Tag Archives: herbal sleep aid

More energy by day; better sleep by night

From the heart……

Recently I stopped by the drinks section of my favorite healthy grocery store, Puget Consumer Coop in West Seattle. I rarely buy any flavored drink preferring filtered water. I seldom leave home without a full water bottle in my purse. But that day, I was dragging and wanted a quick boost. Whatever it was that I bought and drank down on my long walk, it wired me with fantastic energy for the rest of the day and into the night. A bit too much.

There are two problems here:

1. Too much water is being pumped from the Earth and sent around the world with just a little added something-or-other. This is environmentally unsound. Flavor your local tap water yourself. Cut down on plastic bottles. Cut down on shipping which clogs the highways and adds C02 to the atmosphere.

2. What’s in all those drinks? Are they healthy? Artificial? If we need an energy boost—and apparently we do—are we doing damage to ourselves by drinking these concoctions?

Just as I was pondering these problems, Shaklee introduced a new powder, in serving-sized packets designed to make your filtered tap water into an energy drink. Read on to get the full story on this drink.

You and I have to do all we can to reduce the mining of water and the shipping of things we could make at home. Little shifts in our habits like making our own energy drink could help reverse global devastation. Every little act makes a difference, especially if we tell other people about it. Change the neighborhood, one household at a time.

Sustained Energy Boost you can mix at home.
Grapefruit or raspberry.

Sustained Energy Boost is an on-the-go stick pack available in two fruity flavors, Raspberry and Pink Grapefruit. It delivers a boost of energy powered by 100 mg caffeine from extracts of green coffee beans and green tea, plus chardonnay grape seed extract to promote healthy circulation, which helps deliver caffeine to the body and brain.

Why does it contain chardonnay seed extract?
Rich in polyphenols, chardonnay grape seed extract has been shown in a pilot study to rapidly enhance circulation within 1 hour. Healthy circulation is critical for the distribution of nutrients to the body and brain. Sustained Energy Boost contains chardonnay grape seed extract to promote healthy circulation to help deliver caffeine to the body and brain.
When is the best time to drink it?
Anytime you need a pick me up.
What’s the best way to drink it?
Mix 1 stick with 8–10 oz. of water or your favorite drink. Take a sip and get going!

MN $19.95 for 14 sticks. You will save so much money making your energy drink at home! Order some today.

More from the heart.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping through the night for years. Is it one of the conditions of growing old? Friends have talked to me about not sleeping well. Even with 3 tablets of Gentle Sleep Complex every night. Our body repairs as we sleep. We need a full night’s restful sleep, preferably uninterrupted. This seems to be a problem across the generations. So much stress in a chaotic world. Just as I was considering going to the health food store to see what might be available, Shaklee announced a new sleep aide. Read on for the details.

A restful night’s sleep is a precious thing. It can be yours.

Dream Serene ingredients

Melatonin, a hormone produced in the body that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin has been clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster.
Valerian, a plant that reduces the time necessary to fall asleep and improves sleep quality in individuals with sleep problems.
Lemon Balm extract is used in teas and traditional medicine to relieve headaches and treat sleeplessness. It is clinically shown to affect sleep and mood.
The synergistic blend of valerian & lemon balm promotes more restful sleep.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves that helps alleviate stress.

Understanding How Sleep Affects Your Heart

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-third of adults get less than the minimum recommendation of 7 hours of sleep each night, adding to their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. What does that mean for you?

Count your hours. Lack of sleep can disrupt your hormones and cause calcium buildup and other changes in your arteries. On the other hand, excessive sleep of more than 9 hours is associated with higher health risks too. Most adults need to aim for 7 to 8 hours nightly.

Watch your blood pressure. Your heart slows down, and your blood pressure drops while you sleep. This nocturnal dipping gives your body a chance to heal from daily stress. Without this time off, you’re more vulnerable to hypertension and other issues.

Manage diabetes. Elevated blood sugar can harm your blood vessels. Sleep helps to stabilize blood glucose, lowering your risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Lose weight. Do you crave fattening foods after a restless night? Studies show that lack of sleep may throw your hunger hormones out of balance, and make you want to overeat. Excess pounds increase inflammation and strain your heart, especially if they settle down around your midsection.

Reduce sleep apnea. If you snore and feel tired during the day, you may have sleep apnea. This disorder causes you to stop breathing intermittently while you’re asleep, putting you at greater risk for heart attack, stroke, and atrial fibrillation. Ask your doctor about CPAP therapy and other options.

Minimize disruptions. Even if you go to bed early, frequent interruptions can keep you from enjoying the four essential stages of sleep. The deeper stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep are especially beneficial for your heart. In addition, continuous sleep keeps your heart rate from spiking each time you wake up.

