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Tips for Sleeping Warm in a Cold Winter-- 16 Tips To Help You Stay Warm!

Why Is She Always Cold? 

There are actual scientific reasons for why some women-- except for the women in the throes of peri-menopausal hot flashes-- seem to be shivery and discontent with the household temperatures when it is cold outside.  It  is interesting to note that women, on average, have a much higher core body temperature than men do, and are more sensitive to deviations in that temperature.  

Women also apparently generate much less body heat than men do.  Men tend to expend about 23% more calories than women. Those expended calories were fuel.  When that heat is ''exhausted" off, it warms the skin, clothing and nearby surroundings. 

While women appear to be constructed to keep their important organs warm and well, you would never guess that through exposure to most of our cold extremities.  While women's hand temperatures average about 87.2 F, men's hands (and feet?) temperature averages about 90 F. My husband has never been too keen on having a stone cold foot, or two, on some available warm body spot.  I accept that now after fifty years of marriage, but I did yearn often to use his girth like some convenient, over-sized hot water bottle.  I confess.

And not only do we have what seems unfair biological temperature issues, but evidently some fairly ancient building standards (from 50 years ago) still have managers in apartment complexes thinking it is necessary to control the thermostat locks based on a 155-pound man's metabolism back around the time my husband and I married.  I am happy to have some control over the thermostat here, but that might not be the case in the seniors' community where we seem to be headed.

Most of us like to Feel Cozy and Warm in our Homes, 

and We Sleep Better When We are Happy

At 70 years, I really appreciate a just-right warm space where I can do whatever I am doing-- cooking, an art project, talking to a friend, writing an article-- and not feel like I have to rush through because my feet are cold or there is a draft of cold air coming in from a leak around the windows or whatever.  

A cold and draughty house makes me feel crabby and I often seriously consider sleeping down in the cozy livingroom vs. climbing up through the chilly stairwell to the cool bedroom.  

And when I go to bed in a cozy room I fall asleep in a good state of mind and sleep well.  

Here are some Tips for Keeping Warm in Your Home:

  1. Dress Warm for Being At Home and Going to Bed                COVID 19 has shown up pretty casual in our house.  I am pretty sure I am not the only 70-year old who has pretty much dispensed with a bra and I have about 4 pairs of pyjamas that I rotate most days (except when I have an appointment out there in the "Real World"). My mother would have been shocked if she had known that our little dog slept on our bed.  She likely would have had some choice words about my "not getting dressed" and even my wearing socks to bed.  But she is not around to make those critiques.  The point is to be warm and comfortable for bed.  I sometimes shed the socks in the middle of the night, but I no longer feel tempted to shock my husband out of his slumber with an icy foot where he probably could not even identify it as an icy foot.  
  2. Invest in a scheduled thermostat.                                                How nice it would be to go up to the same warm and inviting bedroom every night.  Sort of like that fantasy about living in a hotel with room service, but without the room service and the coke machine just outside the door.  And nice to come down to a warm kitchen in the morning.  
  3. Tricking the Thermostat Lock                                                     If you are a poor soul living in one of those buildings where someone else manages your unit temperature, I hear that if you put a bag of frozen peas beside the thermostat you can maybe trick the furnace into kicking in.
  4. Pull your Bed away from Outside Walls                                     Even a  little space between your bed and the wall will make the room less chilly.
  5. Get Active.                                                                                    Yes, I intended to do all that as well.  The bottom line is that we will have better circulation if we do that online workout or yoga or go for a walk somewhere safe or jump on a rebounder or do some stair-climbing on actual stairs-- hey, there's a novel idea!   
  6. Dress Your Windows Up Warm                                               Cover the cracks and leaks.  Pull the blinds down against the cold.  Pull the drapes shut.  Put up thicker drapes or hang a blanket over an offending window.  It will make it gloomy, but it will make it warmer.  Pull the blinds up when the sun shines!  (Free heat)
  7. Get Rid of the Door Draught-                                                 Measure a pool noodle to the size of the base of your draughty doors. Cover it with an old towel and put it down where the draught 'was'/  
  8. Eat healthy!                                                                                    I am not a nutritionist so I will just leave that there.  There are healthy foods that are wonderful for staving off illness and that make you feel warm when you eat them.
  9. Cut back on Alcohol-- or better yet, Take a Break until the Weather is Warmer                                                                      Contrary to popular believe, alcohol does NOT warm you up.  It actually has the reverse effect.
  10. Make Your Bed Warm and Comfy:                                                                  Warm, but not hot.  If you like flannelette sheets and they don't cook you, go for them.  Fluffy blanket next to the body, and dense-woven, thinner blankets on top of that.  Some people swear by a 'weighted' blanket.
  11. If you Can Afford It and Are Looking for a Nice Little Oasis of Hygge in the Dry Cold (in the Canadian prairies, for example), get a Humidifier.    Get one of the Deluxe ones that Allow you to Choose Warm or Cold settings!  Don't bother with one if you live somewhere pretty wet, like I do, on Vancouver Island.   Some people would probably recommend a de-humidifier.  Not sure if it helps with cold.but helps with keeping mold away.  
  12. If you have an Overhead Fan, turn it on Low and Let It Turn Clockwise to distribute the warm air that rises to the ceiling
  13. Bake up a Storm as you feel inclined.  Then after baking, turn off the oven and open the door, letting the warm air fill the room.  (Free heat).
  14. Dry your clothes in your auto dryer.  Let the warm air vent into your living space vs. out the roof.  (More Free Heat)
  15. Choose warm drinks over cold drinks.  Eat soup.  
  16. Wrap in warm blankets and engage with pets, watch movies like Mama Mia and A Year In Provence and Roman Holiday and old Beach Party movies from the 60s (they are Public Domain now, somewhere online).   Think warm thoughts of who you love and who loves you, and what you will do when you are no longer in the house in the Winter in the COVID.  Start that Gratitude Journal.  Get out your paints.   
References:

