Life by DailyBurn » Lifestyle http://dailyburn.com/life A better you, for life. Sun, 30 Aug 2015 13:15:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 9 Cool New Gadgets to Sleep Better Tonight http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-better-gadgets/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-better-gadgets/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:15:23 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42689 Sleep Better Products and Gadgets

[caption id="attachment_42675" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Cool New Gadgets to Sleep Better Tonight Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The research doesn't lie: Getting a good night’s sleep is so important. A solid eight hours can help you boost concentration, stress less and exercise more. The problem? There are distractions all over the bedroom, including your addictive smartphone, that blaring, flat-screen TV and a never-ending battle for the ideal sleep temperature. Check out the hard numbers for size: Americans sleep an average of seven hours and 36 minutes every night. And while that may sound solid, 45 percent say that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week, according to a December 2014 study. Luckily, thanks to a host of ingenious inventions, there are new tools, toys and gadgets promising to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. So turn out the lights, put on your PJs and shop our favorite sleep savers below.

RELATED: 20 Kitchen Gadgets to Make Healthy Eating Easy

9 Items to Sleep Better, Stat

[caption id="attachment_42681" align="alignnone" width="620"]Withings Aura Sleep Better Gadget Photo: Courtesy of Withings[/caption]

1. The Total-Sleep Tracker

The two-part Withings Aura tracker is designed to help you snooze better, aiding you in falling asleep, waking up and figuring out your sleep cycle over the long run. First, there’s a movement sensor that sits beneath your mattress and an LED lamp that promises to relax you at night and gently rouse you in the morning. The unit also promises a library of custom light-and-sound patterns that'll help with “activities” like power napping, getting over jet lag and chilling out with a good book. And now you can pair it with Nest, Google’s home-temperature maintenance tool — and both, of course, have the ability to be controlled from your iPhone. ($300; withings.com)

[caption id="attachment_42683" align="alignnone" width="620"]Blackout Curtains Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond[/caption]

2. The Must-Have Curtain Liners

Darkness is key to getting rest, so outfit your space with a pair of Sound Asleep Blackout Window Curtain Liners. With a seal of approval from the National Sleep Foundation, this surprisingly elegant set can transform any bedroom into a veritable sleep pod with just the help of a single curtain rod. Consider ‘em the biggest eye mask you’ve ever seen. Because anything less than pitch-black isn’t ideal for your overnight snooze session. External lights have been shown to affect sleep patterns. ($60; bedbathbeyond.com)

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Problems — and How to Solve Them

[caption id="attachment_42677" align="alignnone" width="620"]DreamPad Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Integrated Listenings[/caption]

3. The Multi-Tasking Pillow

Drift off to soothing, melodic tunes with this all-in-one pillow that gently vibrates and plays soft music through any MP3 player (iPhones and Androids included) — all without bothering your bed companion, thanks to patented Intrasound technology. By using the DreamPad Pillow System, you can expect a deeper, more sensory-based level of calm and relaxation than you’d get from music playing off speakers. Want Bluetooth connectivity? Shell out an extra $30. Need tunes? Spend $70 for a pre-loaded Sony Walkman. Vintage, right? ($179; dreampadsleep.com)

[caption id="attachment_42679" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sense By Hello Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Hello[/caption]

4. The Intuitive Alarm Clock

Another two-piece system, the Sense by Hello is a sleep tracker and alarm clock in one. And it’s not just any old alarm clock — rather, a modern, spherically-shaped intuitive one. Say, for example, you’ve set your alarm for 7 a.m. but Sense, well, senses that you’re rousing closer to 6:45, it may wake you up earlier instead. The sensor, which is cheekily dubbed “the pill,” has a corresponding app that tracks sleep temperature, humidity and ambient lighting. What separates Sense by Hello from the pack, though, is its particulate monitor, which checks the air quality in your sleep space. And no more throwing the alarm clock across the room — this one shuts off with motion-sensor technology that requires only a wave of your hand. ($129; hello.is)

RELATED: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

[caption id="attachment_42684" align="alignnone" width="620"]Definity Digital Good Night Lightbulb Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Definity Digital[/caption]

5. The Not-Bright Lightbulb

Need a little light? Swap out those fluorescents for these top-of-the-line LED bulbs designed to help you nod off. The Definity Digital Good Night Bulbs filter out the blue light found in normal bulbs (or on your smartphone screen) that blocks your melatonin production, a chemical that the body produces, which is critical for sleep. While the bulbs may take a few days to really have an effect on your sleep cycle, the result is worth it — as is the five-year warranty behind it. ($62 each; definitydigital.com)

[caption id="attachment_42676" align="alignnone" width="620"]BedJet Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of BedJet[/caption]

6. The Temperature Regulator

Getting to a comfortable temperature in bed can be nearly impossible — especially if you and your partner have different ideas of which temperature is the right one. That’s where the BedJet Climate Dual Control comes in: Powerful ventilation from the device (which rests under your bed) can wick moisture and cool you instantly, while the almost-instant heat improves poor circulation. Since this particular model has dual air jets, you and your partner will be able to sleep comfortably regardless of whatever temperature each of you prefer. Plus, the corresponding Bluetooth app allows you to change your settings by grabbing your cell — because would you really want to get out of bed? ($1,149; bedjet.com)

RELATED: 15 Research-Backed Sleep Hacks

[caption id="attachment_42685" align="alignnone" width="620"]37.5 Sheets Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of QVC[/caption]

7. The Perfect Sheets

Want bedding as good at regulating your body temperature as your favorite Nike top? The 37.5 Queen Sheet Performance Set have your back — so much so that QVC nor the company can keep them in stock. These sheets don’t wick away sweat like most performance fabrics do. Instead, 37.5’s technology turns excess heat and moisture into a vapor, which in turn causes the fabric to dry quickly and regulate your body temperature faster. If you’re shivering, it does the opposite, holding in heat to bring you back to a normal body temperature. ($229; qvc.com)

[caption id="attachment_42678" align="alignnone" width="620"]Homedics Deep Sleep Sound Machine Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Homedics[/caption]

8. The Ultimate Sound Machine

Studies show that white noise works: By reducing the difference between background sounds and "peak" sounds, like a door slamming, white noise helps give you a better chance of sleeping undisturbed. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house. The Homedics Deep Sleep Therapy Machine has 12 different sounds, as well as pre-customized sleep therapy noise programs. Keep the machine across the room and stash the remote atop your nightstand. ($80; homedics.com)

RELATED: 9 Ways to Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep

[caption id="attachment_42680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Tranquility Pod Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer[/caption]

9. The Ridiculous Splurge

Although we can’t recommend spending a whopping $30K on a napping spot in good conscience, we can admit that the Hammacher Schlemmer Tranquility Pod is the stuff that dreams are literally made of. By using pleasant sounds, gentle vibrations and soothing light, you’ll instantly be transported to a far more tranquil state. The ultra-suede-topped memory foam pad is just a bonus to the totally transformative relaxation experience. ($30,000; hammacher.com)

Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. In some cases, you might come across an affiliate link on our site, which means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. 

The post 9 Cool New Gadgets to Sleep Better Tonight appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Sleep Better Products and Gadgets

[caption id="attachment_42675" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Cool New Gadgets to Sleep Better Tonight Photo: Pond5[/caption] The research doesn't lie: Getting a good night’s sleep is so important. A solid eight hours can help you boost concentration, stress less and exercise more. The problem? There are distractions all over the bedroom, including your addictive smartphone, that blaring, flat-screen TV and a never-ending battle for the ideal sleep temperature. Check out the hard numbers for size: Americans sleep an average of seven hours and 36 minutes every night. And while that may sound solid, 45 percent say that poor or insufficient sleep affects their daily activities at least once a week, according to a December 2014 study. Luckily, thanks to a host of ingenious inventions, there are new tools, toys and gadgets promising to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. So turn out the lights, put on your PJs and shop our favorite sleep savers below. RELATED: 20 Kitchen Gadgets to Make Healthy Eating Easy

9 Items to Sleep Better, Stat

[caption id="attachment_42681" align="alignnone" width="620"]Withings Aura Sleep Better Gadget Photo: Courtesy of Withings[/caption] 1. The Total-Sleep Tracker The two-part Withings Aura tracker is designed to help you snooze better, aiding you in falling asleep, waking up and figuring out your sleep cycle over the long run. First, there’s a movement sensor that sits beneath your mattress and an LED lamp that promises to relax you at night and gently rouse you in the morning. The unit also promises a library of custom light-and-sound patterns that'll help with “activities” like power napping, getting over jet lag and chilling out with a good book. And now you can pair it with Nest, Google’s home-temperature maintenance tool — and both, of course, have the ability to be controlled from your iPhone. ($300; withings.com) [caption id="attachment_42683" align="alignnone" width="620"]Blackout Curtains Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond[/caption] 2. The Must-Have Curtain Liners Darkness is key to getting rest, so outfit your space with a pair of Sound Asleep Blackout Window Curtain Liners. With a seal of approval from the National Sleep Foundation, this surprisingly elegant set can transform any bedroom into a veritable sleep pod with just the help of a single curtain rod. Consider ‘em the biggest eye mask you’ve ever seen. Because anything less than pitch-black isn’t ideal for your overnight snooze session. External lights have been shown to affect sleep patterns. ($60; bedbathbeyond.com) RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Problems — and How to Solve Them [caption id="attachment_42677" align="alignnone" width="620"]DreamPad Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Integrated Listenings[/caption] 3. The Multi-Tasking Pillow Drift off to soothing, melodic tunes with this all-in-one pillow that gently vibrates and plays soft music through any MP3 player (iPhones and Androids included) — all without bothering your bed companion, thanks to patented Intrasound technology. By using the DreamPad Pillow System, you can expect a deeper, more sensory-based level of calm and relaxation than you’d get from music playing off speakers. Want Bluetooth connectivity? Shell out an extra $30. Need tunes? Spend $70 for a pre-loaded Sony Walkman. Vintage, right? ($179; dreampadsleep.com) [caption id="attachment_42679" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sense By Hello Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Hello[/caption] 4. The Intuitive Alarm Clock Another two-piece system, the Sense by Hello is a sleep tracker and alarm clock in one. And it’s not just any old alarm clock — rather, a modern, spherically-shaped intuitive one. Say, for example, you’ve set your alarm for 7 a.m. but Sense, well, senses that you’re rousing closer to 6:45, it may wake you up earlier instead. The sensor, which is cheekily dubbed “the pill,” has a corresponding app that tracks sleep temperature, humidity and ambient lighting. What separates Sense by Hello from the pack, though, is its particulate monitor, which checks the air quality in your sleep space. And no more throwing the alarm clock across the room — this one shuts off with motion-sensor technology that requires only a wave of your hand. ($129; hello.is) RELATED: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? [caption id="attachment_42684" align="alignnone" width="620"]Definity Digital Good Night Lightbulb Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Definity Digital[/caption] 5. The Not-Bright Lightbulb Need a little light? Swap out those fluorescents for these top-of-the-line LED bulbs designed to help you nod off. The Definity Digital Good Night Bulbs filter out the blue light found in normal bulbs (or on your smartphone screen) that blocks your melatonin production, a chemical that the body produces, which is critical for sleep. While the bulbs may take a few days to really have an effect on your sleep cycle, the result is worth it — as is the five-year warranty behind it. ($62 each; definitydigital.com) [caption id="attachment_42676" align="alignnone" width="620"]BedJet Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of BedJet[/caption] 6. The Temperature Regulator Getting to a comfortable temperature in bed can be nearly impossible — especially if you and your partner have different ideas of which temperature is the right one. That’s where the BedJet Climate Dual Control comes in: Powerful ventilation from the device (which rests under your bed) can wick moisture and cool you instantly, while the almost-instant heat improves poor circulation. Since this particular model has dual air jets, you and your partner will be able to sleep comfortably regardless of whatever temperature each of you prefer. Plus, the corresponding Bluetooth app allows you to change your settings by grabbing your cell — because would you really want to get out of bed? ($1,149; bedjet.com) RELATED: 15 Research-Backed Sleep Hacks [caption id="attachment_42685" align="alignnone" width="620"]37.5 Sheets Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of QVC[/caption] 7. The Perfect Sheets Want bedding as good at regulating your body temperature as your favorite Nike top? The 37.5 Queen Sheet Performance Set have your back — so much so that QVC nor the company can keep them in stock. These sheets don’t wick away sweat like most performance fabrics do. Instead, 37.5’s technology turns excess heat and moisture into a vapor, which in turn causes the fabric to dry quickly and regulate your body temperature faster. If you’re shivering, it does the opposite, holding in heat to bring you back to a normal body temperature. ($229; qvc.com) [caption id="attachment_42678" align="alignnone" width="620"]Homedics Deep Sleep Sound Machine Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Homedics[/caption] 8. The Ultimate Sound Machine Studies show that white noise works: By reducing the difference between background sounds and "peak" sounds, like a door slamming, white noise helps give you a better chance of sleeping undisturbed. If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, creating a constant ambient sound could help mask activity from inside and outside the house. The Homedics Deep Sleep Therapy Machine has 12 different sounds, as well as pre-customized sleep therapy noise programs. Keep the machine across the room and stash the remote atop your nightstand. ($80; homedics.com) RELATED: 9 Ways to Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep [caption id="attachment_42680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Tranquility Pod Sleep Better Gadgets Photo: Courtesy of Hammacher Schlemmer[/caption] 9. The Ridiculous Splurge Although we can’t recommend spending a whopping $30K on a napping spot in good conscience, we can admit that the Hammacher Schlemmer Tranquility Pod is the stuff that dreams are literally made of. By using pleasant sounds, gentle vibrations and soothing light, you’ll instantly be transported to a far more tranquil state. The ultra-suede-topped memory foam pad is just a bonus to the totally transformative relaxation experience. ($30,000; hammacher.com) Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. In some cases, you might come across an affiliate link on our site, which means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. 

The post 9 Cool New Gadgets to Sleep Better Tonight appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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7 Tips to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/digital-detox-destress-unplug-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/digital-detox-destress-unplug-tips/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:15:31 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41917 7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox

[caption id="attachment_41922" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If your summer is packed with Instagram-worthy barbecues, vacations and trips to the beach, first of all, congrats! But if you’re not careful, you may spend most of your time glued to Facebook — or, worst of all, your work email. While you might assume keeping up with your inbox gives you peace of mind, research shows that reading messages from the office often just makes people angry. Talk about a summer bummer.

RELATED: Do You Have Text Neck? 3 Ways to Fix Your Posture Problems

It’s one thing to know you should take time for a digital detox, but it’s entirely different to actually pry that phone out of your hands. Whether you’re addicted to refreshing your Gmail, or can’t stop scrolling through your phone out of habit, quitting your gadgets can be tough.

Instead of going cold turkey on tech, try these expert-backed tips for how to limit your time plugged in, so you can get the R&R you really need.

Digital Detox, Done Right: 7 Ways to De-Stress

[caption id="attachment_41923" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Stop Blaming Your Job
There are some people with high-risk jobs who have to check email at all hours. (Hi, Barack Obama.) But there are many others who don’t need to — and do so anyway. “That’s unhealthy because there’s not a reason for your nervous system to be wired to ‘workaholic,’” says Marilyn Puder-York, Ph.D., a psychologist and executive coach for CEOs and executives in New York City. If you’re responding to emails at 10 p.m. because you decide to, not because your job dictates, take a step back. Tell yourself you can check your inbox — but that you’re not going to respond unless it’s something really important.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Stop Stress Eating From Taking Over Your Brain

2. Set Boundaries with Your Boss
Talk to your boss before you leave for vacation rather than assuming you still have to be ‘on’ 24/7. Puder-York advises saying something like this: “Before I go on vacation, I want to double check that I can unplug and check emails only once a day. Is that OK?” (We bet they say yes.) Then, put your autoreply up. “Doing so shows accountability and respect for others,” she says. And don’t forget to turn off phone notifications so you’re not tempted all day.

“Your brain is addicted to the stimuli, so when you don’t check, it’s like, where’s my fix?”

3. Don’t Give Up Email Entirely (Just Set Limits)
We’re giving you permission to check email during downtime — but limit that to certain times of the day. (Like before your family is awake, or after they wind down at night.) Try to set a time limit, too. Whether that’s 20 minutes or a half-hour will differ for every person, says Wendy R. Boswell, Ph.D., a professor of management at Texas A&M University. Setting the right boundaries (rather than going in without a plan and checking all day) is key to making everyone happy.

RELATED: Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It

4. Get Your Partner on Board
Tech drain can be contagious. In one study, people who used email during off-hours didn’t think it was a problem in their personal life. But their spouses felt differently, saying it had a negative impact on their time together, says Boswell, who authored the study. Push your partner to have a chat with his or her boss. If he or she doesn’t expect employees to be glued to their devices at all times then there’s no reason that you two can’t have “alone time” to chill out together.

5. Be Strict
When you see that an email pops up, or a like on your recent Facebook post, you get a rewarding hit of dopamine. “It feels good because you’re being recognized. That’s why it becomes an addiction to check who’s reached out to you,” says Puder-York. Still, it’s important to give yourself a break. Downtime recharges your brain and protects against things like burnout and loss of productivity. Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author of Never Check E-mail in the Morning, says her clients tell her they have success by repeating mantras, like the common canine command ‘Leave it.’ It sounds funny, she says, but it works.

RELATED: 10 Reasons You’re Exhausted and What to Do About It

6. Take a Deep Breath
Scrolling through Instagram or checking Gmail is so ingrained it almost feels wrong not to. “Your brain is addicted to the stimuli, so when you don’t check, it’s like, where’s my fix?” says Morgenstern. The key is to breathe through the urge. “Clients tell me that after taking a few calming breaths, they can feel a gear shift happening in their brain. They can move from tech-addicted to being social and engaging with others around them,” she says. Warning: Resisting the urge to Instagram may feel difficult at first, but eventually you’ll strengthen your will (just like a muscle) and shift into tech-free mode faster.

7. If All Else Fails, Hide Your Phone
You know the diet advice that tells you to keep trigger foods (ice cream, cookies, chips) out of the house? Use the same technique for your phone. Morgenstern advises turning the dinger off and putting the device on the other side of the room or in another room altogether. If it’s near you, you can’t help but resist the impulse. But if it requires you to get up constantly? Well, that phone won’t look so attractive anymore.

The post 7 Tips to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox

[caption id="attachment_41922" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox Photo: Pond5[/caption] If your summer is packed with Instagram-worthy barbecues, vacations and trips to the beach, first of all, congrats! But if you’re not careful, you may spend most of your time glued to Facebook — or, worst of all, your work email. While you might assume keeping up with your inbox gives you peace of mind, research shows that reading messages from the office often just makes people angry. Talk about a summer bummer. RELATED: Do You Have Text Neck? 3 Ways to Fix Your Posture Problems It’s one thing to know you should take time for a digital detox, but it’s entirely different to actually pry that phone out of your hands. Whether you’re addicted to refreshing your Gmail, or can’t stop scrolling through your phone out of habit, quitting your gadgets can be tough. Instead of going cold turkey on tech, try these expert-backed tips for how to limit your time plugged in, so you can get the R&R you really need.

Digital Detox, Done Right: 7 Ways to De-Stress

[caption id="attachment_41923" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox Photo: Pond5[/caption] 1. Stop Blaming Your Job There are some people with high-risk jobs who have to check email at all hours. (Hi, Barack Obama.) But there are many others who don’t need to — and do so anyway. “That’s unhealthy because there’s not a reason for your nervous system to be wired to ‘workaholic,’” says Marilyn Puder-York, Ph.D., a psychologist and executive coach for CEOs and executives in New York City. If you’re responding to emails at 10 p.m. because you decide to, not because your job dictates, take a step back. Tell yourself you can check your inbox — but that you’re not going to respond unless it’s something really important. RELATED: 5 Ways to Stop Stress Eating From Taking Over Your Brain 2. Set Boundaries with Your Boss Talk to your boss before you leave for vacation rather than assuming you still have to be ‘on’ 24/7. Puder-York advises saying something like this: “Before I go on vacation, I want to double check that I can unplug and check emails only once a day. Is that OK?” (We bet they say yes.) Then, put your autoreply up. “Doing so shows accountability and respect for others,” she says. And don’t forget to turn off phone notifications so you’re not tempted all day.
“Your brain is addicted to the stimuli, so when you don’t check, it’s like, where’s my fix?”
3. Don’t Give Up Email Entirely (Just Set Limits) We’re giving you permission to check email during downtime — but limit that to certain times of the day. (Like before your family is awake, or after they wind down at night.) Try to set a time limit, too. Whether that’s 20 minutes or a half-hour will differ for every person, says Wendy R. Boswell, Ph.D., a professor of management at Texas A&M University. Setting the right boundaries (rather than going in without a plan and checking all day) is key to making everyone happy. RELATED: Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It 4. Get Your Partner on Board Tech drain can be contagious. In one study, people who used email during off-hours didn’t think it was a problem in their personal life. But their spouses felt differently, saying it had a negative impact on their time together, says Boswell, who authored the study. Push your partner to have a chat with his or her boss. If he or she doesn’t expect employees to be glued to their devices at all times then there’s no reason that you two can’t have “alone time” to chill out together. 5. Be Strict When you see that an email pops up, or a like on your recent Facebook post, you get a rewarding hit of dopamine. “It feels good because you’re being recognized. That’s why it becomes an addiction to check who’s reached out to you,” says Puder-York. Still, it’s important to give yourself a break. Downtime recharges your brain and protects against things like burnout and loss of productivity. Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author of Never Check E-mail in the Morning, says her clients tell her they have success by repeating mantras, like the common canine command ‘Leave it.’ It sounds funny, she says, but it works. RELATED: 10 Reasons You’re Exhausted and What to Do About It 6. Take a Deep Breath Scrolling through Instagram or checking Gmail is so ingrained it almost feels wrong not to. “Your brain is addicted to the stimuli, so when you don’t check, it’s like, where’s my fix?” says Morgenstern. The key is to breathe through the urge. “Clients tell me that after taking a few calming breaths, they can feel a gear shift happening in their brain. They can move from tech-addicted to being social and engaging with others around them,” she says. Warning: Resisting the urge to Instagram may feel difficult at first, but eventually you’ll strengthen your will (just like a muscle) and shift into tech-free mode faster. 7. If All Else Fails, Hide Your Phone You know the diet advice that tells you to keep trigger foods (ice cream, cookies, chips) out of the house? Use the same technique for your phone. Morgenstern advises turning the dinger off and putting the device on the other side of the room or in another room altogether. If it’s near you, you can’t help but resist the impulse. But if it requires you to get up constantly? Well, that phone won’t look so attractive anymore.

The post 7 Tips to Actually Succeed at Your Digital Detox appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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Happy 2nd Birthday to Life! Plus, 5 Reasons We Love Our Readers http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/happy-second-birthday-life-by-dailyburn/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/happy-second-birthday-life-by-dailyburn/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:00:02 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41996 Black Forest Protein Shake

[caption id="attachment_22549" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black Forest Protein Shake Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote[/caption]

Pass the cake batter protein shake — it’s Life by DailyBurn’s second birthday! Just last year, we thanked five million of you for committing to fitness with us. Today, we’re excited to say we’ve reached 22 million readers since launch (only five of whom are our moms).

Now, 1,173 posts later, our team of five staffers (and 30-plus contributors!) is more dedicated than ever to bringing you the best tips, workouts and motivation around. After all, you deserve it.

Over the last two years together, we learned to love the run, made it through leg day (thanks, @thebenbooker!), and saw some truly remarkable weight loss transformations. Here, a few of our favorite moments from our terribl(y) awesome twos, served up with a big, sweaty thank you.

5 Reasons We Heart You So Hard

Weight Loss Success Stories

1. Your success stories floor us.

It’s no secret that DailyBurn workouts deliver. That’s why we’re proud to feature our programs — and your resulting success stories — here on Life. Of the 10 brave and inspiring users who have let us into their homes, we saw a total combined weight loss of 586 pounds over many hard-earned months, along with so many victories that can’t be read on a scale. Kacey, Will, Kayla and Sean — we come to work every day because of users like you.

[caption id="attachment_34520" align="alignnone" width="620"]Peanut Butter Protein Cookies Photo and Recipe: Lee Hersh[/caption]

2. You’re cool with our protein obsession.

Confession: We add protein powder to just about everything. Smoothies, cookies, pancakes — heck, even ice cream isn’t safe. As long as you keep asking for ‘em, we’ll promise to deliver. (And seriously, keep telling us which dishes you love, and which ones you hate. No. More. Tilapia. Noted!)

