Why a good night’s sleep is more important than you think!

Sleep plays a valuable role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to conserve healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times supports your mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety.  The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as an accident caused by your inability to focus), or it can harm you over time. Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems as well as affect how well you are able to pay attention, react, work, and get along with others.

Here are just a few ways sleep affects you:

  • Proper sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills.
    While sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day by building new ways to help you learn and remember information. A good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning a new job, a new skill, or working on a new project, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills.
  • With proper rest you are more able to pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
    Not only does lack of proper sleep effect your learning and creativity, but it also harms your ability to make wise decisions and pay attention which is damaging for day to day activities such as driving.
    Lack of sleep also may lead to short term memory lapses called “microsleep”. Microsleep refers to brief moments of sleep that occur when you’re normally awake. For example, when you enter a room and forget why.  Many link this type of incident to aging but it is actually due to lack of proper sleep which happens to become more common as you get older. Microsleep can disrupt your work by causing you to forget important tasks among other issues. Also, this type of lapse inconfusionchaos.jpg awareness is shown to be a cause of many vehicle accidents.
  • Sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.
    Without restful sleep, people may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. Snap decisions are often made when we lack rest which result in negative outcomes from accidents to being convinced we are too miserable to continue fighting through the day.
  • Sleep depravation is extremely harmful to your body’s health as well as your mind’s.
    Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity to name a few issues.Sleep helps you maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormone levels fluctuate which can make you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
    Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
    Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy.  Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections, colds or allergies.
  • Recurring or intense headaches are usually caused by lack of rest. 
    In a large study of migraine sufferers, half said sleep disturbances contributed to their headaches. And those who slept only six hours a night on average had more frequent and more severe headaches than those who slept longer.

Getting enough quality sleep helps you function well throughout your day.  Everyone’s insomnia-man-400x266.jpgindividual sleep needs vary. In general, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep a night.

 

Some people aren’t aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they’re sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well.

What are some things that cause us to lose valuable sleep time?

  • Stress
    Common triggers include work related pressures, family problems, illnesses or dealing with a difficult situation in your personal life.  Usually the sleep problem disappears when the stressful situation passes. However, if short-term sleep problems such as insomnia aren’t managed properly from the beginning, they can persist long after the original stress has passed.
  • Food and Drink before bedtime
    Drinking alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated beverages after 6pm can effect your sleep as well as eating a heavy meal, sugary or spicy snacks after 6pm.
  • Too much activity within 2 hours of your bedtime can prevent your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 
    For example, exercising in the evening or working on a project into the night will make you subconsciously prepare to stay more active for a longer period and leave you tossing and turning while you’re trying to sleep.  Your thoughts may or may not be directly related to the activity you were doing as you toss and turn, but are still a direct result of your previous activity.
  • Nicotine
    The intake of nicotine through tobacco smoking and smokeless tobacco within 2 hours before your bedtime will inhibit your ability to have restful sleep.
  • Interruptions and disruptions
    Environmental factors can play a huge role in some people’s ability to sleep.  Some people are considered “light sleepers” who are effected by even dim lighting or the sound of a breeze outside keeping them awake.  If the person next to you snores or the bed is not comfortable, this type of disruption creates difficulties sleeping as well. Or, obviously, when we are jarred awake by a loud noise or similar, this can rob many of hours of sleep while trying to recover and calm ourselves from the sudden event.

 

Sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. Studies have shown sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents.  While some of the items described above cannot be avoided, it is highly recommended you find a way to obtain proper sleep customized for your lifestyle as well as the basics.  So, to reiterate a few items discussed above and also add some new;
Here are some useful tips to help you get a better night’s rest:

  • If you are stressed, practice yoga, mediation or other relaxation methods that you are comfortable with before going to bed
  • Avoid eating, smoking or extreme activities after 6pm if at all possible. And avoid drinking anything other than water in this time frame as well.
  • If you are light and/or sound sensitive, use a sleep mask and/or ear plugs to help mask environmental disruptors from ruining your sleep.
  • Daily exercise is excellent for your well being for many reasons including enabling you to get better rest at night.  Just be sure your exercise is done earlier in the day to avoid restlessness later in the evening.
  • Maintaining a regular bed time is extremely helpful in maintaining proper rest.  Studies have shown that the average person needs 8 hours of sleep, so calculate your bed time around that period.

