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“Sleep is the one step in my program that is absolutely essential to helping every other step work effectively. I’ve never been able to handle a problem, thwart a cold, or solve a beauty drama without a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the fountain of youth. If someone told you that you could look younger, feel better, boost your energy level, and keep yourself healthy, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that? It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s as easy as getting a good night’s sleep.”
Marilu Henner, ” Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover”
“If someone told you that you could look younger, feel better, boost your energy level, and keep yourself healthy, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that? It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it’s as easy as getting a good night’s sleep. Your body has a built-in clock that knows when you are sleep-deprived and when you are right on schedule. You can’t cheat your need for sleep without cheating yourself.
Getting enough sleep allows your body to be a natural healer for almost every ailment that can affect you. People who are totally sleep-deprived find themselves down for the count. They literally work themselves into the ground until their bodies give them a reminder to slow down and get essential rest. Sleep is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Your body will thank you, your mind will thank you, and everyone in your life will than you , too–because you won’t be crabby!” Marilu Henner, The 30 Day Total Health Makeover
Catching up on work or chores when you should be sleeping is not putting time to good use. SLEEPING is putting time to good use. Your body needs that time to function properly. It allows your body to be a natural healer. You’ll be more productive the following day…and frankly, nicer to be around.
If you suffer from insomnia, or if you just have a habit of not allowing yourself to settle in for the night, try natural remedies and behavior techniques such as a bedtime routine and/or a sleep journal. Over the counter medications will only treat the symptom but will not correct the cause of your sleeplessness.
Make your weekend count using a few simple tips and techniques that will set you up for success.
– Get up within an hour or two of your weekday schedule. Oversleeping can make you sluggish and it will NOT compensate for too little sleep during the week.
– GET MOVING. Who says that socializing needs to be done over drinks and fried food. Meet up with friends for a walk, a run, a bike ride, water sports. Anything that keeps you active. This isn’t just good for your body…it’s good for your mind as well.
– Hit the grocery store at the start of your weekend so that you have healthy food on hand and don’t fall back on eating out for every weekend meal.
– Plan your upcoming week. A dress rehearsal in your mind will help you to enter the week with a plan of action. Make up a menu ahead of time. You don’t have to be married to it but having a starting point can save you a lot of scrambling later in the week.
– Ask for the “doggie bag” at the start of the meal. With portion size out of control you might think about eating only half of what’s on your plate but how often does THAT happen? Asking for the take home container at the start of the meal, and putting some aside then, can help your self control. Added bonus; Monday’s lunch is already packed!
– If you’re fortunate enough to be in an intimate relationship make time to celebrate it. A lot of time. Not a last minute afterthought. Make lovemaking the main event. Hot and steamy is good for your cardiovascular system, it boosts immunities, burns calories and helps you get a great night’s sleep.
A good night’s sleep is critical to your good health, so what can you do to make it happen?
A good bed * We don’t always realize how bad our old bed is until we get a new one. If your mattress is more than 10 years old, consider a new one.
A good pillow * There are different styles of pillows for the different ways we sleep. Get two (or even three) different pillows, and switch them up (even during the night). And get new ones every couple of years. They get buggy (and you don’t want to know any more than that).
Clean, fresh linens * We’re hearing good things about bamboo sheets – especially if you’re dealing with night sweats. The bamboo fibers breathe better.
Room temperature * If it’s too hot or too cold, you won’t sleep well. Use a fan or an extra blanket when you need it. Fresh air is good, but not always practical (when it’s -20F at night, you can’t have the windows open! No matter what health guru tells you to do it!).
Stretch your body * Slow, gentle stretches before bed will help work out the kinks of standing in the kitchen or sitting in the living room… or sitting in the driver’s seat.
Clear your mind * Look at your calendar for the next day and do what you can to prepare – set out your clothes, pack lunches, get breakfast together, sign permission slips, find instruments and gym shoes, pack your gym bag, etc. Write out anything that’s bothering you. Make a gratitude list. Kiss and hug your loved ones. Say your prayers.
Here’s some Celtic meditation music that helps us relax before bed. Use it to accompany an evening gratitude meditation, or breathing exercises, or gentle stretches, or prayers.
And we’re not even including quitting smoking or using sunscreen daily. Check out nine more ways you can fight aging.
Not enough sleep * If you’re up watching late night television, you’re probably not getting the 7-8 hours of sleep you need each night to help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and looking and feeling old.
