Thursday, December 12, 2013

What happens to your body when you don't get enough sleep

How much sleep are you getting a night? 

In today's fast past and busy society, it is hard to tell if we are meeting all our biological needs. Sleep is one of those basic necessities we can't escape. When is the last time you stayed up all night for an exam, went out on the town with your friends when you had work the next morning, woke up to a crying baby, or even couldn't sleep because of those loud trains blowing their horns throughout the night. 
If you can't remember good for you, but for the majority of us it seems we have developed the same patterns of regualting our sleeping cycle. A pattern I like to call- NOT AT ALL. 

It isn't like we are purposely trying to not get enough sleep. We live in a society that expects us to burn both ends of the candle, and still get up and cook breakfast for our children in the morning. What happens to our mind and body when we find ourselves functioning on too little of sleep? Given that this morning, I woke up after only 5 hours of sleep, and  forgot my wallet and then became especially moody when one of my co-workers said something about my socks not matching, this is definitely a topic I am interested in. 

In an article I read about the effects of sleep, On Psychology Today, the writer appeared to have the exact same problems as me. He began studying and wrote a series of posts that investigate the negative effects of losing sleep at night.  If you are interested in finding out whether or not you are sleeping enough at night you should begin by taking the Stanford Sleeping Scale- it is a quick was to assess how alert you are feeling, and if you are getting enough sleep at night. 

However, if you don't feel like you are. These are the side effects attributed to lose of sleep... The evidence is a little mind blowing.

Are you Intoxicated? 
Have you ever been so fatigued, you feel like you have just chugged two bottles of wine? Things start to mush together and after the point of total cognitive incomprehension you begin to sound like slurring sally who just walked out of apple's bar. 
 Chronic sleep deprivation and irregular sleep cycles have been connected to a number of mental and medical health problems. Did you know, that if your body only gets a couple hours of sleep, a sleep deprived body can have the same symptoms as an intoxicated body. Think about drinking and driving and how dangerous to yourself and others that is. The same goes with not getting enough sleep.

The Scale 
Good morning, and rise and shine. It is time to check your daily weight, WHAT- you've seemed to have gained five pounds over night? That is something surprising, but fatigue can be correlated with increases percentages of body fat. Also, it has been said that lack of sleep can increase your heart rate and cause many health problems. Alzheimer's is also related to the consequences of losing sleep.
However, lets talking about the number one must destructive side effect of a sleepless night... YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. 

As psychologist and researcher Mark Sisson puts it, 
“One study found that skipped sleep led to a shrinking brain. Bye, bye gray matter! The heart and kidneys also take a beating as does your blood pressure. You, in fact, put yourself at continually increased risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases, including obesity and diabetes. The logical extension of this pattern? Numerous studies link partial sleep deprivation/disruption and increased mortality risk!”

You need sleep, and sleep needs you. Don't waist another restless night thinking that you can be a productive human being without it, because it is important. 

Let's join together as conscious and healthy individuals to make a pact to tackle sleep. It's only natural. 

How long did you sleep last night?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Want to know the three stages of retirement planning? Find out here!

Three Phases of Retirement Planning

A comfortable retirement is the reward for saving, managing assets and preparing during your working lifetime. It is about doing things you like and the ability to spend time with family, traveling, making a difference in your community by doing volunteer work, or even beginning a new career without the concern for the pay. In essence, it's about options with your life, and it is money that give you those options. 

To prepare for successful and comfortable retirement filled with options, it is important to understand and implement the basic retirement planning techniques found in the Three Phases of Retirement. 

1. Accumulation
2. Asset Management 
3. Distribution 

One: Accumulation 

A successful retirement plan begins with a commitment to start saving for retirement. If you begin young, time is on your side and even small amounts invested regularly can make a big difference. 

Two: Asset Management 

Once you have accumulated retirement assets, it is essential that you invest and manage your assets for optimum performance. 

Three: Distribution

Upon reaching retirement, comes the time of utilizing the assets you have accumulated and managed over the years. Care must be taken to maximize your return, minimize your risk and navigate the complex retirement distribution tax regulations. 

Professional Services 
  • Retirement Planning
  • Retirement Plan Distribution
  • Financial Planning 
  • Asset Management 
  • Estate Transfer
  • Investments
  • Risk Management 
  • Insurance
  • Education Funding 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Teachers TRS and Social Security benefits

Faculty, Teachers, Administrators, Staff, Employees finding out about your retirement plan 

What's the best way to figure out what amount of income you will need for retirement? 

All you have to do is go back to your first year in the public school system in Texas, and write down what your annual salary was. Then try to figure what your salary was every year or maybe every five years to the present. 

