Get on the Road to Being at Your Best, Part 1

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In your day-to-day activities strive to do your best. I have found this a challenging target to hit as there always seems to be some reason or justification not to be fully engaged and do the best that can be done. However, my life did not change for the better until I started do this consistently. I started with seemingly little things.

First, I cared for myself better. I made sure that I got enough  sleep. This took a while to accomplish because I first had to discover why I could not sleep for more than 4 to 5 hours a night. Educating myself in basic sleep problems helped me narrow down the relevant factors. Now I sleep 7 to 8 hours each night. My energy is awesome and my head is clear when I wake up. My issues were too much caffeine intake, too much alcohol intake, eating too late in the day, and not enough exercise.

Coffee has been an integral part of my routine for a very long time. I first drank less of it, going from 4 to 5 cups a day to 1 or 2 cups a day. Then I came up with the idea that I was going to make the best coffee that I could make at home and drink only one cup a day. It was great fun going through many gourmet coffees to find the one that I liked best (Mocha Sanani from Yemen was my favorite) then getting the proper hardware to make it at home. I did this for over 10 years. I drank it in the morning. This was a big factor in improving the quality of my sleep. Recently, I have eliminated caffeine entirely from my diet. I have replaced my coffee habit with herbal chai which I make from scratch at home using five spices.

I also tempered my alcohol intake. I went from having 2 to 3 glasses of wine with dinner and a few beers while yelling at the TV, to gradually (over a period of 3 years) eliminating alcohol entirely. No, it was not a demon that was ruining my life (in fact I am a bit of a wine connoisseur) it was just keeping me from achieving a restful deep sleep.

 

Eating late and eating just before bed were also, over a period of time, phased out. Secondly, I started paying attention to what I was eating. I love food. I love gourmet food and fine wine. Upon careful examination I discovered that I was eating entirely too much of it. Gradually, I reduced my restaurant habit to just a few times a month instead of every night and I started cooking at home. I have been having a lot of fun fixing gourmet food at home. Making food from scratch allows for fine tuning of the taste and nutritional value of it. I source the best ingredients and the best recipes online. One of the other benefits of doing this was that I lost a considerable amount of weight without going on a weight loss diet.

Lastly, on the sleep front, I gradually plugged in more exercise. I am not a gym rat. I do not particularly like “health clubs” or group workout activities. But I love the outdoors and I love being in the mountains. Walking 3 to 5 kilometers a day does the trick nicely for me. I purposely park some distance away from my destination so that I have to walk more. I also take the bus and the train to work regularly, which also causes me to walk more.

What I have covered above remedied the physical aspect of my sleep issues. There was also the mental obstacle to sort out. I had to learn how to “turn my head off” so that my body would rest. This I will cover in a subsequent post.

I have described what worked for me. Your issues may be different. It would be prudent to start with a thorough physical exam to rule out any medical situations that may need to be addressed.

Sweet Dreams!

 


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