Supplements are becoming increasingly popular for people looking to improve their health and well-being, but there is often a lot of misinformation surrounding them.
In this list, we will look at the top ten myths about supplements and debunk them to uncover the truth behind them.
Myth #1 Supplements are always safe and natural.
Not all supplements can be safe and not always natural. It is important to do research on the ingredients, as some supplements may contain dangerous chemicals or additives. That said, what should always happen is to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.
FACT: Supplements can have side effects and may interact with other medications or medical conditions. Additionally, not all supplements are natural, as some are created synthetically.
Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs. So, even if supplements can be beneficial in certain cases, they should never be used as a replacement for a healthy diet.
FACT: While supplements can be useful in filling nutrient gaps, they cannot replace the benefits of a balanced diet.
Just because a supplement is marketed as being beneficial does not mean that it actually is. It is always important to do research and consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement, as some supplements may not be effective or may, in fact, be dangerous.
FACT: There is no guarantee that any supplement will work for everyone. Additionally, the effectiveness of supplements may vary depending on individual factors.
Myth #4: Supplements are regulated by the FDA like drugs.
Dietary supplements are regulated differently than drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the FDA does review the safety of dietary supplements, they do not have the same level of oversight as drugs.
FACT: Unlike drugs, supplements are not required to undergo pre-market testing for safety and efficacy by the FDA. However, the FDA does regulate supplement labeling and manufacturing practices.
Myth #5: More is always better when it comes to supplements.
Taking too much of certain supplements can be dangerous, so it is important to only take the recommended dose. Additionally, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe and effective for you.
FACT: Taking excessive amounts of supplements can lead to toxicity and adverse health effects. It is important to follow recommended dosages and seek medical advice before taking high doses.
Not all supplements are created equal, as some may contain ingredients that have not been adequately tested for safety or may not be as effective as others. It is important to do research and consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe and effective for you.
FACT: Not all supplements are of the same quality. Some may contain impurities or inaccurate labeling, while others may use higher quality ingredients.
While some supplements may be beneficial for certain conditions, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. Some supplements may interact with other medications or medical conditions so consult with a healthcare professional first before taking any supplement.
FACT: While some supplements may have health benefits, they cannot cure diseases or replace medical treatment.
This is not always true. While some natural supplements may be safe, it is important to do research and, again, consult with a health practitioner before taking any supplement, as some natural supplements may contain dangerous chemicals or additives.
FACT: Natural does not always mean safe. Some natural supplements can have adverse effects, such as interactions with medications or allergic reactions.
It is not advisable to believe this because while some supplements may have beneficial effects, they should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Physical activity and a balanced diet are still the most effective ways to lose weight.
FACT: While some supplements may have ingredients that can aid in weight loss, there is no magic pill or supplement that can replace a healthy diet and exercise.
Myth #10: Supplements are necessary for optimal health.
Supplements can be beneficial for some individuals in achieving optimal health, but they are not necessary for everyone. Supplements should be used as a complement to a healthy diet, not a replacement for it.
If you have a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods, you may be getting all the nutrients you need. But, let’s not forget, some people may have dietary restrictions, food allergies, or medical conditions that make it difficult to get all the necessary nutrients from food alone. To that end, supplements can be helpful in filling nutrient gaps.
FACT: While some people may benefit from certain supplements, they are not necessary for overall health and wellbeing. A balanced diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle practices are essential for optimal health.
The ketogenic diet is a popular diet focusing on reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. However, as in any diet, there are many myths related to the ketogenic diet. In this article, we’ll debunk the top ten myths and most common fallacies about this diet and provide the facts about what it really is and how it works.
Myth #1: The ketogenic diet is just another fad diet.
Some people may believe that the ketogenic diet is just another fad diet. Why? For some, it seems like a drastic change from the typical American diet while others are intimidated because of the significant reduction in carbohydrate intake and an increase in fat consumption that it requires. Are you one of those who think it’s just a trend that will pass? Did you know that the ketogenic diet is a scientifically-backed dietary strategy and is not just a passing fad?
FACT: The ketogenic diet has been used for over 90 years, primarily as a therapeutic treatment for epilepsy. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a weight loss and health promoting diet.
Just because the ketogenic diet is often associated with high-protein diets such as the Atkins diet doesn’t mean it is all protein. In fact, the ketogenic diet’s main focus is to reduce carbohydrate intake so that they are replaced with healthy fats. Therefore, while the ketogenic diet still includes some protein, the majority of the calories come from fat and not protein.
