Category: Health & Fitness

How does poor sleep affect my brain health?

To easily an vividly remember the events of the past is a sign of good mental and brain health. But, did you know that one of the best ways to ensure our memory is at its optimum for mid-terms or finals is getting good quality sleep? This doesn’t mean long hours of sleep, but rather high quality deep sleep?

What happens when your sleep quality os poor? Here are some ways your brain could be getting hurt when your body doesn’t get quality sleep:

Decreased memory retention

Let me brief you on how memory is stored by the brain. During long hours of sleep, electrical impulses pass through your brain nerves. At the top of these impulses are brain spindles. Brain spindles help in file transfer from your short term memory reservoir to the long term memory reservoir where memories are permanently stored. This mechanism only occurs when you get a deep sleep. This implies that when you don’t have enough quality sleep, the ability of your brain to retain information becomes a difficult task. Trish at sleepdelivered provides a review of one mattress which might help you sleep better, and thus retain memories more!

Reduced productivity

The brain is your center of productivity. Every time you want to perform a task, the brain is critical in your thinking process. As a student, you are required to think with both speed and accuracy. This is why going on late-night cram sessions all week before an exam is not particularly good. Low sleep dumbs you down and makes you think slower and less accurately.

Low hormonal production

The brain houses the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which both function in the production of hormones. What hormones do is to regulate most of your day-to-day activities. An example of such an important hormone is ADH (antidiuretic hormone) which functions in osmoregulation of the body. During cold seasons have you noticed you urinate more and sweat less, while during a hot day you sweat more and urinate less? It’s the antidiuretic hormone that backs up this phenomenon. Not giving the brain enough rest could mess up thsi mechanism and disturb the fluid balance in your body.

Dizziness

Dizzyness can really ruin your day. When driving it could be considered to have the same effect and consequences on an in individual as driving drunk. Studies show that poor quality sleep or complete lack of sleep –insomnia, could lead to dizziness and therefore major accidents.

Lowered sexual drive

An individual’s ability to getting aroused sexually is dependent on how the brain visualizes an object or person. This brain function is not easily performed when you don’t have a good night’s rest. This inability could lead to depleted energy, sleepiness and increased tension — all which kills the sex drive of an individual.

The moral of the story: get enough sleep!

3 Ways Football Players Can Reduce Their Risk of Head Injuries

Playing football as a teen can be a great experience. It helps you stay physically active; you make friends and you learn all about hard work. Unfortunately, football is a sport that requires you to be very physical with players on the opposite team. Because of this, there are many injuries that can occur during practice or a game. Head injuries are particularly common in football, and these injuries can cause permanent damage if you aren’t careful. Fortunately there are a number of ways that football players can reduce their risk of head injuries.

Practice Protecting Your Head

It’s important to learn how to play football the right way. An experienced coach will be able to teach a player the proper way to tackle, block and play the game. Rugby style tackling utilizes shoulder drives into the opposite player to take them down. This is much safer than using your head. 

Use a Quality Helmet

When you’re purchasing equipment for football, the prices can really start to add up. But one item that you should never skimp on is your helmet. This is an important piece of equipment that will help keep your head safe if you are knocked on the head while playing, lessen the chance of brain injury. The helmet that you choose should be properly padded. It also needs to fit perfectly. Don’t buy a helmet that is a little bit big in hopes of growing into it. It should be snug, but not too tight. A recent study resulted in the ban of 10 different helmet models by the NFL, which proved insufficient at providing adequate head protection.

Seek Medical Attention

If you do get hit on the head during a game or incur some sort of injury to the neck or head, make sure that you alert your coach. You should get checked out to make sure that you don’t require any kind of further medical attention. If you leave a concussion untreated, this could lead to long term health problems. Your brain isn’t something that you want to mess around with.

Any kind of brain injury or head injury is a serious issue. Make sure that you take appropriate precautions to stay safe whether you are at practice with your own teammates or you are playing another team in a game. Always have your proper equipment with you. Show good sportsmanship. This will be an example to other players that will encourage everyone to play a safe and proper way.

