Mattress Maintenance, Restful Sleep: How a Mattress Affects Your Health

 


Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.

Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.



People who struggle with allergies, chronic sleep problems and back pain are often at a loss as to the cause or what to do about it, especially when common explanations like pollen, caffeine or muscle fatigue prove inadequate. The mattresses we sleep on are often overlooked unless they’re clearly uncomfortable or in a state of advanced disrepair and decay. But the quality of your mattress can have a profound effect on many aspects of your health because sound, restful sleep – 7 to 9 hours a night – is invaluable to your physical and mental well-being. It’s simply hard to function if you’re constantly tired, in discomfort, or just feeling out of sorts.

Stress

We all face stress at work and in our personal lives, and our ability to cope with it depends to a great degree on how well-rested we are. Our brains aren’t able to “recharge” properly when we don’t get enough sleep at night, meaning it’s tough to focus on problems, come up with solutions and generally function after a night (or several nights) of sleeplessness. In other words, we may lose sleep at night when we’re feeling stressed, but without a good night of shut-eye, we keep ourselves in a vicious cycle of overwhelm.

Believe it or not, your mattress plays a critical role in the quality of sleep you get each night, so it’s important that you have one that’s suitable for your height; if you’re taller than 5-foot-5, for example, you’ll be cramped sleeping on a full-sized mattress, and should opt for at least a queen model (or a king if you sleep with a partner). It’s also important to have one that’s clean and doesn’t have lumps or sags. A good rule of thumb is to consider replacing your mattress if it’s 7-10 years old, because after that point, it generally begins to lose its shape and isn’t able to provide the proper support. If you wake up feeling groggy or in pain, or if you feel like you’re sinking too far into your mattress, those are indicators your mattress may be keeping you from sleeping soundly. If you’re concerned, consider researching different mattress options to prepare to replace it.

Allergies

If you or a family member is susceptible to allergens and household pollutants, you need to be very careful with your mattress. Dust mites and other tiny pests can leave you with persistent illnesses and feeling worn out, so be sure to give your mattress a frequent airing out. Pull back the bed clothing and let it breathe a while, and consider getting a mattress protector (wash it frequently), which will give you an extra barrier between you and the mattress. Turning a mattress about four times a year will help it to settle evenly and will help ensure you have a comfortable sleeping surface.

Insomnia

People suffer from insomnia for a wide variety of reasons. Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, trauma, grief and more are all frequently to blame for chronic insomnia, as are poor eating and drinking habits (eating late in the evening, drinking too much caffeine, etc.). A poor mattress can contribute to stress, anxiety, depression and more. If your mattress has lumps, tears, creaking springs or uneven wear, you may have found the cause of your sleeping problem. A new mattress may be the solution.

Remember, you can only buy so much time when it comes to making a mattress last. At some point, they become an obstacle to restful sleep and good health, a major contributing factor to fatigue, illness and back pain. Excessive wear and tear and infestation by allergens are signs that yours is ready for the recycling facility. It’s an important investment, and the tendency to think of it as something that should last you a long time is understandable. But considering the 365-day-a-year wear and tear it gets, it makes perfect sense to get rid of one that’s outlived its usefulness, especially if it’s causing you problems.



Rest well tonight!

Eric



 

They’re Comin’ for You…

 


You can run, but they’re everywhere–in your office, in your school, and even in your home!

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You can hide in your safe place, but sooner or later, they will find you.  They always find you.

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They’re coming for you, and it may already be too late.  The onslaught is set to begin within days if not hours, and if you’re not ready, if you don’t have a plan in place, you will not survive.  

It will start quite nonchalantly, first with the candy corn, then the chewy fruity things, followed by the tiny candy bars that you can’t eat just one of.  After that, they’ll bring the heavy guns to bear: the cookies, the cakes, the pies, and the pastries!   And before you know it, before you realize what’s happening, you’ve been assimilated–you’re stuffing far too many holiday treats down your gullet!

