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The sleep advice no one tells you

This story is written by By Allie Volpe and was originally published by VOX com (see link below)


If you’ve ever had a terrible, or even middling, night’s slumber — which studies and surveys suggest is a fair number of people — you’re well aware of the effects of poor sleep. Aside from the sluggishness and lethargy, lack of sufficient shut-eye can blunt thinking and reaction time and negatively impacts judgment. Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked with higher likelihoods of depressive moods, anxiety, diabetes, and obesity.

Difficulty sleeping can be attributed to a variety of factors and isn’t a reflection on how optimized or streamlined your life is. Shift work, children’s inconsistent sleep schedules, stress, bright light in the evening (from both home lighting fixtures and tech), the pandemic, and sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea can all plague a person’s ability to get adequate rest. Sleep deprivation is, ultimately, a systemic issue, and people shouldn’t feel broken for the societal issues impacting sleep.

Despite all of the modern obstacles to sleep, improvement in your quality and quantity of sleep is possible — and you don’t have to lock your phone in another room to achieve it.

Listen to you body

When it comes to sleep, most quantifiers are highly subjective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, “but the magic number is really dependent on the person,” says sleep psychologist Jade Wu, author of the forthcoming book Hello Sleep: The Science and Art of Overcoming Insomnia Without Medications.

Instead, people should pay attention to how they feel when they wake up and throughout the day, says Vanessa Hill, behavioral scientist, creator of the YouTube series BrainCraft, and researcher at Central Queensland University. Fatigue during the day is a sign your body isn’t getting enough sleep. Survey yourself as to why: Going to bed too late? Trouble falling asleep? Difficulty staying asleep?

To help evaluate how rested you feel during the day, Wu stresses the importance of knowing the difference between “sleepy” and “tired.” Sleepiness manifests in the body: droopy eyelids, an overall heaviness, the entire machine wants to shut down. Tiredness can also present physically, but it often stems from a lack of mental energy, a dip in motivation or inspiration. “If you’re sleepy during the day, that means you did not sleep last night or didn’t get good quality sleep,” Wu says. “If you’re tired during the day, that may not be because of poor sleep. It may be because you’re depressed or bored or dehydrated.”....

Read on at this link: https://www.vox.com/even-better/23366918/unconventional-sleep-advice

Four Steps to Setting Up a Successful Atmosphere at Home

A home atmosphere that feels good to you is one of the most essential aspects of life. Think about it; home is where you spend time with family and friends. It is also a place where you can be yourself and experience personal time. For many, it is also where they do their job to pay their bills and fund their lives.

A successful home atmosphere needs to be comfortable, welcoming, and most importantly, feel like “home.” A successful home atmosphere comprises many different factors such as proper lighting, color schemes, furniture arrangement, air quality, and noise levels. Not to mention organization so that it all flows well and makes any work or chores you do easy to accomplish. All these factors make up a thriving home atmosphere for an individual.

The following are four steps to setting up a thriving atmosphere at home.

Step One: Take Your Time

Don’t rush the process. If you rush it, you will likely miss important detail and allow negativity to define the place. A successful home atmosphere is created with care and attention to detail. It’s a space where people feel at home and relaxed, free to be themselves and express themselves.

 This doesn’t happen overnight. Creating the atmosphere you want at home takes time, effort, and patience. So, take your time building a space where you can truly feel at ease. It’s worth it because this kind of atmosphere can help you relax, recharge your batteries, stay healthy and achieve your goals.

Step Two: Get Rid of Clutter

Declutter each space of your home and get rid of the things you no longer need. Make separate piles for the stuff you plan to keep, want to donate, sell, or get rid of. If you’ve not touched an item in a year (all four seasons), you will likely never use it. So if you’re not using it, you may as well get rid of it.

Step Three: Organize by Goals or Activities

After you declutter your space, organize the rooms by the overall objective of the area. For example, you wouldn’t put office supplies in the kitchen. This will only require you to go back and forth when you need to work in your office, and it takes up important space in your kitchen. This same concept can work in every spot in your home.

