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10 May

Feng Shui Fixes for Fabulous Sleep!

May is Better Sleep Month and The Better Sleep Council is celebrating by helping all of us to be #BetterInBed – when it comes to sleep, of course!

Your bedroom is not only your sanctuary, your retreat from the world, your place of rest – it’s the one room where you spend the most time. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese science that works with the energy of the earth to make spaces most harmonic and peaceful. This energy, or “chi,” when used positively can help strengthen relationships, support health, promote wealth, and also help you to achieve better sleep. Feng Shui shows us how, with just a few simple adjustments, the energy in the bedroom can work for you, even while you sleep!

Location, Location, Location

Where the bedroom is located within the house can affect how well you sleep. Feng Shui advises to choose a bedroom that is at the back-end of the home, close to the backyard. This area is usually much quieter because front-end rooms are closer to the street, and hence street noise. With a room near backyard you also get more privacy, so you feel safer.

If you have a two-story home, avoid stationing your bedroom over the garage. Having a room on top of the garage is disruptive to sleep for many reasons: noise, smells, warmer temperatures, and even insects. For similar reasons, it’s best to not place your bedroom over the kitchen, particularly over the stove. Much heat comes from the kitchen due to the appliances, and this will affect the temperature of the room above, as heat rises.

You also want to avoid placing your first-floor bedroom below very active areas. You can imagine how sleep would be affected if you’re hearing laughter, a TV, footsteps, or a toilet flushing right over your head. Fortunately, apartment buildings and hotels tend to have thick sound-proof flooring so that this doesn’t apply in those circumstances.

Size Matters

When it comes to both size of the bedroom, and size of the bed, we’re looking for that “Goldilocks” fit: not too big, not too small, but “just right!” We are at our most vulnerable when we are asleep. If the room is too big, it can be difficult for us to fully relax enough to sleep soundly. This feeling of needing to be “on alert” is a survival instinct from way back when. If the room is too small, we can feel cramped, or trapped, like we’re in a prison cell.

A twin sized bed is generally too small for an average-sized adult to feel comfortable in. Most colleges provide “XL Twin” mattresses in their dormitories for this reason. A full-size or queen-size bed is usually a good fit for most adults. If you happen to play in the NFL or NBA, you’re going to want a King size bed for your large frame! Most couples are happy with a Queen mattress. If you prefer a King, look for one that does not have split box springs under the mattress, so as not to create “disharmony” in your relationship, according to Feng Shui.

The Command Center

Feng Shui says that the bed should be placed in a “commanding position” in the bedroom. When you are lying in bed, you should be able to see the door in front of you so that you have a feeling of safety and stability – you can easily see when someone or something enters your space. The wall opposite the door is the best place to position the bed. At the same time, you do not want to be directly in front of the door. The head of the bed should be placed against a wall, and there should be a headboard to “stabilize” the bed’s position in the room. Ideally there should be equal space on either side of the bed so each person can get in and out easily and the room feels balanced. In the command center you want to have access to turning on the light quickly and easily.

Avoid putting the head of the bed under a window. Windows represent the gateway from the bedroom to the outside world. Having your head right under a window affects sleep from all the energy that comes from the outside – including noise, light, wind, scents, and shadows. When you sense something unfamiliar, that survival instinct kicks in and you wake up, and it can be difficult to fall back asleep.

Circulation

It is important that chi, or energy, be allowed to circulate freely throughout the room, and around and under the bed. For this reason, clutter should be kept to a minimum. The bed should be elevated off the floor on a frame or a platform, not placed directly on the floor. Don’t store boxes, books, or shoes under the bed; leave that space open for chi to flow through. Don’t overcrowd the room with furniture, and keep any work-related, or exercise-related items out of the bedroom. This works on a practical level as well – as you probably know the agony of stubbing a toe in the middle of the night. How can you not wake up after that?

A clean and organized bedroom also helps you to feel more relaxed, and that is good preparation for sleep.

For the best sleep, all doors and windows should be kept shut to keep out noises and smells. Closet doors and cupboards should also be closed at night so that chi can circulate in the room and not get “stuck” in small spaces. During the day, open windows to allow fresh air in.

