Daily Routine – Sleep; a well-rested and recharged body

The body is a complex yet simple machine. It requires fuel (nutritious foods), time to regenerate (sleep), keeping it clean, movement, mindfulness and being in nature to unplug and recharge.

Daily routine, or as it is known in Ayurveda, Dinacharya, is a series of actions that we should do each day to nourish and detoxify our bodies. By creating an adhering to a daily routine, you can rebalance your circadian rhythm, digestive fire plus other health benefits.

This is the first in a series that I will be delving into the various practices for you to try to incorporate into your schedule. Who knows?  You might even find yourself with more energy, less brain fog and maybe even help with your digestive issues.   

Photo: Pixels.com

Let’s talk about sleep.                                        

It is important to get yourself into a regular sleep routine. My personal schedule is I stop looking at electronics about 9:30pm and generally I’m in bed by 10pm. I may read for a little while, but generally lights are out no later than 10:30pm and I will sleep through the night until about 6am. I do this every day, not just Monday through Friday.  Occasionally there will be events, parties or travel that will disrupt this schedule as we need to live in the world and enjoy all the experiences of this beautiful life.

If our bodies get used to going to sleep and waking at the same time every day (ensuring that you have had enough sleep according to what your body needs) you should wake feeling rested and not in need of caffeine to jump start your day.

Giving yourself a set schedule of rest also allows the body to perform its nightly repairs and cleaning that it needs to do. According to Ayurveda there is an internal schedule of time that your body goes through to clean each organ and system. For example, the time of 4am to 6am is associated with the descending colon and bladder. How often do you wake early in the morning before your alarm goes off to go to the bathroom?

Each individual is unique and you will have to experiment as to what feels right for you for the proper amount of sleep that your body needs to feel well rested and ready to conquer the day! If you sometimes suffer from insomnia, please refer to this post  for some solutions.

Next, we will look into what you can do in the morning to help ground and nourish you for your busy day.

                                                                                                         

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Supplements versus Whole Foods – Pt 2

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As discussed in my previous post, your best bet to maintaining your health is to eat a whole food diet that covers as many colors of the rainbow to allow you to have all of your necessary nutrients.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Today I am going to go over some exceptions for when taking supplements or herbal remedies can be beneficial to balancing your health.

I am a firm believer in prevention and supplement daily with 1000 mg of time released vitamin C to help support my immune system. I also practice a daily routine to ensure that I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. My food choices for the most part are whole foods which are organic and as close to the grower that I can get.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan you cannot get all of the essential B vitamins in your diet and it would be beneficial to take a complex B vitamin, preferably sublingually.  While there are a certain amount of B vitamins in whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, dark leafy greens and fruits, if you are not eating meats, eggs or dairy products you could be deficient in vitamin B12 which is essential for brain and nervous system functioning.

If you feel a cold coming on taking some echinacea, zinc and vitamin C are all helpful with lessening the severity of a cold and give your immunity a little boost. Having a strong immune system is a key to maintaining good health.

For sleeping trouble, you could benefit from sipping an herbal tea before going to bed of passionflower, lemon balm, valerian or chamomile to name a few anxiolytic and hypnotic herbs.  Caution should be taken with chamomile if you have a ragweed allergy as it could cause an adverse reaction within your body. When taking these herbs to get sleep, one should also investigate the underlying cause of insomnia and work to find ways to manage it and reset your internal circadian rhythm. 

Traveling can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm for both sleep and digestion. When traveling sometime things get backed up and we can get uncomfortable. Relief can be found utilizing aloe vera, slippery elm or psyllium as a laxative to get things moving again. One should take caution with psyllium as this herb also helps with symptoms of diarrhea! If not consuming enough water while taking this herb, you could exacerbate your constipation instead of feeling better.

Herbs and supplements have their place in our lives, but should not be used as a crutch for poor dietary choices.