Health

Love Your Body: How To Stay Motivated To Get In Shape

In the everlasting quest to get fit and achieve the bodies we’ve always dreamt of; it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed or off the couch and go to the gym. Here are some tips on how to stay motivated to get in shape…

Get A Fitness Buddy

First of all, talk to your friends to see if there’s anyone who shares similar fitness aims to the ones that you have; and if so, it’s time to buddy up and start getting fit together! Whether it’s going for Saturday afternoon hikes together, attending yoga classes and then going to a juice bar afterward, or simply going on dog walks around the block together. Having a fitness buddy will make getting in shape a lot more fun for you; plus you’ll be able to spur each other on to do more and more.

Get Outside

Spring is finally here which means that you can take full advantage of the great outdoors to get healthy. There are plenty of things that you can do outside to get fit; ranging from getting off the train a stop early on your way home from work and walking for an extra ten minutes, to going to your local open air swimming pool and taking a dip in the cool water. Biking is also getting increasingly popular; if you’re lost on what equipment you should buy, look at this year’s best mountain bikes reviewed online to find the one that’s the best fit for you and your lifestyle. Make sure that you’re aware of what’s going on around you if you’re biking on the road; wear a helmet and don’t listen to music.

Raise Money For Charity

If you’re planning to run a marathon, but you’re worried you might give up halfway round; sign up to do it for charity and get your friends and family to sponsor you; and remember it doesn’t have to be a marathon, a 5K can work just as well! Make sure that you train properly, so your stamina is good, and that you have excellent quality running shoes along with clothes made of moisture wicking fabric; make it easier on yourself by having the right tools! Pick a cause that’s close to your heart to keep you motivated as you go around the course.

Find What You Love

Finally, if you hate whatever fitness exercises you’re doing, then it’s hard to motivate yourself. Not everyone learns to love the gym; doing weights or machines in the same room as a lot of other sweaty people simply isn’t for everyone. Likewise, not everyone will love running as it can feel depressingly solitary if you’re more of a sociable person. Make sure that you’ve found an exercise that suits you; whether that’s a twice-weekly Zumba class where you can dance to your heart’s content, or a yoga class where you can find spiritual as well as physical fulfillment, or even a regular hike that you can take with your dog. The best way to feel motivated is to love what you do.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Problems You Think Are For Old People Only

The human body is a fantastic machine that you can train to react in certain ways to certain stimuli or to perform in a specific fashion. For example, athletes have trained their body to a level of strength and endurance that goes beyond your average Joe’s fitness level. Additionally, in the manner that you train your body, you need to fuel it with a specific type of nutrients to help it generate its energy and maintain its health.

Training, appropriate eating habits, and a healthy lifestyle routine are key to the prevention of some of the most destructive diseases of the century; such as diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and obesity. But you might not have realized that developing a specific form of training and routine today can save you from experiencing body degradation in older age, or worse from experiencing today the troubles generally reserved for seniors. Here’s what to look after.

Develop A Healthy Dental Care

Tooth decay, toothache, and tooth loss tend to be associated with mature adults. You rarely imagine that tooth loss could happen to young people. But it does, and more and more young adults need to receive dental implants. Tooth loss, in young adults, is the result of a variety of factors; including poor mouth hygiene, lack of dental checkups, gum disease, unhealthy eating and drinking habits, and calcium deficiency. As a rule of the thumb, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of needing implants in your young years. Looking after your diet means a lot more than staying fit indeed.

Your Mental Deserves Attention Too

It is not uncommon to see loneliness and depression among older adults, who can naturally become isolated as they age and lose their independence. But, depression is one of the most common mental diseases among the young population. Unfortunately, in older adults like in students; it is too easily ignored. Depression can be triggered by a number of factors; whether it is stress-related, genetical, or even as a response to major life events; even a positive event such as graduation. So it’s important to keep track of your emotions and to keep an active lifestyle to reduce any risk. Isolation is a natural response to the student life, especially around the exams period. So make sure to join a learning group during these stressful days and to develop coping habits such as sports.

