Debunking 6 of the Top Myths about Sleep

If you find yourself unable to sleep or simply not getting the quality sleep that you think you deserve then stand up and take a bow. You are among 30 percent of Americans with some form of sleep problem that both the sandman and late night tacos can’t resolve. Many people today suffer from severe sleep problems, but,with the right motivation and technique anyone can improve their slumber situation.sleep_bed_99

Of course some skeptics reading this might say “But I’ve literally tried everything”; and sadly that might just be the problem. Often times we find ourselves aimlessly following amateur advice, succumbing to the myths; and doing all the wrong things – and as a result our sleep schedules suffer greatly.

Myth #1 – Eight hours of sleep is mandatory

Here’s an interesting exercise that you can carry out if you so choose: Ask ten random people that you interact with tomorrow how much sleep is the right amount of sleep. On average, eight out of ten of them will say eight hours of sleep; the other two may say “I dunno” or take a wild guess.

Truth be told, there actually is no globally fixed answer for this question, considering the optimal amount of sleep may vary from person to person. Many experts will of course recommend that any healthy individual try to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep; this answer is based in averages and the fact that it is simply the easy answer to give. However, in actuality, finding the correct duration of sleep that is right for you and your body is honestly going to come down to simple trial and error.

If you are constantly getting seven hours of sleep and yet you find yourself getting fatigued before your day is halfway over then you may need to go to sleep a bit earlier in the future. In contrast, if you follow a strict regimen of eight hours of sleep every night but have frequent problems sleeping, your mind might be trying to tell you that you’re spending too much time in bed. Our sleep habits and sleep schedules should be constantly revised as we go through life changes.

Myth #2 – Sleep lost on weekdays can be added back on the weekend

This seems logical enough. If I miss a couple hours of sleep tonight then I’ll just sleep a little longer tomorrow to make up for it – it should all balance out, right? This is only true in that it is a short term fix of sorts. You can double up on your sleep to make up for the night before; however, you cannot simply make up for sleep that you have lost over prolonged periods of time. The damage caused by all those all-nighters can’t be miraculously fixed now.

Likewise, neglecting to sleep on weekdays and trying to make amends on the weekend is probably a little too late. The sleep deprivation has most likely already made you: short-tempered, skip breakfast and miss an important announcement at work because it’s hard to focus. No amount of sleep you get the next day will compensate damage that you’ve already caused today. Disrupting your sleep pattern will not make matters any better as well.

Myth #3 – Snoring is perfectly normal and not an issue

Approximately 45 percent of Americans snore on occasion while trying to get a good night’s rest. With such a large percentage of people snoring one might think that the occurrence should be rather harmless, the truth is quitesleep_snore_09 the opposite. Individuals who snore may do so as a telltale sign of possible obstructive sleep apnea – this refers to when their airway is blocked or collapses while sleeping. Sometime these pauses are just mere seconds long, and sometimes they can cause abrupt awakenings accompanied by uncontrollable gasping and wheezing for air.

If that wasn’t scary enough, it has been documented, by the National Sleep Foundation, that irregular breathing patterns can influence a direct increase in stress placed on the heart and higher chances of cardiac diseases. Snoring and its related issues are not bound by age and should be reported on first notice.

Myth #4 – I Can’t Get Any Sleep Because I’m An Insomniac

If you are one of the several people saying this they your pants are almost certainly on fire; because whether you believe it or know it, that is a lie. If you are cognitive enough to be reading this article, then you’ve been spending enough time with your pillow at nights. If you did not, you would have to be a medical prodigy, a “living” zombie…, or worst.Despite what you may have heard or read, an insomniac is any individual who doesn’t get the quality of sleep that their body and mind desire.

Countless doctors and sleep experts can attest to hearing their patients claim that they NEVER get any sleep or that they are somehow only getting an hour of sleep every night – superhuman feats to say the least. These claims are not true and sadly many people delude themselves into believing these statements about themselves, causing far more harm in the process.

