Brain, Memory and Sleep

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6 Reasons You Can't Concentrate
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6 Reasons You Can't Concentrate

There are a variety of reasons why you might be struggling to concentrate during the day  at work. You may be dehydrated. You may not be getting enough sleep, enough key nutrients or may be hypoglycaemic. Heck, maybe your job is just boring. We take a look at 6 common reasons you might be struggling to concentrate.

1. Alcohol

Even if you don't actually feel hung over, those few drinks you had last night may be part of the reason you cannot concentrate. Alcohol can impair your ability to get a good night's sleep, and fatigue can make it difficult to concentrate. Additionally, even minor hangovers can impair proper brain function. Long term alcohol abuse can have a serious detrimental effect on your overall brain function. TIP: Limit your daily alcohol intake to comply with Australian alcohol intake guidelines.  

2. Vitamin B Deficiency

B Vitamins help your body convert food into energy. They also help you metabolise fats and proteins. All of this means adequate intake of B Vitamins means greater ability to get the most out of your food, and more fuel for mental focus.  TIP: Seafoods, red meats and eggs are all good sources of B-Vitamins, but for those who really want to make sure they have enough B vitamins, a good Vitamin B Complex supplement may be beneficial.  

3. Stress

Stress, up to a point, can help concentration - it provides additional motivation and urgency to finish a task. However, excessive stress can have the opposite effect. Having too many competing priorities disrupts your concentration and can also lead to forgetfulness. TIP: Use relaxation methods and a healthy, active lifestyle to reduce the mental effects of stressful situations at home or work.  

4. Multi-Tasking

Checking your emails every 5 minutes? Taking phone calls every half hour? Checking Instagram every other opportunity? Multitasking is a fine art, but it can actually hurt your ability to concentrate on larger, more complicated tasks. If you are continually skipping from one small, mindless activity to the next, your brain starts to work in ways to accommodate that behaviour. This leads to an inability to focus on larger, more complicated tasks. TIP: check email once in the morning, once at lunch and once of an afternoon. Same goes with your phone. Leave social media for after office hours. When you have to focus on complicated tasks, remove the risk of interruptions / ask your co-workers not to disturb you.  

5. Boredom / Lack of Challenge

Novel tasks stimulate the brain. Boring, mundane tasks can actually do the opposite in the short term. There are numerous studies that show that having a variety of tasks to perform throughout the day leads to higher productivity, greater worker satisfaction and higher productivity when compared with doing the same, repetitive tasks each day. TIP: try to find a way to make boring tasks less mundane by adding a time limit or performance measure. Alternatively, you may need to explore other career options.  

6. Low Omega-3 levels

Low omega-3 levels have been linked to a variety of mental, learning and cognitive difficulties in a range of people. One particular type of omega-3 called 'DHA' (docosahexaenoic acid) has been shown to be of benefit in helping people affected by autism and ADHD to improve mental performance. Some research also shows low omega-3 levels have also been linked to difficulties in reading, numeracy, concentration and memory. Increasing DHA levels in these studies lead to a small increase in cognitive performance. TIP: try to eat slamon, tuna or mackerel 3 times a week to get enough omega-3 DHA. Alternatively, you may benefit from trying a supplement rich in DHA to help boost overall brain function.  

Final Note

We have listed some common reasons that you may be having trouble concentrating. There are numerous other reasons why you might not be able to concentrate at work. Whilst we all inevitably find ourselves feeling a bit disengaged from our jobs at times, if your work is being adversely effected, you should see your healthcare professional for a more in-depth diagnosis. ------ This article was provided by our online partner, Health365. For more information on learning, memory and cognitive function, visit www.health365.com.au.
Sleep and Weight Loss
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Sleep and Weight Loss

A growing body of research shows there is a distinct relationship between sleep and weight loss. In fact, sleep is showing to be a critical factor in not only weight loss, but also in helping reduce obesity related diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and more. Let's take a look at the research into the relationship between sleep and weight loss to help you better understand how sleep might effect your weight loss efforts.

