Get to your sweet dreams faster

Yes, “yesterday” was awhile ago. I’ve spent days kneeling on a wooden floor, whipping my back a la Da Vinci Code style to repent for my lateness. Moving on! Here are some ways to help you fall asleep and things you should avoid.

Give your technology the cold shoulder.

Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are great excuses for us to stay awake into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but when we use technology we are generally being passive. We’re watching videos or clicking on pictures. We turn into drones. Not only are we not using much brain power (and if we are it’s highly hindered due to how tired we are), but our eyes are unconsciously focusing on a pulsating light our laptop screen gives off. Instead, if you find you must do something before going to bed try picking up a hard-copy book. This is not the time for Dostoyevsky. Go down to a used book store and grab a cheap copy of some indulgent book.  I’m usually out after 10 pages.

I spent $1.50 on this book for sleepy-time purposes. I ain't too proud!

Sweat, baby!

If you find that you tend to be a night owl, despite your early morning classes, put pent up energy to good use and exercise. Not only will you get some mean muscles, but you’ll make sleeping beauty jealous. Honestly, some of the best nights of sleep I’ve gotten have been post workout.

Get Sudsy

You can also take a nice, hot shower. You’ll save time in the morning, jump into your sheets all squeaky clean, and allow your body to relax in a natural way. The hot water helps make you sleepy, and if you can find a nice lavender bar soap (or even a candle) you’ll be yawning all the way to the bedroom.

Things to avoid

Weed before bed: There is a lot of conflicting data on how marijuana affects your sleep cycle. There are propaganda sites that clearly think weed is the devil’s creation, and sites I feel go overboard on the positive side effects. Look, I’m not here to judge people that smoke pot.  What you should watch out for, though, is if you have a “dependence” oh needing it to go to sleep. People become psychologically, not chemically, dependent to smoking weed, but it can be just as problematic. You should feel like you can go to bed without lighting up a bowl.

Alcohol before bed: Unlike weed, there is a lot of science on how alcohol affects your sleep. Drinking before bed can mess with your REM cycle. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is when you’re dreaming and your brain is processing a great deal of information. We always dream, but you just might remember them. Alcohol can also cause you to wake up during the night on several occasions, but not remember it. This can be very problematic if you are a frequent drinker, as you won’t be getting quality sleep.

Medicine & pills before bed: I swear the muscle relaxer I’ve been on for my neck releases magic sleeping dust into my system. However, I haven’t been taking it every night, because I know how easy it can be to start relying on OTC and prescription medicine to fall asleep. Not to mention it can be dangerous. Again, I write this coming from someone who made a lot, a lot of stupid decisions in my early college years. Don’t fall into a trap of taking medication to fall asleep unless you absolutely need it. During Freshman year one of my roommates at HPU couldn’t fall asleep without drinking Nyquil! It’s just not worth it. If you think you need help, get help. Most colleges have counselors you can talk to for free.

Finally, make sure you research any “herbal” remedies as well. I don’t know a lot about melatonin, but I dug up two websites I thought had interesting information. Just because something is herbal doesn’t mean you should take it, it’s safe to take, and it’s appropriate for your body or life style needs.

http://www.talkaboutsleep.com/circadian-rhythm-disorders/circadian-rhythm-sleep-disorders/10-how-to-use-melatonin-correctly.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melatonin/NS_patient-melatonin/DSECTION=safety

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

…and another chapter begins.

Hello!

The last few days have been incredibly hectic, as I’ve been gearing up for back to school. In all honesty I haven’t been looking forward to it at all. Last semesters I was working about 20 hours a week and hard-core getting my academic grind on (3.82 GPA, baby), so it was quite nice to have a few weeks off. Even though I was working I thoroughly enjoyed not having to do homework and being able to sleep in the next morning. Ah, sweet bliss. However, the first day was not super. Last night my computer got a nasty Trojan virus, and Chris’s computer has been out of commission for the past week and a half! Not a great way to start the semester, but I suppose it was better than it happening knee deep in an intense assignment; Positive thinking, Jocellyn, positive thinking.

Since my schedule has become a little mind boggling, I’ve decided to make a schedule of days I’ll most definitely be writing on the blog, so ya’ll aren’t waiting with baited breath. With the way things are going right now it looks like I’ll  be able to get posts to out on Wednesday & Thursday. Sunday and Monday are definitely out of the question– sorry folks. Saturday I’ll most likely be able to post as well. No worries, I’m sure I will have less tome-like posts to send you all, so you can check in to see what’s up. I’ve had some new healthy regiments I’ve been undertaking and I cannot wait to let you know how they’re going. It’s the start of the semester, so make it a good one! Set positive intentions for yourself.

Some possibilities:

-Drink less alcohol. It’ll honestly be better for your body, your brain, your academics, and possibly your social life if the drinkers you hang around don’t have much ambition.