Myth #5 – If you wake up in the middle of the night, remain in bed and go back to sleep

Many people find themselves awake in the middle of the night, desperate to get a good nights rest. If this sounds like one of your previous experience, then you may have defaulted to counting cows, sheep, pigs or other farm animals while in bed. Luckily, the National Sleep Foundation has done some research to assist individuals with these sleep patterns. Base on the research if you find yourself in a situation such as this then actually getting out of bed might be the best course of action.

If you feel exasperated and upset because you can’t seem to rest at nights, your best option is to rush out of bed and find something to occupy your time (read a book, exercise, watch television). By changing your environment you are putting your mind at ease and allowing your brain to go back into “sleep mode”. Better yet, can try remodeling your sleep lair; changing the position of your bed and darkening the room are a couple tips that can make a huge difference.

Myth #6 – Leaving windows open and playing music loudly will help you to stay awake in the car.

No, no, no, no. no. This absolutely not true. In fact, it is a highly dangerous and reckless thing to do. A Research published by the National Sleep Foundation has found that none of these things (in fact nothing at all) can effectively counteract drowsiness while driving to a point where you are not putting lives at risk – that is, nothing except sleep of course.

Whenever your brain gets too tired certain part begin to systematically slow down and shut down. If you discover that, you have problems staying cognitive and alert behind the wheel then do the responsible thing: let someone else take over or pull over and get some well needed rest. You not only owe it to yourself but you also owe it to other motorists; and pedestrians on the road.

What is In Soda and Why Do I Always Crave It?

Before we start let’s take a look at something scary. Run on over to Sugarstacks.com and take a quick look at the stack of sugar behind the soda containers. That 20-ounce bottle of Coke has 17 sugar cubes next to it and that 44-ounce Super Gulp that we love to order alongside our meals at 7-Eleven has 39 – 39! –cubes of sugar stacked up beside it. That is how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming every time you reach for one of these beverages.

Today our addiction to these beverages equally rivals our addiction for tobacco sticks despite the heightened awareness about the unnerving side effects. Whether it’s to pair it with lunch or dinner or get through the evening slump, most of us will end up reaching for a soda at least once daily. This is the main reason why:

America has witnessed a 15 percent increase in obesity rates.
8.3 percent of the American population suffer from diabetes according to the CDC. 35 percent of adult residents have Prediabetes.

“Soft Drink” Or “Soft Poison”

So, is it all about satisfying our sweet tooth or is there more to these relentless soda cravings. Of course it’s no secret that Coke contains high fructosesoda_sugar_09 corn syrup but what about the other ingredients? A bottle of Coke also contains caramel color, phosphoric acid and caffeine – the drug most of us can’t get through a day without. Don’t be misled by the term “soft drink,” these ingredients are certainly not “soft”, a more appropriate term is “soft poison” – considering all the damage it may cause in the long haul.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Although the jury is out on whether HFCS increases the risk of obesity and other severe health conditions, studies have suggested that it causes more damage than regular sugar. Researchers at Princeton University demonstrated that rats that were exposed to HFCS become obese in under six months and displayed symptoms of metabolic syndrome, while rats exposed to regular sugar did not. The researchers suggested that the findings might be because of the fact that the excess fructose is metabolized into fat, while the regular sugar is stored as carbohydrate in the muscle and liver or used for energy.

Other studies have indicated that HFCS and other forms of fructose may cause a person to overeat as opposed to regular sugar such as glucose, due to the way it’s metabolized. Therefore, by drinking soda rich in HFCS you are subsequently heightening your overall calorie intake, increasing your chances of gaining weight. And we wonder why so many Americans have fallen victim to obesity.

Sure, there are more harmful ingredients on the market, like Mexican cane sugar, that was removed from most if not all Mexican Coke. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it is harmless.

