Understanding Healthy Sleep Patterns

While it was once believed that the body was in quite a passive state during sleep, studies have now shown that the brain actually experiences specific patterns of activity during different periods of sleep, and is often more active at this time than it is while the body is awake. This all shows exactly how important sleep is when it comes to maintaining good health, and if you want to improve this area of your life, then it is vital that you first understand the basics behind healthy sleep patterns.

5 Stages of Sleep
The Five Stages of Sleep
There are usually five specific stages to sleep, with the first being a light sleep from which you can drift in and out of easily. The second stage is when eye movements stop, with muscle contractions often occurring, before the slow brain waves of stage three start. Once stage four is reached, there is no more eye movement or muscle activity, and it is usually much more difficult to wake a person that is in this stage of sleep. The final sleep stage is the REM stage, which is when breathing becomes irregular, the eyes jerk around, and heart rate increases. It usually takes between 90-120 minutes for an entire sleep cycle to be completed, at which stage it all just begins again.

Factors that Suppress REM Sleep
The REM stage of sleep is extremely important to the body, but there are many lifestyle factors that can suppress this, therefore preventing the body from following normal sleep patterns the next night. Antidepressants usually do this, as does smoking, which causes the smoker to wake up every three to four hours due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol does the same, because while it may help you to initially fall asleep, it robs the body of all of the more restorative stages of sleep.

Woman sleeping
How Much Sleep is Healthy?
While there is plenty of debate surrounding the topic of exactly how much sleep is needed by the body, general consensus points to around seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns can still vary greatly depending on everything from age to environmental conditions, so you need to take this into account too.

Healthy Sleep Habits
The best way to ensure that your body is receiving the amount and quality of sleep that it needs is to set yourself a few healthy sleep habits to follow. To begin with, you need to keep a consistent sleep schedule, meaning that you sleep at the same time on the weekends as you do on weekdays. Specific bedtime rituals will help with this, but, if you do not fall asleep within the first 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and not return until you are actually sleepy. Avoiding large meals, alcohol and caffeine before bedtime will help your body to adjust to healthy sleep patterns, as will regular exercise and a balanced diet throughout the day.

There are many ways in which you can encourage your body to settle back in to healthy sleep patterns, but it does take some dedication on your part in order to do this properly. Sleep plays such an important role in the way in which the body functions, so be sure to take this part of your life seriously, and do what needs to be done in order to give your body the sleep that it needs.

How a Bad Night’s Sleep Affects Your Health

While you may think that the only consequence to a night of poor sleep is that you will be yawning much more the next day, there is actually much more to it than this. From cognitive dysfunction to high blood pressure, here are just a few of the ways in which a night of bad sleep can affect your health.

Woman who cant sleep
Cognitive Dysfunction
Sleep is absolutely vital when it comes to your cognitive ability, which, in other words, means how fast and how well you can think. A night of bad sleep can affect cognitive processes in many different ways, impairing everything from attention and alertness to concentration and problem-solving. Sleep cycles also have an impact on memory consolidation, meaning that a night of poor sleep will lead you to have memory issues the next day.

Higher Risk of Serious Health Issues
While one night of poor sleep will not immediately lead to serious health issues, chronic sleep loss drastically increases your risk of many medical conditions. From high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes and strokes, these are just a few of the conditions that have been linked to sleep deprivation.

Depressed woman
Depression and Anxiety
In addition to having an impact on your physical health, a lack of sleep will also affect your mental health. While one or two nights of poor sleep is not going to immediately cause depression, this is a condition that can soon occur after chronic sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that insomnia is often one of the first signs of depression, making good sleep absolutely necessary for a positive and healthy outlook on life.

Weakened Immune System
Your immune system works hard while you are asleep, producing infection-fighting cells and antibodies that battle bacteria and viruses, keeping your body healthy. If you experience a lack of sleep one night, this means that your immune system will not have had the opportunity to properly defend your body, meaning that not only are you more susceptible to foreign invaders, but it will also take you far longer to recover from any illness that takes you down. Even when it comes to the common cold, those that average less than seven hours of sleep at night will find themselves three times more likely to develop cold symptoms, and will also have a much harder time fighting these off.

