Most of us “alternative healthees” accept the importance of healthy diet, exercise and natural skincare as precursors to good health and personal beauty.
On entering the age of wisdom or Vata (spirit), did you expect to be free of the need to look "good"?
Actually taking care of our looks can be beneficial to our overall health.
I follow healthy diet, exercise and grooming regimes but my lifestyle is negatively impacted by my workaholic tendencies. So my understanding of "Face Mapping" from Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine helps me to listen to my dehydration wrinkles, my overly sensitive skin and my puffy eyes, so that I begrudgingly schedule in rest and relaxation.
While my diet and skincare helps me cover up short term abuses – my haggard face screams at me, when I over do it; so my long term health is not irreparably affected.
When my feet are swollen, it’s "just" edema but when my eyes are puffy, I listen and curtail my nights at the computer so that my Kidney energy can regenerate. While I need to address the immediate needs of my eyes' dry delicate skin with a good eye cream;-- only adequate sleep will revive my kidney function and relieve my edema (get rid of my puffy eyes) before it becomes a diagnosable disease.
When I was diagnosed with digestive problems, I merely avoided the foods I was allergic to. I experienced some relief but nothing close to good digestion. But when I learned that the stubborn red, puffy cheeks and adult acne could be caused by a weakened spleen and low kidney energy; I finally found dramatic improvement to my poor digestion and my skin’s appearance.
One more example. I have had dry hands and feet since I was young. It was so unimportant to me that I did not even regularly apply cream to moisten them. But the dry skin on my face finally had me pursuing relief. Again it was my poor tired kidneys. So I finally listened to my dehydrated skin, ---relaxed and rested my mind body spirit more often.
But workaholics and high stressed people can experience poor sleep. And for those of us going through peri-menopause, decreasing Estrogen can intensify poor sleep and dehydrated skin.
So how can we end the cycle and increase our ability to get a good night’s sleep?
Lets start with what we suspect could be affecting our sleep.
If you have a tendency to overdo it with work; your over worked adrenals can disturb a good night’s sleep. The adrenals can also be the problem if you consume too much coffee or white sugar. So using coffee or sugary snacks to force your body to work longer will make your adrenals weaker in the long run.
If you are awakened by being too warm or in a sweat and you are in your forties of fifties; then suspect peri-menopausal symptoms. There are studies that indicate that in many cultures that eat a vegetarian based diet experience fewer or no peri-menopausal symptoms. I found that a vegetarian diet reduced my hot flashes and my resumption of meat comes with corresponding degrees of hot flashes. My TCM advised me that my hot flashes affected my kidney energy, so more incentive to change my diet.
Other problems that could disrupt our sleep are stress related. Chronic dehydrated skin; waking to urinate or waking with a thirst ; --can indicate low kidney function. The kidneys determine the body's hydration levels. Overwork and aging can weaken Kidney function. I recommend getting the help of a naturopathic doctor or TCM to boost Kidney function. But in the mean time make sure you consume enough healthy clean fluids like water fresh juices, soups and herbal teas to keep the kidneys in good working order.
Those of us who abuse our bodies with over work and then in our fatigue give into cravings for refined and fatty foods that challenge our liver can also experience disrupted sleep. Again I recommend getting the help of a naturopathic doctor or TCM to help us detox our livers and other elimination organs. But in the meantime eat a liver friendly diet of low fat and no refined foods.
While you explore how you can improve your sleep, you can give you body some rest and relaxation with exercises like yoga, tai chi and a meditative walk.
So – you see-- “Nothing moisturizes our skin like a great night's sleep”.