Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sleep: Some interesting Facts ( All Sketches by me)

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."
-Irish Proverb

In the morning you beg to sleep more, in the afternoon you are dying to sleep and at night you refuse to sleep.

Ask teenagers: what they would not give to keep sleep at bay? Ask working adults: what would we not give in exchange for a few more minutes to sleep?

Ever experienced Yog Nidra or Yogic sleep? I have done. Several times. I was meditating and slipped in yogic sleep: it felt like I had slipped into a box of vaccuum: totally dark (words like dark and black do not even begin to describe it), totally empty, totally restful, totally motionless, totally sound less, totally dreamless, just a state of deepest rest. And someone calls out your name and you come out of it realizing you were awake recollecting that something strange had happened to you.

In Hindi it is called Samadhi!

Yog Nidra is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. One appears to be sleeping but the unconscious mind is functioning at a deeper level. It is a sleep with a trace o deep awareness. In normal sleep you lose track of ourselves but in Yog Nidra you don't. Its funny because you have not been sleeping and yet been in a state that's way deeper than your normal deep sleep!

45 minutes of Yog Nidra is as restorative as 3 hours of sleep.

The hours that children spend asleep influence their ability to perform on cognitive tasks. Children who sleep through the night and have few night waking episodes have higher cognitive attainments and easier temperaments than other children.

Sleep also influences language development. To test this, researchers taught infants a faux language and observed their recollection of the rules for that language. Infants who slept within four hours of learning the language could remember the language rules better, while infants who stayed awake longer did not recall those rules as well. There is also a relationship between infants' vocabulary and sleeping: infants who sleep longer at night at 12 months have better vocabularies at 26 months. Source: Wikipedia

Benefits of Sleep: Good adequate sleep improves memory, boosts creativity, improves performance of athletes or even common workers, improves performance of children in class, helps increase attention and focus, lowers stress and anxiety levels and blood pressure and helps treat depression.

Sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene constitutes of establishing healthy rules to induce regular healthy sleep so you stay healthy. If you are a baby or a child, it also helps your parents stay sane!
The rules include preparing a good sleep environment, establishing a sleep ritual consisting of bathing, changing in night clothes, reading a bedtime story, playing sleep music and saying goodnight. 

Beauty Sleep: Want more benefits out of your sleep? Go to sleep.
A good sleep rejuvenates your tired skin and gives your complexion a healthy glow. In fact it even helps your eyes appear brighter and hair bouncier.

Most major diseases in the world like hypertension, cancer, high blood pressure, heart diseases, depression, mental diseases, anxiety and stress disorders, even simple fevers, cold and flue etc. to name a few, lists good restful healthy sleep as necessary for their treatment. 

Social jet lag: If you wake up at a different hour during the weekdays and a totally different one on weekends you may be suffering with social jet lag which is quite similar to travel jet lag except that in travel jet lag you physically change time zones whereas in social jet lag you stay at the same place.

Sleep Debt: Sleep debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. Too much sleep debt results in serious physical and mental fatigue and significantly reduced performance levels.

Dysania: Dysania is the state of finding it hard getting up out of bed in the morning. 

My personal peculiarity: All my life I have been catching the sun leave its bed sleepily, give a big yawn, stretch itself and say good morning to me personally . When I allow him to catch me in bed instead I feel I lost the day. 
I love to rise early when the sky is still ink black. The phenomena of witnessing the rising sun, its first ray of light, the chirping birds and the gradual lightening of the sky holds a special place in my morning rituals...
It fills me with joy in my heart, a song on my lips and a spring in my step that others get through their cup of coffee. Early rising is my cup of coffee. More than that.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rain, The Beautiful Rain!

It's been raining since yesterday and all I have done is just to admire the beauty of it, its sweet melodious rhythmic music, its hard-to-miss earthy smell and the distinct connection that it establishes with my inner self.

Listening to the sounds of rain is like deciphering the language of nature!

Have you ever noticed, it has a unique quality of accompanying you in your various moods and emotions. When you're sad rain seem to sympathize and console you, when you are happy it seems to celebrate with you!

 When you're in a romantic mood, it heightens the essence of togetherness, deepens your desires and brightens the fire of love!

 When you're calm, it serenely slides you into introspection and meditation!

When you're scared with challenges of life, it seems to hold your fingers protectively as if to tell you hey, you're not alone; I'm with you!

Rain has its own language. Listen to it and you will be amazed at what you will find.

The closer you are to nature, the closer you get to your inner self, to your real YOU!

(All photographs are my current originals.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

How to Encourage Your Child to Read

The greatest gift that a parent can give to his child is the love for reading! Other than 'love' of course.