[caption id="attachment_35085" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Black Fire Workout Program With Bob Harper Photo: DailyBurn.com[/caption]

3. You’re blowing up Twitter.

Remember that time we trended worldwide on Twitter for more than 12 hours straight? We’ve got to hand it to you — and DailyBurn’s own Bob Harper — for getting vocal about your fitness goals, woes and routines. Together, we’ll always be #hotlikeblackfire.

Pets of Instagram

4. Your pets win at Life.

On April 11, in honor of National Pet Day, we made our intrepid foray into the wild world of pet journalism. Sure, everyone’s doing it. Our dogs are just a little bit fitter. (And if human inspiration is more your speed, check out these exemplary individuals who get us double tapping on IG.)

http://instagram.com/p/ng80GXBRug/

5. You want the truth about all the trends.

It wasn’t all fun (and burpee GIFs) this past year on Life. We also took a hard look at some questionable health trends. Corset training like Khloe and Kim Kardashian? Eating clay to cleanse? We dug into the research, and weighed in on the facts.

Of course, our work is only just beginning, and DailyBurn has some truly game-changing plans for the seasons ahead. Expect more motivation — and not just on Mondays, but every day of the week. So tighten up those laces and keep checking in!

The post Happy 2nd Birthday to Life! Plus, 5 Reasons We Love Our Readers appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Black Forest Protein Shake

[caption id="attachment_22549" align="alignnone" width="620"]Black Forest Protein Shake Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote[/caption] Pass the cake batter protein shake — it’s Life by DailyBurn’s second birthday! Just last year, we thanked five million of you for committing to fitness with us. Today, we’re excited to say we’ve reached 22 million readers since launch (only five of whom are our moms). Now, 1,173 posts later, our team of five staffers (and 30-plus contributors!) is more dedicated than ever to bringing you the best tips, workouts and motivation around. After all, you deserve it. Over the last two years together, we learned to love the run, made it through leg day (thanks, @thebenbooker!), and saw some truly remarkable weight loss transformations. Here, a few of our favorite moments from our terribl(y) awesome twos, served up with a big, sweaty thank you.

5 Reasons We Heart You So Hard

Weight Loss Success Stories

1. Your success stories floor us.

It’s no secret that DailyBurn workouts deliver. That’s why we’re proud to feature our programs — and your resulting success stories — here on Life. Of the 10 brave and inspiring users who have let us into their homes, we saw a total combined weight loss of 586 pounds over many hard-earned months, along with so many victories that can’t be read on a scale. Kacey, Will, Kayla and Sean — we come to work every day because of users like you. [caption id="attachment_34520" align="alignnone" width="620"]Peanut Butter Protein Cookies Photo and Recipe: Lee Hersh[/caption]

2. You’re cool with our protein obsession.

Confession: We add protein powder to just about everything. Smoothies, cookies, pancakes — heck, even ice cream isn’t safe. As long as you keep asking for ‘em, we’ll promise to deliver. (And seriously, keep telling us which dishes you love, and which ones you hate. No. More. Tilapia. Noted!) [caption id="attachment_35085" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Black Fire Workout Program With Bob Harper Photo: DailyBurn.com[/caption]

3. You’re blowing up Twitter.

Remember that time we trended worldwide on Twitter for more than 12 hours straight? We’ve got to hand it to you — and DailyBurn’s own Bob Harper — for getting vocal about your fitness goals, woes and routines. Together, we’ll always be #hotlikeblackfire. Pets of Instagram

4. Your pets win at Life.

On April 11, in honor of National Pet Day, we made our intrepid foray into the wild world of pet journalism. Sure, everyone’s doing it. Our dogs are just a little bit fitter. (And if human inspiration is more your speed, check out these exemplary individuals who get us double tapping on IG.) http://instagram.com/p/ng80GXBRug/

5. You want the truth about all the trends.

It wasn’t all fun (and burpee GIFs) this past year on Life. We also took a hard look at some questionable health trends. Corset training like Khloe and Kim Kardashian? Eating clay to cleanse? We dug into the research, and weighed in on the facts. Of course, our work is only just beginning, and DailyBurn has some truly game-changing plans for the seasons ahead. Expect more motivation — and not just on Mondays, but every day of the week. So tighten up those laces and keep checking in!

The post Happy 2nd Birthday to Life! Plus, 5 Reasons We Love Our Readers appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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9 Ways to Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-hacks/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-hacks/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:15:27 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41793 9 Tips for Better Sleep

[caption id="attachment_41911" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Tips to Sleep Better Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Getting some five-star sleep does way more than make you feel rested the next morning — it’s got a slew of health benefits, too. "Your ability to concentrate, make decisions, exercise and handle stress, just to name a few activities, is dependent in part on your sleep quality," says Natalie Dautovich, PhD, Environmental Scholar for the National Sleep Foundation. But when it comes to getting a solid night’s rest, actually being able to fall asleep is just the tip of the iceberg. "The beginning stages of sleep are physically restorative, but most of your mental repair happens later in the night," says Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified expert in clinical sleep disorders. Here’s how to make every minute count — and maximize your snooze potential.

How to Sleep Better, Starting Now

1. Work Out — and Work Out Often
"Exercise is the easiest way to sleep better," says Dr. Breus. Although doctors aren't exactly sure why workouts help you snooze, they believe it comes down to two factors. First, since exercise physically tires you out, your body will look to refuel itself with deep rest post-sweat session. And second, because working out releases feel-good endorphins which reduce stress, you’ll also sleep better — and worry free. (As if you needed another benefit from crushing it on the treadmill anyway.)

RELATED: 15 Gadgets for a Better Night's Sleep

 2. Freshen Up Your Bed
You know how you change your sheets every week? That same line of thinking should be applied to your entire bed. You should be changing your pillow every 18 months or so, according to Dr. Breus. "You have an eight-pound head on top of your pillow all night long. The pillow's structural integrity will diminish over time," he explains. He recommends spending between $40 and $60 on a pillow. While that may seem expensive, Breus justifies the cost as a worthwhile investment in your health. As for your mattress, kick it to the curb every seven years. "The best mattress for [an individual varies], but over the years, your body will have different support needs. You have to figure out what you need from a mattress perspective as time goes on," says Dr. Breus.

 3. Pump Up the Volume
Of a noise machine, that is. "Unfamiliar sounds can rouse you from the deeper, restorative stages of sleep,” says Dr. Dautovich. “You can camouflage noise through the use of a sound conditioner.”. But thanks to ever-evolving technology, you don’t even need to go out and buy one: Websites like My Noise offer tons of options, such as white noise and rain falling on a tent, to soothe and keep you sleeping.

4. Nix That Nap (Sorry!)
Lazy Sundays — or even brief respites in your daily schedule — shouldn't automatically call for mid-afternoon naps. "You need to be active and avoid or limit napping during the day in order to increase the drive to sleep later on," says Dr. Dautovich. But if you can't completely wean yourself off naps, try these tips for making sure they're quick recharging sessions that don't spiral out of control.

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief)

5. Set a Consistent Schedule
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your circadian rhythms, including ones responsible for when you get tired as well as when you wake up. ,"We cycle through different stages of sleep multiple times [throught the night]," says Dr. Dautovich. "If you're awakening during the end of a sleep cycle, during the lighter stages of sleep, it'll be easier to wake up without feeling groggy." When you have a sleep schedule, your body learns to predict that timing and prepare to wake up during a lighter stage of sleep. Just keep away from the snooze button, which can confuse your circadian rhythm and leave you feeling even more tired, says Dr. Dautovich.

6. Put a Cork in It
It's tempting to unwind after a long day with a bottle of vino, but wrap it up (and use a cute stopper to cork it) after one (OK, maybe two) glasses. Having too much alcohol in your system is akin to a bouncer in front of Club Good Sleep who keeps you from entering deeper sleep cycles, says Dr. Breus. It reduces REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to a 2013 study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, which is far from ideal. REM sleep is when you dream as your brain works on memory and other cognitive functions — pretty important stuff.

7. Cool Things Down
Whether you're a fan of steamy summer temps or you’re more of a cold-weather creature, stick with sleeping in a cool room to maximize your snooze time. "Your body temperature drops as you fall asleep,” says Dr. Dautovich. “We suggest keeping your bedroom between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic that.". As a bonus, a 2014 study in Diabetes shows sleeping in a room that's 66 degrees can help increase your levels of metabolism-revving brown fat.

RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain

8. Enter the Darkroom
"Light can stop the production of melatonin and have a big effect on both your ability to fall and stay asleep," says Dr. Breus. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in regulating your circadian rhythms, helping you fall — and then keeping you — asleep. In addition to not looking at your phone or computer screens for at least an hour before bed, consider swapping your bulbs for these from LightingScience. "They don't emit as much blue light, which seems to stop melatonin production," says Dr. Breus, who uses them in his own house as well.

9. Skip the Afternoon Coffee Run
You probably never sip coffee right before bed (and if you do, we hope it’s decaf!), but mainlining a PM cup of joe can practically have the same effect. "Caffeine can stay in your system for eight to 10 hours. If you want to get a good night's rest, one of my biggest recommendations would be to stop drinking coffee by around 2:00 p.m.," says Dr. Breus. Instead, try a natural energy bar with wholesome ingredients to help you power through that afternoon slump.

The post 9 Ways to Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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9 Tips for Better Sleep

[caption id="attachment_41911" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Tips to Sleep Better Photo: Pond5[/caption] Getting some five-star sleep does way more than make you feel rested the next morning — it’s got a slew of health benefits, too. "Your ability to concentrate, make decisions, exercise and handle stress, just to name a few activities, is dependent in part on your sleep quality," says Natalie Dautovich, PhD, Environmental Scholar for the National Sleep Foundation. But when it comes to getting a solid night’s rest, actually being able to fall asleep is just the tip of the iceberg. "The beginning stages of sleep are physically restorative, but most of your mental repair happens later in the night," says Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified expert in clinical sleep disorders. Here’s how to make every minute count — and maximize your snooze potential.

How to Sleep Better, Starting Now

1. Work Out — and Work Out Often "Exercise is the easiest way to sleep better," says Dr. Breus. Although doctors aren't exactly sure why workouts help you snooze, they believe it comes down to two factors. First, since exercise physically tires you out, your body will look to refuel itself with deep rest post-sweat session. And second, because working out releases feel-good endorphins which reduce stress, you’ll also sleep better — and worry free. (As if you needed another benefit from crushing it on the treadmill anyway.) RELATED: 15 Gadgets for a Better Night's Sleep  2. Freshen Up Your Bed You know how you change your sheets every week? That same line of thinking should be applied to your entire bed. You should be changing your pillow every 18 months or so, according to Dr. Breus. "You have an eight-pound head on top of your pillow all night long. The pillow's structural integrity will diminish over time," he explains. He recommends spending between $40 and $60 on a pillow. While that may seem expensive, Breus justifies the cost as a worthwhile investment in your health. As for your mattress, kick it to the curb every seven years. "The best mattress for [an individual varies], but over the years, your body will have different support needs. You have to figure out what you need from a mattress perspective as time goes on," says Dr. Breus.  3. Pump Up the Volume Of a noise machine, that is. "Unfamiliar sounds can rouse you from the deeper, restorative stages of sleep,” says Dr. Dautovich. “You can camouflage noise through the use of a sound conditioner.”. But thanks to ever-evolving technology, you don’t even need to go out and buy one: Websites like My Noise offer tons of options, such as white noise and rain falling on a tent, to soothe and keep you sleeping. 4. Nix That Nap (Sorry!) Lazy Sundays — or even brief respites in your daily schedule — shouldn't automatically call for mid-afternoon naps. "You need to be active and avoid or limit napping during the day in order to increase the drive to sleep later on," says Dr. Dautovich. But if you can't completely wean yourself off naps, try these tips for making sure they're quick recharging sessions that don't spiral out of control. RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief) 5. Set a Consistent Schedule Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your circadian rhythms, including ones responsible for when you get tired as well as when you wake up. ,"We cycle through different stages of sleep multiple times [throught the night]," says Dr. Dautovich. "If you're awakening during the end of a sleep cycle, during the lighter stages of sleep, it'll be easier to wake up without feeling groggy." When you have a sleep schedule, your body learns to predict that timing and prepare to wake up during a lighter stage of sleep. Just keep away from the snooze button, which can confuse your circadian rhythm and leave you feeling even more tired, says Dr. Dautovich. 6. Put a Cork in It It's tempting to unwind after a long day with a bottle of vino, but wrap it up (and use a cute stopper to cork it) after one (OK, maybe two) glasses. Having too much alcohol in your system is akin to a bouncer in front of Club Good Sleep who keeps you from entering deeper sleep cycles, says Dr. Breus. It reduces REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to a 2013 study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, which is far from ideal. REM sleep is when you dream as your brain works on memory and other cognitive functions — pretty important stuff. 7. Cool Things Down Whether you're a fan of steamy summer temps or you’re more of a cold-weather creature, stick with sleeping in a cool room to maximize your snooze time. "Your body temperature drops as you fall asleep,” says Dr. Dautovich. “We suggest keeping your bedroom between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic that.". As a bonus, a 2014 study in Diabetes shows sleeping in a room that's 66 degrees can help increase your levels of metabolism-revving brown fat. RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain 8. Enter the Darkroom "Light can stop the production of melatonin and have a big effect on both your ability to fall and stay asleep," says Dr. Breus. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in regulating your circadian rhythms, helping you fall — and then keeping you — asleep. In addition to not looking at your phone or computer screens for at least an hour before bed, consider swapping your bulbs for these from LightingScience. "They don't emit as much blue light, which seems to stop melatonin production," says Dr. Breus, who uses them in his own house as well. 9. Skip the Afternoon Coffee Run You probably never sip coffee right before bed (and if you do, we hope it’s decaf!), but mainlining a PM cup of joe can practically have the same effect. "Caffeine can stay in your system for eight to 10 hours. If you want to get a good night's rest, one of my biggest recommendations would be to stop drinking coffee by around 2:00 p.m.," says Dr. Breus. Instead, try a natural energy bar with wholesome ingredients to help you power through that afternoon slump.

The post 9 Ways to Finally Get a Good Night’s Sleep appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Can Your Phone Tell When You’re Depressed? http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/news-smartphone-symptoms-of-depression-test-071715/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/news-smartphone-symptoms-of-depression-test-071715/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:15:43 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41636 Is Your Phone the Best Depression Test?

[caption id="attachment_41639" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Your Phone the Best Depression Test? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Man’s best friend is more likely to be his smartphone than his dog these days. That’s why it makes sense that your technology might be the first to know if you’re starting to get depressed.

A new study from Northwestern Medicine revealed that people with symptoms of depression use their phones nearly four times as much as those who aren’t depressed. To break it down: Depressed people spent about 68 minutes each day tapping away, compared to just 17 minutes for those without depression.

RELATED: Feeling Anxious or Sad? Why E-Therapy Might Help

“When people use their phones more to look at Facebook or the Internet, it distracts them from what they’re feeling in the moment,” says study author Stephen Schueller, PhD, assistant professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

"For a lot of people with depression, we see a pattern of them just going from work to home."

The small two-week study of 28 participants used a tracker to monitor how much time people spent on their phones, and how often they moved around, based on the GPS. Each participant also took a standardized questionnaire used to diagnose depression in clinical settings. By the end of the study, it turned out that a person’s phone data could also act as a depression test, with 87 percent accuracy compared to the traditional clinical questionnaire.

But before you resolve to quit Instagram for good, it turns out that a person’s GPS action is an even stronger predictor of the blues than time spent staring at the screen. “Where they were going, how often they were getting out of house, how many different places they were visiting — that pattern of daily living was more strongly predictive than time spent on the phone,” Schueller says.

Simply put, mentally healthy people are more likely to be on the move. “For a lot of people with depression, we see a pattern of them just going from work to home,” Schueller says. “But people without depression do a lot of different things — they go grocery shopping, they go out and get active, they’re engaging in social activities. And they’re doing it on a more regular basis.”

RELATED: Sweating Out the Sadness: Can Exercise Help You Grieve?

In the future, researchers hope this technology can be used to alert users, or medical providers, that they may be falling into unhealthy patterns. It could also help docs determine whether treatments for depression are actually working. And before you get worried that big brother is watching, the researchers say they have precautions in place to guard your privacy — and make sure the GPS data doesn’t reveal your exact location.

In the meantime, resist the urge to hide behind your device when you’re feeling down — and reach out to a friend IRL, instead. “If you really struggle with using your phone all the time, make sure it’s not always in your pocket or right next to you,” Schueller says. “Even taking a couple of steps before picking up your phone is going to make you less likely to use it.”

The post Can Your Phone Tell When You’re Depressed? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Is Your Phone the Best Depression Test?

[caption id="attachment_41639" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Your Phone the Best Depression Test? Photo: Pond5[/caption] Man’s best friend is more likely to be his smartphone than his dog these days. That’s why it makes sense that your technology might be the first to know if you’re starting to get depressed. A new study from Northwestern Medicine revealed that people with symptoms of depression use their phones nearly four times as much as those who aren’t depressed. To break it down: Depressed people spent about 68 minutes each day tapping away, compared to just 17 minutes for those without depression. RELATED: Feeling Anxious or Sad? Why E-Therapy Might Help “When people use their phones more to look at Facebook or the Internet, it distracts them from what they’re feeling in the moment,” says study author Stephen Schueller, PhD, assistant professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
"For a lot of people with depression, we see a pattern of them just going from work to home."
The small two-week study of 28 participants used a tracker to monitor how much time people spent on their phones, and how often they moved around, based on the GPS. Each participant also took a standardized questionnaire used to diagnose depression in clinical settings. By the end of the study, it turned out that a person’s phone data could also act as a depression test, with 87 percent accuracy compared to the traditional clinical questionnaire. But before you resolve to quit Instagram for good, it turns out that a person’s GPS action is an even stronger predictor of the blues than time spent staring at the screen. “Where they were going, how often they were getting out of house, how many different places they were visiting — that pattern of daily living was more strongly predictive than time spent on the phone,” Schueller says. Simply put, mentally healthy people are more likely to be on the move. “For a lot of people with depression, we see a pattern of them just going from work to home,” Schueller says. “But people without depression do a lot of different things — they go grocery shopping, they go out and get active, they’re engaging in social activities. And they’re doing it on a more regular basis.” RELATED: Sweating Out the Sadness: Can Exercise Help You Grieve? In the future, researchers hope this technology can be used to alert users, or medical providers, that they may be falling into unhealthy patterns. It could also help docs determine whether treatments for depression are actually working. And before you get worried that big brother is watching, the researchers say they have precautions in place to guard your privacy — and make sure the GPS data doesn’t reveal your exact location. In the meantime, resist the urge to hide behind your device when you’re feeling down — and reach out to a friend IRL, instead. “If you really struggle with using your phone all the time, make sure it’s not always in your pocket or right next to you,” Schueller says. “Even taking a couple of steps before picking up your phone is going to make you less likely to use it.”

The post Can Your Phone Tell When You’re Depressed? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/jordan-younger-the-balanced-blonde-orthorexia/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/jordan-younger-the-balanced-blonde-orthorexia/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:15:42 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=40953 Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health

[caption id="attachment_40958" align="alignnone" width="620"]Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health Photo: The Blonde Vegan[/caption]

Last June, one woman’s very public breakup rocked the Internet. The well-known blogger behind The Blonde Vegan, Jordan Younger, then 23, admitted to the world that her strict plant-based lifestyle had devolved into a type of disordered eating called orthorexia. She announced she was quitting veganism, and within two minutes, her blog crashed from an influx of traffic.

Numerous media outlets shared her story, and Younger’s personal life went viral. She was thrust into the spotlight at the very moment she felt most vulnerable. And the reactions were brutal.

RELATED: Must-Read Book: One Woman’s 135-Pound Weight Loss Success

“The extreme anger thrown my way by strangers and a large handful of people I thought were my friends was absolutely sickening,” writes Younger in her forthcoming memoir, Breaking Vegan. And it wasn’t just hateful Internet commenters. In one blog post, Younger described how one woman harassed her in a public restaurant.

While seeking treatment, Younger also had to quickly rebrand her blog to reflect her new lifestyle. Ultimately, she transitioned from The Blonde Vegan to The Balanced Blonde. Despite many anxious nights spent worrying about the future of her blog and business, there was a silver lining to Younger’s lifestyle changes: The aspiring writer earned a coveted book deal, allowing her to share both her journey and her new go-to recipes for cultivating a more balanced life.

RELATED: The 11 Best New Books for Yogis, Runners and Food Lovers

In Breaking Vegan, she recounts how she wound up on a self-destructive path. Like many people who struggle with food intolerances, she had experimented with her diet and was thrilled when she found that veganism alleviated her constant stomach problems. Nevertheless, her passion for virtuous habits, especially raw juicing, soon became obsessive, then disastrous.

A year into her recovery from orthorexia, we caught up with Younger to hear about her health wake-up call and healing process. Below, check out one of the recipes that will be featured in her book, set to publish next November.

Jordan Younger on Orthorexia and Taking Back Control

https://instagram.com/p/2VGO8DhpNH/?taken-by=thebalancedblonde

When did you start to suspect veganism wasn’t for you?

After a year of being a strict, plant-based vegan, I started noticing changes. Internally, I was always feeling hungry and had a lack of energy. And externally, my skin was showing signs of not having enough nutrients. [It turned] orange from eating too many carrots and sweet potatoes….[and I] was breaking out. My hair was getting thin and falling out. I lost my period. I kept telling myself, ‘This is not related to the way that I eat. Something else must be going on.’

Plus, I was getting very obsessive about my eating. I would go to sleep at night thinking about what I would eat the next day. Will it be healthy enough? Will it make me sick? Eventually I reached a breaking point and thought, I have to let out my rules and restrictions. For me, that meant dropping the vegan label.

[caption id="attachment_40956" align="alignright" width="250"]Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health Photo: Fair Winds Press[/caption]

When you decided to make changes, who did you reach out to?

First, a couple friends and my mom and dad. I [told them], ‘I think I’m suffering from an eating disorder called orthorexia,’ and nobody had ever heard of it. 

How did you hear about it?

Online. I wasn’t looking for a term and I did not know that it existed. Somehow it came up: Orthorexia, the obsession and fixation on health and purity, and the avoidance of all foods that are not completely clean from the earth. And that was exactly, exactly my life.

Why is orthorexia different from other eating disorders?

Orthorexia is similar to anorexia in certain respects. I was starving myself [of] protein and iron and B-12 and calcium. [I had] a really disordered relationship to food. The term was invented in the early 90s and then it kind of dropped off since nobody was talking about it. Some people view it as a personality disorder, like OCD, but it’s a disordered eating condition.

It’s different from anorexia and other eating disorders in the sense that the driving force is trying to keep your body as pure and clean as possible. [There’s the] fear of being unhealthy, fear of developing disease, whereas with anorexia, the driving force is usually weight loss. It’s definitely a part of orthorexia, too, [since] the healthier you eat, the more weight you will lose. But it’s very much in its own category because it has the health component.

Unlike anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, orthorexia still isn’t in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), used to classify mental disorders. Why do you think that is?

I think the reason orthorexia hasn’t been recognized by the DSM is just because it hasn’t been around long enough... I think that it will be recognized soon, and there are a lot of people at different universities compiling and conducting research, trying to get this recognized by the DSM… My hope is that this book will help people see that it’s an eating disorder and not just some condition to be brushed off. There’s a recovery process, just like [for] other eating disorders.

Can you tell me about your own recovery process?

 

"Now, it’s more about fueling my body when I eat, instead of trying to eat the bare minimum."

 

I went through this process very publicly. In ways that made it easier, and in ways that made it harder… All sorts of people reached out to show their support. And that was really amazing! I was really lucky to hear from people all over the world. But I never really had time to just sit and think about it without being flooded with information and suggestions and negativity some of the time.

Initially, I think the most important part was working with a therapist and nutritionist to just get myself back on track…because I was so far gone. I didn’t know what it felt like to be hungry, I didn’t know what it felt like to be full. I didn’t know what a meal looked like. You really disassociate yourself from all of that when you’re in the middle of a severe eating disorder.