 The Relationship Between Sleep And Weight Loss

 

1. Obese people sleep less

It is still unclear as to whether obesity causes poor sleep, or poor sleep causes obesity, but more than 30 studies have shown that there is a distinct link between obesity and poor quality of sleep.  

2. Fatigue Makes you hungry.

Some of us get to the end of a long work week and binge by eating a whole pizza by ourselves or drain a bottle of wine.  Our body craved that tub of ice cream and, due to our fatigue, we succumbed. What's interesting is that this phenomenon is actually reflected in research - it's not just you (and me). Fatigue makes our body less effective at metabolising fat. This is already bad for weight loss, but the resulting effect of slowing fat metabolism is that we develop a craving for easily digestable macronutrients (i.e. more fats and simple carbs such as sweets, chips, fast foods etc ).  

3. Too Much Sleep Is Also Bad

A study from Quebec showed that people who were sleeping 5-6 hours a night gained more weight than people getting 7-8 hours sleep. This is no surprise given what we have already established - poor sleep is linked to weight gain. What was more interesting ab out the Quebec study was that people who slept 9-10 hours a night also gained more weight than the people who slept 7-8 hours a night. Too much sleep seems to also be somehow related to weight gain and obesity. The conclusion of the study was that 7-8 hours sleep a night is generally best for people trying to lose weight.  

4. Obese Kids and Sleep

The above relationship between sleep and weight loss are also observed in research involving children. Given this, it is important to make sure you kids are getting enough shut eye of a night time. There are a number of ways to help your child get settled at night, including increasing their intake of Omega-3 DHA. Talk to your health professional if your child is having trouble sleeping throughout the night. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on getting better sleep or managing your weight, visit www.health365.com.au.
How To Stop Snoring
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How To Stop Snoring

Snoring might be embarrassing for you, but it can be torturous for ..
Rest & Restore Night Multivitamin for Women
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Rest & Restore Night Multivitamin for Women

Do you feel worn out, fatigued, not 100%? You may be going to bed stressed, which may cause sleep problems, resulting in feeling tired the next day. Rest And Restore Night Multivitamin For Women is formulated to help you physically unwind by helping to relax your muscles and mind so you don't take your stress to bed. It Restores nutrients to your body while you sleep, helping you wake up knowing you are 'topped up' and ready to face another day.
Try Golden Calamari Oil
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Try Golden Calamari Oil

It contains more Omega-3 DHA than other supplements. DHA supports brain and sleep.
5 Surprising Benefits of Omega-3
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5 Surprising Benefits of Omega-3

We all know omega-3s are good for your health. We also know the benefits of omega-3 range from protecting your heart, brain and eyes to supporting joint health and reducing inflammation. The definitive list of omega-3 benefits would certainly be a long one - there are tens of thousands of academic studies of the benefits of omega-3 intake. We take a look at some surprising, lesser known benefits of omega-3.  

1. Omega-3 may help sleep

Recent research from Oxford University has produced a number of fascinating insights into the importance of a particular type of omega-3 and children's learning. In these studies, children with low levels of 'DHA' (a specific type of omega-3) scored significantly worse on tests for memory, behaviour, concentration, reading and numeracy than children who had sufficient DHA levels. Furthermore, the researchers consequently noted that increasing DHA levels in the children with low DHA by using a DHA supplement helped them improve their performance and bridge the gap to their peers. Increasing DHA levels increased learning outcomes. What does this have to do with sleep? The Oxford team have recently expanded on their study. Their most recent results show that low DHA levels also can lead to poor sleep in children.  Giving a DHA  supplement to the children in the study with low DHA levels improved the quality of their sleep.  

2. Omega-3 may support male fertility

A 2010 study published in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the relationship  between omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in fertile and infertile men. Fertile men tended to have higher omega-3 levels than infertile men. Further research is required to consolidate and expand on these findings. However, the results from the study do echo the findings of several animal studies in rats and guppies - both animal studies showed a link between fertility and omega-3 levels.  

