Tag Archives: rest

10 ways to kick start your day! (Part 2)

Following on from our previous article that looked at 5 ways to kick start your day, the following 5 ways are other great ways to maintain a healthy everyday lifestyle. With these 10 ways to kick start your day, you shouldn’t find yourself struggling towards the end of the morning – You’ll be powering through each working day before you know it!

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 five ways to kick start your day (part 2):

A burst of fresh air! – When we wake up in the morning, your body will be recovering from a state of rest. Oxygen levels will be fairly low, so head straight for your curtains open the windows wide. Even if it’s cold and murky outside, you’ll find that a burst of fresh air will awaken your senses quicker than expected.

Take deep breaths – As you wake up, lying in bed looking at the ceiling, take long deep breaths. Inhale slowly and exhale in the same manner, filling your lungs with fresh oxygen. Breath in through the nose for 4 seconds using the lower abdomen, before exhaling for 8 seconds through the mouth. This will help rid the lungs of any stale air taken throughout the evening.

Drink Peppermint tea –  Drinking peppermint tea is not just to be associated with alleviating an unsettled stomach. Peppermint tea can help to optimise brain function whilst helping with nerve function too.

Sun Salutations –  If you practice yoga on a daily basis, you’ll find that a few rounds of sun salutations are a great way of waking the body, improving circulation and sharpening the mind. If you don’t practice yoga, try stretching your body whilst inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth – a truly invigorating experience.

Exercise – Exercising first thing in the morning is certainly the best time to exercise. Once you’ve woken up and had a healthy balanced breakfast, head to the gym for a workout or perhaps go for a jog around the block. The experience alone will wake you right up, ready for the day ahead.


Taking a Healthy Catnap

It was reported last week by American researchers that napping can help lower your blood pressure and generally improve the health of your heart. The effects of a nap were even more significant for those who did not get enough night-time sleep.

An African Wild Cat Takes a Quick Nap

Other research carried out in Greece also found that the participants who took at least three, half hour catnaps per week were found to have a 37% lowered risk of suffering a heart related death.  Research from the University of California, Berkeley found that participants taking a 90 minute nap during the day performed better in a mental test than those who did not. In fact, it was found that this 90 minute nap helped repair and store short-term memories, while increasing the brain’s ability to absorb new information. It seems that after the nap your brain is ready to receive and process additional data more readily.

However, is there an art to cat-napping?

How long should I catnap?

6 Minutes: A 2008 German study found that this is enough time to start processing short-term memories to help clear “space” for new information.

20 Minutes: With a twenty minute power nap you go through the first 2 stages of the sleep cycle. When you wake up you will see an improvement in your alertness, concentration and mood level. In fact, even if you don’t fall asleep during this twenty minutes, your relaxed state of mind will still prove to be beneficial.

40 Minutes: A 40 minute nap will provide big benefits if you didn’t get a good nights sleep. This will put you into the REM sleep stage where the brain undergoes a clearing-out and sorting process. Sleep therapist, Dr Narina Ramlakhan at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London says that “Evidence shows that napping for this amount of time is also enough to rebalance the immune system and pep up energy levels.”

90+ Minutes: Obviously, most people don’t have the time to take a 90+ minute nap during the day. Sleeping for between 90-180 minutes will take you through all the sleep stages and will also result in bodily repairs.

When should I catnap?

This will depend on your sleeping pattern. Typically, your body will release higher levels of melatonin between 1pm-3pm with a peak during the night when you sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps relax the body ready for a state of sleep.

If you go to bed early and wake up early then a good time to cat-nap would be around 1pm. Alternatively, if you are a night-owl and tend to go to sleep after midnight then a nap around 2:30pm would be preferable.

For more information check out the Daily Mail.

Top Tips for getting the perfect nights sleep

Have you ever experienced the anxiety of not being able to fall asleep and knowing you will pay the consequences the next day? You may find that your sleep is disturbed, possibly by nightmares; you wake up too early or are simply struggling to fall asleep.

Recent research in the European Heart Journal suggests that the inability to sleep well can lead to a heightened risk of heart disease or stroke. The Healthy Hideout looks at a few of the 89 sleep disorders and gives ideas to help you start enjoying a good night’s sleep once more.

Tossing & Turning

Possible Cause: Temperature

The temperature of both your bed and bedroom can have a big effect on whether you toss and turn in the night. Dr Neil Stanley, an expert with sleep says: “Our bodies follow a strong natural rhythm, rising in temperature through the day and falling overnight.”

“At around 3am we have the biggest dip and anything that makes it difficult for us to lose heat at that point will cause disturbed sleep.”

If you set your central heating to a warm feeling 21C then during the night you may find that you toss and turn in an effort to get cooler. Women who are going through their menstrual cycle may also find that hot flushes cause a similar waking to try to cool the body.

Why not try:

Turn off your central heating earlier in the evening or set your thermostat to be cooler during the night. Dr Stanley says that the ideal temperature under the covers should be around 29C with the bedroom being about 16C allowing heat to be easily lost through the head. Also, make sure you do not overheat your bed with an electric blanket or hot water bottle.

Grogginess when getting up

Possible Cause: Oversleeping or a change in your sleeping routing

Your body loves routine so it can prepare itself for the day ahead. Dr Neil Stanley says “The body craves regularity and wants to get up at the same time every day. It prepares for waking an hour beforehand, But it can only prepare if it knows when you’re going to get up.”

During the night your body will suppress the creation of urine so as to minimize the need to get up during the night. Similarly, gastric juices start to flow when you wake in the morning to prepare you for breakfast.

Why not try:


Try to keep a regular sleeping pattern by not sleeping in late at weekends. It is best if you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This way your body can get into a routine and kick start the production of certain hormones at the optimum time. Oversleeping can also throw your body’s natural sleeping rhythm.

You struggle going to sleep early

Possible Cause: Natural body clock

Your body will fall into a natural sleeping routine that becomes habitual. Your body will also be affected by day light. When the body senses sunlight then melatonin is shut down in the body so that you feel more awake. Conversely, the lack of daylight can lead to the creation of melatonin to help you feel sleepy.

Why not try:

Lower the light in the room a little earlier when you are getting ready to go to sleep. This lowered level of light and the release of melatonin can help you get to sleep more easily. Slowly relearn to wake up earlier and if possible let the daylight wake you up.

Waking too early

Possible Cause: Insomnia due to stress or environmental factors

It is unlikely that you will wake up in the first 3 hours of your sleep when you enter a deeper sleep state. However in your latter sleep stages you may be woken more easily and environmental factors or noises may cause you to wake. It is likely that unusual noises are more prone to cause you to wake early.

Another possible cause is insomnia that can be induced by stress. In fact a symptom of stress can be early waking.

Why not try:

Dr. Stanley points out : ‘the big caveat is that if you feel fine during the day then whatever’s happening isn’t a problem.’ Environmental factors or noises may be reduced with a sleeping mask or ear plugs. If you believe your early rising is stress related then ask your local GP for further advice.

For more information and other sleep disorders please see the Mail Online.