Category: Stress

A man helping a woman through an obstacle during a team building exercise.

How Helping Others can Reduce Stress and Improve Mood

You may have heard at some point or another that helping others is a reward in itself, but there may be more truth to that than we previously realized. Studies show that helping others can actually be beneficial to ourselves as well. One such study, entitled “Prosocial Behavior Mitigates the Stress in Everyday Life,” reveals that doing something nice for others can lower our overall stress levels. Published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the study assessed participants’ stress levels and “prosocial behavior” via text message prompting. In other words, the test subjects received a text which prompted them to record the day’s stresses as well as the kind acts they bestowed on others. This included holding a door open for someone or asking others if they needed assistance. They then rated their emotions both positive and negative, and assessed their overall mental health for the day.

Not surprisingly, days that are more stressful tend to take a greater toll on our mental health and our emotions. However, the study found that individuals who tend to do more for others tend to have better mental health and more positive emotions. This poses the question of what exactly is the best thing to do when we’re having a bad day? As it turns out, the quality of our day may vary depending on how we improve the days of others. This doesn’t mean neglecting ourselves, of course, but rather including others in our daily awareness. Alternatively, if we decrease our prosocial behaviors on days that we’re experiencing a lot of stress, we are more likely to experience negative thoughts and emotions, whereas if we increase our prosocial behavior on these days, we are more likely to have significantly reduced negative symptoms.

Five Ways Helping Others Improves Quality of Life

1. Distraction

Perhaps the most obvious reason for why prosocial behavior may benefit our overall mental health and mood is that it provides a much needed reprieve from the day’s stresses. When we’re focused on our own stress, we end up becoming preoccupied with what is “wrong” with our lives. When we reach out to help someone else, we are going to be less fixated on our own troubles, which means less feelings of stress.

2. Oxytocin Activation

The authors also theorize that prosocial behavior can initiate the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is involved in our feelings of trust and bonding with others, which can help counteract our negative emotions.

3. It Gives Life Greater Meaning

Positive social interactions with others can help us put our lives into perspective. One way it does this is by reminding us of what many of us value most in our lives – meaningful relationships with others whom we work with towards a shared goal. In other words, when we work with others and help each other we remind ourselves that life is more than just a day’s struggles, but rather a greater collection of experiences that we all share. Thus, it is important to work with each other to help make those experiences worthwhile.

4. Increasing Dopamine

As we’ve discussed previously, dopamine is the feel-good hormone we crave. Dopamine is normally released in response to reward-based activities such as sex or winning a game. However, the researchers found that there appears to be something inherently rewarding about being kind to others. In this way, this prosocial behavior becomes its own kind of reward-based activity, from which we enjoy the effects of dopamine.

5. Decreasing the Activity of the Sympathetic Nervous System

Many of us are familiar with how stress can activate our fight-or-flight response. When we’re stressed, we may be more inclined to panic. Stress can heighten anxiety as well as worsen the existing symptoms of depression. The researchers explain that the fight-or-flight response, however, is actually the result of stress being a part of the sympathetic nervous system.

What this means is that this system readies our bodies and minds to deal with stress and this is the response it can create. That being said, they point out that according to their findings, showing compassion can actually reduce our stress response. The same is true for expressing affection. It is for this reason that helping others can actually affect our body’s direct physiological response to stressful experiences.

In essence, when we feel stressed we tend to easily fall into an all-consuming negative mindset, in which we become less attuned to those around us. Consequently, we may find ourselves falling into a negative spiral. One way to avoid this path is to open up to responding to the needs of others. This can help reduce the likelihood of lashing out or hurting others because we are feeling hurt. Therapy can be a good way to learn techniques which can help us open up more, even in times of stress. Through this, we can begin to improve how we communicate with others, which, in turn, will improve how we are spoken to and treated as well. All of these things can and will contribute to a better mood and better overall mental health.

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A paper heart ripped in two pieces, hanging from a line by clothes pins.

