‘Eat Move Sleep’ Author Tom Rath Gives 3 Easy Tips For Families to Get Healthier Now

If you’re like me, you’re always reading the latest research on how to be a better parent. How much should my little kids study? How many sports and activities should they do? Do they really need that organic milk?

Like a breath of fresh air, Tom Rath, bestselling author, scientist and dad, says there is an easy way for kids–and their parents–to improve their lives and their health. All we need to do is Eat Move Sleep, which is the title of his new book. Really. This is something we all can do. (Check out Parents’ advice on the top sleep mistakes parents make.)

“What I found,” says Rath, “is that the majority of your risk in life lies in the choices you make every day. What you eat, how often you move throughout the day, and the quality of your sleep is far more important than your genes or family history.” He backs up all of his findings with solid research, just like he did in his previous work, How Full is Your Bucket? For example, did you know that elite performers–musicians, athletes, chess players and actors–sleep 8.6 hours per day on average? That’s about one our more than most Americans. His findings on food quality and activity are awesome, too.

Here are his 3 Easy Tips to For Families to Get Healthier and Feel Better Now. These pertain to your kids and you!

1. Eat, move, sleep
Instead of focusing all of your energy on a popular new diet or exercise regimen, you are more likely to improve your health if you work on eating right, moving more and sleeping better in parallel. For example, a good night of sleep leads to better food choices and more activity the following day. Then high quality food and activity make it easier to sleep the next night. Each of these elements builds on the other to create upward spirals. When you do these three things in parallel, you have more energy for your kids as a result.

2. Sleep Over Everything Else
Make sleep a family value. Instead of allowing sleep to be the first expense that gets cut from your daily budget, consider each additional hour of sleep as an investment in your family’s health and well-being. Instead of “sending your kids to bed” when they act up – help them to see how sleep is an essential ingredient of a good day. Create bedtime rituals for the entire family that minimize bright light, televisions, computers, tablets, phones and other distractions in the hour before bed. Turn the thermostat down a few degrees at night to make it easier for everyone to stay asleep. Then try to maintain consistent bedtimes and wake-up times, which should enable your children to thrive at school.

3. Move–You Probably Already Are!
Make all of your activity count. Most parents move around more than they realize. The good news is that being active throughout the day is more important than getting vigorous exercise five or six times a week. But in order for this activity to have the most benefit for your mind and body, you need to know how much you are moving throughout the day. Find some way to track your activity, such as an app, pedometer, Fitbit, Jawbone or any other device that will tell you how far you are walking in a given day. Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day or roughly 5 miles. (Rath has been known to do work at his computer while pedaling away on his FitDesk.)

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