Keep Making Brain Connections

Memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease tend to be naturally connected to old age. However, brain degeneration can happen at any age, especially if you don’t keep your mind active. While you will naturally lose brain connections as you grow older; if you are used to learn and train your mind with crosswords, books or even logic puzzles, new connections will be able to form more easily. In short, the more you use your brain, the longer you can retain it in a working condition! But remember the Latin saying, “mens sana in corpore sano”, a sound mind in a sound body; Getting regular physical exercises is also key to keeping your mind sharp.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

“Targeted” Weight Loss Is A Myth

We all have an area of our body that we’re not happy with. Or, particularly not happy with.

For some, it’s the classics. You wish your waist was more nipped in, that your hips were narrower, that your upper arms were tauter. Perhaps you wish for slimmer thighs or a jawline that’s tight to the bone.

For others, it’s the less obvious areas. A slimmer upper back, so bra straps glaze effortlessly over the skin rather than creating the dreaded ‘back fat’. Perhaps you think your wrists should be more slender, or you daydream of the perfect neck nape that can arch like a swan.

We all have these areas – it’s one of the most uniting things, in fact. While you may be generally satisfied with the rest of your body, there’s always something that stands out as being in need of attention.

The Myth of “Targeted Weight Loss”

Unfortunately, the fact that these concerns are fairly universal opens them up to exploitation. There are more than enough unscrupulous companies who will take this knowledge and decide to run with it, offering a solution – in exchange for a lot of money, of course – that can conquer our body demon area once and for all.

With this problem, the snake-oil style sales tactics focus on the idea of “targeted weight loss”. They will sell you a product or a vegetable (lest we forget that the lobbying industry for vegetables is very much a thing – how else would a nonentity like kale have gone from an unknown to a must-have?) that is going to be able to target a specific area of your body.

Eat tomatoes to limit your stomach fat!

Fed up of your upper arms? You need yams!

And so on and so forth.

Some Of The Hype Is Based In Reality

Sometimes, what’s being advertised is a positive thing. Telling people to eat more tomatoes is never a bad thing; they’re extremely nutritious and many of the compounds they contain will help with fat loss. But there’s no way of helping with a certain area. It just doesn’t exist, it’s not possible, that’s not how the human body works.

It’s equivalent to those painkillers that tell you that they are for a specific type of pain, such as headaches or period pain. That’s marketing nonsense (and Australia, for example, have banned them as a result). It’s the same with diet and foods; they can’t target a particular area.

So What Does Work?

If you have a defined concern, then you should address it first and foremost through diet. There’s no doubt that general calorie control coupled with these weight loss ideas can help reduce your overall intake and improve your nutrition, which is the first step to tackling a stubborn area.

With that ticked off, target an area through exercise rather than diet. Research specific toning exercises for the area you’re concerned about, listen to your body energy levels and then try to do them regularly. It might not be an exciting, cure-all answer, but it’s a method that has one preference over the wild claims…

… It will actually work.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Women’s Nutrition: What Vitamins and Minerals Do We Really Need?

As the old saying goes, women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Despite us being of the same species, there really are so many differences between the genders both mentally and physically. And so when it comes to physical health, it’s no wonder that we need slightly different vitamins and minerals to thrive compared with our male counterparts. A woman’s body is perfectly designed for the complex process of conceiving and giving birth to a child. However, even if you’re not pregnant, there are certain nutrients you need in order to stay healthy. Here are just a few of them because women’s nutrition is important to staying healthy.

Iron

Each month women lose up to 7mg of iron due to menstruation, and for this reason, it’s much easier for women to become deficient or even anemic. If your iron levels are low you may benefit from taking a supplement, however it’s worth speaking to a doctor as too much iron can actually be dangerous. The last thing you want is to jump from one extreme to the other. Ideally, you’ll get all of the iron you need from your diet. Dark leafy green vegetables such as cabbage and spinach, beans, seafood and dried fruit are all high in the nutrient. Red meat is also a good source, although due to high levels of saturated fat you should be wary of eating too much of it.

