What Are Stress Dreams and How Can We Get Rid of Them?

We can barely control what we dream about, when and when not to dream. With a recommended minimum of eight hours of sleep that we hardly achieve under normal circumstances, a disturbing dream cutting short out 6-hr sleep period is the last thing we need.

Stress dreams are dreams during your REM cycle  that ignite anxiety that tends to wake us up. ”What is the difference between stress dreams and nightmares?” you might ask.

Nightmares wake us with a bolt of fear whereas, in stress dreams, one experiences heightened stress levels before awakening.

Anxiety dreams have been studied over long periods to unearth their causes. People have built a whole career on dream interpretation since dreams have proven to be such a bother. Today, you will likely bump over those long random “what your dream means” blogs while surfing the internet.

Some of the most common stress dreams are about:

  • Tornadoes
  • Drowning 
  • earthquakes
  • Being chased after
  • Flooding
  • House fires 
  • Naked in public etc.

Causes

Dreams are a reflection of our daytime experiences. It is the unconscious mind’s way of telling us what we often think.

Claudia Luiz, a Psychoanalyst, explains that stress dreams result from unprocessed negative stimuli the brain is trying to process through the regulatory process of sleep.

Internal factors such as emotional baggage or external factors such as a bad day at work contribute to stress dreams.

More examples of these factors include:

  • Fear or stress
  • Traumatic events
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep
  • Recent life changes
  • Use of substances including alcohol

Immediate response after waking up from stress dreams

Going back to sleep after waking from a stressful dream is such a tall order. The following are a few hacks that you could use to fall back to sleep:

  • Keep your lights dim
  • Avoid watching television or scrolling through your phone
  • Get a warm drink
  • Play some soothing music or podcast
  • Try breathing or meditative exercises

Long-term prevention and control of stress dreams

The above photo shows ways that could help control and prevent stress dreams. These ways include:

  • Take care of your sleep.

Create a clean and serene sleeping environment and limit the number of daytime naps you take.

  • Think positive thoughts

It is good to ensure positivity right before going to bed. Avoid any source of information that might give negative news.

  • Set a bedtime routine and follow it

It is good to know what soothing effect your body responds to and maximize on it to ensure the body is relaxed. Some of the best bedtime routines are: having a bedtime playlist, eating light, brushing your teeth before sleeping, taking a shower, etc

  • Rewrite your dreams 

Rewriting the dreams reduces the traumatic effect from them. There is a healing effect that comes with re-imagining the dream scenarios.

  • Pinpoint and get to the bottom of the issue

In case of underlying issues that act as trigger points, then it would be advisable to seek therapy or medication for these issues first.

  • Talk it out

Sharing your dream moves the thoughts that might have triggered it from the unconscious mind to the conscious mind. In turn, this reduces the probability of a re-occurrence of the same.

Experiencing stressful dreams is quite normal, but that does not make having one enjoyable. It is advisable to invest in items, foods, and routines that encourage healthy sleeping patterns.

Is Your Job Risking You to Ail From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), also known as median nerve compression, is a numbness, weakness, and tingling feeling in the hand and arm caused by pressure on a nerve on one’s wrist.

Shrinkage of the muscle at the base of the thumb caused by untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Causes 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome results from strenuous activities, swellings, and other underlying conditions.

The most common cause of carpal tunnel is a swelling around the wrist area that causes pressure on the nerve. Physical activities that involve repeated and forceful movements of the hand and wrist over long durations of time cause these swellings and other symptoms.

Other causes of CTS include underlying conditions such as:

  • Nerve damaging conditions that are a result of diabetes or alcohol abuse
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Wrist injuries such as a sprain or bone fracture
  • Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis
  • A tumor, cyst, or bone spur on a wrist
  • Fluid retention as a result of obesity, pregnancy, or menopause

Some of the occupations that could increase the rate of ailing from CTS include:

  • Cashier
  • Office worker
  • Seamstress
  • Chef /baker
  • Hairstylist
  • Assembly line worker
  • Musician

Symptoms

One of the first symptoms that a person is likely to notice is the numbing sensation on the affected hand.

Other possible signs that someone might be suffering from this disease are:

  • Tingling or burning sensation in the hand
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Difficulty holding or grasping objects
  • Shock-like feeling that moves into the fingers
  • A stinging effect that travels to the hand
  • Co-ordination issues of the fingers
  • Radiating pain in the forearm

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Tests

You might have noticed some of these symptoms and sort help from a doctor.

