Lifestyle

Resolutions to keep

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Whatever New Year’s resolutions you made, making healthy changes can significantly lengthen a person’s lifespan and improve their overall quality of life.

Unfortunately, many people make and break the same resolution year after year. If you want to make a positive change in your life, you need to figure out what to resolve, and how to keep that resolution:

• Keep it simple – First, don’t try to change lots of things at once. Choose a few things that will make a positive difference in your life and focus on those. Also, don’t try to make them too drastic. Figure out some small changes that will start you on a good path.

• Darken your sleeping space – Melatonin production is stimulated by dark. Young, healthy bodies begin producing it about two to three hours before sleep, and it rises in levels through the early part of sleep, beginning to decline about two hours before you wake.

Ambient light suppresses your melatonin production and is associated with higher levels of depression, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other diseases, including those triggered by the lack of deep slumber itself. Switching to black out curtains (or just lining your existing window coverings) and putting electrical tape over LEDs in your sleeping area are just two ways of cutting down on the ambient light.

• Get to sleep by 10 p.m. – The human body works best when it follows the rhythms of nature. When it comes to sleep, we have been biologically wired to follow the rhythms of the sun. Going to bed much later than 10 p.m. has gradual and far reaching consequences for the body. A good rest also allows you to handle daily stressors; a trigger that all too commonly puts an end to a resolution.

• Drink more water – Water is the fluid in which everything happens in the body. When you don’t drink enough, nothing works as good. By now, most people have heard that it’s important to get 8-10 glasses a day; this is very true. Staying adequately hydrated gives you more energy, helps you repair and detoxify your body, and helps you lose weight.

• Eat more colours of fruits and vegetables every day – It turns out that it isn’t just about the quantity of fruits and vegetables that you eat over the course of the day, it’s getting a good variety that gives you the broadest range of benefits. Eating fruits and vegetables protects us from the free radicals created in our blood when we eat carbs and fat. Different coloured flesh have different phytochemical compositions and different combinations of fruits and veggies interact with each other to multiply their power.

Dr. Jason Hughes is a naturopathic physician and owner of the Maple

Ridge Naturopathic Clinic.

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