In this busy world, we are always trying to get more out of our day and many times at the expense of our sleep time. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Sleep is required for many vital functions and overall health and well-being.
Good sleep improves cognition, concentration, productivity, and mental performance. Proper sleep enhances problem solving skills as well as learning and memory. Quality sleep improves overall health while poor sleep patterns increase the risk of chronic and acute illnesses, including heart disease and stroke. Good sleep enhances mood, emotional, and social interactions. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety and depressive disorders. Many people with depressive disorders also report sleep disorders. Proper immune function is also dependent on the rejuvenating effects of sleep. Athletic and peak physical performance requires adequate quality sleep. Inadequate sleep patterns affect hormones that regulate appetite. In fact, poor sleep patterns are one of the strongest contributing factors for obesity. Inadequate sleep patterns affect hormones that regulate appetite. Poor sleep also increases risks for metabolic disorders and elevated blood sugars.
There are multiple things that you can do to improve your sleep. Watch when and what you eat. Try to eat at least 4 hours before going to bed. Practice yoga, meditation, or mindfulness. Avoid naps during the day. Take 30 minutes before bedtime to wind down and during that time avoid blue light from cell phones, TVs, and computers. Try a warm bath or shower before bed. Get on a schedule with planned bed and wakeup times. Experience daylight and darkness. Get some sunshine and exercise during the day and use blackout curtains or a sleep mask. Darkness helps promote increased melatonin which enhances sleep. Keep your sleep environment cooler. If you do wake up during the night avoid watching the clock.
Stay Well…and Get Good Zzzzz’s.
AVOIDING WEIGHT GAIN
GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP
Keep a journal - of your personal health and weight loss goals as well as a daily record of your dietary intake and exercise patterns. You can do this in a written journal or utilize one of the many free online apps. This will help you stay accountable to yourself. You will also be able to readily identify strengths and weaknesses and make changes where appropriate.
Have a plan for meals and snacks which will help you with dietary focus and in creating your grocery list. When you shop, stick to your list. This will help you from making unhealthy, unplanned purchases and get you in and out of the grocery store minimizing your public exposure. AND DON’T GO TO THE STORE HUNGRY.
Avoid mindless eating. Ask yourself if you are eating because of true hunger or just plain boredom. Sit at the table for meals and not in front of the TV or computer screen. Include 3-4 ounces of lean protein with every meal. Practice portion control with carbohydrates and limit starchy vegetables. Avoid drinking your calories especially with soda, juices, energy drinks, and alcohol. Bump up your water intake. Choose healthy snacks over highly processed snacks. If you do eat chips, popcorn, or nuts be sure to portion out your snack and not eat out of the bag where it is hard to exercise portion control.
Keep Moving! Go for walks for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. If you have home gym equipment, Use It! Be creative. Utilize exercise videos and apps. Turn on some music and dance. Exercise is not only a way to help burn calories but is a mood enhancer and stress reliever. Find some Joy!
Practice Social Distancing. Disinfect. Wash Your Hands. STAY HEALTHY!
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON.
STRENGTHENING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AMID COVID-19
Maintaining a strong and vigorous immune system will go a long way in efforts to stay healthy, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to social distancing, there are several ways to reduce your risks of becoming ill and most revolve around sound and healthy lifestyle practices.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables as well as meat sources, if you are not vegetarian. Buy organic where you can. 70% of your immune system reside in the gut. Including prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, bananas serve to support a healthy gut. Avoid highly processed foods and sugars.
Wash your hands frequently before eating, after using the bathroom, and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces. Minimally touch your face. Cover your nose and/or mouth with a tissue or into your arm if you cough or sneeze. If you go out and your clothes become potentially contaminated take them off when you are home and wash them.
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Try and get outside daily for exercise as well. This amounts to a triple boost: exercise, fresh air, and sunshine for Vitamin D which helps boost our body’s natural defenses.
Get enough sleep. During sleep our body’s produce and release proteins that target infection and inflammation. Poor sleep habits reduce these proteins. Good sleep hygiene involves keeping a regular bedtime and wake-up time, reducing and/or eliminating exposure to blue light from TV’s, computers, and cell phones close to bedtime.
Keep up with your vaccines. Almost everyone 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine.
Do not smoke. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and can directly affect your immune system increasing disease prevalence.
Do not drink alcohol in excess. Alcohol affects the microbiome of the gut as well as the function of the gut as a protective barrier to toxins. Alcohol also decreases 3 important cells in immune defense: macrophages, T and C cells.
Meditation & relaxation are important to overall wellbeing. Stress causes the release of hormones that minimize the effectiveness of the immune system.
Keep your weight healthy. Increased ratios of body fat to lean muscle put you at risk for multiple assorted health risks. Monitor your diet and exercise. Try and avoid stress eating that may prevail as we face this pandemic. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. More specifics on this later.
STAY WELL, BE HEALTHY, HAPPY, AND SAFE.
XOXO - Cathy & All of us at Signature Image