4 Must-Know Sleep Practices for 2022

Sleep Awareness Week is next week from March 13th– 19th. The National Sleep Foundation created this week to reemphasize the importance of the connection of sleep and health. Their theme this year is “Best Slept Self”.

The Chapters Health system has outlined some sleep practices for you to start implementing and achieving the best quality sleep:1

#1: Have a Bedtime Routine

It’s important to have a bedtime routine, so your body recognizes that you are starting to wind down and you can peacefully drift off into a sleep.

What might this look like?

  • Take a warm bath or shower with calming soap scents.
  • Write out any current worries that you may have in a list form and decide to deal with them the next day.
  • Listen to meditating music.

#2: Watch What You Eat and Drink

Eating heavy before bed can hinder sleep. When you consume a heavy meal towards the end of your day, your stomach and intestines must start working on digesting it which can take multiple hours. You should also avoid fatty, acidic, and spicy foods that can irritate the stomach and cause heart burn.

So, what if you are craving a late-night snack, what can you eat before bed? The Huffington Post asked nutritionists to provide some of their top picks which are as follows:

  • Banana
    • Contains potassium and tryptophan. Potassium is a natural muscle relaxant which helps with sleep. Tryptophan helps make melatonin and serotonin which is necessary for the sleep cycle.
  • Rice Cake with Peanut Butter
    • The peanut butter contains protein and fat while the rice cake has carbs. This combination will help balance your blood sugar throughout the night.
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
    • These are the best go to snacks to have before bed. They contain Vitamin-D which has an important role in the production of melatonin. You want to make sure you have enough Vitamin-D in your body before you go to bed.

You can find the full list of recommended snacks here.

#3: Limit Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a drug that increases the activity in your brain and nervous system. It can remain in your system anywhere from 3 to 5 hours after consumption and can cause your deep stages of sleep to be disrupted. The Daily Meal gives examples of foods and drinks that you may be surprised contain caffeine:2

  • Oreos: One Oreo contains 1.3 milligrams.
  • Decaf Coffee: One cup contains between 8 to 14 milligrams.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies: One cup of milk chocolate chips contains about 33.6 milligrams.

You may be thinking that just one Oreo wouldn’t hurt before bed, but even a small amount of caffeine can affect your sleep. The average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is 95 milligrams. It’s best to limit or avoid these types of food and drink items before bed.

#4: Exercise Consistently

Exercise has been known to improve sleep. However, the types of workouts you do can affect how well you sleep. It is not recommended to exercise intensely 3 to 4 hours before bed because it will increase your heart rate and make it more difficult to sleep. If you choose to exercise before bed, try yoga so that your body starts to wind down and prepare itself for rest.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources

  1. https://www.chaptershealth.org/chapters-of-life-blog/families-caregivers/better-sleep-tips/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjbHj76i09gIVmBfUAR0ZSAdqEAAYAiAAEgJSr_D_BwE
  2. https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/20-foods-and-drinks-you-didn-t-know-had-caffeine-slideshow

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy YOU

Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

It’s almost the end of January and by this time many people have already given up on their New Year’s resolution. Don’t worry though, because it is not too late to jump back in and find fun ways to stay active! We all know that exercising and staying healthy is important, however we can still have a hard time sticking to it. Why is that? While we know how and why exercise is good for us, we don’t have the right mindset or smart approach towards exercise.

When you think of exercising, your immediate thought may be of running or weightlifting. You might be groaning at the thought of doing these activities. These activities are the traditional sense of working out. There are many enjoyable activities that you can start so that working out is not a burden and more something to look forward to.

This blog will focus on ways to spice up your normal workout routine.1

Think Outside the Gym

The gym can be intimidating, too expensive, or simply too inconvenient with your lifestyle. There are many alternatives to going to the gym. Some of these activities include kayaking, rollerblading, Zumba, and fencing.

Make it a Game

This one may surprise you but playing a video game that gets you standing up and moving around is a productive – and fun way to exercise. You can burn at least as many calories as you would be walking on a treadmill! There are many games that can be found on the Wii and Kinect for exercising, but a few are bowling, tennis, and soccer.

Pair it with Something You Enjoy

You can also incorporate exercise into your favorite activities and responsibilities you are already doing. This could look like doing a light workout during the commercial breaks of a show or dancing to music as you do household chores.

Make it Social

Exercising is more fun when you are doing it with friends! Grab a friend or two and join a club sport or attend a dance class together. They say that friends grow closer through unique shared experiences, and this is a great opportunity.

If you have kids, you can get them involved and implement exercising into your daily routine. This could look like going on afternoon nature walks together or doing seasonal activities (Skiing, cycling, etc.).

Try a Mindfulness Approach

Pay attention to your body when you exercise. This not only helps with improving your physical condition, but it also helps with interrupting the thoughts of worry and anxiety. Some activities that are great for mindfulness are rock climbing, swimming, and skiing.

A few helpful tools that provide free at home workouts are:

Luckily, you don’t have to wait until next year to get back into the habit of exercising. With the right mindset and a smart approach, you can create change in your life TODAY. Remember that it is possible to find enjoyment out of all life has to offer!

Tria Health Can Help

For select groups, Tria Health offers a weight management service called Choose to Lose. If this structured weight loss program is included through your benefits plan, you can receive help from a combination of registered dietitians, health coaches and pharmacists, along the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’ and a Bluetooth scale.

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Resources

  1. How to Start Exercising and Stick to It – HelpGuide.org

Learn How to Lose Weight with These Surprising Tips

Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels

Losing weight can sometimes feel like the easy part in your weight loss journey. The hard part is keeping that weight off and being consistent in your weight loss goals. This article provides 5 steps that the American Heart Association suggests to losing weight AND keeping it off.

