How to Keep Your Motivational Mojo When the Chips Are Down

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How to Keep Your Motivational Mojo When the Chips Are Down

Image credit: John M Lund Photography Inc | Getty Images

Tiffany Delmore
GUEST WRITER
Co-founder of SchoolSafe
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The road to entrepreneurial success isn’t paved in gold. It might, in fact, be strewn with nothing more thrilling than horse manure. After all, according to the list of startups to watch from The New York Times and CB Insights, many next-gen business entities are in the booming agricultural technology space.

Somehow, the visual of a road dotted with the droppings of our four-legged friends fits. After all, any serial entrepreneur will tell you that being an early founder can feel crappy. Late nights turn into early mornings, and all the while, you’re wondering if the time spent is worth it.

If you can stay motivated, it will be worth it — beyond your wildest dreams, perhaps. But you have to stay the course, and far too many would-be founders let go too early in the journey.

It’s about finding bliss amid the cow chips.

The key to staying the course is to unearth the innately wondrous aspects of working at 2 a.m. to tweak a product design or construct an airtight elevator speech. In that vein, Thomas Corley’s five-year Rich Habits Study gives a peek into the behaviors and motivations shared by folks who hit the million-dollar mark.

What Corley found is that even though entrepreneurship can be difficult, the difference between winners and losers is a matter of perspective. Those entrepreneurs with self-confidence, passion for their work and eternal optimism found love for their work, even in the midst of frustration.

Related: 7 Life Lessons From My Entrepreneurship Journey

Most entrepreneurs who have made it can attest that enthusiasm and motivation amid hardships kept them plodding along, despite the temptation to give it all up. If you want to join their ranks, you must accept what they learned: Nobody can authorize or deny your entry into the hall of entrepreneurial heroes — except you.

In other words, get out your waders because it’s time to go knee-deep into what may stink today but provide rich soil for a fertile tomorrow. Use these three strategies to stay motivated:

1. Identify your raison d’étre.

Once you’ve started a business, you’ll constantly be asked to validate your commitment. If you have no answer to the question “Why do you want to do this?” you’re already done. Dig deep into your psyche to find out what makes your venture important to you. For Chase Jarvis, the CEO of CreativeLive, the biggest concern was not allowing the desire for money to become his No. 1 focus. “Be careful if you’re only committed to something for the next two weeks or the next paycheck,” he advises. “Pretty soon, that eroding mentality of constantly chasing the next thing will hurt you. Alignment provides a level of hunger that can’t be achieved when you’re just working towards a paycheck.”

Shift your thinking to mirror Barry Turner, one of the founders of Lenny & Larry’s protein-rich cookies. He still has a palpable commitment to and enthusiasm for the company he founded 25 years ago. As he told one interviewer, “I always dreamed when I started this that it will be sitting between Oreo and Chips Ahoy.” Put your own “why” in language just as colorful and specific, and your hustle will feel worthwhile.

Related: 5 Learnings From an Entrepreneurial Journey

2. Go for four.

Forget about a seven-day workweek. Chances are good that it will only drive you crazy and make you less productive than before, according to one Wharton professor. If you really want to get good at managing your finite moments, try budgeting your tasks within a four-day workweek. This challenge should leave you asking yourself how you can boost your efficiency. And if you manage it, you’ll find you have the time you need to take care of yourself and spend time with friends and family.

To be sure, pulling off a quick-as-lightning workweek takes some chutzpah and discipline. Rather than use day five as a chance to veg out, concentrate on making it count in other areas. It might be a day of personal development or an opportunity to research new business opportunities. Just keep it free from all the operational stuff so you can focus on adding breadth and depth to your business and yourself.

3. Hunt down your missing skill.

What would you never list on your résumé? Public speaking? Coding? Networking? Identify your underdeveloped skill set, and then do something about it. Chances are good that you’ll find some important stuff you need to know — or will if your company takes off. For example, when he moved to Texas, Ignitia Office co-founder Josh Bobrowsky realized that business deals happened at the gun range. The trouble was that he wasn’t a gun-toting guy — yet. After taking private lessons for months, he nailed the ability to shoot from the shotgun and the hip.

Be aware that what you lack might not seem important today, but it could be critical in the future. For instance, if you’re having trouble building your business brand, why not begin by developing a personal brand through social networks like LinkedIn? Your self-discovery could open new doors and launch you into opportunities you never realized existed.

Is it tough to remain curious and optimistic while trudging through what looks like mud but smells otherwise? Sure. But getting through the bad stuff with a smile on your face will help you persevere — not to mention appreciate the beautiful crops that will one day burst forth from the entrepreneurial soil you’ve laid.

7 Reasons Raspberries Are So Good for You

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Raspberries are enjoyable all year long, whether they’re fresh or frozen. These gorgeous gems aren’t just delicious and versatile; they have an impressive nutritional profile that makes them one of the healthiest choices in the produce aisle. Here are 7 health benefits of raspberries, plus simple ways to include both fresh and frozen options into meals and snacks.

Raspberries have lots of nutrients

One cup of raspberries provides over 50% of the minimum daily target for vitamin C, which supports immunity and skin health and helps produce collagen. Raspberries also contain manganese and vitamin K, which both play a role in bone health. And they supply smaller amounts of vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium.

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They’re low in sugar

Raspberries are also one of the lowest-sugar fruits, at just 5 grams per cup fresh, compared to about 20 grams in one medium apple. This makes them a great option for anyone with a sweet tooth who wants to minimize their overall sugar intake.

They’re rich in anti-aging antioxidants

Raspberries are antioxidant powerhouses. These health-protective compounds have been tied to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Raspberry antioxidants also help reduce inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging. The natural protective substances in raspberries are also linked to better DNA repair and blocking enzymes that trigger arthritis pain.

