The effect that sleep has on physical health

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The industry of sleep has experienced quite the upheaval in recent years. Shopping for a mattress is higher than ever before, people are more invested in ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep, and the world is more obsessed with the sleep industry than ever. On all counts, it seems like sleep is finally getting the attention it so desperately needs. However, a lot of this newfound emphasis is built on people simply wanting to feel better, and they know they will if they sleep more soundly. We have all felt the difference in our energy levels and even out attitude when we sleep soundly as opposed to when we have a bad night’s sleep. We all recognize that there is a distinct advantage to ensuring we initiate and maintain solid sleeping patterns, but we rarely (if ever) consider the impact sleep has on our overall health on a deeper, more fundamental level. What about the actual health benefits? Why is sleep so fundamentally important to our overall health, or more specifically even, our physical health?

Sleep is crucial for the body to function at its best, but it is also important for the body to look and feel its best. When a person experiences fractured sleeping patterns, bodily functions like one’s metabolism are impacted significantly. Over time, if left unchecked, these changes in bodily functions can manifest in unhealthy representations in the body. In the case of affected metabolism, the results manifest in weight gain. It really is quite simple. The less sleep one gest, the higher their levels of stress hormone cortisol are. The body literally needs sleep, and without it, the body becomes stressed, overworked. Cortisol increases your appetite. A lack of sleep hinders the body’s ability to process things properly. And if you oversleep, your body does not get the chance to burn off the energy as you are awake. Either way, the unhealthy fats and sugars remain in the body, taking longer to break down. And so, weight gain often ensues.

There are more studies and research than ever that showcase how getting less than six hours sleep can actually hurt your blood vessels as well. This is bad news for obvious reasons. High blood pressure and obesity can and do occur in individuals who have issues with their blood vessels, and so it becomes fundamentally important for people to understand and practice healthy sleeping habits to give their bodies the best likelihood of being at their healthiest. The jury is in. The research keeps pouring in, as do the countless studies. Sleep is just as important – if not more so, in some cases – for overall health as diet and exercise are. We are now in the position of having the awareness to make the necessary changes, and it is crucial that we do so. As it stands, we have the fundamental knowledge that sleep is important for practically all the body’s physical systems.

From weight distribution and blood pressure, to cognitive functioning and memory, the body needs sleep. It really is as simple as that. When we sleep, our bodies have the chance to repair themselves from the day’s labors, and replenish and revitalize for the day ahead. Sleep is an important factor in achieving the best results for our bodies on a long-lasting level, and we can no longer ignore this fact. Perhaps more than anything else, sleep is fundamentally important to our physical health, as well as our mental health and overall health. There has never been so much information, so much knowledge and overall awareness surrounding the topic, and we are in the position of having the power to instill positive change – and to maintain it. To ignore all that would be irresponsible, and so the responsibility to not only change our sleeping habits, but to instill a healthy view of sleep and its relationship to our overall health in future generations, has never been stronger, more prominent.

We have all felt the phenomenal difference in our energy levels, and even our attitude to the world around us, when we get a good night’s sleep. However, what many of us fail to consider deeply is the effect that sleep has on our overall health. We rarely, if ever, consider the impact that our sleeping habits have on all aspects of our bodies, and the result of that failure to understand is that we are locked in a collectively unhealthy pattern – but not for long. We all want to feel and look our best, but sometimes people lack the awareness. And this is when the studies start, and the research piles up. Sleep is crucial to our health. There are many reasons why, but ultimately it comes down to one thing: what our body needs, not what it wants. This is what is most important, what ultimately controls it all.

Adequately addressing the global epidemic that is mental health strain

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Health is a topic that the world has grown to become definitively obsessed with. Over the years, as we have conducted more studies, done more research, and gone further out of our way to discover more about the world of health, we have gotten to the point where we are positively immersed in all the information we have learnt over time. More than any other aspect of health awareness, is the knowledge of our physical health. We live in a world that has placed so much emphasis on taking care of our physical health, that we have become positively obsessed with ensuring our physical health is given the utmost care. While this is of course a positive, there is a shadow cast over other aspects of overall health, with arguably the most affected of all being mental health. It is not exactly difficult to understand why this is. Physical health often manifests on the surface. On the other hand, mental health is quite the opposite. Couple this with the fact that mental health is often (incorrectly and unfairly) treated as a pinpoint of weakness in individuals, and it is not at all difficult to understand how or why mental health strain has reached epidemic proportions on a global scale.

