5 Ways Meditation Decreases Stress and Anxiety




You’ve probably heard that meditation is great for stress relief,  but why is that exactly? Below lists five ways that meditation helps to decrease stress and ease anxiety.



1. Improves deep breathing

Deep breathing (aka diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing) allows for optimal oxygen exchange, which in turn can help to slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax, which in turn gets relayed to the rest of your body.

2. Improves sleep

Sleep is an extremely important factor for keeping stress levels low and for an even mood. However, at bedtime, when we finally are ready to be still and stop thinking, the mind has a tendency to wander relentlessly. Meditation can help to rest the mind and bring the awareness back to the present, which in turn also helps to relax the body for sleep. 



3. Helps you to live in the moment

Meditation focuses your attention to the present, and helps to bring your awareness back to what you are doing right now. That means less worrying about the future or worrying about things you need to do later.

4. Changes the way you think

Meditation doesn’t just distract you from stressful thoughts, but instead it helps you to think through those stressful situations and better understand how to manage them.



5. Helps your mind prepare for stressful events in the future

Taking a few minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness before a stressful event can ease anxiety associated with the event. For example, taking a few minutes of meditation and deep breathing before an important presentation can calm and focus your mind.

Main Takeaways

Meditation is a great tool for easing and preventing stress and anxiety. Taking just a few minutes a day to meditate can greatly impact your mindset and help you to live a healthier and happier life.

References and further reading

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-meditation-helps-with-depression

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

 



Top 10 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness




Mindfulness means living in the present moment, taking in your surroundings, and not thinking about tomorrow or what happened yesterday. Being mindful will absolutely maximize the quality of your life, and we personally strive to be more mindful everyday.

Here are our top 10 reasons to practice mindfulness:

1. Mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress, including our body’s innate “fight or flight” response.





2. Mindfulness reduces addictive and compulsive tendencies.





3. Practicing mindfulness during a workout greatly improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the exercise.





4. Practicing mindfulness at work increases productivity and efficiency, meaning you can get more done in a shorter amount of time!





5. Mindfulness increases confidence at work and in your social life.





6. Mindfulness leads to clearer thinking to make better decisions.





7. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve relationships with your significant other, friends, family, and at work.





8. Mindfulness improves your memory by increasing attention and focus.





9. Mindfulness prevents overeating and snacking and helps to get you to your ideal weight.





10. Practicing mindfulness increases overall energy and decreases fatigue.





 

7 Benefits of Meditation Backed By Science




There are so many amazing benefits of meditation. Not only does it make you feel good in the moment while meditating, but it also actually changes the way your brain operates, and scientific research has proven it.

You’ve probably heard about all of the elite athletes, business leaders, and other successful people talking about the power of meditation. Here are 7 benefits, backed by science, to help you better understand how a daily meditation practice can improve your life.

 

1. Lowers Stress

“Meditation has been proven to decrease mood disturbances and stress symptoms in both male and female patients…” Read the entire study here

2. Reduces pain

“After four-days of mindfulness meditation training, meditating in the presence of noxious stimulation significantly reduced pain-unpleasantness by 57% and pain-intensity ratings by 40% when compared to rest.” Read the entire study here

 




3. Increases brain grey matter (which helps process information)

“Meditation practice has been shown not only to benefit higher-order cognitive functions but also to alter brain activity. ” Read the entire study here

 

4. Improves happiness

“A short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways.” Read the entire study here



 

5. Improves body awareness

“Results indicated a linear relationship in coherence, with meditators having highest levels… We conclude that the coherence between subjective and cardiac aspects of emotion is greater in those who have specialized training that promotes greater body awareness.” Read entire study here

 




6. Enhanced focus and attention

“Brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.” Read the entire study here

 

7. Improves handling of difficult emotions

“Meditation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact aggregated declines in cortical structure.” Read entire study here

Top 7 Ways To Prevent and Reduce Stress

Everyone has experienced some stress at some point in time – it’s part of life. That being said, there are definitely ways to prevent stress, or at the very least reduce your stress response.

Read below to learn 7 ways to prevent and reduce stress:

 

1. Understand where it is coming from

The first step to preventing stress is understanding what things or situations make you feel stressed. Once you understand where the stress is coming from, you can better plan to prevent the stress in the future.

