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The Sequoia Advisor
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                April 1, 2008 
  • How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
  • Food Not The Answer to Coping With Stress
  • Try Beginner Small Group Personal Training
  • Up and Coming Events


How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

Learn to Sleep Like a Baby
A restful sleep... this is something many people have trouble getting anymore. Experts say the American population is sleep deprived. When you lack sleep, your physical and mental performance deteriorates very quickly. Without a good night's sleep, you are more likely to experience depression, acute and chronic pain, reduced energy, lack of concentration, increased physical and mental stress and place yourself at greater risk for accidents.

The Natural Sleep Cycle

According to the National Sleep Foundation, only about 50% of us get a good night's sleep. A recent poll of older adults found a direct correlation between good health and restful sleep. The better the health of the older adults, the more likely they were to sleep well. Conversely, the greater the number of diagnosed medical conditions, the more likely they were to report sleep problems. The poll also revealed that among older adults, a more positive mood and outlook as well as an active and "engaged" lifestyle (having someone to speak with about a problem, regular exercise, volunteer activity, etc.) were associated with sleeping 7-9 hours and having fewer sleep complaints.

Chemically Induced Sleep

The need for chemical sleep assistance is currently on the rise. According to the Mayo Clinic, medications like Ambien,
Lunesta, and Rozerem subject you to various side effects include dizziness, weight gain, facial swelling, headache, prolonged drowsiness and severe allergic reaction. They also may not be safe if you have severe depression, history of drug or alcohol dependency, are pregnant, breast feeding or exhibit sleep behaviors such as sleep-driving and sleep-eating.

Getting a Restful Sleep
The solution is to feel rested each and every morning; try to consciously turn off your day before you go to sleep. Reading a book with a strong positive message, listening to quieting music or taking a few moments to meditate before sleep sets the right mood. Watching television, especially if it has violent or disturbing content activates rather than quiets your brain. During the day, rest in the form of a nap and relaxation are sometimes more important in the long run than sleep. Rest comes when you allow yourself the time to sit and do nothing. This act of self kindness has a profound de-stressing effect on the mind and body. On the other hand, feeling guilty about resting sends stressful messages to your mind and body promoting long term disease and illness. 

Relax More
There are many ways to relax; here are a few. meditation, watching a sunset, listening to the roar of the ocean, mindful breathing, watching the birds fly around your backyard or enjoying relaxing music. Make the time and allow yourself adequate sleep and relaxation time. It is the healthy way to recharge your body and mind while feeling and looking your best.

For more information on how to feel more rested, contact the National Sleep Foundation at

In 2008, make Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle your number one goal. For more information on the benefits of living a healthier lifstyle go to http://www.sequoiahealth.comWe will be glad to offer you a no cost consultation and talk to you more about the benefits of Fresh Start. For a free
Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to 



Food Not the Answer to Coping with Stress

Which of the Following Statements about Stress are True?

  • Stress is the number one cause of obesity in this country
  • Job stress is the number one contributor to high stress living
  • People consume excess calories of "comfort foods" because they lead stressful lives

Unfortunately they are all true. Living a high stress lifestyle and taking few corrective measures sets off a destructive chain of events for your mind and body. You get stressed out on the feel the increased strain and pressure both mentally and physically... lacking a healthy set of coping mechanisms you eat, drink or take drugs to ease the pain and help yourself feel better.

In a The Mayo Clinic article entitled Stress: Why You Have it and How it Hurts Your Health, the authors make several important points about your body's response to high stress living. Here are a few. "Modern life is full of pressures, fears and frustration. In other words, it's stressful. Racing against deadlines, sitting in traffic, arguing with your spouse - all these make your body react as if you were facing a physical threat." They go on to say "But if stressful situations pile up one after another, your body has no chance to recover. This long-term activation of the stress-response system can disrupt almost all your body's processes, increasing your risk of obesity, insomnia, digestive complaints, heart disease and depression."