Step Four: Make It Feel Relaxing

A successful atmosphere is a stress-free one. So, make it feel relaxing and inviting by adding in proper sunlight and accepting what makes you feel comfortable yet productive and motivated.

As you can see, creating a successful atmosphere at home is essential and easy to do with these easy steps. Be sure to enjoy the process so you don’t miss any details and keep negativity out of your home. Categorize your spaces to maximize productivity as well as comfort.

Does Vitamin B6 Boost Mental Health?

This article was written by By Hannah Seo and originally published in the NewYork Times

Here’s what we know about this essential vitamin’s effects on well-being.

Q: Does vitamin B6 boost mental health?

When it comes to the B vitamins, you’re probably most familiar with vitamin B12, which helps prevent anemia and maintain bone health, and B9 (folic acid), which is necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

But vitamin B6, in some ways, is “the forgotten vitamin,” said Dr. Reem Malouf, a neurologist at the University of Oxford who has studied B6’s effect on cognition. As with the other B vitamins, like B12 and B9, it is an essential nutrient, yet scientists don’t fully understand how it affects mental health, and it’s less well known than the others.

That doesn’t make it any less crucial for the body’s functioning, said Katherine Tucker, a nutritional epidemiologist at UMass Lowell. Vitamin B6 is involved in a number of chemical reactions that are important for nervous system and brain function, including the synthesis of proteins, amino acids and chemical messengers of the brain, as well as proper functioning of the immune system.

It’s also critical for pregnancy and postnatal care — helping to relieve morning sickness and necessary for fetal and infant brain development. And deficiencies in vitamin B6 have been linked with several neuropsychiatric conditions, including seizures, migraine, anxiety, depression and impaired memory.

What role does vitamin B6 play in mental health?

“Vitamin B6 affecting mental health is not a new concept,” said Jess Eastwood, a doctoral student in nutritional psychology at the University of Reading in Britain. In one study of nearly 500 university students published in July, for instance, Ms. Eastwood and her colleagues found that those who took high doses of vitamin B6 — 100 milligrams per day for about a month — reported feeling less anxious than those who took a placebo. Their findings also suggested that B6 might play a role in tamping down the increased brain activity that can occur with certain mood disorders....

Read on here https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/02/well/mind/vitamin-b6-benefits.html?

Four Benefits to Embracing Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism provides feedback that helps the receiver develop and improve their skills. It is a type of feedback that is not rude and does not attack someone's personality. Instead, constructive criticism aims to help the person receiving the information to improve. Constructive criticism usually consists of explaining what the person did wrong and then making suggestions for how to fix the problem.

 Constructive criticism can be used in many different situations. For example, teachers use constructive criticism to help students improve their work. Managers use it to improve employee performance on the job. Friends use constructive criticism to help each other become better people. It is vital to embrace constructive criticism because it can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, which in turn will help you grow as a person.

 The following are four benefits to embracing constructive criticism.

 Improved Self-Awareness and Confidence

Constructive criticism makes you more confident and resilient, which are both traits needed to succeed in life. To achieve your goals, you need to trust yourself to make the right decisions through your perceptions, ideas, and knowledge. When your self-awareness and confidence are high due to your openness to being critiqued so you can learn, it shows.

Increased Understanding of Yourself

It'll be easier to get to know yourself if you can open yourself up more to being critiqued. Constructive criticism allows you to gain an outside perspective. Through this knowledge, you learn more about yourself that you probably ever realized before. Just because you interact and see yourself every day doesn't mean your perception does not blind you.

Improved Skills and Weaknesses

The more you get to know yourself and the more you are aware of what needs to be done to be correct and successful, the more likely you are to improve your weaknesses and strengths. Conversely, you can't expect growth if you are never told or never figure out where or how to improve. For these reasons, it's imperative for parents, role models, and anyone responsible for opening doors for others to be aware of the need to offer constructive criticism to people.

