3 Benefits of getting enough sleep
3 benefits of getting enough sleep by Eleanor Evans
As an adult, you may have put sleep on the backburner as far as priorities go. This isn’t unusual, in part because of the overcrowded schedules that most of us have. It is important to give yourself the occasional reality check that you are human and sleep deprivation will have negative effects on you in the long run. Here are some benefits of getting the sleep you need, so that you might be motivated to hit the sack a little earlier each night.
1) Be Heart Healthy- One of the most constant effects of sleep deprivation is heart problems. This is thought to be caused by worsening of cholesterol and blood pressure. Getting enough sleep will prevent these negative effects and keep you healthier for longer!
2) De-Stress – Sleep deprivation actually puts your body into a state of stress. One way this manifests itself is through high blood pressure, which can have other negative implications as well. Also, your body will increase the production of stress hormones. As well as ruining your day, these hormones can keep you awake at night, making the problem even worse. To prevent this vicious cycle, try your best to get eight hours of sleep every night. Your mood will benefit greatly, helping everyone around you as well as yourself.
3) Help Your Brain- Probably the most obvious benefit of getting a good night’s sleep is that you are more alert the next day. This is because sleep is a restorative process for your mind and body. When you wake up feeling refreshed, you are more likely to go out and do something with your day. This will make you tired by the time night rolls around, and you’ll be ready for another night of high quality sleep. Now there’s a cycle you want to get caught up in. Also, sleeping enough will improve your memory. While your body is resting at night, your brain is busy processing your day. It consolidates everything from smells to emotions and primes your mind for whatever information it will need to process the next day. This will allow you to learn and retain information better in your daily life.
Thin Places - A Special place to b e
I have a large vision board on a door in my house. On it I have included pictures of places that I would really like to visit. Many of the photos are of Thin Places.
The term “Thin Places” comes from the Pre-Christian era in Western Europe, in particular Ireland. The term is referred to in Celtic Spirituality.
So what is a Thin Place? Thin Places are areas where the veil between earth and heaven/the otherworld/ the spirit world is said to be thinner. A place where you can sense that you are nearer to heaven. Some would say that they feel a divine presence in these areas or that they feel closer to God.
I have been to a few places that some consider to be Thin Places – Pennant Melangell, the Rock of Cashel, Pistyll Rhaedar, St David’s, Tintagel and more and I very much feel that they are very special places. Places such as Avebury and Glastonbury, Lindisfarne and Iona are also said to be Thin Places.
When I have been to such places I have indeed felt a special energy there.
The energy being extremely peaceful. I always feel inspired at these places. They are wonderful areas to meditate, pray, walk and contemplate. A place to just be. The sense of serenity is palpable. Many people that visit Thin Places also get a real sense of history there – of the people that lived on the land before us, energetic imprints of events that have happened there. These places have the power to truly transform us.
It is difficult to truly describe a Thin Place. Everyone will experience them differently and understand them in different ways also. For some they are places of pilgrimage.
I long to spend more time at these places. Maybe they are calling out to me. I feel wonderful when I am at these places. In my county there is a stone circle sat atop a hill. All around are beautiful landscapes and views of the Shropshire and Welsh hills. Whenever I visit this place I feel renewed and tranquil. My children also love this place. I feel drawn to visit there regularly. I always leave feeling better than I did when I arrived there. I feel we all need places like this in our lives.
Do you also have a truly special place that makes you feel closer to spirit and nature? Do you visit this place regularly enough?
If you wish to visit such a place yourself then hold it in your heart and mind that you wish to visit such a place and you will find one.
I leave you with this Celtic Blessing.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
5 of the Best Vegan Breakfasts
Guest blog by Emily of Vegan Lass
5 of the best vegan breakfasts
There’s a reason your mother told you to eat your breakfast: it really could be the most important meal of
Eating early in the day is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle, first and foremost because it guards against
a number of problems often reported by those who skip breakfast. Studies have shown that those who go
about their day without first breaking their nightly fast are far more likely to suffer from lethargy, poor
mood, lessened concentration, and irritability. They are also more likely to crave high-sugar and high-fat junk
foods later on in the day.
All of these symptoms are associated principally with low blood sugar, something which should be
replenished by your first meal of the day. But, while most types of food will do this, some foods will also fuel
you for longer and boost your nutritional profile for the day ahead.
Forget about sugary cereals and pastries; each of the following vegan breakfast ideas includes foods that will
provide long-term energy and a good dose of your daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals.
