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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

Celebrating the 4th of July reminds us that we are amid the middle of Summer.   The warm weather and sunny days are a perfect time to think about improving our self-care.  Take a little extra care of yourself and change up your routine to enjoy all this season has to offer.  Here are some suggestions to help you get started, get outside, and enjoy the sunshine:

  • Abandon the couch and relax outdoors.  Take a blanket or lawn chair and something to read and set up a retreat to enjoy being outdoors on a beautiful sunny day!
  • Take a walk. A walk is a great way to clear your head and enjoy a warm summer afternoon.  Invite a friend and get your exercise while catching up.
  • Visit your local farmer’s market. Take advantage of seasonal produce and local vendors. A trip to the farmer’s market can be a great opportunity to try new foods,  incorporate healthier options into your diet and enjoy local produce.
  • Gardening is a great way to meditate, enjoy the outdoors and get some sunshine.   It is an opportunity to spend time with your family and make new friends.
  • Tidy one small space in your home or office.    Organize a drawer or your desktop– even having one space clean and free of clutter helps you feel calmer.
  • Make a summer playlist. There are many great summer tunes to enjoy.   Music is an easy way to improve your mood and motivate you to get moving.
  • Have a picnic. Enjoying a meal outside is an easy way to get fresh air and sunshine. 
  • Try a new exercise.  Try a new outdoor activity.  Hiking, pickle ball or swimming are frequent outdoor activities.  Remember to use sunscreen and bug spray!   
  • Participate in community events.  Search online or in the newspaper for events going on around town. Consider outdoor movies, yard sales, festivals, farmer’s markets, or concerts.  Making fun plans is exciting and gives you something to look forward to.
  • Start a journal. Writing can be a great way to express how you feel and check-in with your emotions. Or create a drawing or doodle journal.  Document summer1
  • Reconnect with someone. Call an old friend – family member or grandparent.
  • Go exploring.  Look into areas you have not visited in your community.  Find a new part of town you have never visited and visit. 
  • Practice mindfulness. Try meditation or create a list of 10 things you are thankful for daily.
  • Complete a needs assessment.   How was last week?  How can you make next week better?  Do you need more sleep?  Prepare some healthy meals in advance and freeze.  Take a moment to reflect and decide what is needed to take better care of yourself. 

Use these ideas to complete your own self-care checklist this summer.  Small changes to your routine can improve your self-care practice and overall mood. Focus on new ways you can be active, get outside and get involved with your community. Have a great summer!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu

References

https://extension.illinois.edu/global/summer-self-care-series

Self-care: 4 ways to nourish body and soul – Harvard Health

Self Care 101 | Psychology Today

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Two years ago, I wrote an article about how I set a personal goal to return to a fitness routine after the birth of my son and subsequent return to work. I set a SMART goal for myself: I wanted to re-stablish a fitness routine by attending at least one group fitness class every week for a month. My previous fitness routine of attending two classes a week had been disrupted by my pregnancy, and I was eager to return to it.

In the summer and fall months of 2019, I met my initial goal and began to attend classes more frequently, returning to a routine similar to what had been my old normal. I kept that routine until mid-March of 2020 when the global coronavirus pandemic shut down my gym and I found my routine disrupted once again!

In the early months of the pandemic, I adapted by doing at-home workouts in place of group fitness classes, and I continued those for many months. However, I discovered that while those at-home workouts provided me with regular strength-training, my daily step count was depressingly low since I didn’t have much space at home to move around or engage in moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity. I knew this was problematic as the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week for substantial health benefits, though they do also state that any activity is better than none.

A treadmill desk
My Treadmill Desk

At that point in time, I set a goal for myself to reach at least 7,000 steps each day. My husband and I purchased a treadmill desk which helped tremendously! I began to reach my step goal regularly and increased it to 10,000 steps per day. But then, eventually, I had to start returning to my office for work and did not have the treadmill available for use during the workday. My husband is still working from home and making use of the treadmill desk, and while I tried to order one for my office, it was (and is still) on backorder!

