Nervous System: Respond vs. React

By Lisa Manning, , CST, CHt

We have little power to choose what happens in life, but we have complete power over how we respond to challenges. It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.

When a stressful situation occurs, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered and we enter into the infamous ‘fight or flight’ mode. The body is ready to fight, defend or protect itself.

At this point the higher mind needs to step in and mediate: “OK guys, let’s take a minute to calm down and think this through.” Learning how to respond (versus reacting) appropriately to a situation is vital to your health…

The difference between a response and a reaction may seem subtle, but each feels very different… and, usually, each yields very different results.

A reaction comes from the fears and beliefs of the unconscious mind. It (the reaction) tries to shift the discomfort of the moment and doesn’t take into consideration the consequences. Reacting might be cathartic in the moment, but doing so often leads to regret from fear- or anger-based actions that aren’t well thought out.

Choosing to respond (instead of reacting) is a controlled reflection of our values and who we want to be in the world. Choose is the power word in this scenario.

Unless you’re actually being chased by a tiger, the best first response is to take at least one deep and full breath in and out. The more deep breaths, the better. This signals the nervous system to turn down the heat, and to turn up the parasympathetic response of ‘rest and recover.’

Deep breathing creates the mental space and calm (breathing room!) needed to choose the most appropriate response; and, it also helps protect against the harmful effects of chronic stress.

‘Tend and befriend’ is another type of response that has been recently recognized. Oxytocin is released when we give or receive physical and emotional support. It’s the euphoria we feel when we fall in love and the healing power of a sincere hug. This is the cheapest medicine on the market!

Ways to Respond rather than React

Start with breath – This is the simplest and most powerful tool for slowing down an out of control nervous system response.

Look within – Make a habit of examining thoughts before they become words or actions. What’s really behind these feelings? What will this action get me? Is that what I really want?

Stay centered – The best decisions come from a healthy combination of emotion and intellect. We don’t have to turn off our feelings in order to moderate our responses.

Recognize choices – There are always options. Work on choosing the actions that create the outcomes you truly desire.

Each time you’re able to consciously and successfully respond to stress the process gets easier! “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” You will literally create new neural pathways in the brain that will help you to continually develop lifelong healthy-coping habits.

And, be generous with the hugs!

Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety.

Oral Health: Ayurvedic Gum Massage

By Glynda Cullen, LMT, LE

This month’s wellness topic is oral health; you may find it interesting that a Massage Therapist (and Esthetician) is writing this article. What could I add to this conversation, you ask? Good question!

My answer: massage of the gums (similar to full body massage), stimulates circulation allowing your immune system to fight infections that may start in the mouth.

Last week, Cathy Logan wrote about oil pulling (using pure oil to pull bacteria from the mouth versus using mouthwash). I recommend adding Ayurvedic gum massage with warm oil (from oil-pulling) to your oral care routine.

Benefits of gum massage with natural oil

Ayurvedic gum massage, with warm sesame oil, is a natural, effective alternative to antibacterial mouthwash. Did you know, OTC antibacterial rinses can create potentially resistant strains of bacteria in your mouth, and it can kill helpful probiotics that live there, too?

Conversely, the benefits of natural gum massage (and oil pulling) are pretty amazing:

  • Helps prevent gum disease
  • Reduces plaque build-up
  • Decreases inflammation of the gums
  • Minimizes risk of mouth bacteria traveling to rest of your body!

Researchers believe the massaging and rinsing of the warm oil reduces bacteria’s ability to adhere to teeth and gums.

Traditionally, warm sesame oil is preferred because of the decrease in inflammation of the gums noted during research studies. You can also use coconut (thank goodness, I love coconut oil!) or olive oil (which receives only slightly less praise by researchers).

DIY: Oil massage for gums

Follow the directions Cathy provided for oil pulling (but don’t rinse immediately); or, simply gargle with 1 to 2 teaspoons of sesame, coconut or olive oil for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, expel the oil into the trash can.

Let a layer of oil remain in your mouth and begin the massage:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. With your thumb and forefinger, use bilateral pinching to make firm, circular motions on all areas of your gums (from the back to the front of your mouth).
  3. Keep massaging for 5 minutes. Be mindful to stimulate and circulate the healing oil, flushing the tissues.
  4. Do a quick rinse with water.