Most of us are pretty familiar with porridge, but oats really are a superstar when it comes to nutrition. They
contain both soluble fibre (in the form of beta glucans) and insoluble fibre, both of which work to fill us up,
and to slow and improve digestion. The fibre content of oats ensures that their energy is absorbed by the
body slowly, so blood sugar doesn’t spike as it does when you eat something less fibrous (read: refined or
white sugars and carbohydrates). By eating oats, therefore, you also avoid the crash which follows this spike
and often sends you reaching for more sweets. Adding non-dairy milk, fresh or dried fruit, nuts and seeds to
oats makes a great breakfast option that will keep you satisfied right up till lunchtime.
lemon and blueberry porridge
Why not try this recipe
Herby Tofu Scramble
For those who like a savoury start, tofu scrambled with fresh vegetables makes a perfect breakfast or
brunch that’s healthy to boot. The isoflavones in soy products like tofu have been shown to mop up free
radicals and may have a role in cancer prevention and bone health. Moreover, the 17.9g of protein per 100g
of tofu should fill you up and help your body build and repair itself. Add to that a handful or two of
vegetables and herbs and you will have a delicious and highly nutritious breakfast dish.
Chia seeds have been hailed recently as ‘the ultimate super food’, and perhaps rightly, because they’re
incredibly rich in a number of key nutrients. A 28g serving of these tiny seeds contains a whopping 33% of
your daily recommended fibre intake, 18% of your calcium, 30% of your manganese, 27% of your
phosphorus, and almost 10% of your protein requirement. Chia seeds are also one of the richest vegan
sources of essential fatty acids, containing a massive 5 grammes of omega 3 per serving; these compounds
are thought to be protective agains high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and a
whole host of other ailments.
Chia pudding, therefore, will not only keep you full, but also help you hit your daily nutritional targets before
you’ve even walked out the door.
To the uninitiated, avocado on toast might sound unusual. To those in the know, however, avocado toast is
one of the most delicious and healthsome savoury breakfast dishes there is. Avocados are packed full of
various nutrients: vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, copper, folate and potassium. They’re also high
in healthy fats and fibre, both of which work to keep us satiated for long periods of time. Paired with rye
bread, lemon, and black pepper, avocados make an amazing and simple meal which will help you power
through your day.
Click here for a recipe
Smoothies are one of the best breakfast options for those on the go, since they take virtually no time or
effort to prepare. They might be a lighter option (good for an early start or a morning-after), but they can
be a very rich source of nutrients. Made with fortified non-dairy milk (such as oat, almond, or coconut),
smoothies can pack a powerful punch of B12, iron, and calcium. Adding green leaves such as spinach or kale
will also boost vitamins A and C to over 100% of your recommended daily intakes. And you needn’t worry
about the taste of these: if your smoothie is based on sweet, nutrient-rich fruits like bananas, peaches, pears,
and berries, their flavour will dominate the more delicate taste of the greens. Adding extras such as seeds,
nuts, nut butters, and oats will increase the amount of energy provided by your smoothie and keep you
going well into the morning.
At this time of the year, like many others, I reflect on the year that has just passed. I also set goals for the New Year. As I won’t be seeing any of my complementary therapy clients until the New Year I have decided that this would be a great time to catch up on any administration that needs doing.
Looking through the goals that I set earlier this year I have realised that I haven’t achieved all of them – in particular the ones relating to the administration and marketing side of my work. These are very important in any business but I freely admit that I much prefer the practical aspects of my work. I adore Complementary therapies with a passion. I am not, however, so good at making sure that I have written enough blog posts, or that there is enough content on my Facebook business page.
Thinking about this makes me feel rather cross with myself. I immediately focus on the things that I haven’t done or things that I think I could have done better. The things I feel are missing within me and my faults are all too easy to think about. I find it so easy to totally forget the things that I am good at, the skills I have and the things I have done well this year. It is easy to forget that in the practical side of my job people do gain benefits that are important to them.
I know that other people also do this, they filter out the fabulous things they have achieved and think of the things they feel they are lacking in.
Some thoughts have cropped up in my head in the last few days in relation to accepting the light within. Is it a part of our human nature that so many of us can so easily focus on the things that we don’t like about ourselves and the things we can’t do? When asked to write down a list of our good qualities we often struggle to do it and may even cringe to ourselves. Yet when asked to list down our faults we can usually think of plenty.
In “A return to love: Reflections on the principles of “A Course in miracles” Marianne Williamson states –
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us”
She goes on to say “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Why are we so afraid to shine? Why would we rather focus on our inadequacies than our light? Why is it so hard to accept the power within us – the power to be awesome?
