Beginning with Breakfast, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Yes, Actually You CAN Take It With You

Now that we’ve established the fact that all of us should be drinking more water and talked about a few ways to make drinking water more of a habit, let’s look at a few of the things that will make this goal easier to achieve.

Sure, you could simply buy bottled water, more on which kinds of bottled water to buy later, but having a portable water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere you go is a much smarter option. In fact, using reusable water bottles…

  • does not create the litter that typical water bottles do. More than thirty billion water bottles are consumed every year…and most of those empty bottles end up eventually stockpiled in landfills.
  • saves you money. Tap water costs 240 to 10,000 times less than bottles water. Last year, people dumped thirty-eight billion water bottles into landfills worldwide.
  • is environmental-friendly. Bottled water production consumes over one thousand times more energy than tap water.
  • saves water. Producing one liter of bottled water actually requires three liters of ordinary municipal water.
  • makes you a smarter consumer…ordinary tap water and then making the consumer think that they are getting some super-water with extraordinary powers to cure what ails you. Wrong!!! Shockingly, 24% of bottle water is actually just repackaged tap water.

Seems like such an easy option, until you start looking at the different options available.

So how do you know which water bottle to choose?

By thinking about the different types and features of reusable water bottles so that you can make a good decision once you get to the store.

 

Materials…The first factor to consider when choosing the perfect water bottle in what the bottle is made from. Water bottles can be found in many different materials—including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, polyethylene, and copolyester.

 

1.Plastic…The first material that portable water bottles can be made from, and the first material that comes to most of us when we think of them, is plastic. Benefits of using plastic bottles include…

  • affordable
    can repeatedly drop one without worrying about breaking or shattering it
    can take just about whatever abuse you give them
    easy to tote around
    incredibly durable
    lightweight
    readily available
    travel

Brands To Consider

  • Fit & Fresh
  • GOBIEH20
  • Nalgene

 

2. Metal…Metal options include stainless steel and aluminum, and are ideal for those who are tough on their water bottles. Benefits of using metal water bottles include…
  • doesn’t retain smells and tastes
  • double-wall construction that gives them outstanding insulating properties
  • keeps water cool for an extended period of time
  • keeps water fresh tasting, but some absorb heat and make the water warm
  • provides better insulation than plastics
  • very durable

Brands To Consider

    • Earth Lust
    • Hydro Flask
    • Klean Kanteen

 

3. Glass Bottles…A third option for water bottles is glass. Benefits of using glass reusable water bottles include being totally recyclable. Brands of reusable glass bottles include…

  • bottlesUP
  • Life Factory
  • Love Bottle
  • Takeya

In addition to first choosing which material you would like your water bottle to be, there are other questions that you should ask yourself, including…

Easy to Carry

  • Does the water bottle have a belt holster that can hold your water bottle if you participate in activities where you need to be hands-free or if you just get tired of carrying a water bottle?
  • Will the bottle be easy to carry?

 

Easy to Clean

  • Is it dishwasher-safe? Can washing the bottle in the dishwasher actualy clean the inside thoroughly or does it have to be hand washed?
  • If you will have to wash the bottle by hand, is the opening wide enough to get a bottle brush inside them in order to clean it?

 

Opening…In addition to checking the neck of the bottle to make sure that it will be easy to clean, ask yourself if the mouth of the bottle will be easy to fill with ice cubes and water…

 

Drinking Valve…

  • Does the valve lock securely enough to prevent the bottle from leaking?
  • Is the valve wide enough to provide optimal flow?
  • Does the water bottles come with a push-pull valve or a bite valves?
  • Which type of valve do you prefer?
  • Insulators
  • – Some water bottles come with sleeves that help keep your drink warm or cold. This comes in handy depending on your walking or hiking weather conditions. A nice, cold drink is a definite plus on a hot, summer day.

 

Size

  • How many ounces will the bottle hold?
  • How many ounces does your ideal bottle need to hold?
  • Will you have a source of water nearby, such as a water fountain, to use if and when you need to refill the bottle?
  • Will the bottle fit in the cup holders in your car?

 

 

Filter

  • Does the bottle have an in-bottle filtration system that will allow you to refill the bottle from any faucet or other source and be certain that your water will be clean and tasty?
  • Does this water filter make the bottle too heavy to be usable?
  • How easy is it to replace the filter?

