Why more sleep can solve all your problems

Why more sleep can solve all your problems
PHOTO: Shutterstock.com

You might just be able to sleep your problems away.

Sometimes the solution you have been looking for could just be under your covers.

By allowing ourselves more shut-eye, we can actually resolve our problems pertaining to health and wellness.

So still think that sleep is a luxury you can't afford? Here are eight reasons why you should think again.

Also read: 8 in 10 Singaporeans are sleep-deprived: Study

8 ways sleep can solve your problems

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    If you often suffer from monthly period cramps, try to clock in more Zs. In a study done in Georgia, it was found that a lack of sleep made period cramps worse, as less serotonin is produced when we don't sleep enough, resulting to a lower threshold for pain.

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    Here's something we can't complain about. Sleeping more can indeed help you burn calories. So don't put in hours in the gym, but hit the sack an hour or two earlier for the sake of your waistline!

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    A lack of sleep causes the emotion centre of the brain, known as the amygdala to become more sensitive, hence sleep-deprived people often react more negatively to situations.

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    Your best self will definitely arise from a well-rested you. When we are sleep-deprived, we lose focus, attention and vigilance.

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    Even with excessive amounts of vitamins, you are still likely to fall sick if you're not sleeping enough. Our bodies stop reacting to vaccinations when we suffer from a lack of sleep, similar to how we always sleep to feel better after our medication when we're feeling under the weather.

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    Beauty sleep is indeed a real thing. When we are sleep deprived, our skin will suffer from inflammation and dehydration. Increased stress hormones can also arise which worsens any inflammatory skin conditions like acne.

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    Try getting a full night's sleep and you might see a difference to how you approach the everyday stressors in your life. Even with the world weighing down on your shoulders, a well rested night could definitely make anything better.

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    When we're running on minimal sleep, anything can seem more risky and daunting to attempt. With more sleep hours clocked in, you could be more willing to try out adventurous things in your life, be it in your work or downtime.

1. Your period cramps won't hurt so much

If you often suffer from monthly period cramps, try to clock in more Zs. In a study done in Georgia, it was found that a lack of sleep made period cramps worse, as less serotonin is produced when we don't sleep enough, resulting to a lower threshold for pain.

TCM tips to relieve period pains

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    Menstrual pain, known as dysmenorrhoea, is a problem that many of us put up with every month.

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    The pain and discomfort, which can be severe for some, are caused by your uterus working harder to dislodge and expel its lining.

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    These contractions are triggered by hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins - the higher your prostaglandin levels, the more intense the uterine contractions and the more pain you will experience.

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    Besides pain in the abdomen, lower back and legs,

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    dysmenorrhoea is also associated with headaches, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, acne, digestive issues like bloat, diarrhoea and constipation, painful and tender breasts, and even fainting.

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    Emotional symptoms may include irritability, moodiness and anxiety.

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    According to TCM physician Wen Hong, a senior consultant at the General Health department at Life!Clinic, period pain and discomfort are due to a number of internal and external factors.

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    "The most common external cause is 'coldness' in the pelvic region," she shares. "Internal causes may be due to a stagnation of qi, or energy flow, and a deficiency in the blood," she explains.

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    When you lose blood during your period, you also lose its 'splenic component' which leads to a decrease in splenic function. This causes the bloat that some women experience.

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    "If you suffer from backache during your period, that's a sign of a deficiency in your renal function, caused by a loss of the renal component of your blood," she adds.

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    In TCM, menstrual pain and discomfort can also be caused by emotional problems, an unhealthy diet, work stress, and a poor constitution.

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    TCM treatments for menstrual pain vary, from herbal therapy and acupuncture to external heat therapy and moxibustion, which involves the burning of mugwort, a small, spongy herb, over the skin.

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    Whatever your symptoms, a TCM physician will have to first assess your medical history and examine your tongue and pulse before giving you a diagnosis.

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    Whatever your symptoms, it's important to keep warm when you're having your period - this is crucial to prevent the various symptoms that are largely due to coldness affecting one's blood circulation and flow of qi.

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2. You're more likely to lose weight

Here's something we can't complain about. Sleeping more can indeed help you burn calories. According to a study from the American Journal of Clincial Nutrition, normal sleepers burned more calories after a meal as compared to sleep-deprived people. So don't put in hours in the gym, but hit the sack an hour or two earlier for the sake of your waistline!

How to lose weight even when you're sitting down all day

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    Most of us spend a large chunk of our day sitting down - whether it's at the office, in the car or while we're noshing down breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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    Sitting is sometimes unavoidable but instead of fighting gravity's pull on our backsides, let's try to beat our sedentary lifestyles at its own game by boosting our metabolism and burning calories while we sit.

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    Stretch tone arms, flex those leg muscles and do some toe taps. All these are tiny tone-ups that you can still do even when chained to a desk all day.

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    Grab a coffee (but make it low sugar) or better yet, drink some green tea.

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    Not only will it lift you out of your mid-afternoon slump, green tea is full of antioxidants known as catechins that boost fat oxidation. Whee!

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    Choosing the right snacks like nut or dried fruit can help you feel fuller for longer

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    so you're not tempted to guzzle down that chocolate bar that you got at the shops during lunch.

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    Swap your regular office chair for an exercise ball if you'd like to really tone up your muscles and shed some kilos while sitting.

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    According to some registered dieticians, they can help you burn up to an extra 100 calories a day.

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    Your body burns more calories trying to stay warm so turning down the air conditioning may actually be able to help you burn more calories, in theory.

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    Put your headphones on and crank up some tunes!

