Don’t Let Jet Lag Keep You Grounded

Posted by Maria on August 16, 2016 under Aromatherapy, Creating Wellness ebook, Energy Healing, Fitness, Gemstones & Crystals, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Ingredients, Life Coaching, Massages, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Travel, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Wellness, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach

I’ve got travel on my mind!

First, with the Summer Olympics being a big draw, the International Olympic Committee has predicted that 480,000+ tourists and sports fans will travel from all corners of the earth to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in August, 2016. That’s a lot of zig-zagging across the planet!

Also, many of my friends are currently travelling for their summer vacations, getting one last trip in before school starts, to all kinds of wonderful places all over the world, and I love hearing about their adventures.

As for me, I’m in the process of planning a Transformation is Possible Cruise to Alaska in August, 2017, which will be all about coaching and wellness, which I’ll tell you more about in the coming months, because you’re invited to join me!

Anyway, with all of this talk of travel, I thought it would be nice to write a blog post on how to minimize Jet Lag so everyone can enjoy their trips more fully.

don't let jet lag keep you grounded.

I don’t want Jet Lag to keep anyone grounded.

The formal name for Jet lag is “desynchronosis” which is a fancy way of saying, “out of sync” which makes sense. It’s also called “flight fatigue.”

Jet Lag is not fun. Thank goodness it’s only temporary! This sleep disorder happens when our body’s natural circadian rhythms aren’t matching up with the local time and the delay can feel quite debilitating.

Symptoms of Jet Lag include:

  1. fatigue
  2. digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea,
  3. dehydration,
  4. anxiety,
  5. disorientation, confusion, and inability to concentrate,
  6. dizziness & grogginess,
  7. headache,
  8. irritability,
  9. sweating,
  10. general malaise,
  11. mild depression, and
  12. insomnia, disrupted sleep, and irregular sleep patterns.

Depending on whether you’re heading West or East and the time of day you’re travelling, it takes about one day for each time zone you’ve crossed to realign your body clock to your new (or regular) time zone.

Although some Jet Lag is unavoidable while traveling great distances by airplane, it’s still possible to keep disruption to a minimum and get the circadian rhythms humming again sooner rather than later.

9 Tips to Minimize Jet Lag

1. Stay hydrated:

Cabin air can be very dehydrating and being dehydrated is already uncomfortable. Symptoms from dehydration overlap with symptoms of Jet Lag and you don’t want to amplify your Jet Lag by starting off as weak and dehydrated. So, even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink at least one glass of water for every hour you’re in the air. Also, avoid drinking too much caffeine or alcohol during your flight.

2. Use ginger:

Ginger is good for nausea and headaches so if you can, bring some ginger essential oil with you (perhaps in a pump spray bottle), or drink ginger ale or ginger tea, or eat some Sushi with pickled ginger before your flight at the airport.

3. Consider melatonin:

To ease your transition to the new time zone and to reset your body clock, consider taking melatonin, either as a nonprescription drug or from a food source like cherries. Please see my blog post, “Top of your day with a cherry”

4. Try Reflexology:

Speaking of melatonin, you can also use Reflexology to stimulate the production of this sleep-regulating hormone by applying pressure to the Pineal gland points on your hands, feet, or ears. To work this reflexology point on the feet, use your index finger and press in and down on the outside edge (or medial side) of your big toe, just above the midway bump at the base of the nail.

5. Get some pre-flight life coaching:

If you’re feeling anxious about flying and are a nervous traveller, book a session with a life coach like me before your trip. A coach can be very calming and reassuring. On top of that, voicing your concerns and imagining a smooth flight without any complications, including Jet Lag, ahead of time, will also work wonders.

6. Wear gemstone jewellery:

Travellers have been carrying healing crystals for their protective and healing properties on their journeys for thousands of years. Wearing gemstone and crystal jewellery is an excellent and easy way to ensure a safe and pleasant voyage. Crystal jewellery also looks nice and makes a great conversation starter. I recommend Turquoise to safeguard your possessions and to facilitate communication, Yellow Jasper to calm nausea or motion sickness, and silvery-black Hematite to help get rid of Jet Lag. Of course, there’s also the perfectly-named Jet stone which offers protection, helps clear negativity, and brings good luck.