 

 

 

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Essential Essential Oil Essentials

Way back in March, I had decided to choose one essential oil per month and discover just exactly what this particular oil is, what it’s used for, and so forth.

Well, this hasn’t happened…

So my goal in these next few posts is to catch up on these oils so that I can hopefully stick with my original goal of highlighting one essential oil per month.

Having written this blog for a short while, it seems like the “Muffins and Magnolias” mission has become…

—to begin living a healthier lifestyle and develop new habits that will simplify and improve your quality of life every single day.

I really believe that this is important, and that everyone—or at least almost everyone—wants to accomplish and learn about how to do this.

I also believe that developing the habit of using the right essential oils for the right purpose can be an important part of achieving this goal.

We began our venture into the world of essential oils with a list of the best essential oils for helping to cure insomnia. These essential oils are…

  1. Bergamot
  2. Cedarwood
  3. Frankincense
  4. Juniper Berry
  5. Lavender
  6. Marjoram
  7. Roman Chamomile
  8. Sandalwood
  9. Vetiver
  10. Ylang Ylang

This last series of posts about sugar substitutes and processed foods is starting to become to academic and serious…I need to take a short break from this topic myself, especially today while I will be preparing desserts for our 4th of July cookout tomorrow, right?!

So join me as we catch up on these essential oils that should have been included in posts from the last four months–cedarwood, frankincense, juniper berry, and lavender…and don’t feel guilty about eating that entire gallon of Blue Bell all by self tomorrow…I won’t…

 

Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Committed

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Be diligent about starting your new habit…Make a point of adding this new habit—whether it be exercising, eating better, or writing or whatever else it may be, for just one day at a time, even if only for a little bit of time.

 

Eventually you’ll find yourself not even thinking about that new, or old, habit…and actually miss doing this on the days when you don’t.

 

 

In my attempt to include writing as part of my daily routine, it was first of all…to state the obvious…important that I actually did write!!!

 

And along my journey this year to adopt writing as a part of my daily routine, I have found the following resources that have hopefully helped me improve my writing skills, think more clearly, and be more organized altogether.

Some of these websites that have helped me along my journey this last year as a writer have included…

1. 750 Words The primary goal of this website is to get writers into the daily habit of writing.every day. This site gives writers the opportunity to write Morning Pages, three pages of writing done every day about anything and everything that pops into mind. ..a concept that originated with the book The Artist’s Way, first published in…

Writing Morning Pages helps clear your mind and gets the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.

According to the website, the standard accepted number of words per page is 250 words…making three pages about 750 words.

This site tracks your word count at all times, lets you know when you’ve passed the 750 mar, awards points based on your writing, allows you to compare your points with the other 300,000-plus members, and gives you an analysis of the feelings, themes, and mindset of your words each day.


2. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) was founded in 1967 as a nonprofit organization created to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, encourage and advocate for new writing programs, and provide publishing opportunities for young writers.

Their website includes an extensive database of literary programs, grants, awards, contests, publication opportunities, and conferences throughout North America.

The AWP Conference and Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America and features over 2,000 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. Each year conference attracts more than 12,000 attendee and 800 exhibitors.

The first conference was held in 1973 at the Library of Congress, with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. The next conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from February 8–11, 2017.

The Writer’s Chronicle, a magazine published six times a year, has been an important asset to writers for the last forty years. The magazine features in-depth essays on the craft of writing; a listing of grants, awards, publication opportunities available to writers; a list of upcoming conferences for writers; exclusive interviews with accomplished authors, and news on publishing trends.

Each year AWP sponsors six contests…

  1. AWP Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works.
  2. Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $5,500 and publication.
  3. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
  4. The AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction
  5. The AWP Prize for the Novels
  6.  The AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature


3.  The Authors’ Nook is a blog written by Ben Schmitt—a blogger, copywriter, and screenwriter—that offers great writing advice with a dose of humour.


4.  Backspace is an online writers organization with over 1,800 members, including several dozen New York Times bestselling authors,cthat seeks to help writers help other writers through discussion forums, an online guest speaker program, question and answer sessions, articles from publishing experts, and actual conferences and events. Backspace was included in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s ‘101 Best Websites for Writers’ list from 2005 to 2012.


5.  The Blog Starter is a website run by Scott Chow that shares his knowledge from twenty years of experience starting blogs and websites. his ambition is to show other people exactly how to start their own successful blogs.