Be consistent. One study found that shift workers had almost 20% higher rates of coronary heart disease. If possible, go to bed and wake up at around the same time each day.

Change your diet. Eat more fiber, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Cut back on saturated fat and avoid trans fats.

Exercise regularly. Work your way up to doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. Cardio workouts like running and biking strengthen your heart and lower your blood pressure. Strength training conditions your heart and enhances your overall health too.

Learn to relax. It’s natural to feel anxious sometimes, especially in these chaotic times. Relaxation practices can help you to cope and enjoy more restful sleep. Take part each day in activities that help you relax.

Use natural sleep aids. A gentle, yet effective product like Shaklee Dream Serene, a patent-pending formula containing melatonin and a proprietary blend of valerian, lemon balm, and L-theanine can help you fall asleep, stay sleep and alleviate occasional sleeplessness.

Sufficient sleep and other heart-healthy habits can lower your risk for many serious medical conditions. Talk with your doctor, so you can figure out which factors are most important for helping you to lead a longer and more active life.

MN $21.25 for 30 capsules

Be well, Do well, and Keep Moving,


Youtube channel: You tube betsyjbell

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sleep and pain

Does pain keep you awake at night? “Sleep, or lack of it, may be a sign that surgery might help.” Dr. Nora listed several indicators including sleep and pain. Sleep difficulty jumped out at me.

Several customers have complained about sleep challenges so I thought I’d share some problems associated with pain and lack of sleep plus some remedies.

When pain is first experienced, most people do not experience sleeplessness. However, when pain becomes a problem, it can be a vicious cycle. If someone experiences poor sleep due to pain one night, he or she is likely to experience more problems the next night and so on. It gets worse and worse every night.

We know that pain triggers poor sleep. Someone experiencing lower back pain may experience several intense phases of light sleep which lead to awakenings. These periods of light sleep are innocuous for a person not experiencing chronic pain. Pain is a serious intrusion to sleep. Pain is frequently associated with insomnia and these coexisting problems can be difficult to treat. One problem can exacerbate the other. pm_general_cp_sleep_intro01

A 2015 sleep and pain study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation verified by numbers which we could have guessed: people with chronic pain are three times more likely to get a bad night’s sleep even though over half of all Americans experienced pain in the last week.
Without a good night’s sleep, one gets grumpy, is less able to function and the perception of ones general health status goes down. Sleep is necessary for healing and restoring every internal organ and without it, health does deteriorate.

We often turn to drugs—both prescription and over the counter, and alcohol to try to get to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests being very intentional about getting adequate sleep by making sleep a priority.

StressPainEffects_NSF_v3*Stop or limit  caffeine consumption.
*Limit alcohol intake, particularly in the evening.
*Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills are effective, but should be used under the supervision of a physician.
*Practice relaxation techniques , such as deep abdominal breathing.

Personally, I go to bed by the clock, not by my sleepiness. I can get a second wind if I get started on a new project—web search, emails, Face book—in the late evening which keeps me up. I know I will wake up at 5:30 so aim for head-on-the-pillow by 10:30. Seven hours of sleep. When I wake up at 5:30, I usually listen to soothing music or a meditation tape, a Nidra Yoga or Back Pain relief to stay in bed until 6:15 or so. I sit in the hot tub every night just before going to bed. Some people take a hot shogentle sleep complexwer or bath to aid the transition to sleep.

Shaklee makes an herbal supplement called Gentle Sleep Complex which has passion flower extract and chamomile extract plus 225 mg of Valerian. Three tablets before bed helps you go to sleep.

I take several Pain Relief Complex tablets, also. I put Shaklee’s Joint and Muscle Pain Cream on my lower back and then lie with an ice pack under the my back while I listen to a meditation tape.

What have you found that helps with 7 – 9 hours of deep pain & Muscle Pain Creamrestful sleep? Please add your comments so other readers can benefit from your experience.

Be well, Do well and Keep moving.


206 933 1889

www.HiHoHealth.com for shopping

www.EmpoweredGrandma.com for travel stories

www.MyLifeasFiction.com for my writing blog (not live yet)

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Healthy retreat

Gentle Reader,

Traveling again, and wanted so much to have a healthy retreat.  I flew to Santa Fe for a long weekend to sit, walk and write with Natalie Goldberg at the Upaya Zen Center.  November in Santa Fe worried me.  I packed long johns, silk undershirts, leg warmers and turtle necks and vests.

It did snow, their first of the winter, but I need not have worried about these Zen practitioners.  They are not given to the kind of austerity we witnessed in the book Natalie assigned to us:  The Bones of the Master, by George Crane.  The page-turning tale of a Zen Monk, Tsung Tsai, was the last and only member of his Ch’an lineage in Inner Mongolia to survive the Red Chinese take over.  Under normal circumstances these monks endured freezing temperatures without heat or warm clothes.