How Stress and Love Impact Heart Health

Stress isn’t just a mental experience: it is an experience which encompasses the whole body. When we feel stressed, we aren’t merely thinking of stressful things, our palms sweat, our breaths become more shallow, our eyes may struggle to stay focused, and our hearts beat what feels like a million miles per minute. Knowing this, it’s not surprising that stress can have a strong impact on the heart and heart health. In fact, according to research released by Harvard University, “There’s no question that stress can exert real physiologic effects on the body—including the heart. This is most true in the case of severe and sudden (acute) stress.” They explain that this is the kind of stress that most often follows immediate traumatic news – like the death of a loved one. Not only do circumstances such as these cause extreme anxiety, but, in rare cases, they have been known to cause a heart attack.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Known as “broken heart syndrome,” this phenomenon of heart attacks being triggered by stress is more common among women than men, but can potentially affect both sexes. However, while broken heart syndrome can sometimes result from severe and acute stress, the data regarding the connection between daily stress and cardiovascular disease isn’t as well defined. That being said, Dr. Deepak Bhatt, who serves as director of the Integrated Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, believes that “Stress does cause some people to act in ways that increase their risk for heart disease.”

Sometimes the correlation is as simple as knowing that individuals who are experiencing stress might be more likely to turn to “comfort foods” which are usually unhealthy and can contribute to artery damage. In this way, stress can cause heart disease by establishing several pathways which can increase our risk. But new research shows that the relationship between stress and our heart health may be more intensive than we previously realized.

A Deeper Connection Between Our Minds and Our Hearts Revealed

Rosemary K.M. Sword is a counselor and Time Perspective Therapist who works in a private practice in Maui. Her practice is based on Dr. Zimbardo’s Temporal Theory which has been known to help individuals (especially those with PTSD) alter the ways in which they think about their past traumatic experiences, enabling them to break free from their present fatalistic mindset so that they can learn to focus on a more positive future. Dr. Philip Zimbardo, himself, has been often referred to as the “voice of contemporary psychology.” Perhaps best known for his famous Stanford Prison Experiment, Dr. Zimbardo has received numerous awards and worldwide acclaim for his work in the field of psychological research, including receiving the prestigious Gold Medal in Science Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2012.

From their research on stress and how it affects the heart , Dr. Zimbardo and Sword reveal that they “discovered that just like the brain in our cranium has left and right hemispheres, our heart has a brain comprised of two nodes.” The term “heart brain” which fittingly describes this phenomenon was first introduced in 1991 by Dr. J. Andrew Armour who believed that the complex nervous system in the heart qualified it as a “little brain” of sorts. However, the heart’s “brain” may be more intricate than previously assumed. According to Dr. Zimbardo and Sword, “The heart is much more than just a pump; it conducts the cellular symphony that is the very essence of our being. And the heart has a memory stored in its muscles, just like our brain stores our daily experiences.”

Research conducted by HeartMath Institute shows that the heart actually sends more information to the brain than the brain to the heart. The rhythms of our hearts can affect our perceptions and how we process information. In this way, the signals sent to the brain from our hearts can actually influence our emotional experiences. They explain that “HeartMath research confirms that negative emotions can create nervous system chaos, while positive emotions will have the opposite soothing effect. Most significantly, we can boost our immune system functioning and create physiological benefits by focusing our vision on positive emotions.” This relationship might provoke the question similar to that of “which came first?,” however Dr. Zimbardo and Sword argue that there is no contest between the influence of the heart and the brain, but rather both are integral to our human physiological and psychological experience.

That being said, because of the intricate systems within the heart that can both respond to and influence our brains, Dr. Zimbardo and Sword have found that our heart can essentially remember things. They’ve find that in the majority of cases, heart attacks don’t “just happen,” they’re the accumulation of years of stress that the heart effectively remembers. Hypertension, then, is a muscle memory of the heart being stuck in past negatives that were stressful. When the heart has stored enough stress in its memory, it can respond in a painful, and sometimes even fatal way.

Understanding Positive Stress and Negative Stress

It’s important to remember, though, when discussing stress, that not everyone experiences stress in the same way. Stress can be defined as anything that causes a state of emotional strain or tension, and, believe it or not, this can be positive as well as negative. For example, when surprised with a party, some people might react elatedly or with panic, but either experience can be defined as stress depending on how either emotional state impacts the individual emotionally, mentally, and physically. Similarly, put into a positive context, some stress can motivate us to accomplish things, like studying for a test or meeting a deadline. This stress can result in positive feelings once the task is completed, and can ultimately lead to greater happiness through increased productivity.

