11 Foods That Can Help You Sleep Better

Find out what to eat and drink to catch more quality zzz’s.

Trying to get more shut-eye? Take a look at your diet. Eating the right foods in the hours before you hit the hay may help you fall asleep faster, say experts, and even improve the quality of your sleep. Keep reading for your get-sleepy grocery list, and remember to stop noshing two hours before bedtime to give your body enough time to properly digest.

1 Edamame

Craving a salty snack before bed? Turn to lightly salted edamame, says Dr. Dalton-Smith—especially if you’re dealing with menopause-related symptoms. “The natural estrogen-like compounds found in soy-based products can be very beneficial in controlling those nighttime hot flashes that can disturb your sleep,” she says. If it’s crackers and dip you’re craving, try making this easy edamame recipe: In a food processor, blend together 2 cups of shelled, cooked edamame with 1 tsp salt, a drizzle of olive oil and 1 clove garlic (optional) until smooth.

2 Hard Cooked Eggs

If you have trouble staying asleep at night, it may be because you didn’t eat a pre-bedtime snack high in protein, or perhaps your snack was too high in simple, high-sugar carbohydrates, like cake and candy. “The problem with simple carbs is that they can put you on a ‘sugar roller coaster’ and drop your blood sugar while you’re sleeping, causing you to wake at 2 or 3 in the morning,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. A better bet? “Eat an egg, cheese, nuts or other protein-rich snack instead,” he says, “so you can not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.”

3Miso Soup

You love to order this comforting, broth-based soup in Japanese restaurants, but keeping a few 8-ounce packs of instant miso soup at home may be key when you’re having trouble falling asleep, says Stella Metsovas, CN, a nutritionist in Laguna Beach, California. Here’s why: Miso contains amino acids that may boost the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that can help induce the yawns. Bonus: Research shows that warm liquids like soup and tea may also relieve cold symptoms, helping you sleep better when you’re feeling under the weather.

4Cereal

There’s no need to feel guilty about having a small bowl of cereal before bed, especially if it’s a low-sugar, whole-grain cereal. Not only is it a healthy snack (make sure you top it with milk to give your body the protein it needs), but it may also help you snooze. “Complex carbohydrate–rich foods increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, increasing the sleep-inducing effects,” says Dr. Dalton-Smith. Bonus: Top your bowl with a sprinkling of dried cherries (see above) for extra help catching your zzz’s.

5Broccoli

What you eat during the day could help you feel well-rested tomorrow morning. A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that the more fiber in a person’s diet, the more time they spent in restorative sleep. On the other hand, researchers found that people who ate a lot of saturated fat spent less time in the deep-sleep phase. Opt for fiber-filled foods like beans, broccoli and raspberries, and cut back on foods high in saturated fat, like bacon, steak, butter and cheese.

6Dairy

Yogurt and milk do contain tryptophan, notes Dr. Dalton-Smith, but also have a surprising sleep-inducing nutrient: “Calcium is effective in stress reduction and stabilization of nerve fibers, including those in the brain.” That means a serving of your favorite Greek yogurt before bed can not only help you sleep, but also help you stop worrying about the weird thing your boss said earlier at work.

 

Worried about falling asleep tonight? Have a banana before bed, says Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, an internist and the author of Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves. “Bananas are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which help to relax overstressed muscles. They also contain tryptophan, which convert to serotonin and melatonin, the brain’s key calming hormones.” Try this tasty and incredibly simple bedtime smoothie: Blend one banana with one cup of milk or soy milk (and ice, if desired). Pour and enjoy!

8Oatmeal

You eat it for breakfast, but could a bowl of warm oatmeal help you get more rest? Yes, says Stephan Dorlandt, a clinical nutritionist based in Southern California. “Think about it,” he says. “Oatmeal is warm, soft, soothing, easy to prepare, inexpensive and nourishing. It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium—the who’s who of nutrients known to support sleep.” But go easy on the sweeteners; too much sugar before bed can have an anti-calming effect. Instead, consider topping your bowl with fruit, like bananas (see above).

9 Tea

Yes, avoiding all caffeine in the evening hours is key, but some decaf varieties can help get you into sleep mode, says Dr. Teitelbaum. “Chamomile tea is a very helpful and safe sleep aid,” he says, adding that green tea is another good choice. “Green tea contains theanine, which helps promote sleep. Just be sure you get a decaf green tea if drinking it at bedtime.” Experts recommend trying a 1-cup serving of the hot stuff.

