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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Our lives are often over full with too much going on. We’re all busy. Working. Caring for children. Running errands. Studying. Volunteering.
Where is the time to shop for and prepare a leisurely, healthy meal?
Food can often be therapeutic. But, sometimes it’s hard to serve a healthy, healing meal to someone. when everyone is overworked, underpaid, short of time, and out of space.
there are things that can be done to make your kitchen healthy and the meals easier.
Begin by making your kitchen a place where you want to be. Are the walls a color that you like? Is music that you like available in your kitchen? Do your utensils work?
If the answers to your questions were “no”, it’s time to try to make your kitchen a place where you want to be. Tackle one thing at a time and the room will soon be your favorite place.
Review your recipes. Do you have a few recipes for meals that are nutritious, delicious, easy to prepare, and fun to eat? If not, be on the lookout.
What you need is an arsenal of easy-to-prepare meals which you can rely on. Start with a few slow-cooker recipes which you can use during the week. This way, you can load the slow-cooker with ingredients before you leave for work, turn on the cooker, and return home at the end of the day to a delicious meal.
Do you have a favorite casserole recipe? Prepare this dish on your day off and then have it ready to eat the next evening.
Eat together as a family at least three times a week…more if you can. Make eating together non-negotiable.
Get your family members to help with the meal. Setting the table, washing the dishes, taking out the trash can all be done by family members.
I’m living proof that it is possible, even easy, to cook and serve healthy, nutritious, delicious, clean food that is easy to prepare and doesn’t cost a fortune.
When you work at this, you’ll soon have a kitchen that everyone enjoys. Your food will be delicious, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and fun.
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Do you sometimes have trouble getting through the afternoon? Maybe it’s time to invest in a healthy lunch.
A healthy lunch doesn’t have to be just an extension of an already over packed morning. A healthy lunch should be a respite from the confusion and stress of the morning leading up to the lunch hour.
TAKE A WALK – Whether you work in an office, factory, retail outlet, or home, walking is a good way to make your lunch a bit more enjoyable and healthy. Your lhealthy lunch walk doesn’t have to be long. Nor is it a substitute for food. It is a chance to change your environment and move your muscles for a few minutes.
TAKE A POWER NAP – Five or ten minutes devoted to putting one’s feet up and closing one’s eyes can change your life. No kidding. A few minutes sleeping in the middle of the day makes a lot of difference in the remainder of my day. And, it can make the same difference in yours.
MAKE YOUR LUNCH HEALTHY. Healthy, clean food can make a world of difference in how you function in the afternoon. Basically, that means you eat foods that are food. Boycott chemical laden lunches which are low in nutrition and high in calories and toxic additives.
GET AWAY FROM YOUR DESK. No matter how stressful things are, physically remove yourself from your desk for at least fifteen minutes. Take a walk. Chat with a couple of working colleagues. Make a personal call or two. Your goal is to take yourself away from the desk physically, mentally, emotionally for a few moments.
DO YOU RUN ERRANDS? Walk them if you can. The exercise you get on your lunch break will refresh you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
ARE YOU ON A DIET? Start a lunch group where you eat with other colleagues who are also interested in weight management, health, and nutrition. You can enjoy the group socially as well as support each other as you lose weight.
YOUR HEALTHY LUNCH BEGINS WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST. It’s much harder to eat a healthy lunch if you’ve skipped breakfast and are hungry and craving high-fat, high calorie, high carb foods. A good breakfast which includes whole grains and lean proteins will serve you well throughout the morning.
INCLUDE A HEALTHY SOUP. A healthy soup will include the protein and fiber you’ll need to get through the afternoon. The ideal soup will be broth based and will make you feel full while not wasting calories.
LEAVE YOUR BUILDING. GET OUTSIDE. Whether you are running errands, power walking, or visiting with friends, make sure you walk outside your building for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths. Be outside. Is it raining? Snowing? Broiling hot? Whatever is happening outside your building, spend a couple of minutes experiencing this day. Enjoy a couple of minutes of this escape to recharge!
No matter how stressful your day, consider how best to use your lunch time.
Go for it!
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In this blog post, I deliberately chose lifestyle changes which will offer you multiple health benefits. This is part of a series of healthy lifestyle tips to improve your life. Here are some new ones for you to choose from. Try them out. Some will work for you for a while. Others will be habits you’ll adopt and live with. These are all positive changes to improve your life.
GROCERY SHOPPING? – Choose whole, natural foods rather packaged or processed foods.