FACT: A well-formulated ketogenic diet is moderate in protein, and primarily composed of healthy fats and low-carbohydrate foods.
Myth #3: You can’t eat any carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet.
Although the ketogenic diet does limit the intake of carbohydrates to about 5-10% of total caloric intake, some carbs are allowed, such as non-starchy vegetables and nuts. Health professionals, dietitians, and nutritionists typically recognize this myth and advise against this restrictive approach of completely eliminating carbohydrates.
FACT: While a ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates, it allows for a small amount of non-starchy, low-carbohydrate vegetables such as leafy greens.
Myth #4: The ketogenic diet is unsafe and causes long-term health problems.
Why do some people think the ketogenic diet is unsafe? Often, they are only misinformed about the risks associated with it and do not understand the importance of properly managing electrolyte levels. Some people tiptoe around this diet thinking it’s too restrictive or difficult to maintain. Others think that the lack of carbohydrates can be harmful to the body; however, the body can actually adjust to burning fat for energy.
FACT: When followed correctly, the ketogenic diet can be a safe and effective way to improve overall health, as long as it is carefully monitored by a healthcare provider.
The reasoning behind this myth comes from thinking that the lack of carbohydrates will not provide enough energy for any physical activity. This is far from the truth. Ketones can actually provide an alternative and efficient source of energy for the body which helps during exercise. Consequently, exercise helps boost energy levels, improves body composition, and promotes overall health.
FACT: Exercise is highly recommended on a ketogenic diet, and can even enhance the benefits of the diet, as long as it is properly fueled with sufficient fat and protein.
Myth #6: The ketogenic diet is too restrictive and hard to stick to.
Nowadays, there are many delicious and healthy recipes that can make it easier for you to stay on track if you’re on a ketogenic diet. Believing this diet is restrictive limits you to the endless possibilities of its health benefits. Go ahead and see for yourself how possible and sustainable it is to create and enjoy keto-friendly meals with enough planning and preparation.
FACT: The ketogenic diet can be very satisfying and filling, and there are many delicious food options to choose from.
Myth #7: A ketogenic diet is only for weight loss.
Just like in myth # 5, if you think that a ketogenic diet is only for weight loss, it’s because you probably think it is only a low-carb diet. Again, ketones (not just carbohydrates) provide an alternative and efficient source of energy for the body. Thus, a ketogenic diet can help improve overall health, not just promote weight loss.
FACT: While weight loss is a common benefit of the ketogenic diet, it can also improve other health markers such as blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and brain function.
Myth #8: The ketogenic diet is bad for your cholesterol levels.
This myth may stem from the fact that some ketogenic diets contain high levels of saturated fat, often linked to high cholesterol levels. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case. Many studies have proven that a ketogenic diet can actually improve cholesterol levels especially when done correctly. Moreover, a ketogenic diet can lead to improved health markers, such as lower triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity.
FACT: While some people may experience temporary changes in their cholesterol levels on the ketogenic diet, it has been shown to improve cholesterol markers in the long-term, as long as it is combined with a healthy, whole food-based diet.
Myth #9: You can eat as much fat as you want on a ketogenic diet.
Many people assume that a ketogenic diet is very high in fat which leads them to believe they can eat as much fat as they want. However, this is not true, because, as in any diet, the ketogenic diet should be balanced and well-formulated so you’ll be properly nourished. That way, you can have the right amounts of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your body, too. Did you know that eating too much fat can lead to weight gain? Therefore, it defeats the whole purpose of a ketogenic diet if that is the case.
FACT: While a ketogenic diet is high in fat, it’s important to choose healthy fats from sources such as avocados, coconut oil, and nuts, and to limit unhealthy fats from sources such as processed and fast foods.
For some, the ketogenic diet is intimidating and extreme so it must only be for men who have the body type and can stick to its strict requirements. However, this is not true, as the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for any gender – men and women alike. Additionally, you can tailor a ketogenic diet to meet your individual needs so that it can be a viable choice for everyone.
FACT: The ketogenic diet can be beneficial for both men and women, although women may need to adjust their macronutrient ratios slightly to accommodate their unique hormonal needs.
In conclusion, no matter what diet you get into, it’s important to always consult with a healthcare provider. It’s important that you get professional medical advice before starting a new health regimen, including the ketogenic diet.