Décor

When it comes to décor, choose colors that are soothing and relaxing. Nature’s colors, blues, greens and browns, are ideal. Think of the sky, a field of trees, a beautiful meadow, this is the feeling you want to evoke. Warm colors signify activity and are energizing, so avoid colors like bright reds, pinks and oranges. If you like those tones, choose more muted versions such as peach, maroon, or lavender.

For wall décor, choose artwork that makes you feel happy. A beautiful floral design is more likely to make you feel relaxed than a painting of a shipwreck, for example. Think about what you see when you first wake up in the morning, and how you want it to make you feel.

It is always best to keep electronics out of the bedroom, but if you insist on having a TV in the room, keep it in a media cabinet behind closed doors. You can also cover it with a pretty blanket or piece of fabric when not in use. This way you don’t have a big black void taking up valuable space in the room.

Mirrors are not generally recommended in the bedroom per Feng Shui. The main rule is that you don’t want to see yourself in the mirror when you’re in bed. This can be startling, and disturb your sleep. So, if you want to have a mirror in the room, place it inside the closet door. Also, mirrors that are round, or oval, are preferred because they can help with the flow of energy in a room, and the shape symbolizes continuity in a relationship.

Keep water features, such as fountains, out of the bedroom. The sound can be disruptive to sleep, and the sound of water might make you feel like you need to get up to use the bathroom!

Lighting should be set on dimmers wherever possible, so you can control the light in the room and have options depending on how much light you need during any time of day.

Comfort is Key

Feng Shui recognizes how important it is that the bedroom be a comfortable place to rest. The room needs to be cool, a nice 68 degrees is good. The room should also have good windows treatments to block out lights from outside. Most importantly, your mattress is the foundation of a good night’s sleep. Invest in the best mattress you can afford. And make sure your mattress continues to support you with time. Mattresses generally need to be replaced every 5-7 years, so keep checking to make sure your mattress is in good shape.

Bedding is also important. Choose soft fabrics that are comfortable against the skin. Pure cotton is best, as it breathes. A standard rule of thumb is that the higher the thread count, the softer the sheets. Blankets should also be soft and cozy. And don’t go crazy with the pillows! Beds with too many decorative pillows can feel cluttered and crowded. You need one great pillow to actually sleep on, one that works for your preferred sleep position. Pillows you sleep on need to be replaced about every 2 years. After that, one or two decorative pillows is sufficient.

A good night’s sleep prepares us for a good day’s activity. When we implement some of these feng shui strategies to circulate chi in the bedroom, it helps us to have good energy, too!

More tips for Better Sleep from the Better Sleep Council. 

 

Feng Shui Living Room Make-Over on YouTube.com/CoffeyTalk

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03 Feb

Reducing Your Cancer Risk: A holistic approach

Guest post by Carl O Helvie, R.N., Dr.P.H.

Did you know that the current risk of cancer is 1 of every 2 people in the United States? And did you know that 40% of these are preventable according to research. Thus, it is important to learn how to reduce your cancer risk to avoid being in a cancer or cancer survivor group. .

What areas of life offer an opportunity to reduce your cancer risk. . The author uses a public health framework to answer this question. Assuming health and illnesses (cancer) are processes resulting from the interaction of the human host, a disease or disabling agent, and the environment, disease can occur when the host is weak, the agent is strong, and the environment that brings them together is favorable. Thus, it is important to avoid or reduce environmental carcinogens, to strengthen the host, and to make the environment less favorable for an interaction. Intervening before the host interacts with an agent in a favorable environment is known as prevention and is most cost effective and less traumatic for individuals.

There are four major areas of environmental carcinogens that can be avoided or reduced in intensity. These include electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), ultraviolet rays, carcinogenic chemicals, and carcinogenic metals. The author discusses research related to each area as it relates to cancer and ways to avoid them. There are also over 45 national expert interviews linked to appropriate topics throughout the book. For example, Bisphenol A (BPA) a carcinogenic chemical, is an endocrine disrupter responsible for cancers of the prostate and breast. It is found in plastic and you can avoid it by replacing plastic water bottle in which the plastic leaches into the water during hot weather or transporting with glass containers, replace plastic utensils, and not eating canned foods that havw BPA linings in the can.

