What’s not to love about exercise?
Plenty, right? It makes you hot and sweaty. It takes up time when you could be on Facebook or playing your favorite computer game. And it’s not very convenient in the dead of winter or in the heat of summer.
So, you’re ready to embrace exercise as your new best friend. But can you keep the friendship going? All those perks—disease prevention, weight control, heart and lung protection, energy and more—won’t last if you don’t maintain the friendship. Dr. Mark Stengler, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, warns, “If you abruptly stop exercising, within a couple of weeks you lose most of the benefits that you gained.”
Imagine you’re relaxing on the couch sipping a tall glass of your favorite soda. You open the peanut-chocolate candy bar you bought on the way home from work and take a big bite. “Ah! This is the life,” you tell yourself.
But if you learned that you were about to consume a whopping 68 grams of sugar (39 from the soda, 29 from your candy bar)—and if you discovered the danger you were getting into as a result—you might not think it was quite “the life” you originally thought.
Imagine you’re sitting on the couch, relaxing after a hard day at work. You’ve certainly earned a snack. But you’re trying to live a healthier life and make better food choices. So instead of a candy bar, you’re having a cereal bar, and in place of a soda, you’re drinking bottled iced tea. “This is the life,” you tell yourself. “I’m having a great-tasting snack, but it’s healthy, too!” You feel you’ve made a wise choice. But have you?
Imagine you’ve gone two days without sugar. You’re determined to change your diet and break the sugar habit. But at the end of the day you’re exhausted and irritable, and you’ve developed a splitting headache. When you see that someone left chocolate chip muffins on the counter, you let the temptation overwhelm you.
Fred often goes to bed at 9:00 and gets up at 4:00. Wow! Talk about early to bed and early to rise…. good for him, right? Well…not really. Not when you learn that it’s 9:00 AM when he’s going to bed and 4:00 PM when he’s getting up! You might think Fred works the nightshift, but he doesn’t. He has some serious underlying problems when it comes to proper sleep.
In part 1 of Time for Bed, you read about Fred who sometimes goes to bed at 9:00 AM and gets up at 4:00 PM, “I’m a sleep failure,” he says, trying to keep a sense of humor about the situation. But he certainly doesn’t choose to live this way. And his failure to maintain a decent sleeping schedule isn’t funny.
Whether you’ve got major problems getting consistent sleep like Fred, or simply a few bad habits, you don’t have to be a permanent sleep failure.
When you have a major disturbance, or even if you’ve just started to suspect there’s an underlying condition, you should see your health practitioner who can help you determine the problem. But you can also help yourself. Experts suggest several things you can do to alleviate many of your sleeping difficulties on your own, especially if you want to avoid taking medications.