10 WAYS TO LIVE LONGER, PLUS, A DELICIOUS TWIST ON CHICKEN SOUP #522 02/27/2013
Tell a friend

7 Real World Tips to Get More Sleep

By Denis Faye

About a year ago, I decided to take back my night. It had been three years since my divorce, a hellish experience that had completely robbed me of my ability to sleep. 3 hours was an average night. 5 hours was a miracle.

Woman In Bed

Much like a good yoga workout, time heals all wounds, so eventually my pity party ended—but the sleep thing didn't correct itself, so while life was okay, it was by no means awesome. My performance suffered athletically, mentally, and (most horrifically) in terms of that other thing people do in bed.

It's by no means surprising. From an athletic perspective, a study from Stanford University shows that athletes who slept 10 hours a night showed a marked increase in performance.1 Another study out from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that healthy sleep habits help to "reboot" your brain, making room for new knowledge.2 As for the sex thing, just take my word for it.

The first step I took in addressing my sleep issue was to take all the tired, old advice you've read a thousand times. Some of it actually worked quite well.

  1. I instituted a regular bedtime of 10 PM to give my body's natural rhythms a cue.
  2. Man Drinking CoffeeI stopped drinking coffee after noon, giving myself substantially more time than the 6 hours caffeine typically takes to get through your system.
  3. I took natural sleep aids. Melatonin didn't do squat for me. Some experts theorize this is because supplementing this hormone only works on people who are naturally low on it. Valerian root, however, worked like a charm—despite the stink. Finding the right natural sleep aid might take you a few tries, but don't give up until you've tried all the different (safe) sleep supplements out there. One of them is bound to knock you on your keister.

While these tricks certainly helped, my sleep was still less than perfect. I wanted to try the other tips out there, but they just didn't make sense to me. For example, "Turn your bedroom into calming place." The walls of my room are covered in neon rock show posters and garish Hindu tapestries. Awesome? Yes. Calming? Not so much—but I'm not about to take them down. But one day, on a whim, I strung some blue holiday lights across my window. They bathed my sleep space in a soothing, cool light, despite the wall hangings. That's when it hit me.

Generic advice is just that: generic. That doesn't mean it's bad; it just means you shouldn't be afraid to adapt it for your own needs. It's a question of trying variations on the theme until something clicks. From there, I started to have some serious fun with my sleep project. Here are a few more tweaks that worked:

Man In Bed TextingWhat they told me to do: "Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone."
The basic notion is that all those magnetic waves and glowing screens mess with your circadian rhythms and distract you from sleeping.

What I did: Like most Americans, not only do my iThings entertain and delight me during the daylight hours, but I use them as an alarm clock, a white noise machine, and a place to jot down things that occur to me in the middle of night—all crucial to a good night's sleep. I wasn't willing to give all that up.

However, I was willing to pare down. I use both my iPad® and my iPhone® for all of the above. However, I also use my iPhone for receiving phone calls and texts. Even if I disable the alerts for these features, it's just so tempting to check texts manually at 2 AM because, you know, Commissioner Gordon might need me to go fight the Riddler or something.

My simple solution was to sequester my iPhone to the kitchen each night and keep the iPad in my bedroom for more relaxing tasks. Bye-bye late night texting. Batman will need to save Gotham without me.

What you can do: Look around your bedroom. What do you really need in there? Even if you don't believe in the whole magnetic waves thing, there are probably a bunch of buzzing, blinking lights you could do without. Ditch some, hide others in drawers, and put blankets over the rest.

What they told me to do: "Work out at night."
Why? Because the post-exercise cool-down process helps make you sleepy.

What I did: If I work out before bed, I'm amped. My brain's on an adrenaline groove and I'm ready to take over the planet. What I need is something to wind down. Enter yoga.

