Sleeping Tips and Steps to a Better Sleep

Sleeping

Sleeping has always been a struggle for the longest time, because I either get too excited or stressed, and either one is good for a restful sleep. Over time, I’ve developed a whole bunch of strategies to help me sleep better. I know that if I don’t sleep very well, I can barely function the next day, and I get dizzy, nauseous and forgetful. I really hope these tips can help you have a better night sleep as well!

Sleeping Tips for a Better Night Sleep

1. Eat chocolate before 11am and have caffeine as early in the morning as possible, preferably when you first wake up.

2. Be sure to massage the sleep and calming acupressure points very often. The two points behind your head are particularly good with promoting deeper sleep.

Sleep_Calming_Acupressure_Points

3. Hide all the clocks at night. Clocks can make you extra anxious, especially when you are focusing on how long it’s taken to fall asleep. I even put sticky tape over the clock on my phone so I can’t see it.

4. Exercise at least an hour each day.

5. Be sure to take a shower about 2-3 hours before you sleep, this will help you feel squeaky clean and your skin will be nice and smooth. I personally can’t sleep if I’m sticky from all the sweat during the day.

6. Give yourself at least one hour each night before you need to sleep, to do some reading and/or quiet activities, such as meditation. Be sure you are not reading anything that makes you want to not put it down!

7. If you can help it, try and keep your phone, ipad or laptop away from your bed after you’re ready to go to sleep.

8. If you get waken up by light early in the morning, use a sleeping mask to keep your eyes in the dark.

Pink_Sleeping_Mask

(Image Source)

9. If possible, try and install curtains that are thick and dark, so that you can keep extra light out.

10. Use a white noise machine if you get disturbed by other sounds at night or in the morning. It’s brilliant for noisy neighbours, birds and even other people in your household who likes to get up early and talk loudly. If you don’t have one, feel free to use the fan or other device that makes a constant noise. I like to turn the fan of the highest.

11. Keep cool while you’re in bed. If you are too hot, it can be harder to fall asleep.

12. Right before you go to bed, do some meditating for 15 minutes or so. You may wish to do 10 minutes sitting up and 5 minutes lying down, simply close your eyes, sit still and focus only on breathing in and out, or visualise clouds or other calm image in your mind, and try not to think about anything at that time. Meditation is brilliant in helping you clear your mind from worries and too much extra thoughts that could cause problems with sleeping.

meditation

13. Try to avoid drinking liquids 4-5 hours before bed, and limit soups, fruits and other foods with lots of water because it will probably make you wake up a million times to go to the toilet. Try and eat these foods and drink lots of water from when you first wake up.

14. Do some tapping exercises before bed time. This works similar to meditation that you are focusing on getting the taps, so you may feel that you’re slowly dozing off.

Tapping_Exercises_for_Sleep

(Tap once between the thumb and index finger, twice between the thumb and pinky, three times between the thumb and

15. Take magnesium and calcium supplements if you are not eating enough foods with them, as they both have calming abilities.

16. If you wake up in the middle of the night, try not to turn on any lights or do too much, as that would wake you up even more.

17. If your windows are open, you may wish to close them before dawn as that’s usually the time that birds are very loud and may wake you up.

18. When you wake up in the morning, get at least 10 minutes of sunlight directly in your eyes as early as you can. This will help reset your body clock (circadian rhythm).

Meditation 101: Why you should Do it and Techniques on How

This morning, I had trouble sleeping again because of a mixture of excitement and worry about lack of sleep. I remember that yesterday, I saw an article about meditating and how it changes DNA, and that’s when everything began. I did an in depth search for what it is, why it’s great and wow did I learn a lot.

Meditation

An Explanation about Meditation

Buddhists describe our brain as a crazy, drunk monkey always running around with ADD, frantic, always looking for new things, and unable to sit still. Worst of all, this monkey is literally stung by a scorpion. You can probably imagine the chaos going on inside your mind.