Put it into action: Keep a journal or even a note section on your phone where you can jot down times you get stressed. This is the best way to be mindful of what causes the stress and how you can prevent it in the future.

2. Have a plan

Sometimes a stressor can hit you without you anticipating it (which is most of the time stress hits!) so it can be helpful to have a stress relief plan.

Put it into action: A go-to stress reliever could be to go and get some exercise, call a friend, or watch your favorite show.

3. Don’t procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. It’s really not helping you at all to constantly be putting something off because eventually you’ll have to do it! And it just makes you more stressed out when you think about how you have to do it. Plus the longer you procrastinate, the more stressful it becomes!

Put it into action: Make a point of getting tasks done on time and not putting things off until the very last minute.

4. Meditate daily

Think of meditation as a time to relax your mind and body, a time to remain in the present and not be worrying about the past or future.

Put it into action: Even just 5 minutes of sitting quietly by yourself can be beneficial for handling stress that may arise later in the day.

5. Exercise daily

Exercise can help to lower stress hormones in the body, while at the same time boost the feel good hormones.

Put it into action: If you anticipate a more stressful day ahead, make a point of getting some exercise in the morning. This way you start the day on a positive note with a boost of endorphins and a decrease in stress hormones.

6. Decrease your carbs and sugar

Eating foods high in sugar causes a rollercoaster in your blood sugar levels, which leads to moodiness and hunger later. 

Put it into action: Make a point of cutting back on sugar (guidelines recommend under 20 grams per day) and increase your healthy fat and protein intake.

7. Practice yoga

Yoga is basically a merge of meditation and exercise – it’s the best! Yoga is all about bringing concentration to your breath with movement and keeping your mind on the present moment.

Put it into action: Find a local yoga studio and try a class!

Main takeaways…

Know that stress will happen, but stress can be much more manageable if you have tools to help you get through the stressful situation.

About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.


Break Your Bad Mood With These Quick Tips

Nobody likes to be in a bad mood, but sometimes we inevitably slip into one and it negatively impacts our entire outlook for the day. The good news is that there are simple ways that we can get ourselves out of the bad mood funk and into a more positive mindset!

The first key is to recognize that you are in a bad mood, then you are primed and can follow these 8 tips to get yourself out of it!

 

Listen to music


We all have those songs that remind us of a happy time every time we listen to them. Turn it on, soak it in, and let the music put you back into a positive mindset.


 

Get outside

Nature has a way of calming us and letting us step back from ourselves and into the bigger picture of life. Science has shown that being in nature can help lower blood pressure and your heart rate, a great way to offset a bad mood and turn into a good one!


 

Have a good laugh


Laughter will not only cheer you up instantly, but can also decrease any anxiety you may be having (often a driver to put us in a bad mood). Pull up your favorite funny clip on Youtube, think about a funny memory, or phone a friend that always makes you laugh.


 

Meditate


Taking even just a few minutes to sit in silence while focusing on the breath can quickly take you out of your bad mood funk. Deep diaphragmatic breaths have a way of calming us and can help you lower anxiety.



 

Play with a pet


They don’t call dogs “man’s best friend” for nothing. Pets won’t judge you for being in a bad mood, and at the same time can help you instantly feel happier.


 

Express gratitude

Thinking about the things that you are thankful for in life is an amazing way to flip your mood. Even better, write them down as a “gratitude list” then revisit whenever you’re in a bad mood.


 

Get present

Bad moods can often be attributed to worry about the future and stress about the past. By bringing yourself to the present moment (the time that really only matters anyway) you can “hack” your mind into a more positive state.



Move around


The body and mind are intimately connected, so use that to your advantage. When your mind is failing you with a bad mood, move around your body (jumping jacks, jog in place, shadow box, etc) to release those positive endorphins and put you into a good one!

8 Physical Symptoms of Depression You Need to Know

Think depression is all in the head? Well, think again. Depression is much more than just feeling sad and it actually may manifest itself in many different physical ways that you may not be aware of.

