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Biblio Files

7 fantastic books to turn you into a book addict

It would be a wonderful co-incidence if your resolution this year is to take up reading, because we have decided to compile for our readers a list of the seven most popular books of all time. And if reading is what you intend to take up to destress then we have already charted your itinerary in the land of literature covering all possible bases to help you start off.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Rand’s 1200-page novel Atlas Shrugged is a hymn of praise to the concept of rugged individualism, personified in John Galt. It is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world–and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder–and rebirth–of man’s spirit.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Robert Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci – clues visible for all to see – yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. The Da Vinci Code heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller…utterly unpredictable right up to its stunning conclusion.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War was written more than 2,000 years ago and it still relevant today. It’s a manual for Chinese generals with strategies and tactics for winning wars. So how can this help you? Well it turns out the logic approach to strategic situations can be applied just about everywhere. This is a book about winning in war, business and in life.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

- To Kill a Mockingbird is about the crisis of human behavior and conscience arising from the racism and prejudice that exist in the small Southern town during the Depression. Scout Finch tells the story of her father’s defense of Tom Robinson, a young black man who is being tried for the rape of a white woman. Harper Lee’s only novel, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, is a much-beloved tale of growing up, as well as an exploration of heroism confronted with bigotry.

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time was written by the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking. In it he tries to answer some of the big questions about space, time and everything. The thing that makes the book special is that he does it in a way which is understandable to everyone. He explains the answers to questions like: Where did the universe come from? How and why did it begin? Will the universe end, and if so, how?

The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams

This comedic masterpiece follows hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings is regarded by many to be the most important and influential work of fantasy of the 20th century. It generated the fantasy novel industry practically single-handedly, inspiring a multitude of novels concerning elves and dwarves on quests to conquer ultimate evil despite overwhelming odds. Although intended to be published as a single volume, its division into a trilogy created the iconic format for epic fantasy literature.

Beauty Sleep

Snow-White probably overdid it but the importance of sleep in today’s hectic life is very under-rated. We’re all busy trying to cramp in a 36 hour workday in a 24 hour cycle, with the excuse that we’ll catch up on it on the weekend. Today, ‘busyness‘ is often seen as badge of honor, everyone seems to want to prove how frantic and fast-paced their lives are, and how exhausted they are.

It is a common tendency to think that sleep comes in the way of work. We believe that the time we ‘waste’ in sleeping could have been better used to catch up on work when in fact the opposite is true. Lack of adequate sleep can actually reduce your efficiency and end up being counter-productive.

Sleep is quintessential to our lives. Every human being has the major basic functions in common. One of these vital necessities is the need to sleep. Though we all have different sleep patterns, sleep different amounts, and the quality of our slumber varies greatly, sleep is literally necessary to stay alive. Strangely, though it is just as important as breathing, many people live with agonizing and life altering sleep disorders. The importance of sleep is often overlooked.

There are many reasons our bodies need sleep. Sleep is our bodies’ way of rejuvenating. It is the period in which we lower the energy levels expelled each day, our muscles and soft tissue are repaired and revitalized, and our mind is able to process memories and things we have learned for the day. Although one day of sleep deprivation is not fatal, it will indeed cause alterations in mood, physical well being, and overall cognitive function. Increased periods of time without sleep with further these negative changes into hallucinations, poor mental clarity, and often provoked disease, or even death. Studies show that the majority of fatal car crashes are directly correlative to lack of sleep.

In order to evaluate and truly respect the importance of sleep, it is relevant to consider the symptoms that occur with the absence of proper sleep. First of all, the average duration of sleep should be around eight hours. Studies have shown that certain individuals are able to function with less sleep, with as little as six hours; however others are unable to function unless they have reached as many as ten hours of rest. Contrary to the common tendency of many to try to “sneak in extra Z’s” by hitting the snooze button over and over, this habit usually hinders the body’s collective sleep and reduces the time spent in REM (rapid eye movement).

A lack of sleep will quickly cause irritability, grogginess, the inability to make decisions or follow through with cognitive functions. It will cause hallucinations, dozing off during activities and even throughout the day, etc. A continued lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, anxiety, depression, lethargy and fatigue. A chronic, or pathological, sleep disorder will often result in an immune system deficiency. Severe sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to death. These inevitabilities clearly show the importance of sleep. Often times, diseases in themselves will contribute to poor sleep. Many illnesses, serious pain, overactive thoughts or anxiety, a large upset in life such as a trauma or severe stress can all contribute to a poorer quality of sleep. Temporary sleeping troubles will usually subside if they are an immediate result of stress, however they can just as quickly slip into a serious condition. Treating sleep difficulty is imperative.

