Whether you currently have diabetes, are at risk for developing it, or simply want to avoid developing it, there can be many reasons to want to work on your metabolic health. While many may think that they are doomed to deal with this health issue, the reality is that it can be managed and even prevented easily with some lifestyle changes.
If you want to begin changing your health for the better, then you need to take some time to understand how your metabolic health works, and how to manage it properly. If you're looking for some tips that can help you get your health in order, then here are some things to keep in mind.
Start By Tuning In
The first thing you should do when you are looking to improve your health is to make sure that you are tuning into it properly, and really getting a thorough understanding of where you are at healthwise. One way to do this is to make sure that you have a continuous glucose monitor so that you can check your blood sugar levels properly. Making sure that you have an accurate idea of what your blood sugar levels are is the starting point to improving your health. If you don't know what your levels truly are, then it can be difficult to know where to begin, and how much work you truly need to do.
The better of an idea you have of where you're starting from, the easier it will be for you to set meaningful goals, and make real progress towards better health.
Your Diet Matters
While most are aware that diet has a lot to do with their metabolic health and diabetes management, they may not understand just how big of an impact it has. Because diet has such a huge impact it can be beneficial to take steps to understand what constitutes a healthy diet, and to track your meals regularly. One good way to do this is to begin keeping a food journal.
When you keep a food journal, you can more easily detect patterns in your eating, and get an idea of how each food you eat impacts you and your blood sugar. Even for those who believe that they are already eating a healthy diet, keeping a food journal can be highly beneficial. This is due to the fact that there are many foods that are marketed as health foods that in fact contain high levels of additives and excess sugars.
Ultimately, these foods could be sabotaging your blood sugar and your health without you even realizing it. By recording the foods that you eat and how you feel after eating them, you can see a more direct connection between your meals and your health, and change your diet accordingly. Additionally, you may also begin to notice how different foods impact your blood sugar levels, which can also aid you in making positive changes.
Activity Levels Make a Difference
Along with your diet, you also need to be aware that your activity levels are important and can have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels, and your health overall. Regular physical activity can be great for maintaining healthy blood sugar. Also, the good news is that there are many types of activity that can be great for you, so you don't need to feel limited, or like you can't work out the way that you want to.
From power walking to powerlifting, many different exercises can be effective for maintaining healthy blood sugar and keeping your energy up. What matters is that you make time for regular exercise and that you make sure to keep your body moving for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Quality Sleep Is Important
Just as diet and exercise are important for good metabolic health, quality sleep also makes a big difference in how you feel and how well you are able to function. When you sleep, your body undergoes many healing and reparative processes, including managing your blood sugar levels. If you don't sleep well or don't get enough sleep in general, then it may be difficult for your body to undertake the processes that it needs to. Understandably, this can cause pre-existing issues to worsen, and may eventually cause a healthy person to develop issues that they didn't have before.
To avoid the extra stress on your system that a lack of sleep can cause, it is important to make good sleep a top priority, especially if you want to have better metabolic health. While that may feel difficult to do in today's hectic world, the reality is that there are many simple things you can do to start getting better sleep tonight.
One way to start sleeping better at night is to make sure that you use the last couple of hours before bed to unwind properly, rather than doing things that will keep you awake. Many may think that watching TV before bed or scrolling through news feeds on their phones are good ways to relax before bed, but the reality is that both of these things can contribute to wakefulness during the night. This is due in large part to the fact that screens emit a blue light that signals to your brain that it needs to stay awake. By swapping these habits for other ones that are truly more relaxing you can help improve your sleep quality.
One thing that can help you get in the right gear for bed is mindfulness, which is also often referred to as meditation. Some may find it difficult to meditate at first, especially if it is a new concept to them. While it may not be easy at first, with a little practice it can be an effective way to calm down your nervous system, especially when done in conjunction with deep breathing exercises.
Beyond meditation and deep breathing, there are many other relaxing activities you can take part in. Reading a book, writing in a journal, drawing or doing gentle stretches can all be great ways to help your mind unwind and get your body ready for bed. The calming activity that you choose to do often doesn't matter as much as making sure that you make it part of a regular nighttime ritual. The more that you can make it a consistent part of your routine, the more easily your body will respond and the easier it will be to fall asleep.
The Bottom Line
Whether you currently have diabetes, or you are working to prevent it, taking good care of your metabolic health is important. For some though, knowing the best way to go about it may seem difficult. The good news is that by watching your diet, activity levels and sleeping habits you can begin making positive changes today.
Consistent and quality sleep can go a long way in helping your body combat insulin resistance. Be aware, though, that resting is only part of the solution.
Exercise and healthy eating are also a big part in helping your body create and use the insulin it needs. Type 1 diabetes and some aspects of Type 2 diabetes cannot be controlled in the same way.
Sleep can help you have the energy you need to create a healthy lifestyle that can help you be resistant to insulin problems. Here are five tips that can help you and your insulin stay healthy:
- Keep a sleep journal for a week. Take care to note what time you go to sleep and what time you wake up including any time during the night you wake up. Write down what activities you do before sleeping. Also, keep track of any snoring or restless sleeping. Keeping track of your sleeping patterns can help alert you to a possible sleep disorder that needs to be evaluated and treated by a certified sleep physician.
- Set a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day can help your body know when it is time to relax and when it is time to get moving.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment. Keeping your room free from distractions, clutter, and electronics can help you feel more relaxed and help you drift off easier.
- Get the right mattress and pillow. A comfortable bed will allow you to go to sleep without discomfort.
- Change your nightly routine. The activities you choose before bed can make it harder to fall asleep. Cut out busy work and electronic use right before bed. Instead, focus on relaxing by reading a book or taking a bubble bath.
If you are concerned that your sleep deprivation is affecting your insulin, don’t delay in seeking out help. At the Alaska Sleep Clinic, we can help diagnose and treat sleep-related issues so that you are the healthiest.