SB.jpgIn closing, sleep deprivation can be a miserable and harmful experience for you and those in your circle.  While it’s not necessarily easy to manage, we hope you have found some helpful information in this blog to manage your sleep habits and get more rest. If you found this blog useful, be sure to follow us for safety tips and more helpful information and share our blog with your friends.  If you have a health or safety topic you’d like to see covered in our blog, let us know!

Sweet Dreams,
Close Range Safety Training Academy

 

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Is Bullying a part of your child’s school day?

It’s Back to School season and as you relax back into the routine remember to keep a watchful eye on your child’s routine too! Are you missing the signs of bullying? Statistics show that 28% of children in school are victims of bullying which also means bullies exist in similar if not larger numbers.

Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveal that young people with low self-esteem are at greater risk of bullying, but a low-self esteem may also be what urges some to bully as well.

There are two factors at play when bullying is evident.  The bully is usually a victim of his or her own abuse and finds a bit of release when attacking another.  A victim of bullying is usually a weaker individual who is now subjected to emotional damage as a result from bullying.

Bullying varies from verbal abuse to violent acts depending on the circumstances.  All variations of bullying can do irreversible harm.

school-bullying.jpgMental Health Advocates have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression and an increased risk for suicide. But less is known about the long-term psychological health of adults who, as children, were bullies or victims of bullying. When a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers, this is a red flag and can indicate that the youngster has other serious psychiatric problems, and often, these children are at high risk for later adversities in adulthood, including a wide range of mental health problems.

Recognizing, Ending, and repairing the results of Bullying starts at home! 

Is your child a victim of bullying? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Visible cuts or bruises
  • Damage to property or loss of property such as school supplies or personal items
  • Chronic illnesses such as stomach aches, headaches, or just feeling sick
  • Behavioral changes such as different eating habits, different sleeping habits, withdrawn behaviors, or lack of interest in favored activities
  • Self Destructive behaviors such as being argumentative, poor school performance in grades or programs, or suicidal thoughts

Is your child a bully? Here are five key items to help you identify the answer:

  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for negative actions
  • Often has new belongings that you did not purchase for him/hershutterstock_262406261-min.jpg
  • Hangs around with a destructive crowd while focusing on popularity or a reputation
  • Gets in trouble a lot at school
  • Is competitive and combative at the same time

 