Meditation is taming this crazy monkey so that instead of being frantic, neurotic and over-stressed all the time, our minds are calm, peaceful, clear and easy to focus. In other words, we gave this monkey sedatives.

Why should you Meditate?

Decreases: Anxiety, stress, pain, depression, anger.

Increases: Contentment, attention, immune system, self esteem, mind strength, willpower, empathy, trust, memory, productivity, creativity.

Strengthens the Mind

Our brain is capable of being reshaped all the time. Every thought that comes across us can rewire and shape our brains into something different.

Meditating is literally training your brain muscles to work in a way that controls what we think about when we’re conscious. It is able to tell if we’re caught up in a stream of thoughts (often negative), and take a step back. It can help us choose the most powerful response to any situation. It’s literally exercises that strengthens your brain.

Just like muscles on your legs need to be worked out so it’s in optimal shape, our brains are the same. Without exercising, we often lose control when we’re angry. We may find ourselves worrying so much that we make ourselves ill. Meditating is slowly helping your brain control our thoughts so we can put our attention where and when we want.

Build Willpower

The prefrontal cortex (front part of our brain that’s in charge of you and your self control) is literally getting a workout when we’re meditating. It builds blood flow even when we spend about 10-20 minutes meditating each day. Brain scans have actually shown that this part of the brain is building stronger connections when it’s worked out.

Optimise Immune System

Meditation is capable of keeping stress down, therefore undo damage caused by stress, which is causing troubles for the immune system.

When we’re relaxed, we get out of the flight or fight response. Our blood pressure goes down, our thoughts become more positive, and all that can be directly connected to how the immune system response.

Changes one’s DNA

We all have telomeres, a protective cap at the end of our chromosomes. The shorter it is, the more we’re likely to suffer from physical illness. Studies have actually shown that meditating can preserve the length of telomeres, as it naturally shortens as we age.

Also, more than 1500 genes are expressed and turned on positively during meditation.

Connecting to Something Bigger than Yourself

In other words, attain enlightenment. In the long run and ultimately if you persist, meditation has the ability to melt away your self ego, so that you are content without needing or wanting anything. You’re able to feel blissful in the present, totally fulfilled and not need anything to make you ‘happy’.

Mastering Emotions

If you have emotional troubles, meditation is able to control them much better in time. It can contain negative thoughts, help you unhook yourself from stimulation, such as addictions like internet, tv, drugs, food and sex. It helps us not be so frantic, but calm and peaceful and happy in the moment.

True happiness can be obtained by being happy and content in the present moment.

Those who are seeking stimulation will realise that they’re going up and down in a roller coaster ride. You’ll get a crash after a high. But if your brain is actually happy in the moment, you won’t easily feel bored.

It makes the Brain Healthy

There’s even signs that using the brain actively can help it grow and develop and ward off Alzheimer’s.

Developing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is like a muscle. It’s an awareness of yourself, including your emotions/mood, as well as others. Disconnecting your thoughts will help you look objectively without reacting emotionally. Then, you can look outside and not feel that horrid, intense anger and react better. Because when you’re angry, it’s hard for people to actually listen to you. Right?

How Meditation is done/What are the Steps

What exactly is it:

Meditating is simply sitting down somewhere, your mind’s quiet, you’re aware of what’s happening in the present, your mind is focused on nothing in particular, you’re not getting caught in thought stories or ride along with them (which sometimes carries you away miles from where you started). It’s like being totally still while you watch clouds pass without jumping on those buggers for a ride. Not that you could with clouds, but you get my point.

How to Meditate in Easy Steps:

1. Give yourself a reason why you’re doing it. It may be to improve yourself, or get healthier, or transform the world even. Whatever it is, know your purpose.

