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creating healthy habits

4 Common Habits Sabotaging Your Sleep



In addition to proper nutrition, hydration and recovery days, sleep can be one of the top factors that can make or break your fitness performance.

In a recent study looking at sleep quality and athletes, researchers noted that people who are in training tend to experience more sleep issues than non-athletes, due to training load and stress. The study also suggests athletes require more sleep than those who don’t work out because they have higher recovery needs.

But knowing that you should sleep and getting that sleep can be two very different things. When dreamtime proves elusive, there tends to be a slew of common sense strategies people use — yet it’s possible that, for some, those allegedly proven tactics are actually making the problem worse. Here are some habits you might be putting in place that are keeping you from getting enough shuteye:


Around sunset, your brain produces melatonin, a hormone designed to start a cascade of sleep-inducing reactions. But if you’re frazzled or anxious, the hormone might not be as abundant as you’d like. Because of that, many people turn to taking a melatonin supplement.

But they often pop it like a sleeping pill right before bed, thinking it’ll take effect immediately, according to W. Christopher Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine. Melatonin in the body tends to take around 3–4 hours, so if you’re taking it at 9 p.m., you might not sense any effects until about 1 a.m. — by then, you could be so frustrated by insomnia that you’re up watching TV instead, which will lower that melatonin back down.


Schedules become variable especially as seasons change — you stay out later on those bright summer nights, for example — and that can lead to hitting the sack when you’re tired. But too much variability can leave your body unsure about when to actually sleep, according to Mia Finkelston, MD, family practice physician.

“We can handle some changes to our usual routine, but not as much as you might think,” she says. “When you go to bed only when you’re tired, you’re introducing too much unpredictability into your sleep schedule. And that can catch up with you.”



Some yoga and meditation breathing techniques rely on counting each inhale and exhale, so it makes sense that you might try to import that to your sleep routine. But Winter says some people find counting to be an anxiety-provoking exercise, instead of the de-stressor it’s meant to be.

“Maybe you get anxious if you hit double digits and you’re not asleep yet,” he says. “Or, you might have fallen asleep around 30 the night before but now you’re nearly at 50 and still counting. Then you might wonder if you’re doing something wrong.”

When that happens, it can sabotage your sleep efforts. Instead of counting, he recommends visualizing a well-known process that’s calming to you. For example, one of his patients “bakes” every night — she envisions getting out the measuring cups, chopping up ingredients, arranging the bowls for flour and sugar — and has found the process so effective, she jokes that nothing ever makes it into her imagined oven.


Although it might seem like it would be a relief to know you have five hours left until you have to get up, looking at the clock is a bad habit, says Finkelston. It can be so counterproductive that she’s even advised some patients to put their alarm clocks in another room or the closet.

“To recognize how much time you have left to sleep, you have to wake up to a certain degree,” she says. “That might be just enough to kick you out of your cycle and cause some insomnia.”



In general, it helps to play around with different strategies to see what works for you, says Winter. If melatonin is your jam and it’s working, that’s great. But if you’ve tried it for week or so and you’re still staring at the ceiling for an hour, then try switching it up instead.

“The last thing you want to do is try to force something to work, because then you’ll be agitated when it doesn’t,” he says. That can increase levels of cortisol — the hormone responsible for your stress response — and you’ll be back where you started.


Instead, try implementing good sleep practices, where consistency is key. Limit screen time before bed, set a regular bedtime and get up at the same time every day (yes, even on the weekends, sorry). Winter suggests starting a “wind-down routine” about a half-hour before bed, which can help send a signal to your brain that it’s time to relax.

creating healthy habits

Questions You Need to Ask About Cochlear Implants



cochlear implants

Cochlear implants have several advantages. First of all, it can restore hearing. In addition to providing relief from hearing loss, cochlear implants can also help a person learn to interpret sounds produced by the device. Moreover, the procedure can be paired with hearing aids. If you are considering this option, here are some questions you need to ask yourself. Read on to find out! Listed below are some pros and cons of cochlear implants.

Cost of cochlear implant surgery

Medicare covers a portion of the cost of cochlear implant surgery and related services, but not the entire expense. You will need to verify that your insurance covers the procedure. Medicare can be challenging to deal with, especially when you're seeking reimbursement for the entire procedure. The hearing healthcare staff at Hearing Health Associates will help you determine whether you are eligible to receive this coverage. Once you've been approved, your hearing healthcare provider can file your claim.

