But I can’t sleep!

My last blog was for those who need to go to bed and they choose not to, What about those whose quality of sleep feels out of their control?

Your sleep may be interrupted by a family member! Here are suggestions for the common culprits, snorers and young children. For city noises: earplugs.

You don’e seem to need the  recommended 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Quality sleep is more important then quantity of sleep. Some people require less sleep then others. We feel rested with the appropriate deep sleep and REM sleep our body needs. Check with your doctor if you think you need more sleep then is comfortable.

Do you have insomnia? Three thoughts:

Have you seen your doctor? Your doctor can check for underlying causes.

How’s your sleep hygiene? There’s a TON of good info on the Internet on how to wind down so you fall asleep like this  and this and this! BTW, have you installed a screen darkener yet?

Do you wake up a lot? It’s natural to have sleep/wake cycles and not get 8 hours of solid sleep.  Old journal keepers wrote of first sleep and second sleep. Consider these:

  • Accept vs. worry when you wake up. Insomniacs appear to get more sleep then they think they do. Fixating releases stress hormones. Our brains work even faster and jumps around like a monkey! An antidote is gratitude. Entertain grateful feelings for as long as possible. Then move to another grateful thought.
  • Give your brain something to do. Repetitive prayers work nicely. Or, listen to a non-stimulating audiobook. Keep the murder mystery for the daytime.
  • Meditation apps. Try a 20-30 or more body scan meditation during the day for 2-3 weeks. Then, at night, keep to the same meditation until the brain has learned to associate sleep with that relaxing guided meditation. I really like the Insight Timer app. (*don’t touch that phone if you can’t stick to your meditation app!)
  • The most important thing you can do to get better sleep? Turn off the anything electronic 1-2 hours before bed. Apps and TV have an evil addicting twin!

Did anything new catch your eye?

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“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

That sentiment is really dumb. Don’t sleep? You’ll be dead sooner. And sicker, and much more likely to have serious memory issues such as Alzheimer’s in later life. What a rosy outlook.

If you generally wake up without an alarm, feel rested and don’t seek caffeine to get moving in the morning, hit the snooze on this blog and forward it to someone you know who complains about being tired all the time.

To the rest of us, neuroscience has something to say to our thick heads:

GO TO BED!

Oh ye who love tech and TV!  Go to bed! You are suffering and will suffer more if you don’t get your zzzzz’s. I get that you will miss some fun on apps and shows by starting the bedtime routine at 9:30 or 10 pm! It takes discipline to prioritize rest.

Nature has provided us a host of reasons to sleep and pushes aside many body functions to do very important, active work during sleep. Dr. Russell Foster explains why we sleep in this Ted Talk. Embrace sleep and watch your favorite late night show for breakfast.

Is bedtime low priority? I have lived in this camp with it’s many reasons why I can’t go to bed. I have to choose to go to bed.

Poorly rested people tend to be cranky, depressed, confused, and even dangerous etc. If are unsure if you need more sleep, ask those you live or work with if they think you need more sleep.

What if you can’t sleep?

My next blog, to be published in a couple of weeks is just for people who try, but can’t sleep.

Thanks for reading!

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Reversing Sudden Cognitive Decline

At first, the comments between family members were, ”She’s really going down hill! She’s forgetting a lot.” Then, her restless increased: Up too early, too demanding and angry over little things, constantly fretting about money, refusing to go out and yet complaining about loneliness.

One evening she asks, “Who was that slender woman in my room?” The next morning, she’s weird-eyed, wearing a old stained T-shirt, and some crazy pants never seen before. She’s incessantly saying, “I’m so confused! I’m so confused!” She can’t hear or see very well. It’s serious and everything is dropped for an ER visit..

Sudden Cognitive Decline

The doctors say it’s not a stroke or even micro-strokes. It’s Sudden Cognitive Decline. What action can you possible take when your loved one is drastically changed, seemingly overnight, and there isn’t any medical treatment?

My family experienced that scenario just 6 weeks ago. My 91½ year old mother was just old, cranky, and forgetful – then suddenly “gone!” My nephew took the good action he could do then he called me. “If you want your mother to remember you, you better come quick!” I flew out there pronto!

When I arrived, my mother was hallucinating voices and visions. I had to shout for her to hear. Her eyes were glazed over and had that “nobody’s home” look. She could barely dress herself and get into a car. She wanted to stay in bed because she didn’t know what to do which led to seriously weakened, painful  neck muscles. My sister-in-law become “that girl I live with.” She asked my brother “Are you my father?” and me, “Are you my daughter? I think you are my daughter.”

I thank God for the skills and passionate business direction I solidified 2 ½ years ago! I help families develop a plan of action to reverse cognitive decline with action in eight  different areas of lifestyle. However, this was the first time I ever used the protocol on a loved one – and it worked rapidly.