Like the rest of your body, the food you eat can help your brain stay healthy and in good condition. That way, these foods for the brain can help you move, think, and function well as the brain acts as your body’s control center.
The quality of food you eat will ensure that your brain gets the right nutrients essential for its continuous development. Additionally, foods for the brain can help prevent health risks such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality and length of life. Improving your cognitive function is one of the ways to achieve this, and you can accomplish it by taking care of your brain health.
What foods can improve memory
The connection between your brain and the gut is undeniable as these two (2) body parts constantly interact with each other both ways. Good sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, etc., from food fuels power to your brain. Moreover, foods for the brain help coordinate sensation, intellect, and nervous activity with the rest of your body.
This article will focus more on the four (4) main types of foods for the brain that help boost memory.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Berries and cherries
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on these foods – and then some – as there are really many good choices out there that are good for the brain.
Besides the four (4) main types above, here’s a list of the top ten (10) foods for the brain that can help boost your memory.
Foods that increase intelligence
1 Nuts and seeds
These are typically great snack options or add flavor to your meals. For example, you can munch on cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds in the late afternoon. Or you can add a nutty flavor to your salads, soups, or stir-fry dishes.
Nuts and seeds have antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and high amounts of vitamin E. These are associated with better brain health, especially for those in senior age. Also, experts believe that high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids found in nuts and seeds are linked to general intelligence for all ages.
2 Dark chocolate
Chocolates naturally have high amounts of flavonoids which help improve blood flow going to and from the brain. These compounds aid in brain boost such as enhancing problem-solving skills, memory, and attention span.
Flavonoids help improve cognitive function and, in fact, can prevent age-related brain impairment and deterioration. Thus, chocolates can make you smarter because studies show evidence in their neuroprotective effects associated with upgrade in intelligence.
Eating at least an avocado a day enhances older adults’ working memory and problem-solving abilities.
A study involving 40 healthy adults aged to over 50 who ate a fresh avocado for six months enhanced their cognitive function and increased their lutein levels by almost 25%.
The researchers measured the improvement in cognitive skills with tests that measured processing speed, memory, and attention levels. The monounsaturated fats, lutein, fiber, and bioactive have to do with the benefits on the brain.
Eggs are making a comeback from their exile, and they’re here to protect you from the dangers of memory loss as you age, which is common in America.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study involving 2,500 men in Finland for almost two decades. They discovered that those who regularly consume an egg a day lessened the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is the opposite, as food promotes better performance in cognitive tests.
5 Soy products
Since soybean products are packed with antioxidants referred to as polyphenols, we protect ourselves from the risk of dementia and build an arsenal to combat the decline of cognitive abilities because of aging.
Soy isoflavones interact with the kind of estrogen receptors that are connected with cognitive and memory functions. Recent research in Science of Food revealed that soy minimizes memory degradation and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Foods to help increase concentration while studying
6 Seafood and fish oil
Some studies provide evidence that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oil can help improve brain function and development. The fatty acids in salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna are rich in nutrients good for brain health.
On the other hand, fish oil (and supplements), especially packed with high amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), may boost memory. People with high DHA levels, found in seafood with omega-3 fatty acids usually perform better in memory tests and learning.
Cruciferous vegetables feature vitamins and minerals that are good for boosting brain power. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable with essential nutrients such as vitamin K and folate to support cognitive function. A Mediterranean diet mainly consisting of plant-based foods and vegetables helps sharpen the brain of someone in old age.
Broccoli is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and flavonoids. Green, leafy vegetables help ensure good blood flow to the brain. A healthy cerebral flow helps protect your brain and prevent cognitive decline. It might be good to add broccoli to your diet if you’re reviewing for an exam.
8 Kale and spinach
Kale is rich in lutein, a naturally occurring carotenoid predominantly found in human brain tissue. Your body can’t manufacture this nutrient easily, so it’s important to consume food with lutein. Studies showed that consuming food high in lutein, such as kale and spinach, can help with better concentration and focus.
These vegetables are good for activating your brain, context processing, speed memory, and attention. Don’t be surprised to see many health buffs drinking kale juice or adding spinach in their smoothie for these reasons!