There are many things you can do to build your bodies immunity against carcinogens. Some physical interventions include working with nutrition, fluids, exercise, adding supplements and herbs, using immune builders, getting adequate rest and sleep, and avoiding or stopping smoking. For example, research shows that daily exercise reduces your risk of cancer by 50% and proper nutrition reduces it by 35%. Looking at nutrition, the Standard American Diet (SAD) of high animal protein and fat, saturated fats and cholesterol, high sugar and processed foods, and low complex carbohydrates and vegetables with GMO, pesticides, and other pollutants is considered a potential causal factor for cancer and should be replaced with a diet with more fruit and vegetables especially raw ones and lesser amounts of nuts and proteins. Researchers are finding that the vegan diet lends itself to reducing several diseases including cancer. A proper diet should also include organic, non-GMO food without growth hormones, pesticides and other pollutants. Good sources of oil should be used such as cold pressed organic olive oil for low or no temp cooking, and coconut oil for high temp cooking. Anti- inflammatory foods and anti oxidants should also be included. Also avoid farm grown fish and seafood, large fish that eat smaller ones and have higher mercury levels and avoid foods that raise the glycemic level in the body. Some physicians believe eliminating inflammation will reduce most diseases and taking anti-inflammatories canl help overcome them. Antioxidants are important because the cells give off waste including free radicals that lead to inflammation and are precursors to disease. The body produces some antioxidants to balance the free radicals but with radiation, processed foods and other contaminants this process cannot keep up so additional ones in food are necessary. .

A last area of interventions to reduce cancer risk are mental/spiritual ones such as prayer, meditation, affirmations, visualization, faith, helping others, compassion, gratitude and others. These were important in my cancer journey with lung cancer 43 years ago when I was given 6 months to live and was offered chemotherapy and surgery which I refused. Instead I used a holistic natural approach.

Although there is no research to support mental/spiritual interventions killing cancer cells there is currently adequate research to show the supplemental role they play. Overall these include reduce blood pressure, heart and breathing rates, improve memory. Increase DHEA, a hormone that reduces aging and decreases cortisol, the stress hormone, by 23%, increase happiness and self esteem, improve immune functioning. Improve tolerance to aches and pains, reduces stress, improves quality of life and others. Specifically. Cancer patients with a sense of purpose have an increased life spam, and those who are spiritual have less pain and a higher quality of life,. Patients who meditate have 31% lower stress symptoms, and 67% less mood disturbances, and music can lower patient’s anxiety, pain, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. Visualization can improve immune functioning in cancer patients. .More information at: www.HolisticCancerFoundation.com

Carl O Helvie, R.N., Dr.P.H. is a nurse with a doctorate in public health and over 60 years’ experience as a nurse practitioner, educator, author and researcher. He had published 9 books and chapters in 4 additional ones and over 100 international research papers and articles. He has been listed in most national references and Wikipedia. At age 85 he continues hosting the Holistic Health Radio Show, and serving as President of the Carl O Helvie Holistic Cancer Foundation.

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24 Jan

unmedicated

I’m happy to let you know about a new book from my dear friend, Madisyn Taylor, co-founder of DailyOM. It is a gentle and accessible step-by-step guide to moving from excessive reliance on medications to fundamentally healing yourself through four pillars of natural wellness.
Madisyn was plagued by depression and anxiety, suffering from chronic physical problems that left her desperate for solutions. Spending decades searching for answers, she first turned to the medical community, which put her on a rollercoaster course of numerous doctors, tests, and an unhealthy reliance on medications that left her numb and lifeless.

With her happiness and future on the line, she then made the decision to become unmedicated, reaching out to the natural, holistic health realm. And after years of practice and research, Madisyn developed an integrative wellness program that put her back in the driver’s seat of her health, and ultimately, her life.

Unmedicated is her thoughtful account of how she broke free from binding mental chains and physical ailments to be happy, healthy, and productive; it is also a guide for you to apply her practical techniques to your own healing journey. Madisyn offers a daily program of easy-to-follow actions based on four pillars that will build a lifelong foundation for health: clear your mind; strengthen your body; nurture your spirit; and find your tribe.

Whether you want to be happy and stay happy, find relief from depression and anxiety, or heal and create a healthy change, Unmedicated is a gentle, compassionate, and achievable path that empowers you to take back your life and live fully.