There are some simple tips to follow on your own if you are seeking a healthier sleep pattern. Eliminate caffeine in the afternoon and evening. The consumption of caffeine within a few hours before bed will directly inhibit your ability to fall asleep. Exercise, heavy meals, or drugs/alcohol will also diminish the quality of sleep if occurring shortly before hitting the hay. Instead, exercising earlier in the day will aid in ascertaining a healthy sleep regimen. Certain medications will increase adrenaline (such as decongestants) and disable the body from relaxing properly. Anxiety and an overactive mind will cause difficulty in allowing the mind and body to rest so practice deep breathing, meditation or prayer, focused intent on healthy sleeping etc. This usually gets the body ready for sleep and initiates a mental and physical relaxation. Establish a routine. This will help balance the body’s internal clock and ultimately inadvertently initiate the readiness and acceptance of sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable and your environment is appropriate. Studies acknowledge that noise, light, even a partner with sleeping troubles will easily influence the quality of sleep. Be aware of your nightly surroundings and make sure they are not interfering in achieving a healthy sleep pattern. There are many alternatives to try before depending on sleeping pills. In fact, many sleeping pills have adverse side effects, including trouble sleeping!

Ultimately, there are many downfalls experienced when sleep is not prevalent. Life takes a grave turn for the worst quickly when it is unable to rejuvenate properly. In just a matter of days, the quality of life is altered when sleep is deprived. It is utterly an essential part of life, and there are many ways to try to achieve it; further more to enhance the state of rest you are entering. Proper sleep will absolutely boost your health, your mood, and the quality of your life. Face it, sleep it not a luxury; it is a necessity to staying alive.

Top 8 health benefits of sleep
• Reduces stress
• Boosts memory
• Healthier heart
• Lowers inflammation
• Allows body repairs
• Lowers risk of depression
• Weight management
• Higher alertness levels

Tips for better sleep
• No blue light
• Avoid naps
• Save the bed for sleeping
• Set a routine
• No caffeine
• Eat light
• Stop smoking
• Unwind

Sleep Facts:

The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon.

It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes.

REM dreams are characterised by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery – obsessively returning to a suspicion you left your mobile phone somewhere, for example.

Dreams may not serve any purpose at all but be merely a meaningless byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations – sleep and consciousness.

Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role.

Tiny luminous rays from a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle even if you do not fully wake. The light turns off a “neural switch” in the brain, causing levels of a key sleep chemical to decline within minutes.

Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode.

Most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years only.

Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.

6 IVF Stress Busters

Infertility treatment can be physically uncomfortable, time-consuming, exhausting, and costly- all without a guarantee of success. The infertility experience for many can range from multiple diagnostic procedures through progressively more aggressive treatment options, all of which impose demands upon the emotional and physical self. It‘s no wonder that many women experience severe stress, depression, or anxiety during treatment for infertility.

It is possible, although difficult to relieve some of the stress and pressure of infertility treatment. Some tried-and-true stress control suggestions from former infertility patients and counselors include the following:

Accept that you are experiencing a time of heightened stress and don‘t try to downplay or deny its effects. You may find that you need to cut back on some or all of your nonessential obligations or activities for a while. Give yourself permission to say ‘no‘ to nonessential commitments and demands on your time.

Don‘t suffer alone. Confide in a trusted friend, loved one, or support group. Social support networks can tremendously reduce feelings of stress and emotional pain. Most infertility clinics also offer support groups and/or counseling services. If you‘re trying to conceive as a couple, accept that your partner may also feel stress, depression, or anxiety and may not be able to provide all the emotional support you require right now. Empower yourself with knowledge about the procedures and treatments you may need. After researching on the Web, write down a list of questions to take with you to your next appointment if you feel there are issues you‘d like to clarify.

Decide in advance with whom you want to share your experience, and plan some strategies for avoiding inappropriate questions and unwanted advice from colleagues and acquaintances. Discuss the possibility of treatment breaks with your doctor, if you feel that you need "time off" from the experience. Some people prefer to be treated every other month or every few menstrual cycles, while others are stressed by the waiting periods. Work with your doctor to find a treatment schedule that is comfortable for you.

Know that it‘s common for women in the midst of treatment to experience feelings of depression or sadness, and sometimes these feelings are strongest when participating in baby or child centered functions. Don‘t feel guilty if you want to pass up the baby shower or child‘s birthday party you‘re invited to. Taking care of yourself and your emotional needs is the top priority now.

