We hope that this post finds you well and ready to tackle the day! Hopefully the preparation you have put in to this day serves you well, Enjoy your Halloween!
This week's Topics
Toe Tapping for Improved Sleep
Have you ever felt so tired that you just crash into bed only to lay there awake for hours or to
wake up at 2 or 3am finding it almost impossible to fall back to sleep? Racing thoughts, stress and worries play havoc on our sleep.
This is a common issue in today’s age as the rise of both pharmaceutical and natural options to help improve sleep attest.
Many biological processes happen during sleep. We process information from the day. Organize nerve cells in our brain. Heal our cells. Digest our food. When our sleep is affected, our bodies cannot do their job.
For most of us, we are not tired because we have used our physical energy all day. Most of us our tired from overusing our brain. Thinking, problem-solving, planning, worrying – these
mental activities expend most of our energy. When we are relaxed and resting our brain uses
20% of the energy available in our body. When we are stressed, worried or thinking too much that can increase up to 32% - that’s a third of your energy going to your mental processes.
We can create a healthier environment for sleeping by bringing that energy back into balance throughout our body, not just concentrated in our brain.
As a Brain Education instructor, I use simple mind-body techniques to help people bring this
balance back. Through these methods, you can create the right environment to support your
body to move in a healing, restful state. In this state, your sleep can become deeper and more effective with less waking moments and disruptions.
My favorite mind body technique to improve sleep is Toe Tapping. Through moving different
parts of your body in different ways, you are helping your brain quiet the overactive Neocortex (or thinking brain) and activate deeper layers responsible for sensation and movement. This creates a sense of balance and calm in both body & brain.
How to do Toe Tapping:
1. Find a comfortable place where you can lie down. This can be on the floor with a mat,
blanket or carpet or on a bed that is relatively firm.
2. You may like to set the tone by dimming the lights, putting on calming music or adding a
scent such as diffusing a calming essential oil.
3. As you lie down, close your eyes and take a few breaths. If you notice any areas of
tension, breathe out and let them relax.
4. Bring your heels closer together and gently begin moving your legs, rotating them gently
in and out using your hips and thighs. This will naturally make your feet rock in and out
and the inside of your big toes tap together. (If you’re lower back is very tight, try taking your feet a little way apart to take pressure off your back). Allow yourself to find a
comfortable rhythm and keep breathing, focusing on slow and deep exhales.
5. Once your legs are moving evenly, then you can add in the second movement. While
keeping your legs moving, begin rocking your head left and right. Relax your jaw and
your neck. Imagine relaxing your brain as you rock your head back and forth. Allow
yourself a moment to find the rhythm with your legs and head. Keep breathing
6. The last movement is to open and close your hands. Stretch and squeeze your hands in
an even rhythm imagining they are like pumps pulling tension down from your neck,
shoulders and arms.
7. Don’t worry if you feel uncoordinated. This is very normal at first, especially if your mind
is usually busy. Keep breathing, relax and just move until you find a rhythm. It will come.
8. Continue doing all three movements for a minimum of 5 minutes or until you start to
feel more relaxed.
9. Stop the movement. Don’t move anything. And just stay in the feeling moving through
your body. Sometimes you will feel waves or tingling. Sometimes warmth, everyone is
different. Just stay there and breathe.
10. Finally, bring your hands on your lower abdomen and focus on breathing comfortably
from your lower abdomen. Allow yourself time to take at least 10 comfortable breaths
feeling the air come into your body and slowly release as you relax more deeply.
Through this exercise, you have brought your body & mind back into balance and created a healing state in which you will find sleep comes more easily. Observe the quality of your sleep and how you feel when you wake up. Done consistently, you will start to train your body and mind to relax and rest.
You can see this exercise and more on our YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/bodynbrain
May you rest well, be happy and feel at peace.
Cherie Clark-Moore is the owner and a healer at Body & Mind Yoga and Tai Chi, Conroe. I first learned of her work through a video she shared on facebook. Her toe tapping method helped me through a tough period of my life where I was getting very little sleep. We have decided to bring this method to you through her article. We hope that you enjoy this work and if you would like to learn more please contact her at Body & Brain, Conroe.
Week Nine Action Items: Advent Calendars and Freezer Clean-out
Candy, Candy, Candy!!! There is way too much candy in my house after Halloween. So I thought I'd through this out there since last year it worked with my kids. I took 25 pieces of candy from each of my children's Halloween bags and saved them for our Advent Calendar. They didn't put up too much fight about it since I explained they would in fact get to eat their beloved candy. I stored it away in a safe spot and labeled it advent candy. Since we have a homemade advent calendar it was perfect for spreading the joy of the candy sugar rush out over another Holiday and it saved some $$.
If you are an Advent kind of person or have thought in the past that would be kinda cool, this year get a jump on it. There are several types of Advent Calendars out there, this week choose yours and purchase it now. The coolest ones sell out fast.
Also, focus on a freezer Clean-out. Organize and clear space for the new food that will most likely begin inundating your freezer. Get rid of anything that looks suspicious.
Have you nailed down any new present ideas? Remember to go ahead and purchase it, wrap it, and label all the presents as you go.
