When it comes to your health, getting a good night’s rest is just as important as diet and exercise. Sleep affects everything from hormones to brain function and can directly affect your weight. You don’t have to be an expert to realize that quality sleep has declined in recent years for a variety of reasons thanks to our modern age – but there are things we can do to take back control of our sleep.
Open the windows and allow natural light to shine during the day. Our bodies were designed with an internal clock called the circadian rhythm, which helps you stay awake and know when it’s time to go to sleep. Natural bright light keeps your circadian rhythm healthy, which will increase daytime energy and help bring about better sleep at night.
While blue light during the day can be helpful, exposure at night can wreck your sleep by reducing the brain’s production of natural melatonin – the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Televisions, laptops, and smartphones are the electronic culprits that increase our nighttime exposure to blue light. Consider wearing blue light blocking glasses at night – or even better – avoid these things at least two hours before bedtime.
Caffeine has several health benefits, but for those who suffer from lack of sleep, the cut off for caffeine intake must be 6-8 hours before bedtime. That’s how long caffeine can remain in your bloodstream. If you must have a cup of coffee before bed, make it decaf!
Of course, when you’ve tried everything and failed – it’s time to see a doctor. You might have sleep apnea – a disorder which causes inconsistent and interrupted breathing during sleep. This condition commonly affects both men and women. Call your physician to discuss your next steps toward better sleep!
Packing Your Hospital Bag – Don’t forget DAD!
For weeks you’ve been packing the infamous hospital bag – gowns for mom, lotions and self-care items, baby products, and that cute coming home outfit for your newborn. But there’s one person you might be overlooking – Dad! While you’ve been busy growing a human, he’s been right by your side and will play an important role in the hospital. It will mean a lot to him to have a few of his favorite things in the hospital too. Here are a few ideas:
Cash and coins. There may be a lot of waiting time for dad while you’re in labor. Make sure he has enough money on hand to visit the cafeteria or nearest snack machine in a pinch.
Favorite snacks. You might not know it until the big day, but dad might tend to stress-eat. Pack his bag with protein bars, fruit, or other favorite healthy snacks.
New dads need showers too! Make sure his shampoo, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste are packed alongside yours.
Books or magazines. There can be a lot of downtime in the hospital as you hurry up and wait. Make sure he has something to occupy his mind, so the nerves don’t take over.
New fathers – especially first-time dads – are nervous. These little acts of kindness will show your appreciation and will let him know you think he’s going to be an awesome dad!
Summer Peach Sorbet
Nothing says summer in the south like a good batch of fresh, ripe Georgia peaches! Whether you are making an after-dinner treat for your family or bringing along dessert for your neighbor’s back yard barbeque, peach sorbet is a no brainer! A plus? It’s dairy-free and only has four ingredients!
6 large ripe Georgia peaches
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. of fresh lemon juice
A pinch of salt
Peel and slice peaches. Freeze until they are firm. Add to a food blender along with sugar, water, lemon juice, and salt. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately or freeze for up to three days.