Insomnia is one of those things that can affect us at any stage in our lives. The  more we stress about it, the worse it seems to get. Lack of sleep makes life’s challenges so much more difficult to cope with.  What causes insomnia?

Physical and mental health issues

Physical health issues can lead to insomnia especially if you are experiencing pain. To make things even more complex, insomnia can be a side effect of some medications. There are also specific sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea. If you are in any doubt as to the state of your mental health, contact your GP as soon as possible.

Depression and anxiety don’t help when it comes to trying to get a restful sleep. Sadly, lack of sleep can also worsen these conditions. Treatment is readily available so speak to your doctor and improve your waking and sleeping life. Talk to someone about how you are feeling and things will start to get better. If you find it hard to say out loud, write it down.

Drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can play havoc with sleeping patterns. You might feel incredibly thirsty or the hangover starts to show up not long after you hit the sack. Caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your body for up to eight hours.  It is not a good idea to go to bed over-stimulated.

Food

The nearer to bedtime you are the lighter you should eat. Heavy meals will cause discomfort. Spicy foods can lead to heartburn which is not at all conducive to sweet dreams.

Smoking

I am assuming you know it is a bad idea to smoke as it is a huge risk to your life. It is also not at all good for a good night’s sleep so give it up and do it today.

Work

If you work erratic hours as a blogger, freelancer or shift worker, it can be difficult to establish a good sleeping pattern as you are confusing your body clock.

We all have our own ideas of what to do when everyone else is asleep but we cannot switch off. Although not everyone agrees, I find watching television really does seem to help me relax and make me forget any worries. I have always had a bit of a fantasy about having a bed with a telly so was thrilled to find out about TV Beds and their range of products.

What causes you to stay awake at night? Is it ever a good thing and could you welcome a new TV Bed into your life?

What Causes Insomnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep every night. Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t entirely sure how to go about getting the high-quality sleep that we need.

Insomnia is an incredibly common problem in our society, and many people find themselves at the mercy of their doctor’s prescription pad when they’re trying to catch a few ZZZs.

The truth is that there are a lot of things that you can do that will greatly enhance the quality of your sleep. A lot of these things are quite simple and involve making basic adjustments to your environment to make sure that your brain and body can properly prepare for the night.

Today, we’re going to outline 10 of the best tips that you can implement to help yourself get a good night’s sleep.

Get a good mattress

We’re listing this tip at the top because the mattress is the foundation for all sleeping habits, good and bad. If you don’t have a good mattress for sleep, or if you sleep on a floor, then you’re going to have some problems.

What constitutes a ‘good mattress for sleep’ for one person may not be the same as the next. There are many places that can custom fit a mattress for you based on your body size and your shape.

Unfortunately, lots of people have just been sleeping on an ‘okay’ mattress for many years. They don’t realize that the mattress is the cause of their insomnia – uncomfortable mattresses can lead to many nights of tossing and turning.

Maintain a routine

If there’s one thing that the body is good at remembering, it’s a routine.

If you make a conscious decision to perform the same tasks every night before you go to bed, then your body will begin to associate those tasks with the act of sleeping.

Not only will it be good for you to establish a routine, but the acts themselves will be so closely associated with bedtime that you’ll get sleepy just by performing them.

Put down the bottle

We’ve probably all been made aware of how easy it can be to fall asleep after a few drinks, but what’s less well-known is that the quality of sleep that somebody has after a night of drinking is terrible.

How often do you see someone wake up the morning after getting drunk feeling on top of the world? That’s not just residual alcohol being metabolized – alcohol seriously impairs REM sleep and makes it hard to get a good night’s rest.

Turn off the lights

This tip can’t be underestimated. Our body produces melatonin naturally when it detects darkness. It’s the way that we originally made ourselves tired when the sun sets.

The skin detects light from any source, so even smaller lights like those from your phone can trick your body into believing that the sun’s still out. If you absolutely must do some work that involves needing light, try to dim the lights as much as possible.