They can protect you from cancer

Raspberry antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are associated with cancer protection by reducing the reproduction of cancer cells. However, research also shows that the phytonutrients in raspberries, such as ellagitannins, may actually help kill cancer cells by signaling apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Raspberries are high in fiber

A cup of raspberries packs an impressive 8 grams of dietary fiber, a third of the daily minimum goal. This high-fiber content also reduces raspberries’ net carb content to about 7 grams per cup (since our bodies aren’t capable of digesting and absorbing fiber). That fiber also contributes to fullness, blunts blood sugar by slowing digestion, and supports good digestive health. Raspberry fiber also helps beneficial gut bacteria flourish. The latter are linked to stronger immunity and a more positive mood.

They may help prevent diabetes

A new study from the Illinois Institute of Technology randomly assigned 32 adults between the ages of 20 and 60 to three breakfast meals. Each meal was similar in calories and macronutrients, but they had different portion sizes of frozen red raspberries: One meal contained no raspberries, the second included one cup, and the third provided two cups.

Researchers found that for those who were at risk of diabetes, eating more raspberries reduced the amount of insulin needed to manage blood sugar levels. In fact, blood sugar was lower in those who downed two cups of red raspberries compared to those who ate none.

Raspberries sharpen your brain and memory

Raspberries help counter oxidative stress, which is essentially an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to fight off their harmful effects. Because oxidative stress is a causative factor in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, raspberries are a top brain-supporting food. The flavonoids in berries have also been shown to help improve coordination, memory, and mood. And berries help with general brain “housekeeping” by clearing out toxic proteins tied to brain dysfunction.

How to add more raspberries to your meals

Raspberries make a beautiful and tasty addition to numerous dishes, and they work well in both sweet and savory meals. Add them to oatmeal or overnight oats, garden salads, whole grain side dishes, and desserts. Slightly mash them to make a colorful sauce for anything from two ingredient banana egg pancakes to broiled fish or oven roasted veggies. Whip frozen raspberries into smoothies, or thaw and use just like fresh.

I also love to warm frozen raspberries over low heat on the stovetop with fresh grated ginger root and cinnamon (and maybe a touch of pure maple syrup) as the base for a mock cobbler, topped with almond butter/rolled oat crumble, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or shaved dark chocolate. Frozen, thawed, or fresh raspberries also make a great snack, paired with nuts, pumpkin seeds, or a few dark chocolate squares, or drizzled with nut butter or spiced tahini.

Cynthia Sass, RD, MPH, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

11 Things to Know About Pot and Your Health

Author ArticleAs more states legalize marijuana, it’s important to know the pros and cons of pot—and what exactly it might do for your health.

Health looked at recent research and spoke with several experts about who might want to try it, who should avoid it, and what any marijuana user should know.

It may help with anxiety and PTSD
The relaxing effects of marijuana are well known, so it’s not surprising that a 2016 paper in the journal Clinical Psychology Review concluded that it may have benefits for people with depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence also found that a very low dose of THC, one of the main compounds in marijuana, helped people feel less nervous about a public-speaking task.

But it may not be that simple: That dose was equivalent to only a few puffs on a marijuana cigarette, say the study authors. They also found that slightly higher amounts of TCH—anything that would produce even a mild high—actually made anxiety worse. Other research has also suggested that marijuana may be more harmful than helpful for people with certain mental health conditions, like psychosis or bipolar disorder.

The research “indicates cannabinoids could be helpful for people with anxiety,” lead author Emma Childs, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, tells Health. But more research is needed, she says, to determine appropriate dosages and delivery methods, and to prevent the opposite effects from happening.

It can relieve chronic pain and nausea
Pain relief is a common use for medical marijuana, and the National Academies of Sciences concluded there is indeed good evidence to support this practice. Marijuana products also appear to be effective at calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and easing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, the report stated.

The National Academies also determined that there is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabis-derived products may help people who have trouble sleeping due to sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain.

RELATED: 13 Surprising Reasons You’re Nauseous

People with epilepsy may benefit—even kids
In a New England Journal of Medicine study, cannabidiol oil—a derivative of marijuana—reduced seizures by 39% in children with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. That was big news for parents who have been using medical marijuana for years, often illegally, to help their kids suffering from this debilitating condition.

The cannabidiol oil used in the study—approved by the FDA in 2018 and marketed as Epidiolex—won’t make people high, because it doesn’t contain THC. Experts say that results may be riskier and more unpredictable with other marijuana products.

It may be a safer alternative to opioids
Despite beliefs that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” research suggests that the use of medical marijuana may actually reduce dependence on dangerous prescription painkillers like those fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic.

In a 2016 study in the journal Health Affairs, researchers found that there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed per year, on average, in states where medical marijuana was legal compared to states it’s not. And in a review article published in Trends in Neuroscience, researchers wrote that cannabinoids may help people recover from opioid addiction. Human trials have been limited because of marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug—but the authors argue that more studies are urgently needed.

RELATED: 19 Things You Didn’t Know About the Opioid Epidemic

It may have anti-cancer effects, but research is limited
Olivia Newton John uses cannabiodiol oil (along with conventional medicine) to fight her metastatic breast cancer, the actress’s daughter recently revealed. Studies have shown that the oil may inhibit the growth of cancer cells outside of the human body, but there haven’t been any real-life trials to back up these findings.

Gregory Gerdeman, PhD, assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College, told Time that there have also been anecdotal patient reports and “increasing numbers of legitimate clinical case studies … that all indicate tumor-fighting activities of cannabinoids.” It’s still unknown, however, whether traditional forms of marijuana would be an effective cancer therapy, or what cancer types it might actually work against.

