Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Lifestyle

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by Janette Ward

This month I would like to share with you about a wonderful organisation, The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK). They provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds to explore their own spirituality and learn skills of reflection and meditation derived from Raja Yoga, which help develop inner calm, clear thinking and personal wellbeing.

I first became involved with the Brahma Kumaris in 2009 when I attended a Raja Yoga course in Bradford. I have since attended several one day workshops on wellbeing and trained to deliver their course ‘Spiritual Values in Healthcare’. My experience with Brahma Kumaris has been powerful, enriching and has greatly benefited me.

The Brahma Kumaris is an international organisation working at all levels of society for positive change and is the recipient of seven United Nations Peace Messenger Awards.

The Brahma Kumaris say that more and more people are adding some form of meditation to their daily routine, either as an effective means of managing stress, a way to relax and to improve health in general.

Raja Yoga meditation is a process of rediscovery, using and enjoying the positive qualities already latent within.

The concepts presented in this course are simple yet profound and are accessible to individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs. Simple and honest effort are the only prerequisites for success in meditation.

Whether you simply want to learn to relax and unwind, feel more able to concentrate and focus, be more creative or are searching for personal enlightenment, the Raja Yoga Meditation Course may be just the thing for you. The topics covered include Consciousness and Self Realisation, Mind Intellect and Subconscious, Connecting to the Divine, and The Law of Karma and Time.

There are two Raja Yoga courses happening in the next few months that everyone is welcome to attend in Huddersfield and Halifax.

The Brahma Kumaris are a registered charity and courses and workshops are free of charge, however, voluntary contributions are always gratefully received.

In Huddersfield the venue is Yorkshire Children’s Centre, Brian Jackson House, New North Parade HD1 5JP on Saturdays 29th July, 5th & 12th August at 2.00pm to 5.30pm.

In Halifax the venue is Orange Box Young People’s Centre, 1, Blackedge, Halifax HX1 1AF on Saturdays 16th, 23rd and 30th September at 2.00pm to 5.30pm

You can register for a place online: www.brahmakumaris.org/uk/bradford or you can telephone Margaret Shires of Brahma Kumaris Bradford on 01274 574209.

Below are some testimonials about the Brahma Kumaris:

M.R. in Pudsey: ‘Brahma Kumaris is a wonderful organisation which helps anyone who is interested to become more attuned to and to live in harmony with their intrinsic nature. They are all beautiful souls and it is a pleasure to spend time in their company’

U.K in Bradford: ‘A lovely atmosphere open space offered for everyone and to explore at your own pace. A space to experience complete focus on you and whatever you would like to work on. Guided meditations are a treat for those wanting to have a go’

J.P: ‘the best thing I ever did in 2016 is to join the Brahma Kumaris sessions, thanks for helping me’

Both the Raja Yoga courses will be facilitated by Manoj. He is an experienced meditation and self-development trainer. Manoj has been studying the subject of Raja Yoga and delivering talks, workshops and courses in Positive Thinking, Self-Esteem and Overcoming Anger for almost ten years and is known to be a lively presenter that combines practical down to earth strategies with humour making him a very popular speaker.

I cannot speak more highly of the Brahma Kumaris and of Manoj and I would suggest that if you are looking to feel happier, calmer and more effective, attending the Raja Yoga course would be a very positive first step.

More about the Brahma Kumaris can be found at brahmakumaris.org

More about me can be found at www.circleswork.co.uk

 

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Mr Hayaat R. Khan
You would be forgiven if you ever travelled up Little Horton Lane and were completely enthralled by the amazing architecture of the Grade two listed buildings lining both sides of the long winding main road. Such imposing houses and architecture one rarely sees in today’s age of modern architecture. Your wonderment would increase 10 fold if you ever stepped inside one particular such building. A building which witnesses a steady stream of visitors, throughout the day, mums with children, fathers with toddlers, the young the old, of different ages and origins, different people with different illness. If you step inside this building, it seems as if you have stepped inside the prestigious offices of a Harley Street Doctor. These are the Offices of the Zenith Clinic for complementary Healthcare.

