Monday, March 3, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
6 Habits That Ruin A Good Night's Sleep
If you equate getting older with needing—or getting—less sleep, here’s a wake-up call: It's not true! “The majority of us require between seven and nine hours of shut-eye a night," says Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the “And there’s little reason—whether you’re 55 or 80—not to get it.” Barring disease, medication and pain (all legitimate sleep interrupters), if patients complain of bad sleep, Dr. Oexman looks at their nighttime habits, where the problem almost always resides.
· Bad Habit #1: Watching TV until you fall asleep
It has nothing to do with what you watch—Downton Abbey isn’t a better pre-sleep choice than Dog the Bounty Hunter. Rather it’s the exposure to TV’s bright light that’s the culprit. Artificial bright light after dusk not only enhances alertness, but also delays the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. So even if you nod off (in front of the TV, for example), you probably won’t stay asleep for long. admitted to checking email during the night. If that’s you, keep technology out of the bedroom.)An hour before bedtime, treat yourself like a baby: a warm bath, followed by a quiet activity in dim light—meditation, journal writing, reading. But no reading or writing on your computer before bed or in the middle of the night. (Almost half of the respondents in the
· Bad Habit #2: Sleeping with Fido
While animal-lovers argue the emotional benefits of sharing a pillow with their pets, research shows that pets can contribute to less than sound sleep. How? “Pets have different circadian rhythms than humans," says Oexman. “They sleep most of the day, and they shift a lot when sleeping—they get comfortable, then they move. This goes on all night, and whether you admit it or not, it interrupts your ability to get the level of sleep needed to feel rested." (As for pet dander and allergies—sneezing and wheezing are not great sleep enhancers.) For two weeks, put your pooch or cat in a crate outside your closed bedroom door. When your pet can sleep quietly in the crate, move the crate inside your room for another two weeks. When the crate training is complete, try letting the dog or cat sleep in his own bed near your bed. Discourage all attempts to jump on your bed and reward all successes for staying in his own bed. (Caveat: Plan on interrupted sleep for a few weeks.)
· Bad Habit #3: Exercising too close to bedtime
Remember how poorly you sleep when you have a fever—drifting in and out, never really feeling rested? Well, heavy exercise too close to bedtime has the same effect—it raises your core body temperature so that your sleep is fragmented at best until your body temperature drops to normal, which may take several hours. No hardcore exercise at least three hours before bedtime, so when you lay your sleepy head on the pillow, your body temp is normal. Also, keep the bedroom temperature between 65-58 degrees for the ideal sleeping climate. Too cold for you? Pile on the blankets; just make sure your head (no stocking cap, please) is exposed to the cooler air to help regulate your body temperature.
· Bad Habit #4: Drinking too much liquid before bedtime
The short answer—you have to get up and pee frequently.Need we also mention that coffee, tea, and colas, are not only diuretics, but also stimulants? Stop drinking caffeinated drinks after lunch and other liquids at least three hours before bedtime because peeing at night and aging do not automatically go hand in hand—unless you suffer from a prostate issue, sleep apnea, or weak pelvic muscles, in which case, see your doc for help with the related sleep issues.
· Bad Habit #5: Eating fatty, heavy foods too close to bedtime
Heartburn strikes anyone of any age, but it’s the most common GI disorder in older adults. If you’ve ever tried to go to sleep after eating a fatty meal, you’ve probably found the discomfort of stomach acids leaking into your esophagus less than conducive to falling asleep or staying asleep. , eating jasmine rice helped people in a study fall asleep faster than other types of rice. Who knew? Try to eat your last meal of the day at least 2-3 hours before bed time. Should you feel peckish before bed, consider a carbohydrate-rich snack. "Carbs stimulate melatonin production," says Dr. Oexman, "so have a (normal size) bowl of cereal, a half a bagel with a spread of hummus, or a small boiled potato." Or maybe have a serving of jasmine rice. According to the
· Bad Habit #6: Accepting snoring as normal sleep behavior
Snoring may seem as common as breathing, but it‘s considered the biggest sleep disrupter, and it‘s linked to several causes: sleeping on your back, being overweight, having a cold or allergies, drinking, or taking certain medications. At its most serious, it‘s caused by apnea, a potentially life-threatening illness. For the snorer, it disrupts sleep by awakening him/her every so often in order to breathe normally. For the partner, the noise can be deafening. For minor problems, try the obvious; lose weight, sleep on your side, take decongestants if you have a cold. In addition, Dr. Oexman recommends using a mouthguard, which is a non-invasive way to open the breathing passages. To rule out or diagnose apnea, consult your doctor. And never dismiss snoring as just a nuisance until you’ve discovered the underlying
cause. That means no separate bedrooms as the quick fix.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
There are all kinds of clutter. It’s not always visible to others but when you open drawers, closets, cabinets and you know there are things just stashed away that haven’t been dealt with in a long time, well, that’s clutter.
Clutter is stressful, it’s a fact. Here are ways you can “distress” your life and make it easier to keep your space organized. There is a little “hoarder” in everyone and it’s so easy to let things get out of hand.
Be honest when reading the following suggestions. Really, when would you ever realistically use these things again. Most would be expired, outdated, or totally irrelevant to your life now. Think about it.
Here are things you probably have in your home that you can easily get rid of (recycle, trash, donate, whatever works) without a second thought. And if you really look and think about the things in your home you’ll realize there are a lot more things you can add to this list.
- The near-empty ice cream carton in the freezer
- The extra packet of buttons that came with a cardigan that you've since donated
- Stained t-shirts you've had since college
- The ratty towel you've been using in lieu of a bath mat
- Holiday cards
- The treasure trove of plastic grocery bags under your sink
- Unidentified foil-wrapped things in your fridge or freezer
- 2013's calendar
- Promotional mugs or glasses that came free with a meal
- Piles of ticket stubs, old transit passes, etc., to concerts, movies and places you don't really remember going to in the first place
- Any receipts that have accumulated in your pockets or purse (unless it's something you'll need come tax time)
- All the stacks of magazines you haven't touched in months
- Expired coupons/savings passes
- Any envelope that you've kept only because you needed to remember the address (just add it to your phone/contacts list)
- All the half-scrawled lists, notes and post-its reminding you of things you have no idea about
- Old invitations for things not involving treasured family members or friends
- Anything you've agreed to take from your parents' house solely out of guilt
- Hobby supplies for hobbies you've given up on (donate it)
- Journals, notebooks and other writing pads you've used maybe twice and then given up on
- Old textbooks
- Paperback novels that didn't change your life
- VHS tapes, cassettes and DVDs that did not change your life/entertain you
- Printed recipes you tried, didn't like and saved anyway
- Expired medicines
- Office supplies you never use, such as pens that no longer work
- Cheap accessories which have since become a tangled mess of tackiness
- Any plastic storage container that doesn't have a lid
- Empty coffee canisters
- Old batteries
- Instruction manuals for appliances you know how to use
- Near-empty booze bottles containing one pathetic shot
- Tea that's more than a few months' old -- you don't need to drink steeped dust
- Party favors from weddings (people really should stop with those)
- Miscellaneous cables, cords and wires (just make an attempt to match them first)
- Discount/shopper loyalty cards to places you don't even shop at anymore
- The weird secret stash of chopsticks acquired from all those times the sushi place thought you were ordering for 4 people, not 1
- The stash of duck sauce, ketchup, hot mustard and soy sauce packets