Mental health has been a topic of struggle for centuries. And over time, the topic of mental health is one that has been subject to much debate. While even now there is a lingering stigma that suggests that mental health struggle is a circumstance that affects the weak, the reality is that mental health strain can (and does) affect anyone, anywhere, any time. Anything can set off a chain reaction of mental health challenges, from the results of an STD test, to disappointment when one does not get the results from themselves that they wanted in a school examination (or any other manner of things). If left unchecked, it can often evolve, effectively morphing into a snowball effect that becomes exceedingly difficult to escape from. The reasons behind mental health struggle differ drastically from person to person, but ultimately what it comes down to is a chink forming in an individual’s armour. Mental health strain is not a symptom of weakness, but rather a sign that a person has been strong for too long in challenging circumstances.

Not only is mental health as a broad topic of discussion a serious issue, but it is one that is unfortunately immersed in a stigma that still remains to this day. In 2019, it is frankly astounding that there is still a stigma surrounded such an incredibly serious health issue. Unbelievably, we live in a world that is still struggling to change its views on mental health, and the effects of this lagging shift are devastating, even fatal in some cases. People are reaching out for help more than ever before, but they must be met with understanding and willingness to help, for any assistance to have any lasting effects. Thankfully, the tides are finally turning, but there is a lot of work still to be done. The outdated (and frankly never warranted) stigma surrounding mental health is on the way out the door, but there is still a lot of ground work to be done before it dissipates entirely. The stability of mental health is so overwhelmingly negative that it has reached epidemic proportions, and now it is our job to work towards reversing the damage until it disappears entirely.

Mental health is an incredibly important topic that does not get nearly as much attention or basic awareness as it should. When there are literally millions of individuals all around the world who are grappling with their mental health, there is no excuse not to be anything but honest and open about it. We live in a time where we have more of a platform to raise awareness, raise our voices, and make them count towards the causes and issues that matter the most to us. And we must use our voices to make lasting, positive impact. Anything less is simply not good enough. There is an overwhelming awareness that mental health is more of a prominent issue than ever before, and it is the responsibility of all of us to do our part to ensure that we are working towards viable solutions, rather than whispering in dark corners where no one can hear us, where there is no way for impact to spread.

The world that we live in today is one that has become exceedingly obsessed with health. It seems that, no matter where one looks, every other day there is a new finding in relation to physical health, a new study on the links between health and wellness. Throughout all this constantly-flurrying activity, one aspect of overall health that is often overlooked – and unfortunately quite often misunderstood – is mental health. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, but for multiple reasons it has sadly not gained as much awareness or understanding in the media and the public eye. Now, finally, times are changing. Today, there is a growing body of research, in addition to countless field studies, that prove not only that mental health is incredibly important to the balance of our overall health, but also that it is just as dangerous – if not more so – than physical health, when not taken adequate care of. With the awareness under our belts, and the information in our corner, the time was yesterday for change – but better late than never, right?

Plant-based diet increasingly pegged as chosen lifestyle of future generations

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For centuries, the human body has gotten much – if not all – of its protein and energy from meat consumption. While this diet and lifestyle has increasingly come under fire over the years, it is one that millions of people continue to live by it, citing it as the most healthy whole dietary approach. It is human nature to stick to what we know, and what we [seemingly] know is that, if we eat meat, we can get a significant amount of our daily necessary dietary input. To be fair, meat consumption does give us plenty of energy, protein, and iron (among other benefits), but the reality of how that meat is made available is both disturbing and unsustainable for the planet. Over recent years especially, we have become more aware than ever before about the impact that our dietary choices have not only on our own bodies, but on the environment and the planet. The up and coming generations are growing up in this world of increasingly self-aware ideologies, and if recent projections are anything to go by, the core of the lifestyle of the future is going to be the plant-based diet.

The shocking thing about so many people’s viewpoint on their diet’s impact on their whole health is that they are almost never (if at all) willing to admit that they do not necessarily have to eat meat at all. Simply put, the food system has been shattered by the millions of human beings that maintain unhealthy, unsustainable, and inhumane lifestyles – including their diets. We are so stubborn in the dietary choices that we are comfortable with that we are unwilling or unable to conceive of the mere idea that there could be a diet that gives us everything we need, without unnecessarily taking from other living beings on Earth. Think of it this way: there are roughly 300,000 edible plant species in the United States alone, and only three of them make up almost 60% of American calories (rice, wheat, and corn). It is entirely within our power to fix the way that we obtain our food, and doing so will not only benefit our individual bodies, but the global healthcare system.

