Why Sleep Is So Powerful For Mental Health 0

In this fast-paced western society we are constantly connected and available 247, we have information flowing into us on a daily basis and there’s an increasing expectation for us to respond instantly. Given all of this, there a growing need for us to be operating or functioning in terms of our mental health not just at ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ levels, but ‘optimal’ levels.

Optimal means we are functioning at the highest levels mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, such that we’re able to cope well with the demands of life. If we are operating at sub-optimal level, it’s much harder for us to perform even the basic of life’s functions.

So how do we ensure our health and wellbeing levels are what they should be?

One key contributory factor for long-term mental health and wellness is to ensure we have 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night.

Repair

Sleep repairs the body. This has a positive knock-on effect to how you function cognitively the next and following days. When we sleep, we sleep in cycles of 60-90 minutes. During that time we oscillate between deep (so-called delta) sleep where the body repairs itself and the lighter REM sleep.

Recall

REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep, or lighter sleep, moves information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This helps you to better recall information you absorb on a daily basis. It is during this REM phase of sleep that your eyes move rapidly from side to side (hence the name) and that you dream.

Rhythm

Getting to bed at the right time (ideally 10pm) and getting the right amount of sleep every night keeps your circadian rhythm in check. Your circadian rhythm is your natural body clock that gives you signals when it’s time for you to sleep and when it’s time for you to wake up. Working shift patterns (especially night shifts) can knock this out of balance which can have major consequences not only for your mental and physical health but also for your gut health.

Lack of good quality sleep means that instead of being fully awake and energised during the day, you may find yourself sleepy, sluggish and unable to focus for any significant length of time. In addition, when you’re in bed at night you may feel ‘tired and wired’ (meaning your body is physically tired, but your mind is wide awake and you’re therefore unable to sleep).

Melatonin, the hormone that prepares your body for sleep, and serotonin (your awake hormone) need to be in balance for you to function at your best in the day. This means melatonin kicks in naturally from around 9pm (to help you sleep) until about 7am when serotonin is released to take you through the day. When this melatonin, serotonin cycle is in balance you are fully awake during the day and sleepy at night (when you should be). This in turn means you get a better night’s sleep.

Immune Booster

So never underestimate the power of sleep if you value your health and wellbeing. Good quality sleep not only helps us function more effectively, it also boosts our immune system, helping us to stave off viruses and other infections that we would more easily catch with an inferior level and quality of sleep.

Sleep is therefore one of the fundamental pillars of amazing health and wellbeing. Without it we may over time find ourselves not only operating under par but opening ourselves up to chronic exhaustive conditions such as ME, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia. These conditions can be debilitating and could, if not kept in check, leave us either bed bound or wheelchair bound.

So a key way to look after your mental health over the long term is to ensure that you not only get your 7-9 hours but that you ensure that you go to bed at the right time to increase your chances of getting a much better night’s sleep.

Source by Carmen Gilfillan

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Home Remedies for Hiccups 0

We have all been tormented by hiccups at some point in our lives those annoying, involuntary fits that can make it nearly impossible to carry on a conversation, eat a meal or even maintain a train of thought. Most people hiccup four to 60 times per minute during a bout of hiccups, and everyone has a specific, lifelong hiccup pattern.

The average hiccup spell can last from a few minutes to a few hours, but some people suffer from extended episodes that last days, months or even years. Hiccups that last longer than 48 hours are called persistent hiccups,and if they’ve lasted more than a month, you have intractable hiccups.

Both types can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, even death. For many of us, hiccups begin in the womb. The recapitulation theory proposes that fetuses use hiccups in respiration before their lungs are fully developed. This may help explain why premature infants spend up to 2.5 percent of their time hiccuping more than full-term babies.

Hiccup is an involuntary and sudden contraction of the muscles of the diaphragm. Normally, this action is repeated many times. A weird sound (hic) is produced. The sound is because of the epiglottis which closes when air suddenly tries to rush in. Hiccups are not as painful usually, though they can be very irritating at times. When they continue for a long period, they are very irritating.

