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Caffeine and Other Impediments to Sleep

Ensure that when you go to bed, your sleep time is protected

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Based on a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, you need to be cautious as to when you stop consuming caffeine. Even a full six hours before retiring could put you at risk of having your sleep time reduced by one hour. So, it is prudent to avoid caffeine after 5 pm, however, after 4 pm or 3 pm is better!

If you’ve been on caffeine for so long, and you’re worried that by 3 pm you might experience an afternoon slump, engage in some kind of exercise, if only for 10 minutes.

Research published in Physiology and Behavior indicates that walking around the block, climbing stairs, and similar activities can boost your energy level, more so than a low dose of caffeine contained in a cup of green or black tea.

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Avoid alcohol in the evening. Alcohol will induce sleep quickly, then dehydrates your body and wakes you up before you are due. You then have trouble getting back to sleep. Your sleep time is reduced, and your sleep quality is poor.

Disrupted R.E.M.s

You’ve probably heard that R.E.M.s (rapid eye movements) are a crucial part of your sleep cycle. To ensure that your sleep time benefits are maximized, heed the following: don’t sleep with your head by a phone – remove it from your bedroom.

Many people sleep with their heads by phones because they’re concerned about the one possible call in fifteen years where they might have to arise at 3:00 am. Stop this! You cannot do much at that hour. You’ll be better off with sound sleep each night.

When you read in bed, do so only to induce drowsiness, but don’t overdo this. It’s important to make your bed and bedroom for sleeping (and, of course, sex) only.

Don’t set up your bedroom as a command station with your CD player and TV to reinforce the notion that it is a place for anything but sleep.

Eating and Drinking and Exercising

In your quest for good sleep,  eat your meals at the same time every day to maintain your circadian rhythm, regulate your metabolism, and get good sleep that night. Your body seeks regularity, and eating on schedule is a huge boost. It also helps to have a three-hour window between the last time you ate and when you go to bed.

During the day, undertake some type of exercise that elevates your heart rate so that you have a better time drifting off at night. As long as it’s not close to bedtime, the time of day is not critical.

Regardless, exercise is definitely an antidote to stress, helping to keep you calm. Hence, you drift off more easily upon retiring.

What about evening exercise? Moderate exercise a couple hours before sleep does aid sound sleep, but don’t exercise right before retiring. Also, moderate intake of proteins a little before retiring, such as a glass of milk, can help you attain restful sleep.

Bathe or Shower to Help Induce Sleep

Doctoral researchers at the University of Texas, in Biomedical Engineering reviewed a staggering 5,322 studies, contained in scientific and medical databases, to arrive at the following conclusion and they published their analysis in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Review:

The ideal time to take a bath or a shower, to help induce sleep, is one to two hours before retiring. As such, you help to cool down the body and improve blood circulation all the way to the extremities, including your feet and hands.

Medical News Today indicates that a warm bath or shower enhances your temperature-related circadian rhythm, which helps people to fall asleep more quickly and easily and improves their sleep quality. Your bath or shower need not take more than 10 minutes.

Get Up If You Can’t Sleep

Don’t fret if you fail to fall asleep right away. You might need a couple minutes or more to relax. After 30 consecutive minutes of restlessness, get up and do something until you’re tired again.

When you sleep too little, or are awakened at random times, your deep sleep pattern is disrupted, and hence even eight hours might not yield the benefits of a solid eight hours of sleep. All of which means you need to ensure that when you go to bed, your sleep time is protected!

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Faith

WOW. Grab the Kleenex and Watch this Girl Sing!

Simon Cowell gives Nightbirde the Golden Buzzer

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WOW. Grab the Kleenex and Watch this Girl Sing!

Simon Cowell gives Nightbirde the Golden Buzzer after her beautiful performance of “It’s Okay.” Nightbirde chases her dreams and proves that she is so much more than her cancer!

This is a message you will want to share! Watch below:

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Life

Renewal for the Weary: Lunch Time

You owe it to yourself to have enjoyable, mindful, and healthy lunches

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Lunch can be a wonderful time of day — much more than the mere ingestion of needed calories. If approached correctly, lunch can be a time for rest and personal renewal, at least on a small scale.

How often, however, do we force lunch in between work-related activities, such as dealing with staff, reviewing files, undertaking online research, responding to email, etc.?

Wolfing down otherwise nutritious food can, in part, negate the value of what you are ingesting. If you are giving lunch short shrift, from a physiological standpoint you might not be deriving the optimal nutritional benefits from the food you consume.

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Clear Away the Time

Fortunately, you can clear away the time and space to have a relatively leisurely lunch that will help sustain and fortify you to handle the rest of the day’s activities:

If you haven’t already done so, schedule lunch each day. Go to your appointment calendar, or scheduling software, and mark those times during which you designate as lunchtime. Make it longer than it physically takes you to consume whatever you choose to eat.

If you bring your own food, for example, a 30-minute lunch time is usually more than enough time to finish what you have. Typically, a brown bag lunch takes only 12 to 18 minutes to consume.

By scheduling additional time, even if a few minutes, you can eat more slowly and mindfully, properly digest your food, and take a real break from your work.

In and Out

If you eat at a nearby restaurant, make plans so that you’re in and out relatively easily. Perhaps you can have a standing reservation on Tuesdays with one establishment, and then do the same for other days, with other establishments.

Consider the atmosphere and the food served. Is it calming and nourishing? If the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, consider having your lunch at a less busy time.

Reflect upon what you are eating. Is it nutritious and balanced? Whatever you choose to eat for lunch, ensure that it is not fast food. There is no need to recount the negative effects of consuming questionably sourced meat products, fried food, and foods laced with bad fats, sugars, and excess salt.

The cumulative effect of consuming fast food has been well-documented and does not support your health or well-being. So, before you run into that fast food restaurant, take a moment to think about what you will be eating and its effects on your body, for that afternoon and in the long term.

Keep it Light

When having lunch with a friend or staff person, strive to keep the conversation light. Lunch is not the time to dwell upon heavy duty issues. It is a good time to bond with others, to talk about topics unrelated to the office, or to simply shoot the breeze.

By all means, ensure that you have the capability to return from lunch in a leisurely manner.

No matter how unhurried your consumption of food might have been, if you have to hustle back to the office for a key staff meeting, once again, you might negate the benefits of everything that transpired before your frenzied return.

A Rewarding Time

With the right mindset and a few simple guidelines such as those discussed above, you can turn your lunchtime into something a bit more rewarding, if not much more, than it has been.

You owe it to yourself to have enjoyable, mindful, and healthy lunches, and to receive the associated benefits in terms of job satisfaction, effectiveness, and personal well-being.

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