Sleep Deprivation Leads to Sickness

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As I noted in my last post, I recently started working full-time. Unfortunately, my body is still adjusting to going to bed early and waking up at the buttcrack of dawn. This has resulted in a lack of sleep.

It seems like every time I start to become sleep-deprived I catch a cold, no matter how healthy my diet is.

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Sleep is so, so, SO important. Lack of sleep leads to weight gain, stress, imbalanced hormones, a messed up metabolism, and case-in-point, sickness! I made it through the entire winter perfectly healthy, but as soon as I started losing sleep I caught a cold. Talk about a bad trade-off.

Now that I’m fighting a cold, here’s what I’ve been doing to support a quick recovery:

– Trying to sleep as much as I can! Since I have to wake up around 6:30 a.m., I try to be in bed by 10 p.m. Our bodies have an amazing way of repairing themselves, and much of that is done while we’re asleep. When we curtail sleep we’re robbing our bodies of their ability to fight for us.

– Cutting down on sugar & loading up on whole foods! Sugar suppresses your immune system. When I’m sick, I try to avoid any extra work my body has to do to maintain my homeostasis. This way, my cells & immune system can focus on keeping me healthy. Avoiding processed foods and choosing whole foods like vegetables, fruit and plant-based proteins seems to help! (I’m not a vegetarian, just an FYI…)

– Drinking fluids! Water, tea and coffee are my staples. As far as vitamin C, I choose whole oranges over processed OJ. I read somewhere that the manufacturing of OJ adds chemicals that make it less-than-ideal to drink; not to mention the concentrated sugar & lack of fiber. I also have a theory that your body absorbs nutrients better when the food is closest to its natural form.

– Resting! I’ve been keeping it pretty low-key at home…

– Exercising! …Except when I’m on my treadmill! No, it’s not a paradox; light exercise is thought to help your immune system. (But always listen to your body – if you don’t feel up to it, then don’t do it.)

– Taking PM cold medicine! I am anti-pharma to a degree, BUT I do take pain relievers and cold medicine in moderation. I don’t think cold medicine removes the cold quicker, but where’s the harm in making the symptoms more bearable? It also helps my breathing while I sleep.

And something I wish I hadn’t done:

– Take generic airborne! Drug Mart brand, to be exact. I can’t say for sure whether it was the ‘borne or my lunch, but my stomach felt like death! Seeing how I frequently eat the same thing for lunch, I think it was the medicine…

How do you prevent or fight off the common cold??

Staying Healthy at an Office Job

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I just started my first full-time marketing job! Oddly enough, I wasn’t as nervous to start the actual job as I was about the sedentary work style I’d be embracing.

There are tons of studies out there suggesting that office jobs are hazardous to our health. While some factors are out of my control, here’s what I’ve been doing to stay healthy:

– Eat healthy foods! In the morning, I aim for protein (oatmeal, eggs or bran flakes & almond milk) with fresh fruit. If I oversleep, I’ll whip up half a pb&j on whole grain bread and eat it in the car.

Lunch varies, but my staple is a spinach salad from Heinen’s salad bar. I sprinkle lean proteins like chick peas and nuts on top. Chicken salad is also one of my favorite lunchtime picks.

Snacks are a must for me. I’ll keep almonds, prunes, apples or a granola bar at my desk. My downfall is sugar; I always crave something sweet after a meal. A small quantity of chocolate usually does the trick.

– Drink fluids! I HAVE to start the day with water, or else I feel very dehydrated (because I am). Once I get to the office, I pour a cup of coffee with plain cream. Throughout the day I’ll sip water, and after lunch I’ll have a cup of peppermint tea to aid digestion.

The added benefit of drinking fluids is taking bathroom breaks! Getting up to move around is soooo important. It helps me focus more on my work.

– Move! Like I just stated, if I sit at my desk for too long I start to go stir crazy. Thankfully, my company’s lounge is downstairs, so each time I get a cup of tea or walk to the conference room it involves taking the stairs.

– Break for my eyes! Staring at a computer screen is so draining, mentally and physically. Taking my eyes off of the screen and resting them for a few moments, even if its just to read something on paper, goes a long way.

There are some areas I could improve on; willpower being one. As bad as they are, I love donuts! If someone brings them into the office, I will most-likely partake.

Sitting at a desk all day is very tiring. I know that if I fill my diet with crap I’ll be exhausted, and probably not very productive. I figure if I eat healthy most of the time, occasional treats like donuts won’t kill me.

How do YOU stay healthy at work??