Infertility & The Mind-Body Connection

By Dr Neeraj Munjal Pahlajani

The mind-body connection recognizes the reality that the mind and body are intimately and ultimately linked as one. There is absolutely no separation. What is thought or felt always resonates throughout the body moment by moment through a bio-chemical reaction. This reaction is either life and health enhancing or defeating. It has also been verified that each emotion has a distinct biochemical signature that affects mental and physical health and wellness.

Meditation, deep breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and directed, guided imagery can boost the immune system, alter blood pressure, decrease pain, and help with problems such as infertility.
Infertility isn‘t always the result of physical illness or dysfunction. Sometimes, lifestyle factors can play an important role in determining a couple‘s fertility. Mental health is one lifestyle factor that is of particular concern when it comes to fertility. Many couples struggle with severe stress, depression, and emotional concerns as they deal with fertility issues. These emotional problems can have just as severe an effect on fertility as any physical problem. If you are trying to conceive, take stock of your mental health and work to minimize the stress in your life. You will be amazed with the results!

How Stress Impacts Fertility

It is important to understand fertility holistically. In addition to treating the various physical etiologies of infertility, we must take into account the effects of stress and anxiety. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones.

These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. Recent research tells us that stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the body’s main sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and subsequently suppresses ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count. GnRH is responsible for the release of Luteinizing hormones and follicle-stimulating hormones by the pituitary, the suppression of testosterone, estrogens, and sexual behavior.

For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind-body connections and strategies which help to alleviate the stress response that sets off a cascade of hormonal responses which may inhibit fertility. Chronic stress may cause lack of libido as well as a decrease in general fertility. This has become such a common issue that they have created a name for it Stress Induced Reproductive Dysfunction.

Relationship and Infertility

If you are experiencing infertility, you may find that your struggles are really impacting your personal relationship with your partner. The rollercoaster of emotions caused by infertility can put extreme stress on any partnership, making it difficult to relate to one another, talk to each other, and lean on one another for support. Many couples feel that infertility negatively affects their relationship in a number of ways.

It may also cause extreme personal stress, which can only impact further on your infertility. When you are struggling with infertility, it is important to learn how to manage your stress and emotions in order to maintain your partnership and enhance your fertility.

Many couples find it difficult to express their true feelings and emotions. This can be especially troublesome when faced with the very real possibility that you may not conceive. However, if you do not learn to express your emotions, you may actually be further reducing your fertility. Research over the past decade has illustrated that emotions and stress have a dramatic impact on our body‘s functions. Emotions can make us feel sick, tired, energetic, or weak. Similarly, emotions and stress can also impact our hormone levels, influencing our fertility.

There are a number of infertility retreats based on the premise that the condition of the mind can greatly influence physical fertility. These retreats aim to restore or boost fertility by helping you to calm your mind and deal with your emotions. Activities may include, a recent study illustrates that mind-body infertility retreats significantly reduce the anxiety levels of women undergoing IVF and similar therapies.

Though the study did not correlate the relationship between the mind-body retreats and subsequent IVF success rates, it has been shown in previous studies that women with lower anxiety rates have an increased chance of fertility treatment success.

You may also want to consider creating a mind-body retreat within your own home in which you can escape to when you feel yourself becoming overly stressed. Check out these great tips on redecorating your home for ideas on how you can create your relaxation oasis.

Dealing with Infertility

If you are interested in trying different ways to boost your fertility, consider techniques to help control your emotional stress and improve your psychological wellbeing. When combined with stress busters, your traditional fertility treatments, mind-body connection guidelines can be highly successful and help to solidify relationships while enhancing your overall enjoyment of life.

Tips for a Stress Free Home
Sometimes life is stressful, but your home shouldn’t be. Your home should be your sanctuary. It should be the one place you’re able to relax and unwind after a long day. It’s easy to create a stress-free home, and we have some tips to help you create your very own relaxing oasis.

• Decorate the foyer or entryway with lighting and furniture you love. Since these are the first things you’ll see when you walk into your home, it’s important to buy home decor items that will brighten your mood and make your happy.
• Fill your home with soft, relaxing light. Table lamps, floor lamps, and pendant lighting are just a few light fixtures that provide soft light that will instantly relax a room.
• Steer clear of unsightly messes by keeping things like old newspapers and mail neatly organized.
• Create space in a room by donating unneeded furniture to your local good will store. Creating space is a way to remove clutter, and can help you relax.
• One of the easiest ways to create a relaxing environment is decorating with plants and flowers. Simply setting a vase full of flowers on the kitchen table can create a relaxed feeling.