Woman and pillow

Day 49: 7 Things Your Body Needs Right Now

How many hours of sleep did you get last night?

Chances are, if you’re like most people, you probably didn’t get enough.

In our efforts to do it all and have it all, combined with our ever-increasing responsibilities, most of us aren’t taking care of ourselves.

Not only are we not getting enough sleep, but we’re also short-changing ourselves in other areas in our lives.

Below is a list of things your body needs right now and tips on how to get them.

Sleep

We all know a person who brags about how little sleep they got last night. Are these people (and you might even be one of them) hyper-performers or martyrs looking for the glory of a life devoted to work?

Lack of sleep can lead to serious, life-threatening health problems. And while you think you might be doing yourself a favor by getting more done, there’s only so long you can go without sleep before your work begins to suffer. At which point, you must assess just how smart you’re really being.

Want more sleep? Force yourself to go to bed earlier. Remove distractions from your bedroom, like a bright TV. Avoid caffeine and heavy meals prior to bed. If you’re having a hard time getting or staying asleep, consider a supplement such as melatonin or seeking professional help from a doctor or sleep therapist.

Nutrition

You are what you eat. If you eat garbage, you’ll feel like garbage. Start with subtle changes, first of which is to pay attention to the foods you’re eating. Have you ever been shocked to realize that you’d absentmindedly eaten a whole bag of chips while watching TV? Turn off the TV and pay attention to your meals.

Go for natural rather than processed foods. Avoid too much fat, too much salt, and eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat smaller portions on smaller plates. Eat frequent smaller meals throughout the day – some nutritionists recommend six small meals instead of three large ones.

Exercise

Regular exercise not only helps keep you from getting fat, but it has other benefits, such as being a great mood booster, helps your sleep, and even improves your sex life.

And don’t say you don’t have time to exercise – most of us can make time if we really want to. Exercising as little as three times a week will provide you with energy and help keep you from premature aging.

Touch

We all need to be touched. Whether the romantic touch of a partner, or a friendly hug, or an awesome massage, try to touch others (in an appropriate way, of course), and be touched, daily.

You’ll feel better about yourself and more connected to those in your life. If you’re having difficulties with your spouse or partner, all the more reason to touch! It’s hard to stay mad at someone who touches you. The familiar touch of your lover can easily warm even the coldest of relationships.

Water

Water not only quenches your thirst, but also hydrates your body and keeps your body running optimally. While there is some debate as to how much water is necessary, most people agree that you should try and get eight 8 ounce glasses per day.

If you’re going to drink water, you might want to ditch the bottled water, though. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but many bottles contain BPA, a chemical used in some plastic production, which scientists are now linking to serious health concerns. Find a BPA-free plastic bottle and bring your own water with you.

Clean air

How clean is your air? While there’s not a whole lot we can do about the air outside our homes, we do have control over the quality inside our homes. Dust mites accumulate in the millions upon millions in even the cleanest of homes.

Their excrement is a known allergen which can cause serious breathing problems.

While you probably can’t keep your home completely dust-mite free, there are some steps you can take to reducing their numbers.

Consider an air filter to remove dust from the air. Use a HEPA Vacuum to not only suck up the mites in your carpet, but to keep them, and their eggs, from getting back out of the vacuum bag. Consider dust-mite proof covers for your mattress and pillows. And don’t settle on the cheap, plastic-feeling ones. You want one with a cotton-like feel for maximum comfort.

Wash your bedding once weekly in hot water. Be careful to read instructions on your mattress and pillow pads, though, as some will melt in a hot dryer.

Laughter

Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing is said to boost your mood, relieve stress, and is even used for pain management . Best of all, laughter is contagious. People tend to laugh if other around them are doing so. Laughter, and being happy, has also been found to lead to a healthier heart.

When things get tough, visit some funny websites (ahem, BloggerDad is hilarious, watch a sitcom you enjoy, or crack up open a humorous book, and forget your problems for a while.

What does your body need? How do you get it? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments.

 

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David Wright is a ghostwriter who blogs about fatherhood. He wanted to add Cookies n Cream ice cream to the list of ‘Things Your Body Needs’ before being told no by the editor.