3 Things Athletic Teens Need to Remember

teen fitness tips

There are so many benefits for teens to participate in athletics. High school athletes who participate in sports are less likely to indulge in alcohol and drugs. They are also more likely to graduate. But from a performance perspective, there are a few things that every teen athlete should understand.

Female athlete runner or sprinter on running track. Workout outdoor.

Focus on the Fundamentals

Everyone wants to be a winner when they compete in sports. However, according to Stack, focusing on fundamentals will benefit you much more in the long run. When you participate in high school sports, you should work to develop the skill set that will improve your performance in your sport of choice. For example, if you play basketball, you should work on things like ball handling, rebounding and shooting. In addition to sports-specific skills, you should also work to develop your physical abilities like strength, speed, endurance and coordination to your highest potential.

Always Use Safety Gear

While high school sports have proven to be beneficial to teens, there are always risks that come with participation. You should understand these risks and take precautions that will minimize them. According to Medic8, each sport has its essential safety gear that will keep you avoid injury while competing. These items include elbow and knee pads, helmets, goggles, and mouthguards. There are times when athletes choose not to wear needed safety equipment because it is uncomfortable or “uncool.” This is a mistake you should not make. Many injuries have been avoided by the proper use of safety equipment. According to Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, athletes who wear mouthguards during sports are at least 82 percent less likely to suffer foot and facial damage than those who do not. Proper mouth and headgear can protect your head from collisions with other players or the ball, falls and tackles.

Fuel Your Body with Proper Nutrition

Eating for teenage athletes should include more than scarfing down a high carb diet and drinking sports drinks. The nutritional needs you possess at this time are unlike those of other students and adults. Not only do you need to fuel the normal growth and muscle development of adolescence, but you also need more calories than less active people. The best way to make sure your diet meets your nutritional needs is to eat a variety of foods on a daily basis. Carbohydrates are important for fueling muscles but you will also need protein, minerals, vitamins, and fats to remain in peak athletic condition.

High school sports provide experiences that will benefit you for a lifetime and establish a habit of exercise and healthy living. The three tips above will help you maximize all your high school sports career has to offer you.

4 Hormone Headaches That All Teen Boys Can Relate To

teen hormones

For most guys, puberty is tough. You begin to change physically and, unfortunately, it’s not all in one go either. During this time, the hormone levels in your body are continuously changing and you may feel like a complete buffoon at times. It is good to remember, however, that all of the changes you are experiencing are completely normal and have real biological explanations.

teen hormones

Getting Tongue-Tied When Talking to Your Crush

Have you ever wondered why you just can’t seem to say the right thing to your beautiful crush? Scientists say that during puberty there is actual change in the neurotransmission of the brain, aka how your brain communicates within itself. Most areas that change are linked to learning and attention span, explaining why it is difficult to concentrate and find the right words to say to a beautiful girl!

Uneven Beard Growth

One of the most noticeable traits of puberty is beard growth. During this time, your hair follicles are stimulated to begin growing at a faster rate but uneven rate. This is due to the fact that beard follicles are responsive to testosterone levels, which are all over the map during your adolescent years. It often takes years for your beard to start growing evenly, so you might want to hang on to your razor for now.

Pit Checks

Sweat is connected to odor so when you sweat more, you start to stink more. During puberty, you might realize that you stink way more than before and that is due to an increase in sweat. The hormones that are changing and increasing cause you to sweat more and therefore stink more. No matter how much body spray claims to help with this, most people do not like the smell—so steer away! Using deodorant and taking frequent showers is your best shot at smelling better and making you feel more confident as a result!

Taking a “Crack” at It!

Sometimes, voice changes might happen as your voice gets deeper. As you age, your larynx, the part of your throat holding the vocal cords, gets bigger and your vocal cords may thicken causing your voice to get deeper. Again, this does not happen all at once and sometimes these changes can cause your voice to crack. It can be embarrassing when it occurs, especially depending on who’s around to hear it. To help, when speaking try to relax, speak slowly and drink plenty of water to help!

All of these changes can be scary and frustrating to handle. Do your best to educate yourself on what might change and remember that it just takes time to take it all in and be confident!