Within 4-5 days the hallucinations stopped and the incessant, “I’m confused!” was confined to the morning. Mom’s hearing returned to normal. Her audiologist said she had  an internal brain processing problem which resolved. By about 10 days, Mom certainly recognized us all again and remembered our names. Three weeks later, even Mom’s short-term memory improved as she remembered events from the day before. Best of all, Mom’s humor returned – humor is complicated because you have to understand a situation well to create something funny out of it – a true victory.

Mom is not out of the woods yet and we’ve moved her into Assisted Living. I initially looked at Memory Care, but she recovered and solidly assessed as needing less care. The turn-around felt miraculous.

I help families whose loved ones are in age-related mental decline, be it dementia, Alzheimers’, or Sudden Cognitive Decline and have a  confident plan of action, peace of mind, and joy of seeing their loved ones improve. If you know someone going down the path of decline, please refer the family to me.

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The biological Sons of Liberty and the War State of Stress

Flashback to your Revolutionary history; remember the Sons of Liberty? Our founding fathers were great at beefing up political problems. Oh those rabble-rousers! Those inciters! Those stirring up the system to fight against a repressive, invading regime!

The biological rabble: Cortisol and Adrenaline

A dog barking, a flashing light, a pinging phone, all catch the attention of a small, primal area of our brain called the amygdala. If threatened, it sends a distress signal to our command system- the hypothalamus, activating our nervous system into action. The adrenal glands respond to rouse the troops- adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline signals “move it, freeze it or fight it!” Cortisol directs different systems to power up or power down.  It all happens in a second.It’s a wondrous system when we’re pursued by a wild boar. Not so great when that dang dog next door wakes you up AGAIN with it’s stupid barking, your phone pings, or when spilled milk feels like a personal attack.

We can proactively reduce the risks associated with stress. 

(It takes more then yoga.)

Chronic environmental, relational, work, money  and tech stress causes 77% percent of Americans regularly feel stress in their daily lives. 60-80% of all doctor visits are for stress related illnessesOften poor health rears its ugly head, ironically, just about retirement time.

We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can lessen stress’ impact starting with getting really clear and true about our own levels of stress. Click here for a super  quick tool to assess your level of stress..  Anything over a score of 50 is a warning sign, especially if there is a family history of disease.

Might a consultation with me be right for you or someone else you know?

Someone with high stress or anxiety plus a family history of disease would greatly benefit with a personal consultation. I help people unveil their unique response to stress and provide a truly personal support program designed to blunt the effects of stress so my clients feel less captive to those rabble rousing stress hormones.

If you’re pretty healthy and don’t have a strong family history of disease

Here are my favorites for a 90-day starter program. Order either package through the links provided and you’ll receive my  “90-Days to Success” consulting absolutely free!

An easier and better package would be

Thanks for reading!

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Tech is Made for Stress

“Monkey Brain” is a common name for the part of our primal brain that is always alert, searching for anything novel. If “Monkey Brain” thinks it’s in danger, it will ping our adrenal system – the one that does fight, flight, or freeze and releases stress hormones. “Monkey” jumps all over the place, assessing what to do, whether to worry, questioning ourselves, etc. Monkey keeps us up in the middle of the night and obsesses on problems.

Notifications are specifically designed to hold our attention and get that monkey brain curious. Notifications shout to Monkey, “Over here!” “Is everything okay?” “Oooo, eye candy-take a look!” “Who liked my post? –  Am I’m important????” Alerts are precisely why social media, gaming, YouTube, Instagram, and the king – Snap Chat, are addicting. “Monkey Brain” is fully stimulated and therefore being richly fed.

People expect us to reach us. Some get cranky if don’t follow their stuff or respond to their emails quickly. Some are hurt when their posts are unread. Replying tells their “Monkey Brain” that they are socially important. Replying fast tells “Monkey” you are safely in their tribe.

The stressful always “on” state might be our #1 major health problem in the US. Plus, it’s the stressed who are creating a wold of tension. Who are the moody ones? Who are causing political upheaval? We see the changing moods and opinions of our President who is tied to his phone and media. He’s cranky, inconsistent, and doesn’t rest. We are microcosms of these tendencies.

It’s harsh, but calming down requires detaching from e-anything.

Some tips to reduce tech stress:

  • Turn off notifications! Brains relax when they don’t expecting the pings.
  • Let your friends know that you are sometimes unavailable, being productive and reaping the benefits.
  • An hour before bed, turn off the tech and allow your brain to rest with prayer, meditation, a book, etc.
  • Choose what you want to allow into your life. Angst breeds angst. Delete that FB page, or whatever doesn’t add to the quality of your life.
  • Learn to be quiet and alone. 10 wonderful things happen when we get used to being alone.
  • Can’t sleep? Mind Insight or HeadSpace apps are helpful if you can resist the urge to turn on stimulating apps.
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