6.  The Crafty Writer offers a free online, self-paced creative writing course that consists of eight sessions…

  • Releasing your Creativity
  • How to write a short story
  • Writing from a point of view (POV)
  • Bringing your writing to life
  • Writing characters
  • Writing dialogue
  • Poetry: how to write poems
  • Markets, competitions and opportunities


7.  Daily Writing Tips delivers a daily article to your inbox or RSS reader…about topics including grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and vocabulary..


8.  Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that helps users find and correct writing mistakes.

Grammarly provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of text that you copy and paste into their online text editor.
After checking for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, Grammarly flags these errors, suggests corrections, and explains the reasoning behind each correction.

The Grammarly website also offers…

  • Access to the Grammarly Facebook community and Twitter accounts
  • Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to ask and answer questions on English writing
  • Grammarly Handbook, an online guide explaining English grammar and style
  • Grammarly Words, an online dictionary-thesaurus hybrid
  • The Grammarly Blog full of fun grammar tips and discussions


9.  inkPageant is a database and search engine for blogs and blog posts related to writing. The site strives to help writers improve their writing skills and reach their goals…by gathering the stories of the experiences of other authors and advice given on their own blogs.

10.  Positive Writer encourages writers to stay positive during those days of writer’s block, self-doubt, rejection, waiting, and disappointment.

This award-winning, highly acclaimed website was created by Bryan Hutchinson—a writer whose work has been published in newspapers, national magazines, books, and on world famous blogs.

Articles can be found on this site that to encourage, inspire, motivate, and advise writers…such as this article,  39 Great Books on Writing.

Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Aggressive

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First of all, you must be aggressive…and here are a few tips how to be more aggressive regardless of your pursuit…

1.“Do IT first.” Do that one thing that you find yourself dreading to do the most first. Get it over and done with. The earlier you get it done, the less the rest of your day can interfere.

2.  Learning through experience is better than learning by watching other people do whatever it is that you yourself may want to start doing…as far as a struggling writer, that meant reading other people’s blogs and following their social media. You are your own unique person, and write what make you yourself happy. Care less about what other people who are going to see you as you start this new habit are going to think, and more about your own level and feelings.

3.  You can spend way too much time analyzing everything, thinking about getting started online, reading every article and book in sight, and never getting anything done…we could do this with anything—from cooking to running to decorating our house…but with all the available resources out there, you will probably still be trying to figure out where to start twenty years down the road.

4.  Even though you don’t have the perfect plan and are not sure exactly how it’s going to work out, the best way to learn is by doing.

As far as being an “aggressive” writer, the foremost important thing is that you simply write something…

Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or writing in complete sentences…

The important thing at this point is not how you write…but simply that you actually do write something….

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1.Say It…As a writer you should try to write an article that “involves” the reader by…entertaining and making your readers laugh…inspiring your readers… offering advice based on your own past experience and expertise…teaching your readers how to do something or make something.

A few good prompts to now start actually writing include….

  • Few people know that…
  • Few people realize that..
  • I believe that….
  • In response to…
  • In summary…
  • It has been my experience that…
  • Let me tell you a story about…
  • This is important because…

Next decide if you can add any of the following…

  • Charts…(this shows that)…
  • Definitions…(this means that)…
  • Examples…(examples of this include)…
  • Functions…(this does what)…
  • Lists…(including the following)…
  • Parts…(this consists of)…
  • Steps…(this involves)…

Title It...Choosing a title early in the writing process will help keep you focused on both your topic and your purpose. Create a title that identifies what your post is about…

Introduce It....The first paragraph should serve as a brief and simple introduction—what topic you’ll be covering, why it’s important, how the article will help to solve a problem or to answer a question.

Finish It…End with a call to action. Offer encouragement or tips on how to reach whatever goal or challenge you have set forth.

Now that you have written your “something”—whatever it may be—simply walk away…take time for what you have written to resonate in your head for a while…

Decide if what you have written is worth keeping and editing. Trash it if you need to…it’s your piece of work…

Just keep writing!!!

Heading Off to Work

Now What?!…Figuring Out What IS Your “Now What?!”

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Life is a journey with both valleys and mountains along the way.

Sometimes the top of the mountain seems so high that you simply want to give up altogether.

Sometimes you slip and fall, and may lose your grips.

Sometimes you may not feel like you have the strength and courage to get back up, dust yourself off, and continue on the journey.