Learning [with the help of] these eating disorder specialists was necessary in the beginning. Then, I was able to do some work on my own. For me, that meant I [had to be] really open with people. [I had to resist the urge] to hide the fact that it was hard and that I was going through this.

Based on your experiences, do you have any advice for how someone should react if they are worried about a friend or family member’s relationship to food?

It’s such a tricky question. Everyone’s personality is so different and there’s no one approach for everyone. The first step is knowing who you’re dealing with and knowing what their personality is like. If they’re someone who typically shuts down when you talk to them about something controversial or hard, then they’re going to shut down about this. If they’re more open, it might be easier to talk about it.

Maybe, send them articles and blogs that talk about it. Not in an accusatory way, but more of, ‘Hey, you might be interested in this since you’re really interested in health and I notice that it takes up a lot of space in your mind.’ [But] without saying, ‘Hey you have this and you need to get help,’ because that could make someone shrink up. People did try to say that to me before they knew what orthorexia was. People were worried about me because they saw that [veganism] was causing me difficulty. That’s what I was hiding behind, so that’s what people would approach me about.

A lot of people tried to approach me before I was willing to accept it. And you have to be ready. It takes something different for every person.

You’re a year into your recovery. How do you feel?

I feel more in tune with my body….[and] it’s easier to decipher pure hunger versus intense and ravenous cravings due to severe deficiencies. Now, it’s more about fueling my body when I eat, instead of trying to eat the bare minimum with the least amount of variety.

I still have my hard days, but it feels so much more powerful… It allows me to live my life more fully and focus on what’s really important…my relationships, my career and so much more. In fact, it makes me feel more in control.

Cooking the Balanced Blonde Way 

In her upcoming book, Younger shares over 25 healthy recipes that embody her new lifestyle. On our radar: This superstar salad that's just as delicious as something you'd order while dining out. Luckily, it's much healthier than your average restaurant salad. Instead of relying on fat-laden dressing and croutons for flavor and crunch, this entree's got a lemon vinaigrette and chopped walnuts that add bright, fresh flavor. Serve it for lunch or dinner and enjoy the savory flavors.

[caption id="attachment_40980" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: The Blonde Vegan Photo: The Blonde Vegan[/caption]

Macho Chicken Chopped Salad Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup mixed salad greens
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup shredded chicken
3 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup canned corn, drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

For the lemon vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, mix greens, spinach, chicken, dates, corn, tomatoes, walnuts, avocado and goat cheese.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mustard. Whisk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like your dressing thicker, add more mustard. For a lighter dressing, add more lemon juice.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over your salad and toss until greens are coated. Serve immediately.

To learn more about Jordan’s journey, check out her blog, The Balanced Blonde, and her memoir, Breaking Vegan, now available for pre-order.

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Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health

[caption id="attachment_40958" align="alignnone" width="620"]Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health Photo: The Blonde Vegan[/caption] Last June, one woman’s very public breakup rocked the Internet. The well-known blogger behind The Blonde Vegan, Jordan Younger, then 23, admitted to the world that her strict plant-based lifestyle had devolved into a type of disordered eating called orthorexia. She announced she was quitting veganism, and within two minutes, her blog crashed from an influx of traffic. Numerous media outlets shared her story, and Younger’s personal life went viral. She was thrust into the spotlight at the very moment she felt most vulnerable. And the reactions were brutal. RELATED: Must-Read Book: One Woman’s 135-Pound Weight Loss Success “The extreme anger thrown my way by strangers and a large handful of people I thought were my friends was absolutely sickening,” writes Younger in her forthcoming memoir, Breaking Vegan. And it wasn’t just hateful Internet commenters. In one blog post, Younger described how one woman harassed her in a public restaurant. While seeking treatment, Younger also had to quickly rebrand her blog to reflect her new lifestyle. Ultimately, she transitioned from The Blonde Vegan to The Balanced Blonde. Despite many anxious nights spent worrying about the future of her blog and business, there was a silver lining to Younger’s lifestyle changes: The aspiring writer earned a coveted book deal, allowing her to share both her journey and her new go-to recipes for cultivating a more balanced life. RELATED: The 11 Best New Books for Yogis, Runners and Food Lovers In Breaking Vegan, she recounts how she wound up on a self-destructive path. Like many people who struggle with food intolerances, she had experimented with her diet and was thrilled when she found that veganism alleviated her constant stomach problems. Nevertheless, her passion for virtuous habits, especially raw juicing, soon became obsessive, then disastrous. A year into her recovery from orthorexia, we caught up with Younger to hear about her health wake-up call and healing process. Below, check out one of the recipes that will be featured in her book, set to publish next November.

Jordan Younger on Orthorexia and Taking Back Control

https://instagram.com/p/2VGO8DhpNH/?taken-by=thebalancedblonde When did you start to suspect veganism wasn’t for you? After a year of being a strict, plant-based vegan, I started noticing changes. Internally, I was always feeling hungry and had a lack of energy. And externally, my skin was showing signs of not having enough nutrients. [It turned] orange from eating too many carrots and sweet potatoes….[and I] was breaking out. My hair was getting thin and falling out. I lost my period. I kept telling myself, ‘This is not related to the way that I eat. Something else must be going on.’ Plus, I was getting very obsessive about my eating. I would go to sleep at night thinking about what I would eat the next day. Will it be healthy enough? Will it make me sick? Eventually I reached a breaking point and thought, I have to let out my rules and restrictions. For me, that meant dropping the vegan label. [caption id="attachment_40956" align="alignright" width="250"]Life After Orthorexia: One Blogger’s Quest to Reclaim Her Health Photo: Fair Winds Press[/caption] When you decided to make changes, who did you reach out to? First, a couple friends and my mom and dad. I [told them], ‘I think I’m suffering from an eating disorder called orthorexia,’ and nobody had ever heard of it.  How did you hear about it? Online. I wasn’t looking for a term and I did not know that it existed. Somehow it came up: Orthorexia, the obsession and fixation on health and purity, and the avoidance of all foods that are not completely clean from the earth. And that was exactly, exactly my life. Why is orthorexia different from other eating disorders? Orthorexia is similar to anorexia in certain respects. I was starving myself [of] protein and iron and B-12 and calcium. [I had] a really disordered relationship to food. The term was invented in the early 90s and then it kind of dropped off since nobody was talking about it. Some people view it as a personality disorder, like OCD, but it’s a disordered eating condition. It’s different from anorexia and other eating disorders in the sense that the driving force is trying to keep your body as pure and clean as possible. [There’s the] fear of being unhealthy, fear of developing disease, whereas with anorexia, the driving force is usually weight loss. It’s definitely a part of orthorexia, too, [since] the healthier you eat, the more weight you will lose. But it’s very much in its own category because it has the health component. Unlike anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, orthorexia still isn’t in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), used to classify mental disorders. Why do you think that is? I think the reason orthorexia hasn’t been recognized by the DSM is just because it hasn’t been around long enough... I think that it will be recognized soon, and there are a lot of people at different universities compiling and conducting research, trying to get this recognized by the DSM… My hope is that this book will help people see that it’s an eating disorder and not just some condition to be brushed off. There’s a recovery process, just like [for] other eating disorders. Can you tell me about your own recovery process?
  "Now, it’s more about fueling my body when I eat, instead of trying to eat the bare minimum."  
I went through this process very publicly. In ways that made it easier, and in ways that made it harder… All sorts of people reached out to show their support. And that was really amazing! I was really lucky to hear from people all over the world. But I never really had time to just sit and think about it without being flooded with information and suggestions and negativity some of the time. Initially, I think the most important part was working with a therapist and nutritionist to just get myself back on track…because I was so far gone. I didn’t know what it felt like to be hungry, I didn’t know what it felt like to be full. I didn’t know what a meal looked like. You really disassociate yourself from all of that when you’re in the middle of a severe eating disorder. Learning [with the help of] these eating disorder specialists was necessary in the beginning. Then, I was able to do some work on my own. For me, that meant I [had to be] really open with people. [I had to resist the urge] to hide the fact that it was hard and that I was going through this. Based on your experiences, do you have any advice for how someone should react if they are worried about a friend or family member’s relationship to food? It’s such a tricky question. Everyone’s personality is so different and there’s no one approach for everyone. The first step is knowing who you’re dealing with and knowing what their personality is like. If they’re someone who typically shuts down when you talk to them about something controversial or hard, then they’re going to shut down about this. If they’re more open, it might be easier to talk about it. Maybe, send them articles and blogs that talk about it. Not in an accusatory way, but more of, ‘Hey, you might be interested in this since you’re really interested in health and I notice that it takes up a lot of space in your mind.’ [But] without saying, ‘Hey you have this and you need to get help,’ because that could make someone shrink up. People did try to say that to me before they knew what orthorexia was. People were worried about me because they saw that [veganism] was causing me difficulty. That’s what I was hiding behind, so that’s what people would approach me about. A lot of people tried to approach me before I was willing to accept it. And you have to be ready. It takes something different for every person. You’re a year into your recovery. How do you feel? I feel more in tune with my body….[and] it’s easier to decipher pure hunger versus intense and ravenous cravings due to severe deficiencies. Now, it’s more about fueling my body when I eat, instead of trying to eat the bare minimum with the least amount of variety. I still have my hard days, but it feels so much more powerful… It allows me to live my life more fully and focus on what’s really important…my relationships, my career and so much more. In fact, it makes me feel more in control.

Cooking the Balanced Blonde Way 

In her upcoming book, Younger shares over 25 healthy recipes that embody her new lifestyle. On our radar: This superstar salad that's just as delicious as something you'd order while dining out. Luckily, it's much healthier than your average restaurant salad. Instead of relying on fat-laden dressing and croutons for flavor and crunch, this entree's got a lemon vinaigrette and chopped walnuts that add bright, fresh flavor. Serve it for lunch or dinner and enjoy the savory flavors. [caption id="attachment_40980" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: The Blonde Vegan Photo: The Blonde Vegan[/caption]

Macho Chicken Chopped Salad Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup mixed salad greens 1 cup fresh spinach 1 cup shredded chicken 3 dates, pitted and chopped 1/2 cup canned corn, drained 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 cup crushed walnuts 1/2 avocado, sliced 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

For the lemon vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 tablespoon crushed garlic 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, mix greens, spinach, chicken, dates, corn, tomatoes, walnuts, avocado and goat cheese.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mustard. Whisk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like your dressing thicker, add more mustard. For a lighter dressing, add more lemon juice.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over your salad and toss until greens are coated. Serve immediately.
To learn more about Jordan’s journey, check out her blog, The Balanced Blonde, and her memoir, Breaking Vegan, now available for pre-order.

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10 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/achieve-goals/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/achieve-goals/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:15:06 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=16323 Sticking to Goals

[caption id="attachment_16328" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sticking to Goals Photo: Pond5[/caption]

We always start a new project with the best of intentions, but it's easy to quickly fall off the wagon. Life gets in the way or we lose that early rush of motivation, and slowly but surely we land back at square one. Whether you want to get more done each day, work out regularly, or shed a few pounds, these small changes will help you hit those major milestones.

RELATED: 7 DIY Pinterest Projects to Get You Motivated

1. Visualize yourself achieving it.
Big goals can feel overwhelming — especially if they require real lifestyle changes. There's a plus side, though: You can be certain you'll feel radically different (in a good way!) when you achieve them. Whenever your motivation wanes, visualize how accomplished you'll feel when you reach the finish line.

2. Weigh now against later.
In the moment, it can be tempting to skip an early morning workout in favor of sleeping in, or dig into the chips and dip when you ought to eat a healthy meal. When you're relying on pure willpower to do (or not do) something, try to consider how much long-term happiness you'll get out of it. Compare that tempting, yet fleeting satisfaction to the success you've visualized (see number 1!), and suddenly it's far less enticing.

3. Create accountability.
Try talking to a friend about what you need to do to accomplish your goals, then set a deadline and report back on your progress. For many people, it's important to feel accountable to someone other than yourself — and you can create the same motivation through groups. Want to read more? Join a book club. Need to eat better? Create a healthy eating challenge with colleagues at work.

RELATED: 10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Workout

4. Make it smaller.
No matter what you want to achieve, it can probably be broken down into smaller pieces. Rather than summoning the motivation to work out, just push yourself to get up and put on your workout clothes. Instead of "cleaning the house," pick up just a few misplaced items. Once you've started moving in the right direction, it's easier to keep up the momentum, making it more likely that you’ll finish the task.

5. Give yourself a day off.
It may be counterintuitive, but you don't have to commit every day of the week. The dread of doing something difficult (and failing) can be enough to prevent us from even starting. If you've got something tough to get done, know that you can give yourself an occasional "get out of jail free" card. A cheat day or meal can be restorative and give you the R&R you need to keep going — as long as you clearly define the start and end and keep them on lock.

6. Take your brain out of it.
Make like Nike and "just do it." OK, we know sometimes that's easier said than done, but there are plenty of positive things you do each day without even thinking about them (whether that’s opting for whole wheat over white bread, taking the stairs, or putting on sunscreen). Rather than considering your goal something "extra" you have to add to your day, consider it an integral part of your lifestyle and completely non-optional. And consider this: If you do something daily, it'll become habit far more quickly than if you do it just a few times a week.

RELATED: 4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout

7. Surround yourself with success.
The company we keep can have a huge impact on how we feel and how we spend our time. If you want to accomplish something, surround yourself with people who are working toward (or have accomplished) that same goal. Use their achievements as your motivation, and let the positive vibes sink in.

8. Look back.
It's easy to get lost in the slog of a major project. Take some time whenever you're feeling down to look back at how far you've come. Try journaling or snapping pics to document your successes. You'll be grateful when you can look back and recall exactly how you looked or felt then versus now.

9. Prep for success.
Research suggests that the brain can essentially “run out” of patience or self-control, making it important to eliminate opportunities for slip ups. So instead of trusting future-you to do the right thing, make tough choices easier by prepping for them when you're already feeling motivated. For example, plan your workouts or meals for the week on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of R&R instead of just hoping you'll make healthy choices after a tough day at the office.

10. Know that you can do it.
While self-control can be depleted, researchers have also found that effect can be counteracted by simply believing that you have the self-control to accomplish your goals. So whenever you feel you “can't say no” to those brownies, remember that if you think you can, you can!

Originally posted August 2013. Updated June 2015. 

The post 10 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Sticking to Goals

[caption id="attachment_16328" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sticking to Goals Photo: Pond5[/caption] We always start a new project with the best of intentions, but it's easy to quickly fall off the wagon. Life gets in the way or we lose that early rush of motivation, and slowly but surely we land back at square one. Whether you want to get more done each day, work out regularly, or shed a few pounds, these small changes will help you hit those major milestones. RELATED: 7 DIY Pinterest Projects to Get You Motivated 1. Visualize yourself achieving it. Big goals can feel overwhelming — especially if they require real lifestyle changes. There's a plus side, though: You can be certain you'll feel radically different (in a good way!) when you achieve them. Whenever your motivation wanes, visualize how accomplished you'll feel when you reach the finish line. 2. Weigh now against later. In the moment, it can be tempting to skip an early morning workout in favor of sleeping in, or dig into the chips and dip when you ought to eat a healthy meal. When you're relying on pure willpower to do (or not do) something, try to consider how much long-term happiness you'll get out of it. Compare that tempting, yet fleeting satisfaction to the success you've visualized (see number 1!), and suddenly it's far less enticing. 3. Create accountability. Try talking to a friend about what you need to do to accomplish your goals, then set a deadline and report back on your progress. For many people, it's important to feel accountable to someone other than yourself — and you can create the same motivation through groups. Want to read more? Join a book club. Need to eat better? Create a healthy eating challenge with colleagues at work. RELATED: 10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Workout 4. Make it smaller. No matter what you want to achieve, it can probably be broken down into smaller pieces. Rather than summoning the motivation to work out, just push yourself to get up and put on your workout clothes. Instead of "cleaning the house," pick up just a few misplaced items. Once you've started moving in the right direction, it's easier to keep up the momentum, making it more likely that you’ll finish the task. 5. Give yourself a day off. It may be counterintuitive, but you don't have to commit every day of the week. The dread of doing something difficult (and failing) can be enough to prevent us from even starting. If you've got something tough to get done, know that you can give yourself an occasional "get out of jail free" card. A cheat day or meal can be restorative and give you the R&R you need to keep going — as long as you clearly define the start and end and keep them on lock. 6. Take your brain out of it. Make like Nike and "just do it." OK, we know sometimes that's easier said than done, but there are plenty of positive things you do each day without even thinking about them (whether that’s opting for whole wheat over white bread, taking the stairs, or putting on sunscreen). Rather than considering your goal something "extra" you have to add to your day, consider it an integral part of your lifestyle and completely non-optional. And consider this: If you do something daily, it'll become habit far more quickly than if you do it just a few times a week. RELATED: 4 Science-Backed Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout 7. Surround yourself with success. The company we keep can have a huge impact on how we feel and how we spend our time. If you want to accomplish something, surround yourself with people who are working toward (or have accomplished) that same goal. Use their achievements as your motivation, and let the positive vibes sink in. 8. Look back. It's easy to get lost in the slog of a major project. Take some time whenever you're feeling down to look back at how far you've come. Try journaling or snapping pics to document your successes. You'll be grateful when you can look back and recall exactly how you looked or felt then versus now. 9. Prep for success. Research suggests that the brain can essentially “run out” of patience or self-control, making it important to eliminate opportunities for slip ups. So instead of trusting future-you to do the right thing, make tough choices easier by prepping for them when you're already feeling motivated. For example, plan your workouts or meals for the week on Sunday afternoon after a weekend of R&R instead of just hoping you'll make healthy choices after a tough day at the office. 10. Know that you can do it. While self-control can be depleted, researchers have also found that effect can be counteracted by simply believing that you have the self-control to accomplish your goals. So whenever you feel you “can't say no” to those brownies, remember that if you think you can, you can! Originally posted August 2013. Updated June 2015. 

The post 10 Simple Strategies for Sticking to Your Goals appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-meditate-dan-harris/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-meditate-dan-harris/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 11:15:43 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=40718 7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

[caption id="attachment_40730" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Establishing a meditation routine can be difficult. You’re busy! Who has time to breathe, let alone sit and breathe? But if you think the only way you’ll learn how to meditate is with a 25-hour day, think again.

RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient)

Plenty of busy people are making time for meditation. Media guru Arianna Huffington makes it a part of her morning routine. Rapper 50 Cent uses meditation to help him remain positive when faced with negative personalities. And Jerry Seinfeld won’t let anything get between him and his meditation time — he allegedly takes time between TV shoots to get zen.

Cultivating Calm, On Your Time

 

“It's fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose"

“I have a really chaotic schedule so I do it whenever I can,” says Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News and the author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier. “I don’t freak out if I can’t fit it in but I do think it’s important to do something every day.” Harris has been meditating ever since he experienced a panic attack on air nearly a decade ago.

He credits meditation with helping him control knee-jerk reactions to frustrating situations. Thanks to improved patience, Harris says he’s a better listener and is able to hold shorter, more fruitful meetings. Meditation, he says, is “fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose."

RELATED: The 8 Best Apps for Guided Meditation

Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, a weekly meditation practice in New York City, says meditation allows her to have more “mental agility” during her day. She’s much more calm when faced with stress, and feels as though she makes better decisions. And science confirms these benefits: your brain will actually change if you stick with meditation, just as your body changes when you exercise regularly. You’ll be rewarded with improved memory and other cognitive benefits.

“Don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to do it forever,” Harris says. It’s okay if you fall off the wagon for a few weeks, so long as you muster the grit to return to your practice. The power of meditation, he says, is derived from practicing daily. Watch the video below for a short meditation exercise from Happify, featuring Harris and Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author.

So what’s the secret to actually making time for meditation? We asked Harris, Kaplan and David Ngo, a behavioral designer at Stanford University and behavior consultant for The Path, for their best tips on how to actually create a meditation habit.

7 Ways to Start Meditating Today

1. Type it into your phone cal.
Instead of simply hoping you’ll be able to squeeze in meditation on the fly, try setting aside a specific time for it. “If I carve out time to [meditate], that’s the space for my practice to go,” says Ngo. When you create that space, the habit can grow. But rather than thinking of meditation as another item on your to-do list, think of it as a gift to yourself, says Kaplan.

 2. Do it in the morning.
“If you’re starting out and you’re struggling with developing the habit, I do think you should do it first thing [in the morning]” says Kaplan. She meditates right after she brushes her teeth. By doing it right away, she has no excuse. Especially for parents with young kids, doing it before the day gets underway is your best bet for fitting in some “me time,” she says. Kaplan recommends not setting your goals too high in the beginning. “If you can do five minutes, that’s better than nothing.”

RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

3. Start with one breath.
Don’t underestimate the power of small behaviors. By focusing on taking one conscious breath when you have a spare moment, you can pave the way for creating a meditation habit. Ngo says this philosophy comes from BJ Fogg, Ph.D., behavioral scientist and founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, who pioneered the idea of creating tiny habits. For example, to create a habit of tidying up at home, you might start by making your bed each morning. A tiny habit should be a behavior that requires little effort and can be performed in less than 30 seconds. “That seed of the habit can then grow into a full-blow tree,” says Ngo.

“People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true”

4. Perform meditation after an existing habit.
After you get into your car for your daily commute, try meditating for a few breaths instead of racing to turn on the ignition. Or quiet your mind after you go to the bathroom at work. “The pattern is always after,” says Ngo. “This is called anchoring.” Ngo recommends choosing a daily occurrence or existing activity to remind yourself to meditate.

5. Use headphones.
As a TV correspondent, Harris has a packed schedule that involves a fair amount of travel. “People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true,” he says. “There are four ways to do it: walking, standing, sitting or lying down.” No matter how busy life gets, Harris tries to fit in 30 minutes of meditation each day. His secret weapon? Headphones. He puts on a pair to cancel noise when he meditates in airports and on planes. “As long as you’re somewhere that’s reasonably quiet, you’re good,” says Harris. (And if you’re lying down and you fall asleep, that’s ok, he says.)

RELATED: How to Overcome Anxiety, Starting Now

6. Siphon time from superfluous activities.
Think about it: Do you really need to hit ‘reply all’ to every email that hits your inbox? “I would have considered myself busy at my last job, but it was just an excuse to procrastinate from what was really important,” says Kaplan. As a successful start-up founder and Emmy award-winning TV reporter, Kaplan says she was writing redundant emails and taking meetings that were unnecessary. “If you’re answering emails you don’t really need to respond to, that would give you 15 minutes,” she says. With that extra time, she suggests finding a quiet park bench to relax, or even sneaking into a hotel lobby for a few minutes.

7. Practice mindfulness when you’ve got time to kill.
Resist the urge to scroll through Instagram the moment your friend or dinner date heads to the bathroom. “I think it’s very healthy to have all sorts of moments in the day where you’re just being,” says Kaplan. It’s tempting to use our phones as entertainment during those “black spaces” during the day, but Kaplan recommends pausing and just letting the moment happen instead of gluing yourself to your Facebook feed. Look around, smile at other people and enjoy some momentary calm. While it’s not the same as doing a seated meditation, being fully present during these small moments can help you feel more comfortable confronting the thoughts rattling around in your mind.

 

The post 7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

[caption id="attachment_40730" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate Photo: Pond5[/caption] Establishing a meditation routine can be difficult. You’re busy! Who has time to breathe, let alone sit and breathe? But if you think the only way you’ll learn how to meditate is with a 25-hour day, think again. RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient) Plenty of busy people are making time for meditation. Media guru Arianna Huffington makes it a part of her morning routine. Rapper 50 Cent uses meditation to help him remain positive when faced with negative personalities. And Jerry Seinfeld won’t let anything get between him and his meditation time — he allegedly takes time between TV shoots to get zen.

Cultivating Calm, On Your Time

  “It's fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose"
“I have a really chaotic schedule so I do it whenever I can,” says Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News and the author of the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier. “I don’t freak out if I can’t fit it in but I do think it’s important to do something every day.” Harris has been meditating ever since he experienced a panic attack on air nearly a decade ago. He credits meditation with helping him control knee-jerk reactions to frustrating situations. Thanks to improved patience, Harris says he’s a better listener and is able to hold shorter, more fruitful meetings. Meditation, he says, is “fighting a lifetime pattern of letting your thoughts lead you by the nose." RELATED: The 8 Best Apps for Guided Meditation Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path, a weekly meditation practice in New York City, says meditation allows her to have more “mental agility” during her day. She’s much more calm when faced with stress, and feels as though she makes better decisions. And science confirms these benefits: your brain will actually change if you stick with meditation, just as your body changes when you exercise regularly. You’ll be rewarded with improved memory and other cognitive benefits. “Don’t put the pressure on yourself that you have to do it forever,” Harris says. It’s okay if you fall off the wagon for a few weeks, so long as you muster the grit to return to your practice. The power of meditation, he says, is derived from practicing daily. Watch the video below for a short meditation exercise from Happify, featuring Harris and Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author. So what’s the secret to actually making time for meditation? We asked Harris, Kaplan and David Ngo, a behavioral designer at Stanford University and behavior consultant for The Path, for their best tips on how to actually create a meditation habit.

