Namastay In Bed

Many of us lead very busy lives so it is important for us to get a good amount of quality rest every night. Sleep allows our bodies to recuperate and recover from our day. When we deprive ourselves from quality sleep, it inhibits our bodies to be at maximum efficiency the next day. Many of us are unable to either get the proper amount of rest, find it hard to get to sleep or find it difficult to stay asleep. Getting quality sleep is vital to our well-being for various reasons but many of us do not take the time to make quality sleep a priority in our daily routines.
In the article, Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency (n.d.), is lists several reasons why getting good, quality sleep and getting enough sleep is vital to our health.
Benefits for getting enough quality sleep:
Promotes energy throughout the day
Helps elevate a healthy mind and memory
Reduces the number of times you get sick and the duration of time you are sick
Lowers the risk for serious health issues
Helps you maintain a healthy weight
Aids in physical and mental recovery
These are but a few benefits for why getting enough sleep and getting quality sleep are important, but sometimes we do not know the right amount of sleep we should be getting. From infancy to adulthood, our bodies undergo various changes and types of development, so we require different amounts of sleep at different ages. Typically, the younger we are, the more sleep we need for our growing bodies. Of course, you have to take other factors into consideration like one’s daily physical activity, health factors, etc., but the following list from Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency (n.d.), is a general guideline of the amount of sleep we need at different ages.
How much sleep is enough?
Infants aged 4-12 months 12-16 hours a day (including naps)
Children aged 1-2 years 11-14 hours a day (including naps)
Children aged 3-5 years 10-13 hours a day (including naps)
Children aged 6-12 years 9-12 hours a day
Teens aged 13-18 years 8-10 hours a day
Adults aged 18 years or older 7–8 hours a day
Unfortunately, many of us do not get this amount of sleep and if we do, it is not quality sleep. I know for me, I sometimes have trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or both and I wake up tired as if I didn’t just get any sleep. Fortunately, there are some tips and techniques we can use in order to wind down for bed so we get the right amount of quality sleep. Here are but a few tips that we should try to incorporate into our bedtime routine:
Tips for getting enough sleep:
Have a sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed around the same time everyday (weekdays AND weekends). Limit the time difference to no more than an hour.
For kids, have a set bedtime and routine. Do not use their bedroom for timeouts or punishments because they may not be able to mentally block that out at night and be fully comfortable in their room.
Avoid eating, reading, or using your phone (talking or texting) in bed. This will train your brain that your bed is only for sleeping and intimacy, so it will not be wide awake when you are in bed.
During the day, spend time outside and try to be more physically active. When your body works hard and gets sunlight and fresh air, it will need to recover and will likely be more prepared to rest at night.
Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. When we get hot, we typically do not sleep well. Having your room dark and quiet invites peace and allows your mind to wind down. Getting light-reducing or blackout curtains will help your room stay dark.
Wind down an hour before bed. Avoid artificial light (phone, TV or computer) and strenuous activity as these things may wake your brain up.
Take a hot bath/shower and use relaxation techniques. Easing your body with a hot bath/shower will help your body and mind relax. Breathing techniques or meditation allows for our body and mind to relax as well by relieving tension and the weight of day’s activities.
Avoid heavy and/or large meals, drinking caffeine and alcohol, and having nicotine. When you are full, your body has to work to digest that food and therefore cannot fully rest. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, and alcohol will not allow your body to rest.
They say, “work hard, play hard”, but we should start focusing on “work hard, sleep hard” and create an effective sleep routine that we stick to every night. Because many of us are always on the go every day, we owe it to ourselves to get the right amount of good, quality sleep every night. Start off with a few adjustments from these tips and gradually incorporate more of these tips until you are getting the optimal amount of quality sleep. Remember that you work hard, so allow your body to recovery by getting the best rest it can have!
References
Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2019, from
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

But That’s My Go to Snack

We have all heard the saying “Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you”. Well there is some truth to this cliché. We eat certain foods that we like on a consistent basis and wonder why they all of a sudden make us feel bad. This may be because your body has developed a food intolerance or food sensitivity to these particular foods.

A food intolerance is developed when your body is unable to properly digest those foods. Many of us mistaken food intolerances for food allergies, but they are not the same. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to food are more severe than symptoms of food sensitivity, trigger the immune system, can cause swelling of the body, and could even become fatal. According to a Medical News Today article written by Christian Nordqvist, common symptoms of food intolerance are bloating, migraines, headaches, cough, runny nose, stomach ache, irritable bowel, hives, or simply feeling under the weather. These symptoms aren’t as bad as those of a food allergy but they can be very uncomfortable and can inconvenience your day to day activities.

Nordqvist (2017) also mentioned some common food intolerances to foods like “lactose, wheat, gluten, caffeine, histamine (present in mushrooms, pickles, and cured food), additives such as artificial sweeteners, coloring, or other flavorings”. Food intolerances can be caused by the absence of an enzyme, which is needed for proper digestion; chemical causes like amines in some cheeses, or caffeine in coffee and tea; food poisoning toxins like aflatoxins in undercooked beans; occurrence of histamine like in fish that has not been properly stored, or from salicylates which come from salicylic acid that is present in most plant-sourced foods like tomato sauce, berries, and citrus fruits which have high levels of salicylates (Nordqvist, 2017).

My youngest nephew used to eat a lot of dairy when he was younger and now has a food intolerance to anything with dairy. Now, he does not eat dairy at all but will occasionally have soy milk or soy cheese instead. As for me, I have noticed that my body will react to certain beans, yogurt and some smoothies, so I try to be attentive to how my body reacts to these foods if I decide to eat them, and I try my best to limit my intake of those foods.

Fortunately, there is a way to fix your food intolerance issue! First, be sure to get your Food Intolerance test done through 5Strands Affordable Testing [insert link here]. This test is non-invasive and only requires a few strands of your hair in order to create personalized results for you. Once you get your results, you are then able to see which foods you are intolerant to and should begin eliminating one or two of those foods for a few weeks to see how your body reacts. Then you can progress to the rest of the foods from your results. After a few weeks, your body will build up a tolerance level and you can choose to eat some of those foods again. Be sure to monitor what you’re eating and the amount of those foods you are eating if you decide to begin eating those foods again. Also, try to incorporate a more balanced diet instead of consistently consuming the same foods. Meal prepping is a great way to help you have a variety of foods and meals throughout the week, and it limits unhealthy snacking. Your body is your temple so make sure you are giving it the proper food and fuel it deserves!

References

Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 20). Food Intolerance: Causes, types, symptoms, and diagnosis.

Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965.php

Shilton, A. (2017, November 10). Why Eating the Same Thing Every Day Does Not Cause Food

Allergies. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.bornfitness.com/food-allergies/

Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up

With work, school, family, friends and life-changing events occurring, experiencing stress is inevitable. It seems like as soon as we find a morsel of peace, something else comes up and, at times, multiple issues arise simultaneously. Many of us are used to the cacophony of our crazy lives but many of us do not know how to cope with the constant stressors. The key is not to run away from the issues life affords us but to embrace them and learn how to manage the stress we go through. Fortunately, there are a myriad of techniques you can incorporate in your daily routine that will allow you to cope with these stressors.