Folic Acid

Guidelines suggest that every sexually active woman should take a folic acid supplement. This is because it’s incredibly important for the development of a fetus, and since one in two pregnancies aren’t planned you should take it even if you’re not trying to conceive. By the time you find out you’re expecting it could be too late; so this gives you peace of mind just in case. If you get a multivitamin containing folic acid you won’t have to do anything different. Simply take your daily tablet as you normally would, and you’re protected if the situation does arise.

Vitamin b12

There are a number of ways that a B12 deficiency can affect the female reproductive system. These include cell abnormalities in the cervix and uterus, to an egg not being released during the monthly cycle. Hormonal disruptions such as abnormal estrogen levels have also been found, these are crucial for successful full-term pregnancies. Vitamin b12 is found in animals and animal products such as meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk. However, you can get supplements to ensure your levels are kept where they should be.

Whey Protein

According to research, women actually benefit more from a protein supplement than men do; this is because women are more likely to opt for low-fat choices in their diet (which can also mean low protein). You can find reviews of the best whey protein for women by Fitness To Go if you’re considering trying it out. If you workout and take exercise seriously, adding a whey protein powder or supplement to your diet can build lean muscle and help with weight loss. Plus whey is easily digested and helps with amino acid absorption.

What’re Your Thoughts?

Understanding that our bodies are different to men’s, and why we need more of some nutrients than they do is important. Find ways of working these into your diet, whether it’s with food or a supplement.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Surprising Things Which Aren’t As Healthy As You Think

We are always looking for ways to be more healthy in our life. After all, we want to stay in the best shape and health as possible. But in the quest to be healthier, a lot of us are actually doing things that aren’t healthy for us. And it could actually be jeopardizing our health rather than helping it in the long-run! In fact, here are some surprising things which aren’t as healthy as you think.

Fat-Free or Low-Fat Foods

A lot of people opt for the fat-free or the low-fat options when they head to the supermarket. After all, they feel like these will be the much healthier option for them. And it helps them to feel less guilty when they tuck into the food. But a lot of the time the low-fat options can be unhealthy. After all, when they remove the fat, it means the sugar and sodium increases to help it still retain its flavor. But these can both be unhealthy. So the product you are consuming could just be worse than the original option! And as this article says, our body needs some fat to function. In fact, fat can help us absorb vitamins and minerals and even regulate our hormones. Therefore, rather than swapping to low-fat options, stick to the normal option in future. Just cut back how much you are consuming to ensure you stay healthy.

Your Normal Toothbrush and Toothpaste

You are likely to use the same toothbrush and toothpaste day after day. But do you know if it’s actually working for your teeth? If your toothbrush is past it’s best, it’s probably not giving your teeth the clean it needs. And if you are opting for the cheapest toothpaste, it’s likely to not be the healthiest option. However, there are some healthier options available to you for the sake of your oral health. For one thing, you could look at getting a new electric toothpaste. It will ensure all your pearly whites get a good clean when you brush them twice a day. Or you could even opt for a natural toothbrush which you can get from brands like the Miswak Club. The natural toothbrush contains antiseptics that will ensure issues like gum disease and bad breath become a thing of the past!

Breakfast Bars

A lot of people opt for a breakfast bar when they are in a rush in the morning. After all, it saves them time, and it’s something they can consume on the go. And as it’s normally fruit and nut, they think it’s a healthy option. But a lot of these bars actually have as much sugar as regular candy bars. So you might end up having a ton of sugar which is not good for your health! Therefore, always check out the ingredients before picking up one of these bars. You could even make your own instead so you know exactly what is going in the bar!

