• Lack of Sleep: Can it Make You Sick?

    Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

    During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

    So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

    How Much Sleep Do I Need?

    How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
    But more sleep isn’t always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

    20 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

    1. Set a sleep schedule – and stick with it
    2. Keep a sleep diary
    3. Stop smoking
    4. Review your medications
    5. Exercise, but not within 4 hours of bedtime
    6. Cut caffeine after 2 pm
    7. Write down your woes
    8. Take time to wind down
    9. Sip milk, not a martini
    10. Snack on cheese and crackers
    11. Listen to a bedtime story
    12. Stay cool…
    13. …especially if you’re menopausal
    14. Spray a sleep-inducing scent
    15. Turn on white noise
    16. Eliminate sneaky light sources
    17. Consider kicking out furry bedmates
    18. Check your pillow position
    19. Breathe – deeply
    20. Stay put if you wake up


  • Lori's Spring Detox.

    This spring I did a crazy thing. I participated in a 3 week cleanse from Arise and Shine. These cleanses are often recommended to help the body get rid of toxins, kick-start a sluggish digestive system and give the body a rest from foods that are difficult to metabolize.

    The Arise and Shine cleanse involved cutting out all the things I love: coffee, wine, baked goods, cheese, meat and dairy. The first week prepares the body for the cleanse by eating only raw, fresh fruits and veggies. The second week involved eating that same way and adding “detox drinks” and nutritional supplements. By week three, I was only taking the “detox drinks” and supplements. What that was done, I began the process of easing myself back into eating solid food.

    If it sounds intense, I am here to tell you that it was! But it was one of the best things I could have done for myself this year.

    The first week was the most difficult: I had a headache from no coffee, I was grumpy and frequently asked myself why I willingly agreed to this insanity. I have to say I was glad my husband was doing it with me–he understood my mood swings.

    By the second week, my body was adjusting to all the wholesome food I was eating and I no longer wanted a glass of wine with my salad. The detox drinks were beginning to work wonders on my elimination system and I was feeling great. Because I had no stimulants in my body, I felt in touch with what it needed. I had alot of energy throughout the day, but often had to put myself to bed early and respect my fatigue.  It was a little difficult to socialize, but I kept reminding myself, “Lori, it is only 3 weeks of the year. You’ve got this”.

    The last week was very interesting. I was really beginning to feel the effects of the cleanse. The detox drinks filled me up and for the first few days I wasn’t hungry. I was feeling light and clean. We got a few colonics, which seemed to speed up the cleansing. My skin was radiant, I slept so deeply at night and woke feeling rested. My eyes were bright. I did see my Naturopathic Doctor (Keith at www.awenhealth.ca) at this point, and he gave me a few supplements to support my body as it cleansed. I have to say that I was starting to dream of food. Not just any food. Beautiful, well made, healthy, and wholesome food. I also looked forward to a piece of chocolate. I love chocolate!

    It was an amazing 3 weeks, and I realized that it’s good to occasionally go without the foods that you think you need. I have a deep appreciation for healthy food, and feel so lucky that I have enough, which is not true for many people in our world. I feel more in touch with my body since the cleanse. I’m not a tempted to overeat, or to eat foods that irritate my system. The cleanse will become a yearly practice…and in the meantime, I will enjoy eating, socializing over food, and celebrating my healthy body.”