Improved Relationships

Constructive criticism can make you more compassionate and understanding of others, thus improving your relationships personally and professionally. In addition, it allows you to learn about proper expectations, healthy boundaries, and communication skills that all work together to foster a strong relationship.

As you can see, constructive criticism should be embraced, not avoided. Through constructive criticism, you can learn where to improve to gain more knowledge to achieve your dreams or be more successful in life. So often, a lack of success is due to not understanding what is required to get there, which constructive criticism can solve.

Six Simple Things to Do to Get Inspired

It is essential to be inspired because it helps you create something that makes you happy. You can use inspiration to give yourself the motivation to continue with your work. Finding inspiration in everyday life can help you achieve a sense of peace and happiness.

Inspiration comes in many different forms – whether from people, books, movies, music, or just sitting outside looking at nature. Here are six simple ways to find your inspiration.

Go on a Walk

Walking is a terrific way to find inspiration because it is a simple, low-impact activity. Walking, especially out in nature, helps you clear your mind to come up with innovative ideas. It works because it allows the brain to get out of the linear flow of thought that it usually follows.

Listen to Music

Music is a powerful tool for inspiration because it can make you feel good, energized, and creative. A song can motivate you to work harder or help you relax and enjoy your day. Research shows that listening to music can help people feel better, be more productive and creative, and improve their mood. Music can also make you feel more connected with the world around you.

Enjoy Your Hobbies

Doing the activities that you love the most, such as your favorite hobbies, is a fantastic way to unwind and de-stress. Focusing your mind on other things allows you to relax and find more confidence in your ability to be creative.

Create a Vision Board

Having a visual representation of your goals in the form of vision boards is one of the most effective ways to find inspiration. The vision board will remind you what you want in life. You can create them by collecting images, quotes, affirmations, and anything else that drives you to take action and achieve your goals.

Use Inspirational Card Decks

Inspirational card decks are like a set of personal affirmations. They can be used to motivate you to take action, grow your self-confidence, and unwind after a stressful day. These facts alone are why they make a great inspirational tool.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Gaining the perspective of others while also relaxing and breaking the system of anxiety, work together to inspire you. It won't be hard to feel inspired when you are no longer stressed and have feel-good hormones running through your brain.

Inspiration is not difficult to find with these tips and activities. It can be found through just about any activity, people, or thing. So, stop looking or wishing for it and take action instead. Through these activities, you will gain the inspiration you need to achieve your goals.

Why Is Forgiveness Important?

There are various ways you can demonstrate your forgiveness of others and yourself. Sometimes, it is simply accepting the apology. Other times, it is letting go of the past and moving forward. But what does forgiveness really mean?

Forgiveness is an essential process in human life. It can be defined as pardoning or giving up resentment for an offense. It can also be described as the act or process of forgiving yourself for something you feel guilty or bad about doing.

It is an act of letting go and freeing oneself from resentment, bitterness, or vengefulness. In other words, forgiveness is a process that allows people to move forward without any feelings of ill will towards others or themselves.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting about the hurtful event or pretending it never happened; it means acknowledging the pain and forgiving the person who caused it. People need to know that forgiveness benefits them in many ways.

Here is why forgiveness is important.

To Release Anger and Other Negative Emotions

One way to true happiness and joy is to practice letting go of resentment and bitterness. This can be done by forgiving people who have hurt you in the past. It can also be accomplished by forgiving yourself for mistakes that you have made. Forgiveness is a selfless act of love, and it is not just for the person who is forgiven. It’s also for the person who forgives. When you forgive, you stop feeling bitter or hostile about the situation.

To Increase Self-Esteem and Confidence

Forgiveness is a powerful tool for self-growth. When you forgive, you will feel better about yourself, and your self-esteem and confidence will grow. Forgiveness is not just letting go of negative feelings but also kindness to yourself. It is a process that helps you heal from past wounds and move on with your life while maintaining a positive outlook.

