The Complex Relationship Between Sleep and Weight

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This blog is guest written by Sheila Johnson at https://www.wellsheila.net .

Are you struggling with stubborn body fat while suffering from insomnia? Or perhaps you’ve gained a few pounds and aren’t sleeping as well as you used to. It’s easy to write these connections off as coincidence, but there’s a complex relationship between weight and sleep. Not only does your weight affect how well you sleep, but sleep also impacts your ability to maintain a healthy weight. Wild Flowers Grow invites you to read on if you’re ready to get better sleep and lose weight. 

How Weight Affects Sleep (and Vice Versa)

Excess weight is linked to sleep disorders

Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes the airway to become obstructed during sleep. Because sleep apnea reduces sleep quality, it can lead to further weight gain due to sleep quality’s impact on appetite, exercise, and metabolism.

Poor sleep makes you hungrier

Sleep deprivation causes the body to release more appetite-stimulating hormones and suppresses leptin, a hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. If that’s not bad enough, insomniacs are also more likely to reach for high-fat, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods.

Poor sleep makes it harder to exercise

People are less likely to exercise when sleep deprived. Even if you work up the will to hit the gym, workouts tend to be shorter and less intense when you’re not well-rested.

Poor sleep leads to weight gain

There’s also research that suggests poor sleep lowers resting metabolism and increases insulin resistance, two things that make it even harder to lose weight.

These facts are scary, but you can break the cycle of insomnia and weight gain.

How to Sleep Better with Excess Weight

Before you get serious about losing weight, you need to address your poor sleep quality. These are some things you can do to sleep better when you’re carrying extra weight:

Get a supportive mattress

If you’ve gained weight, your old mattress might not be as supportive as it used to be. Many heavier individuals find foam mattresses don’t provide enough support to align their spine, which can lead to back pain and difficulty sleeping. If you’re on the heavier side and tend to toss and turn most nights, switching to a larger size innerspring mattress for more support could be the perfect solution to help you achieve better sleep.

Avoid eating and drinking before bed

Overweight people are more likely to experience acid reflux. To reduce nighttime heartburn, stop eating and drinking three hours before bed. If you’re a side sleeper, sleep on your left side.

Exercise more

Exercise is proven to improve sleep. Vigorous aerobic exercise like running or HIIT is best for sleep, but even moderate-intensity exercise makes a difference. However, avoid intense exercise right before bed. If you’re looking for a nighttime workout, try a mindful yoga routine instead. Better yet, making yoga a regular activity can enhance your ability to feel more relaxed since it’s a great stress reducer. If you need some extra motivation, use discounts to splurge on some new activewear from stores like Nike or Finish Line. 

Talk to your doctor

Sleep apnea and snoring may go away with weight loss, but in the meantime, it’s important to address sleep disorders that leave you waking up groggy. Talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. You may be prescribed a sleep study and a PAP machine.

Weight Loss Tips for Better Sleep (and Health!)

Now that you’re sleeping better, it’s easier to conquer your weight loss goals. There are tons of weight loss tips out there, but these simple tips are at the core of any weight loss plan:

Eat filling foods

Controlling your appetite will be a challenge at first, so avoid empty calories and instead, focus on filling foods like proteins, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Find exercise you enjoy

Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to exercise, so find something you can commit to. Again, yoga is fantastic when you’re starting a weight loss journey because it’s low-impact, beginner-friendly, and adaptable to every body.

Focus on the dos, not the don’ts

It’s common to approach weight loss by taking things away — junk food, calories, lazy nights on the sofa. Instead of focusing on what’s off-limits, work on building healthy behaviors. Planning your meals, eating more vegetables, and getting active are positive goals that build you up.

It’s hard to find the motivation to get healthy when you’re not sleeping well. Unfortunately, poor lifestyle habits also make it harder to catch quality rest. If you’re stuck in the cycle of sleep loss and weight gain, use these tips to get your sleep and your health back on track.

Image via Unsplash

This blog is written by Sheila Johnson at https://www.wellsheila.net . For more info and to contact her directly, head over to her website and see what she has to offer! 

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20 Ways To Feel More Grateful And Happy

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Being grateful has changed my life.

It has changed my soul.

It has changed my ways of being and has opened me up to more love, better relationships, and caring for the things and people that are most important to me.

To truly start to live a life of more joy and happiness, you have to change your inner being— your emotions and ways of thinking that govern how you will respond and react in your everyday life. And this is all about influencing your energy.

What Is Energy?

Energy is everything — literally everything. Whether it be a human, plant, chair, or thought, everything in our existence is part of an interconnected web of electromagnetic vibrational frequencies. Some people refer to this as a “life force” or a “soul.” 

