A new study of 5666 healthy Americans released by the American Professional Sleep Society today revealed that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night puts a person 4X at risk for a stroke. A stroke happens when there is decrease blood flow to the brain. Strokes are the 4th leading cause of deaths in the US. Our bodies regenerate and renew itself when we sleep so it’s important for our overall health to get a good night of ZZZZZZs.
It still amazes me that so many people have trouble sleeping. It’s like we are all type A personality people driven to take advantage of every waking moment. A few years ago I read a very extensive book on the topic of light and sleep Lights Out by T.S. Wiley. Since the invention of electricity we are able to stay up later. Prior to that people used candles and kerosene lamps which provided minimal light. Now we can stay up all night if we like listening to music, surfing the net, watching tv, etc.
Here’s a few tips to getting a better night sleep:
get up when the sun comes up (the book explains more in detail)
practice 10-15 meditation each day ( a time to quiet your mind, no thoughts, just focus on your breathing)
do not eat, drink or exercise 2 hours before bedtime
1 hour prior to sleep turn everything off and dim the lights (you can light a candle if you want)
Life can throw you a one- two punch out of the blue. Last year and early this year was one of those times for me. Instead of a one- two punch, I got the three-four-five-six punches….. they just kept coming. How do you get through tough times that keep on coming?? Here’s my current list. I’m sure it will change over time but so far here’s how I keep smiling:
Staying connected to my Creator–church, prayer, reading the bible, prayer, did I mention prayer?
Meditation–I’m new at it but it keeps me grounded
Aromatherapy–Joy™ is one of my favorites, it smells great and reminds me to be joyful, it’s my Joy in a bottle
Gratitude Journal–some days the best I could say is “thank you for the sun shining”. It works, now there’s more to be grateful for
Smile and say hello, in the words of Joel Osteen–”being unhappy won’t change anything for the better”
Random acts of kindness– increases serotonin, get creative, the world needs more kindness
Appreciate moments of silence– Take the oppt to pray or listen to God’s voice, He speaks very quietly
Exercise–burn off the frustration
Go to bed early– it gets the day over
Talk it out– a friend, a therapist, the car, walls, just get it out!!
Reading–words are powerful & meaningful>>affirmations, inspirational quotes, books, other blogs, right now on hooked on Chosen Families
Music– love it>>Classical in the am(makes me smarter), dance music for exercising, gospel for inspiration, relaxing music at night before bed, jazz, country, Christian, reggae, & classical, somewhere in between. That’s a lot of music. Thank you Pandora.
Work–I happen to have a really great job
Food–Eating healthy–if you want your body to function well you have to fuel it with good, healthy foods. I feel the difference. Everyday and I mean everyday I need my Luna bars and a handful of nuts. Don’t feel right without them. A piece of dark chocolate is also very good
Drink–no not alcohol, TEA. Hooked on them, now having several cups a day, just discovered the Teavana tea shop
Get out in nature–I love walks in the woods, staring at a lake or feeling an ocean breeze. God is there, I can sense His presence
Hobbies-As I tell my kids ” I do actually have a life”. There’s things I like to do
I am a thinker. I think more than I talk. My mind is going all the time, ideas, dreams, fantasies, conversations, thoughts, thoughts and more thoughts. Not thinking has never appealed to me. I’ve always wished I had more time to think. I never dreamed I would enjoy just sitting, focusing my attention on God and not paying any attention to my thoughts. Meditation is that to me. A time to be still, silent, alone with God. Let him have his time with me uninterrupted by my constant stream of thoughts. It’s a discipline like any other and it takes practice.
I have different ways of meditating. Sometimes in the shower, I call it my water meditation. Sometimes in the car, driving meditation, candle meditation, where I stare at the flame on a candle, and then other times just sitting. I make myself a receptacle. If I’m sitting I start by putting an essential oil in my palm, breathing it in and taking a few seconds to bring attention to my breathing. I take 3 very slow, deep breath with a pause in between. I feel myself relax. Then allow my mind to go blank, no thoughts. All the while I’m listening to relaxing music. I find that this helps me to keep my mind from wandering. Sometimes I do visualization and sometimes just a clear mind. In a crazy mixed up world, meditation is a wonderful way to keep me sane.
I am a beginner in meditation. My quest began in 2009 by reading about it. In 2010 I made a decision to try it out. So far it has been one of the highlights of my spiritual journey.
Just mentioning meditation, the 1st thought to comes to mind is someone sitting indian style with their index finger and thumb touching in a circle, humming “om” over and over again. That’s more associated with eastern meditation by Buddhists and Hindus although more and more westerners practice meditation this way.
For me meditation is a call to be silent, listening for God’s still voice. It’s different from prayer when I’m doing more talking and much less listening. Meditation is a time of discipline, to just sit, be still and listen. I imagine that God and I are either sitting or walking hand in hand. We smile at each other. I have his full attention. I feel happy, loved, peaceful and secure. I’m in his presence.
I start by putting a few drops of an essential oil in my palms, rub together, cup my hands together and breathe in slowly three times. I sit, sometimes with palms open (receiving position). I don’t chant a mantra or say a phrase over and over again in my mind, just sit in silence. I listen to relaxing music which keeps my mind from wondering all over the place. I like to do it 1st thing in the morning and before going to bed as a way to start and end my day.
Two books that have been the most influential are Christian Meditation by James Finley and Centering Prayer by M. Basil Pennington. I continue to read them over and over again for inspiration. My newest book is a book of prayers that I read before I start meditating, Marianne Williamson’s Illuminata. It took a while to find a way what works for me. I still working on lengthening the time I meditate and keeping my mind centered. It’s a challenge but so very worth it.