 

But life is a always a journey, and only you can determine which direction and what distance you will travel.

 

Like any other journey, the journey of life begins with a single step…

And the first single step on your personal Pilgrim’s Progress is to establish goals…

After all…Those who fail to plan, plan to fail…and no one wants to fail, right?!

 

 

So why should establishing goals be the very first step along the journey…

  • 1. Goals allow you to see those people with common interests and dreams that are also starting along the same path as you, or are a little bit further ahead. Goals assure that everyone in your caravan is pulling in the same direction.
  • 2. Goals establish identity. Established goals allow you to decide how to distinguish yourself from other wolves in the pack and impact your positionwithin the group..
  • 3. Goals make it easier to plan ahead and start working on tasks that actually support your mission.
  • 4. Goals help you understand whether you aresuccessful or not. Having measurable goals allows you to see how far you have traveled already, how much further you have until you reach your destination, and if you are still on course.
  • 5. Goals improve productivity. Youknow what needs to be accomplished both in the present and in the future to reach these goals. You can now direct your actions and efforts toward goal-related activities…instead of unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities.
  • 6. Goals enable you to make smarter decisions. Having well-defined goals allows you confront the decisions you encounter along the way  with greater confidence and a greater chance of success. Goals give you a framework within which to work and eliminate uncertainty and actions that won’t contribute to achieving the goals you’ve set.
  • 7. Goals provide motivation. Looking at your endeavor from a broader perspective gives you greater confidence in what lies ahead. Goals that have already been achieved give you a reason to celebrate along the way.
  • 8.  Goals provide cohesion. Each wolf traveling along the same path towards the same destination understands the meaning behind the group’s activities. Having well-defined goals enables the wolves to be consistent and encourages communication and cooperation.
  • 9.  Goals provide direction and set the course. Carefully established goals help you clearly define and understand where you are and where you want to be…and that each activity or task works toward your established goals.
  • 10.  Goals provide focus. Goals enable you to understand how smaller decisions impact larger goals. Goals focus attention on achieving desirable big-picture outcomes and channel brain power toward finding smarter solutions to the “small fire” issues when they come your way.

 

Setting goals is simply SMART…

Many business schools and professionals use the acronym SMART as a guide to set company goals…

—S…Smart
—M…Measurable
—A…Attainable
—R…Realistic
—T…Timely

 

This acronym can be used for goals that we set individually also, so let’s take a closer look.

Specific
…Goals should always be stated in a way that can easily be understood….and should always be written down so that they become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis. As you are establishing your “chosen frozen” goals, ask yourself…

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Why is reaching this goal important?
  • How can I spend my time in a way that is consistent with these goals?


Measurable…Goals should be stated in a way that can be easily measured….and shared with your support group, your significant other, or even your own mother. These people can walk along beside you on the journey, provide accountability, and encourage you to keep on going when you really feel like giving up. Ask yourself…

  • Can I track and measure at least one statistic related to this goal?
  • Can I easily evaluate my overall progress by knowing these numbers?
  • Will there be enough information to know if and/or when I should set new goals?


Attainable…”We can only climb the mountains because there’s a valley that makes the mountain a mountain.”

But if the top of the mountain is light years and light years away, then are you really being realistic…

Honestly evaluate where you currently are in order to establish a solid foundation before setting long-term and short-term goals. Ask yourself…

  • Are the goals that you set achievable, yet challenging?
  • Are you starting off with smaller targets and then challenging yourself as you have had more practice and time to get comfortable with the path?
  • Are the goals merely unattainable wishes?


Realistic…Goals must also be realistic and flexible, not carved in stone. Setting goals should not only be a one-time event done only when creating your business plan or settling on your life path. Life happens.

So take some time periodically to re-evaluate your goals, to see exactly how successful you’ve been at achieving them, and to ake any minor changes needed to redirect your efforts. Ask yourself…

  • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
  • Do I have the resources needed to actually reach these goals?
  • Are these goals actually goals or simply wishes?


Timely – Goals should be based on a timeline…Long-term goals should be substantially greater than short-term goals and can be charted for even five, ten, or twenty years away. Short-term goals are stepping stones towards achieving these long-term goals and should be attainable in a period of weeks to a year. Ask yourself…

  • Does your goal have a fixed time-frame?
  • When will you start working toward this goal?
  • When will you hope to have reached this goal?
  • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?

