Better Sleep – Naturally.

Better Sleep – Naturally.

Did you go to bed exhausted, pass out before your head hit the pillow, then toss and turn all night long?

Do you find that you fall asleep quickly but then you wake up randomly throughout the night, lying in bed, staring at the dark?

Does it seem as though you can never quite “turn off your brain”?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading! (And if you said “no” to all of them, well, then you’re a lucky soul…)

Unfortunately for me, I am a self-proclaimed terrible sleeper.

I know too well the lack of sleep fogginess, feeling “dumb” the next day, having difficulty focusing or completing tasks – yikes, I’m starting to sound like a depression commercial!

But those of you who can relate know how frustrating this can be. Lucky for you, I’m also a self-proclaimed “fixer” and I’ve tried everything under the sun to maintain my sleep quota – especially because I’m a monster when I don’t get enough zzzz’s – so read on, and rejoice in some GOOD news!

What Helps ME Sleep At Night:

  • A White Noise Machine or Air Purifier

I like an air purifier that sounds similar to a 1970’s window unit. Seriously, I looked for an air purifier with the worst reviews when my original inherited Honeywell crapped out and was not disappointed by those who complained about how loud it was.

  • A Humidifier or Dehumidifier

Depending on your allergy/sinus/congestion/breathing issues, you want to invest in a humidifier or Dehumidifier.

If you’re dry and stuffy, a humidifier may be the way to go. Sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in there for some extra olfactory love.

If you’re allergic to molds and mildew, make sure to suck some of the extra moisture out of the air with a Dehumidifier!

  • Leave Your Cell in the Living Room and Avoid Neon Lights

Unplug for a bit. Read a book right before bedtime instead of scrolling through Facebook. Turn your alarm clock AWAY from your line of vision.

If you don’t believe how much this can affect your sleep, try sleeping without it!

There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortably hot, sticking your leg out from under the covers only to find that then you’re too cold, or breaking out in cold sweats throughout the night. I grew up on down comforters, but I’m a eucalyptus girl these days!

These pillows help to alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain and, though they don’t advertise it, they help to prevent me from that awful night-clenching.

And, finally:

I’ve tried them all. From melatonin to valerian root to chamomile tea, they’ve all been on my nightstand at some point over the years. Many helped, but even when they did the help was only temporary. When I was literally ready to find a doc who would prescribe me Ambien, I was fortunate enough to find Procera and Quietude – as well as a peaceful night’s sleep!

Don’t worry. If it’s not in your budget to spend a ton of money on all of these different products right now, here are some other things that have helped me:

  • Exercise regularly.

When I don’t “sweat out the crazy”, as I like to say to my husband, I’m more likely to toss and turn and wake up all night long.

  • Try some breathing exercises or meditation.

These also worked for a long time but became less effective when my brain over-powered them.

Even if it means bring ye old phone in to your bedroom, try some of the meditative apps as well – there are many free ones!

  • Keep a book on your nightstand.

Even a Kindle, with the light setting kept very dim, works for me.

And don’t forget (unapologetic plug-in here):

All of the wellness services at Lakeside Wellness are geared towards stress relief and improved physical well-being!

When your Lakeside Wellness practitioners talk about “well-being”, we are referring to mental, physical, spiritual, mindful and holistic well-being. We work diligently to help you release your mind, body and soul from negativity, both mental and physical. Holding on to such negativity can impact your sleep – in, obviously, a negative way!

Clean Eating – Creamy Coconut Chicken Recipe

Clean Eating – Creamy Coconut Chicken Recipe

This recipe was shared with me by a client (thanks, Kathryn!) – it was a perfect quick, easy and SUPER delicious weeknight dinner!

As always, I made a few notes and variations – I added a few pinches of cayenne pepper for a little kick and added a handful of some fresh basil. We also used brown rice instead of rice and used our rice cooker instead of instant rice.

Next time I plan on throwing in some pineapple and a variety of vegetables; snow peas, red peppers and mushrooms all come to mind!

 

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked instant rice
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped tomato

 

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with curry, salt and pepper. In a large skillet, saute chicken and onion in oil until chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add spinach and tomato; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve with rice.

 

Yield: 4 servings.

When the Dreaded Cold Sets In…

When the Dreaded Cold Sets In…
Photo Courtesy Death to the Stock Photo (https://deathtothestockphoto.com/)

Ahhh, spring. The time of year when the trees come back to life, the flowers bloom, the cold and dreary days of February are behind us and all we want to do is get OUTSIDE.

Unless, of course, you’re like me and you’re sitting inside under a blanket staring at the most perfectly sunny and pleasant day with bitterness and resentment, blowing your nose constantly, wondering how you’re still sneezing 7 days after the cold set in and resorting to Advil to weaken the headache that flares up each time your extremely prevalent cough tickles your throat.

If you are one of the lucky ones who does not suffer from allergies or you are someone who catches a cold and barely notices any symptoms, then kudos to you. I truly do mean that even though a part of me hates you for it. To you, the rest of us might seem dramatic, over reactive or as though we’re milking it when we come down with a case of the sniffles but trust me, we are not. For us, colds are simply awful. They last forever, we begin to believe the cough is never going to subside and we end up frustrated as we do everything in our power to rid our bodies of the lingering symptoms.

Before I go any further, let me say this – regardless as to how your body reacts to a cold, please be cognizant of the fact that not everyone is like you and STAY HOME when you’re symptomatic. You may not think it’s a big deal to be out and about when you’re coughing and sniffling but there are some of us whose skin crawls when we hear those sounds. We can do everything under the sun to prevent a cold except for to avoid contact with every single person who’s carrying the virus.

My primary goal when this year’s doozy hit was to figure out why some of us get hit with cold symptoms so much harder than others. I was really surprised to discover that the reason some of us experience stronger symptoms than others does not have anything to do with whether or not our immune system is weak or strong, it is simple an indication of how strongly our immune systems react to pathogens.

Let me elaborate: two people who are equally as healthy, both exercise regularly, eat right, get enough sleep, etc., can get hit with the same exact cold virus and react completely differently. Due to genetics and other factors out of our control, Person #1 will feel some congestion, they will possibly have a light cough and they may have some sniffles. Person #2, on the other hand, will be physically and mentally exhausted, they will experience a violent and constant cough, blow their nose constantly and be bedridden for a quite a few days, if not longer. Person #2 simply has an immune system that reacts more strongly than Person #1’s.

While this does not provide me with the information I was hoping to find to prevent ever catching a cold again, it does begin to ease the overwhelming frustration I feel at how hard I try to be healthy and how hard a cold hits me when I catch one.

Something else I took in to account is the fact that my mom has always told me that I have a “weak constitution”. While this may sound like an insult, it is not. It is a term in the alternative wellness community used to describe our bodies’ reactions to unhealthy habits in general. Someone with a strong constitution can rarely exercise, eat whatever they want, run on low fuel and feel just fine. Those of us who have a weak constitution have to carefully monitor what foods we eat, sustain a regular exercise regimen and ensure we get enough sleep – failing to do any of these causes us to feel horrible.

For me, the only way I have ever been able to truly prevent a cold is to completely avoid being around anyone who has cold-like symptoms. Hence the reason I will send a client home if they have so much as a case of the sniffles.

However, there are some preventative measures that I have found to help, along with some steps I take as soon as I begin to feel the dreaded virus set in:

  • I take Vitamin C every single day. For some people, Echinacea helps, but Vitamin C is my answer. And not from sugary orange juices, I take a Nature’s Sunshine Vitamin C capsule every single day. (Nature’s Sunshine products are wonderful and many of their products can be purchased on Amazon.)
  • Completely avoid anyone who is sick or expressing cold symptoms; 100% abstinence is the ONLY surefire method for me to avoid colds.
  • Exercise regularly. (We can help you with this one – check out our current list of amazing yoga classes here!) One of my most trusted resources, Dr. Mercola, swears a lack of exercise will allow you to get sick more easily.
  • Vitamin D – GET OUTSIDE!
  • Find a local honey and bee pollen supplier, like Richmond’s own honey superstar, Alfredo of Alfredo’s Beehive. His raw bee pollen was the only thing that allowed me to breathe through my nose the first few days this thing hit. (Surprisingly, it also tastes pretty good! I’m still eating it by the spoonful due to the extremely high pollen levels right now.)
  • Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care and Breathe Easy teas.
  • Fluids, fluids, FLUIDS! There is a reason the (noodle and rice-less) chicken soup phenomenon has withstood the hands of time. I’m a “Why? -er”. If you don’t tell me the why, I’m likely not going to do it – because I don’t understand the importance. Fluids break up the mucus and help you to expel it. Avoid sodas, sugary juices and the like and drink as much water and herbal tea as you can get.
  • REST, REST, REST. Rest until you feel silly for still resting.
  • Reduce your stress levels. It’s okay if you scoffed at this; so did I. However, increased stress can wreak havoc on your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
  • When I get so fed up that I can’t see straight and I’ve tried everything natural method under the sun and I still can’t breathe, I will sometimes resort to the dreaded over-the-counter method – those of you who get colds that are as miserable as mine know that sometimes this is inevitable. I have learned that I should avoid suppressants unless I am taking them to control the cough to sleep or get through appointments without grossing out my clients. An expectorant is key; it helps to break up and thin out the mucus, just like your fluids. Mucinex (regular, not D or DM) is supposed to be one of the best on the market.

 

Products:

 

Sources:

 

 

Alyson’s Recommended Items

Alyson’s Recommended Items

Below are lists of various products, resources and methods that I find incredibly useful in my personal attempt to maintain optimal health.

Typically, massage alone does not relieve your life of pain. Focusing on good posture, correct ergonomics, stretching, a healthy diet, exercise and good mental health are only some of the other factors that determine how much tension each person holds within their body.

Not every treatment or resource is the best choice for each person. Consult with your health care provider before attempting anything listed below. Should you have any adverse reaction to any of the list methods contact your health care provider immediately. No information provided should be mistaken or substituted for professional medical advice.

Click on each item in red to go directly to its corresponding website.

CBD drops (oils), sprays, soft gels and capsules available at Lakeside Wellness! Great for calming and clarity.
CBD pain relief ointments available at Lakeside Wellness. Level 1 is the lowest level, 5 is the most intense.
A longtime favorite of the Lakeside Wellness staff and customers, the Thera Cane self-massage is a must-have!
We don't sell this one, but I highly recommend tossing out your current pillow and giving this bad boy a try.
  • Eat Right for Your Type – An interesting concept about how your blood type should dictate which foods to eat and which foods to avoid.
  • Prescription for Nutritional Healing – A great resource for healing and well-being via vitamins and supplements.
  • Stretching Anatomy – One of my favorite resources for simple, yet effective stretches with great illustrations to help pinpoint the muscles that are causing your pain!
  • ALL of the practitioners and instructors at Lakeside Wellness! We are a team-oriented group of individuals who work in cohesion with one another. We offer a wide variety of services and classes and feel strongly that our practitioners are the best in town.
  • Capitol Rehab of Richmond – Dr. Mayer, D.C. (Chiropractic) is much more than a Chiropractor, he is, in my opinion, a Rehabilitative Therapist. He uses an approach called to as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, which encompasses more than your traditional Chiropractic focus on subluxation and manual adjustments. Dr. Mayer spends a ton of one-on-one time with each of his patients, typically with little to no interruptions. He does not want to see his patients every week or every month, but typically only suggests seeing each patient a total of 3-5 times (I’m sure the treatment plans vary per patient). I’ve been seeing Dr. Mayer for several weeks and can really tell a difference when I practice his methods. I strongly recommend him, just know that you’re not going for a traditional Chiropractic visit.
  • CBD Oils and Creams. Lakeside Wellness is the proud supplier of both CBD oils and CBD creams. The topical creams are great for physical tension or pain, while the oils are better for mental health.
  • Biofreeze – A topical treatment that helps to soothe muscles and combat muscular tension. I use it on most of my deep-tissue clients to help prevent soreness from the massage as well.
  • Foam Rollers – Foam Rollers are a great way to practice “self massage” in between your regular sessions. They can be intense since you are using body weight to create pressure so use with caution. Here is a link to some very thorough instructions on how to use a foam roller. Avoid using foam rollers on your abdominal area and the area in between your ribs and hips where you do not have bony protection for your organs.
  • *Heating Pads specific to the area of your body where it’s needed! (Or just a good old general heating pad will do!) – Back – Knee  – Low Back – Neck –
  • InstaShiatsu Self-Massager. This thing is AGGRESSIVE, but really does the trick!
  • **Nature’s Sunshine Products – I use Nature’s Sunshine products as my primary source for supplements, vitamins, herbal remedies, topical treatments and protein powders. Sign up to become a distributor with this multi-level marketing company and order everything at wholesale versus retail costs. It typically costs $40 for you to sign up, but then you get $40 worth of free, quality products. No commitment, no fees. If you do decide to sign up, please do so under my distributor number – 2818610.
  • Roleo – Great for anyone suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this contraption helps loosen the muscles in your hands and wrists that cause nerve compression.
  • Thera Cane – A product I recommend to just about everyone! It allows YOU to target those tight muscles in your neck and back with very little effort! Be careful not to overuse this thing, it’s easy to become overzealous and bruise your muscles. I’ve given a dozen out as gifts and typically have them for sale on-site; I’ve never known someone to regret this purchase!
  • Tri-Core Pillows – Tri-Core pillows “help relieve neck pain and correctly align the spine, while supporting the neck in its natural position.” I can say from personal experience that, while I do not LOVE sleeping with this pillow, it makes a tremendous difference in the amount of tension I feel in my neck and shoulders and it helps me to refrain from clenching my jaw throughout the night. I personally do not use it every single night, only when I am in pain or experiencing discomfort. Also available at Amazon.com.

*Heat is great for increasing circulation and loosen tight muscles. However, heat can increase inflammation; so do NOT use heat if your muscles are inflamed. If you apply heat to your muscles and it starts to feel “wrong” (tightening of your skin, achy, swollen, etc.) remove the heat immediately and apply an ice pack. Ice is a great way to slow or reduce swelling.*

**Consult your nutritionist, dietician or primary health care provider before consuming additional vitamins, supplements or products purchased from Nature’s Sunshine.**

  • Do Yoga With Me – A wonderful compliment to your daily exercise routine, this website lets you do full yoga classes from the comfort of your own home! You can choose “classes” by length, style, instructor, level, etc. My personal favorites are the classes that focus specifically on the neck and shoulders!
  • FitnessBlender.com – Yet another FREE workout website; Daniel and Kelly truly combine a multitude of exercise types  (Hiit [High Intensity Interval Training], cardio, yoga, pilates, strengthening and conditioning, etc.) to create unique, effective routines. They also work hard to show you low impact, beginner and even more advanced ways to do many of their suggested exercises.
  • Mercola.com – Yet another medical doctor speaking out against big pharmaceuticals and traditional American diet and epidemics. I highly recommend signing up for his daily emails. Backed with research, evidence and opinions from other medical advisors, it’s impossible to get bored with his emails.
  • World’s Healthiest Foods – A wonderful daily email! The recipes are simple and absolutely wonderful! A lot of times I will browse the daily email and may not follow the recipe exactly but use it as “inspiration” for a creatio

Info for TMJD and Headache Sufferers

Info for TMJD and Headache Sufferers

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMJD or TMJ syndrome) is an affliction of the jaw normally caused by clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. TMJD pain is not isolated to the jaw, however. Those who do experience this affliction can end up suffering from overly tight muscles of the neck, back, pectoral muscles and shoulders, they can experience pain in the face and ear and can also begin to suffer from headaches due to the muscular tension.

It’s easy to assume that the head and face work during massage sessions is all about relaxation. However, the reality is that you can hold a tremendous amount of stress in the muscles of the head and the face. Those who clench or grind their teeth can find work around the TMJ to be incredibly intense, but the relief felt afterwards makes it worth it to many.

In addition to mouth guards (normally recommended by your dentist when the TMJD is severe), here are some things that you can do to help alleviate the pain and tension generated by excess usage of the muscles in the TMJ area:

  • Schedule an appointment with Dr. Tragaskes: http://www.jntdental.com/. Apparently he is “the man” when it comes to TMJD.

  • Sleep with a Tri-Core Pillow: http://www.coreproducts.com/shop-by-product/orthopedic-pillows/fiber-pillows/tri-core-pillow.html

  • Use a Thera Cane to massage tight muscles: http://www.theracane.com/

  • Self-Massage TMJ Management: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJyaCrSKTBE

  • TMJ Exercises for Pain Relief: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/temporomandibular-disorder/article/tmj-exercises-for-pain-relief-1115

  • TMJ Exercises & Stretches to Relieve Jaw Pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbJZXG4fsd4

  • Yoga for Carpal Tunnel (not specific to TMJ, obviously, but targets many of the muscles that TMJD affects): https://www.doyogawithme.com/content/yoga-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-and-all-shoulder-and-neck-problems-caused-chronic-computer-use