Digestive System and Obesity
Studies carried out by the Harvard Medical School have shown connections between a lack of sleep and weight gain, making sleep deprivation one of the primary causes of obesity. A night of poor sleep will raise the levels of ghrelin in your body, which is a biochemical that stimulates the appetite. Sleep deprivation also triggers the body to release higher levels of insulin after eating, which not only promotes fat storage within the body, but can also quickly lead to diabetes.

Quality sleep is absolutely essential when it comes to a healthy mind and body, and a night of poor sleep can really have some adverse reactions. From a weakened immune system to rapid weight gain, make sure that these issues do not affect you by ensuring that you are receiving enough sleep each and every night.

Try Deep Cleansing Breaths for Better Sleep

Woman sleeping

Quality sleep is so important for a healthy mind and body, but everything from stress to bright screens often prevent this from happening. For those that find it difficult encouraging their body into a relaxed state each night, these cleansing … Continue reading

Yoga Sequences for Restful Sleep

Yoga
A consistent lack of quality sleep can lead to a number of different health issues, making it important to find a natural solution to this as soon as possible. Yoga is known for being able to combat insomnia, as it soothes the mind and the body, increasing your level of relaxation. While some yoga poses are best for energizing the body, these asanas should be used in a sequence that you practice before bed each night, because doing so will give you a deep and restful sleep.

Relaxed Down Dog
The Relaxed Down Dog is an easier version of the Downward Facing Dog, making it ideal for the night time. Simply enter into the downward facing dog with your hands and feet, but bend your knees and lift your heels off the mat. This will allow your spine to arch, as you press your navel towards your thighs, which targets the back instead of the hamstrings, releasing all of the tension that has built up over the day.

Seated Forward Bend
The Seated Forward Bend can either be used to warm up the hamstrings, or, by ensuring that you do not perform this pose to intensely, can also help to relax them, as well as release tension from a distracted mind. While sitting down, extend your legs in front of you, keeping your knees slightly bent, and reach for your feet after exhaling. The key here is to keep your back as flat as possible, even if this means that you have to bend your knees more, as you do not want to be stretching your hamstrings too much. Slowly round your back over your legs, staying in this position for a few breaths while you feel a stretch along your spine.

Legs Up the Wall
The Legs Up the Wall pose is what many modern yogis would refer to as a cure-all pose, and is usually practiced at the end of a sequence. Place a folded blanket against a wall and sit next to it, before lying down on your back, bending your knees, and placing your feet on the wall. Move your lower back as close to the wall as possible, and then move your feet so that they are pointing straight up, with your heels resting against the wall for support. With your arms either by your side or by your head, the latter of which will give your shoulders an extra stress, close your eyes and allow your body to relax, feeling the force of gravity pull you down. Hold this for 30 seconds, before rolling onto one side with your knees bent, resting in this fetal position for a minute before moving.

Shavasana
Also known as the Corpse Pose, Shavasana is the perfect pose to end your bedtime yoga sequence with, as it puts your body into the ideal state for a restful sleep. Simply lie on your back and close your eyes, with your arms extended slightly outwards and your palms facing up. Allow your feet to fall open, with your toes pointing outwards, and shrug your shoulders until you can feel them relax downwards. Lengthen your spine and relax your lower back, finding a comfortable position in which you can lie for about ten minutes. If you do not have this much time at the end of your routine, hold this pose until your heart rate has slowed down, and your breathing is back to its natural rhythm.

Yoga is designed to release the stress and tension from the parts of your body that usually experience a severe build up of it, and this is often what contributes to disturbed sleep. If you have never thought about using yoga before to help boost the quality of your sleep, give this short sequence a go, and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised when you wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Woman meditating

There are a number of different factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, from the food that you eat to the amount that you sleep. While this may be common knowledge, putting these ideas into action is often more difficult than it might seem, so take a look at these following tips to help you get started.