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is corrosive and can create toxic fumes when exposed to ketones and alcohols, among other compounds. In its purest form it is a scentless, colorless crystal created from burning elemental phosphorous and combining the byproduct with water or from rocks rich in sulfuric acid. It is used in Coke to reduce the growth of bacteria and molds and contribute to a tangy, sharper taste.

Phosphoric acid is far from “soft.” For instance if its inhaled or comes in contact with the skin or other body tissues it can cause pain, dermatitis, gastrointestinal issues, difficulty breathing and swallowing and blurry vision. Although most of these side effects occur in industrial manufacturing plants with high levels of phosphoric acid; the amount found sodas could also cause complications.

A strong digestive system can buffer the acidity of a 20-ounce bottle of Coke but it does come at a great cost – leeching on your calcium phosphate levels. Eventually this draws minerals from your bones, which is one of the main reasons why osteoporosis is more prone among soda drinkers. A research issued by the “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine” back in 2000 revealed that bone fractures are more common among female athletes who drink soda than those who did not.

Dental decay is also major problem among people who overindulge in acidic drinks. A research published by the “General Dentistry,” in 2007 supported this, stating that phosphoric acid encourages tooth enamel decay, even in small amounts.

Caramel Coloring

Caramel coloring is what gives Coke its brown hue. Although the Food Drug Administration says caramel coloring is not harmful to the human body, many recent consumer reports have suggested differently. It is made by reacting ammonia with sugar sulfites in heat. The byproducts of the reaction are 4-methylimidozole and 2-methylimidozole. Studies conducted by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, revealed that overexposure to 4-methylimidozole may led to lung cancer.

That encouraged the state to add 4-methylimidozole to their list of potentially harmful compounds under Proposition 65 that states that a warning label must be placed on products containing the compound. In most cases you find 29 micrograms of 4-methylimidozole in a bottle of Coke.

Caffeine – the Culprit Behind Your Cravings

OK, sure — most of use can’t start the day without a cup of coffee, so you may be thinking it’s no big deal that caffeine is one of the ingredients in your favorite beverage – for some of us it’s a plus. However, a single can of Cokesoda_caffine_99 contains 64 milligrams of caffeine, about two-thirds of the amount in a cup of coffee. Just imagine how much caffeine you are consuming when you drink a44-ounce Super Gulpat 7-Eleven. For adults this may not be a big problem but for kids it can be dangerous, leading to increased anxiety, stomach problems, hyperactivity and disruptions in their sleep pattern.

Caffeine is a stimulant that belongs to the chemical group called adenosine and has a strong impact on the brain and the central nervous system. Adenosine is a nucleoside that occurs naturally in the brain cells and causes tiredness. Caffeine interacts with neurotransmitters responsible for binding adenosine and inhibits the body’s ability to relax, causing the nerve cells to accelerate.

A person who has decided to quit caffeine may experience withdrawal symptoms, which for most people is a sign of addiction. Of course, there are many arguments to dispute the fact that caffeine is addictive. As with many controversial nutritional debates today, there are no conclusive evidence to support the argument brought forth. However, if you drink a lot of coffee, there is a high chance you depend on caffeine to perform your daily duties, as with most caffeine lovers. But caffeine is not the only culprit, majority of the ingredients found in carbonated beverages may cause dependency.

So What Can You Do?

If you recognized the fact that you have an addiction to Coke or any other carbonated beverage, you are probably asking this question:green_tea_09 what can I do about my addiction? The good news is overcoming a caffeine addiction is much easier than other additive substances. Some people have experienced headaches during the withdrawal, but most supplements and herbs can help to reduce these.

Start moderately by switching to a healthier “caffeinated” beverage such as antioxidant-rich green tea, which is a good alternative to soda considering the overall benefits. Isolate yourself from the source of your addiction and fuel up on water – it keeps you hydrated and it will not make you feel deflated like the letdown after a caffeine high. After two weeks of avoiding caffeinated beverages and replenishing your body with healthier options, the norepinephrine receptors and adenosine in the brain will return to normal, riding you of those relentless soda cravings.