– Do your homework the day it’s assigned. This will keep you from rushing around on due date. I’m not an extreme procrastinator, but this is definitely an area of my life I could strengthen.

– Pick up a new fitness routine and be consistent. Go to Zumba once or twice a week. Try out some workout DVDs. Start swimming at the local Y. Don’t feel like you have to rush out 5 days a week or pull any two-a-days from the get-go. It’s better to be consistent and build from there than go all out for a month and give up.

– Incorporate something “crunchy” into your daily life. Flax or Chia seeds might not be that horrible. You just might adore Kombucha.  If you aren’t a heavy sweater (must be nice) try using a deodorant with minimal ingredients. Try to make your life as “clean” as possible where you can.

–  Cull the herd. In regular man “speak”, start “phasing” out people from your life who aren’t beneficial.  Why keep Chelsea around if she’s always making fun of you? Why hang out with Ray if you’re constantly getting caught up in his drunken antics, like picking him up from the drunk- tank?  It seems cruel, but it’ll give you more free time and peace of mind. It doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore them (although, with some you have to), but don’t feel like you have spend valuable time and energy on them.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I came, I saw, I conquered this semester.

I must apologize profusely for my absence the past few days. I should have given you all a heads up that this past week was going to be a busy one with getting 3 assignments in on top of my usual workload. But that is done for the most part, and I have managed to maintain my sanity! Some great food developments occurred this past week. Despite the entire hullabaloo* I was able to maintain my usual eating schedule and even managed to have some fun in the kitchen with 2 new meals. At the beginning of the week I made a recipe from the well-known chef Jamie Oliver. I had a 4 pound chicken and let it roast in a pot of milk , lemon zest, and herbs for about 2 hours. I’m well aware that the costs of organic are typically higher than conventional, but I was shocked to see that the average roaster chicken was $4 compared to the $12 organic! As someone who stopped eating meat for awhile due to ethical reasons (the next post will be about why I started eating meat again) it was really hard to buy the cheaper one. I could only imagine the type of slaughter house the chicken came from, but since it was the first time trying the recipe I didn’t want to spend a lot of money if I didn’t like it or if I messed up.

 

It’s very true that as Americans we are not used to seeing dead animals in their true form. We buy fish already filleted and chicken & beef in slices. Thanksgiving is probably the one time of year we deal with a whole carcass. Handling the bird was icky and awkward, not to mention I was totally grossed out having to retrieve the giblet bag from its insides. The recipe, which could feed four, easily yielded enough leftovers for several lunches. I definitely messed something up in the recipe, though. Everyone raved about it, but I found it to be so-so. I used a four pound chicken instead of the suggested three pounds, and even though I added more cooking time I think that is what made it not so flavorful. I will say it was quite moist (and that’s the first and last time you’ll ever see that word on my blog) which is far more desirable than overly dry. Here’s the recipe. This is a great meal to make at the beginning of the week because you don’t have to do anything except minimally prep it and wait for the roasting to finish, which leaves plenty of time to do homework or other activities. As someone who’s usually in the kitchen juggling a pot and two pans, it was a relief to kick back.

I redeemed myself the next night by making a fabulous dish I pulled off the fantastic healthy living blog by Brittany Mullins called Eating Bird Food. I strongly suggest you check it out, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. The meal was Hot Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus over a bed of rice. Chris doesn’t like asparagus, as it makes his pee smell (quick fact: do you know that the reason some people smell asparagus in their urine and some people don’t all comes down to genetics?—lucky me!), so I used green beans instead.

“Ingredients

  • 1  T  olive oil
  • 2 1/2  cups  (1-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2  t  salt
  • 1 – 2  t  crushed red pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 14-20 Shrimp
  • 1  cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T of lemon juice
  • 1 cup prepared Brown Rice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus, garlic, salt, and peppers; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shrimp, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth and juice; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; serve with brown rice or other grain.”

Incredibly Simple. Incredibly Delicious

I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, so I didn’t use any crushed pepper, instead adding an extra clove of garlic; we love the stuff! To be honest I didn’t have high hopes for this meal. I thought it would be decent, but a little bland. Thankfully I was incredibly wrong. The dish was so flavorful and filling. The sauce left over was absolutely delicious. This is definitely a recipe to add to my cook book and whip out on a regular basic. Thanks Brittany!

As we approach exams remember to get proper sleep and maintain your diet. It can be really easy to avoid eating healthy and have wings and pizza delivered to your apartment or dorm room. Take the time, usually less than an hour, to prepare something good and filling for you to eat. If you live in a dorm save the money you might use on booze and buy a few healthy meals at a local store. City Market if Burlington, VT was wonderful grilled salmon, veggie, and rice meals ready to microwave. You’ll feel much better afterward and your mind will be sharper.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn