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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Sleep Your Way to Health


Too often we take sleeping for-granted, it's low on the priority list because we're too busy to take the time to sleep or waste time sleeping.  I hope to change your mind about the value of sleep and how too little of it can ruin your life.  It sounds extreme but unfortunately, it's the truth and sleep research supports this.  After reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, I am convinced that most of us are sleep deprived, that is getting less than six hours of sleep per night.  Many health issues are resolved with consistent sleep.  It turns out we accomplish many things while sleeping.  The recommendation is to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.  Sleep, your life depends on it.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION:

  • Impaired Immune Function— Can predispose you to illness and even cancer.
  • Poor energy—Duh!
  • Emotional Instability— Increases incidence of anxiety, irritability and depression.
  • Weight gain— Affects hormones leptin and ghrelin that control satiety (feeling full) and hunger, may even increase cravings.
  • Prone to Microsleep Episodes— This is falling asleep during the day for 10-20 seconds at a time, especially hazardous while driving, and you aren't even be aware of it happening.
  • Impaired Memory— Reduced sleep makes you amnesiac.  If you're not sleeping well the brain is less able to sort through and store important memories.
  • Reduced ability to Learn— Besides memory, sleep can affect attention and problem solving skills.

POSITIVE EFFECTS OF CONSISTENT SLEEP:

  • Improved Memory Recall— While we're sleeping the brain is like a computer performing a back-up and storing data for later use.
  • Problem Solving— Especially during REM (Rapid Eye Movement), the dream sleep, we are processing the information from the day, solving problems and finding creative ways to solve problems.
  • Creativity— REM sleep is an important time for creativity and processing information without boundaries.
  • Weight Control—Normalizes the hormones that contribute to weight gain.  And can improve impulse control.
  • Alert to Daily Activities—Basically, your brain has been reset and refreshed for improved attentiveness.
  • Chronic Disease Risk—Reduces risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
  • Live Longer & Look Better—Amazingly, sleep has anti-aging properties for living a longer life and looking younger.

HOW TO IMPROVE SLEEP:

  • Exercise— We know exercise is good for burning calories and cardiovascular health but it can improve your sleep too.   Studies have shown that 150 minutes of exercise per week can make a huge difference.  However, try not to exercise 3 hours before bedtime so you have enough time to wind down.
  • Avoid Large Meals Prior to Bedtime— Eating too much, eating late or just prior to bedtime can lead you to feeling uncomfortable and unable to relax.
  • Don't go to bed hungry— On the flip side, don't go to bed hungry.  You may find yourself fixating on food and even getting up in the middle of the night to snack. 
  • Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, Nicotine— Avoid all stimulants in the late afternoon and evening.  Even though an alcoholic drink may make you feel relaxed it actually interferes with the ability to go through the important sleep stages.
  • Turn off Tech— Using devices just before bed doesn't help the brain prepare for sleep.  Especially if you're reading work related emails, NOT relaxing!  The LED light emitted from tablets, laptops and smart phones may disrupt sleep hormones such as melatonin.  Better yet, leave those devices out of the bedroom.
  • Create a Sleep Ritual— Prior to bedtime, set a time to shut off all electronic devices (including the TV), take a warm bath, drink some herbal tea and reduce all stimulus to get yourself into a relaxed state.  Create a ritual that works for you.
  • Practice Relaxation Techniques— To relax the mind and body try deep breathing, relaxing all muscles in the body and clearing the mind.  Clearing the mind can be the hardest thing to do when you have a demanding life but it is achievable with practice.  If anything, try to breath deep and relax.
  • Make it Dark— Keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.  It may worth investing in some blinds that block additional light from outside.
  • Cool is Best— Keep your bedroom a cool, comfortable temperature.  As the seasons change you may need to adjust your thermostat and bedding accordingly.

Here are few reasons to see a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through evidence-based diet, and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 

FITNESS/NUTRITION in the NEWS

Coffee, Good or Bad for Your Heart?

A recent prospective study looked at the affects of long-term coffee consumption.  It found that heavy coffee consumers, that is more that 6 cups per day was associated with an increase of cardiovascular disease risk.  Those who drank one to two cups of coffee per day had the lowest cardiovascular disease risk.  The best solution, if you drink coffee limit it to 1-2 cups per day.



Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 15 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise, senior fitness and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:   info@EatWellBeFit.com  or call:  206.789.6440


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