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Think about the pillars of health—sleep, diet, exercise and stress management. September offers a unique opportunity to focus on a new regime, one that gets you on your way to a healthier, new you!

Sleep

It’s not just about being rested and getting enough sleep, it’s about rejuvenation and healing. While everyone needs 7—8 hours of shut-eye, adequate stage—4 sleep and a consistent wake time are vital. Studies show that shifting your wake time by 90 minutes or more reduces energy and increases body fat, independent of diet and exercise. So aim to get into bed close to the same hour each night and more importantly, get up around the same time each day. A dose of melatonin taken 30 minutes before bedtime promotes stage 4 sleep and resets your sleep cycle. And a healthy sleep gives you the energy to embrace a busier September routine.

Diet

Back to school often means more driving. You don’t expect your car to perform well with cheap oil and gas, so why put poor quality nutrients in your body and expect it to be healthy and energetic? Eating well takes a little time and forethought. I suggest you start by planning 3 to 5 days of menu ideas, and cook more than one meal at a time. Try to get the right ratio of nutrients on your plate with protein in every meal and something green on your plate every day. Commit to removing one bad thing from your diet such as white sugar, white bread or desserts in general. Do it as a family and then have treat night once a week, when you all share a special treat together. We don’t need to be perfect, but we do need to eat essential nutrients from whole foods every day.

Exercise

It's not just about weight loss, it is about increasing muscle strength, improving circulation and feeling well. Your body benefits from any type of movement so just get moving. As a family, it could be dancing, bowling, going for a walk, or a group game of Frisbee. Ideally, exercise should be a regular part of your routine, but if not, choose an activity which you can fit into your schedule at least twice a week.

Stress Management

September is known as one of the most stressful times of the year, second to Christmas. With this in mind, learn to say ‘no’ and don’t overbook your schedule. And learn some stress reducing techniques, such as deep breathing, massage therapy, watching a funny movie and laughing. Taking magnesium at the end of your day helps reset the GABA receptors in the brain and decrease stress hormone production. Magnesium also helps to relax muscles, regulate bowels and decrease headaches, all of which help reduce stress.

I hope there are some positive actions you will take to support your overall health as you embrace this new and important month. Here’s to a new you!