From diabetes to obesity, eliminating meat and other common dietary means such as processed sugars and unhealthy fats will have an incredible effect on the healthcare system. The problem is that we do not exactly realise how unhealthy the staples in most modern kitchens are. In modern-day grocery stores, for example, most of the food that surrounds people is not necessarily good for the human body. Even as we browse through the aisles or walk into the shopping centre with a detailed shopping list, some of the foods that are “good for us” are not necessarily healthy. Avoiding meat and dairy can feel like an extreme step to a lot of people who are so used to having these things in their weekly – even daily – diet, but realistically it not only has a significant positive impact on the planet, but it is incredibly beneficial for our bodies as well.

The statistics of the current meat trade are distressing, to say the least. The meat trade is not only unsettling, but it is also unbelievably unsustainable. It takes eight times more land to produce one kilo of protein for meat, as it does for plants. Further, it takes four times as much water to do the same thing. The majority of the land in the US – and around the globe, for that matter – is begging to come to the realisation that, in order to have a more sustainable food system, there must be a stronger emphasis on plant-based diets. The enormous undertaking required to produce livestock is disgusting – providing just 18% of calories, the livestock needed to make up the meat trade takes up 83% of farmland. It is just not sustainable. So, that then begs the question: has it ever really been sustainable in the first place? How far back does the damage go? A whole article could explore that question.

But, in short, for centuries, human beings have obtained a lot of their protein and energy (among other dietary intake necessities) through the consumption of meat.

This is something that people have been – mostly – at peace with, but in the last twenty or so years the relatively small percentage of the human population that is more and more people are turning towards an herbal life and choosing greens on Grasscity over chemicals and today there seems to be more individuals practicing a holistic lifestyle, more than ever – and more of a drive to go plant-based than ever before. When it comes down to it, the shift is really due to the shift in mindset of the current generations. We are realising the impact of our dietary choices and our chosen lifestyles affect more than just us – they affect the environment and the planet. This increasingly common shift in mindset is causing a gravitational shift that, if current projections are anything to go by, is going to result in the lifestyle of the future being centred around plant-based diets. And really, is that really such a bad thing? Is it not more than our turn to instil positive impact for the planet?

Acupuncture, Massages and Alternative Options for Weight Loss

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The way we typically approach weight loss is flawed. The focus is primarily on changing your diet and incorporating exercise. Although this is important, it does not address the root cause for why we overeat. It’s all a temporary solution, not one with long lasting effects. In fact, many people who lose weight go back to the same eating habits once they reach their goal. Unfortunately, some go on to gain even more weight than they lost. This cycle is taxing on the body and also psychologically. There are some other options that address the behavioral component of why we overeat.

It’s important to answer the question of why you struggle with your weight. Do you eat when you are bored, stressed, when you are not feeling good about yourself, it is an escape? Do you associate food with love? Were you told as a child to eat everything on your plate?  If you have tried traditional methods with limited success it might be time to consider alternatives.

Meditation

Meditation is a healthier way to deal with the stress that comes along with life challenges. When we are upset, sometimes we reach for food to comfort us. We wouldn’t characterize most of those “comfort food” choices as healthy. Meditation helps you to breathe, redirect that energy and calms the body and mind. It can help with resisting the temptation of food. It’s a highly effective alternative to releasing that stress. French research during a public health study showed meditation helped cut the risk of obesity by 50% when practiced regularly. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or longer, there are apps available to use on your own, you can take classes, or you can learn about a number of different options for meditation within the privacy of your home.

Hypnotherapy for Weight Loss

Hypnosis can be an effective option in meeting your weight loss goals. Hypnosis focuses on identifying the root cause of why we overeat. It works at the subconscious level to address the negative thought processes that leads to overeating. It helps determine what triggers your overeating and focuses on replacing those habits with more positive behaviors. Once you determine the root cause, the hypnotherapist can reframe how your mind interprets it and provide suggestions which you are more susceptible to while under hypnosis. It’s remarkable to change the way you have looked at food your whole life.

Diet and exercise don’t address your relationship with food and what triggers you. After struggling with weight for 2 years after giving birth, one of my clients lost 32 lbs. in 10 weeks through hypnosis. Another one of my clients stated “It was completely not what I expected, I was fully awake. By my 2nd session, I haven’t touched anything that would harm my body. I started to exercise. I stopped caring about if anyone was judging me anymore. I’m very comfortable with myself.”

