Some of us sleep well. Some of us wish we could sleep well. And, some of us battle sleep and try to improve it. And, for some, this is a lifelong endeavor. Sleep simply eludes us .
Even though I sleep well, I fall in the category of those who try to improve my sleep. Through the years, I’ve developed some techniques that give me a successful night’s sleep not just once in awhile…but most nights.
Sleep is a priority with me. And not just a decent sleep, either. I want and need a good night’s sleep every night.
An important step I take each evening before I get into bed is establish a sleep intention. I do this every evening because I want my sleep to be restful and serene. I want to sleep throughout the night because my goal is to wake up rested and ready for the coming day. This is the intention I set each evening before I get in my bed.
I begin preparing for sleep each evening in the morning before I leave home. My caffeinated drinks are exclusively early day beverages and I taper off the caffeine as the day goes on.
One way I do this is limit my coffee to no more than five cups a day. Even though five cups is my limit, often I never even get to five cups. I enjoy unsweetened iced tea so I may drink more tea than coffee.
As midday rolls around, I switch to a latte. I may occasionally have a decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon. But, not often.
Most of the time, my afternoon drink is a large unsweetened iced tea.
When I’m home relaxing, I resist the temptation to watch “just one more program”. And, I limit my email time after dinner. And, neither my TV nor my computer can be found in my bedroom because they can interfere with my sleep.
A SLEEP SCHEDULE
I try to maintain a sleep schedule so that I go to bed pretty much the same time every evening and I get up about the same time on weekdays.
A PERFECT BEDROOM
My bedroom is the most serene room in the house. The walls are a pale cream color. The carpet is a quiet brown. I have several pieces of art on the walls which make me feel calm and positive. Sleep comes easy in this room.
And, my bed is perfect! I love it. The mattress is sooo comforting.
Are your sheets comfortable? Some people love cotton sheets. Others prefer flannel sheets. I’m on the flannel sheet side of the argument. I love the feel of the flannel sheets every night of the year.
When you buy sheets, carefully check the labels to be sure that you get what you pay for. Be sure your sheets are good enough quality that you can wash them in hot water and put them in the dryer.
Is the sheet fabric tightly woven enough to keep away dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens.
Whatever you choose, make sure you have sheets and blankets that you like. You need to like the color. You need to like how the fabric feels when you touch it.
And finally, you need to feel your bedding is inviting.
Is your bedroom too hot or is it too cool? The last thing you want is to sweat or shiver throughout the night because when you’re shivering or sweating, you are not sleeping.
Your sleep doesn’t need to be disturbed with computer, smartphone, TV, and other appliances beep. So, they don’t belong in your bedroom.
CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER
Clearing out the clutter in your bedroom really helps. An uncluttered space is calming, inviting, serene. Go for it! Try clearing out the clutter about fifteen minutes a day until the room is all cleaned out. You’ll feel better and sleep better for it.
When I started clearing out the clutter, I felt things would look better in my bedroom but I was unprepared for the wonderful difference an uncluttered space made in my sleep.
MOVE YOUR HOME OFFICE TO SOMEWHERE ELSE
Ban your office from your bedroom. When you bring your work to your bedroom, you make it harder to unwind as you think about tomorrow’s problems before you try to go to sleep.
There are a kazillion other things you can do to improve your sleep. I’ll be discussing them over time. Some of the suggestions I’ll bring up may not interest you. Try what seems good to you. As you discover what improves your better sleep, you’ll benefit from the changes.
You may find you look better, feel better, and think better. It’s worth the effort to change your habits and environment.
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What is healthy, anyway? We’re all concerned about our health on some level. We try to eat better, exercise more, sleep more. There are many components to good health, but, at it’s basic level, what is healthy, anyway?
For starters, a leaner body is healthy. But, losing weight and keeping it lost can seem like chasing the Fountain of Youth.
And, of course, there is the old story about Ponce de Leon finding it. The Fountain of Youth headquarters is in St. Augustine, Florida. You can go there and visit it in a park setting. But, you don’t need to travel all the way to St. Augustine to visit the Fountain of Youth. Branches are right in your own community, maybe even in your neighborhood. Every fitness center around is a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is join up and use a fitness center. The sidewalk in front of your home or office is also a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is get out there and walk briskly for thirty minutes or so every day.
Using your fitness center regularly or walking briskly for a half hour each day will decrease your risk of developing diabetes. This will keep you on the path toward good health. And, while you exercise to protect yourself against diabetes, skipping sugary soft drinks and juices will help. And, if you have diabetes, find out from your health care professional how much exercise you need every day to strengthen your body as you work with this disease.
Trips to a fitness center and/or the healthy walks will help you develop a healthier heart and will help you reduce your risk of heart disease.