And despite the fact a lot of people recommend you have fruit juice rather than opting for soda, the sugar content is not that healthy for you. In fact, if you do want to have fruit juice, opt to water it down to ensure it’s healthier, or even go for water instead! After all, as we said before, we don’t have enough of it as it is!

What’re Your Thoughts?

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Things to Know if You Are Planning On Getting Contacts

If you have vision problems, you’ve most likely, at some point, worn glasses. If you remember the first time you put them on, you probably remember how clear the world looked like all of a sudden and how many new things you’ve noticed. But, sometimes they can be a hassle. So, are you thinking about getting contact lenses? Let’s see if they’re the right choice for you!

The Basics

Not everyone should choose contact lenses over glasses. In short, they are recommended for people who have been wearing glasses for a while, and for those who are supposed to wear glasses full-time. If you don’t fit this description, there are still a few exceptions when contacts might be the right thing for you. For example, if you play sports that put you in danger if you are wearing glasses, but you can’t play without them, or if you want to wear contacts just on occasion, when you want to dress up and don’t want to wear your glasses.

What Are Your Options?

There are many types of contact lenses, and you are best off asking your optometrist about your options, because they will be able to tell you exactly what is right for you. To give you an idea what we’re talking about, we’ll list some of the options here. The most commonly used type of contacts are the disposable ones. They can last anywhere from two days, up to a whole month. However, make sure you talk to your doctor and ask them to tell you exactly how long it is safe for you to wear your contacts. If you think that, because you have astigmatism, these contacts won’t be a good choice for you, try out soft lenses. Therefore, don’t worry – if you want to wear contacts, there is definitely an option for you.

Contact Lenses Aren’t Scary

There are many stories and myths about contacts being bad for you, but most of them are absolutely not true. Think a contact can get behind your eye? There is a membrane connected to your eyelids, so that is absolutely impossible. Contacts can get stuck or glued to your eye? A little bit of sterile saline and you’re good to go. They can cause health problems? If you follow your doctor’s instructions, you will have absolutely no problems. Think they will pop out? Modern lenses are soft and follow the shape of your eye completely, so unlike their ancestors, they are very unlikely to pop out.

What Are The Advantages?

There will always be a “glasses or contacts” debate, but to be honest, both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice is completely up to you. Contact lenses require a bit more work, as you need to make sure you have saline on you and be very careful on a windy day, but you can wear them while playing sports or even swimming (under the goggles, of course). On the other hand, glasses can be a stylish accessory and a way to emphasize your unique look. On the other hand, contacts allow you to change the natural color of your eyes, if that’s what you want. Also, don’t think that you have to choose just one, because everyone who wears contacts also has to have a pair of glasses, because your eyes can easily get tired. Visit an optometrist in Sydney or a city near you and make sure you get all the information on what is your best choice.

Whether you choose to wear them occasionally or every day, because of their advantages or just because you don’t like glasses, you can be sure that you’ll find the ones perfect for you.

Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Mind Over Matter

When it comes to getting fit, so many people seem just to be able to up sticks and completely transform their lifestyles without even trying. This gives many of us the impression that good health and fitness simply comes naturally to some of us; meaning that the rest of us are destined to be unfit or overweight forever more.

What a lot of us fail to recognize is that sure, it may seem as though these fitness fanatics can whip themselves into shape at any given moment. But in reality, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.

That girl with the perfectly sculpted shoulders and rock hard abs? Her body could be the result of years of work in an uphill struggle. The point boils down to the fact that if you really want to get fit, you need to work for it. And if you want to work for it, you need to change your mindset. Trying to embark on an aggressive fitness plan with an unhealthy mindset is a complete no-go; it’s a little bit like trying to run a marathon with a sprained ankle. Get your mental health in order, and watch the amazing effect it can have on your physical health too. Here’s the importance of mind over matter.