5 THINGS CAN DO AT HOME TO PREVENT YOUR CHILD FROM
BEING A BULLY OR  A VICTIM OF BULLYING: 

  • Monitor your child’s social media activity, google searches and online activities. The internet is a great source of information not only for a person but also about a person based on their internet habits.  Is your child researching ways to harm others or defend his/her self?  Is your child making fun of others on social media or being made fun of on his/her social media account? If you monitor your child’s internet activity as well as set limitations you can prevent harm not only in regards to bullying but multiple other threats that are in the cyber world. (To learn more about technology safety and your child be sure to check out Project Harmony).
  • Communicate with your child on a regular basis! Keeping the door open to communication is the most valuable thing you can do for your child during their school years as this is the time they develop their social skills and general life skills. Keeping the door open means to listen without judgement and advise without bias. Sometimes it’s hard to be a parent and a friend, but when you’re not able to balance the two you could be seen as the enemy and it’s a fine line.  Talking with your children on their level can not only protect them from bullying, but also from being a victim of numerous threats out there for young, impressionable children.
  • Ask the right questions…carefully. Ask your children if they’ve ever witnessed bullying, how they felt about it and what they did if they saw it. Ask if they’ve ever been bullied or bullied someone and what the result was.  Choose your responses carefully.  Sometimes a victim is afraid to report bullying and telling them they have to will not help. Also, breaking their trust by reporting it without their permission could harm your relationship.  Never tell your child to fight back or choose revenge.  If you learn your child is a bully, find out why.  Is it their peers influencing the behavior? Did something happen at home to influence this behavior? Remember, also, there is therapy available for children that can help with the problems you may discover and aren’t sure how to resolve.  Also, schools have professional counselors on staff that are willing to meet with you and your child privately to resolve these types of situations so take advantage of that! (stopbullying.gov is a great resource on how to talk with your child about bullying and other valuable info on the topic.)
  • Remember that your home and family life is where it all begins! Be sure you are providing a quality way of life for your child(ren) to the best of your ability. Leben in der Familiep.jpgMany households have single parents trying to hold it all together, or even with two parents it can be hard in modern society to make time for your children when so much other responsibility is baring down on you to be able to provide for them.  It’s easy to lose focus on what makes quality family time when you are in a situation that brings your work home with you or many other issues that can consume most of your time.  Life is hard enough but being a parent is no small challenge, especially in this day and age. Do what you must to schedule time with your child(ren) daily and if there is more time available on weekends, use it wisely.  Pay attention to homework and school activities.  Be as involved as you possibly can in your child’s lives. (Families for Life offers a great list of tips to help you build a better family life in a hectic world – click here!)

Close Range Safety Training Academy recognizes and respects the importance of children and their future.  We urge you to join us.  For more tips about this important topic, visit: www.kidpower.org.  For more health and safety tips, please be sure to follow our blog.

How to Help Our Heroes: Mental Health Resources for Veteran and Their Families

When we have a federal holiday, many of us focus on the opportunity to enjoy an extended weekend and our focus is on getting together with our loved ones or using our spare time to our advantage.  It’s easy to focus on the things we don’t get to do often and lose sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day.11377140_10152980829086775_5786723641010396236_n.jpgThis Memorial Day, we ask that you remember not only the fallen soldiers but also their families and the veterans among us today who suffer with the painful memories of war and their fallen brothers and sisters.

Statistics show an estimated 25% of people who served in the U.S. military have symptoms of at least one mental health condition, with more than 10% qualifying for a diagnosis of two or more mental illnesses frequently acquired while serving their country. Our military faces many challenges that we, as average citizens, cannot fathom such as; Extended separation from their loved ones, facing the harsh realities of combat, and head trauma as well as being obligated to press on in war under severe emotional stress.

According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research many veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.  Major depression is characterized by encompassing periods of low moods, loss of interest in activities that were once desirable, continuing fatigue, and other characteristics that minimize the victim’s quality of life, ability to work and even his or her ability to function in basic day to day activities.  Post-traumatic stress disorder develops as a result of exposure to traumatic events such as war and is identified by disturbing or altered thoughts and feelings, mental or physical distress triggered by trauma related cues, increased fight or flight responses, and recurring nightmares for extended periods of time.  Both illnesses are leading causes in substance abuse and suicide cases nationwide.

What can you do to help those who suffer as a result of war while honoring our fallen heroes this memorial day? 

