Reasons-you-may-be-waking-up-tired

Wellness |

5 Reasons You’re Always Feeling Tired

3 minute read

Feeling tired is almost guaranteed after pulling an all-nighter, or waking up with a crying baby multiple times a night. But hopefully those are exceptions, not the norm for weeks and months.

If you’re waking up after a full night’s sleep and still feeling tired, you might not be getting the quality sleep you think you are.

Reasons Why You’re Feeling Tired

The Wrong Bedtime

Did you know there is actual truth behind whether you’re an “early bird” or a “night owl” based on your body’s chronotype?

Solutions:

  • Understand your specific biological programming
  • Schedule your work and daily activities around your levels of productivity
  • Sleep when YOUR body is designed to rest

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Diet and exercise have major effects on energy levels regardless of how many hours you’re sleeping at night. Filling your body with the wrong type of fuel throughout your day makes it that much harder for your body to rest and recover overnight.

Solutions:

  • Drink more water
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake
    • No more than one drink per day for women, two for men
    • Stop caffeine intake by 2pm and cut off any alcoholic beverages at least three hours before bedtime
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet
    • Avoid foods with simple carbs and sugars – alcohol, refined grains, processed food
    • Focus on foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients – fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, Dairy
  • Exercise to increase energy

 Blue Light Exposure

It should come as no surprise that screen time has increased our exposure to blue light, particularly after lights out. Blue wavelengths are useful during the day, promoting energy and attention. But at night, they can alter the production of melatonin, which is part of your body’s natural method for dozing off.

Solutions:

  • Soak up as much bright light as you can during the day
  • Limit screen time starting two to three hours before you plan to go to sleep
  • If the use of electronics is necessary for you during the evening hours, invest in some blue light-blocking glasses

Poor Sleep Environment

The quality of your rest depends largely on your sleep environment. The “Sleep Doctor”, Michael Breus, PhD., says it’s important to focus on all five senses to create the perfect conditions for a good night’s sleep.

Solutions:

  • Sight: A dark bedroom is essential for restful nights. Use blackout curtains and/or sleep masks while sleeping and limit screen time. Use small night lights if you wake up in the middle of the night to avoid turning on any bright lights.
  • Sound: “Focus on eliminating, reducing, and blocking the noises in your bedroom that are disruptive to your sleep” through the use of earplugs, sound machines, and picking the right alarm.
  • Touch: Invest in high-quality sheets, as well as a medium-firm mattress that you replace every 9-10 years.
  • Smell: Open windows, use an air purifier and/or dehumidifier, or try aromatherapy.
  • Taste: Eat the right foods like we mentioned above, don’t eat too much right before bed, but don’t go to bed hungry either. Aim for a small snack about ninety minutes before bed.
  • Plus, Temperature: Typically the best sleep environment is between 60-67°F. This can be difficult to achieve during the warmest and coldest times of the year, but it’s easier with a programmable thermostat. Set the best temperature for each time of day to save energy and find the most comfortable environment for sleep.

Sleep Disorder

If you’ve tried all of the above and are still having a hard time getting a restful night’s sleep, it might be a bigger issue than the thread count of your sheets. There are several sleep disorders that can interfere with the quality of your sleep: Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, bruxism (teeth grinding), and the list goes on.

Solutions:

  • Sleep disorders need to be diagnosed and treated by your healthcare provider, and you will most likely need to go in for a sleep study.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25469597

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

https://www.healthline.com/health/waking-up-tired-2

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/07/29/6-reasons-you-wake-up-tired-after-a-full-night-of-sleep/

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/10-scientific-reasons-youre-tired-after-a-good-nights-sleep

https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#what-to-eat

Healthy Clean Air | Wellness |

Removing VOCs From Your Home

2 minute read

A Healthy Home environment is something everyone strives for. But despite your best efforts, unseen dangers can compromise the safety of your home.

removing VOCs

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are gases released from certain chemicals, many of which are found in cleaning agents and other common household items. When large amounts of VOCs build up in your home, the air can become unsafe to breathe.

While no general standards exist for safe VOC concentrations (here’s more info from the EPA), it’s best to limit exposure for both your everyday comfort and potentially your long-term health. Here are some resources for removing VOCs in your home and improving the quality of the air your family breathes.

Don’t Store Unnecessary Chemicals

The following are sources of VOCs; you should avoid keeping them around your house and garage: paints, adhesives, cleaning agents, aerosol sprays, stored fuels, and other automotive products.

Look For Symptoms

Be aware of illnesses or symptoms in yourself and your kids. These can include: headaches, eye and nose irritation, sore throat, nausea, and unexplainably worse asthma symptoms. All are possible signs that you need to address VOC levels in your home.