There are many books, videos and articles you can read that will give you tips on ways to relieve stress. One particular article I admire is entitled “Stress Relievers: 17 Ways to Reduce Stress” by Elizabeth Scott. In this article, she wrote about both short-term and long-term strategies you can use to help relieve stress. The short-term strategies are things that you can do that are free, take little practice to do, and can provide immediate relief. Here are some of those techniques:

  1. Meditate and breathe. When you are feeling overwhelmed and your nerves are getting the best of you, simple close your eyes, slow down your breath and count down from 10 or 20. If you have more time, you can continue to slow your breath, listen to your heartbeat, take in the thoughts you are thinking, acknowledge them, then release them. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, hold it for one second once your belly fills with air, then slowly release the air through your nose. Repeat as needed. Doing these things multiple times will provide some stress relief.
  2. Relax your muscles and stretch. When you are stressed, your body can be very tensed, so learning to relax your muscles helps you relieve body tension. Take in deep breaths and section off muscles in your body as your tighten and relax your muscles, starting from your head down to your toes. Also, stretching your muscles everyday helps relieve tight muscles and relaxes your body.
  3. Take a walk or spend some time outdoors. When you get fresh air and sunlight by spending some time outdoors, it will help you relax and unwind from the hectic day. Taking a walk out in nature like at a park helps calm your mind and release some stress. Spending at least 20 minutes a day outside, not only relieves stress, but also improves your focus and vision, builds your immune system, and increases your longevity.
  4. Aromatherapy (candles, diffusers, body products, etc). If you are feeling overwhelmed at home, then take the time to use some aromatherapy. Scott wrote that “Emerging research suggests certain scents can alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body”. It may help to darken the room you will be relaxing in or to light candles or a diffuser while you’re taking a hot bubble bath. Also, utilize calming scents like lavender, chamomile or vanilla.
  5. Pick up a hobby. When you are home, you can relieve stress by taking up a hobby like art or gardening. It can help you go back to feeling like a carefree kid when you color. That is why adult coloring books are an arising trend to help relieve stress. Focusing your thoughts on a task instead of the number of other things floating in your mind aids in calming your mind.

Once you have made these short-term strategies a habit, you will then be easily able to incorporate some long-term strategies into your daily routine. The long-term techniques will allow you to become more resilient to life’s stressors and will provide an overall happier you and healthier well-being. Here are some long-term strategies:

  1. Have a balanced diet. When you have a healthy, balanced diet, you are likely to feel happier and more energized. When you consume high fat and high sugar foods, it slows the mind and body down which makes you less likely to manage your stress. Consume more fruits and veggies as well as healthy fats like avocados and nuts.
  2. Incorporate leisure activities. Some work and some play keeps the doc away! Be sure you make time every week to do something that you love to do like playing games, solving puzzles, or spending time with friends. Any leisure activities that you can do will help you relieve stress, so be sure to make time for them multiple times a week.
  3. Take up yoga. Yoga may not be for everyone but even a beginners class or video can aid in reliving stress and anxiety because it helps you be present, calms your mind and spirit and allows you to acknowledge and release your thoughts.
  4. Exercise. We all know we should exercise at least 3 times a week. It is good to keep your body moving, even if it’s just a stroll around your neighborhood. It allows you to get sunlight and fresh air as well as release any mental or physical tension in the body, depending on the form of exercise.
  5. Rid your life of unnecessary things. We work and have families and friends so there can be a build up of unnecessary information and activities that are overloading our bodies and minds. Try to rid your mind of excess information because it is not needed for a healthy mind. Any unnecessary activities should also be ceased like excess shopping, spending hours on social media or watching tv. Rid your mind and body of these things to help you relieve stress.
  6. Surround yourself with positivity. One of the most important things you can do to aid in relieving stress is to surround yourself with positive people and positive vibes. Welcoming good vibes assists in a more relaxed mind, body and soul. If you must, keep your circle of friends small because the weight of other people’s problems can cause an excess amount of stress on you, even if it’s unconscious.

Managing your stress is very important to your overall well-being. A healthy and stress-free mind and body not only benefits you but also those around you. You should start off with the short-term strategies and get yourself accustomed to making those a habit, then you can move on to the long-term techniques. Learn not to run from the stress but embrace the challenges life brings and learn to properly manage them. Enjoy your life, don’t stress about it!

ReferencesScott, E. (2019, April 12). Stress Relievers: 17 Ways to Reduce Stress. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195