Healthy New Year's Resolutions It’s that time of year again. Time to start making your New Year’s Resolutions (if you haven’t already). Mindful eating practices. These days, it’s common to chow down with your eyes glued to a screen, but eating when you’re distracted leads to overeating. Take time to slow down and pay attention to your food, pausing to put down utensils between bites. It’s easier to notice when you are full when you eat mindfully. Plus you will more likely enjoy the foods you eat. Chill out and rest up. When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to chill – literally. Studies have shown that people sleep better when it’s colder and when their feet are outside of the covers. Knocking the thermostat down to 68 degrees or lower before you tuck into bed can help you sleep better. Darken your room by drawing the curtains or dimming the display on your alarm clock to really get those quality sleep. Be conscious of your gratitude. Take some time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and consider starting a gratitude journal. A daily grateful check-in minimizes the distorting influence of stress. Reminding ourselves of the small, everyday positive aspects of our lives helps to develop a sense of balance and perspective that can enhance well-being. Walking 30 minutes per day. Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be as simple as taking a walk. If you’ve got a busy schedule, take three 10-minute walks throughout your day. That’s 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes at lunch and then 10 minutes after work. Make it fun! Grab a partner at work to get you through your lunch routine. Or make your work meetings, walking meetings. Step it up. Making small, daily changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator may seem minor, but they can make a big difference for your heart in the long run. Commit to a 30-day fitness challenge You hear about them regularly, especially this time of year—the fitness challenge. Pick a fitness activity that’s easy and doesn’t require equipment, and commit to it for 30 days. There are many options to challenge yourself: practicing yoga, taking regular walks or joining a fitness class. Find what motivates you. Whatever you do, make yourself accountable. We look forward to seeing you in 2020! Happy New Year!
Help your teen sleep better According to recent studies, forty-three percent of parents say their teens struggle to fall asleep — or wake up and can’t get back to sleep. Help your teen sleep better with the following tips: Maintain a regular sleep schedule Keeping a sleep schedule within an hour of what’s usual helps keep the circadian rhythm in check. Sleeping in hours later than normal on the weekends and during school breaks makes it even more difficult to switch back — and can lead to more tiredness and grogginess. “Catch-up” sleep is also unlikely to make up for the full amount of sleep debt accrued over a week, and we don’t believe it’s as restorative to the body. Discourage afternoon naps Even though they may provide more sleep short term, naps make it harder to fall asleep at night. They also break up sleep, which means lower quality of sleep and fewer benefits. If this is a habit, do everything you can to quit naps for a week to make it easier to not nap going forward. Ban electronics from the bedroom Not being able to stay off electronics — including social media and cell phones — was the top reason polled parents cited for their teens’ sleep troubles. Some research indicates that the light exposure from screens also disrupts traditional cues sent to the brain to wind down. That’s why I recommend physically removing the device. Charge phones elsewhere Make it a family rule to charge all devices in a parent’s bedroom or another isolated space to reduce temptation at bedtime. Many teens I’ve seen in my own practice actually describe a sense of relief when their parents limit phone use because it takes away some of that pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to. Stick to sleep-friendly bedtime routines In addition to banning electronics, limit other distractions in the bedroom. All stimulation should be minimized. Keep lights low and active pets out of the bedroom. We discourage using music or sound machines to help with sleep because they may actually keep the brain stimulated. Realize sleep isn’t instant We don’t expect people to fall asleep right away. It can take half an hour for someone to truly fall asleep. Have your teen follow a routine that helps them de-stress and wind down to get their body into sleep mode and send the right signals to the brain that it’s time to snooze (e.g., bath, reading, bed). Consult a health provider Sometimes an underlying medical issue, such as depression or sleep apnea, may be causing sleep trouble. If a teen continues to have problems falling asleep or is waking up multiple times at night despite healthy sleep hygiene habits, speak to a sleep specialist. Call us if you have additional information. We can help.