During the procedure, you'll be given general anaesthesia, and the surgeon will shave the hair behind your ear where the implant will be placed. The surgeon will then make a small incision in the skin behind your ear and make a tiny “seat” in the bone behind it. Once the implant is in place, the doctor will insert the electrodes through a small hole in the cochlea. Once the incision has healed, the implant will be turned on.

Safety of surgical implantations

While surgical implantations for cochlear implant are becoming increasingly common, their risks are still significant. While MRIs are considered safe, they can dislodge the implant or damage its internal magnet. Some hearing implants are approved for MRI studies under carefully controlled conditions. Because cochlear implants rely on batteries to provide hearing, they are highly susceptible to damage in contact sports, automobile accidents, slips and falls, and other impacts near the ear. In such instances, the implant may have to be replaced or the faulty part may need to be repaired.

The study also examined the incidence of surgical complications, which ranged from minor to major. Minor complication rates were relatively low and did not differ significantly from the rates reported in the literature. Major complication rates were higher than minor complications, and two cases required surgical revision. In total, 206 children underwent the surgery. The rates of major complication were lower in children than in adults.

Cost of hearing aids paired with cochlear implants

Hearing aids are small, removable devices that amplify sound for people with residual hearing. Today's devices are packed with sophisticated digital technology and allow users to tailor the sounds they hear to match their personal preferences. Hearing aids can be costly and can vary considerably in price depending on their features and style. To choose the right hearing aid for your needs, consider visiting a hearing specialist who can demonstrate different models and arrange for a trial period.

Cochlear implants can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. The cost of the surgery varies depending on the type of implant and the hospital. The cost of the procedure depends on various factors, including the hospital, anaesthetist, and the location of the implant. However, if you are eligible for a hearing aid plan, the costs should be covered by your health insurance.

Learning to interpret sounds created by cochlear implants

As the ability to hear and understand speech has improved, attention has shifted to the perception of other sounds, including environmental ones. As a result, more research is being conducted to understand how cochlear implant users perceive different sounds. The first report examining this question was made by Reed and Delhorne, who found a significant correlation between environmental sound recognition and word recognition. This correlation was most pronounced in sounds that were similar in their temporal envelopes, which may indicate that the cochlear implants can increase word recognition.

The external part of a cochlear implant consists of a microphone and a speech processor. These two components communicate with one another through a wire. A small speaker or microphone attached to the microphone picks up the sounds that travel down the ear canal and into the inner ear. The inner ear contains tiny hair cells that convert sound waves into electrical signals and transmit them to the brain. In the case of cochlear implant users, the hair cells are not able to function properly. Thus, the implanted devices bypass this part of the body and send signals to the brain.

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creating healthy habits

Types of Kids Hearing Aids



kids hearing aids

There are many different types of hearing aids available for children, from the Sensei family to Cochlear implants. These are worn in the outer ear and typically extend into the lower bowl. Some models fit the entire canal. Unlike traditional hearing aids, kids hearing devices are not made to fit the ear mold of a newborn. Typically, a child is fit with a hearing aid as he grows older. As with any other medical procedure, fine-tuning and adjustments can be made to the device's settings.

Sensei family

The Sensei family of hearing aids for kids features advanced technology. Sensei is shock, water, and dust resistant, and is hypoallergenic. Its waterproof and dust-resistant design prevents accidental swallowing of hearing aid batteries. In addition, it features a tamper-resistant battery door. Sensei SP is also equipped with a visual status indicator that shows battery life and hearing aid function. And it can even stream audio from different devices.

It also includes a feature known as the SmartFit Trainer. It lets parents monitor the fit of their child's hearing aid earmold and allows them to reposition it if necessary. Children's ears are not fully developed until they reach the age of 10 years old. This technology also helps them hear better in noisy environments. It makes it easy for parents to monitor and adjust their child's hearing aids while at home or in school.

Cochlear implants

Children who receive cochlear implants are often able to speak as well as their hearing counterparts. After about three years, however, these children still exhibit gaps in their speech. Fortunately, there are several advantages of cochlear implants for kids. Read on to learn more about this advanced treatment option. The sooner the procedure is undertaken, the better. Children with hearing loss can also benefit from other types of therapies, such as speech therapy.

Children with hearing loss may be candidates for cochlear implants, but their age must be considered first. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, the device may not be appropriate for a child younger than 12 months. Children with severe hearing loss should undergo surgery only if the hearing aids they are wearing aren't enough to improve their hearing. In addition to the surgical process, children must attend a specialized program that helps them learn how to process sound with the implant.