3. Omega-3s may protect ageing brains

From the University of Maryland's overview of omega-3 research: "A number of studies show that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with increased risk of age related cognitive decline. Scientists believe the omega-3 fatty acid DHA is protective against age related cognitive decline."  

4. Omega-3s may support stronger bones.

Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D may not be the only nutrients for supporting strong bones. Several studies have looked at the relationship between omega-3 intake and bone density. Whilst further research is required, there is preliminary evidence to suggest there may be a link between omega-3 levels and maintaining bone density over time.  

5. Omega-3 may help menstrual pain

Preliminary research and anecdotal evidence suggests women who take fish oil during menstruation may experience a decline in menstrual pain.
Restless Leg Syndrome
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Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is very common and is a major cause of sleeping problems. Despite this, many people aren’t even aware the condition exists, or that it can be treated fairly easily.

Symptoms

As the name suggests, restless leg syndrome is typified by:
  • Inability to keep your legs still
  • Your legs kick and itch uncontrollably.
  • Strange, restless sensations couplled with the urge to move. Urges are worse at night and when resting.
  • Just thinking about having to sit still for a long time (e.g. watching a movie) makes you feel anxious.

Diagnosis

The majority of RLS sufferers are often incorrectly diagnosed as suffering from:
  • sleep disorders (although people with RLS do sleep worse than people with other sleep disorders);
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • poor circulation
  • arthritis
  • attention deficit disorder (if the patient is young and can’t keep his legs still)

Medical researchers have now discovered that RLS is a metabolic brain disease and that effective treatment is available. People with RLS – one in 10 people – have a shortage of iron in specific areas of the brain which deal with movement. Even if a standard blood test shows normal blood-iron levels, it doesn’t mean iron levels in the brain are normal.

Low iron levels in the brain lead to a shortage of dopamine, which in turn causes those weird sensations in the legs and the uncontrollable urge to move them. Research has also shown the following: more women than men have RLS (particularly during pregnancy); there is a strong genetic factor; it is worse during periods of inactivity; and chances are slim that the condition will improve without treatment.

Treatment

  • If RLS only affects your sleep patterns occasionally, simple lifestyle changes – such as drinking fewer caffeine-rich beverages like coffee or energy drinks, or cutting down on alcohol – can help.
  • The right iron, folic acid or magnesium supplements can improve your general health if you have a shortage of these minerals. Key nutrients to consider are iron, (preferably powdered) magnesium,  B Vitamins and Vitamin C.
  • Sometimes massage, putting your legs in cold or warm water, or less/more exercise helps reduce the sensations.
  • If you experience RLS once or twice a week and it regularly deprives you of sleep, your doctor may recommend medication that helps restore dopamine levels in the brain.
  • The ideal treatment would be to restore the brain’s iron levels, but in people who already have healthy blood-iron levels but low brain iron, increasingly the levels of iron in the blood may not likely increase brain iron levels.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe correction of the dopamine function by means of a drug that mimics the effect of dopamine. Talk to your GP for treatment options.
 

Do you have RLS?

Answering yes to all of these questions is an indication that you likely have RLS:

  1. Do you have an uncontrollable urge to move your legs – usually because you’re experiencing uncomfortable and unpleasant sensations in those limbs?
  2. Do these unpleasant sensations get worse when you rest, sit, lie or are inactive?
  3. Does walking, stretching or movement help to relieve these unpleasant sensations – even if the relief lasts only while you’re moving your legs?
  4. Are the symptoms usually worse at night?
------ This article was provided by Health365. For more information on maintaining your health, visit www.health365.com.au.
The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. That is, a substance that reduces ..
CoQ10 150mg One-A-Day
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CoQ10 150mg One-A-Day

Nature’s Way CoQ10 150mg is a high potency one-a-day antioxidant that helps support:
  • Heart & Cardiovascular Health
  • Healthy Cholesterol*
  • Increased Energy Production
  • Increased Physical Performance
Try Nature’s Way One-A-Day CoQ10 today. *May assist in the maintenance of cholesterol levels within the normal range in healthy individuals.