Tag Archives: comfort

Why Sleep is Vital to Your Overall Health

sleeping-kittenBy: Ali Jan Qadir

The embrace of sleep can be one of the most coveted things a person can ask for after a long day. While the reason we need sleep as yet eludes medical science, it is inarguably necessary. Most of us have experienced the feeling of being tired and spent and then gone to sleep only to wake up completely refreshed—so where does the stress and tiredness go? Well obviously something happens while a person sleeps which alleviates the physical, emotional and mental exhaustions of a day. Even doctors sometimes recommend sleep as a remedy to slight fevers and stress induced headaches etc.

The virtues of sleep are far and wide and affect us in critical ways. How we generally function; our physical and mental productivity, well-being, and activity are all related to the hours of sleep we put ourselves through. Even Psychological health has been found to be effected by our sleeping habits.

Sleep has a restorative quality. While we sleep our body calms down to very low metabolism rate (basal metabolism rate) and general tiredness falls off us as we are weaned off a tiring agent (adenosine) produced by our brain while we are awake. Repairs also take place as muscle growth, protein synthesis etc. are speeded up. So when we wake up we feel refreshed as both our cognitive and physical function have completely recovered and we are again full of energy.

Uninterrupted sleep also hugely impacts the capacity to learn and our memories. When we sleep the new information we have acquisitioned in the hours we were awake is stabilized and consolidated and is stored as memory from which it is easy to recall when we’re awake; so sleep helps retain knowledge and hence enhances our learning process and memory: It makes us more productive—why this is, is a matter of conjecture but studies have found this to be the case, the more hours of sleep the better memory recall and learning a person can have and therefore the more productive a person can be.

Sleep also affects the cognitive brain functions, for right handed people, the right side controlled functions of the brain like reflexes expressive and receptive speech, complex verbal and mathematical skill are all profoundly affected by sleep—the more one sleeps the sharper all these functions will become, being able to perceive and express things better will definitely improve the on our social lives so that is a plus most will welcome.

Nowadays, in the internet age: with everything happening at super speeds and connectivity at an all-time high people care less about sleeping habits and a healthy sleeping routine, they caffeine up and take life late into the night while making room for only patches of sleep. Lack of sleep can cause irritability, moodiness, stress, and even depression–which basically translateto a nose dive in the quality of life. Motivation levels start to tank and this can lead to even worse problems. And all this can turn into a vicious cycle as stress and depression are known to cause insomnia, so one can get caught in a very bad place if one isn’t careful about sleeping habits: A person’s peace of mind will completely be ruined by such a turn of events.

To overcome sleeping disorders a very basic and simple answer is to start exerting yourself physically. Physical exertion causes fatigue in the muscles and increases body temperature so in turn is compensated by the brain by adding hours to deep sleep by cooling down and allowing muscles to relax, and it also helps in making one sleep faster and easier. Mental activities also help as one can try their hands at things like Sudoku or simpler still trying to use your unfavorable hand( left hand for someone who is right handed) etc.  This improves sleep regulation by the brain as its activity rate is improved. Distractions are also a source of lack of sleep which needs to be removed. But that doesn’t mean that one should tax the brain, because it needs to calm down for sleep to come. So the brain should be allowed to be in a relaxed state when a person is about to go to sleep—about a couple hours before bedtime that is. Caffeine drinks like Tea and Coffee or soft drinks, Alcohol and other such beverages should be avoided because both adversely affect sleep; caffeine is a well-known brain stimulant while Alcohol although it makes one drowsy at first ruins sleep after a couple of hours as it has slow acting stimulants. Another important thing is to correct one’s biological clock by making a steady routine for bedtime and getting up in the morning.

So by getting an ample amount of sleep on a regular basis one can avoid all the issues that may pop up from sleep deprivation and restore ones peace of mind, sleep is also a stress relieving exercise and additionally on top of it powers of rejuvenation it also increases productivity so it not only maintains one’s quality of life it actually improves on it. So while ‘early to bed, and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise’ may be a clichéd and hackneyed phrase it is in fact a wise motto to believe in.


Ali Jan Qadir is passionate about sharing what he learns. His articles always aims to give useful advice to his readers. His writing ranges from productivity to art. He also runs a blog about sleep and beds where his questions answers like what’s the best bed for back sleepers.

Make an Imaginary Friend and Find Happiness

gasp at lifeWhen I asked my almost 3 year old. to sing me a song in the car, he told me that he would, but he could only sing one because he was pretty busy. “I have to pick up a jumparoo for Sissy’s baby sister at 9 o’clock, so I’m pretty busy right now.” I didn’t know Sissy had a baby sister! I didn’t even know Sissy up until a month ago.

