To: Bryan Born
Need Your Sleep
In theory, the average
person spends one-third of their life sleeping. In reality, millions of
people suffer from inadequate and/or poor sleep, which can have a variety
of short- and long-term consequences on their health and well-being. Here
are a few suggestions on how to ensure a good night's sleep - every night:
Talk to Your Doctor. If you're having a problem sleeping, you should
make sure your doctor is aware of it. They may recommend keeping a sleep
journal for a few weeks. Include a description of your general
attitude/emotions that day (happy, sad, overwhelmed, in control, etc.), the
time you went to sleep, the amount of sleep (hours) you experienced, the
number of times you woke up, if you felt the sleep was restful, significant
activities that day, and any medication use.
Regular chiropractic adjustments help keep your nervous system at a
calmer, more functioning state. Abnormal musculoskeletal function will take
precious energy away from the normal sleep process. Studies have shown that
many sleep disorders, depression and various anxieties are removed or
controlled with proper chiropractic manipulation.
The Fan Is Your Friend. The simple use of a fan blowing in your
face (well, not right into your face) provides several major benefits,
according to current literature. First, your face is covered with millions
of tiny hairs - even if you shave every day. Each one of those little hairs
is connected to your sympathetic nervous system. (When a cat becomes
frightened, notice that they arch their back and all of their hair stands
up.) When you blow a fan on these hairs, they become
"overstimulated" and will go through a phase called sensory
adaptation. This constant stimulation will eventually force your body to
The Power of White Noise. White noise provides a distraction to
your body and allows for a deep sleep. Just like the sensory adaptation
that occurs when using a fan, a constant white noise - like a waterfall or
other repeating noise - can help sedate or calm the auditory system. The
noise will act like a jamming system and not allow your ears to focus on
Lights On, Lights Off. It is often a personal preference whether
to have lights on or off when you go to bed. For some people, the faint,
barely detectable flicker of an incandescent light is important; just like
the fan and the white noise, the eyes are very susceptible to sensory adaptation
and will give up if "overstimulated" by the right type of
lighting, night light, bathroom fluorescent light, candles, campfire,
television, etc. It is sort of a visual "lullaby" to your mind.
No Liquids Before Bed. Waking up to go the bathroom is a touchy
situation. After all, if you have to go, you have to go. But if you can't
drink enough water during the day, squeezing it in before bed is a costly
mistake. It is more damaging to wake up two or three times during the night
to urinate than to not drink enough water that day. Not having to wake up
to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night increases your chances of
experiencing sound, uninterrupted sleep.
Dial It Down. It is important to avoid taking stimulants of any
kind prior to going to bed. Drinking coffee, caffeinated tea and soda
drinks will all prevent a normal sleep cycle from occurring (or even
starting, in some cases). And some people will even use a commercial
stimulant known as a "diet pill" to enhance their fat loss capability.
Well, guess what? A poor night's sleep will reduce your body's natural
production of human growth hormone, which will hinder your ability to lose
If you're struggling to sleep and are suffering the consequences, talk
to your doctor, who may recommend these and other strategies (no, not
counting sheep) for getting a good night's rest each and every night.
Starts With the Core
The core is the center of
the body, where all movement begins. When you lift a heavy grocery bag, reach
for a suitcase, pick up one of your children, move a bookcase or throw a
ball, the core muscles should activate even before your limbs are in
motion. Healthy core muscles will provide your body with the structural
integrity and support to your spine for everything from walking and running
to lifting to standing to sitting. Let's review five of the more effective
Traditional Ab Curl: Lie on your back with your hands behind the
low back. Don't flatten the back to the floor. Keep one knee bent and the
other knee straight. Tighten the abs and slowly crunch up from the sternum
(that T-shaped bone in the center of your lower chest, also known as the
breast bone), bringing your shoulder blades off the ground. Don't forget to
breathe in and out. 12-15 repetitions, 1 set.
On-Your-Back Bent-Leg Knee Raise: Lie on your back with your head
and neck relaxed and your hands above your head, holding onto the sides of
a bench or a piece of heavy furniture. Your feet should be flat on the
floor. Use your lower abdominal muscles to raise your knees up toward your
rib cage and face, the heels toward the butt, and toes to the shin. Then
slowly lower your feet back to the starting position. As your feet lightly
touch the floor, repeat. 12 reps, 1 set.
Plank: Start to get in a push-up position, but bend your elbows
and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body
should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Pull your
abdominals in; imagine you're trying to move your belly button back to your
spine. Continue to brace the abdominals and put the low back in the neutral
position. Hold this position for an increasing length of time up to a
maximum of one minute, breathing steadily. As you build endurance, try to
do at least a 60-second set. 2-3 sets, 1 minute per set.
Stability Ball Push-Ups: These are your basic push-ups, but
you're doing them with your feet on a stability ball. Keep your body
straight - don't let your hips sag or stick your butt up in the air - to
max out on the exercise's core-strengthening benefits. Do as many as you
can with strict form. 1 set to failure.
Side Bridge: Lie on your nondominant side with your forearm on
the floor under your shoulder. Support your weight with that forearm and
the outside edge of the same side foot (your legs should be stacked one on
top of the other). Your body should form a straight line from head to
ankles. Contract your abs and glutes in as far as you can, and push your
hips off the floor. Create a straight line from ankle to shoulder and keep
your head in line with your spine. Hold this position for an increasing
length of time up to a maximum of one minute, breathing steadily. Relax and
lower under control. Repeat on your other side. 2-3 sets, 1 minute per
Don't be afraid of core training, even if you're a beginner. Actually,
if you're just starting an exercise regimen, core training is the place to
start, because it will make everything easier. Your doctor can answer any
questions you may have regarding the value of core exercises and how to
properly perform these and other core exercises.
How can you prepare
healthy meals in a pinch? One of the foundational rules for getting a
healthy meal on the table in 10 minutes or less is proper planning. Here's
an easy way to get started: Brainstorm six to eight menus you can choose
from whenever the need arises. Having that many options allows you to avoid
repetition and gives you the freedom to mix things up. When you're planning
menus, also think about how many different meals you can create using a
limited number of ingredients; that way, you can prep several meals at the
Once you've chosen your menus, shop and prep in advance. That means
doing everything from grilling chicken to chopping up vegetables to boiling
rice or pasta. In some cases, you can completely finish the meal so it only
requires reheating during your busy evenings. You can decide how much time
you'll have and which foods can be partially prepared and which can be
completely prepared in advance and still last for as long as you need them.
Here are a few healthy meal suggestions that are easy to prepare in a
pinch and provide your family with sound nutrition:
Turkey Taco Salad: Cook lean or extra-lean ground turkey
thoroughly with seasoning. Crumble it and arrange in the center of a bed of
lettuce (which can be pre-washed and bagged). Have the kids add warm or
cool pinto, kidney, white or garbanzo beans. Garnish the plate with baked
taco chips and salsa, which can be used as a dressing. Add a small amount
of shredded cheese to top it all off.
Chicken Wrap: Slice and shred a pre-cooked chicken (you
can pick it up at the store on a weekday evening or prep it on Sunday).
Place in a large bowl and mix with the following ingredients: half cup red
bell pepper (thinly sliced); 3 medium carrots and 1 cucumber, cut into
matchsticks; 3 tablespoons of bottled vinaigrette; and shredded lettuce.
Warm tortillas (they can be gluten-free) wraps or flatbread. To raise the
veggie count for this meal, add a salad and a healthy salad dressing.
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