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10 Reasons To Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Sleep




Getting plenty of exercise and eating a diet filled with nutritious foods has been the theme of prescriptions for health and wellness for decades. 

Then, we began to see additions such as mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises included as we realized that mental health contributed to overall health. 

But, there’s one thing we know now that was often lacking in the above prescriptions, and that is sleep! 

A lack of sleep can put you at risk for disease, cause inflammation, contribute to weight gain, negatively affect your hormones, hinder athletic performance, and more. Yet, it is said that nearly 35% of all adults in the US don’t get enough sleep. 

Here we’ll discuss the ins and outs of sleep and all you stand to gain by simply getting enough of it.

Sleep 101

During the day, you work. When you sleep, your body works. 

And, this “body work” happens primarily within the bounds of a couple of sleep stages or cycles. 

In total, there are four stages of sleep. Each stage or cycle of sleep can last anywhere between 70 and 120 minutes. 

  • The first stage is brief, basically this is when you’re drifting off to sleep. 
  • The second stage of sleep is where your body and brain begin to slow down, essentially allowing your body to settle into a restful state. 
  • The third stage of sleep is known as deep sleep. During this time your body slows further, allowing it to truly get to work, recovering from all you’ve done throughout the day (we’ll get to the details of deep sleep in a moment). 
  • And, the fourth stage of sleep is known as REM sleep. During REM sleep your brain activity surges, sometimes mimicking waking hours. During this stage your heart rate and breathing also increase, vivid dreams occur, and most muscles slow or stop moving. 

But, why do these stages matter? And, why does sleep benefit our health? 

While you sleep, primarily throughout deep sleep, your brain and body perform and undergo processes that are vital to survival. 

While you sleep…

  • Your cells grow and are repaired, energy is stored, and needed hormones and proteins are released. 
  • Your muscles grow and tissues are repaired. 
  • Your brain gets rid of built-up waste (toxins) and stores new information. 
  • Nerve cells communicate to facilitate healthy brain function. 
  • Activity increases in the areas of the brain that control emotion. 

If you didn’t sleep, your body would lack the energy needed to function as sleep allows your body to operate at a lower metabolism for a period of time. Essentially, recharging your battery. 

And, the above items are only scratching the surface. We’ll get into the specific benefits of sleep in a moment, but first, let’s consider the fact that all sleep isn’t good sleep. 

I’m sure you’ve experienced times when you wake up in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept a wink, right? Well, sleep is similar to nutrition. Not all food supports the health of your body, and not all sleep grants such support either. 

To get a restful, healthy night of sleep, consider the following: 

  • Establish a nighttime routine. Giving a bit of attention to your habits post-dinner can make a world of difference when it comes to getting restful sleep. And, establishing a routine essentially tells your brain and your body that bedtime is nearing, allowing you to internally prepare for sleep. 
  • Avoid caffeine after dinner. Caffeine can keep you awake longer, and even if you’re able to fall asleep, it can reduce the amount of time your body spends in deep sleep. 
  • Limit screen time after dinner or as you approach “bedtime.” And, try to allow natural light into your room first thing in the morning (and all throughout the day) as well as incorporating time spent outdoors in the daytime hours. This can help to establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle, promoting restful sleep. 
  • Make sure your bedroom is set up for sleep success. The experts advise comfortable bedding and clothing, a dark room, and cool temps (between 60-70 degrees). And, refrain from working in your bedroom in the daytime hours as this can interfere with sleep later. 
  • Avoid daytime naps if you have trouble sleeping at night.
  • Engage in physical activity during the daytime hours.
  • Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep nightly. 

So then, if you practice the above tips to ensure a restful night of sleep, exactly what rewards can you expect to reap? 

The following list includes many expert-backed benefits associated with getting enough sleep: 

1- Boost Productivity

Research shows that getting enough restful sleep can improve your concentration, cognitive abilities, and boost productivity. 

On the other side of that coin, a lack of sleep has been proven to hinder cognitive functioning, concentration, and productivity. 