7 Ways to Start Meditating Today

1. Type it into your phone cal. Instead of simply hoping you’ll be able to squeeze in meditation on the fly, try setting aside a specific time for it. “If I carve out time to [meditate], that’s the space for my practice to go,” says Ngo. When you create that space, the habit can grow. But rather than thinking of meditation as another item on your to-do list, think of it as a gift to yourself, says Kaplan.  2. Do it in the morning. “If you’re starting out and you’re struggling with developing the habit, I do think you should do it first thing [in the morning]” says Kaplan. She meditates right after she brushes her teeth. By doing it right away, she has no excuse. Especially for parents with young kids, doing it before the day gets underway is your best bet for fitting in some “me time,” she says. Kaplan recommends not setting your goals too high in the beginning. “If you can do five minutes, that’s better than nothing.” RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person 3. Start with one breath. Don’t underestimate the power of small behaviors. By focusing on taking one conscious breath when you have a spare moment, you can pave the way for creating a meditation habit. Ngo says this philosophy comes from BJ Fogg, Ph.D., behavioral scientist and founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, who pioneered the idea of creating tiny habits. For example, to create a habit of tidying up at home, you might start by making your bed each morning. A tiny habit should be a behavior that requires little effort and can be performed in less than 30 seconds. “That seed of the habit can then grow into a full-blow tree,” says Ngo.
“People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true”
4. Perform meditation after an existing habit. After you get into your car for your daily commute, try meditating for a few breaths instead of racing to turn on the ignition. Or quiet your mind after you go to the bathroom at work. “The pattern is always after,” says Ngo. “This is called anchoring.” Ngo recommends choosing a daily occurrence or existing activity to remind yourself to meditate. 5. Use headphones. As a TV correspondent, Harris has a packed schedule that involves a fair amount of travel. “People think you have to sit in some position, but that isn’t true,” he says. “There are four ways to do it: walking, standing, sitting or lying down.” No matter how busy life gets, Harris tries to fit in 30 minutes of meditation each day. His secret weapon? Headphones. He puts on a pair to cancel noise when he meditates in airports and on planes. “As long as you’re somewhere that’s reasonably quiet, you’re good,” says Harris. (And if you’re lying down and you fall asleep, that’s ok, he says.) RELATED: How to Overcome Anxiety, Starting Now 6. Siphon time from superfluous activities. Think about it: Do you really need to hit ‘reply all’ to every email that hits your inbox? “I would have considered myself busy at my last job, but it was just an excuse to procrastinate from what was really important,” says Kaplan. As a successful start-up founder and Emmy award-winning TV reporter, Kaplan says she was writing redundant emails and taking meetings that were unnecessary. “If you’re answering emails you don’t really need to respond to, that would give you 15 minutes,” she says. With that extra time, she suggests finding a quiet park bench to relax, or even sneaking into a hotel lobby for a few minutes. 7. Practice mindfulness when you’ve got time to kill. Resist the urge to scroll through Instagram the moment your friend or dinner date heads to the bathroom. “I think it’s very healthy to have all sorts of moments in the day where you’re just being,” says Kaplan. It’s tempting to use our phones as entertainment during those “black spaces” during the day, but Kaplan recommends pausing and just letting the moment happen instead of gluing yourself to your Facebook feed. Look around, smile at other people and enjoy some momentary calm. While it’s not the same as doing a seated meditation, being fully present during these small moments can help you feel more comfortable confronting the thoughts rattling around in your mind.  

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Don’t Get Burned: The Truth About Tanning http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/is-indoor-tanning-dangerous/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/is-indoor-tanning-dangerous/#comments Sat, 06 Jun 2015 12:15:45 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=26346 Tanning-940

[caption id="attachment_26347" align="alignnone" width="620"]Indoor Tanning Photo: Pond5[/caption]

You rounded up your friends, booked the flights, and packed your new swimsuit. Now you just need to hit the salon so you don't show up at the beach looking pasty... right? Well, wait a second: Even though more than a million Americans per day partake in indoor tanning, joining their ranks is a risky move. Surely you've heard that fake baking causes skin cancer, but maybe you're not totally convinced — or you could be buying into some common misconceptions about the practice. Read on for the facts so you can safeguard your health — and your looks.

RELATED: The 10 Most Common Sunscreen Slip-Ups

You've heard: "A base tan protects against burning."

Reality: The idea that getting a little color now will stop you from burning later is one of those myths that just won't go away. "A tan — whether it comes from a UV lamp or natural sunlight — only confers an SPF of 4," which isn't high enough to prevent a sunburn, says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY at Stony Brook. The best way to avoid turning the color of a lobster is, you guessed it, to skip the intentional tanning and wear sunscreen. Pick a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of at least 30. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are musts as well, says Mariwalla.

You've heard: "Indoor tanning beds are safer than the sun's rays."

Reality: UV light that's strong enough to cause pigment changes in your skin is dangerous, period. Plus some sunlamps deliver a dose of radiation that's substantially stronger than what you'd get from natural light. It's also worth noting that people do get burned at tanning salons — and each year 1,800 of them are injured badly enough to end up in the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Vitamin D Deficiency: What You Need to Know

 You've heard: "Tanning is only a problem if you do it often."

Reality: "Just one indoor tanning session increases the risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent," says Mariwalla. Even more frightening: "If you're younger than 35 and have been going to tanning beds, your lifetime risk of developing melanoma increases by as much as 90 percent," she says. The trouble stems from a concentrated dose of UV radiation, which damages the DNA of skin cells.

You've heard: "Skin cancer is easily cured."

Reality: It's true that there are different types of skin cancer, and they're not equally deadly. But melanoma — which can be fatal— is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in young adults age 25 to 29. While several factors (including genetics) may play a role, about 86 percent of melanomas are directly linked to UV exposure. One person dies of melanoma every hour, according to the American Cancer Society.

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Need to SPF Your Eyes

You've heard: "Everyone looks better tan."

Reality: A recent study from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that many college-age women are continuing to visit tanning salons despite knowing the risks, mainly because they like how it makes them look. Whether darker skin is more attractive is a matter of opinion, but one thing is certain: No one wants premature wrinkles, age spots and fine lines — and UVA rays (which come from the sun as well as from tanning beds) are responsible for these signs of aging. If you're determined to sport a golden glow, reach for a bottle of bronzer or get a professional spray tan. "Even though I tell patients 'pale is the new tan,' I love self-tanners," says Mariwalla.

To find more information about the dangers and risks of indoor tanning head to The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally posted on March 26, 2014. Updated June 2015. 

The post Don’t Get Burned: The Truth About Tanning appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Tanning-940

[caption id="attachment_26347" align="alignnone" width="620"]Indoor Tanning Photo: Pond5[/caption] You rounded up your friends, booked the flights, and packed your new swimsuit. Now you just need to hit the salon so you don't show up at the beach looking pasty... right? Well, wait a second: Even though more than a million Americans per day partake in indoor tanning, joining their ranks is a risky move. Surely you've heard that fake baking causes skin cancer, but maybe you're not totally convinced — or you could be buying into some common misconceptions about the practice. Read on for the facts so you can safeguard your health — and your looks. RELATED: The 10 Most Common Sunscreen Slip-Ups

You've heard: "A base tan protects against burning."

Reality: The idea that getting a little color now will stop you from burning later is one of those myths that just won't go away. "A tan — whether it comes from a UV lamp or natural sunlight — only confers an SPF of 4," which isn't high enough to prevent a sunburn, says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY at Stony Brook. The best way to avoid turning the color of a lobster is, you guessed it, to skip the intentional tanning and wear sunscreen. Pick a broad-spectrum product with an SPF of at least 30. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are musts as well, says Mariwalla.

You've heard: "Indoor tanning beds are safer than the sun's rays."

Reality: UV light that's strong enough to cause pigment changes in your skin is dangerous, period. Plus some sunlamps deliver a dose of radiation that's substantially stronger than what you'd get from natural light. It's also worth noting that people do get burned at tanning salons — and each year 1,800 of them are injured badly enough to end up in the emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RELATED: Vitamin D Deficiency: What You Need to Know

 You've heard: "Tanning is only a problem if you do it often."

Reality: "Just one indoor tanning session increases the risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent," says Mariwalla. Even more frightening: "If you're younger than 35 and have been going to tanning beds, your lifetime risk of developing melanoma increases by as much as 90 percent," she says. The trouble stems from a concentrated dose of UV radiation, which damages the DNA of skin cells.

You've heard: "Skin cancer is easily cured."

Reality: It's true that there are different types of skin cancer, and they're not equally deadly. But melanoma — which can be fatal— is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in young adults age 25 to 29. While several factors (including genetics) may play a role, about 86 percent of melanomas are directly linked to UV exposure. One person dies of melanoma every hour, according to the American Cancer Society. RELATED: 5 Reasons You Need to SPF Your Eyes

You've heard: "Everyone looks better tan."

Reality: A recent study from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that many college-age women are continuing to visit tanning salons despite knowing the risks, mainly because they like how it makes them look. Whether darker skin is more attractive is a matter of opinion, but one thing is certain: No one wants premature wrinkles, age spots and fine lines — and UVA rays (which come from the sun as well as from tanning beds) are responsible for these signs of aging. If you're determined to sport a golden glow, reach for a bottle of bronzer or get a professional spray tan. "Even though I tell patients 'pale is the new tan,' I love self-tanners," says Mariwalla. To find more information about the dangers and risks of indoor tanning head to The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology. Originally posted on March 26, 2014. Updated June 2015. 

The post Don’t Get Burned: The Truth About Tanning appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/take-every-pto-vacation-day/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/take-every-pto-vacation-day/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 11:15:56 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=32856 Standard Miami

[caption id="attachment_32860" align="alignnone" width="620"]Take Your Vacation Days Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Think fast: How many vacation days do you have left this year? If you don’t know the answer, go investigate — and then start planning how you’ll use them, pronto.

In a recent ad campaign by MasterCard, a group of children lectures us that 400 million PTO days go unused every year. One young boy comments: “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Well said, kid.

And it’s true: According to a survey by Glassdoor, only half of Americans use all their vacation days. To motivate you to book your next trip, here are seven ways taking time off can benefit your health, career and sex life.

RELATED: How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent

Why Taking PTO Is Always Worth It

1. You’ll be less likely to get sick.
“Working too many weeks in a row can be very detrimental to your health,” says Jeff Marksberry, MD, who works with the American Institute of Stress. Employees who fail to take needed breaks are prone to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows can weaken your immune system and possibly lead to heart problems down the road. “Taking a vacation lets your body and mind recover from the constant bombardment of stress, allowing your immune system to ‘reboot’ so you’re less likely to get sick,” Marksberry says

If your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards

2. You’ll get happier just planning your trip.
If you’ve spent time perusing the travel boards on Pinterest, you know that even the anticipation of planning a trip can put you in a sunnier frame of mind. A study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that people who are about to go on a vacation feel happier in the weeks leading up to their trip, compared to folks with no travel plans on the horizon. Plus, according to the research, if your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards.

RELATED17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy

3. Even a long weekend might improve the economy.
If you’re not using your vacation days because you’re on a budget, spend your time off taking long weekends — it’ll do everyone some good. The U.S. Travel Association reports that encouraging workers to use one more day of paid leave each year could bring $73 billion more to our economy annually (because, let’s face it, we all spend more when we travel more).

4. You might ward off depression.
In a study of 887 super stressed lawyers, published in the journal Human Relations, researchers found that those who took vacations, and were active and social, experienced reduced levels of depression compared to those who spent leisure time watching TV or listening to music. “Quality time should include things like being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, exercise, and some ‘me’ time,” says Dr. Marksberry. That means spending precious hours away from your cellphone, too.

RELATED: How to Get Good at Stress (and Make It Work in Your Favor)

5. Travel can make you more self-aware.
Just thinking about traveling to new places may boost your creativity, according to a study from the American Psychological Assocation. Mentally picturing yourself in a foreign place and contemplating having new experiences can give you an improved sense of self-awareness, too.

“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck.”

6. You’ll be earning more money per day worked.
“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck,” says Gary Oster, executive VP of member services at the U.S. Travel Association. Too stressed at work to contemplate leaving it all behind? “If you set yourself up properly before vacation, you should be OK when you get back,” he says. Communicate with your managers and team about what needs to be done before you take off, and set a time to get briefed on the most pressing items when you return, he suggests.

7. You’ll fire up your love life.
Hello, vacation sex! A U.S. Travel Association survey found that couples that travel together are more likely to have a better sex life, enjoy more romance, and be more satisfied in their relationships. “Going away on vacation can benefit your relationship with your partner by taking you out of your everyday routine and opening yourselves up to new experiences,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. . “It may even give you an opportunity to capture some of those feelings of your early time together as a couple."

Originally posted on December 4, 2014. Updated May 2015. 

The post 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Standard Miami

[caption id="attachment_32860" align="alignnone" width="620"]Take Your Vacation Days Photo: Pond5[/caption] Think fast: How many vacation days do you have left this year? If you don’t know the answer, go investigate — and then start planning how you’ll use them, pronto. In a recent ad campaign by MasterCard, a group of children lectures us that 400 million PTO days go unused every year. One young boy comments: “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Well said, kid. And it’s true: According to a survey by Glassdoor, only half of Americans use all their vacation days. To motivate you to book your next trip, here are seven ways taking time off can benefit your health, career and sex life. RELATED: How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent

Why Taking PTO Is Always Worth It

1. You’ll be less likely to get sick. “Working too many weeks in a row can be very detrimental to your health,” says Jeff Marksberry, MD, who works with the American Institute of Stress. Employees who fail to take needed breaks are prone to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which research shows can weaken your immune system and possibly lead to heart problems down the road. “Taking a vacation lets your body and mind recover from the constant bombardment of stress, allowing your immune system to ‘reboot’ so you’re less likely to get sick,” Marksberry says
If your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards
2. You’ll get happier just planning your trip. If you’ve spent time perusing the travel boards on Pinterest, you know that even the anticipation of planning a trip can put you in a sunnier frame of mind. A study in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life found that people who are about to go on a vacation feel happier in the weeks leading up to their trip, compared to folks with no travel plans on the horizon. Plus, according to the research, if your vacation is relaxing enough, you’ll continue to feel blissed out for up to eight weeks afterwards. RELATED17 Ways to Get Back to Being Happy 3. Even a long weekend might improve the economy. If you’re not using your vacation days because you’re on a budget, spend your time off taking long weekends — it’ll do everyone some good. The U.S. Travel Association reports that encouraging workers to use one more day of paid leave each year could bring $73 billion more to our economy annually (because, let’s face it, we all spend more when we travel more). 4. You might ward off depression. In a study of 887 super stressed lawyers, published in the journal Human Relations, researchers found that those who took vacations, and were active and social, experienced reduced levels of depression compared to those who spent leisure time watching TV or listening to music. “Quality time should include things like being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, exercise, and some ‘me’ time,” says Dr. Marksberry. That means spending precious hours away from your cellphone, too. RELATED: How to Get Good at Stress (and Make It Work in Your Favor) 5. Travel can make you more self-aware. Just thinking about traveling to new places may boost your creativity, according to a study from the American Psychological Assocation. Mentally picturing yourself in a foreign place and contemplating having new experiences can give you an improved sense of self-awareness, too.
“Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck.”
6. You’ll be earning more money per day worked. “Not using these days is like giving your employer a discount on your paycheck,” says Gary Oster, executive VP of member services at the U.S. Travel Association. Too stressed at work to contemplate leaving it all behind? “If you set yourself up properly before vacation, you should be OK when you get back,” he says. Communicate with your managers and team about what needs to be done before you take off, and set a time to get briefed on the most pressing items when you return, he suggests. 7. You’ll fire up your love life. Hello, vacation sex! A U.S. Travel Association survey found that couples that travel together are more likely to have a better sex life, enjoy more romance, and be more satisfied in their relationships. “Going away on vacation can benefit your relationship with your partner by taking you out of your everyday routine and opening yourselves up to new experiences,” says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. . “It may even give you an opportunity to capture some of those feelings of your early time together as a couple." Originally posted on December 4, 2014. Updated May 2015. 

The post 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-reduce-stress-work-051315/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-reduce-stress-work-051315/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 11:15:51 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=40022 How to Reduce Stress At Work by 40 Percent

[caption id="attachment_40034" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent Photo: Pond5[/caption]

From deadlines to difficult coworkers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the office. Even if you’re doing something you love, work can leave you tense and drained by the end of the day. Fed up with the 24/7 stress? According to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, certain mindfulness-based techniques may help reduce stress at work by up to 40 percent.

That’s right, you can learn to relax without leaving for greener pastures or shelling out for a week-long vacation. “People can find ways to relax without changing their environment,” says study author Maryanna Klatt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. In this small study, 16 members of a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) completed an eight-week mindfulness-based intervention. Researchers recorded psychological and biological markers of stress one week before and one week after the intervention and compared the results to a control group of employees not participating in the program.

RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient)

“People can find ways to relax without changing their environment.”

The relaxation Rx: Every week, participants attended an hour-long group class during work hours that incorporated modified yoga, relaxation music and seated meditation, says Dr. Klatt. Each session had a weekly theme, ranging from improving sleep to teaching people about mindful eating. To make the activities workplace-friendly, Dr. Klatt says all of the moves could be performed in normal clothes. Participants were also given the relaxation music after each class and told to practice what they had learned daily for 20 minutes, if possible.

Down Dog on the Job

Not willing to sacrifice precious work time for mindful reflection? The study results show there are serious benefits to channeling your inner hippy. By the end of the study period, participants’ saliva samples showed significantly fewer biological markers of stress. Most notably: Salivary alpha amylase, an enzyme that increases when you’re stressed, was reduced by 40 percent. While the self-reported stress level of work for participants did not change, the researchers suspect this was due to the high-pressure nature of working in the ICU and the structure of the questionnaires.

RELATED: 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (And How to Deal

“I was pleasantly surprised [by the biological results],” says Dr. Klatt, noting she also observed a transformation in how participants reacted to stress. “Rather than become irritable with a patient’s family members, who were scared themselves, a participant was able to diffuse the situation quickly and calmly,” she says. Learning to control knee-jerk reactions is even more important (and more feasible) than simply trying to eliminate stress. Dr. Klatt notes that numerous studies have demonstrated that mindfulness activities change how the amygdala (the area in the brain responsible for emotional processing) reacts to tense situations.

Find Your Zen

Even if you don’t work in an intensive care unit, a little mindfulness could go a long way towards reclaiming your sanity. Dr. Klatt has already staged mindful interventions for 180 other Ohio State faculty and staff members, and has plans to replicate the current study within other occupations. “It doesn’t take that much to feel better,” she says, though, “you’ve got to practice it…There has to be some sense of commitment to get the results.”

Need to relax, stat? Here’s how to steal some of the strategies used in this study.

  1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, and pause briefly after filling your diaphragm with air. Make your exhale twice as long as your inhale, says Dr. Klatt.
  2. Get moving. Klatt suggests getting up and moving around if you are desk-bound during the day. “Some people’s stress is from too much sitting,” she says. During the current study, participants performed a modified, standing sun salutation by using their desk chairs as props.
  3. Be mindful of stressors. Notice what activities or people have a tendency to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. “Awareness is the first step in mindfulness,” says Dr. Klatt. Once you determine what’s causing you grief, you can find strategies for dealing with those tasks or colleagues to reduce your anxiety.

The post How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Reduce Stress At Work by 40 Percent

[caption id="attachment_40034" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent Photo: Pond5[/caption] From deadlines to difficult coworkers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the office. Even if you’re doing something you love, work can leave you tense and drained by the end of the day. Fed up with the 24/7 stress? According to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, certain mindfulness-based techniques may help reduce stress at work by up to 40 percent. That’s right, you can learn to relax without leaving for greener pastures or shelling out for a week-long vacation. “People can find ways to relax without changing their environment,” says study author Maryanna Klatt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. In this small study, 16 members of a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) completed an eight-week mindfulness-based intervention. Researchers recorded psychological and biological markers of stress one week before and one week after the intervention and compared the results to a control group of employees not participating in the program. RELATED: How to Meditate (Even If You’re Really Impatient)
“People can find ways to relax without changing their environment.”
The relaxation Rx: Every week, participants attended an hour-long group class during work hours that incorporated modified yoga, relaxation music and seated meditation, says Dr. Klatt. Each session had a weekly theme, ranging from improving sleep to teaching people about mindful eating. To make the activities workplace-friendly, Dr. Klatt says all of the moves could be performed in normal clothes. Participants were also given the relaxation music after each class and told to practice what they had learned daily for 20 minutes, if possible.

Down Dog on the Job

Not willing to sacrifice precious work time for mindful reflection? The study results show there are serious benefits to channeling your inner hippy. By the end of the study period, participants’ saliva samples showed significantly fewer biological markers of stress. Most notably: Salivary alpha amylase, an enzyme that increases when you’re stressed, was reduced by 40 percent. While the self-reported stress level of work for participants did not change, the researchers suspect this was due to the high-pressure nature of working in the ICU and the structure of the questionnaires. RELATED: 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (And How to Deal “I was pleasantly surprised [by the biological results],” says Dr. Klatt, noting she also observed a transformation in how participants reacted to stress. “Rather than become irritable with a patient’s family members, who were scared themselves, a participant was able to diffuse the situation quickly and calmly,” she says. Learning to control knee-jerk reactions is even more important (and more feasible) than simply trying to eliminate stress. Dr. Klatt notes that numerous studies have demonstrated that mindfulness activities change how the amygdala (the area in the brain responsible for emotional processing) reacts to tense situations.

Find Your Zen

Even if you don’t work in an intensive care unit, a little mindfulness could go a long way towards reclaiming your sanity. Dr. Klatt has already staged mindful interventions for 180 other Ohio State faculty and staff members, and has plans to replicate the current study within other occupations. “It doesn’t take that much to feel better,” she says, though, “you’ve got to practice it…There has to be some sense of commitment to get the results.” Need to relax, stat? Here’s how to steal some of the strategies used in this study.
  1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, and pause briefly after filling your diaphragm with air. Make your exhale twice as long as your inhale, says Dr. Klatt.
  2. Get moving. Klatt suggests getting up and moving around if you are desk-bound during the day. “Some people’s stress is from too much sitting,” she says. During the current study, participants performed a modified, standing sun salutation by using their desk chairs as props.
  3. Be mindful of stressors. Notice what activities or people have a tendency to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. “Awareness is the first step in mindfulness,” says Dr. Klatt. Once you determine what’s causing you grief, you can find strategies for dealing with those tasks or colleagues to reduce your anxiety.

The post How to Reduce Stress at Work by 40 Percent appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/relationship-stress-management-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/relationship-stress-management-tips/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 11:15:33 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39871 Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It

[caption id="attachment_39869" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Here’s the bad news: Up to 98 percent of American adults report feeling some form of stress on a regular basis.

Here’s the worse news: Feeling stressed can mean trouble for relationships, as more and more research points to the toxic effect stress can have on our personal lives.

RELATED: Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts?

But don’t worry, just because your anxiety is at an all-time high, doesn’t mean your love life is doomed. Using a few proven strategies, you can learn to spot the signs that stress is negatively impacting your relationship and take steps to prevent (or at least mitigate) its harm. Take a deep breath, relax, and read on.

How to Tell If Stress Is Killing Your Mojo

Whether it’s caused by work or health problems, stress can negatively affect relationships in a variety of ways. One study that followed 80 couples over four years found that those who experienced more stress outside of their relationship reported feeling less comfortable and less close with their partner. They also felt less sure of the relationship than folks who experienced less stress.

"People who reported more 'technoference' in their relationship also perceived more conflict."

