Lin Jiayong

Psychologist
Is Caffeine Fueling Your Anxieties?
Many people consume caffeine on a daily basis. But its adverse effects are often neglected. The association between anxiety and caffeine isn't new but is it actually true? Image Source: Shutterstock, Mary Long Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Did you know one hundred thousand 60kg bags were consumed in 2020 - and that's just coffee alone! It's also packed tea, your favourite sodas and most energy drinks. Despite its prevalent use, its adverse effects are taken rather lightly and given relatively little attention. Since caffeine is so widely available, the effects it can have on your body fall on a broad spectrum depending on your daily dosage. On the higher end of the spectrum, caffeine is associated with a whole slew of negative side effects. Among these lies claim that caffeine can increase or trigger anxiety. Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows the great difficulty of dealing with such a condition. If drinking caffeine can bear such a serious consequence, its daily dosage must be taken with greater consideration. Hence, we’ve come to explore the claim - Is caffeine really fuelling your anxieties? Caffeine and mental healthWhile caffeine has many proven mental benefits like improved mood, better focus and lower risk of suicide, it's also associated with mental health disorders. High caffeine doses can induce symptoms of anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder and panic disorder are more sensitive to these doses and are more prone to experiencing these symptomsFurthermore, a study found that caffeine increased feelings of anxiety, hostility and psychosis(detachment from reality) in psychiatric patients. Caffeine can mimic symptoms of anxiety Excessively ingesting caffeine and anxiety are both associated with overactivity in the sympathetic nervous system. This is why caffeine is said to mimic anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, fast heart rate, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems. Should you still consume caffeine?The safe limit caffeine consumption for most healthy adults is about 400 mg which is about 4 cups of coffee. It's safe to say that as long as you don't exceed the 400 mg limit, you can safely enjoy your cup of coffee! Cutting back on your caffeine intake can be hard. But if you have anxiety, you might want to keep a close eye on your caffeine consumption. It is important to note the anxiety disorders are much more prevalent in women, as much as that cup of coffee can be the antidote to your fatigue, overconsumption may turn it into your poison! Sources:https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-and-anxiety https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20164571/
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-23
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2 mins read
Signs You’re Over-reliant On Coffee To Keep You Going
Let’s face it, for many of us, coffee is a lifesaver. No one knows what would've gotten us through all these long cold nights and sleepy mornings. However, it has become more of a necessity than a supplement. Image Source: Shutterstock, aslysun Caffeine, an active ingredient in coffee, is a stimulant that helps us stay alert. Long term dependence on this substance can be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being. Although caffeine itself is not addictive, it does cause some physical dependence. This isn't meant to offset coffee lovers, but you might want to rethink your coffee drinking habits! Here are some signs you’re relying too much on coffee to keep you going. You Can’t Function Properly Without Coffee For one reason or another, you might've forgotten to drink your daily cup of coffee at least once but how did you hold up? If you can't function properly without your daily cup of coffee, chances are you have some form of caffeine dependence. You might want to ask yourself if you can get by without coffee for a day. You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms Withdrawal symptoms are the biggest indicator of caffeine dependence. The most common symptom is headaches. Other symptoms include depression, low energy, anxiety and fatigue. Coffee withdrawal symptoms are said to last anywhere from two to even nine days for heavy consumers! Why You Should Curb Your Dependence There's nothing wrong with drinking coffee, after all, it's what springs us to life every morning. However, you shouldn't be dependent on it. When you consume more coffee, the minimum amount of coffee you need for normal functioning increases. You might not realize how much you’ve grown reliant on coffee until one day, you’re unable to meet your minimum coffee consumption. Next thing you know, you’re hit with a stream of withdrawal symptoms and only then will you realize you’re over-reliant on coffee. It’s like your body doesn’t have enough fuel to keep you going even though you’re an otherwise healthy person! Pregnant women are advised to minimize or preferably eliminate their caffeine consumption. It's always better to wean off your coffee dependence before pregnancy. Slowly and gradually lowering your coffee intake is one of many ways you can curb your dependence. Make sure you consult a doctor if you feel your coffee intake or dependence is affecting your life. Don't forget to enjoy your cup of coffee but at the same time, don’t let it take control over your life!   References: https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-withdrawal
