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Sleep and Travel

Traveling to new lands can be a fun and exciting part of work or vacation. In order to wake up and take it all in, you have to fall asleep first, which can be tough on travelers.

Many travelers know that jet lag is a real thing! It's never fun to feel tired before a presentation or a fun activity on your trip. There are a few simple things you can do to minimize the effects of jet lag - here are six simple tips to do just that.

The first tip to minimize jet lag is to set your watch to the new time zone the moment you step on a plane. This gets you thinking about the time of day at your destination. While you're on route, don't forget to hydrate! When you're dehydrated, you're more irritable, prone to headaches, and even more likely to overeat. You should also minimize jet leg by getting some sun at the first opportunity when you land. Sunlight is actually a stimulant and can help you stay awake. You should also try to stay up at least until your normal bedtime using the local time. This will help you reset your schedule to your new location. Create a cool, dark space for you to sleep better. Practice good sleep habits too by avoiding eating too large meals before bed, overindulging on alcohol, or skipping usual exercise.

At the end of the day, overcoming jet lag really just takes time. These tips will help in the first few days as you adapt to the new time zone!

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Sleep and Heart Health

Everybody knows that eating well and exercising do great things for your heart. Don't forget to add sleep to your list of heart health priorities. As we sleep, our heart rate and blood pressure both lower a bit. Sleep could be key to keeping our hearts (and bodies) healthy. ]

People who get less than six hours of sleep a night are prone to three major health problems, which are heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Remember, that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health.

Adults are not the only ones at risk for health problems by not getting enough sleep. Adolescents face risks as well, including high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure.


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Build a Better Bedroom

We spend about a third of our lives in bed, but why aren't we getting the rest we need? It might have something to do with your room! Here's how to build a better bedroom so you can sleep much better at night no matter what.

Natalie Dautovich from the National Sleep Foundation explains that your bedroom should be a sanctuary of calm and relaxation in order to make sure your body truly relaxed before and throughout bedtime. Whether your room is large or small, here are some simple tips to create a space that will help you sleep easier.

There's no better way to end a long day than going to bed in a room built just for you. That will lead to better mornings and days for many years to come!

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Sleep and Chronic Pain

Is chronic pain keeping you up at night? With a little help, it doesn't have to! Natalie Dautovich from the National Sleep Foundation explains why.

Chronic pain effects the way you feel and causes a lot of extra stress. It can also make it difficult to fall asleep and in the long run harm your quality of life. In order to get more sleep, the first step is to make it a priority. People motivated to get enough sleep reported 36 more minutes of sleep per night than those who weren't as motivated. That means more than 4 hours of sleep per week! If you can make sleep a priority, these numbers can add up and improve your sleep quality and wellbeing despite your chronic pain.

Here are some tips on making sleep a priority in your life. The first is to limit or avoid caffeine altogether. You should also cut back on alcohol, especially at night. You can also use pain killers or sleep medications when you need them. Make sure to talk to your doctor to see which sleep medication is right for you as well as how and when to use them. You can also practice relaxation techniques which can include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and imagery training.

Pain can make it extremely difficult to sleep and create a cycle of poor sleep night after night, but there are steps you can take before sleep and throughout the day to improve your sleep time and quality in the long run!

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Do you find it hard to fall or stay asleep at night? You are not the only one. Sleep disorders affect tens of millions of people in the United States. And that lack of sleep may lead to sleepy drivers and workers, which can be very dangerous.

One of the most common sleep disorders is called insomnia. One has insomnia when they have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. People with insomnia will also feel unrefreshed the day after sleeping badly. Other symptoms include, fatigue or low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in mood, like irritability, changes in behavior, including impulsive or aggressive behavior, and difficulty in work, school, or relationships.

Insomnia can last anywhere from one night to longer periods, even months on end. When the symptoms are occurring at least three nights a week over the course of at least three months, you may have what is called chronic insomnia. Bouts of short-term insomnia can be due to situations like stress, while longer term chronic insomnia can be caused by poor sleep habits or other medical conditions.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms of insomnia, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor to treat your problems sleeping. There are many things you can do to start sleeping better and having more energy throughout the day - you don't have to suffer!