Parents (and expectant parents) should know the risks
As pot use becomes more prevalent, more pregnant women are getting high, according to a 2016 JAMA study—either for recreational use or, sometimes, to treat morning sickness. But evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to marijuana is associated with developmental and health problems in children, including low birth weight, anemia, and impaired impulse control, memory, and attention, the authors wrote. Until more is known for sure, they say women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should be “advised to avoid using marijuana or other cannabinoids.”

Current parents should also use marijuana with caution, University of Washington researchers suggest. Their study in Prevention Science found that people tend to cut back on marijuana use once they have kids, but they don’t always quit. That’s concerning, says lead author and research scientist Marina Epstien, PhD, because parental marijuana use is strongly related to children’s use—and children’s use is associated with higher rates of health problems.

“Children watch what their parents do,” Epstein tells Health. “I would encourage parents to be talking to their kids and be clear about expectations for their kids about using or not using marijuana and the amount, especially with their teenagers.”

RELATED: Marijuana Use Linked to Higher Sperm Count, Suggests Surprising New Study

Heart problems could make it extra risky
In 2014, a study in Forensic Science International documented what German researchers claimed to be the first known deaths directly attributed by intoxication from marijuana. The authors pointed out that, during autopsies, it was discovered that one of the two young men had a serious but undetected heart problem, and that the other had a history of drug and alcohol use.

The researchers concluded that the absolute risk of cannabis-related cardiovascular effects is low, especially for healthy people. But they say that people who are at high risk for heart-related complications should avoid the use of cannabis, since it can have temporary effects on the cardiovascular system.

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It’s not safe to use marijuana and drive
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that insurance claim rates for motor vehicle accidents from 2012 to 2016 were about 3% higher in states with legalized marijuana than in states without. But other studies have found no such increase in fatal car crashes in states with legalized marijuana, compared to similar states without.

Experts say it’s possible that driving under the influence of marijuana may increase the risk of minor fender benders—but may also reduce rates of alcohol consumption and therefore help prevent more serious, deadly crashes. The bottom line? Driving while stoned may be less dangerous than driving drunk, but it’s still riskier than driving sober.

Weed smoke is still smoke—and still has health risks
The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse published a set of “lower-risk cannabis use guidelines,” aimed at helping people who use marijuana make responsible decisions about their health. (The drug was legalized for recreational use in Canada in 2018.) Among other advice, the guidelines urge people to “avoid smoking burnt cannabis,” which can harm the lungs and respiratory system—especially when combined with tobacco.

They recommend choosing vaporizers or edibles instead, but caution that these methods also come with some risks. And if you do smoke cannabis, the guidelines say, “avoid ‘deep inhalation’ or ‘breath-holding,’” which increase the amount of toxic materials absorbed by the body.

It’s not just lung-health that frequent weed smokers should worry about, either. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that frequent marijuana users were twice as likely as people who didn’t use frequently to have gum disease, even after controlling for other factors such as cigarette smoke. The research didn’t distinguish between methods of marijuana use, but they do point out that smoking is the most common form of recreational use.

RELATED: Can Smoking Pot Cause Lung Cancer?

For recreational users, less is safer
Canada’s low-risk guidelines may sum it up best with this statement: “To avoid all risks, do not use cannabis. If you decide to use, you could experience immediate, as well as long-term risks to your health and well-being.” The guidelines also recommend avoiding marijuana use during adolescence, because the later in life people start using the drug, the less likely they are to experience these problems.

Finally, the guidelines recommend adults choose natural cannabis over dangerous synthetic versions, and limit themselves to “occasional use, such as on weekends or one day a week at most.”

Some marijuana users develop a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) causes some marijuana users to experience severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that, among study participants, 18.4% of people who inhaled cannabis and ended up in the emergency room of a Colorado hospital and 8.4% of those who ate edible cannabis and ended up in the emergency room had CHS symptoms.

CHS hasn’t been studied extensively, says Joseph Habboushe, MD, who specializes in emergency medicine at NYU Langone. While it’s possible to use marijuana for years without experiencing symptoms of CHS, once a person does experience CHS symptoms, the symptoms tend to stick around as long as the person continues using marijuana. Stopping marijuana use is the only known way to permanently alleviate CHS symptoms, but it takes time. “We know that if you stop smoking you get better, but it takes days to weeks,” Dr. Habboushe says.

This post was originally published on June 29, 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.

7 Things Your Dreams Can Tell You About Your Sleep Quality

Author ArticleDepending on how well you slept, you might be more likely to have certain types of dreams than others. Whether you had a vivid dream, and woke up remembering every bizarre detail, or sat up in bed sweating after a nightmare, it can all help reveal the quality of your sleep. And possibly even various other disorders and underlying issues.

While not all dreams types are created equal, they share the same characteristics. “Dreams are a collection of involuntary thoughts, visual images, and emotional responses that occur during sleep,” Rose MacDowell, chief research officer at Sleepopolis, tells Bustle. “Dreams usually happen three to five times each night during REM sleep.”

During a typical night, you’re likely to go through four different stages of sleep, with each cycle lasting about 90 minutes. “REM is the last stage of a sleep cycle, preceded by stage one (light sleep), stage two (when both the heart rate and body temperature decrease), and stages three and four (grouped together and often referred to as slow-wave sleep, or SWS),” dream expert Stephanie Gailing, MS, tells Bustle.

Depending on things like your physical health, mental health, and even how deeply you’re sleeping, you might be more likely to have certain types of dreams, than others. And knowing what to look for can be one way to figure out a little bit more about your sleeping self.

Read on below for the various types of dreams, as well as what the experts say they might reveal about your overall quality of your sleep.

1. You Don’t Dream At All

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While it can be difficult to remember dreams once you wake up, if it feels like you rarely dream at all, it could point to a disorder that causes restless sleep, known as sleep apnea.

