Tips from Nurse Jake!

Widely known for his appearances on the hit MTV Show, 1Girl5Gays, Jake Mossop is a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. He is also a medical professional at a prominent mental health hospital in Toronto. Today, HOLR is sitting down with Jake – also known as Nurse Jake – to discuss his role as a healthcare professional and why it’s important to focus on personal health and wellness. Keep reading to learn all about Jake and his tips on how to improve your sleep routine, as sleep deprivation is an issue affecting millions of Canadians, and why getting into a healthy sleep routine is super important.

We all know you as Nurse Jake, so as a healthcare professional, can you talk to us about why it’s important to focus on personal health and wellness, especially during these challenging times?

As a registered nurse and Digital 360 coach with WW (formally known as Weight Watchers), I try to encourage my patients and members alike to live their healthiest life – whatever that looks like for them. As you mentioned, the past year and a half have been extremely challenging for people – most of whom have been forced out of their normal routines. Your physical and mental health is negatively impacted when your body is under stress. That’s why getting back on track with your normal routines and healthy habits is crucial to your overall health and wellness. For example, maybe pre-covid you used to walk to work but now you are working from home. Studies have shown that getting outside for activity has a multitude of benefits including improving your mood, clearing mental fatigue and it can also help to reduce anxiety and depression. As a matter of fact, happier people make healthier choices – whether that’s the types of foods you consume or the amount of physical activity you achieve. So the best thing you can do for your body during challenging times is to get back to some of your normal habits. To do this, start by creating small, achievable, and realistic goals. By choosing something simple like incorporating more fruits and vegetables each day or getting outside for a 30 min walk three times this week, you will start to develop these behaviours back into habits that will become easier and automatic over time. These small actions will improve your self-esteem, your mood and build your confidence- all of which will have positive cascading effects on your health and wellness. 

Why is sleep – and getting enough sleep – so important?

Sleep is often the last thing people consider when setting goals to improve their health and wellness. Yet, science tells us that sleep is essential for the optimal functioning of your body and mind, by allowing them to reset and recharge. On average, adults should be aiming for 7-to-9 hours of sleep every night. Anything less than this and your body is at risk of both physical and mental health problems. Getting enough sleep is also necessary for your brain to function properly.

What is sleep deprivation and why is it an issue?

Sleep deprivation is a term that describes a state caused by not getting enough sleep, or not getting an adequate quality of sleep – those 7 to 9 hours for adults as was discussed earlier. A lack of sleep affects your overall health and wellness. For example, when you operate from a continuous state of sleep debt, you are more likely to make unhealthy choices, you may also experience more irritability and your attention span is reduced. When it comes to your physical health, an accumulation of sleep debt can put you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and … by now I’m sure you’re getting the point.  

How can we improve our sleep routines?

I love talking to my patients and WW members about improving their bedtime routine because a lot of the tips and tricks are so intuitive but often overlooked as solutions. First, leave your phone outside of your bedroom. By avoiding screen time before bed, you allow your brain to wind down and decompress from all the busyness of the news and social media. Secondly, avoid certain foods before bed like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or anything spicy. Instead, if you are eating before sleeping, think of bland, caffeine and sugar-free options – like plain yogurt and fruit high in fiber or caffeine-free tea or warm lemon water. And finally, track your sleep habits to help establish consistent bedtime routines, one of which includes waking up at the same time each morning. It’s easier than ever to track your sleeping habits with platforms like the WW Digital 360 program – which allows you to track your sleep and get tips on how to improve your sleep routine right on your phone. 

With such an incredible platform and resume, how do you hope to inspire those to live their healthiest lives?

Being a WW Coach I get to connect with even more people across Canada than I do as a Registered Nurse in Toronto. Now I can help people set and achieve their weight loss and wellness goals virtually which creates endless opportunities to educate, empower and inspire. Also, I find that belonging to a community, like WW, is so important in offering accountability and that next level of support.

Published by HOLR Magazine