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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⛈Driving in the Driving Rain⛈ Tips for Safe Commuting

As the song says, “It never rains in Southern California, but don’t they warn you? It pours, man it pours.

After one of our worst droughts in history, Southern California has been getting drenched lately with heavy rainfall and strong winds. Many of us aren’t used to this kind of weather so we wanted to share some very important safety tips about driving in these dangerous and unfamiliar conditions.

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  • Check your tires before driving in severe rain. Tire tread is what allows your tires to ALIGNEMNT.jpgadhere to the road, which is why it’s so dangerous to drive with bald tires. Without the right traction, you can skid, slide, and hydroplane easily in wet conditions. (Click here for a simple way to check your tires at home.) 
  • Take your time. Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Also remember that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on roadway make for slick conditions. Waiting a few minutes, rather than rushing to your destination, can be a safer plan when it is raining.
  • Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer.Anticipate gusts by taking special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather.
  • Turn your lights on. Turn your headlights on to help other vehicles see you, even in broad daylight. Be sure to check your lights regularly to make sure none of your lights have burnt out, and replace dead lights immediately. This includes headlights, brake lights, turn signals, tail lights, and running lights. 
  • Use and maintain your windshield wipers. You can improve your visibility in wet conditions by ensuring that your wipers are up to the job, and by using the right washer fluid. Replace poorly or not working windshield wipers immediately and maintain them annually to prevent them from cracking, breaking, or not sealing properly when you need them most. 
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes. Slamming on the brakes can cause you to slide forward, and you won’t be able to control the car. Hitting the brakes too hard can also force water into your brakes, making them less effective.
  • Approach turns slowly. Turning too quickly on a wet road can cause your tires to hydroplane, and this means you won’t be able to control the car, and could skid out. 
  • DO NOT use cruise control. Cruise control is another factor that can lead to hydroplaning. The weight of the car shifts slightly when you ease on or off the accelerator, and this helps the tires maintain traction with the road. But with cruise control, because the speed of the car is constant, there is no weight shift, and the car can lose traction.
  • Do not drive through deep standing water, deep flowing water or puddles that you are unclear of their depth. Driving through deep or moving water can be hazardous for a number of reasons, including that you could get stuck, stall out, damage the car or the electrical components, or be swept away. If you encounter these types of road flooding, turn around and find another route. In a case where the only route is blocked, pull over and wait out the flooding.
  • Be prepared if you start to skid or hydroplaneSkidding on a wet road can be particularly frightening, but the key is to remain calm, look where you want to go, ease your foot off the accelerator, and gently steer in the direction you want to travel. Avoid braking and never slam on the brakes. Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 35 miles (56 km) per hour, and when it happens your car may not react when you turn the steering wheel, and your back end may feel loose. 
  • Stay focused! When you’re behind the wheel, it’s important to always pay attention to the road, other cars, and pedestrians. This is especially true in the rain, when you cannot see as well, and your ability to stop may be hindered by the slickness of the road.

We know that SoCal traffic is bad enough in good weather and most of us are in a hurry to get to work on time.  Driving in traffic is stressful and when it’s slowing you down it’s easy to get frustrated.  Please keep an eye on the weather reports and plan ahead to avoid the frustration or pressures of feeling like you need to drive faster than you should in inclement weather.  It’s always best to leave 15-30 minutes earlier than you do under normal conditions because your safety is more important than sleeping in or being slightly put out.

Stay safe, SoCal, and be sure to subscribe to our blog for regular safety tips and articles to keep you well and happy in the New Year.

 

✍️☑️ 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!

💻 📬 📦 Online Shopping – Stay Safe & Keep It Simple 💻 📬 📦

 

Now that we are in the midst of the Holiday Shopping Season, we are trying to find ways to complete our gift lists while avoiding the hassle of crowded shopping centers, parking lots and all of the other external stressors that subtract from the joys of gift giving. Many people have chosen to bypass these hassles all together by doing all of their shopping online.

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While shopping online is convenient in so many ways, it also has it’s own set of precautions that we need to consider. Anything device connected to the Internet, including smartphones and tablets need to be protected – especially during heavy use periods, like the holidays. Scammers and cyber criminals can easily target shoppers.

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Being a safe and secure shopper starts with careful safeguards. Think about the consequences of your actions online before you act and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you shop online. 

Here are some great tips to help you find the ease of internet shopping to be a safe experience as well:

  • Use Familiar Websites rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray. If you know the site, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. We all know Amazon.com and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy.
  • Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that’s how they trick you into giving up your info!
  • Look for the Lock and NEVER buy anything that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
  • Conduct research when using a new website for purchases, read reviews and see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
  • Personal information is like money so value it and protect it! When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
  • Be on alert for emails that might get us to act quickly and click through links and open attachments. Be wary of emails about problems with your credit cards or an account or the status of online order. Criminals know we are price sensitive when shopping online. Exercise caution when seeing and ad offer where the discount is way below normal.
  • Don’t Tell All! No online shopping store needs your social security number or your birthday to do business. However, if crooks get them, combined with your credit card number for purchases, they can do a lot of damage. The more they know, the easier it is to steal your identity. When possible, default to giving up the least amount of information.
  • Use safe payment options! Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. 
  • Read return and other polices so you know what to expect if the purchase doesn’t go as planned.
  • Limit the type of business you conduct over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging on to key accounts, such as email and banking. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
  • Keep a clean machine by keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
  • Reinforce your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
  • Make your password tough! A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “ILove2MyNewCar!”)
  • Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber-criminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords. 
  • Check your statements regularly and don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online frequently during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there’s more than one way to get to your money.) If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.

packagesxmas.jpgNow that you know the safest ways to shop, you’re only concern should be what is the best gifts to give your friends and family! If your loved ones are as concerned about internet security as you are, we recommend an online security tool.

Click here to see the top 10 Antivirus Software Programs of 2016!

Click here to see the top Identity Theft Protection Services of 2016!

Have a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

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❄😔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