Part Two of To Sleep or Not to Sleep

An extra long title for a not so long post ūüôā

After a discussion with my chiropractor about how long I’d had my mattress and its connection to my recent back, leg and arm pains and restlessness, I started my journey for a new mattress.

As with anything I plan to purchase, I set out to do a little research first.¬† Who knew buying a new bed would take three months of research and testing of mattresses?¬† It was awful!¬† Every time I thought I’d narrowed it down, I’d read about some other mattress that was sure to help with chronic lower back issues or help to promote a better night’s sleep.¬† Well, when my allergist threw in her two cents about how certain mattresses could help with my allergies and sinus troubles, I was fit to be tied.

What I knew for certain was that I was going to be spending A LOT of money and I had to get this mattress thing just right.  It is amazing how little I knew about how a lack of good sleep, joint pain and blood circulation can make the difference between a successful, productive day and a bad day.  I learned that its not just about getting eight hours of sleep.  We can all probably get eight hours on a good night but are you comfortable and peacefully sleeping for those eight hours or tossing, turning and getting up every couple of hours?

My research included visiting various mattress stores and laying on more mattresses than I ever thought possible!¬† Here are a few things I am convinced of…

1. There is no way you can buy a mattress that is best for you without being able to try it out first.

2. Buying a bed in a box is risky.¬† If you can’t find a store nearby that has one of those bed in a box mattresses available to try, cross it off your list.

3. You have to be certain about your mattress expectations and be sure it will fit your specific needs and desires.

4. Stay away from weird sales people. I had a salesperson ask me if I liked to sleep on my side or in the casket position.  Of course, that grabbed my attention but it also creeped me out.  No way was I going to let her sell me a mattress no matter what the sales price was.  Here I was concerned about my health and with the money I was planning to spend, this was not the time for her jokes.

5. If you want to go with an organic mattress, like with organic food certifications, know exactly what it means for a mattress to be certified organic and if you agree with those standards.

6. It really is a good idea to change your mattress every eight to ten years.  Trust me, it makes a difference so start your search early.

When the smoke cleared, we decided on a TempurPedic.¬† Just like the last time I bought a car, this was THE most pleasant buying experience!¬† First, our salesperson, Yahiara, was amazing!¬† Even though I know it’s her job to sell products, she didn’t make us feel as it we had to purchase a mattress right then.¬† She answered all of our questions, talked about the benefits of each mattress in the store that was within our budget and never tried to talk us into something more pricey.

Second, we purchased our mattress from an actual TempurPedic store and not from a third party mattress store for several reasons.¬† The pricing was about the same at all the other stores we’d been to but the medical discounts, free pillows, and mattress protectors we got at the TempurPedic store made the difference.

Third, the moment I laid down on my mattress, I knew it was the one for me.¬† Early on in my search I knew I wanted an adjustable base so my mattress on an adjustable base was simply the best.¬† My fifteen year old daughter was with me that day, when we laid down on the bed, she and I both said at the same time, “this it the one!”¬† I truly wanted to carry that mattress out of the store with me because by that point, all I wanted was a restful, peaceful good night’s sleep.

As of today, my Love and I have been in our new bed for about two weeks.¬† I have slept in Zero Gravity almost every night and best of all, I have slept through the night.¬† I wake up feeling as if I’d actually slept and rested!¬† My arms, legs and joints are starting to feel better and not so restless.¬† With just a little elevation on his side, my Love, still using his C-Pap machine, is breathing much better through the night.¬† One big bonus…if either one of us happens to turn or move in the night, the other person doesn’t feel it so their sleep isn’t disturbed.