That’s it! So easy and healing. Smile, knowing you’re healthy and beautiful from the inside out thanks to Ayurveda!

Check out the research of Case Adams, a California Naturopath, for the details of the studies I referenced.

Glynda is a licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Esthetician. She offers therapeutic massage and facial treatments (and after-hours appointments). 

Oral Health: Alleviating Jaw Pain Naturally

By Kyle D. McIntyre, PT, DPT, CFMT

Do you suffer from jaw pain? Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), or jaw pain, is a common issue affecting an estimated 5 to 12% of the general population.

Holistic functional manual therapy (FMT) can identify the cause(s) and alleviate your pain, without primary doctor or dental visits and expensive treatments such as braces.

Why does my jaw hurt?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ), are synovial joints, like your knees or shoulders. The joint capsule has a disc, which splits the joint into two separate cavities. There are also muscles and ligaments supporting the joints in your jaw.

So, jaw pain can result from issues with the disc, muscles and/or ligaments – as well as teeth alignment and other issues.

When people have pain, they commonly seek help from a primary care physician. In the case of TMD, many go to a dentist of orthodontist. (Dental treatment of jaw pain includes the use of retainers, braces, injections, surgery, and/or medications.)

However, very few people realize the benefits of natural, mechanical treatment of their jaw.

FMT: a holistic approach for jaw pain

Using the functional manual therapy (FMT) approach, we assess a client’s cranial, facial and cervical structures, in addition to the TMJs.

We commonly find many other dysfunctions that can drive jaw pain. FMT offers natural solutions to alleviate pain and correct the source of the problem. For example:

Bite/teeth alignment – With FMT, we can mobilize your palate (roof of your mouth) and teeth to correct over- or under-bite issues, the same way that braces or a retainer corrects a bite. The advantages of FMT: we can be much more focused and specific for short, direct treatment. By assisting in correcting teeth alignment, we can help you avoid expensive braces.

Neuromuscular and motor control – In addition to mechanical assessment and treatment, in the FMT approach we assess neuromuscular and motor control. In the case of TMD, good head and neck control is needed along with proper control of the TMJs directly.

In the medical field, this an often overlooked issue that can be causing pain and dysfunction. If your quadriceps muscle was weak, or wasn’t firing properly, how would you expect to have a healthy knee? The same concept can be applied to your TMJs.

For jaw pain – and any other body aches or pains – FMT is a complete and natural solution.

We’re able to identify the often complex, multiple contributing-factors causing a client’s pain, which is the key to resolving pain issues: finding the main cause and treating it holistically, without medication, costly appliances (e.g., braces) or surgery.

Kyle is a Physical Therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy; he is also a Certified Functional Manual Therapist.

Oral Health: Detox & Cleanse with Oil Pulling

By Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP

The health of your mouth directly correlates to the health of your body. A natural way to extract the bacteria in your mouth is called ‘oil pulling.’

What is it? Oil pulling is rooted in Ayurvedic medicine, dating back more than 3000 years. It’s essentially using pure oil like a mouthwash.

Benefits of Oil Pulling

Candida and Streptococcus are commonly found in the mouth. These germs can cause plaque and tooth decay, as well as secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout the body.

Oil pulling can lessen this toxic burden on your immune system – by preventing the spread of harmful organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body via the bloodstream. Like foot reflexology, your tongue is ‘connected’ to organs, so oral care can prevent illness and may be curative.

In addition to boosting the immune system, benefits associated with oil pulling include:

  • Preventing cavities and tooth decay
  • Whitening and strengthening teeth
  • Improving breath and easing halitosis
  • Deterring gingivitis and healing bleeding gums
  • Lessening jaw pain/TMJ
  • Alleviating sinus problems, sleep issues, headaches and skin conditions

When pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, you have a very powerful health tool.

Oil Pulling at Home: How-to Guide

I recommend doing oil pulling 3 to 4 times each week, on an empty stomach: it’s best to do this process in the morning before you eat or drink anything.