2. Commit 100%. This means you must be willing to do this every single day for the rest of your life. Meditation does not work if you stop doing it after a month or three. Just like if we stopped walking, we’d lose our muscles in the legs. This is the same. You must be willing to do this even on the hardest days, such as when you lose a job, have a breakup or when someone passes away.

3. Get yourself a timer if you want, you can use your phone or watch. 20 minutes each day is a great way to start. You can even increase it to an hour in time if you want to.

4. Pick a quiet place and sit down (preferably alone) with your eyes closed. Get comfy, adjust yourself, scratch an itch if you need to. Try not to slump, as that will probably make you want to fall asleep. The best posture is a straight one, but not being totally stiff either, as you want to feel relaxed.

5. Breathe like you usually would, don’t try and change it. Do it nice, calm and steadily.

7. Try and clear your mind of any particular thoughts. That is, attempting not to get caught up in a thought story (eg: I must write an article for my site. Wait, I need to take these photos in order to do it. Oh crap I don’t have the correct lens to take the photos, oh and I need to buy this. Great, where am I gonna get the money? Ugh, frustrated with not earning enough money…)

Once you find your mind wandering off into one of those, try and stop yourself, clear your mind and start again. You may only get 5-10 seconds of total nothingness, but that’s totally normal. The entire exercise IS mainly about training your brain to go from jumbled thoughts to a clear mind, so when you are doing this, you are exercising your brain, and thus getting the most benefits out of it.

Be sure that you are still and not moving during the exercise.

8. Pick an anchor point if you find it very difficult to clear your thoughts. You may want to focus on breathing such as following your breath, do certain breathing exercises, count breaths and such. You can also use a mantra/mind tool such as an affirmation you can say to yourself. You can say a prayer, count backwards or whatever.

9. If your mind wanders, do not be disappointed. Know that this is the most normal thing ever. Try not to be upset with yourself. No matter how long you’ve been doing it, your mind will wander and the important thing is being able to bring it out of that.

Think of it as lifting weight. Each time you’re bringing your thoughts back to the anchor, or if you simply clear it, you are doing that weight lifting. You are exercising your brain, strengthening it. You are building brain muscles that you can use for the rest of your life. So remember to be patient. It may even take you five minutes to realise that your brain has wondered off. Keep bringing it back again and again and again until the 20 minutes is up.

Ultimately, you will be able to use this tool when a situation gets you down, and you’ll easily maintain focus and clear your thoughts or bring them back.

10. Meditating is not about experiencing something wild and crazy (eg out of body experience) during it, but about exercising your own mind to improve your life. Let this happen gradually and don’t expect overnight results.

Some of these are achieved after years of constant practice, so if you cannot commit every day, it is pointless to start.

Instead of judging your meditation experience, just do it.

11. Use life experiences as practice as almost every situation gives us an opportunity. For example, you’re finding that you’re starting to feel jealous because someone is leaving you out. Start clearing your thoughts. Then, clear it again 2 seconds later, and again, and again. Focus on the breaths if necessary. Get the drift?

12. Be careful of doubts and pitfalls, which often results in you feeling like you’ve failed. You did not fail, your brain just isn’t trained yet.

The mind is meant to be wild and crazy, so it’s not strange for your thoughts to wander off. This is the entire point of meditation anyway, so don’t feel that you are doing it wrong. The entire thing is the process, which involves getting random thoughts and pushing it away.

It may actually take 10 years for you to achieve 20 minutes without any thoughts interrupting.

Expect to not feel excited or get agitated as you do this, the end result is amazing, but the training part often comes with pain. In this case, frustration and boredom is very common.

The Ultimate Guide to Helping Anxiety Nausea

If anyone can write an ultimate guide to nausea caused by anxiety, I would be one of them.

