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Always feeling tired and groggy? Constant fatigue may be linked to a hidden hormonal imbalance. Our endocrine system helps to regulate our hormones, which are sensitive to changes in our sleep routine. Conversely, our hormones control our energy, metabolism, and even our moods – all of which play a role in the quality of our sleep. Therefore, our hormones and sleep patterns both affect one another. Breaking this cycle lies in understanding the endocrine system and balancing both hormones and sleep patterns to correct the issue. For example, the endocrine system controls almost every process within the body. Within it are our adrenal glands and pineal gland, the smallest endocrine gland. When the adrenal glands are overworked, anxiety follows, keeping us up at night. Moreover, the pineal gland controls the release of the sleep hormone melatonin based on exposure to light within the environment obtained through the eyes. To balance our fatigue, we must balance our hormones, and vice-versa.
Ever feel a lift in your mood after humming along to a song in the car? It’s not just in your head. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is humming good for you?” the answer is yes! Science shows that humming activates our vagus nerve, taking us out of a state of stress and into a state of relaxation. It lowers blood pressure and improves heart rate variability all while improving lymph flow. In fact, the vibrations created during humming may help the lymphatic system to pump out waste from the body just as well as cold plunge therapy or a lymphatic massage. Moreover, humming reduces happy hormones like oxytocin while surging the body with feel-good endorphins, meaning it’s just as beneficial for the brain and body as a consistent exercise routine. It even causes increased melatonin production which leads to the onset of quality sleep. Bee breathing offers a quick, easy-to-follow humming exercise that you can practice anywhere, anytime. All in all, humming provides a shortcut to calm in any situation, whether practiced before a stressful meeting or before you drift off to bed.
There’s a quick hack for most things these days, including better sleep and pain management. Cold exposure is a popular topic, with many people filming their morning cold plunges in freezing cold water or practicing Wim Hof breathing in extremely cold environments. But does cold exposure really boost sleep, reduce pain, and improve healing? Science suggests that it does. Cold therapy reduces our overall body temperature, boosting the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Moreover, exposure to cold temperatures may even help us to burn more brown fat, improving our overall calorie expenditure and metabolic health. What’s more, cold exposure therapy offers muscle and tissue repair while promoting accelerated healing. Better yet, you don’t need a fancy cold plunge tank or cryotherapy machine to practice it. The Breg Polar Care Cube offers cryotherapy for at-home use, while DIY ice baths and cold showers provide a free solution to help anyone achieve the benefits of cold therapy, anytime.
Supplements fill in the gaps of our nutrition. Wherever our food intake is lacking, vitamins and supplements can help to maintain and boost our health and well-being. What’s more, sometimes they’re necessary. Calcium helps maintain healthy bone density, while prenatal vitamins like folic acid reduce the risk of birth defects in pregnant women, That said, some supplements are proven to cause sleep disruptions. For example, weight loss supplements usually contain caffeine known to keep us up at night. The timing and dosage of certain vitamins matter, too. Taking vitamin C too closely to bedtime fragments our rest, while a high intake of vitamin D and insomnia are closely linked. In summary, if you want better rest, there are certain vitamins and supplements that you should steer clear of entirely or closely monitor your dosage of to ensure your best sleep yet.
Red light therapy has recently gained popularity as a secret weapon for biohacking your way toward wound healing, wrinkle reduction, and more. It’s even used in medical settings to promote faster recovery or combat the side effects of chemotherapy. Whether you purchase your own red lights to use at home or you visit a red light therapy salon, the benefits are seemingly endless. The science behind how red light improves health lies in the way that the wavelengths of red light affect our cells. Red light encourages our cells to produce more energy within the mitochondria, allowing for faster regeneration and repair. Moreover, skin health isn’t the only perk of red light healing. Sleep quality is also proven to improve massively in those who regularly use red light therapy. Red light promotes the secretion of melatonin, a sleep hormone that helps us wind down in the evening. On the other hand, different spectrums of light (like blue light) are proven to interrupt melatonin production, making red light a solid evening light source for your best sleep yet.
Everyone knows that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous for everyone on the road. But did you know that tired driving is just as harmful? In fact, drowsy driving is responsible for 21 percent of all fatal accidents. When we’re sleep deprived, our concentration, reaction times, and problem-solving abilities all take a hit. This dramatically increases our risk of making fatal errors that lead to accidents on the road. Moreover, research has revealed that being awake for 17 hours leads to impairment equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%. In most Western European countries, this is considered the legal drinking limit. Staying awake for 24 hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.10%, well over the legal drinking limit of 0.08% in the United States. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of severe sleep debt and avoid getting behind the wheel if you’re running low on sleep. Your life and safety literally depend on it.