The Starkey hearing aid for kids is a versatile hearing device that can fit any child's unique needs. Its kid-friendly features and colors make it a fun option for kids. Its BluWave 3.0 operating system balances ambient noise for a comfortable listening experience. The hearing aid is tamper-proof and resistant to water and debris. The Dynamic Direct Audio Input provides kids with extra directional processing power, which makes it a great option for academic use.

The Center for Hearing Loss in Children is one of five national research centers supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The Center for Hearing Loss in Children offers helpful resources and information about hearing loss and kids' hearing aids. Parents can apply for financial assistance through the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which provides hearing aids for children with severe hearing loss or other deafness. Children with hearing problems are eligible to apply for the Starkey program if they are a permanent U.S. resident.


If you're looking for a good set of hearing aids for your kid, you may want to consider signing them up for a Siemens program. These are some of the more expensive types of hearing aids available, but they're still worth considering. Plus, these systems can be purchased directly from an audiologist. You can find some great deals on these hearing aids by going through your local audiologist's office, or you can search online for the best deals.

You can find pediatric hearing aids from Siemens, including the Pure and Motion models, which offer direct audio input. These models help your child hear a full range of sound, making speech recognition easier and less frustrating. Plus, they're discreet, which means they won't be noticeable in your child's ears. Moreover, your kid won't even realize they're wearing them. And, since they're made especially for kids, you can trust that your child will love them.

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creating healthy habits

In Training, Consistency Is the Key to Your Fitness Goals



Consistency is arguably the most important component when working to accomplish goals, in or out of the gym. Without consistency, programs are unorganized, the body has a harder time adapting, and forming habits may be more challenging.

Build and Follow Workout Programming

Whatever your goals may be, they require a consistent level of training for you to reach them. One way to ensure consistency within the scope of your goals is to build a program. Programs make it much easier to stay on track because you won’t have to think about what you’re going to do at the gym today—it’s already written out. Most programs are designed to be followed for a set amount of time, typically about 4 weeks. Depending on the desired goal, the program will have a different focus—hypertrophy, endurance, strength, and so on. Each day is designed with the goal in mind, while ensuring that you are training in a way that minimizes imbalances within the body. If you aren’t following the program consistently, the chance of it working is reduced.

Theoretically, if you have a program and you don’t follow it, the body is not going to be able to adapt to the program because there isn’t an opportunity for progressive overload, which is when the amount of stress on the body is gradually increased over time, leading to increased strength and performance.

Work Toward Adaptations

Biologically, a lot of things happen in the body during exercise. Over time these reactions change the body to become stronger, grow, or run more efficiently. Different factors affect adaptations in everyone, so it’s impossible to predict when these changes will occur. But being consistent with training will increase the likelihood of seeing adaptations sooner.

Different modes of exercise elicit different adaptations. Endurance training will produce different changes than resistance training. While there are far too many adaptations to discuss in this blog, a few examples reported by the CDC include the following:

Improved ability of muscles to use fat as energy Stronger ligaments and tendons Increased VO2 max and lactate threshold Increased number of capillaries in muscles Cardiac muscle hypertrophy Increased force production

Each of these changes is beneficial for different scenarios. The body is either becoming more efficient or stronger, or performance is enhanced. However, these long-term benefits are seen only after consistent training over a period of time.

Create Habits


We are creatures of habit. The more we practice something, the more natural it becomes. We experience this when we learn to walk as babies, when we learn to drive, and when we exercise. It’s normal to feel out of your element when you try something new, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you feel.

Current research suggests that to make a habit stick it must be performed for 68 consecutive days. The idea of sticking with something brand new for 68 days may feel overwhelming for some people. When taking on a new challenge, focusing on taking it day by day might be a helpful mindset. Yes, we might be aiming to create a lifelong habit; however, thinking about just starting a habit to last for years could seem daunting. Start by doing it for one day, and then two, and then three, and so on.

Once you feel comfortable with one small change, add another small change, and so on. Small changes are more sustainable over the long term and add up to form new habits. There will likely be days that your plan doesn’t work out how it was supposed to, but that doesn’t mean all progress is lost.

The Takeaway

Our bodies adapt gradually to exercise. In the end, consistency will help you reach your goals. Without it, you might not have enough structure to allow for growth. Work first on figuring out your goals, determine the best route to achieve them, and get started with one step. If you’re not sure how to get started, the trainers at NIFS can help you set goals and develop programs tailored to those goals.

This blog was written by Hannah Peters, BS, CPT, Health Fitness Instructor. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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