Essentials For a Healthy Mind and Body

Mental health is part of our overall health and well-being.

Being mentally and physically fit allows us to handle life’s inevitable challenges, build strong relationships and bounce back when life throws us a curve ball. When we take care of our body, we’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood. Our body responds to the way we think, feel and act. When we are stressed, anxious or upset, our body tries to tell us that something isn’t right by showing signs such as back pain, change in appetite, chest pain, dry mouth, extreme tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches, stiff neck, upset stomach and many others.

One way many people neglect their body and mind is by not getting enough sleep. It is recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, yet most people get a lot less. A recent study found that those who slept less than five hours a night were three times more likely than normal sleepers to become psychologically distressed in the next year.

Tips to Better ZZZZs

Here are a few tips from the “Live Your Life Well” campaign from Mental Health America:

  • Set a regular bedtime. Your body craves consistency, plus you’re more likely to get enough sleep if you schedule rest like your other important tasks.
  • De-caffeinate yourself. Drinking caffeine to stay awake during the day can keep you up at night. Try resisting the coffee and colas starting six to eight hours before bed.
  • De-stress yourself. Relax by taking a hot bath, meditating or envisioning a soothing scene while lying in bed. Relieve work day anxiety by finishing any next-day preparations about an hour before bed.
  • Exercise. Working out can improve sleep in lots of ways, including relief of muscle tension. However, resist working out right before bed because exercise may make you more alert. Instead, try gentle upper-body stretches to help the transition into sleep.
  • Make your bed a sleep haven. Stop paying bills or writing reports in bed. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes try turning on some soothing music. If you remain alert, experts recommend getting up until you feel more tired.

For more information about sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation at www.sleepfoundation.org. For additional wellness tips, Read Up on wellness