Fortunately, About.com Health is all about helping navigate health issues! The following are some of the best sleep resources we have, from our Sleep Disorders expert as well as many knowledgeable experts around the network. (I have some resources in there from myself as well, so you can get the stress-and-sleep perspective!) If we start going to sleep 10 or so minutes earlier each night, we won't notice the loss of an hour--and if you're not in a DST area, having an extra hour of sleep will very likely do you some good, anyway! Rest assured and sleep easy!
- Top 10 Better Sleep Strategies: Great Ways to End Your Day
Certain relaxing rituals can help you to both promote sleep and manage stress. Try these healthy stress relief strategies from yours truly.
- 10 Doctor-Recommended Guidelines To Better Sleep
What steps can you take during the day to promote better sleep at night? Here are 10 effective tips that can help you to get better quality sleep, and more of it, from Dr. Brandon Peters, our Guide to Sleep Disorders.
- Best Pilates Exercises For Better Sleep
Exercise can help promote sleep, and pilates can provide a useful set of exercises to work into your schedule for this very purpose. Learn more about how exercise can promote sleep, and find specific pilates exercises that can help, from Marguerite Ogle, About.com's Guide to Pilates.
- Top Sleep-Tracking Activity Monitors
Sometimes you can be in need of more sleep and not even realize it. Having an activity tracker that also monitors your sleep and lets you know how much shut-eye you're really getting. Walking Guide Wendy Bumgardner has a list of effective activity trackers that also monitor your sleep. See which ones might be best for you!
- Better Sleep For Those With IBS
A good night's sleep is beneficial for your overall health, so those with IBS or other issues have even more incentive to work on safeguarding sleep. Here, our IBS Guide, Dr. Barbara Bradley Bolen, has some effective tips to help you enjoy a better nights' sleep.
- Yoga For Insomnia
Yoga can be a wonderfully health-supporting and relaxing form of exercise, which makes it useful for those having trouble sleeping. Learn specific yoga techniques that can help you to sleep better tonight, from Ann Pizer, About.com's Guide to Yoga.
- Tips for Better Sleep With ADD
Sleep is more often an issue for those with ADD / ADHD--it often comes with more difficulty, and is important for managing stress and aiding concentration. Learn more about sleep and ADD / ADHD, and find tips to help, from our Guide, Keath Low.
- Gluten and Sleep
If you have a gluten sensitivity, your sleep may be suffering. Learn about the gluten-sleep connection and find tips to get more shut-eye, from Jane Anderson, About.com's Guide to Celiac Disease.
- Get Quality Sleep When Stressed
Stress affects our sleep patterns in a variety of ways. Learn more about how stress can affect your sleep, and sleep can affect your stress levels, and find strategies to sleep better tonight!
Have you ever found yourself turning over in the night, then being jolted awake between dreams by thoughts of a crisis in your life? Or unable to fall asleep in the first place because as soon as your head hits the pillow, your stomach is in knots and your mind is racing, thinking of the difficulties of the day or the stress that lies ahead when you awaken again? If your answer is yes--and most of us have experienced this at least once in our lives--you already know that stress can impact your sleep.
Sometimes we go through our days stressed, but occupied, and then when we close our eyes, all of the stressors of the day come to the fore. We're no longer distracted from ruminating about the rude thing our office rival said and what they might be planning. Or speculating about what our odd symptoms (possibly stress-related) could be, and how a major illness might affect our lives. Or thinking about how we can get enough money to make ends meet.
When we're in the throes of a crisis, it's difficult to stay asleep as we move from one sleep stage to the next. Normally, we awaken slightly and go back to sleep a few times during the night. When we have a lot that's troubling our minds, we can get jolted awake, and find the rush of adrenaline that woke us up is making it difficult to go back to sleep. And while we're awake, the thoughts just keep coming--and so does the stress!
Maybe you power down the caffeine to get through a busy day, and find that it's keeping you awake at night when you're finally able to get some shut-eye. Perhaps you are so spent at night that you find it difficult to unwind at night--you're both exhausted and pumped-up at the same time! Whatever issues you may be dealing with, that stress might be affecting your sleep already.
The following resources can help you to relax, manage stress, and get a good night's sleep in the process. Tonight, and every might!
