Robert Odell Jr. enjoys sharing and learning about the old and new wonders of natural remedies.
All that we are and everything we see is only temporary. However, while we are here, there are things that we can do to make our existence more enjoyable. Here is what experts say about sleep, diet, exercise, and staying calm.
As early as the 19th-century, experts had made groundbreaking discoveries about sleep and sleep deprivation. Marie de Manacéine, a Russian scientist and physician, constantly monitored active, sleep-deprived puppies. Her 1894 report revealed that within a few days, the complete absence of sleep was fatal. She went on to state that sleep loss caused severe lesions to occur in the brain.
In 1898, the Italian physiologists Lamberto Daddi and Giulio Tarozzi kept dogs awake by walking them. After 9-17 days, the animals died. Their survival was unrelated to food consumption. Mr. Daddi ascribed these changes to a state of autointoxication of the brain during insomnia.
In 1898, the psychiatrist Cesare Agostini, interested in the effects of sleep deprivation in humans, studied sleep-deprived dogs kept in a metallic cage. Surviving for only two weeks, the dogs displayed degenerative changes in brain activity.
The pioneering studies performed at the end of the 19th-century show that lack of adequate sleep significantly impacts the brain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that almost one-third of American adults don't get the recommended eight to seven hours of sleep per night. Lack of proper sleep causes cardiovascular disease in adults and teens.
Evidence suggests that proper sleep helps to:
- restore damaged tissues
- boost learning and memory
- flush toxins from the brain
In a study involving over 800 adolescents, only 2.2 percent got enough sleep. The teens who slept longer and better had less fat around their waist, lower systolic blood pressure, and higher HDL levels, "good" cholesterol.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Members consist of a plethora of medical and scientific experts. In 1990 the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act came into being. The legislation says that a report with information on diet and nutrition must be jointly published every five years by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (H.H.S.). Directed toward the general public, the statute (Public Law 101-445, 7 U.S.C. 5341 et seq.) stipulates that the Dietary Guidelines have an overwhelming abundance of medical and scientific knowledge as its foundation.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that healthy eating patterns play a significant part in helping the general public achieve and maintain good health. The guidelines state that proper diets reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout an individual's life. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans make choices that bring about an overall healthy eating regimen.
Healthy eating choices include:
- Choosing a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease
- Choosing a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups
- Limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reducing sodium intake
- Choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices
- Supporting healthy eating patterns for everyone
What we eat plays a crucial part in our health. A computer science idiom states, "garbage in, garbage out (GIGO)." The idea indicates that flawed or nonsense input data produces flawed or nonsense output or "garbage." The same holds for our bodies. If we constantly put unhealthy things into our bodies, it stands to reason that the outcome will be health problems. As mentioned earlier, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that individuals should limit saturated fats & trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. One way to do that is to lean toward a plant-based diet. I am not suggesting that we should all become vegetarians or vegans. However, increasing our consumption of healthy plant-based foods results in tremendous health benefits.
Plant-based eating merely is consuming an abundance of whole, minimally processed foods. The goal is to fill your plate with mainly produce and plant products. The regimen focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. The diet excludes refined foods such as added sugars, processed oils, and white flour. Along with more energy, better weight management, improved digestion, and a healthier gut microbiome, a plant-based eating plan decreases the risk of health issues such as:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
- Cognitive decline
Steven C. McCartney, IPO, HSW MS, stated that exercise plays a vital part in achieving health-related fitness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that all adults incorporate 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of physical activity per week into their routine. Older adults should include the addition of balance exercises. As we get older, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, and balance issues become essential concerns. Resistance exercise training helps to ward off many of these concerns.
Examples of resistance training include:
- Push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and squats
- Pulling lightweight resistance bands or lengths of stretchy material that provide different amounts of resistance
- Lifting weights, from empty jugs filled with water or sand to standard barbells and dumbbells
- The use of exercise machines, either at a gym or home
The benefits of resistance training are tremendous and include:
- Increasing the size and strength of muscles
- Strengthening tendons, ligaments, and bones
- Rebuilding and preserving muscles
- Improving balance
- Improving on appearance
Trainers recommend warming up your muscles before resistance training with at least 5-to-10 minutes of light aerobics such as easy walking.
You can also combine strength and aerobic exercises with mini workouts that include squats, push-ups, lunges, planks, or glute bridges.
4. Stay Calm
Ilan Wittstein, M.D., states that sudden anger surges weaken the heart muscle and cause heart attacks. Research from Johns Hopkins University and other health institutions confirm that people who do not adequately deal with anger have heart problems, including heart attacks.
The Bible is full of verses that help us to maintain a calm mind. One of my favorites is, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:6-7 (N.I.V.). Not worrying or being anxious about things includes the often difficult task of controlling anger.
A study cited in a 2014 European Heart Journal showed that heart attacks were five times higher two hours after an angry outburst. The risk of stroke increased three-fold. The risk of a heart attack increased with more intense or frequent blowups. In essence, it is heather to stay calm.
Johns Hopkins recommends the following for healthy anger management:
- Step back. Walk away from the situation or start counting to 10. Stepping back helps you to break a habit of hair-trigger reactions.
- Aim for assertive, not aggressive. Do not make your feelings known by shouting, pointing fingers, making threats, or shaking your fist. Those actions make the other person defensive or mad too.
- Learn relaxation tools. In the heat of the moment, deep breathing can help. Meditation, yoga, and mindfulness training can also help you relax in general and lower blood pressure.
- Reduce your heart risk factors. Anger can be detrimental to blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Easily angered individuals should work on controlling those factors.
- Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can recommend medication that can help your blood pressure and reduce your risk of a heart attack. Your health provider may also be able to point you toward other constructive ways to react, such as anger management classes or therapy.
While We Are Here
Our time on this earth is temporary. However, while we are here, we can have a better, healthier, and more enjoyable life. We can follow the experts' advice and do our part by getting enough sleep, eating correctly, creating a habit of exercise and activity, and staying calm.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Robert Odell Jr
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on November 10, 2020:
Staying healthy can be easier than some may think. Thank you for reading.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 10, 2020:
Thanks for these necessary reminders. There's nothing better, nothing more important, than good health.
Robert Odell Jr (author) from Memphis, Tennessee on November 09, 2020:
Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed the article.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 09, 2020:
Well worth the read. I will set my intentions to do better in some areas.
Lakshmi from Chennai on November 09, 2020:
Hi, nice article with great stuff! keep up the good work.