Too many sweets * Sugar not only adds pounds, it also makes your skin dull and wrinkled. Here’s the biology: There’s a natural process known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop; these damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that (British Journal of Dermatology), so limit your sugar intake.
Stress! * Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, stress that doesn’t go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood. Try deep breathing or meditation to relax consciously.
Sporadic exercise * It’s not just for losing weight. Research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time. Get moving for at least 20-25 minutes a day.
Big sound * Hearing loss usually develops gradually, but the more you play that iPod at full volume, the more quickly you’ll need a hearing aid. Keep the volume as low as possible, and use noise-cancelling headphones so you’re not using the volume to fight ambient noise. Use earplugs when you’re around other loud noises, like the lawn mower.
Setting friendships aside * Satisfying friendships predict longevity better than even close family ties, and they can protect against obesity, depression, and heart disease, among other health problems. Your friends keep you young—simple as that. Make time for friendships.
Skipping fruits and veggies * You’ve likely heard that antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies can help you stay young. These powerful compounds fight free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your body and skin, damaging cells that can lead to cancer and make you look older. Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished, so it’s a daily deal – even better at every meal.
Cutting the fat * Don’t cut out the fat; choose the smart fats. Stopping the artery-clogging saturated and trans fats is a heart-healthy move, and keeping the unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, is wise. Omega-3 fatty acids are the ultimate anti-aging fat, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Monounsaturated fats can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis.
Not enough sex * It’s not just fun, sex is great for your health. People with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress. The best news: It can even make you look younger—up to 12 years, a study shows. So rekindle the romance between you and your partner.
One of the best ways to stay disciplined in your life – in nearly any area – is to treat yourself as you would treat your child.
You would never give your kids a breakfast of coffee. You know they need actual food – fruits, grains, lean protein, even vegetables – to get a good start on their day. You aren’t any different. Do you provide a good breakfast for yourself?
You would never let your child call herself names and put herself down (or anyone else, for that matter). You know that negative language breeds negative behavior. Do you call yourself names? Do you put yourself down? Think of yourself in terms of your positive attributes.
You would never let your kids stay up all night. You know they need a good night’s sleep to rejuvenate for the next day. Do you shortchange yourself by going to bed too late? Or by burning the candle at both ends?
Give your inner child the right food, build up your inner child, and discipline your inner child with standards and boundaries. Nurturing and discipline yield results.
You might think getting ready for bed means washing your face, brushing your teeth, and putting on your pj’s. That’s just part of it, though.
You can get a jump on tomorrow by thinking about it the night before. Before you go to bed tonight, spend 30 minutes preparing for tomorrow:
check your calendar for tomorrow’s events (business meetings, kids’ sports, etc)
know what you’ll eat for breakfast
pack as much of your lunch (and your kids’ lunches) as possible
check backpacks, briefcases, totebags, and purses (lunch money, permission slips, flash drives, power cords, library books, homework, reports, USB cables, textbooks, uniforms, instruments, sports equipment … this list can go on forever, can’t it?)
lay out your workout clothes if you work out at home; pack your gym bag if you work out somewhere else – don’t forget your shoes
lay out your clothes (and your kids’ clothes) for the day
put your skin brush on the bathroom counter or scale, where you’ll see it first thing
fill your water bottle
plug in your phone or PDA so it’s fully charged in the morning
set your alarm to match tomorrow morning’s schedule
You’ll sleep better tonight, you’ll have a jump start on your morning, and it will make the whole day go easier.
One of the easiest ways to get enough sleep each night is to figure out when you need to wake up and set that morning alarm – then back up the time eight hours and set another alarm. That’s your reminder that it’s bed time.
If you need to back that up a little more to make sure you’re ready for bed, set a “head to bed” alarm, too – give yourself 30-60 minutes to lock the doors, wash your face, set out your clothes for the next day, etc.
Then get into bed – and turn out the lights – when your bed time alarm sounds.
If you think your alarm clock can’t handle all these times, then use the alarm on your phone or PDA for the “head to bed” alarm, and maybe even for the bedtime alarm.
In the USA, we move our clocks forward one hour tonight – it’s one of signs of spring!
“Spring forward” also means we only have 23 hours in the day. Let’s take the “glass half full” approach and commit to being more efficient today, so we don’t miss that hour. Go to bed one hour earlier than you normally would, and you won’t even miss it.