Category Archives: Environmental
Environmental wellness is an awareness of the state of the earth and the effects of your daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony with the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. Although you may feel a bit overwhelmed with the numerous environmental issues, every little change you make does count. If everyone made individual adjustments in their life, the impact on the environment would be great.
Can alcohol really help you sleep better at night?
NO, it affects the deep sleep cycle and causes the sleeper to have a more fitful night of sleep. This is due to the fact that the body is processing and metabolizing the alcohol. During this processing, ones’ sleep becomes lighter and more distressed. The notion that drinking alcohol before bed can help you sleep better seems to be widespread in part because in some cases people have believed it can help one fall asleep more quickly. However, it does not actually help you stay asleep or give you the greatest quality of sleep. Concentration of alcohol in the blood is usually highest one hour after ingesting the drink, so drinking too close to falling asleep (even just one drink) can decrease your chances of having a good nights sleep by a significant amount!
It’s also unwise to drink before sleeping, especially the night before a big test or presentation.
Fun Fact: A great deal of memory formation and retention happens while sleeping. If you’re not getting a good quality and a substantial amount of sleep then the memory retention occurring at night is not to its’ best ability. Binge drinking, drinking 5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women in the course of two hours, can affect the brain and body’s functions for up to three days; add that to not getting enough sleep and one’s overall functioning is looking pretty dim.
What less sleep can be doing to you:
1. Increasing episodes of depression
2. Difficulty performing everyday tasks and increased irritability
3. Decreased motivation, memory, and concentration
4. Impaired social functioning
5. Lowered mental stamina
6. Decreased creativity and spontaneity
Can Caffeine really keep you up at night?
Unlike alcohol, caffeine is a stimulant which in turn reduces the flow of sleep inducing chemicals in the brain while also increasing adrenaline production. Caffeine can have stimulating effects as soon as 15 minutes after consuming the beverage and it shortens the deep sleep cycle. It takes around 6 hours for half of the caffeine ingested to be eliminated from your body. Therefore, it is best to curb drinking caffeine at about 6 hours before going to bed. However, at that point only half of the caffeine would be fully processed and eliminated by your body. So maybe it’s best to stick to that one morning cup a day rule.
Fun Fact: It is possible to be physically dependent on caffeine just as it is equally possible to be physically dependent on alcohol. There is a disorder in which many people dependent on caffeine are susceptible to, known as Caffeine Induced Sleep Disorder. This disorder occurs when caffeine has lengthened the amount of time it takes for one to fall asleep.
What caffeine can be doing to you:
1. Reducing fine motor skills
2. Headaches, nervousness, and dizziness
3. Causing insomnia
4. Rapid heartbeat
It’s safe to say that alcohol, caffeine, and sleep do not mix well together. Careful what you choose to drink before bed… Sweet Dreams.
I moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota a few years back from Wisconsin to take a job at the University of North Dakota and the one thing that I heard from many people (not everyone, but quite a few) is that North Dakota is boring. Its flat prairie and there is not much to do in terms of outdoor adventures and at first glance that is true. North Dakota is the Northern Great Plains, and yes it is flat for much of the state, however, I soon learned that North Dakota is home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). Wisconsin doesn’t even have a national park (its got national forests, rivers, and state parks out the wazoo, but no National Parks)! So over Memorial Day weekend i decided to take a road trip to the North Unit of TRNP and see what it is all about.
I left early in the morning to beat the “traffic” on Hwy 2 and after a very doable 6hr drive (I drive slow) I was entering Watford City. Now up until that point I will say that all I saw was prairie, a few lakes, and the Bakken oil fields, but as I made my way 15 miles south of Watford City…BAM!!! I was in the middle of North Dakota Badlands! They literally came out of nowhere.
Now the North Unit of TRNP is much smaller than the South Unit which is located 68 miles south and closer to Medora, ND, but I have to say the North Unit is underrated. The first thing you see upon entering the park are the badlands formations and the layers of sediments. The pictures do not do it justice, as there were numerous colors from blue-grey, orange, red, brown, black, and green. There were also buffalo just hanging out in the campground. I actually had 2 walk right through my campsite while i was putting some equipment away in my car.
The other great thing about the park is that even though it is smaller than the South Unit or Badlands National Park in South Dakota, it is also very intimate. When hike the 36+ miles of trail you are scrambling over rocks and badlands formations, you are following in the footsteps of buffalo herds, you are climbing up hill through a juniper and ash forest, you are truly a part of TRNP, not just getting scenic overlooks. It’s also nice that the North Unit is not crowded. When I arrived on Thursday before Memorial Day there were 4 other groups in the campground and by the Sunday there was still 20 sites available.
The trails were very rugged which was a lot of fun and exhausting at the same time.. I hiked for almost 4 hours each day I was there and still did not see everything. I also learned a lot from the Nature Trail leaflets on the Little Mo Trail and Caprock Coulee Trail (in my opinion the best representation of the entire park and it was only 4.4 miles round trip). Did you know that there are 3 different varieties of sagebrush in the park and each has a unique fragrance? I was only able to find 2 of them (Silver Sage and Big Sage), but sure enough they both had a different smell!
Another great thing about TRNP is that it is within spitting distance of the Maah Daah Hey Trail. A 97 mile trail that one can hike, bike, or horseback ride on through the North Dakota badlands and rolling prairie.
North Dakota is boring?!?!? There is almost too much to do! And for those that live in Grand Forks and a 6 hr drive is too long, Turtle River State Park is just down the road and Devil’s Lake just little bit farther. Get outside and explore the wonders of North Dakota and the surrounding areas and if someone tells you that North Dakota is boring just tell them that they are just not looking hard enough.