And because of energy, you vibrate. These vibrations are the oscillating and vibrating movement of atoms and particles that you are made up. Even solid objects like tables are actually made up of microscopic vibrating atoms that receive, store, and emit energy. Pretty cool, huh?

Because of this, all humans and objects have an energy field that has its own vibrational frequency, or how fast those atoms and particles are oscillating and vibrating. This is measured in hertz (Hz) units. If an atom is vibrating at a faster rate, it would be considered higher frequency. One that vibrates slower is considered lower frequency. Understanding the difference is important to understanding how they interact and how that affects your health. 

According to work done by Bruce Tainio, a normal healthy body resonates at a natural frequency of 62-75 MHz. When your frequency drops to 58 MHz the disease process has more ability to take hold. The higher frequency we can get, the better.

The foods you eat, the stressors on your body, emotions you feel, the people you surround yourself with — they all affect you. To stay healthy and disease free, you want to keep vibrating at a higher frequency. And that means engaging in activities and behaviors that are of the highest vibrations to help offset the stress that inevitably comes in from your surrounding environment. 

Being grateful falls on the same level as love — it is one of the highest vibrational frequencies. Gratitude vibrates at 540 MHz. The more time you can spend in gratitude, and love, the more your body’s frequency raises and the healthier your body becomes (not to mention that you have more energy, happiness, and fulfillment).

Along with a gratitude practice, here are a few other practices you can do to start raising your frequency:

  • Cutting out toxic people and situations in your life
  • Eating whole, organic foods
  • Using healing essential oils
  • Crystal healing therapy
  • Energy healing sessions (i.e., reiki)

But if you just want to practice more gratitude, here are 20 ways to get started!

20 Ways To Practice More Gratitude

  1. Help someone in need
  2. Create a gratitude board
  3. Journal your gratitude
  4. Read books on being more grateful
  5. Place a gratitude-provoking card in plain sight so you see it everyday
  6. Pick an inspiring object and keep it near you at all times to remind you to be more grateful
  7. Find the value, meaning, and purpose in ALL outcomes
  8. Thank your body for all it’s hard work with a hot bath or a massage
  9. Send notes, cards, and letters of gratitude
  10. Appreciate your body by dancing and moving to music or whatever makes you happy
  11. Give a gift just because
  12. Say thanks with a random act of kindness
  13. Before bed, give gratitude by saying one thing you were grateful for that day
  14. Send a prayer of thanks to people who inspire you
  15. Give gratitude and thanks for your meal
  16. Make a gratitude garland, tree, or jar
  17. Say and write gratitude affirmations daily
  18. Acknowledge and give thanks for how amazing you are
  19. Start each day with a prayer of thanks
  20. Pick one thing you are grateful for and 5 reasons why

I was serious that gratitude saved my soul. My body’s strength has increased. My skin is softer and my skin’s glow is brighter. I don’t have as many sugar cravings. My stress levels are more manageable. I have more consistent energy and drive. My moods are more stable.

But the best result of all?  I just feel a deeper sense of real happiness.

And I am so grateful for that!

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The 3 Truths For Stressed, Busy Women Who Want Happiness

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Here I go again…

You plop yourself down on the couch and the feelings of overwhelm and fatigue rush to the surface. Your eyes are so heavy and your body tired — your patience is running on empty, yet there is just one more task to do. There is always one more task to do.

Tonight it is packing your lunch for tomorrow. But there is nothing in the fridge ready to be easily set aside. You can feel even more energy drain from your body. 

“I will just buy lunch tomorrow.”

As the sense of defeat flows over you and penetrates every cell in your body, you can’t help to think, “Is this how it will always be? Is this what being successful feels like?” 

Feeling the motivation slipping away moment by moment, you pull out your phone and open your social media. Time to check out. Disconnect. Forget your worries. 

Time to relax.

As a busy woman, you probably know this feeling all to well. Each day seems like a repeat of the past many days and sometimes it can feel like your train is running off it’s tracks.

You want to feel healthier. Slimmer. Happier. Lighter. More alive. 

But you have so many obligations — work, a booming career, kid’s schedules, household chores, quality time with your mate — that makes it feel impossible to implement all you know that you should do.

Your schedule is so jam-packed that your friends joke that you are single-handedly saving the world, in and out of the office, all while wearing heels and speeding to your kid’s next soccer game.

On the outside, you look like you have it all together, but on the inside you feel the disconnect and the discontent. 

And as you stare at your phone, scrolling mindlessly, you mutter silently to yourself “Something needs to change.”

Does this sound familiar? Even if it is not exactly as it plays out for you, does it ring true on a certain level? 

Recent research has shown that many women just like you often become so caught up in their fast-paced lives and careers that they struggle to find time for proper nutrition, exercise, and maintaining the healthy relationships and mindsets to bring more fulfillment to their lives. According to NPD, 13% of women aged 35-54 skip breakfast. And the CDC states that “More than 60 percent of U.S. women do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity” and “More than 25 percent of U.S. women are not active at all.” You are not alone!

