On the road to a better and a healthier you

Self-Care is an important topic that most people don’t spend enough time thinking about because they feel like they don’t have enough time or it’s too indulgent or it is selfish. There is no better investment than investing in your well being.

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” — Lucille Ball

Self-care is how you take the power back. Fall in love with taking care of yourself – mind, body and soul. Make a commitment to change your habits, and bingo your life will change too.

First step in self care is getting enough sleep When it comes to sleep, understanding the truth about how much you need, sleep debt and what is sabotaging your sleep, is integral to staying happy and healthy.

Sleep is As Important as Diet and Exercise. You probably already fit in 30 minutes of exercise on most days and stock your kitchen with nutritious eats, but don’t forget to add “make time for sleep” to your stay-healthy list. It’s just as critical, because sleep deprivation has been linked to heart disease, depression, and diabetes.

Getting enough sleep at night certainly isn’t easy—but it’s not impossible, either. Fixing the following six common mistakes will help you get on the track to better sleep.

1.  High-carb foods

Although not all carbs are high on the glycaemic index, excess consumption can still interfere with your sleep. For instance, in a now classic study published in the Lancet, consumption of a high-carb, low-fat diet led to less slow-wave sleep—the deepest phase of NREM—compared with consumption of a low-carb, high-fat diet or normal balanced diet. Of note, all tested diets were equal in calories.

2.  High-glycaemic foods

Refined carbs like white bread and white rice might be yummy, but they are high on the glycaemic index. Diets high in high-glycaemic foods not only increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, but can also disturb your sleep.

3.  High-fat food

Watch out for fried or other high-fat foods—they not only pack on the kilos, but can impair your sleep. And it’s not just that cheeseburger and fries you should be wary of. Even healthy high-fat foods, like avocado and fish, can compromise a good night’s sleep. One reason is that meals rich in high-fat foods activate digestion, which can lead to frequent night time trips to the bathroom.

4. Caffeine

It should come as no surprise that caffeine upends sleep. Caffeinated beverages—including coffee, green tea, energy drinks, and soda—have been shown to increase heart rate and can cause feelings of nervousness and anxiety. But exactly how long before slumber should you forgo caffeine? Studies have shown that having caffeine six hours before turning in could cost you an hour of sleep.

5. Alcohol

Having a few drinks before bed may help you fall asleep faster, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll sleep well. When you go to bed tipsy, your body goes straight into deep sleep, missing out on restorative REM sleep. You’re also more likely to wake up, both because of the disrupted sleep rhythms, and because alcohol makes you more likely to need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

6. Acidic foods / Spicy foods

Acidic foods can irritate the stomach lining and elevate acidic ph levels in the body—triggering indigestion, heartburn, and acid re flux—which can interfere with sleep.

Similar to acidic foods, eating spicy foods like hot sauces and peppers before bed can lead to a restless night. In addition to raising your core temperature—which can make it difficult to drift off—many spicy foods also tend to be acidic, which can lead to abdominal discomfort and heartburn.

So, to prevent sleep issues, it’s probably best to skip the late-night pizza, pasta or curry.

In addition to the above, I believe that having night time / sleep time routines would help the body get a better quality of sleep.

You know that you sleep best in a dark room, but if you leave all the lights on right up until bedtime, you could be sending your body mixed messages. Evening light exposure can delay your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness and plays a role in setting your body’s internal sleep clock.

Help your body to prepare for bedtime by using dimmers if you have them. Or, after dinner, turn off as many of the bright, overhead lights in the house as you can and use softer lamplight instead, when possible.

Put your phone and devices as far away from your bedroom as possible. Perhaps charging them downstairs in the kitchen.

Another practical tip is to turn your phone on airplane mode so you can choose when you want to access your messages.

Here’s wishing you a good night’s rest and a rejuvenating sleep.

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