There is no such thing as a fast track to holistic health. Wellness is a product of many different factors, which is why our Big Picture of Wellness Series is focused on changing the perspective of how to attain proper holistic health. One of the essential tools to a long and comfortable life is healthy sleep. When striving to be your best self, sleep plays a vital role in recharging your mind and body, and there are plenty of steps that you can take to ensure that you are maximizing your sleep and prioritizing your health.
Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep is a scientific mystery in many ways, but we do know that we need sleep to refresh the mind and body. Sleep provides your mind the opportunity to consolidate memories, reconcile thoughts and recharge. It also provides the body a chance to repair muscles and fight infection. Sleep is a powerful force in maintaining your mental and physical wellness.
It is crucial to get enough sleep to get your body refreshed and rested to take on your daily activities. A lack of sleep is associated with adverse health effects, and missing out on sleep can be detrimental to your body, even if you are conscious about other areas of your health, like diet and exercise. Therefore, sleep is a necessary component of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Getting good sleep also correlates with a lower risk for health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. It also helps to improve memory, reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. Many people may not realize there is a minimum amount of sleep needed for brain function, and not getting enough can be very harmful. Sleep has an abundance of direct and indirect benefits for your health.
Although sleep can often take the back burner for those on a busy schedule, it is a crucial component of wellness. Going through your day with not enough or no sleep is very challenging. Without sleep, it is more difficult for the mind to concentrate and the body to operate at its best. Regardless of your commitment to your current diet or exercise routine, their benefits can be erased if you are not getting enough sleep.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
The amount of sleep that a person needs depends on each person. Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, while teenagers require 8-10 hours and children require even more. However, these numbers are based on recommendations, and you should only use them for guidance. Every person is different, and you may need less or more depending on the state of your health and your lifestyle.
It is important to be proactive and considerate about the sleep you need and take precautions to avoid being sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep can begin to take a toll on your mind and body. If you are experiencing, or start to notice, any sleep deprivation symptoms, you should start to be more conscious about your sleep schedule and take the necessary steps to improve the amount of sleep you are getting. These symptoms include lack of focus, irritation, delirium, headaches and more.
Having an occasional night of lousy sleep happens, but you may face various lack of sleep side effects if you are regularly missing out on good sleep. Everyone will be slightly different, and there is no perfect formula. Still, everyone needs to prioritize sleep to avoid the discomfort of lack of sleep headaches and other adverse health effects. Sleep deprivation effects can quickly take a toll, so making time for sleep is key to your health.
How to Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep hygiene means having consistent and uninterrupted sleep by following a stable sleep schedule in a comfortable environment. There are plenty of great tips and tools to help you have the best possible sleep hygiene for your overall health and wellness. Many factors can affect your sleep patterns and several routines, and you can easily consider them each day to improve the quality of your sleep and improve your overall health.
Being mindful of some important sleeping tips can play a key role in putting you on the path to more restful sleep. Here are some of the best ways to improve your sleep quality:
Create the Right Environment
Setting a solid and thoughtful routine can do wonders for your sleep habits. Strong sleep hygiene includes providing yourself with an environment conducive to rest and mindful relaxation. Not being mindful of your bedtime surroundings can make it more difficult to fall asleep or get restful sleep. This is why it is important to have a comfortable and peaceful space along with a calming nighttime routine. This includes being in a comfortable bed and a room with cooler temperatures that are lower than usual since cooler temperatures make for a more suitable sleeping environment.
At night, before bed, you should find ways to turn your brain off and wind down. Try to find calming activities to do before laying down so that you are more relaxed and able to fall asleep easier. Try to avoid using your phone too close to bedtime. The constant light from staring at your phone pushes your brain to be more alert and makes it more difficult to sleep. You should also resist urge to look at phone or do something if you wake up in middle of night.
Similarly, when you are ready to go to sleep, ensure that there is no light in the room so that you are able to maximize your rest. Even if you are asleep, light in the room can be bothersome and negatively affect your rest. If it is too bright in your room, you may prevent your body from feeling rested and waste your slumber.
