Did you read the title of this post correctly? Read it again. Sun, sex and sleep for better health. Any questions? I have some answers.
We live in a world that requires most of us to work long hours with long commutes to work. Once we get there, we’re stuck sitting indoors all day under bright florescent lights. When the day wraps up, we get back into our cars, pick up our kids, run errands, make dinner, clean the house, prepare for bed and pass out only to wake up early enough to repeat over the next day. Is this you?
Maybe you’re a single person with the same schedule or don’t have any kids, but still have endless deadlines and chores? By the time the weekend comes around, you’ve overcommitted to more chores, family socials and maybe even working a bit to catch up from the week. So, when do you have time for some sunlight, sex, or even extra sleep?
These three things are vital to your long-term health and it’s easy to forget to make them part of your healthy lifestyle. Based on what I’ve heard from clients, and what I’ve done myself, here are some thoughts to change and benefit your physical and mental well-being.
I live in Florida along with all of my clients. During the summer, and even in winter, it’s easy to get the slightest bit of sun just by walking to your car (they don’t call us the Sunshine State for nothing!). But, there are some of you who live in colder climates that don’t get to see natural light most of the year, or there are some of you who live in Florida but spend most of your time indoors. Either way, without any kind of natural light, your body can respond negatively in many different ways.
Your body is always good at telling you the truth if you just take a moment to listen to it. It can respond through insomnia at night, make you feel more depressed and fatigued, or cause your hormones to be imbalanced – which can affect your metabolism and ability to absorb other nutrients. Vitamin D3, naturally provided by sunlight, is so important for your many bodily functions. Throughout your body, you have little vitamin D receptors around all your cells just waiting for some love from the sun, and your body absorbs it best naturally this way.
I work indoors most days during the week under very low lighting, which is even worse. I’m not able to see much daylight unless I leave early enough from work to drive home with my sun roof open. In the past, I noticed that I wasn’t making it a priority to get outside on the weekends and was feeling more aches, pains and depression setting in. Although I eat really well, I was lacking sunshine. This year, I started taking three days a week to sit outside with a good book for at least 20 minutes. I usually go out after 2:00 p.m. when the sun tends to be less strong. When I get home, I notice several things. Most importantly, I slept better on the days I was outside. My sleep was much deeper, I felt my mood lift and my muscles felt less tight in addition to just feeling better overall.
When can you get out in the sun? Can you take the dog for a walk during the day before the sun goes down during the week? Can you clock out of work a bit earlier during the summer months to get a few extra minutes outside? Try arranging your weekend plans to where there is some relaxation, or even something fun outside to get some sunshine. Your body will thank you.
Sex (or massage)
When I attended massage school we studied the “Failure to Thrive Syndrome” study based on infants in an orphanage during World War II that had no physical contact. The study’s findings came to be from a group of infants without any kind of skin-to-skin contact, compared to another group of infants that were held more and massaged 15 minutes a day. The infants that were touched developed in many positive ways physically, mentally and emotionally.
I’ve seen many of my clients walk into my massage room all stressed out and filled with anxiety. After their appointment, their blood pressure appears lower, their breathing is better, their posture improves, their eyes have more clarity and their mood is so relaxed.
We live in an environment today where noise pollution exposes us to many different forms of the news through the internet, cell phones, computers, traffic and negativity at work – all can lead to really high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Massage is perfect for lowering your stress hormone. If you’re in a healthy relationship, sex is a very natural activity as well for the same benefits. A lot of couples today are so overworked that sex is last on their priority list. On the flip side, if you’re single, no affection or intimacy can wreak havoc on your emotional well-being.
That’s why I always recommend that my single and elderly clients get a massage as often as possible. Sex, touch and massage all release the hormone called oxytocin – also known as the cuddle hormone. It’s secreted by the posterior lobe of your pituitary gland and is like a pea at the base of your brain. As with all your hormones, it’s important to keep this in balance.
Go book that massage right now and give yourself something relaxing to look forward to. After I receive a really good massage, I feel so at peace with myself and the world. I’m able to handle stress during the week a lot better and my thought process is much more positive. Plus, it can take years off your face if you look happier. If you have that special someone, get creative and set the stage for a love session with the right environment for quality sex. Take time to light some candles, play some good music, make a healthy meal, put away your phone and have no time limit. You will appreciate each other and feel better about yourself and your partner. Forget about responsibilities for a moment and take care of yourself now.
Oh, how all of us need sleep! Some studies I’ve read in the past have mentioned you need seven hours of sleep each night while others insist you need eight to nine hours. I think that all depends on the person and what stage they’re at in their life, although common sense tells me that most of us need at least seven hours every night.
Most of my regular clients are all sleep deprived. I can tell in their moods, faces and by their health. If you work a lot, exercise, have kids and a high-stress job, then sleep should obviously more for you than someone with less responsibilities. If you’re a woman between the ages of 35 and 60, I think you need extra sleep compared to a man because of all the different hormone changes.
During the week, sleep has always been a challenge for me because I always come up with more chores to do … all the way up to lying in bed with my computer. I really have to discipline myself to get into bed earlier and put certain things on hold for when I have more time. When we don’t get enough sleep, it makes us more prone to inflammation, hormonal imbalances and premature aging. We don’t treat others as nicely and our work performance goes down. It can dramatically affect our metabolism as well. Do you know your liver likes to repair itself between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. every morning? What if you’re still awake at that time? By the time you wake up, you will feel sluggish because your liver wasn’t able to filter out what it needed to because you decided to check that one last extra email. I know, your liver practices tough love!
So what can you do to get better, and more, sleep? Tidy your bedroom, clean your sheets and make it darker. Keep the television and computer away from your room. Drink calcium and magnesium tea before bed to help relax your muscles. Get into bed an hour before you sleep to unwind. Play nature sounds. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time during the week as much as possible. On the weekends, try to sleep in and don’t use an alarm clock or take a nap for extra rest. When you get more sleep, your adrenal glands won’t be stressed and this will lead to more of a hormonal balance in your body.
I have to read this article as a reminder to myself. It’s really easy to put yourself last when it comes to basic things that God knows you need in your life. Try to simplify your life and you will be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of sun, sex and sleep. Check back for future articles on herbs that can help you sleep as well massage techniques, and thanks for reading. Love you all!