What is healthy? Visiting your local fitness center or walking helps you feel, look, and act better. It will also reduce your cholesterol levels. Add some dietary tips when you want to be healthy and you’re thinking of cholesterol. Use olive oil more often when you substitute it for less healthy oils, for example.
A brisk daily walk will strengthen your bones. You can also garden. Actually, the more things you can think of that will get you off your seat and on your feet, the better. And, while you’re getting off your seat, try walking a little faster on the sidewalk and running a little faster on the treadmill. A more intense workout will help you feel better.
What is healthy? Lowering your stress level is one way to improve your health. Hug your pet. And, if you don’t have a pet, can you hug a neighbor’s pet? Can you go to your local pound and walk a dog there? If you go to your pound and walk a dog briskly for a half hour, you’ll be doing two beneficial things at once!
And, what about your memory? Blueberries help. So do crosswords, scrabble, your local newspaper.
And, finally, what is healthy? Connection is healthy. Humans like to be connected to one another. This can mean different things to different people. Taking a class in something will help. Meeting the other people at the fitness center will strengthen your connection to your community. There are a million ways to get connected. A church, synagogue, or temple is there waiting for you. The important thing is to share yourself.
So, here are a few ways to help you define what is healthy for yourself. Find something you like and share yourself.
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The second edition of this book is on the way! Thanks to all of you who are using this book.
I can blog posts until the end of time and never overestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. A healthy night’s rest is one of the most important things a person can do to maintain a youthful appearance and lifestyle.
- Sleep Improves your Memory. As you sleep, your brain organizes your memories for you.
2. Adopt a Sleep Schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. As you work on your sleep schedule, allow yourself eight hours sleep in every 24-hour period. This can be a real help because your body will soon prepare itself to sleep in the evenings when it’s time to go to bed. Your circadian schedule will really help you out here.
3. Make your bedroom dark at night. It’s easier to sleep in a darkened room. The darker you can keep your bedroom at night, the better.
4. Check your meds. There are many meds which can interfere with your normal sleep. Check the meds you’re taking. Change out any meds and/or foods and beverages which might be the culprits.
5. Nothing is more likely to induce sleep than being in the dark. Night time is when we produce melatonin.
There are things we can do to encourage sleepiness. When night approaches, keep your lights down low and avoid overhead lighting. Use dimmer switches on lights and lamps.
While you are enjoying a calming evening in a darkened room, this is a good time to enjoy softened and restful music. Or, this is a good time to do some gentle yoga stretches. Or, this is a time to do some calming breathing. Finally, this is a good time to enjoy the cool stillness of the night air, the stars in the sky, a moonlit night.
But, whatever you do, include darkness as part of your nightly routine.
6. High Blood Pressure? Sleep helps lower blood pressure and elevated stress hormones. Get treatment.
7. Valerian has a reputation for improving sleep quality. Taken properly, this may work for you.
8. Anxiety, Depression, and Tension are three common causes of insomnia. If you think you suffer from one of these, get treatment. Treating your anxiety, depression, or tension may well take care of your insomnia issues.
As you try out these different tips, remember that getting from insomnia to a good night’s sleep is a journey. You’ll find things that work and things that don’t work. And, none of it will work or not work 100% of the time.
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Thanks for reading the book.
More and more people seem to be suffering from lack of sleep. Stress is overtaking our lives, it seems. About a third of the people I encounter are battling insomnia. But, stress isn’t the only cause of insomnia. Low levels of estrogen and thyroid can rob you of your sleep. Adrenal imbalances prevent sleep. Nutritional deficiencies contribute to insomnia. And on and on and on…
With this article, I offer the first in a series of posts dedicated to suggestions you can use to assure you a better night’s sleep. You may have some client partners to share this information with also.
Some suggestions may be things you already know about. That’s okay, it’s always nice to review and update information you may have forgotten you know.
Other suggestions will be new. That’s good, too. It’s always nice to add new skills to your tool box.
But, whether they’re tried and true, or brand new, give them a try.
- Simplify your bedroom. By that, I mean: Move all your electronic devices out of your sleep space. Computers, phones, TV’s, etc., emit signals as well as lights which can disturb a good night’s sleep.
- Hide your alarm clock under your bed or in your closet. The last thing you need on a sleepless night is to be continually reminded of how quickly or slowly time is passing.
- Regular Exercise is important. Try to get at least twenty minutes of exercise daily. This habit will not only help you sleep better, but it will help you feel better during the day, too.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco in the evenings. I know this sounds super boring, but this suggestion is both real and completely spot on. As evening approaches, drop the coffee, and go for other foods and beverages which are relaxing. One of my favorite bedtime snacks is a small container of plain Greek yogurt topped with whipped cream. It’s nutritious, delicious, and it never keeps me awake. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I eat this as a snack to help me go back to sleep.