Another client talking about his experience with hypnosis stated “I tried many things with some success and ultimate failure. I was hoping for lasting results. I get into a deep relaxed clear-headed state. The hypnosis through you alleviated all these strong urges I had. I was very obsessed with food. Now I eat sensible bites, I don’t have to have food to socialize. We hosted Thanksgiving at my house this year. Believe it or not, I did not touch carbs, it was not a desire. I was thrilled. As of today, I lost 52 lbs. in 5 months.”

Acupuncture

Although acupuncture alone is not a solution for weight loss, it can complement another weight loss method to help you stay balanced. Acupuncture has been part of Chinese medicine for a very long time. There has been some success in strategically placing tiny needles in areas that help with reducing cravings and control hunger.

Lymphatic System Massage Techniques

A lymphatic drainage massage uses a machine that focuses on the lymphatic system to help eliminate waste, enhance circulation and breaks down fat within the body. The thinking is that these lymphatic system massages may in conjunction with diet and exercise help facilitate and speed up the process.

So many people struggle with their weight. There are many different diet plans out there; it’s difficult to determine what will work. Some people try different diets their entire life with limited success. There are alternative methods that are becoming more popular. Hypnosis has become more mainstream for people that are looking to address the emotional and behavioral components associated with their weight problem. It’s important that whatever method you choose, it helps you get to the root cause of the problem. This helps you can break these unhealthy habits. Making lifestyle changes that refocus our energy with ongoing healthier life choices is key to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight going forward.

Sleep becoming an exceedingly fruitful business

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Sleep is something that is vital to our very survival. This is a fundamental fact of life. The healthier our sleeping habits, the happier and more functional we are throughout the days and into the nights before the next night’s sleep reaches us. Another fact of modern life is that we are the busiest we have ever been, and so we are sleeping less and doing more throughout the day. This has obviously created an imbalance that many people struggle to right once it has taken hold. Alas, the entire world is trying to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep is one of the leading topics of research in recent years. With so much focus on sleep (focus that, even now when we are busier than ever, continues to expand), it is little wonder that the mattress industry is going through something of a high run right now. The mattress industry is worth a staggering $30 billion US dollars currently, and is expected to balloon even further in coming years, reaching a projected $42 billion US by the year 2023.

If these figures hold any weight, this mattress boom is far from over. In fact, it is just beginning. But let’s look at exactly why this boom has hit us so hard. Sleep literally makes us more productive. Recent studies show that 90% of executives wake up before six in the morning. 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before they get to work for the day. These are facts, tried and tested, time and again. It speaks volumes of the issue with sleep the world over that despite us all being busier than any past generation, and thus more exhausted at the end of the day, we are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. And surprisingly, many people do not even attempt to go through simple searches to find solutions. It can be much easier than many thing to change sleeping patterns. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is for millions of people, every year. So, how has the mattress industry becoming such a booming success?

Well, the increase of people purchasing new mattresses in the pursuit of a better night’s sleep, of course. People today are busier than ever, and they understand the importance of having a mattress that does the job perfectly. The rise in consumer interest has led to a consequential rise in mattress reviews online. Consumers today value word-of-mouth recommendations just as much as they do the impressions they get from the companies they are potentially buying their mattresses from. These reviews for mattresses speak volumes for the improvements that have been made to the industry across the board. Sleep Junkie reviews are infinitely more positive than those that were online five years ago. The mattress industry the world over has moved leaps and bounds in the right direction, paying more attention to the finer details that make all the difference for its consumers.

Given that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, it makes perfect sense that we should be investing as much effort, time, and money into selecting the perfect mattress as we would a new car or a new house. The fact of the matter is that sleep and performance go hand in hand. This is something that has been backed up time and again in various studies and research surveys. This is not just blind assumption gaining attention. This is scientific fact and consumer awareness working collaboratively and gaining [much-needed] traction in the right direction. As in any industry, the customer is always right, and the mattress industry has used this ideal to their distinct advantage, earning more respect and longevity in an ever-changing economy in the process. The mattress industry today is a glowing evolution of the mattress industry in years past, and it is near impossible to know just how it will look in another twenty years. Odds are, though, it will be positively thriving.