It’s actually very simple:

  1. Put about 1 tablespoon of organic, unrefined coconut oil on a spoon
  2. Put the spoon in your mouth (the oil will melt/soften right away)
  3. Swish the oil inside your mouth like mouthwash, pulling the oil through your teeth and around your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes
  4. Spit out into a trash can (not the sink): do not swallow
  5. Rinse with warm water to eliminate residue
  6. Brush and floss teeth as you normally do

It’s important to remember that when you’re finished “pulling” you must NOT swallow, as it’s VERY toxic (all of the toxins you pulled from your mouth should not be swallowed). I strongly suggest spitting it out in the trash can, because oil can clog your sink drain.

You may find a whole tablespoon of oil seems like a lot at first, so try starting with 1 to 2 teaspoons. Why? As the oil pulls in saliva and bacteria from your mouth, the amount of oil-mix in your mouth will increase.

I know 20 minutes will feel like a long time! So, start with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time you keep the oil in your mouth.

If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, sesame oil is equally effective. You can also add essential oils to the coconut oil. As these oils get absorbed by the oral mucosa, your body will enjoy the antioxidant and medicinal powers:

  • For everyday use, try one drop each of clove, orange, lemon and peppermint
  • When battling an infection or sickness, try one drop each of clove, cinnamon, oregano and tea tree as a homeopathic remedy

As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to help. Please call with any questions about oil pulling or other natural health practices.

Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner.

Oral Health: Chewing Your Way to Wellness

By Carol Heckman, RN, CHNP, CNC, MH

This month, we’ve been informing you about holistic approaches for oral health.

So, I thought I’d pass along a free and important health tip I share with all of my clients (as the first step in their wellness plans): Chew Your Food!

It’s so simple, but proper chewing is often overlooked. We’re all guilty of eating on the run and “inhaling” our food – even though many of our parents hounded “Chew your food,” but (likely) never really explained why.

When I go over this point on a client’s wellness plan, some think I’m joking. I know it sounds silly, but I’m very serious about how vital it is to your health to thoroughly chew your food. And, research continues to support this practice.

How chewing improves health

Having digestion troubles? Start chewing. Chewing is how food digestion begins: it starts with the stimulation of saliva production and digestive motility. This process is called mastication. If you properly chew food, when it reaches your stomach and small intestine (where the majority of digestion occurs) the rest of your food can be digested with ease.

Studies show that chewing your food well aids in reducing acid reflux and bloating (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal), and maintaining weight (Obesity Society Research Journal). Consider following the old adage: “Drink your solids and chew your liquid,” meaning chew your food to a liquid state to assist in break-down and digestion.

Feeling tired?  Start chewing. The more you chew, the more energy you’ll get from your food. In a 2013 Purdue University study, participants were monitored to assess the relationship between how many times a food source is chewed (e.g., 10, 25, and 40 times) and the amount of energy lost by the body. The participants who chewed food the most times retained more energy!

Feeling Run Down?  Start chewing. In an ongoing study by the University of Manchester, published in 2017, scientists are showing the process of chewing stimulates a specific immune cell in the mouth – which helps protect us from bacterial and fungal infections.

Since oral inflammation is linked to poor health and disease, chewing is an important immune support available to us all.

Want more insight into your health? We can help. Schedule your health consultation with Carol today.

Carol is a Registered Nurse, a traditionally Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.

Oral Health: The Power of Words

By Lisa Manning, CST, CHt

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” Rumi (Persian poet and Sufi master born in 1207)

Considering this month’s focus on oral health, I pondered the many areas of our lives that involve the mouth. The lips are highly sensitive to touch and, through our mouths, we seek physical as well as emotional nurturing. This is truly a powerful portal for interacting with the world!

Our first experiences as babies in the newly physical world are interpreted and played out through sensory touch and sound. Through our mouths, our hunger is satisfied and a kiss can be a greeting and express emotions of affection, high esteem or passion.

Our thoughts and emotions are also expressed through our ability to vocalize. We can whisper, roar, laugh, scream or simply chat about the weather.

The words we speak carry a weight of their own

Thoughts casually tossed out in the form of words may create lasting harm, just as a simple word of kindness could be forever remembered when offered at a time of great need. It’s worth the time it takes to consider your thoughts before speaking aloud.

There is a saying – “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates”:

  1. At the first gate, ask yourself “Is it true?”
  2. At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
  3. At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”

This philosophy is a very good starting point for most thoughts, and it’s especially useful tool to use before having a difficult conversation with someone.

Is it true?

Are the words you’re about to say a true representation of things? Or, are you speaking about your own hurt, anger or desire to be right? Doing an honest inner inventory of your feelings can free you from repeatedly projecting emotions on others.