“This is because sleep apnea tends to be worse during REM sleep (the stage in which we have the most vivid dreams) so this stage of sleep becomes very disrupted with frequent awakenings, thereby preventing dreaming,” Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert, tells Bustle.

Again, you might be someone who can’t recall their dreams, even though you did have them. But if your dreamlessness is accompanied by other signs of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring or waking up tired, it may require a closer look.

2. You Dream As Soon As You Fall Asleep

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Dreaming the moment you fall asleep could, in some cases, be a sign of a disorder called narcolepsy. “Narcolepsy sufferers fall directly into REM sleep, normally the fourth stage of sleep, and may spend more time experiencing vivid dreams,” MacDowell says.

If you tend to wake up after a dream, even though you’ve only just gone to sleep, this may explain why — especially if you have other signs of narcolepsy, such as persistent daytime sleepiness.

3. You Have Extremely Vivid Dreams

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Vivid or bizarre dreams — including the kind that stick in your mind long after you’ve woken up — are common among creative people and those who meditate right before bed, MacDowell says. And they can also occur when you have a fever.

As MacDowell says, “Elevated body temperature can cause neurotransmitters in the brain to transmit information at a faster rate, causing vivid dreams or even hallucinations.”

But because vivid dreams can also trigger startling or negative emotions, MacDowell says they may indicate you didn’t sleep as well as you thought.

4. You Lucid Dream

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Have you ever been asleep and dreaming, but still somehow in control of your thoughts? This is known as lucid dreaming, and it can be a sign you’re under a lot of stress — and thus probably not sleeping very well.

“In lucid dreams, consciousness and dreaming overlap, creating a sense of awareness during sleep,” MacDowell says. “Lucid dreaming appears to happen during transitions from one stage of sleep to another, or from REM sleep to waking up. Lucid dreams are associated with high levels of activity in the brain, which can sometimes result from stress or anxiety.”

If you keep having lucid dreams, let a doctor know. They might want to suggest ways to help you cope with excess stress and anxiety, so you can get better sleep.

5. You Experience Nightmares

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If you have frequent nightmares, MacDowell says there’s a good chance you aren’t sleeping well, since these types of dreams tend to cause sudden waking. But they can also be a sign of a deeper issue.

“Nightmares are experienced by 80 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers, and may be an indicator of psychological trauma,” MacDowell says. “Anxiety and depression are two common causes of nightmares, which can also be an early sign of mood disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.”

If you experience nightmares on a regular basis, let a doctor know so they can address the underlying cause.

6. You Have Recurring Dreams

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Recurring dreams are also associated with an unresolved emotional issue or trauma, MacDowell says. And unfortunately, that can impair your ability to sleep.

“Recurring dreams don’t always indicate poor quality sleep, but may if they result from an emotional disturbance or trauma that causes frequent awakening or stress,” she says.

For issues you’ve yet to overcome, therapy can help you learn how to address them, in a comfortable environment. You might find that processing through these emotions leads to better sleep.

7. You Have Multiple Dreams

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If you have more than one dream per night, it could be a sign you went through multiple sleep cycles, and woke up momentarily after each one — which is when you’re the most likely to remember what they were all about.

And yet, since REM is a part of each sleep cycle, Gailing says it’s possible to have multiple dreams per night, even if you don’t remember them.

Again, everyone is different when it comes to the types of dreams they have. And just because you experience these dreams doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem.

If you’re concerned, you can let a doctor know about things like nightmares, recurring dreams, or a total lack of dreams. But as long as you wake up feeling refreshed, you might want to consider your dreams just another — somewhat mysterious — part of life.

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

11 Fascinating Things It Means If You Need More Than 8 Hours Of Sleep

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There are many things it could mean if you need more than eight hours of sleep per night. In some instances, snoozing the day away could be a sign of a health issue, such as an underlying infection or a mental health concern — which could keep you in bed past the typical sleeping times. But those aren’t the only things that could lead to an increased need for sleep.

“Doctors recommend that all adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep on a nightly basis,” Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck, tells Bustle “That variance depends on each individual, but if you aren’t getting at least seven hours of sleep, you are considered sleep deprived. That said, there are also times that we might need more sleep than our normal routine.”

If you have a cold, for instance, you’re going to need more sleep than usual as you recover. And the same may be true if you’re going through a difficult time in life, experiencing depression, if you’ve been exercising more than usual, and so on. It’s important to listen to your body, and get the rest you need. But it’s also a good idea to let a doctor know if you can’t get out of bed, or if you don’t feel well-rested.

Read on below for some possible reasons why you need more than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, according to experts.

1. It’s In Your Genes

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If you need more than eight hours of sleep each night, you might want to thank your DNA. “Some folks are just genetically inclined to need more sleep,” Matthew Ross, co-founder and COO of The Slumber Yard, tells Bustle. “Not every person shares the same sleep patterns and circadian rhythms.”

2. Depression & Other Mood Disorders

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If you have a mental health concern, like depression, there’s a good chance it’ll impact your sleep one way or another.

Depression can cause a desire to sleep too much, or it may cause insomnia,” Rose MacDowell, chief research officer at Sleepopolis, tells Bustle. “People with bipolar disorder might sleep too much during the depressive phase and too little during the manic phase.”

If you happen to notice any changes either way, it can help to let a doctor know.

3. Hypersomnia

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“Hypersomnia is a classification of sleep disorders that includes narcolepsy, probably the best-known form of hypersomnia,” MacDowell says. And this can result in an increased need for sleep.

“Narcolepsy is caused by an autoimmune reaction that damages hypocretin, the brain chemical responsible for feeling awake and alert,” MacDowell says. “People with hypersomnia can sleep up to sixteen hours a day and still feel the need to nap.”