Yellow Teeth: The Cause and the Solution

Our society expects you to have teeth whiter than pearls. In truth, very few people have teeth like that, as they’re a product of a quick Photoshop job. However, you can make your teeth whiter, but first you should know the cause.

Your teeth can become yellow for two reasons, with both of them being related. We all should know that certain foods and drinks can cause your teeth to become stained, and this article will cover the top foods that do that. But the second reason is less known, and that’s that acids in foods and drinks can cause your white enamel coating in your teeth to deteriorate. For example, soda is acidic, and keeping it on your teeth daily can destroy that layer.

Why Teeth Become Yellow

The enamel in your teeth is white naturally. However, it turns translucent as it breaks down, and it shows the secondary layer, which is called dentin. Dentin is naturally yellow, so when the top layer becomes thin, you’re going to see yellow. This is why older people tend to have yellow teeth. The longer you have them, the more you’re probably going to wear down the protective coatings.

Foods and Drinks That Cause Your Teeth to Yellow

Now we’ll look at foods and drinks that can cause your teeth to yellow. Many of them are acidic and tend to stain your teeth, so it can cause a lot of problems when it comes to yellowing.

You may think these beverages and foods are unhealthy, and you should already be avoiding them, but in truth, a few of them can be good for you. So do you have to give those up as well? Not at all. By being smart about it, you don’t have to worry about them damaging your teeth.

Black Tea

We all enjoy a good cup of tea, but black tea can stain your teeth because it’s full of tannins. It’s perhaps the biggest tea offender.black_tea_teeth_09 If you have it with other foods and drinks that stain, it can increase those tannins even more, and it can cause your enamel to break down.

While you can prevent this, one alternative you can do is to consider switching to green tea. Not only is it healthier, but the chances of staining your teeth are lessened. So try that out if you’re concerned about black tea.

Soda and Sports Drinks

As you should probably know, soda isn’t good for your teeth. It contains sugar, which can help to break down your enamel.

The phosphoric and citric acids in colas and many other sodas, along with their massive amounts of acidic sugar, all wear down tooth enamel. A sugary sports drink can do it as well. While a glass of Coke isn’t going to dissolve your teeth, drinking too much of it can discolor it immensely. Besides that, the ammonia-based caramel coloring can cause your teeth to break down more. Sports drinks can contain more acid as well. Yikes!

Sweets

We should all know that sweets are not exactly tooth friendly, but hard candies that you suck on can cause your teeth to stain even more. Not only does it contain high amounts of sugar, but because you’re sucking on it for a long time, it can wear away quite fast. Look at it this way. If it can color your tongue, it will probably do that to your teeth as well.

Red and White Wine

A glass of wine a day is supposed to be healthy, but because red whine contains tannins and polyphenols, it can become quite the stain on your teeth. White wine can cause other foods and drinks, if you have them around, to stain your teeth as well.

Sauces Such as Curry

Sweet chilies, curries, tomato sauces, and any other brightly-colored sauce, can cause your dental enamel to wear down if you make them set on your teeth too long.

Condiments

Since we mentioned tomato sauce, naturally ketchup would be on this list. However, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce can be big offenders as well.

Fruit Juice

Even fruit juice can be a problem, especially if they’re commercial. They can be quite acidic, and if they have bright colors, they can hurt the appearance of your teeth. Fresh juices can be less of a problem, but even those can cause troubles if you let them settle for too long.

Fruits and Vegetables That Have Bright Colors

Even the healthiest foods can cause tooth problems. Fruits such as blueberries, pomegranates, and other berries can cause staining, and beets can as well. These contain polyphenols and colored compounds, and while they are healthy, they can stain your teeth.

So what should you do if you want to have yellow teeth? Just eat bread and drink water all day? Thankfully, you don’t have to give up anything if you don’t want to. There are ways you can prevent your teeth from staining.