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  You don’t have to surrender to them.  You don’t have to throw away your gains or forfeit all you’ve accomplished and the discipline you’ve forged over the past many months. There is a way to enjoy the holidays and stay on track, and it’s actually quite simple: plan ahead.

How to Survive the Holiday Sweets-Storm

Surviving the sweets-storm can be quite difficult, but it is possible, but you must have a plan.  The plan you come up with needs to be simple and reasonable, and it should allow you to still enjoy your holiday celebrations without losing your mind and hoggin’ down a whole pumpkin pie.  Example plans include:

The Junk-Food Budget: set a maximum number of treats you can eat at a given event.  If you go over, deduct an amount from the next event’s budget.  While the finance department or the IRS won’t be lookin’ over your shoulder, questioning every line of your budget, the future-you will, so keep tight accounts.

The High Fives: have a buddy or family member monitor your sweets intake during the gathering or party.  Every time you go off plan, they get to punch you five times.  Or, better yet, and painful only to your wallet, you owe them $5 for every violation.

The Carrot Contingency: yes, be that guy or that gal who takes veggies to a holiday celebration, and actually eats them instead of that tasty cheesecake.  Note: unless you like cleaning wet toilet paper from your front lawn, I would emphatically, 101% advise against handing out vegetables for Halloween.  Don’t do it.

The Energy of Focused Intention:  the power of intention cannot be overstated.  If your intention is clear and strong, you can accomplish amazing things.  Check out these entries for more on intention: How NOT to Eat that Cookie, and How NOT to Eat that Cookie, Part 2.

Mix and match the above and develop a plan of your own that fits your needs, that’s challenging, and yet fun.  Tweak the plan when needed, but be willing to stick to the essence of the plan even if the steps change.  Whatever plan you come up with, be sure to add a hefty dose of intention; without focused intention, even the best of plans will fail. 

Staying Active During the Holiday Blitz

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Just as you need a plan to combat the sweet-treats barrage, you also need a plan for staying active.  No matter how busy things may become, do not neglect your physical fitness training.  At the same time, there’s no need to wear yourself out, so back off a bit, be realistic with your time, and enjoy lighter workouts during the holidays.  

Because of my regularly irregular schedule, I’ve developed suitable workouts for the days when I have less time for my standard morning routine.  Most of the time, my morning routine requires one to one-and-a-quarter hours, but my alternate routines, depending upon my goal at the time, require anywhere from five to fifteen minutes.  The alternate routines aren’t really designed to take me to the next level, per se, but more so to help me remain consistent and in the groove from day to day.

So, consider creating a couple of different workout plans that, at a minimum, will help you maintain your current fitness level and keep you from totally falling off during this festive time of the year.  When developing your plans, think:

  • adequate pre-workout warm up
  • shorter duration with a good level of intensity
  • address strength, range of motion, and endurance 
  • one area or goal per workout
  • post-workout stretch or cool down recovery

Once you have a plan or three, try them out and adjust as needed.  Consistency is key, but remember, these abbreviated workouts are just substitutes for when time is a factor and you don’t have much of it.

They’re Here, Now!

Well, looks like we’re too late.  The onslaught has begun.

Ready or not, here they come…


Wishing you the best of the holidays, of fitness, and of health this season!

Eric



 

The Grateful Eight

 


Do you ever need a quick way to pull out of a negative nosedive, break away from the pull of  an emotional black hole, or simply ease your generally dyspeptic attitude?  Whenever you catch yourself slipping into a downward spiral of negativity, try the Grateful Eight.

Grateful Eight

It’s simple.  First, notice your thoughts.  Most of our thoughts, if you’re a normal, average human, are negative.  Don’t believe me?  Just take a few moments to look and listen within…

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See, mostly negative.  Told ya.  If you still don’t believe me, though I wouldn’t recommend doing this for too long, watch the nightly news and see if the overall trend or feeling is positive or negative.