 

Looking forward to restful sleep… ūüôā

 

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

After my son was born, I began experiencing pain in my lower back.¬† I had no idea what was causing it or what to do to make it stop.¬† When the pain got really severe, I had to be taken to the hospital where they would inject medication into my back.¬† Over the years, I guess I kind of got used to having this pain.¬† At my worst, I had difficulty getting out bed, driving and getting in and out of the car.¬† My doctors would tell me there was not much they could do outside of shots, prescribing pain pills and muscle relaxers.¬† I am not one to take a lot of medication just to be taking it so, I began simply living with this dull pain in my lower back.¬† I’d take an aspirin or two if the pain got too bad but for the most part, I just dealt with it.¬† By the time I started teaching full time, I had no idea how I’d live my life with this constant pain in my back.¬† I found new doctors who basically recommended the same treatment as my previous doctors, cortisone shots in the area, which I extremely opposed or surgery which was completely out of the question.¬† I was not able to wrap my head around having back surgery when none of my doctors could pinpoint where the pain was coming from or how the surgery would help.

During my second year of teaching, during Teacher Appreciation Week, my principal at the time had hired a massage company to come in and give teachers fifteen minute massages on their breaks.¬† Prior to this I had never had a massage by a professional.¬† During the brief session, a nurse was also there to talk to about spinal health and to ask questions about whether or not you were experiencing any back pain or joint discomfort.¬† I jumped at the chance to tell her about the lower back pain I’d been experiencing since the birth of my son some ten years prior.¬† She invited me to come to the chiropractic office where she worked and meet with the doctor.¬† Chiropractic services were never on my radar as I worked with other doctors to find a solution to my lower back pain.¬† None of my doctors recommended chiropractic services or any other physical therapy services for that matter.

A few weeks later I met with this doctor, who turned out to be a very nice, kind and knowledgeable guy.¬† I had x-rays done on my back, met with the rest of his staff and was given a tour of his office where he explained his work and what all of the machines were used for.¬† A few days later I went back to review my x-rays and talk about treatment options.¬† Turns out, the pain I had been experiencing was due pressure on my nerves from my spinal cord being a little inflamed and pinched.¬† I’m sure there is a scientific term for it but I can not recall what he called it.¬† I began having treatments at his office and after a few weeks, I began to feel better.

I started seeing Dr. Brown about ten years ago and I still see him for treatment maybe about once every other month or so.¬† I, honestly feel a lot better.¬† After my car accident five years ago, he was the first person I called.¬† With no medication or surgery, he was able to help my body heal the three bulging discs, two tears and whiplash I sustained from the accident.¬† Whenever I have issues with my health, Dr. Brown is usually the first person I call or go see.¬† So when I recently began experiencing pain in my neck, shoulders and back, I went to his office to talk with him.¬† His first question, “how old is your mattress?”¬† My response, “12 years.”

This conversation set me on a journey that taught me even more about my health and listening to my body.

 

More to come…:)

So…I Joined a Gym

Twenty-sixteen is off to a great start! Although I am one of those people who set goals for just about everything in my life, I am not one of those people who make new year resolutions. ¬†Every year my intentions are pretty much the same…to make my new year better than my last. ¬†Granted, I wanted to slim down another ten pounds this year, I had no intentions of joining a gym to do it. ¬†To be quite honest, I think the last time I had a gym membership was like fifteen years ago. ¬†I was living in Atlanta at the time and I think it was Lifetime Fitness that was popping up everywhere. ¬†My friends and I thought it would be a great idea to join because back then big fitness centers were starting to put tv’s on their stationary machines. ¬†So, our great idea was all the rave until one by one we all started making excuses as to why we couldn’t make it to the gym. ¬†One missed gym trip led to another until eventually going to the gym was a distant memory. ¬†What wasn’t a distant memory was the contract I’d signed saying that I would commit to a one year membership. ¬†Even though I’d decided not to go, that did not mean my monthly charges would stop and with more than six months left on that contract, Lifetime Fitness was going to get their money!

Flash forward to 2016, my niece and nephew began going to the gym last year.  They are always talking to me about their workout experience and using each other to stay motivated to go.  I have a co-worker who happens to go to the same gym as my niece and nephew.  After talking with my co-worker one day, she invited me to get a free pass and to go to the gym with her, so I did.  Two workout sessions and one Zumba class later, I had somehow arrived at another gym membership. One really great thing about this particular membership is no long term contract.  I can cancel at anytime!