Preventing Yellow Teeth

What should you do if you don’t want your favorite foods and drinks to stain your teeth? You may think you have to brush your teeth after every meal, but that can be troubling as well. You see, after you eat or drink the offenders, your enamel becomes soft for about half an hour. If you brush, it can destroy the soft enamel. So if you want to, you can wait about an hour and brush using a soft toothbrush.

You can do a few other things to prevent staining. First, all you need to do is sip some water after eating or drinking, and make sure to swirl it around your mouth. This will eliminate all acids and staining properties, and it can make a quick difference. Also, if you make more saliva, you can move it over your teeth to protect them. This is easy after you do that sip of water, so you should do that if you want to prevent damage to your enamel as well as cavities. Chewing gum can help as well, but it’s not needed.

When eating, you should also consider starting with leafy greens or steamed vegetables. These might protect your teeth by forming a layer. Besides being good for you in general, they can help you to prevent staining.

It may be hard to do all of this at first, but it can become a habit, and it will help to keep your teeth strong, even if you consume the above food and drink quite often.

Whitening Your Teeth

Of course, one thing you should consider is getting a teeth whitener. Many people are doing it, and it’s the fastest way to whiten your teeth.teeth_healthy_white_09 A home whitening kit can help you out. While they were relatively useless in the beginning, they’ve improved, and can give you almost dentist-quality results. One brand you should consider is Zero Peroxide, as it doesn’t contain any hydrogen peroxide, which may hurt your enamel.

If those don’t work, your dentist can help you whiten your teeth. It may take a few visits, depending on how stained they are. It should not be too expensive, either. It may cost under a grand if you go to the right dentist.

Conclusion

While you should avoid things such as soda , many of the foods listed above are benefical, and should not be avoided. Instead, you should be aware that these foods and drinks can yellow your teeth, and by swishing some water around and doing small changes, you can keep your teeth white. While they’ll never be as white as Photoshopped models, you can rest assured that you can give people a confident smile.

Why Peanut Butter is Good for You After All

Peanut butter is a staple of your childhood. However, now that you’re an adult, you have to be more cautious with what you eat. You may think that peanut butter, with its high fat content, should be avoided. But this is not the case. There are many health benefits to good old PB, and in this article, we’ll tell you why you should still eat some PB and J.

It Has Protein

If you eat two tablespoons of peanut butter, which is about one serving, you’ll get seven grams of protein. It makes a great way to start the day, or a way to get some protein back when you work out. Because of its high protein content, you will feel full, and it will help to repair your muscles after exercising.

It’s Good for Your Heart

The Harvard Medical School has discovered that peanut butter can help to give you a healthy heart. While it may have saturated fats,heart_health_09 the unsaturated outweighs it to the point where it’s always healthy if you eat it in the right portions. When you compare it to people who do eat nuts, you’re going to see a difference in heart health.

It Contains a Lot of Potassium

In our modern diets, we eat too much salt. While you need salt, too much of it can cause you to potentially have cardiovascular problems. If it’s too hard to avoid salt-heavy foods, you should consume more potassium, which can help push back the threat of high sodium. So spread some peanut butter on a banana and dig in.

It’s Filled With Healthy Fats

You may think that peanut butter is bad for you because it has so much fat. What you need to understand, however, is that not all fats are bad. As we said, it contains a lot of unsaturated fats, which are healthy for you. A few other good sources of healthy fats include olive oil and avocados.

It Helps to Boost Your Energy

Peanut butter is rich in calories that come from good fat and protein. This will give you lots of energy if you want to work out. It’s best if you eat it in the morning, as it will help keep you going all day.

It Has Plenty of Fiber

A serving of peanut butter can give you up to two grams of fiber, which is a decent amount. As you should know, a fiber-rich diet can help all your bodily functions, so if you’re low on fiber, why not add more peanut butter to your diet.

It May Help You to Lose Weight

You may think that because it’s high in fat and sodium, it will make you pack on the pounds. But because it’s rich in fiber and protein, it will help you feel fuller for a longer amount of time. This means that your cravings for junk food may be lowered, thus causing you to lose more weight.

