Nuts & Bolts of Life
Sleep hygiene - What is sleep hygiene?
Autumn is now upon us and if you are like me, you suddenly require more sleep than last month due to the mornings being darker, the days having less sunlight and the nights are drawing in to prepare us for hibernation.
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for good health and mental wellbeing, it supports our brain and digestive system and has been shown to support our immune system.
Many adults and young people are struggling to get to sleep and erratic sleep patterns can leave us feeling more tired than when we went to bed!
There are things you can do to help yourself have more adequate quality and quantity of sleep. It helps if you get to know your own body and how much you need to sleep to feel energised and productive the following day. Personally, I need 8 hours of good quality sleep and a monthly change in hormones will often lead me to sleep for up to 12 hours, thankfully this is only once a month otherwise half my life would be sleeping!
Nowadays we all use electronic devices, many of us take them to bed so we don’t miss the gossip of social media, world news; that is generally negative, and the latest ‘must haves’. There is strong scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness. Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark signalling our brain about the outside world and aligning our circadian rhythms to the external day-night cycle. This signalling of light and dark helps us to wake in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate Mme at night and being on electronic devices unMl the early hours messes with this natural cycle.
Diet, a lack of exercise and a disruptive pre-bedtime routine will play havoc on a good nights sleep.
Top Tips on how to get a good night’s sleep include:
Prioritise sleep - It might be tempting to skip sleep in order to work, study, socialise, or exercise, but it’s vital to treat sleep as a priority.
Sleep routines are important - Try to go to bed and get up each day at the same time and try a regular routine of using the bathroom, reading a book that isn’t too stimulating and writing down the things you need to do tomorrow or are worrying about. Listen to meditation music and turn the light down low, keep the bedroom cool and clean up the clutter around the room - a clear room provides a clear, relaxed mind.
A clean body - Avoid large meals, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine for at least 4 hours before bedtime.
Switch off the TV and electronic devices at least one hour before you want to sleep.
If you are still tired and struggling to sleep try then consider raising your daily dose of natural melatonin. Studies show that melatonin; a powerful antioxidant which can protect against stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity will also help if you are struggling to get your zzz.
Mother Nature has ensured that many natural, live food sources contain good amounts of melatonin. Good wholegrain sources include wholewheat, oats and especially black rice. Within the fruit varieties; cherries, strawberries and grapes contain the most with tomatoes and peppers being among the best vegetable sources. Mushrooms also contain high levels of melatonin and pulses and seeds provide a good source to add to your daily diet with mung beans, soya beans and mustard seeds being the best however if you germinate your seeds, you can increase their Nutritional content by 400 per cent. Remember to try and buy and eat as much organic, local, toxic free food as possible!
I drink herbal teas, mainly from the leaves, flowers and fruit I harvest myself, this is a pleasurable activity which grounds me and connects me to Mother Nature. My favourite tea before bed is Lemon balm (Mellissa Officinalis), I feels calm and sleep peacefully when I drink this. Lemon balm is relaxing, tonifying for the nervous system and is mainly used today for anxiety, nervous tension & depression. It grows in abundance and will self-seed and become invasive if left to its own devices!
Mother Nature provides
Spring and harvest times are my favourite time of the year, I love to walk and gather produce that I use for cooking, brewing, blending and drying. I am not a fan of Western medicine and will always deviate towards herbs and plants for healing.
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation) herbal remedies are the most widespread system of medicine used in the world. In many developed countries, this knowledge has been lost as it is easier to swallow a pill given by a GP than take responsibility of ones own health and wellbeing. Fortunately the last couple of decades have seen a renewed interest in herbal remedies, and more and more people are recognising the many benefits of using them to treat themselves and their loved ones.
Used appropriately, herbs can be a satisfying part of an holistic lifestyle. Many herbs, in part are used in today’s modern medicine. When used with common sense, many herbs and plants are a safe and effective form of home help.
If we can treat colds, flu and viruses in the early stages, we can prevent the development of more serious illness and thus avoid using pharmaceutical drugs that have the risk of sideeffects, or as I call them ‘the direct effects’.
Hippocrates, the Father of medicine said “let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food”.
I will share with you, plants and herbs that I use safely for my own healing however please note that I am not a qualified herbalist, should you wish to take herbs for a health condition, please find a qualified herbalist to help you.
Stress and how eft (emotional Freedom Technique) can help
In today’s modern world, stress is at an all time high. There is so much happening in the world with the media fearmongering which make people’s anxieties even worse.
Some amount of stress is actually perfectly normal for us but not the amount we endure nowadays; it’s a gnawing, constant anxiety that affects millions of individuals each minute of the day can take a toll on overall health, relationships and quality of life.
Some people live with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which involves constant and chronic worrying, nervousness and tension. The symptoms of Generalised Anxiety leaves the individual with feelings of dread or unease that can colour ones whole life and gets them stuck in an endless cycle of stress and unhappiness that perpetuates itself.
Chronic anxiety and even low grade stress pumps stress hormones into the body on a continuous cycle, its like being in neutral but with your foot flat on the car accelerator. With this in mind, your heart rate goes up as does your breathing, blood pressure, cor?sol, triglycerides, cholesterol and insulin!
Stress interferes with your serotonin because cortisol and adrenaline
block serotonin. Serotonin affects your mood and in addition stress
impairs the bodies digestion because nutrient absorption decreases
and nutrient excretion increases. Every single system in the body
is affected including the immune system leaving uncontrolled stress
as a major factor in diseases.
So what does stress have to do with EFT? EFT seems to calm the
amygdala. The amygdala releases endorphins; the bodies
‘feel good hormones’ which calm the nerves and increases gamma
brain waves which are associated with processing information and
high levels of concentration.
EFT triggers the brains own pain release mechanism and sends a message to the amygdala to say that this stimulus (thoughts, events and emotions) are non-threatening. EFT acts like a pattern interrupt and educates the amygdala with a different meaning about the thoughts, emotions or experience you may be having at that time and diffuses the emotional charge being experienced and thus calms the body.
Learning EFT is in my opinion a great self-help tool that can offer quick and long lasting relief to anxiety as well as a plethora of other conditions.
Spiced Elderberry Syrup
A delicious Elderberry Syrup which can sooth sore throats, coughs and strengthen the immune system during winter illness.
Self-heal has antiviral properties and is effective for colds and ‘flu and is an underrated liver, gallbladder and thyroid remedy...