Cut back on clutter

Some people say that a cluttered room is a sign of a cluttered mind. This isn’t always the case but sleeping in a room that you know is littered with dirty clothes and covered in old magazines won’t do a whole lot to help you get to sleep.

Just as many people report that cleaning their room allows them to clear out their mind. This helps them fall easier into a deep sleep.

Relax before bed

Don’t just go to bed as soon as you get home after work. Do some relaxing activities – that don’t involve LED lights. That means no TV or gaming an hour or two before bed.

Try meditating or doing some light reading to help clear the thoughts out of your brain so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Have a bedtime drink

There are lots of drinks that you can have before bed that will help you fall into a deep sleep. Warm milk will provide you with a lot of tryptophan that will help relax you.

Chamomile tea, or other herbal teas, can help put you to bed. For more serious cases of insomnia, heavier herbal teas like kava kava and mulungu can be useful for sleep.

Stop caffeinating

Caffeine, especially that from coffee, affects people for much longer than they tend to think. You’ll usually be fine if you have a coffee in the morning, or even one around noon, but if you drink coffee much after 4PM, you might have to expect some problems with insomnia.

There are other caffeinated beverages that don’t provide the same risk of insomnia, though. Green tea contains L-theanine which helps to combat the stimulatory nature of the caffeine, and yerba mate contains tons of other active compounds that help to balance it out.

Stay active

Your body sleeps to rest and restructure itself, so it makes sense that you won’t be able to fall asleep easy if you live a sedentary lifestyle.

If you work at an office job, for example, it’s important that you take time to get some physical activity into your day. If it’s possible, bike to work, or go to the gym afterwards.

Getting a lot of exercise during the day not only makes it easier to fall asleep, it makes it feel better to fall asleep. You’ll feel like you deserve the rest that you’re getting.

Don’t eat right before bed

Your body actually uses a lot of energy to digest food – that’s why you get tired after eating a big meal. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy to go to bed right after you eat, though, because your body also needs energy to help repair itself while you’re sleeping.

If you must eat before bed, make sure you avoid foods that are high in carbs. Enjoy a light snack that’s low in sugar and is easily digested.

10 Sleep Tips To Help You Fall Into A Deep Sleep

 

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Inflammation is our body’s natural reaction to injury and infection, causing redness and swelling. Whilst healthy in small doses, chronic inflammation can lead to conditions and diseases such as arthritis and cancer. It can also contribute to aging of the skin and body by constantly putting the body under stress. Here are five ways that you can fight the effects if inflammation

Inflammation

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Consume less sugar

If you eat lots of sugary snacks or consume lots of soft drinks, it’s likely this will be making your inflammation worse. Such foods and drinks cause our blood sugar levels to spike, which in turn causes us to produce insulin which triggers inflammation. Consuming lots of sugar has been proven to make inflammatory conditions such as IBD, acne and arthritis a lot worse. Natural sugars like fructose as found in fruit aren’t so dangerous as the body is better equipped at getting rid of them – it’s the sugars found in cakes and cola that you’ve got to worry about.

Take a hot bath

Another way in which you can reduce inflammation is by taking a hot bath. In fact, it’s often advised by doctors for those that have a bad back. The hot water in a bathtub not only relaxes muscles so they’re not pulling as tightly, it’s also be shown to lower cortisol levels causing high blood sugar levels and inflammation.

Try natural supplements

Whilst you can take medication to ease inflammation and numb the pain, relying on meds isn’t always healthy as they can be addictive. Natural supplements could be worth trying out as a way of fighting inflammation. These include supplements such as turmeric, ginger and omega-3 fish oil. Make sure to always read the label on the bottom as certain supplements may not be advised in certain conditions (for example, taking fish oil supplements whilst also taking aspirin or blood thinners could have a negative effect).

Get enough sleep

It’s when we’re asleep that our body does most of its healing. Infections and injuries causing inflammation may be going unhealed as a result. In fact, a lack of sleep could even make inflammation worse – when we haven’t had enough sleep, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which makes inflammation worse. Scientists have also found other correlations between lack of sleep and inflammatory diseases.

