Tag Archives: importance of sleep

How’s Your Self-Care?

Don’t pick that up!  It’s not yours to carry.
-Heidi Murray
Pray or worry, but don’t do both.
-Curtis James Jackson III
by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

I have concluded that the genetic makeup of a female consists of two specific genes: one is called “Fix” and the other is called “Worry.” As a young adult, I realized that I had both genes — or curses rather — and they were sabotaging my life. Not only did I want to desperately fix anyone that would allow me into their lives, but I also worried about everything! It wasn’t until I received wisdom from a friend that I finally realized that not only was it not my responsibility to fix someone, but it was impossible! In addition, my straight-shooting father advised that worrying was a complete waste of time and energy and would simply minimize my joy and overall quality of life. After all, worrying seems a bit counterproductive to my faith!

Below are some helpful self-care tips that will send you on your way to feeling less stress, more rejuvenated and thriving through life!

Here’s to your self-care!   ~Neissa

The Stress & Sleep Connection

Did You Know…
…that stress raises cortisol levels, making a good night’s rest feel near impossible?

Sleep is as important as a supplementation, detoxification, good nutrition and exercise, and is impossible if your hormones are imbalanced. If you are physically not able to sleep, it could be because of high adrenals and cortisol levels, which are increased by stress! If high, sleep is impossible. Chronic high cortisol levels can also lead to heart attacks, the leading killer among women. Cortisol is sensitive to light; therefore, even the smallest amount of light can raise levels, creating a disturbance in sleep.

How can I apply this to my life?
Turn off your television and remove all light sources (your computer, perhaps?) from your bedroom.

We Need Magnesium! Here’s How to Get It!

Did You Know…
…that magnesium and sulfate detoxify the body and can reduce stress?

Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body. It helps the body regulate over 325 enzymes and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions like muscle control, electrical impulses, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins. Most of us are deficient in magnesium which is why soaking in an Epsom Salt bath, which is high in magnesium, is one of the easiest ways to get a boost.

According to the National Academy of Sciences, American’s magnesium deficiency helps to account for high rates of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, arthritis and joint pain, digestive maladies, stress-related illnesses, chronic fatigue and a number of other ailments.

Our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century due to changes in agriculture and diet. Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from soil and the typical American diet contains much less magnesium than that of our forefathers. In fact, the modern American diet with its fat, sugar, salt and protein actually works to speed up the depletion of magnesium from our bodies! In addition, Epsom salt is rich in both magnesium and sulfate. While both magnesium and sulfate can be poorly absorbed through the stomach, studies show increased magnesium levels from soaking in a bath enriched with Epsom salt! Magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed through the skin. Sulfates play an important role in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. They stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and are thought to help detoxify the body of medicines and environmental contaminants.

How can I apply this to my life?

Enjoy a candle-lit Espom salt bath at least twice per week. Now that’s a great excuse to make time for a long soak!

How Do You Speak to Yourself?

Did You Know…
…that you can reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk?

It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time! -Christine Arylo

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

It’s unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.

Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:

  • Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones.
  • Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself.
  • Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst.
  • Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground.

How can I apply this to my life? 

  • Identify areas to change.
  • If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.  Watch this fabulous video “The Story of Self Talk” below to remind you of the power of our thoughts.

  • Be open to humor.
  • Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body.
  • Learn to manage stress. Find hobbies and practices that help you relieves stress- mentally, spiritually, and physically. For yoga poses to release stress, click here. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.

How To Get A Better Night’s Sleep

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by Catherine Hearn

by Catherine Hearn

How much do you love these extra hours of sunshine in the evening?! However, if you’re at all like me, that now means not winding down until much later in the evening, going to bed much later and consequently getting less sleep! It is a natural progression with the later daylight to feel more energized later in the evenings, so now more than ever we have to be extra careful to ensure we still get adequate zzz’s to maintain a sane and clear mind!

So exactly how much sleep do you and your family need?
According to The National Sleep Foundation:

  • School-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep daily.
  • Teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep daily.
  • Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep daily.

Easier said than done, right? We know how you feel. Here are some helpful tips from the Cooper Institute to make those better sleep habits become a reality:

  1. Exercise in the morning. New research suggests that exercising in the morning helps improve quality of sleep more than exercising in the afternoon or evening. If you can’t exercise in the morning, finish working out at least 3 hours before bedtime.

    Morning workouts help improve sleep quality

    Morning workouts help improve sleep quality.