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-24
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2 mins read
Why You Owe Yourself a Good Night’s Sleep
If there’s one thing you should never fall short on it would be sleep. A good night’s sleep could be the difference between starting off your day to an energetic start and having a bad day. Sleep deprivation is linked to many mental and physical health problems. Here are some ways your body will thank you for getting the sleep you deserve. Image Source: ANURAK PONGPATIMET Adequate sleep is an absolute prerequisite for a healthy and alert brain. Getting enough sleep is directly tied to your cognitive functions. So if you feel like you can’t focus or have trouble remembering things, then maybe it’s time to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This can help you stay at the top of your game. A healthy and happy brain consists of a delicate balance of many chemicals including mood and appetite-related chemicals. Sleep deprivation has been proven to disrupt this balance, sometimes leading to weight gain due to imbalances in appetite-controlling hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. Studies have also shown that sleep quality affects your mood so if you’ve been feeling down for no reason whatsoever then try getting your recommended hours of sleep! Another reason to keep tabs on your sleep is your immune system. In order to fend off infectious diseases, a well-functioning immune system is vital. There is increasing scientific evidence that suggests that sleep deprivation may affect how your immune system functions. Science has shown many unexpected sleep deprivation effects on our bodies. Did you know that pain tolerance is reduced by sleep deprivation? Or that being under the effect of alcohol has the same effect on performance as sleep deprivation? So make sure that you’ve had enough sleep especially before driving or doing an activity that requires special attention. Setting up a Sleep Schedule The first step to committing to a healthy lifestyle is by setting up a good sleep schedule. Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for adults in general. Mothers, entrepreneurs, caregivers and busy women sacrifice their sleep due to their busy lifestyles. But given the importance of a good night’s sleep, we ought to give ourselves the sleep hours we deserve. Using your phone right before sleep might be the only free time for many busy women but blue light coming from your phone can make it especially hard to fall asleep. Try staying away from electronics at least 1 hour before sleep especially if you have trouble falling asleep. If you feel like you’re suffering from a sleep disorder then make sure you consult with a doctor to devise a treatment plan.   References: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-26
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2 mins read
Is Dreaming a Sign of Good Health?
Have you ever woken up from a dream and wondered whether your dream served a purpose or had a hidden meaning? You may have heard from some cultures that dreams could be visions for the past or future, and some religions do believe it’s a medium for spiritual entities to speak to us. But what does science say about dreams? Is it just an illogical amalgamation of meaningless junk that your brain does for no reason? Well, this may surprise you, but scientific studies have shown that your dreams can say a lot about your health.   Image Source: Shutterstock, Olga Strelnikova When do dreams occur? Every day, we spend about 2 hours dreaming. If you do the math, that means you’re spending 6 years of your lifetime dreaming! During this period, did you notice that your dreams always occur at a certain stage in your sleep? Well, although dreams can happen at any stage in your sleep, they’re more intense and vivid in the final hours of sleep when you go through long REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep episodes. This is typically in the morning which is why alarm clocks sometimes wake us up in the middle of a dream. REM sleep occurs throughout the night in episodes that get gradually longer. These episodes are the longest during the final third of sleep.   Why do we dream? While researchers are still debating about the purpose of dreams, there is mounting scientific evidence that links dreaming to memory and emotional processing. There are many theories regarding the purpose or meaning of dreams with some stating that dreams make us ready for situations that may occur in real life by making us go through different scenarios. Another theory proposed by renowned 20th-century neurologist Freud suggests that dreams provide a path to your subconscious mind and often represent a wish that you couldn’t fulfil in real life. While these theories are all debatable and haven’t been confirmed, dreams could provide an insight into your general health.   