Change Those ‘I Can’ts’ Into ‘I Can’s’

The number one thing that stops people achieving their fitness goals is believing that they are going to fail. Of course, we do have to be realistic – in some cases, you might indeed fail. But that’s okay. We all fail at things from time to time, but it isn’t an excuse to give up. Instead, make a point of learning from your failure and let it guide you in what to do next. When you stop being so harsh on yourself for not getting things right first time, you will open yourself up to growth and progress.

Erase Any Long-Standing Mental Health Issues

Putting pressure on yourself to excel physically, while ignoring any mental issues you may be struggling with, is only going to catch up with you in the end. If you have been struggling with something such as anxiety, depression, OCD or any other type of mental health problem, visit a clinical psychologist who will be able to help you recover. You would be surprised at how much more motivated you feel to go out and exercise (and not to eat junk food) when you are taking significant steps to improve your mental health.

Cut yourself some slack

One recurring theme in people suffering from mental health issues or body image disorders is that they constantly beat themselves up for veering away from their goals. If this sounds like you, the important thing to remember is that we are all only human. Even the fittest people in the world have the odd ‘cheat day‘ every now and again, after all. Eating a few slices of pizza is not going to undo all your hard work in one sitting; so don’t spend time dwelling on the things that don’t really matter.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Protecting Against Preventable Illnesses

As humans we’re generally pretty robust, but things can still go wrong in a very bad way. Being such complex creatures allows us to do everything we can, however it also means there are so many different things that can stop functioning as they should. There are diseases we can develop or catch, and all kinds of other problems. While you shouldn’t fret about your health, you should still take steps to look after it. By doing so, you avoid all kinds of preventable illnesses and are more likely to go on and live a long happy and healthy life. Here are just a few of the preventable illnesses a proper lifestyle will help you to avoid.

Cancer

With good health care meaning, we’re now living longer than ever, it’s now estimated that one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime. While the majority of these are in much older patients, cancer doesn’t discriminate and affects people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Of course, not all cancers are preventable, and many occur seemingly out of the blue and due to nothing that the person has done wrong. However there are an awful lot of cancers caused by lifestyle choices too.

Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not eating the right foods, even working shift patterns can all contribute to certain cancers. Making a conscious effort to live well and look after our bodies can help to prevent many of these. Eat a diet with plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats to keep it nourished and running like a finely tuned machine. Exercise to keep it lean and strong, protect your skin from the sun and avoid toxins and chemicals as much as possible. You’re never going to be able to be 100% perfect, but taking steps to live in a healthy way will certainly prevent and protect against a wide range of cancers.

Cancer has a devastating effect on lives, once diagnosed you are likely to need radiation therapy and chemotherapy which can be hard on the body. Depending on the type of cancer you might need surgery too, for example, a facial tumor would need to be treated by a specialist such as DrAllison.org. Cervical or ovarian cancer could result in a hysterectomy surgery, or breast cancer, a mastectomy. The key to successfully avoiding certain cancers is to attend all of the screenings you’re invited to. These allow any changes to be picked up early where they’re in the most treatable stages.

Type Two Diabetes

In type two diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. As a result of this, glucose isn’t utilised by the body as fuel and instead stays in the blood. It causes all kinds of problems, from uncomfortable symptoms to life-changing conditions such as blindness and infections in the feet that can lead to needing amputations. Staying at a healthy weight, eating the right foods and exercise can all help to protect you against type two diabetes. It’s more common in certain groups of people: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It’s more likely to occur as you get older, and most importantly occurs most in those who are obese. Keeping your weight in check is incredibly important, you can’t change your age or ethnicity but you have control over this so take advantage of that.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, accounting for almost one in four deaths. The scariest thing is, it’s a preventable illness. Heart failure, stroke, angina, cardiac arrest and hypertension are just a few of the illnesses in the category of heart disease. They mainly occur due to fatty deposits in the arteries around the heart. They’re made up of cholesterol and waste substances, and restrict the flow of blood to the heart. Smoking and eating the wrong foods can contribute to this, as well as other diseases such as diabetes. Again, simply living a healthy life where you eat the right foods and do enough exercise are enough to protect you. Give up smoking and look after your body.

