This spring in Toronto has been full of rain and one benefit I noticed is a cloudy rainy morning can help me sleep a little extra if I manage to allow myself. Being a student of traditional chinese medicine has me experimenting with various herbal formulas to balance my health. The unexpected benefit of these formulas has been improved sleep. I would say my sleep has always been pretty good and this spring I have experienced a whole new level of high quality sleep with trying chinese herbs and getting into a beautiful new bed. Sleep and rest is an extremely important component of health-we regenerate ourselves with sleep. In the spirit of sharing my good news of great sleep, I would like to share some habits that help ensure a good night’s sleep:
-No television or computer time after 10pm. Keep electronics to a minimum near your bed if possible.
-No caffeine intake after 3pm.
-Keep the same bed time ritual, such as reading, tea, brushing your teeth, so your body knows to wind down. Sleep is process of letting go, so develop your own routine to let go of your day in preparation for rest.
-Develop a meditation practice. One benefit is should you ever experience insomnia, you can observe yourself and what thoughts or feelings you experience while awake.
-Keep a gratitude journal to reflect on things you are grateful for at the end of your day. This practice has a life changing positive effect-
This is actually a general health and fitness tip, but most of us have goals of losing fat and this tip applies. I enjoyed a couple hours of sunshine by a pool this afternoon with a good friend. We both commented on how it was an exceptionally pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Most people that we work with experience fairly high levels of stress in their modern lives. Relaxation is always on the list of lifestyle habits that we advise for general health, well being and fat loss. However, this is much easier said than done. One idea to make more time to relax and enjoy life is to make a plan with a friend, much like the way you would if you’re trying to get more active. Most of us have difficulty taking time out for ourselves to unwind, myself included.
Why is relaxation a lifestyle habit that we advise? When we run around all day to accomplish our ever growing to do list, we stimulate our sympathetic nervous system. That is our high gear, flight or fight side. Our bodies need equal stimulus in addition to sleep to rest, relax and rejuvenate, which is what our parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for. When our nervous system is in better balance, we are in better health and everything in our bodies including our minds functions more optimally. When our bodies are functioning in an optimal way, fat loss becomes a natural consequence of exercising, eating well and enjoying life (to put is simplistically).
Enjoying good weather, swimming and relaxing is an activity that simply feels good and is good for you on many levels. Here is a photo of one of my favourite pools that I have experienced some relaxation at for a little inspiration to take some time out for yourself.