RELATED: Is Marathon Training Hurting Your Relationship?

Signs of stress may vary between individuals and among partners — but it's never an excuse for abusive behavior (if you’re a victim, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline). However, if you feel you’re in a healthy relationship, these five signs might indicate that stress is taking a toll on your personal life.

1. You’re super irritable.
If you perceive everything your partner says as a slight or get miffed extra easily, stress may be a factor. The longer stress lasts, the more likely we are to feel grumpy or argumentative and lash out.

2. Your communication skills go down the tube.
When you’re feeling chronically stressed or overwhelmed, your ability to practice positive communication (i.e., to talk about who’s doing laundry without it turning into a blowout fight) actually declines. That’s because stress can prevent your ability to focus and promote negative thinking. It can also impair cognition, judgment and listening skills, according to Dr. Michael Mantell, Ph.D., an Advanced Behavior Coach.

RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

3. You’re viewing your whole relationship as a flop.
When we’re chronically stressed, we’re more likely to perceive even the best relationship in a negative light. We’re also unlikely to realize that stress is factoring into that perception.

4. Your eyes are wandering.
Research shows we’re more likely to feel attracted to other people when feeling taxed. Anxiety can make us fantasize about being with a different partner and pay less positive attention to the one we already have.

5. You’re glued to your phone.
When we’re under pressure, it can be difficult to step away from email and texts. In one study, people who reported more “technoference” in their relationship also perceived more conflict and depressive symptoms and lower relationship satisfaction overall. That means talking on your phone during dinner with your partner can be both a sign of stress and a cause of it.

[caption id="attachment_28883" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5 Ways to Save Your Relationship from Stress

If you’re now stressing about the fact that stress is wrecking your relationship — stop! The good news is that it’s entirely possible to manage stressors, thereby reducing their ability to do harm. “You have more control over your environment than your thoughts might lead you to believe,” Dr. Mantell says. “But even if you can’t avoid a situation or alter it, you can reframe the problem more positively with each other, look at the large picture and change your perspective.” Taking the following steps can help keep your relationship on track to happily ever after.

"Be each other’s defense attorney, not prosecutor.”

1. Create a plan.
Whenever you and your partner are in a good place, craft a game plan for
how you’ll cope with the arrival of tension in the future. Dr. Mantell recommends agreeing to work to reduce reactivity (think: major blow-ups) and help identify each other’s negative thought patterns. Then, challenge those thoughts with more positive interpretations of the stressful scenario (for cool ways to channel stress into positivity, read this). Another good way to preempt stress: Exercise together.

RELATED: Trainers Tell All: Their Best Active Dates

2. Reduce your own stress.
Learn how to
relieve your own stress and your relationship will be better for it. Spend time outside, listen to music or practice deep breathing. Perhaps most important: Learn to shift your perspective. “Stress is an emotional and physiological response to thinking that an event, condition, or situation is [terrible] and that no good can come from [it],” says Dr. Mantell. The trick is to adopt more positive frameworks for difficult situations. Try to remind yourself that you’ll get through it, that there may even be a good reason a certain stressor has occurred—and at worst, it’s only one bad event.

RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress

3. Encourage your partner to relax.
If you notice your partner is feeling stressed, try to offer them the support and space to work through their own feelings (some people need to cry; others
hit the gym for a week of two-a-days). Helping your partner feel cared for will soothe their stress, which will allow your relationship to weather the storm.

4. Prioritize commitment.
If you’re feeling too strained to connect with your partner every day, Dr. Mantell recommends putting things in perspective. “Help each other remember you cannot control the uncontrollable, to always look for victory not defeat, to agree to set aside time to talk and be each other’s defense attorney, not prosecutor,” Dr. Mantell says. Ask yourself: What will your relationship look like in one month (and in six months) if you don’t prioritize time with your partner? What are the advantages of putting your partnership first, and what are the disadvantages? The answers to these questions should motivate you to pursue quality time together.

5. Ask for help.
Like it or not, your partner won’t always provide for all your needs. Sometimes he or she will be too overworked to help you as effectively as you’d like, and vice versa. When one or both of you is struggling to meet the other’s needs, don’t be afraid to
enlist the help of trusted friends, relatives, or a licensed therapist.

Within the context of a relationship (or pretty much anything in life), you will never be able to control everything, Mantell says. But you can own your side of things by learning to identify signs that stress is affecting your relationship and taking steps to minimize the damage.

The post Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It

[caption id="attachment_39869" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It Photo: Pond5[/caption] Here’s the bad news: Up to 98 percent of American adults report feeling some form of stress on a regular basis. Here’s the worse news: Feeling stressed can mean trouble for relationships, as more and more research points to the toxic effect stress can have on our personal lives. RELATED: Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? But don’t worry, just because your anxiety is at an all-time high, doesn’t mean your love life is doomed. Using a few proven strategies, you can learn to spot the signs that stress is negatively impacting your relationship and take steps to prevent (or at least mitigate) its harm. Take a deep breath, relax, and read on.

How to Tell If Stress Is Killing Your Mojo

Whether it’s caused by work or health problems, stress can negatively affect relationships in a variety of ways. One study that followed 80 couples over four years found that those who experienced more stress outside of their relationship reported feeling less comfortable and less close with their partner. They also felt less sure of the relationship than folks who experienced less stress.
"People who reported more 'technoference' in their relationship also perceived more conflict."
RELATED: Is Marathon Training Hurting Your Relationship? Signs of stress may vary between individuals and among partners — but it's never an excuse for abusive behavior (if you’re a victim, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline). However, if you feel you’re in a healthy relationship, these five signs might indicate that stress is taking a toll on your personal life. 1. You’re super irritable. If you perceive everything your partner says as a slight or get miffed extra easily, stress may be a factor. The longer stress lasts, the more likely we are to feel grumpy or argumentative and lash out. 2. Your communication skills go down the tube. When you’re feeling chronically stressed or overwhelmed, your ability to practice positive communication (i.e., to talk about who’s doing laundry without it turning into a blowout fight) actually declines. That’s because stress can prevent your ability to focus and promote negative thinking. It can also impair cognition, judgment and listening skills, according to Dr. Michael Mantell, Ph.D., an Advanced Behavior Coach. RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired) 3. You’re viewing your whole relationship as a flop. When we’re chronically stressed, we’re more likely to perceive even the best relationship in a negative light. We’re also unlikely to realize that stress is factoring into that perception. 4. Your eyes are wandering. Research shows we’re more likely to feel attracted to other people when feeling taxed. Anxiety can make us fantasize about being with a different partner and pay less positive attention to the one we already have. 5. You’re glued to your phone. When we’re under pressure, it can be difficult to step away from email and texts. In one study, people who reported more “technoference” in their relationship also perceived more conflict and depressive symptoms and lower relationship satisfaction overall. That means talking on your phone during dinner with your partner can be both a sign of stress and a cause of it. [caption id="attachment_28883" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5 Ways to Save Your Relationship from Stress

If you’re now stressing about the fact that stress is wrecking your relationship — stop! The good news is that it’s entirely possible to manage stressors, thereby reducing their ability to do harm. “You have more control over your environment than your thoughts might lead you to believe,” Dr. Mantell says. “But even if you can’t avoid a situation or alter it, you can reframe the problem more positively with each other, look at the large picture and change your perspective.” Taking the following steps can help keep your relationship on track to happily ever after.
"Be each other’s defense attorney, not prosecutor.”
1. Create a plan. Whenever you and your partner are in a good place, craft a game plan for how you’ll cope with the arrival of tension in the future. Dr. Mantell recommends agreeing to work to reduce reactivity (think: major blow-ups) and help identify each other’s negative thought patterns. Then, challenge those thoughts with more positive interpretations of the stressful scenario (for cool ways to channel stress into positivity, read this). Another good way to preempt stress: Exercise together. RELATED: Trainers Tell All: Their Best Active Dates 2. Reduce your own stress. Learn how to relieve your own stress and your relationship will be better for it. Spend time outside, listen to music or practice deep breathing. Perhaps most important: Learn to shift your perspective. “Stress is an emotional and physiological response to thinking that an event, condition, or situation is [terrible] and that no good can come from [it],” says Dr. Mantell. The trick is to adopt more positive frameworks for difficult situations. Try to remind yourself that you’ll get through it, that there may even be a good reason a certain stressor has occurred—and at worst, it’s only one bad event. RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress 3. Encourage your partner to relax. If you notice your partner is feeling stressed, try to offer them the support and space to work through their own feelings (some people need to cry; others hit the gym for a week of two-a-days). Helping your partner feel cared for will soothe their stress, which will allow your relationship to weather the storm. 4. Prioritize commitment. If you’re feeling too strained to connect with your partner every day, Dr. Mantell recommends putting things in perspective. “Help each other remember you cannot control the uncontrollable, to always look for victory not defeat, to agree to set aside time to talk and be each other’s defense attorney, not prosecutor,” Dr. Mantell says. Ask yourself: What will your relationship look like in one month (and in six months) if you don’t prioritize time with your partner? What are the advantages of putting your partnership first, and what are the disadvantages? The answers to these questions should motivate you to pursue quality time together. 5. Ask for help. Like it or not, your partner won’t always provide for all your needs. Sometimes he or she will be too overworked to help you as effectively as you’d like, and vice versa. When one or both of you is struggling to meet the other’s needs, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of trusted friends, relatives, or a licensed therapist. Within the context of a relationship (or pretty much anything in life), you will never be able to control everything, Mantell says. But you can own your side of things by learning to identify signs that stress is affecting your relationship and taking steps to minimize the damage.

The post Is Stress Hurting Your Relationship? Here’s How to Fix It appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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6 Ways to Sleep Better and Skip Jet Lag on the Road http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-jet-lag-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-sleep-better-jet-lag-tips/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 11:01:40 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39812 Common Sleep Issues

[caption id="attachment_32599" align="alignnone" width="620"]Common Sleep Issues Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler, weekend adventurer, or find yourself away from home just once a year, it’s not easy to get your best night’s sleep when you’re not in your own bed. And if you’re in a different time zone, forget it. To help you catch more zzz’s so you can make the most of your waking time, here are tried-and-true tips from frequent travelers and sleep experts to set you up for slumber success.

RELATED: 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year

How to Sleep Better on the Road

1. Adjust to your new time zone before you arrive.
Jet lag tends to worsen with the number of time zones you cross, so pre-planning your sleep schedule is crucial, says Gary K. Zammit, PhD, executive director at the Sleep Disorders Institute in Manhattan. Try to get in sync with your new time zone as soon as possible.

“I get the best night’s sleep when I adjust my body clock to the time zone of my destination a few days prior to traveling,” says Bob Jacobs, vice president of brand management for Westin. “If I’m traveling West in a few days after being on the East coast, I’ll stay up an hour or so later at night. And if I’m going to the East coast after being out West, I’ll start getting up a bit earlier each day.” Then, keep your dozing schedule as stable as possible in your new destination. Dimming your lights in the evening hours and opening shades for some bright light exposure in the early a.m. may also help, Zammit says.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep)

2. Pack smart.
Make your destination feel like home to minimize the impact of sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, suggests Zammit. Bring your favorite pajamas and pack your pillow or pillowcase, too. Still can’t unwind? Consider picking up a lavender-scented essential oil to spritz at night or to dab on your pillow. Research has found that lavender may have a positive effect on insomnia and depression.

For business traveler Christina Lampe, packing for maximum hotel room comfort is her number one priority. “You never know how loud, bright, warm or cold a hotel room will be until you get there,” she says. “I always bring a blackout eye mask, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and two types of pajamas in case my room is too hot or too cold. I find that I sleep better when I control the environment to make it feel like it does at home,” she says.

RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

3. Stick to your usual routine.
“Whether I arrive at my hotel at noon or midnight, I keep my routine consistent so I feel settled and ready,” says Chelsea Kay Jones, of Forest Lake, Minn. Jones has worked as a Delta flight attendant for six years. “I iron and hang up my uniform for the next day, unpack my toiletries and lay them out by the sink, set up my hair products and makeup for the next day, then put anything back in my suitcase I won’t be needing.” Sticking to your usual before-bed rituals — like reading — can help you feel more comfortable, too.

4. Get moving.
Being active during the day and avoiding naps is helpful for most people, especially if you can get outside and benefit from light exposure, says Zammit. Taking a quick shower in his hotel room, then putting on fresh clothes and going outside helps James Shillinglaw, Editor-in-Chief of TravAlliance Media, adjust to his new environment and time zone. Going for a quick run when he arrives at his destination also keeps his energy levels high throughout the day, and enables him to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly that night.

RELATED: 10 Unexpected Things That Can Ruin Your Sleep

5. Be mindful of your travel diet.
Try not to fall into “vacation eating” mode, chowing down on heavy, greasy foods, suggests Jones. “If you’re hungry, have a light snack before bed and make sure the snack doesn’t contain caffeine or chocolate, which can keep you up at night,” says Zammit.  Beware of foods and drinks that might cause acid reflux, like orange juice, tomato juice or spicy foods. Instead, nosh on something simple and light, like cereal and milk or applesauce. If you’ve got a few hours before bed, eating high-glycemic carbs (like pasta or pretzels) may also help you fall asleep faster, according to research.

Take a hard look at your drinking habits, too. Since she’s constantly going from dehydrating airplanes to hotels rooms that tend to circulate dry air, Jones says she drinks a ton of water on travel days and skips caffeinated drinks later in the day so they don’t hamper her slumber.

RELATED: 10 Simple Snacks for Better Sleep

6. Get up if you can’t fall asleep.
“If I wake up in the middle of the night, I get up and do something, like read or watch TV,” says Shillinglaw. “I try not to just lie there when I find myself awake. I get out of bed, do something productive, and then go back to sleep in an hour.” Most experts agree that if you wake up and can’t fall back asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and do something else. You’ll drift off again later, and your body will thank you the next day.

The post 6 Ways to Sleep Better and Skip Jet Lag on the Road appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Common Sleep Issues

[caption id="attachment_32599" align="alignnone" width="620"]Common Sleep Issues Photo: Pond5[/caption] Whether you’re a frequent business traveler, weekend adventurer, or find yourself away from home just once a year, it’s not easy to get your best night’s sleep when you’re not in your own bed. And if you’re in a different time zone, forget it. To help you catch more zzz’s so you can make the most of your waking time, here are tried-and-true tips from frequent travelers and sleep experts to set you up for slumber success. RELATED: 7 Reasons to Take Every Last Vacation Day This Year

How to Sleep Better on the Road

1. Adjust to your new time zone before you arrive. Jet lag tends to worsen with the number of time zones you cross, so pre-planning your sleep schedule is crucial, says Gary K. Zammit, PhD, executive director at the Sleep Disorders Institute in Manhattan. Try to get in sync with your new time zone as soon as possible. “I get the best night’s sleep when I adjust my body clock to the time zone of my destination a few days prior to traveling,” says Bob Jacobs, vice president of brand management for Westin. “If I’m traveling West in a few days after being on the East coast, I’ll stay up an hour or so later at night. And if I’m going to the East coast after being out West, I’ll start getting up a bit earlier each day.” Then, keep your dozing schedule as stable as possible in your new destination. Dimming your lights in the evening hours and opening shades for some bright light exposure in the early a.m. may also help, Zammit says. RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep) 2. Pack smart. Make your destination feel like home to minimize the impact of sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, suggests Zammit. Bring your favorite pajamas and pack your pillow or pillowcase, too. Still can’t unwind? Consider picking up a lavender-scented essential oil to spritz at night or to dab on your pillow. Research has found that lavender may have a positive effect on insomnia and depression. For business traveler Christina Lampe, packing for maximum hotel room comfort is her number one priority. “You never know how loud, bright, warm or cold a hotel room will be until you get there,” she says. “I always bring a blackout eye mask, earplugs or noise-canceling headphones, and two types of pajamas in case my room is too hot or too cold. I find that I sleep better when I control the environment to make it feel like it does at home,” she says. RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired) 3. Stick to your usual routine. “Whether I arrive at my hotel at noon or midnight, I keep my routine consistent so I feel settled and ready,” says Chelsea Kay Jones, of Forest Lake, Minn. Jones has worked as a Delta flight attendant for six years. “I iron and hang up my uniform for the next day, unpack my toiletries and lay them out by the sink, set up my hair products and makeup for the next day, then put anything back in my suitcase I won’t be needing.” Sticking to your usual before-bed rituals — like reading — can help you feel more comfortable, too. 4. Get moving. Being active during the day and avoiding naps is helpful for most people, especially if you can get outside and benefit from light exposure, says Zammit. Taking a quick shower in his hotel room, then putting on fresh clothes and going outside helps James Shillinglaw, Editor-in-Chief of TravAlliance Media, adjust to his new environment and time zone. Going for a quick run when he arrives at his destination also keeps his energy levels high throughout the day, and enables him to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly that night. RELATED: 10 Unexpected Things That Can Ruin Your Sleep 5. Be mindful of your travel diet. Try not to fall into “vacation eating” mode, chowing down on heavy, greasy foods, suggests Jones. “If you’re hungry, have a light snack before bed and make sure the snack doesn’t contain caffeine or chocolate, which can keep you up at night,” says Zammit.  Beware of foods and drinks that might cause acid reflux, like orange juice, tomato juice or spicy foods. Instead, nosh on something simple and light, like cereal and milk or applesauce. If you’ve got a few hours before bed, eating high-glycemic carbs (like pasta or pretzels) may also help you fall asleep faster, according to research. Take a hard look at your drinking habits, too. Since she’s constantly going from dehydrating airplanes to hotels rooms that tend to circulate dry air, Jones says she drinks a ton of water on travel days and skips caffeinated drinks later in the day so they don’t hamper her slumber. RELATED: 10 Simple Snacks for Better Sleep 6. Get up if you can’t fall asleep. “If I wake up in the middle of the night, I get up and do something, like read or watch TV,” says Shillinglaw. “I try not to just lie there when I find myself awake. I get out of bed, do something productive, and then go back to sleep in an hour.” Most experts agree that if you wake up and can’t fall back asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and do something else. You’ll drift off again later, and your body will thank you the next day.

The post 6 Ways to Sleep Better and Skip Jet Lag on the Road appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Get Good at Stress (And Make It Work in Your Favor) http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-deal-with-stress-symptoms-benefits/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-deal-with-stress-symptoms-benefits/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 11:15:26 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39800 How to Deal with Stress

[caption id="attachment_39804" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Deal with Stress Photo: Pond5[/caption]

From wrecking your workouts to sabotaging your sleep, stress can wreak havoc on your life. But it can also be energizing, motivating and life changing — if you embrace it. That’s the theory behind a new book called The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good At It, by Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a lecturer at Stanford University. Based on a course McGonigal teaches called the New Science of Stress, the book offers loads of stress-related research, along with mental exercises and personal stories to present a compelling argument that stress may not be so bad. “It’s about seeing stress as a challenge rather than a threat,” McGonigal says.

She didn’t always see it that way, though. “I made a career out of telling people stress is the enemy and they need to reduce it,” says McGonigal. But that all changed when she came across an intriguing study published in 2012. It shows that, yes, stress increased participants’ mortality. But there was one major catch: Stress only increased mortality when people believed it was harmful to their health. “When people had a lot of stress in their lives and didn't hold that view, they seemed to be protected against mortality,” says McGonigal.

RELATED: 6 Scenarios That Stress You Out But Shouldn’t

If you sprint away from stressful situations like you’re gunning for a medal, you probably see stress as a threat. “When you view stress as inherently harmful, you shy away from things that are difficult and meaningful, whether that’s repairing a relationship or seeking out a promotion,” says McGonigal.

If, on the other hand, you welcome stress, you’ll see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Even better: Viewing stressors in a positive light may help you feel like you can overcome it. “Studies show that people who think of stress this way are more likely to feel like they have the resources to handle it, such as self-efficacy and self-confidence,” says McGonigal.

How Do You Get Good at Stress? 

If you’re thinking, “OK, this is all well and good, but how do I actually change my mind about stress?” we don’t blame you. The cultural thinking about stress is so deeply engrained that it can be hard to shake loose, but McGonigal offers a few tips:

1. Repeat This Phrase: “I’m Excited”
When you start stressing, call on a motivating mantra. “Tell yourself you’re excited,” says McGonigal. In one study cited by McGonigal, researchers put participants through stressful situations, like mock job interviews, and evaluated their bodies’ responses. Before the interviews, each participant watched one of two videos about stress. One presented stress as an “enhancing” chance to learn and grow, and as something that could be helpful to job performance. The other video claimed that stress was more debilitating to both health and work-related performance than people thought. The purpose: To analyze how the videos affected participants’ levels of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), two stress hormones.

"People who had experienced the most stressful events were also the most likely to think they led meaningful lives."

Neither video affected levels of cortisol, which is associated with things like impaired immune function and depression when it’s present in higher levels, says McGonigal. It was only when they did the mock interviews that cortisol levels went up. But when participants watched the video that presented stress as a positive thing, their brains released more DHEA, which can help reduce your risk of anxiety, depression, and alleviate whole host of other things that higher levels of cortisol (aka: stress) can bring about. Yup, positivity may literally change the way stress hormones react in your brain.

RELATED: 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (and How to Deal)

2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, thinking of the long-term benefits of your situation might help. “You can deal with stressful life experiences with strength from past ones,” says McGonigal. One study out of Hope College showed that after two minutes of thinking of the positive outcomes of a tough experience, participants felt happier and more in control of their lives. So when you’re freaking out about a presentation because you’re certain you’ll bomb, remember that you’ll learn from the experience, no matter how terrible or awesome.

3. Make a Stress Playlist
A group fitness instructor on the side, McGonigal loves making playlists to help her power past rough patches — just like she does to help her get through a workout. “Exercise is a way of practicing being good at stress. It’s uncomfortable, but there’s also the payoff,” says McGonigal. Create a list of songs that would hype you up if you were an Olympic athlete about to compete. “In the moment, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, put on one of those songs. Research shows music can shift the physiology of your stress response and increase your confidence,” says McGonigal. Lady Gaga, anyone?

RELATED: Is Your Race Training Giving You Anxiety?

4. Remember That Stress = Meaning
Even though stress is scary, it helps make life more worthwhile. “One study found that people who have meaningful lives also experience more stress, any way you want to measure it,” says McGonigal. Researchers let participants define “meaning” however they liked, but summed it up as a life with “purpose and value.” The study authors found that people who had experienced the most stressful events were also the most likely to think they led meaningful lives. Sure, you could try to completely eradicate stress from your life, but you’d also be erasing most of what’s meaningful along with it. Instead, open your arms, embrace stress, and use it to your benefit.

The post How to Get Good at Stress (And Make It Work in Your Favor) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Deal with Stress

[caption id="attachment_39804" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Deal with Stress Photo: Pond5[/caption] From wrecking your workouts to sabotaging your sleep, stress can wreak havoc on your life. But it can also be energizing, motivating and life changing — if you embrace it. That’s the theory behind a new book called The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good At It, by Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a lecturer at Stanford University. Based on a course McGonigal teaches called the New Science of Stress, the book offers loads of stress-related research, along with mental exercises and personal stories to present a compelling argument that stress may not be so bad. “It’s about seeing stress as a challenge rather than a threat,” McGonigal says. She didn’t always see it that way, though. “I made a career out of telling people stress is the enemy and they need to reduce it,” says McGonigal. But that all changed when she came across an intriguing study published in 2012. It shows that, yes, stress increased participants’ mortality. But there was one major catch: Stress only increased mortality when people believed it was harmful to their health. “When people had a lot of stress in their lives and didn't hold that view, they seemed to be protected against mortality,” says McGonigal. RELATED: 6 Scenarios That Stress You Out But Shouldn’t If you sprint away from stressful situations like you’re gunning for a medal, you probably see stress as a threat. “When you view stress as inherently harmful, you shy away from things that are difficult and meaningful, whether that’s repairing a relationship or seeking out a promotion,” says McGonigal. If, on the other hand, you welcome stress, you’ll see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Even better: Viewing stressors in a positive light may help you feel like you can overcome it. “Studies show that people who think of stress this way are more likely to feel like they have the resources to handle it, such as self-efficacy and self-confidence,” says McGonigal.

How Do You Get Good at Stress? 

