Week Two – Night and Day Differences for your Health

 This is Week Two of 52 Weeks of Health.  If you are just joining us, be sure to start at the beginning and read the introduction and  Week One.

How are you doing with your intake of leafy greens from Week One?  Keep trying to focus on getting these in.

This week we are going to make a couple of changes; one during the day and one during the night.

DaytimeGlass of water

During the day, increase your water intake to about 8 cups of water. Notice I said “water” and not “liquids”. One or two of these cups can be juice or other non-caffeinated type beverage, but the bulk of this should be water (although carbonated water is ok).  Now, I have not found any clinical studies to back this up, but my personal experience has been:

  • when I start the day with 2-3 cups of water immediately upon rising, I find myself feeling alert much more quickly and I feel better when I get on the treadmill a half-hour later.
  • when I drink a 2 – 3 more cups of water during the morning, I find that I can make it to lunch time without snacking in between. The same is often true in the afternoon. In fact, I have found that “hunger” I may feel mid-morning usually turns out to go away if I drink a cup or two of water – it is probably thirst in disguise.
  • when I drink water instead of artificially-sweetened beverages I find it easier to resist other sweet things because I’m breaking that addiction.
  • when I only drink a couple of cups of water during the day and repeat this the next day, I feel light-headed, nauseous, and have trouble sleeping. My brain actually feels like it dehydrates and shrinks.
  • when I skimp on water, my skin dries out and I feel colder during the winter and warmer during the summer.

Resolve to drink more water than anything else you drink; carry it with you wherever you go.

Moon at night

 Nighttime

During the night, get 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep every night. There are clinical studies that have demonstrated that lack of sleep brings about:

  • a greater appetite as you eat to keep your energy level up. Study results here, here and here.
  • a greater risk for hypertension. Study results here.
  • a greater gain in fat storage. Study results here.
  • decreases in insulin sensitivity and increases your risk for developing glucose intolerance and/or diabetes. Study results here.

If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep try the following:

  • Turn off your computer and your television an hour before you go to bed and use lighting that gives off a slightly yellow hue as opposed to blue/white. Studies have demonstrated that blue light (which is emitted by your computer screen) disturbs your natural sleep cycle. Studies here, and here.
  • Do some simple gentle stretching before you go to bed, especially if you are like me and wake up in the middle of the night with back and leg pain. When I gently stretch out my calves, thighs, and entire lower body before going to bed I find I sleep much more comfortably and deeply.

So…get to it! Sleep well and drink your water. Adding those to your vegetable eating from Week One will energize your body and strengthen your ability to turn down that unhealthy processed food that seems so necessary when you are tired, dehydrated, and undernourished.

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2 comments

  1. I’ve been tracking my weight on a daily basis, and when I see an upward fluctuation, I review my previous day—and always notice that I hadn’t had enough water (or liquids in general). Water is so crucial to our body’s proper function!

    • Good point, Naomi. I believe that when we drink too little water, our body is programmed to go into defensive mode. It thinks we are living in a drought and so slows metabolism to conserve water and holds that water in storage for essential processes. This means that not only does our metabolism (read – fat-burning) slow, but we may gain weight in water retention.

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