Monthly Archives: October 2015

Get Better Sleep

We all do it. After a long week of minimal sleep, we tell ourselves that we will “catch up” on our rest over the weekend and all will be back to normal. The extra hours of sleep on Saturday morning will surely recharge your exhausted body, right?

Wrong.

According to Women’s Health, this may actually do more harm than good. Clinical psychologist Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., says that sleeping extra to compensate for lost hours confuses your body’s natural clock. As a result, you may end up feeling even more fatigued, stressed, and worst of all – cranky!

When your sleep schedule gets out of whack, naps and caffeine become go-to fixes to make it through your long days, which confuses your body even more once bedtime rolls around.

Insomnia, anyone?

Yes, juggling a social, work, and personal life is daunting and takes time away from your sleep schedule. But ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep at night will make your hectic life feel much more manageable. These crucial hours of rest not only give you energy to take on the day, but they also keep your body in shape and your cognitive function in better condition!

An extra hour or two of sleep on the weekend isn’t going to hurt you, but try to stay as close to your normal sleeping pattern as you can. You can’t make up for countless hours of missed sleep, and having a “weekend-only” sleep schedule will only throw your body into a never-ending spiral of the “catch up” game.

So, when you’re watching Netflix later tonight, turn off the TV and go get some zzz’s. Your health is more important than catching up on one last episode.

Acupuncture Could Help

The Chinese began using acupuncture over 3,000 years ago, and it remains used as a healing technique to this day.
 
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the opposing forces of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ represent the universe and the body. When your energy, known as “qi” (chee), is flowing smoothly throughout your body, the two forces are balanced, resulting in a healthy body. However, when there is a disruption in this flow, the practice says, you experience pain and illness. This is where acupuncture can get your qi back on track!
 
The U.S. National Institutes of Health prominently brought acupuncture’s successes into the public eye in 1997. According to San Diego’s Center for Integrative Medicine, the stimulation of certain anatomic sites (acupuncture points) put your body’s self-healing process into motion. This stimulation is achieved through many methods, including inserting tiny needles into your skin, heat, pressure, cupping and manual massage, to name a few. Research has also highlighted acupuncture’s positive effects on various systems — nervous, cardiovascular, immune, endocrine and digestive.
 
So, what actually takes place during an acupuncture session?
 
Firstly, your acupuncturist will perform a physical examination as well as inquire about your health history. Based on your assessment and unique needs, your acupuncturist will decide on the best treatment. For that process, various acupoints on your body will be stimulated (through the methods mentioned above) for up to 30 minutes, as you lay on the table. For those of you who run at the thought of needles — don’t worry!  Most people feel no pain at all during treatment.

Stand up!

You sit during your drive to work. You sit at your desk for 8 hours. You sit during your drive home.

Then, guess what? The majority of us sit some more (go figure!) while we watch our nightly TV programs because we are so exhausted from our day of sitting.

Unfortunately, 86% of Americans suffer this sedentary fate, resulting in a whopping 13 hours of daily sitting for a large number of workers. According to studies, this amount of sitting leads to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular issues, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, obesity or even death. It’s simple — more sitting leads to a shorter life span.

Many people assume that going to the gym will counteract these negative side effects, but surprisingly, the amount of time spent sitting outweighs a large portion of our exercise efforts.

Sure, Skype is a magical communication tool, but why not try actually walking to your coworker’s office to speak to them? Or taking the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther away from your building — the extra steps can only help. Getting up and stretching throughout the day will also ease your tension and energize you. You could even get fancy and try out a stand-up or treadmill desk! Trust me, everyone in the office will be jealous.

Bottom line: include as much activity throughout your day as you can, even if it’s only 5-minute increments every now and then. It will ultimately lead to a happier, healthier life.

How to be a Health-Conscious Traveler

If you’re hoping to give into your wanderlust anytime soon, don’t let your immune system cancel your plans!

Traveling can take a toll on our physical health – millions of foreign germs are lurking on every public surface you come in contact with during your travels. These pesky nuisances are trying to sabotage your long-awaited week in the mountains.

Show your immune system who is boss, and be proactive in your quest for a healthy, relaxing (and much deserved) vacation.

Condé Nast Traveler shares a variety of valuable tips on how to stay healthy during the entirety of your next getaway. Here are just a few ways to make it through airports or train stations in good health:

  • Sanitize your hands. Generously sanitize your entire hand after touching ANYTHING that other people come into contact with.
  • Keep your distance – preferably 6 feet – from sick people. Contagious droplets can travel up to six feet when a diseased person exhales, and they can find their way into your respiratory system.
  • Be extremely cautious in public bathrooms. Try to avoid touching any of the surfaces directly, and do not set down your personal belongings. Wash your hands for a full 15 seconds, and use a drying towel to open the door as you leave.
  • Bring water with you onto a plane. Through random samplings, it has been found that some on-board water has contained fecal bacteria (yuck!). Stay safe, and bring your own bottle of water.