Shining Bright on Health at Sun King – A Blog about Healthy Living

Friday, March 08, 2013

Does your day leave you feeling drained and unmotivated, yet you can’t seem to fall asleep, or if you do you toss and turn? If your mind is racing when you go to bed, your body and brain will be wired and therefore not able to relax and rest, resulting in inadequate/interrupted sleep.

Health Tips:
This month’s health note is all about the bedtime routine. Just like when we were little and our parents had us on a bedtime routine, we need to carry that through into adulthood. Nowadays everyone is on their computers, playing video games, watching TV/movies or on Facebook until way past a healthy bedtime. Instead we need to slow down, put the computers away, give our eyes a break and allow our body and mind to unwind so that they will be ready for sleep. Here are ways you can cultivate a bedtime routine:

• Eat early enough so you have at least 2 hours to digest your food before you go to sleep.
• Eat a light meal at dinnertime.
• Try to take a 10 minute walk after dinner.
• Turn off the computer and/or TV by 9:00pm
• If you watch TV when you get home, don’t watch the news or a violent movie, stay clear of anything that will agitate the mind.
• Try winding down with a hot Epson salt and apple cider vinegar bath. Use 1 cup apple cider vinegar in the bath to help relax muscles and draw out toxins.
• Try 10 minutes of meditation or a breathing exercise right before you get into bed.
• Lay on the floor with your legs up a wall for 10 minutes and breath into the belly.
• Have a cup of warm milk with honey or maple syrup, turmeric, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
• Before you get into bed, rub some warm organic, cold pressed sesame oil on your feet and calves as well as on the very top of your head (if you are not going to wash your hair in the morning, just oil your feet).
• In order to even get to REM sleep, you need to go to bed at a decent time, in order to allow the body to get into the deep resting state of REM.
• Be in bed between 9:30 – 10:30pm.
• Don’t sleep with your phone right by your head.
• Get 7-9 hours of sleep, depending on your personal need
• Wake up between 5am and 7am (best waking time is a little before sunrise. It is when the body and the mind is in sync with the calmness of nature).

You don’t need to do all of these things. Pick and choose a few that you feel might help you sleep better and start writing down what works and what doesn’t. You will be amazed at what a great nights sleep can do for your energy level throughout the day. It can also have an effect on your metabolism, weight loss, digestion, skin issues as well as your moods.

Yoga in the community:
Check out Lululemon for their Saturday yoga schedule. The classes are free!

IWFM + Yoga classes are offered by-donation to raise funds to support the IWFM and Growing Places Indy in the ongoing work to cultivate wellness through urban agriculture, food awareness & access, and practices for empowered living. Suggested donation for Yoga is $10.

Recipes to help you sleep easy:

Sleepy time milk
1 cup milk (preferably raw or at least whole milk that is low temperature pasteurized, avoid ultra-pasteurized and homogenized milk)
Add one pinch of nutmeg (no more than 1/8 teaspoon)
Add 2 tbls crushed almonds (ground in a nut or coffee grinder. If you have time, blanch the almonds first)
Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a simmer for a few minutes then pull off heat and drink while it is warm. Do not boil.

Tomato Juice
I cup Organic tomato juice (not V8)
2 teaspoons organic sugar
2 pinches of nutmeg
Drink this mixture between 4 and 5 in the afternoon.

Food as medicine:
Organic Chamomile or Tulsi tea before bed is great to induce relaxation and sleep.
Organic Cherries are great for mental fatigue and stress, which can contribute to insomnia. Eat 10-20 cherries daily to help ease the mind.

Workout tips
Working out late in the evening gets your blood pumping and your mind whirling. Try not to work out up to 4 hours before you go to bed. If there is no way that is possible make sure you do a long cool down 15-20 minutes, to allow your nervous system to settle down and relax.

Additional tip:
When going to bed make sure to cover any bright lights that may be shining in the room i.e. Alarm clock, computer lights, TV/VCR lights etc. Also think about keeping a piece of paper and pen by the bed. Use them to jot down any tasks or ideas that keep running though your head. By writing them down you can let them go, knowing that they will be there when you wake up.

Staraya McKinstry

Staraya McKinstry

If you have additional questions, please email Staraya at

About Staraya McKinstry:
Born and raised in Homer, Alaska, the western most tip of the United States, was not appreciated by my siblings or myself until we all went out into the world, and found that we grew up in a pretty amazing place. Alaska is a rugged frontier but it has its perks. Eating fresh vegetables from the garden, fish and seafood out of the bay, and a freshly hunted down moose/elk/deer was and still is the way of feeding family there. Fitness is a way of life; hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding (yes, it can be a great work out when you walk up the mountain) to name a few. The connection with nature seems to be a common understanding when you live in such a beautiful, ever changing environment as Alaska. With that background, I have come to love yoga and the connection it has seamlessly brought me in regards to myself, my family and friends, nature, and healthy living. I have a Masters in Public Health, but the everyday healthy lifestyle I have learned from my mom and dad and those like them back home. I am also currently going to school to train in Ayurveda Medicine (one of the oldest forms of medicine known to mankind), which focuses on healing the body, mind and spirit and maintaining health through food, herbs and exercise. My studies in yoga and Ayurveda are allowing me to bring practical, resourceful and sustainable practices to anyone who wants to learn how to get/stay healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this blog are based upon the opinion of Staraya McKinstry. They are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and they are not intended as medical advice.

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