If you’ve been looking for inspiration for improving your health, your favorite Lake Tahoe Dentists have got you covered! Sierra Smiles is a leading complete health dentistry with a mission to help patients with their overall wellness — from oral health to sleep quality and beyond. We’re sharing four of our top tips to stay healthy in Tahoe that goes beyond taking care of your teeth, including our favorite tip, having fun. Let’s get you started on the path to a healthier you!
1. Get a Better Night’s Sleep
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that adults need more than seven hours of rest to get the best night’s sleep for maximum daily functioning. If you’re looking for a way to stay healthy in Tahoe that you can do from the comfort of your own home, sleeping the recommended number of hours is one way to do it! Poor sleep habits are linked to a variety of chronic health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, mental health struggles, and diabetes.
As a Lake Tahoe sleep specialist, Sierra Smiles has seen the negative impact that “short sleep” can have on our patients. In Nevada, 36 percent of residents reported sleeping less than seven hours a night! Lack of sleep can cause exhaustion, struggles at work, conflict at home, and just a generally negative quality of life. If you’ve had trouble getting the recommended 7+ hours and you’re feeling it in your daily tasks, you can start by assessing your sleep hygiene.
- Are you going to bed early enough to get those hours?
- Do you fall asleep with the TV on?
- Are you eliminating caffeine before bed and putting down the electronics?
These are a great start. If it’s not your sleep hygiene impacting your rest, it may be time to talk to a sleep specialist at Sierra Sleep Airway and Wellness Center about getting an at-home sleep study. You could be suffering from a condition like apnea or other airway issues.
2. Get More Exercise
Another great way to improve your health is to get more exercise. Now, we don’t mean you need to spend hours in the weight room at the gym. You also don’t have to run a 5K every day (although you’re more than welcome to do both if that’s what you enjoy). Getting more exercise can be as simple as adding a brief walk to your lunch.
Even pausing to do a few gentle yoga stretches for a few minutes throughout the day counts! The important step is to just move a little more than you did the day before. If you have mobility limitations, that’s okay! You can incorporate exercises like lifting small hand weights as you watch TV, or attempting modified yoga stretches.
Exercise improves mental health and energy levels. It also can help you sleep better (see number one above for why that’s important). It can also help you prevent and manage chronic disease. It doesn’t have to be a miserable grind on the treadmill. You can exercise by swimming, walking, dancing and so much more. The important factor is that you do it. It’s good for you!
3. Improve Your Diet
When we say “improve your diet,” we don’t mean dieting. We mean making good choices where possible to eat just a little bit healthier. We’ve all struggled with the dinner rush mentality. You’re tired, you’ve had a long day, and that drive-thru looks oh so tempting. Who wants to cook when it’s hot outside and you’ve been so busy? The drive-thru window is actually a great place to start making a few simple switches.
- Drink water instead of soda with your meal. That’s better for your body (less sugar and calories) and better for your teeth (less sugar and acids).
- You could also forego the French fries or ask for a small serving instead of a super-sized serving. These small switches make it so you can get the food you crave in a way that is better for your body.
At home, improving your diet can begin with snacking. Snacking isn’t bad. Small meals throughout the day are good for you! However, the quality of those snacks plays an important role. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy options that are easy to eat on the go. Add carrot and celery sticks, yogurt, cheese, fruit, whole grain crackers, hummus, protein bars and other snacks so you can eat healthy when the urge to snack strikes. And don’t forget to include one or two of your favorites.
Depriving yourself completely can lead to giving up completely. No one wants to stick to a meal plan that won’t allow chocolate.
4. Have More Fun
This should be the easiest way for Lake Tahoe residents to stay healthy. After all, we live in one of the most beautiful regions in the United States. However, those pesky daily life stressors like paying bills can really put a damper on things.
Fun and happiness are essential to better health.
They are so essential that Harvard has conducted years of studies on the links between health and joy. In 2007, for example, Professor Laura Kubzansky led research that found that,
“emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when taking into account such wholesome behaviors as not smoking and regular exercise.”
If you’re struggling to find any happy moments in your day, it may be time to pay a visit to your doctor for a health screening. They may be able to find health conditions that are causing your struggles or refer you to a mental health specialist. Being happy isn’t a gimmick. Even Harvard thinks so.
We hope these tips for staying healthy in the Lake Tahoe area can help you improve your overall quality of life. If you’d like a little help with getting better sleep, taking care of your oral health, or improving your nutrition, give Sierra Smiles a call. As a complete health dentist in Lake Tahoe, we are here for you!