Go Primal
Diet fads come and go, but the one piece of information that has never changed is that unprocessed foods are the best when it comes to staying healthy. Nicknamed as the primal diet, a diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and eggs is ideal, and keeping the primal imagery in mind will help you to avoid anything that is processed or filled with sugar.

Positivity
Keeping your mood uplifted is essential when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, as stress can lead to a number of different health conditions. There are many ways to bring positivity into your life, from engaging in new activities with friends, meditation and reflection, or even doing a kind deed for someone else. You should also try to laugh more, as studies have shown that not only does this keep positivity high and stress levels low, but people who laugh more usually outlive those who do not.

Woman walking

Choose to Walk
Research has shown that some of the health benefits of daily exercise include an increased life span, a reduced risk of a multitude of diseases, and higher bone density, yet this is something that many still avoid. When it comes to traveling short distances, choosing to walk over taking a form of transport can make a huge difference, as can taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Eat the Rainbow
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the greens are often the ones that are most heavily promoted, but you really need to be eating a wide variety. To help you to remember to do so, try to make sure that you are ‘eating the rainbow’, consuming a fruit or vegetable of each color each day, as the different colors all indicate different nutrients.

Woman sleeping

Go to Bed Earlier
The time when you are sleeping is when your body works to heal and regenerate, meaning that if you are sleep deprived, even for just a couple of nights, this can begin to take a serious toll on your health. The optimum amount of sleep is around eight hours a night, and a simple way to ensure that you are sleeping for this long is by going to bed at around 10pm, making sure that you turn off your computer and any other electronic devices, as this will drastically interfere with your sleep quality.

A healthy lifestyle does not need to be at all difficult, and it is usually possible to just tweak your current lifestyle in a few ways in order to make it slightly healthier. From spending more time planning your meals to ensure that you are eating a good variety of foods, to sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to bedtime, these tips are all easy to follow, and can have a significant improvement in your overall health.

How to Feel More Energetic – ORO GOLD Reviews

Group of energetic people jumping in the air

If you constantly feel tired and exhausted or you regularly suffer from a mid-afternoon slump then knowing how to increase your energy levels can really help you to feel more active. If you want to know the best ways to feel more energetic then read on for OROGOLD’s top tips.

Eat healthy

Eating healthy foods will help to increase your energy levels. Make sure you include lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains into your diet as these foods are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre which help to control blood sugar levels and make you feel fuller for longer. Try to limit your consumption of sugar and high fat processed foods as these contain no nutritional value and can cause your energy levels to quickly drop leaving you feeling lethargic. Eating regular meals and snacks will also help to maintain your energy levels.

Drink water

The recommended amount of water that adults should drink is at least eight glasses every day in order to stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day will help to maintain your hydration levels and help to increase your energy levels. Those who don’t drink enough water often suffer with tiredness, fatigue and headaches, so keeping hydrated is extremely important for good health.

If you regularly exercise, make sure you drink enough water to replace moisture lost from perspiration. It’s also best to limit alcoholic drinks as these can cause you to feel dehydrated and tired.

Exercise

Exercising regularly will help to boost your energy levels. Try to stick to a workout schedule in order to maintain your energy levels. You don’t have to partake in rigorous exercise as many activities, such as light swimming and yoga have shown to relieve fatigue and tiredness.

Get outside

Getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air will help you to feel refreshed. Walking is also great exercise as it helps to boost energy levels. If it’s a nice day, why not try walking or even cycling to work instead of using public transport.

Sleep

Getting at least 8 hours of sleep will help you to feel fresh and alert. Not getting enough sleep can cause headaches, drowsiness and fatigue so making sure you get into a routine of sleeping 8 hours will really help to boost your energy levels. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, try taking a relaxing bath before going to bed, using a lavender spray or balm on your pillow and shutting off your television and phone before going to sleep.

Don’t get stressed

Feeling stressed can cause anxiety, ill health and low energy levels. To help relieve stress, try taking deep breaths, going for a walk or going for a swim. Socializing with friends and loved ones is also a good stress reliever too. Aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture can all help to restore calmness in your life and restore energy levels.