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Start today with a healthier lifestyle that includes sleeping tonight. Begin by assessing your own individual needs and sleep habits. How do you feel after a poor night’s sleep? Do you get a good night’s sleep most nights? Sleep is critical to your overall health.Young Girl Asleep on Pillow

A healthier lifestyle includes some healthy sleep tips :

  • Stick to a schedule by going to bed and waking up the same time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  • Try a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoiding bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  • Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light.
  • Sleep at night on a comfortable mattress and pillows that are supportive. The life expectancy of a mattress is about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Check your pillows and make sure they are free of allergens that might affect your sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals in the evening. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep.  If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  • Slow down before bed. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. So avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night these things can disturb your sleep.

Stop and think about think how you can get a better nights rest you deserve it!
Resources:

http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips

https://sleep.org/

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Trumbull County, Western Reserve, economos.2@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

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After 21 years, I no longer resolve to be a morning exerciser. I have tried and failed numerous times. If others can do it, why can’t I? Simply because I AM NOT, nor ever will be a morning person.  Keeping New Year’s Resolutions realistic can be difficult for many people. We set goals to lose weight, start exercising, train for a marathon, stop smoking, have a cleaner house, pay off debt, spend more time with friends and family, sleep more, eat healthier….the list could go on and on, yet we achieve very few. New Year’s Day is a time to reflect back on our behaviors in the previous year and to take a look at small changes we would like to make. Promising yourself to overhaul your life will just result in frustration, disappointment and hopelessness by the end of January or February during the cold, grey winter months.

How can you prevent “failure” and achieve your goals? Consider these tips:

  • Start small. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you want to increase your exercise, start out with 3 times per week, not every day. Don’t punish yourself by taking goals to the extreme, this is not about deprivation. Saying you will never eat a cookie again is just not realistic!
  • Change one behavior at a time. This is not the time to seek out a total life transformation or overhaul. Choose one behavior to work on. Want to spend more quality time with your family? Agree to spend an hour 3 times a week in a tech-free zone.
  • Talk about it. Open up and share what your goal is. You might find others who want to achieve the same goal. Having others to share your struggles and success with makes achieving that goal easier.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps are part of the journey. The most important aspect is to get back on track. We all make mistakes!
  • Have specific, measurable, attainable goals. Set a deadline for yourself. Track your progress so you have a visual indicator of your achievements. review your goals periodically and adjust if necessary.

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It’s ok if you choose not to have any resolutions surrounding January 1. It’s important to always be working on small goals at all times of the year, which will alleviate some of the stress and pressure.  Incorporating small changes in everyday life is much more manageable. Here’s to 2015-Happy New Year!

 

Writer: Melissa Welker, M.Ed., B.S., Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA , welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewer: Donna Green, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:               www.apa.org

www.webmd.com

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Autumn

Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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When I was a young mother, the message that we received about keeping our babies safe as they slept was to have them sleep on their stomach. We also used crib bumper pads, small pillows, stuffed animals, and of course soft, fluffy blankets.

All of these recommendations have changed in the last few years. The message on safe sleep for a baby is as simple as ABC.baby in crib

A – ALONE! You should never share a bed with a baby nor take a nap on the couch or chair with the baby because you could roll too close or onto your baby, babies can get stuck between the mattress and the wall, headboard, footboard or other furniture or fall off of the bed. The safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room (within arm’s reach), but not in your bed.

B – BACK! Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to choke than those who sleep on their stomachs. Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. It’s safer for your baby to wake up during the night on his back. If he or she is sleeping on their tummy and needs to take a deep breath they might not be able to move their head and the baby’s mouth or nose could be blocked and they could suffocate.

C – CRIB! Place your baby to sleep in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Sleep clothing like fitted, appropriate-sized sleepers and sleep sacks are safer for a baby than blankets. Many parents think their baby won’t be safe and warm without bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals, but these items can be deadly. Babies can suffocate on any extra item in the crib.

Some other general guidelines for a happy healthy baby:

  • Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.
  • Try using a pacifier at nap and bed time.
  • Give your baby some “tummy time” when he is awake and someone is watching. This helps avoid flat spots on baby’s head and helps develop neck muscles.
  • Infants should receive all recommended immunizations.

While much of this information is shared with new mothers and fathers, often a grandma or baby sitter hasn’t heard the new safety recommendations. Be sure and share these guidelines with anyone caring for your baby.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Science Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Wood County,  zies.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/~/media/ODH/ASSETS/Files/infant%20safe%20sleep/SafeSleep_Brochure-TriFold-Print_5-6-14.ashx

http://columbus.gov/publichealth/programs/Safe-Sleep-for-Infants/Infant-Safe-Sleep/

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

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cherriesTart cherries have powerful secret nutrients. Studies have found that the antioxidants in tart cherries continue to increase until they reach peak ripeness.  Consuming them when they are ripe will offer you the most benefits.

