Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Eat, Sleep and be Merry!

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June 23rd

What a magnificent weekend! We were out in the Berkshires enjoying the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Boston Pops. We biked those wild and crazy Berkshire Hills, and got ourselves that much closer to making the Pan Mass Challenge weekend feel easy (OK, I’m overstating that!). One of my favorite days of the year is June 21st, the summer solstice. The longest day of the year gives me a chance to enjoy the sunlight, think of going to the beach, taking our annual bike trip, and have more time to see friends and visit family. One of the things that happens with longer days of sunlight is that circadian rhythms, those natural sleep/wake rhythms, can be altered. Many of us may be sleeping fewer hours than we do in those dark days of winter, but it’s still important to try to get enough sleep each night. This can feel impossible at times because of our responsibilities, stressful days, intense periods of productivity, and even travel which definitely throws sleep cycles off. This New York Times article outlines some of the health risks that may result from sleep deficits. I was aware of the negative effect on one’s concentration, judgment, fine and gross motor skills, and even appetite changes.  I’ve been talking to many of my clients about how inadequate sleep increases your appetite stimulant hormone, ghrelin, and decreases  your appetite satiety hormone, leptin, but some of the other changes were a surprise to me. I didn’t know of the effect on glucose sensitivity (creating a near pre-diabetic state in some people) and blood pressure changes that may result from not enough sleep. There’s a lot of other useful information in this article, so check it out, and try your best to get at least 7-8 hours on a consistent basis.

So many people go to great lengths to try to manage their appetite, lose weight, and improve their metabolism- this is by far one of the less labor and will-power intensive ways to accomplish some of these goals!  

So here’s to good sleep, sweet dreams, and better health!

Just a reminder- I’ll be away on vacation and may have limited wi-fi service, so remember that there’ll be a break in classes from June 26-July 7th. I’ll look forward to seeing many of you again after I return!

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