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You Could Be Sleep Deprived: What It Does and What to Do About It

Sleep plays an indispensable role in overall health and wellness. When the body doesn’t get enough rest, the consequences can affect thinking ability, appetite, and your professional and personal relationships.

What Happens to Your Body During Sleep Deprivation

Even one bad night of sleep can change the mind and body, and prolonged sleep deprivation only causes these changes to worsen. While you sleep, the brain gets to work cleansing itself of toxins while pruning and strengthening connections made during the day. If you’re not getting enough rest or if you frequently wake throughout the night, your critical-thinking skills, decision-making abilities, and reaction times all slow down because the brain isn’t getting the time it needs for self-maintenance.

Your body also changes how it controls appetite when tired. The body releases more of the hunger hormone ghrelin and less of the satiety hormone leptin, leaving you hungrier and less full. Not only do you feel hungrier but the body craves high-fat snacks and sugary treats because the reward center of the brain gets a bigger “hit” from those foods when you’re tired. It becomes difficult to maintain your physical health without enough sleep.

Certain areas of the brain also begin to function differently when sleep deprived. The amygdala, which processes emotions, becomes more sensitive to negative thoughts while the prefrontal cortex, which applies higher reasoning to feelings becomes less active. Consequently, irritability, aggression, sadness, and anger can have more influence on your daily interactions. Maintaining both professional and personal relationships becomes harder due to the emotional changes that take place during sleep deprivation.

Make a Change for Better Sleep

While sleep may be a necessary biological function, that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. There are many environmental factors as well as personal habits and behaviours that can be altered to affect your sleep positively.

The bedroom and everything in it should support healthy sleep. For example, a comfortable mattress with breathability and support eliminates physical discomforts and distractions. Blackout curtains and noise absorbing decor that keep light and sound to a minimum can help reduce wakefulness or waking too early.

You can also develop habits that support healthy sleep like:

  • Keeping a Consistent Sleep-Wake Schedule: The body loves a consistent schedule because it allows it to follow natural 24-hour cycles called circadian rhythms. When you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you give your body a chance to adjust and strengthen its response to these cycles.

  • Developing a Regular Bedtime Routine: Routines help the brain know when to time the release of sleep hormones. A bedtime routine can also help relieve stress and calm the mind. Reading a book, meditation, and taking a warm bath are all bedtime routine favourites because of their relaxing effects.

  • Regularly Spaced and Timed Meals: Try to eat your meals at roughly the same time every day and keep them evenly spaced throughout the day.  Meal timing and spacing plays a role in the proper timing of the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Shut Off Your Screens: Televisions and other electronic devices can give off a blue light that suppresses sleep hormones. You can either shut them off two to three hours before bed or turn on the low blue light setting if the device has one.


Everyone will have a sleepless night now and then. However, if the problem becomes chronic, you can take steps to improve your chances of getting a full night’s rest.

About the Author: Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.

Sexy Friday: Toddlers & Sex Positivity, Attachment and Dialogue


Thank God It’s Sexy Friday!!

This week, indulge in another episode of “Sex Talk with Kelly” to learn more about raising children in a sex positive environment, and the importance of healthy sex dialogue to help re-spark that romantic attraction! In this episode, Jo Flannery (clinical sexologist) will join Kelly once again, along with a new guest, Anna Gold (relationship therapist).

In order to encourage sex positivity among toddlers, Jo Flannery suggests ‘no judgment zones’ and emphasizes the importance of using the correct terminology when speaking to our toddlers.

Anna Gold addresses issues with the Hollywood idea of a romantic sex life, and emphasizes the importance of real love, and how this can help re-spark a romantic attraction with your partner. She also reinforces the importance of maintaining healthy sexual dialogue with your partner, how to have ‘the talk’, and the importance of creating safe spaces to engage in these discussions.

Interested in learning more about what these specialists have to say? Check out the full episode HERE!


Are you a new Sexy Friday reader? We don’t want you to miss anything! Check out our previous Sexy Friday blog posts:

Sexy Friday: Sex After Kids, Low Desire & Anal Play for Beginners

Sexy Friday: The (Not so) Subtle Art of Seduction

Sexy Friday: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, Intimacy and Desire


Guest Information:

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyint

Anna Gold

Twitter: @SOCounselling

Instagram: @socc_imago


The Power of Me Time


In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it’s nearly impossible to be alone. We’re always connected. School, work and relationships all have a major impact on the way we live our life, and ultimately on our state of well-being and happiness.