 

These properties called anthocyanins could improve our health by:

  • Cutting down on inflammation and decreasing muscle soreness.
  • Producing beneficial metabolic effects such as decreasing fat, sugar, and insulin levels in the blood.
  • Melatonin in rich tart cherries may help sleep disturbances.
  • Phytonutrients in cherries act as antioxidants to help reduce free radicals in the body, possibly reducing the risk of some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease

Cherry-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

3/4 cup canned, pitted red tart cherries in water, chilled in the refrigerator, undrained

1/2 cup low fat milk or dairy-free milk

1/2 cup frozen berries

8 oz. low fat cherry Greek yogurt

1 small banana

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. More or less milk can be added to achieve desired consistency.

Makes 3 servings

Per Serving:

Calories: 164

Total fat 2 g (1 g saturated fat)

Carbohydrate 33 g

Protein 6 g

Fiber 2.8 g

Sodium 72 mg

Vitamin C 6 mg

Vitamin A 635 IU

As we support good health, everyone should try to eat more fruits and vegetables so by adding tart cherries or the concentrate you can easily add one more serving of fruit to your meal plan each day!

Writer: Marie Diniaco Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Trumbull County, Western Reserve EERA, Economos.2@osu.edu

Reviewers: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University.

Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

For more information on how to maximize nutrients in other fruits and vegetables visit: Farm to Health Series: http://localfoods.osu.edu/maximizenutrients

Sources:

http://www.choosecherries.com

http://www.ncnm.edu/images/Helfgott/Projects/scientific-literature-summary-cherries-2011.pdf

Recipe developed by Robin Ralston and Morgan Orr, The Ohio State University available from: http://localfoods.osu.edu/sites/d6-localfoods.web/files/Cherries_0.pdf

 

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March 17 - Spring Blog Photo

Signs of spring are around us everywhere . . . . daylight savings time, daffodils and crocuses popping through the ground, and skunks along the roadside – yes, skunks are a sign that spring is in the air.

Much like New Year’s resolutions, spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings.  In our hurried, fast-paced world, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life; we forget to stop and smell the roses.  This hectic, fast-paced lifestyle can take a toll on our energy and time.  With the onset of spring approaching later this week, here are ten suggestions for new beginnings and renewal.

  • Get eight hours of sleep.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical exercise daily.
  • Take 10 deep breaths when something overwhelms you.
  • Drink water instead of sweetened beverages or soda.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Say affirmations in the morning and at night.
  • Surround yourself with positive people; negative attitudes can drain your enthusiasm.
  • Do something nice for yourself.
  • Take time to reflect upon each day.
  • Treasure every moment.

As you embrace the changing of the season from winter to spring, consider how you can make small changes to your personal life for renewed health and well-being.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, Ohio Valley Hills EERA.

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA & Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clients on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMillions of adults are concerned about their sleep patterns; in particular, those who suffer from insomnia. If you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early, and/or not feeling rested, you are probably suffering from insomnia. Sleep is a highly complex activity. There are a variety of reasons why someone might have trouble sleeping. One is a lack of physical activity in his or her daily routine.

Exercise is an important thing you can do to reduce insomnia. It helps you fall asleep faster and allows you to sleep more deeply and restfully. Instead of running to the medicine cabinet for a sleep aid, why not invest some time in being physically active? Research shows the following benefits of exercise when it comes to fighting insomnia:

• Moderately-intense exercise (for example, walking) reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and increases the length of sleep time and sleep quality.

• Exercise in the afternoon or evening helps promote a rise, then fall, of your body temperature. This is good because your body heats up after activity, increasing metabolism. Then you experience a cool-down phase, which promotes sleep. Try to exercise 3-6 hours before bedtime to get maximum sleep benefits.

• Better sleep increases energy levels during the day, making you more “peppy” (which in turn increases sleep time–win/win).

• Exercise helps decrease anxiety and depression, which are sleep “stealers.”

• Insomnia increases with age. Finding behavioral ways (such as increasing activity levels) to cope with this metabolic shift will benefit you long term (as opposed to temporary sleep aids).

• Drug-free sleep (using physical activity instead of a sleeping pill) is a better option because it reduces the risk of medication interactions.

• Exercise stresses the body. The brain then compensates for this stress by increasing the time you spend in deep sleep.

• Humans have biological “time clocks” called circadian rhythms, just like plants and animals. Those circadian rhythms affect your body temperature, appetite, hormone secretions, and sleep patterns. Exercise may “shift” the timing of your body clock depending on when you exercise. That’s because when you exercise outside, you increase your exposure to natural light, which is extremely important in the regulation of your circadian rhythm (and explains why people sleep so much better when they are out-of-doors camping or hiking).

So what are you waiting for? Get active, get some fresh air, and get some sleep! And remember the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin: “Fatigue is the best pillow.”

Written by:
Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Reviewed by:
Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-does-exercise-help-those-chronic-insomnia
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20100917/exercise-helps-you-sleep
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/circadian-rhythm-disorders-cause
http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/sleep_cycles_body_clock.htm

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