Sleep fulfills three key functions that help keep our bodies in check. The first is energy conservation (savings), where our metabolism is regulated and energy homeostasis (balance) occurs.
The second function is to consolidate (pull together) our memories, where they are encoded in a part of the brain called the hippocampus—not to be confused with hippopotamus! They are very different. Despite being a small part of the brain, the hippocampus has a big role in turning short-term memories into long-term memories.
The final function of sleep is to suppress primitive behaviors like eating, sex, aggression, and movement. If you started reacting to your dreams and swinging your arms or legs around, your partner sleeping next to you would likely get hurt. Likewise, you don’t want to be eating in the middle of the night while you’re asleep, or you might end up gaining a lot of weight. In some people, the part of the brain that suppresses these types of...
You understand there are a ton of amazing benefits from exercising, but you may not be sure what exactly you should be doing. There are lots of different types of exercise programs out there, such as fitness classes, weight training, swimming, biking running, yoga, and pilates. New types of exercises and new fads are coming out all the time. What they all have in common is that they target components of fitness, giving you benefits specific to that exercise. Let’s explore the different components of fitness to give you a better understanding.
Cardiovascular fitness, also called cardio, is the heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it. As you gain cardiovascular fitness, you’ll be able to work harder or faster with less effort. Some examples of cardiovascular fitness include walking, running, hiking, swimming and biking. What three activities (or more) will you try that will boost...
Someone asked me what the different classes of nutrients are, so I thought that you might want to know too! Nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, fat, and include vitamins, minerals, and water. A food is inherently made up some combination of nutrients to provide our bodies with energy to survive and hopefully thrive.
It’s important to distinguish between food groups and nutrients because your body does not need to eat specific food groups. We’ve been indoctrinated to think that we need specific dairy products or grain products to survive and that’s simply not true. While your body needs proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, there’s absolutely no daily requirement for any specific food groups to be consumed. There may be a benefit for some people to consume dairy or grains, but they should not be forced upon our everyone.
Proteins are broken down into amino acids, some of which are essential because our bodies do not produce...
Imagine being able to wake up slowly and ease into your morning before that annoying alarm clock starts to squawk at the top of its lungs. There are some newer alarm clocks that can help you do just that.
Let’s go back a bit. Making your room a dark cave to improve sleep quality is fantastic for improving sleep quality. I highly recommend it! However, it doesn’t help with the wake-up side of things. It can be hard to wake up gradually if there’s no option for light to seep into your room.
I’ve struggled with this part of sleep for a few years and knew that there must be a solution. Some way to find the best of both worlds- a dark bedroom for sleeping in, but a light source to help me wake up in the morning. An automatic machine to open the rollshutter over my window was too expensive and seemed like it would be too noisy. So I searched for other options.
I came across alarm clocks that can increase the light in a pitch-black bedroom. Seemed like a pretty cool...
The big hype right now is around balancing blood sugar for better insulin control. This message is incredibly important to help you control chronic diseases such as diabetes, lose weight or decrease inflammation. Despite being important to control blood sugar, chances are high that you aren’t getting the right message about how to do this correctly.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to clients about balancing their blood sugar, who then respond by telling me that they don’t eat sugar or processed food. After further probing, I usually uncover that they really do eat sugar and processed foods. Often in high quantities too, just disguised inside the foods they commonly eat. Where is this disconnect coming from and what do we want to do about it? Here’s three of the most common mistakes I regularly come across, along with tips on how to counteract them:
I know this one sounds a bit silly, but I continue...
This concept comes down to the ways that you look after your own body. Just like a car, there’s some regular maintenance to do. You need to perform oil changes, keep it filled up with gas and washer fluid and occasionally take your car for a car wash to prevent it from developing rust. In the same way, you need to do basic hygiene and routine maintenance for your health.
You can start by checking your user manual and seeing how often you are due for your next scheduled maintenance. Alright, you don’t really have a user manual, but there are suggestions by health care professionals on how often you should be seeing them. You should go for a checkup with your physician, dentist and optometrist or ophthalmologist at least annually. These regular checkups are the diagnostic assessments to see if you have a headlight that’s burnt out or if your tire pressure is a bit low. Your car can still run if these things are out of whack, but you aren’t operating to the best...
Your body has a stress response system to help you deal with what life throws at you. It’s the fight or flight system that releases hormones to help you rest and digest food or run away from the lion that’s planning on making you his dinner. Your body can’t tell the difference between eustress- the good stress that you love or distress- the bad stress that has you strung out.
If you aren’t giving your body a break from stress, which is often the case, you may start to hit burnout. Symptoms include: anxiety, memory loss, behavioral changes, insomnia, headache, irritability, cravings, weight gain/loss, and fatigue. Sound familiar??? So how do you fix this picture? Read on!
This helps give you a break from all that hard work you are doing and to maintain social connections! Schedule at least one event a week and make sure you do it.
You only have a finite amount of willpower in the day. Do your...
Imagine lying in your cozy warm bed all wrapped up in a nice warm blanket. Perhaps you’re snuggled up to your partner or maybe it’s your dog. You never get to enjoy this pleasure during the week so you are milking this moment for all it’s worth. You may even sleep in for an extra few hours simply because it’s sooooo comfortable.
You’ve just sealed your fate and have almost GUARANTEED that you will be tired on Monday morning. But why? It makes way more sense to sleep in and catch up on that lack of sleep you’ve gotten during the week.
The problem with sleeping in late on weekends is that is decreases something called sleep drive or sleep pressure. That’s the cueing that your body gives you to tell you it’s time to close your eyes and go to sleep. The longer you are awake, the higher your sleep drive. Conversely, the shorter the period between sleep intervals, the lower your sleep drive will be.
By sleeping in on weekends...
You’ve heard about how important sleep is and yet there’s a good chance you are constantly short-changing yourself. It seems like everything is more important than a good night of sleep. Having a good night of sleep starts long before you even turn out the light. Here are three of the most common blunders that you might be making, along with tips on how to change your habits. It just might change your life!
There’s a few things wrong with this picture. First off, if you have a partner, your electronic device is putting an invisible wall between the two of you, shutting you off to easy communication and decreasing the opportunity for intimacy. Second, the blue light exposure can disrupt sleep cycles (even if you don’t notice it), which decreases the depth of sleep and ability to get optimal sleep.
There are some days that I literally want to rip my hair out because of what people count as exercise. Walter works from home and would go up and down the stairs three times in the day, counting that as his exercise. He also thought that walking at the grocery store and shoveling his four-foot-long sidewalk once a week was exercise. I couldn’t convince him otherwise. These things are NOT exercise. They are activities.
Activity is any physical movement of the body that uses up energy. Most people count their activities of daily living (ADL) as exercise. These ADL’s are the things you need to do in the day like cooking, laundry, housework or yard work and often involve going up and down the stairs a few times in the day. General activity can also include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking at the back of the parking lot so that you have to walk further.
Marina is a nurse on a busy unit. She works 12-hour shifts and is up and down the unit all day....
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