Tag Archives: sleep

5 Reasons to Consider Nighttime Workouts

There is nothing wrong with a hearty a.m. workout routine if you’re a born morning person, but what about those of us who’d rather fall in a nice, deep hole than get up extra early for a pre-workday run? If you aren’t a morning person, fear no more. The theory that it is better to workout in the morning has recently been debunked, apparently both morning and nighttime workouts have their respective benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the pros to sweating it with the moon instead of the sun:

  1. Your metabolism is better prepared for the ridestudies have found increased endocrine levels and lower blood glucose levels in subjects who exercised later in the day than in the morning, meaning their metabolisms were working more in their favor for the workout. This can make a difference in the long run for those on a weight loss journey.
  2. It makes for a good de-stress after a long day – Wouldn’t it be great to have a productive outlet for the stresses that build up during a day at the office? Well, look no further than a nightly exercise routine to help you shake off the tension of the day while also working on enhancing your bod. So, hit the treadmill, gym or dance studio for an evening fitness session and just watch as your stress rolls off your back (along with the sweat).
  3. You may be more alert and ready to rumble – as you go about the day, you’re gaining nutrients from your meals and most likely picking up more steam than you had in the morning. Because of this, you may be more ready to really hit that workout harder.
  4. It may help you catch some zzz’s – Recent studies refute the theory that nighttime workouts may hinder sleep (unless you’re an insomniac). It appears that generally, working out a couple hours before bed won’t make a difference to your sleep. Doing activities like yoga may actually help induce a deeper, more satisfying sleep.
  5. You’ll have more sleep time in the morning – Few can argue that a major pro to getting your workout done in the evening is that you’re saving yourself precious morning moments for more sleep. If you’re someone who dreads having too many items on your a.m. to-do list, why not cross off working out by saving it for later?

Regular exercise is an essential component of a healthy overall lifestyle and lower disease risks. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when you workout as long as you do. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity a week. Thanks for visiting DocChat!




Make 2017 Your Happiest, Healthiest Year Yet (Part 2)

As the next year quickly approaches many of us get excited about making resolutions to make the New Year the healthiest and happiest one, but often end up disappointed that these plans didn’t quite pan out. Sometimes that is because we don’t stop to think about just how important these changes can be and how they often act as dominoes to the next important change. In order to live an overall happy and healthy life, many things need to be balanced such as sleep, diet, fitness, stress level and mental health. Last time we looked at how to better mental well-being, nutrition and fitness, next up are:

Score Great Sleeps

Adequate sleep is a pillar of good health. Are you getting at least 6 hours a night? The goal is between 6-9 hours of sleep every night, getting less or more than that could lead to chronic lethargy or worse. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), not getting enough sleep over the long-term can contribute to mental and physical health problems, quality of life as well as safety. Do you want to know if your sleeping habits are on target? Take our quiz.

Rely on Relaxation

Our world is a stressful one. Between over-working, technology over-use and hefty financial demands, it is easy to find one’s self chronically stressed. When you are in a state of near-constant stress, your cortisol and adrenaline levels are out of whack (thanks to our innate fight-or-flight response to potential threats). This is a bigger problem than you may think. Chronic stress can exacerbation nearly every existing health problem. Therefor, it is of utmost importance that you work to lower your stress level if it is elevated. How? There are many things you can do between taking up meditation, getting massages, exercising regularly or talking to a therapist. Check out these 10 helpful tactics in our Stress Busters post.

Happify Your Heart

Aside from lowering your stress, it is also important to set aside time in your daily life to do things you love and are passionate about. Whether that means a daily drawing or painting session, some routine woodworking, or cuddles with your pet or significant other, make sure you allot yourself time for what makes you smile. All too often we get stuck on autopilot running errands, driving the kids around, doing housework, and before you know it another day is done. It is so important to shake that routine up with things that make you truly happy. This will aid in your sleep, stress level and mental health, greatly improving your quality of life.

So, make 2017 the Year of You and get your life back in balance by working on each of these areas. Thanks for visiting DocChat, we wish you all the happiness 2017 can bring!


Quiz – Are Your Sleeping Habits on Point?