Johns Hopkins Medicine supports that caffeine is good for long-term memory. With moderate consumption, you can enjoy the benefits of being alert and more focused when drinking coffee. It is one of the foods for the brain because caffeine is a stimulant. Your brain is essentially at work with increased activity in your entire central nervous system.
This is why many students or late-night workers need a cup of coffee to either start their day or endure the long hours to remain focused on their tasks at hand. It can help improve your mood, to be more energetic and productive.
But, be careful to go overboard with your coffee intake for the day. Otherwise, you’ll get constipated, worse, have insomnia and caffeine dependency.
10 Whole grains
Nutrient-dense food like whole grains is good for the brain because they are rich in complex carbohydrates. They provide us with a sustained yet slow supply of glucose that can boost our memory.
Carbs power our brains, and when you incorporate whole grains, you are giving yourself an extra punch, for they contain a low glycemic index that balances your mental state that may last through the day. So, incorporate pasta, oatmeal, grain bread, and popcorn into your diet.
Eat these foods for the brain everyday for better brain health
The brain is a limitless source of power. You can practically exercise brainpower to increase your mental performance. Food remains to be the main source of energy for the brain. Hence, you must eat the right quality of food.
There’s no single food that’s good for the brain. As always, a healthy, balanced diet is key. Avoiding alcohol, lots of sugars, and processed foods also help. Moreover, exercise and meditation are lifestyle changes that can promote mental clarity to improve brain health.
Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute recommends proper nutrition and regular physical activity for optimal cognitive function. You can achieve the quality of life with a length of life with an alert mind and a healthy body. Keep all these in mind (pun intended!), and you can’t go wrong!
Eating organic foods is gaining popularity again these days. While others think it may just be a fad, the thing is, history tells us otherwise. “Going organic” is almost second nature to our ancestors that we can see its benefits through their quality and length of life even to this day.
It’s probably only recently (sometime in the early 2000s) when consumers took organic food seriously. Over the years, people see its impact in our health and the environment. In fact, more food establishments and manufacturers promote organic foods as another option now. This is why we hear about farm-to-table restaurants and entrepreneurs venturing more in the organic food business.
Do organic foods taste better? Do they have a higher nutritional profile than other food products we know? Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute lists down the top ten (10) benefits of organic foods. Read on to find out more!
What is organic food?
The term organic is for farmers who grow their crops naturally and process their agricultural products including grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products.
Organic farmers design their practice to meet sets of goals. These are to:
Improve water and soil quality
Promote natural livestock behavior
Strengthen sustainability of farm resources
How are some foods classified as organic? Farmers process organic foods differently than the regular ones. They produce them while emphasizing the role of soil and water conservation, and the utilization of renewable resources. These organic poultry, eggs, and dairy products are nourished without growth hormones, conventional pesticides and antibiotics too.
Are organic foods more safe than non-organic food?
Food grown organically helps reduce risks in public health. Organic foods are rich in iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, magnesium, and antioxidants. These foods are also less exposed from residues of pesticide and nitrates that are typically found in non-organic food. Thus, they are less toxic and filled with essential nutrients but not necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown foods.
For instance, organic meat and dairy may have slightly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Others like organic cookies or chips, despite being organic, may have low nutrients.
Nevertheless, one good tip to ensure food safety is to select different foods from a variety of sources. Mix and match the freshest produce, for example. Ask your local grocer which ones are in season or visit a local farmers’ market. Check the label always. Avoid anything high in fat, salt, and sugars. And lastly, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly in running water to remove traces of chemicals, dirt, and other contaminants.
What are examples of organic foods?
The key thing about organic foods that make them organic revolves around using natural substances only and not artificial products. No chemicals, GMOs, or antibiotics whatsoever.
Which foods can be organic?
Fruits and vegetables
Dairy and eggs
Meat and poultry
Rice and grains
Herbs and spices
Sauce, condiments and dressings
Oil and baked goods
Frozen pizza products
Infant foods (baby food/formula)
Food coloring and additives
Snacks (chocolates, licorice)
10 Benefits of organic food
1. Optimized overall health
One of the factors why people shift to eating organic food is because they are the healthier choice, which has truths in it.
Organic foods don’t have chemicals like pesticides, flavors, preservatives and artificial colors. So, if you are into clean eating, incorporating this in your diet would surely make sense.
A study reveals that the consumption of organic food may reduce the risk of various conditions like obesity, weight gain, and allergic disease. Organic foods also contain more antioxidants, nutrients and nitrate levels. All these mean more minerals and vitamins for the body which helps in the prevention of serious illnesses and diseases.