The good and the scary truth is, we become what we think.  So if we become what we think and dwell on the most, then it’s vitally important that we achieve some measure of control of the mind.  One way to do that is to purposefully replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts or affirmations.  Here’s where the Grateful Eight come in.

Next time you find yourself gettin’ all wrapped up in the negative, try this:

  • STOP!  Stop and notice your thoughts.  Don’t fight the negative thoughts, and do not feed them; simply notice them.
  • Take a deep breath and as you slowly exhale, name FIVE people, situations, or things you are genuinely thankful for.  You can say each sentence aloud, write them down, or speak them in your mind only.
  • Make these Five things as specific as possible.  You might need to practice this several times a day, and if so, try to avoid repeating yourself.
  • Remember to breathe slowly as you focus on the good in your life.

See, that was easy.  And now you feel better, yes?

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Eight?  

But that’s just five. I came here for eight!

Yes, yes, the above would constitute the Grateful Five, and while they’re very, very helpful, Grateful Five just doesn’t have the same ring as Grateful Eight.  The final three parts of the Grateful Eight may be a bit challenging for some, but if you really want to next-level it and change your mindset, add the following to the Five.

Remain in the relaxed state and think about things for which you are grateful in other people’s lives.  While these “others” can and should be your family and close friends, choose people you either don’t know too well, or, those you don’t really like.  The main thing is, be positive, be thankful.  For example:

  • I’m so glad Sally was promoted to senior manager.  She’ll do a great job.
  • I am thankful that John’s kids are so hard working, intelligent, and kind.  
  • It’s really cool how successful the Martin’s new business has become.

Can you do this?  Of course you can do this!  Congratulations, you’re on your way to leveling-up and establishing a totally new mindset!

Grateful Eight Template

Even though the method is easy, you may need a little guidance to get started.  This template is just a starting place and not the law; be creative and find what works best for you!

  1. I am thankful for (insert a person), and how they (insert an action).
  2. Today, I am so glad that I (insert an accomplishment, great or small).
  3. I am thankful that today I felt (insert a positive emotion).
  4. (insert a pleasant / pleasing situation) helped me smile today because (insert reason).
  5. I am blessed / fortunate today to have (insert person or thing) in my life.
  6. I’m glad (insert a name and a positive situation). 
  7. I am thankful that (insert a name and a positive situation).
  8. It’s great that (insert name(s) and a positive situation).

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There you go.  Work on developing a grateful heart and you’ll begin to understand just how your life can transform through a more positive mindset!

EDB



 

If You Really Want to Live, Learn to Let Go…



Imagine a majestic eagle or a fierce falcon flying high, fast, and free.  Let’s say that, for whatever reason, this noble bird-of-prey lands nearby and without it even noticing, someone latches a 150-lb weight to one of its legs.  How high will it fly now?  

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Most of us unknowingly, and sometimes willingly, drag or carry an invisible ball-and-chain with us wherever we go.  Even though we may be used to it, because of that weight, we will never soar.  We will never reach our full potential until we find a way to release and let go of that familiar, comfortable restraint. 

Restraint Factors

What about you?  What things, people, or situations act as your ball-and-chain restraint?  Do any of the following hold you down or keep you from becoming who you truly desire to be? 

  • Unnecessary drama
  • Caring too much about what others think
  • Not taking care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit
  • Past regrets
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Insecurities
  • Not taking responsibility for actions or dreams
  • Laziness or procrastination
  • Overindulgences
  • Negative thoughts and attitudes
  • Ignorance
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Haters, and others who drag you down
  • Etc, etc, etc

If you really want to live life to the fullest, to become the best version of you, and fulfill your destiny, you have to confront your restraining factors, and learn to let that shit go.  And sometimes that might mean saying goodbye to “good” things and even a few well-meaning people in your life.