So, what to do now? Despite the challenges and excuses I am tempted to claim, I know it is time once again to reclaim a “normal” fitness routine that meets my needs. My gym is open once again and I am fully vaccinated, so I believe it is time for me to rejoin and start attending group fitness classes to get strength-training AND moderate-intensity exercise on a regular basis. I called my gym to rejoin last week and my SMART goal is the same as it was two years ago: to reestablish a fitness routine by attending at least one group fitness class every week for a month. In some ways it may seem like I have regressed, but when I step back and look at the whole picture, I am reminded that we often grow in fits and spurts, even when we encounter setbacks in our life. The most important lesson is to not give up on our goals and to remember that it’s never too late to start again. We owe it to ourselves and to our health.

Sources:

Lobb, J. (2019). Reclaiming fitness. Live Healthy Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/08/22/reclaiming-fitness

Stanford BeWell (2021). Achieving your SMART health goal. https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Laura Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Warren County, stanton.60@osu.edu

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Husband and wife family picture

My brother-in-law was born with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). One of the possible indications of NF1 is heart deformations. Specifically, for him, it resulted in his ascending aorta and left ventricle being deformed at birth. Originally his family was told this should not be an issue until his 50’s. Like many young men in their 20’s who are in great health (non-smoker, no alcohol or drug use, and an avid bodybuilder) he felt fine, so he did not schedule his routine cardiovascular checkups.

At the age of 26 he began to experience chest pains because of inflammation of the chest cavity. His deformed valve had weakened, and he would need a heart transplant in 5 years if he did not address it immediately. His first open heart surgery took a team of surgeons 8 hours to rebuild his ascending aorta, left ventricle and to implant a St. Jude mechanical valve.

Father and Daughter family picture

Just two years later he would undergo a second open heart surgery, after he developed dull chest pains, severe back pains, and a lack of energy. Scar tissue had created a 98% blockage in his left anterior descending artery – commonly known as the widow maker

It has been 14 years since his last surgery. With the use of medications, he is feeling great. He must be diligent with his diet to make sure he is not eating foods high in vitamin K (when taking a blood thinner such as Warfarin, Vitamin K should be limited) and that he is watching his LDL cholesterol level.

Exercise is also an important part of his heart healthy lifestyle. He can no longer complete body builder style workouts, but he does make sure to do aerobic exercise to improve his circulation which helps to lower his blood pressure and heart rate, this along with strength training helps increase his HDL (good) cholesterol and lower his LDL (bad) cholesterol. His motivation is his wife and daughters. He must take care of his heart so that he will be there to walk his daughters down the aisle and to be by his wife’s side as they grow older together.

His advice:

  • See your doctor regularly. Your routine appointments are important to maintain your heart health.
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
  • Inform your doctor of any changes, including your diet. Certain foods can impact the effectiveness of some medications, so they may not be working as prescribed.
  • Exercise. Aerobic exercise is a great way to work out your heart muscle.

Just as my brother-in-law is Strong @ Heart, I invite you join me as we introduce you to others who are Strong @ Heart during American Heart Month! We will explore what Strong @ Heart means in a fun, interactive, and lighthearted ways.

Sign up for the Ohio State University Extension’s award winning, Live Healthy Live Well 6-week email wellness challenge. I will send you two weekly emails from February 1 – March 15, 2021.

What is the cost? It is FREE!!

Who can participate? Any adult with an email account.

How do I sign up? You can register with this link: go.osu.edu/LHLWWest

Be Healthy, Be Well, and Be Strong @ Heart!

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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stay at home

With so many aspects of our lives disrupted recently, a lot of people may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed over the current stay-at-home order.  Many are learning how to work from home, navigate through the home-schooling process, and balance the many changes in daily routines.

We all live busy lives.  This new “style” of life has altered our everyday routines and is likely impacting work life/home life balance.

