6 bad habits that are affecting your sleep

Throw Away These 6 Bad Habits And Catch More Zzz's Once And For All

Believe it or not, there are better ways to fix a lack of sleep that don't include coffee or cold showers.

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Every day I used to wake up wishing I could stay in bed for just a few more minutes, but I was always aware that it wasn't a possibility because I had to get to class. I had created a vicious cycle of going to bed much too late so that the next day I'd walk around like a zombie all day long with layers of bags under my eyes. It was something I had become so used to that I hadn't bothered looking into changing my routine.

After one night when I was extremely ill and took a NyQuil to allow myself to fall asleep, I realized the importance of a suitable amount of sleep holds in a person's life. That night, I was able to get 14 hours of sleep and felt completely replenished and rejuvenated the next day. Although 14 hours is excessive and not possible on most days given my busy schedule, I made a vow to myself to increase the number of hours I slept to around the doctor's recommended amount, nine.

At first, it was extremely hard because I possessed the misconception that if I kept up my old habits, I'd magically be able to get more sleep. It wasn't until I realized that I had to reform my routine and establish these seven tendencies if I wanted to acquire a desirable amount of sleep every night.

1. Tell your phone you need a break

I know many of us feel separation anxiety when we're away from our phones for an extended period of time, but it really is better to keep it in a separate room when you go to sleep. I hate to break it to you, but Instagram and Snapchat can wait until the morning. YOU NEED SLEEP!

I don't know how accurate it is when researchers claim that it's the rays from your phone that disturb your sleep, but there's one thing I know for certain: keeping it by your bed at night will minimize the amount of sleep you get.

The biggest reason I say to part ways with your phone at night is that it's SO DISTRACTING. I'll hear the slightest noise and figure it's my phone buzzing and then I'll need to check if I got a notification. Even if nobody texted me, I'll check every form of social media to see what everyone's up to. Suddenly I'll be cyberstalking my friend's cousin's sister's mom until four in the morning. It's better to have the phone nowhere in sight so you don't even think about checking it.

2. Leave the light for the day time

I always thought that the best method to fall asleep was to allow myself to watch television until I became drowsy and eventually dozed off. That plan would constantly backfire and I'd stay up for hours watching cooking shows until I finally discovered the chef that came out victorious.

I realized that the biggest issue was the light that the television provided. When I began getting tired and would close my eyes in hopes of falling asleep, the light of the television woke me right back up and was practically begging me to watch it.

This goes for night lights, as well. I grew up afraid of the dark like many others, so I'd attempt to sleep with a dim light by my bed. It wasn't until I grew older that I realized how distracting it was. Since I still don't enjoy being alone in the dark, I developed a plan to keep a night light on until I'm feeling pretty tired and then turn it off and try to go to sleep right away so I wouldn't even realize I was in the pitch dark.

3. Just because your friends are up doesn't mean you have to be

In high school, my friends would always want to FaceTime until all hours of the night or text about our late night thoughts. I always felt bad or lame to say I was going to sleep when I was aware that they'd be up for many more hours.

This issue grew even larger as I entered college and my friends could physically be with me all night long. Whether it's attending a party until 3 AM or just fooling around in the dorm, many college kids don't get enough sleep because they're busy socializing.

Having a social life is extremely important, but it doesn't need to occur past a certain time. I learned that taking care of my body was more important than watching a movie with friends until five in the morning and eventually grew the courage to tell my friends I was going to sleep early.

4. No matter how hard it is, don't procrastinate

Like everyone else, I love to save things until the last minute simply because I'm too invested in a Netflix show or literally anything else that doesn't include the thing I really need to do. Whether it's a chore, shopping for presents, or schoolwork, I would always wait until the very last second. Eventually, the due date would come around and then I'd be stuck doing whatever it is I had to do into all hours of the night.

There's such a simple solution to this: time management. Use any downtime to get things done in advance so that you don't need to pull an all-nighter the night before it's due.

5. No matter how hungry you are, it can wait until the morning

My family and I have always been ones to eat dinner pretty early so that when it became time to sleep, I felt like I needed to snack on something. This added usually an hour or more to my bedtime because it took time to choose and prepare and then one snack would lead to another.

Eating would also energize me because it forced me to get out of bed. Doing so made me realize that I had other tasks to do while I was up that I might as well do then because it seemed like I didn't have anything better to do... who cares about sleep?

I eventually told myself that if I fell asleep, I'd completely forget about my grumbling stomach and could satisfy it when I woke up. Doing so led to a tremendous difference in when I would go to sleep.

6. Napping: don't do it

There's nothing wrong with the occasional 20-minute nap, but for most of us, that short time will become four or five hours. Sleeping throughout the day seems like such a good idea at the moment, but when it comes time to fall asleep, it's impossible. Your body has become completely energized from the nap and it takes what feels like forever to fall asleep at night.