  2. Establish a regular sleep and wake time, even on the weekends
  3. Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine about an hour before you plan to sleep (soaking in a hot bath, listening to soothing music)
  4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime
  5. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable
  6. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  7. Use your bedroom only for sleep (do not watch TV, use a computer, or read in bed)

Incorporate these tips in to your routine and you’ll be counting sheep in no time!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- What evening rituals help you get to sleep better? 

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Catching Some ZZZ’s

Monarch Goals and Dreams Cards- From simple and tangible to seemingly out of reach, continue to pursue your goals and dreams while having tons of fun!

Monarch Goals and Dreams Cards- From simple and tangible to seemingly out of reach, continue to pursue your goals and dreams while having tons of fun!

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.
— John Steinbeck

Action Item:
Make an effort to treat yourself to at least seven hours of sleep each night, while using the sleep tips below. At the end of the week note the terrific results.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

The timing to present the “S” in Enthusiastic Living is perfect, as getting more sleep is one of my self care goals I set in last weeks Goals Workshop. Even though I love to sleep and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, my sleep habits are very poor.

While in college I was accused of being “part cat” because I fell asleep in any position and at any time. For example, I’ve fallen asleep in airplanes, cars (even while driving), and buses; as well as on couches, chairs, bleachers and rocks. I’ve even fallen asleep in movie theaters, watching broadway plays, and a live stunt show at Disney World. Finally, in a chemistry class at the University of Texas, I was nudged by a handsome male classmate to be informed that I was snoring. Needless to say, that was not a proud moment!

Yes, I am a ridiculously good sleeper but unfortunately it’s not because I’m part cat, rather it’s because I’ve been sleep-deprived my whole life. For as long as I can remember I’ve burned the candle at both ends, which is a genetic trait from both my mom and grandmother. We are notorious for going 90 miles a minute until we crash and burn. Sadly, my grandmother, who was an enthusiastic angel on earth, suffered from diabetes and developed stomach cancer. As a result, she passed away in her late sixties. I can’t help but conclude that sleep deprivation contributed to her diseases and early death; and as much as I do want to follow in many of her beautiful footsteps, sleep deprivation is not one of them, as it leads to many preventable health risks.

Sleep gives us energy for friends and resistance training at Molly's Cross Training class

Sleep gives us energy for friendships and resistance training at Molly’s Cross Training class

Furthermore, when I look at the many times I consistently do not get enough sleep I am irritable, impatient, and gravitate towards sweets and carbohydrates. It’s an unhealthy cycle with adverse results and I feel confident that most of us suffer from sleep deprivation. We live in a tremendously fast paced, over achieving, and stimulating society which makes guilt-free, satisfying and REM sleep very difficult. After researching information on sleep, it became quickly apparent that sleep is linked to everything that enables us to live an enthusiastic long life (or not) and disturbingly enough, I am breaking about 75% of healthy sleep rules! Take 5 minutes to look over this week’s Weekly Intention Guide and the check-list of self-care activities that may inspire your physical, mental and spiritual goals this week.

So, in pursuit of living an enthusiastic long life, I’ve included enlightening and critical information from the Cooper Clinic and Web, MD. I am sure you are familiar with much of the information, however it’s always good to be reminded how something as simple as sleep can make a monumental impact on your life.

Results of Sleep Deprivation

  • Weakened Immune System– The less sleep you get, the weaker your immune system is, leaving it less able to fight off colds, flu, and other infections.
  • Increased risk of heart disease– When you don’t get enough sleep, you have an inflammatory response in your cardiovascular system — in the blood vessels and arteries.
  • Increased risk of Diabetes– When you’re sleep deprived, your body almost immediately develops conditions that resemble the insulin resistance of diabetes.
  • Poor mental health and brain function– Studies have found that people who aren’t getting enough sleep drive just as unsafely as someone who’s drunk. The memory is also slightly degraded when you’re sleep deprived, and gets worse the more deprivation you have.
  • Increased risk of obesity– People who slept five hours per night were 73% more likely to become obese than those getting seven to nine nightly hours of sleep. One study found that lack of sleep was a bigger contributor to childhood obesity than any other factor.

The Link Between Sleep and Your Appearance

  • Growth hormones peak during deep sleep and contribute to cell and tissue repair. Restless, intermittent sleep can interrupt that process.
  • Collagen 1 production is accelerated during sleep, and collagen helps keep moisture in our skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it looks less youthful and supple, more dull and dry.
  • Our deepest stage of sleep, known as delta sleep, is the time when the body’s growth hormones kick-start the repair of cells and tissues.
  • Suppressing the immune system doesn’t just mean you’re more likely to catch a cold. Your skin is affected too, and you may be more likely to get rashes like psoriasis.

