We try our hardest every day to not only look great but also feel great. To do this, most people change their exercise and diet. But there are other things that apply to our overall health. Our mental, physical and emotional health are the most important factors in living a good and healthy life, but sometimes life itself gets in the way of doing so. In order to live a happy life, we have to take care of our bodies. Things such as work, social interactions, school and other obligations we face can interfere with our body’s natural mechanisms and functions. How can we fix or “reset” this disturbance? There are different ways we can help our bodies get back on track and feeling healthy again. Eating a healthy diet and implementing exercise into our routine may be the primary issues to our body’s health, but taking good care of our internal sleep clock, metabolism, and hormones are three contributing factors that are also essential to helping our bodies feel good. We’ve provided information on each and steps to help you “reset” your body.
Resetting your internal (circadian) sleep clock:
Getting enough sleep is an important and essential component to our health. When we have the right amount of sleep, at least 7 to 9 hours, our bodies are more able to function properly and adequately during everyday tasks. But things that can influence and disturb our body’s internal sleep clock include external factors (lighting, sunrise and sunset time, and temperature), internal factors (hormones, genetics, neurotransmitters), and our personal habits and behaviors (travels, insomnia, stress, social life and work). What do we mean by our internal sleep clock? Our sleep clock is a psychological mechanism that delivers cues to our body to sleep or wake up at certain times of the day or evening. This is also known as the Circadian Rhythm. When functioning normally, our body tends to become tired during the evening and awake during the day time. When our clock is out of sync, our body tends to feel “jetlagged” or deprived. You can also check out our articles on the health benefits of sleep and foods to help you sleep better.
How to reset your clock:
Manipulate lighting – Light exposure cues us when to wake up and when to fall asleep, so it is natural that we follow nature’s natural lighting. Manipulating light exposure, such as dimming your lights or brightening your room can help reset your sleep clock and normalize your circadian rhythm because your body will naturally adjust.
Fast and then normalize your meal times – Your diet and metabolism are important to resetting your clock as well. To normalize your sleeping schedule try to eat one meal in the afternoon and then fast until the next day. This will help your body get back on track. Also, check out our article on the health benefits of fasting.
Practice healthy sleep habits – Making a routine and being strict and consistent with yourself is important to helping you get back to a normal sleep schedule. This includes only taking naps for no more than 20-30 minutes, limiting caffeine, avoiding usage of electronics and watching TV before bed, and keeping your room dimly lit and cool.
Resetting your metabolism:
Your metabolism is another important factor to your overall health. As we grow older our metabolism begins to slow down, which causes us to gain and retain more weight. Losing fat becomes a bit more difficult. What we eat ultimately gets converted into energy so when we feed our body junk food, things high in unhealthy fats, and other things bad for our body we are harming our metabolism. You can also read our article on fast ways to kickstart your metabolism!
Get enough sleep – As we mentioned before, your sleep is very important. So make sure to get the recommended amount of sleep needed to help your body properly function.
Drink lots of water – Water is essential to our survival and overall health. It is recommended that you drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is about half a gallon of water.
Manage your stress – Stress management is essential to both a healthy mind and body. When your body is overwhelmed by stress, it reacts by releasing certain hormones known as epinephrine and cortisol in order to respond to this stress. You then tend to feel hungry even though you’re still burning calories because your body tries to compensate for this. Try finding ways to keep your stress levels at bay by doing activities that help ease your stress. You can also read our article on tips to reduce stress.
Eat foods that make you feel good – It’s a sign when your body screams at you “don’t feed this to us!” So listen to your body when you start to feel bloated, gassy or tired. Start eating foods that make you feel better and energize you instead of foods that make you feel groggy and lazy. You can read our article on the Top 10 mood boosting foods.
Avoid over exercising – We know that exercising is essentially good for you, but there is such a thing as exercising too much. Exercising too much and too intensely can lead to you slowing down your thyroid. Your thyroid is a gland that regulates your hormones and these hormones are what also affect your metabolism.
Resetting your hormones:
Your hormones are an important factor to how your body functions. Hormones are what control your emotions, your metabolic rate, and help trigger certain signals and cues to the brain, such as the fight or flight response, that ultimately allow you to function.
Cut down on sweets and starches – Too many can make your hormones go wild. Try cutting back to see how your body reacts and feels.
Reduce intake on grains, legumes, and high sugar fruits – Having too many carbs can cause problems with your metabolism, especially if you are insulin-resistant or your body is unable to break down certain carbs.
Eat more healthy fats – Healthy fats can help your body produce the needed hormones to break down foods and turn them into the energy that you need. It can also help suppress cravings.
Avoid inflammatory foods – These are foods such as processed foods, junk foods, and any highly sugary and gluten filled products that can harm your immune system and endocrine system.
Sleep more – It’s quite apparent that sleep is good for you since we all need it in order to function. But adequate sleep is beneficial in helping your hormones repair, restore, and heal by regenerating cells. Not enough sleep can lead to rapid aging of your body and brain.
Reduce intake of stimulants – Try cutting back on the caffeine. Coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and also tea or chocolate can interfere with your sleep, which your body needs in order to restore.
Cut out chemicals – Instead of using your normal products, try using products that are more natural or have the least chemicals in them. Chemicals can interfere with your hormonal functions.
Minimize usage of meds – Continuous exposure to medication, whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, can stress and throw your hormones into imbalance.
RELAX! Stress might be one of the most important factors related to your hormones. When your body is overwhelmed with stress it can cause your hormones to go off the charts. Find ways to unwind and blow off steam regularly such as yoga, stretching or meditating.