Recently, at a conference I attended, the keynote speaker Theresa Glomb gave an inspiring talk on improving work life. This theme also relates to our overall daily lives and provides a relevant message with easy action steps. Consider using these four steps to improve your stay at home work life:

  • Work Hard
  • Have Fun
    • Create a positive home environment.
    • Use technology to stay connected to family, friends and neighbors. Video chat play trivia games or start a virtual book club. Remember to monitor children’s usage on any digital social app.
    • Use technology to learn something new. Take an online cooking class, watch a virtual concert or experience zoos, museums and aquariums online.
    • Choose a book to read a chapter out loud each night with your family.
    • Play board games, card games or do a jigsaw puzzle.
daffidols
  • Choose Kind
    • Text a co-worker and ask how their evening was last night.
    • Give a compliment for a job well done.
    • Express gratitude to essential workers (first responders, health care professionals, etc.) who are on the front lines.
    • Practice self-care. Exercise daily, using online physical activities if needed. Stick to your sleep routine and eat healthy meals.
  • Be Present     
    • Uni-task. Pay attention by focusing on the task at hand.
    • Engage in mindful practices daily.
    • Stay positive.
    • Reflect on one good thing that happened at the end of each day at dinner.

These changes are temporary and when things return to normal, we will all have learned valuable lessons to continue to use daily.

Written by:   Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County.  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

Theresa Glomb. https://www.theresaglomb.com/

Ohio Department of Health. Stay at Home Order FAQs. https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/stay-at-home-information/stay-at-home-order-frequently-asked-questions

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There are several ways that we can help our future self with better planning and preparation today.

A couple of years ago I started to hear and read what was a new phrase for me: Future Self. The older I get, the more I consider how the things I do today will affect who I am tomorrow. And that may just be the definition of maturity.

This is by no means a complete list of everything to consider for your future self. But as we enter full swing into a season when we are encouraged to immerse ourselves in indulgence, may this be an inspiration (and even permission) to be kind to your future self. Here are some themes that I am currently tackling or have on my list to accomplish in the coming year.

Meal planning: The stress of quickly coming up with dinner once I get home from work results in a not-so-fun-mom. I’m sure that once upon a time I was better at planning out meals for the week ahead. So a present for my future self is to make meal planning a routine habit. My goal is to sit down the last week of each month and plan for the next month. That may sound like a lot, but as a co-parent with tween kids, we always know about 90% of our schedule for the next month. Planning this way allows me to see which days should be a slow cooker meal, which evenings we can cook together in the kitchen, and which nights are going to be a creative use of leftovers. There are some great resources to give you a planning template, menu idea inspiration and some recipes to vary your protein, which could be just what you need for a change of pace.

Family meetings: We recently started doing this at our house. My oldest chairs the meeting and the youngest takes minutes. It keeps them engaged and gives us some great laughs. Our main goal is to discuss our calendar for the next month. It has significantly reduced the night before realization that there is a schedule conflict tomorrow. We also talk through expenses that are coming up and how are we are doing with our budget. Here are some other good tips for family meetings.

If not now, then when?: Planning is a theme here. I recently taught a money management class to a group of employees at a local manufacturing company. During the last lesson we discussed several of the things that we know are important, but since they don’t seem urgent, we don’t act on them. Having advance directives like a living will, identifying power of attorney, and understanding life insurance are examples of things that your future self and your family will appreciate.

Exercise: Since turning 40 I know that I am more physically fit than I have probably ever been in my life. I made the choice to make it a priority. I thought about the future self I wanted. Not to fit into a certain size clothing. My goal is have a healthy lifestyle that gives me the best opportunity to live long enough to be a part of my great-grandchildren’s lives.  It is never too late to increase your physical activity . It can be one of the best presents you give to your future self.  

Sources:

Galloway, A and Starnes, J. Advance Directives. University of Tennessee Extension at https://farmlandlegacy.utk.edu/pubs/AdvancedDirectivesSP743C_Gray.pdf

Iowa State University Extension (2016) 5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/nwecdndbm5ighioz3suu

Iowa State University Extension (2016) Meal Planning Calendar. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/6a073s9g34gfia0thev88mu1bp4rzfw2

Kansas State University Research and Extension Department of Human Nutrition. Vary Your Protein Recipe Series. at https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/humannutrition/nutrition-topics/eatingwell-budget/meals-documents/VYPRecipeBook.pdf

