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Wellness Wednesday: spring cleaning for your health habits

Posted at 9:19 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 11:19:13-04

IDAHO — Spring is a great time to hit the refresh button on your typical routine, including taking a closer look at your physical and mental health habits.

Justin Jones, a Wellness & Safety Consultant with Regence, says one of the easiest places to start is by resetting our sleep routine.

"We know that we're more vulnerable at this time of year to sleep deprivation because of Daylight Saving," explains Jones. "There's a recent study that's come out that says we lose about 40 minutes a night when we switch from standard time to Daylight Saving."

Jones says there are several ways to combat that sleep deprivation, starting with your caffeine and alcohol intake.

"Make sure we avoid caffeine close to bed as well as alcohol. Caffeine has a half-life that can stay in your body for a long time so if you're sensitive to caffeine and you're not sleeping well, take a look at how much caffeine you're intaking."

Jones adds that while alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it's notorious for disrupting sleep cycles and can lead to poor sleep quality.

"The other one is making sure we have a consistent sleep routine, especially with this time change. Get up at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. That includes weekends," Jones says. "The myth of catching up over the weekend is exactly that, just a myth."

Another way to reset your sleep is by getting outside and enjoying the sunshine -- something Jones says should be a priority now as the temperatures rise anyway.

But, as you head outside, there's one critical number to remember.

"150. That's how many minutes of exercise, moderate-intensity exercise, that we need a week," says Jones.

While 150-minutes may sound overwhelming at first, Jones says it's easier to manage by breaking it up throughout the week.

"Maybe it's two 15-minute walks a day, five days a week or maybe it's a 30-minute walk, five days a week which I really recommend."

Other ways to get your exercise minutes in include gardening, hiking, hanging out outside with your kids, or even picking up a sport like volleyball, pickleball, or badminton.

"Really my best advice there is do whatever makes you happy," says Jones.

Jones says don't forget about sun safety as you plan a trip outdoors and always use sunscreen with an SPF protection of at least 30. You should also take note of your mental health habits and add activities like deep breathing, mindfulness practices, or journaling to your daily routine.

For more tips and ideas on how to refresh your health habits, click here.