Category : Nutrition

Sleep Quality

Factors of Low Sleep Quality

(Part 1 of 2: Sleep Quality over Quantity)

sleepQualityWhile many believe that an excellent night of sleep consists of getting a whole eight hours of sleep, it’s more about the quality of those hours that really count. As more and more sleep studies are being conducted over the years, researchers have found that the amount of sleep a person may need differs from person to person. However, one thing that is consistent across the globe is the impact a quality night of sleep can have on your day. According to Dr. Nancy Wesensten of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, who studies sleep in order to help soldiers optimize their rest, says it’s actually fairly simple to quantify quality sleep. “Low-quality sleep is sleep that is interrupted by wakening.”  Waking reduces the amount of recuperative sleep time, resulting in frequent disruptions to your sleep cycle, causing you to transition to the lightest sleep stage. sleep cycle appIf you are interested in tracking your sleep cycles, check out the Sleep Cycle App.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO LOW SLEEP QUALITY

Caffeine & Alcohol – Caffeine can cause sleep disruptions up to ten to twelve hours after consuming. Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake. As for alcohol, it will allow you to fall asleep faster, but it will be challenging for your body to sustain any period of deep/recuperative sleep.

WHEN You Eat – Avoid eating too late in the evening; especially larger meals. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.

WHAT You Eat – Participants in a recent sleep study, conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, fell asleep faster after eating meals lower in saturated fat and higher in protein.  This study found that eating less fiber, more saturated fat and more sugar is associated with lighter, less restorative, and more disrupted sleep.

 

Working Too Late – In today’s society we have a tendency to go, go go, as there is always a deadline to maintain. However, this workaholic lifestyle can have dramatic effects on your sleep cycles. Let’s face the facts, after a long work day, how productive are you really being? Why not call it a day, enjoy your evening, recharge your batteries and tackle your next day with a refreshed perspective and attitude. You might be surprised how much more you accomplish in your day when well rested.

Technological Devices – We all love falling asleep to our favorite late night shows, or maybe enjoying a game of bejeweled on our tablet; however, do your best to avoid bright screens within 2 hours of your bedtime. All nighttime light can interfere with sleep and your body’s rhythms, but the blue light emitted by electronics is especially disruptive. This includes the screen on your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.

 

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Water for Granted

(Part 4 of 5: Clean Water Epidemic)

Water for Granted

While the United States is busy arguing about what chemicals to add to the water supply, many countries are unable to source enough water for basic needs – including parts of the United States. Did you know that over two thirds of worldwide water usage is for crop irrigation? In contrast, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that “water rather than land is the binding constraint” on crop production in at least a third of the world. It may be easy to write these problems off as being “third world,” however; water shortage is a “world problem” as it impacts our agriculture, our environment, and our health and wellness. As filmmaker Jim Thebaut, CEO and President of the Chronicles Group Inc. (a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising global water issue awareness) concluded, “[Water] is the centerpiece of our existence and it interrelates with everything—agriculture, food supply, energy, public health and all of these issues are really crucial. When you combine these with the problem of population growth—we are now [6.9] billion people going on 9 billion by the year 2050—water is really a major issue.”

waterwarsGlobal Water Perspective

Fred Pierce, environmental writer and author of Transboundary Water: The Geopolitical Struggles for Control, states that “water will be the crucial issues of the 21st century. Once, we took water for granted. Increasingly however, water is not available where we need it or when we need it, and in a growing number of regions, scarce water supplies are limiting development and threatening food security.” Due to dwindling water supplies in many countries, water wars are developing for “water control.” Governments asserting control over existing natural water sources, and displaying aggression with the storage of clean water. Check out this staggering chart, by the World Resources Institute, that displays each countries “water stress” level by the year 2040 – should we continue our current trajectory of water usage.

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Global Farming & Agriculture

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To emphasize his point, many of the world’s largest rivers are severely decreasing in volume, some no longer reaching the sea in certain times of the year. Rivers like the Indus in Pakistan, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Egypt, the Ganges in South Asia and even the Rio Grande and the Colorado in our own country. As these natural water supplies slowly disappear, many farmers have begun “mining” for their water by pumping groundwater. However, many farmers are utilizing the same sources creating major stress and additional drought conditions. With groundwater being mined 70% faster each decade, many countries are pumping their way into an even greater water crisis. Through importing and exporting, the success of global farming makes a huge impact on the overall global economy and food supply. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that one in every three acres on American farms is planted for export markets and imports give us access to products that would not otherwise be available—such as fresh fruit in the winter. Access to imports boosts the purchasing power of the average American household by about $10,000 annually.

 

“Water is the new oil, set to dominate global geopolitics in the 21st century. It will never become a global commodity like oil, but as the world faces real limits to supplies, and as climate change alters the geography of its availability, water will become an increasingly political issue both within and between countries. We will no longer be able to take water for granted.”

–Fred Pearce

 

Stay tuned for the final part of the Global Water Epidemic:

Become a Catalyst for Change!

water-war

Dirty Water Act

(Part 3 Bonus: Clean Water Act Continued)

Dirty Water Act

dirtywaterIn direct response to the new Clean Water Rule that clarifies and reinforces the Clean Water Act, senate has recently submitted the “Federal Water Quality Protection Act.” However, under this beautifully intentioned title, this act would serve as a direct block to the recent Clean Water Rule. Here is an excerpt from a letter written by concerned citizens, businesses, and environmental specialists and organizations to the Senate dated October 29, 2015 that clearly speaks to the true intention of the “Federal Water Quality Protection Act:”

“This legislation would not only prevent the recently completed rulemaking from being implemented, but also would create new impediments to protecting important waters and creates far more confusion than it resolves. The legislation would make it harder to protect streams and wetlands and would outright direct the agencies to exclude so-called “isolated waters” from being covered by the Clean Water Act. All of these new limitations on the Act’s coverage ignore the copious scientific evidence revealing the important role of headwaters and seasonal and rain dependent waters on downstream water quality. The bill also includes new vague provisions that would add to the confusion, rather than clarify which waters are protected.”

A History of the National Perspective on Waste Water

boat_dumping_waste_1880sboat_dumping_waste_1880sIt may seem absolutely crazy to think about, but there was a time when we dumped as much trash and waste as we wanted, wherever we wanted – neglecting to consider the consequences. As time has gone on, we have realized the impact that these behaviors and lack of regulations have led to devastating issues. Here is a great timeline compiled by the Department of Environmental Equality depicting the National Perspective on Waste and our Water.

Pre-1800: “We’ve always done it this way.”

1800s: “We know water pollution contributes to disease, so we need to tell people they can’t put their garbage in or around water.”

Early 1900s – 1945: “With World War I, the Roaring ’20s, the Great Depression, and World War II, who has time to worry about garbage?”

Post-war Period – 1964: “With prosperity again, we really need to do something. But what?”

1965 – 1991: “It’s time to change the focus of the waste management problem.”

1978 – 1980: “Uh, Washington? New York here. We have a problem.”

Knowledge is Power

voteAlthough you may not work directly in the senate, it’s important to remember that your knowledge has power. Not only is it crucial to be informed of current policies, acts and rules, it’s important to make your voice heard. This can be done simply by your educated voting. Next time you walk into the voting booth, know what items are on the ballot and exactly what your vote means, or you may just be voting yes to toxic dumping in your own backyard.

 

 Catch-up On The Previous Three Blog Posts on the Global Water Crisis:

global_water1How Clean Is Your Tap Water?

Fluoride in Our Drinking Water

Clean Water Act