6 Unconventional Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Sunset Tanzania | Unconventional Sleeping Tips

 

Dark circles under your eyes. Extra pounds around your waist from craving high-calorie foods. The struggle to focus on your work and just get through the day without emotional outbursts.

You know the alarming picture of what sleep loss will do to you all too well.

It’s not like you haven’t tried all the usual advice for getting a good night’s sleep. You stopped drinking caffeine after lunchtime and you wake up and go to bed at the same time each night. Heck, you even bought the most comfortable mattress and pillow you could find.

And still you find yourself tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, debating whether you should quietly get up for a while or stubbornly keep your eyes closed in the hope of finally falling asleep. Unfortunately, following standard sleeping tips is no guarantee for getting plenty of shut-eye when you have a medical condition, when your baby keeps you up all night or when your internal body clock is disrupted from working the night shift.

For people with chronic illness, insomnia is an all-too-common problem. Many health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and an overactive thyroid, can disturb your natural sleep – wake cycle. Having trouble falling asleep can also be the result of the pills you’re taking or of simply not being able to lie down comfortably due to seriously aching joints and muscles.

If the basic go-to-sleep ideas have failed to get you a good night’s rest, experiment with these 6 unconventional tips to beat insomnia naturally.

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Reframing Stress: 7 Psychological Tricks to Change How Stress Affects Your Health

Reframing Stress | 7 Psychological Tricks to Change How Stress Affects Your Health
Photo by Despina Design

 

 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:

the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

 

Your mother warned you there’d be days like these. The minutes are ticking away until your big meeting starts, and here you are, stuck in traffic – again. Cars are moving at a snail’s pace, but the thoughts keep racing through your mind. “Hmm, did I lock the front door..? Ooh, I shouldn’t forget to pick up the dry-cleaning on my way home tonight. And we really must find the time to visit aunt Jessie in the hospital this weekend. Maybe after we’ve finished painting the nursery..? Argh, move already, I’m running late!”

You can feel the tension build up in your body. And the day has only just begun.

 

Life is a continuous string of events, from everyday challenges and important milestones to defining moments and daily disruptions. Although there are certain situations that everyone finds upsetting and taxing – losing a loved one, relationship troubles, unemployment or living with chronic illness – whether or not you get stressed following a negative event also depends on how you perceive that situation.

Stress is triggered by external life events and small daily hassles. When you experience more frequent and severe stressors in life, you have an increased risk of developing serious health problems like heart disease, obesity, digestive problems or anxiety. But this relation doesn’t explain why plenty of people thrive in high-pressure jobs or demanding circumstances. Why do some individuals get sick and depressed when something stressful happens while others do not?

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A Love Letter to the Supporters of Chronically Ill Warriors Everywhere

 

Love Letter  

It’s a sad fact that in times of need you find out who your true friends are. Not everyone has the courage, strength and emotional intelligence to deal with difficult situations. Others want to help out, but they simply don’t know what to say or do.

The irony is that you don’t need grand gestures or eloquent speeches to show your love and compassion – they’re found in the tiny, wordless gestures of support and understanding.

When you’re diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness, the dynamics of your relationships inevitably change. Sometimes the person you want to turn to the most, suddenly stops calling you or slowly vanishes from your life when you’re no longer able to do fun things together. But other people might surprise you: the colleague who keeps checking in how you’re doing, the neighbour who offers to do your grocery shopping or drive you to the hospital.

Many articles have been written about the misconceptions and insensitive comments that sick people have to deal with. Although it’s important to address the constant frustrations and loneliness of chronically ill patients, today I want to celebrate all the lovely individuals who do get it – who understand what you’re going through, who stick around through it all, who never let you down. This is a gratitude note to the support squads of “spoonies” everywhere – and my friends and family in particular. 

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What’s for Dinner? Two Templates for Stress-Free Meal Planning

 

Stress Free Meal Planing | Asian Tacos
Shiitake Mushroom and Lentil Asian Tacos from Sprouted Kitchen

 

It’s the eternal question for many home cooks: “What shall I make for dinner tonight?”

Maybe you find yourself browsing the supermarket aisles for inspiration, only to come home with the standard ingredients for your go-to pasta. But not only does eating spaghetti bolognese three days in a row get pretty boring, falling into a food rut also puts you at risk for an unbalanced diet. As I wrote in last week’s post, consuming a lot of different types of food helps you to get all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you desperately need to stay healthy.

But finding ways to ingest the entire range of necessary nutrients is probably not be the first thing on your mind when you have to come up with a meal that’s not only healthy, but also kid-friendly, quick to make after a tiring day at work and easy to digest before heading off to karate class.

For some strange reason, I actually enjoy planning a wholesome yet tasty weekly menu (but then again, I’m one of those crazy people who love making lists). Over many meal planning sessions, I found that using a personalised food template makes it a lot easier to come up with a week’s worth of delicious dinners that make up a balanced diet.

Today I’m sharing my secrets for stress-free meal planning, with two examples of varied and balanced weekly menus.

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How to Effortlessly Eat a Balanced Diet

 

Balanced Diet - Rotate Staple Ingredients
Photo by Annelies Verhelst

 

Do you mindlessly gobble down the same old boring breakfast before rushing out the door each morning? Or are you stressed out every night wondering what you should have for dinner without falling into a rut?

So many of us have virtually the same meals day after day. And even if you do make a conscious effort to mix up what you’re having for lunch, you still might not be eating a huge variety of foods. Most food products you find in the supermarket contain the same handful of ingredients – wheat, soy, corn and sugar.

But eating a lot of different foods is crucial to obtain all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. A balanced diet ensures you get the entire range of vitamins and minerals, without consuming too much of one particular nutrient. Because the same rule applies to both fast food meals and uber-healthy foods: “The dose make the poison.”

Even eating big ass salads and huge amounts of steamed broccoli on a daily basis for many years could potentially lead to health problems, when small amounts of harmful compounds in dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies build up over time. (You’d need to consume huge amounts of one vegetable over a long period of time before this would happen, but you get my point.)

Coming up with new recipes every day can be an overwhelming challenge. Luckily, there are two strategies to effortlessly eat a more balanced diet without stressing out:

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