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10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life

10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life

We’d all like to know “the secret” for how to live longer. Turns out, it’s not much of a secret after all. Do these 10 things and you will live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Eat healthy foods.

It’s no surprise that people who live longer tend to eat healthier. Yes, junk food tastes good, but the simple truth is this: the easiest way to live a longer life is to eat the right foods. Here’s a good rule of thumb: make sure 80 percent of the foods you eat (or more) come straight from nature. This means “real food” like vegetables, fruits, lean meat and dairy, nuts, beans, and whole grains. Skip the processed crap and fast food. It’s taking years off your life (and life off your years).

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Get enough sleep.

If you want to be successful in life, don’t dismiss the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleeping 5 hours or less per night may decrease your life expectancy by as much as 15 percent. So get a full 7 or 8 hours of shut-eye per night.

Quit smoking now.

If you’re a smoker, you can expect to die 7 years sooner than the average person. And the sooner you stop, the more likely you’ll be to add years to your life.

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Stay physically active.

Fact: exercise can help you live longer and stay happier. Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes each day, a little goes a long way. And here’s another reason to stay motivated: a study published in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Labor Research found that people who exercise on a regular basis make 9 percent more in salary than their sedentary counterparts. Show me the money!

Be social.

Socializing is an important part of living a long and healthy life, even for you introverts out there. So plan a lunch date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Call an aunt, uncle, or cousin you’ve lost touch with. Force yourself to go to the work happy hour and have a drink. Get out there and interact with others and you’re bound to meet some fascinating folks who will bring joy into your life.

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Have a couple of drinks, but not too many.

Here’s the best advice you’ll ever get on how to live longer. People who don’t smoke, exercise, eat five servings of fruits and veggies per day, and drink a moderate amount of alcohol live an average of 14 years longer than those who don’t. So what does “moderation” mean? According to most health experts, up to 2 drinks per day. Drinking moderately can even protect against cardiovascular disease, so break out the bubbly (just put the bottle down after you’ve had a couple).

Dream big.

Happy people are dreamers. They set their sights high and aren’t afraid to fail. In fact, they embrace failure because they know it’s an essential part of growing and improving. Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars.

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Stay thirsty for knowledge.

People who live long, fulfilling lives share this in common: they learn as much as they can about as much as they can. Your education doesn’t end with school. Make it a point to learn something new each day. Read new types of books. Research different topics that interest you online. Have lunch with a friend who knows a lot about something you don’t know anything about.

Make time for friends and family.

Ask 100 people what’s the most important thing in their life and “family and friends” will be the number one answer for most. The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the trivial moments of day-to-day life and lose track of what’s important to us. Even if you’re crazy busy, block out time on your schedule to spend with family and friends. Spending time with them is what makes life worth living. Don’t lose track of your priorities in life and yours will be a longer and happier one.

Be thankful for what you have.

Too many of us focus on what we don’t have instead of looking at all the great things going on right in front of us. One study found that people who consciously focus on gratitude were happier, more optimistic, and even slept better than those who didn’t. So be grateful. Practice kindness. And say “thanks” to the people who have had a positive influence on you. Those are the real secrets to a living a longer, more fulfilling life.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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