When it comes to booming industries, the mattress industry is one that quietly makes its billions in the background, doing its thing and helping people the world over have a better relationship with their sleeping patterns. Worth $30 billion globally right now, the mattress industry is only set to expand even more. With the population continuing to grow, and the increased awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep, the projected value of the mattress industry worldwide is expected to hit an astronomical $42 billion by 2023. This is an incredible feat, and one that brilliantly showcases just how instrumental this industry is to our health and performance. This is where we are at, and millions of people all over the world are buying into the increasingly lucrative industry that is giving them the rest they deserve and need. This is only the beginning for the blooming mattress industry.

Effective communication skills can improve the career of a medical professional

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Humans always have the opportunity to improve in every area of their life. From teachers to lawyers and even medical professionals, there are unlimited personal growth opportunities if we learn to seize the moment. For medical professionals, it may seem like all of their knowledge is at capacity. They went to undergraduate school, aced their med school entrance exams, went to medical school and completed a residency. Some when to nursing school, passed their exams and started their professional career. All medical professionals have to have some type of formal training or PALS certification before embarking on a rewarding and selfless career. After that education, one may wonder how they can improve as a medical professional. Aside from annual training, gaining extra education may seem redundant or useless. Switching jobs is not always the answer either. One of the best ways to overall be a better medical professional is to improve communication skills.

Communication skills can truly be the difference in positive or negative patient experience. For some careers, interacting with other humans isn’t required. However, for the medical field, those professionals are seemingly always interacting with patients or colleagues. Communications is key to success in the medical industry. Knowing all of the terminologies and being an expert in diagnosing someone is not enough. Learning how to understand patients through communication is crucial to the success of someone’s medical career. Communication is so nuanced, that learning basic communication theories is not enough when it comes to talking with patients.

As a medical professional, it is their job to be a listener. Theoretically, communication involves a sender and receiver. The sender decodes a message that is then sent to the receiver to encode and provide feedback. That streamline of theory seems simple and easy enough, but if even one step of that is interpreted incorrectly by either party, it faces massive negative implications. For example, when the sender decodes a verbal message, his or her nonverbal message may throw off how the receiver encodes it. Relating to medical interactions, if a physician is listening to a patient explaining their health issues, and when the doctor asks certain questions, the patient looks away when answering, the doctor may assume that the patient is lying and therefore, may have received mixed signals of communication. It is up to the patient and the doctor to both have good, open and honest communication with one another.

A communication study showed that the possibility a physician would be sued for malpractice is heavily reliant on their communication skills. When it came down to the number of physicians that were involved with malpractice suits, the common factors were not the actual medical procedures themselves, but the communication that the physicians had with their patients. Doctors who had higher amounts of malpractice suits were frequently reported as not having good listening skills when it came to their patients. They were either reported as being uninterested or essentially acting as if the patient didn’t know anything. Doctors who took the time to ask patients questions and who also asked patients if they had any questions had lower amounts of malpractice suits. Some of the malpractice suits were after doctors had referred patients to someone else because they still felt if the doctor had not listened to their concerns. Communication is crucial when it comes to physicians finding solutions to their patient’s problems.

To better enhance their communication skills, physicians can take time to learn better listening skills. This can seem like an oblivious thing, but for many, effective communication skills are learned. Not everyone is a natural and charismatic communicator. People with outstanding communication skills are able to listen and ask the right questions. The questions they do ask when listening aren’t superficial or for their own personal gain, they are to truly better understand the details of what someone is talking about. Often, good communicators ask questions that keep the conversation flowing without changing the subject. Another key element that a communicator has is letting other people ask questions if needed. This is especially important in the case of physicians. Allowing patients the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an exam or visit shows that the doctor cares. Excellent communicators show empathy through their actions. They let the person know that they actually care and are interested in what they are talking about. They make that person feel valued and worth their time. A good communicator will make a person have reduced uncertainty which will alleviate any worries or anxieties they may have previously come into the visit with. Especially in the field of medicine, making a patient and their families feel worry-free can be very important for the outcome of a situation. Great medical communicators make every patient feel as though they are the only patient that matters at that moment and that their problems will have a logical and attainable solution.

The impact of dreaming on sleep and our health

 

When it comes to investing in sleep-related products and services like beds, best rated mattress, essential oils, and even sleep therapies, individuals are continuously finding themselves more consciously aware of the importance of having these types of sleep-related products and services around them. The power of a good night’s sleep cannot be overestimated, and having items that we know helps to increase the success and longevity of our sleep is invaluable. We all know that a healthy sleeping pattern (or lack thereof) has significant impact on our physical health and our mental health, but it is intriguing to note and to explore the realisation that dreams also have an impact on our dreams. When we are in a deep sleep, we are in what many call a dream state. This is when we have the most vivid dreams, because our bodies are the most relaxed and vulnerable. Some people unfortunately experience what is known as sleep paralysis, or lucid dreaming, but for most of us we experience standard dreams. The question is not if we dream (we all dream, we just do not always remember our dreams), but how and why dreaming impacts our health.