Besides the doctor examining the wrist and hand, there are two tests that a doctor may do for carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis, they include:

  • Tinel’s Sign Test (also known as the Hoffmann Tinel-sign test) involves lightly tapping over the affected nerve.
  • Phalen’s test  or reverse prayer gets the examiner passively flexing the patient’s wrist maximally while maintaining the shoulder in neutral and elbow in extension.
  • Grip strength test measures the muscle test by use of a grip dynamometer .
  • The measuring range of motion  test measures the amount of movement around a specific joint or body part.
various diagnosis methods

Treatment

Treatment methods include:

  • Use of a wrist brace

Wearing a wrist brace helps keep the wrist in a straight neutral position. 

Splinting the hand is a treatment that works for folks with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Anti-inflammatory medication

It is administered orally or injected into the carpal tunnel space.

  • Surgery

For severe cases, a surgery eases compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel.

  • Worksite changes

Those who work under demanding circumstances should devise ways of slowing down or changing their work environment.

  • Therapy

Involves doing exercises that can improve flexibility and improve physical function.

There’s a better way to deal with CTS which is through prevention. Reducing repetitive hand movements and alternating between tasks reduces the straining effect on the hand or wrist. Maintaining a healthy working and living lifestyle can help ensure a rapid return to full function mobility and ability.

The Truth About Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol has different effects on different people. Some take it moderately over a meal or a few glasses of it at social events. For some, it is an uncontrollable intake of it. But how much is too much?

What Is Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol is the main component in wine, spirits, and beer that brings about drunkenness. An alcoholic drink contains ethanol. Ethanol forms through the fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar.

Alcohol abuse is the unhealthy drinking patterns that eventually become harmful.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse can be mild, moderate, or severe based on the behavioral change one exhibits.

Some of these changes include:

  • Feeling a deep craving for alcohol
  • Spending most of the time drinking or recovering from the effects of drinking
  • Poor decision-making abilities
  • Involvement in risky behavior such as drunk driving and swimming while drank
  • Slurred speech
  • slowing of reflexes
  • Increased memory gaps

How Is Alcohol Disorder Diagnosed?

The first step after detecting possible alcohol abuse is to visit your doctor for a diagnosis.

If your doctor suspects that you could be suffering from alcoholism, he could direct you to a mental health practitioner for specialized treatment.

To diagnose the issue, the doctor will:

  • Ask you questions about your drinking habits.
  • Carry out lab and imaging tests
  • Perform a physical exam
  • Complete a psychological evaluation
  • Use the DSM-5  criteria

Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Family Members

Alcohol abuse doesn’t not only affect the person abusing it but family and friends too. The behavioral change in this person will not go unfelt to the surrounding environment. Some of the effects of alcoholism on family members include:

  • Damaged family relationships
  • Growth and developmental issues on neglected children 
  • Misuse of family finances
  • Physical and mental health issues

Treatment

Treatment of alcohol abuse varies depending on the needs of the patient. Some might need a brief intervention, others there would be the need for rehabilitation.

Some of the treatments for alcohol disorder include:

  • Psychological counseling
  • Oral medications
  • Injected medications
  • Spiritual practices
  • Medical treatment for health problems
  • Learning skills and establishing a treatment plan
  • Detox and withdrawal
  • Treatment for psychological problems
  • Continuing support

Alcohol use disorder is a disease affecting everyone in the family. It is everyone’s responsibility to look out for each other. Looking out for each other will act as a preventive and control measure to the family. In cases of already affected families, getting help for the entire family is crucial and will lead to a full and speedy recovery.

What You Should Know About the Mediterranean Diet

A Mediterranean diet varies from region to region due to modifications made to the original diet. In general, Mediterranean dieting is eating according to the traditional cuisines of Italy, Greece, and other countries bordering the mediterranean sea.

The diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, cereals, nuts, fish, grains, and unsaturated fats. The Mediterranean diet is not strict and is subject to modification. There are foods that must not be included, these are butter, alcohol (other than red wine), refined grains, heavily processed foods, processed red meats, and refined, processed, and hydrogenated oils.

Below is a chart showing the Mediterranean diet Vs the Western diet.

Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

A traditional Mediterranean diet can help fight against mental and physical health problems by:

  • Protecting against type 2 diabetes
  • Preventing strokes and heart diseases
  • Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Halving the risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Increases life longevity
  • Keeping you agile

Incorporating dietary changes is rarely easy especially if you are looking to reduce the dependence on processed foods and takeout. The real Mediterranean diet goes beyond eating wholesome foods but is also about keeping fit and relating well with others. This combination o activities can improve your mood, mental and physical health.

