If you think you can get by on a few hours of sleep, think again. You may feel like you can manage on minimal sleep when in fact your body will not function optimally without adequate sleep. Research indicates that sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), increased levels of ghrelin (a hunger stimulating hormone), decreased activity of human growth hormone (which is active during tissue repair), and decreased glycogen synthesis (needed for energy production and storage). These are just a few of the chemical reactions that take place with lack of sleep. There are many more implications of sleep deprivation…mood swings, lack of mental focus, weight gain, and depression, to name just a few!
Your body heals at rest and your organs are given a break while you sleep. Proper sleep is what is needed to physically and psychologically recover from the stresses of life. One or two nights of shortened sleep will not have much of a negative impact but consistent lack of sleep will lead to changes in hormone levels; with many negative effects to how you feel and function.
Your quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity. Seven to eight hours of sleep nightly is ideal. Some good sleep hygiene habits for improved sleep are:
– sleep in a dark, quiet room
– ensure room temperature is comfortable and well ventilated
– sleep in comfortable clothing or ideally in the nude
– avoid screen time before bed (TV, computer, video games, etc)
– avoid eating a heavy meal before bed
– avoid drinking caffeine four to six hours before bed
– avoid eating spicy, sugary foods close to bedtime
– avoid napping during the day
– establish a bedtime routine with pre-sleep rituals (warm bath, reading, meditating) and a regular bedtime
– bedtime teas may help induce restful sleep (Chammomile, Passion Flower, Valerian Root)
– a Naturopathic remedy such as Bach Flowers “Sleep Rescue Remedy” may promote sleep
– exercise regularly, but not before bed
– reserve the bedroom for sleep and sex, that’s it
– clear your mind, write down your thoughts before bed, allowing them to leave your mind
Snuggle up…sleep as snug as a bug in a rug!
Christmas decorations adorn the malls and once again, the holiday season seems to be coming at us full speed! As you plan for the holidays, make sure you also have a plan for staying on track with your fitness and nutrition goals. Too often life gets busy or stressful and the first things to go are clean eating and regular exercise, when in fact, these are the very things that will help us manage stress in a more effective way. During busy times, it’s important to take care of yourself and make time for you…it’s the best gift you can give to yourself! After all…you’re worth it.
Here are some strategies to help you stay healthy and happy during the busy Christmas season…
• Schedule workouts – put them in your agenda and keep that appointment with yourself
• Don’t skip it – can’t do a 60 minute workout? That’s okay! Squeeze in a 20 minute power session rather than
skipping your entire workout
• Make sure you get adequate sleep
• Pack a cooler when you leave the house so you always have healthy meals and snacks when away from home – there are
plenty of temptations, especially at this time of year
• Eat before you go to the Christmas party – you’ll overeat if you arrive hungry
• Don’t hover around the buffet table at parties – fix yourself a plate, stop eating when it’s done, and step away from
• Don’t do it all – ask for help with meals, shopping, planning, and hosting functions
• Find some quiet time – be kind to yourself by spending time doing something that helps you to relax and recharge
• Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum – choose a cranberry juice spritzer instead of an alcoholic beverage – put it in
a fancy glass with a nice garnish, nobody else will know or care if you have alcohol in your glass or not
Make it through the holidays feeling like you’ve had a break instead of feeling like you need one. Eat, move, and be merry…in a healthy way!
Have a happy, healthy day!
Let’s face it…exercise is work. It takes dedication and commitment to stick to the plan. Sometimes you have to dig deep and talk yourself through a workout. Sometimes you simply don’t feel like exercising. Maybe you can’t even get the plan off the ground.
What motivates people to push themselves? What does it take to stay committed to a goal? What is the secret to success for YOU? What motivates YOU?
Here are a few things that motivate me. And a few more that may motivate YOU.
How do you feel after a workout?
You know that great feeling you have after a good sweaty workout…yes! Think about how good you’re going to feel next time.
Read blogs and magazines.
Reading about the journey of another person can help you learn from their experiences. Reading success stories will empower and inspire you.
Time for YOU.
Make “you” time a priority and don’t miss your exercise appointment. You spend so much time taking care of others, it’s important to care for yourself too. Think of it as a mini-holiday from your daily responsibilities.
Exercise is a great way to work off life’s stressors. Stop stressing about not exercising…and exercise.
Keep an exercise log.
Writing down your exercise sessions is important and can be a very useful tool. Do it for one week…you’ll see.
Take a before picture.
You often don’t see how much you’ve progressed. Taking pictures will help you to see the changes and motivate you to keep going. Say “cheese” regularly.
The “yuck” factor.
Remember how yucky you feel when you don’t exercise. Remind yourself of that when you feel tired or uninspired to exercise.
Post it on social media.
Tell people about your weight loss and/or exercise goals, and report to them. You’ll make it happen when you know people are paying attention
Have a happy, healthy day!
Eating healthy when you’re away from home can be made easy with a little planning and time management. When you leave home each day, be sure to take a cooler filled with fresh, nutritious food. Armed with everything you need for the day, you’ll be able to avoid fast-food, vending machines, and even worse; skipped meals. Here are some strategies to make “taking the kitchen with you” a little easier:
- Designate a shop, chop, and cook day. This is the day to plan and prepare for the week ahead. Make big batches of food that will be easily packed into your daily cooler or for family meals at home. The time you invest on this day will save you time, money, and poor food choices for the rest of the week.
- Make an extra serving at dinner for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Wash, cut, and store fresh vegetables as soon as you get home from the grocery store. They’ll be easy to grab-n-go.
- Think about how many hours you’ll be away from home; pack enough food to eat a small meal every two to three hours…and one extra (you never know when you’ll be away a little longer than expected).
- And my favourite! Pocket Food! Always have a little bag of something in your purse or pocket…nuts, trail mix, granola bars, whole food meal replacement bars, etc.
Wherever life takes you…be prepared…take the kitchen with you!
Have a happy, healthy day!
Every few months it’s a great idea to do a personal inventory. Check in with yourself and ask a few important questions related to your lifestyle:
• Do I feel balanced?
• Do I feel well, healthy, and energized?
• Am I as physically active as I should be?
• Am I eating clean and making wise food choices?
• Are the goals I set earlier in the year still relevant? Am I on the right track to achieve them?
Taking the time to evaluate these and other important aspects of your life on a regular basis will help you to stay focused and connected to your goals. Perhaps the goal you set six months ago is no longer the right goal for you, or maybe it was an unrealistic goal, maybe something about your life has changed and a new plan is necessary, or you’ve simply changed your mind. It may be time to set a new goal or to develop a new plan for an existing goal. And remember, abandoning a goal is perfectly fine too…if it’s no longer the right one for you.
For those of you who are on target and happily working toward your goals…stay focused and keep your eye on the prize!
Have a happy, healthy day!