Osteoporosis

Once believed to be an inevitable part of growing old, research has now shown that osteoporosis is largely avoidable. Osteoporosis occurs when the bone loses density quicker than it’s replaced. This leads to weak and brittle bones, which can cause painful fractures very easily and in many cases a broken hip which can be fatal. Living healthily throughout your life, ensuring you get enough calcium and regular exercise will help to build up your bones.

Obesity Related Issues

As well as cancers, heart disease and diabetes, there are other obesity related issues that can be completely avoided with a good diet and exercise. Musco-skeletal problems such as back, hip, knee and foot issues can occur when you’re carrying too much weight for your frame. This can be disabling in some cases and create a vicious cycle where you’re unable to exercise and therefore gain more weight.

It can also cause sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing periodically in the night. This can lead to disturbed sleep and further health problems, particularly with the heart. It can lead to fertility issues, gallstones, and if you have a negative body image then mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression too. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it to ensure you’re getting enough exercise. Stick to a food diary to track your macros to stop you from underestimating your food intake. If you have ongoing issues with your weight, try speaking to your GP. They will be able to refer you to a nutritionist or dietician and provide invaluable advice on getting on track.

What’re Your Thoughts

When your body is strong and healthy, you keep it functioning well, and also boost your immune system to give you better defences against disease. Follow common sense health advice, and don’t wait until things start going wrong before making a change!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Why It’s Important to Listen To Your Body

Taking care of your body when you are exercising should be your top priority. Without the body there to do the job, you can’t focus your energy into what you enjoy/is good for you. From eating the right food to listening to what your body is wanting and needing, it can be a pretty tough gig to constantly follow up everything that is happening. But there are some things that you may not be noticing with your body that could be a sign of something more meaningful and important going on. Here’s why it’s important to listen to your body.

Sleep

If you’re not feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep, you probably aren’t getting the amount of hours that you need. Although the recommended is a solid 8 hours, there are few people who can actually achieve this – we wake ourselves up more so than we should by looking at our smartphones in the middle of the night to check the time, or stresses and worries can start to creep upon us. Think about when the last time you slept through solidly was. If you can’t remember, it may be time to start going to bed earlier to try and get your 8 hours in. Another cause of feeling tired and restless when you wake up is sleep apnoea. This can come in two forms – obstructive and central – and it restricts your breathing so that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while it is trying to rest. A simple sleep test will be able to determine whether or not you have it.

Heart Health

Most people aren’t aware of their heart rate and how fast it is meant to beat – it’s usually between 60 to 100 beats per minute, with a rise considered for exercise. It can be hard to constantly keep a check of your ticker, but if you feel like it’s not working as it should be it’s time to get it checked out before it’s too late. Even an irregular heartbeat can be a sign of something more serious; atrial fibrillation, or afib for short, is a condition that is brought on by a malfunction of the electrical system to your heart. Looking up afib information online is easy and can help massively with keeping you alert to the sign and symptoms of it.

Limbs

Pain in your arms and legs during or after exercise is commonly associated with going a bit too hard on your work out, but if it’s lasting any time longer than it should (a couple of days at the most), and you are feeling completely exhausted by what you have done, it could be a sign of adrenal fatigue. The best thing you can do is head to a doctor to get diagnosed and make sure that you’re not suffering more than you should be.

What’re Your Thoughts

Taking care of your body is of the utmost important, but it’s hard to do it unless you’re really considering the signs and symptoms it is offering to you. If you’re feeling unwell or unusual, don’t consider it as a one-off – get it checked out.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Is a Good Night’s Sleep Critical for a Healthy Life

The answer to that question is yes. Sleep has a very vital role in our lives and is an important requirement for our mental, physical and general well-being. It not only rejuvenates and revitalizes our body but also improves our cognitive functions and strengthens our memory. It affects your life quality plays a very crucial role in life safety.

