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WARNING: Professionals Can Suffer from Career-Related Conditions

WARNING: Professionals Can Suffer from Career-Related Conditions

Usually we think of having a job as being good for us, but sometimes the career-related conditions of professionals can be harmful to their health. Occupational diseases can range from stress and anxiety to carpal tunnel syndrome or eye strain from using a computer too much.

Common Career-Related Conditions

The first disease recognized as being caused by a person’s job was when the link between chimney sweeps and squamous cell carcinoma of the scrotum was discovered in 1775 by Sir Percivall Pott. Luckily, professionals these days don’t usually have to worry about such dire health issues (though lung diseases are still possible among people who work with asbestos or in mines, for example).

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However, there are still health issues that can be caused at least in part by your job, depending on how demanding it is and what is physically required of you.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance, is a condition of the hands and wrists that can come about from too much repetitive motion, whether that’s using a computer, operating a machine or performing another repetitive task through the day. Warning signs include numbness, tingling or burning in the thumb and fingers, and possibly also pain and loss of strength in the hand. Though diagnosis and treatment of the condition is unclear, loss of function is possible if the pain is untreated.

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Another common problem for computer workers is sometimes called computer vision syndrome, which is a temporary condition caused by focusing on a computer screen for too long. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, eye strain, dry eyes, difficulty focusing and other problems.

And while it can’t be pinned down to one work-related condition, more and more workers these days complain of on-the-job stress interfering with their health and happiness. Studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of workers say their jobs are very stressful, and a quarter of all workers say their job is the number one cause of stress in their lives.

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Stress can come about for all sorts of reasons, ranging from a heavy workload to uncertain expectations, lack of decision-making ability to poor communication, lack of job security and mobility to dangerous environmental conditions or high-pressure environments.

Likewise stress can manifest in all sorts of health conditions, including:

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  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • upset stomach
  • shorter temper, and
  • difficulty concentrating.

Feeling stressed at work can make you less productive and focused and can also lead to serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, back problems and neurological problems like depression. It’s possible that people who are stressed out at work have more workplace injuries, and they may even be more likely to commit suicide and have more cancer, ulcers and impaired immune function.

How to Deal with Career-Related Conditions

Of course, which work-related condition you have will determine what you can do about it. Dealing with computer vision syndrome, for example, can be as simple as taking regular breaks away from the computer and using eye drops when you feel dryness. Special glasses for use at the computer can also be helpful.

Carpal tunnel is difficult to diagnose and treat, and there are a lot of strain issues that are not specifically carpal tunnel syndrome. Taking breaks away from repetitive tasks when possible is helpful, as well as using ergonomic equipment when possible. Braces can help keep the wrist straight, and sometimes surgery is necessary to correct serious problems.

When it comes to on-the-job stress, if you feel it is affecting you in a dangerous way, you need to do everything you can to limit stress and relax when you can. Whether that means talking to your boss about a more flexible work schedule or different responsibilities, or taking a vacation and learning relaxation techniques, getting a grip on stress is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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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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