3 Ways to Steer Clear of Drug Addiction for Life

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Drug addiction is a major problem among teenagers. DrugAbuse.com explains that, “although general trends show that teens are using alcohol and drugs less than previous generations, the drugs that are being used are more dangerous than ever. Especially in regards to pharmaceutical abuse.” The teenage years are among the most stressful periods of your lifetime, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Without all of the facts, using drugs to relax or celebrate may seem harmless. However, studies show that using drugs at an early age increases risks for addiction. Learning the risk factors can help you avoid drug addiction throughout life.

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Get a Solid Support Network

As you near adulthood, it is natural to forge strong friendships with peers and depend less on adults. However, it is vital to maintain healthy relationships with dependable adults in your life. Talking to adults you trust can help you make the best decisions about drugs and alcohol.

It is important to consider how your relationships help you grow. Depending on your peers for opinions is normal and some types of peer pressure are positive. You should always feel comfortable voicing your own opinions. Surround yourself with positive role models. Avoiding groups who depend on drugs can help you avoid pressure to try them yourself.

Educate Yourself on the Dangers Involved

In order to make decisions, you must have the proper information. Don’t take the decision to use drugs lightly. Educate yourself on the risks of any substance you put in your body. Most teenagers aren’t even aware of how dangerous drugs are, and the information they share may not be accurate. According to The Recovery Village, “research has shown that only 11 percent of people who need drug treatment end up getting it. In addition, of all people over the age of 12 with drug use issues, over 82 percent didn’t recognize that they needed treatment, so they didn’t get help.”

Learning the facts about drug use and addiction can help you and those around you. Taking the time to get educated about the dangers of prescription and illicit drugs can alert you to the potential for addiction. Sharing your new knowledge with others spreads education about the dangers of these substances.

Beware of Alcohol

Alcohol is the most abused mood-affecting drug in the United States. Around 70 percent of people who seek help for substance abuse suffer from alcoholism. Although drinking alcohol publicly is illegal for people under 21 in most states, alcohol abuse among teens is a serious problem. According to MedicineNet, “almost half of 10th grade students and nearly 65 percent of high school seniors have admitted to drinking alcohol.” The dangers of alcohol use are larger than potential addiction. While under the influence of alcohol, teens are more likely to make bad decisions and participate in other dangerous behavior. Increased confidence often comes with the use of alcohol. Drivers can overestimate their abilities when they have been drinking. Your decisions regarding the use of alcohol include your surroundings. It is possible to become a victim of someone else’s alcohol abuse.

With the right knowledge, avoiding drug and alcohol abuse is possible. If you or someone you know is already suffering from drug dependence or abuse, effective treatments are widely available. Communication is the most effective way to eliminate this growing problem.

Trying to Lose Some Weight? Be Careful

female trying to lose some weight

In the last few years, social media has intensified the pressure to look perfect. Teens are especially susceptible to this pressure that makes them want to change themselves to fit a new picture-perfect mold. Over the years, there has seemingly been an influx of healthy teens trying to lose some weight unnecessarily.

To be clear, when there is a true need, there is nothing wrong with trying to lose some weight. This is especially true for teenagers as building intentional healthy habits early can help them to be healthy and mindful adults. Dieting due to a concern of your health is much different than dieting due to a fear of gaining weight when you are relatively healthy, though. Dieting when healthy can lead to disorders in teens, a potentially life-threatening problem.

female trying to lose some weight

Know the Difference Between Diets and Disorders

Before jumping into information about eating disorders, it is important to establish what is and is not healthy dieting. This is especially important for teens to understand as they are becoming more and more autonomous from their parents. You’re in a time where you’re gaining independence and responsibilities. There is nothing wrong with anyone trying to lose some weight and become healthier, particularly if they are overweight. These steps are usually mindful, enjoyable, and preferably given under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist.

If you are open and honest about your desire to lose weight and your dieting intent, research and compile a balanced diet full of varying healthy foods to lose weight at a moderate pace. A diet designed with the intent to lose weight will typically consist of a 250 to 500-calorie deficit per day, allowing the person dieting to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds a week.

