Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sleep: The Gift of the Gods

Irene A. Masiello / author: PARADISE COSTS--

While most of us could use a week at a spa de-stressing, most often our heavy schedules barely allow enough time to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the gift of the Gods and most of us need more of it to recharge our spirits.
We are a sleep deprived nation and not getting enough rest has vast implications. When we’re tired our cognitive function drops, job performance decreases, our concentration is diminished, we lose our tempers faster and our waist-lines increase.

"The Duvet Diet," a sleep-yourself-thinner plan advanced by author Jane Worthington, report London's Times Online and Daily Record indicates that one extra hour of sleep a night every night for a year could translate to a weight loss of 10 pounds.

Dr. Shahrad Taheri, who also operates an obesity clinic, at University of Bristol has done extensive research in this area and told the Times Online, "How much sleep we have affects our IQ, our suicide risk, our chance of substance abuse and our weight.”

For decades, the national average of body weight has been on the increase. Most of us admit we're getting far less sleep, too. Are the two really connected? Yes. Obviously, if we're awake longer, we have the opportunity to consume more calories. But it's more than that:

A bad night's sleep usually equates with over-eating the next day & may convert to an increase of 1000 calories in an attempt to overcome fatigue Hormones that control appetite are decreases with a lack of sleep Lower glucose tolerance levels result from a poor quality of sleep and, therefore, can also be a factor in obesity by increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Less sleep equates to raising body mass index (BMI) and that applies to kids, too.

Also, a single poor night’s sleep can depress and compromise our immune systems.

Interestingly enough, tells us eating the right foods can help us sleep.

“Bananas,” states, "They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel. Bananas contain sleep aides melatonin and serotonin as well as magnesium, a known muscle relaxant.”

Also, Mom was right, warm milk is a great sleep aide because it contains a trace of tryptophan, an amino acid with a sedative-like effect, as well as calcium.

Honey, says, is a sleep aide. Put a teaspoon or two of honey in warm milk or chamomile tea. This tiny bit of glucose will send a message to your brain to turn off a neurotransmitter that has been linked to alertness.

Oatmeal is wonderful source of melatonin; make it with warm milk and a drizzle of honey.

Almonds are not only good for your heart, but they also contain tryptophan and magnesium which assists as in getting more sleep. Drop some sliced almonds into the oatmeal with a half of mashed banana with the honey and the warm milk. Sweet dreams, cupcake, and reduce your cholesterol, too, while your hug your teddy.

Whole wheat toast with a little honey and have a cup of chamomile tea can make for a late snack that’s low cal and high octane zzzzzz.

Set the stage for a great night’s sleep by having a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or have just the turkey with a small white potato and you will be on your way to la-la land after that bubble bath.

According to the best dinners to induce a good night's sleep?

Pasta with parmesan cheese
Hummus with whole wheat pita bread
Meats and poultry with veggies
Tuna salad sandwich

Scrambled eggs and cheese

Cottage cheese, pasta and seafood
Sesame seeds sprinkled on salad with tuna chunks and whole wheat crackers

For those watching your cholesterol and concerned about saying “cheese” too often ask your doctor about taking calcium supplements—it’s a great sleep aide but don’t use it unless your physician says it’s right for you.

Try a little aromatherapy and use some lavender oil on a pillow case, too.

Pleasant dreams.

© Copyright December 2007-All rights reserved-Irene A. Masiello is a certified: holistic/CORE counselor, a stress management consultant & adult educator. Irene A. Masiello / author: PARADISE COSTS--A Victim's Daughter Fights Back Against Elder Abuse...the first pro-active, grassroots REALITY WRITING book urging Americans to help STOP ELDER ABUSE NOW / Elder Advocate & Member of the Elder Justice Coalition / Founder: Starlight Network News / Certified: Holistic Counselor, Stress Management Consultant & Adult Educator / NYC-based magazine columnist authoring a holistically based, spiritual self-help & personal empowerment column since 1998

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