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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
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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).