4. Restless Legs Syndrome

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Sleep disorders that make it difficult to rest properly, such as restless legs syndromeand sleep apnea, can also cause you to need more sleep.

“Because both sleep disorders interrupt or prevent sleep,” MacDowell says, “sufferers may feel excessively sleepy during the day and spend an unusual amount of time asleep.”

The best thing to do, if you think a sleep disorder is to blame, is to make an appointment with your doctor. There are ways to overcome such issues, and get the sleep you need.

5. Medication Side Effects

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Some medications list sleepiness as a side effect, including “antihistamines, found in certain cold, motion sickness, and allergy medications,” MacDowell says. “Antihistamines cause sleepiness by blocking the effects of the brain’s natural histamines, which regulate wakefulness and sleep.” But other medications can do this, too. If you feel sleepier than usual, let your doctor know so they can help adjust your dosage, or switch you to a new medication that won’t be as intense.

6. Chronic Illnesses

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Unexplained fatigue is one of the many symptoms of a chronic illness. “Common conditions include fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, anemia, and rheumatoid arthritis,” Ross says. “People who suffer from conditions that result in fatigue and pain often require more sleep in order for their bodies to properly rest and recover.”

7. Colds & Infections

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“If we are fighting some sort of cold or sickness, our bodies can become drained [from] exerting more energy than normal to fight the virus, and we may require more sleep than normal as we recuperate,” Fish says. When an illness is to blame, you’ll want to make time to get all the extra rest you need, until you feel better.

8. Exercise

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Have you been getting more exercise than usual? If you’ve just started running, training for a marathon, or lifting weights, and your body isn’t accustomed to this new physical exertion, Fish says you may need more sleep than usual until your body adjusts.

9. Trauma

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“One of the most common causes of acute (temporary) insomnia is stress and/or a traumatic event,” sleep expert and author CM Hamilton, tells Bustle. If you’ve recently been through a traumatic event — a breakup, a death in the family, etc. — you may be sleepless at first, and then super exhausted as your body recovers.

10. You’re Young

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Young people tend to need more sleep than many older folks would deem appropriate. And yet, younger people require more sleep for a reason.

“Teenagers’ brains are developing at rapid rate and therefore require additional sleep, when brain development takes place,” Riki Taubenblat, a pediatric sleep consultant, tells Bustle. So if you’re young, snag that sleep while you still can.

11. Sleep Deprivation

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“The most common reason to need more sleep than usual is because your body is trying to repay a sleep debt, which comes after a few days or weeks of consistent sleep deprivation,” Taubenblat says. If you haven’t been getting those seven to nine hours, you will feel tired — and need more sleep.

To catch up, try sticking to a more consistent schedule, where you go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Eventually, your body will fall into a pattern, and you’ll hopefully feel more rested.

It is OK, though, if you need a little more or a little less sleep than the average person each night. But if you’re sleeping ten hours or more, or don’t feel rested, let a doctor know so they can help uncover the reason why.

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.

The 10 Best Vitamins for Anxiety, According to Experts

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7 Words You Should Immediately Stop Using To Describe Yourself

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We all know the words we say to others matter. But sometimes we forget that the words we say to and about ourselves are equally important. We need to be careful about the way we describe who we are. If you wouldn’t assign a word to a friend or other loved one, you probably shouldn’t assign it to yourself, either. Keep scrolling for seven specific words that you should stop using to talk about Y-O-U.



1. Alone: If you’ve just gone through a breakup with a significant other, have experienced a loss in your family, or are just feeling generally down in the dumps, it can be tempting to feel — and even say — that you’re all alone. Remember, though, that if you’re sharing these feelings with a friend or other confidante, you’re far from lonely. If you feel lonely, stop thinking of yourself as alone and reach out for support. “Perhaps it would help to reach out or let people in your life know that you need something versus trying to figure it out alone,” licensed psychologist Sue Sexton says. “You are not alone!”

2. Stupid: Licensed marriage and family therapist Ibinye Osibodu-Onyali tells us that she hears this word all too often. “If you say to yourself that you are stupid, you will trigger a negative feeling about yourself, as well as negative thoughts about yourself,” Osibodu-Onyali says. “Too many negative thoughts can lead to a drop in self-confidence or self-esteem.” Give yourself a little credit. Allow the necessary room to make mistakes so that you can relieve the pressure you put on yourself and be a little more compassionate to yourself.

3. Lazy: “Too many of us call ourselves out when we can’t rise early to exercise, take on one more task at home or at work, or just keep up with someone else,” says Karen Azeez, certified holistic health coach and author of The Kindfulness Solution. “At this point, we should see if we just need more down time, sleep, motivation, or information instead of judging ourselves harshly.” Don’t conflate exhaustion or overwhelm with habitual laziness. You’re only lazy if you choose to be.

4. Just/Only: When asked what you do for a living or even for fun, don’t hedge your answer with the word “just” or “only.” You’re not “just” a student or “only” an assistant or spending your weekend “just” hanging out. Own who you are and what you do. “These qualifiers undermine your power and awesomeness, serve as an apology for something that requires one, and broadcast low self-esteem or fake humility,” says Nikki Bruno, a power coach, speaker, and author.

5. Sorry: Women, in particular, are in the habit of making themselves apologetic way too often. While saying that you’re sorry may seem harmless — maybe even polite — you probably say it more than necessary. Executive coach and Development Corps founder Kate Gigax encourages you to be mindful that you’re not saying sorry for things that aren’t yours to own. Consider replacing “I’m sorry” with “thank you.” For instance, try saying, “Thank you for your patience” instead of “I’m so sorry I’m late!”

