I am a firm believer in, never say never, and also to avoid the term always, but in this instance I am going to use both terms.
Diet, sleep, and exercise are closely related and each one supports the other. If you have trouble sleeping, consider your diet. Food items you eat can cause a poor night of sleep, such as too much sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. Including regular exercise helps you sleep soundly, and when you sleep well you tend to eat smarter. I suggest you examine these three aspects of your life-diet, sleep and exercise-to enable you to attain or maintain a healthy body weight and good health.
I’ll share with you my 3 What to Never Do and my 3 What to Always Do strategies for each:
- Never eat food you dislike just to lose weight. This is tasteless and makes your efforts short-lived.
- Never skip meals. Eat every three to four hours to keep your metabolism burning calories efficiently. Skipping meals could produce the opposite of what you desire because your body will reserve calories rather than burn them.
- Never skimp on meals. Eating too little for your body size will also cause your body to preserve calories. Know how much food someone your size should eat to attain or maintain a healthy weight.
- Always eat a balanced diet using all food groups. At each meal and snack eat a fruit/vegetable along with protein, carbohydrate, and a small portion of fat.
- Always watch portion sizes. Eating too much each time will lead to weight gain. Pay close attention to your portions, and make sure they are not too large.
- Always drink water. Stay hydrated. Often thirst is disguised as hunger causing you to eat when you are thirsty. By drinking sufficient water you conquer thirst and eat only for hunger.
- Never lie in bed for a long time waiting to go to sleep. Problems and issues in your life seem larger as you lie in bed and your mind goes into overdrive. Get up, walk around, get back into bed only when you have calmed and quieted your mind. Some find reading, deep breathing, or soft music will do the same.
- Never eat heavy food or items that cause heartburn before sleep. The food and its digestion will keep you awake.
- Never drink caffeine late into the evening or use alcohol to put you to sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant and will keep you awake. Alcohol will put you to sleep, but will not allow you to sleep soundly, and will wake you throughout the night.
- Always go to bed when tired. When you begin to feel tired in the evening, it’s time to retire to the bedroom.
- Always have a sleep routine. By having a time that you fall asleep and one that you wake, along with any routines that send a message to your brain that it’s time for sleep, your body will prepare for it.
- Always feel rested. Each day ask yourself, “Do I feel rested?” If the answer is yes the majority of the time, you are sleeping soundly, but if not, find out why. If you can’t figure this out, seek the advice of your physician.
- Never participate in exercise that will cause injury. Injuries will impede your ability to exercise.
- Never start an exercise plan without speaking with your doctor first. Make sure you are physically able to participate.
- Never feel unsafe while exercising. Find a gym or a spot where you are comfortable. If you feel unsafe at all, exercise will cease.
- Always know your limits. Nobody knows your body better than you. Know when activity feels right for you or when you push yourself too hard.
- Always do an exercise you enjoy and that is a good fit for your life. This way exercise will be something you look forward to.
- Always exercise! Regular exercise is essential to maintaining good health, a healthy body weight, and sound sleep.
A good diet and regular exercise are the most potent sleep inducers and all three together is a prescription for good health!