Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on August 6, 2012
A few weeks ago, I took a required online health assessment through my employer. My area of improvement was my consistent lack of sleep. According to Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch, 75% of us have disrupted or inadequate sleep at least a few nights a week. Although the number varies from person to person, on average, most people require 8 hours of sleep per night. Why is this a problem? Lack of sleep can lead to the following (and these are just a few):
- Increased risk for high blood pressure
- Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk for obesity
- Mood disruption
- Decreased immune function
I just came back from a vacation in Maui and feel wonderful. I actually got my 8 hours of sleep every night! It was amazing how much better I felt. Being in a truly stress free environment really helped me catch up on my sleep, but here are some other ways to increase the amount of hours of sleep daily
- Decrease the stress in your life at work and at home (I know, easier said than done….)
- Decrease alcohol intake
- Decrease caffeine intake, especially before you go to bed
- Improve environmental conditions (temperature, pillows, mattress, etc.)
Anyone else have any ideas?
Posted by Jennifer (the student) on August 6, 2012
Most of us like sugar more than we should. I know I have a sweet tooth and I find the more I eat the more I want. Sugar has little nutritional value and is high in calories. Diets high in sugar suppress the immune system and can lead to diabetes, kidney and heart problems, weight gain and pre-mature aging.
I have been trying to get my sweet tooth under control and these are some of the techniques I have been using.
What do you do to manage your sugar cravings? Post your replies.
- Don’t skip meals – preventing blood sugar drops will help prevent cravings.
- Drink plenty of water – prevent dehydration, which increases cravings.
- Choose whole foods – less processed equals less sugar.
- Incorporate protein and fat into eat meal – this will help to control blood sugar.
- Have fresh fruit – helps to overcome cravings and the fiber will keep you full.
- Chew sugar-free gum – help to satisfy cravings.
- Take a walk or exercise – it will take your mind off eating.
- Get plenty of sleep – with plenty of sleep you won’t need the boost from sugar.
- Remove temptations – don’t keep sugary snacks at home or at work.
- Don’t use artificial sweeteners – they will not reduce your desire for sweets.
- Learn to use spices – salty, spicy or tart flavors can break a sugar craving.
- Read labels – you will be surprised what sugar is in.
- Watch out for sugar in beverages.
- Drink green tea – it helps to stabilize blood sugar.
- Learn all the terms for sugar – molasses, honey, corn sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, etc.
- Remember highly refined carbohydrates like pasta and bread act like sugar in the body.
- Choose quality over quantity – a small piece of good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa content) instead of cookies or a candy bar.
- Limit desserts to once a week as a treat and use portion control.
- Boost your serotonin levels “the happiness hormone’ with exercise and plenty of sleep.
- Take vitamin B – to assist the body with its response to stress because stress drives sugar cravings.
- Take vitamin D – helps to produce serotonin, increasing positive mood.
- Take omega 3 fatty acids – a natural mood enhancer.
- Take chromium – helps the body balance blood sugar.
- Take L-glutamine – curbs sugar cravings.
- When all else fails, try a sugar detox for a week.