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Do you have insomnia?

First of all, I need to say that if anyone has been contacting Quay Living because of sympathy for me due to the wind chimes, please stop. Thank you.

We are all different in our sleep patterns, though generally we are forced to conform to a rhythm that suits the work place, school, our children. Few people know what sleep depravation is until their first baby arrives. That is a real game changer.

We tend to fall into two categories, famously known as the owls and the larks. I am naturally an owl, but at times my baby, or my work, forced me to become a lark. We are able to adapt from our preference. I must say that I have always loved early mornings when I had them. The light is special, the dew, the last stars etc. Being up before anyone else is a very peaceful time, when one’s mind is alert.

Insomnia is the inability to get to sleep over a sustained period of time. It can become an interference with work, study, relationships, and just enjoying life. What is important, is that an established bedtime routine is in place, preferably from very early childhood. This tells the brain that sleep is needed and desired.

It’s not always clear what causes the inability to get to sleep. Often it is after bereavement, divorce or loss of a relationship, a change in location, newly noisy neighbours, or stress.

There are may theories about curing insomnia, and I don’t subscribe to any particular ones, but here are some that might help.

Eat some food When your stomach is full, your blood rushes there and you are likely to become relaxed and fall asleep. Doctors generally don’t like this idea, but I know many health professionals that employ it and it works for me.

Make your cover heavier or lighter You can be not warm enough without realising it. Adding a layer to your bed covers may well help you sleep. And the reverse is true.

Have a milky drink Milk contains tryptophan which induces sleepiness. It also fills ones tummy.

Inhale deeply and slowly repeatedly This is a remedy for tension caused by stress, and relaxes the body. One can do this at any time that one feels anxious or tense. It is a good habit as part of stress relief.

Do mental arithmetic This may sound counter-intuitive, but the boredom of doing times tables can send one to sleep. It is also good for tuning out pain, and useful for men who need to delay ejaculation during sex.

Play soft music Music that is soothing can really help one to sleep.

Get up and start over Some people find this helpful. Leave the bedroom, do a task and then go back to bed. I’ve heard it works.

If you have tried some or all of these, and you still cannot sleep easily, or relatively easily, please see your doctor. There may be clues in your medical history, but a chat may reveal a niggle on your mind that you hadn’t thought of or had ignored.

Things that cause insomnia are, worries, a bad conscience, a trauma, nightmares, bad neighbours, and anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, physically or mentally.

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About losing weight…

First, I want to stress that no one has to conform to a certain size or image. Forget what certain advertising tells you, or what you think men/women want. Be who you are. We are all designed differently. We need to celebrate diversity in body size, shape, and height.

That said and stressed, if you can take an inch or more of your flesh between your thumb and forefinger on your tummy or thigh, you probably need to lose some weight. The best way to do this is to put away scales, throw out calorie counters, and change your eating habits.

Choose a change that will suit you. It might be

Cutting out beige food. You can decide to stop eating cake, pastry, biscuits/cookies, pies and puddings. This will instantly remove a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates.

Cooking less food. If you have less food on your plate, and no leftovers to pick on from the fridge, you will lose weight.

Stop eating processed and precooked food. If you stop using cake mixes, microwave dinners and other processed foods, you cut out a lot of sugars.

A healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruit and less meat will provide you with all the nourishment you need. We do not need to be swallowing vitamin tablets. Our diet should give us sufficient.

Some good things to add to your food intake are hemp oil, ginger, turmeric, liquorice, and local honey. Hemp oil is good for every system in your body. It will help you maintain and improve your circulation, sleep, joints, all your internal organs, breathing, and digestion.

Ginger and turmeric are both anti-inflammatory and decongestants. So is liquorice and honey is an antibiotic.

Fresh lemon juice everyday has an enzyme which protects against colds, flu, and other viral infections like mouth ulcers.

By doing away with the scales, you protect yourself from feelings of failure, unrealistic goals, and wanting to give up. Just knowing you are eating more healthily will make you feel good, even as you begin to notice feeling great physically.

Brisk walks, cycling, swimming etc are good to add to your change in lifestyle if you are not already doing so. We all need at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. Start where you are now and build it up. Exercise is good for your mental health too. I know people who go for an hours bike ride before their family wakes up. They feel and look good, whatever their build or size.

When we make changes that are behaviour related, we are far more likely to succeed than if our goal is a number or weight. You will feel your clothes loosening, you will notice that you feel good.

The first fat that your body loses is that which surrounds your heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. This is the most important fat to lose. You will not notice the loss of this, but your body will.

Fat gained by alcohol can be harder to lose. Especially if you don’t reduce your alcohol consumption. A glass of wine can be the equivalent of a jam donut, a burger, a plate of desert. Alcohol related fat often sits around the neck and face, as well as the stomach. Especially in men. I can often tell if a person drinks a lot, just by their appearance.

I have talked about alcohol in a previous blog and will probably discuss it again, so I’m not going into detail here.

Never shame a person about their weight. There are medical conditions that cause weight gain. Never make an issue of weight with your children, just teach them a healthy life habit. If you have an overweight child, talk with them and make their journey to health a joint one.

I hope people find this helpful. There are so many ‘diets; out there and some lead to malnourishment and most lead to failure. A change in behaviour is for life, so you cannot fail.