  • Learn how to recognize mental illnesses in your loved one by knowing the signs and symptoms.  There are several resources available for your research such as The American Psychiatric Association, Mental Health America, or WebMD.com where major depression and PTSD are explained.
  • Know how to treat someone who is suffering. Offer unconditional love and support while avoiding trying to fix their problems on your own. Never advise a victim to “snap out of it” or “move on from the past” in these situations.  Be realistic in knowing that these things require patience and understanding and healing takes a very long time for some.  Definitely encourage professional help whenever possible, but do so gently without making a victim feel insulted, judged, or unwanted.  Always express understanding and encouragement as well as acknowledgement that their issues are as real as any other illnesses.
  • Promote and support treatment whenever possible.  Help them to understand that treatment isn’t modifying their personality but can greatly help relieve symptoms.  Offer help with locating a therapist or health care provider, preparing for their appointments, transportation when needed, and tracking symptoms.  Use mild reminders for both medication and motivation when you see they are not having success on their own.
  • Understand the crisis our nation is facing regarding military mental health. According to Dr. Joel Young numerous studies have documented the fact that our service members struggle to access mental health treatment. Dr. Young shares some of the disturbing challenges our military faces when in need of treatment such as professional consequences, inaccessible treatment and the lack of military mental health screenings in his informative article in Psychology Today.
  • Pursue all the resources available to help you help someone you love who is suffering mental illness as a result of time served. Mental Health America offers a comprehensive list of resources you can reach out to on their website (click here for a direct link).
  • Donate to charities that support the well being of our veterans. Here are a few great charities to send your donations to: Wounded Warrior Project, Cohen Veterans Network, America’s Military Charity, American Veteran’s Foundation, or check out this list of recommended charities from “The Street’s” charity watch for veterans.
  • If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone. In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

We at Close Range Safety Training Academy want to honor our fallen heroes this holiday and every day as well as all who have served in the U.S. Military.  We thank you for your service to our country.  We wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday weekend as you respect and remember our courageous veterans. Please follow our blog for more health and safety tips for you and your loved ones.

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, Please Don’t Look Away!👊🚫

Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention month? It’s a topic that many of us do not like to address because it’s very harsh reality to accept. But, unfortunately, it is a reality that affects an average of six million children annually. That’s a staggering number!

The brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community quickly during the early developmental stages of infancy and childhood. Development is directly linked to the quality and quantity of those experiences. Repeated exposure to stressful or abusive events as well as neglect can affect the brain’s stress response and over time a child may react as if danger is always present in their environment regardless of actual circumstances.

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Awareness of the signs of child abuse is your first step in saving a child.

Here are some key signs to look for:

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS:

  • Failure to thrive socially or academically
  • Learning and/or Speech disorders
  • Delayed physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Discomfort with physical contact or difficulty connecting with others
  • Lags in physical, emotional or intellectual development
  • Behavior extremes, such as appearing overly compliant and passive or very demanding and aggressive.
  • Increased fear or avoidance of a specific person and/or situation
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Bedwetting
  • Anxiety and/or excessive worrying
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncharacteristic obedience or perfectionism
  • Strong feelings of shame or guilt
  • Programmed statements or behaviors
  • Knowledge of or interest in sexual behaviors that are not age appropriate

PHYSICAL SIGNS:

  • Bruises, welts or swelling
  • Sprains or fractures
  • Burns
  • Lacerations or abrasions
  • Frequent physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody clothing
  • Pain or itching in the genital area; bruises or bleeding in the external genital area
  • Sexually transmitted infections or diseasesTheir-lifes-stop-child-abuse-28564802-599-775.jpg

Research has found that children exposed to any form of abuse, if left unaddressed or ignored, are at an increased risk for emotional and behavioral problems throughout their life and into adulthood.

Depending on your role in the child’s life, you may or not be privy to prevention but turning a blind eye to the signs of child abuse is never the path to choose. Identifying the signs may be an uncomfortable position to be depending on your relationship with the child, but you can protect your position by being anonymous. There are many sources that can help you help a child, such as Child Help’s national hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or you can do an internet search for sources in your area.

We encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more.

✍️☑️ Your New Years Resolution Solution! Tips to Beat the Stats in 2017…✍️☑️

A little more than half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but roughly 8% actually succeed in meeting their goals.

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Come the first of January, hoards of enthusiastic resolutioners account for the spiking sales of gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, diet programs and many other self-help programs. By the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolutioners are facing remorse and disappointment in themselves for falling out of line. Why is it that such good intentions seem so elusive?

