Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The Benefits of Sleep and Exercise
Now days there are hardly enough hours in a day to do everything we need to, let alone the extra time we need for ourselves to regroup from doing for and taking care of everyone else. Its easy to let our health go for a while. The intentions are to at some point get back around to taking care of ourselves but usually "some point" doesn't come until after we have went over our limit.
We can take little steps that can go a long way in helping us stay healthier. If we don't take care of ourselves we wont be around to help anyone else. One of the biggest issues that we as Americans deal with is high blood pressure. Fast food and greasy foods are only part of the problem. Lack of exercise and stress piled on top of fast food is one way to clog your arteries and keep your blood pressure high. Some people need to be put on strict medication regimens to control their high blood pressure. However there is a small step you can take to help lower yours. Sleep. Trust me I know its easier said than done, but we have to find a way to get more restful sleep. Sleep deprivation not only affects your energy levels, but its been linked to high blood pressure. according to a study in Hypertension: "During slow wave sleep (a cycle of deep sleep) your heart beats slower resulting in lower blood pressure." If you miss that night time dip on a regular basis, meaning you don't get enough sleep or enough restful sleep, it can affect your blood-pressure regulating organs like your kidneys leading to higher daytime numbers. Anything that interrupts your sleep can shorten your slow wave sleep hours which decline with age anyway. To help you get a better nights sleep, avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed, and try going to bed at the same time. Turn off the t.v., phone or what ever that's keeping you awake and get some sleep!
I understand that with the weather change comes cold and flu season. The last thing a sick person wants to do its workout. It takes a lot of energy to function while fighting a cold. However, pushing yourself to work out while you have a cold can actually make your symptoms less severe, not to mention cut your risk of catching a cold by 43%. A regular 30 minute walk can increase the circulation of cold killing cells. So next time you catch a cold, don't lay around in the bed all day in your pj's, get active and sweat it out! Any type of exercise can help reduce stress. You will notice more energy, lower stress levels and better sleep when you make working out a regular part of your life.