Read below to learn 8 physical symptoms of depression:

1. Headaches

There are many different types of headaches that range in severity and cause. A “tension headache” is a type of headache that is often seen with depression, which is normally a mild throbbing pain extending across the forehead.

2. Fatigue

Feeling lethargic and having low energy is often a hallmark physical symptom of depression. If you have noticed a dip in your energy level, it is a good idea to check in with how your mood has been.

3. Nausea

Have you ever heard of the stomach being referred to as the “second brain?” The stomach is often referred to as the second brain because it is very much connected to the brain, meaning the brain can influence how the stomach feels – so feeling depressed can literally make you feel sick to your stomach. 

4. Constipation and/or diarrhea

As discussed above, the mind and stomach are very much connected which can lead to not only nausea, but also becoming constipated or having diarrhea.

Professional experience: In practice, I’ve had many patients who’ve had problems with constipation and/or diarrhea and once I put them on antidepressants the symptoms completely went away – pretty amazing to see!

5. Loss of appetite

A sudden loss of appetite is a very common symptom that comes with depression.

6. Increased appetite

Just as some individuals may experience a decrease in appetite with depression, many others will experience an increased appetite. The increased appetite is also normally for carb heavy, indulgent foods because carbs make you feel good – carbs help to increase serotonin which is the feel good hormone in your body.

7. Muscle stiffness

Muscle stiffness is a very common physical symptom that accompanies depression. If you’ve been feeling more stiff than usual, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself and how your mood has been.

8. Increased pain

Depression may make your body more sensitive to pain. The most common areas for pain are the back, neck, and/or shoulders – main areas where we tend to hold stress and tension.

Main takeaways…

It is important to check in with yourself from time to time, especially if you’ve started to notice one or more of the above symptoms.

 

10 Things Mindful People Do Daily




With all of the distraction and anxiety in our world today, it’s those people that walk around above it all and smiling throughout their day that have it right. Those people are often living a life full of mindfulness…

To help you reach that amazing state, below are the 10 things that mindful people incorporate into their daily life to stay calm, focused, and centered throughout their day.

 

1. They are aware of their breathing

By checking in on your breath you have a direct line into your overall state. Short breaths in your upper chest area may indicate anxiety or stress, while deep diaphragmatic breaths show off a sense of calm and relaxation. Calm breath equals a calm mind.



 

2. They focus on the task at hand

While the popular belief is that multi-tasking is the way to go, mindful people know that focusing on a single task and doing it great is the best use of their attention. Multi-tasking can lead to anxiety as our brain is running all over the place and never focused and calm.



 

3. They embrace nature

Getting outside and “bathing” in nature is one of the simplest ways to improve your headspace. Research has shown that being outdoors can even boost your energy and relieve stress.



4. They meditate daily

Having a consistent meditation practice has been shown to boost your well-being, improve focus, and reduce stress. Whether it’s in the morning before you start your day, during lunch break, or when you have time in the evening, finding even just 5 minutes a day to meditate will prove to be incredibly beneficial in helping you become more mindful.

*Try MeditateBot in Messenger for free meditations*



5. They pay attention to their eating

Often referred to as “mindful eating”, the art of paying attention to what you are eating during meals and savoring each bite. Listening to your body while you eat is an amazing way to tell if you are full and avoid overeating.




6. They laugh at themselves

Being able to take a step back from a situation you may be stressing over and laughing at how caught up you are in it is an amazing super power! Life presents ups and downs, but being able to take in situations and just laugh and be cheerful will take you a long way.



 

7. They free their minds

Knowing when to let your mind run free and be creative is an important part of being mindful. The funny thing about becoming mindful and being able to harness your attention at will, is that you have the power to turn your focus on and off whenever you want!



 

8. They turn simple tasks into mindful moments

By paying attention to daily activities, you can bring mindfulness into the even smallest of daily tasks. From brushing your teeth to unloading the dishwasher, mindfulness opportunities are presented in many forms, not just meditation.




9. They use social media proactively

With all of the angst against how social media distracts us, mindful people know that it can be also used to be beneficial to our lives. Whether it’s checking in on an old friend, following a mindfulness quotes account, or reading a blog post on positivity, there are many ways that social media can make you more mindful.



10. They control their reactions

We understand that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. The most mindful people can take a step back, assess, then choose the best path forward.