6. Sensitive: “By labeling your thoughts and feelings as sensitive, you’re not only judging yourself, but you’re instantly negating your thoughts and feelings,” therapist and life coach Tess Brigham notes. “There’s nothing wrong with having emotions.” Even if you’re convinced that you have more feels than the average human, you don’t owe it to anyone to justify your behavior. Instead, allow yourself to experience those emotions, so you can move past them when you’re ready.

7. Hopeless: No matter how low you’re feeling or how much you feel you need to grow or improve, we ask you to never, ever label yourself this way… and the experts back us up. “Reinforcing that you’re growing and learning is a far more positive, motivating, and effective message than expecting mastery out of the gate and beating yourself up over it,” life and career coach Sally Anne Carroll says.

This article originally appeared on Brit + Co.

Should We Look at Depression as More Than Just a ‘Chemical Imbalance’?

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Two years ago, a piece argued that depression isn’t simply about chemical imbalances. In no equivocal terms, it stated that depression’s link to being this kind of an imbalance is a lie. This report, of course, is not the only one. Another piece in the Harvard medical journal reiterates the same point.

Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
Harvard Health Publishing

Both reports suggest that yes, chemicals are involved in the process of being depressed, but that comes later.

Also Read : Eating Junk Food Can Raise Risk of Bipolar Disorder, Depression

First come several other factors like trauma, stressful surroundings, emotional triggers and so on and so forth. Depression simply does not exist in isolation or a vacuum and is not the first step, several factors lead to it, claim the reports.

If depression indeed is a chemical imbalance, the next logical step is to take a pill that counterbalances it.
If depression indeed is a chemical imbalance, the next logical step is to take a pill that counterbalances it.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

If depression indeed is a chemical imbalance, the next logical step is to take a pill that counterbalances it and voila! You’re cured. Not so easy. People sometimes take pills for years without being recovered.

To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
Harvard Health Publishing

This also goes to explain why two people with similar symptoms of depression might respond entirely differently to the same medication. Additionally, there is no concrete or definite data on the direct link of antidepressants to mental health and depression. Consequently, we don’t know for sure what Prozac, one of the most widely used medication used for depression in the US, is really doing to a depressed person.

Also Read : These Negative Social Media Behaviours Are Linked to Depression

Depression: A Complex Illness

Dr Achal Bhagat, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist at Apollo Hospital, comments on this and says that depression is a complex illness which cannot be explained in definite terms.

There are a number of factors that may increase its chances. These include abuse, certain medicines, interpersonal conflict, death or a loss, genetics, major events – both positive and negative, serious illnesses and substance abuse (nearly 30 percent people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression).
Dr Achal Bhagat
So, what is the role of medication and hormones in all this?
So, what is the role of medication and hormones in all this?
(Photo: iStockphoto)

So, what is the role of medication and hormones in all this?

Also Read : Are Creativity and Mental Disorders Connected?

Depression and Hormones

According to Dr Bhagat, there are two hormones that have primarily been associated with depression – serotonin and cortisol.

The commonest explanation is an imbalance of serotonin. This is supported by imaging studies where it has been found that the size of the hippocampus (a part of the brain) in those with depression is relatively smaller than those who do not have depression. The serotonin receptors in smaller hippocampus are also low. Some people have also proposed that cortisol levels are higher in those with depression and this may lead to shrinking of the hippocampus.
Dr Achal Bhagat

Also Read : I’m Mad Because My Heart Has Been Broken: Diary of a Schizophrenic

Can This Hormonal Imbalance be Treated with Medication?

Following the thought expressed in the studies which don’t see depression as linked to chemical imbalances, Reshma Valliappan, a mental health activist who has been very vocal in the past about her struggle with schizophrenia, agrees that medication doesn’t help deal with mental disorders.

How does she look at depression at depression and its links with medication?

Many of us know for certain that once medication is given, we are also suggested therapy. It is in that room, that I uncover the layers of causes to my said disorder and this mostly points to a dysfunctional upbringing of some sort. I’ve had many therapists and counsellors who have worked with those like myself and we’ve all uncovered areas of parenting that messed us up.
Reshma Valliappan
 Reshma agrees that medication doesn’t help deal with mental disorders.
Reshma agrees that medication doesn’t help deal with mental disorders.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

However, in her case even therapy hasn’t been the solution. Reshma adds that different experts seem to have different views which impede her recovery.

The politics in the practice here contradicts each other where the practitioner who is prescribing these medications only look at a possible imbalance that needs to be fixed. Yet in the same school of practice – a different practitioner is suggesting that we’ve had bad experiences and require family therapy to enable us confront our past issues. Practitioners tend to override each other on our expense and unfortunately we are caught in the chaos of their practice being more important than our actualities.
Reshma Valliappan

Also Read : All in the Head: Alarming Rise of Psychosomatic Disorders in India

How Does Reshma Look at Her Depression?

Reshma has lived with depression since 1995 and has a non-traditional approach to it. It should be noted that this is a very personal approach and should not be looked at as medical advice. Each person’s treatment differs and only a trained medical professional can guide you with that.

Reshma has lives with depression since 1995 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002. Her hallucinations were auditory, olfactory, tactile and visual in nature.
Reshma has lives with depression since 1995 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002. Her hallucinations were auditory, olfactory, tactile and visual in nature.
(Photo: Saumya Pankaj/The Quint)

For Reshma, emotions often become overwhelming to the point of leaving her unable to function or in her own words:

The minute my body faces a ‘crash on energy’, I notice how I am overwhelmed by the simplest of emotions and situations and fall into weeping spells, fatigue and the lack of interest to do anything in life.
Reshma Valliappan

She adds her life experiences have a huge role to play in her depression, but pinpointing them helps her find a solution which she didn’t otherwise find in medication.

