SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

February 10, 2013

About bedtime and sleeping

When Bed Beckons. . do it Smart

This post is not for those people who like my husband could just lay his head on the pillow and bam, he was gone.  That man had such a clear conscience and/or control of his thought processes, that his bedtime was totally blissful.   No, not people like that.   Rather more for the high-stung others who like me had to contend with all that snoring   and/or the mental-processing I was prone to do as I lay anticipating slipping into oblivion if only to escape that snoring.

So I have enjoyed bedtime and the sleeping process my whole life.  Am partial to as much natural indulgence as my budget will permit with fine pima cotton,  down comforters and pillows and physical support disguised beneath encompassing softness which accommodates the needs of my nervous system to be coddled and comforted.    At my California home, I was further indulged with the sensual magnolia tree and gardenia and lemon blossoms and  roses.   The fragrances of the night through the open windows, well, you get the picture.   What – is – not – to – like ?

Even so, a special friend  some fifty years ago had advised me to ingest Valerian Root tea daily as needed as a calming influence which could harmonize certain energies and would be especially helpful at or near bedtime to help with the relaxation response leading to sleep-fulness.  Having the highest regard for him and his great knowledge/wisdom,  I began buying Valerian Root tea in bags at the health food stores where I could find it. Stores didn’t really cotton to carrying this because of its odor.  But it is still available to this day because of the demand.  It IS  found to be effective and relevant.   The odor in fact, was a deterrent to me.   It has been described in many ways, but frankly, it’s kinda like old dirty socks from really foul smelling shoes.  But I pushed through it doggedly and stuck with and take it still.    Long ago, I became inured to the odor and hardly notice it at all.    When I have my mint growing, I do use mint leaves in the tea which is delicious to me.

I was told that Valerian Root  while good for much, especially is effective in coating the nerve ends in some kind of protective way.  I accepted the concept, having no reason to doubt it.   In checking out Wikipedia just now, could find no reference to that concept, tho there is much to recommend it per online search, tho there was nothing contra-indicated.  One takes a cup or so daily – – no harm or dullness can issue from that:

In ayurveda, valerian is considered to work on the nervous, digestive, and respiratory systems as a stimulant, antispasmodic, stomachic, sedative, analeptic, carminative, and nervine. While it is used for various disorders of these systems, it is noted that excessively, it may dull the mind or cause severe conditions such as central paralysis, thus it is recommended to be used under the supervision of an ayurvedic doctor. Possibly because of its dulling effects, another herb is mainly used for nerve and mind disorders like insomnia: jatamamsi (Nardostachys jatamansi)

50 years ago it was probably $2 or $3 for a box of tea bags, but now up to 2 or 3 times that amount  for maybe 12 bags.  So of course, I buy it at MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS,  organic 1/2 pound about $8  and last for quite a long time.   . . .just sayin’. . .

As a younger adult – never a sleep problem so bed and sleeping were one of the favorite parts of my day.  But as an older lady, my activities have altered – – mind still dominating while physical activity is curtailed more.  .  .  .  so life is more lopsided now and one must compensate  in expedient ways.  And am grateful for the help.     The balanced person exhibiting harmony in use of energies with appropriate attention to each should have little trouble if exercising a modicum of discipline.  But as I have said before (in a post),  . . . “things change”. .   So I thought I’d mention how it is that I continue to enjoy pretty darned good experience with regard to sleep.

For perhaps a decade now (at least), I’ve generally been taking  3mg of MELATONIN at bedtime.   There is no need to take more (5,7 or more mg), as we are only trying to assist the body in its production of this hormone – – because as we age our body produces less and less of it and it does serve vital functions for us – – among them being the inner circadian clock which tells our body what time of the day to go to bed and when to get up  at am.  So 3 mg will assist whereas higher dosages can begin to corrupt its ability altogether – hurting rather than helping.  It’s a theory – not a fact, but it does make sense to me and I agree with it.

Again, from Wikipedia:

Melatonin Listeni/ˌmɛləˈtnɪn/, also known chemically as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine,[1] is a naturally occurring compound found in animals, plants, and microbes.[2][3] In animals, circulating levels of the hormone melatonin vary in a daily cycle, thereby allowing the entrainment of the circadian rhythms of several biological functions.[4]

Many biological effects of melatonin are produced through activation of melatonin receptors,[5] while others are due to its role as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant,[6] with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.[7]

Products containing melatonin have been available over-the-counter in the United States since the mid-1990s.[8] In many other countries, the sale of this neurohormone is not permitted or requires a prescription.

Finally, to  maximize the transition to the sleep stage,  though it seems rather unnecessary and elementary to say, . . . I’ll do it anyway – –  it can    be helpful to listen to beautiful music,  engage in quiet reading,  perhaps prayerful contemplation,  some gratitudinal tapping or meditation.   Any and all of these would be far superior to the over-stimulation of television.

Sweet dreams , my friends,               Jan

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