Hit the Sheets: why to get more sleep

532cbea1c3f791ddd150f7ce2d338bfdLet her sleep, 

for when she wakes 

she will move mountains. 

Let her sleep, 

for when she wakes

she will shake the world.

-Napoleon Bonaparte

Sleep is something I have studied, read, and practiced a lot of. I mean it is something we must do on the daily, why not give it a little love and attention? And let me tell you there is some cool stuff out there on the topic.

I feel a big take-away of my living primitively in a shed, was my adventures into the world of quality sleep. Racking up hours of slumber in the winter, the dark, quiet world of my shed provided a nearly perfect environment for sleep. Why? Why do I rave about sleep so much? When people ask about health, I always pop it in. The body is a complex system. It’s an intricate system of checks and balances. Health to me is super dynamic. There are a whole lot of variables to consider when something is out of whack in your body, it is never just one thing. Sleep, stress, eating habits, exercise, and more. They all effect us.

HORMONES. Hormones are key players in your health.They dictate a lot and hormone issues are on the rise. My sister for instance has issues with her thyroid and has Addison’s disease, both effected by hormones. Sleep is vital to hormone health. They’re restored at night. And skimping on a good night sleep could effect us in so many ways. For instance, it can even effect our hunger levels. That’s right, things like ghrelin are restored to glory at night. Ghrelin plays a role in satiety, hunger, and energy distribution. This is just one small for instance.

I think one of the most interesting health books I have read was about the correlation between light and sleep. In a nut shell it was saying many of our health issues and weight gain are due to light. We live in a perpetual summer. Light is always available to us. Heating and cooling keep us nice and comfortable. Once upon a time summers were when we bulked up. Food and forage were plentiful. The sunlight hours longer. We spent summers eating and partying. Preparing ourselves for winter and times of scarcity, plus longer hours of darkness and more time for sleep. To me it makes since. Continue reading “Hit the Sheets: why to get more sleep”

Why to Go Barefoot: An exploration into earthing

Displaying IMG_20150728_202823.jpgSo I am not sure where my intrigue with being barefoot comes from, maybe it is primal instinct, but regardless when I wrote about walking last week, it only made since to talk about shedding shoes.

I guess it began in childhood. I grew up in the country. Going barefoot was the norm. If I needed to pop outside I would, putting on shoes took much time and effort, even if it meant walking across gravel.

Another pivotal barefoot moment came when I began reading (maybe a bit obsessively) Mark Sisson’s about 6+ years ago. Actually even before this, because my family has been lifting weights barefooted for over a decade (just like yoga you do shoeless). Anyways I thought about Mark: What are those toe shoes on his feet? I had to have some. At the time people in Terre Haute had no clue about them. Are those socks on your feet? What the hell do you have on your toes? Are those comfortable? Always my response was: it’s like I don’t have shoes on. The more I wore my shoes or went completely barefoot, the more of a change I felt. Less time wearing shoes really shaped up my calf muscles and legs (there for a bit I actually kept a photo journal). After long hikes in the mountains, I could feel how my feet and legs had worked to adapt to the ever-changing terrain. I could feel my feet grip the ground as I took off in sprints. Part of my research led to the idea that shoes weaken the feet because they cut off the small muscles and bones in your feet. Working it’s way up, that throws the rest of your leg joints and back out of whack. I didn’t wear gloves when I lifted or back braces, same idea. I wanted to use what I had, to strengthen what was there. Muscles correspond. You need a strong core to have a strong back. Muscles in the front correspond with muscles in the back. Why not my feet as well? And then I looked at my foot. I wish I had a before pic of it. My arches. My arches are beautiful and curved perfectly now, compared to the slight flatness I had before. Your body is genius and complex, we have no clue of the full miracle that is our body and all the complex feedback loops it has. The foot is designed to walk. We did it for how long? Shoes are truly like a newborn in the grand scheme of time. The arch is meant to absorb shock. Not to mention how foot strike has changed overtime. Look at barefoot runners, who strike mid-foot or on the toes. A natural human stride. Whereas most shoes with their arches replacing our arches, cause us to strike on our heels. I know so many people with plantar problems. Why cover the foot up? Why not use it? Kind of like steroids. Your body naturally produces testosterone, so when you take it synthetically, your body minimizes production. You are then dependent on the man-made stuff. We weaken our feet and now we are dependent on shoes companies. As a simple, minimalistic girl, I am all about some barefootness. Continue reading “Why to Go Barefoot: An exploration into earthing”