A 2015 study, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that sleep patterns in children had a direct impact on their academic performance and behavior. 

Restful sleep reduces “brain fog” and helps you to think clearly and be more alert, improving performance and productivity. 

2- Improves Mental Health

A study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that a lack of sleep caused hindrances in one’s ability to recognize and respond to emotional stimuli, reducing emotional empathy. 

Other studies have concluded that there is a link between a lack of sleep and depression. Here, patterns are evidenced between instances of suicide and sleep deprivation as well as persons with insomnia showing symptoms of depression. 

Some researchers have seen instances of depression in as many as 90% of their patients who report poor sleep quality. 

Getting restful sleep can aid in your body’s natural release of the hormones needed to regulate, and even improve, mood. 

3- Reduces Risk Of Weight Gain

A lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, with studies showing those adults who are sleep deprived being at a 55% greater risk of becoming obese. 

Among the number of hormones released during sleep are those associated with hunger regulation. To illustrate the effect this has on the body, studies have shown that getting restful sleep at night can lead to consuming fewer calories the next day. 

Likewise, studies have also revealed that people who are sleep-deprived tend to consume more calories and often crave foods higher in fat and sugar.  

Even those experts who contest this notion, denying such a link, still agree that a lack of sleep can decrease one’s desire, or even ability, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which affects weight gain/loss. 

4- Improves Physical Activity

Ever had a rough night’s sleep that was followed by a subpar workout? 

This is due to a dip in the levels of energy needed to engage in intense physical activity. In activities that require bursts of energy, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll come up short when needing such bursts! 

Your body also repairs muscle tissues when you sleep, so if you’re wanting to see gains in the gym, healthy pillow time is a must. 

Proper rest also increases reaction times as well as ensuring the motivation you need to power through a tough workout. 

Sleep even helps to keep you injury-free as sleep deprivation can impair your balance, a skill needed in most all physical activity. 

5- Decreases Inflammation

Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with increased inflammation throughout the entire body, which we’ve come to learn is a precursor for multiple diseases.

Sleep loss and sleep disturbances prompt the sympathetic nervous system to activate what are known as inflammatory signaling pathways which lead to increased levels of proteins associated with inflammation (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6). 

Specifically, a lack of sleep has been proven to cause inflammation in the gut, increasing one’s risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel or worse, colon cancer. 

Inflammation in the gut, caused by a lack of sleep, can lead to impaired immune function, skin conditions, diminished cognitive abilities, and much more.

Reducing this inflammation can be as simple as getting healthy, restful sleep!

6- Improves Cognitive Functioning

Getting enough restful sleep has been shown to improve memory and problem-solving skills in both adults and children. 

Academic performance improves when we get enough sleep (again in adults and children). 

And, your ability to make decisions improves as you get enough sleep. 

A regular lack of sleep can impair your judgment, decrease mental clarity, and lead to early cognitive decline. 

7- Decreases Stress

When you lack sleep, your body amps up the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, leading to greater instances of anxiety (which also causes an increase of cortisol). 

Simply getting a good night’s rest can allow your body to relax, while internally your body is repairing and recovering from the day’s activities, thereby decreasing stress. 

8- Reduces Risk Of Diabetes

We mentioned that a lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, and this alone increases one’s risk of diabetes. 

But, not getting enough sleep in and of itself increases this risk as well. 

Studies show that those people who get less than 5-6 hours of sleep each night increase their risk of developing diabetes by up to 48%. 

Sleep deprivation is thought to decrease insulin sensitivity, and this combined with increased inflammation, an increase in the release of hunger hormones, and poor decision-making (also stemming from lack of sleep), is thought to be the cause of this increased risk. 

9- Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

Some studies show that adults getting less than 7 hours per night of restful sleep increase their risk of death by heart disease by 13%. 

Those sleeping less than 5 hours per night are said to increase their risk of developing high blood pressure by 61%. 

Poor sleep quality alone is thought to contribute to a greater risk of heart disease, which reminds us that both the amount and quality of sleep are important. 