If you’re thinking, “OK, this is all well and good, but how do I actually change my mind about stress?” we don’t blame you. The cultural thinking about stress is so deeply engrained that it can be hard to shake loose, but McGonigal offers a few tips: 1. Repeat This Phrase: “I’m Excited” When you start stressing, call on a motivating mantra. “Tell yourself you’re excited,” says McGonigal. In one study cited by McGonigal, researchers put participants through stressful situations, like mock job interviews, and evaluated their bodies’ responses. Before the interviews, each participant watched one of two videos about stress. One presented stress as an “enhancing” chance to learn and grow, and as something that could be helpful to job performance. The other video claimed that stress was more debilitating to both health and work-related performance than people thought. The purpose: To analyze how the videos affected participants’ levels of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), two stress hormones.
"People who had experienced the most stressful events were also the most likely to think they led meaningful lives."
Neither video affected levels of cortisol, which is associated with things like impaired immune function and depression when it’s present in higher levels, says McGonigal. It was only when they did the mock interviews that cortisol levels went up. But when participants watched the video that presented stress as a positive thing, their brains released more DHEA, which can help reduce your risk of anxiety, depression, and alleviate whole host of other things that higher levels of cortisol (aka: stress) can bring about. Yup, positivity may literally change the way stress hormones react in your brain. RELATED: 8 Signs You’re Way Too Stressed (and How to Deal) 2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize When you’re feeling overwhelmed, thinking of the long-term benefits of your situation might help. “You can deal with stressful life experiences with strength from past ones,” says McGonigal. One study out of Hope College showed that after two minutes of thinking of the positive outcomes of a tough experience, participants felt happier and more in control of their lives. So when you’re freaking out about a presentation because you’re certain you’ll bomb, remember that you’ll learn from the experience, no matter how terrible or awesome. 3. Make a Stress Playlist A group fitness instructor on the side, McGonigal loves making playlists to help her power past rough patches — just like she does to help her get through a workout. “Exercise is a way of practicing being good at stress. It’s uncomfortable, but there’s also the payoff,” says McGonigal. Create a list of songs that would hype you up if you were an Olympic athlete about to compete. “In the moment, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, put on one of those songs. Research shows music can shift the physiology of your stress response and increase your confidence,” says McGonigal. Lady Gaga, anyone? RELATED: Is Your Race Training Giving You Anxiety? 4. Remember That Stress = Meaning Even though stress is scary, it helps make life more worthwhile. “One study found that people who have meaningful lives also experience more stress, any way you want to measure it,” says McGonigal. Researchers let participants define “meaning” however they liked, but summed it up as a life with “purpose and value.” The study authors found that people who had experienced the most stressful events were also the most likely to think they led meaningful lives. Sure, you could try to completely eradicate stress from your life, but you’d also be erasing most of what’s meaningful along with it. Instead, open your arms, embrace stress, and use it to your benefit.

The post How to Get Good at Stress (And Make It Work in Your Favor) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/chronic-stress-wrecking-workouts/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/chronic-stress-wrecking-workouts/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:15:54 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39454 Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts?

[caption id="attachment_39469" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

When Kristina King started her first job out of college at a major Manhattan PR agency this year, she knew that regular exercise would be the key to staying sane. The only problem: By the time she makes it to the gym, she can’t always shut off her mind to focus on her workouts. “When I’m preoccupied with a big project, it’s hard for me to push my body if I’m mentally still at the office,” says King, 22. “I get overwhelmed, and if I’m stressed, it skews my motivation.”

Ruminating on her workday drains her energy — and her muscles ache if she begins a workout feeling angry. Not to mention how stress-induced poor sleep takes a toll on her endurance. “For someone who needs a good workout to manage her stress, it’s a vicious cycle,” she says.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep)

We all know that a good run or ride is a great way to alleviate the tension, mind fog and fatigue of a stressful day. Once you get those endorphins flowing, you feel more confident and the world can seem less daunting. Research shows that, over time, athletes even become more resilient to the negative effects of stress, which is one more reason to keep moving.

Yet, stress can also have a sneaky way of sabotaging your workouts before you’ve even laced up your sneakers. Perhaps you find yourself obsessing about work or relationship problems instead of focusing on your speed or technique. Or, maybe feeling worked up makes it hard to settle into a good run. Here’s what happens to your body when you’re stressed, and how to prevent it from sapping your strength.

How Chronic Stress Screws with Your Workouts

Those late nights at the office can have a far-reaching impact on your health. Chronic stress hurts your ability to regulate the hormone cortisol, which influences metabolism, immunity, sleep rhythms and blood pressure. As a result, you’ll feel run-down and tired — and may be more subject to gaining weight. Not to mention it might be harder to manage those treadmill intervals when you’re feeling blah.

“It fatigues muscles, hurts endurance and puts you in a jagged mental state.”

RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

Although the slight increase in cortisol from moderate stress can have a positive impact on performance, one Italian study of young adults engaged in a workout competition found that acute stress before and during the event hurt their scores. But it’s more complicated than suffering from pre-competition nerves.

If you’re stressed out, you’re probably not sleeping well, which makes your cortisol out of whack. This can cause you to overeat and feel sluggish. “By affecting your body’s ability to regulate cortisol, you might be putting yourself at risk for weight gain and not being as productive with exercise,” explains Domenica Rubino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Washington Center for Weight Management in Arlington, Virginia. Her advice: Protect your performance by not going to bed or eating too late, both of which can wreak further havoc with your sleep.

RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain

Bill Cole, a sports psychologist based in Cupertino, California, and founder of the Mental Game Coaching Association, advises athletes not to mistake the frenetic energy that can accompany stress for helpful motivation. “It fatigues muscles, hurts endurance and puts you in a jagged mental state,” says Cole, who specializes in stress management. In other words, it can throw you off balance psychologically and make it hard to achieve proper momentum during a workout.

It’s easy to feel like your workout is going nowhere fast if stress prevents you from getting a good start. “How do people get off track...They’re not hitting their targets, and they feel like they’re going backwards. Or, they jump ahead and assume that if the opening minutes were crummy, then the rest of the workout will be.”

Here are some strategies for getting back in the zone.

[caption id="attachment_39472" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5 Ways to Sideline Your Stress

1. Remember your success stories.
Next time stress is weighing you down, remind yourself that you’ve pulled through before. “Remember three times you started [a workout] badly and finished well,” advises Cole. “People who are inexperienced at handling stress have [these] data points, but they don’t retrieve them. They’re too caught up in their emotions.” Instead of wallowing, relive your previous strong finishes.

2. Stop time traveling.
The best workouts happen when you’re fully present and focused. Resist the urge to think, “Another bad workout?” or, “What if I can’t keep up with the team?” According to Cole, “You want to refocus back to the now by regulating your inner state.” Let go of distractions or external irritations, like a humid gym environment or annoying people in the weight room. If you’re upset and breathing shallow, take three deep breaths, exhaling twice as slowly as you inhale.

RELATED: Mindfulness for Athletes: The Secret to Better Performance?

3. Compartmentalize your thoughts.
If relationship troubles are gnawing at you, reassure yourself you’ll return to your ruminating after your workout. The problem will still be there (for better or for worse). “You’re giving you mind permission to rest,” says Cole. “A workout is a moving meditation.”

4. Pick the right workout.
Sue Rodgers split with her partner of five years a few months ago. When she feels wound up, she plans her Ironman training accordingly. “On the high stress days, I do certain activities that ground me and clear my head [and] force me to stay focused. So skiing, mountain biking, open water swimming or trail running are good,” says Rodgers, 41, a school health educator from Eastern Canada. “My toughest workouts when stressed are pool swimming because my head spins too much.” Pick a workout that will force you to put your attention elsewhere.

RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress

5. Know when to take a break.
For King, sometimes the best strategy is ditching the gym altogether and finding other ways to take care of herself, such as a healthy dinner out, bubble bath or early bedtime. How does she know she needs a rest day? “I get to the gym and the idea of changing into workout clothes seems like the hardest thing I’ve done all day, or I can barely lift my normal weights,” says King, who’s competing in the Miss New York Pageant this June. “That’s when I know I need to focus on getting my stress down to protect my ability to work out for rest of the week.”

The post Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts?

[caption id="attachment_39469" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? Photo: Pond5[/caption] When Kristina King started her first job out of college at a major Manhattan PR agency this year, she knew that regular exercise would be the key to staying sane. The only problem: By the time she makes it to the gym, she can’t always shut off her mind to focus on her workouts. “When I’m preoccupied with a big project, it’s hard for me to push my body if I’m mentally still at the office,” says King, 22. “I get overwhelmed, and if I’m stressed, it skews my motivation.” Ruminating on her workday drains her energy — and her muscles ache if she begins a workout feeling angry. Not to mention how stress-induced poor sleep takes a toll on her endurance. “For someone who needs a good workout to manage her stress, it’s a vicious cycle,” she says. RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep) We all know that a good run or ride is a great way to alleviate the tension, mind fog and fatigue of a stressful day. Once you get those endorphins flowing, you feel more confident and the world can seem less daunting. Research shows that, over time, athletes even become more resilient to the negative effects of stress, which is one more reason to keep moving. Yet, stress can also have a sneaky way of sabotaging your workouts before you’ve even laced up your sneakers. Perhaps you find yourself obsessing about work or relationship problems instead of focusing on your speed or technique. Or, maybe feeling worked up makes it hard to settle into a good run. Here’s what happens to your body when you’re stressed, and how to prevent it from sapping your strength.

How Chronic Stress Screws with Your Workouts

Those late nights at the office can have a far-reaching impact on your health. Chronic stress hurts your ability to regulate the hormone cortisol, which influences metabolism, immunity, sleep rhythms and blood pressure. As a result, you’ll feel run-down and tired — and may be more subject to gaining weight. Not to mention it might be harder to manage those treadmill intervals when you’re feeling blah.
“It fatigues muscles, hurts endurance and puts you in a jagged mental state.”
RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired) Although the slight increase in cortisol from moderate stress can have a positive impact on performance, one Italian study of young adults engaged in a workout competition found that acute stress before and during the event hurt their scores. But it’s more complicated than suffering from pre-competition nerves. If you’re stressed out, you’re probably not sleeping well, which makes your cortisol out of whack. This can cause you to overeat and feel sluggish. “By affecting your body’s ability to regulate cortisol, you might be putting yourself at risk for weight gain and not being as productive with exercise,” explains Domenica Rubino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Washington Center for Weight Management in Arlington, Virginia. Her advice: Protect your performance by not going to bed or eating too late, both of which can wreak further havoc with your sleep. RELATED: The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain Bill Cole, a sports psychologist based in Cupertino, California, and founder of the Mental Game Coaching Association, advises athletes not to mistake the frenetic energy that can accompany stress for helpful motivation. “It fatigues muscles, hurts endurance and puts you in a jagged mental state,” says Cole, who specializes in stress management. In other words, it can throw you off balance psychologically and make it hard to achieve proper momentum during a workout. It’s easy to feel like your workout is going nowhere fast if stress prevents you from getting a good start. “How do people get off track...They’re not hitting their targets, and they feel like they’re going backwards. Or, they jump ahead and assume that if the opening minutes were crummy, then the rest of the workout will be.” Here are some strategies for getting back in the zone. [caption id="attachment_39472" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5 Ways to Sideline Your Stress

1. Remember your success stories. Next time stress is weighing you down, remind yourself that you’ve pulled through before. “Remember three times you started [a workout] badly and finished well,” advises Cole. “People who are inexperienced at handling stress have [these] data points, but they don’t retrieve them. They’re too caught up in their emotions.” Instead of wallowing, relive your previous strong finishes. 2. Stop time traveling. The best workouts happen when you’re fully present and focused. Resist the urge to think, “Another bad workout?” or, “What if I can’t keep up with the team?” According to Cole, “You want to refocus back to the now by regulating your inner state.” Let go of distractions or external irritations, like a humid gym environment or annoying people in the weight room. If you’re upset and breathing shallow, take three deep breaths, exhaling twice as slowly as you inhale. RELATED: Mindfulness for Athletes: The Secret to Better Performance? 3. Compartmentalize your thoughts. If relationship troubles are gnawing at you, reassure yourself you’ll return to your ruminating after your workout. The problem will still be there (for better or for worse). “You’re giving you mind permission to rest,” says Cole. “A workout is a moving meditation.” 4. Pick the right workout. Sue Rodgers split with her partner of five years a few months ago. When she feels wound up, she plans her Ironman training accordingly. “On the high stress days, I do certain activities that ground me and clear my head [and] force me to stay focused. So skiing, mountain biking, open water swimming or trail running are good,” says Rodgers, 41, a school health educator from Eastern Canada. “My toughest workouts when stressed are pool swimming because my head spins too much.” Pick a workout that will force you to put your attention elsewhere. RELATED: 10 Yoga Poses to Beat Stress 5. Know when to take a break. For King, sometimes the best strategy is ditching the gym altogether and finding other ways to take care of herself, such as a healthy dinner out, bubble bath or early bedtime. How does she know she needs a rest day? “I get to the gym and the idea of changing into workout clothes seems like the hardest thing I’ve done all day, or I can barely lift my normal weights,” says King, who’s competing in the Miss New York Pageant this June. “That’s when I know I need to focus on getting my stress down to protect my ability to work out for rest of the week.”

The post Is Chronic Stress Wrecking Your Workouts? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/fittest-cute-dogs-instagram/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/fittest-cute-dogs-instagram/#comments Sat, 11 Apr 2015 13:15:15 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39041 The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram

The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram

It’s no secret we’re constantly tapping Instagram for fitness inspiration. But we’ve got something to confess: Our feeds might contain just as many puppies as pull-ups. (Finally, the cat is out of the bag.) From hounds running around to pups doing SUP, there’s no shortage of fit and fluffy pooches having a tail wagging-good time. Even professional athletes like Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic love giving their furry sidekicks a moment in the spotlight through their ‘grams.

So in honor of National Pet Day, on April 11, we are proud to present 37 of our favorite fitness “dogstagrams” (listed in no particular order). Fetch your phone because we know you’ll want to sit, stay, and double tap! Begging for more? If we missed any of your favorites, tell us in the comments below.

RELATED: Fitstagrammies: The 30 Best Fitness Pros to Follow on Instagram

The 37 Fittest Dogs on Instagram 

https://instagram.com/p/yUCXnsQRci/

 1. @littleguyliftingbig
Bark if you love barbells! Golden retrievers may be man’s best friend, but efficient, full-body exercises like overhead squats should be a close second.

 

https://instagram.com/p/rx-1Kqk7Zn/

 2. @brentsteffenson
Insta-famous dog Mr. Mogley shows that pups know what's SUP. He’s got perfect balance, and his human, American Ninja Warrior contestant Brent Steffenson, makes stand up paddleboarding looks easy. (But the sport actually requires a very strong core to generate speed!)

 

https://instagram.com/p/z3G-vZBCmg/

3. @yoga_pups
Stretch out those glutes while getting on your pooch’s level. It’s Figure Four pose, plus fido.

 

https://instagram.com/p/0QxZEQj2rT

 4. @petco
The secret to a great workout? A willing training partner, of course! These two doggies are ready to hit the pavement in their sweet kicks. Petco’s IG feed has a plethora of pets, and plenty of dogs to spare.

 

https://instagram.com/p/oGc8sWQeKG/

 5. @purina
Now here’s a canine convention worth your woof. This Instavid shows hounds and humans getting their jog on at a “Bark in the Park,” where participants complete a 5K race alongside their pets in St. Louis, MO.

 

https://instagram.com/p/0di_TkH7Rl/

 6. @campingwithdogs
Furry sidekicks make the best camping compadres. They’ll frolic in the sand and help keep your sleeping bag warm at night. (Though no guarantees that they’ll help set up the tent.) This company’s web site features gear reviews for dog owners, and they plan to set up an app with tips on which parks allow pooches, too.

 

https://instagram.com/p/0k_w5NLf4p/

 7. @gopro
Daschunds may have little legs, but they can still be speedy! Case in point: This daredevil pup named Calloway. Watch the Instavid to see him romp while his human hits tricks on the rails at a skate park. For a canine POV, Go Pro now offers a special dog harness to attach your camera to your pooch’s chest or back.

 

https://instagram.com/p/vREBCetmb4/

 8. @thiswildidea
Is this dog about to nail a three-pointer? Maddie the coonhound works on her vertical at the basketball court. Her human, Theron, is an award-winning photographer who shares his gorgeous travels with Maddie via Instagram.

 

https://instagram.com/p/zqGRZJkXO4/?modal=true

9. @jiffpom
Real talk: SoulCycle always has the best tunes. Even Jiff the Pomeranian knows this to be true. Watch the vid above to see him moonwalk to Michael Jackson. All the fluff can’t stop his smooth moves.

 

https://instagram.com/p/0B1CzENDZL/

10. @crossfit
It's not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. This mean muggin’ mutt is ready for any ruff WOD. Bring on the burpees!

RELATED: 6 Killer CrossFit Workouts Under 12 Minutes

 

https://instagram.com/p/tsUl_fI3dL/?taken-by=ringo_thegringo

11. @ringo_thegringo
Exhale, inhale, wag your tail. Yoga instructor and social media celebrity Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) gets into downward dog with her four-legged friend, Ringo. For humans, this fundamental yoga pose may help boost circulation, release tension and reduce back stiffness.

 

https://instagram.com/p/kfkdQzIAAZ/

12. @schnitzel_von_krumm
The next winter Olympics won’t be for a few more years, but Schnitzel will be ready to hit the slopes. Von Krumm shares the same name as a fictional dog who’s the hero of several children’s picture books.

 

https://instagram.com/p/wW8Ec0N0oV/

13. @animalplanet
We’d vote for this K9 MVP! Diesel, a contender in the 2015 Puppy Bowl, challenged Billy Turner of the Miami Dolphins to some tug of war. Who got the W? Can we get a ref over here?

 

https://instagram.com/p/zQvSX6SeuX/

14. @ciaobella_beau
Beach bum Beau gets serious ups to catch a Frisbee while his sister Bella throws some shade at the camera. Count us in for some fetch next time, pups!

 

https://instagram.com/p/vKj2aCt_77/

15. @corgistagram
Rule number one: You gotta look like a baller before hitting the court. And with that retro sweatband, Insta-celeb Loki the Corgi has this look down, f’sho. Game on!

 

https://instagram.com/p/p68XcbNvvM/

16. @aspca
Air Bud’s got some competition. This pitbull named Brie defies gravity to keep her paws on the soccer ball. Watch out, World Cup! Even more heartwarming: The ASPCA uses their IG feed to promote animal adoption and prevent pet abuse. Head to aspca.org to adopt your own fit fido or feline.

 

https://instagram.com/p/yKy-5Dhsd1/

17. @crossfanatico
This gym dawg’s got perfect form for “up dog.” If you’re a human who’s got tight hips, this stretch is the perfect way to increase mobility.

 

https://instagram.com/p/yxI30RFnam/

18. @spcatexas
Move over, Mighty Ducks. Mighty Dogs may be the next big thing to hit the ice. Case in point: Blyss, a deaf pup who’s in goal with hockey player Patrick Valcak.

 

https://instagram.com/p/t20DhlxCEy/

19. @tvmarksallen
Can a bulldog ride a skateboard? Seeing is believing! Check out the vid above to see Tillman cruise around with a big smile while teaching TV host Mark Allen, anchor for Good Day Sacramento, how it’s done.

 

https://instagram.com/p/tgZGxYPA5m/

20. @marniethedog
Oh hai — one of our favorite Insta-dogs loves biking as much as we do! Marnie frequently chills with celebs like James Franco, Tina Fey and Demi Lovato, but the senior rescue dog also appreciates a beautiful afternoon cycling outside. Marnie and her human advocate adopting senior dogs (who often get overlooked at shelters).

 

https://instagram.com/p/0Q0P7htSZq/

21. @proplan
Paws up in celebration! This canine champ has her victory pose on lock. Life is pretty good when you’re top dog, amiright? This feed from Purina Pro Plan has all dogs, all day. It’s too hard to pick a favorite — they’re all #bestinshow to us.

 

https://instagram.com/p/zDoLQvN3Lv/

22. @thesochipups
Mishka might have been born in Russia, but he looks right at home on American skier Gus Kentworthy’s shoulders. (An Olympic Gold medalist with a heart of gold!) Kentworthy rescued several puppies from the streets of Sochi and gave them a forever home in the US.

 

https://instagram.com/p/y3MDmQoDjI/

23. @petsthatlift
If you can't beat 'em, lick 'em. We hear sloppy dog kisses could be your secret weapon for shattering a deadlift PR. Head to @petsthatlift for more furry weightlifting — from guinea pig gains to cats pumping iron.

RELATED: The 5 Most Important Lifts to Master

 

https://instagram.com/p/ma12xrzPy6/

24. @djokernole
Tennis champion Novak Djokovic may have a merciless serve, but it looks like he’s got a soft spot for some cuddly canines. Djokovic and wife Jelena share their mats with pooches Pierre and Tesla.

 

https://instagram.com/p/0UOtwnGIw0/

25. @justjessethejack
Now here’s one talented terrier: Jack the Jack Russell can jump rope! (Say that five times fast.) Check out his active antics, including swimming, playing Frisbee and paddleboarding, in the vid above.

 

https://instagram.com/p/YD21O4h1sR/

26. @otekah_
A meeting of mammals… camel pose joins with the pawfect partner. With this movement, humans will strengthen their backs, glutes, triceps and, of course, their relationship with their furry friend.

RELATED: 20 Partner Exercises from the Fittest Couples of Instagram

 

https://instagram.com/p/wuE7e2i9V-/

27. @venuswilliams
Love means nothing in tennis, but love means everything when it comes to Venus Williams’ Havanese, Harry. She brings him on runs even though she complains, “He’s always holding me back.”

 

https://instagram.com/p/yfSVC4Irl1/

28. @my_boaz
Do you even lift, pup? This fit fido, a vizsla named Boaz, looks like he’s about to go HAM on his WOD. The doggone look in his eye tells us this is going to be a PR!

 

https://instagram.com/p/lcdnJqIxE8/

29. @normanthescooterdog
Just because Norman has four legs doesn’t mean he can’t scoot like the best of them. Check out the video above to see the Briard (his breed) show off his bike skills.

 

https://instagram.com/p/zsHXm3oCJ0/?modal=true

30. @barkbox
Now here’s a pooch with some pep in his step. There's nothing like your first run in a new pair of sneaks. BarkBox is a monthly subscription service for pet-themed products, and the company donates 10 percent of their profits to dogs in need. Heart warming and tail wag-worthy!

 

https://instagram.com/p/0A9wG1kvjs/?modal=true

31. @willsockolov
Frightful weather outside? Why not hit the treadmill? No matter how fast this pup goes, he’s lapping everyone shedding dog hair on the couch.

RELATED: 8 Killer Treadmill Classes (Plus Cardio Workouts to Try Now)

https://instagram.com/p/zilHW2hWoA/

32. @hunterfitness
Rasco the English bulldog is ready to take these reverse planks up a notch. His human, California-based personal trainer Hunter Cook, adds weight to reverse planks to challenge his core and glutes. Bonus points for keeping a wiggly woof-er balanced as well!

 

https://instagram.com/p/zz1QfPmkeX/

33. @nohlsen
A furry golden retriever helps this pro CrossFit athlete go for the gold. Maximus motivates Noah Ohlsen to crush his sled push workout. This movement is key to building glute strength, core stability and explosiveness.

 

https://instagram.com/p/z5pRQ8OwTP/

34. @nikkibear
Ready to switch up your sun salutation? Try flowing with a fluffy friend. In the vid above, this bichon mimics her human’s effortless poses. Nikki, a model and yoga fanatic, makes it look easy!

 

https://instagram.com/p/kNXD4FvJeT/

35. @buddybowaggytails
Aerobics fans know no workout is complete without some snazzy sweatbands. And this famous pup named Boo is ready to werk it out with all the colors of the rainbow! Old school fitness never looked so good. If you’re Boo-obsessed, you can even buy your own Boo paraphernalia (toys, books and more) on boothedog.net.

https://instagram.com/p/tf6xUelnoA/

36. @therealwatcha
Every boxer needs some support outside the ring. That’s why Watch What Happens Live! host Andy Cohen brings his rescue dog Watcha to the gym. Though we bet he’d rather have Cohen throwing treats, as opposed to punches.

https://instagram.com/p/1VgFAROhg8/

37. @dailyburn
Hiking, yoga, basketball, winter running — the dogs of DailyBurn keep their owners plenty active. Give a virtual belly rub to our fit furballs: Bailey, Baxter, Sammy, Louie, Nico, Pal, Chloe, Maggie and Thor.