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Changing your behavior, whether it’s eating less, exercising more, quitting smoking, etc., is very difficult. Research has repeatedly proven the ways in which exhaustion depletes our willpower and generates an unavoidable state of stress. A well-rested person will have a much easier time resisting that cookie than a sleepy one. And studies have also shown that people who don’t get enough sleep aren’t just more tired, but are also more distracted.

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With this in mind, here are 5 other useful tips to help you create, maintain, and succeed with your New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. It’s about you! Make it something you actually want, not something you should want or what everyone tells you it should be.
  2. Get proper rest! Without a good night’s sleep, the next day is challenging enough on it’s own without the added challenge of self control when you’re feeling week. 
  3. Cultivate optimism. Positivity may be blocked by habitual pessimism, but if you are determined to stop complaining (to yourself and others) you can prevail. Pessimism is an instinctive habit most of us have and should be considered when making your resolution as a by-product of your resolution. 
  4. Keep spirits high. Sometimes it feels impossible to cultivate optimism.  At those times, try a different approach.  Do something that makes you happy like watching your favorite movie, listening to your favorite song or doing something creative. 
  5. Account and reward. Don’t focus on the goals as much as the achievements.  For instance, by quitting smoking you can save an average of $35 per week or cutting back on meals may save you an average of $80 per week.  This adds up. 

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Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up! Everyone has ups and downs. Resolve to recover from your mistakes, get back on track and make 2017 your year!

❄😔Holiday Blues got You Down? Try These Prevention & Survival Tips for a Happier & Healthier Winter Season😔❄

Holiday blues are a pretty common problem despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time,” says Rakesh Jain, MD, director of psychiatric drug research at the R/D Clinical Research Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. “Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop and the decreased time to exercise which gets put on the back burner during the holidays.”

While people with clinical depression should seek professional help, those with a touch of the holiday blues can try these strategies recommended by experts to assure a merry holiday and a happy new year:

  • Avoid setting up unrealistic expectations for yourself such as taking on hosting responsibilities for events or trying to be the peace keeper in family conflicts.
  • Plan ahead by creating prevention routines for yourself and doing your best to follow your schedule. Set up a calendar of to do lists for positive actions for yourself.
  • Remember it’s ok to grieve. If you’ve suffered a loss and this season is a painful reminder of that, don’t be ashamed to grieve that loss. Feelings are a sign that you’re human and reflect where you are in your healing process.
  • Don’t rob yourself of proper rest! Sleep and rest are important to everyone. Studies have proven that sleep deprivation is directly connected to depression. Do not cut back on your sleep in order to get more done during this busy season. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid binging on food and alcohol. What feels good at the moment will have you facing regrets later on. Know your limits and stick to them at all times. In the moment binging may seem like a solution, but in actuality it creates more problems.

If your feelings of sadness during the holidays are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, do one of the following immediately: 1. Call 911  2. Go immediately to a hospital emergency room. 3. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


Could I be Suffering from Depression?

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Here are some symptoms to help identify depression in yourself or in a loved one:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Struggling with concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
  • Loss of appetite or significant increase in appetite
  • Escalating irritability, aggression, or anger
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Developing an increase in alcohol consumption or reckless (acting out) behavior
  • Thoughts that your life is not worth living or thoughts of death or suicide
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Unexplained aches and pains

If you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek professional help immediately. If you observe these symptoms in a loved one, gently encourage them to consider professional help.

For a listing of depression support groups, please visit the DBSA online


For Family and Friends

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Keep in mind that a mood disorder such as Depression is a physical, treatable illness that effects a person’s brain. It is a real illness, as real as diabetes or asthma. It is not a character flaw or personal weakness, and it is not caused by anything you or your loved one did.

A “tough love” approach is widely considered  unhelpful in terms of aiding someone with depression.


What to do in Crisis Situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.

In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK