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March Pages 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 249 Watch What and When You Eat and Drink Many people do not realize that caffeine actually stays in our systems for up to nine hours. Thus, coffee consumption should definitely be avoided after 3 p.m., as should all caffeinated teas, chocolate, sodas and energy drinks. If you are feeling sluggish, try a tall glass of water. Most of us are chronically dehydrated due to all the caffeine and stress in our daily lives. That feeling of fatigue or even a headache can actually be your body’s way of telling you that it is low on water. Try to make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals, and eat more lightly in the evenings, especially close to bedtime. We generally need more fuel during the day, and dinner should be a time to start winding down our digestive systems in preparation for sleep. With less food to digest, our bodies can direct more energy toward repairing and restoring all of our systems while we slumber. Of course, going to bed hungry is never a good idea, as hunger pangs will keep you up, but try to avoid that “full” feeling at night by keeping portion sizes under control at dinner. Avoiding alcohol at least two hours before bed is also a good idea, since alcohol impairs our ability to fall into a deep sleep. It might give you that drowsy feeling and you very well might doze off, but your sleep will not be of a very high quality. Processing alcohol takes a lot of energy that would otherwise have been used for recharging our minds and bodies during sleep. A good rule of thumb is that it takes about an hour to process one drink, so give your body adequate time to do so before hitting the hay. Atmosphere Is Everything Lastly, set the mood for sleep. Try to avoid over-stimulating yourself in the evening and do things that help you relax. It is different for everyone, but as a general rule soft music, dim lighting, positive conversation and some alone time all go a long way toward setting ourselves up for a good night’s rest. Bedtime is an excellent time to practise meditation, slow and restorative yoga, deep breathing techniques and/or light stretching. If you find you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something calming. Find what works for you and make it a habit to go to bed at approximately the same time each night in order to regulate your circadian rhythm. At the Lawyers Assistance Program we teach many useful techniques such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation, which can be useful to achieve a calm and relaxed state and may assist those who are having trouble with insomnia. If you require any assistance or want to know more about sleep hygiene, we are here to help. Give us a call at 604-685-2171.


March Pages 2017
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