- Then, there’s the old tried and true Usui Reiki Therapy. When a client complains of insomnia, offer to teach him/her Reiki. I find Reiki to be one of the best sleep aids out there. When I use Reiki as as way of going to sleep, I never make it through a session. I’m always asleep in less than 20 minutes.
- Develop winding down habits to help you prepare to be sleepy as you go to bed. This may mean a guided meditation, calming music, warm bath.
- SKIP THE SLEEPING PILLS. There are many herbal and nutritional preparations that may work for you. Try them out until you find one you like best. For your first selection, you may want to try melatonin, a product which should be taken about an hour before going to bed. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill. It will only work if you have a low melatonin level.
- Start paying attention to your sleep habits by learning when you go to bed in the evenings. Your goal is to be able to allow yourself about eight or so hours to sleep each night.
Finally, I don’t know about you, but I hate the way I feel when I don’t get enough sleep.
Thanks for reading the first in this series of sleep promoting posts. Insomnia is so prevalent these days. It’s accompanied by depression and anxiety.
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Check in regularly to learn more things you can do to get a good night’s sleep.
PS: I have more information about insomnia in my book.
Do you attend continuing education classes, workshops, sessions throughout the year? If not, you’re missing out on the most important part of self-care.
Continuing education classes not only teach us new ideas, techniques, attitudes, postures…they stimulate our minds.
Continuing education classes offer emotional and spiritual stimulation.
Continuing education classes offer networking opportunities of a quality not found anywhere else.
Every continuing education experience is reflected in better work on your client partners.
In addition, continuing education classes usually offer a chance to receive and give body work while you’re learning.
You return to your table renewed and rejuvenated.
Continuing education classes offer you a chance to expand your service skills. I am a reflexologist. This is the work I offer my client partners daily.
I am also known for being a companion animal massage therapist, a Reiki master teacher. I have been attuned to nine different forms of Reiki. Finally, I read tarot cards.
I learned all of these skills on continuing education hours.
To be honest, I’ve studied things that I don’t practice but not one minute of the continuing education hours were a bust.
I am a much better practitioner, blogger, writer, teacher because of my fellow professionals who shared their knowledge with me through continuing education classes: Jonathan Rudinger, Penelope Smith, Dawn Hayman, Mary Ruth Van Landingham, Shoshana Hathaway, Tom Rigler, Rev. Dan Chesbro, Kerrith McKechnie, Marge D’Urso, Alberto Villoldo.
So, my message is this: enrich your life, expand your practice, get continuing education hours!
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Working a full day is challenging. Only another body worker or healer knows what a day full of appointments means to you, the reflexologist – physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.
There are things you can do to minimize the fatigue encountered on just such a day.
One thing you can do that will help immensely is release the appointment when your client partner’s session comes to an end.
What you want is to release the person, the issues, the intention, the time spent to the universe.
When you do this, do not forget to “cut the cords” between you and the person to emphasize that the session is over.
You have done what you can for this person in the time allotted during the session. It’s time now for him/her to accept your healing efforts and return to the world.
Once you release the person, both the your client partner’s body and issues are gone from you until the next appointment.
The whole release may not take but a few moments. A suggestion is that you write a script for release and mentally repeat it as each client partner leaves your table.
If you are a ceremony person, you may write a ceremony of release to practice in your space at the end of each shift. This ceremony may include essential oils, smudging, prayer, Reiki therapy.
This releasing gesture seems easy enough but many people don’t do it. This release makes a difference in your health, your energy, your career.
Whatever you do, it’s important to release each and every client partner who comes to your table.
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Jennette Nearhood provided the artwork for this blog.
When you look at your calendar for the coming week…where are YOU on the schedule? If you are not on the schedule, you are not doing the basic self-care things things to protect your career. Self-care is the difference between a two-year career as a healer and a twenty-year career as a healer.
You are the healer. You join the professional organizations. You pay your taxes. You make sure your office is “just right”. You take continuing education classes. In short, you do the things necessary to protect your business.
But, what about you: your body, your spirit, your emotional strength, your thoughts? Where are they lined up here with the bills and the available appointments, and the marketing activities?
For many healers, body workers this is the most difficult thing to do on the entire list. As reflexologists, we’re accustomed to give, give, give. And, we enjoy giving. Obviously we enjoy giving or we would never have taken even the first class.
The bottom line here is that you commit to your own private, inner, personal wellness when you receive a weekly session. You also set an example for your client partners.
Things you can do!:
Begin by filling your spiritual tank. Schedule a session for yourself each week. Every week. Do something. Get a massage. Get a Reiki session. Schedule a session with a shamanic healer. Try out that new chiropractor who just moved into your neighborhood.
Do something! The important thing is to get on someone else’s table at least once a week.
Personally, I receive an hour-long Reiki therapy session every week…no matter what. I also receive a reflexology session every week. The work I do the rest of the week is much better for this hour which I invest in myself.
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