Webinar presenter Wendy Hummell answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Improving Resilience in 5 Minutes a Day. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Are there any apps that you can suggest with helping with making these resiliency changes?
Wendy Hummell: Well, there’s a lot of apps. I’m most familiar with apps that have to do with yoga and meditation. But as far as tying all of these different topics together, I’m not familiar with one app that does that, but I can tell you that Pause First Academy has some really great meditation and mindfulness resources that are on YouTube. There’s also if you’re interested in meditation and mindfulness. There’s always a paid version and a free version, but Insight Timer, 10% Happier, and Calm or three of the apps that I would recommend when it comes to meditation. And then, you know, it, if you’re interested in yoga or functional movement, I’ve got I’ve got some suggestions there, but I don’t know if that’s exactly what she was asking.
Host: A couple of folks have actually submitted suggestions. mResilience.net Fabulous is a good app for building healthy habits. I also use that app. It’s great for meditation and some amazing sleep stories. So, appreciate you suggesting that. Those who have Kaiser Permanente. Medical insurance can get the paid version of Calm for free, so that’s Kaiser. I’m not honestly sure how you do that, it’s been like a year since I got access to that method that I can confirm that they do have that available for their members.
Audience Question: Can you talk a little bit more about the relationship between eating habits and resiliency?
Wendy Hummell: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So, when we think about the link and the integration between all of our are various systems that we have, A lot of times really making sure that what we’re feeding our body, how we’re moving our body, that impacts the messages that are coming into ourselves, to our body constantly and there’s something called the vagus nerve that is the longest nerve in our body and that connects the brain and the mind to the organ systems. So, what we eat, how we treat our body, and how we move our body are directly connected to what goes upstairs as well. And that, that two-way communication system is done via that biggest nerve. And so, a lot of times I think that we kind of missed the mark and we are only talking about mental and emotional health which is completely significant and important. But can’t ignore the link between how we care for our bodies as well
Audience Question: If we’re up late at night after ten o’clock, but just watching TV or relaxing, without stress, does that still produce the cortisol?
Wendy Hummell: Unfortunately, my answer is yes. Going to bed after 10 o’clock. What happens a lot of times in night owls, and I failed to mention this is kind of like that second wind. If you’re up past him there’s a likelihood because you’re up, and again that cortisol is being released regularly at this is a pattern. You get that kind of spike which I mean a lot of my night owls may be able to relate. I know this happens to me when I go to bed too late. I kind of get a burst of energy. It may not be like jump out of your chair energy, but you have a little bit more of a psyche and so that can impact, you know, how late you go to bed. I mean, it’s definitely better too if you’re going to stay up late. And again, it’s that whole Kaizen approach to relax. Maybe not to watch something overly stimulating or activating the nervous system. But again, even moving the bedtime back, just a little bit closer to that 10 o’clock mark can really do wonders
Audience Question: If you go to bed after 10 pm but still get a solid eight hours of sleep, are the health implications still valid? And I think especially with what you just said about that burst of energy, the answer to that is yes, the health implications are still valid.
Wendy Hummell: Yeah, it’s great to get eight hours of sleep and I’m not going to knock that at all. But again, thinking about the release of the hormones after a certain time and just kind of going back to that wisdom that we talked about in our physiology is that circadian rhythm. Our natural sleep and wake cycle, our natural cycle of when it’s best to eat and digest all that. It’s still after 10 roughly is too late.
Audience Question: Do you have any thoughts on intermittent fasting?
Wendy Hummell: I actually have a lot of thoughts and intermittent fasting, and I’m a big fan of it. I just didn’t have time to go into it earlier, but when it comes to the spacing of your meals, giving your body that time to regenerate and get rid of the sugar and let everything reprocess out. Intermittent fasting can be another very beneficial way to help give your body that time to go back to balance. And so that’s one of the reasons why if that’s something that you want to try, only eating three hours before bedtime really giving yourself a good 12 hours between your last meal and then breaking the fast at breakfast. And so, because if you think about intermittent fasting, there are so many different ways to go about it or approach it, sometimes people look at it as being deprived, they feel hungry and it’s too stressful. And so, if that is something that you’ve never tried and you’re interested in trying, again. I would go about it in the same way and just maybe facing out the time between meals and between the longest spacing after your dinner and before breakfast. And if you can even start with 12 hours, I usually try to go for 14 every day, just to give my body that time to kind of let everything reset. So, it can be very beneficial. That’s actually the reason why it can be so beneficial as for the same reason that spacing our meals is that we’re actually our body is burning fat.
Audience Question: Talking about strategies for sleeping for shift workers. Do you have some recommendations you can share?
Wendy Hummell: Yes. Because that’s obviously something that I encounter a lot with the people that that work at this agency. So, for instance, if you work the third shift, usually like 10:30 to 6:30 in the morning. It really still is best to try to eat differently even though I know people are up adjusting so that your larger meal is some time before you would go into work. So not eating that larger meal, really, really close to even that. So just still really trying to eat your largest meal at the point in the day, when your circadian rhythm and your digestion are optimal and your bile production. And then eating a smaller meal before you would start your shift. And if it’s necessary, depending on the person, to eat something in the middle of your shift. But something just very light, just something very supplemental. So, as far as and, as far as intermittent fasting, that’s something that anyone can do to adjust. As far as sleeping again, those the same recommendations that I had up there. It’s even more important for people who work at night to make sure that they have a really good sleep routine/hygiene. Because the sleep they do get even though it’s not at the optimal time, and they’re going against the circadian rhythm. Even if they sleep at a different time, making sure that the quality of their sleep is good. And then a couple of other things I learned from Lois and Steven James actually, is that making sure that you see sunlight. A lot of times people who work at night, adopt that same routine even on their days off and they don’t see sunlight very frequently especially in the winter months, which research shows can lead to depression potentially that environmental change. So just making sure you’re already kind of have some things stacked up against you but doing some other things, adding in sunlight, adding in good quality sleep hygiene, things like that. And considering how you sleep on your days off. One thing I learned again from Dr. James was that try to sleep at night as much as you can when you’re not at work.
Audience Question: Related to Dr. James’ webinar, can you share any comments on napping?
Wendy Hummell: Yeah, she did, they talk a lot about what’s called tactical napping, which I think is kind of fascinating. That is an honestly very counterculture concept that a lot of agencies probably hear that they go, “No, we can’t do that.” But there’s, you know, there’s a lot of reasons and benefits as to why that could be something very helpful. But if you’re talking about napping on duty, they would be the best people to consult on that. But just napping in general throughout your day, that can be beneficial to I mean it doesn’t take much to just rest in the middle of your day. It’s almost kind of akin to the same benefit that you might get from just sitting in silence without distraction. So, it just kind of depends on exactly what you’re talking about and when and what shift you work.
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