Aside from your genetic make-up, your overall health is essentially made up of three things: what you eat, your activity level, and how well you sleep. Your health “structure” will likely fall if one of the three is suffering.
Readily-accessible information about proper diet, exercise and sleep abounds. An internet search “eating better” will produce hundreds of sites describing foods, meals, gardening techniques, etc., to guide you to a better way of eating. Searching “exercises for health” produces a plethora of sites to help you find the right activities to improve your fitness. And yes a search of “better sleep” brings up a myriad of ways to try to get those elusive Zzz’s. Not all internet sites are based on proven research, so common sense must always be used when considering a change in diet, exercise or sleep. Your doctor should always be made aware of changes to your health routines.
Despite all the information available about diet, exercise and sleep, Americans continue to be generally unhealthy. A CDC report indicates that obesity rates doubled in the U.S. from 1980 – 2000. A summary from Harvard University showed that another CDC report found that only 18% of Americans get the necessary 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise plus the two muscle strengthening sessions per week they need. And as you’ve probably heard me mention, that third pillar of health is also being neglected. A recent CDC report on sleep lead the CDC to describe America’s lack of adequate sleep as an “epidemic”.
So what are we to do? When I come across statistics like these, I have to admit my first reaction is to feel overwhelmed. These number are daunting, and it’s easy to make knee-jerk drastic changes: throw away the cookies and ice cream and fill up the fridge drawers with vegetables, get the laundry off the treadmill and renew the gym membership, hit the mattress stores for a new bed. Drastic times call for drastic measures, right?
The problem is that such draconian steps usually don’t work for the long run, and for one simple reason: what you eat, what you do, and how you sleep are life-long events. Just having the “tools” does not build the structure. A couple of tofu/broccoli meals will not impact your health any more than a couple hours of Zumba. And with sleep, spending 10 hours in bed one night will not magically fix things. All three pillars must be developed, rebuilt from the ground up in a systematic way.
For your on-going sleeping troubles, the SleepQ app will help you do just that. Occasional sleep training (short, repeated attempts to sleep with immediate feedback about whether you fell asleep) for an hour or two before bedtime is our variation of Intensive Sleep Retraining (ISR), a powerful laboratory technique developed in Australia for overcoming chronic insomnia. The SleepQ app addresses the issues of feasibility and convenience that plague lab-based ISR, all for about the cost of that regular morning latte you may be sipping on right now 🙂
The app is done, and we are just waiting for final approval from Apple, so it won’t be long now!