Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spend your evenings calmly and get a good night's sleep

How are you doing with your new Paleo habits? Are you steadily eating away at that elephant? Remember you need to keep reminding yourself until it becomes automatic.

Here's you're next Lifestyle habit. When you feel comfortable, then it's time to work on the next step. But not before.  Don't rush this. Remember Kaizen is about changing your life one tiny step at a time.

You should work on these habits only once all the 10 easy steps to becoming a Permanent Paleo Eater  are an automatic part of your everyday life.  Don't try to do everything at once or you will feel overwhelmed.

Check the list below. If you are still working on some of these habits then keep doing that until you no longer need to think about them.  Only then are you ready to move on.  Nobody is rushing you and nobody is keeping track.  This is YOUR plan and you decide when you're ready.

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step"

. .... then another, and another.... Take your time, do it right, and you'll build a solid base for a lifetime of easy and healthy Paleo living.

One of the lifestyle habits Mark Sisson suggests is to have a calm evening routine and to make sure you get enough sleep.

You don't have to do Yoga on the beach at sunset, though that is certainly an option.  Even if that is not an option for you, there are many other things that you can do.

First, start with eating relatively early.  At least 3 hours before you go to sleep is recommended so you don't go to bed on a full stomach.  And make sure you have a calm, relaxed meal.  This is not the time to be discussing problems.  Spend the time with the people you love and who love you.

Taking a relaxing stroll after dinner has long been a habit in many European countries and it's one that many of us would benefit from incorporating into our own routines.  You get the benefit of movement as well as fresh air, and if you walk with a spouse, a child or a friend, you get to spend quality time with someone who is important to you as well.

If you watch TV to relax in the evenings, don't watch anything too exciting or too horrifying.  Mission Impossible and Vampire Dairies are not recommended.  In fact, there are many who recommend that you give up the evening news as well.

Reading is a much more relaxed activity, providing of course that you choose the right subject matter.  This is not the time to be checking the report that is due tomorrow morning.  Choose one of those novels you've always meant to read or that best seller that's been sitting on your side table.

And make yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea.  Ginger, lavender and camomile all have sleep inducing properties.

It's also best not to have too many bright lights in the evening.  Reading under a lamp by the fire is very relaxing either in Winter or on the patio in the summer.   If you prefer, go to bed and read.

Before you go to bed though, you might want to enjoy a nice hot bath.  Women have known the benefits of soaking in a bath for ages.

But men seem to be catching on pretty quickly as well.

When it's time to actually fall asleep, there are several things you can do to ensure you get a good, undisturbed rest.

First, make sure you sleep in a completely dark room.  Many people who have trouble sleeping though the night have found this to make all the difference.  This means not only turning of the lights, but possibly putting up blackout curtains if yours let through light from outside.

You also need to get rid of anything that has a light on it.  This includes televisions, computers, and electric alarm clocks.  If you must have a clock get one that you can turn on when you need it with a press of the button.

Many people make herbal tea a part of their night time routine, and some insist that adding a tablespoon of honey to tea that you drink just before bed helps you sleep as well.  It has to be unpasturized honey, though, to work.

It's important to make your bed and your bedroom as restful as possible.  Since you spend at least a third of your life sleeping, this should certainly be a priority.

When it comes to the colour scheme, if you are not sure what to choose, you can't go wrong with blue.  According to colour specialists, this is the most rest inducing colour and chosen by the majority of people for their bedrooms.

Make sure you have a good mattress and the right amount of covers for your particular preference.  Some people like more, some like less, and whatever works for you is what you should make sure you have.

Also, it is worth investing in some good quality sheets.  Anything over a 300 thread count is pretty good, though the best is more like 600 to 800 and personally I don't think you can't beat Egyptian cotton for comfort.

Once you have your bed set up, look around your bedroom and see if you find it restful.  This bedroom is calm, restful, minimalist, and has a killer view.

This is a completely different style, but restful in it's own way.

I think this is more my style. Fireplace, books, comfortable chairs, lots of light and a fantastic view ... what else could one possibly want?

You need to decide which style is right for you.

Unless you absolutely have to have it there, your desk should not be in this room.  If you have to have a desk, choose one that you can close up once you have finished working.  The sight of unfinished work won't do anything to calm your mind.

In my posts on Lavender and Rosemary I give you directions on how to make a herbal sleep pillow, and you should consider making one for yourself.  This is a small pillow filled with sleep inducing herbs that you tuck under your pillow.  The aroma of the herbs works the same way as the tea and helps you relax and sleep.

Lastly, I want to mention something that has worked very well for me.  I have major arthritis in my knees and many times it has woken me up at night and prevented me from getting back to sleep.  After reading about them and doing some research, I tried some nanotechnology sleep patches.  The way they work is by stimulating accupuncture points that help your body produce more melatonin and thus helps you sleep.  (You can read about it here.)

They have several different patches that I really can't comment on, but I can say that these sleep patches work.  When I use them I never awaken during the night, and in the morning I feel well rested and refreshed.

UPDATE :  If you have ever worried that you are not getting enough sleep because you tend to awake during the night, then you might want to read Mark Sisson's latest post on biphasic sleep here.  For months, when I didn't use the patches,  I often found myself sleeping in 4 hour sessions.  I'd go to bed at about 10, sleep until 2, then wake feeling wide awake and putter around doing things or reading for an hour before going back to sleep and getting another 4 or 5 hours.

This seemed to happen quite naturally and I did worry that I wasn't getting quality sleep, but it seems this might not be a problem.  In his post Mark makes a case for what he calls "biphasic sleep"in which he states his belief that originally this is the way we all used to sleep.  I'm not sure I believe this completely, and it is only a theory at the moment, but Mark encourages us to experiment on ourselves and see whether we still feel rested and able to function during the day sleeping this way.  It will be interesting to read the comments after people have experimented with this for a while.

Why we need to sleep is a mystery that scientists are only now unraveling, but the fact is that we do.  So if we want to be as healthy as possible, we need to make sure that we take care of this third of our life as well as we care for the rest.

Also read my post on candles here.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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