Increase Ventilation

Bringing in fresh air is key to limiting VOC concentrations in your home, especially after cooking, using a wood fireplace, or doing arts and crafts. See how we’re solving fresh air problems.

Homemade Cleaners

Because so many commercially available cleaning products contain VOCs, it’s wise (and less expensive) to create your own cleaning agents at home.

Try this simple recipe for an all-purpose cleaner:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 gallon water

Plus, try this recipe for a Natural bleach alternative for laundry and other cleaning:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Here are some natural air fresheners that remove odors throughout the home without harsh chemicals or aerosol cans:

  • Kitchen: Simmer vinegar and water on the stove during cooking.
  • Bathroom: Choose your favorite dried plants and herbs and keep them in a bowl in the bathroom. Pine, citrus, and cloves are some of our seasonal favorites.
  • Living Room: Plants are excellent at removing VOCs, like formaldehyde, and they work on odors, too.
  • Whole Home: Fresh air from the outdoors is a great way to flush out unwanted smells and VOCs. A ventilation system makes the process easy.
sleep hygiene

Healthy Air | Wellness |

The Best Temperature For Good Sleep

2 minute read

Have you heard of sleep hygiene? It’s not about washing your bed sheets on a regular basis (though, you should). It’s all about finding the best ways to get consistent, quality sleep by forming a healthy routine and optimizing your sleeping environment.

Sleep hygiene deals with everything from caffeine intake to light exposure to exercise. One of the most important factors on the list is the temperature of your sleeping environment.

 If your bedroom is too hot, you’re tossing and turning all night, waking up in a puddle of sweat. Too cold and shivering prevents you from achieving deep, restful sleep.

The body expends lots of energy trying to reach an ideal temperature. By helping it get there, you can prevent those restless, exhausting nights.

 Ideal Sleeping Temperatures

Everyone has a preference when it comes to temperature, so you should stick with whatever heat level gives you the most restful sleep. But the general rule of thumb for sleep hygiene is to opt for cooler temperatures over warmer, typically somewhere between 60-67°F.

The body goes through normal temperature fluctuations throughout the day, naturally cooling off around nighttime. By creating a cooler environment, you can encourage natural feelings of tiredness and get to sleep fast. You also get more restful sleep throughout the night when your body doesn’t have to waste energy regulating temperatures. This lets you wake up feeling fully restored and refreshed.

How To Control Temperatures

It can be difficult to find and maintain the perfect temperature for your best sleep. It’s a lot easier with a programmable thermostat that can deliver precise temperatures to any room in your house. Our Wi-Fi Thermostat lets you control heating and cooling using your smart phone or the wall-mounted digital control panel. You can program it to automatically lower temperatures around bedtime and raise them when you wake up. That means you don’t even have to think about creating an ideal sleep environment. You can just enjoy it.

 Clean Air

Air quality is another aspect to consider when creating your ideal sleeping environment. An air purifier can help you fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed by removing allergens and irritants from the air. Stop dealing with a stuffy nose as part of your morning routine. Program an “Air Cleaning” cycle for about an hour before you go to bed and you’ll breathe in fresh air throughout the night.

Prefer some white noise as you doze off? Schedule the Event-Based™ Air Cleaning schedule for whenever you typically go to bed and the pleasant hum of the air purifier will help dampen noises that might otherwise disturb your sleep.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Environment |

Summer’s Most Common Bugs

2 minute read

When it comes to a love of humidity, humans and pests are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While we tend to despise air that is thick with heat and water vapor, most bugs actually thrive in it and need it to live.

Unfortunately, this means that the impending summer humidity in certain parts of the country is about to bring these summer pests out in a big way.

Summer’s Most Common Pests

Cockroaches

The German cockroach is the most common roach species infesting our homes in North America. They are attracted to warm and humid places, making your kitchen and the water heater in the basement their most frequented hideaways.

Silverfish

These small, wingless insects are nocturnal and need to keep their bodies moist at all times in order to survive. You are likely to find them beneath boxes or furniture in your basement, the shower, or hiding in your kitchen.

Centipedes

Carnivorous and nocturnal, with their 100 feet, these pests can move quickly and spend most of the day hiding in humid, secluded places. They are highly attracted to the moist, humid parts of the home because they need to rehydrate constantly in order to live.

Earwigs

Known to burrow into topsoil outside, these nocturnal bugs can also infiltrate dark and humid areas of your home. You are most likely to find them around floor drains, bathrooms, or under rugs or furniture.