2. Antioxidant source
You consume antioxidants in their best form when you eat whole food. A research review suggests that organic produce is at least 20% to 40% concentrated in antioxidants compared to food that’s grown conventionally.
Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants. The peels from fruit and vegetables have the highest concentration of antioxidants. Hence, you can be sure to eat the skins of your food without pesticides.
Unlike vitamins and minerals that are best taken daily, antioxidants in the right amount could help delay cell damage, resulting in slow aging and better health.
3. Better taste
Food experts and even chefs agree that organic foods are better tasting than the conventional. They credit it to the soil that is used for the produce. Strong nourishment has a big role to play for quality plants that yield to high-value food with optimal flavor.
The structures of mineral and sugar on organic food give them the chance to mature and develop naturally. The authentic and environment-friendly production is responsible for their distinct taste.
4. Stronger immune system
The excessive use of chemicals in conventionally-grown food may have a detrimental effect on your health leading to organic food occupying the top spot when it comes to safer and healthier options. The industrial and traditional food processing methods may have increased the amount of produce, but they may be compromised for the amount of pesticides and chemicals that they have.
Eating organic results in a stronger immunity which is an important defense against COVID 19. Support your mental and physical well-being by consuming natural and whole food that will nourish your body during stressful times.
5. Fresher option
If you want to change your experience with food, going organic may be right for you as it is a fresher option that doesn’t have chemical fake flavors in them. This is one of the reasons why its freshness easily shines through. Take a look at organic ketchups that taste closer to tomatoes than their counterpart.
Also, because organic food has little to zero pesticide residues, you are essentially getting its freshest possible form. Plus, you get low levels of toxic metals as organic food only get natural chemicals from the soils and/or plants they originally come or grow from.
6. Chemical-free food
Organic produce grows with natural fertilizers such as compost and manure. Hence, there are no synthetic or chemical fertilizers used. Moreover, the farmers control the weeds naturally by hand weeding, mulching, or crop rotation instead of chemical herbicides.
For livestock, poultry owners use only organic and hormone-free feeds. Their living environment is also maintained with natural methods through clean housing, healthy diet, and rotational grazing. Hence, there’s no need for medications and antibiotics to prevent livestock disease.
7. Nutritional Value
In relation to above, because non-organic food use synthetic fungicides and insecticides, consumers are either losing nutrients or getting synthetically produced ones due to this. Organically-raised livestock usually are allowed to move more freely which keeps them healthy. Therefore, their meat doesn’t have to be injected with antibiotics just to boost their growth and health.
However, Harvard Health Publishing wrote an article that organic food isn’t necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Why? Researchers found that there’s only a small difference in the nutritional content between organic and non-organic food. This is due to the fact that many organic foods may still have higher fat content, as mentioned above, particularly in organic chicken and milk.
So it’s still ultimately a matter of choice and intentional buying whether you select organic food or not for nutritional or dietary health purposes, etc.
8. Reduces GMOs exposure
Growers don’t allow the use of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, on local produce as per USDA organic regulations.
This means that organic farmers don’t utilize GMO seeds on their produce or that organic cows don’t consume GMO corn or alfalfa. This preventive practice also involves farmers planting their seeds early or late to avoid coinciding with the flowering of GMO Crops.
There are instances when local farmers harvest their crops before the flowering season, or they might also sign cooperative agreements with their neighboring farms to stay away from planting with GMO crops. Less exposure to GMO frees you from toxic chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones.
Organic food production is environment-friendly. It doesn’t use farming pesticides which conserves water, reduces air pollution, prevents soil erosion, increases soil fertility and saves energy which is good for the earth.
Indeed, organic food helps build a better generation. Small animals and birds also benefit from it as chemicals are harmful in their reproduction. They are also deadly to living organisms. Chemical-free farming is less dangerous not just to the environment, but also to the farmers.
This practice makes organic agriculture sustainable for a long-term basis. The Organic Trade Association emphasizes that farmers who shift to organic production eliminate at least 550 million pounds of threatening pesticides which damage the environment regularly.
10. Support to local farmers
When you go organic, you support local farmers.
In the United States, organic farming yielded to at least 3% of total sales in its food industry in 2012. No wonder the governments of European countries such as Germany, Austria, and Finland are occupied in implementing policies and plans that would allot at least 20% of their land area to their organic farming industry.