1. Set Realistic Goals

Take a realistic goal of where you are at now and where you want to be. Create short term goals that are achievable and will motivate you towards your long-term goal.

The SMART Goals method is a tool that will help you identify realistic short-term goals. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. An example of how to use this method is as follows:

Instead of saying “I would like to exercise more” …

The SMART Goal might be, “I would like to exercise 3 days/week for 30 minutes on my recumbent bicycle.”

2. Understand How Much and Why You Eat

Be mindful of what, when, and how much food you are eating. You can track your eating habits here: https://www.loseit.com/. You can also check out our blog from last week that talks about how you can improve your diet. To be successful in this journey, you will need to know exactly what your triggers are that are causing you to eat more or unnecessarily. This method will help you identify those better.

3. Manage Portion Sizes

Try eating smaller portions of your food. A lot of people do not realize that there is a difference between a serving size and a portion size. A portion is what you can control. It is how much food you can eat in one sitting. Serving size is the amount of food listed on an item’s Nutrition Facts label. It may surprise you that the serving size is much smaller than what you may think. These are a few examples of recommended serving sizes:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 small piece of fruit
  • 1 wedge of melon
  • ¾ cup fruit juice

4. Make Smart Choices

Make healthy substitutions to the meals you are already making. Here are a few examples of food substitutions will help you continue your weight loss journey and still be able to enjoy the food you eat!

  • Instead of french fries, try baked potato, brown rice or steamed vegetables
  • Instead of hot fudge sundae or ice cream, try nonfat yogurt, sherbet, or fruit ice.
  • Instead of fried chicken, try grilled chicken and a side salad.

5. Be Physically Active

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a healthy adult aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and at least 2 days of muscle strengthening activities every week.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities include walking fast, doing water aerobics, or pushing a lawn mower. Muscle strengthening activities should work all major muscle groups which consists of legs, arms, hips, back, abdomen, chest, and shoulders.

Tria Health Can Help

For select groups, Tria Health offers a weight management service called Choose to Lose. If this structured weight loss program is included through your benefits plan, you can receive help from a combination of registered dietitians, health coaches and pharmacists, along the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’ and a Bluetooth scale.

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Resources

5 Steps to Lose Weight and Keep It Off | American Heart Association

Smart Substitutions to Eat Healthy | American Heart Association

Portion Size Versus Serving Size | American Heart Association

How much physical activity do adults need? | Physical Activity | CDC

Move More Month

Image Source: Canva

Every April, the American Heart Association celebrates Move More Month to try and get people to improve their heart health through exercise.2 While the pandemic has disrupted many people’s exercise routines, there are still ways to stay active. Even small amounts of exercise can lead to significant health benefits.

Exercising Tips

The recommended amount of exercise a week is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. 7 Here are some ways you can boost your activity level even with a busy schedule:

  • Walk and talk: If you are occupied with work calls, make it a habit to walk while you talk.7
  • Park further away: By parking farther away, you can get in those extra steps while avoiding parking stress.7
  • Take the stairs: This is a simple way you can get your heart rate up. Even if it is just a floor or two, every step counts!7
  • Try this 10-Minute Workout: You can do each exercise for about 30 seconds with 30 seconds of cardio between exercises.7

Overtime, any amount of exercise starts adding up. Did you know that:

  • 10 minutes of stretching is like walking the length of a football field.6
  • 2.5 hours of walking every week for a year is like walking the state of Wyoming.6
  • Dancing for an hour each week is like walking from Chicago to Indianapolis.6
  • 20 minutes of vacuuming is like walking a mile.6

Benefits of Exercising

A government study estimates that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, potentially setting themselves up for years of health problems.3 There are countless reasons why exercising on a regular basis improves your health. Some benefits of exercising include:

  • Promotes better sleep
  • Combats against health conditions and diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, arthritis and heart disease.5
  • Improves mood
  • Increases your energy
  • Improves blood flow (circulation)
  • Boosts your levels of good cholesterol

Check with Your Doctor & Get Started Today!

Checking with your doctor before exercising is never a bad idea, depending on your condition(s) there could be some important precautions you need to take. They will also be able to provide recommendations with pain reduction and necessary dietary adjustments. If you feel nervous starting alone, you might want to consider a group exercise program. You might also find condition-specific programs at your local hospital or clinic.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://newsroom.heart.org/events/april-move-more-month
  2. Move More Month: Tips to stay active under quarantine | OSF HealthCare
  3. National Health Statistics Reports, Number 112, June 28, 2018 (cdc.gov)
  4. Move More Month: The Benefits of Moving and How to Get Going (sunshinebehavioralhealth.com)
  5. Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity – Mayo Clinic
  6. https://newsroom.heart.org/events/april-move-more-month
  7. No Time for Exercise? Here Are 7 Easy Ways to Move More! | American Heart Association

Celebrate Move More Month!

Person walking up stairs
Image Source: Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

Did you know that even small amounts of exercise can lead to significant health benefits? Because of this, the American Heart Association is urging adults to get moving, starting this April. A government study estimates that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, potentially setting themselves up for years of health problems.1 The guidelines are based on current scientific evidence supporting the connections between physical activity, overall health and well-being, disease prevention and quality of life. Are you one of the 4 out of 5 Americans not meeting the guidelines? Get started today!

How much should you be exercising? 2

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.
  • Spend less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week.
  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

What are the benefits of exercising? 3

There are numerous reasons why you should exercise on a regular basis. For starters, your overall mood will improve. Regular exercise can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. In addition, there are multiple health benefits. Being more active can help you:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Boost your levels of good cholesterol
  • Improve blood flow (circulation)
  • Keep your weight under control
  • Prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis

Have any Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr112.pdf
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  3. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/why-is-physical-activity-so-important-for-health-and-wellbeing