Everyone knows that a good night's sleep gives you energy, reduces levels of mental health disorders, and gives the body time to repair itself. In addition to the more obvious benefits, there are a host of lesser-known advantages that solid rest provides. Here are three surprising things that a good night of sleep can do for you.
May Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that inadequate sleep may lead to certain types of cancer. Experts believe that too much light exposure reduces the amount of melatonin in the body. It is this hormone that regulates your body's natural circadian rhythm and protects against cancer by suppressing tumor growth. You can help your body to produce quality levels of melatonin by keeping your bedroom dark and by limiting the use of electronic devices before going to sleep.
Help You Lose Weight
People who do not get enough sleep each night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is believed that this happens because inadequate sleep negatively affects the natural balance of hormones in the body that impact the appetite. A lack of solid sleep disrupts the hormones ghrelin and leptin. It is these two hormones that affect your appetite. Getting a full night's rest even helps with overeating. A body that is deprived of adequate sleep will produce more cortisol, causing you to crave more food. Making an effort to stay true to your body's natural sleep cycle will help you to keep off the pounds.
That fogginess in your brain may be attributed to a lack of sleep. Research has shown that sleep plays a critical role in the retention of memories. While your body is resting when you sleep, your brain is actually working in overdrive processing the events of the day, making connections, and sorting emotions. This all happens when your body enters the deep sleep phase. Without this regular deep sleep, your brain is not able to function at optimum levels. Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night will assist your brain in remembering and processing things more accurately.
Making the effort to get a good night's sleep will pay off big dividends for the future of your health. Not only are the short-term effects of good physical health a result of solid rest, but the long-term effects will also improve your overall quality of life and longevity.
While it certainly is true that muscle mass can be lost when calories are cut, the ratio of lost strength to fat is going to differ depending on your body type and the method you use to lose weight. It is also entirely possible to lose body fat percentages while maintaining or even increasing muscle mass if you use the right strategies.
Heavy cardio is a great way to burn calories, but it’s also a good way to lose hard-earned muscle mass, according to Johnson Fitness & Wellness. That's not to say that cardio is terrible, but a routine based primarily around it is going to negatively impact the muscles you’ve worked to build up. You’re going to want to add more to your routine than just running yourself ragged on the treadmill. Swimming or HIIT are excellent methods to gain a functionally powerful frame while maintaining that lean look. For those of you who want to sculpt your body in specific ways, weightlifting interspersed with bouts of cardio here and there is the go-to method. The basic idea is to use the muscle groups you want your body to keep around so that you don’t lose them during the dieting process. Some of you who are newer to the gym may find yourselves pleasantly surprised at how dense your body will feel even after losing weight!
According to TruVision, losing fat while maintaining muscle, like everything else in fitness, involves what you eat more than anything else. By using protein effectively, as well as being careful of carb intake, you can maintain muscle while losing fat. The tough part about losing body fat isn’t the number-crunching required to get to a caloric deficit. For most people, it’s about keeping away from temptation and getting used to proper portion sizes. As far as when and how to eat, that’s totally up to you. Some people insist that eating many small meals a day works great, while others are into eating one huge meal a day followed by a set period of fasting. Experiment and see what works for you.
It’s going to take a lot of protein to build up a strong body, and you’re going to need quite a bit of it to maintain what you’ve got. You also have to do this while in a caloric deficit, which isn’t going to be easy until you get used to it. Thus, protein powders are going to be almost essential for maintaining your strength. The two basic types of protein powders on the market are whey and casein. The former is a quick absorption protein that is meant to be taken immediately after a workout for maximum muscle building. Casein is a slow-digesting powder you take before sleeping so that your body has the fuel it needs to rebuild your body during this healing period.
No one wants to lose muscle when trying to lose weight, but it happens sometimes. With a combination of exercise that's geared for building muscle, a proper diet, and some supplemental help, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to maintain muscle.
Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one. Consider following these tips to achieve ideal health.
Don't Let Stroke Strike Twice
(Family Features) Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one.
While there are about 7.2 million stroke survivors in the United States, people who have had a stroke are at high risk of having another one. In fact, about one in every four stroke survivors will have a second one.
Efforts like Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, nationally sponsored by Bayer Aspirin, work to educate stroke survivors and caregivers about how they can avoid a second occurrence.
Because the consequences of a second stroke can be more detrimental than the first, it’s important to recognize the signs, which come on suddenly, and act quickly. An easy way to remember the most common warning signs is the acronym F.A.S.T., (F – face drooping, A – arm weakness, S – speech difficulty, T – time to call 911).
Talk to your doctor about medications that may help you with your stroke prevention efforts. For example, taking aspirin regularly or other blood clot prevention medications can help reduce the risk of another ischemic stroke.
Consider following the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Life's Simple 7” to achieve ideal health:
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating starts with simple, healthy food choices. You don’t need to stop eating your favorite meals, just use substitutions to make them healthier. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and other eating occasions so you can confidently make healthy, delicious choices whenever and wherever you eat.
Maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There’s no trick to losing weight and keeping it off, but the majority of successful people modify their eating habits and increase physical activity.
Control cholesterol. Having large amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the blood can cause build up and blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Reducing your fat intake, especially trans fats, often found in fried foods and baked goods, can help reduce your cholesterol. Adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber and whey protein, helps in managing cholesterol.
Manage blood pressure. Nothing causes more strokes than uncontrolled high blood pressure. Of the 116.4 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure, fewer than half have it under control, putting them at increased risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure by 20 points could cut your risk of dying from stroke by half.
