People often ask me what my top health tips are; these 3 topics come up frequently as significant factors in a broad range of conditions from acid reflux and acne to heart disease and chronic pain. Before turning to medications or surgery, make sure you’ve got these areas optimized!
#1 Quality Sleep
How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you wake rested?
Is sleep that important?
A recent European study showed those who sleep 6 hours or less have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Disease risk also increases with poor quality sleep (not waking rested). When both short sleep and poor sleep quality are combined there is even higher risk (65% higher risk for CVD and 85% higher risk for CHD).
How is my sleep?
Fatigue, difficulty with concentration, irritability, poor blood glucose control, changes in mood, decreased stress tolerance, chronic pain, poor memory, weakened immune function resulting in infections are all possible symptoms of inadequate rest.
To improve sleep:
Determine what your sleep obstacles are: Stress, poor blood sugar control, eating large meals before bed, alcohol, caffeine, sleeping pills, insufficient exercise during the day, exercising late in the evening, irregular sleep routine, watching TV late, etc. all prevent us from getting quality sleep.
Keep the bedroom a place of rest (instead of a place to work or study), support a regular sleep routine ideally heading to bed by 10pm. Acupuncture, stress management, nutrition counseling, exercise prescription, screening lab tests and other tools may be used to improve sleep quality, in turn, improving energy level and overall health.
Photo courtesy of J. Chahal