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4 Reasons Why A 30-Minute Exercise Makes You Happier

4 Reasons Why A 30-Minute Exercise Makes You Happier

On the face of it, the benefits of regular exercise may seem fairly obvious.

To the untrained eye, regular cardiovascular exercise helps to build muscle mass and develop greater levels of physical stamina. It also contributes to a more active lifestyle, while increasing your physical capabilities even as you advance in age.

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But regular exercise achieves far more than this, it also has a considerable impact on your mental well being. The connection between physical and mental health is far from clear, especially for individuals who have recently begun to exercise regularly.

In terms of a scientific explanation, it is important to remember that exercise is registered as a moment of stress in the human brain. To protect against this, the brain releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which serves as a reset switch and triggers feelings of serenity and contentedness. Simultaneously, the brain also releases endorphins, which also help to combat stress by minimizing the physical discomfort caused by exercise and eventually creating a euphoric sensation.

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So how does this translate in the typical human mind? Consider the following: 

An Improved Mood and Mental Outlook

After exercise, one of the first things you will notice is an improved mental outlook. As the brain releases numerous chemicals to alleviate the symptoms of stress and physical pain, you will begin to benefit from enhanced mood levels and a more positive perspective on life. As a consequence of this, you will feel better equipped to take on challenges and solve problems, while finding it far easier to handle stressful circumstances and unforeseen setbacks.

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Increased Energy and Physical Output

Lethargy is a physical trait commonly associated with depression, which is why inactivity often exacerbates this mental condition. One of the most obvious benefits of regular exercise is that it leads to increased energy levels, meaning that you have greater stamina and find it easier to complete daily tasks at work and at home. With a productive day behind you, it is also more likely that you will benefit from a genuine sense of accomplishment and contentedness.

A Healthier BMI and Body Image

Perhaps the most widely recognized physical benefit of regular exercise is controlled weight loss, which in turn has a direct impact on our appearance and levels of body confidence. With a regular exercise regime burning calories and creating a more streamlined figure, you will begin to benefit from improved self-confidence and inflated levels of self-esteem. The impact of this should not be underestimated, as those with a positive body image are more likely to live a happy and satisfied life.

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 A Greater Resistance to Disease and Illness

As you grow older, research suggests that you are more likely to develop conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. While this may be partially due to your age, however, your level of physical fitness is a far more influential factor in determining your condition as you grow older. In fact, regular exercise boosts your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which build good cholesterol and reduces the presence of unhealthy triglycerides. These factors will help to combat the threat of disease, which in turn will you to maintain an active, busy and happy lifestyle.

The Last Word

Regardless of the science behind it, regular exercise has numerous benefits with regards to our mental health and outlook. Simply by committing to undertake 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day, you can take steps towards enjoying a more active lifestyle that improves your levels of self-esteem, happiness and physical energy.

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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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