On the flip side of the coin, do not allow fear of a disorder developing make you discouraged from switching to a healthier diet. Eating balanced meals, exercising, and reducing or outright rejecting junk foods is not necessarily an indication of a disorder, even if it seems to be a deviation from the norm. You should tell your family and friends your goals and to let them support you, because sometimes if there isn’t communication people can get overly worried and start to think things that aren’t true.

How it Starts

Many people fail to realize that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are mental disorders. Individuals that suffer with these disorders have developed anxiety about food and their looks which causes them to believe they must lose weight and rid themselves of food at all costs. Eating, exercising, and weighing themselves becomes a system of torture and reward.

This mental shift of trying to lose some weight can come on subtly, or there can be a defining moment that causes it. All of a sudden, certain foods are not foods that should be avoided but are BAD and CANNOT be eaten. Exercise MUST be done to counteract the calories eaten. Weight checks become habitual and can make or break their entire mood depending on what the scale says. Some even begin eating and exercising alone because of perceived shame. Many teens say this happens “before they know it,” so it is imperative for teens to pay attention for telltale signs that something is wrong. This is another good reason to tell those around you, so if they begin to notice you doing things that are unhealthy they can step in and help.

Signs to Watch Out For

There are a few common symptoms of eating disorders that people can usually pick up on, such as:

  • Eating alone
  • Eating abnormally small portions
  • Being or becoming very thin
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
  • Exercising excessively, especially after meals
  • Using laxatives regularly

Some of these symptoms are more specific to one disorder like anorexia, but making a diagnosis is not your main concern as they can all point to danger. If you notice any of these signs, you must take action quickly.

How to Stop Disorders Before They Begin

If someone is engaging in eating behaviors that seem extreme to you, speak to them openly and honestly about what they are doing. Are they simply taking a firm stand for their positive change, or is something more serious happening? There are subtle differences in language that can help you get a feel for what they are thinking. As previously mentioned, keeping a doctor or nutritionist involved from the very beginning of anyone’s weight loss journey can help prevent unhealthy ideas about food from developing when trying to lose some weight. It is important for you and the doctor to frequently check in on your progress. These mental shifts to disordered eating can come subtly and seemingly without warning if not checked. A simple conversation with a professional is usually enough to notice a change.

If you know someone who has unfortunately shifted from developing healthy habits to disordered eating, you must be bold and take action. Here are a few tips on how to approach your friend once you notice. If you see these behaviors in yourself, seek help from a trusted adult or an eating disorder helpline. There are healthy ways to lose weight and people who can help.

Is CBD Oil Safe? Should Teens and Young Adults be Taking These Types of Substances?

CBD oil is the health craze of the moment, and interest in this product shows no signs of slowing down; but what exactly is it? Is CBD oil safe to consume? And is it something that teenagers and young people should be trying either with or without adult supervision?

is cbd oil safe for teens

What is CBD oil?

CBD stands for cannabidol, and it is one of the 100+ chemicals which are found in a cannabis plant. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid which makes you high, but CBD doesn’t have that effect; making it an attractive option for people who want the medical benefits of weed without the psychoactive side effects. CBD oil is produced by taking the CBD from the plant and mixing it with an oil like hemp seed or coconut.

How does CBD oil help people?

Although there is not much documented scientific research on the benefits of using CBD oil, many people claim it relieves pain, reduces anxiety, helps clear up acne, helps aid sleep, and can even help better manage epilepsy. CBD oil can be added to moisturiser and applied to the skin, inhaled using a vape device, or taken directly through drops or a mouth spray, making it simple and convenient to use. There are many brands that sell CBD Oil online such as sensei cbd oil.

Is CBD oil safe?

This is a strongly debated question. There haven’t been as many scientific research studies on CBD oil as on other medical products, and some scientists are worried that the long term effects are likely to be harmful. However, there are enough positive reports of smaller research products to suggest that, in general, CBD oil without too much THC is able to help people with a variety of health conditions.

The legality of CBD in the United States differs from state to state. In the UK, CBD oil is not illegal f used for medical purposes. Regardless of legalties, caustion should be used, because like any medicine CBD oil can have unpleasant side effects, including nausea, dizziness, raised anxiety, depression, dry mouth, vomiting, upset stomach, and appetite changes.

