Better Sleep

It is no secret that I am apart of Shredder Nation, which is the group of supporters of the Shred Diet and Super Shred by Dr. Ian Smith. Last year I lost 25 pounds and I am working in the next 25 right now. We have now set up smaller groups of 20 people where we support each other, and my group is Weapons of Mass Reduction. I so love the name. One of my fellow group members noticed that her Fitbit reports that she wakes up constantly throughout the night. It sparked a discussion in our group, so I decided to write a post about healthy sleeping habits. Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of health issues (see picture below). When working with my clients who have sleeping issues I always assess their sleeping habits and develop a plan to address the issue. Here are my recommendations to them regarding their sleeping. 

1) Set a scheduled time to go to bed and wake up daily, including weekends. Your body needs consistency. Even when my work hours varied, my body adjusted and knew that on Tuesday and Thursdays I had to get up at 4:30AM versus Mondays and Wednesdays when I did not get up until 7AM.

2) The bedroom should be for sleeping and special time with your significant other. Try not to watch television, read, work, etc. in your bedroom.  In fact, it is recommended that you do not watch television for 30 minutes to an hour prior to bed. Television stimulates the brain.

3) Develop a nightly routine prior to going to bed and complete it in the same order. Your body will develop a habit where when you begin the first thing it will signal to the brain that it is time to settle down and prepare for sleep. This routine should begin 30 minutes to an hour before your bedtime.

4) Keep your room at a lower temperature. During the night, our bodies can become overheated. Having the room at a lower temperature or buying one of those cooling pillows will help.

5) If you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot sleep, either lie in bed and relax, or get up and do something in another room for a while. Something new I have incorporated is taking a shower with lavender body wash. It has been helpful.

6) If your mind is constantly going, keep a pad by your bed where you can write them down. This keeps you from worrying about forgetting.

7) Consider some relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, music therapy, or meditation. At times even when I cannot sleep I can lay in bed with soothing music and still feel rested in the morning.

8) Exercise also helps with sleeping, but it is recommended that no exercise occur two hours prior to going to sleep.

Check out some of my suggestions and let me know if they work for you! 

 

Safety when Running

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So on last Saturday, 1/18/14, my girl and I ran 6 miles in honor of Meg Cross Menzies. Meg was killed by a drunk driver while out on her run on 1/13/14 (you can check out this Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/489458451159627/). So I decided to dedicate this week’s blog to writing about safety tips when running. 

1) If running at in the dark make sure you have on reflective clothing.I tend to run early in the morning when it is dark out.

2) Run with a buddy or in a well populated area. If I have a buddy for my long runs and when I run alone I choose times when there are a lot of people out. 

3) Either keep your music low or use only one ear phone. I am so guilty about this, but I am trying to do better. You need to be able to hear someone coming up from behind you.

4) Run against traffic so that you can see cars that may not be paying attention to you. 

Remember to be safe out there! 

SN: I met my first fitness goal of 2014…I ran 3 miles straight! 

January is also National Blood Donor Month!

National Blood Donor Month

So, January is also National Blood Donor month. Research has found that during the winter months the blood supply gets low, so this month was created to encourage donors to give blood. Blood only has a shelf life of 6 weeks and just one pint can be used to help three people! You have to be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds in order to donate. You will be screened prior to giving blood for other criteria. Your body will replenish blood volume within 24 hours and red cells within four to six weeks. It is an easy process that can take up to an hour of your time.

When preparing to give blood, here are some suggestions:

  • Drink plenty of fluids;
  • Dress comfortably where you can roll your sleeves up if needed;
  • Eat iron-rich foods (such as beef, sardines, spinach, sweet potatoes, and broccoli;
  • And, bring a list of your medications.

After giving blood, here are some other suggestions:

  • Drink four extra eight ounce glasses of non-alcoholic liquids;
  • Keep you bandage dry and on for the next five hours;
  • Avoid strenuous exercising and heavy lifting;
  • Be cautious that you may experience dizziness or weakness so do not plan anything that can be harmful;
  • If a bruise appears on your arm alternative between ice and warm for periods of 10-15 minutes;
  • And, if you get dizzy or lightheaded, stop what you are doing, lie down, and raise your feet until the feeling pass.

To find a local blood drive in your area go to http://www.redcross.org/blood.

References

American Red Cross (n.d.). Donate Blood | Find a Local Blood Drive. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from http://www.redcross.org/blood

Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (n.d.). National Blood Donor Month – Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from http://www.adrp.org/promoting-donation/natl-blood-donor-month/

Staten Island Advance (2014, January 13). Stick your arm out — it’s Blood Donor Month | SILive.com. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from http://www.silive.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2014/01/stick_your_arm_out_its_blood_donor_month.html

 

January is National Mentoring Month!

 

In 2002, the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership created National Mentoring Month as an initiative to bring awareness to mentoring, recruit mentors, and to recruit organizations to encourage their members to become mentors. Mentoring is vary important to me. I have had the pleasure of having several mentors throughout my life who have impacted various areas of my life and have helped to shape into who I am today. I continue to sit under mentors to soak up their wisdom and knowledge. January 16, 2014 is “Thank Your Mentor Day.” Make sure you take time out of your schedule to reach out to your mentors and thank them for imparting into your life. 

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In 2011, I became a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters at a time when my mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. I was conflicted because I did not know if I should take on this cause at the same time of becoming a caregiver of someone with cancer. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made! It gave me a chance to get out of myself and my issues to help someone else. I have had the opportunity of watching my Little grow and transition from elementary school to high school. Since being matched, her grades have improved and the number of behavioral referrals she received has decreased. This year will mark our third anniversary and I will have the pleasure of watching her transition to high school in the fall. 

I encourage you the be someone who matters! To find out how you can become a mentor visit http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/. If you are interested in Big Brothers Big Sisters visit their website at http://www.bbbs.org. I dare you to be apart of changing a life!