Changes that are improving my health!

My close friends and family know that I have struggled with insomnia for years...the "reasons" for it changed throughout my life like staying up to study in grad school or working on my small business sometimes till dawn. I've always been a "night owl" but this is really not healthy. What I've learned here at HEALTH over the past 5 weeks is that I did not guard the hours of rest and made lifestyle choices that were going against me. Here are some simple things that have changed my sleeping habits dramatically. I now can not wait to go to bed early (approx. 9:30pm) because I am now getting up early at 6:10am in order to be hiking my 6k by 6:30am. Even though the first few weeks were quite challenging my body is now loving it! My exercise is done for the day and I do not have to try to "squeeze" it in somewhere between the busyness. There are energizing benefits of starting the day in nature with fresh cool air and a bottle of water. Get exposure to bright light early in the day! As a side note, studies are showing that you get just as much physical benefit from walking in 10-15 minute segments spread throughout the day if you are unable to walk a continuous 60 minutes. The ideal is a total of 60 minutes of brisk walking daily. Right before bed I take a Contrast Shower. I've been doing this every night for about 3 weeks. These are very therapeutic and work great on improving your body's immunity and circulation. This therapy can restore your body by repairing sore muscle tissue, stimulating and refreshing the skin. These simple showers are also excellent for stress management and mood regulating, and are used to ward off depression and anxiety. There are healing properties in water for inside and outside the body. Start with hot water for at least 5 minutes to warm the body, then 1 minute cold, 3 minutes hot, 1 minute cold, 3 minutes hot, then finish with 1 minute cold. Now I didn't think I could do it at first, but I worked my way into it. I began with very warm and just cool temperatures and slowly worked toward the extremes (not scalding of course). Avoid light exposure at night. It is very important to not look at any bright screens (i.e. computer, iPad, tv) for an hour or so before bedtime as the light is stimulating to the brain. Be sure to sleep in a cool and dark room. Do not have any lights shining through your window or door. If you need a night light in your bathroom or hallway make sure it is a "Limelight", it is a dim greenish light that does not interrupt your melatonin production. Click here to see the one I have and love. Did you know that your body creates 2 times as much melatonin during the hours before midnight! Plus the hours slept before midnight count as double! Your body counts it as 2 for 1. The body does not store melatonin. A daily production is needed. Melatoninenhances immunity, delays effects of aging, regulates mood, assists in coping with stress, enables memory recall, and increases the ability to experience pleasure. Who doesn't want a mega daily dose of those benefits? As a side note, I was shocked to find out that overuse of melatonin supplements can build up under your skin and be a causing factor of depression, so use wisely. At night when we are asleep our brilliant body scans itself like a machine. It searches over every inch looking for sections in need of healing and repair. How wonderful right? Here's the catch! If you fill your stomach with food 4-5 hours before bed your body will spend the night working on digestion instead of scanning and repairing itself! Yikes. After recently understanding this I am now skipping dinners. Studies are showing that fasting a meal is incredibly beneficial to your health. Eat breakfast like a King/Queen, lunch like a Prince/Princess, and dinner like a pauper or none at all. When we first arrived at Weimar we had a blood panel drawn. I was extremely low in B12 and low in Vitamin D. So I have now had two B12 shots and have been taking Vitamin D supplements daily and I'm feeling the difference. Vitamin D is best acquired from the sun, however depending on where you live (like Chicago for example) you may not have access to it's healing rays year round. Even here in northern California there are 3 months of the year where you can not receive vitamin D from sunshine so you must supplement during those periods. Cheers to our health and longevity! Enjoy a beautiful day...it's actually snowing huge snowflakes here... there is something wonderfully healing about watching them softly fall from the sky...