It’s Nutrient Rich

Besides protein, fiber, potassium, and healthy fats, it contains some great nutrients such as magnesium. One serving can give you three mg of Vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant. You get 49 grams of magnesium, which will help build those bones, and small amount of B6, which helps you to be more immune. It may contain a small amount of zinc as well, which is a way you can boost your immunity.

Which Peanut Butter Should I Choose?

Of course, not all peanut butter has the same amount of ingredients and content, so you need to tread lightly while you shop. peanut butter_health_09Don’t buy something because it’s has less fat, but instead look at a few other key factors beforehand.

Look for all-natural peanut butter. Peanut butter that’s not natural can contain other ingredients, and while it tastes better, it may have unhealthy fats and sugars. Natural just relies on peanuts as its main ingredient.

Also, look at the sugar content of your peanut butter. Brands that are not natural may contain 250mg more sugar than natural. Of course, if you’re using peanut butter to cook with, you may want to have something sweeter, because the sugar does enhance the taste.

Look at the sodium content as well. Too much sodium can be unhealthy, so look for the natural ones, which tend to have less. Besides, too much sodium can hurt the taste if you’re looking for it to have a nuttier flavor.

So while natural peanut butters are the better option, they can be hard to find, or may be more expensive, especially if you go organic. But if you’re having one serving a day, eating a commercial brand is not going to break your health, so don’t fret.

Overall

Peanut butter is an important part of your diet, and you should eat a serving of it every day if you can. While eating it by the jar is not the best way to stay healthy, having two tablespoons can help you feel full, give you great nutrition, and keep you healthy.

Making Your Photos Pop with These Android Apps!

Cell phone photography is starting to get recognized as a legitimate form of photography, and not just a means of taking a snapshot when the opportunity presents itself. You can take high-resolution photos with any kind of Smartphone these days, and capture the subject in great detail, but your work doesn’t end the moment you take the photo. I mean, it can end there, but there is so much more you can do with it.

There are a bunch of photo apps out there that can help you edit, manipulate, save and publish your photographs. Combine a few of these, and you’ve got yourself a digital darkroom right underneath your fingertips. Check out some of the best ones out there.

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Adobe Photoshop is a household name, and even those who have no interest in photography whatsoever have at least heard about it. Most photographers swear by, and I tend to use it very often. Now, there is a version of it available for your Android device. Of course, it’s not as powerful as its older desktop brother, but it is a lot more serious than most photo-editing apps you can find on the market. It make take you a while to get a hang of it, as is the case with its PC counterpart, but once you familiarize yourself with all the bells and whistles it has to offer, you will realize it wipes the floor with its competition.

Instagram

Ok, I’m not treading any new ground here, and as a photography enthusiast, I have a strong aversion toward Instagram. I don’t like its filters, I don’t like the people there, but it is a great tool if you want to promote your photos to a large audience. Pretty much everyone is on Instagram nowadays, and I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of that. It can be used as an editing platform too, but I advise you to avoid that, and use it strictly as medium through which you share your work.

DropBox

Backing up your photos is a must, because once you lose your images, you can’t get them back. But, carrying around a hard drive in your pocket is not exactly the most practical option now, is it? You can, however, back up and share your photos with the Dropbox app. Simply choose the files you want to share, wait for them to sync up, and share the link with your friends and family – that’s all it takes! And don’t worry about space, because you get more than enough to store all of your favorite pics.

Photography Trainer

This app is for those who want to learn all the ins and outs of photography. You can sign up for a course, but those can cost a pretty penny, and you are better off spending your money on something else. There is plenty of info out there for free, but the trouble is, most of us often don’t know where to start. My suggestion is – try out the Photography Trainer App for Android. It will teach you all the things you need to know, and which the pros use to create their images. Stuff like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure and much more is explained in detail, with plenty of examples.