Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

Why Bright Lights and Dark Nights are Essential for Sleep

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The human wake and sleep cycle is naturally regulated by the bright light of day and the darkness of night. When the light of day first hits the retina and stimulates a nerve pathway to the hypothalamus, it sets off a chain reaction that sends messages to other parts of the brain that help us feel more awake, like raising body temperature and increasing hormones like cortisol.1

The body also decreases the production of other hormones like melatonin which is both a hormone and an antioxidant.2  Melatonin, sometimes referred to as the “Dracula of Hormones,” is made by your pineal gland which is inactive during the day, but is turned on when the sun goes down and darkness occurs.1 Melatonin production helps us to fall asleep and to stay asleep during the night.

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The World is NOT a Stressful Place

How Do Books and Downloads Relieve My Stress?

How do books & downloads relieve my stress?

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When you are under stress, your autonomic nervous system thinks you are being threatened and turns on the stress response. This is the mechanism that helps you get out of dangerous situations. Some people refer to it as being in “fight or flight” mode.

Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol rush through the body. The heart beat, breathing rate, and blood pressure increases. Blood and energy is diverted away from things like digestion and the immune system to places like muscles which may need extra energy to escape danger. This response is designed to be short-lived, only on for a few minutes at a time.

The problem is that most of the time we are stressed, our bodies are not in physical

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Meditation – Wire Your Brain for Success?

[frame align=”left”][/frame]Not only does meditation reduce stress, but it also improves your mind by helping you learn and remember new things. It also improves memory and the ability to focus – permanently. In other words, meditation can wire your brain for success – here’s how . . .

While you meditate, your brain goes from the beta waves, which are the awake and alert brain waves, to the slower, more restful levels of brainwave activity called theta and delta waves. This is usually where the brain goes during deep sleep, dreaming, or deep hypnosis. This is also the time when the body undergoes its most restorative rest.1

While the brain is resting in these deeper rhythms, the body is at work. The immune system gets boosted and the body also repairs the damage done to it during the day, including healing cuts, bruises and internal problems that we may not even know about. This restorative state is also when the mind shuffles through the thoughts and experiences of the day, organizing data into short-term and long-term storage. 1

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Is Gatorade Good for Kids?

[frame align=”left”][/frame]Gatorade is a sports drink. Sports drinks are different from protein drinks, meal replacement drinks, vitamin drinks, recovery drinks, fitness waters, endurance drinks, and recreational drinks like Kool-Aid and colas. Each drink has a specific purpose (we will talk about each of these in future articles), but the purpose of quality sports drinks is three fold.

1. Hydration

2. Replacing glycogen stores (sugar that is stored in the liver and muscles)

3. Replacing electrolytes

We will use Gatorade as our example because it was the first of the major sports drinks. It was created by physicians and researchers at the University of Florida in 1965 to combat some of the problems facing the school’s football team. The players were suffering from cramps, exhaustion and a host of other problems caused by training in the area’s hot and humid conditions. The researchers discovered that the players were not drinking enough water or replacing the electrolytes and glycogen that was lost through sweat and exercise.

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The Advantages of Being Really Out of Shape

There are many obvious advantages to being in shape, but what about being out of shape?


 

People who are fit tend to look good, feel good, have more energy, less disease, can wear the clothes they want to wear, and can do the things they want to do. They are healthier, happier, they get better sleep, have better quality lives, live longer, and have more self-confidence. They also fit into the movie seats at the local theater, don’t have to pay more for airline tickets, have better sex lives, can be more fun to be around, better parents, and they can eat more without feeling guilty. Yes- fit people can eat more without getting fat.
[frame align=”right”]fat man Fat Man by:drrnarna, on Flickr[/frame]

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The Most Disgusting Ways to Prevent a Cold

The Most Disgusting Ways to Prevent a Cold

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s girlfriend things she caught him picking his nose? Well keep reading, there may be some perks to being a “picker” if you do it right.

