No matter what your lifestyle goals are, if you are a human, your basic daily needs are ideally these 5 things;
I know many people live without any of these things every day, so this doesn't mean you will die if you don't do all five of these things every day. But to live a healthy happy life, every day should include these things.
I'll never understand those people who say "I'll sleep when I'm dead." You will be dead a lot sooner with that attitude.
After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, you have the cognitive impairment of someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent, according to a study published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health.
Your memory and judgement also begin to suffer. After 2 days of not sleeping, the body will begin to force you to sleep and you will start to blackout and be disoriented.
After a few days of no sleep, hallucinations will occur. Clearly, sleep is one of the daily needs humans have that we should never mess around with.
Sleep is vital to your health and happiness. Generally, the younger you are, the more sleep you need. Babies sleep most of the time because their bodies are still building, and sleep is when most of our healing, rejuvenation and mental processing takes place.
Adults need between 7-9 hours a night, on average. Everybody is different, of course. If you have set work hours and kids to raise, it is not likely that you will be able to adjust your sleep schedule. But you can take steps to increase your chances of getting quality sleep.
1. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. Declutter your bedroom so you feel calm upon entering. Set up a small area to write in your journal, meditate, and any other relaxing activity. I have a few Himalayan salt lamps in my bedroom, and a tapestry of a forest scene to gaze at while I meditate.
2. Keep your room dark. Your body is designed to sleep when it's dark. Use room darkening shades if you have to.
Be aware that any light you can see is registering into your mind. Light from outside such a street light should be blocked out. Remove as much artificial light from your sleeping environment as possible.
Paint your walls a darker color, I have done this in all the bedrooms I have had except for one and that one is where I got the worst sleep.
3. Exercise during the day. Most forms of exercise will pep you up and give you more energy immediately afterwards so make sure you exercise well ahead of bedtime. Plan your exercise routine either in the morning or afternoon, or at the very least, 3 hours before bedtime.
4. Make yourself a bedtime routine. Allow your body and your mind time to unwind. If you're super busy, you'll probably be rushing around until you finally collapse on the bed in hopes of getting a few hours at least.
Instead, give yourself at least an hour to shift gears and relax before bed. Create a bedtime routine that involves things that make you tired, such as soft music, a warm bath, light reading material, meditation, or journaling.
Many people take showers before bed but showers are more stimulating than baths. Sitting for a few minutes in warm water can help your muscles relax and prepare for sleep.
5. Turn off electronics at least one hour before bed. The light emanating from backlit screens like cell phones can trick your body into thinking it's daytime. It's best to rest your eyes from bright screens before trying to sleep.
Don't watch TV for the last hour or two before bed. Television stimulates the mind too much, which can cause difficulty sleeping. It is advisable not to have a TV in your bedroom. Using a cellphone in bed is also a big no-no, especially if you don't have a blue light blocking app on your phone.
6. Leave daytime stress outside your bedroom. In order to rest, you'll want to put aside things that keep your mind whirling. Write down your to-do list for tomorrow before you start winding down for bed. That way, you know you have gotten them out of your head so you don't need to even think about tomorrow.
Make sure you've dealt with all the questions that keep you awake, like what bills need to be paid, what time the doctor appointment is, etc. This frees you up for sleep.
7. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every day. If you get in the habit of going to bed at a certain time, your body will expect to be sleeping. Your body is much more efficient at sleeping and preparing for sleep if you can maintain a schedule. Rarely is it possible to be perfect at this, but a half an hour in either direction won't matter too much.
8. Keep your bedroom cool. Sleep quality is improved in a cool sleeping environment. Your body temperature drops around bedtime and is at its lowest during sleep. If the room is too warm, your body won't be able to cool down.
Just think of how hard it is to sleep on a hot humid summer night when just touching your sheets is almost unbearable. And then think of how comfortable it sounds to sleep wrapped in thick fluffy blankets from head to toe like a cocoon!
It is much easier to sleep when you can curl up surrounded by blankets! Go cool enough to be comfortable but not so cool that your nose is cold to the couch.
9. Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can help you fall asleep, but sleep quality is greatly compromised.
10. Take magnesium. Magnesium works on the nervous system and helps you reach a state of calm, and helps your sleep be more steady.
