Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Treat Your Body Right! Discussion on Sleep/Food Intake and Exercise

Do you feel yourself by late afternoon sluggish, burned out and exhausted? You might ask yourself three things?
  1. How many hours of sleep am I getting each night? Don't know, maybe start keeping a sleep journal. Do I stay up late and get up early? Why am I staying up late? Are the things I'm staying up late for important? Sleep like good nutrition and exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Practice self-care and make sleep a priority. Consequences of inadequate sleep:
  • Impaired immune response. The quality of sleep before becoming infected is a significant determinant of the severity of cold symptoms. Even one night of inadequate sleep reduces the number and activity of natural killer cells the next day. 
  • Impaired learning and cognitive function-blood oxygen levels in the brain are measurably lower after insufficient sleep.
  • Increased snacking-lack of sleep results in dysregulation of hunger and satiety hormones.
  • Weight gain
  • Emotional disturbances and excessive emotional reactivity.
How much sleep should one get? Answer: 7 + hours each night for adults, more for children.
Why am I not sleeping well even though I go to bed early? The answer can be many different reasons but ask yourself these questions.

2. What am I doing right before bedtime? Do I eat after or snack after 8:00pm? Do I partake of caffeine in any form before bedtime? (drinks, prescription, headache medicine, chocolate, etc.) Am I thinking of things that would bring me stress before bedtime? It is important that we pinpoint our weakness and fix it. We must be more careful what we put into our bodies before bedtime so that we can get the sleep we desperately need and deserve. Make a habit of not eating or drinking anything except water, before bedtime. (Water should not be drank at excess amounts before bed to avoid many trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.)  Also, it is important to take notice what foods you are partaking of at the beginning of your day. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. So that we have the energy to participate in the day, we must eat a nutritious breakfast, we MUST NOT SKIP breakfast because we are afraid of the pounds it might add. We owe ourselves, our kids, or job if you have one to treat yourself right. So, at the beginning of the day eat the right foods and drinks (not caffeinated or diet drinks that loaded down with sugar-quick start to a quick dive), giving yourself plenty of fruits and veggies throughout the day to give positive energy. Do Not Skip lunch. Keep peanuts/cashews handy for a quick shot of protein and energy for in between meals. Opt out of candies that are sweet and fun these will head you in the wrong direction, a straight course down hill.  Be Smart, Eat Right.

3. What kind of activity am I doing throughout the day?  Don't be a couch/chair potato always looking at some screen or another. This is exhausting. Limit your hours watching T.V., internet, facebook, blogging or gaming, these are sure ways to drain energy. When you find yourself getting tired, get up and do something; stretch, jog in place, climb some stairs, take a walk, circle your arms, change of scenery, anything active. To give yourself extra energy do at least 20 min.of formal exercise a day.This can be done in a variety of ways. I will let you brainstorm for that one.

Some real and tested things that help me sleep better at night:
  • Reading - I find that when I read before I go to bed, I have less wake up times in the middle of the night. Of course, you may not want to read an intense thriller book or of that nature before venturing to bed. 
  • Don't go to bed in a huff - I found that I have less of a chance of a good nights rest if I have had a disagreement with my spouse. The saying "Don't Go To Bed Mad" is a good saying. 
  • A long sincere, emotional prayer helps in big, big ways. I'm able to get all my feelings out in the open, crying helps cleanse the body, I am left with a clear mind to sleep peaceably.
  • A very warm bath- invigorates the body, but, afterwards, as I lay down in comfortable, soft blankets, I can sleep uninterrupted, so very nice.
Twenty-four hours in a day usually doesn't seem like enough to "get everything done". Exercise and sleep are often sacrificed in our busy lives. Maybe you didn't finish everything on your mile long to-do list. Let it go--you owe yourself some rest! Start your new year off right! Be healthy: eat/drink right, exercise/stay active but don't over do it and get enough sleep. 

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