McCoy, J. Family Meetings Foster Good Communications. University of Illinois Extension Parenting Again Newsletter Issue 29. at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/grandparents/article.cfm?ID=5171&IssueID=5213

Rapaport, L. (2019) Maintaining or starting exercise in middle life tied to longer life at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-fitness-middle-age/maintaining-or-starting-exercise-in-middle-age-tied-to-longer-life-idUSKCN1UC2E9

Rivette, C. (2013, June 15) Planning ahead: Power of attorney – part 1. Michigan State University Extension at https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/planning_ahead_power_of_attorney_part_1

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/board-school-forward-front-2525247/

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

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Exercise has some amazing benefits. It can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep. So let’s get moving. Did you know that all activity counts? It all adds up. Adults need to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and 2 muscle-strengthening activities each week. What is moderate intensity aerobic activity? Anything that gets your heart beating faster. Even short bursts of physical activity can add up to a healthy lifestyle. What’s your favorite way to move? Walk, clean, shop, arm circles, gardening, dance, hike… it all adds up.

Health.gov offers an activity planner to help you plan your physical activity for the week. If you’re just starting out, pick an activity you enjoy and take it slow and easy. Once you get the hang of it, you can build on it — or try something new. Find an activity you really enjoy — whether it’s soccer or swimming, biking or ballet. You can have fun, let off steam, and stay fit at the same time.

Do you have a disability, chronic condition, or injury?

Don’t let a limitation become a barrier to exercise. There are lots of ways you can adapt activities to work for you. Health.gov has compiled a page of exercise resources for people with special conditions.

picture of man and girl walking in woods

Parents: Get your kids moving too

Kids need exercise too. In fact, they need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day. They also need muscle-strengthening (climbing and swinging on monkey bars) and bone-strengthening activities (weight-bearing like running and jumping) during the week. Encourage your kids to play actively with friends. Give rewards for active chores. Or move together… go for a walk, dance, or play an active game with your kids.

Need help getting motivated?

Feeling tired can be a barrier to starting exercise, but knowing that exercise can actually boost your energy is a great motivator. This two-minute video shares ideas for getting motivated and tips for getting started with exercise.

Move Your Way Logo with people doing various activities on top of MOVE

  1. Set yourself up for success. Get workout clothes out before you need them. Plan time in your schedule for your activity.
  2. Find an activity buddy. If you don’t feel motivated to exercise alone, friends can make it more fun.
  3. Make a pledge. Share your pledge with a friend or online, and you’re more likely to make it stick.
  4. Set small goals. Five minutes of exercise is a nice, small goal to start with. Something is better than nothing. Start small and work up from there

So what’s your move?

Sources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Move Your Way Campaign. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2019. https://health.gov/moveyourway/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

 

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Last year was a very difficult year for my family, and 2019 has not started any better. Everywhere I turn I am forced to think about the challenges my family is facing. I know I am not alone in the way I feel. I also know that some of you may be living in your worst fear every day. I have spent the last several months trying to keep my head high and not talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I am a very private person when it comes to my family and I do not plaster my every thought on social media. However, keeping all of that inside of me has not been good for my health. I know how to recognize and control my stress but no matter what I tried, I could not escape it.Think Positive motivation

My family is one of the many dairy families across the United States experiencing farm stress. Living in the unknown of the farm takes away all of my positive energy and can be emotionally exhausting and draining every day. I have had to make a conscience effort to focus on the positives in my life and to let the negatives go. I was able to find an extremely wonderful handout from North Dakota State University Extension called 12 Tools for Your Wellness Toolbox in Times of Farm Stress. I had the amazing opportunity to hear Sean, the author, speak at a conference about rural stress. This resource not only applies to farm stress but to ALL stress that EVERYONE faces. The list focuses on the following physical, mental, emotional, personal, work, and financial wellness strategies, which will help enhance your mood, renew your energy and help you stay focused:

  1. Exercise 20 minutes or more daily (walk, swim, ride a bike, etc.)
  2. Get an annual medical checkup with a local health-care provider.
  3. Spend 10 minutes planning your day and priorities.
  4. Take regular 5- to 10-minute breaks in your day to relax and recharge.
  5. Write down 3 things that you are grateful for daily.
  6. Share concerns with a counselor or other professional.
  7. Take 15 minutes each day for uninterrupted conversation with a spouse or family member.
  8. Get involved or stay connected with a friend or group of friends.
  9. Discuss needs of the farm operation but do not let them occupy all other aspects of life.
  10. Seek constructive feedback on your farm operation and ways to grow or improve.
  11. Create a family budget and seek to live within your means.
  12. Select three healthy habits you will try to practice daily. Start today!