Overall, these risks to the health of your heart are thought to be linked to hormone production, as some hormones released during restful sleep are tasked with keeping your blood vessels and heart functioning properly. 

10- Strengthens Immune System 

There’s a reason you are advised to get plenty of rest when you are ill. Sleep heals. 

As we’ve discussed throughout this article, much of your body’s regrowth, repair, recovery, and rejuvenation processes occur when you’re sleeping. 

A lack of sleep slows the response time of your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, and preventing you from recovering from illnesses quickly. 

One study found that even small amounts of sleep deprivation can threaten your body’s ability to fight off infection. 


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Exploring the Role of the Health Belief Model in Preventative Health Behaviors



Preventative health behaviors are essential for maintaining overall well-being and preventing the onset of various illnesses and diseases. One model that has been widely used to explain and promote these behaviors is the Health Belief Model (HBM). The HBM is a psychological model that was originally developed in the 1950s by social psychologists Hochbaum, Rosenstock, and Kegels. It aims to explain and predict health behaviors by taking into account individual beliefs and perceptions.

The HBM is based on the premise that individuals are more likely to take action to prevent or control a health issue if they believe that they are susceptible to the issue, that it is severe, that taking action will be beneficial, and that they are capable of taking the necessary steps. These four key elements are known as perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers, respectively.

Perceived susceptibility refers to an individual’s belief about their personal risk of developing a particular health issue. For example, someone who believes that they are at high risk of developing heart disease may be more likely to engage in preventative behaviors such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Perceived severity is the individual’s belief about the seriousness of the health issue. If someone believes that the consequences of not taking action to prevent a particular health issue are severe, they may be more motivated to engage in preventative behaviors.

Perceived benefits refer to the individual’s belief that taking action to prevent or control the health issue will be effective in reducing the risk. If someone believes that exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help to lower their risk of developing heart disease, they may be more likely to engage in these behaviors.

Perceived barriers are the obstacles that may prevent an individual from taking action to prevent or control a health issue. These barriers may be financial, logistical, or psychological. For example, someone may be deterred from exercising regularly due to a lack of time or access to a gym.

The HBM has been applied to a wide range of preventative health behaviors, including cancer screenings, vaccinations, and healthy lifestyle choices. Research has shown that individuals who have higher levels of perceived susceptibility, severity, benefits, and lower levels of barriers are more likely to engage in preventative health behaviors.

Healthcare providers and public health professionals can use the HBM to design interventions and communication strategies that promote preventative health behaviors. By addressing and changing individuals’ beliefs and perceptions, these interventions can help to increase motivation and enable people to take action to protect their health.

In conclusion, the Health Belief Model is a valuable framework for understanding and promoting preventative health behaviors. By considering individuals’ beliefs and perceptions about their health, healthcare providers can design effective interventions that motivate and empower people to take control of their well-being. The HBM plays a crucial role in shaping public health strategies and encouraging individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent the onset of diseases and illnesses.

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How to Perform CPR Fast and Effectively




( – EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE tense moments in movies where someone collapses, and someone else dashes to the scene to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

One crucial action, such as retrieving an automated external defibrillator (AED), can make the difference between life and death. This action is typically not given much emphasis.

Follow these life-saving steps immediately:

Step 1: Check the Scene

Check to see if the person is alright by tapping them and asking if there are any chemical spills or downed electrical lines.

Step 2: Check for Breathing

Proceed to the next step immediately if they are not breathing or are only sometimes gasping for air.

Step 3: Call 911 and Grab the AED

Tell anyone close to perform these actions so that you can start CPR. Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., a former president of the American Heart Association, advises skipping the AED and beginning compressions as soon as possible if you have to search for the device that shocks the heart back into rhythm.

Step 4: Start CPR

Use the AED first if it’s nearby: When an AED shock is administered within the first minute of a cardiac arrest, nine out of ten victims survive. Perform chest compressions until aid comes if an AED is not available.

Compressions can increase the chances of survival by two or three times if performed in the first few minutes after cardiac arrest.

How to Do Chest Compressions: Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest, precisely at the nipple line, while kneeling next to the individual to perform chest compressions.

Put the other one on top of the initial one. Put your fingers together. Locked elbows, apply force quickly. Compress between 100 and 120 times per minute; this is the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.”

Each time, delve two inches deeper.

Step 5: Follow the AED’s Instructions

The AED’s audio instructions walk you through every stage of using it after you turn it on. All you have to do is listen and answer. The instructions will tell you how to position the electrode pads and whether you should click the button to shock someone.

They also recommend restarting CPR if a shock is ineffective.

Step 6: Continue CPR

Hands-only CPR is equally successful in the initial minutes following cardiac arrest in adults and teenagers as it is when combined with rescue breathing.

Continue until your breathing returns, assistance comes, or you cannot continue.

If you are faced with a situation where someone near you requires CPR, follow the step-by-step guide below to potentially save a life.

Copyright 2024.

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Your 4-Week Plan for Better Mental Wellness




( – Everything in your day to day and your life is impacted by your mental health. There are other options outside therapy, medication, and even meditation to maximize it.

You can do many little things to improve your mental health, remove obstacles in your path, and achieve your life goals.

Being happy with your mental health does not imply that you never experience terrible days. It means you can handle those days with more extraordinary fortitude and less effort.

And perhaps you can figure out how to prepare yourself for even fewer of them down the road.

This four-week strategy helps you do things differently, think outside the box, overcome obstacles, and feel joy and amazement. In essence, it improves your mental health.

Week 1: Take a Breather

Day 1: Pause for a Minute

Take a moment to ground yourself by noticing 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 you can taste.

Day 2: Focus on Your Breath

Practice 4-7-8 breathing: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Repeat a few times to relax.

Day 3: Let Your Mind Wander

Sit quietly without distractions, allowing your mind to relax and think positively, boosting creativity and mood.

Day 4: Embrace JOMO

Limit social media use and enjoy the joy of missing out (JOMO). Focus on what matters to you rather than online content.

Day 5: Get Some Rest

Prioritize sleep by setting a bedtime, keeping your room cool, and avoiding screens before bed.

Week 2: Ask a Question a Day

Day 1: What’s Going Well?

Focus on what’s working well to boost positivity and well-being.

Day 2: How Will This Decision Affect Me?

Consider the short-, medium-, and long-term consequences of your decisions to reduce anxiety.

Day 3: How Am I Feeling Right Now, Really?

Identify and understand your genuine emotions without labeling them as good or bad.

Day 4: What’s Possible Today?

Adapt to daily challenges by asking what’s achievable rather than striving for perfection.

Day 5: What Can I Let Go Of?

Identify and start letting go of negative self-talk or unhealthy relationships.

Week 3: Fuel Your Mood with Food

Day 1: Eat a Day’s Worth of Greens in One Meal

Incorporate two cups of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, into your diet for mental and physical benefits.

Day 2: Sample the Rainbow

Eat various colorful fruits and vegetables to boost optimism and reduce stress.

Day 3: Dive Into Seafood

Include fatty fish like salmon for omega-3s and vitamin D, which support brain health.

Day 4: Shift Your Snacks

Choose nuts like almonds or walnuts to nourish your brain with essential nutrients.

Day 5: Add Friends

Share meals with friends to enhance mental wellness through social connections.

Week 4: Use These Mind Hacks

Day 1: Embrace Uncertainty

Accepting what you can’t control helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Day 2: Plan for Hurdles

Prepare for daily challenges to stay balanced and resilient.

Day 3: Change Your Language

Reframe negative emotions by noting them as feelings rather than defining yourself by them.

Day 4: Balance Your Negativity with Positivity

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones to improve mental well-being.

Day 5: Be Amazed

Experience awe through nature, art, or inspiring talks to boost creativity and mood.

Mental health impacts how we think, behave, and feel. It’s closely tied to physical health, and nearly everyone faces mental health challenges at some point.

This 30-day plan offers simple daily changes to help reduce stress and anxiety, enhancing mental well-being and resilience.

Copyright 2024.

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