To Improve Your Relationships

Forgiveness is vital for relationships and mental health. Forgiveness isn’t tacit approval of what happened. Instead, it identifies that perfection is not attainable and that everyone makes mistakes. It is the understanding that people can still love and do better overall through errors. When you forgive, you let go of resentments and negativity that prevents you from having valuable and engaging conversations.

To Live a Healthier and Happier Life

The negativity formed from holding a grudge or resentment can wreak havoc on your body. It increases cortisol and other stress hormones that can lead to poor physical and mental health such as depression and cardiovascular disease.

As you can see, forgiveness provides many different benefits to your life. Through forgiveness, you can grow your self-confidence, improve your relationships, and get rid of negativity to achieve the things you truly want in your life.

6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Backed by Science

This excerpt from an original article published on healthline.com

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy. People have used it for centuries in cooking and medicine.

Many people claim it can relieve a wide range of health complaints, but you may wonder what the research says.

Apple cider vinegar has various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.

What’s more, evidence suggests it could possibly offer health benefits, such as:

aiding weight loss
reducing cholesterol
lowering blood sugar levels
improving the symptoms of diabetes
However, little research exists, and further studies are needed before it can be recommended as an alternative therapy.

This article looks at the evidence behind 6 possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

1. High in healthful substances
Apple cider vinegar is made via a two-step process (1Trusted Source).

First, the manufacturer exposes crushed apples to yeast, which ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol.

Next, adding bacteria further ferments the alcohol, turning it into acetic acid — the main active compound in vinegar.

Acetic acid gives vinegar its strong sour smell and flavor. Researchers believe this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars are 5–6% acetic acid (2Trusted Source).

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called mother, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.

Some people believe that the mother is responsible for most of its health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.

While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, it offers a small amount of potassium. Good quality brands also contain some amino acids and antioxidants....


Read on here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

The 19 Best Prebiotic Foods You Should Eat

Original article appeared at https://healthline.com

Prebiotics are a form of dietary fiber that feed the “friendly” bacteria in your gut.

This allows your gut bacteria to produce nutrients for your colon cells, which leads to a healthier digestive system (1Trusted Source).

Some of these nutrients include short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propionate (2).

These fatty acids can be absorbed into your bloodstream and improve metabolic health (3Trusted Source).

However, prebiotics shouldn’t be confused with probiotics.

Probiotics are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. To learn more about the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, read this article.

Read on to explore 19 healthy prebiotic foods to add to your grocery list.

1. Chicory root
Chicory root comes from a flowering plant in the dandelion family. It’s popular for its coffee-like flavor and has historically been used in cooking and medicine.

It’s also a great source of prebiotics.

Approximately 68% of chicory root fiber comes from the prebiotic fiber inulin (4Trusted Source). Inulin in chicory root improves digestion and bowel function, and helps relieve constipation (5Trusted Source, 6, 7Trusted Source).

It may also help prevent diabetes by raising levels of adiponectin, a protein that helps control blood glucose levels (8Trusted Source).

Additionally, chicory root is high in antioxidant compounds that may protect your liver from oxidative damage (9).

2. Dandelion greens
Dandelions are a family of flowering plants, and their greens can be cooked or consumed raw. They’re a great source of fiber.

They contain 1.92 grams of fiber per 1 cup (55 grams) (10Trusted Source). A high portion of this fiber comes from inulin (11Trusted Source).

The inulin fiber in dandelion greens reduces constipation, increases friendly bacteria in your gut, and boosts your immune system (11Trusted Source).

Dandelion greens are also known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects (12, 13, 14).

3. Jerusalem artichoke
The Jerusalem artichoke — also known as the sunroot, sunchoke, or earth apple — is part of the sunflower family and has great health benefits.

Known for its sunflower-like appearance, the vegetable provides about 2 grams of inulin-rich dietary fiber per 100 grams (13Trusted Source).

Inulin helps increase the friendly bacteria in your colon, promoting greater digestive health (16). It can also aid in the absorption of minerals in your large intestine.

