Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

And To All A Good Night (Review)

Chamomile; German Chamomile; Hungarian Chamomile; Camomile; Matricaria recutita; Chamomilla recutita; Matricaria chamomilla

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 this has been a journey, or “Now What,” series of posts on taking the “sleeping aspect” of my daily life and learning how to make it better…Lord knows that I need to this, being the 49 year old mother for a four year old.

 

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…

  • Affect performance on the job or at school
  • Cause countless headaches
  • Cause increased irritability of the person who has had trouble sleeping
  • Cause the immune system to function poorly
  • Cause us to become more irritable, short-tempered, and impatient during the day
  • Damage relationships
  • Decrease the quality of work performance
  • Diminish quality of life
  • Give you a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically.
  • Hinder our ability to stay focused for long periods of time
  • Make certain activities, especially driving, dangerous for both ourselves and people around us
  • Make getting started on even the easiest work or school assignments even harder than normal
  • Make you gain weight
  • Make you have less energy to tackle the day ahead
  • Sabotage our health
  • Sap our energy levels
  • Slow the ability of the nervous system to process information and translate visual cues into conscious thought.

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.”

The following is a summary of the tips that I have learned lately to help create a relaxing ritual that I can do each and every night that will help me fall asleep faster and more consistently…healthy bedtime habits—such as meditation, soothing music, essential oils—that will help program your mind to get ready for bed.

Breathing Techniques

  • Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Technique
  • Kapalbhati Breathing
  • Nadi Shodhana
  • Pranayamic Breathing Techniques
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Essential Oils for helping to cure insomnia..

  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Frankincense
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Sandalwood
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang ylang

Music

Supplements

  • 5-HTP
  • Flower essences
  • GABA…GABA (gamma butyric acid)
  • Holy basil
  • L-theanine
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin
  • Skullcap
  • Valerian Root
  • Vitamin Supplement

 

Snacks

 

  • Almonds and Almond Butter
  • Bananas
  • Cereal and Milk
  • Cheese and Cottage Cheese
  • Cherries and Cherry Juice
  • Edamame
  • Granola
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Whole-Grain Crackers

Tea

  • Banana
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oat Straw
  • Passion Flower
  • Peppermint
  • St John’s Wort
  •  Valerian

Apps

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

April Essential Oil of the Month—Chamomile…The Why?

Chamomile, an aromatic herb, has been used throughout most of the world for many centuries and is one of the most ancient and versatile medicinal herbs known to mankind. The plant, with its white daisy like flowers and scent reminiscent of apples or pineapple, is native to Europe and western Asia.

  1. Stress and Anxiety...Chamomile is one the best medicinal herbs for helping to lower stress and anxiety because chamomile helps to increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that slow down your mind and eliminate the classic symptoms of stress and anxiety—such as hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and various digestive problems. Drinking one or two cups of chamomile tea per day or inhaling chamomile essential oils through a diffuser are often recommended as natural remedies for stress, anxiety, and depression.
  2. Skin…Chamomile is often used topically on the skin to help fight skin irritation, heal wounds, treat skin conditions such as eczema, and lessen the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles on the face. Try this recipe for a “natural” Calamine lotion to treat mosquito bites during the summer…
  3. Sleep…Drinking a warm cup of non-caffeinated chamomile tea or diffusing it in the home diffuser can be a very powerful sleep aid, particularly for people who are struggling with restless sleep, insomnia, or other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
  4. Menstrual Discomfort…Chamomile tea is often used when dealing with the symptoms of menstruation—like PMS, bloating, cramping, sweating, inability to sleep, and mood swings. Chamomile tea is often also used in some parts of the world, such as Mexico, to soothe the body and mind and to relax abdominal muscles after giving birth.
  5. Immune SystemChamomile works as both an anti-histamine and an antioxidant, meaning that it can strengthen your body’s immune response to allergens in the body and soothe these allergic reactions before they become serious. The phenolic compounds in chamomile tea have been proven specifically good at fighting bacterial infections in the body, and that six glasses of chamomile tea consumed over a two-week timeframe can significantly improve the body’s ability to fight off  any infections.
  6. Gastrointestinal Issues...Chamomile has been used in many cultures for various stomach ailments—such as upset stomach, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, mild bloating, IBS symptoms, gas, acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, anorexia, and motion sickness.
  7. Diabetes…Chamomile helps lower blood sugar levels, regulate the amount of insulin in the blood, and prevent massive drops and spikes in blood sugar.
  8. Pain…Chamomile has been referred to as an “herbal aspirin” and has been a popular home remedy for centuries in reducing pain—especially pain associated with arthritis, injuries, back pain, fevers, and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

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.”