Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

By Chrissy MacDonald

Getting a good night’s sleep is something we may take for granted until it doesn’t come easy. If you have a hard time falling asleep every night, it can affect your whole life.

We spend about one third of our lives sleeping. Most adults need about six to eight hours of sleep every night. Children need more sleep than adults to be at their best. Teenagers need a lot of sleep. People usually need less sleep as they get older. Getting too little sleep can affect productivity and creativity.

When sleep is repeatedly disrupted, it can have a negative effect on our health, well being and mood. Many factors can affect the quality of sleep such as indigestion, breathing problems, pain, stress, depression, caffeine, some drugs, deficiency in calcium and magnesium, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some things you might like to try to help you sleep better:

  • Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
  • Establish a ritual before bedtime. This might include a warm bath about an hour before then a cup of chamomile tea.
  • In the late hours of the day and early evening, avoid eating foods such as chocolate, cheese, ham, tomatoes and sugar which tend to be stimulants. Foods such as bananas, figs, yogurt, turkey, tuna and whole wheat are more likely to help promote sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet. When the body is deficient in copper, iron, calcium or magnesium, normal sleep can be disrupted.
  • Avoid alcohol which can contribute to disrupted sleep.
  • Keep the television and other distractions out of the bedroom.
  • The bedroom should be comfortable, calming and quiet. Keep colors and lighting soft.
  • Pay attention to your pillow and mattress. When buying new ones, try them out in the store for a few minutes to make sure you get what you need.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep because of worrying, try to focus on happy memories and thoughts. Think of ten things you are thankful for.
  • Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation.
  • A regular program of exercise can improve the quality of sleep.

If you find it difficult to sleep on a regular basis, look at all of these things, examine your diet and any drugs you are taking. See if you can find a reason your sleep is being disrupted.  Do everything you can to fix the problem instead of relying on drugs to help you sleep.

Getting Back on Track after a Setback

By Chrissy MacDonald

Have you ever had a setback in your plan to be healthy, fit and happy?

Maybe you vowed to cut back on drinking or to quit smoking or stop eating junk food. Maybe you started an exercise program as a New Year’s Resolution but it’s fallen by the wayside. Or maybe your dream of losing 10 pounds by Spring somehow fizzled.

We all want to be healthy and happy. It’s good to strive to be a kind and loving person who doesn’t gossip or waste precious time on useless activities.

We do our best but it’s too easy to fall back into old habits. But when we do, the important thing is to just get back on track.

Every day I plan to do these things: write, practice Yoga, walk the dog, read the Bible, meditate. I also try to be calm and content and positive and live in the present moment. Cleaning the house, making meals and getting groceries, stuff like that, is a given. They must be done. And with this little Vizsla puppy, I need to get outside for a walk to give her exercise. So that gets me outside too. As for the other things, I admit they don’t always get done every single day. But I try. And every day, I try again.

We falter, do things we regret and we omit important things from our lives. But when that happens, we need to forgive ourselves for making a mistake or giving up or not doing something we promised ourselves we’d do.

We need to love ourselves and carry on. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

If you make a mistake, if exercising gets sidetracked or you smoke that first cigarette after going weeks without, remember it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Re-focus. Pick yourself up and continue on your journey.

Have a beautiful day!

“We have two lives—the one we learn with and the life we live after that.”
Bernard Malamud

Can You Make Yourself Healthier and Happier?

By Chrissy MacDonald

Many health problems, pain and unhappiness can be helped (not necessarily alleviated altogether, but often helped) with regular exercise, a healthy diet and effective stress management techniques.

How do you feel? Do you have any of these issues: Lower back pain; sore neck; stiff joints – hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, bad knees or ankles; arthritis; osteoporosis; high blood pressure; diabetes; high cholesterol; constipation or bloating? Are you overweight, overtired, overstressed or depressed?

Why do we sometimes put up with ill-health, pain and unhappiness when a few simple steps can help?

Sometimes I wake up a bit cranky and down (yes, it’s true!). For some reason I tend to focus on the negative when I first get up. It takes a while for me to get going. After breakfast I feel better. Then I go for a walk with my little Vizsla puppy, Indi. Today it was a beautiful spring morning. A bit of morning exercise, fresh air and sunshine made a big difference to my state of mind. It felt good to walk and move my body.

Do you feel as good as you would like to?  What could you do to feel better? If you sit all day at a computer, there are exercises you can do to help your sore neck, aching back and tired wrists. Don’t slouch at your desk, get up every half hour and walk around for a break. Do figure eight motions with your wrists to keep the muscles from getting sore and stiff. Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles often throughout the day: Do shoulder shrugs. Turn your head from side to side, then up and down. This will help the neck and shoulders from becoming stiff.

If your hips are getting stiff, make sure they get movement all around the joint, not just forward and backward as in walking. This will help increase circulation and may help prevent future problems. Sit cross legged on the floor more often.

Oftentimes our health can be improved with simple awareness. Good health is often a choice we make. Poor lifestyle habits can contribute to ill-health. What would make you feel better right now? What is one small change you can make today to help yourself? Sometimes it’s just a matter of identifying the problem and then finding a way to help it.