Throw Out Unhealthy Skills
The skills necessary to cope with and your response to a stressful situation are learned at a very young age. If you find yourself regularly feeling stress out, the best solution is to replace the old, unhealthy habits with newer, healthier ones. Even though it is used frequently, food is not a healthy or effective coping skill to reduce stressful situations. Continued regular use of food as a stress reducer just creates its own bigger and more unhealthy problem in the form of excess weight gain and poor body image. Deciding to eliminate food as a coping mechanism is a great strategy, but what do you substitute in its place?

Learning New Stress Reduction Tools
The easiest and most effective way to eliminate high stress living and regain control of your life is to adopt a two part approach to living. Combining just the right amount of active and passive stress reduction activities is an effective way to reduce stress. Here are some suggestions:

  • Fun physical activity is the "active" tool. It gives you the most bang for the buck by reducing stress with an immediate dose of "feel good" plus enhanced physical health.   With fun physical activity you literally "burn off" stress and create an increased sense of wellbeing. When you are playing and having fun, this uplifted feeling comes from the release of natural chemicals in the brain called endorphins. The endorphins improve your attitude and help you regain control. Fun physical activity also decreases your appetite and increases your metabolism helping you avoid using food as your "feel good" solution. 10 to 15 minutes a day of walking, running, tennis, or other fun activity works as a great active stress reliever.

  • Relaxation is the very important "passive" tool in reducing high stress living. Relaxing is also the most challenging for most people. You may find it very uncomfortable to just sit and do nothing because doing nothing is considered "a waste of time" by many people. Especially after a stressful day, it can be very therapeutic to sit quietly for 5 minutes and just do nothing. Meditation, which is a valuable stress reduction tool requires learning the art of sitting quietly. Other ways to relax include massage therapy, a quiet walk through the woods, yoga and deep breathing exercises. Mixing just the right amount of active and passive stress reduction activities leaves you feeling good and enjoying life more.  

Do you always feel like it's a struggle when it comes to your weight? Would you like to learn how to take better care of yourself in 2008? Commit to Getting Active, Eating Healthier and Reducing Stress while living a healthier lifestyle. Fresh Start provides the education, motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while helping you feel and look your best. For a free Fresh Start consultation, please call Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to    


Try Beginner Small Group Personal Training
Have you been thinking about beginning a weight training program but the local health club seems a little scary? Maybe you are concerned about how you look and would rather have some place a little more private? Are you older and have a medical condition that needs someone with special knowledge to help you get active again? We have just the program for you.  


The Better Alternative. This year we are offering a more sensible solution that will keep you coming all year long. Our once a week, small group fitness program (4 people maximum) will only cost you $20 a session or $55 a month. For your money you get your own personal trainer, Suzanne Riley, with convenient times offered on evenings and weekends. These are beginner, lower intensity classes designed to help you get moving again. 

You'll also get:

  • Goal Setting to help you stay on track all year long
  • Fun Activity with an instructor who knows how to Educate and Motivate
  • Exercise Guidance so you get the most benefits from exercising properly

To find out more please call Suzanne at 703-464-5171 or email Twice a week training packages are available as well.


Up and Coming Events

April 6th MS Walk with Dr. Pinnar Group 

Come walk around Reston for a good cause on Sunday April 6th. We hope it is a beautiful day. For more info contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email


In June... Healthy Pets and PeopleToo

Coming in May we will host our first Healthy Pet and People Clinic. Ingrid King of Healing Hands is a pet massage therapist and Reiki Master Practitioner. Come learn how massage and Reiki can benefit your pets and help them live a happier and healthier life. You'll also learn some simple massage techniques for your pet.  Other helpful Healthy Pets and People information will be available as well. For more info contact Woody McMahon at
703-464-5171 or email

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon

The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Dive
Herndon, VA 20170  

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis,
treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. 

Copyright (c) 2006-2008 by Sequoia Health and Fitness
, Inc.

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