Is It Worse To Have A Bad Night’s Sleep Or A Short Night’s Sleep?

Parents of newborns — and anyone else who faces multiple awakenings a night — know this to be true: The brain fog and testy temper from waking up several times throughout the night is real. And now, research is backing this up.

A new study in the journal Sleep Medicine shows that cognitive ability, attention span and mood are all impacted negatively from interrupted sleep — to a similar extent as only getting four hours of sleep.

“The sleep of many parents is often disrupted by external sources such as a crying baby demanding care during the night. Doctors on call, who may receive several phone calls a night, also experience disruptions,” study researcher Avi Sadeh, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences, explained in a statement. “These night wakings could be relatively short — only five to ten minutes — but they disrupt the natural sleep rhythm.”

For the study, Sadeh and other researchers had 61 healthy adults between ages 20 and 29, 40 of whom were women, undergo two nights of sleep. One night, the participants had a normal night’s sleep, but the other night, they were assigned to either have restricted sleep (just four hours of sleep for the night) or induced night-wakings (where they were woken up four times over an eight-hour period in bed). For the participants assigned to the night-wakings group, the wakings were each about 15 minutes and required them to do a short task on a computer before being allowed to go back to sleep.

Researchers monitored sleep with sleep diaries and actigraphy. The next morning of each of the nights, participants underwent testing and answered questionnaires to gauge their mood, alertness and attention.

All of the participants — those who got restricted sleep, and those woken up during the night — experienced attention problems and more confusion, fatigue and depression as a result of their bad sleep. Researchers noted that even though the study only examined the effects of one night of bad sleep, “we know that these effects accumulate and therefore the functional price new parents — who awaken three to ten times a night for months on end — pay for common infant sleep disturbance is enormous,” Sadeh said in the statement.

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6 Tips To Make Eating Healthy Easy, Even When You’re On The Go

It’s a familiar scenario: you have five minutes before you have to leave for work and you haven’t made your lunch yet. You know grabbing something from the cafe downstairs is going to be unhealthy and expensive.

Next time you shop, ensure you stock up on these six ingredients. Having them on hand and ready to go will make fixing lunches a breeze!

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is actually a vegetable from the beet and spinach family, but it can act as the perfect gluten-free grain base for your salad. Quinoa is high in protein, essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and minerals. Quinoa cooks up in about 15 minutes and is very versatile. Add it to soups, salads or any meal where you would use rice. Always cook extra and keep it in the fridge.

2. Finely grated carrots

Finely grated carrots add an extra vegetable to any meal in an instant.

Carrots are high in vitamin C when eaten raw. The high fiber content helps lower cholesterol. The beta carotene is converted into vitamin A, which protects vision, especially night vision. It also helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and fights against the free radicals that cause cancer. It also reduces the incidence of strokes.

Beta carotene is a fat soluble compound. In order to absorb it, you need to eat carrots with some healthy fat or oil. Always eat them with a salad dressing containing oil or with our next ingredient.

3. Avocados

When you eat healthy fats, you lose fat. Avocados are rich in healthy essential fatty acids which contain natural anti-inflammatory properties: regulate blood sugar, and are high in fiber, vitamins and potassium. And, they are good for your heart. Cut your avocado in half and bring half or the whole thing along. At lunch time, peel it and cut it into cubes. That green outer layer of the avocado’s flesh is high in cancer fighting antioxidants.

4. Vegetables to steam in advance

Many people think of only using lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a salad. Pump up your veggie intake by adding all kinds of left over, lightly steamed vegetables from your dinner the night before, or that you prepare in advance. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, beets, corn, peas, asparagus, sweet potatoes … ah, the possibilities.

5. Hummus, beans, or other protein

To balance your lunch and satisfy your appetite, you need a source of protein. Hummus is a great way to include this protein. Alternatively, add your favorite beans to your salad. They’re high in fiber and low in fat. Choose kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Cold leftover chicken or fish will satisfy the non-vegetarians. Prepare these in advance and keep them handy to add to your veggies for lunch!

6. Homemade salad dressing

Store-bought dressings contain unhealthy, processed oils, added sugar, salt, and chemical preservatives. Make a big jar of your own. Add two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part your choice of unpasteurized vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. Unpasteurised vinegar is the best choice because the less processing a food has undergone, the healthier it is for us. Avoid white vinegar as it blocks the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach that is needed for digestion.

