Catching Some Z’s Is The Most Important Job Of The Day

We all take massive responsibility for the health of our family, right? We like to ensure they are eating good, clean and nutritional food instead of processed foodstuffs. We try to take them out as much as possible and encourage healthy and productive hobbies so that our families can live a healthy and active lifestyle. We encourage them to build the skills they need to achieve the dreams they have.

But what about sleep? Does that factor into anything for you and your children? Sleep is probably one of the most underrated aspects of health, especially in the 21st century when everything is connected and so much more is demanded of us all.

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Sleep is absolutely essential for our wellbeing according to the NSF (National Sleep Foundation) and good doctors everywhere. What is worrying though is that millions of people, young and old, are simply not getting enough sleep and are suffering from a lack of sleep. In fact, the NSF even conducted studies into this over five years at the turn of the century – 40 million people are suffering from over seventy separate sleep disorders, and sixty percent of those adults report having sleep problems during a few nights of the week. These problems do go undiagnosed and even worse – untreated. This leads to daytime sleepiness, which forty percent of adults experience a level of tiredness or sleepiness that is so severe it can interfere with day to day tasks and activities. Truly horrifying, though, is the fact that nearly seventy percent of children experience one or more sleeping issues a few nights of the week – for the developing mind that is completely unacceptable.

Your children need sleep. The average kid at school does have a busy day with school, running around, sports, hobbies, homework, studying and playtime -their bodies do need a rest, and their minds need a break. Sleep is where they can rest and recharge for the next busy day. Depending on the age of the child will affect the amount of sleep needed by the kid – between five and twelve it can be about nine and a half hours a night, but all the experts are in agreement that between ten and eleven hours each and every night is best.

So how can you help you and your family get a lot more sleep? The sleep that you need and deserve to live healthily?

Well, it starts with the bed. Obviously. Some nice, comfortable upholstered beds will be the perfect base for you to get a good nights sleep upon! There’s a lot of science behind what a good mattress can do for you as well. You’re going to spend about a third of every day in bed and how that time is spent depends almost entirely on the quality of your sleeping surface.

“A mattress can impact a person’s sleep,” says Michael Decker, PhD, RN, associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “When you lie on any part of your body for an extended period of time, the weight of it reduces the flow of blood through those blood vessels, which deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients,” Decker says. This causes nerve cells and pain sensors in your skin to send a message to your brain for you to roll over. Rolling over restores blood flow to the area, but it also briefly interrupts your sleep.

The best mattresses will reduce the pressure points on your body which leads to a better night’s sleep for you. The perfect mattress is going to differ for each person, though – so consider the needs of your children in this and what comfort they would expect from a mattress. We recently switched mattresses and we instantly noticed the improvement of sleep quality throughout the whole family.

The best way to get a good night’s sleep once you’re equipped with a decent bed that you can actually sleep on is to live each day in a fulfilling manner, if you’re lazing around all day, chances are that you might suffer from broken sleep. Ideally, you want to snuggle into bed after a hard day of work at home or at the workplace giving you a good reason to settle down under the covers and recharge your batteries. For me, the school run coupled up with a day’s work doing DIY, house renovations or gardening really gets me ready for a decent night’s sleep.

It might seem hard, but you’ll have to consider getting used to using your electronics less before bed-time as well – especially for the kids. It can be a good idea to cut energy usage and establish a good sleeping routine by having a soft-ban of electronics past a certain time – say 7pm? It might seem unduly harsh, but blue light can destroy bed time. It won’t matter if you’ve got a good bed then! It’s no secret that I am a firm believer that children shouldn’t be wasting their lives away in front of iPads or games consoles. Night time light can be dangerous, the boffins at Harvard took a look into it:

“Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s not exactly clear why night time light exposure seems to be so bad for us. But we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some experimental evidence (it’s very preliminary) that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.”

It’s so, so very important to get a good night’s sleep so get rid of the distractions and settle down on relaxing and catching a good forty winks – teach your kids about the importance of sleep as well because if it is important for us, it is twice as important for the little ones.

Now, living a self-sufficient and green life is hard work. You need to get up, out and about and do your chores so you can run your home. You can’t do that if your tired. Your kids need to learn and their capacity for learning will be damaged if they aren’t getting the right amount of sleep. Get your head down, catch some z’s and enjoy sleep!

I Don’t Use Deodorant and Why You Shouldn’t Either

I know what you’re thinking. “No deodorant… gross. Smelly hippy.” Well, think what you like but I can guarantee that I am not a smelly hippy. A hippy maybe, but not smelly. I honestly cannot remember when I stopped using deodorant, but its certainly around 10 years now. And even before then, I never really bothered that often. My nan hated the stuff, so I suppose it kind of rubbed off onto me. I assume you’re reading this because you are considering a deodorant detox. It’s very easy and very beneficial to your health. Go Forth and Sweat Freely Dear Reader!

