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Did you know your mental health is linked to your sleep habits? Our brains regroup while we sleep, so of course health suffers when we don’t get enough. Here is more information about why you need a good night’s sleep for your mental wellness, and what you can do about it.
Unhealthy at Best
Most people don’t think that mental health and sleep are connected, but going without sleep is extremely unhealthy. We can get irritable when we do without, but it’s more than that. In fact, it can damage mental health. According to Newsweek, when we’re sleep deprived, crankiness is just the top layer of trouble. On top of being cranky, poor sleep habits can cause you to engage in negative thought patterns, continually mulling over bad things and focusing on what’s wrong in life. When you start digging in, some studies show a connection between too little sleep and a number of serious mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and paranoia are connected with not getting enough sleep. Apparently, old-school science felt poor sleep stemmed from depression, but some newer studies show it’s the other way around. Bottom line: Sleep deprivation doesn’t stop with a rotten attitude.
How Much Is Enough?
Every mind and body is different, but there are some general guidelines for how much sleep we need. Most adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night. Children generally require quite a bit more — around 12 hours or more in youngsters and up to 17 hours in infants – and older adults can require somewhat less. If you’re groggy during the day or rely on caffeine for a boost, those are indicators you should get more sleep, or the quality of your sleep could use improvement. So what can you do about that? Plenty.
Your sleep environment plays a big role in the quality of your slumber. Adding aromatherapy in restful scents like lavender or cedarwood can be a boon. Sleep patterns are inherently linked to daylight, so controlling the light in your environment can also equate to better quality sleep. One suggestion is to dim lights close to bedtime and ensure the room is completely dark for sleep. Another great way to improve sleep quality is with a new mattress, especially if you suffer with aches and pains. Don’t pick the first mattress that comes along; read reviews and choose a high-quality mattress that suits your sleeping style, whether you’re a hot sleeper, sleep on your side, or whatever your idiosyncrasies are.
Do you tend to stay up late some nights watching favorite shows or lingering over social media, then try to make up for it other nights by going to bed early or by napping? It turns out that habit can contribute to poor slumber. HuffPost suggests setting a schedule to improve your sleep habits. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day can help your body develop a healthy rhythm.
Drop the Bedtime Snack
Many of us enjoy a late-evening snack before turning in, but it turns out it could be a contributing factor in poor sleep quality. If you do grab a little something before bed, choose a light snack and steer clear of fatty, spicy, or deep-fried foods. Also, avoid caffeine late in the day since the stimulant effect can be counterproductive.
With a handful of good habits, you can improve your sleep and your mental health. Next time you’re feeling cranky, consider how you’re sleeping and look for ways to improve. Better slumber can mean a healthier mind.
Want to Make Some Positive Life Changes? Here’s What to Put on Your Wish List
Sometimes, all we need to make a positive life change is a little push – or maybe some material motivation. As the holidays roll around and you’re creating your wish list for friends and family, you may want to consider how the gifts you receive can spur you into making some life improvements. Here’s what to wish for if you want to focus on self-betterment this holiday season.
If you want to stop eating junk
Is it boring to structure your holiday wish list around eating healthier? Maybe a little bit. But the dramatic improvement in your mind and body you’ll experience when you begin to focus on a healthy diet is anything but. Think about adding a subscription to a food delivery service to your wish list. Blue Apron is a popular choice, as are Plated and HelloFresh. These companies deliver pre-portioned, fresh ingredients to your door with easy-to-follow recipes. It’s the easiest way to cook from home. Not only will you be able to forgo the fast food, but you’ll also save a lot of time that would be spent scouring the internet for healthy recipes and shopping at the grocery. Here’s a solid guide to all the meal kit companies out there.
If you want to work some mindfulness into your life
We could all stand to be a little more mindful – or put another way, live in the present. We spend so much time stressed out and worried about the past and future, we often forget to take time to relax in the now. If you want to be a mindful person, you can wish list some things to help.
Try asking for some adult coloring books (or kids’, for that matter). Coloring is a stress-reducing hobby that lets you disconnect from technology and focus on yourself – if just for a little while. Here are some more mindfulness benefits of coloring.
You can also wish for some books to help you get on a mindful path. Make Peace with Your Mind, The Power of Off, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance are some perennial favorites (here are some more). Really, making your home life more comfortable in general is one great way to de-stress. Check here for some items that will make being at home more fun.
If you want to get more organized
Being organized is one of those things that can positively impact many other areas of your life. It all starts with having your stuff together. Your wish list should include closet hangers and organizational cubes, maybe one of these nice Moleskine planners, and even a tracking tag that you can put on commonly-misplaced items for easy location (it works with Bluetooth!). Check here for more great organizational ideas.
If you want to save a little bit of money here and there
It’s not on a gift-giver to help you with your overall finances. That’s a year-round task for you and you alone. But they can give you the gift of incremental, but still worthwhile, savings. Think about ways to save money throughout the year – LED lighting options for your home, rechargeable batteries and battery docks, and long-lasting beeswax candles come to mind. Here are some more ideas.
Gone are the days where you just hope and pray that someone gets you something that you may like during the holidays. Be smart about your wish list. Don’t just pick whimsical items because they are free (to you at least). Make that wish list count, and fill it with items and services that can help you reach your self-improvement goals.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com