Saint Peter’s Better Health

Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

Isn’t everyone looking for ways to enjoy their days more—with less effort?

Try this heart-friendly advice:

1. Turn in on time

Sleeping 7 to 9 hours each night helps our minds and bodies work better. For example, quality slumber helps repair heart and blood vessels. Too little increases the risk for falls, depression, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. To sleep better, set a bedtime. Stay within an hour of it every night. Avoid screen time and large meals an hour beforehand. Limit any daytime naps to 20 minutes and early afternoon. Talk with a healthcare provider if there’s any trouble sleeping.

2. Use food labels

They’re a reliable way to avoid packaged foods with high amounts of (sneaky) sodium. For example, the amounts listed for many breads, rolls, cold cuts, and poultry are likely to be an unexpected twist. Take home options that are lower in sodium.

3. Seek resources geared toward your needs

They’re out there! For example, the American Heart Association offers a free, monthly Heart Insight e-newsletter. Request the free Shop Smart, Eat Smart digital recipe booklet.

Shake things up with the power of positivity

Shaking up a morning routine isn’t always a bad thing. Start by balancing out natural tendencies, then focus on the negative for just a few minutes each day. Pick a time, like before showering or after dressing. Get comfortable and take a few slow, mindful breaths. Then, think about something to be thankful for, such as a special moment or person.

Here are more ways to bring gratitude to the day:

  • During an outing, no matter where it is, pause and look for something beautiful. It’s more likely for us to find wonderful things in unexpected places than we’d think.
  • Share the pleasure of a good book by giving it to a friend, family member, or colleague to read.
  • Send a loved one a funny meme, virtual hug, or text with three specific reasons to be grateful for them.

Over time, practicing gratitude may make keeping up with other positive behaviors, like eating healthy, avoiding alcohol, exercising, and staying on track with your medicines far easier.


Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.