30 Day Review: Let’s Celebrate You!

Smiling Boy with Open Arms

30 Day Review: Let's Celebrate You! 

It’s January 30th. You know what that means, don’t you?

That it’s been 30 days since we first talked about Resolutions.

And we established that we’d focus on our one small goal for 30 days.

Remember?

Just wanted to know how you’re doing.

I know I asked a few weeks ago.

Positive Power

I ask again because I want to offer support. And to find out what you’re celebrating now.

Yup, I’m inviting you to focus on the positive. On what did go well. On what you can build on.

Why?

Because what you focus on, you’ll get more of.

Suggestion: commit to focusing on the positive. Make up your mind that you will find something (or several things) positive, and then go look for it/them in your 30 days of goal action.

Keep this positive focus  in mind as we continue and you ask yourself…

How did it all go? And what will you do for the next 30 days?

Will you keep your present goal, and perhaps raise your minimum amount, to build even stronger momentum?

Or, will you continue your current goal action as it is, while you add another new goal action?

For myself, I chose to take a daily action that my Health Hero, Dr. Kharrazian, says helps strengthen vagus nerve function. In other words, it helps my brain and body be strong and communicate well together.

I succeeded at performing my goal action every day except one (I just plain forgot), so I’ll celebrate that. Cool! And take a moment to truly appreciate my efforts.

 And going forward I’ll plan to do better, since I still didn’t strongly anchor that goal action to one trigger that would help me remember it (like doing it right before I brush my teeth at night). And I could use a visual cue to help remind me.

In other words, I failed at applying all of the science-based advice I wrote about in my article about Resolutions (you can review it here). But in the next 30 days, I’ll do better.

And You?

So, what went well for you? What will you celebrate? I’d love to hear!

Good for you for taking action. Keep going!

As you build momentum, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

This isn’t so hard after all.

But if your past 30 days weren’t great, you can always start over. Tomorrow. New beginning, new you. Another chance to take small steps, and focus on the positive.

Cheers! You've got this.

Santa Claus enjoying some deep sleep on the couch

8 Reasons To Gift Yourself With Sleep This Holiday Season – And Why You’d Be Crazy Not To

8 Reasons To Gift Yourself With
Sleep This Holiday Season

 
- and Why You'd Be Crazy Not To

The holidays.

It’s that time of year again, full of contrasts.

Busy. Hectic. Rewarding. Renewing.

The happiness of celebrating with loved ones, the sorrow of missing those absent.

The joy of giving (and receiving!) and the stress of debt and bills.

Wanting to do everything, yet needing time to rest and be too.

How to balance it all?

Surprisingly, I would say to ….. sleep!

Sleep?  When there is so much to do? Sounds crazy…..

8 Reasons Why....

Here’s why I think you’d be wise to prioritize sleep. (I have to remind myself of this too!)

I think I know what you truly want for the holidays. And, I can show you how quality abundant sleep will help you get it.

[The information below is summarized from Dr. Matthew Walker’s new book Why We Sleep – a great read, and a relevant gift idea for those tempted to skimp on sleep. Additional points added from Sleep Interrupted by Steven Park, M.D. – an informative book about breathing-related sleep issues.]


1. You want to be healthy. Not blowing your nose at the Christmas party. Not cancelling dinner at your house because of the flu. Sleep an average of 5 hours a night? Your infection rate will be almost 50% per exposure, as compared to just 18 % if you sleep 7 hours or more.

2. You want to connect with family and friends, and be in a good mood while doing so. You don’t want people wondering what’s wrong with you, after you left. The better rested you are, the less pendulum-like your moods swings will be – and the more you’ll enjoy yourself too.

3. You want the best deals as you shop for gifts. Did you know that Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) can help you to accurately read the faces of others? And that a depletion of REM sleep can make you feel like the world is out to get you – you can’t distinguish friend from foe? Hone your perceptive skills, and find the winning gift. 

4. Selfies? Group photos? You bet! Want to look good in the photos? Of course! Sleep can help with this too. Yes, there is research proving this, but you already know it. “Beauty Sleep” isn’t just a metaphor!

5. Speaking of photos and appearance, dare I ask - any concerns about weight gain? You too? Chances are, you already know that the less sleep you get, the more you want to eat. And not health food – quick carbs and junk. Getting enough sleep will help you not gain extra weight in the first place!

6. Chances are, you want to look good socially too. To remember your colleagues’ spouses name. To remember who likes which type of wine. To mesmerize your friends with a captivating story. You can do this if you’re well rested. And, not so much (one study shows a 40% reduction) if you’re not well rested.