When setting your bedtime environment, you should also determine if noise or no noise is better for you, as everyone is different. For some, it is easier to fall asleep with calming white noise, like the sound of rain, a beach or a waterfall. For others, any noise at all can be disruptive and make it more difficult to rest and fall asleep. Ultimately having a comfortable and calm environment can go a long way toward maximizing the benefits of your sleep.
Having a daily dose of exercise is not only great for keeping your body active but also helps your body rest better at night. A good moderate to intense work out each during the day will help you sleep at night.
Although it is a good idea to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, it is important to be conscious about when you do it. The best practice is that you dont exercise within an hour or two before going to bed. If you exercise too close to the time you plan to go to sleep, it will be harder to fall asleep, and it will not be as restful. Exercising raises your heart rate and gives you an alert state of mind, which is, of course, the opposite of the desired effects when you are trying to sleep.
Give Your Body the Right Nourishment
Providing your body with the correct fuel and nourishment can go a long way. Food is powerful, and diet can play a significant role in your ability to rest appropriately. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for food for good sleep. Some of the best foods to eat at night include:
• Milk- Milk contains naturally occurring melatonin, which is a hormone that plays a large role in sleep.
• Fatty fish- Salmon and other fatty fish contain vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in foods that help you sleep and help the body regulate serotonin and rest.
• Nuts- Nuts also contain melatonin as well as essential minerals like magnesium and zinc, all of which contribute to reducing insomnia.
• Rice- Rice has a high glycemic index and has related to improved sleep for individuals.
Eating sleep-inducing foods is a good idea to add to your routine. Another option to help your body get to sleep is taking a melatonin supplement. However, overeating can be harmful to your sleep patterns. If you are too full, it will be harder to get comfortable at night and get more restful sleep. Finding the right balance can play a great role in improving your sleep patterns.
Another good way to help your body gain more restful sleep is to drink something soothing in the evening. For example, chamomile tea has been shown to have calming properties and improve sleep when drinking it before bed. Reishi mushrooms are also a great supplement to help improve sleep when consumed regularly. Reishi mushrooms can be taken through capsules or tea. Drinking tea also encourages you to sit and wind down before bed.
Explore Cannabis Products
Cannabinoid (CBD) products can also be useful sleep aids. Smoking marijuana or ingesting THC tinctures can help to improve sleep, especially for those who experience heightened stress or sleep disorders. Benefits of cannabis tinctures and marijuana products include a state of relaxation, restored sleep schedule and tamed insomnia.
When using CBD products to improve sleep, you should always start slowly and pay attention to your reactions. CBD products can have a variety of effects, and you may react differently to them than others. There are also different levels of products, including Delta 8 THC, Delta 9 THC and Delta 10 THC. Each type of product has different effects, with Delta 8 THC being used most commonly as a sleep aid. If you plan on trying cannabis-derived products, make sure to do your research and take time to determine how your body reacts to each one before going all in.
Consider Your Body’s Hormones
If you have a hard time falling asleep, it may not be an issue with your routine, but it could be an issue with your hormones. For women, estrogen levels can have an impact on sleep quality and patterns. Menopause and sleep troubles can often go hand-in-hand. Menopause affects every woman differently, and the side effects may vary, but the change in hormones can make it more difficult to get restful sleep.
If you are experiencing sleep issues due to hormones low estrogen symptoms, you should reach out to your doctor to see what options are available to cope with menopause. Generally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing stress can lessen the impacts of menopause on sleep, which makes it even more important to act on the many tips to improve your sleep.
Clear Your Head, Literally
An often-overlooked sleeping tip is the importance of comfortably breathing while you are asleep. A clear airway will allow you to comfortably breathe while you are asleep and give your body plenty of oxygen to recharge throughout the night. The best way to do this is to ensure that your airways are clear before bed. It helps to take steps to reduce mucus and eliminate diary and mucus building goods. Clearing nasal passages or using a nasal rinse before bed will help keep your nose and throat clear for comfortable breathing throughout the night.