Is it necessary?

Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it needs to be said. Consider taking one full breath and pausing for a moment before expressing a thought, especially in tense situations.

Is it kind?

While what you’re about to say may be true, it may also be unkind. It’s worth considering the emotional impact that your words will have on the recipient. Does this really need to be said, and is now the time?

Inner mindfulness = ‘better’ words

When teaching classes, I refer to being mindful about what I say as ‘emotional landscaping.’ When you’re a careful gardener of your inner world, your impact on the outer world is far more positive. And you always have a choice!

Words are powerful. Though words can cause harm, they’re equally powerful for healing. The words of poets, sages and sacred texts can provide sources of hope, peace and transformation. The words that flow through your own consciousness every day, and even throughout your dream sleep, work to shape outcomes and reality.

We have control of what we let in and what we give out. This awareness can transform not only your inner world, but also the way you relate to everyone around you. With the right attention and focus, you’ll be on the road to cultivating the peaceful and successful outcomes you desire.

So, choose your words carefully! And wishing you success on the path.

“Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.”

Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety.

Better Sleep Month: ONDAMED Sleep Protocol + At-home Tips

By Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP

You may have heard people say “sleep is everything”… well, it actually is!

If you want to: live longer; have a strong, healthy body and a sharp, focused brain –​ and keep emotions positive and balanced – you need to recognize the importance of sleep.

How sleep strengthens your body and mind

Repairs the body. While sleeping, your body produces extra molecules that strengthen your immune system.
Keeps your heart healthy. Your cardiovascular system is constantly under pressure; sleep reduces stress levels in the body.
Controls body weight issues. Sleep can help regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite.
Improves memory. Sleep enables your brain to better process new experiences and access stored knowledge.
Reduces occurrences of mood disorders. Lack of sleep leads to agitation. Chronic sleep loss can lead to anxiety and depression.

So, what do you do if you’re like the millions of people who have trouble getting to sleep and having a restful, restorative night? I have a few suggestions to help you overcome insomnia and improve the quality your sleep.

ONDAMED® sleep protocol

In past articles, I’ve explained how great ONDAMED is for healing and to alleviate pain. Well, it’s also wonderful for stress reduction and promoting restful sleep!

I often use ONDAMED’s special sleep protocol: the non-invasive pulsed electromagnetic frequencies stimulate natural healing responses in targeted areas (related to relaxation). In just a few 30-minute sessions, you may be on your way to dreamland.

Essential oils: which oils promote sleep and how-to tips

We talk a lot about the use of essential oils, which are good for so many things! The nine best essential oils to promote sleep are:

Valerian – Calms nervous system and helps with restlessness.
Valor – Balances nervous system; strengthens the body and mind. Also minimizes snoring.
Vetiver – Relaxes nervous system; reduces over-stimulation.
Roman Chamomile – Relaxes and calms; very good for children.
Lavender – Very calming; reduces anxious feelings.
Peace and Calming – Promotes relaxation, deep sense of peace and emotional wellbeing. Helps release negative emotions. Also wonderful for children.
Cedarwood – Relaxes/soothes; allows brain to stop processing.
Stress Away – Brings feelings of peace and tranquility; helps relieve daily stress and anxiety.
Orange – Lifts the spirit while calming the body; brings peace and happiness to the mind.

These oils may be used alone or together. You can diffuse, inhale or apply oils topically, or add one or more to a warm bath with Epsom salts. Try this sleepy time essential oil blend:

  • 12 drops Orange
  • 8 drops Lavender
  • 4 drops Cedarwood
  • 3 drops Valerian
  • 2 drops Roman Chamomile

Mix oils in a clean glass roller bottle. Fill with a carrier-oil (e.g., Sweet Almond, Jojoba or Coconut). Roll the blend on your neck, pulse points or bottoms of feet before bed. Or, use this sleepy time blend in your diffuser before bed (keep diffuser on during sleep).

Another great idea for using oils to promote sleep is a DIY linen spray. You will need:

  • Jar with a lid
  • 1 oz (2T) Witch Hazel
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • 3 oz (6T) water
  • Small funnel
  • Spray bottle

Pour Lavender in the jar. Add Witch Hazel (keeps oil from separating from water). Shake for 15-20 seconds. Add the water to the jar. Shake again. Using the funnel, pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Spray on your sheets for a restful night’s sleep.