Anxiety_Nausea_Remedy_Infographic

(Click on the image to view in full size and download)

My Personal History

I always thought my anxiety nausea started when I started high school in eighth grade, around 2001, but perhaps I was wrong. I wasn’t even aware that throughout childhood, I had that too. I just didn’t know what it was. I was always told by my mum that I was a difficult eater, as in I didn’t want to eat, and it took so much effort to even get one meal down me as a kid. I also remember one of the biggest reasons why I didn’t want to eat, because I always felt nauseous. I then remembered the worst of it was after my grandpa left, and I had missed him a lot.

After starting high school, I noticed that in the mornings, I would always get sick around the same time and it was horrible. It made me scared to travel, go to places, go to school, talk, or do anything. I didn’t know what the problem was, only that I was ill or something.

I was always afraid that I would be sick, especially in front of people, and because I thought I was alone in this, I never told anyone. For many years, I dealt with it silently, allowing the anxiety to take over, to the point where I could not even move from bed, because I was constantly nauseous. Around that time, eating a slice of watermelon was hard, and I felt that I was slowly getting an eating disorder because the constant nausea makes me not want to eat, and then not eating makes me more anxious. The cycle goes on.

The few horrifying experiences I can recall was once on the train, I had just eaten, had a cold and therefore sore throat, there was a slight argument going on with family, and I just didn’t feel well. I literally started to retch, and everyone thought I was going to throw up. Thankfully, I didn’t. Another time was when a friend was over, I suddenly had a panic attack with nausea, and had to hide in the bathroom for a long time. I also had it in the cinemas when things were too loud, I just got super anxious, at a friend’s house (which was caused by eating a cold salad, then some bread), during school assemblies, during speeches and performances, and even during work.

At one stage, I remember I had exhausted every idea I ever had, and was just feeling like I was dying. I lied on the ground, scrunched up, hoping it would go away.

Causes of Anxiety induced Nausea

I was doing so much research on what causes nausea and I figured a few things out.

When you are anxious, your body usually goes into flight or fight response, which means your blood supplies escape from all parts of the body onto your hands and feet, preparing you to fight or run away. This also means your stomach, which usually has lots of blood there happily digesting your food, has also left.

This will cause the stomach to be overloaded with acid, without any digestion, and cause nausea.

What I did to Help my Anxiety Nausea

Ginger Capsules

This is the one and most important thing that saved my life. The sad thing was, I didn’t even discover them till years later, and kept thinking that I had missed out on my lifesaving elixir. I like to take the capsules, not the tablets, as they are slightly easier to swallow. I take around 2 capsules of 500mg each time I feel an onset of nausea, without water. I swallow them on their own, and that’s when I find that it would work the best. I absolutely stress the importance of taking ginger, it is so absolutely necessary for people suffering from anxiety nausea.

Ginger is a really amazing because it has natural anti nausea effect, it helps your stomach digest food faster and really is the one thing that I always have with me everywhere I go!

If you can’t find ginger root capsules, try ginger tablets. You can easily make your own by buying empty gelatin capsules and putting the powdered ginger root you buy as spice in it. It works exactly the same. I sometimes take up to 8-10 tablets a day.

Avoid Triggers if Possible

Some of my triggers include: Spicy foods, people who have thrown up recently, especially if they didn’t have a reason, certain foods (since I’m lactose intolerant, milk is one of the worst). If you know something throws you into an automatic panic attack, try and avoid if possible. For example, if you heard that your relatives have thrown up on the weekend, don’t visit until the illness has cleared up. If you’re an emetophobic like me who’s terrified of being sick, avoid foods that may easily be contaminated like certain deli meats and semi cooked eggs, or chicken. Be sure you cook your food extra thorough at home.

Vitamins & Minerals

Magnesium Oil & Chelate – I take 3 capsules of Magnesium Chelate 500mg each day, and since then, my anxiety has seriously decreased a lot. Though I also take them with Vitamin D & Calcium, I think magnesium is one of the greatest things to take. Most of us are depleted in magnesium, and magnesium has the ability to calm your body. You will need to take this each day consistently to see an overall good effect though. I suggest magnesium oil for the most perfect absorption at first, as it’s the easiest for your body to absorb.

