Good, restorative, restful sleep. It’s the cornerstone of wellness, and if you are chronically shorting yourself on this health-enhancing stuff,... View Article
Sleep + Health
These four simple changes will improve your sleep dramatically.
This year, in this month of new beginnings, it’s time to start working on re-syncing yourself to support physical and mental health.
Being perpetually on call and on duty is keeping us in a 24/7 state of high alert, exhausting mind and body, draining creativity, thwarting productivity, and setting us up for a major health tumble.
New science shows that sleep is essential to our mental and physical health — and most of us aren’t getting enough. Jason Karp is a successful hedge-fund manager and restaurateur with a close-knit family and a deep respect for work-life balance. Today, his world is cruising along quite nicely. More than a decade ago, though, he was in near-constant overdrive — and dangerously close to crashing. Karp graduated at the top of his class at Wharton business school. He was the youngest person to make partner in his elite financial firm. He had a great deal of ambition and a nearly unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
When we’re sick or injured, we all know that getting plenty of rest is important. This is because during sleep your muscles and soft tissues heal and scar tissue develops. Scar tissue is the dense fiber that the body creates to repair injuries, whether it’s a sudden injury or a chronic injury that develops over time.
Though sleep disorders are hardly new – even Aristotle wrote about them – our modern round-the-clock lifestyles, plus caffeine, alcohol, lack of exercise, stress, and a myriad of other factors have conditioned our bodies to stay awake. Sleep at times seems like the impossible dream and staying up is wearing us out. So is there hope for the bleary-eyed? Is a good night’s rest even possible these days? Absolutely! But first, you’ll need to brush up on your sleeping skills and make a few simple daytime changes so you can sleep better tonight. Here’s where to start:
Tossing and turning. Sleeping but not waking up feeling refreshed. Waking up during the night. Though they’re all common complaints, that doesn’t make them any less aggravating. Trouble is, much of what we do during the day can undermine our ability to sleep at night. So what’s a bleary-eyed person to do? Make a few simple changes by day to snooze like a pro at night. Here’s where to start:
Pilar Gerasimo shares her top-10 list from the “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy.” I’m a fan of Rilke’s wise advice to “live in the questions.” But lately, ever since we launched our popular “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy” app, I am getting one question that always leaves me flummoxed: Of all 101 Ways, what’s your favorite? The problem is, there’s no way I can choose just one. I love them all. And so that question keeps nagging at me — but in a nice way.
New research shows that sleep significantly influences metabolism, appetite and weight management. Could getting more shuteye help you ward off excess pounds? When I was in college, I often began my homework at midnight. Nothing seemed to focus my thoughts on a term paper better than a morning deadline. I knew this routine wasn’t a wise one — after all, I might crash facedown in my textbook. But I told myself that adrenaline improved my writing. Besides, I figured I was losing weight on those nights with only four hours of sleep. I assumed that all that effort to stay awake and functional had to be zapping away the day’s calories. Turns out that I was greatly mistaken.
How many of us regularly experience such exhaustion that by day’s end we don’t know which way is up? And why then do we make excuses for taking extra time to rest when we are so overextended? In the United States, especially here in New York, we too often think something’s wrong if anyone around us needs rest. We act like choosing to rest in our everyday lives, when not reserved for a destination spa or vacation, connotes a problem, feebleness, or an illness demanding special explanation. This doesn’t make any sense. It is seriously time to reshape how we approach rest.
There's a reason that most so-called primitive cultures have avoided the depression epidemic afflicting industrialized nations. In a provocative book, a clinical psychologist suggests that adopting more "hunter-gatherer" habits can help us escape the blues. According to the latest research, about one in four Americans — more than 70 million people — will meet the criteria for major depression at some point in their lives. The rate of depression in industrialized societies has been on the rise for decades — it’s roughly 10 times higher today than it was just two generations ago. How can people possibly be so much more vulnerable to depression now? And how do you make sense of the fact that even though antidepressant use has skyrocketed in recent years, the rate of depression in the United States hasn’t declined, but rather increased?