Upaya was toasty from the spacious Zendo where the sixty-seven participants met for writing to the sleeping quarters scattered in older and new southwestern adobe style buildings on the Center’s campus.Ushaya-Zen-Center


Health issues came up over and over as a topic in writing practice.  Natalie is battling cancer and was not with us for every meal or for the early morning sitting zazen, harboring her strength. When I saw her the first day, I was relieved to the point of tears to see light in her eyes and no strained evidence of pain clouding her mind and wit and demanding teaching.

Thich Naht ThanThich Nhat Than, the Vietnamese Zen bhuddist who has offered so much peace making teaching to us Americans over the last 45 years and has been a spiritual guide for many, is lying in an ICU with a cerebral hemorrhage.


While walking in a nearby Nature Conservancy reserve east of the Center, I received notice of my cousin by marriage, Jack Bell’s massive heart attack.  Mortality loomed large.  The Roshi (the abbot or head priest of a Zen center), organized a healing service for all who hang in that liminal place between life and death asking for best possible outcome.  Roshi Joan Halifax spoke to us about not knowing what the “best” is.  The names of those close to the Center who have gone on to join the Great Majority were listed on the altar. I was profoundly moved by the service, the chanting, the deep surrender to the will of God.

We students wrote our hearts out and read aloud to each other. I was struck by how often struggle and death came up.  These big themes were peppered by the lesser but just as pesky themes of life threatening aches and pains of the aging body. Even the younger writers read about waking up to the changes they notice in their bodies, the laziness that has taken over, the hurry of life that causes neglect of physical health.  Natalie has always taught “Sit, Walk Write” and paid additional attention to long vigorous walks as a way to loosen the mind and go deeper.  I overheard comments like, “I’m going to put more walking into my day.”  “I’m going to be more consistent with my exercise.”

One woman I wrote with at a writing retreat in Italy is swimming again, up to a mile as she turns 69, using the thirty-five laps as intentional meditation time.

You think of writing as a sedentary life, but the way Natalie teaches it, it is anything but.  When you are stuck and have become too linear or wallow too long in research, get up and walk:  around the house, the coffee shop, the neighborhood.

The sitting part of practice is the hardest on the body. At the Upaya Center, they begin at 6:30 a.m. and sit on their cushions in silence for 40 minutes, take ten minutes of slow walking and stretching and then 40 more minutes of silent sitting.  I joined each morning at the slow walking part and at first sat in the folding chairs provided.  I was awake in time for the 6:30 sit time, but staying healthy on the go requires me to lie on the floor and do my back exercises, cat/cow stretches on all fours and a few yoga moves so I am functional with relatively little pain all day.  The second two days, I sat on a cushion and fared pretty well with the hips and knees.labyrinthUpaya[1]

When I travel, I take a small camping pillow for my head and another to put between my knees while sleeping.  Something you might try is finding a pillow that keeps your back and neck lined up in a back-friendly way.

I always take all my supplements.  The stress of travel is no time to cut back on the nutritional support you are accustomed to at home.  One of Natalie’s writing topics for a “bullet writing” –2-3 minutes—was “Vitamins.”  One writer, a nurse from Phoenix who I roomed with when I went to write with Natalie in France, was saying she was so confused by vitamins and took the ones everyone talks about—Calcium, D and fish oil—but never felt any difference.  So she wandered away from that discipline.  I suggested a good multi might make everything work better.

What I love about the Shaklee Corporation is that they tell you up front if you don’t feel better with Vita-lea and Protein taken daily for one month, you will get your Vita Lea and Proteinmoney back. That’s a big promise and seldom cashed in on.

Water, water, water when you travel. The high desert of Santa Fe, 7000 ft.—gave me a slight headache and dizziness. After 24 hours and quarts of water, everything was fine.  I know some people slow down on their water intake when they travel because they are worried about the availability of bathrooms.  Trust the place. Drink water. You will feel better.

On the way home I had a twinge of throat tickle and plopped a Vitalizing Immunity in my water bottle and drank it down before boarding the plane. Gone. No hint of a cold.

I had my Herb lax in case the food and water—being different—caused digestive difficulties.  In fact, the cook, Sharon, at the Upaya center is creative with seasonal root vegetables and prepared the most delicious and nourishing vegetarian meals I have ever eaten.  Lots of roughage!

Whether you are traveling for business, pleasure, study or a healthy retreat, take care of yourself. Keep your immune system strong so you don’t get sick.  That can ruin a trip. Stay hydrated and keep the digestive track functioning.

Don’t forget sleep:  I always take ear plugs and Gentle Sleep Complex to help with sleeping in a strange place.  How wonderful to attend a healthy retreat!

I love hearing what you do to stay healthy on trips.  Please comment.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving,


206 933 1889

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