Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…
If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.
Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.
The parents role
As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.
It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
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By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System
Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…
Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.
When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:
Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”
Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.
Here are a few quick tips:
Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.
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Everyone already knows what to do to be healthier. For starters, eating less processed foods and moving more is what you’ve heard since you were young. And guess what… It’s true! But then come the fancy diets and elusive theories that cause confusion. On top of that, you’re busy with work and kids and LIFE.
If you’ve been meaning to eat healthier and exercise more for a while, believe me, you’re not alone.
What’s required is a system of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning that identifies what’s important to you as an individual and the steps to get there without them being too overwhelming.
Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding once you start reaping the benefits. Let’s get started.
THINK: Ask “why” 5 times.
Understanding why you want to achieve the goal you want to achieve is important because it digs deep to find your inner motivation to keep you going.
All you have to do is keeping asking yourself why until you end up with a reason that’s worth your time.
Here’s an example:
Why do I want to eat better and move more? Because I want to lose weight.
Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ll look better
Why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself I’m more confident and in control.
Why do I want to be more confident and in control? Because when I’m confident and in control, I won’t be scared to go for it and live out my dream.
PRIORITIZE: Fill in the big rocks first.
Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” gave the best analogy for prioritization: Think of your time as a jar that you can fill with rocks, pebbles and sand.
Your big rocks are the necessary things in life, like friends, family, health, career, and sleep.
The pebbles are the fun things in life that aren’t completely necessary but you love doing them, like playing piano, competing in sports, and discovering your passion for baking.
Your sand is all the bonus activities that are enjoyable but not at all important to your survival and fulfillment, like checking Instagram, playing video games and going out drinking.
Now if you fill your time with sand first, it wouldn’t make sense because then it’d be way more difficult to fit your rocks and pebbles in. But if you place your rocks first, and then your pebbles around them, and finally fill in the rest with your sand, then you’re good as gold!
STRATEGIZE: Increase your activities 15 minutes at a time.
No one ever got everything done at once. When you find out the important activities that you want to do more of in your day, pick ONE of them. Replace 15 minutes of low-value activity with 15 minutes of that high-value activity.
For example, instead of 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram, do 15 minutes of meal prep for the next day. You can even put in headphones and listen one of your favourite podcasts while you meal prep to keep it interesting.
PLAN: Schedule it in your diary.
If you wait until you “feel like it”, a lot of your time will be spent doing less important things. Schedule it in and more importantly, stick to it!
BONUS: Review how you spent your time at the end of the week.
If you did a lot of low-priority stuff, reduce any triggers that make you want to do them. This may require you to move the TV to the basement or limit your screen time with an app. Or you can get an accountability buddy, such as a friends, colleague or partner.
If you simply didn’t have time, look into hiring out some of the tasks like getting a healthy meal delivery service or arranging a nanny so you can go to the gym.
Don’t get distracted, stay focused and you will get $%@& done 😉
The debate of whether a certain amount of alcohol is good or bad for you has been a long-standing one. Some of us enjoy the glass of wine with dinner. Others have a few beers on the weekend. But do you need to quit it altogether to change your body or your health?
If you’re thinking that alcoholic beverages tend to show up a lot in life you’re not alone. Alcohol has become a huge part of the culture in New Zealand and in other countries around the world. Whether it’s a nice cold beer at the end of a workday or a bubbly champagne on New Year’s, it tends to add up. But how does that affect your health goals? Well, it’s kind of complicated.
You may have heard that drinking can be good for you as research has shown that moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, gallstones and coronary heart disease. There have even been studies indicating that drinkers live longer than people who don’t drink.
However, it’s important to know that experts recommend that if you don’t already drink, don’t start. Why? Because no one actually knows if ANY amount of alcohol is good for you.
I’m not going to tell you not to drink. But it’s important to know that most of the research on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol doesn’t actually prove anything due to how the studies are designed. The research tends to be large, long-term population-based studies that can’t say that it CAUSES anything, but rather that it CORRELATES with something.
So what is a “moderate alcohol intake”?
Women: 7 drinks/week, no more than 3 in a single day
Men: 14 drinks/week, no more than 4 in a single day
In my opinion, this type of moderation will land you in a host of health problems. Let’s take it down to 1-2 times per week with only 1 drink per setting. That’s better 🙂
A single drink can be a 330 ml can of 4% alcohol beer or a 100 ml glass of 12.5% alcohol wine.
Chances are, if you’re a human, you’re most likely underestimating your alcohol consumption. The occasional happy hour or birthday dinner can quickly take you from moderate to heavy drinker without you even realizing. The health risks for heavy drinking are much higher for major health problems, such as liver cancer, alcoholism, osteoporosis and a host of other diseases.
So how do you find a nice balance? What amount of alcohol gives you enjoyment while giving your body a chance to respond and recover from processing it? MY moderate alcohol intake guideline is a good start along with the following tips:
Keep track of your drinking habits. Do this for a week or two and ask yourself:
Am I drinking more than I thought? (Did you forget to count those couple of beers you like to have on Sunday afternoons?)
Are there patterns in my drinking? (Does your stressful job trigger your end-of-week binge drink?)
Is it helping me enjoy life or stressing me out? (Are you not sleeping well or feeling worried about drinking?)
Tune in to your body’s signals:
Do I feel good?
Am I recovering?
How do I feel afterwards?
Switch it up and experiment to break your routine:
Delay your next drink for 10 minutes and see if you still want it after.
Savour your drink. Look, sniff, and taste it.
Quality over quantity. Drink less, but have the good stuff.
Evaluate how drinking fits in with your goals. If you want six-pack abs, then that might mean skipping out on a few drinks at the bar. Taking part in Friday night “Happy Hour” means pushing back your Saturday morning workout. If you’re aiming for a more moderate alcohol intake then you’ll have to find a way to say “no” to certain stress/social triggers that make you want to drink more.
What you eat during your 9 months of pregnancy matters. The food you consume affects you and your baby, so always mind that you’re eating for two! Pregnancy means that you’re building life, so make sure that you supply all the necessary building blocks.
How much should you eat?
Since you’re eating for two, you’ll need extra calories and nutrients as your body builds your baby’s bones, tissues and organs. And just because your waist disappears, it doesn’t give you the all clear to load up on ice cream and sweet treats! Eating 3 regular meals a day? Then add 2 healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts or veggies to meet your higher caloric needs.
If you exercise regularly: add 500 calories.
If you don’t: add 300 calories.
How much weight should you gain?
You need to gain the appropriate amount of weight so that your baby can too. If you come up short, then so will your baby. You’re in this together.
If you’re underweight: your goal should be to gain 15-20 kg.
Normal weight: aim to gain 10-15 kg.
Overweight: aim to gain 6-12 kg.
If your height is 157 cm or shorter: aim to gain 6-12 kg.
What should you eat?
Eat 2.2 g of protein per kg of your body weight (ex. if you weigh 70 kg aim to consume 154 g of protein).
You can get this from walnuts, chia seeds, linseed (flaxseed), hemp seed, seaweed, algae or fish oil supplement or avocado.
Get 20-30 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 days a week.
This can be from legumes (such as beans and lentils) or dark and leafy veggies.
Many things can provide calcium such as dark and leafy veggies, legumes, bokchoy, tofu, nuts and seeds.
You can get this from a high quality Vitamin B-12 supplement or fortified foods such as tofu, soy milk etc.
Get this from seeds, whole grains, nuts, dried fruits or dark and leafy veggies.
What should you minimize?
Aim for less than 300 mg per day.
Cured lunch meats
This can include ham, hot-dogs and the like.
These should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy.
High sugar intake
Do NOT use cravings to justify poor choices.
What should you avoid completely?
The Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand has a list of types of fish that should be avoided by women who are pregnant due to higher mercury levels.
Dogfish (excluding rig)
Lake Rotomahana trout
Lake trout from geothermal regions
School shark (greyboy, tope)
Southern bluefin tuna
It increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) so it’s best to .steer clear.
This includes mold-ripened, blue veined, and unpasteurized cheeses.
Raw or undercooked animal foods
This includes meat, seafood (ex. SUSHI), and eggs.
What supplements should I take?
Your GP may prescribe prenatal vitamins and if not, it’s a good idea for you to seek some out yourself. Make sure the following is included:
Vitamin B-12 (3 ug/day)
Folic acid (400 ug/day)
Vitamin D (1000 IU/day) especially if you lack sun exposure
By following these guidelines, eating right and monitoring your weight, you’ll know that you’ve done everything in your control to lead up to a successful pregnancy.
Firstly, let’s look at heavy drinking or binge drinking. As fun as it may be, there is absolutely no evidence that points towards this sort of amusement as being anything other than detrimental to our health. Numerous research studies have found links between moderate-heavy drinking. That is, equalling or surpassing the weekly recommended allowance, and problems with fertility.
Alcohol & Female Fertility
The way in which heavy alcohol consumption affects female fertility isn’t properly understood. However, hormonal imbalances are one of the most likely explanations. A study published in a 2000 edition of Alcohol and Alcoholism found that women who enjoyed moderate-heavy drinking had significantly lower levels of progesterone than non-drinkers. Progesterone plays a vital role in conception. It is fundamental in keeping the thick uterine lining, and implanted egg, in place. Low progesterone levels mean that the lining is more likely to shed each month.
The same study found that drinkers had increased estrogen levels, which are often present in women suffering from endometriosis. Indeed, further studies have confirmed that ‘alcohol intake positively associates with endometriosis‘. Abnormally high estrogen levels can cause cells outside the womb to thicken in the same way as the uterine walls. Known as endometriosis, these cells can cause damage to both the ovaries and fallopian tubes. That means some cases don’t lead to the successful completion of the ovulation process. As you’ll know, you can’t get pregnant naturally if you don’t ovulate.
The effects on in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
The research has also suggested that alcohol can even affect assisted conception. Some researchers have proposed that alcohol can not only create an inhospitable environment in the uterus but also decrease egg production and quality. Those are two aspects that would contribute to IVF attempts. A study by the Harvard Medical School put forward the notion that drinking just half a bottle of wine per week could lower the chances of conception via IVF by up to 18%.
There are some gaps in the research on the effects of light-moderate drinking on conception. However, many studies do argue that even the occasional drink can cause fertility problems in women. There have been two studies. Infertility in Women and Moderate Alcohol Use (1994), and Does moderate alcohol consumption affect fertility? follow up study among couples planning first pregnancy (1998). They both conclude that even light-moderate drinking can reduce the likelihood of conception by a significant margin.
Doctors have even claimed that giving up alcohol completely can be as effective in treating fertility issues as IVF. They have reported a 33% chance of getting pregnant via assisted conception, and a 32% chance of getting pregnant naturally by cutting out the booze. Even if light-moderate drinking doesn’t necessarily cause infertility, it can certainly increase the amount of time it takes to become pregnant.
Alcohol & Male Fertility
It’s not just women’s habits that are under the microscope when it comes to how alcohol affects fertility. Conception is a joint effort, so if a woman’s alcohol intake can be an influencing factor, then it makes sense that a man could, too. Unlike with female fertility, it’s far easier to accurately view the effects of alcohol on sperm.
One study, ‘Direct effect of alcohol on the motility and morphology of human spermatozoa’ added alcohol directly onto healthy sperm in concentrations that would be similar to that if the alcohol was consumed.
Mobility, motility, and velocity of the sperm all decreased, while incidents of tail deformities increased. This could not only affect the sperm’s ability to reach the egg in the first place, but also the ability to create a healthy embryo. This study involved moderate-heavy drinkers. In the case of light-moderate drinkers, the research suggests a 14% decrease in IVF success rates when men have consumed as little as half a bottle of wine per week.