The Zenith Clinic is a busy, complementary, private healthcare practice located within the west end of Bradford and in close proximity to St Luke’s Hospital.

Based in a beautiful grade two listed Edwardian building, the staff here provide Homeopathic medicine alongside a variety of complementary therapies to a wide variety of patients, ranging from babies to adults and the elderly. And judging by the grateful testimonials of cured patients in the beautifully presented testimonial book placed on the imposing desk of the senior Consultant Moulana Muhammad Hayaat R Khan, the staff here seem to be providing an excellent service. All the practitioners working at the clinic are fully qualified and registered with their appropriate professional bodies and all work under the careful and watchful guidance of Mr Maulana Muhammad Hayaat R Khan.

Mr Moulana Muhammad Hayaat R. Khan, is a registered Homeopathic Consultant and has been studying Homeopathic Medicine for the past 11 years and has been in private general practice for the past 5 years with a special interest in children’s complaints. His medical studies have spanned Leeds University, BIH London, North West College of Homeopathy and St Georges Medical School London and he regularly appears on television He has had the privilege of studying under world renowned eminent Homeopathic Doctors, such as Dr Jonathan Hardy, Dr Jeff Johnson and Dave Mundy.

Therapies offered at the clinic include Homeopathic Medicine, Cupping Therapy (Hijaamah), Food intolerance testing, colonic Hydrotherapy and reflexology / Indian Head massage. They have also      recently introduced the Amazing 3D lipo fat freezing and body sculpting machine, the 3D lipo med. They regularly hold pain and eczema clinics.

Here are some testimonials from their existing clients:

“I would recommend Homeopathic medicine to everyone with any kind of pain or illness, long term or sudden onset. It works wonders!

“I have had cupping therapy at The Zenith Clinic on a few occasions for lower lumbar pain and it really works. I come in doubled over in pain and walk out perfectly fine. It is a good experience and everyone should try it.”
Mrs A.K

“Certainly I would recommend this to anyone who experiences any kind of illness, pains or cognitive issues i.e. depression or for that matter any form of illness. Before I had therapy I was suffering from cramps and feeling restricted in my range of movements, but since my treatments I feel fantastic; Alhamdulillah. I would recommend to anyone thinking of having this carried out.”
Mr U.K

Address: Eden House, 125 Little Horton Lane, Bradford, BD5 0HT
Phone: +44 (0) 1274 541118
www.thezenithclinic.co.uk
Email: info@thezenithclinic.co.uk

Homeopathic Consultant: Moulana Hayaat R. Khan, B.A (HONS) D.I.HOM. R.HOM. DIP B.E.R. R.S.HOM fully insured member of the Society of Homeopaths and bound by their code of ethics

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by Janette Ward

This month we will explore overthinking – it is what psychologists call self-focused rumination. This means thinking too much, usually negatively – needlessly, passively, endlessly and excessively pondering the meanings, causes and consequences of your character, your feelings and your problems.

I find doing it uncomfortable and painful so when looked into how to stop doing it, I learnt about several strategies, that I use and the result is that I rarely ruminate now.

Research shows that overthinking sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation and interferes with concentration and initiative.

The combination of rumination and negative mood is toxic. If you are plagued by rumination, you are unlikely to become happier before you can break the habit. It is likely that we all do it from time to time, so to stop or reduce it significantly, here are some strategies you can adopt…

1. The first is simple but powerful, that is to distract yourself. The activity to distract yourself needs to be engrossing enough so that you don’t easily fall back into ruminations. The activities need to make you feel happy, curious, peaceful, amused or proud. Even a temporary lift in mood can make you feel energised, more motivated to interact with people and more creative in how you approach your problems. Things that help to distract me are reading, being with my granddaughters and cooking.

2. Use the STOP technique by telling yourself in a way that works for you i.e. SNUP – Serves No Useful Purpose; or imagine your hand held up as a reminder etc.

3. Another is to set aside thirty minutes every day to do nothing but ruminate, ideally at the same time each day. More often than not, when the appointed time arrives, you’ll find it difficult and unnatural to force yourself to overthink and the issues you had set aside to ruminate will seem less important than before.

4. You could talk to a sympathetic and trusted person about your thoughts and problems. Often sharing can help you feel that your problems aren’t as overwhelming as you thought they were and it can be useful to hear someone else’s perspective.

5. Writing out your ruminations can help you organise them, make sense of them and observe patterns you haven’t seen before. Writing is also a way to unburden yourself of your negative thoughts, allowing you to move past them. I have find this strategy particularly helpful especially writing at night as it enables me to sleep better.

6. Also taking action. If there is a particular situation you are overthinking about, decide on one small step you can take to improve the situation or help you feel a bit better i.e. making an appointment with a counsellor, write an email, get all your bills together, etc.

7. Another technique is to strengthen your identity and work towards building your sense of self-worth. This is a biggie, but you could begin by learning or undertaking something new. This can enhance your self-confidence. It also helps by making a list acknowledging your strengths and qualities, using positive affirmations, treating yourself like you would your best friend, being part of a self-development group, etc.

8. Learning to meditate can have a very calming and relaxing effect on your life, which can help you distance yourself from your worries and ruminations and leave you with a feeling of well-being. It can help you to be more mindful and the research states that being mindful – in the present moment, significantly reduces overthinking.

9. When you are busy ruminating about a particular situation, ask yourself ‘Will this matter in a year?’ Chances are in a month, six months or a year from now you won’t even remember it, let alone be upset about it. In 150 years from now, no one who is alive today will still be living, this brings home there are few things in life so significant that they are worth overthinking about.

10. Another suggestion is to visualize yourself as a tiny dot on the Earth, which is a tiny part of the Milky Way, which makes up an infinitesimal speck of the universe, it can give you a different perspective.

11. Finally, if you resolve that the trouble you’re enduring now is indeed significant and will matter in a year, then perhaps consider what the experience can teach you. Focusing on the lessons you can learn can help to soften the impact.

I hope that you find these strategies helpful. I deliver workshops on overthinking and if you are interested, I can be contacted at janette@circleswork.co.uk and www.circleswork.co.uk

 

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by Janette Ward
by Janette Ward
The topic for this month is Procrastination – that is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. Research shows that everyone procrastinates sometimes but that 20% of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions. I chose this topic because I have experience of procrastinating. I first became aware of it when I was studying and had assignments to write. Instead of getting on with them, I would clean the house, do the ironing, any jobs to put off sitting down and getting on with it. At the time it felt like strange behaviour because once I sat down to write, I did enjoy it. Procrastinating robs us of our peace of mind and can have a negative impact on our self-esteem.

There are several reasons why we might procrastinate. Not having developed sufficient self-discipline/self-control. In Psychology Today, is was suggested that having a harsh, controlling parent keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves, from internalizing their own intentions and then learning to act on them. Also perfectionists often procrastinate, often believing that it is psychologically more acceptable to never tackle a task than to face the possibility of making a mistake. Writer Robert Hanks wrote that it stems from a failure to ‘identify sufficiently with our future self.’ Also we often believe that we must feel good or ready before we embark on a task.

nrm_1410437857-procrastinationDr Joseph Ferrari, PhD Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, identified some behaviours of procrastinators. 1: They overestimate the time left to perform tasks. 2: They underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. 3: They overestimate how motivated they will feel the next day, the next week, the next month – whenever they are putting things off. 4: They mistakenly think that succeeding at a task requires that they feel like doing it. 5: They mistakenly believe that they shouldn’t do the task when not they are in the mood.

He also identified three basic types of procrastinators:

  1. Arousal types, or thrill seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush
  2. Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success but in either case are very concerned what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability
  3. Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.

It is possible to stop procrastinating, though, it can be difficult. Here are nine strategies that might help – 1. You could break the task down into manageable steps. 2. Use rewards for completing the task or elements of it 3. Make a list of tasks and prioritise them, you can feel some satisfaction crossing off completed tasks. 4. It can be helpful to consider our future self and how our future self would benefit/feel when you have completed the task. I have made a habit of doing things for my future self and it has made me feel happier. 5. Remind yourself how good you have felt in the past when you have completed tasks and how good you will feel this time when you have completed the task. 6. When you feel negative emotions about doing the task, don’t give in, but acknowledge your feelings and just get started, the negative emotions will pass. 7. Minimise distractions, turn off the email, isolate yourself as much as possible and make sure that your environment supports you 8. Self-discipline is like a muscle that we need to keep exercising, practice saying no to yourself 9. Stop beating yourself up with thoughts such as ‘I should have started earlier’, that keeps you stuck – forgive yourself and move on.

The book, The Road Less Travelled by psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck is wonderful and thought provoking and discusses that life is difficult and stresses the need for self-discipline and delayed gratification for our overall health and wellbeing. Delayed gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. He shares the example of a woman who procrastinated at work. She spent the first hour of her working day doing the most enjoyable tasks and then struggled to complete the further six hours. Scott Peck suggested to her that she force herself to accomplish the unpleasant part of her job during the first hour, she would then be free to enjoy the other six. She did this and experienced one hour of pain followed by six of pleasure and she no longer procrastinates at work.

I wish you success in letting go of procrastination and moving toward taking more control of your life and achieving your goals.

If you would like to contact Janette or know more about the work of Circles Work CIC contact janette@circleswork.co.uk or www.circleswork.co.uk

A heart-warming scheme is bringing comfort to relatives and carers of Bradford hospital patients.

Bradford Hospitals Charity has recently spent £5,000 on 500 comfort bags which are handed out during difficult times to relatives and carers of patients at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital.

Comfort bags - Paul Fernandez and Hayley CollisBoth hospitals are part of Bradford Teaching Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust and the charity is the Trust’s official NHS charity which works tirelessly to improve patient experience.

The comfort bags are filled with everyday items to help unexpected stays in the hospital a little more pleasant and include a toiletry kit, wet wipes, tissues, ear plugs, toothpaste, a toothbrush, blanket and socks.

Last Days of Life Educator, Paul Fernandez, said the bags had been a big success.

He said: “We hand out about 500 bags a year and they really make a difference, providing relatives or carers with some comfort during what can be one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“Relatives often stay on the ward but don’t have time or the inclination to go home and get everyday items like toiletries. Their priority is not to go shopping but to look after their loved one. So it’s one less worry for them.”

Paul has received several messages from grateful recipients since the bags were introduced across the Trust.

One grateful male relative wrote: “What a thoughtful and wonderful idea that brought us a little comfort and a familiar bit of delight (if that’s appropriate at this time).”

And a second, a woman who accompanied her husband to BRI, said: “What a useful bag. It’s well thought out and very much appreciated. Well done and thank you to the Palliative Care Team. I received it on ward 30 while staying with my poorly husband. God bless you.”

Bradford Teaching Hospitals Charity Fundraiser, Hayley Collis, said: “As a charity, we want to help those who are in need and facing a difficult time. That means, of course, patients on the wards, but also their relatives and carers, who need our support too.

“There’s no night or day-time on the wards. Relatives and carers just have to snatch sleep when they can. So the bags provide them with some necessities which they probably haven’t thought about so they can concentrate on looking after their loved ones. A small bag of comfort goes a long way during tough times.

“Staff think the comfort bags are a great idea too, and are something that goes above and beyond what the NHS can normally offer.”

 

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Amira Abayas are offering a fantastic Easter weekend bumper sale where customers can buy one costume and get the other FREE!

ascaSince opening the store in January last year, Amira Abayas has become the talk of the town and has attracted customers from all over the country. Regardless of faith and background, Abayas have been purchased by women from all cultures. With an eclectic array of Abayas, Joobas (men’s equivalent) fragrances and Burkinis (one-piece swimsuits that cover up almost all of your skin when swimming), Amira has now built a loyal and wide ranging base of customers.

