By Kat Farber, LMT, BCMT, CA
Sleep quality is an imperative function for our health and wellness. One that we often overlook or take for granted until we are denied it. Its significance can be underestimated; seen as “inefficient.” In a culture of multi-tasking, we do not consider the dreaming and internal body functions that occur during sleep to be important enough to warrant our effort and respect. We even demean sleep to being an “inefficient” use of time, while attempting to minimize it to its smallest impact possible. Research shows us that sleep deprivation and fragmentation can have serious impacts on our overall health including short term memory, reaction time, and degraded mood. (Bonnett, 2003)
Massage therapy has been proven to increase sleep quality in many different populations, including severely ill, children, and adults. While I’m sure we would all love to have a personal massage therapist come to our homes and massage us to sleep each evening, a more realistic opportunity exists for everyone to learn some basic self-massage care techniques.
Foods to help you sleep better, foods to avoid and foods to consume prior to bed
By Elizabeth Parker, PhD, RD
Did you know 1 in 3 American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep per night? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Getting less than 7 hours is associated with poorer overall general health, and can negatively affect cognitive functioning, mood, glucose metabolism, appetite regulation and immune function (Halson 2014). As if that wasn’t bad enough, did you know that not getting enough sleep can also influence our food choices and cause you to eat more? According to a 2014 review (Chaput 2014), not getting enough sleep has been shown to increase snacking and the number of meals consumed per day. Unfortunately, we don’t tend to reach for fruits and vegetables when we are tired, and the increase in food intake tends to be from high calorie, highly processed foods lacking many of the nutrients our bodies need.
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