Take the Next Steps
Getting good sleep is a crucial foundation for your overall health and wellness. For more information about taking control of your health, come see us at Studio Figura ATL. Wellness is a multi-dimensional process. Here at Studio Figura ATL, we help you activate your mind and body so that you can be your best self all around. Join us in our movement for holistic health!
• SAY YES TO YOU!: We find ourselves in an unhealthy place when we do for others what we can do for ourselves. We stand in the way of our happiness, our path to greater love, success, and joy. We sabotage ourselves, often without realizing it.
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Stress management and good sleep are two of the most critical components of a healthy lifestyle and keys to wellness. Stay tuned for the next steps in our Big Picture of Wellness Series!
This was going to be your year. It still can be. Now more than ever, health and wellness are vital to maintaining your overall wellbeing. But, how can you maintain your health when the world seems to be falling apart everywhere you look? If stress has you feeling down, read on to learn about stress management from the team of holistic professionals at Studio Figura ATL.
Health and Wellness 101
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot achieve the journey to complete health by focusing on changing one habit alone. We don’t want to be the bearers of bad news, but your life won’t stay healthy because you ran a marathon, went vegan, or finally fit into your old jeans. Optimized health is only part of a lifestyle change, after all.
Additionally, there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solution for anyone’s individual wellness needs. What works for one person may not work for you, and that’s okay.
Sure, it’s a step in the right direction if you change up your exercise routine to include weight lifting or cardio. It’s also a remarkable accomplishment if you eat clean for months on end. Did you run your first marathon? Have you dropped all the excess pounds you wanted to shed?
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? It isn’t.
While you should be proud of any positive lifestyle changes, there’s still something missing from your health and wellness plan. So, what is it?
You need a well-rounded plan for physical, emotional, and mental health. A well-rounded approach to health includes:
Nutrients and Gut Health
How Stress is Getting in Your Way
Could it be the effects of stress that are blocking your path to optimum mental and physical fitness? In this essay about stress, you’ll discover more about the stress effects on the body and what you can do to optimize your overall wellness through stress management.
Life’s pressure can stop you from accomplishing everything you need to stay healthy throughout a lifetime. Stress causes you to overeat, gain weight, and lose sleep. It is also known that stress can cause physical barriers to health, such as heart problems, obesity, autoimmune diseases, mental illness, and more.
If you can’t sleep, you’ll need more food to maintain energy throughout your daily activities. If you’re eating more, you’re not likely to lose weight while keeping your sanity.
Worse? You may eat processed, unhealthy food because you feel too exhausted to enjoy the activity of cooking a healthy meal. Consequently, exercise is not even on your schedule. As you can see, stress can lead to an endless cycle of anxiety.
The world doesn’t need to be crumbling for you to feel stressed out. It’s entirely normal for stressors to vary from person to person. Some individuals are only stressed by chaotic or traumatic events, while others may find it stressful and anxiety-inducing to make a phone call.
Whatever the cause of your stress, it’s imperative to know that there is hope to help you cope. Studio Figura ATL’s whole-you solution will guide your unique journey to optimum health with personalized treatment tailored to your needs and specifications, including individualized stress management techniques.
What is Stress Management?
Are you falling short of your health and wellness goals? Do you find yourself multitasking too much and always saying yes? If you struggle to control the signs of stress, you’re far from alone.
Don’t beat yourself up over emotional stress symptoms. Instead, try to remember that emotional regulation is complicated for everyone. It takes great self-control to manage emotion no matter your age or life stage. So, what can you do to help regulate manifestations of chronic stress? The answers might surprise you.
How to Reduce Stress
You can’t reduce stress simply because you will it gone. Nor can you self-care life’s stressors away. Beyond taking a long soak in the tub as part of a self-care regimen, our holistic whole-you approach to relieving stress includes:
Put Yourself First
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It may sound cliche, but it’s true, particularly involving stress management. To fill your cup, it helps to say no to others and yes to yourself.
Of course, it can be difficult at first to understand that saying not to others is saying yes to yourself. However, with practice, it will be easier to handle the impact of psychological stress if you say yes to you above all else.