A critical part of finding peace and happiness is accepting yourself just the way you are. We as people are not perfect, yet we often times lose sight of this and demand things from ourselves we simply cannot do. And being constantly surrounded by others intensifies this sensation. There’s so much pressure to “be someone,” and it seems like we’re always being judged or compared to others.

Enter “me time”. This small change to your lifestyle can have major effects on your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. But what exactly is it? Well, it’s pretty much what the name says. It’s time you take entirely for yourself. It can be just a few minutes, or it can be a few hours, and it doesn’t really matter what you do. The only requirements are that you be alone and that you do something you love to do.

Why is this so important? Simply put, carving out some time of the day just for you is an opportunity for you to show yourself that you can be happy without others. Of course, sharing yourself is a critical component of wellness, but when we’re out in the world, we’re constantly being fed messages that indicate happiness is something to be found outside of ourselves, something we need to acquire. Yet long-lasting happiness cannot be found externally. It’s not even something that can be found. It’s already inside of us; we just need some time to realize it.

And this is exactly what “me time” is for. It’s a chance for you to forget about the situations in life where you’re asked to do things you perhaps don’t enjoy or that bring you stress. These are unavoidable, so by balancing them with moments of true bliss, you are giving yourself the strength you need to make it through the day.

“Me time” can also serve as a great motivator. If you know your day is going to end with you sitting in your room meditating, or that it’s going to begin with a novel and a cup of delicious coffee, you’ll begin to approach the rest of your day differently. Undesirable tasks will take on new meaning since completing them will mean you get to enjoy this wonderful time with yourself and the things you love to do.

When you decide to add “me time” to your day, take it seriously. Tell those around you—your partner, children, friends, etc.—the specific time you’ve cut out of your schedule. Inform them to only disturb you in the event of an extreme emergency and consider switching off your phone and/or tablet so that you can’t be distracted by the outside world. In the beginning, it may even be helpful to put this time on your calendar so that you and those around you can understand this is not a fad or a whim but a real component of you maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Once you start doing this, you won’t be able to stop. You’ll be able to see the impacts almost right away. You’ll find new energy and motivation, and you’ll begin to feel better about yourself. If you’re looking to make bigger changes in life, this is a great way to find the drive and confidence to do so. Start taking some “me time” today and see how it can change your life for the better.


About the author: Caroline is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. When she entered the working world, she quickly became a self-proclaimed workaholic. While this brought her some financial success, it nearly ruined several relationships and left her in a truly dark place. After seeking some help, she began realizing how important it was to take life a little less seriously and to reserve time for what she loved to do. This has helped her create a work-life balance that supports both her professional and personal goals. She writes frequently about her experiences to help other ambitious women (and men) prioritize their life in the right way so that success at work doesn’t come at the expense of health and well-being.

Sexy Friday: Sex After Kids, Low Desire & Anal Play for Beginners


Welcome to yet another Sexy Friday here at Bliss Counselling! Today we are excited to share with you another episode of “Sex Talk with Kelly”. During this episode, Kelly is joined by Jo Flannery (clinical sexologist), Dr. Martin Dragan (clinical sexologist) and Dianne from the Stag Shop!

Kelly and Jo start the episode off with an insightful conversation about sex after kids, explaining that you shouldn’t feel pressured to go back to the same type of sex life that you had before kids. The experience is new; so don’t feel pressured to force something that no longer fits naturally into your life.

Later, Dr. Dragan discusses desire, “You don’t go to a movie just to watch the ten minute climax. This should be the same with sex. It doesn’t need to be goal-oriented. It’s about continuously building on the dynamic and focusing on the experience throughout”.

Hmm, sounds pretty similar to what Kelly was saying in last week’s Sexy Friday blog post. Great minds think alike!

To wrap up the session, Dianne from the Stag Shop joins Kelly to give the 4-1-1 on anal play and sex for beginners, from lube to beads and everything in between!


To watch the full episode and get some fun and sexy tips, click HERE!


We are delighted that you’ve taken the time to check out our Sexy Friday blog and open your mind to a world of spicy possibilities! Keep your eye out for next week’s Sexy Friday!


Guest information:

Jo Flannery

Twitter: @SEXOLOGYMag

Instagram: @sexologyint

Dr. Martin Dragan

Twitter: @martindragan


Twitter: @stagshop

Instagram: @stagshop


Do you have any questions for us? We’re happy to help! Feel free to get in touch with us here.

If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here.