Conversely, negative stress can result from harmful situations such as when we are bullied or are forced to endure conditions which make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe. While we might try to act normally and resume our lives seemingly unimpeded, we are actually straining ourselves and our relationships as a result of this stress. This stress can negatively impact our decisions and behaviors, and can ultimately lead to increased hypertension and high blood pressure, which can affect how our blood clots. This is what leads to heart attacks.

Stress can impact our heart by changing how we interact and even empathize with others. When feeling stressed, we may be less likely to relate to outside experiences, making us seem cold and uncaring, when in reality we are simply overwhelmed with our own emotional experiences. But how can we fix this and reduce the impact stress has not only on our social well-being but our physical and mental one, as well? Dr. Zimbardo and Sword suggest learning “simple self-soothing behaviors that don’t cost us anything but a thought and a little time – like conscious breathing,meditation, or taking a walk.” These coping methods, they believe, can restore a sense of control and thus counteract the overreaction of our heart’s muscle memory which contributes to hypertension and prematurely wears out our hearts. They explain that “Conscientiousness is the only predictor of longevity. By becoming more conscious of how we react during stressful situations and taking action to calm ourselves when we are stressed out, we can gain the strength we need to carry on.”

Because of this, we must, even in times of stress, learn to offer help to those in need, thereby counteracting the egocentric tendencies of stress with sociocentric tendencies. A good source of help during times of stress can be a therapist or counselor, whose role is to work with the individual to recognize the sources of their client’s stress and address those, thereby reducing the amount of stress experienced. In this way, we find that the true enemy of stress, and of stress-induced heart problems, is collaborative effort, and positivity-based productivity. These things can be essential in combating the catastrophic thoughts and feelings often provoked by stress, and protecting the individual from the negative, and sometimes fatal results.

What You Don’t Know Acid Reflux and Antacids

Chances are you’re no stranger to the stresses of daily life. Because of it, many of us may be accustomed to that burning sensation in our chests that we may have come to associate with stress. But is heartburn really caused by stress? Antacids are seemingly a quick and easy fix for the discomfort but could they actually be bad for you? Recent studies are shedding new light not only on how we understand heartburn, but also how we treat it.

What Exactly is Heartburn?

First, let’s take a look at what heartburn is: scientifically speaking, what we identify as heartburn is most commonly a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux, formally known as Gastroesophageal Reflux, occurs when stomach acid is regurgitated into the esophagus. This causes a burning sensation which might feel like it’s coming from one’s heart. What is actually happening is your food pipe and stomach are almost working backwards. Rather than just accepting food sent down, the stomach is sending stomach acid back up. Because of the close association, many people like to use the terms heartburn and acid reflux interchangeably. In reality, the former is really a symptom of the latter.

Causes of Acid Reflux & Heartburn

But what causes acid reflux? For many, acid reflux is only occasional and is usually the result of some kind of food or drink which doesn’t really sit well with their stomachs. The lower esophageal sphincter, which is supposed to close completely once food passes from the esophagus to the stomach, doesn’t close all the way or opens too frequently. A potential physical trigger for this can be laying down or bending over at the waist too soon after eating, which can cause stomach acid to rise up as the body is still digesting. Acid reflux is more likely to occur after a large meal, especially one high in fat, spice, or contains any of the following ingredients: chocolate, garlic, mint, tomato, onions, or citrus. Acid reflux can also potentially be triggered by the consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

Regular Heartburn Might Mean More Serious Problems

However, for those of us who have more than the occasional bout of heartburn, the cause may go beyond dietary habits. Recurrent acid reflux is classified as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or NIDDK, GERD is a “more serious and long-lasting form of GER.” The NIDDK also states that “GER that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks could be GERD. GERD can lead to more serious health problems over time.” It is worth noting that people of all ages can have GERD, some for unknown reasons, but the risk is higher if you’re overweight or obese, pregnant, taking certain medications which may contribute to frequent acid reflux, or are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Another potential cause is a hiatal hernia which can cause the upper part of the stomach to push up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity which can potentially lead to GERD.

How Stress and Acid Reflux Are Connected

But the question remains: can stress cause acid reflux or GERD? The answer is most likely not. Studies have shown that many people who report feelings of heartburn while stressed aren’t experiencing any increase in stomach acid production or reflux. So what is this feeling? While not producing excess amounts of stomach acid, people under stress may in fact be more sensitive to small amounts of acid in the esophagus. This is because stress tends to make people more sensitive and receptive to physical discomfort in general. So when you’re stressed you’re more likely to notice slight changes in acid production you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Further, stress can cause a depletion in the production of prostaglandins which are supposed to protect the stomach from the effects of its own acid. This can contribute to increased sensitivity to stomach acid which produces feelings similar to what we call heartburn.