7. Get up and stretch:

Every few hours, take about 15 minutes to stretch your muscles from head to toe. Roll your neck, shoulders, wrists, and ankles and twist at your waist from side to side. All the better if you practice yoga. You can stretch while seated of course, but it’s even better when you get up mid flight and walk up and down the aisle a few times to get your circulation going and stretch while standing up.

8. Go outside when you can:

Once you arrive, spend time outside in nature and then you’ll receive natural cues from the environment that will help your body reset itself to your new surroundings. Also, if you happen to catch some rays, you’ll also get some Vitamin D which will help boost your immunity. Please read my blog post, “It’s Vitamin D Day”.

9. Get a massage:

As a massage practitioner, I recommend getting a massage to minimize the amount of time it takes to recover from Jet Lag. Nowadays, you can get a chair massage at the airport or you can book a more extravagant massage at a spa at your destination. Either way, a massage will help you release tension and sleep better at night.

I hope these 9 tips will help you reduce and even avoid Jet Lag on your next trip. And if you have any tips to share, feel free to add your comments about minimizing Jet Lag below. Thanks!

Turn off those Blue Lights at Night

Posted by Maria on August 22, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Green Living, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Uncategorized, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Did you know that blue lights (like the lights from your tv, computer, cell phone and even your alarm clock/radio) dim your chances of getting a good night’s sleep? As it turns out, blue lights tamper with our circadian rhythms and therefore our melatonin levels and therefore our sleep cycles.

Circadian Rhythms

The circadian rhythm is an innate daily fluctuation of physiological and behavioural functions, (including sleeping and waking), that is generally tied to the 24-hour day/night cycle. Our rhythms are regulated by external cues (also known as “Zeitgebers”) such as sunlight and night sky, temperatures, what we eat (including medicines), when we eat, and our social interactions with others.

Light (and the absence of light) has always played a significant role in our daily lives and it affects our activities, hormone levels and sleep cycles. As humans, we have intuitively sought shelter and a safe place to sleep at night and we use the illumination and safety of daylight for hunting, gathering and travelling.

Blue Light

For millions of years, blue light (like the light from mid-morning sky) has meant daylight and time for us to be busy and productive. When we sense blue light, the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, is limited, and we stay alert and awake.

We have also evolved over millions of years to have the deepest, most restful sleep in a very dark environment that does not expose us to any light (especially blue and green wavelengths) while we are sleeping. The absence of blue light cues the melatonin and we get sleepy.

Have you ever watched tv in a room that doesn’t have any other lights on? Everything becomes blue. Manmade blue lights, like those eminating from your tv or computer screen, mimic broad daylight and also disrupt our sleep patterns and sleep hormones. If we are getting ready to go to bed at night but continue to “work” under artificial lighting, the blue lights will send mixed messages to the brain and the brain won’t know whether to 1)relax and go to bed or 2) suppress melatonin, stay up and be alert. This may be a good time to rethink having a tv in your bedroom or checking your Twitter and Facebook one last time before midnight.

Curiously, reddish light (like from a candle or fireplace) doesn’t effect melatonin production, so it’s fine to use in the evening hours or as a nightlight in the middle of the night.

Here are some tips of how to turn off the blue lights at night and sleep better:

  • Seek yellow light and avoid blue light after dark;
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of electronics that emit blue light after dark;
  • Trade your blue/green digital alarm/clock radio to one with red lights;
  • Pay attention to the time you start feeling sleepy and honour it — Don’t let that second wind kick in;
  • Go to bed earlier;
  • Take a bath by candlelight and see how much better you sleep. (The bath and the candlelight will work synergystically and I don’t recommend taking your iPhone with you on this occasion :) ).
  • Keep your bedroom as dark as pitch when you are sleeping.
  • Try falling asleep with a pair of eyeshades to block out more light.
  • Spend at least an hour a day in direct sunlight.
  • Try to decrease the light in your bedroom gradually in the hours before you hit the hay;
  • Try to time your wake up with light;
  • Spend less time watching tv or playing/working on the computer in the evening, especially within an hour of your bed time.
  • Use a reddish light as a nightlight if you need to go to the washroom in the middle of the night.

