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8 Unexpected Benefits Of Love That Make It Essential For Everyone

8 Unexpected Benefits Of Love That Make It Essential For Everyone

Love is an amazing feeling. It combines fulfillment and excitement in one, and has that ‘feel good’ factor. Did you know, however, that love also provides health benefits? Researchers and experts have found that love can have a positive impact on your well-being and overall health. Learning about the health benefits of love will help remind you why it’s so important for you – and everyone – to have love in their life.

1 – Love Boosts Your Immune System

Scientific research has found that love has a positive impact on your immune system. Studies show that couples who are happy and in love have better functioning immune systems than those that don’t have love in their life. A specific study, conducted by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser and Ronald Glazer, found that couples who argue in a negative manner had poorly functioning immune systems, while those who argued in a more positive and loving manner had increased immune functions.

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2 – Love Improves Your Overall Fitness Level

Many people have a difficult time exercising alone. Individuals who are in a loving relationship in which both parties enjoy exercising, are often more physically fit than those who are alone. In fact, a fitness trainer discovered that half of his clients who exercised alone quit after a maximum of one year. On the other hand, couples that he worked with stick to their routine for a much longer time. In addition, approximately 14% of those in a romantic relationship with their exercise partner push harder when training.

3 – Love Could Improve Your Lifespan

According to psychiatrist Joseph Hullett, MD, who works with OptumHealth, Behavioral Solutions, there have been many studies that have discovered that marriage can increase your lifespan. In fact, the CDC conducted a study in 2004 in which they found that married couples had the lowest early mortality rates. The study concluded that individuals in a happy, committed relationship tend to experience less stress than those who aren’t in a relationship. Men, in particular, often give up bad habits, such as smoking and heavy drinking, once they’re married.

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4 – Love Is Good For The Skin

As was mentioned, studies show that when you’re happy and in love, your stress level is reduced. Having lower stress levels means that you have a lower rate of free-floating cortisol in your body. When you’re stressed, you have higher cortisol levels, which is what causes acne and breakouts. Essentially, when you’re happy and in love, you’ll have minimal breakouts and pimples, thus healthier skin.

5 – Love Is Good For The Heart

It is a natural instinct to find a happy, loving relationship. Those not in a relationship often stress more than those in a happy relationship, as you’ve learned. Again, stress levels are reduced in a loving relationship, and therefore, your heart is in a much better situation. In fact, Dr. Hullett found that individuals who are in a committed, healthy relationship have a lower risk of heart attacks and heart disease, due to not having the stress of being alone.

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6 – Love Is A Natural Pain Reliever

According to Dr. Hullett, a study was conducted where individuals were giving minimal electric shocks. In this study, those who were holding the hand of their significant other experience lower pain levels than those who were not. It is the comfort that you feel from your love’s hand that helps calm you down and reduce the level of pain you are feeling when you’re in a loving relationship.

7 – ‘Making’ Love Regulates Your Menstrual Cycle

Eric Braverman, MD notes a study conducted by Planned Parenthood in which women in happy, sexually active relationships were able to experience more regular menstrual cycles than women who were not. This is because weekly encounters of sexual activity increase the body’s estrogen levels, allowing the body to regulate more easily.

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8 – Love Improves Your Mental Health

Dr. Braverman notes a study conducted at Rutgers University where individuals in a loving relationship had higher levels of dopamine in their brain activity. Dopamine is a natural chemical in your body that works with optimism, a sense of well-being, and energy. Essentially, dopamine is what’s responsible for that ‘feel good’ feeling that helps eliminate depression and other mental health issues.

Featured photo credit: Love via Shots of Insight

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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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