Add in some sun-dried sea salt or Himalayan salt and your favorite dried herbs: basil, oregano, Dijon etc., along with some crushed garlic. Transport your salad dressing in a small, leak-proof plastic container. Add it into your salad right before you eat so everything stays fresh and crisp.

It takes some planning, but with these staples on hand, you can create an endless variety of healthy lunches that will help you save money, give you more energy, and keep you satisfied until dinner so you avoid the temptation of an unhealthy afternoon snack.

Happy shopping and bon appétit!

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5 Reasons To Drink Coffee Before Your Workout

Half of Americans start their day with coffee, and, according to recent study, working out after downing a cup of java may offer a weight loss advantage. The Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo. The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman (68 kilograms), that’s roughly 300 milligrams of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning.

If you’ve always thought of coffee as a vice — one you’re simply not willing to give up — you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually a secret superfood. And if you exercise, caffeine can offer even more functional benefits for your workouts. Here are five more reasons to enjoy it as part of an active lifestyle, along with five “rules” for getting your fix healthfully.

Improved Circulation
Recent Japanese research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Each participant drank a 5-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, scientists gauged finger blood flow, a measure of how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Those who downed caffeinated coffee experienced a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank the decaf version. Better circulation, better workout — your muscles need oxygen!

Less Pain
Scientists at the University of Illinois found that consuming the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee one hour before a 30-minute bout of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. The conclusion: Caffeine may help you push just a little bit harder during strength-training workouts, resulting in better improvements in muscle strength and/or endurance.

Better Memory
A study published this year from Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhances memory up to 24 hours after it’s consumed. Researchers gave people who did not regularly consume caffeine either a placebo, or 200 milligrams of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images, and the caffeinated group scored significantly better. This brain boost may be a real boon during workouts, especially when they entail needing to recall specific exercises or routines.

Muscle Preservation
In an animal study, sports scientists at Coventry University found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, as well as skeletal muscle. The results indicate that in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.

More Muscle Fuel
A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66 percent increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle, serves as a vital energy “piggy bank” during exercise, to power strength moves and fuel endurance. Packing a greater reserve means that the very next time you work out, you’ve upped your ability to exercise harder and/or longer.

But this news doesn’t mean you should down as much coffee as possible — your good intentions may backfire. In my work with athletes, I recommend five basic rules to best reap caffeine’s rewards:

Don’t overdo it. The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance with minimal side effects is up to 6 milligrams per kilogram body weight, which is about 400 milligrams per day (or about 16 ounces of coffee) for a 150-pound woman.

Incorporate it in healthy ways. Doctor up coffee with almond milk and cinnamon instead of cream and sugar, or whip coffee or tea into a fruit smoothie, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients like almond butter and oats or quinoa.

Be consistent with your intake. Research shows that when your caffeine intake is steady, your body adjusts, which counters dehydration, even though caffeine is a natural diuretic. In other words, don’t reach for two cups one day and four the next.

Keep drinking good old H2O as your main beverage of choice.

Nix caffeine at least six hours before bed to prevent sleep interference, and listen to your body. If you’re relying on caffeine as an energy booster because you’re tired, get to the root of what’s causing fatigue. Perhaps it’s too little sleep, overexercising, or an inadequate diet. If something’s off kilter, you won’t see progress, and you’ll likely get weaker rather than stronger. Striving for balance is always key!

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Eat Smart with Jan Tilley: Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing

Are you at peak performance?

Performance is typically thought of in relation to athletic ability, but in reality it can encompass multi facets including cognitive, digestive, emotional, athletic, and rest/recovery. This month we will be focusing on all aspects of performance to provide you tools to boost your performance in each area.

Food for thought…your cognitive prowess is significantly impacted by the foods you choose. The brain and its protective covering (the myelin sheath) are comprised of 60-70% fat, thus the need for consumption of essential fatty acids is vital to our daily thought process. While the brain may be structurally made up of fat, its primary fuel source comes from carbohydrates. Our brain’s efficiency is determined by what type of carbohydrate foods we consume. Carbs have a dual function; they act as an energy source as well as being the most initial component for most reactions in the body. During a day, about ¾ of the carbs consumed are used to fuel the brain. The brain requires a steady input of carbohydrates since it is unable to store large amounts of carbs throughout the day. No wonder we feel sleepy and slow during the day if we skip meals. Being able to maintain peak cognitive performance throughout the day requires a steady flow of nutrient and fluid intake.

In honor of July 4th.. .let the fireworks of flavor explode with this week’s recipe, Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing. This recipe is designed to include all the basic nutrients your brain needs to reach its peak performance.

