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How To Embrace Winter

How To Embrace Winter


    If you live in Canada, the northern USA or any other region in the world where there are cold winters, I’m sure that you hear it all the time. Many people in these areas will constantly complain about how bitter cold it is outside during the winter months. These folks hate winter, hate the snow and get wait until the spring arrives.

    If financial budgets are there, these people will book the next flights to sunny tropical destinations for a vacation just to get away from the cold. The travel industry of course takes advantage of this as they have their newspaper, radio and TV ads with promotions to the beaches in full force.

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    I hear complaints about winter from those who were born and raised in winter regions as well as immigrants who came here from tropical countries where there was never ever any snow. These people absolutely hate where they live for three to four months each year as they still freeze while bundled up in winter clothing.

    Not An Ideal Way To Live

    In my humble opinion, hating where you live for three to four months every single year is not an ideal way to live. Why would anybody want to do that? If one hates winter, one would be stuck just dreading one-quarter to one-third (depending on where you live) of each year for as long as one lives in a winter region like Canada or the northern USA states.

    Personally, I love winter and this often puts the winter-haters in complete disbelief. What really boggles their minds is that instead of taking off to the Caribbean or to Florida during the winter months, I actually take trips to places where there is more snow!

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    Of course to really understand this is to realize that I’m an avid snow skier, which is the reason why I love winter. I along with many others, found the key to getting through the cold months without complaining. I believe that the secret is to embrace rather than hate winter.

    Find Winter Activities That You Would Enjoy

    I always tell winter-haters, especially immigrants who are still shivering, that the only way to embrace the winter is to find activities that would be enjoyable. One criteria is that these activities should be those that can only be done during the winter rather than some activity that one can done indoors all year round (like playing cards).

    The activities should be specifically winter only as this will make you look forward to the snow rather than to hate it. Here are some examples of winter specific activities that are worth trying out.

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    • Downhill (alpine) snow skiing
    • Cross-country skiing
    • Snowboarding
    • Ice skating
    • Ice hockey
    • Tobogganing
    • Snowshoeing
    • Dog sledding
    • Ice fishing
    • Snowmobiling

    If you are active in such winter activities, you will likely spend the last part of each autumn eagerly preparing for the snow to finally fall! That’s how I feel during my pre-season ski training. It is a very natural way to adapt to the changes of each upcoming season.

    Try A Winter Vacation

    Even if you live in a warm, tropical region where you don’t experience cold winters, you should consider coming to a winter destination like the Rocky Mountains in Canada or the USA and the eastern winter areas like Quebec or Vermont. I have met vacationers from warm places such as Mexico and Israel at ski resorts.

    Experiencing winter in a fun way through some of the activities I mentioned would really broaden your own horizons to what the world really has to offer. And for those who already live in winter regions, embracing these months will give you much more peace of mind throughout your entire year.

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    (Photo credit: Skiers Playing in the Snow via Shutterstock)

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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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