The owner Zubair Khan and the staff at Amira are very grateful to their customers who have supported them since their opening. With this in mind, the owner would like to thank his loyal customers by offering them an exclusive promotion which Mr Khan says “Is both original and fantastic value for our customers.”

Starting from Friday 14 April to [and including] Monday 18 April, Amira will be running the following promotions…

All Amira Abayas will on sale as ‘Buy one and get one FREE.’ This offer includes any Abaya of equal or less value absolutely free. Exclusive… Casual… Farashas… Batwing… Open/Closed.

All perfumes (sprays and oils) are also buy one get one free.

Amira is also on the verge of selling online and judging by the reaction of the store since its opening, Amira will no doubt go global in the very near future.

To take advantage of this fantastic offer, you can visit Amira’s Abayas at: 203 Westgate, Bradford, BD1 3AD. Tel: 01274 985858

Facebook.com/amirasabayas
Instagram.com/amirasabayas

 

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By Qainaat Aftab

qainaat@urban-echo.co.uk

It’s February and it’s the infamous month of Valentine’s Day.

Every year we see the capitalist notion where hundreds of red hearted balloons and red roses fill up the shop shelves. Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist con and another way to make singletons feel left out.

couple-rezsizedI find it odd how some of my friends get so caught up on the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day. In reality, it’s just another day. But listening to their conversation, I couldn’t help but find their plans hilarious and outlandish. Therefore I have decided to share them with you.

My friends came up with a plan called ‘What every girl should do on Valentine’s Day’. Be prepared as no doubt, you will find some of their ideas bizarre and funny.

Firstly, forget about secret Santa, how about a secret Valentine? It might be a little clichéd but you can get a little gift and no one will be complaining.

valentines-day-wallpaperSecondly, every group of single girl’s need a movie night in. As my friends suggested, do it Bridget Jones style.

Thirdly, go out and wine and dine in style with your friends. If you are on a tight budget, call all your friends over and have a one dish party. It’s a great way of catching up too.

The fourth idea came from the hit comedy series Friends. As ridiculous as it sounded to my ears, it might be a great thing to do for a laugh. So, why not have a cleansing ritual? Burn and leave all the negativity behind you to allow new and positive things to come into your life.

Last but not least, forget a romantic weekend break for two. Why not adventure and explore away with your friends and have a girl’s trip away for the weekend. I can guarantee you some of your best memories will come from that

Some of you may find it humorous and some may pick up some great ideas. Whichever one it is we’d love to hear from you.

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by Qainaat Aftab

It’s February and it’s the infamous month of Valentine’s Day.

Every year we see the capitalist notion where hundreds of red hearted balloons and red roses fill up the shop shelves. Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist con and another way to make singletons feel left out.

couple-rezsizedI find it odd how some of my friends get so caught up on the idea of being alone on Valentine’s Day. In reality, it’s just another day. But listening to their conversation, I couldn’t help but find their plans hilarious and outlandish. Therefore I have decided to share them with you.

My friends came up with a plan called ‘What every girl should do on Valentine’s Day’. Be prepared as no doubt, you will find some of their ideas bizarre and funny.

Firstly, forget about secret Santa, how about a secret Valentine? It might be a little clichéd but you can get a little gift and no one will be complaining.

valentines-day-wallpaperSecondly, every group of single girl’s need a movie night in. As my friends suggested, do it Bridget Jones style.

Thirdly, go out and wine and dine in style with your friends. If you are on a tight budget, call all your friends over and have a one dish party. It’s a great way of catching up too.

The fourth idea came from the hit comedy series Friends. As ridiculous as it sounded to my ears, it might be a great thing to do for a laugh. So, why not have a cleansing ritual? Burn and leave all the negativity behind you to allow new and positive things to come into your life.

