MARCH 2015
 
HEALTHIEST MARYLAND BUSINESSES
Central Maryland Region

New this Month


 

Get Active Howard County offers a unique opportunity to promote wellness in your business. It all starts with the Workplace Wellness Kick off on Monday March 16th, 8:30 - 11:30 AM at Howard County General Hospital's Wellness Center.  This FREE community-wide wellness initiative will offer your employees opportunities to live a healthier lifestyle. For more information and to register, please contact info@getactivehowardcounty.org.  

March 2 - 8 is National Sleep Awareness Week

Courtesy of National Sleep Foundation

 

Being tired can impact your body in ways you'd never imagine. You know that sleep is good for you. You also know that when you don't get enough, you don't feel completely well. But there's more going on when you don't catch enough zzz's than simply feeling tired. In fact, the ripple effects from lack of sleep reach almost every system in your body. Here are some examples:

 

Stomach: On days following sleepless nights, you feel hungrier than usual and will crave high-fat, high-calorie foods.

Nose:  Your immune system goes downhill fast when you're tired, meaning you're likelier to catch a cold.

Eyes:  Being tired does more than cause heavy eyelids. It can also cause you to feel more emotional, meaning tears are closer to the surface than normal.

Brain:  When operating on little sleep, you'll have a tougher time remembering things, feel less focused and could even lose brain tissue. You might also suffer from slower reaction times, hallucinations or even psychosis.

Heart:  Your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease goes up after a period where you aren't sleeping well.

Skin:  Sleep is important for regulating body temperature, so not getting enough can make you feel cold all over.

 

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:

1.     Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.  This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

2.     Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.  A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.

3.     Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.   Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.

4.     Exercise daily.  Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.                                                                                               

5.     Evaluate your room.  Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool - between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.

6.     Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.  Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy - about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.

7.     Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms.  Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.

8.     Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.  Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. It is good to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.

9.     Wind down.  Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.

10.   If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment.  If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.

 

If you're still having trouble sleeping, don't hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a sleep diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.  For more information, visit National Sleep Foundation at www.sleepfoundation.org

Spotlight on the Region

 

Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), formerly Tai Sophia Institute, is the only university in Howard County and one of the nation's leading academic institutions for natural medicine. All of its work bridges the best of contemporary science and ancient wisdom, including its academic programs and the way staff and faculty work together.

 

In 1974, MUIH began as a small acupuncture clinic in the American City Building in downtown Columbia. By 1985, it achieved national recognition by creating the first accredited acupuncture school. In 2002, the school moved to its current 12-acre campus in North Laurel and expanded its academic programming. Since 2010, under a progressive new leadership team, the faculty and staff at MUIH have worked collaboratively to earn full university status, become successfully reaccredited, expand their expertise in a number of health and wellness disciplines, launch online degrees, and increase their student body from 400 to more than 1000.

 

That kind of growth requires their workers to maintain a high level of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. To support these sustained efforts and promote optimal wellness for all, the University has been significantly increasing the wellness services and benefits for faculty and staff. Today, these include:

  • Free acupuncture twice a week during lunch hours
  • Free yoga classes twice a week during lunch hours and at the end of the work day
  • Free meditation and mindfulness courses and workshops
  • Discounted treatments or consultations with graduate student interns and faculty in nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese or western herbal medicine, and yoga therapy in its on-campus clinic
  • A cultural orientation program for all new faculty and staff that includes themes of self-care, seasonal wellness, mindfulness, connection with nature, the power of language and narratives, healthy communication, and relationship and community building
  • Tuition remission benefits so that faculty and staff can take University courses and degrees
  • An on-campus health food caf� that serves affordable organic foods and caters to many dietary preferences including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, Paleo, and more
  • Indoor waterfall in the lobby and a walking labyrinth and herb garden on the campus grounds

MUIH's community of students, faculty, staff, patients, and clients are on a fulfilling, meaningful, and exciting adventure to shift the national landscape of health care. They believe that this journey must start by taking care of their most important assets - their faculty and staff.


 

To learn more about MUIH and all the opportunities for you and your colleagues, see: www.muih.eduTo see what's offered in March, visit www.muih.edu/calendar-grid/2015-03 

Tips and Ideas
 

Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating Out


  • As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea or other drinks without added sugars
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches
  • In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side, then use only as much as you want
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs or pasta with a tomato sauce
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or saut�ed
  • Choose a small or medium portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes and beverages
  • Order an item from the menu instead of heading for the all-you-can-eat buffet
  • If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
    • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entr�e
    • Share a main dish with a friend
    • If you can chill the extra food right away, take leftovers home in a doggy bag
    • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately
    • Resign from the "clean your plate club" - when you've eaten enough, leave the rest
  • To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:
    • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side so you can add only as much as you want
    • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
    • Add little or no butter to your food
    • Choose fruits for dessert most often
  • On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks 

Community Resources, Services and Events  

 
March Health Observances

National Endometriosis Awareness Month  www.endometriosisassn.org

National Kidney Month  www.kidney.org

National Nutrition Month  www.eatright.org/nnm

National Problem Gambling Awareness Month  www.npgaw.org 

Save Your Vision Month  www.aoa.org

Trisomy Awareness Month  www.trisomy.org

Workplace Eye Wellness Month  www.preventblindness.org 

 

Maryland Diabetes Prevention and Control Program

offers valuable resources to help expand your employee wellness program. 
For more information please visit http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/dpcp/SitePages/Home.aspx