As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to address any sleep issues you may have. Call us today for more ideas to achieve restful slumber. Remember, sleep really is everything!

Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner.

Better Sleep Month: Best Positions for Restorative Sleep

By Kyle D. McIntyre, PT, DPT, CFMT

Are you sleeping enough? Equally important… are you sleeping well? Many people struggle with sleep, which is such a vital part of overall wellness.

While sleeping, your body is in a parasympathetic state (the resting and digesting aspect of your nervous system). Having a solid block of interrupted sleep is crucial for tissue healing, repair and rejuvenation.

Sleeping positions

Achieving a good sleeping position is part of the puzzle. As a wellness practitioner, with a doctorate in physical therapy, I study movements and sleep positions:

  • The preferred sleeping position is on your back.
  • The second best position is sleeping on your side.
  • Stomach sleeping is the least ideal position for tissue healing and for achieving a neutral alignment for your neck and upper back.

In addition, there are a few specifics about sleeping positions to think about: try to achieve a neutral position (from close to your torso out to the end of your extremities), and be sure to support areas of suspension (e.g., your arms).

Sleeping alignment tips:

Back sleepers – It’s ideal to have pillows under your legs, but not just the knees. You want to place the first pillow under your upper legs and a second under the knees and lower legs.

Side sleepers – If you sleep on your side, place a king-sized or body pillow between your legs, supporting the entire top leg. Keep your hips at a 45-degree angle and knees at a 90-degree angle. The same process may be used to support your arms.

Choosing the right pillow

Good, healing sleep (with proper alignment) is also dependent on pillow selection and placement for your head and neck:

Memory foam pillows – While popular, these tend to have a strong recoil property, which will push on your neck. This neck pressure won’t allow you to achieve good body alignment (and may inflame tissues surrounding spinal discs in your neck).

Down (or down alternative) pillows – Are ideal for head and neck alignment, because these form around your body. If you feel there isn’t enough support for your head and neck, try putting a foam pillow or a folded bath towel under the down pillow.

Lastly, you want to make sure your pillow is only under your head and neck, not your shoulders. One good technique is to pull the pillow out from underneath your shoulders, and then scrunch it around your neck to fill any voids.

Sleeping position and posture are inter-related components of maintaining a proper sleep cycle; achieving proper alignment should enable you to sleep with less tossing and turning, and/or pain at night and when you awake.

For an assessment of how you move, demonstrations of healthier movements, and a medical massage for troublesome areas – regarding sleep positions and other daily tasks you perform – give us a call.

Kyle is a Physical Therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy; he is also a Certified Functional Manual Therapist.

Better Sleep Month: Mindfulness for Dream Sleep

By Lisa Manning, CST, CHt

I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know? – Ernest Hemingway

Ah… sleep. Finally, a time for quiet, peace, reflection, and… wait, what? Uninterrupted, obsessive thoughts? Really?! Do you recognize this scenario?

The six to nine hours of sleep that you’re hopefully getting every night are key to maintaining physical and emotional health. This is your opportunity to rest, recover, and perchance to dream.

Sleep phases

Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison both used half-sleep moments to solve big questions. There are vast resources available in your subconscious for healing and deciphering the world in general.

We shift through different states of consciousness in our waking hours – even when we sleep. Understanding the process automatically gives you more control:

Beta. Your awake and alert state is the part of the mind that’s the ‘driver,’ controlling the mechanical motions in life.

Alpha. When you slip into daydream mode, you’ve shifted into Alpha. Depending on the thoughts hanging out in your subconscious, these can be pleasant dreams or anxious and fearful ones.

Theta. This meditative mode is a blissful, dreamy state of consciousness that carries us into and out of Delta, deep sleep.

Delta. It’s very important to achieve this deep phase of sleep (with low brain wave activity or Non-Rapid Eye Movement/NREM) to rejuvenate your body and mind.

Which brings us back to the question: “How is your sleep?” Is it a time for recovery and creativity? Or are you stuck in a stress-loop thought pattern.

Mindfulness practices to induce sleep

In all things mindful, awareness of the process is the first step to freedom. We can choose our thoughts. The last thoughts on your mind before sleep will be the ones that play on your subconscious sound track all night long: so, choose those thoughts wisely.