Treating Heartburn and Acid Reflux

So how can we treat heartburn? For most of us, the solution is a trusty antacid. But recent studies reveal that antacids may be more of a problem than a solution. These findings show that adults using certain antacids known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are 16-21% more likely to have a heart attack than those not using the antacid. Medical News Today reports that “In 2009, they were the third most taken type of drug in the US, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates 1 in 14 Americans have used them. Over time, however, experts have begun to question the safety of the drug.” Initially, it was believed that PPIs were only risky to those with existing coronary artery disease, since the use of the antiplatelet drug Clopidogrel was likely to interact poorly with a PPI. However, the risk is now believed to extend further to all usage of PPIs. Tests conducted to determine the risk of PPIs on patients with no prior history of heart disease have revealed that they may very well be put at an increased risk.

It is worth noting that antacids containing the suffix “prazole”, like Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are part of this class of PPIs under investigation. While currently their future is unclear, Dr. Nicholas Leeper, a vascular medicine specialist at Stanford explains that “Our report raises concerns that these drugs – which are available over the counter and are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world – may not be as safe as we previously assumed.” According to Nigam H. Shah, professor of biomedical informatics at Stanford, “By looking at data from people who were given PPI drugs primarily for acid reflux and had no prior history of heart disease, our data-mining pipeline signals an association with a higher rate of heart attacks” However, Shah reports no such increased risk identifiable in patients treated with H2 blockers, another type of antacid. More studies are needed to confirm whether or not PPIs are in fact dangerous to the larger population, but these initial results encourage caution. The question is thus raised across the medical community of whether PPIs will continue to be a safe method of addressing various conditions including GERD.

Giving Up Complaining For A More Positive Life

Everyone is going to do a bit of complaining now and again.  A lot of the time, we do not even really realize that we are doing it.  According to the research, in an average conversation we complain approximately once every minute. But is giving up complaining even possible? Trevor Blake, author of Three Simple Steps says that there is a social reason for this.  “Nothing unites people more strongly than a common dislike.  The easiest way to build friendship and communicate is through something negative.”

Giving Up Complaining May Not Be So Easily Done

While complaining clearly serves a purpose, it can come at a price.  When we complain, our brains release stress hormones that can do damage to the neural connections of the brain that are responsible for problem solving and other cognitive functions.  These same things also occur when someone else is complaining to us.  While there is a time and place for complaining and studies have shown that bottling emotions up for too long can have detrimental effects too, there have been movements recently to keep complaining at bay.

Four Paths To A More Positive (Complaint-Free) Life

A recent project called Complain Restraint asked anyone who signed up to go a month without complaining.  The goal of the project is to create a more positive life.  There are a few ways that you can start to think about having more positivity in your life.

1. Create a definition for complaining and figure out how much you do it.

What is a complaint really?  When you point out that it is hot outside that is an observation.  When you inject how you feel about the fact that it is hot outside, that can be a complaint.  Making a conscious effort to notice when you start to complain can be enough to make a big difference in how you interact with people.  It is possible that you will be shocked at the sheer number of complaints that you and the people to whom you are talking share in an average conversation.  Awareness is the first step to changing your behaviors.

2. Start turning complaints into positive statements and solutions.

Jon Gordon, author of The No Complaining Rule, said “If you find yourself griping, add a ‘but’ and say something positive.”  For example, “I don’t like driving to work, but I’m thankful at least I can drive and I even have a job,” or “I had a really difficult day today, but I am happy that it is over, and I can start fresh tomorrow.”  Even just thinking a positive statement along with a negative statement can change your mood.

3. Gordon also recommends changing “Have to” to “Get to”

“I have to let out my neighbors’ dog.”  “I have to throw a baby shower for my sister.”  “I have to go home and cook dinner for my family.”  Sometimes these little obligations can seem like such annoyances or inconveniences.  But if you treat them like you “get to” do them rather than “have to” do them, you might find that you are able to look at them more positively.  The difference between “I have to call my grandmother today,” and “I get to call my grandmother today,” is more than just one word.