So what’s the difference between this membership and the one you had fifteen years ago? ¬†Great question! ¬†Beside the “no long term contract”, my response would be: my commitment. ¬†Fifteen years ago I’m sure I thought being able to go to the gym with my friends to workout and hangout would be fun. ¬†But the moment my friends began dropping out, so did I. ¬†I had no commitment. ¬†My so-called plan to get fit was contingent upon what my friends did or didn’t do. Today, the older and wiser me understands that doing what’s best for me, my life and my family can not be contingent upon what others do, think or feel. ¬†What’s really cool about this whole membership thing is how everything kind of fell into place. ¬†One day I was talking about it, then when I tried it I realized how much I enjoyed it, found out my insurance covered some of my fees and that in itself was motivating. ¬†I had the money and could afford it in my monthly budget. ¬†So, why not give it a shot?

When I got home and thought about the whole thing, I realized that some of the best things in life happen to us when we didn’t over-plan, over-focus or over-analyze them. ¬†Of course, we can’t always simply throw caution to the wind and do what ever we please, when ever we want. ¬†Some things in life need to be planned, budgeted and organized. ¬†My point today is, don’t feel the need to over-think every single decision you make. ¬†God is really and truly the designer of our lives and there are those times when He lines things up just right so that doing them aren’t a burden or hassle but are placed in a special order to enhance our lives. More often than not, we don’t have to go out of our way to reach our goals. ¬†True, we must work towards them and work hard but we don’t have to create some ideal setting in order for our goals to happen. ¬†If our goals line up with God’s plan for our lives, He will make sure to lay out a path in front of us to reach them. Will that path be straight and peaceful, maybe or maybe not. ¬†As long as we keep the eye of our hearts open to God’s will, calling and purpose for our lives, we will see and be able to walk in the path God has laid out for us.

 

Getting healthy in mind, body and spirit…:)

Chapter Six – God’s Colorful Expressions

In this chapter I am reminded of the many different ways God has spoken to his people throughout the bible. ¬†He uses whatever means necessary to communicate to those he loves. ¬†He communicated clearly to Adam and Eve about their responsibilities. ¬†He communicated with Cain about his anger. ¬†He came to Noah about building an arc. ¬†Moses literally got a burning bush of communication. ¬†I could go on…Joseph had a dream, Ezekiel and Daniel saw visions. ¬†God communicates to us in so many ways.

It may be a dream, a whisper, a loud voice or a vision during prayer but how God chooses to communicate with each of us is different.  Personally, I think that because we have so much going on in our lives that our minds and bodies are constantly on the move.  This constant moving makes it difficult for us to hear God trying to communicate with us which is why it is so important for us to spend quiet moments each morning in scripture and prayer.  In order to hear God express himself to us we must slow down and make daily quiet times a priority in our lives.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but recently after talking with my doctor about all of the many, many stresses in my life she suggested that I research calming techniques. ¬†Daily relaxation, yoga, just something, anything, to help me slow down my pace. ¬†I love yoga so that was an easy place to start. ¬†Again, with my crazy schedule, finding the time to go presented another problem. ¬†During my research I came across meditation. ¬†Of course, I know what it is but I’ve never read enough to understand the benefits. ¬†However, after researching, I learned this was something I could do without leaving my house. ¬†Yet…that finding time thing was still an issue. ¬†As with everything I do, I jumped in feet first. ¬†Decided to set my clock a few minutes earlier in the morning, have my quiet time as normal and then meditate for twenty minutes.

Needless to say, this time in the morning is the absolute best part of my day. ¬†I’ve been doing this now for a little over a month. ¬†I am surprised by how much more relaxed and clear headed I feel when I start my day. ¬†More importantly, this has helped me to be able to discern God’s voice a bit more clearly. ¬†This time in the morning allows God to speak to me and prepare me for the day ahead as well as the decisions that I will need to make. ¬†Not only am I doing something healthy for my mind but it is definitely beneficial for my body. ¬†It’s a win-win and my doctor is happy too!

For more information on mediation, I would recommend Success Through Meditation – by Russell Simmons

 

Enjoy every day…