Sissy is my son’s best friend these days, and she does some crazy stuff! Especially when he can’t fall asleep at nap time. Earlier this week, “Mommy! I want to tell you the crazy thing Sissy did! She climbed down the side of my crib and jumped into the wall and went all the way down her new porch stairs and into the street and into her house and into her own bed without scooting or waking up at all!!”  One week before, on an especially raucous no-nap day, he shouted with glee, “Hey mommy! We’re having a birthday party, will you join us and sing happy birthday?”

Yesterday I learned that Sissy has a mom named Tessie. Tessie hung out with my son in his crib yesterday when he couldn’t nap and Sissy had ridden her bicycle home all by herself. I learned that Sissy’s baby sister’s name is Ter-hion. When I was holding his real baby sister, my son was holding Sissy’s baby sister, though he decided to put her in the stroller because he couldn’t catch a ball and hold her at the same time. I should also point out that even though she loves her, Sissy isn’t always so nice to her baby sister. Over the weekend my son told me, “Sissy is in time out for biting her baby sister, Mommy.”

I asked him today what it was like playing with Sissy. He said it was fun and comfortable. I asked him where Sissy was, and he said like I should have known, “She’s in the crib! Can you take her out?”

I’m thinking he and all his fellow imagination filled toddlers are onto something here. An imaginary friend can be anyone you want him or her to be. This person can be your very own special friend. She can do all sorts of stuff. And she can do stuff for you so you don’t have to do it yourself. “Sissy, can you go to the gym for me?” “Sissy, I thought you were going to clean up the kitchen? You were flying like a bird out the window and high high into the clouds?”  Ooh! That sounds like much more fun. Makes me feel better too, just imagining it.

I’ve often read that we need to love ourselves, accept ourselves, be kinder and more patient. I’m thinking Sissy and all her imaginary comrades could teach us this by being the equanimous, unconditional, open-minded friends they naturally are. I’m going to give it a shot. Intent community, please meet….Sophie. She’s new here.

Are You Willing to Be Uncomfortable?

How comfortable are you with being uncomfortable?  I know this may seem like a paradoxical question, but it’s not.  In fact, Michelle and I took a workshop this past weekend where they emphasized the importance of being uncomfortable – related to expanding our growth, success, fulfillment, and more.

There seems to be a direct relationship between my willingness to be uncomfortable and how much excitement, creativity, and abundance I experience in a particular area of my life (both now and in the past).  In other words, the more willing I am to be uncomfortable, the more I find myself growing, accomplishing, and transforming.  On the flip side, the less willing I am to be uncomfortable, the more stress, resignation, and suffering I experience.

Our egos are highly trained at keeping us “safe” and making sure we avoid any and all “risks.”  However, it’s difficult (if not impossible) for us to take our lives, our work, and our relationships to where we truly want them to be if we’re not willing to be uncomfortable in the process.

Being uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean that things have to be overly painful, dramatic, or challenging (although sometimes they will).  When we’re uncomfortable it’s usually because we’re doing or saying something new, we have something important at stake, or we’re taking an essential risk.  These are all beautiful and critical aspects of life and growth.  Think of the most important areas of your life, your work, and your relationships – I bet there were and still are elements of these important things that are uncomfortable for you.

When we’re willing to be uncomfortable, we lean into our fear, try new things, and go for it in a bold and authentic way.  It doesn’t mean we know exactly what we’re doing (in many cases we won’t).  It also doesn’t mean we won’t fail (which, of course, we will at times).

We all have the capacity to be uncomfortable – we’ve been doing it our entire life (learning to walk, talk, ride a bike, drive a car, do our work, and so much more).  However, instead of trying to “survive” the uncomfortable aspects of life – what if we embraced them, acknowledged ourselves for our willingness, and even sought out new, unique, and growth-inducing ways to make ourselves uncomfortable consciously?

Here are a few things you can think about and do to your own willingness to be uncomfortable.

1)  Take inventory of your life.  Where are you willing to be uncomfortable and where are you not?  The more honest you can be with yourself about your own willingness (or lack thereof), the more able you’ll be to make some important adjustments and changes.  Be authentic and compassionate with yourself as you make this inquiry.

2)  Identify your fears.  There is always a specific fear (or a set of fears) that exits underneath all of our resistance.  When we’re not willing to be uncomfortable, it’s usually because we’re scared.  If we can admit, own, and express our fears in an honest and vulnerable way, we can liberate ourselves from their negative grip.

3)  Create support and accountability around you.  The best way I know of to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone, is to elicit the support of others and make sure we get them to hold us accountable.  There may be important things for you to do – that you know will take your life, work, and relationships to the next level – but they seem intimidating (i.e. uncomfortable).  Getting people you trust and respect to help you, coach you, and push you is one of the best ways to make it happen – even and especially if you’re not sure how, or worried you can’t do it.

