Advice provided by the guides at Mountain Trek on a variety of health, nutrition, fitness and hiking topics.

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Getting Good ZZZZZ’s

If you’re like me, you know when you’ve had a rough night of sleep. I’m usually not on my game, my energy is lower, my temper is shorter and people ask me “Are you tired?” The proof is on my face. Now imagine the impact of nights upon nights of poor or interrupted sleep? Vampires were right when they say that sleep is good for the blood, it’s also prevents heart disease, mental decline and overeating.

There are four stages of sleep, the deepest called REM. This is the deepest stage of sleep and important to experience in order to feel rested when you wake up. Deep sleep is also needed in order for the body to release the human growth hormone (HGH) known as one of the  anti-aging hormones. Benefits of this hormone include increasing lean muscle mass, a balanced weight, and feeling good. No deep sleep, no growth hormone output. Exercise also helps with HGH release, as taught at Mountain Trek.

Tips to help with a good night’s sleep? Turn down the lights a few hours before retiring (this includes no TV watching) as it can be too stimulating. Late night eating can create digestive disturbances, and need we mention caffienated beverages should be avoided?

The Power of the Mind

The mind has tremendous power on our physical well-being. We can certainly support good health by eating a natural foods diet with limited amount of processed or refined foods, and get regular physical movement, but how we perceive ourselves and the world around us makes a difference.

In several interviews with centenarians, most exhibit one striking similarity: they are all happy, bright, and exuberant. It is their positive outlook on life that contributes to their longevity and well-being. What contributes to an overall sense of well-being? Play and laughter. Play is any activity you engage for the reward of simply doing it. It’s important to do something you enjoy not just on weekends but everyday. Remember a nugget from Kirk’s self care talks – do something you’ve wanted to do or used to enjoy without any attachment to end results. And of course, no one needs to tell us the importance of a good belly laugh. Rent a comedy, read a funny book, tell funny stories of your past to your kids, just remember to laugh.