Tips from the National Sleep Foundation: How to get 7 to 8 Hours of sleep per night.

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
  • Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep.
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
  • Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and “extracurricular activities” (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)

Just think, if we can adopt some of the above-mentioned sleep tips and combine them with seven hours of sleep per night, regular exercise AND a healthy diet….its possible that we will have found the fountain of youth, live an incredibly enthusiastic long life and won’t have to deal with sleep tactics such as the one shown in this weeks video below. Here’s to a restful and wonderful week!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION-What’s YOUR favorite benefit of getting a good night’s sleep?
My favorite thing about it is how much more patient I am…- Landry

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Lights Out to Shine Bright

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Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.
— William Shakespeare, Macbeth 2.2

Action Item:
Greet each morning well-rested, ready to embrace the day and tackle your goals. Take care of yourself by prioritizing ample sleep and then fully enjoying your health and sunny outlook (even on cloudy days) as a result.

By April Black

By April Black

It’s hard to live a positive and inspiring legacy-filled life when you’re tired. Think about it: when I’m tired, I find myself cranky, more easily annoyed, and definitely more negative. My loved ones – the people I care about the most – feel the brunt of my paper-thin patience, and I certainly don’t treat myself with the kindness and respect I deserve. It’s almost as if I drag my feet through the day, with my own little black rain cloud overhead. Everything feels heavy and tinged a shade of gray, instead of light and airy and full of pizzazz (the feeling I’d like to have all of my days!). I am definitely not my best self when I am lacking sleep – towards others and towards myself – and it snowballs from there.

In light of Cary’s inspiring journal entry last week on setting goals and taking small and realistic steps to achieve them, I think prioritizing sleep is a perfect start and complement to our objectives. We often think we need to do more, add something, or move a mountain to make a change, when something as simple as getting more sleep can make a huge difference in each of our days. Again, the same snowball effect will apply – but this time, in the positive direction! The quality of the time you spend on any activity will be better when you are well-rested and fully present. You will be far more successful at reaching your goals, not to mention a kinder and more patient human being along the way, when you feel awake and alive as you blaze your own trail and ignite your life from all angles. The Weekly Intention Guide can help you write out how you can prioritize sleep each day this upcoming week a way that works best for you.

That being said, I have to admit that I really struggle with this. Every night I plan to get to bed early, and then I find myself sitting at my computer and suddenly hours have gone by. I have great intentions but am not taking the steps to put these intentions into practice. On the rare occasions I have been successful, I feel so rested and amazing in the morning that I vow to make a habit of this early bedtime. I see first-hand what a difference it makes in my day: my eyes actually open when my alarm goes off; I am cheerful, positive, and energized; my body feels great and my workouts are therefore better; I make smarter food choices; and so on. We have all heard the numerous studies about sleep and how incredibly important this time is for our health, and yet we easily and often neglect good old shut eye. This is the time for our bodies to heal, and as I mentioned, you will see greater results from your iGnite workouts when you can put more energy into them. In return, you will sleep better from exercising… it is all intertwined!

iGniters come to class rested so we can push ourselves beyond the limits!

iGniters come to class rested so we can push ourselves beyond the limits!

We know we want to enjoy good health and live a legacy-filled life, but I’ll bet “getting more sleep” was not anyone’s first thought in working towards these goals! However, it will make a world of difference and is a gift we can give ourselves every single day; so you can really LIVE and get the most out of every interaction and every endeavor. This will support all of your goals and assist you in being your best self, so you can live your legacy with flair! Read Baby Steps to Our Best Selves to think about the legacy you want to leave and the steps you can take to start living your life accordingly.

Take the small steps to incorporate ample sleep into your daily life – it sounds a lot easier than it is. Perhaps you need to set a bedtime and/or some guidelines to help. For example, I know that it always takes me far longer to “get ready” for bed than I think – so I have to set my bedtime earlier to account for that time. I could also shut down my computer at a certain time every night, so I don’t get caught up in the land of email and Facebook. Find us on Facebook, (but don’t let it keep you awake!!), and send us a message hello.

Whatever it is for you, prioritize this important time for your body, mind, and soul to rest and replenish themselves. As Shakespeare wrote, sleep is the “chief nourisher in life’s feast.” And these animals sure know it!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- What’s one thing you can do to increase your sleep at least 15 minutes? 

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