Studies and research have consistently shown that dreams are important to the brain as it sleeps. In fact, dreams are increasingly being related to memory function. The better we sleep, the more beneficial for the brain’s chemistry to level itself out. When we sleep, the brain does its work to enhance the memory by rejuvenating the brain’s energy sources. We are more inclined to dream when the brain is clean and has cleared out all the gunk that builds up over the day. This is why healthy sleeping patterns are linked to less risk of memory diseases and inclinations such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The brain creates images in our minds when we are sleeping that help to solidify fragments of our memory, and the more soundly we sleep, the broader and more vivid these fragments are. We all want to get the most out of our sleep, and the body going into a deep sleep is the best and most reliable way to ensure that we do get this very thing.

Getting adequate sleep consistently every night has been proven time and again to have substantial impact on the physical body and the mentality of an individual. But how does it impact our dreams? Well, we have all heard the saying that ‘time heals all wounds’, but in fact it may be sleep that heals all wounds. When we are sleep, our brains get the chance to do damage control when we are “offline”, so to speak. When we get a good night’s sleep and we can and do switch the mind off and give our bodies the chance to recharge overnight, we incite positive changes in our approach to our sleeping patterns. Not only do our bodies get a chance to power up during our sleeping time, but our brain gets a chance to run wild after doing its nightly recharge and wire up. When this happens, we enter a deep sleep, and we start to dream. While many of us are of the opinion that dreams do have a meaning of some kind, there are not many of us that believe or are aware of the fact that dreams actually improve brain function and increase our healthy mindset.

When we go into a deep sleep, we call it a dream state. This is because when we are deeply asleep, this is when we tend to have the most vivid dreams. When we are in this deep state of sleep, this is the only time that our brains are completely shut off from the anxiety-triggering molecule called noradrenaline. This is perhaps also why we look the most peaceful when we are asleep. Getting a good night’s sleep in and going into a deep sleep kick-starts the dreaming phase, and we experience the crazy avenue of dream making. It seems that even as we sleep, our brains are working to create something crazy and exhilarating for us to play through as we are in our subconscious. This is perhaps also why many people believe that dreaming also unleashes the creative energy in us all, helping the brain to thrive on its own function even more so. Dreams are the body’s way of creating memorable events in the mind that are wired from fragments of real life and shards of our own creative mindsets.

The impact of dreaming on the human body and our overall health is something that is consistently underestimated. We all want to believe that we are our healthiest, but recent and ongoing studies and research suggests that we are not. However, our dreams impact our bodies in healthy ways, including (but not limited to) the time that we are in deep sleep being the only time that the brain does not engage with the anxiety-triggering molecule known as noradrenaline. Our bodies experience the most peace when we are in a deep sleep, and so it stands to reason that being in a deep sleep and having the capacity and inherent ability to dream results in overwhelmingly positive effects on the body. As for our health, when the body experiences this innate sense of peace, it obviously also experiences a deep sense of positivity. And we all know that a positive vibe is a positive life. So, the verdict is in: dreams inject positivity into our bodies (for the most part).

New study finds lack of sleep linked to heart disease

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When it comes to our health, one thing we tend to overlook is the impact that our sleeping pattern can have on our physical health. Not only does getting a good night’s sleep make you feel better, but it also enhances your creativity, productivity, memory, and alertness. And now, thanks to the results of a new study released just days ago, we know that sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to heart disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of actigraphy-measured sleep parameters, in an asymptomatic middle-aged population.

The study was carried out on 3,974 healthy men and women, aged around 46 years old. The duration and quality of their sleep was measured over seven nights. All individuals part of the study underwent physical examinations, as well as three-dimensional ultrasounds (“an imaging system that evaluates blood flow through the blood vessels”). The researchers controlled fasting glucose, cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes (among other things). The results of the study found that individuals who slept less than 6 hours a night were up to 27% more likely to be in the top third for the amount of plaque in their arteries.