Sleep Resources from Elizabeth Scott:
Image from iStockPhoto.com
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Actually, sleep experts and the research they cite does indeed point to certain dangers. On average, it's estimated that people go to work or school on the first Monday of Daylight Saving after sleeping 40 fewer minutes than normal. And recent studies have found there's a higher risk of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries on the first Monday of Daylight Saving. It's hard to find any aspect of health untouched by sleep, says Ronald D. Chervin, M.D., a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan and director of U-M's Sleep Disorders Center, in a recent press release. The brain of a person who does not get enough sleep--in quality and in quantity--is unable to operate efficiently. Health, emotions, memory and more are affected. It's enough to make you want to go to bed early, isn't it?
"Being prepared is important, especially if you need to be alert that day for any reason, particularly driving a car. Even one hour of sleep loss can affect some people," says Chervin.
"Many people already are chronically sleep-deprived, and Daylight Saving Time can make them even more tired for a few days," said Dr. Nidhi Undevia, medical director of the Sleep Program at Loyola University Health System. If this sounds like you, now's the time to do something.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your sleep, and some of them are pretty simple. Here are some tips from Chervin, Undevia and me:
- In the next few days, start going to sleep 10 to 15 minutes earlier, and getting up 10 to 15 minutes earlier as well.
- Don't nap on Saturday before the time change. (I normally recommend power naps as a way to catch up on missed sleep, but on Saturday, it may make it too difficult to go to sleep earlier.)
- Try to get some morning sun on your face, as early as possible. This can help reset your body's natural 'clock'. Taking a morning walk is a great way to start your day because it can get you moving and out in the sun. If the weather doesn't permit this, or if you just don't have the time for even a 15-minute walk, I suggest you sit on your porch or in front of your sunniest window with a cup of tea (peppermint can get you going in the morning naturally!) and mentally prepare for your day.
- Stress and Sleep Problems--Get Quality Sleep When Stressed
- Power Napping for Increased Productivity
- Stress and Sleep
- Healthy Habits for Better Sleep
- About.com's Sleep Disorders Site
Source: Ohlmann KK, O'Sullivan MI. The costs of short sleep. AAOHN Journal, September 2009.
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- The Dangers of Daylight-Saving Time
Learn about the potential dangers of too little sleep and, more importantly, what you can do this weekend and all year, to give yourself the rest you need for optimal functioning. You can also leave your challenges and tips in the comments section and share this with your sleep-deprived friends and family.
- The Upside of Daylight Saving Time
As I discovered when I blogged about it last year, many people are NOT fans of Daylight Saving Time. Nobody likes to lose an extra hour from there day (or night), and I can definitely understand that sentiment. However, there are some benefits, too. Learn about the "bright side" of DST.
- Take A Few Shortcuts
If you're looking at losing some time from your day (an hour, to be exact), you may find yourself wanting that time back! Here are some strategies to get that amount of time--or more!--back into your life by cutting out or speeding up what's not important, and making room for what is!
- Discuss It On Facebook
For regular stress relief info, I invite you to join the Facebook Page About Stress Management. You'll find inspirational quotes, insightful comments, and relevant resources on a near-daily basis that may be just what you need to hear on a given day. We'd love to see you there!
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Visit a Comedy Club
One of my favorite stress relievers--which also tends to be a great people-connecter--is laughter. Comedy clubs provide a fun way to dress up and share a good laugh--great for V-day or any standard weekend date.
Dancing provides plenty of physical contact and exercise, two effective tension tamers. If you and your sweetie don't normally go dancing, this would be a great one to try. If dancing is an activity you often share, maybe it would be fun to try dance lessons in a new style.
Enjoy a Home Spa
This one isn't for everyone, but if you have a guy who can appreciate a little pampering (or if you are one), running a relaxing bath, lighting candles, and putting on some soft music can be the start of a wonderful Valentine's night. See this article for more home spa ideas.
Take a Long Walk
Pick a romantic place in your city and take a beautiful evening stroll after dinner. It provides the chance to talk, and provides some inconspicuous exercise. You may also notice nice new places to go, which you never noticed before--fodder for future dates!
Try Something New
Keep your creative side alive and try something new with your sweetie. Whether you start classes together, visit a new place, or embark on another new type of adventure, creating new experiences together can bring excitement to your relationship and make for a fun date on Valentine's Day.
Have a great date idea? Share it in the comments!
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