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How to Improve Your Sleep Quality (and Stop Feeling Groggy When You Wake Up)

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It seems like a great idea to sleep in on the weekends after a stressful week at work, especially if you haven’t had enough shut-eye and would like to catch up on it.

However, the reality is that when you do wake up, you only feel just as groggy as you would during the weekdays. When you do wake up, the first thing you feel is that familiar dull headache and that sense of lethargy, and you don’t feel like doing anything for the rest of the day.

So why does your body do this?

Why This Happens

The answer to this lies in your brain.

More specifically, answer lies in both your brain’s neurochemicals and how they interact with your average sleep cycle. In order to wake up, your brain prompts your body by releasing different kinds of “feel-good” hormones and increasing your body temperature.

However, when you do choose to go back to sleep, this whole cycle goes awry and your body doesn’t know when to wake up as a result.

What You Can Do

The best thing that you can do whenever you wake up this way is to simply not go back to sleep, but you can make a compromise by setting your alarm for twenty minutes and switch the lights on.

As much as possible, try sticking to your schedule during the weekends and catch up on how much shut-eye you lost by sleeping in early.

You can even improve your sleep with what you eat. There are all kinds of foods you can stock up on that are rich in nutrients that improve your sleep, such as mackerel, brown rice, and even watercress and lentils.

Keeping a Routine

Your body needs time to both wind down to sleep and wind up to wakefulness, so spend the first and last ten minutes of your waking hours doing this.

As much as possible, stay away from electronics before going to sleep, or doing anything that could add stress and make you feel alert instead. The best way for dealing with them during this time is by writing them down and dealing with them the morning after.

Talking to Your Doctor

If you still have trouble getting enough rest for yourself no matter how hard you try, you may have a problem that you should consult with your doctor to know if you need any medications.

Another way to take note of any changes or improvements in your sleep cycle is by writing them down, from what time you wake up to whether you felt comfortable or not during your sleep.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)


Gym Mistakes that Might Be Preventing You from Losing Weight

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You’ve been going to an ActiveSG gym 5 times a week. You’ve ran hours overall in the treadmill and lifted heavy weights, but when you get back at the weighing scale, you’ve hardly cut your weight. 

Sweat

Before anything else, there’s one ‘myth’ that many beginners are made to believe on their own. That is, they associate sweat with calories burned. Sweating should not actually be used as a measure of how much calories you’ve burned in your workout simply because they’re not really related. In relation to exercise though, our body temperature rises so we sweat to prevent the body from overheating. It humidifies our skin so that we keep cool. Now that that’s out of the way, here are other mistakes that might be restraining your weight loss.

“Cheat day”

Having cheat days is essential as a reward system when you’re exercising. If you’re bodybuilding, for example, you’re always consuming protein-rich food and avoiding ones full of sugar. A cheat day is a time for you to at least get some sugar into your body to balance out all that was lost. The mistake here comes when you take a cheat day regularly. Only take a cheat day when you’ve actually seen a significant change in your body. There have even been some who took 5-6 months of exercise before taking one.

Lack of focus

You are not maximizing your time at the gym if you’re looking at your phone instead of focusing on your workout, it’s that obvious and simple. You’re always on your phone outside of the gym, so take a break and concentrate on your exercise. Another thing, socializing in the gym is good, but don’t talk too much and too often that you spend more time chitchatting instead of doing your sets. These things are quite simple but can actually go under our radar and silently ruin our efforts.

Sticking to one routine

Sticking to one routine works at the start, but when you stay with it after many weeks, you’re not going to see much change. This is because when you do the same workout over and over, your body gets used to it and sees it as a normal everyday routine. This is why it is important to progress after spending weeks in the gym. Switch up your exercises or increase a workout factor like duration or intensity to keep your body active.

Skipping breakfast

When you’re going to the gym, breakfast is crucial. You may be tempted to think that having one less meal can help with your weight loss efforts, but it’s the complete opposite when you’re talking about breakfast. Having a healthy breakfast can help you avoid snacking on junk food in between meals. It also keeps you energized throughout the day and possibly provide you enough fuel when you work out (in the morning, for example).