Here’s an excerpt:
“Learning to heal myself through natural means, I came to the profound realization that my healing path is a lifelong process. The motivation and desire to be happy and healthy in the most natural way possible stemmed from an authentic part of myself, and it is from this authenticity that real change lasts forever. I also came to discover that healing does not have to be expensive, dramatic, or complicated. Healing can be inexpensive, drama free, and simple.
By “simple” I do not mean easy; though I don’t consider my process difficult by any means, it does take dedication. Most people are looking for a quick fix, or a pill to make their life better, or the next fad diet, or a guru who will change their life forever. People look everywhere outside themselves in order to avoid facing the truth of what is inside. I want to tell you that there is power in simplicity and there is strength in building a foundation from within.
 
I am asking for your time and dedication to do the work. When you do this work and follow the practices, you are declaring to the Universe, “I want this; I am ready.” The Universe will respond in kind. It is in your actions that you speak volumes, and I will tell you from firsthand experience that this works. I teach a healing process involving your entire being-mind, body, and spirit.”
 
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08 Jan

How About Those Resolutions?

ARE YOU KEEPING UP WITH YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?

A study from the Better Sleep Council says better sleep may be the key to making 2018 goals stick

 

ALEXANDRIA, VA – January 9, 2018 – While it’s no secret Americans struggle each year to keep their New Year’s resolutions, one key toward helping them stick to their goals may be right on their pillows. Sleep.

 

“Adding better sleep to your list of New Year’s resolutions can make it easier to reach some of the other goals on your list, whether that’s exercise, getting fit, or even losing weight,” says Lissa Coffey, a lifestyle expert and BSC spokesperson. “It seems so simple, but getting adequate rest can positively impact every other part of your life. When you’re well rested, it’s easier to choose healthier foods and to feel energized to exercise.”

 

According to a new survey from the Better Sleep Council (BSC), the nonprofit consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, 45% of Americans who make 2018 resolutions don’t make much of an effort to keep them and of this 45%, about 9 million Americans won’t make any effort at all. Key findings from this survey suggest sleep may be the resolution that helps Americans stay on track with their top goals in 2018.

 

A majority of respondents (88%) considered making New Year’s resolutions. Based on the survey, these resolutions included:

  • 53% – Exercise more/get fit
  • 49% – Get/stay fit and healthy
  • 46% – Lose weight
  • 42% – Spend less, save more
  • 37% – Enjoy life to the fullest
  • 31% – Get organized
  • 28% – Start a budget
  • 27% – Spend more time with family and friends
  • 19% – Read more
  • 19% – Learn a new hobby
  • 14% – Stop smoking
  • 8% – Cut back on alcohol

 

Of those 88%, 27% picked getting more/better sleep. Additionally, those who reported that they wanted more sleep/better sleep as one their resolutions also reported other health-related goals, including exercising more (69%) and staying fit and healthy (68%), which were the top two selected New Year’s resolutions overall.

 

Also, Americans surveyed who wanted to prioritize sleep in 2018 planned to do so by getting to bed earlier (65%), maintaining a consistent bedtime (62%), and having new nighttime routines (53%). Almost half of those surveyed said they also plan to upgrade their sleep environment by purchasing a new mattress or other bed-related items.

To sleep more soundly – and make health a priority in the New Year – the Better Sleep Council offers these suggestions:

  • Make daily sleep appointments. Develop a routine in which you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Don’t let social media or work distract you, and when it’s bedtime, go to sleep no matter what.
  • Create a great bed for great sleep. If you’re not waking up refreshed every day, it’s time to examine your mattress and decide if you need a new one.
  • Keep it cool, even in the winter. A comfortable sleeping temperature is between 65 and 67 degrees, so turn on an air conditioner or lower the thermostat before bed to make the room right for you.
  • Try yoga. Practice yoga before bed to de-stress after your day, relax your muscles and bring your body to a restful state before hitting the hay.

 

For more information on getting better sleep, visit http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/how-to-sleep-better/.

 

About the BSC
The Better Sleep Council is the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, the trade association for the mattress industry. With decades invested in improving sleep quality, the BSC educates consumers on the link between sleep and health, and the role of the sleep environment, primarily through
www.bettersleep.org, partner support and consumer outreach.

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