I hope this helps with your insomnia. Please leave a comment and let us know if this was new information to you or if you knew about blue light and insomnia already.

Eat Salmon to Sleep Better

Posted by Maria on February 2, 2010 under Fitness, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Weight Management | 6 Comments to Read

Dear Olympic Athletes:

If you’re angling to win a medal in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games — which are starting with or without snow in Vancouver/Whistler British Columbia in just 10 short days (gasp) — listen up for some homespun advice: Eat salmon the night before your competition to get a better night’s sleep.

The meal you choose the night before your event(s) could make the difference between hearing your national anthem or someone else’s. After all of your months and years of intense training, getting a good night’s sleep and fueling your body with optimum food, will give you a winning advantage. I suggest eating wild salmon while you’re here in BC.

Why Salmon?

  • Wild salmon is a golden source of omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce pain and inflammation, improve memory and focus and contribute to cardiovascular health — all vital priorities for high-caliber athletes;
  • DHA, a healthy fat in salmon, may fast-track levels of melatonin, a key sleep-regulating hormone;
  • Salmon contains magnesium which helps us sleep. Low magnesium, on the other hand, is associated with things like muscle-cramping, anxiety and fatigue;
  • Wild salmon is also fresh and local in these parts — or as they say, well-within our 100-Mile diet; and
  • Salmon’s tenacious spirit has “Olympics” written all over it.
A piece of salmon on the grill.

A fresh salmon fillet on the grill.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your success. Shoot for at least seven hours of solid sleep every night. Remember to give yourself enough days to get over your jet lag and to adjust to Vancouver time. Also, keep your body temperature on the cool side while you’re sleeping and keep your room dark — thank goodness these are the winter games!

If you don’t sleep well, the resulting fatigue can affect your judgment and increase your risk for accidents. Does anyone out there remember the vintage “agony of defeat” ad for ABC’s, the Wide World of Sports? I think I’ve made my point.

Sushi anyone?

Sincerely,

Maria Koropecky
Homespunspa, Recipes for Sleep and Beauty
http://www.homespunspa.com

Top off your day with a cherry

Posted by Maria on July 1, 2009 under Books, Magazines, Music, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Photo gallery, Recipes, Sleep, Uncategorized, Weight Management | 3 Comments to Read

Happy Birthday Canada!

To celebrate this year, I’m going to go to a cherry stand in my rural neighbourhood and buy a basket full of fresh local cherries.

Locally-grown cherries.

Locally-grown cherries.

They’re totally in season right now and they match our beloved maple leaf Canadian flag. And everybody knows that it’s not a sundae until there’s a cherry on top.

But did you know that cherries are also a wonderful sleep aid? As much as I like having a holiday from my day job in the middle of the week on a Wednesday, it might disrupt my sleep patterns by sleeping in and staying out later. I’m hoping that eating some fresh cherries tonight might help keep me on track.

The secret is melatonin.

Do you ever wonder how your body knows what time it is? As we go about our life, day by day, our body is constantly monitoring the environment and is making infinitesimal calculations and adjustments that we don’t have to consciously think about – thank goodness, because I already have enough on my plate. Studying circadian rhythms is complex and fascinating and sunlight is one of the elements that cues our bodies to function. And sleeping is an important part of that whole process.

Nightfall triggers an increase in the production of melatonin which prepares the body for sleep. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and hormone produced in the pea-sized pineal gland, which regulates the body’s circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles. As people age, melatonin levels decrease and that may account for some insomnia in adults. Of course, living in a world where artificial light is available 24-hours a day, has screwed up our internal clocks to a certain degree also.

Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness to induce sleepiness and low melatonin levels at night will contribute to insomnia or jagged sleep. So, even increasing your melatonin levels slightly at night can improve the quality of your sleep.

Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D. of the University of Texas has been researching the effects of melatonin for 30 years and is co-author with Jo Robinson of the book, Melatonin published in 1996 by Bantam. Dr. Reiter proposes that eating a handful of tart cherries, (a good food source of melatonin) before bedtime, may help increase melatonin levels in the blood, which will promote restful sleep.

So share some cherries with your neighbours as you watch the fireworks tonight in celebration of Canada’s birthday and you will sleep more soundly later. Let me know if you’ve tried this tip and have noticed a difference.

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