Causes of Hair Loss in Men

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It’s normal to lose fifty to a hundred strands of hair a day. But many male Singaporeans, in fact, males all around the world, start to get signs of premature hair loss as early as the age of 20. Losing hair can be distressing to most people, that’s why it is important to know what causes hair loss, so as to avoid it. Here then are some reasons why we lose our hair. 

1. You’re getting old

Hair loss comes with aging. When we grow older, our hair growth will start to slow down and decrease in volume. You can take measures to delay hair loss, but it is unfortunately inevitable as we get older and older.

2. Genetics

Another common cause of hair loss comes with genetics. In fact, having it in your genes is one of the most common causes of hair loss. This is also associated with pattern balding, that “U-shaped” balding you most commonly see. There is one known effective genetic hair loss treatment that is said to end hair loss in 90% of men, though. It’s a prescription tablet called Finasteride.

3. Stress

Stress is also an obvious cause of hair loss although it can also be a result of it. This is also notably problematic because stress affects anyone regardless of age, weight, and etc. When you’re too stressed, your body undergoes hormonal imbalances that can negatively affect blood circulation around your scalp.

4. Not having a healthy diet

All the nutrients that we get from food obviously go to our vital organs first. Our hair and nails are the last ones that receive these nutrients. When we don’t eat healthily, this will be reflected on hair’s healthiness and growth.

5. Wearing things that pull on your hair

Yes, you might feel cool wearing that tight cap or tying your hair in braids and man buns, but you’re damaging your hair without even knowing it. Wearing things that pull on your hair can significantly harm your scalp. Specifically, damaged roots around the scalp will have difficulty and may even stop facilitating hair growth.

6. You may have scalp conditions

Scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis are common skin conditions typically found on the scalp. These conditions can cause an overproduction of skin cells that can manifest as flakes. They also cause drying of the scalp and increases itchiness. Hence, scratching your head can damage your hair follicles and possibly even spread the infection.

7. Washing too much or not enough

Washing your hair too much too frequently with shampoo can remove the scalps essential oils, which it normally needs to stay healthy. If you don’t wash enough, on the other hand, dirt and excess oil can build up on your scalp and hair follicles, all of which can hinder hair growth.


The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Added Sugar in Your Diet

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One of the best ways you can live healthy and decrease your risk of heart disease later in life is by simply cutting down on the added sugar. While it’s found naturally in many foods, especially in fruits, your body doesn’t need a lot of it in order to function properly.

In fact, added sugar should make up no more than ten percent of a person’s daily caloric intake, and an unhealthy diet could potentially put you at risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  

Finding Added Sugar

The first step to cutting down on the added sugar in your diet is knowing where you can find them. However, there’s more to it than simply substituting for healthier options.

Aside from the obvious sources, such as cereals, beverages, candy, chocolates, and baked goods, you can also find sugar in the following foods:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Frozen foods
  • Preserved fruit (dried, canned, or as fruit juice)
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Condiments

The good news is that you don’t have to be overly concerned when you do find sugar in the contents label, since nearly everything you’ll find in the grocery store or supermarket will have some amount of sugar in them.

Cutting Added Sugar

The simplest way to cut down on added sugar is to not use it in your meals or actively look for it, and make healthier choices that involve lots of fruits and vegetables.

However, if you’re having trouble doing so, try these handy tips for cutting down on your sugar cravings and reduce your overall intake:

  • Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to food and drinks, such as pancakes, coffee, or even tea. Instead of your usual amount, try adding only half. For baked goods, try cutting down on the recipe’s sugar by ¼cup.
  • Read nutrition labels! Sugar isn’t just “sugar”, but also comes in all kinds of names, such as maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate,
  • Buy fresh fruits as much as possible. Avoid buying fruit canned in syrup.
  • Add fresh fruit to cereals or oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Use spices instead of sugar to enhance flavor, such as allspice and cinnamon, to name a few.

Dealing with Cravings

The initial cravings for sugar will last for a certain period of time, but these will eventually subside as your body gradually adjusts to your new dietary habits.

