Caravan Sonnet: January 2013

1/31/13

Thursday Health Thoughts: Better Sleep General Ideas

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

As I mentioned in my post last Thursday , I wanted to share some tips and thoughts on getting better sleep that I have learned and am still learning that may help you or someone you know. Last week I gave some thoughts about mattress ideas and today I just wanted to suggest some general sleep ideas that may be helpful in the journey with chronic illness and pain. Here are 16 general tips (in no particular order) that I personally do or have heard some other people do! 

(1) Dark Cave: For me light can be a distraction so I need to have a room that is dark with no lights when I am trying to sleep. Unfortunately our neighbors love to leave on their BIG spotlights that illuminate our yard. *smiles* For this reason I have several HEAVY {lined} curtains that I have over the shades in the windows in my room. 

(2) Eye Covers: As the picture to the left shows I love me some eye covers (the picture one the left was taken on a road trip)! I tried several before I found one that I love. I did try some expensive ones ($8- $10 dollars) before I found my favorite for $4 at Target. *happy smiles* If you don't have one I would definitely recommend trying one!

(3) Soft Sheets: I know I talked about Mattress ideas last week but I have found sheets and blankets that are good are also very important. After months and months of reading the pros and cons of different sheets I chose to purchase organic sheets from Target and love them! (You can find them here: Target Sheets ) While I would have liked a higher thread count these were in the budget. *smiles* 

(4) Disconnect: I choose to turn off all media (Internet, TV, phone, etc.) at least an hour before I head to bed and I leave it outside of my bedroom. There are the occasions where a situation arises that this does not work out but for me that time before bed is a chance to "disconnect" from the rest of the world and really "reconnect" with my precious Lord. I enjoy journaling, reading and praying at night. This time before bed is a truly precious time of slowing down and reflecting on the day. 

(5) Close By: I keep several "necessities" on my nightstand beside my bed. These necessities include a bottle of water, different medications that I might need, tissues, a good book or magazine and a flashlight. If I can't fall asleep right away or I need something I don't want to get out of bed to go get it. This allows my body to stay truly at rest. 

(6) Heating Pad: I have a heating pad that I really like that I keep stored in the nightstand next to me. On the nights where my muscles are really tight I just have to lean over, grab the heating pad and it is right there. I have found that heat is a true relaxer. 

(7) Relaxing Soak: It is with rare exception that I am not taking a detox bath twice a day but I always take a detox bath about two hours before I go to bed for about 20-30 minutes. Not only is this a great detoxifier but it is also wonderfully relaxing. You can find a variety of different bath salts or soap to help with a variety of different needs. SO relaxing!

(8) Pillows: Pillows for me are a true key to good sleep which probably explains why I literally have 7 on my bed. My best advice is to hunt and search for pillows that are good for you and that invest in them. Definitely worth it! 

(9)  PJ's: Every Christmas my sis and I give matching PJ's (as shown above *smiles*) and that has installed in me a love of comfy pajamas. Comfy clothes are a great source of relaxation.

(10) Fans: One of the best decisions I made in college was to sleep with fans! To this day I now have a very difficult time sleeping if I do not have the "white noise" from a fan in the room. [hahaha- my former students can attest that I brought these fans on overnight field trips and senior trips! *smiles*]It is hard to find ones that have a good sound but I highly urge you to invest the time to find a good quality fan! {Some people use other types of white noise that I hear works well too! I urge you to find something that is a consistent noise so it can help you sleep better!}

(11) Sleeping Aides: I know that some people are under the care of a physician for sleep medications but for me this was not something that I chose to do. I believe in meds, but have found that natural and herbal alternatives work very well for me. I spoke at great length with my doctors and have come up with a couple of herbal remedies that help me sleep great. If you struggle with insomnia I would encourage you to talk with your physician! 

(12) Temperatures: Room temperatures can truly alter a good night sleep! Find what works best for you! 

(13) Set the Mood: In the early evening I go into my bedroom and turn on just a small lamp by my bed. When I am ready to go to bed I enter a room that is already set apart and different then the bright lights of where I was. Yes, it does sound silly but everyone who has tried it loves it. *smiles* 

(14) Candles: Similar to #13 I have heard that some people light candles in the early evening in their bedroom. This sounds wonderful and I have to try it! 

(15) Say goodbye to work at the door: I admit that I struggled with this one while I was teaching. I would often bring "just one more essay" into my room to finish before I fell asleep. I still sometimes have cheated and brought my graduate work in. When I finally stopped doing this (as in about a month ago *smiles*) and made my room truly a sanctuary I started off my sleep time more relaxed and saw my bedroom as a place for peace.

(16) Avoid: Ok, this one might sound silly but I was guilty of it for the longest time (hello snack machine during late night college days!), but don't eat or drink right before you go to bed. For me I have learned that I sleep better when I put a couple of hours in between eating and sleeping. 

These steps have truly given me the opportunity to rest and sleep better. I would love to know- what kind of things do you do to rest better? What types of adjustments have you made to sleep better? 

