Making changes can be daunting and overwhelming. We are all a work in progress so do not feel like you are alone! The way to progress is through awareness. When we think of making concrete changes to our set ways and our lifestyle, it is just too lofty of a feat to tackle. By recognizing and acknowledging our routines and habits that might need some evaluating and fine-tuning, it is the first most important step in self-care and overall wellness.
As we bring in the new year, decide to create a sense of awareness. Ask yourself what you can improve upon. Then shorten that list to half the size until you are left with only one! We all have that list in our heads, and the thought of writing it down is so overbearing that we just do not go there... ever. What if you were to take just one thing and put the other things that are just too large to look at aside for now? Once you have chosen your one item, make an affirmation to be aware that you may be able to take control of that very small thing. Do not look at anything else! Just make a pact to yourself that you will see how that one thing can be tweaked in order to take a small step in the road to self-care and wellness.
Often patients report difficulty sleeping. For all of us, no matter what our individual lifestyle, sleep is critical to our ability to function and have the power to tackle what lays ahead for us each day. Creating a sense of awareness about sleep patterns and routines, and how it impacts daily focus, energy, and well-being is key to our overall quality of health.
It all begins with awareness. Awareness is key!
Ask yourself this very important question. Am I using any electronics before sleep? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone! According to AAST, The Community for Sleep-Care Professionals, most people today go to bed with their cell phone, tablet, laptop, or watch television to keep them company. Bright light from electronics blocks the release of melatonin, which is the hormone that signals the brain that it is time to sleep. This exposure to light results in increased alertness in brain waves making it more difficult to fall asleep. As we use these electronics, we can become wrapped up in what we are doing and continue long past the time we would normally go to sleep. When we include screen time during this critical “unwinding” period, we are filling our minds with information, knowledge, and thoughts. It could lead to information overload by packing our minds with information the brain must process before allowing us to sleep.
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory believes each of the organs in the body correspond to specific times in the day. The Chinese body clock focuses on different organs within the body, as well as energy also known as qi. Each essential organ has an optimal peak performance period during the day (a two-hour window of time). By educating ourselves with the circadian clock, you can make the most of your body. With this understanding, during our deepest sleep, the liver, lungs, and gall bladder work to detox, repair, and build essential bodily functions. Therefore, anything we can do to promote and insure quality, well-rested sleep is key to feeling good and having a healthy balance in our lives.
Tips to create more sleep-positive changes in our daily routines:
Have a wonderful New Year and be kind to yourself!