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    Music has a universal positive psychological effect and can serve to reduce stress, which is also known to help with weight control.

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    According to an Iowa State University study, researchers found that those who frequently fidgeted, stood up, and walked around could burn an additional 300 calories per day, compared to those who remain stationary.

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3. Your mood will improve

The common answer to why you're having a bad day could simply be that you did not sleep enough. A lack of sleep causes the emotion centre of the brain, known as the amygdala to become more sensitive, hence sleep-deprived people often react more negatively to situations.

4. You're able to focus better

Your best self will definitely arise from a well-rested you. When we are sleep-deprived, we lose focus, attention and vigilance. So skip the all-nighters and clock in more hours of sleep for a more productive day ahead.

5. It boosts your immunity

Even with excessive amounts of vitamins, you are still likely to fall sick if you're not sleeping enough. Our bodies stop reacting to vaccinations when we suffer from a lack of sleep, similar to how we always sleep to feel better after our medication when we're feeling under the weather.

Natural remedies for cold and flu

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    The classic symptoms of a cold are a blocked nose, sneezing and a hacking cough.

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    The flu is usually caused by very contagious viruses. A person who has caught the flu is usually confined to the bed with a bad fever, severe headaches, bad cough, sore throat and body aches.

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    Eucalyptus oil has powerful medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and it is also a decongestant.

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    Inhaling steam with eucalyptus oil can offer instant relief from a blocked nose and also kill harmful microorganisms so you can heal faster.

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    5 / 16 Alternatively you also can put 10 drops in a diffuser in your bedroom before going to bed so you get a good night's sleep and also reap the healing benefits while you snooze.

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    Sea salt water is very good for internal cleansing.

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    Spraying salt water into your nose or gargling with it can loosen up mucus, helping you to get rid of it.

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    It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to alleviate the swelling of the throat and promote healing.

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    The active compound in garlic which is known as allicin has demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties.

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    You should crush or chop the garlic before consuming it so that the cells will rupture and cause the creation of allicin. It is best eaten raw.

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    Echinacea has been used for centuries in a variety of forms to prevent colds and fight respiratory infections.

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    It is best to take it at the first sign of a cold or flu. You can consume it in the form of a tea, or you also can buy them in supplement form from your local pharmacy.

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    While Vitamin C is best known as a powerful antioxidant, it is also a vitamin that is very important for the immune system. It has antiviral activity, boosting our immune system.

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    When inflammation or infection occurs such as cold or flu, our level of vitamin C drops just when your body needs it to combat the infection, which is why it only makes perfect sense that you need to increase your intake of Vitamin C when sick.

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    Take 500mg every hour, up to 3-5g per day, and ease back to your usual dose as symptoms improve.

6. You get better skin

Beauty sleep is indeed a real thing. When we are sleep deprived, our skin will suffer from inflammation and dehydration. Increased stress hormones can also arise which worsens any inflammatory skin conditions like acne.

7. You're less likely to feel stressed out

Try getting a full night's sleep and you might see a difference to how you approach the everyday stressors in your life. Even with the world weighing down on your shoulders, a well rested night could definitely make anything better.

Why Singapore employees are stressed out

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    For as long as I can remember, Singaporeans have always been complaining about being stressed out.

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    But it seems that it's only in the last decade that workplace stress has become such a big issue. Thanks to the internet, working hours have gotten longer and longer, and we've made a name for ourselves globally for working some of the longest hours in the world.

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    What was more revealing, though, is that not just long working hours but factors like office politics and unproductive meanings were singled out as some of the biggest stressors.

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    Lack of autonomy and bad bosses

    Singaporeans mentioned office politics and unproductive meetings as big sources of stress. Both of these factors are the result of the typical Singaporean workplace's authoritarian management style.

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    Lack of autonomy and bad bosses

    Anyone who's ever worked in a local company can tell you that when you have a bad boss, he's very very bad. Many of my friends have witnessed hysterical screaming, files being thrown and other types of uncivilised behaviour.

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    Lack of autonomy and bad bosses

    The lack of autonomy also exacerbates the issue. Singaporeans might be surprised to know that in most developed countries in the West, employees say no to their bosses when met with unrealiastic expectations. That's something that simply doesn't happen here.

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    Feeling trapped financially

    You could have the best job in the world as a spreader of suntan oil for supermodels, but if you feel like you're forced to work because you can't survive financially without doing so, it becomes a chore.

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    Feeling trapped financially

    Given the high cost of living and high levels of materialism in Singapore, it's no wonder that being overburdened with financial commitments is one of the biggest reasons Singaporeans don't leave a job they hate.

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    Feeling trapped financially

    The feeling of being financially trapped also stops people from pursuing careers they might find more fulfilling. It's come to the point where many of us choose to feel like zombies every day.

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    Unhealthy working environment

    It's quite telling that so many people singled out office politics as the thing that was making their life miserable at work.

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    Unhealthy working environment

    Many constantly complain that they're working in a toxic environment or that the workplace culture at their companies is overwhelmingly negative.

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    Unhealthy working environment

    The general kiasuism in local culture has caused people to view their coworkers as adversaries, and employees and supervisors alike can be less than charitable when it comes to their colleagues.

8. You're willing to step out of your comfort zone

When we're running on minimal sleep, anything can seem more risky and daunting to attempt. With more sleep hours clocked in, you could be more willing to try out adventurous things in your life, be it in your work or downtime.

Shape, the only women's health & fitness magazine in Singapore is now available in both print and digital formats. Log on to www.shape.com.sg to subscribe!

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