Being uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable.  But, it’s one of the most important things for us to embrace if we want to live a life of real meaning, purpose, and passion.

How willing are you to be uncomfortable?  What can you do right now to consciously step into being uncomfortable for the purpose of your growth, expansion, and fulfillment?    Share your thoughts, action ideas, and insights.

Originally published in 2010

photo by: aussiegall

Simple Gestures of Solace: Offering Comfort

Sometimes just being with somebody, rather than words, is all that is needed to help.

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.

The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart.


Thank you to Haiti

In the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, I’d like to offer my prayers and heartfelt thanks to all the beautiful people there, from me personally and those of us who are not there.

Thank you, Haiti, for showing us the beauty of your people.

Thank you for letting us know that you are there, in need.
Thank you for showing us you are not invisible.
Thank you for giving us the gift of being able to give to you.

Thank you for helping us remember who you are.
Thank you for helping us remember who we are.
Thank you for helping us remember we all are One.

Thank you for your beauty in the face of danger and destruction.
Thank you for showing us people in the direst of need helping each other, when we may have
 forgotten to do so ourselves.

Thank you for opening our hearts.

Thank you for showing us who you really are, as people, when the news of the past may have
  focused on other subjects.
Thank you for showing us your families, your neighbors, your love.
Thank you for singing and praying and hoping, and thank you for thanking us with appreciation,
  as I have seen so many times on the news. 

Thank you for helping us awaken.
Thank you for helping us to move into action as we are awakening.

Thank you for reminding us to see and care and help, not only when people are dying,
  but even more, while they are still living.
Thank you for reminding us that people are not to be forgotten.

Thank you for reminding us to love life and all around us.
Thank you for reminding us how truly fortunate we are, right now, in this moment.

Thank you for reminding us to help, to hope.
Thank you for reminding us to care, to see.

Thank you for reminding us who you are.
Thank you for reminding us who we are.
Thank you for reminding us we all are One.

Thank you
, Haiti, for showing us the beauty of your people.

In hoping and knowing that we all, everywhere, are here to live in greater compassion, in greater caring, in greater unity, as the One people that we all really are. 

I am praying for greater safety, comfort, peace, and well-being to flow to the beautiful people of Haiti in the work of recovery. And I am praying and knowing that we offer even greater contributions of caring and help from the rest of the world.

7 Ways to Comfort Loved Ones in Their Darkest Times – A Poem

Sometimes the most profound truths come in the simplest  words and arrive in the most mundane of ways. One of my favorite poems spoke its elegant, powerful, and compassionate truth to me again recently when it landed in my mailbox, gracing the cover of the Victory in the Valley cancer support center’s winter newsletter.

Written by Linda Mae Richardson, “Comforters: When I Was Diagnosed with Cancer” first reached me about two years ago when I was invited to speak at VV’s “Fiesta and Siesta” retreat for women cancer survivors in the Wichita area. It’s an evergreen poem not just for people with cancer, but for anyone carrying a heavy load.

So many have been helped and healed by these simple words. Please keep them in mind throughout this season of giving. Because it’s not about giving things, it’s about offering love, light, and hope during the darkest days.

Comforters: When I Was Diagnosed with Cancer

My first friend came up and expressed his shock by saying,
"I can’t believe that you have cancer.
I always thought you were so active and healthy."
He left and I felt alienated and somehow very different.

My second friend came and brought me information about different treatments being used for cancer. He said,
"Whatever you do, don’t take chemotherapy. It’s a poison!"
He left and I felt scared and confused.

My third friend came and tried to answer my "whys?"
With the statement,
"Perhaps God is disciplining you for some sin in your life?"
He left and I felt guilty.

My fourth friend came and told me,
"If your faith is just great enough God will heal you."
He left and I felt my faith must be inadequate.

My fifth friend came and told me to remember that,
"All things work together for good."
He left and I felt angry.

My sixth friend never came at all.
I felt sad and alone.

My seventh friend came and held my hand and said,
"I care, I’m here, I want to help you through this."
He left and I felt LOVED!

Copyright 1988, Linda Mae Richardson
Reprinted with permission from the author

As written in Victory in the Valley‘ winter newsletter, “The response of the friend in the last stanza speaks to the very heart of Victory in the Valley’s mission…” Victory in the Valley is a nonprofit organization that offers support, encouragement, and hope to people in the Wichita area and beyond who have "punched by cancer" [my words in quotation marks].

This post is adapted from Lori’s CarePages.com blog, "what helps. what hurts. what heals."
Learn more at LoriHope.com.


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