10 Cherries

Oddly, a glass of cherry juice may be an effective way to fall asleep faster, says a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Rochester. In their study, they found that cherries, particularly tart cherries, naturally boosted the body’s supply of melatonin, which helped people with insomnia. While the jury is still out on how much juice or how many cherries are needed to make you sleepy, experts say sipping a glass of cherry juice (available at most natural foods stores) or having a serving of fresh, frozen or dried cherries before bedtime couldn’t hurt.

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American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The good news is that 80% of heart disease can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health.  Read below about healthy strategies that can help prevent heart disease.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure. Keep your blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.

Get Active. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or 10,000 steps/day to maintain a healthy heart.

Eat Heart Healthy. Eat a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats such as fish, avocado, and nuts. Limit sodium intake to 2,300mg/day or 1,500mg/day if you are at risk for a heart condition. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats as well as added sugars.

Maintain a Healthy Weight. Target a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 or make sure that your muscle to fat ratio is within a healthy range.

Live Smoke Free. Smoking can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease. Contact ASHLine today for help quitting.

Watch Your Cholesterol. Keep your daily cholesterol under 200mg/dL per day and cut out Trans fats. You can find cholesterol in meat, cheese, and eggs.

Control Your Blood Sugar. Aim for a fasting blood glucose of less than 100mg/dL per day.

 

11 Sneaky Reasons Why You’re Always Tired

 

Are you consistently exhausted — even when you’re getting enough sleep? If so, there might be a few not-so-obvious reasons you’re so sluggish. Lucky for you, there are also a few pretty easy fixes!

1. YOU’RE NOT WAKING UP EARLY ENOUGH.

Take your hand away from the snooze-button. While it may seem counter-intuitive, sleeping until the last possible second might actually be harming you more than helping you! “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise” isn’t just a cute rhyme. You really do need to get up and take some time for yourself to de-stress before heading out for the day. Don’t believe us? A 2008 Harvard study showed that morning people better anticipate problems than night owls and are more proactive, which is linked to better job (and life) performance and success.

 2. YOU’RE SURROUNDED BY TOXIC PEOPLE.

Complaining coworkers and whining pals can actually make you tired. “People you allow into your life not only have the power to affect you emotionally, but can also take a toll on you physically,” explains Vicky Vlachonis, osteopath and author of The Body Doesn’t Lie. “If people that are cynical and tend to complain surround you, they can be draining your energy.” So how do you fix it? Vlachonis suggests getting “rid of time-wasters and move forward with feelings of positivity and gratitude — feelings of happiness bring your body lots of energy!”

3. YOUR SEX LIFE IS A SNOOZE.

Most people complain about being too tired to have sex, but guess what? Intimacy can actually help you get a better night’s rest. This is because an orgasm releases prolactin, which is naturally higher when we sleep. And if a morning quickie is more your style, there’s good news: Highly active sex can actually make you feel more energized than sleepy. So maybe stick to a more subdued session at night — or get frisky when you wake up!

4. YOU’RE MAGNESIUM-DEFICIENT.

Yes, it sounds weird, but think of magnesium “as the relaxation mineral,” explains Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Why? It helps improves how effective your sleep is, how long it takes you to fall asleep, and how long you’re out, according to the National Institutes of Health. To make sure you’re getting a healthy dose, Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests foods like nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, and leafy greens. (Note: Just remember that this magical mineral can sometimes have a laxative effect!)

5. YOU HATE YOUR JOB.

Let’s be honest: Waking up day in and day out for work already can take a toll, but that’s exacerbated when you hate what you do or are surrounded by challenging coworkers. If you’re always feeling sluggish, it may be that you need a change of office scenery. Need proof? Multiple studies have shown that people who hate their jobs have trouble falling asleep or sleeping deeply, mostly because of stress.

6. YOU’RE SKIPPING THE GYM.

If you’re in a slump, you may want to get moving. Regular physical activity can “reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It doesn’t take much: Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day!

7. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SUNLIGHT.

It’s all about the circadian rhythm. “When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night,” wrote M. Nathaniel Mead in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives. (This is also why you should shut off screens long before bed.) And while too much unprotected exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer, you should definitely aim to get an hour or two of sunlight each day. Bonus: Sunshine also offers a free dose of Vitamin D, which helps fight against diseases — and nothing brings your energy down like getting sick.

