Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life.
"The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.
"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health challenges despite modern lifestyles, comforts, and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it significantly worse.
The study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep. The researchers enrolled 63 participants to receive an eight-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program. Of these, 36 (57 per cent) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation programme.
The participants were recommended to attend a minimum of two out of a total of eight virtual trainer-guided group Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, conducted by one of the authors and a Heartfulness trainer (KD), included 5-7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also provided instructions on using the phone application called 'HeartsApp' on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness trainer through the application and meditate without any audiovisual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
"Our study showed that following Heartfulness meditation practice, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in the participants from different parts of the United States. About 31 per cent were healthcare professionals, and the entire programme was conducted virtually. Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programmes offered via virtual platforms can offer a convenient, helpful, and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals," said Dr Kunal Desai, who led the study.
"The results of qualitative analysis in our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect as we were able to show that the participants' subjective experiences strongly supported the results of the survey findings. Thus, these results enhance our understanding of how Heartfulness meditation practice helps reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep. Our qualitative analysis suggests these effects could be because a simple heart-based meditation brought a 'calming effect' in our participants, resulting in an 'inner peace'. Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, accepting and empathic attitude, and an increase in awareness of one's own emotions and the needs of others."
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as reported by some previous studies showing the benefit of Heartfulness relaxation and meditation to reduce stress, burnout, loneliness, and improve the quality of sleep.
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Sleep is an essential function that helps in recharging our bodies and minds. Moreover, healthy sleep also helps the body in remaining fit and it staves off any diseases. When we do not get enough sleep, our brain does not function properly and it can impair our abilities to concentrate, think clearly and process memories. An adequate amount of sleep that an adult requires ranges from seven to nine hours.
However, work schedules, day-to-day stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment and medical conditions can prevent us from receiving adequate and peaceful sleep. Hence, a healthy diet and good lifestyle habits can ensure a good amount of sleep each night. However, for some people chronic lack of sleep may be a sign of a sleep disorder.
Sleep reflects one's state of mind and overall health in general. A good sleep is one which is age appropriate in duration, qualitatively divided into various sleep stages of adequate periods and which eventually makes a person feel refreshed in the morning and through the day. Although there is a wide variation in the amount of total sleep required by healthy adults to maintain a good daytime function, it is widely accepted that a good, consolidated 8 hours of uninterrupted night-time sleep is essential for majority of adults.
An adequate amount of sleep duration is extremely important to maintain good mental and physical health. A sleep deprived person often experiences decline in cognitive function, poor memory, inability to concentrate on tasks at hand and easy irritability with frequent mood swings. Even if the sleep duration is adequate, an interrupted and disrupted sleep with poor sleep quality devoid of deep sleep is also associated with excessive daytime sleepiness with declining cognitive function.
Lack of good sleep, both in terms of duration and quality, can adversely affect the physical wellbeing with such individuals being more prone to develop both infectious as well as lifestyle related diseases. With the millennial generation adopting a 24-hour lifestyle without any defined periods of sleep, increase in the total screen time during COVID-19 lockdowns due to exponential increase in online classes and meetings, and poor sleep hygiene, have all resulted in a variety of sleep disorders.
Ultimately, this very important aspect of keeping people healthy is not only being ignored but also leading to abuse of sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking. With rising stress levels and a constant pressure to meet deadlines, it is extremely important to maintain a work life balance and give oneself adequate opportunity and time to have a good night sleep. If anyone experiences any kind of sleep related issues, these should be brought to the immediate notice of the sleep physicians and expert opinion must be taken for timely diagnosis and management.
All in all, sleep is good and necessary. For adults, getting at least seven hours of sleep ensures proper daytime functioning which involves being alert for the day and being able to concentrate and not moody and tired through the day. Creating a night time routine that ensures that your mind and body are relaxed can be helpful in ensuring a good sleep for all individuals.(By Ayush Gupta)
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लखनऊ | 'डेंटल स्लीप मेडिसिन' पर एक सम्मेलन के अनुसार भारत में करीब 40 लाख लोग, खासकर बुजुर्ग और मोटे लोग ऑब्सट्रक्टिव स्लीप एपनिया (ओएसए) सिंड्रोम से पीड़ित हैं। सोमवार को यहां आयोजित सम्मेलन में विशेषज्ञों ने कहा कि अगर कोई व्यक्ति सांस लेने में तकलीफ के कारण रात में कई बार जागता है और पूरे दिन सिरदर्द और थकान के साथ सुबह शुष्क मुंह का अनुभव करता है, तो यह ओएसए के कारण हो सकता है।
श्वसन चिकित्सा में, ओएसए का आमतौर पर निरंतर पॉजिटिव वायुमार्ग दबाव मशीनों के साथ इलाज किया जाता है, लेकिन दंत चिकित्सा भी आसान प्रबंधन प्रदान करती है।
सरस्वती डेंटल कॉलेज के डीन और सम्मेलन के आयोजक प्रोफेसर अरविंद त्रिपाठी ने कहा, "मोटापा, जीवन शैली का तनाव और दांतों का पूरा गिरना ऊपरी वायुमार्ग में संपीड़न का कारण बन सकता है। यह सांस लेने पर प्रतिकूल प्रभाव डालता है। अगर ऐसी स्थिति लंबे समय तक बनी रहती है और अनुपचारित छोड़ दी जाती है, तो यह शरीर की ऑक्सीजन की आवश्यकता को प्रभावित करती है और हृदय और श्वसन संबंधी समस्याएं पैदा कर सकती है।"
दंत चिकित्सा में, विशेषज्ञों ने कहा, इस स्थिति का इलाज मैंडिबुलर उन्नति उपकरण के साथ किया जा सकता है, एक मौखिक उपकरण जो अस्थायी रूप से जबड़े और जीभ को आगे बढ़ाता है, गले के कसने को कम करता है और वायुमार्ग की जगह को बढ़ाता है।
विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन के लखनऊ कार्यालय के डॉ अंकुर ने कहा, "लगभग 80 प्रतिशत रोगियों को नहीं पता कि वे ओएसए से पीड़ित हैं और यह घातक हो सकता है, इसलिए लोगों को इसके बारे में बुनियादी जानकारी होनी चाहिए।"
यह भी पढ़े► कैंसर और हार्ट अटैक से ज्यादा खतरनाक हो जाएगा सेप्सिस: शोध
Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.
Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone.
What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Switch From Ordinary Substandard Cooking Oils to Cold-Pressed Oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Switch From A Sedentary Lifestyle to An Active One: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little or no rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Don't Take Matters to Your Heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.
Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Fix Your Sleep Routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
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Hyderabad, Sep 5 (IANS) Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called for improving the doctor-population ratio in the country.He also underlined the need to improve the healthcare infrastructure and increase the number of medical colleges in the country.Addressing the 11th Annual Medical Teachers Day Awards of the Association of National Board Accredited Institutions (ANBAI) in Hyderabad, Naidu noted that in India, there is one doctor for every 1,456 people, while as per the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the doctor-population ratio should be 1:1,000.The Vice President called for focusing on improving healthcare infrastructure in the rural areas, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has "reminded us of our responsibilities in this regard".He also called for increasing the number of medical colleges. He said to improve this ratio, the government is making efforts to establish at least one medical college in every district headquarter.He suggested that all stakeholders in medical education also play their role in this regard, highlighting the fact that a large number of doctors prefer to render their services in the urban areas as compared to the rural areas.Naidu said both medical education and healthcare should become affordable for the common man, and everyone connected with this sector has a responsibility to ensure this.Referring to the technological advancements across the world, he said the latest technologies should be adopted and state-of-the-art equipment be made available for diagnosis and treatment. He stated that the Covid pandemic has taught a lesson to all including doctors and scientists.Stating that medicine is one of the noblest professions, he said it should be the endeavour of every physician to play his role to uphold the values and sacredness of the profession. Young doctors and medical students should imbibe the ethics and high values of the profession and implement them in their day-to-day life, he added.Appreciating the yeoman service rendered by doctors during Covid pandemic, he said that they not only treated the patients but also gave counselling, confidence, and solace to them.Naidu was all praise for the ANBAI for its efforts to provide education based on highest standards. He said it was commendable that leading hospitals and medical institutions of the country came together to impart graduation in medical education through the ANBAI.The Vice President paid tributes to former President, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan on his birth anniversary which is celebrated as Teachers' Day. He called Radhakrishnan a great teacher and philosopher.Naidu said teachers shape the lives and careers of the students and especially in medical education, students have to be groomed to become great doctors. --IANSms/vd
Lifestyle plays a huge role in your fitness and health. Often a sedentary lifestyle along with unhealthy eating habits contribute to weight gain or other lifestyle diseases. With discipline and patience, you can work on your lifestyle to reach a fitness level you have always desired. Always remember that whatever changes you implement should not be focused on temporary results, but rather on a long and sustainable lifestyle.
A good fitness level is more important than just fat loss. However, you can lose fat by practising these things:
1. Make Your Diet A Lifestyle:
Most people tend to focus on diet as a destination, rather than a journey. Your nutrition should not be a trend or a plan for short-term results, but rather a lifestyle that you can follow effortlessly. Although easier said than done, implementing a positive lifestyle can have tremendous long-term results. Tweaking your food habits and incorporating essential macro and micronutrients can aid your fat-loss journey. A good way to include the right food components in your diet is through a good diet plan which you must follow with discipline. Eat good food every day. It's as simple as that. Don't divert even if you have to eat the same food every day, you can always innovate your dishes with the help of spices and other preparation methods.
2. Workout Regime To Increase Activity:
Even if you can't do a heavy workout every day, it is essential to include some kind of activity in your lifestyle. Find a physical activity that suits you. Some people despise gyms, but love jogging or playing a sport. Some like strength training and lifting weights. Whatever you choose, follow through without any excuses. Your daily physical activity plays a huge role in your metabolism and fitness level. It's not just about burning calories; it's about setting a pattern for your body to undergo positive stress. When you exercise, your body is already doing half the work required for losing weight and becoming fit.
3. Don't Compromise on Your Sleep and Hydration:
People underrate the importance of a good night's sleep. Your body requires sleep to recover, to balance the cortisol hormone level which is responsible for your binge eating. Sleeping is our body's natural way of balancing the stress level and rectifying any errors in its system. Fix a sleeping time and don't change it no matter what. This is one of the most important changes you must incorporate. The other being hydration water is extremely important for your system. Not only does it help in passing the nutrients throughout your system, but it also helps the body detox and shed the pesky water retention habit. You'll be surprised by the number of times your body confuses thirst for hunger, so always drink adequate water. Set a reminder through a phone app, it can be helpful.
(The author Pranit Shilimkar is a Health and Fitness Entrepreneur, Digital Content Creator and Founder of Fitnesstalks)
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