Did we miss any of your favorite fit pups? Tag your own photos with #4leggedfitness and @dailyburn on Instagram or share your favorite accounts with us in the comments below!

The post The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram

The 37 Fittest Dogs of Instagram It’s no secret we’re constantly tapping Instagram for fitness inspiration. But we’ve got something to confess: Our feeds might contain just as many puppies as pull-ups. (Finally, the cat is out of the bag.) From hounds running around to pups doing SUP, there’s no shortage of fit and fluffy pooches having a tail wagging-good time. Even professional athletes like Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic love giving their furry sidekicks a moment in the spotlight through their ‘grams. So in honor of National Pet Day, on April 11, we are proud to present 37 of our favorite fitness “dogstagrams” (listed in no particular order). Fetch your phone because we know you’ll want to sit, stay, and double tap! Begging for more? If we missed any of your favorites, tell us in the comments below. RELATED: Fitstagrammies: The 30 Best Fitness Pros to Follow on Instagram

The 37 Fittest Dogs on Instagram 

https://instagram.com/p/yUCXnsQRci/  1. @littleguyliftingbig Bark if you love barbells! Golden retrievers may be man’s best friend, but efficient, full-body exercises like overhead squats should be a close second.   https://instagram.com/p/rx-1Kqk7Zn/  2. @brentsteffenson Insta-famous dog Mr. Mogley shows that pups know what's SUP. He’s got perfect balance, and his human, American Ninja Warrior contestant Brent Steffenson, makes stand up paddleboarding looks easy. (But the sport actually requires a very strong core to generate speed!)   https://instagram.com/p/z3G-vZBCmg/ 3. @yoga_pups Stretch out those glutes while getting on your pooch’s level. It’s Figure Four pose, plus fido.   https://instagram.com/p/0QxZEQj2rT  4. @petco The secret to a great workout? A willing training partner, of course! These two doggies are ready to hit the pavement in their sweet kicks. Petco’s IG feed has a plethora of pets, and plenty of dogs to spare.   https://instagram.com/p/oGc8sWQeKG/  5. @purina Now here’s a canine convention worth your woof. This Instavid shows hounds and humans getting their jog on at a “Bark in the Park,” where participants complete a 5K race alongside their pets in St. Louis, MO.   https://instagram.com/p/0di_TkH7Rl/  6. @campingwithdogs Furry sidekicks make the best camping compadres. They’ll frolic in the sand and help keep your sleeping bag warm at night. (Though no guarantees that they’ll help set up the tent.) This company’s web site features gear reviews for dog owners, and they plan to set up an app with tips on which parks allow pooches, too.   https://instagram.com/p/0k_w5NLf4p/  7. @gopro Daschunds may have little legs, but they can still be speedy! Case in point: This daredevil pup named Calloway. Watch the Instavid to see him romp while his human hits tricks on the rails at a skate park. For a canine POV, Go Pro now offers a special dog harness to attach your camera to your pooch’s chest or back.   https://instagram.com/p/vREBCetmb4/  8. @thiswildidea Is this dog about to nail a three-pointer? Maddie the coonhound works on her vertical at the basketball court. Her human, Theron, is an award-winning photographer who shares his gorgeous travels with Maddie via Instagram.   https://instagram.com/p/zqGRZJkXO4/?modal=true 9. @jiffpom Real talk: SoulCycle always has the best tunes. Even Jiff the Pomeranian knows this to be true. Watch the vid above to see him moonwalk to Michael Jackson. All the fluff can’t stop his smooth moves.   https://instagram.com/p/0B1CzENDZL/ 10. @crossfit It's not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. This mean muggin’ mutt is ready for any ruff WOD. Bring on the burpees! RELATED: 6 Killer CrossFit Workouts Under 12 Minutes   https://instagram.com/p/tsUl_fI3dL/?taken-by=ringo_thegringo 11. @ringo_thegringo Exhale, inhale, wag your tail. Yoga instructor and social media celebrity Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) gets into downward dog with her four-legged friend, Ringo. For humans, this fundamental yoga pose may help boost circulation, release tension and reduce back stiffness.   https://instagram.com/p/kfkdQzIAAZ/ 12. @schnitzel_von_krumm The next winter Olympics won’t be for a few more years, but Schnitzel will be ready to hit the slopes. Von Krumm shares the same name as a fictional dog who’s the hero of several children’s picture books.   https://instagram.com/p/wW8Ec0N0oV/ 13. @animalplanet We’d vote for this K9 MVP! Diesel, a contender in the 2015 Puppy Bowl, challenged Billy Turner of the Miami Dolphins to some tug of war. Who got the W? Can we get a ref over here?   https://instagram.com/p/zQvSX6SeuX/ 14. @ciaobella_beau Beach bum Beau gets serious ups to catch a Frisbee while his sister Bella throws some shade at the camera. Count us in for some fetch next time, pups!   https://instagram.com/p/vKj2aCt_77/ 15. @corgistagram Rule number one: You gotta look like a baller before hitting the court. And with that retro sweatband, Insta-celeb Loki the Corgi has this look down, f’sho. Game on!   https://instagram.com/p/p68XcbNvvM/ 16. @aspca Air Bud’s got some competition. This pitbull named Brie defies gravity to keep her paws on the soccer ball. Watch out, World Cup! Even more heartwarming: The ASPCA uses their IG feed to promote animal adoption and prevent pet abuse. Head to aspca.org to adopt your own fit fido or feline.   https://instagram.com/p/yKy-5Dhsd1/ 17. @crossfanatico This gym dawg’s got perfect form for “up dog.” If you’re a human who’s got tight hips, this stretch is the perfect way to increase mobility.   https://instagram.com/p/yxI30RFnam/ 18. @spcatexas Move over, Mighty Ducks. Mighty Dogs may be the next big thing to hit the ice. Case in point: Blyss, a deaf pup who’s in goal with hockey player Patrick Valcak.   https://instagram.com/p/t20DhlxCEy/ 19. @tvmarksallen Can a bulldog ride a skateboard? Seeing is believing! Check out the vid above to see Tillman cruise around with a big smile while teaching TV host Mark Allen, anchor for Good Day Sacramento, how it’s done.   https://instagram.com/p/tgZGxYPA5m/ 20. @marniethedog Oh hai — one of our favorite Insta-dogs loves biking as much as we do! Marnie frequently chills with celebs like James Franco, Tina Fey and Demi Lovato, but the senior rescue dog also appreciates a beautiful afternoon cycling outside. Marnie and her human advocate adopting senior dogs (who often get overlooked at shelters).   https://instagram.com/p/0Q0P7htSZq/ 21. @proplan Paws up in celebration! This canine champ has her victory pose on lock. Life is pretty good when you’re top dog, amiright? This feed from Purina Pro Plan has all dogs, all day. It’s too hard to pick a favorite — they’re all #bestinshow to us.   https://instagram.com/p/zDoLQvN3Lv/ 22. @thesochipups Mishka might have been born in Russia, but he looks right at home on American skier Gus Kentworthy’s shoulders. (An Olympic Gold medalist with a heart of gold!) Kentworthy rescued several puppies from the streets of Sochi and gave them a forever home in the US.   https://instagram.com/p/y3MDmQoDjI/ 23. @petsthatlift If you can't beat 'em, lick 'em. We hear sloppy dog kisses could be your secret weapon for shattering a deadlift PR. Head to @petsthatlift for more furry weightlifting — from guinea pig gains to cats pumping iron. RELATED: The 5 Most Important Lifts to Master   https://instagram.com/p/ma12xrzPy6/ 24. @djokernole Tennis champion Novak Djokovic may have a merciless serve, but it looks like he’s got a soft spot for some cuddly canines. Djokovic and wife Jelena share their mats with pooches Pierre and Tesla.   https://instagram.com/p/0UOtwnGIw0/ 25. @justjessethejack Now here’s one talented terrier: Jack the Jack Russell can jump rope! (Say that five times fast.) Check out his active antics, including swimming, playing Frisbee and paddleboarding, in the vid above.   https://instagram.com/p/YD21O4h1sR/ 26. @otekah_ A meeting of mammals… camel pose joins with the pawfect partner. With this movement, humans will strengthen their backs, glutes, triceps and, of course, their relationship with their furry friend. RELATED: 20 Partner Exercises from the Fittest Couples of Instagram   https://instagram.com/p/wuE7e2i9V-/ 27. @venuswilliams Love means nothing in tennis, but love means everything when it comes to Venus Williams’ Havanese, Harry. She brings him on runs even though she complains, “He’s always holding me back.”   https://instagram.com/p/yfSVC4Irl1/ 28. @my_boaz Do you even lift, pup? This fit fido, a vizsla named Boaz, looks like he’s about to go HAM on his WOD. The doggone look in his eye tells us this is going to be a PR!   https://instagram.com/p/lcdnJqIxE8/ 29. @normanthescooterdog Just because Norman has four legs doesn’t mean he can’t scoot like the best of them. Check out the video above to see the Briard (his breed) show off his bike skills.   https://instagram.com/p/zsHXm3oCJ0/?modal=true 30. @barkbox Now here’s a pooch with some pep in his step. There's nothing like your first run in a new pair of sneaks. BarkBox is a monthly subscription service for pet-themed products, and the company donates 10 percent of their profits to dogs in need. Heart warming and tail wag-worthy!   https://instagram.com/p/0A9wG1kvjs/?modal=true 31. @willsockolov Frightful weather outside? Why not hit the treadmill? No matter how fast this pup goes, he’s lapping everyone shedding dog hair on the couch. RELATED: 8 Killer Treadmill Classes (Plus Cardio Workouts to Try Now) https://instagram.com/p/zilHW2hWoA/ 32. @hunterfitness Rasco the English bulldog is ready to take these reverse planks up a notch. His human, California-based personal trainer Hunter Cook, adds weight to reverse planks to challenge his core and glutes. Bonus points for keeping a wiggly woof-er balanced as well!   https://instagram.com/p/zz1QfPmkeX/ 33. @nohlsen A furry golden retriever helps this pro CrossFit athlete go for the gold. Maximus motivates Noah Ohlsen to crush his sled push workout. This movement is key to building glute strength, core stability and explosiveness.   https://instagram.com/p/z5pRQ8OwTP/ 34. @nikkibear Ready to switch up your sun salutation? Try flowing with a fluffy friend. In the vid above, this bichon mimics her human’s effortless poses. Nikki, a model and yoga fanatic, makes it look easy!   https://instagram.com/p/kNXD4FvJeT/ 35. @buddybowaggytails Aerobics fans know no workout is complete without some snazzy sweatbands. And this famous pup named Boo is ready to werk it out with all the colors of the rainbow! Old school fitness never looked so good. If you’re Boo-obsessed, you can even buy your own Boo paraphernalia (toys, books and more) on boothedog.net. https://instagram.com/p/tf6xUelnoA/ 36. @therealwatcha Every boxer needs some support outside the ring. That’s why Watch What Happens Live! host Andy Cohen brings his rescue dog Watcha to the gym. Though we bet he’d rather have Cohen throwing treats, as opposed to punches. https://instagram.com/p/1VgFAROhg8/ 37. @dailyburn Hiking, yoga, basketball, winter running — the dogs of DailyBurn keep their owners plenty active. Give a virtual belly rub to our fit furballs: Bailey, Baxter, Sammy, Louie, Nico, Pal, Chloe, Maggie and Thor. Did we miss any of your favorite fit pups? Tag your own photos with #4leggedfitness and @dailyburn on Instagram or share your favorite accounts with us in the comments below!

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The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-deprivation-effects-weight-loss/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-deprivation-effects-weight-loss/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:15:57 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=38658 Sleep Myths

[caption id="attachment_38670" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Can’t figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to erase those extra pounds? You might be suffering from sleep deprivation — even if you swear you’re getting enough sleep at night. In fact, one study presented at this year’s Endocrine Society national meeting suggests that getting just 30 fewer minutes sleep than you should per weekday can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes.

Logically, it’s practically impossible to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have the energy for it. “If I’ve gone to bed late or I have a restless night, I'm more likely to turn off my alarm in the morning and skip my workout,” says Paige DePaolis, 24. “It could be me consciously thinking, ‘No way am I going to that exercise class,’ or, unconsciously snoozing to the point that it’s too late to make it to the class.”

RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster, Without Counting Sheep

Most of us have been there before. But there are also scientific reasons why a lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain.

Sleep: Your Body’s Best Friend

If you thought under-eye circles were the worst consequence of skimping on sleep, you’re in for a shock. “Sleep is important for pretty much every one of your physical systems,” says Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor. “Sleep deprivation leads to deficits in cognitive functioning, whether it’s reaction time, decision-making, or memory.”

Sleep is essential for beyond just what’s going on in your brain, too. “Sleep is involved in the repair and restoration of the body. The rest that happens during sleep really rejuvenates your body for the next day,” says Kennedy.

RELATED: 15 Gadgets for a Better Night’s Sleep

Plus, you might be suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation, even if you think you’re spending enough time in the sack. “We used to think you needed a significant amount of sleep deprivation for it to have an effect on weight. It turns out that’s not true,” says Michael Breus, PhD, a sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep. Just 30 minutes of sleep loss could make you more likely to gain.

Why Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain

[caption id="attachment_38673" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Losing out on sleep creates a viscous cycle in your body, making you more prone to various factors contributing to weight gain.

“The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite,” says Breus. And it’s not like you’re going to be suddenly ravenous for kale salads, either. “For me, it takes a bit of willpower to choose the salad over the sandwich,” DePaolis says. “When I’m tired, I go for whatever’s going to be easy and make me feel better in the moment.”

Often, that means reaching for bad-for-you foods. “When you’re stressed, your body tries to produce serotonin to calm you down. The easiest way to do that is by eating high-fat, high-carb foods that produce a neurochemical reaction,” Breus says.

A lack of sleep also hinders your body’s ability to process the sweet stuff. “When you’re sleep deprived, the mitochondria in your cells that digest fuel start to shut down. Sugar remains in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar,” says Breus. Losing out on sleep can make fat cells 30 percent less able to deal with insulin, according to a study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief)

When you’re wiped out, your hormones go a little nuts, too, boosting levels of the ghrelin, which tells you when you’re hungry, and decreasing leptin, which signals satiety. In fact, sleep-deprived participants in one small study of 30 people ate an average of 300 more calories per day, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And a larger study of 225 people found that those who only spent four hours in bed for five consecutive nights gained almost two pounds more than those who were in bed for about 10 hours, over the course of a week.

One reason you might pack on pounds when you’re sleep deprived is because your body goes into survival mode. Sleeplessness can fool your body into thinking you’re in danger. “Your metabolism slows because your body is trying to maintain its resources, and it also wants more fuel,” says Breus. “I would argue that sleep is probably the most important thing a person can do if they're ready to start a diet and lose weight,” says Breus.

RELATED: 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed 

How to End Your Cycle of Sleep Deprivation

"Sleeping isn’t downtime. You’re feeding your body just as you are when you eat."

Luckily, there are easy ways to make sure sleep never gets in between you and your goal weight again. First, figure out your bedtime. Count seven and a half hours before the time you need to wake up, says Breus. That’s your “lights out” time, which should ensure you’re getting enough sleep to make your body wake itself up at the proper time (maybe even before an alarm goes off). And keep that wake-up time consistent, Kennedy recommends. “Doing that and getting out of bed at the same time sets your body’s clock so you’ll be tired around the same time every night,” she says.

RELATED: Think Snoring Is Normal? Why Sleep Apnea Shouldn’t Be Ignored

If you feel like you’re still having sleep issues, keep a sleep diary that you can take in to a doctor. “Try to really get a sense of what’s going on day-to-day. Record what time you’re going to bed, roughly what time you fall asleep, if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, when you wake up in the morning, and what time you get out of bed,” says Kennedy. Also make sure to jot down other sleep-related markers, like how you feel throughout the day, exercise, caffeine intake, alcohol and stress levels.

Most important of all, make sleep a priority. “It’s physically unhealthy to lose sleep. And it’s such an easy fix in theory,” says Kennedy. “It requires both a behavioral and conceptual shift. Sleeping isn’t downtime. You’re feeding your body just as you are when you eat.”

The post The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Sleep Myths

[caption id="attachment_38670" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain Photo: Pond5[/caption] Can’t figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to erase those extra pounds? You might be suffering from sleep deprivation — even if you swear you’re getting enough sleep at night. In fact, one study presented at this year’s Endocrine Society national meeting suggests that getting just 30 fewer minutes sleep than you should per weekday can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes. Logically, it’s practically impossible to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have the energy for it. “If I’ve gone to bed late or I have a restless night, I'm more likely to turn off my alarm in the morning and skip my workout,” says Paige DePaolis, 24. “It could be me consciously thinking, ‘No way am I going to that exercise class,’ or, unconsciously snoozing to the point that it’s too late to make it to the class.” RELATED: 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster, Without Counting Sheep Most of us have been there before. But there are also scientific reasons why a lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain.

Sleep: Your Body’s Best Friend

If you thought under-eye circles were the worst consequence of skimping on sleep, you’re in for a shock. “Sleep is important for pretty much every one of your physical systems,” says Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor. “Sleep deprivation leads to deficits in cognitive functioning, whether it’s reaction time, decision-making, or memory.” Sleep is essential for beyond just what’s going on in your brain, too. “Sleep is involved in the repair and restoration of the body. The rest that happens during sleep really rejuvenates your body for the next day,” says Kennedy. RELATED: 15 Gadgets for a Better Night’s Sleep Plus, you might be suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation, even if you think you’re spending enough time in the sack. “We used to think you needed a significant amount of sleep deprivation for it to have an effect on weight. It turns out that’s not true,” says Michael Breus, PhD, a sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep. Just 30 minutes of sleep loss could make you more likely to gain.

Why Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain

[caption id="attachment_38673" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain Photo: Pond5[/caption] Losing out on sleep creates a viscous cycle in your body, making you more prone to various factors contributing to weight gain. “The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite,” says Breus. And it’s not like you’re going to be suddenly ravenous for kale salads, either. “For me, it takes a bit of willpower to choose the salad over the sandwich,” DePaolis says. “When I’m tired, I go for whatever’s going to be easy and make me feel better in the moment.” Often, that means reaching for bad-for-you foods. “When you’re stressed, your body tries to produce serotonin to calm you down. The easiest way to do that is by eating high-fat, high-carb foods that produce a neurochemical reaction,” Breus says. A lack of sleep also hinders your body’s ability to process the sweet stuff. “When you’re sleep deprived, the mitochondria in your cells that digest fuel start to shut down. Sugar remains in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar,” says Breus. Losing out on sleep can make fat cells 30 percent less able to deal with insulin, according to a study in Annals of Internal Medicine. RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief) When you’re wiped out, your hormones go a little nuts, too, boosting levels of the ghrelin, which tells you when you’re hungry, and decreasing leptin, which signals satiety. In fact, sleep-deprived participants in one small study of 30 people ate an average of 300 more calories per day, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And a larger study of 225 people found that those who only spent four hours in bed for five consecutive nights gained almost two pounds more than those who were in bed for about 10 hours, over the course of a week. One reason you might pack on pounds when you’re sleep deprived is because your body goes into survival mode. Sleeplessness can fool your body into thinking you’re in danger. “Your metabolism slows because your body is trying to maintain its resources, and it also wants more fuel,” says Breus. “I would argue that sleep is probably the most important thing a person can do if they're ready to start a diet and lose weight,” says Breus. RELATED: 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed 

How to End Your Cycle of Sleep Deprivation

"Sleeping isn’t downtime. You’re feeding your body just as you are when you eat."
Luckily, there are easy ways to make sure sleep never gets in between you and your goal weight again. First, figure out your bedtime. Count seven and a half hours before the time you need to wake up, says Breus. That’s your “lights out” time, which should ensure you’re getting enough sleep to make your body wake itself up at the proper time (maybe even before an alarm goes off). And keep that wake-up time consistent, Kennedy recommends. “Doing that and getting out of bed at the same time sets your body’s clock so you’ll be tired around the same time every night,” she says. RELATED: Think Snoring Is Normal? Why Sleep Apnea Shouldn’t Be Ignored If you feel like you’re still having sleep issues, keep a sleep diary that you can take in to a doctor. “Try to really get a sense of what’s going on day-to-day. Record what time you’re going to bed, roughly what time you fall asleep, if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, when you wake up in the morning, and what time you get out of bed,” says Kennedy. Also make sure to jot down other sleep-related markers, like how you feel throughout the day, exercise, caffeine intake, alcohol and stress levels. Most important of all, make sleep a priority. “It’s physically unhealthy to lose sleep. And it’s such an easy fix in theory,” says Kennedy. “It requires both a behavioral and conceptual shift. Sleeping isn’t downtime. You’re feeding your body just as you are when you eat.”

The post The Hidden Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Lead to Weight Gain appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Your Body on Daylight Savings Time http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/daylight-savings-time-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/daylight-savings-time-tips/#comments Sat, 07 Mar 2015 14:15:52 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=33602 Daylight Savings Time

[caption id="attachment_33613" align="alignnone" width="620"]Daylight Savings Time Photo: Pond5[/caption]

This month, daylight savings time has us “springing ahead” — or losing an hour of sleep — during the wee hours of Sunday, March 8. While that may sound like you’ll just have to delay weekend brunch plans, one measly hour can be surprisingly jarring on the body.

"The time change is kind of a society-imposed jet lag," says Dr. Ilene Rosen, who serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and is board-certified in sleep medicine. Here's how to re-acclimate by Monday morning.

What Is Daylight Savings Time?

The time shown on the clock from November to March is known in the Northern hemisphere as "standard time." The rest of the year is considered the exception, or "savings time." Countries in the Southern hemisphere, however, reverse this, observing daylight savings time during their summer — between November and March.

Making matters even more confusing, daylight savings time (DST) isn't practiced everywhere in the world. Most of Asia and Africa as well as parts of Australia and South America don't observe DST at all — nor do Hawaii, Arizona, or many US territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands. (Utah may also consider dropping DST, based on public outcry.) Even where it is practiced, clocks are set forward and back on different dates, leading to even more regional variations.

Why Do We Have It?

If you live in a part of the world that experiences wide shifts in weather and daylight hours between summer and winter, you probably relish any extra time you get to spend outdoors in the summer sunshine. Moving the clock forward an hour in the spring gives people an extra hour of daylight in the evening, when they're typically not working, rather than the morning. Added bonus for night owls: It also moves the sunrise an hour later, keeping late-risers' bedrooms conveniently dim.

RELATED: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

It's not clear, though, whether all this inconvenience is worth it. One hundred years ago, when DST was first introduced in war-torn Germany, there was a case to be made for saving energy. Moving the clock forward in the spring reduces the number of waking hours between sunset and bedtime (since bedtime remains static while sunset occurs an hour later, according to the clock). Fewer post-sunset evening hours ought to mean fewer lights turned on, and less money spent on energy.

Newer studies throw this hypothesis into question, though. When DST was introduced, lightbulbs were the primary use of household electricity. These days, we use our TVs, computers and other small appliances just as much, whether it's light or dark out. Meanwhile, lightbulbs have grown more efficient. And now that we live in a world where we can control indoor temperature (phew!), it's possible that having more waking daylight hours could, in fact, increase our energy use, since air conditioning uses so much more power than a few measly lightbulbs and is typically turned higher during daylight hours. Studies are inconclusive, but even if it does save money, the savings are estimated to be no more than one or two percent.

How to Deal

In a perfect world, DST wouldn't shock our circadian rhythms twice annually. "Ideally we would be able to allow our internal circadian rhythms to move along naturally with the light-dark cycles that change from season to season," says Dr. Rosen. Since that's not possible, try these tips to transition back to daylight savings time with ease.

1. Shift Your Schedule
To give your body time to adjust, Dr. Rosen recommends going to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier each night a few days before the time change. She also suggests changing your daily routine so “time cues” your body relies upon are earlier. For example, try starting dinner a little earlier each night. Or, shift ahead bedtime preparations like showering or reading with children.

RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

2. Set Clocks Beforehand.
Most cell phones and some electronics will change over to daylight savings time automatically at 2 a.m., but Dr. Rosen suggests changing all other clocks the night before. “Set your clocks ahead one hour in the early evening. Then go to sleep at your normal bedtime,” she says. This ensures that you get the same amount of sleep as you normally would.