As a human, I am bound to get affected by them (life experiences). Where my expectations and what I want is not met, I also observe a slow dip in me which further builds up into a ball of depression… I’ve noticed unrealistic expectations with myself, owing to the lifestyle I lead, and often it can make it difficult to know where and when must I stop and simply let go of what I can’t achieve. When I can pinpoint these reasons and see how they are affecting or even causing my depression, it makes me feel that I do have control over what is happening with me and that there are solutions I can find.
Reshma Valliappan

Also Read : What’s a ‘Happiness Class’? Enter a Delhi Govt School to Find Out

Depression – a Quicksand of Uncertainty

With depression, as both Dr Bhagat and Reshma suggest, we have only scraped a little of the tip of the iceberg. While data and research continues to remain sketchy on what really works, both people FIT reached out to are in disagreement about what truly works when it comes to mental illness.

Reducing depression to simply a chemical imbalance gives a very bleak perspective of the illness to the one suffering with it.
Reducing depression to simply a chemical imbalance gives a very bleak perspective of the illness to the one suffering with it.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Dr Bhagat comments about the potency of antidepressants in treating severe depression, Reshma feels that it reduces her agency and gives her a pessimistic view of her illness when we reduce it to chemicals. In fact, she’s not the only one in feeling this manner. According to this study, reducing depression to simply a chemical imbalance gives a very bleak perspective of the illness to the one suffering with it.

If someone were to merely tell me it’s a chemical imbalance, it suggests that there is nothing I can ever do to help myself. It kills any hope one can have to help oneself. It puts help in a material process instead which also depends on my bank account, thereby adding more struggle to my pain.
Reshma Valliappan

On the other hand, Dr Bhagat points out the role of antidepressants in addressing this very chemical imbalance. In fact, they have been proven to perform better than placebo, he further says.

Severe depression responds well to treatment with anti depressants which seem to have a long term neurotrophic impact on neurons. The two main meta analysis of many studies on effectivity of antidepressants conclude that antidepressants do work well in severe depression. A recent studywhich brought together the information regarding 1,00,000 patients concluded the antidepressants work significantly better than placebo.
Dr Achal Bhagat

Yet, he adds:

It does not mean that psychotherapy does not work for depression. However the availability of trained psychotherapists in a country like India is limited. Where access to therapy is available, a combination of both medicines and psychotherapy works well.

Anything related to the mind is still overwhelming beyond comprehension. While people located at different points of the spectrum would disagree on several aspects, we can all agree that there definitely isn’t any one single way to address or treat depression.

7 Signs Your Body Is Expressing Anxiety Physically

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You may experience anxious thoughts, but physically, anxiety lives in your body. Everyone is born with a predisposition towards occasional anxiety — a form of self-preservation — but with time, some people do become more anxious than others. Dealing with chronic anxiety is multifaceted, but figuring out how anxiety exists in both your mind and body can be really helpful towards understanding these issues on a deeper level.

Anxiety is meant to be hard-wired. It is a natural way humans have protected themselves throughout the course of evolution. But different people have different thresholds for anxiety, and different bodies process these feelings differently. You may even look back on your past and realize that your adult anxiety has been becoming more and more hard-wired over the years, as you’ve learned the specific ways you personally respond to stress.

“Each time we experience stress and don’t manage it, it builds in our body,” Kristen Fescoe, clinical program manager at Resility Health, tells Bustle. “Over time our bodies become wired for stress and anxiety. Every time we experience day-to-day stressors our bodies exhibit this hard-wired response of fight or flight.” Because of this, anxiety can build up over time.

Understanding whether or not you’re more hard-wired for anxiety than most, however, isn’t that difficult. According to mental health professionals, there are multiple ways to tell.

Here are seven signs your body may be physically wired for anxiety, according to experts.

1Difficulty Focusing Or Concentrating

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When your body is predisposed to anxiety, you may struggle with attention issues a bit more than most. You may not have a clinically-diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but you may find that concentrating is a bit harder for you than others — especially when you’re stressed.

“One of the most common signs that you are hard-wired for anxiety is having difficulty focusing or concentrating,” Fescoe says. Finding coping mechanisms for anxiety that work best for you can help you struggle with this issue less.

2You Struggle With Sleep

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Bodies that are physically wired for anxiety may have more trouble than others when it comes to relaxing at night. So if you struggle with both anxiety and sleep, this may be the missing link.

“You may also find that you have trouble sleeping, whether it be falling asleep, staying asleep, or not feeling rested after you are able to sleep,” Fescoe says. This isn’t to say, however, that sleep issues are incurable. Both therapy and medication can help you deal with your nighttime symptoms of anxiety.

3You Have Stomach Problems

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Anxiety and the gut are deeply connected. So if you can correlate bouts of stomach upset to moments of stress in your life, you may be predisposed to anxiety.

“Many people living with high levels of stress and anxiety experience stomach issues of all sorts,” Fescoe says. Both mental health professionals, as well as physicians, can help you deal with these unpleasant symptoms.

4You Were Socially Anxious As A Child

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Not all signs of anxiety being hard-wired in your body actually show up in your body. Sometimes it requires a little digging into your past to understand why you may experience these feelings.

“When you’re young, your brain has a lot of myelin, the substance that turns neurons into superconductors,” author and professor Loretta Breuning, PhD, tells Bustle. “Any neurons you activate repeatedly when you’re young get myelinated. So any social pain you anticipate when you’re young gets wired in.” If you had a childhood where socializing was difficult, then, your brain may automatically react to social situations with fear. Therapy can help with this.

5You Have Back Pain

panitanphoto/Shutterstock

For people who are physically wired for anxiety, back pain is pretty common. Holding tension in your back and neck is a natural reaction to long periods of stress.

“Many people who experience muscle tension and blame everything from prolonged sitting to poor posture, but this is one of the most common physical signs that your body is hard-wired from anxiety,” Fescoe says. Of course, multiple issues can cause back pain, but if you deal with anxiety, there’s a chance there’s a link between the two issues.