This Months Product Highlight: SLEEP
Yep, that's right getting the right amount of sleep decreases stress in the body and allows the Parasympathetic nervous system to do its job. In preparation for the time change that happens at the end of THIS WEEK, we are going to highlight products that will help you sleep. Use the code PATHS to get 40% off naCHer CBD's products today.
Try this herbal Blend as a Tincture: Sleepy Tincture
Support Healthy Sleep Cycles^
Improve deep sleep^
Boost Cognitive Function^
*Certified Organic Botanical
All of the Herbs in this blend are supper stars to help calm the nervous system. Helping you get a good nights sleep.
Unlike other members of the poppy family, California poppy is non-addictive, very safe, and gentle enough for children. California poppy has a "cooling" effect to an otherwise hot and wired nervous system. The cooling effect relaxes heat and can help to counter hyper and often agitated nervous system states. Herbalists have traditionally used California poppy to help calm anxiety and to relieve both mental and physical tension. California poppy functions as a relaxing sedative too, it is conventionally used for insomnia related to nervous system imbalances like repetitive thoughts or a lack of calm helping you lose interest in what you're stressed about.
Chamomile has a calming effect on people, and can be used to help induce sleep, ease frayed nerves, and promote a general sense of calmness and well being. It is great for those with nervousness or anxiety problems. Aside from having mental calming properties, chamomile is also good at relaxing sore muscles and tight joints. It can ease menstrual cramps and back aches, as well as relax the digestive system to ease upset stomach or indigestion issues.
Passion Flower is a gentle anti-anxiety and mildly sedative herb that can even be used to induce a good night's sleep in children. One particular study asked volunteers with trouble sleeping to drink a cup of Passion Flower tea at bedtime for a period of time, all reported significant sleep improvement. The alkaloids "chrysin" and "benzoflavone" present in this herb have been found to increase GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid) in the brain. GABA is one of the inhibitory neurotransmitters, used by the brain to prevent over-excitement and attain balance. It also helps to decrease the activity of depression inducing brain cells. The increased GABA in the brain that Passion Flower can induce will also reduce the anxiety so often associated with insomnia. In addition, Passion Flower is known to be a muscle relaxant, easing away tension that can make it more difficult to drift off to sleep.
One of the great benefits of Skullcap is for insomnia and sleep disorders. While many remedies, both traditional and herbal, can lull you to sleep like skullcap, most leave you groggy in the morning. Skullcap promotes sound sleep without the unwanted side effects, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised in the morning. Before the advent of pharmaceutical tranquilisers, Skullcap was the go to herb for the relief of anxiety and nervous tension.
If you suffer from restless nights then Lavender has been proven to increase the time to awaken after first falling asleep. One study showed that Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in all of the group tested, and all of the individuals reported feeling more refreshed and energetic the next morning. In a study published in the journal "Phytomedicine", it was shown that lavender helps with restlessness, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
Wild Lettuce directly impacts the central nervous system, blunting its ability to feel pain.The pain relieving qualities of Wild Lettuce aid in relaxing the body. This makes it very useful in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, with it also called a feeble opium because it does not upset the digestive system. However, it is said to produce a euphoric, dreamy effect making it much easier to drop off to sleep. This sedative effect make it especially beneficial to an overactive nervous system and it’s particularly good for hyperactive children.
In Asia Gotu Kola has a long standing reputation as one of the best herbs for the brain. Several studies have shown that Gotu Kola has a complex action on the mind through enhancing neurite-dendrite growth and out branching in key areas of the brain. This action not only makes the mind calmer, sharper and more fluid but also protects brain cells from damaging toxins. Science has now isolated the active compounds responsible for the remarkable antidepressant effects of this herb. Two of these compounds - brahmoside and brahminoside - have sedative effects, whilst research shows that Gotu Kola reduces anxiety by around 50% in human studies. Studies have also shown Gotu Kola to reduce the "startle response" caused by sudden noises, allowing you to stay asleep longer.
Hops have been used to support deep and restful sleep, support a healthy response to stress, and help promote relaxation. Hops also works to enhance GABA levels in the brain. Research also indicates that the sedative effects of hops may come from its ability to lower body temperature. Lowering body temperature helps to bring about drowsiness and is an important part of the body’s sleep process. For menopausal women hops help to naturally regulate hormones, ease hot flashes, and calm nerves. Because of its phytoestrogens hops should not be taken by pregnant women or young children.
Valerian has a very strong odor that many people find unpleasant and therefore is left out of the herbal tea. In this tincture, however, Valerian is often used in combination with herbs that have calming effects. There are several research studies that combine valerian with hops to aid in sleep problems. Valerian has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine to treat sleep problems as well as anxiety, irritability, excitability, and restlessness. Valerian has a calming, sedative effects on its user. It is known for its ability to lower anxiety and promote relaxation. By naturally increasing levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain it calms the activity of the neurons of the central nervous system, which helps lower anxiety and boost feelings of relaxation and calm. GABA is an important neurochemical for sleep. Healthy levels of GABA promote and protect sound and restful sleep, and help ensure we spend the right amount of time in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, the two deepest and most mentally and physically restorative sleep stages.
Disclaimer: ^These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. Please consult with a medical professional before consuming this product if you have any medical condition.
If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, please consult with your doctor before consuming this product. Very little, if any, research has been conducted on the safety of drinking herbal tea during pregnancy.