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The Danish term “hygge” has seemingly taken the world by storm. While this concept is associated with all things comfortable and easygoing, there aren’t normally many moments within our hustling, bustling lifestyles to slow down and take a break. However, our mental well-being may depend on it. Research shows that feelings of mindfulness and gratitude associated with hygge are proven to have huge effects on our satisfaction and happiness levels, all while lowering stress and anxiety. In fact, those living in areas with hygge culture are often more satisfied and happy than those living in other parts of the world. Hygge examples include lighting your favorite candle, playing a board game with loved ones, or cozying up to read a nice book while wearing your favorite sweatshirt. While you can define hygge in your own terms, The Hygge Game provides prompts and questions that can help you create a cozy, intimate environment with family and friends. Make like the Danes and integrate a hygge lifestyle into your everyday habits! 
A rough night almost always means a rough day. That said, researchers have proven that poor sleep is more than just an annoying inconvenience; it has real consequences when it comes to your relationships with others. People who experience poor sleep are less likely to give charitably to others or offer up kind gestures like holding the door open for someone. Moreover, sleep deprivation is proven to increase feelings of anger and irritability. It also hiders impulse control, so flying off the handle after you were up all night becomes highly likely. When we’re tired, we tend to avoid others – and they pick up on it. Poor sleep lends itself to isolation and loneliness, killing your social life altogether. If you want to improve your life, improve your sleep. Start by using a sleep debt calculator to determine your level of sleep debt. Your total number of lost hours each week may surprise you. Once you’ve determined how short on sleep you truly are, establish habits that support a healthy, consistent sleep routine. Get selfish about sleep! Your quality of life depends on it.
There’s nothing worse than being pulled straight from blissful sleep by a blaring, loud alarm clock. Whether you use a traditional clock or your phone’s alarm clock, the noises aren’t exactly soothing. In fact, they trigger involuntary increases in adrenaline, heart rate, and blood pressure. Over time, this causes harm to your health. If you awake confused and panicked at the sound of your alarm going off, a sunrise alarm clock may be the answer. These alarm clocks mimic the natural sunrise to ease you into wakefulness. Many of them couple calming, soothing nature sounds to help you feel refreshed first thing in the morning rather than anxious and frightened. This light exposure even helps to establish and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm thanks to light’s influence on our eyes first thing in the morning. Selecting the best sunrise alarm clock can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve rounded up our top three picks for your most peaceful mornings yet.
Stress is an everyday part of modern life. That said, the stress levels of today’s adults are swiftly on the rise. We’re seemingly feeling more anxiety and stress than ever before. Emerging research suggests that sighing helps to lower stress levels quickly. Cyclic sighing, also called the physiological sigh, has shown the most promise as an effective practice for reducing stress. A physiological sigh consists of an inhale followed by a second short inhale. A lengthy sigh exhaling all of the breath concludes one physiological sigh. Practicing three of these cyclic sighs may be all that’s standing between you and significant stress relief. Andrew Huberman recently put cyclic sighing to the test by comparing it to other breathwork and mindfulness techniques. The physiological sigh came out on top as providing the largest benefit for relieving stress – even beating out traditional mindfulness meditation.
Working the night shift is often demanding and challenging. Working while the world sleeps and sleeping while the world is awake isn’t exactly ideal. Moreover, shift work quickly becomes dangerous if you don’t prioritize your sleep schedule and quality. In fact, many shift workers are at risk of Shift Work Sleep Disorder, a condition that includes both cognitive and physical impairments that can cause dangerous workplace errors and accidents. So what does the best sleep schedule for night shift workers look like? It includes firm boundaries around bedtime – even if it falls in the middle of the day. Blocking out disruptive noise and light are both vital for preventing sleep deprivation. Moreover, refrain from working back-to-back day and night shifts that further disrupt your internal clock and lead to worsened sleep deprivation. Finally, address sleep-disordered breathing known to cause snoring that fragments sleep!
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.
Non-sleep deep rest, also known as NSDR, was coined by Stanford neuroscientist Andrew Huberman as a quick reset that can help add focus to your day or prepare your brain and body for sleep in the evening. It’s less intimidating than traditional meditation and includes a guided script and body scanning. All you have to do is follow along with the instructions, making it a simple practice for people who are new to the world of mindfulness and meditation. What’s more, it stimulates brain waves similar to that of slow-wave sleep, which is vital for the rejuvenation and healing of the body and mind. Including this practice in your daily routine helps to promote the onset of quality sleep. Many NSDR sleep protocols can be found online, including traditional Yoga Nidra (which NSDR was derived from) and NSDR meditations led by Andrew Huberman himself.
There’s a reason we feel better after a long hug with a loved one. It's the same reason that babies feel comfort when swaddled up tight. This soothing sensation is known as deep pressure stimulation – and it’s a game changer when it comes to managing our nervous system. Deep pressure stimulation soothes the body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, taking us from a state of stress and overwhelm to a state of relaxation and calm. A weighted blanket provides calming, deep pressure that we can take anywhere, anytime. Using a weighted blanket allows us to reap the benefits of deep pressure stimulation for better sleep, emotional regulation, and more – all without having to hug a loved one all day long. Boost feel-good chemicals dopamine and oxytocin while lowering cortisol with the deep pressure stimulation achieved through using a weighted blanket. Just be sure to select the right material, filling type, size, and weight for optimal results and comfort.
The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve within the body, responsible for helping regulate almost every day-to-day process including digestion, sleep, and overall well-being. It’s also connected to our ability to show compassion and empathy for others. When our vagus nerve isn’t functioning as it should, it’s often called “low vagal tone.” This dysfunction leads to inflammation, anxiety, poor sleep, and even digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, boosting vagal tone with vagus nerve exercises for digestion and improved sleep can make all of the difference in how we feel. For example, humming and singing are thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and, in turn, our vagus nerve. Breathwork is another hidden gem for improving vagal tone by shifting the body from a state of fight or flight into a state of rest and relaxation.
Approximately 25 percent of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. Moreover, 40 million Americans report that they consistently suffer from anxiety. Mindfulness techniques like breathwork and meditation serve as proven methods to combat anxiety, improve mental well-being, and regulate our nervous system. SKY breath meditation harnesses the power of both meditation and breathing exercises to center our bodies and minds toward a state of calm. SKY breath meditation was first discovered by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and involves cyclical breathing patterns that range from slow, controlled deep breaths to rapid inhalations and exhalations. What’s more, this method is proven to effectively treat stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, and more. SKY breath meditation works by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and boosting nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator known to take the body out of fight or flight and into a state of relaxation. It’s recommended to practice SKY breath meditation with a certified instructor, as it’s a bit more complicated than simple breathing exercises.