Yoga has a host of benefits, but it helps me around bedtime on two fronts. First, it acts as a mellow series of stretches that relax my muscles for slumber. Second, matching your breath to your movements—ujjayi breathing, they call it—takes focus. That, in turn, takes my mind off the baggage I accumulate every day. When I've mentally distanced myself from that pending 10,000-word deadline, it's easier to hit the sack.

What you can do: Start noting how you feel after your various workouts. What pumps you up? What mellows you out? Maybe even track this in a journal. When you see relaxation patterns, start doing those workouts at night.

Woman Looking at the ClockWhat they told me to do: "If you're not asleep in ten minutes, get up."
This one comes from the idea that you're probably not ready to sleep and lying there will only stress you out.

What I did: I have a Tempur-Pedic® mattress and a down comforter. They're really comfortable, so if insomnia hits me on a cold winter's night, the last thing I want to do is press my feet on the cold, hardwood floor and go mosey. Instead of changing locations, I changed mind-sets. When I can't sleep, I resign myself to the fact. I say, "I can't sleep. Bummer. Oh well, I'll just lie here and be comfortable." For some reason, relieving myself of the burden of slumber works like a charm and I typically drift off in ten minutes.

What you can do: Some of us struggle with sleep. It stinks, but sometimes we just need to embrace it. A long-term sleeping issue can cause health issues, but if you have one lousy night of sleep, it's not that big of a deal. So when you have a bad case of "the awakes," think of it as an isolated case. Shrug your shoulders and accept that, worst case, you might be a little sleepy tomorrow.


Resources:

  1. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. Cheri D. Mah, Kenneth E. Mah, Eric J. Kezirian, William C. Dement Sleep. 2011 July 1; 34(7): 943–950.
  2. Walker MP, Stickgold R. Overnight alchemy: sleep-dependent memory evolution. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2010; 11: 218.

Related Articles
"Ask the Expert: When Should I Stop Eating at Night?"
"10 Tips to Get the Best Sleep Ever"
"11 Ways You Can Use Your Phone to Get Fit"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Submit a CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

Back to top.


Hip Hop Abs®
Our Lowest price ever!—$19.95
Get flat, sexy abs without ever doing a single crunch or sit-up!
Order today to Save 75%!
Have fun dancing the weight away and get great results with Shaun T's Hip Hop Abs®.
ORDER NOW
BEACHBODY ULTIMATE RESET®
Want more restful sleep?

The Beachbody Ultimate Reset® is a comprehensive cleanse program designed to promote healthy body chemistry, during which participants report better sleep. Feel better. Sleep better. Get the Ultimate Reset today!

ORDER NOW
Les Mills Pump
Work out 3 times a week with 7 fat-blasting workouts.
Get flat abs, lean legs, and sculpted arms with LES MILLS PUMP, the world's fastest way to get in shape!
ORDER NOW
Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program or using any supplement or meal replacement product.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
SHOP ALL BEST SELLERS

Back to top.


10 Ways To Live Longer

By Sarah Stevenson

If I told you I know the secrets that could extend the quality years of your life and how you can live longer, would you want them? Then try these 10 on for size!

Couple Smiling and having a good time.