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All Stress Begins with our Thoughts

All stress begins with a thought. It isn’t what’s happening “out there” that initiates the stress response. It’s how we interpret what’s happening “out there” that causes us to become stressed or not. We call this a perception of a threat. If we think this situation will lead to some kind of pain (emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical), we turn on the stress response automatically to prepare for the potential pain. The potential pain is what we call a “threat.” Prevention of stress, then, is best done by focusing on our thoughts, by changing how we think about those things we think are threatening.
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Breathing Techniques Reduce Test Anxiety and Increase Performance

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Have you ever been disappointed with a test score because you knew you could have done better but were just so nervous you didn’t do your best?
How about on a job interview, or when giving an important presentation?

When we are anxious or nervous our breathing changes from deep diaphragmatic breaths to shallow chest breathing.  This kind of breathing restricts oxygen flow to the cells of the body and may cause drowsiness, irritability and even headaches.

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Do this to Reduce Teen Sports Injury Risk by 68%!

Adolescent athletes in all sports, levels, and abilities have one thing in common. They hate being injured! They also hate it when they don’t perform as well as they know they can. The good news is by doing this one simple thing; you can improve performance mentally and physically, and reduce the risk of injuries by 68%.

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What is Stand Up Paddle Yoga?

Water is a calming, natural stress reliever. Perhaps that is why so many of us love to sit and listen to the sounds of the ocean, or to a babbling brook, or to the waves of a lake lapping against the dock.[frame align=”right”][/frame]

Water is great for fitness too. Besides the regular water sports like swimming, diving, and water skiing, Stand Up Paddle Boards have become a popular way to work out. Imagine all the fresh air, exploring a lagoon, and getting fit at the same time- so it was inevitable that creative SUP enthusiasts would add a yoga component, and it is fantastic!

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Mindfulness vs Multitasking

 

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night suddenly realizing that you made a mistake or forgot to do something the day before? Isn’t it crazy, that you can go all day and not think of something important, and then at 2:56 a.m., it hits you like a brick?

But what can you do about it at 2:56 am? You know you won’t be able to take care of it until morning, but that isn’t going to help you fall back asleep. As a matter of fact, if you are like most people, it will keep you awake thinking about it and – worrying.

To fix this, we must look at why this happens in the first place.

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Release the Grease!

(Part 2 of 3)

In the article Why Diets Don’t Work we learn that in the long run, dieters actually gain more weight. But don’t worry there is a solution. Your body can train its fat cells to release the grease. Here’s how.

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Managing the Waves and Leaks in Time

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When I was fourteen years old, I went to California with a group of kids my age. We went to Santa Monica Beach to see the ocean. None of us had been there before so this was a real treat for us. When we got there, we decided to try bodysurfing. We saw others doing it and it looked fun and much less difficult than regular surfing. Soon we learned how it was done and found ourselves out in the water preparing for the waves to come our way.

When a large wave approached, I started swimming as hard as I could, hoping to time it perfectly. I found myself riding the wave in toward the shore. Suddenly, the wave pulled me down, headfirst into the sand under the water.

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Don’t Have Enough Belly Fat? Do This

Many people who have problems coping with stress, with chronic anxiety, with college stress, or other stress related issues, turn to foods like sodas to self-medicate. Here’s why that is not a good idea. 

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Misleading Fat Labels – When 2% is Really 40% Fat

Misleading Fat Labels – When 2% is Really 40% Fat

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Let’s face it, if you were selling a product that has 2% fat when you measure it one way, but 40% fat if you measure it another, you’d want the packaging to read that there was only 2% fat in your product. That is how it goes in the food industry. But that kind of advertising is misleading to consumers.

If you care about what you eat, and you want to be a savvy consumer, you are going to have to learn not only to READ packages and labels, but how to FIGURE THEM OUT. Don’t let this cause you chronic anxiety! As far as fats go, here is the skinny on figuring out how much of it is actually in your food.

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Understanding Fear and Stress

Every turn you fear is empty air dressed to look like jagged hell.
—Richard Bach

FEAR AND stress are very similar. They oftentimes feel the same. If we truly understand fear and get a clear picture of what is happening when we feel fear, we can oftentimes dispense with the need to fear things at all. We can make the fear disappear!

In class, when we begin our focus on fear, I start with this ominous sounding question: “Why do you think you are here?” I don’t mean to ask the students why they are here in this building on this particular day. I ask them why they feel they are alive and what they are here to do. What is their purpose for living and being? They commonly respond with answers like these:

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