4. Remove chronic complainers from your life.

Once you start to think about complaining and how often you do it and how it effects your mood, you may start to notice how much the people around you complain.  You are going to notice which of your friends only wants to talk about the problems she is having with her job or his partner or their children.  The first step with these kinds of people is to try to respond with some positive.  Blake said, “You’ve really gotta be quite brave and confident and have the courage not to need the good opinion of another person… You find over a period of time those people who complain constantly start to leave you alone because their brains are not getting that stimulus they’re looking for.”

You can make a big difference in your life and your outlook by doing your best to stop the cycle of complaining.  You are going to slip along the way, but if you give it your best effort, it can really make a difference in your mental landscape.

7 Easy Techniques for Dealing with Anger and Stress

Managing anger is something that most inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are going to need help with.  Managing anger is something we could all use help with now and again.  Most commonly, anger is dealt with in two ways – repressively and aggressively.  Some people cannot deal with anger so they push it aside and ignore it, while others deal with it immediately many times with immediate disrespect or violence.  By offering trainings in anger management, inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are being equipped with the coping skills necessary to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Here are some of the techniques that are being learned by recovering addicts everywhere.

1. Take Deep Breaths

This may seem rather simple, but taking deep breaths lowers the heart rate and tells the body that it is calm and relaxed.  By taking slow and calculated deep breaths where you focus more on the exhale than the inhale, you are forcing your mind back to the logical from the emotional.  Counting during breathing can help you to stay focused.  First, try to make your exhales and inhales the same counts.  Then, try to make your exhales one count longer than your inhales.  Then try for two counts longer.  This technique is about focusing your energy on something other than your anger.

2. Walk Away

Teaching a client to take him or herself out of a stressful environment, may be the most helpful thing to teach.  If you remove yourself from a stressful situation by taking a short walk or simply leaving the room to get some air, you may return with a better understanding of how to approach a problem or how to address the situation.  Taking a walk can be a great lead into the next way of dealing with some of your anger and stress issues.

3. Get a Little Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and often helps people think. Exercise gives the rest of the body something to do while the mind focuses on dealing with the situation at hand.  Since endorphins released during exercise tend to make people happier, it might be easier to deal with an anger issue after exercise.  Getting some exercise is also great for your body.  There is nothing better you can do for your overall health than move around.

4. Count to 10

Again, this technique is rather simple, but it gives you a chance to think the situation through without reacting immediately and causing further damage.  Counting to ten and focusing on processing the situation may make the immediate anger dissipate and a more useful solution present itself.  Counting to 10 gives you a chance take a moment before you say something in anger or stress that you are going to regret.

5. Use “I” Statements

When you are ready to deal with a situation, use of “I” statements rather than “you” statements.  Using “I” statements such as “I feel…”, “I will…”, and “I am…” puts the focus of the conversation on how you are feeling and on the solution rather than making it feel accusatory.  Statements like “You are…” or “You did…” are placing blame and setting the situation up for failure.  Be respectful and specific.

6. Do Not Hold a Grudge

Forgiveness is a very powerful tool.  If you allow your anger and your stress to crowd out your positive feelings, you may find that eventually you end up feeling bitter and unhappy all the time.  Making an effort to forgive someone who has made you angry could be a lesson for both of you.  It is not realistic to believe that everyone is going to behave in ways that you think they should all the time.  So be the bigger person and recognize if the difficulty is something you can deal with internally.

7. Know When to Ask for Help

If you are trying some of these techniques on your own and you do not feel like you are getting very far, you may want to ask for some help.  Take your anger and stress issues to your therapist or your treatment team.  They may have some suggestions for you about what you can do to tame some of your biggest issues.

Eight Medical Conditions Caused By Excess Stress

According to Dr. Jay Winner the author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and the director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, CA, “Stress doesn’t only make us feel awful emotionally.  It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”  That is yet another thing to feel stresses out about.  In recent years, research has found that there are many health problems that can be attributed to stress.  Chronic stress has been shown to increase the risks of a number of typical health difficulties.

  1. Gastrointestinal Distress and Difficulty – Despite the common misconception, stress does not cause ulcers. It does, however, make them worse.  Stress has been known to be a common factor in many GI conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic heartburn, and acid reflux.