  1. Watch What You Eat
    Researchers have found that decreasing your caloric intake can increase a person's life span as well as decrease their chances of age-related diseases.1 Certain foods can help as well. Here are 3 to add to your diet:
    • Fish: Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that keep your cholesterol low and keeps your heart ticking. Wild-caught salmon, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel are some of your best choices.
    • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which stimulates your immune system and wards off free radicals that can mess with your organs.
    • Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is high in vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. It helps keep your bones strong and healthy, boosts your immune system, and can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  2. Couple Outside Exercise
    Most of us are sedentary, but did you know that decreasing the amount of time you sit by 3 hours a week can add up to 2 years to your life?2 Exercise, even walking, wakes up your organs, gets your blood flowing, strengthens your lungs, and stimulates your muscles.
  3. Never Stop Learning
    If you don't use it, you will lose it. One of the most exciting findings of the late 20th century was Brain Plasticity.3 According to Newsweek journalist Sharon Begley's Try Your Mind, Change Your Brain, you don't need to have the young spongy gray matter of a 4-year-old to learn to play the violin; you may have to work a bit harder, but the more you use your brain the better it will work for you. You are never too old to go back to school to learn a new language, subject, or skill. Be a student of life
    .
  4. Improve and Extend Your Social Network
    Current research suggests that building and maintaining healthy, fulfilling relationships improves mental health, quality of life, and longevity.4 An analysis in the journal PLOS Medicine reviewed the lives of 309,000 people across 148 studies and discovered that those with close friends lived longer.5
  5. Catch some Z's
    Do you stay up late or toss and turn through the night? While getting 7–8 hours of sleep can improve your life (and your workout results), the amount of sleep each person requires varies between individuals. What's most important is that you get quality sleep on a regular basis as researchers note that those who do live healthier, longer lives.6 Poor sleep patterns are also linked to poor health and obesity. Having trouble getting a good night's sleep? Check out this article for some great tips.
  6. Woman Playing with a DogGet a Pet
    Pets can keep you from feeling lonely, make you laugh, decrease depression, and encourage exercise7 . . . all of which improve the quality of your life. Researchers reported that pet owners who were released from the hospital after surgery from a heart attack were 12% more likely to survive than the patients who did not own a pet.8 So, I would say it's time to go rescue a dog or cat and improve two lives at once!
  7. Relax
    Do you freak out over little things? Find yourself waking up tense? Time to find some ways to decompress before the stress messes with your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association®, men with high blood pressure are 3 times more likely to develop heart disease and 6 times more likely to have a heart attack by the age of 55.9 So head out to the next yoga class or find something meditative to calm you when the rest of your life goes sideways.
  8. Live With Plants
    Houseplants improve the quality of the air we breathe. They eliminate indoor air pollutants that have been responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths per year.10 And, they're nice to look at. The best pollution-eating plants for your home or office are the English Ivy, Purple Waffle Plant, Asparagus Fern, and Waxy Leaf Plant.
  9. Woman Brushing her TeethMaintain Healthy Teeth
    Flossing might be a pain, but dirty teeth and gums can kill you. If infectious bacteria gets lodged between the gums, they can trigger an immune response and they might play a role in heart and cardiovascular disease.11 In order to keep your teeth nice and healthy, avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, floss daily, use antibacterial mouthwash, brush teeth at least twice a day, and see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup.
  10. Have Sex
    Sex doesn't just feel good—it burns calories and orgasms release stress-reducing endorphins into your bloodstream! These feel-good chemicals can relieve the pain associated with arthritis and other age-related illnesses. No partner? Go solo! Your heart, lungs, and even your skin will still enjoy the benefits.12

Resources:

  1. Willcox, D. C., Willcox, B. J., Todoriki, H., Curb, J. D., & Suzuki, M. (2006). Caloric restriction and human longevity: what can we learn from the Okinawans?. Biogerontology, 7(3), 173-177.
  2. Hamel, G. (2003). Leading the revolution: How to thrive in turbulent times by making innovation a way of life. Harvard Business Press.
  3. Begley, S. (2007). Train your mind, change your brain: How a new science reveals our extraordinary potential to transform ourselves. Random House Digital, Inc.
  4. Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam.
  5. Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T., et al. Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-Analytic Review. Plos Medicine. July 2010.
  6. Kripke, D., Garfinkel, L., et al. Mortality Associated with Sleep Duration and Insomnia. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2002. 59(2), 131-136.
  7. Beck, A., & Katcher, A. (1996). Between pets and people. Purdue University Press.
  8. Friedman, H. S. (2011). The longevity project: Surprising discoveries for health and long life from the landmark eight-decade study. Hay House, Inc.
  9. Lloyd-Jones, D., Adams, R. J., Brown, T. M., Carnethon, M., Dai, S., De Simone, G., ... & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2010). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2010 update. Circulation, 121(7), e46-e215.
  10. Rehfuess, E., Mehta, S., & Prüss-Üstün, A. (2006). Assessing household solid fuel use: multiple implications for the Millennium Development Goals. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), 373.
  11. Flores, S. M., & Harris, H. (2012). Beware! Gum disease. Nursing made Incredibly Easy, 10(2), 9.
  12. Lindberg, M. (2008). The Orgasmic Diet: A Revolutionary Plan to Lift Your Libido and Bring You to Orgasm. Three Rivers Press.

