July 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Staying Healthy by Staying Warm and Catching a Nap

It has been unusually cold these past few weeks. Even though the temperature is below freezing, I see children and adults who are not dressed appropriately for the weather. Why is it so important to stay warm?

Our bodies need warmth to process food, to eliminate waste and to provide good flow in the lymph system to keep our immune system strong. We lose the most heat through the top of our heads, finger and toe tips. We need to keep our core warm (around the navel and below) in order to process and eliminate.

Look at the birds, do you see how puffed up they are?

We should do the same: Wear a warm hat, warm gloves, warm socks and good boots. Add an extra layer of heat-retaining clothing such as silk or wool long-sleeved undershirts and silk or wool long johns.

Cheaper than an electric blanket, a hot water bottle under your feet and on your belly at night are perfect on those cold nights, when the sheets are icy, and it takes forever to warm up the bed. Don’t forget your children. They love the hot water bottles as much as we do.

Cold weather is for warm drinks, so please skip the ice, refrigerated drinks and ice creams until the warmer weather is here again. Your body will thank you and you will stay healthier during the winter.

It’s not just about keeping warm! Naps are good for you, too.

Babies, toddlers and children benefit greatly from taking a nap….if their parents let them. Yes, there are some parents who do not think naps are beneficial and yet they get very disturbed when their young children disintegrate toward evening and become impossible to deal with. Maybe a nice nap would have helped?

The ritual of daily napping for adults has been well established for hundreds of years in Europe and is even popular today in China. Millions of Chinese workers nap for an hour after eating lunch at their desks.

Studies have shown that we are more alert, think more creatively and have better recall when we nap. On top of that, we are more relaxed, have better moods and more energy. Some studies show we may even have better motor skills, especially for people who do precision work.

Now that I have convinced you a nap is essential, how much time should you allocate? 10 to 20 minutes seems to be the max. Longer naps leave many people feeling groggy and less alert.

Here are some other pointers:

• take a nap at a time of the day when your energy is low:

• early afternoon is often the best time

• find a room with low light levels

• set an alarm (Zen version would be great) with soft gong to gently lure you back to your daily activities

• upon awakening, stretch and drink some lemon water.

Mariola Strahlberg, a Monsey resident, is a licensed acupuncturist who founded Shining Mountain Children’s Center in March 2004. Subsequently, she opened Shining Mountain Center for Peaceful Childhood, Inc., a non- profi t to provide scholarships to children who could otherwise not attend the program. She is also President of the Janusz Korczak Association of the USA.

By Mariola Strahlburg

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