Roly-Poly Bugs

Also known as pill bugs, sow bugs, potato bugs, or armadillo bugs, these bugs often infest damp basements.

Tips to Prevent/Eliminate Summer Pests:

Healthy Home |

Professionals Needed: Here Are The Home Projects You Should Never DIY

2 minute read

So you bought your first house and can’t wait to rip up that crummy carpet. Go for it! But if you hit dirt, you might need to call in backup. As more millennials take the plunge into home ownership, it’s becoming more and more common to see DIY projects big and small. Things like carpet removal are doable. But no matter how many tips and tricks you’ve picked up from HGTV, Pinterest, or YouTube, there are some projects that simply aren’t worth the money, time, or risk to do yourself.

Setting Limits on DIY Home Projects

Skill Level for DIY Home Projects:

For some people, DIY is a way of life. For the rest of us, we need to be honest about our skills and level of experience. Sometimes a “simple” job can actually be a lot more complex than it appears. Hire a professional for these projects before you try it yourself and make a mistake that costs way more to fix.

  • Paving your driveway
  • Custom kitchen and bathroom jobs – backsplashes, flooring, countertops
  • Pest removal
  • Window Installation

Time Commitment for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement jobs can take weeks to complete when you try to do them yourself. For big projects, hiring a professional will mean a quicker and more efficient job done well so you can get back to enjoying your home without interruptions.

  • Large landscaping projects
  • Flooring
  • Demolition

Permission for DIY Home Projects:

Some home improvement projects require permits due to building codes. Save yourself the headache, and possible code violation, by hiring a professional who’s familiar with the process when it comes to these types of jobs.

  • Additions and remodels
  • Deck or patio addition
  • Major electrical/plumbing work
  • Pool installation and repairs

Safety Risk for DIY Home Projects:

If there’s any question of your ability to do something without injury or structural damage to your home, it’s most definitely a job for a professional.

  • Mold, asbestos, lead removal
  • Tree removal
  • Roof and foundation repairs
  • HVAC system installation and repair

When you’ve decided you need a pro, try to keep the process simple to save you time and headaches. Start by reaching out to a few trusted contractors in your area to get estimates on the work, (recommendations from friends are a great place to start) and then consider price and professionalism before making your decision.

When it comes to HVAC work, we make it easy to find a pro. Along with plumbing and electrical work, HVAC is an area where it’s crucial to get the job done right the first time.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/millennials-take-on-diy-projects-with-more-confidence-and-budgeting-discipline-than-previous-generations-300813538.html

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/10-home-projects-you-should-always-hire-a-pro-for/

https://www.ahs.com/home-matters/quick-tips/8-household-projects-to-leave-to-professionals/

https://www.rd.com/home/improvement/diy-home-improvement-projects/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/projects-you-should-not-diy_n_3923456

https://www.hallerent.com/blog/when-to-call-professional-for-home-improvement-repairs/

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OAS

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Foods That Can Trigger Ragweed Allergies Causing OAS

2 minute read

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Are you one of the 23 million Americans who suffer from a ragweed allergy? Ragweed is everywhere in the U.S., especially in eastern and midwestern states. Its season starts late in July and early August and ends in mid-October. This common allergen can feel impossible to escape. While a ragweed-producing plant typically lives for only one season, each plant can release up to 1 billion pollen grains that have the potential to travel great distances on the wind. And being outside on a day with elevated ragweed counts isn’t the only way you might be affected. It can also travel into your home on the foods you eat causing Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS).

Foods and Oral Allergy Syndrome

“Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is a form of a contact allergic reaction that occurs upon contact of the mouth and throat with raw fruits or vegetables. The most frequent symptoms of OAS include itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue, and throat. Symptoms usually appear immediately after eating raw fruits or vegetables, although in rare cases, the reaction can occur more than an hour later…OAS can occur at any time of the year.”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology

Foods that may cause OAS in a person with a ragweed allergy include:

  • Banana
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Watermelon
  • Chamomile tea
  • Cucumber and zucchini
  • Honey that contains pollen
  • Sunflower seeds
  • White potato

Eating these foods, especially during allergy season, can result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Itchy throat/tingling sensation
  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swollen lips

How to Avoid OAS

In order to manage your OAS symptoms, it’s important to avoid eating any of these foods raw. Baking, cooking, or microwaving food reduces cross-reactions because the high temperatures break down the proteins that cause OAS.

Peeling foods before eating helps remove the high concentration of proteins found on the skin. And canning your fruits and vegetables or eating canned produce can also limit your reaction.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any adverse reactions when consuming raw fruits and vegetables. They can help you identify your allergies and learn how to avoid them.