Finding real fulfillment and still taking care of the core responsibilities on your plate can appear to be like oil and water — they just don’t mix — but there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. Even slight improvements can make a difference; They can alleviate chronic pain, decrease depression, increase energy, and even help with addiction. It really takes 3 main approaches for you to begin feeling higher levels of fulfillment in your life. But you don’t have to make huge changes. Even small little baby steps in each of these categories can quickly lead to huge gains in the long run! 

1. Healthy Body

Eating healthy and having the right foods on hand can be super simple for the busy lifestyle. It is all about planning and prepping. This is a game changer. Designate one day out of the week when you will prepare healthy meals for the upcoming work week. Make 2-3 main meals and either store them in the refrigerator or freeze them for when you are ready. 

Prep your veggies and fruit too! Wash the fruit and chop up the veggies — you can even make a big bowl of salad to dish out as you fill your lunches. Just make sure not to add dressing until you are ready to eat the individual serving size. 

Smoothies are another quick, easy and healthy option. Make your smoothie the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator so you can pull it out before leaving the house.

A healthy body is also about body movement. And busy lifestyles need exercise more than ever — it helps to increase energy, decrease stress, and power the brain. If you don’t have time for a full workout or even a 15-20 minute power workout, you can get sneaky. Walk on your lunch breaks, do a simple body weight workout in your office, take the steps instead of the elevator, or park far away from the front door and walk those extra steps. All of it counts and all of it gets your body moving!

2. Healthy Relationships

It’s no secret that being an overly busy bee can lead to relationship issues. According to life coach and couples therapist, Connie Milligan LCSW, a relationship is like a fire. If you don’t tend to the flame, it will burn out.

But here is the secret to healthy relationships: It isn’t just about your relationship with others, it is also about your relationship with yourself.

Learning how to love yourself and give yourself the respect you deserve will automatically help you understand how to love and respect others. 

When creating healthy relationships with others, there must be a harmonious balance between setting boundaries, communication, and respect. You need to understand what your boundaries are with the people and situations in your life and learn how to communicate that openly and honestly. And then learning to respect the other person or situation by honoring who they are, what their needs are, and letting go of what does not serve that relationship.

When creating a healthy relationship with yourself, the same applies, but defined slightly different. Learning to set boundaries with yourself and other people creates the respect for you and your core values/needs. You must also learn communication with yourself — communicating power and love for yourself (i.e., “I am” statements or positive reinforcing self-love statements), but also communicating with your shadows and the parts of yourself that need work (i.e., Carl Jung’s shadow work, addressing insecurities and behaviors that no longer serve you). 

Regardless if you are working to improve the relationship with yourself or with someone else, it is important to carve out that time to spend building that relationship and nurturing it with love. 

3. Healthy Mind

You can do all the things to make yourself healthier, but it starts with your mindset and how you are thinking throughout your day. We spend the majority of our day with random thoughts floating through our brains and often, we are not even aware of how much we are thinking. It is estimated that the average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day. That is a lot of thoughts! Which then leads me to wonder, how many of those thoughts are serving you and how many are not?

Learning to reframe your mind and your thoughts in ways that build you up will ultimately create more fulfillment. This sounds very hypothetical, but it’s as simple as this: More thoughts that are empowering and positive in nature help to nurture your self-esteem and your confidence. A raised self-esteem and a higher level of confidence create an outlook that is more empowered and full of possibilities. And, in the long run, this can help create more happiness and fulfillment.

Learning to reframe your mind is NOT all about just thinking more positive. It is about acknowledging your strength and your incredible qualities. It is about talking to yourself with more kindness and giving yourself grace. It is also about facing your faults and having the inner strength to walk through some of your shadows and those behaviors that are not so healthy. 

Journaling is a powerful tool to all of this! If you are curious about journaling, but not sure where to start, read this past blog to get the pen moving! And if you are interested in learning how to start diving into your shadow work, here is an excellent question prompt journal to get you started. 

I was a version of that woman up above. I lived the struggle. I was the struggle. And, I struggled so badly with overwhelm and fatigue that I would spend many nights pulling away and questioning what it was all for. I knew there was more and I knew that I had all the power to change it. These 3 steps were my personal saving grace and what allowed me to pull myself out of the trenches. I joke and say that I am a recovering addict to chaos. If I can do it, so can you!

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5 Ways To Instantly Lower Your Stress

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Life’s chaos are like ribbons.

They wave and dance in and out of your life but, when some of those ribbons brush up against your skin? WHAM! 

A sting of pain — Some of those ribbons have thorns and others may feel like sandpaper and others get wrapped around you, holding your down and not letting you walk forward in life.

