August “Eat Healthy” – Sleep & Exercise

Our series continues with a look at the importance of sleep and exercise to our overall well-being;

  • Sleep and Exercise are an important aspect in overall Health and Well-being and Weight Management.

It may seem obvious that exercise is good for us as we are all told that from a young age but many of us under value the benefit of a good night sleep. Sleep is when our body “rests and digests” and much repair and immune function happens. If we do not get enough sleep or good quality sleep then our digestion process may be disturbed. However healthily you eat, if your body is not digesting and absorbing all the good nutrients then it may impact on health. And whilst we sleep our body repairs and renews skin cells, hair, nails and performs many immune functions. So how much is enough sleep?

Caucasian woman sleeping in bed

Experts believe we need 6-9 hours sleep / night. (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/bedtimeritual.aspx) Creating a bedtime routine can help with falling asleep and with the quality of the sleep. This can include:
• Limiting screen time before bed (TV / tablets all keep out brains busy!)
• Relaxation – warm bath, relaxation exercises, reading, listening to music etc.
• Darkness – avoid night lights as we sleep better in the dark and it stimulates our sleep hormone melatonin.
• Temperature – ideally 18-24oC
• Clean & Fresh bedroom – If the environment feels relaxing you will sleep better

Exercise is important to health for many reasons as it supports cardiovascular health (healthy heart), supports muscle which in turn supports our skeletal system, supports healthy bones and much more. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend 150+2 which is 150 hours of cardio work and 2 resistance sessions a week (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/). They claim that 1 in 4 adults worldwide is not physically active enough and as many as 80% of adolescents. That is a worrying statistic when we also look at growing obesity trends. And lack of physical exercise is a contributing factor in many diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease so the more we move the more preventive measures we take towards maintaining and/or improving our health.
runners

So a healthy guide to exercise is 150hrs cardio + 2 resistance sessions and the good news is that rest is just as important so we have a great excuse to build in more relaxation time!

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