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Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.

 

Resources:

Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

 

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The Art of Hibernation

 

person in brown cable knife sweater holding white and black puppy

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Winter has arrived, and many animals go into hibernation. Ever wonder why some nights it is easier to fall sleep than others? There are many factors that can influence our sleep patterns. Some are obvious such as, not drinking too much caffeine before going to sleep. Other factors can be less obvious. As the brain develops and ages, our sleeping habits, and patterns may change but are also influenced by many internal and external factors. Newborns sporadically sleep 16-20 hours, and young children sleep more consistently for about 11-12 hours. Teenage natural sleep patterns tend to favor late nights and late mornings. As we age, we generally have shorter periods of deep sleep and sleep less consistently. Whatever your stage of life, here some interesting facts about sleep and some tips to create the ideal situation for your winter hibernation:

  • Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol right before bed. Caffeine counteracts the hormone adenosine which promotes sleep. Caffeine should be consumed 4-6 hours before bed. Alcohol promotes sleep but then acts as a stimulant as it is metabolized,  disrupting sleep. Limit alcohol consumption to 2 or fewer servings (12 oz beer, 6 oz wine, 1.5 oz distilled spirit) and consume at least 3 hours prior to sleep.
  • Choose a dark, quiet, and cool environment, just like a bat would. Artificial light disrupts your sleep cycle. Turn off all TVs, computers, phones, and devices that emit blue light. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or eye masks. For noise problems, use earplugs or play soft, soothing white noise. Ideal room temperature should be around 60-75 degrees F.
  • Find a soothing pre-sleep routine. Activities might be reading a book, meditation, or relaxation activities. Avoid having emotional discussions before bed.
  • Go to sleep when you are tired. Seems like a silly tip, doesn’t it? However, think about all the times we stay up looking at our cell phones when we feel like sleeping. If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get up, go to another room, read, watch TV, etc. until you are tired. Watching the clock only makes you more stressed and anxious which stimulates alertness.
  • Take advantage of natural light. Sunlight promotes a healthy sleep-alert cycle. Open your windows in the morning and spend time outdoors during the day.
  • Choose consistent sleep schedules. Try to go to bed and awaken consistently especially between weekdays and weekends. Naps are OK but should be consistent in length, time, and not after 5 pm.
  • Exercise at appropriate times. Exercise can promote sleep but if it occurs too late it acts as a stimulant. Exercise at least 3 hours prior to sleeping.
  • Avoid spicy, greasy food, or food that might promote indigestion right before bedtime. Also, balance fluid intake to avoid dehydration, but also to prevent excess urination during the night.

Happy winter hibernation!

Author: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, FCS Extension Educator, Miami County

Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University, Twelve Simple Steps to Promote your Sleep http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University, Changes in Sleep with Age http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/variations/changes-in-sleep-with-age

Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University, External Factors that Affect Sleep http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/external-factors

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park

While scanning the paper recently, an obituary caught my eye:

“After 96 years of vigorous living, Ralph passed peacefully. His enthusiasm for life was contagious. He made friends easily wherever he went.  He made a difference in people’s lives, challenging people to do their best in business, sports, in their families and even in their fun.   He mentored many associates both young and old.  Believing in the rights and dignity of all, he organized an open housing committee at the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. His family was the most important part of his life, especially his wife with whom everyday was a party. Their life together was fun. Join us to celebrate his life at the 18th green with a reception to follow in the clubhouse.”

After reading this, I wondered.  Are we living our best life? We all want to live better, more fulfilling and happier lives. Are we taking the time and necessary steps to achieve these goals?

Start today:

  • Be grateful
  • Be kind to others
  • Get enough sleep
  • Spend more time with loved ones
  • Smile more
  • Forgive
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Spread positive energy
  • Get more sleep
  • Get fresh air
  • Volunteer
  • Enjoy a part of everyday

We only get one life. Forget about what other people are doing and focus on your life and your path to happiness.  At the end of the day and at the end of your life, that is all that matters.

I wish I had known Ralph.   He has inspired me to live my best life.  Thank you Ralph.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/choosing-to-be-happy#1

https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits.html

 

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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sleeping

The process of getting healthy doesn’t start in the morning when your feet hit the floor, it actually begins with a good night’s sleep. My favorite health habit is lying in bed sawing off zzz’s, which you must admit is a lot easier (and more fun) than exercise or eating healthy. UNLESS you have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep.  Then you might rank it at the bottom of your efforts to get healthy.

How do you feel after a poor night’s sleep? Do you sleep well most nights? Hard to believe that something you do while unconscious is so important, but sleep is critical to your overall health.

