quantities of minerals that are important for overall health, so it may be worth picking up some green tea when visiting your next local tea shop.

    11. Dark Chocolate — The Delicious Superfood

    Don’t get too excited with this one – everything in moderation, of course!

    And I’m not just referring to any chocolate — I’m talking specifically about dark chocolate and cacoa nibs, which are both immune system boosting super foods.

    We’ve already covered free radicals in this article, and dark chocolate is one of those wonderful super foods that helps fight against such free radicals.

    It does this with its high antioxidant profile which is believed to neutralize free radicals and protect the body from their damage.

    Dark chocolate’s antioxidants include vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – helpful plant compounds. Much like other immune boosting foods on this list dark chocolate will also help balance cholesterol, blood pressure, and improve heart health, and cognitive function.

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    You now have a healthy excuse to eat some dark chocolate; but, go for the lowest sugar and highest cocoa content varieties you can find to reap the most rewards.

    12. Frozen Blueberries for All!

    Personally I love adding frozen blueberries to smoothies; however, sometimes I’ll pop over to the freezer just to grab a small handful as a treat!

    Frozen blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which come from compounds called anthocyanins; these give blueberries their purple hue.

    One really neat fact about the ice crystals that form when the berries are frozen is that they disrupt the structure of the plant tissue and make anthocyanins even more available – how cool is that? Talk about hacking blueberries!

    Even if not frozen, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. They have been known to boost memory, cardiovascular system, and eyesight. The fruit also encourages a process called authophagy, or ‘cell clean-up’.

    Berries in general (raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are extremely high on the ORAC scale. This means they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals.

    Frozen blueberries in particular may aid in defending colds and flu, as they are high in pterostilbene.

    Next time you visit your local grocery store, consider how ideal blueberries are for your immune system and general health.

    13. Raw Honey — A Natural Antioxidant

    Saving the sweetest for last!

    Pure natural raw honey follows the rest of this super food list with its antioxidant profile, however it also contains antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

    Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and certain types contain just as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

    Raw honey can help the body kill-off unwanted bacteria and fungus as it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong antiseptic. Raw honey also contains phytonutrients, commonly found in plants, which provides both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

    Aside from these wonderful benefits, raw honey can also aid with digestive issues, however this typically varies person to person.

    Indulge in Better Health

    But also, don’t forget to rest! When considering one’s overall health, it’s important to not only incorporate these immune boosting foods, but also to ensure adequate sleep, and take efforts to reduce stress.

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    Eating these immunity boosting foods will enable you to take back control of your health and prevent illness… all while satisfying your cravings!

    Featured photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Journal of Immunology: Curcumin
    [2] NCBI: Ginseng for Fatigue

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