Monday, February 23, 2009

Sleep Aid

I am a chronic sufferer of insomnia, which takes all different flavors. Sometimes I can't fall asleep, but most of the time I can fall asleep but then wake up around midnight or 1:00a.m. and can't stay asleep. In the past year I made an amazing discovery- Melatonin. I swear by it now.

You can find in natural food sections- Fred Meyer has a brand called "Knock Out" I used for a while. Now I am using a a brand called "Now" that seems more effective. I've seen it at Whole Foods, New Seasons and Vitamin Stores so pretty common.

I'm currently just taking 1mg which seems just fine. I've heard one person say she got used to it over time, so she only took a few days a week not to build up tolerance. I haven't had this problem, but something to consider if you do. Another person told me she started having bad dreams over time, so cut the dosage in half and it was solved. I think you can actually take more mg, but one seems to work for me.

Overall, great solution- and natural! :)

Couple other things that help...

Child's pose helps if you do before bed (stay in for 3-5 minutes+)- see the following site for instruction-

Breathe- try inhaling through your nose (mouth closed) to the count of 6, hold 3, exhale 6 through your nose (mouth closed)... do 5 rounds (if you can inhale more, try 8-4-8 or 4-7-8)... more on breathing later, but this is a very soothing activity to do in bed and it will calm you into a restful state. Be sure to do all the breathing through your nose... its more cooling on the system.

Or you can go to the poppy fields and hope the wicked witch of the east shows up :)

If you have other natural remedies, please post comments. This seems to be a very common problem.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My New Happy Place

If you're ever having a hard day, or even if you're not, this will undoubtedly give you a smile (which per the below makes a physiological impact that will in turn make you happy).

Go to this site and keep hitting the cornify button. (hehehe).

About Smiling


‘“There is now compelling evidence that smiling causes people to feel happy. Requiring people to smile, no matter how they really feel at first, results in increased positive feelings; frowning conversely decreases positive feelings. Robert Zajonc and his colleagues show that smiling leads to physiological changes in the brain that cool the blood, which in turn makes people feel happy. [A series of experiments] show that positive emotion and cooler facial temperatures result when people saying the letter “e” or the sound “ah” over and over again, apparently because making these sounds requires a smile-like expression.

These [experiments] also show that negative emotion (and hotter facial temperatures) result from repeating sounds like the letter O or the German vowel ΓΌ, apparently because making these sounds require a frown-like expression to pronounce. This effect was found to be equally strong in both German and American research subjects. These researchers also found direct effects of temperature on emotion, demonstrating that people who have had cold air blown up their noses are happier than those who have had hot air blown up their noses. Hundreds of other studies show that hot temperatures are a powerful and reliable cause of foul moods and interpersonal conflict (especially aggression and violence).

So, if you want to be really weird, try increasing happiness (and thus creativity) by having your people say “ah, ah, ah,” “e, e ,e, e,” or perhaps saying “cheese” over and over again, blowing cold air up their noses, or just keeping the buildings cold where creative people work. Or as Jane Dutton at The University of Michigan told me after she heard Robert Zajonc talk about these ideas: “When I want to get in a good mood, I’ll just go home and stick my head in the refrigerator.”’

Where to buy vitamins

Just learned about two places to get vitamins at a more reasonable price... (all of the below seem to be on there) (not all, but some)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Several people have asked me for a list of the vitamins I take. I've gotten on a pretty good regimen in the past few months and have some brands I love.

Alive Whole Food MultiVitamin (can get with or without iron)

TwinLabs Liquid B Complex (liquid absorbs better; this is SO great for the nervous system- I feel a significant difference when I am taking this)

Carlsons Vitamin D- 5,000 mg (most people in NW are deficient so higher dosage is good)-

Floriva Liquid Iron (LOVE THIS STUFF- expensive, but good)-

Carlson Fish Oil (yum ;-) ... good for the brain)-

I take a bunch of amino acid supplements too that I will write about later. Still learning about them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just Breathe!

Five years ago, I made a major commitment to my health. My life had reached a point that was far from desirable and I decided I wasn't going to be disappointed with what I saw in the mirror every morning.

It wasn't about my physical reflection (although that left a lot to be desired ;-) ). It was about not knowing who I was looking at. The stress of life had taken hold and I'd repeatedly made poor choices for myself to try and find joy.

Unfortunately, these choices only made it worse. To be specific, I didn't spend a moment thinking about what I was eating, I drank too much, and exercise was a rarity. I blamed it all on having a stressful job, not having time and/or needing to relax.

On the morning of May 19, 2004, I decided I was going to make a change. I was tired of my own excuses and procrastination- it was a now or never moment.

So I bit the bullet, gave up drinking entirely, hit the gym and yoga every day and slowly became more mindful of what I was eating.

It's been a long journey in the past five years, and quite frankly not an easy one. I've had to face myself. I've had to say “no thanks” a million times. I've had to stay very disciplined in a very tempting society. I've had many, many moments where I have felt like an island and no longer part of the fun.

But... not a day goes by that I am not grateful for the decisions I have made (and more grateful for the support I have had). Why? Because I can face myself in the mirror each morning with more peace and knowing I am acting lovingly toward myself.

I've decided to start this blog to share my learnings. With life being as stressful as it is, I have the greatest empathy for people's needs for relief, escape and bonding. I too need them, and in my journey have picked up some interesting tools- breathing, yoga, laughter, vitamins, fresh food and good friends/family.

I'm highly dedicated to living a healthy life, so as I learn things that help me do so I will share.