The paper was published after it went through medical editing. The study also discovered that inflammation in the blood was higher in the individuals who got less sleep than their counterparts in the study. Additionally, those who moved the most during their sleep had higher amounts of plaque than the individuals who had a comfortable, sound sleep. Up until now, this kind of early disease detection in healthy people has only been carried out through autopsy. Lesser sleeping times and fragmented sleeping patterns are both now officially associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

This study comes at a time where we have more chaotic sleeping patterns than ever. We lead increasingly busy lives, and sometimes getting a good night’s sleep can be immensely difficult. Getting a good night’s sleep has never been so important, but sometimes it is also easier said than done. So, what can be done to help with inconsistent or unhealthy sleeping patterns? Thankfully, there is an answer (in fact, there are many, and all should be explored if necessary and possible).

The power of our senses – especially scent – can play a significant role in our mood levels and our bodies’ relationship with things like anxiety, stress, and even blood pressure. Researchers have found that using essential oils blends featuring hints of lavender, for example, provide proven relief for a restless sleeping pattern. In fact, multiple studies have indicated that a blend of relaxing, sleep-focused essential oils can and does have more of a positive effect on fractured sleep and quality of life than acupressure does.

Seemingly a simple scent, essential oils are so much more than an appealing scent to have throughout a living space or common area. Essential oils have a definitive impact on our bodies, and can help us to relax and drift into peaceful sleep at night, helping with bridging that gap between a good night’s sleep and higher cardiovascular disease risk, closing that gap, and helping one to instil a healthier sleeping pattern.

Postnatal Work Blues? Governments And Corporations Can Play A Crucial Role In Mitigating This

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For decades, maternity coaching in the private sector has been at a prominent space. The industry is crucial to help mothers’ transition to their new role, both at home and at work. Giving birth brings with it a myriad of emotions and can be one of the biggest transitions for a mother in a world that’s changing by the day. It marks a new identity for both the parents and oftentimes, new parents seek services from maids, nannies, babysitters, if they do not have family member available to help out. The arrival of a new child demands ample support and planning to help the new parents feel comfortable when returning to the workplace.

This transition birthed the idea of maternity coaching. An increasing number of MNCs and global firms started relying on maternity programs to support working mothers and retain great talent. These programs addressed issues surrounding individual performance support, balancing family and work, providing day care facilities, feeding rooms, and overall support to aid the transition.

However, over time, this narrative has started to fade. With increasing competition and stricter budgets, organizational support is declining for working mothers who return to work after maternity leave. In a recent survey, it was revealed that the lack of organizational support was taking a toll on their physical and mental well-being, with nearly 37 percent of the respondents contemplated resigning from the organization.

The numbers aren’t all that rosy, either. Just under a fifth felt happy and confident returning to work, and a large number saw many of them unsupported and isolated. In today’s corporate space, maternity leave is seen more as a problem than a benefit provided to expectant mothers.

Motherhood can be a tricky phase, especially when wading through a career, while still managing to invest the time and energy to juggle duties at home and at the workplace. One might think there’s ample support built in to the system, however data states otherwise. Nearly 77 percent of mothers faced discriminatory issues while at work, during their pregnancy, while at maternity leave or after kick-starting work post their break. What’s alarming is recruiting agencies also carry some amount of bias when hiring pregnant women.

Oftentimes, maternity leave is seen as a downside to hiring – but what many fail to see is the opportunity to tap into talent that can churn massive growth and huge long-term benefits to the company.

With increasing competition in the market, another downside for to-be-mothers is the growing concern of an active job profile when returning to work. Reports highlight that in Australia, over 32 percent of mothers experience discrimination, and some reported that their managers had informed them that their jobs were no longer available.

The furloughed staff remarked that firms that undergo restructuring bank on those on maternity leave to be removed from the organization first. The discrimination did not stall with redundant jobs or restructuring of companies, mothers were dismissed, or their contracts were not renewed due to their maternity break. Many were subjected to discrimination related to their job role, income and work flexibility. It can take a variety of forms – sometimes by not enabling the staff to tap into the right growth opportunities or options for promotion.

Despite societal pressures that imply a newborn is best looked after by the mother, paternal leave is also crucial to maintaining a solid work-life balance for the couple. Although the idea of paternal or parental shared leave was effective for years, many companies shy away from normalizing it.

For many employees, the leave policies on shared or paternal leave, if there exists one, is simply too complex or bureaucratic. Lack of awareness or communication by the employer also discourages employees from availing these benefits.

With shifting growth strategies and business environments, corporations should recognize the importance of taking care of expectant parents. This commitment can go a long way in increasing the employee’s performance, attitude and commitment to work. Governments can play a key role in driving companies to provide ample support to parents, through means of legislations or incentives.