Adding Jerusalem artichokes to your diet may help strengthen your immune system, lower cholesterol, and even prevent certain metabolic disorders (16Trusted Source).

The Jerusalem artichoke is also high in thiamin, or vitamin B1. Thiamin deficiency can lead to fatigue and abnormal muscle function (18Trusted Source).


Read on here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods

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Why Is Gut Health Taking Over TikTok?

Original article appeared in https://nytimes.com

Every few months, like clockwork, hundreds of videos promising tips and tricks to “hack” your gut flood TikTok. In March, influencers pushed shots of aloe vera juice: “My digestive system, like my gut health? Never been better,” one gushed in a video with one million likes while tapping on a purple bottle of the drink.

Another, with the username “oliveoilqueen,” advocated drinking extra virgin olive oil every day in a video viewed more than 3.5 million times, claiming that doing so cleared her skin, made her periods less painful and fixed her frequent bloating. Videos tagged with #guttok have garnered nearly 400 million views. They’re crammed with suggestions for cucumber-ginger juices and boiled apples, bone broth in the morning and sludgy sweet potato soups at night.


There’s not enough data to prove whether any of these supposed fixes improve digestive functions, gastrointestinal experts said. Some purported gut-health helpers, like coconut oil, have high fat content that can loosen stool and irritate your stomach, said Beth Czerwony, a registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.

Others, such as aloe vera juice, may cause diarrhea in some people. And since the Food and Drug Administration largely does not regulate supplements, gastroenterologists are reluctant to recommend the pills, powders and products promoted by influencers.

“If somebody is claiming to have something that will immediately turn gut health around, you should be skeptical of that,” said Justin Sonnenburg, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford. Instead, his research points to long-term lifestyle habits that can benefit the gut — ones that rarely go viral or make their way to social media acclaim....

Read on here: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/20/well/eat/tiktok-gut-health.html?

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Digestive System Problems

Original artilcle courtesy https://www.healthline.com


Digestive System Problems

Sometimes, one or more parts of the digestive system don’t work properly. This can cause anything from minor discomfort to serious health issues. Some common digestive system problems include:
Acid Reflux and GERD

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms. Most people experience acid reflux from time to time, especially after eating spicy food or heavy meals. When acid reflux happens more than twice per week, however, the condition is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While acid reflux can cause some discomfort, GERD has the potential to cause serious health problems.

The symptoms of acid reflux and GERD include:

    a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn) that sometimes moves up to the throat
    a sour taste at the back of the mouth
    trouble swallowing
    dry cough
    sore throat
    nausea
    burping
    regurgitating food or sour liquid
    feeling a lump in your throat

Gallstones

Gallstones are solidified chunks of digestive fluid that can form in the gallbladder. They can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. People may have one gallstone or several gallstones at the same time. Some people don’t need any treatment for their gallstones, while others may require surgery to remove their gallbladder.

There are two main types of gallstones: cholesterol gallstones and bilirubin gallstones. Cholesterol gallstones are yellow and made mostly of cholesterol. Bilirubin gallstones, on the other hand, are dark brown or black and contain bilirubin. Bilirubin is a chemical the body makes when it breaks down red blood cells.

A small gallstone may not cause any symptoms. A larger gallstone, however, often does cause symptoms. These symptoms may include:

    pain in the upper right section of the abdomen that radiates to the right shoulder or shoulder blades
    yellow tint in the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
    fever
    nausea
    vomiting
    clay-colored stools

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a collection of symptoms that affect the large intestine, causing extreme abdominal discomfort and pain. It’s a chronic condition that must be managed with long-term treatment. Most people with IBS can control their symptoms by modifying their diets and changing their lifestyle habits. Some people, however, may experience severe symptoms and need medication and counseling.

Common IBS symptoms include:

    abdominal pain or cramps
    bloating
    gas
    diarrhea
    constipation
    mucous in the stool

Read on here: https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health#problems

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