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.
There’s nothing worse than being unable to get the quality sleep you need before a big day. Waking up tired throws off your entire day, and it can start a chain reaction that leads to a bad week. Common signs of a lack of sleep include grogginess and irritability. But sleep deprivation is more than just an annoyance, it’s dangerous. Did you know that a lack of sleep also depletes cognitive and bodily functions? Lack of sleep causes anxiety, heightened emotional reactivity, increased forgetfulness, chronic pain, and more. And it may be easier than you think to fall behind on rest - just losing one or two hours of sleep each night can impact the body and mind just as severely as skipping out on one or two full nights of sleep. If you find yourself losing your cool, experiencing more anxiety or depression than usual, or getting sick more often, your sleep patterns may be the main culprit. That’s why it's vital to address and correct our sleep patterns to protect the body and brain from further harm.
Many of us suffer from a lack of sleep. Aside from causing extreme grogginess, insufficient sleep is known to cut our life span short. When you’re sleep deprived, your brain becomes just as impaired as it does after drinking a few beers. That means that everyday tasks like driving become increasingly dangerous if you didn’t get enough rest the night before. Military personnel face many challenges with achieving quality sleep, especially when faced with the stress and challenges associated with such a high-stakes work environment. It’s not surprising, then, that different branches of the military around the world have developed military sleep systems and hacks to help personnel fall and stay asleep. From “The Military Method,” which claims to induce sleep within two minutes, to unique acupressure points, we’ve rounded up sleep hacks tested and approved by the armed forces that you can implement into your daily life to achieve your most restful sleep yet.
Vitamin D deficiency plagues many adults across the globe. In fact, approximately 42 percent of US adults suffer from vitamin D deficiencies known to cause fatigue, muscle aches, and even depression. Low vitamin D and insomnia are also closely linked, meaning that most of us might struggle with getting quality rest due to low levels. As you may know, vitamin D is derived from both sunlight exposure and supplementation. But is one better than the other? While vitamin D supplements may not elevate levels at as steady of a pace or for as long of a duration as sunlight-derived vitamin D, many people prefer supplements out of concern for their skin. Even just minutes of sun exposure when the UV index is high can cause sunburns, which are known for increasing the risk of skin cancer. That said, sunlight exposure offers other benefits aside from vitamin D production. Sitting out in the sun in the morning is known to help regulate our sleep-wake cycles by keeping levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone, in check. If you’re unsure about whether you should supplement vitamin D or sit out in the sun to boost your levels, we’ve broken down the benefits of both sources.
Some days you wake up ready to conquer the world, while other days your feet drag the floor and you just can’t seem to get going. Your choices from the day and night before directly influence how you feel upon waking.The world of sleep tracking can feel overwhelming, though, as so many options are available. From expensive, sophisticated wearable devices to free smartphone apps to a simple, DIY bullet journal sleep tracker, there is an option available for your lifestyle and sleep tracking needs.
Like many, you may think that oversleeping is “healthier” than undersleeping. Nonetheless, science suggests otherwise: oversleeping is just as harmful as not getting enough rest. Hitting snooze in the morning often feels euphoric, relaxing, and blissful. However, getting an extra few winks of harmless shut-eye can quickly turn into an extra few hours of sleep. This throws off our sleep patterns and is even thought to cause a handful of health problems that can quickly become life-threatening. Too much REM sleep is known to cause obesity, heart disease, and more. You’re likely wondering, “How much REM sleep should you get, then?” Or: “How much deep sleep do I need?” Research suggests that between 7 and 8 hours every night is the sweet spot. Any more than 9 hours, though, and you’re doing more harm than good.
Grogginess upon waking is normal. However, if it lasts for most of your morning or disrupts your productivity, it quickly becomes a problem. Intense grogginess and confusion upon waking is called sleep inertia. While we aren’t completely sure what causes it, many researchers theorize that sleep inertia is the brain’s way of preventing us from waking up at every little sound or disturbance throughout the night. In extreme cases of sleep inertia, sometimes called sleep drunkenness, this phenomenon quickly becomes dangerous, putting you and everyone around you at risk of injury due to delayed reaction times. High sleep debt caused by sleep deprivation worsens sleep inertia. Moreover, your sleep chronotype influences whether or not you’re likely to experience it. High adenosine levels that build up due to lack of sleep are also to blame, which lower as you pay down sleep debt and establish a consistent sleep routine.
Chances are, you’ve heard of the Wim Hof method at some point or another. This technique, created by Dutch athlete Wim Hof, involves combining controlled breathwork with cold exposure. Many claim that Wim Hof workshops are a secret weapon for improving wellness and longevity, while others question whether the method is just the latest health fad. Before you write off the Wim Hof method, consider that the benefits of both cold therapy and breathwork are backed by scientific research. For example, many athletes rely on ice baths to recover from exertion quicker, while controlled breathing techniques have been used for centuries to improve focus, concentration, and mood. Wim Hof himself has participated in recent research that validates the immune-boosting benefits of his breathwork and cold therapy practices.
The early bird gets the worm, while the night owl is usually framed as less productive. But is this really true? As it turns out, night owls are typically more creative than early birds, but not without sacrifice. Night owls are statistically at a greater risk for health issues like diabetes, mental health challenges, and metabolic issues. Moreover, as the onset of your sleep routine becomes delayed, your chances of developing harmful sleep disorders like sleep apnea rise. This worsens the problem – but can you break the cycle? Or is being a night owl just a biological predisposition that you can’t change? While certain pre-existing conditions may cause you to feel more creative and active during the wee hours of the night as opposed to the morning time, tidying up your circadian rhythm and sleep cycles can help you become the early bird you’ve always dreamed of being. By paying closer attention to your sleep hygiene, light exposure, caffeine intake, and more, you can shift your sleep cycle forward each day until you reach the routine you’ve always desired.
We spend a large portion of our lives sleeping or trying to fall asleep. If you experience a bad night’s rest, you know how it interferes with your life at work and home. However, sleep deprivation quickly turns from irritating to dangerous. Over time, poor sleep hygiene wrecks the brain’s ability to restore itself. In fact, our brains run on sleep. Without it, we can’t process memories, retain information, or harness creativity in the same manner as we can when we’re well-rested. Our brain’s ability to heal wounds, revitalize the skin, and manage hunger dramatically decreases when we’re tired. Certain brain waves for sleep help to carry out revitalizing processes we need to stay healthy. Moreover, poor sleep habits cause plaque buildup in the brain known to increase the risk of memory-related illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Proper sleep hygiene ensures that your brain has its best chances at processing new information, maintaining a healthy appearance, and keeping you at the top of your game.
What you eat matters. Food is fuel, and our choice of fuel determines how we feel. However, even if you’re making healthy food choices, some of the foods you consume may cause insomnia if eaten too closely to bedtime. Moreover, certain foods may have hidden sources of stimulating ingredients like sugar or caffeine. For example, your favorite protein bar may be loaded with extra caffeine, taking your daily intake to a harmful level. If you’re a soup lover, your favorite can from the grocery store might be loaded with sugar, making your favorite comforting, warm meal a sugar bomb that prevents quality sleep. Some of your favorite treats may also unknowingly cause bloating, indigestion, and acid reflux that worsens when you lay down, keeping you awake. Over time, this lack of sleep impairs your ability to stay focused and healthy. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of seven foods that keep you awake.