Vitamin B6 – I would suggest take 25mg every 2 days or so for the best effect, as I find that it lowers anxiety levels!

Inositol – I was told to take that for anxiety by my father in law, and I suggest you try it out for a period of time with the other vitamins and minerals to see if it helps.

Talk to People

If you haven’t talked to anyone about it, please do. Sharing a problem can often lessen half the burden on yourself. Be sure to have them be patient and understanding and not overreact with worry as it will probably make it worse. Be sure that they read up about anxiety if possible, know that it’s not under your control and be as kind to you as they can.

Anti-sickness Medicine

Some medicine like Dramamine or Zofran can be bought or prescribed for absolute emergencies or just having it there may lower your anxiety levels. I like to have them with me, even though I have never even taken them once.

Splashing Cold Water on your Face

This one works amazing with full blown panic attacks. Sometimes I get this bad panic nausea attack, and I have already taken ginger and feel it’s effects, but I still feel as if my heart is beating like crazy and there’s something lingering, splashing some ice cold water is a really good way to slow your heart rate down because of the mammalian diving reflex, as your body or face is submerged in cold water, it realises it may be lacking oxygen so your heart rate slows down. If you notice while you’re anxious, your heart rate will always be super fast.

You may have to repeat this a couple of times for it to work properly, and be sure the water is so cold it has ice in it. If you are going out, I suggest taking some water frozen overnight.

Massage the Stomach Area

Since massaging can often increase blood flow, I totally recommend when you are not nauseous, to massage the centre of your stomach, hard if possible, so that you get all the blood working there. This may have to be done repeatedly over time, but I do believe it can help.

Find Comforters

For some reason, a bottle of water has always been my comforter, even though I know it wouldn’t really do anything. That’s because as a little kid, my grandfather once told me that if I was throwing up, sipping water will help. I’m sure he meant that it would help get the taste out of my mouth but I always thought he meant it would stop me from being sick, so since then, water is one of my biggest life supporters.

P6 and Sea-sickness Acupressure Bands

You can buy sea-sickness bands online or in a pharmacy or health food store, they can be used during pregnancy and travelling, but it can also be a small relief to nausea for some people. You wear it on your wrists at the acupressure point that. Another way you can get a similar effect is by about three fingers from wrist line on both hands for a while.

The acupressure point is called P6 so be sure to look up some images if you can’t find it.

Nevasic Anti-nausea App

The Nevasic app is an audio file that you listen to for about 30 minutes and I used it tremendously during my pregnancy and it did help to a certain extent, certainly didn’t take it away but it’s worth a try for anyone who’s looking for some immediate relief. I have this on my iPhone so I can play it anytime I’m feeling sick.

Eat Healthy and Anxiety Fighting Foods

One important thing is eat a very healthy diet, as that can help make sure your body has enough of all the important vitamins and minerals. If you can, make a green smoothie with lots of spinach and kale, different fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, blueberries, and add some carrots and such. It will be easier than cooking all the stuff.

Also, oatmeal has helped me relieve anxiety in the past.

Another food that helps me is dried longans and goji berries which you can buy at Asian grocery stores. Try and make some tea out of it if you can.

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

This is usually something I do when I’ve done most other things, as it’s the hardest to do. Try and breathe slower if possible, draw a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and slowly let it out. This can help with making sure your heart isn’t going too fast and you’re not hyperventilating.

If you can, try and imagine yourself at a very peaceful place and think to yourself, “it’s okay, everything is alright. I will be fine. I have gone through it before and survived. I will get through this!”

Finally, I want to say that if you are suffering from anxiety nausea, feel that you can’t do anything and nobody understands you, I really do understand it. I’ve dealt with it for almost 15 years now, and everything I wrote here are the information and knowledge I’ve gained within these years, everything has helped me in many different ways. It doesn’t mean I am free from anxiety nausea, but it’s a lot more manageable and I can do things I love and go out without panic attacks.