When you do experience a craving during this period, keep in mind that you may simply be looking for a good source of protein, which, plays an important part in digestion, hormone production, and muscle build-up.

You should also drink more water and get enough sleep, since you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices when your body feels tired.


How to Deal With Sugar Cravings While on a Diet

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It’s easy to forget that sugar can cause different health problems in the long run because it tastes good. So when you decide to cut down on your intake, you’ll find that these cravings can flare up.

But the good news is that you can make a compromise between your decision to live healthy and your penchant for the good stuff.

Here’s how you can keep your sweet tooth satisfied while still living a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Balance your blood sugar

Your blood sugar is important – it’s okay to have a small candy bar or cookie when you’re cutting down to live a healthier lifestyle. It also lets you steer clear from the feeling of being denied the things you love, which lets you steer clear of guilt-eating.

The key is not to not consume sugar altogether, but to balance the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.

  • Eat more fresh fruits

With your busy schedule, there’s a good chance that you’re not eating enough of them as you should.

You just can’t go wrong with fresh fruits. They’re naturally sweet and healthy at the same time, with the fiber and nutrients your body needs to clear out toxins and perform its daily functions normally. You should also stock up on nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as a trail snack.

  • Hydrate

Water is more important than you think – it improves digestion, fuels cells, and transports neurochemical signals throughout the body. It even enhances kidney function and helps you feel energized throughout the day.

Drinking water before meals also helps you feel more full, which is a great trick to keep yourself from overeating.

  • Get enough sleep

“Ghrelin”, which is known as the body’s “hunger hormone”, is produced more when you don’t get enough sleep. This is because your body tries to compensate for the lack of sleep with easily accessible energy from junk foods that are rich in sugar.

These cravings usually disappear once you’ve had enough sleep – between seven and eight hours in a night.

  • Get up and get moving

The best way to get your mind off an intense craving is to do something that will actually get you to stop thinking about it. So when the sugar craving hits, just walk away. Take a hike and do something that will give you a change of pace or scenery.

Even something as simple as a quick jog down the block or heading over to your local gym for a short workout session can put your mind off your cravings – and help you lose weight to boot!


5 Things You Should Never Do During a Power Outage

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When the power goes out, there’ll be no more AC. And if the outage lasts longer, there goes your perishables in the fridge.

Power interruptions causes more than just inconvenience—they can also be dangerous. The next time it goes dark, keep your home and family safe by avoiding these mistakes.

  1. Touching downed wires

It may be obvious, but people forget that any dangling or downer power line may still be ‘live,’ even if it doesn’t look like it is. Even if these lines are not sparking, they could be energized and still very dangerous. Keep a minimum distance of 30 feet from utility lines and downed wire. If the ground is wet, stay at least 60 feet away.

  • Using candles

You can find so many cheap, battery-powered flashlights and LED lights that can run for hours, so there is really no excuse for using candles, which can be a potential cause of fire. Buy yourself one of these battery-powered lights and save the candles for romantic dinners. If you must use a candle, look for stubby ones that will not tip over and place it in a lantern.

  • Opening the freezer or fridge

During a power outage, you want to preserve the coldness of the fridge as much as possible. Therefore, opening it too often will let the cold out, which can potentially spoil the food inside. Keep the freezer full and avoid opening it frequently, and it will stay cold and frozen for 48 hours even without power.

  • Forgetting to unplug electronics

It is easy to forget to unplug during a blackout. But if you do not turn off electronics and appliances during an outage, surges and spikes that happen when the power goes back on can potentially damage them. The moment the power goes out, unplug everything. Just leave one light on, so you know when the power comes back.

  • Putting the generator in the garage

Hopefully, you already know that generators give off toxic carbon monoxide, so make sure to keep it at safe distance form your home. But even if you store it in your garage with the garage door open, the space is still too close to your house. As recommended, keep it at least 20 feet from your house to avoid inhaling the fumes. It may be colorless and odorless, but it does not take long for someone to succumb to the poisoning.  

Generally, it is easy to cope with a power outage. However, if it lasts longer than a few minutes, it can cause some serious problems. It is always better to be ready by knowing what to do and what NOT to do during these unexpected circumstances.


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