Which three healthy habits could you begin doing today? So many times, we try to handle things on our own and in reality, we end up doing more damage than good. I strongly encourage you to figure out who is in your support network. Who do you feel comfortable sharing your personal struggle(s) with? I started focusing on the goodness in this world and the amazing people that surround me. My coworkers and friends have been wonderful! They’ve given me endless amounts of humor to lighten my mood, been a listening ear on tough days and have sent words of encouragement. Don’t feel like you have to hold your thoughts in any longer. Open up and focus on the positive outcomes in your bumpy ride.

 

Brotherson, S. (2017, September) 12 Tools for your wellness toolbox in times of farm stress. Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/kids-family/12-tools-for-your-wellness-toolbox-in-times-of-farm-stress

Stefura, B. (2014, October 13). Don’t let stress get the best of you! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2014/10/13/dont-let-stress-get-the-best-of-you/

 

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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park

While scanning the paper recently, an obituary caught my eye:

“After 96 years of vigorous living, Ralph passed peacefully. His enthusiasm for life was contagious. He made friends easily wherever he went.  He made a difference in people’s lives, challenging people to do their best in business, sports, in their families and even in their fun.   He mentored many associates both young and old.  Believing in the rights and dignity of all, he organized an open housing committee at the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. His family was the most important part of his life, especially his wife with whom everyday was a party. Their life together was fun. Join us to celebrate his life at the 18th green with a reception to follow in the clubhouse.”

After reading this, I wondered.  Are we living our best life? We all want to live better, more fulfilling and happier lives. Are we taking the time and necessary steps to achieve these goals?

Start today:

  • Be grateful
  • Be kind to others
  • Get enough sleep
  • Spend more time with loved ones
  • Smile more
  • Forgive
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Spread positive energy
  • Get more sleep
  • Get fresh air
  • Volunteer
  • Enjoy a part of everyday

We only get one life. Forget about what other people are doing and focus on your life and your path to happiness.  At the end of the day and at the end of your life, that is all that matters.

I wish I had known Ralph.   He has inspired me to live my best life.  Thank you Ralph.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/choosing-to-be-happy#1

https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits.html

 

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Adopting our dog, Wes, was one of the best things my husband and I could have done, both for us and for him. We saved Wes’ life, and he has made ours better and healthier. Research has shown that owning a dog can benefit the owner’s health. Wes is an Australian cattle dog, and he needs a lot of activity. As with most dogs, a daily walk is a must. This extra incentive to get walking every day can have a positive impact on your heart health. Your furry buddy will thank you for making the extra time and effort for him or her as well!

WesOwning and caring for a dog can also have beneficial effects on your mental health by gaining a sense of meaning and companionship from your dog. The bond you can build with your dog is such a special one. I remember when we first brought Wes home, he was very timid and shy. As a result, he was not much for being pet or cuddling with his new parents. We all took our time, and he came to trust us. He is now the most loyal pet either myself or my husband have ever known. He loves to be spoiled, and he cuddles up with us on the couch or in bed regularly now. Blood pressure measurements have been shown to decrease while petting a dog, which can be a nice stress reliever. There’s nothing better than coming home to a furry “smile” and a quickly wagging tail at the door at the end of a long day.

If you can afford to care for one, I highly recommend rescuing your next best friend. There are many sweet and loyal dogs in shelters all across the state just waiting to be adopted into a loving “fur-ever” home. They can help you develop some healthy habits along the way, and you will gain an unconditionally loving best buddy!

Written By: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351901/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart–literally

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts-best-friend-201305226291

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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