Days where I eat so little are all int he past as now, I can’t seem to stop eating. It’s all because of ginger, my one true friend that has helped me the most, because ginger took away a lot of the queasiness, and gave me control. I am continuously trying to find new methods, but I hope this can help you as it did with me, and don’t forget that this is not something you should have to suffer alone, please try and talk to someone if you can, someone who’s nice and won’t make you feel worse.

I truly hope that one day very soon, anxiety can be a thing of the past for you!

Do we really have that much Control of our Emotions?

Why is it if any other organ in your body breaks, you get sympathy, but if your brain breaks, you get secrecy and shame?

Happy_sad-face

I read this on a Facebook status and I can’t agree with it more.

It’s interesting that people expect that if you run into emotional problems, you can simply change your thinking or change, yet when it comes to something physical, we don’t say that?

I feel that it’s important for those people who don’t understand to realise that emotions are very physically rooted, they are controlled by something physical, the brain, perhaps even more than that! But whatever the organs are, they’re just as physical as anything else. If we are depressed or think negatively, it may be mis-wired signals in the brain, it may be that we are more susceptible to it, as there are probably people who can handle physical pain better than others. There are people who get more pain during their period, while others get none. Would you ever tell your physical pain to just go away? If not, what makes emotional pain so easy to get rid of?

Sometimes, people may be more sensitive than others, they may feel pain easily, or get depressed easily, but what they truly need is understanding.

This is perhaps one of those things that people will find it hard to understand without truly experiencing it, but I can assure you, that it’s not that easy to just overcome.

Let me just explain a bit about the brain process.

Let’s say that you get criticised. Perhaps most people feel annoyed, a bit angry, but can take a deep breath, think about it, then calm down. Some may even let that motivate them.

But for others, they literally get such a horrible feeling in the stomach or mind, that makes them unable to handle it, perhaps rage about it feel really hurt, and feel that they’re just crap. That’s how I can get, and yes – I absolutely HATE that I am like that, but I seriously can’t help it. I see it as my body trying to protect me from harm, and yes – emotions serve an important purpose to help us live better, and it’s not something I can easily just remove.

So while most people can move on from let’s say, a criticism, people like me just take it as a horrible insult. Yes, it’s embarrassing for me, and you have no idea how much I have tried to change my ways of thinking but it simply doesn’t work.

I’ve learned to accept that about me, to realise I’m like that, and just avoid situations. That’s the only way unless science develops some technology to remove certain emotions.

I just really hope people can understand people like that, it’s not that this person wants to be this way, they often don’t have any choice, just like if you burned your hand on a stove, you wouldn’t think you were stupid for feeling pain, right?

Sleep Better with a White Noise Machine

I love making new discoveries like this!

Have you ever heard of a White Noise Machine?

White_Noise_Machine

Marpac Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner

Say if you were relying on fans or a constant sound to keep you sleeping well because you have noisy neighbours, sound of cars or sirens wake you up, or even your own lover snoring. This can be a lifesaver!

You don’t have to get the machine, you can get audio files and play them, or use the fan, but this will be perfect if you just want a machine that does nothing but help you sleep!

How White Noise helps Sleep

It has been explained that our brains naturally crave sensory input, that include sounds. Our brains even try and create our own if we’re robbed of any stimulus, hence why sometimes we hallucinate. That also explains why when we’re asleep during a very quiet night, any random noise is likely to wake you up, including a passing truck or even creaking floorboard. It activates your restless brain, and will wake you up. However when you have a constant white noise, it actually gives your brain a tonic signal which dampens your own internal system.

So, if you really want to have a good nights sleep and you find yourself struggling because of noises, I recommend you to try white noise, whether you use a machine, fan, or anything else. It seriously works, and blocks out a lot of the sounds.

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