Taking a nap during the day creates a cycle where you go to bed extremely late, wake up exhausted, take a nap, and repeat. It's so much better to go to sleep early and feel great throughout the day until it's an appropriate time to go back to sleep.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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How To Rock Your Natural Curly Hair This Summer & All Year Long

CALLING ALL CURLY HAIRED GIRLS: It's our season!

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All of your friends and your favorite famous idols all have long, straight hair. You take hours or get treatments on your natural curls to keep your hair straight, when in reality you are ruining the gorgeous curls that you should be rocking! I know it's hard to keep your curls under control, but with the right product and effort you can rock your curls all summer long. Curly hair is in! Here's how to rock your natural hair all summer long.

1. Coconut oil is your BFF.

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Whether it's in your conditioner or you use it as a spray or leave-in product, coconut oil is a great way to keep your hair shiny and frizz-free. For those of you who often straighten your hair, coconut oil can help tame and treat your damaged ends. Conditioners and products with coconut oil in them are always my go-to products. I would but this on this list 10 times if that would make you use it!

2. Stay by the pool.

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If my friends want to do something and I am having a bad hair day, I always suggest the pool. Not only can curls give you a beautiful thick messy bun, but my friends are always jealous of how good my hair looks in the pool. Curly hair, wet from the pool, is like a magic trick. Your hair will instantly look better.

3. Dye your hair!

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If you are like me and can't stand having your hair look the same 24/7, I have found dying my hair keeps me from wanting to straighten my hair or want to change it. Dying your curls will make whatever color you get really pop and keep you feeling fun and exciting in your natural hair journey. You don't have to do anything too drastic either! Sometimes so highlights or a lighter color is all you need.

4. Rock the pouf!

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Get that hair as big and crazy as you can get it, and ROCK IT! Don't let that volume and texture go to waste. Own your curls and wear them big.

5. Use a bandana or headbands for control & extra cuteness.

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When my hair gets a little more out of hand than I like, I opt for a headband or bandana to help style it. With curls, your hair has texture and can actually hold a headband in place. CVS and Walmart offer a large (and cheap) assortment of headbands and bandanas for all of your curly hair needs.

6. Braid parts of your hair to give your hair depth or add control.

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Sometimes a french braid on the side or over the top can not only make it look like you really took the time to style your hair, but also add control to your everyday look. I like to braid my hair when I know it is going to get frizzy or just want to slick down the top and rock a pouf in the back.

7. Invest in a good conditioner & hair mask.

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While you are relaxing with your face mask, why not do a hair mask at the same time? A hair mask is a great way to hydrate your curls and get them bouncy, conditioned, and frizz-free. You can find a variety of good hair masks for under 15$ and you can use them 2-3 times a week.

8. Get bangs... or just fake them!

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This one is #RISKYAF, but you don't actually have to cut your hair to get bangs. I use bobby pins to pin up my hair to give the illusion that I have bangs. It is great when you want to switch up your look or rock a ponytail or bun. Which leads me to my next point...

9. Bobby pins, bobby pins, bobby pins!

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Use bobby pins to hold your hair in place and control your hair while you go for a messy look! I pin my bangs to the side with bobby pins or use them to hold certain pieces in place. They are especially helpful for updo looks!

10. Comb your hair while you're in the shower.

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To avoid breakage and breaking apart your curls it is always best to comb your hair while you're showering. You need to condition your hair (to avoid breakage) and comb the conditioner through it until all of the knots are out. If your hair keeps getting caught in the comb and the knots aren't coming out, put more conditioner in your hair to help. Finish your shower and then rinse the conditioner out at the end. And BAM! Tangle and frizz-free curls. PRO TIP: Use a wide tooth comb, never a brush!

11. Invest in a hair turban towel.

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You can get these on Amazon, at TJ Maxx, at CVS, and the list goes on. Instead of drying your hair with a regular towel and making it frizzy, wrap it in a hair turban to get the wetness out while keeping it moisturized. Hair turbans will help keep in all of the moisturizer and conditioner locked into your hair after showers.

12. Use scrunchies instead of hair ties.

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Not only are they super cute to wear on your wrist, but they also won't crease your curls if you need to tie them up quickly. Scrunchies are also great because they can be tied loose and not damage or smash your curl pattern. I haven't used a hair tie in years and don't plan on using one anytime soon.

12. Be proud & rock the f*ck out of your hair.

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Healthy and loved natural hair will never do you dirty. Love your curls because 9/10 people wish their straight hair had the same texture yours does! Curly hair is a whole look, let's start appreciating it more!

Love your natural hair and get inspired by all of the tips and pics of super fab curly hair!

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