Another word for life’s chaos? Stress.

As my friend, Katie, and I sat and talked, I brought up the word “harmony” and how harmony resonates with me when talking about stress, rather than referring to stress as balanced or managed. Katie’s face softened, a smile emerged, and a glimmer of resonance filled her face as she sunk into the concept of stress harmony. 

Here is the real deal — life is chaotic. It is never truly balanced and nor should it be. We need to have stress to fuel our drive to be great. 

We need to have stress to inspire us to create. 

We need to have stress to persevere. But the question is, where is your line in the sand? 

Stress only truly becomes toxic and burdensome when it is either heavy and negative or when it becomes chronic. When life hands us lemons and we decide to suck on the lemon instead of turning it into lemonade, that’s when harmony flies right out the window.

That’s when we feel overwhelmed and frustrated and out of control. 

We all know that too much chronic stress is unhealthy for us. Every Tom, Mary, and Joe tells us so. But on a deeper level, stress can set up us for future pains and aches and major health issues. Immediately, you might experience:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Food cravings
  • Depression and other mood imbalances
  • Blood sugar imbalances

But, in the long term, you may experience:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Skin irritation
  • Respiratory infections
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Insomnia
  • Burnout
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
  • Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Stress is not just physical or mental/emotional, there is so much more that can cause stress in your life. Stressful situations are energy and how you perceive those situations directly affect your own personal energy — good or bad.  The key to bringing it into harmony is to address it in real time — not just when you get a chance or when your schedule allows for it. It is easy to forget and push it aside, downplaying the effect that it has on you. This is the first step of letting it get out of control.

Here are 5 easy ways you can get back into harmony from a mind, body, and soul perspective:

  1. Get grounded. Grounding, aka Earthing, has gotten much attention. Research has shown that grounding neutralizes free radicals, improves sleep, decreases pain, decreases stress, improves inflammation, strengthens the immune system, just to name a few benefits. And it is easy to do — all you have to do is get your bare feet or hands in dirt or on a natural surface to reap the benefits. Getting grounded is essential to start healing your stress. Check out my blog on grounding to get all the details.
  2. Explore nature. Nature has a calming effect that can instantly decrease our stress levels. Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whatever you call it — forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, green time or the wilderness cure — humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain benefits from a journey back to nature. Take a bike ride around your neighborhood or check out local trails to go hiking. Simply sit out on your porch or in your yard. Or you can…
  3. Go for a walk. It is well known that moving the body improves your health, but being strategic in how you use exercise to manage your stress levels is key. When the body is stressed, it is already in a very heightened state. Engaging in exercise that is too aggressive or that will raise the stress levels even more (yes, exercise does place stress on the body) may not be what your body needs when trying to calm down. Going for a walk is a great way to move the body, loosen the muscles, increase feel-good endorphins to the brain, and give you thinking time to work through your stressful problems. Start with 15 minutes and increase it as you can.
  4. Practice gratitude. Being grateful and being stressed can not co-exist. They simply can not happen at the same time because they are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. When you are feeling stressed, take a moment to breathe and then practice gratitude for the things that are good in your life. Stress is all perspective and when you actively and consciously make an effort to change your perspective towards gratitude, you begin to break the chain of negative thinking, opening your thoughts and your brain to being able to figure out how to work through your stressful situation. Practicing gratitude is super easy! You can simply start saying out loud what you are grateful for and why or you can pull out your journal and write it down. Need more ideas of how to practice gratitude? Check out my infographic here. 
  5. Breathe and reframe. The breath is powerful. A shallow, tight breath increases the body’s stress and an open, deeper breath can instantly calm the body. Learning how to expand the breath to come from the entire torso rather than just the chest is a great tool to use in the moment of stress. How do you do it? Take 5-10 deep breaths allowing your torso to expand in all directions (like you are trying to create a barrel shape). Breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts. But it doesn’t stop there. Since stress is about a person’s perspective on the situation, it is even more powerful to couple breathing and reframing the mindset in real time. I like doing this with power statements. For example, Perform the breath described above and immediately say a power statement such as “I am in control.” Repeat the process until you have completed all the breaths. You can use the same power statement or a different one, it really is about what you need in that moment. 

Learning how to take back control of your stress is possible. Living in a chaotic world does not have to be. Stress is all about perspective — when you can learn how to calm down your body and reframe your perspective, life starts to open up!

Want more?

Join my Patreon and become part of my garden of wild flowers! Not only will you be part of the exclusive content that I ONLY share with my Patreon members, but you will also be helping a community of holistic health like-minded people push forward!

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I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.

Click here to get my Free 10-day body reset detox guide. You will become part of my tribe and get weekly blogs delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift and other insider tips that only my tribe will get)!