Create a plan for going to sleep with an uncluttered and peaceful mind:

  • Keep a small to-do notebook by the bed. If you think of something to be accomplished, write it down and let it go. It will be there in the morning.
  • Turn off the TV, tablet, phone: 30-60 mins before sleep.
  • Find music/literature that uplift/fill the senses with beauty.
  • Listen to guided meditation: unwind and clear the mind.

Setting the scene for a healthy night’s sleep prepares and guides you into peaceful and restorative dreamscapes, giving mind and body a needed break from daily stress. If you don’t choose your thoughts, they will choose for you! Sleep well and dream big.

Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety.

Better Sleep Month: How Much You Need & How to Get It

By Carol Heckman, RN, CHNP, CNC, MH

In my past few articles, I’ve talked about ‘the new normal’: our crazy lifestyle as a society and the resulting everyday stressors most of us endure. It seems we’re on the go multitasking 24/7 these days… more places to be, people to see, things to do…

How do we fit it all in? Well, we’re certainly taking this extra time from our sleep by staying up late and getting up early. It’s become a bragging right these days: who is the busiest and who functions the best on the smallest amount of sleep.

Yikes! No wonder we’re all having so many health problems.

How much sleep do I need for good health?

Adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep, while teens require 8 hours minimum, and are healthiest with 9-10 hours. Younger children need 10 solid hours of shuteye to promote growth and health.

How sleep repairs your body and mind

Did you know you have a built-in master ‘repair clock?’ It’s the circadian rhythm, which synchronizes all metabolic, cellular and behavioral processes for optimal health. This rhythm signals when you should sleep and wake, so your body has time to regenerate.

When you alter this natural rhythm by sacrificing sleep, your body, mind and health suffer. Sleep is essential for the body to heal, for cells to regenerate, and for waste to be processed for elimination.

Research has shown, without enough quality sleep, people (of all ages) are at increased risk for:

  • Heart and kidney diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure and/or blood sugar
  • Stunted growth and development
  • Immune deficiency
  • Mood imbalances and impaired brain function

Even your organs have specific times on the clock for repair. For example, your adrenal glands (which help with daily energy and stress response by secreting cortisol) are active during the light hours of day and switch off at night.

Today, many of us have adrenal glands out of sync with the circadian rhythm. This causes insomnia – even when we want to fall asleep, we can’t (the adrenal glands are still making cortisol).

Do you know someone who awakes nightly between 2 and 4 AM? This is naturally known as Liver Time: when a person’s liver is doing its most detoxification and healing work.

Getting the sleep you need

So, how can you add sleep back into your night and make sure you get restorative slumber?

Set up a sleep routine. You have a schedule for the gym, right? A routine to calm your body and mind for sleep, is really key.

Our natural rhythm works best with a 10 PM lights-out time. If you tend to stay up late, slowly adjust your bedtime: get into bed 15 minutes earlier each week until you reach your 10 PM goal.

As well, begin to unwind from you day earlier: by another 15 minutes. Unplug from your to-do list, your phone, TV, news, and work. Get into your jammies, do your beauty routine, brush your teeth and climb into bed. Light reading, calming music, writing in a gratitude journal, deep breathing, and aromatherapy are all great supports to add to your sleep routine. Pick one or two.

Lighting is very important, too. Make sure when lights are out, the bedroom is dark. That’s one of the reasons it’s good to keep cellphones and computers out of the bedroom (and TVs turned off): these emit light and EMF frequencies that can disrupt sleep.

Additional help for falling and staying asleep

  1. Epsom salt bath – Draw a warm bath and add one or two cups of Epsom salts. The Magnesium in the salts relaxes your muscles and mind, as well as helps your liver with detoxing.
  2. Melatonin – When adrenals cycle-off, your pineal gland makes melatonin to help you sleep. A little extra melatonin may make you fall asleep more easily and help you stick with a sleep routine.
  3. Magnesium capsules – Taking 100-200 mg at bedtime is very helpful for relaxing the body and mind.

If you have difficulty with your sleep, give us a call. I can help with a poor-sleep intervention, including dietary adjustments, herbs, nutrients, lifestyle modification, and tools for self-care.

Carol is a Registered Nurse, a traditionally Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.