Detoxing and sleep are interrelated—both affect our health and our longevity. As Chinese medicine practitioners are well aware, our body, mind, and spirit are inseparable and the health of one affects them all. As we exercise, for example, we expel toxins through our respiratory system while at the same time, the activity tires us out a little, calms our spirit, and improves the quality of our sleep.
We are delighted that you are joining us on the path toward a long, happy, healthy life; we hope you will learn to enjoy and practice what you learn over the next few weeks and incorporate these new habits into a new and vibrant lifestyle.
May you live long and may you live well.
— Dr. Mao
Our bodies are naturally equipped to be self-cleaning, but too much sugar, caffeine, overly processed foods, and crippling stress along with too little exercise can slow our body’s natural function. In addition to poor lifestyle choices, our bodies have the extra modern challenge of dealing with increasing quantities of environmental toxins like pesticides; off-gassing from carpets, mattresses, and building materials; BPAs in plastic containers; and dioxins in bleached paper products…just to name a few.
What lifestyle and environmental factors do you believe are exposing you to toxins?
What changes are you willing to make that would limit your exposure to these toxins?
NEW HABITS FOR DETOXIFICATION
Water is essential. Our bodies require water to lubricate our joints, form saliva and mucus, deliver oxygen via the bloodstream, boost skin health and beauty, cushion the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues, regulate body temperature, aid digestion, flush body wastes, maintain body temperature, moisten airways, deliver minerals and nutrients to different parts of the body, prevent kidney damage, boost performance during exercise, help control weight, and even reduce the chance of a hangover.
Our best bet is to drink water that is filtered but still contains its natural minerals. In general, glass or stainless-steel containers are the safest to store or drink water from, although newer PBA-free plastics are now widely available.
The amount of liquid we need to drink depends on our size, weight, gender, age, climate, and activity level but in general, a 150-pound person needs to drink at least two liters of water per day, so let’s aim for that amount, at least in the beginning.
Herbal teas are not only soothing and delightful they are also low in calories and count as part of our daily fluid requirement. Teas made with chrysanthemum flowers, milk thistle, or hawthorn berries have a detoxification function, so feel free to drink up!
Sleep has a huge role in a longevity plan because insomnia, or prolonged lack of sleep, affects our energy and mental clarity. Insomnia can mean difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, early morning awakening with difficulty going back to sleep, or waking up feeling tired.
From the Chinese perspective, nighttime is a quiet time when the spirit wanders and our body repairs and takes care of itself. To sleep well, Chinese medicine practitioners believe that our spirit and heart must be calm to experience restorative sleep, while anxiety, worry, and depression make it nearly impossible to achieve.
What lifestyle and environmental factors are affecting your quality of sleep?
What changes do you need to make in order to sleep better?
NEW HABITS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Walking is the perfect gentle exercise, and it is so simple that nearly everyone can do it. Walking is great for improving mood, decreasing stress, reducing the risk of chronic disease, improving bowel habits, boosting immunity, sleeping better, and can even help us live longer. We only eliminate about 30% of the toxins we ingest through defecation, urination, and perspiration, the remainder of the toxins that we expel are respiratory… another our walking is such a great exercise for us to embrace.
Try eating more grains at dinner because carbohydrates make people feel sleepy. A glass of warm milk is another good snooze snack because milk is rich in tryptophan which can help people sleep better. Alternatively, try eating a cup of plain yogurt an hour before going to bed.
Take care to cut back on foods that contain tyramine which can cause insomnia, like bacon, cheese, chocolate, ham, potatoes, sausage, and tomatoes… especially before bedtime.
Herbal formulas to promote sleep often contain jujube seeds, chrysanthemum flower, and licorice root. Herbal teas made from Jujube seeds, Tiger Lily bulbs, or Chamomile are not only soothing, they can also help us sleep and count as part of our daily fluid requirement, so once again… drink up!
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