Don’t Take Your Sleep Troubles Lightly The Value of Z’s STAYING CONNECTED How to Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World
Dr. Jelinek here again! Before I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, I viewed sleep as a nuisance that got in my way. I would attempt to function with a few hours of sleep while slinging back coffee and adhering to a regular afternoon nap. After an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis six years ago, I started viewing sleep as an integral part of health and wellness. My oral appliance, which is similar to an anti-snoring device, brings my jaw forward and pushes my tongue out of the back of my throat. This makes it easier for me to breathe, and the result is a more restful night’s sleep. Now, I no longer drink coffee, my afternoon nap is abolished, and I actually wake up each day feeling refreshed and energized. Today, I know that sleep is an integral part to health — I’m proof of it! With my own personal improvement aside, sleep medicine backs me up. When you doze off to dreamland, your muscles, hormones, and tissues undergo a rebalancing act. It’s an opportunity for the systems that keep you running all day to take a well-deserved break and repair damage. In fact, just by going to sleep, you are improving your mental health, increasing your memory capability, setting yourself up for better concentration, and improving your chances of shedding a few pounds. Yet, there’s a caveat when it comes to sleep. You need to get a good night’s rest in order for sleep to be effective. When you’re living with a sleep disorder, this is easier said than done. Sleep apnea restricts the flow of oxygen to your brain. Your brain recognizes that you’re not breathing, so it gives your heart a jolt as a warning to your body. This constant upstarting means you wake up with a headache, sore throat, fatigue, lethargy, and many other issues that point to sleep apnea. In addition to the terrible way you’ll feel, sleep apnea can lead to deadly cardiac and brain conditions. Six years ago, when I learned that I would cease breathing upwards of 17 times each hour, I knew it was time to make a change. Since I began wearing my oral appliance, my life and energy levels have improved tenfold. Don’t wait any longer to get your sleep back. Schedule a consultation by calling 703-584-5996 or visit NorthernVirginiaDental.com.
If you feel like you’ve hardly seen your kids since the school year started, you’re not alone. Americans are way too busy — from childhood onward, we’re always running hither and thither, packing in as many after-school activities, work-related meetings, and social engagements as possible. It’s a problem so pervasive that it has a name: time scarcity. Families feel time scarcity keenly after school starts in September, when children’s schedules explode with engagements. But all hope for close ties isn’t lost; there are ways to stay connected with your spouse and kids, even in an increasingly busy world. Here are some ideas from counselors, teachers, and psychologists who claim to have mastered the art. REMEMBER YOUR RITUALS Rituals make up the backbone of individual families and society at large. Most people wouldn’t dream of abandoning their holiday traditions, so why forgo the smaller rituals that bring families together? Whether it’s eating dinner at the same table each evening, watching a movie together every Thursday night, or going on a monthly getaway, make sure these traditions aren’t canceled. If your family doesn’t have many rituals, a great way to connect is to start some. MAKE EVERY MOMENT COUNT As cliche as it sounds, when you don’t have much time together, it’s crucial to be present for every minute of it. If you have a rare half hour at home with one of your kids, make a point to spend it in the same room and try to start a conversation. If you squeeze in a romantic dinner with your spouse, turn off your phones before the food comes. Listening to each other without distractions will strengthen your relationship. HUG IT OUT Physical contact is vital for closeness. When you get the chance, hug your kids, hold hands with your spouse, and do physical activities as a family, like hiking, biking, or even playing group sports. It’s been scientifically proven that physical closeness leads to emotional closeness, so if you’re low on time, take advantage of that shortcut!
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