At a recent BlogHer Health panel sponsored by Nature Made, Dr. Susan Mitmesser, VP of Science and Technology at Pharmavite discussed how stress, sleep, and diet can impact your health and the way in which you can better address your particular needs. In addition, she shared her expert tips for managing these critical areas of our health and filling in essential nutrient gaps to achieve overall health.
The panel began with Dr. Mitmesser explaining how sleep, stress and our immune system were all interconnected. “Our body systems do not function in silos,” Dr. Mitmesser says, “And one of the interesting things about sleep is how that affects so many other body systems.” For example, when you can’t cope with stress, your sleep becomes disrupted. She further adds that sleep is the point in time where we replenish and repair and when you’re not able to do that appropriately, it impacts your immune system.
Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. With that said, it can be difficult to make one’s health a priority — especially with busy schedules. But as Dr. Mitmesser says, the first step to making it a priority is recognizing when your sleep schedule is off or stress levels are higher than normal and determining what is causing that change.
She also suggested establishing boundaries. For example, whether it’s exercising or going to doctor’s visits, making time for yourself is crucial in getting your health on track. Another tip was to take ownership of your health. “Nobody knows your body better than you do,” Dr. Mitmesser says. “I always recommend people establishing a medical team around them with your goals and primary health focus in mind. That doesn’t mean you can’t change that as you age or as your health changes because you’ll need to modify your health team around you.”
“I schedule my appointments in the morning before they get backed up and if I’m not happy with service, I go elsewhere,” Dr. Mitmesser says. “I really recommend you do that because nobody else is going to look out for your health like you will.” But what exactly does that entail? For starters, you’ll want to start looking at your health holistically.
“I think of health and wellness as a stool with three legs — nutrition, exercise, and sleep,” says Dr. Mitmesser. “If one of them is underprioritized or overprioritized, the others are going to be out of balance. So, I highly recommend you look holistically at your stool and make sure it’s not out of balance because it will impact other body systems whether you recognize it initially or not.”
To watch the rest of the Women’s Wellness Prioritized panel, click the video above.
This article was created by BlogHer for Nature Made.