My friend Jill Fleming, a Registered Dietitian and wellness expert identifies sleep as one of the corners of the Wellness Triangle. Combined with good nutrition and exercise, enough good quality sleep is essential to good health.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Here are some clues:
- find your mind wandering when reading a magazine article?
- have trouble focusing your eyes when you are driving?
- hit the snooze button several times each morning?
- feel like the volume is turned up on your emotions?
- forget appointments or important dates?
- carry extra weight around your middle, no matter how much you count calories or exercise?
You may not be getting enough sleep. Jill indicates seven hours is optimal for most people (some need slightly less and others slightly more, but everyone should get at least 6 ½ hours per night).
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? We process our stress when we sleep – and only when we sleep. Your body produces a chemical when stressed and if it is not processed during sleep it causes your body to do hang on to fat around your intestines (making that lovely pooch belly) and can attack your heart. Inattentiveness can rob you of efficiency and make any task harder. Your body will eventually force you to sleep. If you need a cup of coffee to keep going or find yourself dozing at your desk, likely isn’t because your job is boring – you are tired!
How to get better sleep?
- limiting caffeine past the early afternoon
- avoiding the use of alcohol to induce sleep as it causes interrupted sleep
- getting regular exercise
- avoiding exercise in the evening as it increases your alertness
For more information on sleep visit the National Sleep Foundation
For more of Jill’s suggestions on your health find her book.
Until next time — sweet dreams!
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.