The importance of sleep and your physical well-being is astronomical. Most of your former bad habits or prolonged issues can be linked to a lack of sleep.
The risk of obesity rises with those with a sleep deficit. A study in teenagers showed with every hour of sleep lost, the risk for obesity rose. But it’s not just teenagers, so you can’t blame it on the hormones, but wait, yes, you can, sleep affects those too!
A healthy amount of sleep balances the levels of ghrelin, the hormones that make you feel hungry, and leptin, the hormones that make you feel full. If you wake up in the morning starving, blame it on a not so good night sleep. When you’re restless the levels of ghrelin increase and the leptin levels decrease. Sleep can also affect insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Higher blood sugar levels can increase the threat of diabetes.
When you sleep your heart and blood vessels are repairing themselves, and sleep releases a hormone to boost muscle mass. Continued unrest increases your risk for a host of issues including, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
The good news is physical activity and your nutrition can aid in a good night’s sleep. Activity during the day, not close to bedtime, helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Making sure you don’t go to sleep hungry or too full and avoiding alcohol and caffeine eases you into a restful slumber.
Breathing Exercise to Relieve Stress
Here is a quick breathing exercise you can use anytime, anywhere to help you calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress:
- Sit comfortably with your back straight.
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
- Hold for a count four.
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of four, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth until you feel your body relax.
Winning the Super Bowl – the healthy way
If you’re attending a Super Bowl party, there are a few tasty snacks if you want to have some healthier options on hand.
White Bean Dip A great alternative to hummus with a silkier texture and great accompaniment to your crudités (aka veggies). http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/white-bean-dip-recipe.html
Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins A sweet and savory dish full of fiber. http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/healthy-chipotle-chicken-sweet-potato-skins/
Ginger and Garlic Shrimp Packed with protein, full of flavor and a high concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin, known to reduce inflammation. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ginger-garlic-shrimp-tangy-tomato-sauce
No Bake Brownies A gluten free dessert with cocoa which can lower blood pressure, an added bonus when it’s a close game! http://minimalistbaker.com/no-bake-vegan-brownies-with-chocolate-ganache/
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