1/29/13

reconnected

One of the (unexpected) blessings of moving back to my parents home has been having the opportunity to reconnect with a couple of high school friends. The honest truth is that I have lost touch with many everyone from high school days. Since I graduated a few years many years ago I have lived in four different states that were many hours away with few trips home over the years. The times that I was in town I wanted to soak up every second I could with my family and didn't invest time to stay connected with old friends. Let's be honest- facebook was not something that we had access to when we graduated (yes, I do realize how old that makes me sound ;)) and overtime I lost touch with many high school friends. So after moving back it was such a wonderful blessing to reconnect with a couple of girls from "high school days". Originally we planned to get together for one lunch date but this has developed into a monthly lunch where we share with each other what God is doing, lots of laughter, prayer requests, encouragement, and just sharing how our lives are going. Thank you "M" and "S" for the delightful opportunity to reconnect! Here's to many more lunches together! See you in February! *smiles*

1/28/13

supporting our soldiers

During my first graduate program I had the amazing opportunity to live in a "military town". I had always had a high respect for the military and the way that our service men and women serve our country, but after living in a military town my respect grew in leaps and bounds. I had the opportunity to meet, work with, teach kids of, and life life with military families. It was such an honor and I was incredibly inspired by each person who I met who sacrificed so much to serve and protect our country. I wanted to find a small way to tangibly thank those who were serving and I was introduced (through a former student) to the organization Adopt-A-Platoon. While I have volunteered with other organizations over the years I have been so honored to be apart of Adopt-A-Platoon. I am in my 9th year of being a pen pal and have had the privilege and honor to support over 27 soldiers through the pen pal adoption program. What an HONOR! If you are looking for a way to support our service men and women then I highly recommend looking up Adopt-A-Platoon. There are different opportunities for everyone that require a variety of different time commitments. Here is the website if you are interested: {http://www.adoptaplatoon.org}

The soldier that I have been supporting for the past 5 months is almost halfway done with this tour! {Yea!} "R's" birthday is coming up in the next month and knowing that he loved beef jerky I thought it would be fun to send an entire box of beef jerky. {By the way every soldier that I have supported since 2004 has loved beef jerky so if you are looking for something to send try that! *smiles*} Of course I wanted the inside to look festive so I put sparkly, fancy paper for the bottom of the box and then cut out comics for the sides. Yes, I justified the comics made the box look more "manly" ;). Hahaha
The beef jerky looked a little plain to me so I decided to add some simple tags and ribbon to each bag with a variety of different "happy birthday" sayings.

I purchased the white and kraft tags at Michael's and then used some gold and brown stickles to make them more "happy looking". I found brown and blue ribbon at Michael's that I added to the tags and then attached them to each beef jerky bag.

After I attached each tag to each bag I put them in the box and then boxed it up and it is ready to send out!
Thank You again to ALL of our service men and women (and to their families) for your incredible sacrifice for our country!

1/24/13

Thursday Health Thoughts - Better Sleep: Mattress Ideas

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

(Originally Written January 24, 2013, UPDATED- January 10, 2015)

Happy Saturday Friends! Today I wanted to share some of the BEST purchases that I have made in regards to my mattress. We all know how important sleep is when dealing with a Chronic Illness or Chronic Pain but we all probably have horror stories for how difficult sleep can be! Today and next Saturday I wanted to share some "better sleep ideas" with you in hopes that this will be help for a key area of our lives!

When I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had several people suggest to me that buying a Tempur-Pedic mattress was the best way to go. I would have liked to agree but did not have the money for that type of purchase. *smiles* At the same time though I knew that it was important to find some answers for me and after researching for several months I found some solutions that have been well worth the time and money for right now (or for a permanent solution!). 


First, the mattress that I am using is a firm mattress which was purchased at an outlet store for a reasonable price. Due to some of my health issues it was important that the mattress be firm, but unfortunately it was too rough to sleep on. So that brought me to the second step. 



Second, I decided that I would purchase two comforters to put a small barrier between the mattress and the next step. I found two older comforters that my family was about to throw out so instead of purchasing some I put those on top of the mattress. (I should note that I have now replaced this step as you will read below!)



Third, as I continued to do research I kept reading more and more about memory foam. There are many expensive options out there and I may eventually "up" my 1 inch memory foam mattress topper to get "extra" thickness. (I have found memory foam mattresses up to 5 inches thick!) Unfortunately with the thickness comes an extra price tag and as I searched I was getting concerned that I wouldn't be able to benefit from one if I didn't purchase an expensive one. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I found one at Target for a fraction of a cost. I spent $19.99 (for a queen) and it has provided a wonderful amount of support ( 3 years and counting!). If you are interested, here is the one that I purchased: Target Memory Foam 



Fourth, I knew that I would still need more softness along with the comforters and memory foam. After researching a variety of different options I decided to spend money on a down alternative mattress topper. There are so many different options for this (that are quite expensive!) but as I researched and watched for sales I was able to get one at a really good price on sale. I spent approximately $70.00 (on sale) for a queen Down Alternative Mattress TopperThese could potentially last a long time but because I spend close to 18-20 hours in bed a day due to illness I have found that I need to purchase a new one every year. Currently I replaced the two older comforters and have used this as more padding which has been fantastic. 



These steps have truly given me the opportunity to rest better and sleep better. What kind of mattress do you use? What types of adjustments have you made to your mattress to sleep better? 

Stay tuned next week for "Better Sleep Ideas- General Ideas"!

1/21/13

Caravan Sonnet... the journey begins


:) Hi y'all! Welcome to Caravan Sonnet! I'm Rebecca and I am so  thrilled that you stopped by! This blog is about learning to live a beautiful, pretty, inspired, and intentional life. I plan to discuss things that are near and dear to my heart on this blog and to share a snapshot of my life. I desire to inspire others and learn along my own journey! :)

I had been thinking, planning, and praying about starting a personal blog for a couple of  many months. I will admit that I have somewhat of a shy soul, so the thought of being vulnerable online was a tiny bit very scary to me. *smiles* But the Lord kept opening opportunities to share things and I was inspired by so many blogs that I had discovered that I started realizing that I wanted to have a separate place for life apart from the company webpage. I look forward to sharing about life, finding joy and beauty in the everyday, DYI crafts, thrifting, and so much more.

You can find out more about me on the "about me" page but to be simple I am a people-loving, artsy person who loves Jesus, and longs to live a life that finds God in the simple beauty of everyday. I love that you have stopped by on my blog! Please feel free to email me ! I would love to hear from you and connect with you!