In this modern age of high-stress careers and over-stimulating technology, we often don’t check in regularly enough about our sleep habits. Bad sleep habits can lead to sleep problems like insomnia if let unchecked. Try the following quiz to see where you fall on the sleep spectrum!

  1. Do you…

    a) Normally sleep between 6-8 hours nightly?
    b) Sleep on average less than 6 hours a night?

  2. Do you…

    a) Go to bed before 11 most nights and wake up fairly early?
    b) Find it hard to go to bed early and/or wake up early?

  3. Do you…

    a) Most often sleep without medication or supplements to help?
    b) Usually need sleeping pills in order to get to sleep?

  4. Do you…

    a) Sleep soundly through most nights?
    b) Do you wake up frequently or wake with the slightest sound?

  5. Do you…

    a) Generally stick to a sleeping and waking routine?
    b) Have random bedtimes and wake up different times each day?

  6. Do you…

    a) Try to get all your work done before a certain hour each day?
    b) Do you pull all-nighters for your job and oversleep on the weekends?

  7. Do you…

    a) Try to avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening hours?
    b) Indulge in nightcaps frequently?

  8. Do you…

    a) Only use technology with special ‘night time’ screen settings, or try to avoid stimulating sights before bed?
    b) Commonly stare at screes or use technology before bed?

  9. Do you…

    a) Try to clear your mind of worries by meditating or doing a peaceful activity before bed?
    b) Go to bed with a full mind and often get poor sleeps because of anxiety?


If you answered mostly “a” for these questions, your sleep is on point! If you answered any ‘b’s, try to tweak those particular habits to get better sleeps.

If you answered more than a 3 ‘b’s, you need to seriously overhaul your sleeping patterns before you head into insomnia territory!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.

Are You Struggling With Fatigue?

Millions of Americans struggle with either chronic or temporary bouts of fatigue. It can be quite debilitating when you don’t have the energy for even the most inconsequential daily activities. Most people jump to the conclusion their fatigue must be due to an undiscovered underlying physical health condition, but much more often fatigue is a by-product of an unbalanced lifestyle.

Non-Medical Causes of Fatigue

  1. Exercise imbalance: If a person exercises excessively or not enough daily, they may develop ongoing fatigue. It is important to achieve a good exercise balance.
  2. Medication side effect: Certain medications such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications can cause fatigue, so be sure to keep track of how your meds could be effecting you.
  3. Sleep problems: insomnia is a common reason for fatigue. If a person never enters deep REM sleep, they are never really getting enough sleep to properly sustain them. If you have trouble sleeping, visit your doctor (or one of ours!) soon for help.
  4. High stress lifestyle: a workaholic or person who leads a high stress lifestyle is often a candidate for developing fatigue. It is important to find ways to better manage stress because excess cortisol can keep you in a perpetual state of exhaustion, wreaking complete havoc on your sleep cycle.
  5. Unhealthy diet: eating too much junk food and not enough nutritionally valuable foods can lead to sleep problems and general lethargy. It is important to eat a nutritionally balanced diet and limit  intake of things like caffeine.
  6. Alcohol, smoking or recreational drug use: Alcohol and drug use can be very detrimental to the body. Heavy alcohol use alone can lead to multiple chronic health problems, including sleep problems and fatigue. Smoking can impair proper sleep functioning as well.

Balance Your Lifestyle

To tackle non-medical fatigue, you should always ensure you prioritize the following areas of your life: get adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night), practice healthy eating, quit smoking, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, check on your medications, exercise the recommended 30-60 minutes daily, and keep your stress in check. Leading such a balanced lifestyle will not only help reduce fatigue, but can also help other areas of life, as well as improve overall wellbeing and helping reduce the risk of acquiring certain health problems.