Stay active

People with inflammatory diseases like back pain used to be advised to stay in bed by doctors, but newer research suggests that its better to be active. Mild exercise is thought to slow the deterioration of joints and improve mood and sleep. Certain activities may be better for people with inflammatory diseases than others – if you’ve got joint problems the likes of running and jumping should be avoided, whilst swimming and yoga are recommended. When it comes to severe pain, you’re better off resting, however milder chronic pain is likely to be made better through exercise.

5 Ways To Fight Inflammation

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There are several theories floating around about naturally thin people and their body. Some attribute it to their genes and a strong metabolism, which does play a significant role in the process.

BMI

It is important to remember that skinny does not necessarily equate to being fit. Being underweight is also considered a sign of being unhealthy, with eating disorders on the rise, especially amongst men.

A good way to determine how healthy you are is by taking a look at your body mass index. Body mass index (BMI) is a unit that measures body mass depending on the weight and height of an individual.

This can be calculated for individuals falling in the age group of 18-65 years and it is different for men and women.

A person’s BMI is categorised in three ways; over-weight, under-weight and normal.

A BMI score between 20-25 is considered as healthy, below 20 is underweight and a BMI above 20 is considered to be overweight.

If your BMI deems you as underweight, it’s important that you gain some weight, but by taking a healthy approach.

Here we have listed some healthy ways by which you can gain some weight:

Start A Food Diary

Keep a proper track of what you eat and when, for a period of 14 days. By tracking your eating habits, it becomes possible for you to analyse your calorie consumption.

Based on this analysis, you can prepare a diet chart, which will help you devise a diet rich in the correct amounts of protein and fat.

Increase Calorie Consumption:

Initially, you can start consuming an additional 200 calories per day and you can adjust the intake based on how your body reacts to it. For instance, some individual bodies cannot sustain so many calories in a day. In such cases, you have to gradually increase your calorie consumption. You’re essentially retraining your body to eat how it should be.

You can also calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which helps you to calculate how many calories your body can actually take on a particular day. This can further help you to monitor and regulate your food intake.

Quality Matters!

There are people who believe that it is not what you eat that matters, but the number of times you eat that is important. This age-old myth doesn’t quite deserve the merit its garnered over the years.

Lets say that your diet plan consists of burgers, chips, fries or pizza’s all day long… One thing that can be guaranteed is that it’s going to do more harm than good in your pursuit of gaining weight healthily.

A right combination of whole-wheat, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and nuts are all you need for a healthy diet.

Do Not Ignore Quality:

Quality and quantity are both equally important when setting a diet plan. Eating healthily but at irregular intervals will not be effective. Consuming healthy food every two hours can help you gain weight naturally.

If you intend to gain weight, skipping a meal is going to do you no favours. Initially, you may feel full by eating at regular intervals but gradually your body becomes immune to your new eating habit.

In order to make the process easier for your stomach, spread calorie consumption throughout the day via different meals.

Pick Smart Snacks

It is wise to opt for smart snacks so that you do not feel stuffed or bloated the entire day. Choose snacks that are easily digestible. Heavy snacks can lead to you missing out on an important lunch or dinner, which as we’ve already pointed out, is an absolute no-no.

Nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, cheese and granola bars are all examples of healthy snacks that you can include in your diet. Being prepared and taking snacks with you to work will ensure you aren’t tempted to eat the wrong things when you are hungry.

Exercise:

One of the best ways to gain healthy weight is by hitting the gym. Regular exercise can help you build muscle and it will also help you feel better generally. You’ll have bundles of energy and feel less lethargic.

This indirectly increases your consumption potential. To ensure that you follow a proper routine, you can hire a personal trainer who can guide you along your journey to make sure you are doing everything you can to get the new body you desire.

This way you can gain weight at a comparatively better rate and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Drink! Drink! And Then Drink Some More!

Look to include healthy juices, smoothies and shakes into your daily diet. It is better to consume as much fluid as possible.

Drink fluids between every meal to ensure that there is a constant flow of calories. This way, you can steer clear of unhealthy and addictive beverages.

Eat Before You Sleep – Yes, Really!

We have all been victim to an occasional midnight craving. This is especially true if you have had a light dinner.

To avoid this, simply aim to eat before you sleep. Munching on some nutrient rich food before you sleep can help prevent those midnight cravings.

Lastly, it is important to eat healthy and at the right time in order to be able to gain weight consistently. A healthy lifestyle boosts your mood and makes it easier for you to maintain body weight moving forward.

Health Tips To Go From Skinny To Fit

 

 

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Losing weight is an ongoing battle which can be extremely challenging for a lot of people. Of course, everyone’s body is different and what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to be the best weight-loss solution for another. If you have been trying and trying to shed the pounds for some time now but find that you are not getting anywhere, it could be that you are committing one or more of the common mistakes that we are about to discuss in this article.

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Mistake One: Only Focusing on the Scale Weight

Despite sticking closely to your carefully planned regime or alternative diet, you may still find yourself in a position of not losing weight as fast as you would like. But if you are only measuring your success or failure by the scale weight, you are likely not to be getting the full picture. Your weight is affected on an ongoing basis by factors like fluid fluctuations and how much food you are retaining in your system, meaning that your scale weight can do up or down by as much as 4 lbs over the course of a day. Hormonal changes in women can also lead to greater fluid retention. And if you have been working out regularly, you are likely to find yourself gaining muscle and losing fat. Try some alternative methods of monitoring your progress such as using a tape measure around your waist or taking regular pictures of yourself which will show you if you are losing weight despite the scale number not really changing.

Mistake Two: Only Eating Low-Fat or ‘Diet’ Foods

When you are trying to lose weight, you obviously need to monitor what you eat closely. However, if you are only eating food that is labelled low-fat or diet, they may not be helping you out in the way that you would think. A big proportion of these products contain high amounts of sugar to improve their taste. And rather than keeping you full, they are likely to make you even hungrier, meaning that you end up eating more. You are generally better off switching from ‘diet’ food to products which are both nutritious and minimally processed.

Mistake Three: Not Eating Enough Protein and Fibre

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There are certain food groups which are more beneficial than others when you are trying to lose weight. Let’s start off with protein. Some of the main advantages include reducing your appetite, increasing your metabolic rate and protecting muscle mass during weight loss. If you are not getting enough fibre in your diet, this can also cause an issue when it comes to shedding pounds. A high-fibre diet can help to reduce your appetite by filling you up so you eat less. Not only this, it may also help in ensuring that you absorb fewer calories from other food.

Mistake Four: Having Unrealistic Expectations

Of course, it is great to have goals that you are striving to achieve, but it can have an adverse impact on your weight-loss efforts if you have unrealistic expectations. The road to weight loss can be a long and difficult one for many people, so you need to be prepared for bumps along the way. If you find that your goals are unattainable, reset your expectations and celebrate your smaller achievements.

Mistake Five: Not Reading Labels

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If you are not in the habit of reading labels whenever you go to the supermarket, now is the time to start. Otherwise, you are likely to find yourself consuming unwanted calories and unhealthy ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the healthy marketing language that they use on the front; it is the actual contents that you need to be checking. Of course, the first thing that you need to do is learn to read labels in a way that you easily pick out the most pertinent information.

Mistake Six: Getting the Wrong Amount of Exercise

Weight loss tends to involve a reduction in your muscle mass at the same time. Exercising helps to minimise the lean mass that you are losing, increases fat loss and prevents your metabolism from slowing down. However, exercising too much can also end up being problematic. Trying to force your body into burning more calories is neither an effective nor a healthy way of losing weight. You could even end up piling stress on your body, which in turn impairs the production of adrenal hormones.

So, if you recognise that you are committing any of these six common mistakes, now is the time to reassess you weight-loss techniques. 

6 Common Weight-Loss Mistakes   

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