New Perspectives on Sleep

Sleep regenerates and repairs our body. Sleep helps us stay mentally sharp. In this challenging time, we need to be mindful of choices that interfere with the best quality sleep.

News and social media may make us anxious. It may be helpful to pay attention to the news and Facebook early in the morning and pay less attention later in the day and evening. Viewing earlier will allow us to be more relaxed in the evening.

Caffeine stimulates our body’s systems. Caffeine may make it more difficult to fall asleep and reach deep restful sleep. If you decide to consume caffeine, it may be best to have caffeinated drinks early in the day. No later than 3:00 in the afternoon is best. Your body will have time to metabolize the caffeine before bedtime.

Melatonin is our sleep hormone. Blue light wavelengths turn off melatonin production which cause us to be more awake. Blue light is emitted from TV screens, phones, computer and tablets. It is best to turn off these screens 2 hours before bedtime. As an alternative, read a book or magazine printed on paper.

Be aware that LED and compact florescent lights emit blue wavelengths also. Wearing Blue Blocker glasses or TrueDark glasses in the evening may decrease the amount of blue light reaching your eyes. You may also consider a red LED bulb in your bedroom by your bed. A red light will allow you to see if there is a need to get up in the night but will be less disruptive to your sleep.

Meditation may also help you to quiet your mind and drop more easily into deep restful sleep. You’ll find some helpful ideas on meditation in this post.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about healthy eating and lifestyles and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not medical or psychological advice. This information is to be used at your own risk, based on your own judgment. For my full disclaimer, please go to donnakkelly.com\disclaimer

New Perspectives on Stress and Protecting Your Immune System

Woman meditating

Your immune system is your body’s way to protect you from infections, whether those infections are old, or new, like COVID-19. Your immune system is built to take care of you. A few changes will help you take care of your immune system.

Stress, whether infection, emotions, pain, or poor nutrition, decreases your immune system’s ability to function well. Let’s expand that thought.

Your body reacts to stress as a threat to its survival and causes your body to quickly use its energy for survival. Your blood vessels constrict, so you bleed less if the proverbial tiger bites you. Your blood clots more easily, in case that bite happens. Your heart beats faster, so you can run faster than the tiger.

We don’t have to worry about tigers, but we still experience stress. Most any stress causes your body to respond. Responding to stress today doesn’t require fast running, or faster clotting, and those responses may not be the best for maintaining health.

Maintaining your immune system requires a great deal of energy. Your body, under stress, may send less energy to the immune system as it sends more energy to combat stress. But your body responds in the same way, whether a tiger is near, or with the emotional stress of learning that Covid-19 is spreading. Decreasing the amount of stress may help us.

Mental stress and anxiety may be effectively dealt with by meditation. One simple way to meditate is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. You may find this 20-minute body scan meditation helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS_iqfGjL78

Decreasing stress helps decrease the body’s responses to stress, which then helps the immune system stay at its best. Decreasing stress may also help you sleep better, which is another critical step to optimal health.

Please check in tomorrow for more ideas on how to optimize sleep.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about healthy eating and lifestyles and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not medical or psychological advice. This information is to be used at your own risk, based on your own judgment. For my full disclaimer, please go to donnakkelly.com\disclaimer