It can also have a bad reaction to certain medicines you may be already taking, so to be safe it is always best to talk to a medical professional before using CBD oil.

Another worry is that without strict regulations in place anyone is free to make and sell what they claim to be CBD oil, but could actually be anything at all.

Is CBD oil safe and something young people should be using?

Medically supervised CBD oil treatments have proven extremely effective in treating conditions such as autism and severe epilepsy amongst American young people, perhaps because the doctors involved are able to deliver the best CBD-THC ratio. Many believe CBD alone is not effective, but a ratio of 19:1 is generally fine, and produces the desired results without a child or young person getting high.

There is no evidence that CBD oil is an attractive recreational product.When used for medical reasons –while keeping an eye out for typical side effects — there’s no suggestion it is unsafe for users of any age as long as used under the advice and supervision of a licensed medical professional.

Small Things, Big Consequences

Ever hear ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ or ‘It’s the little things that matter’? You know you could have fixed that little rip in your fav T-shirt and regretted later that you didn’t stitch it up before it made the entire shirt into something you could only wear to bed. There are, however, some seemingly small daily details that can produce very unfortunate outcomes when ignored too long.

“It Doesn’t Really Matter If I Skip Brushing Sometimes, Does It?”

Even when you don’t eat very much on a given day, bacteria still flourish in your mouth and eat away at your tooth enamel. Once that enamel is worn down enough, the interior of your teeth is under constant attack. The only thing standing between your teeth and that bacteria is your regular practice of brushing, flossing and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash, combined with regular dental care. Leaving all those food particles on your teeth leads to plaque formation, cavities and ultimately, many reasons a root canal may be necessary. Root canals are never a pleasant experience and almost always are a far more expensive process than the simple practice of keeping your mouth clean on the regular.

“80 Percent of Sun Damage Occurs Before Age 18, So Why Worry About It Now?”

Wrong! Try 25 percent, which means the earlier you begin protecting your skin with good quality sunscreens, the less likely that you will be dealing with the damage associated with cumulative sun exposure, such as skin cancer (melanoma), wrinkles, thinning skin, dark spots, and ‘broken’ capillary veins on the skin.

“What’s So Important About A Good Night’s Sleep?”

Getting your daily rest is more important than most of us realize. When we are genuinely exhausted, it can lead to such serious issues as heart disease, lowered immune response, inflammation, erratic moods and inappropriate behavior, forgetfulness, and irritability. Cutting your sleep short over time can contribute to things like poor motivation, being unable to crush it at the gym, and an irresistible craving for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods, due in part to a rise in cortisol, the stress hormone. Chances are, you’re staying up late because you’re looking at your phone, which can add a whole bunch of other issues as well.

To avoid all these significant problems, try this simple recipe: good dental hygiene, sunscreen SPF 30, and seven hours of sleep a night. For more health tips, check out our other articles!

Understanding The Opioid Crisis And Why It’s a Big Deal

You might have heard about the ongoing opioid crisis and the devastation it’s had on communities across America. However, if you don’t know someone coping with opioid addiction, it can be difficult to realize the immense toll it takes on people. This information will help you understand the opioid crisis better.

Prescription Gateway

When you think of opioids, you might just think of heroin. However, many opioids are given as legal prescriptions by doctors. What often occurs is patients will be given strong painkillers following a significant injury. They will develop a dependence on these substances but be unable to keep taking them when their prescription runs out. So, they will turn to use heroin, which seems affordable but becomes more expensive the further they come to rely on it. Over-prescribing of pain medications is definitely a factor in the current opioid epidemic.

Getting Clean

Getting sober from opioids can be incredibly difficult. Dependence can shape an addict’s mind and body in the worst ways. It is definitely possible to get sober, but it needs to be done responsibly and with medical supervision. There are two treatments right now, methadone and suboxone, what’s the different? Methadone primarily helps with opioid addictions (as well as chronic pain), while suboxone helps with opioid dependence. Deciding between methadone vs suboxone (big difference in volume) is, of course, going to be up to the attending physician.  

A Fatal Disease

There were approximately 64,000 deaths due to drug overdoses in 2016. Of that number, over half can be contributed to opioids. Opioid addiction isn’t just a matter of being well or unwell. It’s a matter of life and death. The number of people who die from opioids is unquestionably significant.

