SLEEP CYCLE APP by Vickie Kline

sleep cycleAre you curious about your sleep habits?? I am… and because of this my sister recently introduced me to an iPhone/iPad app called Sleep Cycle. It’s a very interesting little app that monitors your sleep patterns during the night and reports the information back to you. This works well if you suffer from sleep apnea and want to monitor your sleep cycle, or if you never quite feel rested in the morning… possibly you’re not getting quality sleep time.

How it works: I plug-in my iPhone (so it doesn’t run out of juice), place it face down in the upper corner of my bed, and then go to sleep. Sleep Cycle monitors how deeply I sleep, how often I wake up, and the quality of my sleep based on these. It accomplishes this by monitoring how often I move and how deeply I breath, using the iPhone accelerometer to sense movement.

As we sleep, we go through different states that range from deep sleep to light sleep. The state you are in when your alarm goes off often determines how tired you feel. A fixed alarm clock is always a risk and can go off when you’re in deep sleep, causing feelings of tiredness or crankiness. It is best to come fully awake from a light sleep, rather than being shocked by an alarm when you are in deep sleep. Sleep Cycle helps you accomplish this by sounding an alarm (of your choosing) when you are in the lightest cycle of sleep within a 30-minute period. There is also a snooze option, if you still need more time after the alarm goes off.

The sleep quality function measures how well I slept. Calmer and longer sleep gives a higher score, translating to quality sleep. In the morning I can review statistics showing how long I was in bed and my percentage of sleep quality. Sleep Cycle tracks this and eventually gives me information on the shortest night’s sleep, longest night’s sleep, best night, and worst night.

Sleep Cycle is really interesting. Those nights when the cats are ornery and keep me awake all night, show that I didn’t get much rest. If I want more in-depth information, I can answer questions, such as, if I had alcohol, caffeine, or other foods that may impact my sleep. After using Sleep Cycle for a while, I begin to see patterns that may explain why I slept well… or not.

Strive to be healthy!

image provided courtesy of Sleep Cycle

 

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UNDER EYE CIRCLES by Vickie Kline

dark circles eyeI have worked for years to rid myself of dark circles under my eyes. I was told they were caused by allergies… and if I treated my allergies successfully, the dark circles would improve. Well, my allergies are much better these days with only an occasional flare-up. But, guess what? The dark circles are still present. (The picture to the left is an exaggeration, but it’s how I feel sometimes).

I’m always on the lookout for something new to try, that’s not of the cosmetic variety. I have very sensitive eyes and need to be careful what I put in or around them. Otherwise, I’ll not only have dark circles, but red rims and swelling too. Anything of the natural or homeopathic route catches my eye (pun fully intended!).

I haven’t tried this yet, but am going to as soon as I get to the grocery store and get some parsley. I’ll report on the results later. Here’s the recipe:

Brightening Eye Mask:

1 small handful of fresh parsley and 2 TBSP plain yogurt

Place the parsley and yogurt in a food processor and pulse until formed into a smooth paste. Apply the mixture generously to under eye area. Rinse after 20 minutes with lukewarm water. This smells wonderful and feels very refreshing

Parsley is rich in vitamin K, and when applied topically, reduces blood flow to the eye area. The blood flow in the eye area is a key factor in dark circles. Over time, the fatty layer of skin under your eyes thins out and makes the blood vessels more visible. Their slightly bluish color is what creates the illusion of circles underneath the eyes.

Information shared courtesy of Be Nourished By Nature

Image shared courtesy of Dark Circles Under Eyes

 

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA)

025I know I talk about this often – but it’s because I think it is so important. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are a great way for a community to support a local farmer or grower. A CSA program also allows the farmer to provide locally grown items for the community that supports them. Often, CSA’s let members purchase weekly or bi-weekly bags of fresh produce. The purchaser pays upfront and takes part of the risk with the farmer. If it’s a great season, you will have more than you can eat. If there happens to be a drought or tornadic activity, you may receive less. Even with the risk, the idea of receiving locally grown, natural produce and other items is pretty difficult to pass up.

Listed here are CSA opportunities in the Wichita, KS area. If you are outside of Wichita, use a search engine and type in CSA. You may be surprised at what pops up. Each program works a bit differently, so do research, ask questions, and find the one that fits your needs. Let’s all work together to support local farmers and growers and create healthy eating environments for ourselves and our families.

MG Honor Farms: MG Honor Farms is located in Cheney, KS and was created to give members an option to purchase healthy food for themselves and their families without any herbicides and only organically certified pesticides. They have a meat program, balsamic vinegar, and honey available too! They make deliveries.

Fiat Farms: Fiat Farms is a sustainable farm located in southwestern Kingman County, serving the South Central Kansas area, specifically Wichita, KS, Kingman, KS, Pratt, KS, and Cunningham, KS. The farm currently features a 23 week CSA of vegetables and melons, with hopes to expand to other fruits, meat, and eggs in the future. Fiat Farms has a drop off point in the Riverside area where customers can make pick-ups.

Schenker Family Farms: This is a meat CSA provided by a farm that is certified naturally grown and animal welfare approved.  Talk about options!  You can choose the type of share you would like (full share, 3/4 share, 1/2 share or 1/4 share).  You also have a choice about the product:  would you like beef only, pork only, beef and pork, or beef, pork and lamb?  It’s up to you.  You can also add-on poultry or gill packs to your CSA subscription.

Morning Harvest Farms: The Morning Harvest Farms CSA appears to be very flexible and has three interesting differences from other CSA opportunities I’ve seen previously.  First, you select the products, second there is no end to the season (although, at parts of the season eggs are the only option) and third, you determine how often you receive a box and if it’s delivered or picked up at the farm. CSA

Some of these farmers may also be found selling items at public farmers markets in the area. Please check out their websites and take a look. CSA’s are a great concept that we should support and help spread the word!

Strive to be healthy!