 

Worrying Less in 5 Steps




About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.

We’ve all heard the saying that in life there are ups and down and there is the classic eastern saying that life is filled with 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. With this there’s the wisdom that all things come and go, but the brain has a funny way of amplifying the sorrows and minimizing the joys for good evolutionary reasons.



Whenever the brain perceived something as “bad” it starts to worry about it. But often times there is no real utility to the worry, it only serves to dig us into a deeper hole and blinds us to the joys that might be waiting around the corner.

Here is one of the best cartoons I’ve found that says it like it is:

Worrying Won't Stop the Bad Stuff from Happening it just stops you from enjoying the good.
Illustration by Charles Schulz

There really is no way to cure worrying, but we can learn to get better and better at recognizing it and gently guiding ourselves back to a sense of perspective and what matters.

 

1. Soften your understanding of worry

The utility of worry is to try and anticipate and avoid any potential dangers and to keep us safe. It’s the brain trying to protect us and so worrying certainly has its place and time. But often times worrying only serves to ramp up our nervous system and kick us into an imbalanced place that only leads to more worrying. The brain has good intentions, but it leads us down a destructive vicious cycle.



 

2. Allow/Accept the feeling

Worrying usually arouses the feeling of fear or anxiety. In this mindful step, we’re simply acknowledging that this feeling is here. Calling it out. We want to do the opposite of resist it, because what we resists persists. So instead we practice allowing it to be as it is. Here you are just saying to yourself, “allowing, allowing, allowing.”



3. Feel into it with kindness

Now we have the opportunity to deepen our awareness and investigate the feeling. Here you may choose to put your hand on your heart or wherever you feel the sensation in your body. This is one way of signaling to the brain a sense of love or kindness to the feeling which may shift it all by itself. The brain also has to map the sensation of the touch with is inversely correlated with mental rumination, turning the volume down on negative thinking.

1. As you feel into it you might ask, “What does this feeling believe?” Does it believe you are unlovable, unworthy, or perhaps that if you allow it to be, it will consume you?

2. Ask the question, what does this feeling need right now? Does it need to feel cared for, to feel secure, to feel a sense of belonging?

3. Whatever the answer, see if you can plant these as seeds in yourself. For example you can plant the seeds of intention saying, “May I feel safe and secure, may I be free from this fear, may I feel a sense of belonging.”Make this personal to whatever your needs are.



 

4. Expand awareness and wishes to all people

Whatever the worrying is about, it’s important you know you’re not alone. Feeling vulnerable is part of the human condition and millions of people struggle with the same source of vulnerability that you experience. But when we’re feeling vulnerable with anxiety it often times is all about us, we need to also impersonalize the experience and get outside of ourselves.

You can do this by imagining all the other people who struggle worrying and wish them all the same intentions that you just wished yourself.

For example, May we all feel a sense of safety and security, May we all be free from the fear that keeps us stick in a perpetual cycle of worry, May we all feel that sense of belonging, etc…




5. Repeat steps one through four over several thousand times.

If you notice, steps one through four spell the acronym SAFE so you can easily remember what it is and what it’s for. As you intentionally practice this over and again, in time you will notice that you start to become less reactive to the worried mind, more compassionate with yourself as it arises, and even have perspective that this worrying is part of the human condition and you are not alone.

We we were able to turn the volume down on worrying in our lives, what would be there instead? For many people, it’s a sense of spaciousness, ease and joy.






12 Positive Affirmations for Success




Positive affirmations help to change your thinking and beliefs, in order to drive real change and positive results. It’s all about the mindset!

How to use them:
1. Take a deep breath
2. Speak or think your affirmation
3. Visualize yourself applying it to your life

Here are 12 of our favorite positive affirmations for success, enjoy!

 

1. “I live a positive life and only bring the best into my life.”




2. “Today, and every day, I choose to be happy.”




3. “My life overflows with happiness and love.”




4. “Today is full of opportunity and I open my heart to receive it.”




5. “Today, and every day, I choose to be confident.”




6. “I am completely in charge of my life.”




7. “I act daily with courage and confidence.”




8. “I open my life to the world and the world gives me love in return.”




