By Kate O’Farrell, M.S., ACSM-CEP
The National Sleep Foundation describes sleep hygiene as “a variety of different practices that are necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.” Without proper sleep hygiene, every area of life can be affected negatively. The good news is even small changes improve concentration, mood, creativity, weight, overall health, learning ability and more.
Research suggests that there is not one magic sleep number for everyone. Although the eight-hours-a-night-rule seems to be the most popular, everyone functions best at a different amount of sleep per night. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, however, has provided general guidelines. For school-aged children, getting at least 10 hours of sleep per night is recommended for improved cognitive and physical function. For teens, nine to 10 hours of sleep is recommended. For adults, seven to eight hours of sleep may be enough.
Here are some quick tips to help improve your sleep hygiene:
1. Create a routine. It may not always include warm milk and a bedtime story, but going through a calm routine before bed can help wind things down. Examples include taking a bath, reading a book, or even some relaxing yoga.
2. Be consistent. Train your sleep-wake cycle by going to bed at waking up around the same time.
3. Establish a sleep-only zone. Keep screens and other distractions out of the bedroom.
4. Meditate. Breathing or performing a progressive muscle relaxation can clear your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
Sleep hygiene is as important for the sleeping hours as it is for the waking hours. Finding small ways to improve our sleep can change a lot. Sleep tight!
Resource link: cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.htm
THE BEST DIETS FOR 2016
Every year U.S. News and World Report ranks the top diets for those wanting lose weight in the coming 12 months. But how do they come to their conclusions? “We evaluated the diets based on their potential effectiveness for both short-term and long-term weight loss, giving a higher score to those that demonstrated evidence for long-term weight loss maintenance,” says Katherine Beals, an associate professor with University of Utah Health Care’s Division of Nutrition, who was on the panel.
Ease of use was also a consideration for the panel as the evaluated the diets. “If a diet isn’t easy to follow people won’t stick with it, and it won’t be effective for weight loss,” says Beals.
Learn more here.
HIGH HEELS’ DAMAGE TO THE HUMAN FOOT
Men and women have been wearing elevated shoes for thousands of years. Back in ancient Egypt, wearing high heels was an indication of upper class status. Now, high heels are a part of fashion. But the health consequences of wearing them may not be so pretty. In the U.S., emergency rooms treated more than 123,000 high heel-related injuries between 2002 and 2012. Dr. Kirtly Jones talks about the history of high heels and a life in them can do to a woman’s feet.
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For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.