Hiccups Causes:

  1. If you eat too fast, you can swallow air along with your food and end up
    with a case of the hiccups. Any other practices that might irritate the diaphragm such as eating too much (especially fatty foods) or drinking too much (drunk people hiccup) can make you prone to having hiccups.
  2. In these instances, your stomach, which sits underneath and adjacent to the
    diaphragm, is distended or stretched. Because they occur in relation to
    eating and drinking, hiccups are sometimes thought to be a reflex to protect
    you from choking.
  3. Sobbing or crying – Eating very spicy food,
  4. Consuming very hot food,
  5. Consuming excessive alcohol or soda,
  6. Coughing badly,
  7. Laughing badly.
getty

Scientific Causes of Hiccups:

During normal breathing, we take in air from the mouth and nose, and it flows through the pharynx, past the glottis and into the larynx and trachea, ending in the lungs. The diaphragm, a large muscle between the chest and abdomen, aids this airflow. It moves down when we inhale, and then up when
we exhale. The phrenic nerves control the movement and sensation of the diaphragm. Any irritation to these nerves induces a spasm of the diaphragm. This spasm causes a person to take a short, quick breath that is then interrupted by the closing of the epiglottis (a flap that protects the glottis, the space between the vocal cords). The sudden closing creates the sound we all know as a hiccup.

So, hiccups are the result of diaphragm spasms. But what causes the irritation that leads to the spasm? There are only a few culprits for common hiccups, which usually disappear within a few minutes. One of the main irritants is a full stomach a result of swallowing too much food
or air. A distended stomach pushes against the phrenic nerves of the diaphragm, increasing the possibility of irritation and, therefore, hiccups. A full stomach of spicy food can do double damage hot foods can be especially irritating to those nerves. As any smoker on a bender can tell you, excess
smoking and drinking alcohol can also cause hiccups. A rapid temperature change outside or inside your stomach, from a cold night or a hot beverage, can be irritating enough to induce hiccups. Finally, emotions shock, excitement and stress — can also trigger a hiccup fit. Persistent and intractable hiccups can have more serious causes. There are hundreds, from hysteria to heart attacks, but most fit into one of five categories: central nervous system problems, metabolic problems, nerve irritation, anaesthesia or surgery, and mental health issues. Because these causes are so varied and potentially serious, anyone suffering from hiccups for more than 48 hours should head straight to a doctor.

Home Remedies for Hiccups:

  1. Holding your breath and counting to 10 is one way some people can get rid of their hiccups. Other people say that drinking from the “wrong” side of a glass of water is the way to become hiccup-free.
  2. Putting sugar under your tongue might work.
  3. Pound 5-6 green cardamom. Boil in 2 cups of water. When it boils down to 1
  4. cup remove, sieve and drink while warm.
  5. Drinking water frequently in short durations is also helpful.
  6. Eating a bowl full of yoghurt with a pinch of salt is also a good home remedy.
  7. Tickling the throat with the cotton swab is also helpful.
  8. Drink one ounce of white vinegar.
  9. Sucking crushed ice provides immediate relief

Abortion Emotional Side Effects 0

Abortion can emotionally affect each woman differently. Some women report a sense of relief after having an abortion. The reasons for relief also vary from woman to woman.

Emotional and psychological effects following abortion are more common than physical side effects and can range from mild regret to more serious complications such as depression. It is important to discuss these risks with a trained professional who can address your questions and concerns. The emotional side effects of having an abortion are just as real as physical side effects.

One important factor related to the vulnerability of negative emotional or psychological effects has to do with your belief about the baby inside of you. Those who believe it is not a baby until it is born have less of a chance of experiencing negative emotional consequences. However, those who believe it is a baby are more likely to experience negative emotional side effects.

Image of woman who's vulnerable to emotional side effects after her abortion

What Are The Types Of Potential Emotional And Psychological Sides Effects Following An Abortion?

The following is a list of potential emotional and psychological risks of having an abortion. The intensity or duration of these effects will vary from one person to another.

Potential side effects include:

  • Regret
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Sense of loneliness or isolation
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Relationship issues
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Image of woman who is feeling depressed after her abortion procedure

Who’s More Prone To Experience Emotional Side Effects?

It is possible for anyone to experience an unexpected emotional or psychological side effect following an abortion. Women commonly report that the abortion procedure affected them more than they expected. However, some individuals are more susceptible to experiencing some type of emotional or psychological struggle.

Women with a higher probability of having a negative emotional or psychological side effect include:

  • Individuals with previous emotional or psychological concerns
  • Individuals who have been coerced, forced or persuaded to get an abortion
  • Individuals with religious beliefs that conflict with abortion
  • Individuals with moral or ethical views that conflict with abortion
  • Individuals who obtain an abortion in the later stages of pregnancy
  • Individuals without support from significant others or their partner
  • Women obtaining an abortion for genetic or fetal abnormalities

 

americanpregnancy.org

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