It’s not just deodorant that I ticked off of my shopping list but sanitary towels, tampons and toilet paper too. Oh shit. I really am a hippy.

I suppose I am quite lucky. I’m not a person who suffers from terrible body odour, nor do I sweat much. But for those of you who wear deodorant, do you often wish that you didn’t have to? Have you ever considered that you might be stuck in a rut and you now have to use it because you have used it for so long? Many people are now trying deodorant detoxes and have discovered that they no longer need the pretty smelly stuff. I’m not talking about switching to a more natural alternative, but ditching any deodorant all together.

What are the benefits of using deodorant?

The benefits of using deodorant are pretty obvious. You stop smelling and sweating. But why and how true is that previous sentence? Firstly to be classed as an ‘antiperspirant’ the product only has to stop you from sweating by 20%. To stop you from smelling, well that’s just a chemical in the spray that kills off some of the smelly bacteria.

The rest of the hard work is done by perfumes which simply mask the smell of your sweat. Your sweat itself is odourless, the smell actually comes from bacterial growth. Niiiiice.

What are the disadvantages of using deodorant?

You know me by now, this list isn’t going to be as short as the benefits.

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First of all, most antiperspirants contain aluminium. The link between antiperspirants and cancer is the aluminium. The aluminium is absorbed into the skin around the armpit and breast area, even more so if the skin has any tiny cuts from shaving, then these chemicals react with your DNA changing your cells into dangerous cancerous ones. It can also interfere with oestrogen levels in women and cause cancer cells to develop.

Alzheimer’s has also been linked to aluminium. In the 1960’s studies showed that those with Alzheimer’s had higher levels of the metal in their brains. Of course daily exposure of aluminium doesn’t just come from antiperspirants but also aluminium cans, some bedframes and cabinets… the list is very long. Avoiding putting aluminium based antiperspirants directly onto my skin seems like an obvious positive health choice.

The aluminium in antiperspirants works to combat sweat by temporarily blocking sweat glands and reducing the amount of sweat released. I am a firm believer that if your body needs to remove waste, it is doing so for a good cause. Urine, vomit, diarrhoea are all released from the body for a reason and believe I do you should never attempt to stop this from happening.

Of course there are many studies out there to read up on. Some strongly defend deodorants while others are quite frankly rather scary. Have a read for yourself. Personally while I have the choice to avoid certain ‘things’ to improve my health I will do so. It’s not a paranoia but more of a ‘well its one less thing to buy and I can live without it and if it really is bad then its another thing I don’t need to panic about’ lifestyle choice. *and breathe*

Moving on from the aluminium topic… Did you know that people become immune to their deodorants. Because the human body is super clever it actually builds up an immunity to the product that you choose to use. I see immunity as a good thing. If we build up immunity to illnesses and germs, which are bad for us, then surely building up an immunity to deodorant means that the body takes it as a bad thing and tries to fight it. I trust my body and listen to it. Can you tell I am totally not a scientist yet?

Some deodorants and antiperspirants also contain- Formaldehyde, Propylene Glycol (antifreeze) and various parabens (notice how some products say ‘paraben free’?).

So what happens if you do stop using deodorants?

How often do you shower or have a bath? OK that’s a rather irrelevant question. Most of us have a night time and morning routine. Fill the sink, wash our face, brush our teeth, sort out our bird-nest hair. When the skink is full and you are washing your face, just wash under your pits at the same time. It isn’t any extra hardship and doesn’t take a second. And if you use deodorant, you should probably do this anyway. Take off your deodorant like you take off your makeup. You wouldn’t sleep with your facial pores blocked, so why should your armpits be blocked up too?

When you first stop using deodorant your body will react very quickly. Suddenly your pores start to open up and detoxify. They will start to unclog all of the built up fluids and toxins and you may notice more sweat and odour than you are normally used to. That’s OK. You have a sink? Wash your armpits with a mild natural soap. This quite often sends people running straight into the direction of their old deodorant, and the vicious cycle continues.

Get the old gunk out of your pits easier by going for a walk or a run. Your body will detox quicker with a little help. It will get your sweat glands working properly again and cleared. Don’t be alarmed if the sweat seems thick. This is just old mucus working its way out. Gross, but once it’s gone it’s gone.

It wont last long, a few days to a week, but once you are clear of the nasties then the detox becomes easier. Seeing the gross side affects from years of using deodorant will become a sharp reminder of how much that simple daily product has affected your body. Why eat healthy, go to the gym, loose weight all for your health while you continue to poison it with deodorants?

People would learn a lot about their health if they start to think for themselves, rather than buying something that society tells them that they HAVE to buy. Whether you choose to look into the studies above, or just decide to take a more natural approach let me know. I’ve just realised how freakin’ crazy I sound, but it works for me. What’s the harm in giving it a go, eh?