Book Review…Healthy Sleep — April 5, 2020

Book Review…Healthy Sleep

 

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

This audiobook is a guide written for insomniacs, and other people who have trouble sleeping quite often, to show the life-changing health benefits that optimum sleep provides….and more importantly how to have this optimum sleep experience.

This book sparked my interest because as I get older, the more I’ve started to realize that how well and how much I sleep impacts your entire life…(yeah, Mom, I shoulda listened to you all those nights when I was little and you told me to turn the lights off and go to bed.)

The title of the audiobook, Healthy Sleep, is appropriate for the book because the book explains how a healthy sleep cycle can improve your immune system, mood, sense of well-being—and even your weight.

This theme is carried out throughout the book as evident by the exercises and strategies that the book provides to help manage both stress and anxiety as well as common sleep disorders, such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

The authors of the audiobook are alternative medicine “guru” Andrew Weil, MD…and sleep expert Rubin R. Naiman, PhD.

—–Andrew Weil, MD, is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing-oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He is founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, and director of Integrative Health & Healing at Miraval Life in Balance Resort in Tucson. Dr. Weil s bestselling books include Spontaneous Happiness, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, and Spontaneous Healing, and his popular audio programs with Sounds True include The Healthy Heart Kit and Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing.

—–Rubin Naiman, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in integrative sleep and dream medicine. He is director of Circadian Health Associates, an organization that provides information, goods and services in support of sleep health. Dr. Naiman is the sleep specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona s Center for Integrative Medicine, directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. He also serves as Director of the Sleep and Dream Advisory Board for Sleep Studio. For more than a decade, Dr. Naiman served as the sleep and dream specialist at Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Tucson, where he founded the first formal sleep center at a spa. Subsequently, he served as director of sleep programs for Miraval Resort. Dr. Naiman is the author of a number of groundbreaking works on sleep, including Healing Night, Healthy Sleep (with Andrew Weil), The Yoga of Sleep, and To Sleep ToNight, as well as a number of professional book chapters and articles. He also blogs about sleep and dreams for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

This audiobook consists of two discs. The first disc is a discussion on why sleep is so important and why you may not be sleeping as you should. The second disc contains guided exercises, including three sessions to help you fall asleep.

Topics covered in the book include sleep stages, sleeping disorders, breathing techniques, good “sleep hygiene,” and safe supplements to overcome insomnia. The book uses a combination of creative visualization, self-compassion, and pranayama to explain insomnia and then lull you gently to sleep…

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who has trouble sleeping…makes an excellent read about 2am when you should be sleeping instead of reading.

 

More Breathing Techniques to Try — February 28, 2018

More Breathing Techniques to Try

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

In addition to Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique, there are several more such exercises out there that might be worth trying also. These include…

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1.  Kapalbhati Breathing…In Sanskrit, kapal means “forehead” and bhati means “shining.” In addition to helping relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of doing this technique include helping to rid the lungs of carbon dioxide and fill them with fresh oxygen, keeping the digestive system and heart healthy, and improving circulation in the abdominal area.

To do this: Kneel down with your back straight and your hands resting on your knees. Breathe in through your nose, focusing all of your attention on breathing. Then contract your abdominal muscles and exhale powerfully through your mouth, using short, measured bursts.

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2.  Nadi Shodhana…Nadi Shodhana is another breathing technique based in the practice of yoga. It is also one of the most common forms of pranayama, or breath control.  In addition to helping relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of doing this technique include achieving a sense of balance and neutrality and send signals to the brain so that the body starts relaxing. Nose breathing also conditions your breath, filtering the air and adding moisture to your breath before it enters your lungs.

To do this: Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight. Keep your eyes shut while doing this exercise. Close off the left nostril with the right ring finger. Inhale. Next close off the right nostril with the right thumb and exhale.

3.  Pranayamic Breathing Techniques…Pranayamic Breathing Techniques are a third breathing technique. This technique involves exhaling for a length of time that twice as long as you inhale. In addition to helping to relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of this technique include  helping to reset the body’s autonomic nervous system and synchronizing neural elements in the heart, lungs and brain,

To do this: Lie down in bed on your back. Inhale for three seconds. Exhale for six seconds. Repeat. Focusing on counting as you do this.