At this time of the year it is easy to focus on the dark nights and mornings. The trees are without leaves, some animals are in hibernation, everything is less green. Focusing on a lack of light – and maybe even life – yet again.
Today is the day that the Winter Solstice is traditionally celebrated. Solstice means “standing still sun.” The Winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a turning point. From now onwards we can look forward to the days gradually becoming longer. The mornings and the evenings will become lighter. At dawn on the Winter solstice a shaft of light enters the central chamber of the New Grange barrow in Ireland. In Wiltshire the white horse of Alton Barnes lights up. In Paganism the winter solstice celebrates the return of the sun god. In Christianity the birth of the son of God is also celebrated. We welcome back the sun and the brighter time of the year. The day is often celebrated with lights and candles.
So perhaps at this time of the year we should have a time of quietness and reflection for the things we are grateful for in other people and the qualities within ourselves that we are grateful for. The things that we do that make people smile and make people feel cherished and loved. The skills we have and the things we are good at.
I am unlikely to ever relish the administration side of my work but over the next year I am going to strive to love it just a little bit more. I am not, however, going to feel bad about the things within me that I feel I am not good at and the things that I cannot change. I am going to accept the side of me that I feel is lacking and I am also going to really try to accept the qualities that I do have. I am going to try to let go of any fear relating to showing my true self in my full power as a human being on this earth. Right here, right now, we are all beings of light!
So on this Winter Solstice when some of us will be celebrating the return of the sun and the light, let us also try to remember and accept the light within us all.
Let’s not be afraid to shine!
21 Great tips for a Refreshing sleep
One third of the UK population suffers from insomnia and a quarter suffer from a sleep disorder. This can result in daytime sleepiness as well as irritability and poor concentration. Below are 21 top tips that can help you to have a more refreshing sleep.
1. Don’t eat your dinner too late in the evening – this will interfere with your sleep.
2. Don’t drink coffee (or anything containing caffeine) too late in the day – this can stop you getting off to sleep.
3. Try and stick to a routine before going to bed – going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time is helpful. If you’ve had a un-refreshing sleep try to resist the urge to have a lie in.
4. Turn the television and computer off at least one hour before going to bed. In particular don’t watch the television in your bedroom right before going to sleep. In fact keep your bedroom as free of technology as you can – banish the computer and the television to another room.
5. Write down any worries before you go to bed. If you have lots of things to remember write these down as well.
6. A nice bath before bed can be really relaxing – but make sure the water isn’t too hot.
7. Make sure you take regular exercise – but don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you might find you are wide awake.
8. Some simple breathing exercise before you go to sleep can help. Try concentrating on taking some slow, deep breaths right down into your abdomen. Think the word “calm” on the in breath and “peace” on the outbreath. Do this until you feel fully relaxed.
9. Make sure your room is dark enough when you are trying to get to sleep. This helps to stimulate melatonin production.
10. Being that bit cooler at night may help you get to sleep – some people like to have their bedroom open at night.
11. Make sure your mattress and pillow are not causing you any problems. Are you comfy?
12. Some people find that drinking a cup of warm milk before they go to bed can help them get to sleep. Milk contains calcium and trytophan which are natural nerve sedatives.
13. Consider whether you are getting enough Vitamin B6, B3 and Magnesium. All of these are needed by the body for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. This is linked to the sleep cycle.
14. Eating foods that are high in tryptophans may help with sleep. These include figs, bananas, yoghurt, brown rice, nuts and turkey.
15. Alcohol and drugs can disrupt your sleep and make you restless.
16. Some people find that using certain herbs can help with relaxation. These include hops, valerian, passionflower and chamomile.
17. A drop of an essential oil like Lavender or Roman Chamomile on your pillow can help you to relax. You could also vapourise some essential oil in your bedroom – but don’t use essential oils if you are pregnant or have an allergy to them. Always consult a qualified Aromatherapist if you would like to use essential oils and have a medical condition.
18. Have a think about the causes of your sleeplessness. Maybe you need to reduce anxiety and/or stress in your life.
19. Reading or listening to some calming music before bedtime may help you to relax.
20. If you are in bed and really can’t get to sleep then get up and do something else for a while. Go back to bed when you are feeling sleepy.
21. Most importantly of all – Try not to worry about your sleep or lack of it – this will make you’re your insomnia worse.
If the sleeplessness persists or you are a heavy snorer go and see your Doctor – you may have a sleep disorder.