The Altitude of Gratitude

Gratitude Activity: The Fragrance of Life

  1. The Garden and the Rodeo.
  2. July Outdoor Adventure.
  3. 8 things Sleep Experts on the Mornings After a Poor Night Sleep.
  4. Blue Zone Lifestyle habit #7.

Instant Garden

My stay at my daughters’ home in Colorado is a restorative 2 months for me. Her job does not give her time to garden and the northern Colorado growing season is short. Then enter the old coach (dad) from Las Vegas. I love to eat freshly picked stuff from the garden. It tastes better to me. A morning walk to the garden, pick a little kale, chard, and cherry tomatoes or radishes, and pop them in my mouth before any judgment of the day begins. They feel and taste healthy and energizing. We needed a garden. Joe, my daughter’s boyfriend, tilled a small area and added a layer of good dirt to improve the clay soil. We went to Bonnie Plants and got some bargains. It created an instant garden. Now I’m weeding, watering, and eating fresh produce. Thanks, Bonnie.

Instant Garden

I just finished reading “Plant over Processed” by Andrea Hannemann. She makes everything sound delicious. It’s a free book on my Amazon e-reader. Check it out.

July had lots of activities as a Summer Vacation should. On one of our nights, we went to the 100th Greeley Stampede. It was Championship Rodeo night and was great fun. The excitement, pageantry, and food smells were in the air. Unhealthy eating and drinking are part of the festivities. There is no healthy choice. I went for a smoked turkey leg and large water instead of the sugar-loaded funnel cake and a large soda.

Rodeo

Other activities had me golfing, camping, kayaking, and hiking. 10-mile hikes at 10,000 feet required me to draw on some physical reserves, but the scenery was spectacular. The camping was world-class. I was at Rocky Mountain Nation Park and Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Park. The Senior Nation Park Pass is a great benefit.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Poudre River

It is time to end my vacation and return to Las Vegas and teaching. I am so grateful to have had this time this year. Thank you to my daughter, granddaughter, and Joe. All my new Colorado friends, thank you for welcoming me.

Now some health business. I make some poor food choices after a bad night’s sleep. I did some research on this and found out that those poor choices are biological responses. They are designed in our DNA to preserve life. Here are 8 things Sleep Experts do in the morning after a poor night’s sleep. The information is quoted from Livestrong.com.

1. ‘Water First, Then Coffee’

Rather than reaching for the pot of coffee, fill up your water bottle first. Harris sips a glass of cold lemon water first thing in the morning. “The water helps to wake my system up, especially the cold temperature and lemon,” she says. “It’s refreshing.”

But don’t worry, coffee is still on the menu. If you’re a java drinker, sip your coffee ​after​ rehydrating with the water. “Coffee helps to give me more of a mental edge, and I find that it helps when I haven’t gotten enough sleep one night,” Harris explains.

However, she warns, don’t use it as a sleep substitute. In other words, you shouldn’t stay up and think that you can just down a lot of coffee the next day to stay alert.

2. ‘Get Your Butt Out of Bed’

For Rebecca Robbins, PhD, a sleep scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep is a consequence of what we do over the course of the day. The first step for good sleep at night: Get up on time in the morning.

“It’s tempting that when your alarm goes off, you want to hit the snooze. That’s wrong. The sleep you get after an alarm is poor quality,” she tells LIVESTRONG.com.

What’s more, you want to shuffle out of bed at the normal time. As Robbins explains, there’s a process called the homeostatic drive for sleep. “That means that over the course of the day, sleepiness builds like a clock. Each additional hour awake adds to that overall sense of sleepiness. Start that clock ticking,” she says.

3. ‘Prioritize’

After a bad night of sleep, it’s easy to catastrophize and think you’ll be a wreck all day and won’t be able to get anything done. And while you might not be on top of your game per usual, “data shows that one bad night isn’t the end of the world,” Seema Khosla, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep in Fargo, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

Still, acknowledge that you might not be able to attend to everything on your list. “I know I don’t function as well when I’m tired, so then I prioritize what needs to be done. If it is something really important, I’ll leave that for another day when I’m sharper,” Dr. Khosla says.

4. ‘Seek Out Lots of Light’

One of the things you want to do to stop sleepiness after a poor night of zzzs? Get blue light exposure. Natural sunlight contains blue light.

“Getting this light into your eyeballs is one of the best ways to kickstart the awake phase of your circadian rhythm,” Robbins says.