5 Scientific Explanations Why Women Are Always Colder Than Men (by Amy Schlinger, Nov 2019. Glamour Magazine)

12 Toasty Tips for Staying Warm in Cold Weather (Amanda Green, Jan. 2019 Mental Floss)

Here's the Secret to Feeling Warm All Winter (Hello Thermal Jane Blog, Jan. 2020)


By this author:


How To Play Winter Sports Without Freezing To Death
                                           

            





































Relaxing Before Sleep With A Bath

A Relaxing Bath - Image by DarthZuzanka on Pixabay 
I have a fond memory of a relaxing lavender-infused bath while at a B&B several years ago.  Either I allowed myself to release all my worries because I was on holiday, or I was so over-the-top exhausted that the lavender scent and the sun beaming through the small window in front of the deep old claw-legged tub was responsible for the most relaxed I had felt in years.  That memory feeds my on-going search for relaxation aids to a good sleep.

I am in favour of making your own simple cosmetic and bath products.  Not only can you research for the best ingredients to what you want (non-harmful to your body and general health, non-allergenic, not harmful to the environment, inexpensive, locally available are some of my criteria) but there is a great deal of pleasure in producing a simple bath oil or bomb or whatever, that does what it says it will. There are legions of different relaxing bath oil and bath salts recipes on the web.  I would caution you to make sure you don't land up with a recipe that uses expensive ingredients (eg., essential oils) that end up causing migraine, burning your skin, or the like.

This bath salts recipe will certainly aid most people in having a relaxing bath followed by a great sleep.  The formulation includes the following ingredients:

EPSOM SALT is Magnesium Sulphite is a pure, mineral compound with many health-related uses.  Benefits include easing sore muscles, fighting cold and flu symptoms, and improving sleep.


BAKING SODA or Sodium Bicarbonate is familiar to all of us as a baking agent, a pot scrubber, and something we put in our fridges to absorb odors.  Baking soda has many health benefits that are less well known.  Among other things, baking soda is effective against various fungal groups including yeasts, dermatophytes and molds that cause skin and nail infections in humans.  Read more about the different benefits and uses for baking soda HERE.


CBD OIL or Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is extracted from the stalks, leaves and buds of the cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. CBD oil is relaxing, taking down inflammation in the skin and muscles and is a wonderful addition to the bath salt formula.  It can be referred to as hemp oil, although hemp seed oil sold in the nutritional health sections of stores is generally used more for nutritional than medicinal benefits.  Hemp seed oil in the health aisle is generally made by extracting the oil from the seeds of the cannabis sativa.  You will not have a mind-altering experience with CBD oil because it contains very little THC, the chemical in pot that is smoked/vaped/consumed recreationally or medically prescribed (in Canada) for pain control and nausea management for patients with adverse effects from chemotherapy.  When you plan to use it for this bath salts recipe, obtain the CBD oil that is a combination of Cannabis infused with something like organic coconut oil.  CBD oil is available in Canada and throughout the United States.    (Please note that Amazon-- below-- lists all CBD oils as HEMP oil).

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL is famous for its relaxed fragrance and soothing and calming of skin 'issues'.  I would recommend lavender oil over the other common "spa fragrances" such as peppermint which can be so strong in the bath so as to inflict chemical burns on some clients with delicate skin or open wounds.  Other oils to avoid in the bath are basil, cinnamon, clove and thyme.  If you do not like the scent of Lavender, Clary Sage, Chamomile Roman or Neroli are all relaxing oils that can be added to the forumla instead. (Information from my favorite go-to The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion

THE RECIPE FOR THE BATH SALTS:

2 C.    Epsom Salts
1/2 C. Baking Soda
1/4 C. CBD OIL
20 drops Lavender Essential Oil (or homemade Lavender Bud-infused Castor Oil)

METHOD:

  1. Stir to combine the epsom salts and the baking soda in a bowl
  2. Add in the CBD / Hemp Oil and Lavender oil and wearing latex gloves, combine the mixture well with your hands.
  3. Put mixture into a mason jar with a lid
  4. Use a 1/2 Cup scoop under hot running water at the beginning of your bath.  Be sure to be there for the running of the bath-- enjoy the fragrance, breathing deeply!
  5. You might choose to add some extra charm by including a scoop of the crude Himalayan pink sea salts and a couple of tablespoons of dried Lavender buds to the store mix (for looks mainly).

Want to make your own lavender oil?  Go HERE

Berries Before Bed: How Antioxidants Work To Promote Good Health


Hibernating bears gorge in the wild berry patches before going down for their winter naps.  It turns out that the special phytochemicals in any red or blue berries-- phenolics-- have antioxidant benefits that can prevent the ever-present dangerous oxygen free radicals from damaging your cells.

If bears enjoy so many health-sustaining benefits from berries, what about you?

Perhaps you already have a protocol in place to build berries into your breakfast?  You make a berry smoothie, or heap your porridge with berries.  This feed of berries goes a long way to preventing free radical damage during your day.

Then you prepare and eat your supper/dinner (whatever you call your last meal of the day).  You feel sort of depleted by the stressful events that came before and throw together your favourite comfort foods-- maybe a burger and fries with a beer on the side.  Maybe a full-out three course meal with the family with a nice green salad... and animal fats and peeled veggies and cake and ice cream for dessert. Yum yum and you're done for the day.

Dr. Nikos Linardakis, MD, and author of Ten Natural Ways to a Good Night's Sleep, suggests that the time to take in a surge of phenolics is about two to four hours before going to bed.  (It is always a good idea to stop eating at least two hours before bedtime-- four is preferred).  The antioxidants will armour your body for the recovery and repair to your cells that is the natural role of a proper sleep.  The antioxidants you get before going to bed will stay in your bloodstream for about 8 hours before being processed through by your liver or kidneys and eliminated.

The proanthocyanidins in cranberries or blueberries (just examples) offer antioxidant and antibacterial gifts.  Your berry smoothie last night can turf out that cold or flu bug trying to get into your respiratory system at work today or delete the glommy bacteria trying to make its way up your urinary tract walls.  Dr. Linardakis was the first scientist to promote the benefits of antioxidants for sleep.

The next morning after having made a berry smoothie your last food item 2-4 hours before going to bed, you should also enjoy more energy and less grogginess!  Sounds very Win-Win to me!

Here are a couple of smoothie recipes from the Smoothie Moves site that you might want to try:

Locavar Black and Blue Smoothie Recipe

Blueberry Breakfast Bomb

Lemon-BlueberryBliss

The Saskatoon Berry (AKA June Berry) is a high antioxidant berry shown in the salad in the above vegan supper bowl. Find out more about the saskatoon berry and some recipes HERE.


Chia Puddings with Berries make a delicious high-omega and protein snack full of as many antioxidants as you want to stuff in!  Get this and other yummy superfood chia recipes HERE.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Better Sleep

CBT- or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy- is a type of "talk therapy."  CBT is particularly useful in helping people to relax so that we can get the sleep that has been evading us.

The treatment looks at ways of untangling distorted thoughts, beliefs, attitudes-- that with certain behaviours-- develop into disorders.  If we can't fall asleep, it is likely that changing the way we think and act can be helpful in overcoming these disorders.  Too, learning healthy coping skills can also help.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY 
CBT is a merge of Behavioural Therapy (developed in the early 1900s) and Cognitive Therapy (the "Talk Therapy" begun in the 1960s). 

CBT has been effectively used to treat mild depression, anxiety in adults, and coping with the impact of Multiple Sclerosis.  CBT is used to treat several aspects of mental illness and personality disorder.  

There are many subsets of the original CBT, including: Cognitive-Emotional Behavioural Therapy; Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and Unified Protocol, among other types.  CBT, and its subsets, function to demonstrate how emotions, thoughts, and behaviours all influence each other.  Distortions, or false beliefs, etc., result in distortions in the other areas of cognition and behaviour.  Identifying the distortions and challenging the distortions is the first step in changing the unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to more helpful ones for effective social and interpersonal functioning.

And you WILL SLEEP BETTER!  

2 TOP BENEFITS OF CBT FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T GET THE REST THEY WANT:

1. CBT has been shown to be an effective alternative to drug therapy

2. CBT can be less expensive than the usual "talk therapy" since most CBT clients can learn to recognize and monitor the distorted thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and actions, and make the necessary changes to their thoughts and actions.  CBT clients might start out with visits to a psychologist but in a short time, the skilled CBT practitioner will have passed on the necessary learning and encouragement so that we are potentially free of endless appointments and unnecessary long-term dependence on the therapist that can result with non-CBT modalities.  Successfully 'doing our own CBT' can result in saving a truck-load of cash to invest in a healthy, more satisfying lifestyle with good sleep patterns.


Work through some of the issues that are creating worry, self-blame, shame, frustration and anxiety so that you can sleep like you did as a youngster after a day in the park! (maybe better)

Click on the image below to register for
A complete professional Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treatment plan for anxiety and panic disorder. FREE FREE FREE


Here is a sample free 16 hour online course that uses CBT to overcome Anxiety and Panic disorders.  The instructor states in the introductory video that he once had anxiety disorder and worked to overcome it to the extent that he knows he will never have that disorder again!  Most of us who don't sleep well are dealing with some level of anxiety, so this is well worth sampling for free (NO SPAM).  

How To Bust Dust Mites and Sleep Well

Dust Mites.  Not the mites themselves, but their excrement, can cause havoc in the life of anyone with air-bourne allergies who sleeps in a 'bedroom' on a mattress with a pillow under their head.  The older we get, the more dead skin peels off us and ends up as the 'dust' that these little critters feast on.  The more they feast, the more they.... well, you get the picture.

 If you have eczema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, psoriasis, or other recurring breathing, skin, ear, nose, and throat conditions, you can bet that the microscopic poo (apparently 10% of the weight of your uncovered pillow) from all those dust mites is going to irritate you further.  Sleeping well probably won't happen.

The following natural non-toxic dust mite cleanse of your sleeping area can go a long way to improved health in a very short time.  Two or three times in my adult life I've slept somewhere so fresh and natural that it was like what my choice for 'Queen for a Day' would be.  You know what I'm talking about-- a fully sustained sleep with pleasant dreams, no breathing problems, coughing, gasping, itching, _____________ (fill in your own best-kept secret plague of sleep malaise).  And then to rise refreshed and ready to go head-on into the miracle of the day!
Click to Read How This Is Possible! 

THE DUST MITE CLEANSE


Please don't let the comprehensive nature of this put you off.  If it is too much for you, please invest in some outside help-- it's for your health and happiness!