Your day depends a lot on the quality and duration of your sleep. Your ability to work, feel and behave are all dependent on the quality and duration of your Zzzz’s. Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide(1), depression(2) and anxiety. Continuous sleep deprivation has also been linked to chronic health problems.

Weight Gain

Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can affect your satiety centre and cause you to gain weight. You are more likely to overindulge if you are sleep deprived. Getting a proper 8-hour sleep will ensure you take in fewer calories.

Productivity Issues

It is a no brainer that less sleep equals to less productivity. Not only that, sleep deprivation also causes the inability to think, react and concentrate. It affects your mood and mental health severely and may lead to poor decision-making skills.

Higher Risk of Cardiac Diseases

Patients who suffer from sleep apnea often end up having heart problems. When a person does not get the required amount of sleep, the body releases certain chemicals which keep the body from lowering its blood pressure and heart rate. If sleep deprivation becomes a regular thing, high blood pressure during the day becomes common and can easily lead to cardiovascular issues.

Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the human body is unable to break down sugar properly. This causes a starvation of your cells for energy since it is not getting energy through glucose. When the quality of your sleep is poor or you are sleep deprived, your body requires more insulin in order to maintain normal glucose levels. Sleep deprivation affects the body’s stress-control centre and causes hormonal imbalances which lead to problems in the regulation of glucose. When sleeplessness becomes a habit, the insulin producing cells stop proper functioning and give rise to elevated blood glucose levels which can cause diabetes. So, that late night chocolate cravings are not to be tended to if you want to continue eating sweet things later on in life!

Depression

Insomnia is a common occurrence among the depressed patients. People who have issues falling asleep, staying asleep or getting quality sleep are at a higher risk of developing depression as compared to those who get quality sleep(3). Sleep apnea has also been observed to cause depression.

Weak Immune System

Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality also weakens the immune system. Hence, sleep deprived individuals are more likely to catch a flu or fever. The human body produces proteins called cytokines that are released by the immune system to promote sleep. When you have an infection or inflammation or are under a lot of stress, some of these cytokines increase. Sleep deprivation causes the production of these cytokines to decrease. It also causes the infection fighting antibodies to decrease in number, thus weakening the human immune system and making the body vulnerable to common diseases.

Emotional Instability

Feeling irritated and emotionally unstable after a sleep deprived night is not uncommon. Recent studies have shown that a sleep deprived mind loses its ability to think rationally. A sleep deprived brain starts exhibiting primitive behaviour and regresses in its ability to think rationally and logically. Hence, the emotions start running amok.

Many psychiatric disorders that involve emotions are related to sleep deprivation. Abnormal patterns of sleep can cause mental instability. A good night’s sleep is very important to maintain a healthy mind and keep your emotions in check. Instead of going for anti-depressants or other drugs, go for a good night’s sleep and this may just be the simplest cure for your emotional and mental behaviour to get back to normal.

Safety!

Sleep deprivation can quite critically affect your life directly too. Sleep deprived individuals are at a higher risk for accidents on the road or at work. There have been many cases of fatal road accidents when sleep deprived individuals dozed off while driving.

The normal adults require a minimum of 8 hours sleep to lead a healthy life. Getting less than 8 hours can contribute to a great deal of physical as well as mental issues. A lot of people are not aware of the dangers of getting less sleep. They may think that they can function properly after getting only a few hours of sleep but if sleep deprivation becomes a habit, it can take its toll on the person’s health and safety in a horrible way. Your body and your immune system depend greatly on sleep. So, change into your Pj’s, turn off the lights and hit the bed for some Zzzz’s so that you can make sure you live a healthy and fuller life.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133759
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16259539
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16335332&ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Read Eugene’s latest post on sleep and bedroom designs.

Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology. He has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully.

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