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Five Things To Do For Your Health This Month: March

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March is often the time when winter seems to loosen its grip - psychologically, if not literally. By the end of March, you can just about see summer peeking over the horizon. So what five simple, timely things can you do for your health in this important transition month?

1) What’s the easiest thing to do for you health? How about sleeping? Increased hours sleeping has been shown to reduce your risk of life-threatening problems like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure. Sleep even reduces your chances of suffering from miseries like catching a cold, and tension headaches. Even mild sleep disturbances interfere with learning and memory. Protecting your sleep hours, and setting a firm sleep habit, will pay off big time for your health.

March 8 is the end of daylight savings time, which means we’ll all be losing at least one crucial hour. To show you just how important sleep is, Daylight Saving Time translates into excess deaths all across America - primarily due to traffic and motor-vehicle accidents, which are tragically more common in children/adolescents, and pedestrians. So what can you do to preserve the health of yourself, your friends and family? First, don’t underestimate the impact of the Daylight Savings time-shift. If you can, try to shift more gradually, getting everyone up (yes, it’s painful on the weekends) fifteen minutes earlier for several days, instead of one hour in one day. Also, wait a week after Daylight Savings to walk to school again, or to cross busy intersections on foot. If there was ever a time to drive your kids right to the front door of school, it’s this week. Also, if you’re the driver, be especially alert to those dark bodies in dark clothes darting across the street - and leave the house with plenty of extra time so you can zen-mode your driving.

2) Nothing helps your health more than stopping smoking. Seriously - there’s no doctor who can improve your chances of living a healthy life as much as putting aside those ciggies will. And guess what? March combines BOTH No Smoking Day (March 9) with Panic Day (coincidentally, we assume - March 9!).

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.