One of the best examples for a successful uptake in parental leave is Sweden, where parents are entitled to sixteen months of paid leave with just one catch – the leave must be shared by the parents. To erase the social stigma of shared leave, bigger industries need to pave the way from smaller companies to follow suit. Silicon Valley’s top tech players, Facebook and Google, have enabled just that. To build an employee culture that fosters empathy and employee support, liberal leave policies were provided by the firms. The perks were plenty – consulting firm Accenture saw its employee attrition rate almost halve and they thrived in their roles after returning to work.

Providing the right flexibility to employees and embracing changes, while still encouraging employees to grow, can greatly improve talent retention, boost staff morale and enhance leadership and innovation.

Fashion industry finally becoming body-inclusive

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The fashion industry has an unfortunate reputation for being exclusive in ways that are not always overwhelmingly positive. Over time, there have been multiple instances where the fashion industry has come under fire for its current trends or decisions. Some previous missteps include the fur era, casting strictly Caucasian, tall, and tiny models in all shows, and recently the evolution of leather becoming a less desirable material. But the most recent and perhaps even most important evolution in the fashion world has been the fact that the so-called plus size market has been grossly marginalised and underrepresented by most fashion brands. It has taken a while, but the fashion world is finally becoming more wholly inclusive. Further, consumers are taking notice and driving their business towards brands that have a focus on accepting and catering to individuals of all sizes.

It is about time that fashion recognised that they need to be aware and supportive of individuals that are different to their traditionally-held (ridiculous) standards. Anything else in this day and age is irresponsible and, more to the point, should not be acceptable. It is time that the industry realises that their “one size fits all” mentality is not healthy or realistic in this modern era. While the fashion world has been busy parading their latest looks on runways during fashion weeks and peak seasons, a significantly large percentage of consumers have been left feeling lost at sea and excluded from the excitement. Fashion should be about fun, complete inclusivity, and being bold. The traditional fashion industry depicts none of these ideals, but the modern mentalities arising as new generations begin to become the fashion industry’s target demographic are [finally] beginning to take hold.

The “plus size” mentality that has historically run deep in the fashion world is damaging not only to the hard-working models who have been taught and shown time and again that their body type is “too much” for traditional fashion, but also the young consumers buying these fashions and the brands making and selling them. The average woman in the United States is a size 14 to 16. When such a large percentage of the target demographic fits into the same size that is being campaigned so heavily as “plus size”, the term plus size does not make sense. In short, these sizes are just the same as all the others – sizes. Nothing more, nothing less. Brands have begun to either stock all sizes in the same fashions, doing away with “plus size” ranges altogether, or marketing the fashions differently (and, frankly, less offensively).

The shift in the attitude in the fashion industry towards larger sizes has been promising (to say the least) but there is still a long way to go. It seems that every time the fire dampens around the explosive conversation of larger sizes and models being used in fashion branding, the war ignites again. Even when the issue is put to bed, there is unrest surrounding the morality of it all. fortunately, more and more big name brands are leading the charge to eliminating the stigma surrounding larger sizes in fashion, but even so, there is a tidal wave of change necessary before the change is lasting. There are still some high end, globally recognisable brands that have yet to embrace the inclusion of plus-size models, as well as transgender models.

Victoria’s Secret is one of those companies. A titan of industry in the lingerie world, Victoria’s Secret is a fashion house that has built its empire by having only the most traditionally beautiful women walk. These women also happen to be tall and quite slim. This attitude and conscious decision on behalf of the brand has created an exclusive brand that, more and more often, buyers are becoming uncomfortable with. Certain fashions should not be exclusively available to certain sized individuals, and every shape and size of the human body should be celebrated – especially in high fashion. The fashion industry is one that has been through countless evolutions in its time. One of the oldest industries in the world, the fashion sector has had its fair share of ups and downs.

Having to fight tooth and nail to overcome the pitfalls caused by its own internal errors, the fashion world has been a consistently prominent industry around the world. the most recent (and perhaps the most disturbing) blunder has come as multiple fashion houses have refused to modernise and cater to individuals who wear larger sizes. We are thankfully seeing the beginnings of a tide that is shifting towards positive resolution, but there is still a long way to go. While some fashion houses are too emboldened in their own ways and thus will likely never change, the majority that are ready and willing to change are the ones who are becoming more popular among modern consumers. One size does not fit all, and it is about time that the fashion sector realised this and took conscious steps to include fashions of all sizes.