Last but not least, forget a romantic weekend break for two. Why not adventure and explore away with your friends and have a girl’s trip away for the weekend. I can guarantee you some of your best memories will come from that

Some of you may find it humorous and some may pick up some great ideas. Whichever one it is we’d love to hear from you.

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by Sarah Taylor
by Sarah Taylor
Every year as Valentine’s Day approaches the high street becomes saturated with the colour red. From hearts and flowers to cards and gifts, vibrant window displays vie for our attention at every turn, and, as red has such a strong physical effect on us we can’t help but notice! Despite not being technically the most visible colour red gives the appearance of being closer than it is, so it gets our attention first. It also has a stimulating effect on the body, causing the pulse rate to rise, and can even activate our fight-or-flight response – hence it’s use in the traffic light system, car brake lights and warning signs the world over.

In modern society colour red has become synonymous with romantic love, desire and fertility, however it’s use in cosmetics dates back more than 10,000 years, as it is believed that women in ancient Egypt used red lipstick and rouge to enhance their appearance.

Those ancient Egyptian women were certainly onto something as pioneers of the painted red lip, and it’s power – which to this day should not be underestimated. Someone else who truly understood and capitalised on this was Coco Chanel, who when launching her own cosmetic line did so with a red lipstick. Since the launch of that the very first Le 1er Rouge in 1924 to the most recent Rouge Coco range, Chanel lipstick has evolved over the decades to become one of the most iconic make-up products of all time.

valentines-day-makeup-feature-OPTHaving spoken to many women about make-up through my work it seems to me that feelings about red lipstick are as varied as the range of shades out there on the market! From loving the look, but feeling it’s not for them, to not feeling complete without their ‘trademark red lippy’ everyone has an opinion about it.

My personal belief is that there is a red lip option out there for everyone. From the classic statement bold red lip, to the sheerest lip tint or stain so why not have fun finding, or even challenging your own red lip rules?

To help, here are my top red lip tricks and tips

When choosing a new shade If it’s not possible to test the product on your lips then apply it to the pad of one of your fingertips instead. The fingertips contain lots of blood vessels and are the closest skin colour to that of your lips. You can then hold your finger next to your face and see whether the shade works with your skin tone. This is more accurate than testing the lipstick on the back of your hand.

Find your perfect shade by first identifying your skin’s undertone. Cool skin tones suit true reds and blue-based reds, whereas coral or orange-based shades work well for warm skin tones.

Images-For-Valentine-DayIf you have a red lipstick in your make-up bag that isn’t working for you don’t be too quick to throw it away, you can adapt it to suit you either by applying either a sheer pink gloss over the top of it to make the shade bluer, or a gold gloss to make the shade warmer.

For the best result always prepare your lips prior to lipstick application. Use a lip scrub to remove dry or flaking skin and follow with a moisturising lip balm. You can also use lip balm to add gloss to a matte lipstick by applying it over the top.

Precision is key when applying red so outline your lips with a matching lip pencil to prevent bleeding, fill in your entire lip area with the pencil to create a base for your lipstick. This will ensure a longer lasting finish, and finally use concealer along the border of the outer lip to prevent the colour from bleeding.

Now go rock that red lip!

by Janette Ward
by Janette Ward
This month I would like to share with you about sleep and the difficulties we can experience and some ideas to help achieve good quality sleep.

These times have been when I have experienced depression or experienced burn out at work, when I did shift work and more recently earlier this year when my mum died.

We all have times in our lives when we can have problems sleeping, when we find it hard to fall asleep, find ourselves waking up in the night or have dreams that disturb our sleep. This is perfectly normal as these problems often resolve themselves after a short period of time.

However, if you have sleep problems that last weeks, months or years, this can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. If you continue to sleep badly, this can affect your energy levels, moods and how much you are able to concentrate. It can also have an impact on your relationships, your work and social life. It may also affect your ability to carry out usual day-to-day tasks, such as studying, going to work and carrying out daily chores.