7. You also want to perform well – to cook a wonderful meal, to play the concerto perfectly, to score the last point. Again, deep sleep to the rescue – you can do it!

8. And, when you can’t find your car in the parking lot, or you burn the turkey, or drop the plate of chocolate truffles, you want to know that you can creatively turn the situation around – quickly! Again, good sleep is your friend. It will help you to stay cool, calm and creative.

Time To Commit....

So, I invite you. Get your Calendar out. Where can you allow yourself a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep? I challenge you – comment below, and let us know which days you’re committing to getting a full restful night’s sleep. No skimping!

Great. Now you’ve got sleep opportunity covered – you’ve scheduled in some sleep. And committed to it. How can you avoid some of the common pitfalls that might keep you awake? Or poorly sleeping?

But How?

A few suggestions:

1. Alcohol? Avoid it. At least in the 2 – 3 hours before you go to bed. Several reasons: It keeps you from getting REM sleep. It wakes you up for the bathroom. And it further relaxes tongue muscles which can exacerbate breathing problems while you sleep.

2. Eating within 2 – 3 hours before bedtime? Don’t. Eat earlier. You’ll fall asleep better, and they’ll be less stomach contents to come back up the wrong “pipe,” disrupting your sleep and breathing. If you’re hosting a party, strive to have your guests eating dinner by 7:00, and heading home by 10:00.

3. Drinking coffee with dinner? Nope. Even Decaf? Nope – not after 2 pm.

4. Do exercise in the morning, especially in the daylight; this helps set your internal “Clock” and it’s been shown to greatly enhance your ability to sleep. And it protects your brain from dementia.

You Can Do It - And It's Worth It

Promise me something. Let’s say you read the above list, and you feel you can’t do what it says. Please don’t be discouraged. Don’t drink the whole bottle of scotch because you can’t give up one drink before bed.

Just look for one thing you can do, however small, and focus on doing this.

Write it down.

Tell us below.

Do it consistently.

Reward yourself each time you do it; smile and feel good!

Why? Because what I think you (and I) most want during the holidays is to feel renewed and refreshed within ourselves – connected to all that is most positive within us.

And then to successfully share this with others, in a meaningful way.

Good sleep can give us this – it’s like an elixir that makes the magic of the holidays come true.

What are you waiting for? Enjoy abundant restful sleep, and the holidays!

And if you would like more information on how to improve your sleep, or to instant message Rachel:

“Fall” Easily Into A Healthy Sleep Routine

Time for a Change!

It’s that time of year again – this coming Sunday morning at 2 am local time, daylight savings time ends, and we turn our clocks back an hour. (Or, more accurately, we get to sleep in an hour longer Sunday morning, without being late - yeah!)

That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Well, it’s true - we have to remember! Hopefully this memory-jog helps, and, with your calendar updated, this potential concern can get crossed off the list.

Challenges?

Additionally, science has proven what many of us sense - that even such a small disruption in sleep, such as changing our sleep time by an hour, can be enough to disrupt our circadian rhythm.

How do we know this? Numerous research studies now testify to the truth that one hour change makes a huge difference. Dr. Matthew Walker, PhD, in his book “Why We Sleep” cites the “frightening spike in heart attacks” the day after we lose sleep in the Spring, and the drop in heart attacks the day after we gain an hour in the Fall.

So we should be fine now, since we’re gaining an hour, right?

Well, yes and no.

One of the key recommendations given by sleep doctors is to sleep and wake at the same time each day. In fact, W. Chris Winter, MD, board-certified sleep-medicine specialist and author of “The Sleep Solution,” says that if he had to pick just one thing to tell his patients, it would be wake at the same time each day, no matter how much sleep he or she got that night.

So how can we apply this advice in the midst of the contradictory instruction to “Set the clocks back an hour?”

Quick Fixes

To help our bodies adjust, one of the best things you can do is to exercise in the morning, ideally in the sunlight (you may have to remind yourself that sun is present, even if it’s behind dark clouds). The idea is that the bright daylight helps to shut off your body’s production of melatonin, reminding it that it’s time to be awake. This will be especially key if you can do this Sunday morning, to help establish this “new normal” sleep-wake cycle.

Another strategy is to start several nights before the official time change to adjust your bedtime in 15 minute increments. For example, since we’re about to gain an extra hour, start by staying up 15 minutes later, until the new time feels more natural.

And have you been wanting to cut back on sugar, or to cut down on caffeine or alcohol? If so, know you’re on the right track. This would be a perfect time! Sugar, caffeine and alcohol all disrupt sleep, in different ways. Minimizing or avoiding these will help you get on track with the new sleep/wake times.

Happy Sleeping!

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