Related Articles
"The Beachbody Ultimate Challenge: 5 Tips to Transform Your Life"
"7 Colors of the Phytonutrient Rainbow: How Eating a Variety of Colors Can Keep You Healthy"
"Ten 10-Second Stress Busters"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Submit a CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

Back to top.


Could Eating Eggs Improve Your Health?

By Hilary Vreeland

I have a post-holiday secret for you. There's a food that can help you power through workouts, lose weight while building lean muscle, and provide you with more sustained energy throughout your day. The food? Eggs. If it sounds too good to be true, keep reading. I'm going to let you in on a few secrets about eggs that will help you get back on track this winter.

Eggs Benedict

We've all heard conflicting information about eggs. On one hand, they're "bad for you" because they raise your cholesterol. On the other hand, some tout a Rocky-esque approach and suggest eating a dozen eggs a day during strenuous training. While extreme ideas about eggs make for exciting headlines, the truth lies in the middle.

The Truth About Cholesterol

It's true that eggs can raise your overall cholesterol, but there's more to the story. Let's take a deeper look at how the cholesterol contained in eggs actually affects your body.

Heart-Shaped Egg YolkThere are two components to cholesterol: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). An easy way to remember where you want those numbers to go is to think of H for "high" and L for "low." You want to raise your "good" HDL cholesterol and lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol. Eggs are a superfood that, when consumed in moderation, have been shown to raise your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol.1 For the best results, eat the whole egg—yolk and white—to get the full protein and fat nutrient payoff. For more details on how your cholesterol works, click here.

The fat content of a whole egg—specifically the yolk—is important too. Healthy fats help your brain function more efficiently. A big myth is that eating fat will make you fat.That's simply untrue. In fact, you need a good amount of healthy, monounsaturated fats to help your brain function.2 If your brain isn't optimally functioning, your energy, immunity, and ability to lose weight will all suffer.

Egg yolks are also packed with important micronutrients. Impressively high concentrations of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin D make this small caloric investment really worth your while.

Where'd You Get Those Eggs?

Another important factor to keep in mind when consuming eggs is quality. The quality of the egg is directly related to the care of the chicken. Free-range or cage-free eggs are your best bet. I know these labels can be confusing, and they're certainly not perfectly regulated. An easy way around this is to know your farmer. You could try out going to your local farmers' market and getting to know the people that grow your food. Then you can just ask the farmer how they raise their chickens. Another perk of buying directly from a farmer is that you know those eggs are fresh—they haven't been sitting on a truck or in the back of a grocery store for a week or more.

EggsYou'll quickly recognize that chicken eggs from smaller farms, or free-range or cage-free eggs, might have orange yolks instead of yellow. This is a good sign! The color of the yolk comes from what the chicken has been fed. Chickens who eat fresh corn and green plants produce eggs with more orange-colored yolks.

Orange yolks signal the presence of a powerful group of antioxidants called carotenoids. Including beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, carotenoids help protect against some types of cancer. You can see how important it is to get the real thing as opposed to factory-farmed chickens that are fed yellow dye with their grain to make their yolks look healthier.