There are many reasons for sleep problems such as a poor sleep routine; a poor sleep environment; changes in sleep patterns; physical illness; medication; alcohol, street drugs and stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine; stress, worry and anxiety; trauma and mental health problems.

Mental health problems can affect our sleep and sleep can affect our mental health, for example, causing us to struggle with everyday life, feeling fatigue, exhaustion, negative thinking, anxiety, stress and depression.

There are lots of things we can do to help restore a nourishing sleep pattern. I would suggest trying some of these below before visiting your GP and possibly considering prescribed medication.

20160830071225-sleepEstablish a routine. You could try to establish a regular sleeping pattern by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day. This will mean that your body starts to associate times of the day with sleeping. You may need to do this for several weeks in order to establish a regular pattern. If you are in a different time zone after a flight, do what you can to adjust to the new time. However tired you feel, go to bed close to the local bedtime, then get up reasonably early the next morning. Your body will hopefully then adjust to the new pattern quickly.

Your sleep environment. Before you go to bed, make sure that where you sleep is comfortable, your bed, bedding, your bedroom. That it is the right temperature, light and noise levels. We are all different but on the whole, dark, quiet and cool environments can make it easier to sleep.

Relax before bed. It’s important to relax and switch off from daily worries before you try to go to sleep. Stop any stimulating activities, such as working or doing exercise and avoid looking at screens, like your phone, a computer, the TV or a tablet, an hour before you go to bed. It may also help to do something calming before you go to bed, such as listening to relaxing music, meditating, praying, have a bath, reading, whatever helps you to relax.

Some foods that help. Protein foods that are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan – that helps boost the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. Chicken and turkey, milk and dairy, nuts i.e. walnuts and seeds are all good choices. Combine these with rice, pasta and potatoes to help the body get the most benefits from tryptophan. Green leafy vegetables help the brain use the tryptophan to manufacture melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, which is a small gland in the brain, it has many benefits and helps to control our sleep and wake cycles. Lettuce contains lactucarium which has sedative properties and effects the brain like opium. Bananas have high levels of magnesium and tryptophan that can really help us to sleep for longer and get to sleep faster.

Some drinks that help. Chamomile tea is associated with an increase of glycine which is a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative. Cherry juice is helpful because it is rich in melatonin and a warm milky drink with honey and a pinch of nutmeg contains tryptophan.

Try to resolve stresses and worries. What works for me is journaling, so most nights I write how I am feeling and what has happened in my day, particularly if there is anything worrying me. Doing this helps get it out of my head and onto the paper, which enables me to sleep better. Writing a list of things you need to do the following day can help. Keeping a sleep diary, it can help you to identify the factors that are affecting your sleep, there are many sleep diary templates available online, for example on the NHS Choices Live Well website nhs.uk/livewell

Natural remedies. I am a huge advocate for Bach Flower Remedies and they do a night time remedy Rescue Night liquid melts, they dissolve on your tongue for a natural sleep and these can be purchased at health food stores, or chemists. Valerian is a herb and its root is used as a sedative and sleep aid which helps regulate the action of nerve cells and has a calming effect. Aromatherapy can be really helpful, I personally use lavender. You could put 3 or 4 drops in your bath, use it in an oil burner or a couple of drops on your pillow. There are lots of other natural remedies available in health food shops and chemists, I suggest that before using any you check that they are safe to take with any prescribed mediation you are taking.

Create a bedtime ritual. Following a regular routine for sleep can become a ritual, a habit that tells your mind and body that it’s ‘time for bed’, preparing for a restful night’s sleep. Some of the things your bedtime ritual might include could be – starting to prepare an hour before getting into bed, by switching off all technology, have a bath and getting into some comfy pyjamas, have a favourite night time drink, read a bit, write a bit in your journal, mediate or pray and then drift off to sleep.

I wish you a future of nourishing night’s sleep and if you are interested in attending a sleep workshop or one to one coaching to obtain a good sleep routine please contact Janette at janette@circleswork.co.uk or www.circleswork.co.uk

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