For instance, if you made $34,000-50,000 dollars your first five years in public education, that is what you should project for retirement. This will take Maintaining the same level of income throughout your retirement will take some work and saving to do. 

Inflation or the cost of living is a major risk in retirement, and if you can remember you probably received salary increases while you were working. These salary increases were there to keep up with the increases at the grocery store, and all the rest of the purchases you and your family made. 

     In Texas, educators-teachers are under the TRS retirement system and for about 90% of all school districts, there is no Social Security. In a nutshell, the TRS is a Defined Benefit Plan retirement system, which means when you retire and whatever option is elected, the monthly retirement income amount, stays the same. 

IN FACT, it is guaranteed to stay the same. But "COLA" is not there and for many educators they find this out after they retire, which is not the time to find out. Most if not all Fortune 100 Corporations use to have the same type of retirement plan, 30 years ago. However, they all changed to the Defined Contributions Plan, because they saw that the other retirement plan would not work for employees. 

And if that wasn't enough, school officials and educators said 40 years ago, that since they had the TRS retirement system, that they didn't need social security. Instead they could contribute to their own private retirement plan (403b) and make more earnings and a larger retirement income than Social Security. Yes! that was possible, except that it was optional, and not mandatory like Social Security -- "forced savings." 

Many educators did start to save into their private retirement plan, but Texas salaries to teachers don't leave much room for savings. 
And if the two decisions for educators retirement plan wasn't enough pain, the US Government and Social Security Administration put in an automatic "cost of living adjustment (COLA) into Social Security. Since salaries and years of service are the parts of the TRS retirement formula, the first few years of the TRS retirement look alrightbut after that educators suffered at least an average of 3% loss to inflation every year. With the increase in longevity for all Americans it can be a very long and hard retirement lifestyle to live on. 

THE BEST OPTION that a educator can implement as early as possible is to work on the goal of saving around 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to get through finals while staying sane!

It finals week, and sometimes I find myself 

recounting the golden days where I was a student in college. 

However, during my time in college, and going through what I like to call the "the final massacre," I picked up a couple of studying tricks and methods to keep me centered and regulated. Here are some tips that have helped me through finals week:

  1. Accept your anxiety.   Don't let your pre-final jitters get the best of you. You're going to be anxious, that's a given. . Acknowledge that. Use it to your advantage— a little bit of nerves can be the best motivation to excel and focus your energy into productivity
  1. Know the library. At exam time, the library (my usual study spot) became infected with students. Every where you turn, there are kids cracking open their books and diving into their studies. However, many times the student body excess can be a huge distraction, and it would be better to know every inch of the library. So, you can find that one corner where no one goes to get some peace and quiet. 
  1. Sleep. You need it.  I know it is so easy to pull an all-nighter, and then refuel the next morning with a cup of coffee. In a desperate moment during my freshman year, I pulled an all-nighter to study for my "Accounting II" exam. Well, although, I had studied all night, that didn't matter to my alarm clock when it didn't go off the next morning and I woke up late to my exam. 
  1. Breathe. This week can be hectic and truly exhausting. So to keep your brain circulated make sure you take to breathe. 
  1. Make dead week Click here to learn about third-party website links truly dead. If you’re at a school that blesses you with a week (or even a day) of no classes in preparation for finals, use it! It’s always better to study over time rather than to cram. Don't get caught up in your next door neighbors kegger, and get your studying done. 
  1. Take a break. You truly will go insane if you study nonstop, so take a 30-minute break every now and then to just chill. Take a walk with a friend, go to chick-fil-a, or call your mom and see how she is doing this week. 
  1. Grab a healthy snack. Caffeine and sugar aren’t always the best options, and can leave you with a pretty bad sugar hangover. They’re good for a while, but then you crash. Grab an apple or a granola bar, and make sure you get the right nutrition. 
  1. Ignore the celebrating students. It’s especially tough to stay motivated and keep studying when there are students who are already finished (and who keep reminding you that they’re done). Don’t get pulled in to their celebration. Stay focused on your studies—you’ll get your time to celebrate, too.
  1. Double-check your final exam times. Funny story for you. Well, not really funny then, but funny now. Junior year I missed my Finance final. It isn't fun, and I don't advise it. 
  1. Put down your cell phone.  It is hard to stay focused with a million little buzzing sounds ringing at your ear. Make sure you keep as many distractions away from you this week, and turn off your cell phone. I dare you. 
  1. Go crazy to stay sane. Last year, one of my friends made a finals playlist and we kicked back and listened to it dancing and laughing. Just because you have to get serious doesn't mean you can't have a little down time full of fun and laughter.

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