(1)Put on a dust mask.
(2)Move all bookshelves to another non-sleeping room-- books are great purveyors of dust mite ka.
(3)Strip the bed down to the mattress.  Close doors to closets and attached bathrooms
(4)Wash all bedding in very hot (above 55 degrees C. / 130 degrees F) sudsy water.  Drying in the hot sun would be preferred, but dry completely however you dry.
(5)Spray mattress with a neem oil solution-- neem is a great natural insecticidal oil.  About 2 tablespoons of neem oil in a gallon of water is enough.  Put into a misting bottle and mist the mattress and pillows (better to change up your hyperallergenic pillows every  six months).
(6)If you have movable carpets, clean them as well as possible-- vacuum, spray with neem solution, dry, vacuum again.  If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, clean well and spray, dry, vacuum.  If possible, opt for hardwood or other non-carpeted floors.
(7)Wash the floors in your room, paying particular attention to the corners where the dust mites are said to breed.  ick
(8) Dust and wash with neem solution around air vents, and cover with a fine netting that can prevent airborne debris from entering the room through the vent.
(9) Dust and wash around doors, window frames, wall pictures, and other furnishings and surfaces.  You might also want to have drapes / curtains cleaned at this time as well.
(10)When mattress is dry (shouldn't take long), vacuum thoroughly with the special attachment for upholstery.  Vacuum pillows.
(11) If possible, use anti-dust mite covers over both your cleaned mattress and your pillows -- pricey, but again, worth it.  There is a suggestion online that you can sew your own covers from sheets that are 250+ thread count- put in a zipper or a flap that seals the pillow underneath off so the dust mite crud doesn't come through-- wash covers and regular sheets, pillow cases, about once a week.
(12) Re-make the bed.


OTHER SUGGESTIONS:
(1) Wash bedding and vacuum mattress once a week
(2) Use tannic acid powder to dust into corners during the week-- you can find it in health stores and pet supply stores.  It will apparently neutralize the effect of the dust mite feces.  Vacuum up after a time in the bedroom.
(3) Wear full-length pyjamas to bed.  Supposedly minimizes the amount of dead skin entering the feeding cycle and keeps your covered areas from direct contact with the dust mite poo.
(4) A dehumidifier helps to eliminate the warm, dampness that dust mites prefer to breed in.

(5) If you do the "big job" above once every six months and keep weekly good hygiene (washing bedding, dusting, vacuuming) you will notice that your sleep patterns improve immensely. *image of "So Tired" courtesy of  C. Leconte

..just settled down for a Long Winter's Nap...

The following visualization is done by a woman with a delightfully soothing voice and if you make yourself comfortable and focus on listening to the words, you will have a lovely deep relaxation.

Download all 16 items (53 minutes of deep relaxation) by clicking here>>Sound Sleep Now - Christmas

Relaxing with Indian Head Massage

The pressure points for Indian Head Massage

Relaxing is very much a needed part of slipping into a deep and satisfying sleep.

The "Indian Head Massage" is a technique originating in the Indian sub-continent.  It focuses on relieving stress and tension from the upper-body such as the upper back, shoulders, neck, and face by applying a specific massage regimen that stimulate and release blocks to the pressure points on the head and upper body being massaged. The simplest application would appear to be somewhat easy to learn and practice.

 I would be so thrilled if my partner were to learn this technique and practice on me... Here is a great, very clear video that shows you how it is done:


There are other demonstrations of Indian Head Massage on Youtube as well.  This one involves an Indian Barber giving a male client a head massage and shows what I would think is a classic Indian head massage.  I would be hesitant to get this from anyone who has not been well-trained in the skills required for this more classic version of the technique.  It certainly looks like it is very relaxing, however, when done by this chap.

If this interests you as something you would like to learn to do as part of your massage practice, or for personal use to overcome the issues that are preventing you from relaxing and getting a good night's sleep, you might want to check out the online course below.  You can watch a brief introductory video that will give you the instructor's overview.

INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE: RELAX YOUR WAY TO BLISS! (click on image below)

This Indian Head Massage online course also makes a much appreciated gift to someone who is either wanting to learn an effective massage technique for personal use, or for a massage professional who would like to expand their practice techniques.