Shelly Faber


Is this simple little trick the cure for insomnia?

By Shelly Faber

Getting enough sleep? Although women are more likely to have a tougher time falling and staying asleep than men, all adults and children are less likely to perform at their best if sleep deprived.

The body doesn’t actually turn off when it sleeps. Your brain stays active, working and performing maintenance on the automatic systems that keep the body running 24/7. How much sleep do you really need? That’s a loaded question.

There are so many factors to consider when answering it. Ask yourself this: “Do I honestly feel raring to go from wake up time until my day winds down? Do I have that little extra for an evening out?” If you can say yes to those, I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

Certainly one of the biggest stresses when it comes to trying to get to sleep is, you guessed it, stress. Many try alternative or complementary therapies to drink, smell, or feel the magic go to work, for calming ways to get into sleep or relaxation mode.

One unconventional, yet interesting practice is the ‘HU’ approach. Life coach Nicole Sebastian wrote a book explaining the scientific effect, singing the word ‘HU’ (pronounced hue) has on the body. She says, scientifically speaking, everything has its own quantum signature, or vibration and resonance.

Singing ‘HU’ for 10 to 20 minutes (take a breath in and sing on the exhale) causes a relaxing and peaceful effect on the central nervous system, surrounding you with a positive electromagnetic frequency field, helping you to stay balanced and maintain a positive outlook in your daily life.

What a great way to hit the pillow for a peaceful sleep.



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Put a spring in your step

It seems spring has finally sprung. People are on the move, and more than eager to get back on track with outdoor activities and workout programs.

Still, many are still experiencing a touch of the winter blues. No matter how anxious, it’s not easy to switch gears from often lazy winter indoor activities and exercise routines.

No matter what your outdoor sport may be, starting slowly, rebuilding strength and endurance can save you from (or prevent) an early seasonal injury that can ruin a summer of fun and physical activity. For runners, who may have not kept up steady workouts over the winter as avidly as hoped, the progression of walking to jogging to running might be a route to consider. Remember, pre-run warm-up and post cool-down stretches to prevent injury, and to ensure a safe reentry into steady outdoor workout routines. Getting into a regular schedule, without pushing it, keeps you consistent and on track, without pushing your body too much, and can leave you wanting more…and that’s a sure sign you’re ‘back in the saddle.’

No matter how far you go, remember to take and drink water. You might feel the outing is not long enough to need it, but who knows: on a nice day, you may walk a little longer, or stop in a park. Water is always needed for strength, endurance and focus. If you love to cycle but hate the stationary bike, you may not have kept your legs as strong as they could be for riding outside. Getting back to the streets can test balance going over uneven pavement, stones and twigs. Early spring can bring a lot of rain. Wet streets are harder to stop on and can be a challenge for the best of riders at any time.

As important as anything, drivers aren’t as used to seeing as many bikers on the road and need to readjust their eyes and attitudes to the outdoor athletes of summer. Rain and wet roads are harder to navigate for them too. Some drivers don’t feel comfortable around bikers. Proper protection and rider safety is a priority.

Getting back in tune with your body is important too. Massage and reflexology are just two healthy, preparation and injury preventing approaches en route to getting back in touch with the body/mind connection.

And besides, they feel great.

Spring ahead with time change

Spring is getting closer, you can feel it in the air. I even feel a boost of excitement by the few extra minutes of light at the end of the day. You’re exhilarated by the thought of early morning walks and, even though that precious hour gained four months ago is gone, summer is almost here.

Often the expectation of summer blooming outside the window the very next day is shattered by that lingering winter and a feeling of exhaustion instead of glee that can take some time to totally shed.

Overall, certain people may ‘suffer’ more than others.

Shift Workers – One of the biggest challenges for people who do shift work is getting enough sleep. The internal body clock, the circadian rhythm, is directly linked to daylight and darkness. Already being sensitive to time disruptions, they could surely find the time change adds to their troubles, as digestion and hormone balances could take longer to adjust.

Children – Often more sensitive to seasonal changes than adults, children may seem irritable and have more trouble getting to sleep. Sometimes the extra light may keep them up wanting more play time. In my experience, the best thing to do is to let them adjust to time and seasonal changes at their own pace, with some extra patience and hugs. Remember, you’re feeling it too. The more, you fight them, the longer it will take for them to sync up and get with the program.

Seniors – At the best of times, seniors can have issues with the time of day. “Is it lunch time, or dinner”? An extra hour lost or gained can lead them to experience a sense of confusion. In some cases, this can lead to harmful situations, if medications are missed or taken at the wrong time. If you are a caregiver, or involved with the daily well-being of a senior, be sure to keep extra close tabs on their schedules when the time change kicks in.

Go with the flow and realize you may be a little overtired. Manage your daily stress by avoiding major decision making when you can. Allow yourself extra time to travel, eat and lounge in bed (set two alarms for a couple of days). Don’t expect too much from yourself just because the morning light beckons. Drink more water, plan a relaxing evening and power nap when you can, as just a 20-minute nap can increase alertness and motor skills.

Happy spring!


Don’t be sad

February blahs and blues, whatever you want to call it, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or, ‘SAD’, can rear its ugly head with many symptoms that can sometimes drag into March.  Many people experience them during the winter months when there is less exposure to sunlight. Some signs of SAD are mood swings, sluggishness or exhaustion, lack of interest, and weight gain.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body. One of its roles is to help regulate sleep. The amount produced depends on how much light there is in a 24 hour day. When it’s dark, the body naturally produces more Melatonin to induce sleep.

With the decrease of light in the winter, the body maintains a higher level of melatonin throughout the day, which is why many feel tired, and get moody during winter days. Your body thinks it should be sleeping.

Some are affected more than others. You can help yourself through this period by drinking plenty of water, continuing to exercise, and watching your diet. Cutting down on, sugar, refined carbs, and high-fat foods is a great start.

Getting out into the light slows the body’s production of Melatonin. Long walks, taking in the fresh air, and leaving sunglasses off to get as much light through as possible is rejuvenating, refreshing, and helps to keep the production of Melatonin at a manageable level.

Serotonin is another hormone produced by the body. Widely known as the ‘feel-good’ hormone, or the body’s self made tranquilizer. The more the body produces, the more relief you can get from your symptoms of SAD. A meal with a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates also increases the production of serotonin, which also leads to a better sleep, and positive attitude. What better way to start your day. By testing saliva, Medical research has also shown a rise in serotonin levels in individuals after Massage.

There’s another natural way to ease stress, and leave you with that feel-good feeling. Oxytocin, also called, the ‘cuddle hormone,’ is another feel good hormone. I think of it as “feeling the love”. Just spending time with friends and/or lovers, releases this powerful elixir. So eat, drink, sleep, dance, do the ‘hug thing’—lots—and feel that positive hormonal buzz to get your body, mind and soul, out of the ‘SAD’ness doldrums of the winter months.