3 Incredible Reasons Why Recession Is Good

Human beings are naturally resistant to change. Change that comes without prior warning could have adverse effects. An economic downturn is an undesired nightmare since businesses and livelihoods get affected.

Despite all the negativity that a recession comes with, we cannot overlook the positive changes witnessed during this particular period. Some of these include:

 A recession acts as a filter

Market flooding causes unfair competition, sub-standard goods, and minimum profit margins. During a recession, most businesses tend to close down because of a lack of proper planning (risk management), poor business execution, and financial turmoil. These closures give “stronger and more deserving” businesses that have overcome financial crises a chance to thrive better due to reduced flooding.

Have you had a non-performing employee that you would want to lay off? Do you know how to go about it? Here it is! Companies tend to assess their employees’ worth at an individualized level during a planned downsize. A recession would be a great time to let go of the unproductive kind. 

Increases creativity and innovation

It is quite the norm for both individuals and companies to get stuck in a comfort zone over long durations of time. Tough economic times push the drowning man to clutch at the straw. Most people and companies would do anything to stay relevant during harsh economic times. The desperation to stay afloat leads to increased creativity and contributes to an increase in new businesses, rebranding, franchising, and the like. This creative phase plays a vital role in ushering in the recovery period. 

 A great time to invest (property) and reduce debt 

For investors, this would be a great time to spend. Real estate and auctioneering firms would be topping the charts with their great slashed offers. The slashed offers are majorly due to reduced demand and bankruptcy. It would also be wise to watch out for any companies open for partnership and to new investors. 

Most financial institutions are more likely to reduce or halt earning of interest rates on mortgages. For companies facing bankruptcy, there would be a discharge of debtors. All these possible scenarios give the debtor a chance to pay off their debt. The debtors will also have a fresh start in case of a discharge during bankruptcy.

Conclusively, whether the glass is half full or empty depends on how you perceive things. There always will be a re-occurrence of these recession periods. It is up to us to shift our perspective and mindset during the recession. The behavioral change of how we think and react during these economic downturns determines how long we will take to have an economic comeback.

How To Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level (Includes Self-Monitoring Methods) 

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is a source of energy to the body. 

The glucose is created by digesting some food and turning it into sugars. 

Sugar levels tell us how well the body puts insulin into use. When the body cells stop responding to insulin, there is a risk of ailing diabetes and other long-term diseases. 

Due to the risk of these diseases, it is advisable to have blood sugar levels checked regularly. 

Some of the common ways used to check these levels include: 

  •   Blood glucose monitor test (glucometer) 

A glucometer is a portable gadget that gives instant feedback on sugar levels. The essence of having one is to keep clear regular records that help manage sugar levels and control diabetes. 

Below is how to interpret your feedback: 

Result A1C Test Glucose Tolerance Test
Diabetes 6.5%or above 200 mg/dL or above
Prediabetes 5.7 – 6.4% 140 – 199 mg/dL
Normal Below 5.7 140 mg/dL or below

  • Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) 

The CGM works day and night to monitor the blood sugar level. It is a tiny sensor inserted under the belly, on your skin, or arm to ensure a 24 hr. monitoring process. The sensor measures the glucose level then the transmitter sends them to a monitor or a receiver. 

 Special features of a CGM that makes it the most preferred testing choice: 

  1. Fixed with an alarm that can sound when the glucose levels are too low or too high. 
  1. You can note your meals, physical activities, and medicines alongside your glucose levels. 
  1. You can download data to your computer or smart device to see the glucose trends. 

It is advisable to compare the results of a standard glucose meter and a CGM. Ensure the sensor is replaced every 3 to 7 days. 

  • The freestyle libre (Pro) 

The Freestyle Libre Pro and Freestyle Libre detect glucose levels via subcutaneous, wired enzyme glucose sensing technology. 

The Libre Reader placed close to the sensor gives an 8-hour reading that includes: current glucose level, a trend graph, and a trend arrow. The arrow indicates the current trend and velocity of the sugar level. 

The information collected can then be used by health care workers to make therapy changes 

  • The urine glucose test 

This test measures the amount of glucose in urine. This particular test shows high levels of glucose in urine. The presence of glucose in the urine is called glycosuria or glucosuria. 

The urine glucose test involves using the dipstick device to test a sample of the patient’s urine. The dipstick will change color according to the amount of glucose in the urine. The doctor is to advise on possible further tests depending on the outcome. 

This test checks for diabetes and monitors sugar levels for those ailing from diabetes. The test gets done in laboratories. 

Monitoring blood sugar levels is crucial in diabetes management. The methods depicted above can be used for accuracy and increased frequency in monitoring. Discuss available monitoring options that best suit you with your doctor. 

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