9. “I act, think, and communicate like a true leader.”




10. “I inspire others to be their very best self.”




11. “Today, I choose to leave my old bad habits behind and take up new, more positive ones.”




12. “Everything that is happening to me now is happening for my greater good.”





 

5 Tried-and-True Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life





About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.

We all want to be happy, undeniably.

For some people happiness comes easier than others, but what we’re starting to understand is that happiness, that sense of connection and ease of appreciating the good moments and being more graceful and resilient during the difficult ones, is a skill and strength that we can all build.




Here are Five Simple Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life (Note: Set all judgments aside when you read this, practice them for yourself and let your experience be your teacher).

1. Practice happiness for other people’s happiness

When you see someone doing good things for themselves like exercising, laughing with a group of friends, or celebrating an accomplishment, practice being supportive to them in your mind. Say things like “good for you for taking care of yourself” or “glad you’re having a moment of joy,” smile in your mind at them or just say “Yes!”




 

2. Practice non-violent communication toward yourself

We’ve known for a long time we’re our own worst critics and the way we talk to ourselves has a major impact on how we feel. Being a little self-critical is okay, but most of us experience it all too regularly. That has to be nipped in the bud as a practice. See if you can label any of that self-judgment and in that moment flip it to actively thinking about things you like about yourself.




 

3. Practice non-violent communication toward others 

When feeling frustrated it’s natural for humans to employ sarcasm, contempt, or to manipulate other people to get what we want. However, this type of communication toward others is like poison for our well-being. Whenever you notice any of this poison arising in you, take a few deep breaths and exercise restraint, you’ll thank yourself later.




4. Relax your nervous system

We happen to live in a world that is very fast paced, it’s no wonder that stress and anxiety are on the rise. It’s important to consciously relax our bodies a few times a day. Take a deep breath, scan your body to find where you can soften or stretch the muscles that are tense. Make this a practice, you’ll be surprised how much this can help.




 

5. Be aware of the good 

There’s a lot of “Bad” news out there that dials up our nervous systems and makes us want to keep coming back to hear more, which only feeds a “nervous” system. Instead, create some balance, your brain is less likely to see all the good, so you have to intentionally pay attention to it. When you notice a good moment, notice it, “this is a good moment, in life there are good moments, can I allow myself to linger in this for a few seconds?” Let the neurons fire together and wire together.

 

Of course there are all kinds of other things that can support our happiness including sleep, exercise, time in nature, and play. Although these are all important factors that can contribute to our well-being, the above five ways I’ve shared are all simple habits that take no extra time out of your life.

It becomes not so much about time management, but attention management.




 

Here’s the simple instructions:

Practice this for one week. Perhaps you’d like to go down the list and just focus on one per day, then see what you notice at the end of the week. As a bonus, emotional contagion is a real science and so as you practice this, imagine the ripple effects your happiness has on those around you.

 




10 Seconds to Stress Less




About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.

Most people I meet would like to be calmer and more focused on what matters in the moments of their lives. But the more stressed we are, the less open we are to creative ideas and the more prone we are to procrastination.




Here is a 10-second practice that I challenge you to practice a few times a day and realize its power to help you focus on what matters moment-to-moment. Inevitably, as you practice and repeat this, you’ll become more of a PRO at life.

The Be a PRO Practice

  1. P – Pause – This is the initial step that helps break the auto-pilot stress cycle.
  2. R – Relax your body – When we’re stressed, our muscles get tight which sends signals back to the brain to fight, flee or freeze, making thoughts more distracted and chaotic. Relaxing the body, does the opposite, it begins to open the mind again, making it easier to focus.
  3. O – Open to what matters in the moment – As the body is relaxed we have a greater chance to be more aware of creative ideas or simply the ability to focus on the task at hand.




Here are 10 really good places where practicing being a PRO at life can come in handy:

1. Being a PRO at life means starting your day this way…wake up, relax your body, open up to your intentions for the day.

2. Getting caught in the flurry of getting yourself or the family ready in the morning and feeling irritated? This is a perfect opportunity for pausing, relaxing and opening to being with them or getting things prepared.