It Can Happen To Anyone

When you don’t know anyone experiencing opioid addiction, it can be easy to distance yourself from it. It’s important to remember that no one plans to become addicted to opioids and that addiction can happen to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, gender, or class. Take a moment to think about the people you know and love. It could be family members, friends, or coworkers. People just like them are dealing with opioid addiction.

Even if you have never dealt with opioid addiction, it’s important to understand the dramatic effects of this disease. With this knowledge, you can help your peers focus instead on health and fitness by reminding them of the impact of the opioid crisis in American today. Remember this information and just how severely addiction can take over someone’s life.

References:

Right Path Addiction Treatment Center

The New York Times

Health Line

The Effects of Late-Night Phone Use on Adolescent Health

It’s not a crime to stay up late playing on your phone, but there are definitely some very well-documented deficits to your health when you regularly engage with smartphones close and during bedtime.

While some adolescents in your household might think so, they aren’t exempt from the shortfalls in health as a result of using mobile phones late at night. If they needed some proof of the bad effects that come from not putting the phone down at certain times, we have a collection of informative and factual reasons that will serve to point them in the right direction.

Using a smartphone can interrupt good sleep

You can fork out all the money in the world for bedroom furniture that will give your teens the best night’s sleep, but if they’re glued to their phones, then the blue light will act to disrupt the production of melatonin; this is the hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle.

The standout negative effects of this will result in increased sleepless nights, which is never a good thing when younger members of the family are still developing. Fatigue is also bad for their overall mood, not to mention the potential for the onset of depression and anxiety.

Using a smartphone can damage your eyes

The blue light that’s emitted from your mobile phone is one element of the full light spectrum. This is something that we are exposed to via the sun’s rays; however, when humans, particularly adolescents are exposed to this at nighttime, it can be damaging to their vision.

Direct exposure to blue light can also damage your retinas over time. This might not be an instant concern for younger members of the family, but loss of vision should not be taken lightly, therefore, making them aware of the dangers they are faced with is important.

Using a smartphone can affect attention spans

Your teens might be alone when they are using their phones at night, but this doesn’t mean that the effects stay in the bedroom. You might think that they don’t listen at the best of times, but just imagine if their attention spans are lessened due to smartphone use at bedtime.

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of using our phones too much, especially at night, but you’ve got to lead by example because adults are more likely to be aware of the fact that the simple presence of a smartphone causes a distraction.

Using a smartphone might cause electromagnetic radiation problems

At present, there’s no concrete evidence on the matter, scientists claim that radiation from smartphones has been said to be connected to health problems.

The scientists who conducted the study have called on the World Health Organization and governments and the UN, to introduce rigorous regulations concerning mobile phones that produce electromagnetic fields.

What can you do to overcome these issues?

If you are concerned with the problems associated with adolescents in your family using their smartphones at night, there are ways that you can approach the subject to help them reduce their nighttime usage.

Obviously showing them the points raised above will help but talk with your teen about their phone use is also a really effective method too.

It could do more harm than good if you were to lay down a new set of stringent rules in regard to mobile phones use in the bedroom, so have a chat with them and see if they are aware of the health issues themselves.

Put the ball in their court and give them choices, explain how scrolling through social media right throughout the night can have negative effects on their health and wellbeing.

Another informed choice you can opt for is to form a regular bedtime routine that the entire family can/will realistically adhere to.

Bedtime routines for young children are frequently talked about, but bedtime rituals are also just as important for the adolescents in the family, too.

Promote quiet activity in the two hours leading up to before bed, whatever that may be. You can show that you are practising what you preach by having a certain room, or spot in the house where each member of the family can deposit their phones within an allotted time period before you tuck yourselves into bed.

You can also adopt, the use of mindfulness apps or listening to soothing music to aid in relaxing their minds and bodies before bed.

These are just a couple of the ideas you can use to help your teens to understand how to overcome the negative effects associated with using a smartphone at night. Essentially, there isn’t a stock, black-or-white answer that works for each family, it’s about finding a balance and bringing awareness on the matter.