The gradual transition to organic farming is due to the awareness of consumers with the health impacts of accidentally taking chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This means more work for local farmers and their produce.
How do you know they are organic food products?
The rationale behind choosing organic food is mainly about people’s concern about health and environmental concerns. In terms of diet, people who lean towards organic food say that they are generally healthier, safer, and more environment-friendly. These are valid points. However, as we’ve explained above, that’s not always the case, if we’re not careful enough.
Yes, we can say that there’s research that supports evidence of reduced cancer risk with consumption of organic products. This adds proof that organic food is good for the gut microbiome. Remember that many prebiotic-rich foods can be organic such as legumes, garlic, nuts and seeds, etc. Probiotics also contain beneficial microbe colonies that are good for your gastrointestinal tract.
Tips when buying organic
Check the label. Different regions may have different certification guidelines. Generally, however, these food products should be compliant to organic animal raising practices, pest control, soil quality, among others. USDA put out regulations that specify what makes an organic produce or not. There are many products that are not certified so make sure to check the label.
Ask the local store/supermarket. If unsure, ask your grocer if the products actually come from an organic farm. Compare prices and different organic items. You can research them beforehand, too. Check online and look for legitimate stores that sell legitimate products.
Natural vs. Organic. Remember that organic and natural food aren’t necessarily the same. Any food labeled “natural” has no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. Thus, the word “natural” refers to the food itself and not whether or not the methods used to preserve or make the product is “natural” or “artificial.”
On the other hand, “organic” refers to how the food is prepared or produced. So, even if the label shows “hormone-free” or “free range,” it is still not considered “organic” if the farmer did not strictly follow organic certification guidelines.
Check with your doctor.Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute recommends that if you’re switching to organic foods, consult with your doctor or nutritionist first. This change in your diet, when done without guidance from a health professional, may drastically alter your digestion, for instance. You might have allergies you weren’t aware of or dietary needs that you can’t get from organic products.
Good sleep isn’t just about the number of hours you doze off. A consistent sleep schedule is a key to good health.
Do you find yourself awake at weird hours at night or suddenly napping in the middle of the day? If you do, chances are you don’t have a consistent sleep schedule. When you sleep at specific times at night regularly, you’re training your body when it’s time to wind down for the day. It also helps you stay alert and productive when you’re awake.
If you’ve been reading Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute for a while now, you’ll know that this site continues to promote quality and length of life. The quality of your sleep may be the next step you need to achieve that.
Why should you stick to a good sleep schedule
The importance of sticking to a good sleep schedule isn’t a science wonder. Its positive effects on the body are persistently promoted, but it’s easier said than done.
Your activities and habits during the day will impact your sleep. So, you must have a carefully planned routine that is only beneficial to your overall being. From what you eat, drink, to your daily schedule – you should be intentional enough to ensure that they all lead to a consistent bedtime routine that you can follow.
How much sleep does a person need?
Generally, kids are expected to sleep more than adults. These are the desired amount of hours:
Adults – seven hours or more
Teens – eight to 10 hours
Preschoolers – 10 to 13 hours (with naps)
Toddlers – 11 to 14 hours (with naps)
Babies – 12 to 16 hours (with naps)
Newborns – 14 to 17 hours
Preparing yourself for bed is crucial to the quality of sleep you’ll get.
An adult sleep coach based in Denver, Seth Davis, reiterates how sleep contributes to your physical and mental health. He added that you allow your brain to rest and process new information that you’ve learned on the day when you go to dreamland. It’s also a chance to strengthen the immune system and help the production of growth hormones in the body to recover and repair smoothly.
Thus, it would be best not to take scheduling your sleep lightly. Include it as a part of your day, and practice it until it becomes natural.
What is the best sleep schedule?
The schedule that will work best for you depends upon your body chronotype or biological preference, Michael J. Breus, P.D., the founder of TheSleepDoctor.com, explains. Timing shows that being a morning person or a night owl is valid.
Follow your body clock!
Listen to your circadian rhythm and know your body’s internal timing for sleep and wakefulness. It can help regulate your hormonal activity as it has neurotransmitters that send commands to the body that involve digestion and temperature fluctuations. All of these would determine the pattern of when you should sleep and awake.