Control blood sugar. By managing your diabetes and working with your health care team, you may reduce your risk of stroke. Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for stroke. At age 60, someone with type 2 diabetes and a history of stroke may have a life expectancy that is 12 years shorter than someone without both conditions.
For more information on how to prevent stroke, and a complete list of warning signs, visit strokeassociation.org/americanstrokemonth.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Stroke Association
The following are 5 creative approaches to combat menopausal symptoms, from Dr. Mache Seibel, author of The Estrogen Fix.
(BPT) - The use of hormone therapy (HT) can minimize risks and maximize menopausal relief for common symptoms like hot flashes, dryness, mood swings, fractured sleep, brain fog, irritability and weight gain, according to Dr. Mache Seibel, author of The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced. When taken at the right time, estrogen therapy can lead to substantial improvements in health and quality of life and lower the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and dementia. Women should be aware of one caveat: Beginning estrogen after a woman’s estrogen window closes at age 65 may increase their risk for breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis.
Heeding advice about how and when to stop taking HT is important and revealed in new studies featured in Seibel’s book. The book reaffirms the safety of vaginal estrogen, as well as its effectiveness in controlling weight; it outlines newly available estrogens and progesterones and offers the latest hormone-free FDA solutions for women with vaginal dryness.
The following are 5 creative approaches to combat menopausal symptoms:
1. Hot flashes: Women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats can find relief using an FDA-approved estrogen hormone therapy called Divigel, a gel that is applied to the upper thigh daily. It contains the plant-based estrogen hormone estradiol, the same hormone made naturally by a woman’s ovaries before menopause and delivers estrogen identical to that naturally produced in the body.
2. Irritability/sleeplessness: Lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A natural supplement with melatonin like Vitafusion Beauty Sleep promotes a good night's sleep without prescription medication. Sex and/or self-pleasure are natural ways to decrease stress and can help with the onset and quality of sleep as well.
3. Painful sex: Internal vaginal dryness can be relieved for three days with hormone-free Replens Vaginal Moisturizer. Alternatively, prescription remedies like vaginal estrogen or DHEA can be used.
4. Weight gain? Eat to defeat menopause: Food is the fuel for every cell in your body, so avoid packaged and processed foods and limit sugary drinks and desserts to ensure you’re optimizing energy. Stick to unprocessed whole foods as there are no hidden ingredients or calories. Your body will also appreciate fresh and/or organic produce and hormone-free meat or grass-fed beef as often as possible.
5. Hair lacking luster, less-than-glowing skin and brittle nails: Loss of estrogen leaves many women dealing with thinning hair, increased dry skin and brittle or breaking nails. Introducing biotin into your diet with a raspberry-flavored gummy like Vitafusion Gorgeous Hair, Skin & Nails can ensure you’re consuming sufficient biotin and other helpful nutrients including vitamins C and E.
Every woman has safe, new options, from prescription HT to those available over-the-counter, to suit her unique needs. Schedule a chat with your health provider to discuss the right hormone therapy or alternative option for your personal menopausal challenge.
Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans, but nearly half of all cancer cases can be prevented. Research shows that diet, exercise and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention. To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps.
10 Steps to Help Prevent Cancer
(Family Features) Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans, but nearly half of all cancer cases can be prevented.
Research from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shows that diet, exercise and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention.
“Making changes in what you eat, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight have strong and clear links to your risk for cancer,” said Alice Bender, MS, RDN and director of nutrition programs at AICR. “We know from decades of research and a thorough review of the science that there are simple things we can all do to reduce our risk.”
To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps recommended by the scientific experts at AICR:
Refraining from smoking, avoiding other exposure to tobacco and limiting sun exposure are also important in reducing cancer risk.
Because it can be hard to make lifestyle changes, AICR aims to help people adopt healthier behaviors through efforts like the Cancer Health Check, a tool that shows people how their lifestyle stacks up against known cancer risks and recommends changes that can improve health.
For recipes, tips and other resources, visit aicr.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Institute for Cancer Research
Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain. To get a good night’s rest, take advantage of these tips and consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
Powering down before bed for a good night's rest
(Family Features) Checking email or flipping through channels instead of sleeping? Playing video games or browsing social media in bed? If you want to catch some quality ZZZs, you should put down that smartphone.
The National Sleep Foundation reports nearly 90 percent of adults sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. However, staring at a screen after 9 p.m. can zap your body of energy, turning you into a zombie the next day. To get a good night's rest, consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
How Electronics Affect Your Sleep
Your body functions on a 24-hour internal clock. This clock is influenced by your physical environment and daily schedule. Using electronic devices around bedtime can throw off your body clock and negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Light and darkness affect your body clock. Staring at the blue glow of electronic devices - computers, tablets, televisions, gaming systems and/or smartphones - before bedtime can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime. The artificial light sends messages to the brain to wake up and activates the body. This, in turn, can reset your body clock, delaying your normal sleep cycle.
Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it's time to sleep. This can cause difficulty when trying to fall asleep, poor quality of sleep or sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
In the long run, problems sleeping at night can impact you during the day. Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain.
It is important to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. To get a better night's sleep, experts recommend:
If your smartphone is your alarm clock, set your phone to sleep mode (do not disturb function) so all calls and texts will be silenced unless it's an emergency. Be sure to put your phone face down on the nightstand so incoming messages don't wake you up.
Power down tonight and don't let your technology keep you from a good night's rest.
Find more resources to help you get a better night's rest from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard, at guardyourhealth.com.
Night Time Stimulants to Avoid
While using electronic devices is one night time distraction, here are some other common things to avoid to get a good night's rest:
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man stretching)
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