TAKE YOUR VITAMINS AND MINERALS daily. Choose ones that you need to supplement your diet. A nutritionist helps me choose the best supplements for my lifestyle situation, body type, age, and health. Think of your daily vitamins as a sort of wellness insurance policy. It’s hard to get all the nutrients we need each day. Vitamins make the job a bit easier.
SET YOUR ALARM to go off 15 minutes earlier each day. That way, you can slowly wake up . You’ll have a few minutes to stretch your arms, legs, hands, toes, feet, ankles, legs, neck and back. This will bring extra oxygen to your entire body and get your day off to a good start.
MAKE YOUR MORNING DECISIONS THE NIGHT BEFORE. That means you choose what clothes you’re going to wear the night before. Choose what you’re going to eat for breakfast. The more decisions you make the night before, the easier your morning will be.
KEEP A TO-GO CORNER where you put all the things everyone is going to need as they run out the door. This will include keys, wallet, book bags, gloves, hats, and whatever else will be needed.
CHOOSE A SHOWER. It’s healthier than a bath.
DRINK A LARGE GLASS OF WATER. You wake up each day dehydrated and you’ve been fasting all night so the water is good for you.
LISTEN TO FIVE OR TEN MINUTES OF QUIET MUSIC EACH MORNING. You’re probably going to hear people talking all day long. A few minutes of quiet music is helpful preparation.
KEEP YOUR BREAKFAST ROUTINE EASY. Healthy breakfasts can include granola, whole grain cereals, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs. Try spreading apple slices with peanut butter. Don’t forget the blueberries! Substitute peanut butter for butter.
TREAT YOURSELF TO DARK CHOCOLATE AS A TOPPING FOR YOUR CEREAL.
Dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants to keep your arteries healthy.
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UPDATE: The second edition of the Healer’s Handbook is officially published and available. You can purchase it online at thurmangreco.com.
Thanks for your support. Without your continued support, there would be no second edition of this book! Thanks again!
There are, literally, thousands of things all of us can do. It’s the small changes which add up to meaningful health improvement. I’m offering a group of changes in each blog post which you can choose from. Choose one new thing each day if you can.
My grandmother used to say to me: “You take care of the nickels and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Healthy Small Steps are the same thing. Add healthy habits or lose unhealthy habits a day at a time to change your life for the better.
Substitute A BOTTLE OF WATER for that daily soda. Water is cheaper and wonderful for your urinary health. Don’t like water? Choose tea. There are many flavors out there without sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors, in the lineup of ingredients.
Spend five minutes every day STRETCHING. You can do this while you’re watching TV. Your joints and muscles will thank you.
Put OLIVE OIL in your salad dressings. Your food will taste better and your body will be appreciative. My olive oil is organic and comes from California. It tastes delicious. It’s nutritious. Organic olive oil is a clean food. My salads are yummy.
Do you eat cereal? Sweeten it with CINNAMON instead of sugar. Your blood sugar levels will improve a bit.
Give yourself a TREAT! Call a friend to chat. Buy yourself a flower. Have a luxurious bath with scented soap. These are all simple, inexpensive ways to reduce stress in your life.
Add a POWER NAP to your day. Spend just a few minutes each day with your feet up, your eyes closed, breathing deeply, relaxing. The remainder of your day will go easier for you!
Switch to WHOLE GRAINS. Whole grain breads and cereals taste better and offer better nutrition. What’s not to love about them?
Sniff a sprig of ROSEMARY. This will give your brain a treat. You’ll be more alert and you’ll enjoy the scent. If you can’t get a sprig of rosemary, try putting a drop of rosemary essential oil on a tissue as a substitute.
QUIT SMOKING. Okay. This one may not be so easy, but the benefits are HUGE. Go for it!
Get a good night’s SLEEP. Okay, this one may not be so easy, either. But the benefits are also HUGE. For starters, schedule enough sleep time in every daily schedule.
Try some of these tips. Lifestyle changes have multiple health benefits. I’ll be sending more along in the next blog.
And, thanks for reading this blog post.
BOOK UPDATE: The second edition of “A Healer’s Handbook” should be out this week! And, I’ve begun volume 2!
I thank all of you for this. If no one were reading this book, this blog, there would be no need for a Volume 2.
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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.
Can I offer you Ten Good Tips that will improve your life significantly and still be easy to adapt to your lifestyle?
I hope so! Well, they may not all be super easy to become a part of your life but don’t hit the escape button yet. Please just read these Ten Good Tips and see how many of them you already do and how many of them will be easy for you and how many will be a challenge.
I honestly believe this list is going to be easier than you think. Just, give it a try.
Drink a cup of tea each day and then drink seven more cups of water throughout your day.
Walk 10,000 steps a day. Actually, this may be a lot easier than you think. Many people already walk 10,000 steps daily. If that doesn’t work for you, try to walk for thirty minutes every day.
Can you quit smoking? Have you already quit smoking?
Every day, sit down and put your feet up. Get quiet for five minutes. That’s all.
Reach out to a friend every day. Just to say “hi” if nothing else.
Enjoy a piece of chocolate every day.
Eliminate prefabricated foods from your diet. You know what I mean. The instant macaroni and cheese that I lovingly call “yellow death” and the canned chili with ingredient words no one can pronounce. And, don’t forget the peanut butter with an ingredient list that takes up half the label.
Switch over to olive oil based salad dressings to control cholesterol.
Skip sugary soft drinks and bubbly sodas that have sugar substitutes instead of sugar. Either way, your body won’t miss them.
Add blueberries to your diet to enhance your memory. I buy frozen wild blueberries in bulk to cut their cost. Wild ones actually have more nutrients which are found in the skins because wild blueberries are smaller than the farmed ones. I put them over plain yogurt. Love it!
I’ve added a couple extra items to the list so you’ll have a choice.
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The Second Edition of “A Healer’s Handbook” should be available within about two weeks! Thanks to every for your support of this book! Thurman
Still can’t sleep? It’s turning out to be a cold winter in Woodstock this year. But, still not as cold as one would think. The snow melts between the storms.
All these temperature ups and downs invite insomnia in some people. As many articles as I’ve written about sleep, there are always more tips waiting to find space on the blog post.
Still can’t sleep? Have you changed your pillow? If you find yourself awake at night and slugging it out with your pillow, it’s time to go to a store and find one that’s just right for you. There are so many kinds of pillows out there now that a person can get confused. Don’t give up. Think about the kind of pillow you need. You’ll find it!
Sip some mild tea as you relax yourself before going to bed. Give yourself an hour to slow down your systems, calm your brain and nerves.
Still can’t sleep? Try to eat your last meal of the day about three hours before you go to bed. If you are afraid you’ll be hungry, eat a banana before you go to bed.
Wear ski socks when you go to bed. Studies show that people sleep better if their feet are warm.
Have you moved your office out of your bedroom? If not, now is a good time.
What about your curtains? Heavier curtains block light and encourage sleep.
Finally, if you have read all these blog posts about sleep, and none of the tips seem to work for you…it might be time to try a sleep center and take a sleep test.
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I’ll be posting more regularly now that the reflexology book is going into it’s second edition and the hunger book is nearing the end. You’ll be reading about their availability soon!
For a person struggling to sleep, it sometimes feels as if a good night’s sleep will never happen. Well, I don’t believe that. I’ve had too many client partners journey down the path to good sleep habits.
- Regular reflexology sessions really help. Begin with three reflexology sessions a week. After the first week, cut back to two sessions a week. Try to get two sessions a week for two months. Then, cut back to one session a week and continue with this weekly schedule until better sleep habits begin to be a part of your life. Then, you can cut back to a session every other week for awhile. Regular reflexology sessions definitely encourage sleep, glorious sleep.
- Self Reiki offers a better night’s sleep. Whenever you wake up in the night and think you’ll never be able to go back to sleep, spend a few minutes offering yourself a Reiki session.
- Write a sleep meditation for yourself which you can use when you are awake at night. Recite this meditation to yourself when you can’t sleep. Edit it over time until you feel you have it just right. In this meditation, you want to tell your muscles to relax so you can sleep. Tell your body that you are surrounded by a relaxing light that will encourage and support your sleep for the remainder of the night.
- If you feel hungry when you wake up in the middle of the night, fix a small snack for yourself. You don’t want to have an entire meal, or even a large snack, but a small serving of yogurt or a cup of a relaxing tea can coax you back to sleep.
- Try not to let yourself be overcome by worry. Sometimes urgent worry can keep you from returning to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night. Realize that the worry will seem smaller in the light of day.
- Do not let your thoughts control your night and your ability to sleep. After all, they are just thoughts. Let them slip away into the night.
- If you feel you cannot return to sleep, get out of bed and read for a few minutes. Then, maybe you will feel more like sleep when you return to bed.
- Gentle yoga before bed helps.
- Finally, give yourself permission to rest and to sleep.
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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.