 

Another smart way to set goals and figure out “Now What” is to ask yourself the same questions that many of us learned to use back in high school English class when we were writing themes and stories, questions such as…

 

WHO

  • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
  • Who can help me achieve it?
  • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
  • Who else is or should be involved?
  • Who will support me?
  • Who won’t support me?

WHAT

  • What did I learn during this last year?
  • What do I need to learn this year?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What excites me about the coming year?
  • What is hindering me from achieving my goals?
  • What is my biggest passion and dream in life?
  • What is my first step?
  • What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
  • What scares me about the coming year?
  • What skills do I you need to acquire and master in order to reach this goal?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What will be my biggest obstacle?
  • What will success look like?

WHEN

  • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
  • When will I know that I have reached this goal?
  • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?

WHERE

  • Where are some places where I can find other people with similar goals?
  • Where do I want to be this time next year?
  • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
  • Where will my goal be accomplished?
  • Where will this take place?

WHY

  • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
  • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this?
  • Why is achieving this goal so important to me?

HOW

  • How can achieving this goal make everything else I am doing better?
  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal?
  • How will I integrate this new goal with with everything else I have going on?
  • How will I market this idea or product?
  • How will I stay focused?
  • How will this be different one year from now?
  • How will this goal be achieved?
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Investigating Insomnia—Why Me?!

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People with insomnia live a cult-like existence where they begin to think that being awake at all hours of the night can give them so much more time to get things done and enjoy some peace and quiet that they might have never had before. (Trust me…I blog…at all hours of the night…trying to convince myself that I am doing something important while the rest of my family is sleeping their lives away).

But the truth is that these nights and nights of inability to sleep may be the result of underlying symptoms and lifestyles.

So before we can look at HOW to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, it’s important that we first take a look at the possible reasons WHY you’re not getting any sleep in the first place.

1.  Aging...Insomnia becomes more common with age for many reasons—including the facts that noise and other changes in your environment are more likely to wake you and that you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

 

2.  Alcohol...Alcohol is a sedative that can make you fall asleep initially, but may disrupt your sleep later in the night and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.

 

3. Anxiety…Getting caught up in thoughts about past events, excessively worrying about future events, and feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities can make it hard for even the people who used to never have any trouble falling or staying asleep to sleep at all.

 

4. Caffeine…We all know that caffeine is a stimulant that can help us start the day feeling productive, but did you know that caffeine can stay in your system for as long as eight hours?

And far too many of us, myself included, drink at least four cups of coffee each day…if not each hour.

A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll found that people who drink at least this much caffeinated drinks a day are more likely to experience some level of insomnia at least a few nights each week than people who limit themselves to only one cup per day…(still working on that, or not(?!))…, so the effects are long lasting.

 

5.  Certain Medical Conditions…Certain medical conditions can affect your sleep. These include…allergies, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

6.  Food…Heavy meals close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep, make you uncomfortable, and make it hard for you to settle down and relax. Spicy foods can also cause heartburn.

 

7.  Hormones...Hormone shifts during pregnancy, menstruation or menopause can make it difficult to sleep. During menopause, night sweats and hot flashes often disrupt sleep.

 

8. Light...Exposure to light from televisions and smartphones prior to going to sleep can affect natural melatonin levels and make it take longer for you to fall asleep.  The light from your computer could also make your brain more alert.

 

9.  Medications…Medications such as those taken for the common cold and nasal allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, birth control, asthma, and depression can cause insomnia.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), medications that can cause insomnia in some patients include corticosteroids, statins, alpha blockers, beta blockers, SSRI antidepressants, ACE inhibitors, ARBs (angiotensin II-receptor blockers), cholinesterase inhibitors, second generation (non-sedating) H1 agonists, and glucosamine/chondroitin.

Not only that, but many over-the-counter medications — such as some pain medications, allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products — contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.

 

10.  Napping…Taking even short naps in the afternoon may be helpful for some people, but for others they make it difficult to fall asleep at night.

 

11.  Non-traditional hours...Working irregular hours or working at home in the evenings or during the middle of the night can also confuse your body’s clock, especially if you are trying to sleep during the day, or if your schedule changes periodically.