The circadian clock also controls how you respond to light exposure or the lack of it. The environment may influence this biological rhythm too. Hence, when you align your schedule to the natural timing of your body, you promote regular and restorative sleep, which makes a good habit.
Why is sleep schedule good for your health
There’s a reason why you get cranky the next day when you don’t get enough sleep. And there are many more reasons why a quality bedtime routine is beneficial for your physical and mental health.
Sleep and physical health have a strong relationship, and studies prove it. A regular rest at night allows your brain and body to recover. It gives you the energy to be alert and refreshed the next day.
Lack of sleep leaves you tired even if you just woke up in the morning. When you rest, your bodily processes become more efficient. Your defenses against diseases and other medical conditions are strong, and you may avoid other health problems like obesity, heart complications, insulin management, immuno health, memory consolidation, and growth development.
The quality of sleep you get has a role in your psychological state. When you deprive yourself of rest, you become easily irritable and exhausted.
Studies reveal the connection of bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions to sleep. More research is yet to be conducted about the association between the two, as many other factors may affect the psychological being of a person. Regardless, getting enough sleep improves disposition and well-being.
Generally, a consistent sleep schedule is good for the different aspects of your health. It will strengthen your heart, boost your immune system, improve your mood, manage your weight, and increase productivity, making you a healthier and happier person.
Good sleep habits
Developing good bedtime habits would contribute to the success of your sleep. But, how do you do it? Each person has a different sleep-wake pattern that is ideal for their body and lifestyle.
Put your sleep schedule in your own hands! These are some of the ways to do so:
1. Keep a consistent sleep and wake time.
Listen to your body. Know the time you get sleepy and energized. Make it your bedtime schedule and follow it consistently!
2. Establish relaxing bedtime rituals.
Reduce your late-night stress and anxiety by following a bedtime ritual. It may be the time when you turn off your electronics and take a tea.
3. Exercise regularly.
Some studies show that individuals with chronic insomnia who exercise sleep at least 13 minutes faster than they usually do. Physical activities change the body’s core body temperature, which could prepare it for rest and sleep.
4. Observe a balanced and healthy diet.
Some drinks and foods feature compounds that may make or break your sleep cycle. For instance, carbs may help you doze off faster. High-fat foods may do otherwise. Caffeine also has a disruptive effect on sleep which delays body clock timing.
5. Limit your alcohol intake.
The reminder “drink moderately” only applies when the sun is still up. Though many events involving drinking alcohol happen at night, try to stay away from doing so close to your bedtime. Even better, avoid alcohol altogether, especially when it’s late in the day.
6. Keep bedroom use only for sleep.
If your space permits you, maintain a discipline of having a bedroom for relaxation and sleep only. Avoid distractions such as TV and other gadgets (music can be an exception if it helps you sleep). This way, you can associate your room only with sleeping and nothing else.
7. If you nap, keep it short.
Some people feel more energized when they have short naps during the day. If you need to close your eyes and get some rest in between breaks, make sure it’s no more than 30 minutes to 1 hour. Otherwise, it might be harder for you to sleep when it’s time for bed at night.
8. Avoid smoking.
Nicotine can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Many smokers feel sleepy during the day. Worse, cigarette puffers often have irritated nose and throat tissues which can cause sleep apnea. If you’re sleeping with your partner, you’ll have a happier bedtime – and relationship! – without this.
9. Reduce blue light at night.
While light has a positive effect in the morning, it may do the opposite at night. It is still related to how the circadian rhythm works and how it tricks your body to think it is daytime when there’s light. Exposure reduces melatonin production which could help in relaxation and sleep.
10. Consider some supplements.
Several supplements induce sleep and relaxation. The best examples are Ginkgo biloba, glycine, valerian root, magnesium, Lavender, and L-theanine. Try any of them one at a time at night. They are not the solution to sleep disorders, but they can help. And, make sure to consult with your doctor first.
How important is consistent sleep
We are familiar with the concept of getting eight hours of sleep every night. But, most of us neglect the importance of completing those hours of sleep in a consistent pattern and timing.
Sleep regularity captures an informative dimension of sleep (Dr. Phillips, Harvard). Even if you get eight hours of it, you may still miss out on sleep-related benefits if you rest at inconsistent times every night.
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and reduce the risks of contracting major health problems! A sleep pattern may be challenging this pandemic, most especially if you are working at home and it seems like there are no rules anymore. Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute challenges you to a regular pattern that your mind and body will thank you for!