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Sleep and Depression

Sleep is essential for good health in both the body and the mind. Research shows that there's a real connection between sleeping problems and depression. Because sleep and depression are highly linked, it is extremely important that you get a good night's sleep every night.

For some people sleeping problems can begin years before they report feeling depressed. Others may be diagnosed with depression before beginning to have difficulty falling asleep at night. The good news is there are treatments for both sleeping problems and depression.

With one of these methods, we are sure you will be able to treat one or both of these issues. Evidence actually shows that when depression is treated, many people report sleeping better, and the same goes vice versa! Some people who have reported having a decrease in their sleeping problems also noticed a decrease in their symptoms of depression.

Here are some good sleep habits you might want to take on in order to end your sleeping problems as well as your depression. Going to bed at the same time every day (even on the weekends) is a good idea to have your body get accustomed to a steady sleep schedule as your body will know to start winding down as your bedtime approaches.

You should also save the bedroom for only sleep and sex, and, as we all probably know, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and screen time before bed.

If you are experiencing sleeping problems, talk to your doctor. The longer you suffer from poor sleep, the higher your risk of developing depression or other illnesses. There are many resources available and you can get help getting started on some of these tips on the link between sleep and depression.

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Sleep Training Tips for Children

Sometimes it can be very difficult to get your baby or child to fall asleep at night. Here are some tips for sleep training and maintaining steady sleep schedules for children.

The reason a baby finds it hard to sleep at night is because their circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, is not yet fully developed. This usually happens at around six months of age for most babies.

Once that sleep-wake cycle does develop, getting your baby to sleep has a lot to do with a bedtime schedule and routine. There are so many tips and tricks to setting and maintaining the ideal sleep schedule for your baby that is stable and allows enough sleep for your child at night. The method you end up choosing for this depends fully on how it works for you and your baby. The key is then to stay consistent with your scheduling.

One sleep training tip is to put your child to bed when he or she is already drowsy but not yet asleep. This will help your child learn to fall asleep on their own, rather than needing a parent's help falling asleep every night before bed. This concept is called self-soothing and is especially helpful for when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night as they will know how to fall back asleep on their own.

Another helpful sleep training tip is to create a relaxing routine before bedtime. This could include dimming the lights, giving your child a warm bath, or story time. It should not include screen time from TV or other electronics. The light from the screens on those devices can actually stimulate the brain and encourage wakefulness. You can also create a quiet area around the child before bedtime and lower the temperature as well - a cool room is ideal for a good night's sleep!

Finally, be a good role model. Parents who set rules around sleep have children that not only sleep more but have better sleep quality as well.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Lauren Hale from the National Sleep Foundation talks about the importance of sleep and how much we each really need every night.

Sleep is important for survival and health; if you do not prioritize your sleep, you may just be harming your body and mind. After a comprehensive review of its world famous recommendations, the National Sleep Foundation released its latest set of expert guidelines on sleep for different age groups.

When going over these guidelines, keep in mind that you are unique and how much sleep you need depends on your own body. These should only serve as a guide to make sure you get a similar amount of sleep as those in your age group should.

For newborns, Hale recommends they sleep from 14 to 17 hours. It is recommended that infants get 12 to 15 hours of sleep. For toddlers, they recommend between 11 and 14 hours. Note that newborns, infants, and toddlers get the sleep they need over a 24 hour period, including naps. Preschoolers need about 10 to 13 hours. School-aged kids at the ages of 6 to 13 years old should get about 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Teenagers between the ages 14 and 17 need more sleep than they think! The National Sleep Foundation recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night for kids in their early teens. For both young adults (ages 18-25) and adults (26-65) should get about 7-9 hours of sleep at night. Finally, for seniors, ages over 65 years old, should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Remember, there is no substitute for good, restorative sleep! Make your sleep a priority and feel energized and healthy throughout the day!

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