3 TIPS FOR LIVING YOUR DAY BETTER
Who doesn’t want to be healthier, or happier every day? Follow these simple but effective practices to get there
Shiny, happy folks have better mental, emotional, and physical health – they also enjoy a better quality of life. But happiness isn’t just a trait that people are born with, in most cases, it is a choice. A great way to get started, is by adopting practices that you can count on to be a part of your daily routine:
GET 7 HOURS OF SLEEP
Forget eight or nine hours, seven is the new sweet spot for sleep and health. “Almost 100 per cent of all studies now show the positive health benefits of getting seven hours of sleep – and we now believe that eight or more may actually be hazardous to health,” says Professor Shawn Youngstedt from Arizona State University. Interesting, in a German trial, when people were left to sleep with no artificial disturbance, 7.2 hours a night was the rhythm their body naturally settled into. If you do normally sleep for longer durations, Professor Youngstedt suggests trying to reduce your snooze time by moving your bedtime 30 to 60 minutes later (or by waking up earlier). “Our trials have found that many people actually feel better throughout their day when they do this,” he says.
BOOST VITAMIN D IN YOUR SYSTEM
Vitamin D is vital for good health, but staying out in the sun longer isn’t necessarily the way to get it – instead, try exposing just a little bit more skin. A study conducted by Queensland University of Technology found that how much clothing someone wore, was the most important factor for whether they were D-deficient or not. “We were shocked as we weren’t expecting something so simple to make such a big difference,” says the study’s author, Professor Michael Kimlin. The fact is, for every 10 per cent more skin you expose, your vitamin D level goes up by 2.1ng/ml. “Don’t worry about the numbers though,” he adds, “Just roll up your sleeves when you’re out and about and you’ll get that boost you need.”
CHANT FOR 12 MINUTES EVERY DAY
To counter the effects of ageing, try a Kundalini Yoga chant called Kirtan Kriya for 12 minutes a day to feel happier and enjoy better brain function (something researchers can measure by the amount of a substance called telomerase in your system). A US study showed the anti-ageing benefits were 10 times greater for a group who chanted, compared to a group who listened to calming music for the same amount of time.
To try Kirtan Kriya:
- Sit with your legs crossed and your palms upright. Now change the following sounds: Saa, Taa, Naa, and Maa, one after the other, lengthening the ahhh sound for as long as you can.
- As you say Saa, touch your index finger to the tip of your thumb, for Taa, touch your middle finger to your thumb, for Naa, touch your ring finger to your thumb, and for Maa, touch your little finger to your thumb.
- Repeat out loud for two minutes, bring it down to a whisper for two minutes, silently in your head for four minutes, then back to a whisper again for two minutes, and then finish out loud for the final two minutes.