Inflammation is a natural part of the human healing process when we are attacked by a virus or when we suffer a broken limb. But, inflammation that sticks around after we have recovered is anything but desirable.
Two areas that you need to look at in regards to chronic inflammation are: the amount of water you drink and your sleep habits.
- Water intake
Water is the vehicle which delivers nutrients to all parts of the body. If you tend to drink very little water, not all your organs will receive what they need to remain healthy. If you’re feeling extra-tired and your mind is not as sharp and clear as it normally is, try increasing your water intake.
Start with the regular prescribed 6-8 glasses. Remember that it has to be water and not fluids in general – coffee and tea can actually contribute to dehydration. While it doesn’t mean you can’t drink them – you just have to ensure that your daily water intake is adequate. Sodas are loaded with sugar which is a huge contributor to inflammation so it’s best to avoid those altogether.
There’s another reason drinking enough water is crucial to our well-being. Allergies are a very common trigger for inflammation. An obvious example of an allergy is someone eating shellfish and breaking out into hives or having difficulty breathing. This is an inflammatory response.
However, doctors and researchers are just as worried about “silent allergies”. These don’t provoke an immediate, dramatic response; instead, their effect builds up over time and you’ll find your days laden with headaches, fatigue, a decimated sense of motivation and a generalized, stubborn feeling of ill-health.
It’s best to avoid foods containing gluten and dairy, which are two of the worst offenders. To start with, however, just increase your water consumption to flush out toxins. This is exactly why doctors tell you to drink plenty of fluids if you have a cold.
The most effective way to find out if and how gluten and dairy stress your system is to just eliminate them from your diet. If you experience less generalized pain and fatigue, you’re on the right track. You’ll have higher energy levels and a real sense of wanting to enjoy life, which are excellent reasons to leave them out of your diet permanently.
You’ll soon know your body well enough to ascertain if you’ve accidentally eaten gluten or ingested dairy. You may want to consider increasing your water intake to about two-thirds of your body weight in fluid ounces so that rogue elements get flushed away easily.
- Sleep patterns
There’s nothing quite like good sleep to heal you. A lack of sleep – particularly if prolonged – can and will cause chronic inflammation. That relentless tiredness and fogginess of mind may not just be because had a bad night. It could be that serious chronic inflammation is compounding these symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have identified insomnia as a pandemic affecting America. You’re probably reading this and thinking of your own sleep habits.
Now take a moment and think of friends and colleagues. How many of them have mentioned bad sleep cycles? Probably about 90%, if not all. We often speak nonchalantly about how we sleep because we’re unaware of just how much harm we’re doing to ourselves.
Increasing your water intake is one big step towards reducing inflammation in your body. With this, you will probably be sleeping better anyway, and while better is good, we really want to for best here.
Firstly, try to figure out how much sleep your body needs. 8 hours is a good average but some of us need 7 to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Some of us may need 9. Find out what your magic number is.
Secondly, set your boundaries and stick to them. You may want to catch up with friends over late-night chats, thinking that’s the only time you have with them. But look at it this way: with more energy and a clear mind, you’ll get more done (and at a faster rate), leaving you time to meet with your friends face-to-face. Give yourself a specific bedtime and get the sleep you need.
Thirdly, if you have trouble falling asleep, you may want to use essential oils in a diffuser. Set it up about 20 minutes before you go into your room to settle down.
Lavender oil is a popular for sleep but others, like blends containing licorice, aid the reduction of inflammation in the tummy. A settled stomach means a calmer mind and consequently better sleep. Get the lavender as a staple and try out other essential oils to determine what else helps you get a good night of rest.
Chronic inflammation interferes cruelly with your quality of life. Many have spent months, sometimes years, in bed feeling exhausted, ill, demoralized and hopeless. This is no life for anyone. Fixing water consumption and sleep patterns are two crucial steps in attaining a quality of life that you can fully and genuinely enjoy.