11. Don't eat right before bed. Your body takes hours to digest food, and this takes energy. If your body is digesting food while you are sleeping, it will have less energy to put you into the restorative mode. However, some foods are more difficult to digest than others. Stick to simple dinners and eat them as early as possible. Avoid heavy meats and creamy foods.
If you find your stomach growling right before bed, have some raw almonds, popcorn, or something light. This isn't the time for a heaping scoop of ice cream or fruit that has natural sugar in it.
12. Get a white noise machine or use a fan. The sound of white noise is amazing at blocking out intrusive sounds, and putting yourself into a trance-like state.
13. Drink a hot beverage before bed. Warm milk or decaffeinated tea like chamomile will work great!
14. Lavender essential oil is really good for relaxing before bed.
15. No electronics! Rid your bedroom of as many electrical items as possible or switch them off. It is especially important not to have your cellphone charging near your bed. I turn mine off at night while it is charging on the other side of the room.
16. Do some light yoga before bed. There are many gentle yoga styles that focus on light stretching and breathing techniques. These only take 10-15 minutes and can be done just before bed.
17. Listen to relaxation CD's. These range from soothing music tracks to the sounds of ocean waves. These sounds have a particularly relaxing effect and will also help you sleep more soundly.
We are made of mostly water, so it makes sense that one of our most important daily needs is to drink a lot of water, especially if we live in a hot climate and/or exercise a lot every day. Many people think any water they can get is good enough, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is not good enough.
Tap water has been shown to have a spectrum of toxins in it including birth control pills, arsenic, and radioactive contaminants. No matter what side of the fluoride controversy you are on, the previous three I mentioned should scare the crap out of you.
Buying a cheap filter in your local store is not good enough. These don't remove enough of the bad guys. It might sound impossible for you to afford a decent water filtration system, but when it comes to the most important thing you are putting into your body every day, what it comes down to is how much your health is worth to you.
Reverse Osmosis systems do a pretty good job, although the downside is this process removes EVERYTHING including the good guys, minerals. Calcium and magnesium are among the minerals that your body needs every day.
In order to replace these in your body if you drink reverse osmosis water, you can buy trace mineral drops and add a few drops to each glass. You can also sprinkle some Himalayan salt in your water.
Spring water is really the best water you can get. You can buy it or find a spring and collect it yourself.
Water that is stored in plastic should be kept in a cool dark place. Light and heat are not good when it comes to plastic bottles, anything stored in them will get traces of chemicals from the plastic leeched into it.
So ideally your best bet for getting safe water is spring water stored in glass jugs and bottles.
I cover the subject of exercise on this page: exercise
I covered the subject of fresh air on this page; environment
Sunlight is necessary for Vitamin D. Our bodies can assimilate it much easier in the form of sunlight than from food or supplements.
In fact, you can't even get the amount you need in a day just from food alone. And supplements out there are pretty iffy, many of them not even being the right form of Vitamin D.
What we need is D3, not D2. And contrary to what people believe, you cannot get Vitamin D from sitting indoors in sunlight, because glass blocks the UVB rays.
We can get enough Vitamin D each day if we go outside in the sun for a short time. You can get more Vitamin D if more of your skin is exposed to it. Also, you can get more Vitamin D if you get sunlight in the middle of the day, however this is when it's easiest to burn. So be careful not to be in the sun for the entire duration of mid-day (10 am to 2 pm).
Where you live also makes a difference. Naturally, people nearest to the equator can make more Vitamin D from the sun. People living in cold, cloudy climates will definitely need to take supplements.
And lastly, the color of your skin also matters. The paler you are, the quicker your body will produce Vitamin D.
As a general rule, try to expose as much of your body to direct sunlight as possible for short periods of time. Work your way up to longer periods, if you are pale or already not tan. Don't let yourself burn.
There is a sweet spot where you get enough Vitamin D and do not burn. This sweet spot is different for everyone so start off slow and find out where your sweet spot is.
Some studies show that sunscreen protects against skin cancer, but other studies have shown it does not, and some even say it causes cancer with all the chemicals in it. I don't know about you but I would rather cover my skin than put anything with chemicals on it.
You can also rub coconut oil on your skin, this does a good job of protecting from burns, and it's natural! You can also use Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Shea butter, or Carrot Seed Oil.
Now that we've gone through everything you need to know to keep your body healthy, you are ready to implement this knowledge into every day, making living healthy a lifestyle! Go to this page to see a complete daily routine for optimal health.