6You Get Headaches Often

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Headaches, like many chronic health problems, have a variety of causes. But if you get anxious often, and have headaches, there may be a correlation in your physical wiring.

“Chronic and irritating headaches [… are] a telltale sign that your anxiety level is triggering a physical response,” Fescoe says. Making sure you talk to your doctor about both your physical and emotional symptoms is important.

7You Have Been Rewarded For Being Anxious In The Past

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If your anxiety leads to perfectionism, which leads to success in school or extracurriculars as a child, then you may have developed a physical hardwiring for anxiety as an adult.

“It is useful to know how your anxiety habit got built,’ Dr. Breuning says. “Sometimes people get rewarded for being anxious in one way or another.” Anxiety you feel now can be traced back to this.

Since everyone is physically wired to experience anxiety to some degree, the goal is not to cure yourself of anxiety itself. Finding healthy coping mechanisms and physical relief from the more uncomfortable symptoms is a worthy goal as you strive to attain more balanced mental health.

7 Signs Your Body Doesn’t Actually Know How To Maintain Deep Sleep

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Every night of sleep is not created equal — even if you think you get eight hours of rest. If you’re having trouble getting deep sleep, you may not even know it. Sleep medicine experts know how to pinpoint the vague symptoms related to this issue, however, and can help you get back on track. Having a hard time getting adequate sleep is troubling enough, but it can be caused by a variety of underlying issues.

“There are several medical problems that make it difficult for people to maintain deep sleep at night,” Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, M.D., Chief Medical Liaison at health technology company Philips, tells Bustle. “According to Philips annual global sleep survey, three quarters of adults around the world experience at least one of the following conditions that impact their sleep: insomnia, snoring, shift work sleep disorder, chronic pain, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy.” Both physical and mental health problems can make getting that deepest stage of sleep difficult, but since this all goes on at night, you may struggle pinpointing what’s going on.

Paying more attention to how you sleep at night, plus keeping an eye on whether you’re tired during the day, can give you a little more data to then help you try to work on your sleep cycle at home, or bring your concerns to a doctor. Everyone deserves a good night’s rest.

Here are seven signs your body doesn’t actually know how to maintain deep sleep.

1You Wake Up Easily

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If you’re prone to waking up from every car that passes, every bump in the night, or even the slightest hint of sunlight out your bedroom window, then you may not be getting the deep sleep you need.

“If you’re a light sleeper, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep,” Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. “When your body is in deep sleep, it should be difficult for you to be woken. When this isn’t the case, a lack of deep sleep might be to blame.” If your constant waking up is causing you difficulties during the day, this is worth mentioning to a doctor.

2You Constantly Hit The Snooze Button

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Feeling refreshed when you wake up in the morning may seem like a myth to you, but it doesn’t need to be. If you need to hit snooze every morning, then you may not be getting the deep sleep you need in the middle of the night.

“If you know you’re getting enough hours of sleep, but you just can’t stop hitting the snooze button and feel groggy in the morning, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep at night,” Backe says. If you find that even putting in an effort to break this habit doesn’t work, then you may want to examine what’s keeping you from getting deep into your sleep cycle at night.

3You Snore A Lot

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When severe, snoring can be more than just an annoyance during the night. Your snoring may actually be preventing you from getting the deep sleep your body so desperately needs.

“Snoring is another common cause that impacts sleep with 29 percent of global adults reporting they experience this condition,” Dr. Lee-Chiong says. “[… And] snoring can be a manifestation of an underlying sleep apnea disorder.” So if you have an inkling that your snoring is causing you to have trouble breathing, or is severe in another way, then you should definitely bring it up to a doctor.

4You Need To Nap To Get Through The Day

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Naps can be a really great occasional boost. But if you absolutely need them to get through the day, something more serious might be going on.

“If you find that you can’t get through the day without taking a nap, despite having the recommended six to eight hours sleep the night before, it might be a sign that you’re not maintaining deep sleep at night,” Backe says. Your daytime naps may actually be making it harder for you to get deep sleep at night, so trying to get yourself back onto a regular schedule may help.

5You Wake Up During The Night

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If you get up multiple times every night, for whatever reason, that’s a strong sign of something underlying going on in the world of sleep medicine.

“Waking up throughout the night can indicate that you are not reaching a state of deep sleep,” Dr. Lee-Chiong says. “Deep sleep, or the final stage of non-REM sleep, is the time when your brain waves are at their lowest frequency and you are at your hardest to wake up.” Finding ways to improve your sleep environment, or talking to your doctor about this issue, may help improve things.

6You’re Tired Throughout The Day

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Being sleepy during the day doesn’t have to be something you put up with willingly just because it’s common. Exhaustion — even when you feel you’ve slept an adequate number of hours — doesn’t need to be your norm.

Six in 10 global adults experience daytime sleepiness at least twice per week,” Dr. Lee-Chiong says. “People who do not obtain optimal deep sleep at night often feel tried throughout the day, which may impact their energy levels and productivity.” If this applies to you, then you may want to try working on your sleep hygiene to improve the amount of deep sleep you achieve.

7You Wake Up Before Your Alarm Goes Off

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Waking up before your alarm occasionally can be a good thing — especially if it is slightly before your alarm and at a regular time. But if you wake up way before your alarm goes off, then your sleep cycle may be off.

“If you wake up too early and never return back to sleep, this might influence your time in deep sleep and REM sleep,” Vikas Jain, MD, sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, tells Bustle. Staying in bed and trying to rest for those final few hours may help.

Not getting adequate deep sleep could end up being as detrimental as staying up too late or waking up too early. So if you realize you may not be getting deep enough sleep throughout the night, you may want to either find ways to adjust your routine, or visit the doctor to get to the bottom of it.