3. Use the Sun
“After the switch forward, head outdoors for some early morning sunlight,” says Dr. Rosen. Hacking your sunlight exposure can help recalibrate your circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and alertness. As always, adding a nap can help fend off drowsiness for anyone still struggling with the switch forward to daylight savings time.

RELATED: Short on Zzz’s? 15 Research-Backed Sleep Hacks

Originally posted on October 30, 2014. Updated March 2015. 

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Daylight Savings Time

[caption id="attachment_33613" align="alignnone" width="620"]Daylight Savings Time Photo: Pond5[/caption] This month, daylight savings time has us “springing ahead” — or losing an hour of sleep — during the wee hours of Sunday, March 8. While that may sound like you’ll just have to delay weekend brunch plans, one measly hour can be surprisingly jarring on the body. "The time change is kind of a society-imposed jet lag," says Dr. Ilene Rosen, who serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and is board-certified in sleep medicine. Here's how to re-acclimate by Monday morning.

What Is Daylight Savings Time?

The time shown on the clock from November to March is known in the Northern hemisphere as "standard time." The rest of the year is considered the exception, or "savings time." Countries in the Southern hemisphere, however, reverse this, observing daylight savings time during their summer — between November and March. Making matters even more confusing, daylight savings time (DST) isn't practiced everywhere in the world. Most of Asia and Africa as well as parts of Australia and South America don't observe DST at all — nor do Hawaii, Arizona, or many US territories, like Guam and the US Virgin Islands. (Utah may also consider dropping DST, based on public outcry.) Even where it is practiced, clocks are set forward and back on different dates, leading to even more regional variations.

Why Do We Have It?

If you live in a part of the world that experiences wide shifts in weather and daylight hours between summer and winter, you probably relish any extra time you get to spend outdoors in the summer sunshine. Moving the clock forward an hour in the spring gives people an extra hour of daylight in the evening, when they're typically not working, rather than the morning. Added bonus for night owls: It also moves the sunrise an hour later, keeping late-risers' bedrooms conveniently dim. RELATED: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? It's not clear, though, whether all this inconvenience is worth it. One hundred years ago, when DST was first introduced in war-torn Germany, there was a case to be made for saving energy. Moving the clock forward in the spring reduces the number of waking hours between sunset and bedtime (since bedtime remains static while sunset occurs an hour later, according to the clock). Fewer post-sunset evening hours ought to mean fewer lights turned on, and less money spent on energy. Newer studies throw this hypothesis into question, though. When DST was introduced, lightbulbs were the primary use of household electricity. These days, we use our TVs, computers and other small appliances just as much, whether it's light or dark out. Meanwhile, lightbulbs have grown more efficient. And now that we live in a world where we can control indoor temperature (phew!), it's possible that having more waking daylight hours could, in fact, increase our energy use, since air conditioning uses so much more power than a few measly lightbulbs and is typically turned higher during daylight hours. Studies are inconclusive, but even if it does save money, the savings are estimated to be no more than one or two percent.

How to Deal

In a perfect world, DST wouldn't shock our circadian rhythms twice annually. "Ideally we would be able to allow our internal circadian rhythms to move along naturally with the light-dark cycles that change from season to season," says Dr. Rosen. Since that's not possible, try these tips to transition back to daylight savings time with ease. 1. Shift Your Schedule To give your body time to adjust, Dr. Rosen recommends going to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier each night a few days before the time change. She also suggests changing your daily routine so “time cues” your body relies upon are earlier. For example, try starting dinner a little earlier each night. Or, shift ahead bedtime preparations like showering or reading with children. RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person 2. Set Clocks Beforehand. Most cell phones and some electronics will change over to daylight savings time automatically at 2 a.m., but Dr. Rosen suggests changing all other clocks the night before. “Set your clocks ahead one hour in the early evening. Then go to sleep at your normal bedtime,” she says. This ensures that you get the same amount of sleep as you normally would. 3. Use the Sun “After the switch forward, head outdoors for some early morning sunlight,” says Dr. Rosen. Hacking your sunlight exposure can help recalibrate your circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep and alertness. As always, adding a nap can help fend off drowsiness for anyone still struggling with the switch forward to daylight savings time. RELATED: Short on Zzz’s? 15 Research-Backed Sleep Hacks Originally posted on October 30, 2014. Updated March 2015. 

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What Is Melatonin and Should You Really Take It for Sleep? http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-what-is-melatonin/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/sleep-what-is-melatonin/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:15:25 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=37629 What Is Melatonin?

[caption id="attachment_37632" align="alignnone" width="620"]What Is Melatonin? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

When it comes to living healthy, you know getting enough sleep matters. You can’t kill it at work and at the gym if you aren’t hitting the sack hard to let your mind and body recuperate. So if you’re a tosser-and-turner, your ears might perk up at the mention of potential relief in the form of the supplement melatonin. But what is melatonin? And is it really a good idea to take something to help knock you out at night?

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief)

What Is Melatonin, Really?

“Your body [naturally] makes melatonin, which helps create the urge to fall asleep,” says Sanjeev Kothare, M.D., director of the pediatric sleep program at NYU Langone Medical Center. “We call it ‘the hormone of the dark’ because it starts rising as it gets late and the light intensity [of the day] goes down.” Melatonin is key in regulating your body’s internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, says Andrew Westwood, M.D., a board-certified sleep physician and assistant professor at Columbia University.

"It can de-sensitize your receptors so they’re no longer responsive to lower doses of melatonin."

The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin from the amino acids you get in your diet, says Dr. Westwood. (But don’t turn to food when you can’t sleep — it takes a while for what you digest to turn into melatonin.) As it gets later and darker, your body cranks out higher levels of melatonin. “Normally, by around 8:00 p.m., your melatonin level starts rising. They keep increasing until about 3:00 a.m., when it peaks and your body temperature happens to be at its lowest. We call that ‘biological time zero,’” says Dr. Kothare. After that, your levels drop again.

So, if you’re having trouble drifting off to dreamland, could melatonin be just the thing you’re looking for? “It’s important to understand that melatonin can help induce sleep, but it will not maintain sleep,” says Dr. Kothare. “A lot of people who have difficult falling asleep will take it for that reason, since it’s an inexpensive supplement you can get over the counter.”

Melatonin supplements can also be a great way to break the cycle of insomnia, deal with jet lag, or adjust to life as a shift worker, says Dr. Kothare. What it won’t do: Conk you out for the entire night and leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.

The Side Effects of Melatonin — and How Much Is Too Much?

Since melatonin is a supplement, it doesn’t require the FDA’s stamp of approval. In other words, buyers beware: What you see is not always what you get. “There’s scientific evidence that shows some supplements don’t actually contain what they say on the label,” says Dr. Westwood. To avoid that “yikes” factor, he recommends patients do significant research for reputable brands before taking a supplement. Even if you do get the real deal instead of something masquerading as melatonin, you might end up with headaches, nightmares and lingering sleepiness in the morning as side effects.

RELATED: Can’t Sleep? Your Guide to a Better Night’s Rest

Most over-the-counter melatonin supplements also contain higher dosages than many doctors would recommend. “Melatonin supplements generally range from 3 to 10 milligrams,” says Dr. Westwood. “The body usually works with around half a milligram.” Although you can’t overdose on melatonin, doctors aren’t sure whether relying on it can affect you negatively. Dr. Westwood says there’s a chance it might. “It can de-sensitize your receptors so they’re no longer responsive to lower doses of melatonin,” he says. “Then, if you come off [the supplement], you might have difficulty sleeping — and require more and more melatonin to fall asleep.” On the other hand, Dr. Kothare says if you respond well to melatonin supplements, you can keep taking them long-term without any major negative side effects.

RELATED: 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed

Melatonin and Sleep: The Bottom Line

Even if you’re convinced melatonin could relieve your sleep woes, head to a doctor’s office first. “In many cases, people actually need something else, like avoiding bright lights and blue lights from things like cell phones and computers a few hours before bed,” says Dr. Westwood.

If your doctor does think you could benefit from melatonin, he or she will likely recommend taking only around a milligram, instead of the higher doses most supplements offer. And, if you’ve been using melatonin and feel like it’s having wonky effects on your body, seek out medical advice. That’s what doctors are there for!

The post What Is Melatonin and Should You Really Take It for Sleep? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
What Is Melatonin?

[caption id="attachment_37632" align="alignnone" width="620"]What Is Melatonin? Photo: Pond5[/caption] When it comes to living healthy, you know getting enough sleep matters. You can’t kill it at work and at the gym if you aren’t hitting the sack hard to let your mind and body recuperate. So if you’re a tosser-and-turner, your ears might perk up at the mention of potential relief in the form of the supplement melatonin. But what is melatonin? And is it really a good idea to take something to help knock you out at night? RELATED: The 5 Most Common Sleep Issues (and How to Find Relief)

What Is Melatonin, Really?

“Your body [naturally] makes melatonin, which helps create the urge to fall asleep,” says Sanjeev Kothare, M.D., director of the pediatric sleep program at NYU Langone Medical Center. “We call it ‘the hormone of the dark’ because it starts rising as it gets late and the light intensity [of the day] goes down.” Melatonin is key in regulating your body’s internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, says Andrew Westwood, M.D., a board-certified sleep physician and assistant professor at Columbia University.
"It can de-sensitize your receptors so they’re no longer responsive to lower doses of melatonin."
The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin from the amino acids you get in your diet, says Dr. Westwood. (But don’t turn to food when you can’t sleep — it takes a while for what you digest to turn into melatonin.) As it gets later and darker, your body cranks out higher levels of melatonin. “Normally, by around 8:00 p.m., your melatonin level starts rising. They keep increasing until about 3:00 a.m., when it peaks and your body temperature happens to be at its lowest. We call that ‘biological time zero,’” says Dr. Kothare. After that, your levels drop again. So, if you’re having trouble drifting off to dreamland, could melatonin be just the thing you’re looking for? “It’s important to understand that melatonin can help induce sleep, but it will not maintain sleep,” says Dr. Kothare. “A lot of people who have difficult falling asleep will take it for that reason, since it’s an inexpensive supplement you can get over the counter.” Melatonin supplements can also be a great way to break the cycle of insomnia, deal with jet lag, or adjust to life as a shift worker, says Dr. Kothare. What it won’t do: Conk you out for the entire night and leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.

The Side Effects of Melatonin — and How Much Is Too Much?

Since melatonin is a supplement, it doesn’t require the FDA’s stamp of approval. In other words, buyers beware: What you see is not always what you get. “There’s scientific evidence that shows some supplements don’t actually contain what they say on the label,” says Dr. Westwood. To avoid that “yikes” factor, he recommends patients do significant research for reputable brands before taking a supplement. Even if you do get the real deal instead of something masquerading as melatonin, you might end up with headaches, nightmares and lingering sleepiness in the morning as side effects. RELATED: Can’t Sleep? Your Guide to a Better Night’s Rest Most over-the-counter melatonin supplements also contain higher dosages than many doctors would recommend. “Melatonin supplements generally range from 3 to 10 milligrams,” says Dr. Westwood. “The body usually works with around half a milligram.” Although you can’t overdose on melatonin, doctors aren’t sure whether relying on it can affect you negatively. Dr. Westwood says there’s a chance it might. “It can de-sensitize your receptors so they’re no longer responsive to lower doses of melatonin,” he says. “Then, if you come off [the supplement], you might have difficulty sleeping — and require more and more melatonin to fall asleep.” On the other hand, Dr. Kothare says if you respond well to melatonin supplements, you can keep taking them long-term without any major negative side effects. RELATED: 6 Sleep Myths to Finally Put to Bed

Melatonin and Sleep: The Bottom Line

Even if you’re convinced melatonin could relieve your sleep woes, head to a doctor’s office first. “In many cases, people actually need something else, like avoiding bright lights and blue lights from things like cell phones and computers a few hours before bed,” says Dr. Westwood. If your doctor does think you could benefit from melatonin, he or she will likely recommend taking only around a milligram, instead of the higher doses most supplements offer. And, if you’ve been using melatonin and feel like it’s having wonky effects on your body, seek out medical advice. That’s what doctors are there for!

The post What Is Melatonin and Should You Really Take It for Sleep? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep) http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-fall-asleep-fast/ http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/how-to-fall-asleep-fast/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:15:45 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=37273 How to Fall Asleep Faster

[caption id="attachment_37277" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Fall Asleep Faster Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you feel wide awake when your head hits the pillow at night, you’re not alone. Approximately 60 million Americans report having experienced insomnia in any given year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Even worse, 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders.

RELATED: 15 Gadgets for A Better Night’s Sleep

Missing sleep is nothing to yawn about. “Chronic sleep deprivation has lots of negative consequences,” says Sonia Ancoli-Israel, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She notes that the health risks associated with missed zzz’s can include poor cognitive function, problems with attention and concentration, dementia and an increased risk of heart disease.

Why Every Night of Sleep Matters

Are you getting enough shut-eye? Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, according to Dr. Ancoli-Israel. “People are so busy in their everyday lives and something has to give. They give up on sleep rather than something else,” she says.

If you get tense and worried about not being able to sleep, your frustrated mindset could make it even harder to relax.

Even if you don’t suffer from insomnia, odds are you’ve experienced nights when you’ve tossed and turned, wondering why you can’t drift off. “Everyone has a bad night now and then,” says Dr. Ancoli-Israel. But if you get tense and worried about not being able to sleep, your frustrated mindset could make it even harder to relax into slumber the following nights.

The consequences of missing even a few hours of sleep can be serious. Research shows that short-term sleep deprivation can cause you to crave high carbohydrate and high sugar foods. It can even make it harder to choose healthy options when grocery shopping. Plus, one sobering study revealed that drowsy drivers who had been awake for 18 hours were just as impaired as drivers who had been drinking.

RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (And Not Just Tired)

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure you’ll actually pass out once your head hits the pillow.

9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

1. Do a 60-minute wind-down.
If you’re moving at full-speed all day, it can be tough to suddenly switch yourself “off” at night. “We are assaulted by information all the time and it’s really up to us to create routines that help separate the buzzing of the brain from our sleep routines,” says Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You). She recommends giving your mind and body a full hour to wind down from work (or happy hour) before you try to fall asleep.

2. Take a warm bath or shower.
Spending time in a steamy shower could be beneficial even if you don’t need to rinse off. Dr. Kennedy points out that your body temperature drops rapidly once you exit the shower. Research shows that this decrease in temperature can trigger a sleepy feeling because your heart rate, digestion and other metabolic processes slow down. This can make it easier for your brain and body to power down, too.

3. Put on socks.
Showering isn’t the only trick in the book. When it comes to optimizing your temperature for sleep, the ideal balance is a cooler core and warmer extremities, says Professor Ancoli-Israel. One study revealed that wearing socks dilates your blood vessels and can help blood flow, leading to a more optimal temperature for snoozing.

RELATED: Can Amber-Colored Glasses to Help You Sleep?

4. Try the 4-7-8 exercise.
We’ve all been there: No matter how many times you flip over, you just can’t seem to find that sweet spot that will let you slip into slumber. But instead of trying to find the perfect position, concentrate on finding the perfect way to breathe.

By deliberately changing the pattern of your inhales and exhales, you can change your heart rate and blood pressure, two systems linked to sleepiness. Many relaxation specialists recommend inhaling through your nose, focusing on filling your chest and lungs (for about three to four seconds) and then exhaling slowly through your mouth for double the time you were inhaling. Another method, known as the “4-7-8 exercise,” involves inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds.

[caption id="attachment_30436" align="alignnone" width="620"]Napping Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Don’t get in bed until you actually feel sleepy.
Trying to score some extra zzz’s by going to bed at 8 p.m. is a recipe for disaster. “If you aren’t sleepy, your body won’t settle down,” says Dr. Kennedy. And according to Professor Ancoli-Israel, your sleep will actually be worse the longer you stay in bed. “Eight hours of sleep is more efficient than nine to 10 hours in bed,” she says.

6. Practice calming techniques during the day, not at night.
Relaxation techniques like visualization or progressive muscle relaxation can help you unwind. But don’t wait until it’s dark outside to try these for the first time. “You don’t want to do it the first time when you’re anxious,” Dr. Kennedy says. “You want to start really getting the skill down when it’s easy for you, then try it in more difficult situations.” If you’re using an app to guide you, try to practice until you don’t have to bring your device into the bedroom with you (because that can mess up sleep, too).

Need suggestions? We’ve got our iTunes stocked with wacky wind chimes from Dreaming with Jeff, produced by actor Jeff Bridges, and iSleep Easy, an app with a variety of guided meditations.

7. Get out of bed.
Lying in bed and worrying about your inability to fall asleep will not help. “The second you start feeling tense, go into another room until you start feeling sleepy,” says Professor Ancoli-Israel. You want to condition your brain to associate the bed with sleeping and nothing else, she explains.

Feeling frustrated “creates a stress response where the body creates adrenaline,” says Dr. Kennedy. To combat this harmful feedback loop, divert your attention by reading, doing crossword puzzles, knitting, drinking tea, folding laundry or organizing closets until you start to feel drowsy. “It doesn’t matter, as long as it is relaxing to you,” she says.

8. Hide your clock.
Repeat after us: “I must stop staring at my clock.” You could be waking yourself up even more, says Professor Ancoli-Israel. When you’re constantly checking the time, you’re putting pressure on yourself and creating a more stressful environment. Plus, Dr. Kennedy points out that your phone can suck you back into daytime stressors with every text, email or app notification. If you need to use your alarm clock or phone to ensure you rise on time, put it under the bed or in a drawer so you aren’t tempted to glance at it every five minutes.

RELATED: Think Snoring Is Normal? Why Sleep Apnea Shouldn’t Be Ignored

9. Vent on paper.
If racing thoughts keep you up, consider jotting down what’s on your mind before you head to bed. Processing your feelings (good and bad!) can help you relax into a sleepier state of mind. “When you’re thinking through that stuff and you’re laying down, it can become circular,” says Dr. Kennedy.

By writing things down or making a list of tomorrow’s to-dos, you’ll tame any bouncing thoughts and turn them into a more linear narrative. Instead of endlessly worrying about the next day’s workload, you’ll have already plotted out how you’ll get everything accomplished before you hit the hay.

The post 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
How to Fall Asleep Faster

[caption id="attachment_37277" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Fall Asleep Faster Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you feel wide awake when your head hits the pillow at night, you’re not alone. Approximately 60 million Americans report having experienced insomnia in any given year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Even worse, 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders. RELATED: 15 Gadgets for A Better Night’s Sleep Missing sleep is nothing to yawn about. “Chronic sleep deprivation has lots of negative consequences,” says Sonia Ancoli-Israel, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She notes that the health risks associated with missed zzz’s can include poor cognitive function, problems with attention and concentration, dementia and an increased risk of heart disease.

Why Every Night of Sleep Matters

Are you getting enough shut-eye? Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, according to Dr. Ancoli-Israel. “People are so busy in their everyday lives and something has to give. They give up on sleep rather than something else,” she says.
If you get tense and worried about not being able to sleep, your frustrated mindset could make it even harder to relax.
Even if you don’t suffer from insomnia, odds are you’ve experienced nights when you’ve tossed and turned, wondering why you can’t drift off. “Everyone has a bad night now and then,” says Dr. Ancoli-Israel. But if you get tense and worried about not being able to sleep, your frustrated mindset could make it even harder to relax into slumber the following nights. The consequences of missing even a few hours of sleep can be serious. Research shows that short-term sleep deprivation can cause you to crave high carbohydrate and high sugar foods. It can even make it harder to choose healthy options when grocery shopping. Plus, one sobering study revealed that drowsy drivers who had been awake for 18 hours were just as impaired as drivers who had been drinking. RELATED: 6 Signs You’re Exhausted (And Not Just Tired) Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure you’ll actually pass out once your head hits the pillow.

9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

1. Do a 60-minute wind-down. If you’re moving at full-speed all day, it can be tough to suddenly switch yourself “off” at night. “We are assaulted by information all the time and it’s really up to us to create routines that help separate the buzzing of the brain from our sleep routines,” says Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, founder of NYC Sleep Doctor and author of The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (and You). She recommends giving your mind and body a full hour to wind down from work (or happy hour) before you try to fall asleep. 2. Take a warm bath or shower. Spending time in a steamy shower could be beneficial even if you don’t need to rinse off. Dr. Kennedy points out that your body temperature drops rapidly once you exit the shower. Research shows that this decrease in temperature can trigger a sleepy feeling because your heart rate, digestion and other metabolic processes slow down. This can make it easier for your brain and body to power down, too. 3. Put on socks. Showering isn’t the only trick in the book. When it comes to optimizing your temperature for sleep, the ideal balance is a cooler core and warmer extremities, says Professor Ancoli-Israel. One study revealed that wearing socks dilates your blood vessels and can help blood flow, leading to a more optimal temperature for snoozing. RELATED: Can Amber-Colored Glasses to Help You Sleep? 4. Try the 4-7-8 exercise. We’ve all been there: No matter how many times you flip over, you just can’t seem to find that sweet spot that will let you slip into slumber. But instead of trying to find the perfect position, concentrate on finding the perfect way to breathe. By deliberately changing the pattern of your inhales and exhales, you can change your heart rate and blood pressure, two systems linked to sleepiness. Many relaxation specialists recommend inhaling through your nose, focusing on filling your chest and lungs (for about three to four seconds) and then exhaling slowly through your mouth for double the time you were inhaling. Another method, known as the “4-7-8 exercise,” involves inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and exhaling for eight seconds. [caption id="attachment_30436" align="alignnone" width="620"]Napping Photo: Pond5[/caption] 5. Don’t get in bed until you actually feel sleepy. Trying to score some extra zzz’s by going to bed at 8 p.m. is a recipe for disaster. “If you aren’t sleepy, your body won’t settle down,” says Dr. Kennedy. And according to Professor Ancoli-Israel, your sleep will actually be worse the longer you stay in bed. “Eight hours of sleep is more efficient than nine to 10 hours in bed,” she says. 6. Practice calming techniques during the day, not at night. Relaxation techniques like visualization or progressive muscle relaxation can help you unwind. But don’t wait until it’s dark outside to try these for the first time. “You don’t want to do it the first time when you’re anxious,” Dr. Kennedy says. “You want to start really getting the skill down when it’s easy for you, then try it in more difficult situations.” If you’re using an app to guide you, try to practice until you don’t have to bring your device into the bedroom with you (because that can mess up sleep, too). Need suggestions? We’ve got our iTunes stocked with wacky wind chimes from Dreaming with Jeff, produced by actor Jeff Bridges, and iSleep Easy, an app with a variety of guided meditations. 7. Get out of bed. Lying in bed and worrying about your inability to fall asleep will not help. “The second you start feeling tense, go into another room until you start feeling sleepy,” says Professor Ancoli-Israel. You want to condition your brain to associate the bed with sleeping and nothing else, she explains. Feeling frustrated “creates a stress response where the body creates adrenaline,” says Dr. Kennedy. To combat this harmful feedback loop, divert your attention by reading, doing crossword puzzles, knitting, drinking tea, folding laundry or organizing closets until you start to feel drowsy. “It doesn’t matter, as long as it is relaxing to you,” she says. 8. Hide your clock. Repeat after us: “I must stop staring at my clock.” You could be waking yourself up even more, says Professor Ancoli-Israel. When you’re constantly checking the time, you’re putting pressure on yourself and creating a more stressful environment. Plus, Dr. Kennedy points out that your phone can suck you back into daytime stressors with every text, email or app notification. If you need to use your alarm clock or phone to ensure you rise on time, put it under the bed or in a drawer so you aren’t tempted to glance at it every five minutes. RELATED: Think Snoring Is Normal? Why Sleep Apnea Shouldn’t Be Ignored 9. Vent on paper. If racing thoughts keep you up, consider jotting down what’s on your mind before you head to bed. Processing your feelings (good and bad!) can help you relax into a sleepier state of mind. “When you’re thinking through that stuff and you’re laying down, it can become circular,” says Dr. Kennedy. By writing things down or making a list of tomorrow’s to-dos, you’ll tame any bouncing thoughts and turn them into a more linear narrative. Instead of endlessly worrying about the next day’s workload, you’ll have already plotted out how you’ll get everything accomplished before you hit the hay.

The post 9 Ways to Fall Asleep Faster (Without Counting Sheep) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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