Want to increase the quality of your sleep?
The national sleep foundation just released an updated sleep duration recommendation based on your age. Here are their recommendations:
- Zero to three months of age: 14 to 17 hours
- Four to 11 months of age: 12 to 15 hours
- One to two years of age: 11 to 14 hours
- Three to five years of age: 10 to 13 hours
- Six to 13 years of age: nine to 11 hours
- 14 to 17 years of age: eight to 10 hours
- 18 to 25 years of age: seven to nine hours
- 26 to 64 years of age: seven to nine hours
- 65 and older: seven to eight hours
That’s a lot!
However, that much sleep is useless if you are restless and tossing and turning all night…
Boost your sleep tonight by following these guidelines:
- Don’t eat for a few hours before bed
- Get some vigorous exercise during the day
- Avoid using the computer or watching TV for a couple hours before bed
- If you use the computer at night, use the program “Flux” to reduce blue light from your screen. A similar program for your phone is “Twilight.” I use and recommend both.
- Drink some hot non-caffeinated herbal tea at night
- Eliminate caffeinated drinks after 3pm or so
- Meditate a bit before bed – nothing complicated or weird, just lay comfortably and focus on emptying your mind. Focus all your attention on your breath: four seconds in, pause for one second, four seconds out, pause for one second. Try to feel your diaphragm move as your breathe.
- Invest in a quality mattress. Avoid the mattresses at the big mattress stores, they use low quality foam and usually only offer you good support for a couple of years. I have an Intellibed and love it. It provides the best alignment and pressure relief of any mattress I’ve looked at. If you check them out and want to buy one of their mattresses, tell them I sent you and you will get a discount.
I recently got a sleep tracking app for my phone that is pretty cool, called “Sleep Cycle.” It determines your phases of sleep based on your frequency of movement.
Remember a couple weeks ago I sent an article about how black and green tea reduces mercury absorption from fish? It was pretty good timing, because yesterday the SF Gate published an article based on a study showing mercury levels in fish have been rising by 3.8% annually. Don’t forget to drink your tea!
Recipe of the Week
If you recall, last week I posted a recipe for polenta. Here is a great dish to accompany the polenta: braised chicken legs.
4 chicken legs seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 sliced onions
4 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 rosemary sprig
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
Heat up a steel pan on medium heat. When the pan is sufficiently hot, pour in the olive oil to coat the inside of the pan. Put the legs in the pan skin side down and sear them until the skin turns golden brown. This should take 5-10 minutes. Once the skin side is seared, turn the legs over and sear the other side for a few minutes. Take the legs off the pan and put them aside for now.
Put the onions in the still hot and oily pan and cook them until they are translucent, then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and diced tomatoes to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom with a spatula to get off anything that has stuck. Put the bay leaf and rosemary into the pan as well. Put the chicken back in, and make sure the liquid covers a little over half the chicken. Put the heat on low and simmer for about 45 minutes.
This dish goes well with the polenta because they take about the same amount of time to cook. This is one of my favorite chicken recipes of all time. Maybe only second to the Chicken and Bread Salad at Zuni Cafe.
– Dr. Alex, the san jose chiropractor