8. YOU’RE A BALL OF STRESS.

Everyone knows that anxiety isn’t good — especially because it causes ulcers, gray hair, and exhaustion. Stress is also the top cause of insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. And it’s a vicious cycle: The lack of sleep leaves you more irritable and anxious, making problems loom larger and it more difficult to sleep the next night. So take some time for you to de-stress, and try to put problems in perspective.

9. YOU MAY HAVE AN AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDER.

Yes, they are known to cause fatigue and tiredness, the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services reveals. And since women are three times more likely than men to suffer from one, be sure to speak to your doctor if you’re always tired. There may be a much deeper health issue that you’re not paying attention to.

10. YOUR BEDROOM IS A DISASTER.

If it’s a mess of clothes, shoes, and piles of papers, you’re not doing yourself or the quality of your sleep any favors. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your bedroom should be clean, comfortable, and conducive to rest. So, burn some scented candles (lavender will do!), use some dim lights, tidy up, and create your own calming sanctuary. Your brain will thank you.

11. YOU EAT TOO MUCH PROCESSED FOOD.

We’re talking about high-carb foods like burgers and fries, white rice, pasta, and bread, which usually cause a not-so-fun energy crash. Instead, you want to load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, “which can boost energy by giving you the vitamins and minerals — not to mention antioxidants! — you need,” says London. “And since fruits and veggies are mostly water, the hydration may help give you a boost as well.”

From: Good Housekeeping

February Workout Challeng

American Heart Month
February Daily Workout Challenge
10 burpees
50 squats
100 jumping jacks
50 lunges
10 push-ups
100 high knees
50 mountain climbers
10 star jumps
100 butt kickers
50 crunches
10 burpees

Kermit the Frog Yoga

15 Stretches

10 – Neck stretch

12 – Child pose

13 – Lunges

14 – Quad stretch

15 – Calf stretch

Cervical Health Awareness Month

 

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Take time this month to raise awareness about cervical health and how women can protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer. HPV is a common virus that spreads through sexual activity and is one of the major causes of cervical cancer to date.
Over 79 million Americans have HPV and many don’t know that they are carrying the virus. Currently, there are more than 12,000 women in the United States that have been diagnosed with cervical cancer and one-third will die as the result.

Cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screenings and can also catch abnormal cells early before they turn into cancer. Most deaths from cervical cancer can be prevented by regular screenings and follow-up care. HPV vaccines are also available.

Remind the women around you to get their annual well woman visit and remember that wellness exams are covered 100% by most insurance plans.

January Health Resolutions

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January marks a change for many things.

A New Year, new commitments, and new start! Make 2017 your year with whatever you decide you want to do in your life. Here are some tips to stay motivated and achieve your New Year’s Resolutions!

Be Realistic. Deciding on a New Year’s resolution that is realistic for you and your life is the first step towards being successful. For example, if you tell yourself you’re going to stay completely away from sweets but you have a huge sweet tooth and you know you’re bound to encounter some holiday treats somewhere, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, challenge yourself to limit sweets to a couple times a week.

Start Small. Setting smaller goals more frequently can lead to a higher chance of overall success than setting one large goal. If we use our sweet tooth example above, we start by saying limit our sweets to once a week.  From there we can move to a three times a week and go from there. Being successful is the most motivating factor in keeping a New Year’s resolution. Also, the smaller the goal, the easier it is to stick to it. We can’t start training for a marathon by running 26.2 miles, but we can start with a 1 mile walk.

Reward Success. Positive reinforcement works for not just our kids and dogs, but adults too! Make sure to reward yourself for your accomplishments as long as it’s not counterproductive to your overall goal.  For example, if you are starting to train for a 5k and you were able to run for a full mile without stopping, go get a pedicure or take a day off from training and spend a day with your family. Doing these activities are especially rewarding because they have been earned through YOUR hard work.

Friends. Invite a friend or co-workers to join you in your New Year’s resolution. We find that people are almost 50% more successful when they have someone to hold them accountable. Help each other stay on track and stay healthy.

Don’t Quit. It’s almost unavoidable that you may have a slip up. Our lives and routines are always subject to change which can get in the way of your new routine and goals. Don’t quit! Change is hard and it won’t happen all at once. Stay positive and remind yourself why you set your goals and why they are important to keep up!

YOU can do this.

Check out these local runs and walks to get started on those resolutions! RUSA, SIERRA