Salmon Croquettes with Avocado Lime Dressing

1 hour

Entree

Serves 6 (12 patties)

INGREDIENTS

Croquettes

1 large sweet potato, cooked, cooled and mashed
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup packed chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 (5oz) packets of skinless, boneless Pink Salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing

½ ripe medium avocado
¾ cup packed fresh cilantro
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon agave or honey
½ teaspoon salt

Nutrition Information
270 calories, 10g fat, 85mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 28g protein

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir together mashed sweet potato, bread crumbs, parsley, shallots, lemon zest and juice, hot sauce and seasonings. Stir in egg and salmon; mix together just until blended.

2. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out evenly sized croquettes until you have twelve patties. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (you can also freeze the patties for future use).

3. While croquettes are chilling, prepare dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and set aside.

4. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium high heat. Place six croquettes into skillet and cook for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently flip and cook another 4 minutes.  Place croquettes on baking sheet and warm (250 degrees) and repeat with remaining oil and croquettes.

5. Serve 2 croquettes over mixed green salad. Top with two tablespoons of dressing.

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A High-Intensity Workout + Stretch You Can Use All Summer

Even though wellness and a commitment to feeling good are our passion, sometimes even we feel like hell in the morning and the last thing we want to do is get out of bed.

But we always feel better when we push myself to exercise. That’s why we’ve organized some tips to help you get moving on those days when it’s the last thing you want to do.

Why You’d Want to Exercise In the Morning:

Exercise conquers bad moods and low energy states. It’s totally worth the time and slug (don’t worry if you stick with it you will learn to love it), even if its effects last for just a few hours (the post-workout high can wear off when other stressful daily curveballs come careening at us).

Furthermore, sweat sessions are most effective when done in the morning because they will help you start your day with a positive attitude. They also rev up all metabolic systems setting your body and mind up to function at their highest levels all day long!

However you decide to cut it, The American Heart Association and many other national organizations recommend 150 minutes of light to moderate cardio and 75 minutes of vigorous cardio as a minimum amount of exercise weekly for the researched health benefits of working out.

Working out can seem like drudgery until you get good at it and reap its benefits. Once you hit the key threshold, when your body adapts to the new aerobic demands and begins releasing the “feel-good hormones” called endorphins, you’ll feel the high with which the rest of us exercisers walk around all day! Over time, you will increase your chances of disease prevention and injury.

5 Quick Tips To Get Yourself Ready For A Morning Workout:

  1. Lay out your clothes the night before and take pride in your workout style. Looking good helps us to feel good!
  2. Plan your pre and post workout meals. We recommend a coffee and my banana smoothie for before a workout (give yourself 1 hour to digest) and oatmeal with cardamom, cinnamon, walnuts and pure maple syrup for after your exercise.
  3. Have an amazing playlist ready.
  4. Know your workout goals.
  5. Establish a plan such as your distance, route, time, HIIT moves and post-workout yoga poses the night before.

5 Minute HIIT Routine

The Moves

  • 1-minute Jump Rope
  • 1-minute Cherry Picker Crawls (more info below)
  • 1-minute Jumping Jacks
  • 1-minute Side Reaches
  • 1-minute Squat Jumps

Note: If you need to take a break between moves, feel free to do so! Start with 15 or 30-second breaks and then close the gap as your body adapts to the routine over time. The idea is to build toward doing all of the moves in in rapid succession without stopping!

You can easily make this a 10-minute workout. Simply repeat this sequence starting from the top!

Want even more? Choose a couple of moves and add a minute to each — for instance do 2 minutes of Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks instead of 1-minute each. Or, do a third round of all the moves.

How to Do A Cherry Picker Crawl

1. Stand tall with your legs slightly wider than hip distance apart. Engage your core.

2. Touch your hands to your hips, then shoulders and then extend your arms towards the ceiling. Suck your core in and up as you do this. Without stopping, touch your hips again and walk your hands forward until your body assumes a straight plank pose (like the top of a push-up).

3. In your plank, which you’re only holding for 1 second, your hands should be shoulder-width apart, pelvic bowl neutral and legs in full extension. Suck your navel in towards your spine.

4. Walk your hands back in towards your feet. Stand up.

Don’t forget to stretch after your workout!

Post Workout Short Morning Yoga Sequence

  • Fan Pose A
  • Side Angle
  • Triangle
  • Forward Bend
  • 1 Sun Breath
  • 1 Sun Salute
  • Downward Dog
  • Pigeon
  • Child’s Pose
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