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Beautiful woman resting on the grass in a park or the mountain with an unfocused background

4.  Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)…PMR is another breathing technique. This technique involves contracting and relaxing different muscle groups, one at a time, starting with your feet and moving up to your head. In addition to helping to relieve stress and anxiety, benefits of this technique include being able to relieve tension one area at a time as each muscle group is relaxed.

To do this: Lie on your back. Deeply inhale once through your nose. Hold your breath for three seconds as you squeeze your toes. Release your toes, while exhaling through your mouth. Next inhale and exhald while you focus on your feet. Continue breathing, flexing and releasing as you move up your body next to your calves, all the way to your head.

The 4-7-8 Breath — February 26, 2018

The 4-7-8 Breath

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

 

One of the most popular breathing techniques or exercises is the relaxation breathing exercise known as the 4-7-8 breath. This technique is shockingly simple, takes hardly any time, and can be done anywhere in five steps.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned physician, holistic health author and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is the mastermind behind this 4-7-8 breathing technique and claims that his technique will help even the worst insomniac go to sleep in sixty seconds. He describes the technique as “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.”

This technique is rooted in yoga and based on pranayama, an ancient Indian practice that means “regulation of breath.”

Supposedly this technique can work wonders before bedtime, or any other time you’re feeling stressed. People who have tried this technique claim that it helps calm their anxious minds, reduces tension throughout the body, and eases them into a state of calmness and relaxation so that they can enjoy better sleep.

It works by slowing down your heart rate and encouraging the fast removal of carbon dioxide from your passageways.

How do I do it?

1. Sit up in your bed with your back straight.

2.  Press the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth.and keep it there through the entire exercise.

3.  Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

4. Hold that breath for a count of seven. According to Weil, this is the most important part of his technique because holding the breath in will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and thPen circulate throughout the body, produces a relaxing effect throughout the body.

5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

6. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths

It will probably require your practicing this technique twice a day over two months to perfect the technique, but once you’ve mastered it, it will become a more and more effective tool for helping you deal with anxiety and stress in your life.

Just Breathe — February 24, 2018

Just Breathe

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla is a member of the Aster Family, Asteraceae or Compositae, the dried flowewrs of which are one of the most well-known herbal teas of commerece, valued for flavor, mild anti-inflammatory activity, and a calming effect.

Learning the simple act of breathing correctly is one of the most important steps to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. How well you are breathing has a strong influence on your physiology, thought processes, and mood.

And in today’s fast-paced, highly stressed society, many of us have lost this ability to simply breathe in and out well enough to shut down stress and get a good night’s sleep.

Focusing your attention on taking these slow, deep breaths helps quiet the mind and helps reduce both your heart rate and blood pressure.

 

Breathing correctly is also one of the best tools for beginning the process of relaxing tense muscles and shutting your mind down for the evening, not to mention that breathing is free.

Always do these sleep exercises at bedtime, after you are already in bed. If you do these exercises anywhere other than actually in bed and then have to get up in order to get in bed, you will negate anything that these breathing exercises may have accomplished.

So first go lie down in bed…as we always tell the kids at camp, “in the sack, flat on your back.”

Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.

Use the diaphragm, abdominals and lungs to take in the deepest breath that you can. Hold that breath for a moment. Then gradually let that breath go.

Focus your attention on the full breath, from start to finish. If your mind is wandering, just notice that it has wandered and gently eedirect it back to your breath.

Focus on where you feel each breath move within the body. As you inhale, you should feel your rib cage expand and your lungs fill completely. As you exhale, you should feel these both falling back into their natural position.

Concentrate on this rise and fall that take place as you breathe, refusing to let any negative or stressful thoughts and emotions interfere or seem more important at the time than the simple act of breathing.

This alone can do wonders for helping you relax at night, even if you do nothing else such as special breathing exercises designed to also calm the central nervous system and quiet the mind.