Christmas around the World

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It’s Christmas Day and if you are enjoying your time with family and friends, SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE would like to continue sharing some little known facts about Christmas traditions around the world.

In Australia Christmas occurs at the beginning of the summer. School holidays begin from the middle of December to the early part of February. Because it is so warm in Australia during the summer, most families forgo cooking and opt for a barbecue cooking up lots of seafood. Australians also celebrate with Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve with celebrations occurring in every state across the country. Australians also decorate their homes with the native, “Christmas Bush.”

Only one percent of the folks who live in China are Christians. That means that most people don’t know much about Christmas. With that being said, a fairly new tradition that is becoming popular in China is called, “Ping’an Ye,” meaning a quiet or peaceful evening, it involves people handing out apples to family and friends.

Christmas trees are popular in Greece, but an older tradition that families still follow features a shallow wooden bowl. These wooden bowls have a piece of wire suspended around the rim with basil wrapped around a cross that hangs down from the wire. The bowl holds a small amount of water that keeps the basil fresh and alive. Once a day, mom will dip the basil and the cross into holy water before sprinkling it around each room of the house.

Just like Australia, Costa Rica’s school holidays begin in December with families decorating their homes with tropical flowers. The Pasito, a nativity scene, sits in the center of every homes display. Cypress branches, ribbons, and red coffee berries are used to make Christmas wreaths.

Armenia celebrates Christmas on January 6, which is also the day of Epiphany, meaning the public revelation that Jesus Christ was indeed God’s son.

As you celebrate Christmas with your family and friends this year, take a moment to appreciate other countries traditions and enjoy! Merry Christmas everyone!

Sleep Issues Could Cause Insomnia

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When you age, your body will naturally produce lower levels of your growth hormones. When this occurs you will likely notice a decrease in your deep sleep, also known as slow wave sleep, which produces less melatonin meaning your sleep, will be more fragmented causing an increase in rapid sleep cycles. When you age, you will also wake up more frequently when you sleep.

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Your internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm also changes. This means that you will want to wake up earlier and go to sleep earlier as well.

When you age, you may find yourself spending more time in bed during the evening hours in order to get the sleep that you require, or you may end up taking naps during the day to make up for the shortfall. In the majority of cases, the sleep changes that occur when you age are normal and don’t usually indicate a problem. However, there are some problems that are not related to age and sleeping that you should be aware of.

Although sleeping problems can occur regardless of your age, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder if you:

• Have trouble sleeping even if tired
• Unable to fall back asleep if you are awakened
• Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day
• Un-refreshed when you wake up
• Fall asleep while watching TV or driving
• Difficult concentrating during waking hours
• Rely on alcohol or sleeping pills to fall asleep
• Trouble controlling emotions

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Most cases of insomnia are treatable and include stress, depression, anxiety, daily habits, and even your environment. If you can identify those triggers, you may be able to sleep better at night.

The most common sleep problems in older adults include irregular bedtime hours, alcohol consumption before falling asleep and falling asleep with the television on. Other causes of insomnia could also be related to medical conditions or chronic pain. Lack of exercise, sadness, or anxiety can also cause sleep problems.

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If you are having trouble sleeping, try to improve your daytime habits by engaging yourself in activities that are more social with family and friends. If you are retired, volunteer, enroll in an adult education class, or join a senior’s group.

Try improving your mind with a positive outlook and mood that can help reduce your sleep problems. If you have trouble, try finding a person that you can share your worries and problems with.

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Take in regular exercise, as it will release mood-boosting endorphins while reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.

Expose yourself to at least two hours or more of sunlight each day as it can help regulate your melatonin levels. Keep your curtains and shades open to take in some of that much-needed Vitamin D.

When you look after yourself with a healthy diet and good skin care regime, such as the SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE all natural skin care line, you will be able to sleep better at night.

Sleep Can Help Prevent Insomnia and Aging

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When you age your skin and body tend to notice the affects, but what most people don’t realize is that aging can also affect your sleeping patterns. Older folks may wake up earlier, go to sleep earlier and not get as deep a sleep as they used to, and although these changes are normal when it comes to aging, waking up tired every single day and disturbed sleep and other signs of insomnia are not a normal. Sleep is vital for your emotional and physical health, especially for people over 50. However, there are some things that you can do to help overcome problems that are related to age.

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Sleeping is so important, but especially for mature adults. A good night’s sleep helps concentration and memory while allowing your body to repair cell damage that has occurred during your daily activities. Sleeping is also good for your skin and refreshes the immune system while helping prevent disease.

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Many doctors believe that sleeping is a barometer when it comes to health, almost like taking blood pressure or a temperature. Older adults that are unable to sleep may also suffer from memory problems, a poor attention span and even depression. People who suffer from insomnia, especially those over 50, are also more susceptible to falls, increased pain sensitivity, and the use of more over the counter and prescription drugs. Recent research has also indicated that older adults who lack sleep may also have an increased risk of weight issues, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer.

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Although the amount of sleep required will vary, most healthy adults require about seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to function properly and at their best. However, how you wake up feeling after a night of sleep is much more important than how many hours you actually slept. People who wake up feeling tired or not well rested may have problems or insomnia that should be addressed by a doctor.

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Next week, SOUTHWEST SUNSHINE all natural skin care problems will discuss how sleep can change how you age and what a lack of sleep can do to your overall health, including your skin.