If you work outside your house, you can get this by simply walking outside to your car or public transportation. If you WFH, go take your dog (or yourself) out for a morning walk. (Consider that your commute time.)

If you can’t get outside, then Robbins recommends cracking open a window at the very least to let in fresh air and sunlight.

5. ‘Schedule Some Light Exercise’

If you’re truly tired, then now might not be the time for a HIIT workout or one where you’re lifting heavy weights, as these may not be safe if you’re not alert. But it still pays to move your body.

“I make sure to exercise, but lightly. I’ll do a walk on the treadmill or easy yoga, but I do something to move, even if it wasn’t my planned hard run or weight-lifting session,” Harris says.

Besides, exercise has been shown to be good for sleep: Physical activity can improve sleep quality in people with insomnia, concluded a July 2018 meta-analysis in PeerJ.

6. ‘Find Time for a Cat Nap’

Good night or bad, you probably notice that your energy levels, alertness and focus dip after lunch. That’s not the time to reach for more coffee, which can make it harder to fall asleep later.

“The best strategy is to repay some of your sleep debt, and that’s with a five- to 20-minute nap,” Robbins says.

Set your alarm clock and lay in a comfortable place. If you can’t sleep or won’t fall asleep right away, that’s totally fine. “Any sleep you can get will be better than none,” she says.

Even closing your eyes and resting can help you feel more awake and ready to jump into the afternoon than if you simply tried to push through it. Plus, with this short power nap, you won’t wake up groggy.

7. ‘Make Healthy Food Choices’

When you’re tired, you’re pulled more toward unhealthy food choices — such as higher-sugar foods — which your body naturally gravitates to for a little pick-me-up.

“Keep an eye on your appetite,” Robbins says. “Research shows that it’s more difficult to figure out when you’re full [when you’re tired]. Overeating will impact your sleep because your body will have to work on digesting that food overnight,” she explains.

Be aware of sleep’s impact on your appetite and food choices throughout the day, but especially at dinner. Planning a healthy, light dinner — we’re talking half your plate of veggies, some lean protein, complex carbs and a bit of healthy fat — will encourage restful sleep.

And give yourself time to digest before going to bed. Eating within an hour of bedtime has been found to decrease sleep quality, notes a September 2016 review in Advances in Nutrition.

8. ‘Plan Out the Next Night’

Think about what went wrong last night, such as being on your phone before sleep or trying to fit in work before bed or waking up early to fit more in (all things Dr. Khosla says she’s done, so you’re not alone).

If possible, the next night, start your wind-down routine earlier, she advises. “No one is a perfect sleeper. Sometimes I just need to treat myself like I would treat any of my patients and extend myself a little grace. All of this allows me to reset,” Dr. Khosla says.

Her tried-and-true tips? Limit caffeine after lunch, avoid sunlight late in the day and put your phone away earlier so you can tuck in and get the rest you need.

Blue Zone Lesson # 7

The Blue Zones

9 Lessons For Living Longer

From the people who’ve lived the longest

by Dan Buettner

This is not meant to be a book review, but a chance to impart some great information that we all need to know.

“Life expectancy of an American born today averages 78.2 years. But this year, over 70,000 Americans have reached their 100 birthday.”

Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic to find the world’s longest-lived people and study them. They found pockets of people around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people to reach age 100.

The 5 places are:

Barbagia region of Sardinia-mountainous highlands

Ikaria, Greece-Aegean Island

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Seventh Day Adventist-around Loma Linda, California

Okinawa, Japan-Island area.

They put together medical researchers, anthropologists, Demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators. They found nine lifestyle and diet habits .

Here is the first Lifestyle habit:

1. Move Naturally.

“The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.”

How do I incorporate this into my life?

“Inconvenience Yourself”

“Have fun, Keep moving’

“Walk”

2. Purpose.

“The Okinawans call it ‘Ikigai’ and the Nicoyans call it ‘plan de vida;’for both it translates to ‘why I wake up in the morning.’ Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.”

In his book, The author says to take time to see the big picture. For me, I know some days are going to not be pain free. Having a purpose helps me push the pain and strain aside.

#3. Down shift

“Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.”

#4. 80% Rule

“‘Hara hachi bu’ -the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.”

#5. Plant Slant

“Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat–mostly pork–is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.”

#6. Wine @ 5

“People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

#7. Belong

All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

That’s #7; there are 2 lessons to go and some discussion of each.

Be Healthy,

Coach Brown