Secondly, the treatment of the chicken is important. If they are cooped up in a factory farm, never see the light of day, and are literally on top of each other, those stress hormones are going to be passed on to their eggs. With our busy lives, we don't need any more cortisol—a stress hormone that, in excess, can be associated with weight gain. A cage-free or free-range chicken is going to be happier and healthier, and produce a better quality egg with significantly increased amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.3

Working Eggs Into Your Diet

So how do you maximize the payoff of eating eggs? The most important part of any eating plan is to remember that you're an individual. What works for you is most likely not going to work for the next person. The best way to calculate your perfect egg intake is to tune into your body and experiment. How do you feel when you eat one egg versus two? What time of day works best for you? First thing in the morning? Preworkout? Postworkout? Don't forget to take your activity level into account. Someone whose job requires them to be mostly sitting all day—even if they work out before or after work—is simply going to need a smaller quantity food than, say, a bike messenger.

QuicheAnother tool you could use is food-combining. The body processes certain foods well together. For the high-protein egg, vegetables are the perfect combination. Omelets and frittatas are a great way to get a huge nutrient boost while using up those extra veggies from dinner last night. When cooking eggs, also think about the quality of oil or butter you're using. Virgin coconut oil or organic olive oils are best. If you're cooking with olive oil, remember to use low heat.

Now you know the truth about eggs. The last thing I can tell you is that adding eggs into your diet is a great way to crowd out other foods that aren't serving your health goals. Eggs are filling and satisfying—they'll never leave you feeling deprived. Now that you know the truth about eggs, you can enjoy exploring what they can do for you, guilt-free.

Resources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18575296
  2. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201205/dietary-fats-improve-brain-function
  3. http://www.rps.psu.edu/0305/poultry.html

Related Articles
"Ask the Expert: How Can I Improve My Cholesterol?"
"10 Popular Diet Tips to Ignore"
"Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie: 6 Tricks to Kick the Habit"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Submit a CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

Back to top.



Recipe: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

(Makes 4 servings)


Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)
For a new twist on an old standby, try this quick chicken soup inspired by the classic Greek soup Avgolemono (meaning "egg-lemon").

In the process of making the soup, the egg and lemon combine with the chicken broth to create a creamy base that's tangy and delicious. With chunks of tender chicken, spinach, and whole wheat pasta, it's a healthy, well-rounded soup that you can get on the table in under 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry whole wheat penne (1-1/2 oz.)
  • 1 lb. raw chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6–9 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided use
  • 4 cups low-sodium, organic chicken broth, hot
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente; drain. Cool.
  2. Heat medium nonstick skillet, lightly coated with spray, over medium heat.
  3. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together eggs and 6 Tbsp. lemon juice in a large bowl. Slowly add broth, whisking constantly, until outside of bowl feels warm to the touch.
  5. Transfer egg mixture to medium saucepan. Add chicken, spinach, pasta, and any remaining broth; cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper if desired; add remaining 3 Tbsp. lemon juice to taste if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
231 6 g 2 g 119 mg 300 mg 13 g 0 g 1 g 32 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


Body Beast and P90X®/P90X2® Portion Information

Body Beast Nutritional Information:

Protein Carb/Starch
1 1/2 1/2



P90X/P90X2 Nutritional Information:

Proteins Starch
3 1





If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Back to top.

Print this page
Reviews
Be the first to write a review, opinion or comment.
Submit a review  
Previous Next
Click here to compare Beachbody fitness programs
eGift Cards are here!—Beachbody®—Order Now
P90X2™
ChaLEAN Extreme®
Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2™
Debbie Siebers' Slim in 6®
INSANITY®
Brazil Butt Lift®—AVAILABLE NOW!
Now Available—TurboFire®—Intense Cardio Conditioning—Learn More

Follow Beachbody Online

Connect with Beachbody, fans, coaches, and your favorite trainers!

Social Media
Beachbody
Beachbody
Blogs
Carl Daikeler
Beauty By Beachbody
Steve Edwards
Tony Horton
Chalene Johnson
Message Boards
Beachbody Message Boards
RSS Feeds (What is RSS?)
Beachbody Newsletter
P90X Extreme Newsletter

Share This Page

Bookmark or share this page by emailing it to your friends, or adding it to your favorite networking sites! Simply mouse over the Share icon below for options.

Bookmark and Share