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease – According the WebMD, one study into Alzheimer’s disease found that stress may have worsened the lesions on the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. Stress may have caused them to grow faster in the brains of the animals studied.  This information lead to speculation that reduced stress may slow the progression of the disease.

  1. Diabetes – Stress increases the glucose levels in the body. Adrenaline cortisol is released during moments of stress.  This release causes a burst of glucose to be released into the blood as well.  The glucose is the body’s natural way of preparing for the energy needed in a moment of crisis.  The excess glucose can cause a variety of problems for people who live with diabetes.

  1. Obesity – The above mentioned increased levels of glucose and adrenaline cortisol increase the amount of fat stored in the body. Storing too much fat increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Stress also puts you at a higher risk for obesity because it often prompts comfort eating.  Comfort eating generally includes food items that are packed with unhealthy fats and sugars.

  1. Heart Disease – It is not known exactly why people who live with chronic stress are also at a higher risk for heart disease through there is speculation. Stress increases blood flow and heart rate.  It also causes triglycerides and cholesterol to be released into the blood stream.  It is known that sudden emotional stress can trigger a heart attack or other serious cardiac problem.  People with heart problems are advised to avoid sudden stress and learn tools for dealing with the unavoidable stresses of life in a healthy way.

  1. Asthma – Some studies have suggested that a parent’s chronic stress can influence the risk of his or her child developing asthma. A recent study indicated that children who had stressed out parents and were also exposed to air pollution or smoking in the womb were much more likely to develop asthma than those children who were only exposed to pollution or smoking.  Stress can lead to shortness of breath in adults which can trigger an asthma attack.

  1. Depression – It is likely to be no surprise that stress and depression are linked. Stress can cause the brain to produce less of the neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Since the body is producing more cortisol, the natural patterns of the body such as mood, energy, and sleep can be disrupted.  Chronic stress also leads to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol which can lead to depression as well.  According to WebMD, several recent studies observed that people with stress relating to their work such as a demanding job with very few rewards are 80% more likely to develop depression than people with lower stress jobs.

  1. Memory Difficulties – As mentioned above, the body produces excess amount of the hormone cortisol when under stress, and cortisol interferes with the production of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters that are affected are also those that are responsible for retrieving memories.  Stress sends the glucose that is usually meant to be in the brain to other areas of the body in preparation for a fight or flight response.  This glucose is meant to aid the hippocampus in the formation of new memories.  Also, excessive cortisol in the brain for an extended period of time leads to the degradation of the hippocampus.

Relieving stress is the easiest way to fight off some of these health issues before they get too far.  Practice relaxation and deep breathing.  Yoga, meditation, and general exercise are great for stress relief.  Take some time to figure out what the things are that are going to make you feel your best and stay in optimum health for the longest period of time.

How To Improve Your Sleep?

We hear it all the time.  “Have a good night.. Sweet dreams..” and the list goes on.  But knowing that it takes the average person about 7 minutes to fall asleep if it is taking you 20 minutes or more you clearly have a sleep problem and have wondered about how to Improve Your Sleep.  Doctors call this early insomnia, because it is a sleep problem that occurs early during the sleep cycle, right at the beginning, in fact.  If this is occurring you want to Improve Your Sleep.  This is as opposed to middle insomnia (waking up in the middle of the night and you can’t go back to sleep) or late insomnia (waking up much earlier than you want to).  Early insomnia is often a sign of anxiety with middle and late insomnia being signs of depression.  Regardless, though, you want to Improve Your Sleep and there is something you can do to help yourself.  Maintaining good sleep hygiene is how you Improve Your Sleep!  But how do you do that?

Tips To Improve Your Sleep

  • Avoid Smoking
  • Try Not To Force Sleep
  • Don’t Go To Bed Hungry
  • Avoid Alcohol Near Bedtime
  • Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
  • Avoid Caffeinated Beverages After Lunch
  • Resolve Concerns With Worries Before Bedtime
  • Adjust Your Bedroom Environment To Decrease Stimuli
  • Sleep As Much As Needed To Feel Rested And Then Get Out Of Bed

There are very important reasons for all these tips in the process to Improve Your Sleep.  If you have followed the process to Improve Your Sleep and are still struggling give us a call.  We are here to help!  However, suffice it to say that if you follow these tips to  Improve Your Sleep you will have better and more restful sleep.  So good night, and sweet dreams to all.

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