Let’s talk about sleep.
There are 5 stages of sleep, creatively called stages 1-5. The first stage of sleep is when we feel ourselves start to fall asleep. The second stage is when our heart rate slows and our body temperature lowers. During stages 3 and 4 are the ‘deep sleep’ stages which makes up ‘non-Rapid Eye Movement’ sleep. The NREM happens in cycles of 5-15 minutes. Stage 5 is the all famous REM sleep. During REM sleep there is eye movement and minor twitching, but the rest of the body is paralyzed. It is normal for a person to have 5 REM intervals each night.
Many people have problems sleeping including insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Stress, anxiety and depression can affect the quality and amount of a person’s sleep. While the exact purpose of sleep is not known, we know that it is imperative to get adequate sleep nightly for peak performance. When you go without sleep you can’t concentrate, you have delayed reactions, a weakened immune system and an aggressive attitude.
Quality of sleep can be improved many different ways: medications, supplements, naps, proper sleep positions, healthy sleep rituals. Medications and supplements should be the last resort to solving a sleeping problem. Common ailments such as insomnia and stress/anxiety-related insomnia can be helped by sleep rituals. What constitutes a sleep ritual? Sleeping in a dark and quiet environment. Keeping a set daily sleep schedule. Regular exercise. A well balanced diet.
The body is a very impressive machine but it requires lots of care and attention to run without a hitch. Eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and you will be on your way to a productive day!
Fun Sleep Facts
- Before Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb, people slept an average of 10 hours a night; today Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep on a weeknight and 7.5 hours per night on weekends
- Approximately 70 million people in the United States have a sleep problem.
- The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes.
- The “natural alarm clock” which enables some people to wake up about when they want to is contributed to a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin.
Today’s Food Journal
Breakfast: 1 lg banana, 1 granola bar, 2c tea
Lunch: 1/2c brown rice, 1/2 chicken breast, 1/2c broccoli, 1 chocolate, 1 can diet coke
Dinner: ‘pasta ponza’ see recipe below, 1 can diet coke, light ice cream bar
Snacks: 1 apple, 2c light popcorn, 2T cashews
Pasta Ponza (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
- 4 cups mixed vegetables, raw
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1/2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 pound whole-wheat ziti pasta
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Place vegetables, capers, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the vegetable mixture. Drizzle the top with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining pasta. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl.
- Spoon the roasted vegetable mixture onto the pasta. Add parmesan cheese and toss well. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
*Serves 6 — I added 4 chicken sausage links and used whole wheat pasta. This would be perfect served with a simple green salad and a light vinaigrette. Points Plus: 6
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons light margarine
- 2 cup whole grain Total
- 1 cup Original Fiber One Cereal
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray large shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Roast nuts on prepared baking sheet until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, let cool.
- Whisk egg white in a large bowl until foamy. Stir in honey, Worcestershire sauce and light margarine.
- Add in cereals and toasted nuts.
- Spread the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet (you may need to apply more nonstick spray).
- Bake, stirring every 5-10 minutes, for 30-40 minutes (I rotate the baking sheet every 10 minutes). *Note: serving size is 1/2c. Points Plus: 4
Spiced Cocktail Nuts (adapted from Tartine)
- 3 springs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2/3 cup raw almonds
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
- 5 1/3 cup raw peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
- Coarsely chop the leaves of thyme and rosemary. In a large bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, light corn syrup, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper (make sure this is thoroughly combined, you may need to add upto 2 tablespoons of water).
- Add almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and peanuts and mix thoroughly.
- Spread the nuts evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
- Roast the nuts (~15 minutes), stirring every 5 minutes and rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking time. Let cool. Serving size: 1/2 cup; yields 30 servings. Points Plus: 6