Sexual Health & Young Adults on Campus


Recently, Sexologist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold invited me on her Rogers TV Talk Show, “Sex Talk with Kelly.” (Airing Wednesday’s at 10:30 pm, on Rogers Cable Network, check it out!) Our goal was to start a conversation around how parents might approach sexual health topics with their adult children on campus. Apparently there’s much to say on that topic, and those 7 minutes really flew by! We felt it was important to encourage healthy sexual attitudes while also keeping safety in mind. Here are a few suggestions on how to continue the conversation, as well as links to some excellent online resources.

What should parents know?

1 in 5 female students will be sexually assaulted while attending university (CFOSO, 2015). What I want to highlight even further, is that for those 1 in 5 woman – it’s likely the assault will be done by someone they know. Keep in mind that females aren’t the only ones at risk to be sexually assaulted. Everyone deserves to feel safe on campus while exploring their sexuality.

What can parents do?

Open the door for conversation. Use media and current events as conversation starters. Encourage them to talk about safety and sexual health with their peers. Are they going to party? Encourage them to talk about safety planning with their roommates before they head out for the evening. Young people are creative and they’ll make a plan that suits them best.

What could parents say?       

“I wrote down a list of all the sexual health resources on campus and I left it on your desk along with some condoms. Remember, sex should be fun but it should also always feel safe.”

This is a BIG topic, so don’t feel like you have to communicate everything about sexual health all in one conversation. Simply being a resource, or linking your children to appropriate resources is a great place to start.


Written by Bliss therapist Jenna Luelo. Learn more about Jenna and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

We are thrilled that you’ve found your way to our Bliss Blog, and hope that Jenna’s article has helped you as either a parent or student, prepare for a safe experience on campus! Check out the resources that Jenna recommends below!


Resource Links:

Sex and U: https://www.sexandu.ca

Sexual Assault Center: http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics

Local Sexual Health Campus Contacts:

University of Waterloo: https://uwaterloo.ca/campus-wellness/blog/post/sexual-health-resources-or-near-campus

Wilfrid Laurier University: https://students.wlu.ca/wellness-and-recreation/health-and-wellness/self-help-resources.html

Conestoga College: https://www.conestogac.on.ca/medical-care-clinic/education/sexuality


Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario [CFOSO]. (2015). Sexual Violence on Campus. Retrieved from: http://cfsontario.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2017/07/Factsheet-SexualAssault.pdf


Do you have any questions for us? We’re happy to help! Feel free to get in touch with us here.

If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here.


Sexy Friday: Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy, Intimacy and Desire

Hello and welcome to our Sexy Friday blog series, where Bliss Sexologists will share their extensive knowledge on all things sex! With this new blog series, we hope to take you on a sexploration into uncharted territory, guiding and educating you on all things sex and relationships! Within this series you’ll find links to videos from Kelly McDonnell-Arnold’s “Sex Talk with Kelly”, produced by Rogers TV. You’ll also have access to podcasts and other valuable resources provided by our talented and knowledgeable team! We hope you enjoy this series and look forward to your feedback!

Let’s get this Sexy Friday started!

Today, our blog includes a link to an episode of “Sex Talk with Kelly”, where Dr. Martin Dragan and Jo Flannery join Kelly to discuss pelvic floor physiotherapy, desire and intimacy, and how to start a positive conversation about sex with your partner. Dr. Dragan is a clinical sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality (DHS). Jo Flannery is also a clinical sexologist and marriage and family therapist, and Co-Founder of Sexology International.

Kelly and Dr. Dragan discuss the value of combining both pelvic floor physiotherapy and sex therapy in order to help clients improve blood flow and to determine what makes them anxious and/or tense, with the ultimate goal being to increase sexual desire and functioning. Dr. Dragan also emphasizes the value of pelvic floor physiotherapy for both men and women, and the benefits it has on overall physical health and sexual pleasure.

Later in the episode, Kelly and Jo have an insightful discussion about the vulnerability that is experienced by many individuals when engaging in discussions of sex with their partner. Jo explains that there are dos and don’ts when it comes to discussions of sex with your partner(s). Most importantly, she articulates that this conversation should never happen during sex, as this is a moment in which you are both most vulnerable. Instead, waiting until you are both in a comfortable space both physically and mentally will ensure that the conversation is productive, not destructive.

To hear more advice from Kelly, Jo Flannery and Dr. Dragan, click here!


We are delighted that you’ve taken the time to check out our Sexy Friday blog. Hopefully you learned something new and exciting to make your weekend that much more special! Keep your eye out for next week’s Sexy Friday!

Do you have any questions for us? We’re happy to help! Feel free to get in touch with us here.

If you’re interested in booking your first appointment with Bliss, you can do that here.

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