Stretching to relax before bed

Having problems relaxing before bed?

Try some simple stretches. Stretching nightly before bed, even just five minutes worth, can aid in releasing tension and lowering stress levels.  It is important that we allow both our bodies and minds to relax for a good restful night’s sleep.

As you stretch take time to focus and mindful about your breathing.  If at any point you notice yourself struggling with your breathing during a stretch, reduce your intensity of the the stretch. Being as mindful as possible can help our breathing but not only aid in relaxing our minds. No need to worry about equipment or time. Start with five minutes, pick a simple stretch or two and build from there.

Wake and smile

Its morning and you just woke up. What’s the first thing you do? How do you feel? I used to get up and not care how I felt or what I did first. These things matter. Check in on yourself and do something for yourself before you start your day. I always hated mornings until recently when I started checking in on myself, starting my day with a mindfulness exercise. A good day is easier achieved when we properly care for ourselves as our bodies wake from hopefully a good night’s rest. Do you know what happens to our bodies as we wake up and stand for the first time? As we first wake, our heart rate and breathing increases after slowing down as we rest. First time we stand our blood pressure rises. Our brainwaves are also changing after dreaming over night. Here’s how I wake up:

First I slowly sit up then no matter what mood I am in, I make myself smile and spend 5-10 minutes meditating. Once done I feel good, have allowed my body to adjust to being awake and I have set myself up to have a positive and good day.

Keep it simple and smile on!

Read to Sleep

Reading before bed can help us fall asleep a bit faster. When we read our levels of stress are decreased, allowing our bodies to start to relax. When our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are lowered the tension in our muscles eases up. By engaging ourselves in a good book, our minds get a break from stress and worries. I like to read before bed or as way to distract my thoughts when anxious and thinking too much.

Fun Facts about Black Beans

Black beans are great to always have on hand. These beans are high in starch and can make some people gassy, but are also full of nutrients. These lovely beans are a superfood.

Scientific name: Phaseolus vulgaris

Black beans have

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Protein
  • Fiber

Also called turtle beans and common beans.

Power of the smile

Even in the crazy times with the pandemic, smiling is important. Smiling can

  • Boost our moods
  • Help strengthen immune system
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Reduced pain

When we smile our production of cortisol is decreased. What is cortisol? Cortisol is the hormone that produces stress and the emotions that accompany it. Though smiling might not always be easy, give it a try and see what happens. I know I feel better when I am smiling.

Sleep tip #1

Problems sleeping?

Try turning your phone and devices off and let your eyes, thumbs, and minds rest. Unable to shut your phone off? Try turning your phone or devices blue light filter on. Some phones like my Samsung A21 has a wind down mode that makes everything black and white. This mode also turns do not disturb mode on. Doing things like this allows us to relax easier and fall asleep faster. I find blue light and wind down mode to be very helpful. My eyes are able to relax and I feel better. What will you try?

Belly Breathing anxiety and stress aid

Dealing with stress and or anxiety? Try this simple belly breathing exercise. I love this one when I am having an anxiety attack as it helps me focus on breathing and calming down.

Keeping your shoulders relaxed, start by inhaling through your nose. Make sure your inhaling as deeply as possible. Relax your jaw and slowly exhale through pursed lips. Repeat 3-10 times or more as needed.

When we practice deep breathing the oxygen supply to our brain is increased, heart rate is lowered and blood pressure is able to regulate. All of this aids in helping us relax and calm down.

Easy lemon cleanse and immune booster

Looking for a easy cleanse, immune booster, or a flavor boost for water?

I personally dislike the taste of plain water and find lemon water to be comforting when I’m dehydrated, stressed or looking to detoxify.

Benefits of lemons

  • Vitamin C – antioxidant, stress reducer, immune booster
  • pH balancing
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Hydration promoter
  • High in prebiotic fiber Pectin – helps stimulate the digestive system

Does water temperature matter?

Yes and no. Cold water can shock the digestive system slowing it down. Choose cold for during the day or when working out. Hot and warm water both aid in waking up and stimulating the digestive system. Hot is best for mornings, when feeling a cold coming or as a detox. Cold lemon water will still help detox but not as quick since it shocks the digestive system some. I choose warm when I don’t want hot or cold. Have fun and find the right temperature for your needs.

HOW TO

Lemons can be sliced or squeezed depending upon preference. I like both ways. Simply take slices or juice and add to your water. Lemons are acidic so start with a smaller amount and adjust accordingly. Honey, maple syrup or cayenne powder to add a sweet or spicy kick.