3. Traffic got you down? Stoplights are a great place to practice being a PRO.

4. Finding yourself in a tense business meeting? PRO.

5. Having a challenging discussion with your partner or kids? PRO.




6. Giving a speech in front of a lot of people and feeling anxious? PRO.

7. Sitting at the dinner table and everyone is on their phones? PRO.

8. Worrying about something that you have no control over? PRO.

9. Texting while driving? PRO.

10. Laying down for the night and having trouble falling asleep because your mind is spinning? PRO.

Don’t take my word for it, actually plug this in a few times a day and see what you notice.

What you practice and repeat starts to become automatic. Imagine if you could learn to get better and better at feeling a greater sense of personal control.

What might be different?



 

7 Things You Didn’t Know Were Sabotaging Your Sleep




Sleep is so incredibly important for our mind and body, and is a necessity for optimal functioning and for us to feel our best. After a good sleep you feel energized, happy, less stressed, and that’s because all of your hormones were able to reset and recharge while you were sleeping. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when you get a bad sleep – you are irritable, tired, hungry, the day just seems longer and everything appears harder. This is why we want to minimize bad sleep as much as possible! 

Most of the things that can prevent you from getting a good sleep occur just a few hours before you want to sleep, which is a good thing because this means they can be completely avoidable – you just need to know what they are. 

Below lists what NOT to do right before bed:




1. Keeping lights bright

There is a biological and hormonal reason that we sleep in darkness and that the sunlight makes us feel energized – bright lights block the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that your body produces to help you sleep.

Fix it:

Dim the lights an hour before bed, also you may want to change the light bulbs in your bathroom and your bedroom (or in every room) to soft light which is less severe than bright lights.

2. Watching the news

Watching the news or watching or reading any other upsetting material before bed is setting yourself up for a bad sleep. Not only will this keep you up thinking about what you’ve just seen or read, it may also give you nightmares – no bueno!

Fix it:

Reserve the news for the morning, and leave the evening hours to watch silly shows or to read light fiction.



3. Eating a large meal

Laying down flat after a large meal is not a good idea and will be uncomfortable because your body is going to have an even harder time digesting it and this is going to make it harder to fall asleep. This is especially true if you eat a healthy dinner high in protein, fat, and fiber all of which take the longest to digest – which is a good thing, but not a good thing right before you want to go to sleep.

Note: Another reason to avoid a large meal right before bed is that this can trigger acid reflux, which is also very uncomfortable and definitely not what you want when you are trying to fall asleep.

Fix it:

Aim to finish your last meal 3 hours before you want to go to sleep, the longer time between your last bite and your head hits the pillow the better!



4. Intense exercise

I love high intensity exercise, but this is a definite no-no right before bed. High intensity exercise is great for boosting energy and focus which is what you want in the morning, not what you want right before you are trying to fall asleep.

Fix it:

Avoid intense exercise 3 hours before bed. Instead, do light activity such as a walk after dinner, stretching, or gentle yoga.



5. Reading a screen in bed

This includes the screen on your computer, cell phone, iPad, or any other device that has a screen. These types of screens emit a type of light that messes with your brainwaves and ultimately inhibits you from getting a good sleep.

Fix it:

Use “night mode” or download an app that will change the lighting or your screen. Best yet, put the electronics away at bedtime and read a real book or magazine 🙂



6. Afternoon coffee

I’ll be the first to say that I love a good cup of mid-day coffee, but drinking coffee too close to bed time can definitely make it harder to fall asleep and can also mess with the quality of your sleep. Coffee takes a few hours to get out of your system, it varies person-to-person, but allow for at least 6 hours between finishing a cup of coffee and trying to go to sleep.

Fix it:

Stick to your morning coffee and a good rule of thumb is to avoid drinking coffee (or any caffeinated beverage) after 3 pm.

7. Over-the-counter medication for migraines

Most over-the-counter (OTC) medications that are marketed for migraines and headaches have caffeine added to them. Caffeine may help your head, but is not going to help you sleep – and lack of sleep can make headaches worse.

Fix it:

Aim to take OTC migraine medication in the morning and check the labels of any OTC medications you take before bed to see if they secretly contain caffeine.



Main takeaways..

The above are the top factors that can interfere with your sleep. Check-in with your own routine and see if you are doing one or more of the above.