You’re probably mindful of what you eat before bed to ensure that you sleep well. For example, eating carbs before bed or consuming caffeine late in the day are thought to lead to poor sleep. That said, what you eat in the morning is just as important. Eating breakfast on a regular basis is proven to lower your risk of both type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, only a very small percentage of us eat breakfast regularly. Breaking our overnight fast with a nutritious breakfast replenishes glucose levels and helps to boost energy and alertness for optimal performance. What’s more, selecting and eating a healthy breakfast cues our internal clock to gear up for the day, leading to better sleep after nightfall. If you don’t already eat breakfast, learn to incorporate a morning meal into your day. Be sure to opt for nutritious, sleep-promoting foods filled with protein and other vitamins and minerals that will help keep you energized and feeling your best.
Being a student quickly leads to overwhelm and stress due to a heavy workload. With so much to accomplish each day, sleep may take a backseat to other tasks. If you’re not making sleep a priority, you’re not alone. More than half of all college students admit that they’re chronically sleep deprived. However, the dangers linked to a lack of sleep are no joke. And even more concerning, running short on sleep can seriously harm your memory and concentration, leading to poor academic performance. Therefore, skipping sleep means that you’re lowering your ability to achieve your highest success as a student. That’s why we’ve rounded up sleep hacks to help build the best night routine for students that promotes academic excellence. For example, that all-nighter that you think will help you get a better score on tomorrow’s exam may actually decrease your score. And that evening coffee that you rely on to get through homework? It’s keeping you awake at night and throwing off your sleep patterns.
Breathing exercises have gained popularity in recent years, but they’re actually rooted in ancient cultural practices centered around deep, controlled breathing. When we use our abdomen, or diaphragm, to breathe instead of our chest, our breathing transforms from shallow, fast breaths to slow, deep inhalations and exhalations. As a result, our bodies and brains shift out of a state of stress and into a state of relaxation. Countless abdominal breathing benefits follow, including improved mood, lessened pain, and even better digestion. Moreover, the more often you practice abdominal breathing, the stronger your lungs become. As the lungs strengthen, oxygenation improves, and boosted productivity and performance follow. If that wasn’t already exciting enough, deep breathing is linked to improved immunity and better sleep. Long story short, abdominal breathing is the quickest, most effective way to shift your mindset and physical body into a state of greater well-being.
Do you often struggle with a lack of sleep, eyes that are tired the next morning, and never-ending daytime grogginess? If your sleep-deprived eyes are becoming a daily distraction, addressing and correcting your sleep hygiene should be at the top of your to-do list. That said, lack of sleep has much more intense side effects when it comes to our vision than just tired eyes. Eye spasms and sensitivity are both tied to running short on sleep. Chronic dry, itchy eyes are, too. Moreover, undereye bags, dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles may become more apparent when you’re short on shut-eye. But the damage isn’t just aesthetic - over time, sleep deprivation may even increase your risk of permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is more common in individuals who are short on sleep. Therefore, regular, consistent eye exams and healthy sleep habits are vital for seeing clearly in the long run.
Light helps regulate our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns by sending signals through our eyes to suppress the sleep hormone melatonin until nightfall. In contrast, sun exposure during the day ramps up the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin and vitamin D, helping us feel energized. Without this daily light exposure, we’re sure to feel groggy, grumpy, and gross. Neuroscientists say that unfiltered morning light exposure is best – that means no hats, sunglasses, or windows. However, too much unprotected sunlight leads to sunburns and fatigue that may leave you asking yourself, “why does sunlight make me sleepy?” Light exposure late in the evening is also bad news, as it prevents melatonin production from causing sensations of drowsiness that help us drift off. There’s just one problem: our electronics emit tons of blue light known to partially mimic sunlight and throw our sleep patterns off by confusing our brains. Therefore, our circadian rhythm relies on morning sunshine and limited electronic use before bed to function properly.
Your lunch break is over, and you’re over it! Tiredness after eating can throw a huge wrench in your productivity. Post-meal fatigue is a common experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s a normal one. The post-meal slump you may feel after eating has many potential causes, including hidden food intolerances, poor blood sugar regulation, and the types of foods you choose to reach for. Extreme fatigue after eating may also be tied to high alcohol consumption with your meal or extensive sleep debt. Therefore, putting an end to your post-meal exhaustion depends upon ruling out food intolerances (such as gluten intolerance), checking in on blood sugar regulation, and monitoring the types of foods you eat often to ensure they don’t increase drowsiness. Moreover, building a solid bedtime routine full of consistency and low on alcohol is key to controlling and managing daytime fatigue.