What dreams mean for your health While the exact benefits of dreaming are unknown, dreaming is almost always a good sign. This is because dreams usually occur during REM sleep which has been proven to have countless benefits such as better memory, mood, learning and emotional processing. Some even say that it's the most important stage of sleep. Dreams show that you’re getting good quality sleep. Cutting down on sleep may interrupt REM sleep that occurs for longer episodes in the final third of sleep. There’s no way to get more REM sleep other than getting the full hours of sleep which is typically 7-9 hours for adults.    You might be wondering, do scary dreams mean anything? Nightmares may, in fact, indicate potential physical or mental illnesses. While having nightmares every once in a while could be a normal thing, nightmares could be a form of hallucination and could reflect certain mental conditions. Studies have shown that nightmares occur more frequently in patients with schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease than they do in the general population. If you experience frequent nightmares, a doctor may be able to help pinpoint the underlying cause.     References: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dream-meaning-health-dreams_n_2957121
Nectar Editorial
2021-04-29
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2 mins read
Motherhood Does Not Mean Self-Neglect
Motherhood may be one of the most heartwarming and respectable roles to take on in life. For someone to take the very frontlines of nurturing the future generation, and to be able to give the purest form of sacrificial love for their family, there is no doubt Mothers play an integral driver in spurring humanity forward, one way or another. However, as touching as motherhood is, it is difficult tenfold.  Image Source: Shutterstock, GoodStudio Wonderwomen Nothing beats the job description of Mothers having to do it all. from cleaning the house, paying the bills and shopping, all while being a role model and disciplinarian to their children. Mothers are expected to give their all to the family. It almost feels selfish to not do so. It’s no wonder most mothers don’t have time for themselves and neglect their health and well-being.   Self-sacrifice or self-neglect Mothers are so occupied with giving their time and energy to everyone else, they are often left none themselves. A study reported that 52% of mothers suffer from a loss of identity in their first year of motherhood. With no time to think, let alone spend on one’s unfounded passions and aspirations, as much as we’d love Mother’s to be empowered by Motherhood, on the contrary, their self-esteem is often beaten down by their loss of identity. The self-sacrifice that we exalt mothers for seems to be slowly turning to self-neglect!   Who works the most, needs the most care ‘You have to put on your oxygen mask first,” says Psychiatrist Gail Saltz “If you go to pieces, everyone is going down with you. So you have to give time to yourself. That is healthy, not selfish or narcissistic. That is a tough concept for a lot of women.” As the backbone of the family, mothers need to tend to themselves first before others - and it is not selfish. In fact, caring for yourself first is acting in the best interest of the family! Moving forward, as a mother, how can you practise proper self-care?    Care for your health and well-being first If you’re a mother, it may have been long before you have gone for a doctor’s appointment, but before anything, check up on your health and well-being. Mothers should make sure they're getting sufficient sleep, the right nutrition and exercise. Schedule the necessary health screenings and check-ups to make sure you’re at the pink of health.   Schedule me-time  Make sure to take some time off the hustle and bustle of motherhood and spend some alone time. Pick a day of the week or month and dedicate it to relaxing, reflecting on your life, doing something you enjoy. Remember, while being a mother doesn’t define who you are, it doesn’t define you completely.    Embrace the change of motherhood Motherhood can be an incredibly transformative phase, to an extent it is easy for mothers to look back on their past life and lament how much they’ve ‘lost’ from their old selves. Indeed change can be scary, it may seem like much has been lost, but remind yourself that there a whole new life is ahead of you! The key is to find gratitude in your current situation and embrace your new path as a mother. Motherhood will inadvertently change you. But always remember that as much as your old self may be gone, a much stronger, wiser and more selfless person has taken that place. Embrace that person and take care of her well!   References: https://www.today.com/parents/doing-it-all-moms-neglect-important-person-themselves-2D11899303 https://www.verywellfamily.com/overcoming-pressures-to-be-super-mom-4164348 
Nectar Editorial
2021-05-03
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4 mins read
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