 

12.  Psychological Issues…These include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders.

 

13. Stress…Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.

 

14.  Trying to “bank” sleep...Trying to “catch up” on lost sleep by sleeping in actually confuses your body’s circadian rhythm, or built-in clock, and make it difficult to fall asleep again the following night.

 

15.  Underlying Sleep Disorders…The two most common sleep disorders are RLS (restless legs syndrome), a neurological condition in which a person has an uncomfortable sensation of needing to move his or her legs, and sleep apnea, waking up briefly because your airway becomes partially or completely obstructed during sleep. Having your airway obstructed during sleep apnea leads to pauses in

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Now What?!

My initial goal when starting this blog was to take you on my journey to establishing a bed and breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi…but this dream has taken a sudden backseat as we now find ourselves raising our grandson…becoming a “new mother” at the age of fifty.

So my goal now is to take each aspect of my daily life and learn how to make it better…even if I never attract a single new follower or earn a single dollar.

I welcome you to join this journey with me…

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Previously, I talked about my decision to switch to a cruelty free lifestyle, starting with taking a shower. In the near future, I plan on talking about starting a raw foods diet, eating more “superfoods,” and anything else that I might do during the course of day. Join me for the journey.

Since taking a shower is the last thing I do every night before going to bed, then the next topic that I am going to “research” is one of my favorite things to do—SLEEP…

But so many nights, like many other Americans, some nights sleep just doesn’t happen…

So I have been learning to incorporate new habits and techniques into my nightly routine that will hopefully help me sleep better each night, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.

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Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. How well you sleep each night can impact nearly every aspect of your life.

Lack of sleep can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.

 

1.  Energy Level and Mood…Lack of sleep can make you have less energy to tackle the day ahead. You will find yourself getting sleepy during the day and feeling lethargic. Lack of sleep can cause many different mood disturbances, including depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.

 

2.  Health…Lack of sleep can increase both your risk and the severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Lack of sleep can do this because it causes your immune system to function poorly.

You may also find yourself having countless headaches and can even blame this sleeplessness on how much you weigh, because people with poor sleep habits are more likely to be obese.

 

3. School/Work Performance…Lack of sleep can affect your performance on the job or at school in many ways including…

 

Lack of Decision-Making Ability...Lack of sleep can slow the ability of the nervous system to process information and translate visual cues into conscious thought. This slowed reaction times can make such activities, especially driving, dangerous for both ourselves and people around us. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 20 percent of non-alcohol related car crash injuries are caused by driver sleepiness.

 

—Lack of Focus…Lack of sleep hinders your ability to stay focused for long periods of time and makes getting started on even the easiest work or school assignments even harder than normal.

Often your thoughts seem to rush off in a million different directions and start thinking about something completely different without even realizing when you stray from your intended train of thought. Often after not being able to sleep, you find it harder to finish whatever you may start.

 

4.  Overall Quality of Life...Lack of sleep gives you a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically….and even worse can damage relationships.

Irritability…One major impact that our lack of sleep can have on relationships is the increased irritability of the person who has had trouble sleeping…lack of sleep always makes us grumpy, (lmost like being hungry, right?!)

While we are sleeping, our brains produce the chemical serotonin, a chemical that helps us to feel calm. So when we are unable to sleep adequately, this serotonin does not get produced, causing us to become more irritable, short-tempered, and impatient during the day.

 

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Most of us have times when we have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep once we do finally go to sleep, but does that mean that we actually suffer from full-blown insomnia and need to go get a sleep study done?

Actually for sleeplessness to be actually diagnosed as chronic insomnia, the disrupted sleep must occur at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. It must also negatively impact the patient’s wellbeing, either through the causing distress or disturbing mood or performance..

About 10 percent of people suffer from such chronic insomnia.

Anyone who experiences sleeplessness for longer than four weeks or finds that your lack of sleep extremely interferes with daily activities and ability to function, should seriously consider speaking with a doctor.

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My goal in these next few posts is to give tips on creating a relaxing ritual that you do each and every night that will help you fall asleep faster and more consistently.

I will be focusing on healthy bedtime habits—such as meditation, soothing music, essential oils—that will help program your mind to get ready for bed..

I will be talking about several different options, so pick the ones that make you personally feel sleepy, comfortable, and relaxed.

I have personally found that having such a “nightly routine” of soothing transitional activity between my being awake and actually falling asleep helps your sleep quality and overall wellness….just like it probably did when my kids were little, and does for my “resident four year old.”