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Healthful Habits
Go to Bed!


There are some days when I wake up and my mind is clear and peaceful. The daily tasks seem to effortlessly happen and I adopt an optimistic approach to the daily events. What makes these mornings different from all the other mornings? Almost 99% of the time, there is a direct correlation with how many hours I slept. I am a person that needs eight hours of sleep a night. Any less, and I drag myself through the day without much focus or intention. But if I try to lie in bed and get an extra hour, I get antsy and start to annoy my husband. How many hours of sleep are right for you? Maybe this article from the National Sleep Foundation will help answer that question.
 
The effects of a good night sleep are far more reaching then just feeling more alert. A Harvard Health study found six important associations:
  1. sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory
  2. chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite
  3. sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime
  4. sleep debt can also increase irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness
  5. serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat
  6. sleep deprivation alters immune function, including lowering the activity of the body’s defense cells.
Even though sleep has so many salubrious effects, there is at least one  potentially negative effect we have to consider. Our sleeping position. Sleeping is something we do everyday for hopefully seven to nine hours at a time. Just as with sitting, there are different positions that will be easier on your body then others. Click here to see a slide show on three laying positions that are the best for your body. Just be sure to be patient  with yourself if you are changing your sleeping position. Habits are sometimes hard to break!
 
Making sleep a priority in your life might seem like a daunting task. If you are one of the many people that have difficulty getting enough sleep, these ten suggestions might be able to help. Suggestion ten, which talks about limiting TV right before bed, is especially important as artificial light exposure after dark suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness, and shifts circadian rhythms making it more difficult to fall asleep. So skip that last TV show and go to bed instead. Who knows, a good nights sleep might make you more productive so you can get to bed early again the next night!



The Secrets of Sleep

Ever wonder what is going on in your body when you sleep? Leave it to National Geographic to make an awesome, educational, interactive tool to learn all about what happens in sleep. Click on the image below to learn more.

Monthly Affirmation

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

-Benjamin Franklin

Know Your Muscles and
How to Keep Them Happy

 

Muscle: Trapezius



Attachment Sites: Base of skull, spinous processes of C7-T12, lateral clavicle, and spine of scapula

Action: (Upper fibers) Extends head and neck, laterally flexes head, rotates head, elevates scapula, and upwardly rotates scapula (Middle fibers) Adducts and stabilizes scapula (Lower fibers) Depresses scapula and upwardly rotates scapula.

How to Stretch:
In order to stretch the entire trapezius, we have to consider all the different trapezius fiber patterns.

Upper Fibers

To stretch the upper fibers, take both arms behind your back. Take one hand and hold onto the opposite elbow. Tilt your head away from the elbow you are holding. Feel the stretch creating lengthening between your ear and shoulder. Repeat on the other side.

Middle and Lower Fibers

Bring both arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Clasp your hands together and curve your back so your arms move forward. Now tip your head down to accentuate the curve. Slowly come back to standing.
            

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