3 Unhealthy Habits of 30-Something Women That Keep Them Feeling Tired All Day Long (Part 2)

Unhealthy Habit #2: SLEEP SHORTAGE

A shortage of sleep means getting anything less than 7 hours of deep, restful sleep EVERY NIGHT! Most busy women that I know don’t get enough sleep. They’re too busy climbing the corporate ladder, raising their kids, caring for their partner, whipping together healthy meals, and trying to squeeze in a workout here and there. The point is, sleep is far from being a priority and is often seen as a luxury.

Why a sleep shortage will sabotage your energy

You don’t need a medical degree to figure out that not getting enough sleep will make you feel tired! But there’s more….a sleep shortage can increase your hunger and cravings for sugar and carbs. Did you know that getting less than 6 hours of sleep for 1 night will increase your sugar cravings the next day? One night of sleep!?! Imagine how that might affect you after years of sleep deprivation. So, a sleep shortage will have you reaching for sweet treats which will leave you feeling even more tired. Have I convinced you yet to start sleeping more?

But I don’t have time to sleep…

You’re probably wondering how you’re going to find more time for sleep. I’ll let you in on a little secret ….you’ll never “find time” for sleep or any other activity for that matter! You have to “make time” which means making sleep a priority. Chose a reasonable bedtime (preferably no later than 11pm) and set an alarm for 1 hour before that time. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to start your bedtime routine. Just like when you were a kid. Our bodies need time to transition from go-go-go to zzzzzzzz. During that hour, turn off the TV, put away your cell phone and iPad and take some time to do something relaxing like reading a book, taking a hot bath or shower, or just lying in bed and doing some deep breathing. Creating a healthy bedtime routine will help you sleep better and wake up feeling more rested. Believe me; you’ll thank me in the morning!

Read About Unhealthy Habit #1

Reading Between the Lines: Nutrition Labels Decoded

Confused by nutrition labels?

 Not sure what “maltodextrin” is or what the % daily value means? Nutrition labels are only helpful if you truly know what to look for and become well-versed in nutrition “lingo”. Here’s my go-to guide to decoding nutrition labels so you can quickly decide whether a product is worthy of making it into your shopping basket.

1. First and foremost, look at the serving size!

This tells you how much of the product you get to eat in order to ingest the calories listed below. Food manufacturers are tricky and they often use very small serving sizes to make their products look healthier and lower in calories. One of my favorite examples: Gatorade presents Nutrition Facts for a serving that is ½ the bottle. How many people do you know who drink half a bottle of Gatorade? Always compare the serving size to how much of the food you will actually consume in order to get a more accurate picture of the caloric content.

2. Fat: good or bad?

Most people look at the total fat content of a product , but they never check what type of fat it is. Food labels must provide values for Total Fat, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat (aka mostly the bad stuff). But you can use that information to figure out how much good fat is in the product.

For example: if there are 9 grams of total fat (of which 2 grams are saturated and 1 gram is trans fat). That means that there are 6 grams of unsaturated fat [9-(2+1)=6]. Using simple math, we discover that a product that looks high in fat may actually be a great source of health unsaturated fats.

3. Sugar

I think this is the most important thing to look for on a label. Most of us consume copious amounts of sugar each day and it’s hidden in all foods (even the ones that look really healthy). Your added sugar intake (not including fruit) should be less than 25 grams per day(or approx. 5-6 tsp). When you start reading labels, you realize very quickly that this is not much! For example, a small container (100g) of yogurt can contain up to 12 grams of sugar (half a day’s worth!).

4. Ingredients

Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight which means that the ingredients that make up the bulk of the product are listed first. My advice: avoid anything that has sugar in the top 3 ingredients (and yes that will eliminate 95% of cereals and granola bars). But beware, food manufacturers have a trick up their sleeve in order to avoid having sugar in the top 3 ingredients….they use up to 5 different types of sugar so that each type only makes up a small % of the ingredients and therefore can be listed further down the list. Avoid this trap by referring back to the Nutrition Facts table to look at the total sugar content.

I hope that helps to simplify the mystery of Nutrition Labels. Happy label reading! Or better yet, focus on eating more foods that don’t come with a nutrition label.

Yours in health,

Sarah