Society often trains us to put the needs of others above our own. There is a time and a place to be selfless, but your health is not compromisable. After all, without you, there is no you for anyone else to love.
We know that simply putting yourself first is far easier said than done. What if you have children? Or are you in charge of a team at work? What if you’re in the position to care for family members or if your responsibilities include managing a household?
No matter your circumstances, it can be increasingly difficult to say no more often. Doing so may cause you to feel guilty or neglectful. You may even feel as if you’re letting other people down.
The good news? If everyone’s immediate needs are taken care of, there should be no burden to carry if you put your needs on the front burner. Yes, it’s okay for you also to experience relaxing hobbies for a change. Yes, it’s perfectly okay to put the kids to bed early and sleep in late. Take that evening stroll. Lounge in your pajamas and read that novel. Your needs and desires are no less and no more important than anyone else.
What is Stress Eating?
The overall essence of stress eating is somewhat self-explanatory based upon its name; eating when stressed. It also involves eating even when not hungry or eating when feeling sluggish or tired. Sadly, social media tends to oversimplify emotional eating problems in a stress eating meme, but it is more complicated than most readily believe.
This severe and common coping mechanism of stress eating comes in different forms, including night eating syndrome or other habits that can be severe enough to border on eating disorders.
Other manifestations of stress eating may involve using food as a reward system, eating as an avoidance technique, or eating even when full. If you suspect emotional eating is part of your daily regimen, don’t feel ashamed. This common stress reaction is manageable with care and attention.
What Does Cortisol Do?
Stress hormones, like cortisol, can spike or rise depending upon the levels of cortisol stress experienced. Too much or too little cortisol hormone can put your fight or flight mode into overdrive, further causing varying glucose levels in your blood. When your glucose and cortisol levels aren’t level or within optimal range, you may experience high cortisol symptoms.
Consequently, you may feel sluggish, tired, or as if you are lost in a haze. Additional symptoms of unsteady cortisol levels involve rapid weight gain, joint pain, weakness, bruising easily, mood swings, and high blood pressure.
Lowering cortisol may take some effort, but finding ways to handle your anxiety is one way to make it happen. Other methods include better sleep habits, relaxation techniques, exercise, and improved nutrition.
Can Stress Make You Sick?
If you’re experiencing unexplained illness, stress may be the cause. Unfortunately, physical symptoms of stress can be difficult to pinpoint if there is another diagnosable basis.
Indications of stress can include Cushing syndrome, stress weight gain, headaches, heart problems, or joint pain. Stress can also cause various other physical ailments you may not immediately recognize, such as auto-immune disorders and emotional disturbances.
Anxiety often manifests itself as something else. If one doctor doesn’t link your symptoms of stress to your illness, other specialists can help figure it out. Reach out to Studio Figura ATL for a consultation if you feel strongly your ailments are stress-related.
Stress and Exercise: How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?
As part of your stress control plan, fun stress relieving activities can involve exercise. Through exercise, you’ll feel stronger and sleep better. You may even shed a few pounds or gain additional muscle, depending on your exercise regimen.
The mental benefits of exercise are also endless. Not only will you enjoy the physical benefits of exercise, but your brain will release heaps of the happy chemical dopamine to boost your mood. Dopamine can also improve your memory, capacity for learning, and motor system function. Added benefits of exercise include:
Good Nutrition: Nature’s Stress Reliever
We’ve all heard the importance of nutrition a million times over by now. However, the importance of eating stress-relieving foods and cortisol lowering foods cannot be understated.
After all, you can’t out-exercise or out-think a lousy diet. The following foods can help to lower stress and minimize high levels of cortisol.
Positive aspects of good nutrition don’t end there. Your skin, hair, and nails will grow faster, stronger, and healthier. Your energy will spike, and your body will have the proper nutrient-based support to handle the most challenging aspects of life. You’re likely to live longer with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer with the proper nutrients as well.
Don’t let anxiety and fear get in the way of living your best life. Managing stress will allow you to stop your body’s fight or flight response so you can get back to doing the things you enjoy. Get started today and discover precisely how to relieve stress quickly.
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