Let go of that which holds down or does not enhance your mission

It’s that simple, and it’s that difficult.  As I mentioned in previous posts on success and thought, real transformation begins in the mind, and sometimes, it will be uncomfortable, but it is also necessary…  

Are you ready to soar?  If so, what chains must you first release in order to find your freedom?

Let go, and soar on, my friends.

EDB



 

 

 

Thoughts on Thoughts

 


I wrote and posted this one on my karate blog back in 2010 when an awakening of sorts started to take shape.  The words, questions, thoughts are still relevant and relatable, so I only added the pics without altering the text.  I find it interesting and intriguing that this is where I was eight years ago, and it was just the beginning…



It is sweet to let the mind unbend on occasion.

~Horace

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Please allow me to twist, contort and bend your mind as I get a little philosophical.  I often like to sit and think about deep things, interesting and off the wall topics, imagining the “what ifs” and the “why” and “hows” of science and existence, so, if you would, join me on a brief mental journey and let’s see where we end up…

Cognition.  I’m quite fascinated by the fact that we can think about and question our thoughts.  Think about that.  You can think about, examine, observe, and study your own thoughts, pick them apart and scrutinize them as if they were not a part of you…as if they were actual “things”.  That strikes me as odd, but important.

 

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We hear the phrase “mind over body” all the time, but if I said to you “mind over mind”, what would that mean to you?  Does it mean to control or subdue your mind with your mind?  How is that possible?  Doesn’t it take something higher or stronger / separate to control another thing / something lesser?  So…you control your mind.  Then…that means you are higher than your mind.  And therefore…you are not your mind?  Then, what is “You”? 

Some believe the brain and mind are not equal or the same.  What are the implications of that?

Can you pre-think a thought, hold a half-thought in your mind, but not really think it? 

Can you nourish two or three thoughts simultaneously?  Can you picture one thing or event in great detail while thinking of a song and solving a math problem or making up your shopping list? 

What would happen if we were really, truly able to give one thought our full, undivided attention?  How would things be different?

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For the most part, most of the time at least, the mind doesn’t act independently and you can call thoughts and images, memories and even feelings to be at will.  It’s like the mind is a computer and I’m sitting at the keyboard operating the system… Does this mean “mind” and “you / I” are separate and distinct?  If so, what am / is the “I / You”?

Why is it so difficult to keep out negative thoughts and ideas that you just don’t want hoppin’ around in your head?  Is “keep out” even the most accurate phrase to describe this, since these negative thoughts start on the inside?  And if they don’t start on the inside of “you”, your mind, where do they come from and how do they get there?

Instinct and thought are not the same.  One is better than the other, in some situations, but acting purely on one or the other can get you in trouble.

Thoughts are very complex when you are learning a complex thing (i.e. driving, calculus, a new kata).  Once you’ve reached a certain level of understanding and comfort with that thing and move by feeling instead of thought, are there still complex thoughts taking place below the surface that you aren’t even aware of?

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Thoughts in the form of visual pictures and mental images affect your body, and of course, vice versa.  Thoughts affect your emotions.  Change your thoughts, you change your emotions, and you change your life.  Thoughts, ideas, these immaterial, non-corporeal generations, are extremely powerful.

Proverbs 23:7 says “…as a man thinketh, so he is…” and according to Romans 12:2, transformation comes by the renewal of the mind…

If it’s “all in your head”, shouldn’t it be easier to control since whatever “it” is, is without weight or dimension, or physical force?  Or, by that definition and description, does it make it even more difficult to control?

If we are what you eat, and we are what you think, shouldn’t we be just as, or even more concerned about what we allow into our minds as we are with what we put into our bodies?

Just what are babies and cats thinkin’ about when they look at you that way?

That’s all, I think.  You may now unbend your minds.

abstract art artistic bendEDB

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For more on consciousness, mind, and thought, visit the Minding and Mining the Mind section.