A healthier sleep can be achieved by doing the following:

  • Stick to a schedule by going to bed and waking up the same time, even on the weekends. This helps regulate your body’s circadian clock, which in turn helps you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  • Try a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoiding bright light helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety (which can make it more difficult to fall asleep).
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Worried about whether it’s OK to exercise during the evening? Studies show that for most people, exercising close to bedtime doesn’t appear to adversely affect sleep quality.
  • Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. The life expectancy of a mattress is about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Check your pillow and make sure it is free of allergens that might affect your sleeping.
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals in the evening. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep.  If you can, avoid eating a large meal 2-3 hours before bedtime. Instead, try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  • Slow down before bed. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing some kind of a calming activity, like reading. Avoid things that may disturb your sleep. That means phones, a tablet, computers or a television that emit blue light. Don’t read with backlit devices. Tablets that are backlit are more disruptive than e-readers that don’t have their own light source.

Resources:

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

https://sleep.org/

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Trumbull County, Western Reserve, economos.2@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

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We all have calendar dates which we can identify as “A day I will always remember!”  Well, I can say “On Friday, May 13, 2016, my life changed for the better because that is the day I began to get even more sleep!”  On May 13th, I attended the Global Brain Health and Performance Summit at The Ohio State University which was sponsored by The Ohio State University Neurological Institute.  Arianna Huffington, cofounder, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time was the Keynote Speaker.  Guess what I’ve been doing lately?  Getting More Sleep!

Sleep Deprivation can be associated with:

  • Injuriessleep1
  • Obesity
  • Mental illness.
  • Poor quality of life.
  • Increased healthcare costs.
  • Low work productivity.

Don’t Stay Awake, Get Help Today!

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 70 million Americans face chronic sleep problems.  Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night.  While some sleepless nights may be the result of too much caffeine or thinking about something that’s worrying you, chronic sleep deprivation is often the result of a sleep disorder.

The Sleep Disorders Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of sleep problem conditions which include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), snoring, narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and unusual behaviors during sleep, known as parasomnias.  Remember that being involved in treatments and lifestyle adjustments will help you get the quality and restful sleep you need.

Arianna Huffington’s 12 Tips for Better Sleep!  (A Condensed Version)*

  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool (between 60 and 67 degrees).
  • No electronic devices starting 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t charge your phone next to your bed.
  • No caffeine after 2:00 p.m.
  • Your bed is for sleep- no work.
  • No pets on the bed.
  • Take a hot bath before bed to calm your mind and body.
  • Pajamas, nightdresses, and special T-shirts send a sleep-friendly message to your body.
  • Do light stretching, deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to transition to sleep.
  • When reading in bed, make it a real book or an e-reader that does not emit blue light.
  • Ease yourself into sleep mode by drinking chamomile or lavender tea.
  • Before bed, write a list of what you are grateful for.

*For a complete version of “Arianna Huffington’s 12 Tips for Better Sleep” and “The Sleep Revolution Manifesto” go to:  ariannahuffington.com

One final thought about your Health and Sleep

In the words of Thomas Dekker, “Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

Good Night!

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Source:

The Sleep Revolution:  Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington, Published in the United States by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Sleep Disorders.  http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/sleep-disorders

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Mindfulness Practices – Mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and stress.  http://go.osu.edu/wexnermindful

onCampus.  February 11, 2016, 16th Annual Health and Wellness Guide, Wellness is a journey, Pages 7-18.  http://go.osu.edu/HealthWellnessGuide

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Sleep or Exercise? Both activities are critical for maintaining good health. But let’s be real; it’s much more fun to do an extra hour in bed instead of on the treadmill. Have you ever made the decision to wake up early in the morning to workout, only to find yourself feeling like an extra hour of sleep would be more beneficial to your body than forcing yourself to exercise?sleep

But how can you tell if the desire for sleep is biologically dictated and not just procrastination? Is exercise even beneficial after a short sleep cycle? There is no quick, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but looking at sleep/exercise research may help you make an informed decision when faced with those groggy “Should I really get up to work out?” thoughts in your head:

  • Adequate sleep and exercise are both critical for optimum health
  • Sleep and exercise promote one another – physical activity promotes high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep promotes physical performance
  • Adults need a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but if you are averaging around this amount, it’s okay to skip a half hour of sleep a couple of times per week to get in a morning workout
  • The CDC and American Heart Association recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.
  • Some experts, when absolutely pressed to choose one that would be considered more important, choose sleep. But (and this is a big but), it simply is not advisable to recommend opting out of exercise completely, and exercise should be considered a “must” for a healthy lifestyle.

**These facts are based on average adults. Those with sleep disorders or other health conditions that affect their ability to sleep or exercise should consult a health care professional when making decisions related to these activities.

For those who cannot find time for adequate sleep and exercise, try to evaluate and organize your schedule to:

  • Go to sleep a little earlier so you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice sleep time.
  • Schedule time in the evening to allow for exercise so you can sleep longer in the morning.

Once you make a conscious effort to live in a way that allows you to practice habits that are healthy – and that includes both adequate sleep and adequate exercise – you will feel much more balanced. We can’t take best care of others and our responsibilities until we take best care of ourselves.

Written by: Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Sources:

http://time.com/3914773/exercise-sleep-fitness/

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898

 

 

 

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