Potential Underlying Health Conditions

While fatigue is most often due to lifestyle factors, it can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Some of these include:

  • Lung disease
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Chronic pain diseases
  • Sleep apnea
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Cancer
  • Concussion
  • Arrhythmia
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiovascular disease

Menopause or other hormone imbalances can cause fatigue as well.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is another underlying medical reason for fatigue. CFS is a troublesome (sometimes debilitating) and largely mysterious disorder that afflicts over 1 million Americans. CFS can be caused by deficiencies, immune dysfunction or hypotension, among other things. Some symptoms of CFS include impaired mental function, insomnia, hypersomnia, muscle pain or weakness, lack of physical stamina, headaches or inability to feel rested after sleeping adequately or excessively. There are no tests to diagnose CFS, so doctors largely rely on patient history and symptom presentation. Some treatment options include antidepressants, sleeping pills, physio and psychological therapy and lifestyle changes.

When To See The Doc

You should see the doctor when experiencing any kind of fatigue so he or she can rule out any underlying medical conditions or help you with medication adjustments. Or you can sign up to DocChat today to access our excellent board certified physicians via a video consultation 24/7/365. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Insomnia – How To Get More Sleep

Sleeping couple

If you, or someone close to you has chronic sleeping problems, you certainly know the toll an absence of slumber can have on staying healthy, happy, and sometimes merely functioning. We need sleep to fuel our bodies. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institution (NHLBI) says, “During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.” Let’s take a look at what constitutes insomnia, as well as some techniques to help catch some zzz’s!

Mind Over Mattress

Chronic insomnia, is classified as a sleep problem under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-V) as a mental health condition. It often springs from an over-active mind, or a surplus of anxiety. It can also be caused by certain medications or physical distress, such as illness or chronic pain. Many people think that 6 hours of sleep every night is enough, but according to The National Sleep Foundation most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep to function efficiently.

Being Sleepy Kills

Now, this is a bench mark. Some people need more, perhaps 10 hours to be their best selves, and some are perfectly used to just 5 or 6. However, getting a minimal amount of sleep will slowly chip away at your wellbeing over time. Not only will you be sluggish and zombie-esque, but Sleep.org states that chronic sleep deprivation is responsible for 100,000 traffic accidents, 76,000 injuries, and 1,500 deaths a year! These stats should wake us all up to just how important getting adequate sleep can be.

Tired and Tubby

Even though insomnia has mental health roots, it also affects, or can be affected by the physical. The NHLBI states that chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to such significant health issues as heart problems, kidney disease, blood pressure, stroke, and obesity. “Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down.” The NHLIB also asserts that sleep deprivation affects how your body metabolizes insulin, which can eventually contribute to diabetes as well.

A Coy Midnight Caller

When Sir Slumber is being aloof, what can you do to beckon him back for a visit? Aside from sleeping pills, there have been all kinds of things discovered and developed over the years to help insomnia. Some of which include relaxation and meditative techniques, natural oils, sleepy-time teas, specialized sound effects or visuals, and melatonin, among many others. Experts also say that keeping your room cool during the night, while keeping your socks on during the night can help induce a long, comfy sleep.

Pop a Melatonin

My partner, Mark has been an insomniac since he was very young. He has tried every kind of sleeping pill on the market to no avail, but has recently had significant success with a nightly dose of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone excreted by the body’s pineal gland which facilitates sleep, and the pill Melatonin is a synthetic replication of said hormone. Its effectiveness is debated in the medical community, but it does seem to provide many with much needed night-time peace.

A Sleepy Routine

Mark also finds keeping on a bedtime routine beneficial. The experts at Helpguide, a non-profit mental health wellness organization, advise “Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.” Mark also finds that calming mind activities help invite sleep, such as coming up with a band name for each letter or the alphabet, or saying the alphabet backwards and frontwards in his mind until he falls asleep midway through.

Sunny and Sleepy

According to Helpguide, some other techniques that have been proven to help coax sleep include: avoiding caffeine in the evening or heavy eating before bed, getting regular exercise, and unplugging a couple hours before bedtime. Possibly chief among these tactics is exposing yourself to enough sunlight daily to help the body’s sleep-wake cycle. According to Dr. Mercola, Osteopathic Physician and best-selling wellness author, “One of the key foundational components of sleeping well is maintaining a natural rhythm of exposure to sunlight during the day and darkness at night.”  Having a warm bath infused with lavender right before bed is another must-try technique for insomniacs.

We hope the information above helps you rest better! Thanks for stopping by DocChat – we always love to have you.