The more a child reads the more he learns and the smarter he becomes. Above all, his love for reading earns him life long joys and a lifelong companionship that is second to none.

Give him an Early Start:

Its never too early to start. The earlier, the better. Even though babies as young as 1 month are hardly capable of understanding a complex thing such as reading, reading to them distinctly benefits them. They start learning to focus their sight on the book, listen to the sounds of reading, decode expressions of the reader and the very ritual of reading activity.
You do it for two days and watch your little one reach out for a book with a heavenly toothless smile and you know exactly what he is trying to say: Read to me!

Choose Age Appropriate Book:

A great deal of science goes into making age appropriate books for children as every age group has its own specific characteristics and limitations. Baby books are specially designed with large colorful pictures of objects that a baby already knows in his world and thick stiff laminated pages that he can turn himself or toss around without damaging them the core idea being to get him used to books and the joys that reading them brings. As a child's vocabulary grows he is able to comprehend simple story line and text supporting pictures. So reading a 10 paged book about dancing monkeys may be more enjoyable to a two year old than The Little Red Riding Hood.

Choose Books According to his Likes:

A child who finds cars or vehicles more interesting will definitely react positively to a book about cars or vehicles, airplanes, police, machines etc rather than fairy, witch, spell book. Choosing according to a child's personal interests helps boost his interest in books and reading. Do it the other way round and you may be putting him off ...

Keep Upgrading. Keep Experimenting:

A child who loves car books, if only listens to car books will probably stay at car books. On the other hand, gentle upgrading from your side to trucks, buses, airplanes and so on will help him widen his interest area and develop his ability to accept and learn more things rather than staying fixed at one.
The key is in your hands!

Build the Right Environment and Conditions:

A child is more likely to have interest in reading if he has lots of books in his house rather than having too little or none. Providing a book rich environment is directly proportionate to child's interest in books and reading. A child who grows up near animals and nature, appreciates animals and nature. One growing up close to electric gadgets has a natural affinity with gadgets and technology. Same could be said about music, art...or weapons. A point to remember here is if you have too many other interesting (to him) things around him such as audio books, cartoon programs, toys with audio visual technology etc then books may not be able to take a front row.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why Reading to Your Kids is So Important

 According to researches, children who are regularly read to are significantly smarter than those children who haven't been read to. Reading to kids is a multidimensional activity that benefits both the parent as well as the child who is being read to in numerous ways.
However, due to increased business of parents this much valued and cherished activity has rapidly been replaced by TVs, mobiles and computers. Hearing a story from a gadget is not the same as when told by a parent.

 Reading to Kids Builds Emotional Bonds and Positive Memories for Both of You

 Reading story books to kids regularly develops a strong emotional bond between the parent and the child. It forms long term memories of  moments of closeness, happiness and togetherness in the child's mind and makes him feel loved, cherished and cared for.

Develops Love for Reading and Books 

Reading books to babies develop in them an excitement and understanding for books even though they may not even understand the story or words yet. They begin responding to reading time by displaying emotions of happiness and togetherness. It helps awaken interest in reading and a love for books. According to research children who are regularly read to pick up reading and writing in school way faster than those children who are not read to.

Develops Concentration, Longer Attention Span and Comprehension in Children 

Reading to children develops their listening powers and ability to concentrate. It also promotes longer attention span and ability to sit still for longer periods of time. A reduction in friskiness and restlessness has also been noticed in children who are regularly read to.

Develops Speech, Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary and overall Language Structure 

Regular reading helps develop children's speech especially in pronouncing their known words as well as learning new vocabulary with right pronunciation. You will notice how they try to imitate the exact way and tone in which you read sometimes, even long after you have finished reading to them. It is a wonderful activity to develop a child's language and vocabulary. If your child speaks a second or third language then reading is one of the best ways to develop that particular language.

It Boosts Imagination, Analytical Powers and helps Logical Thought Process 

Reading to kids fire their imagination the way TV serials, films or programs don't. It is a passive activity that requires a child to sit still and just watch and hear and follow the sequence of events as the program lead him. Whereas reading to kids is an interactive activity rich with personal touch. Children's stories and interesting illustrations help kids not only to understand better but also to help them think, visualize and analyse the story events. The compound process of  hearing the words, seeing the images, linking them together with their feelings and emotions and comparing the story situations with their own world simultaneously is a fantastic brain booster that every child should experience and every parent to try to provide.

A Powerful Tool for Educating and Informing the Children  

From topic specific themed books that deal with places, things, plants, animals, geographical or scientific topics or plain emotional issues there are children's books available in all categories and cover all subjects one can possibly think of. There are also specific books that deal with children's problems, tricky situations or social factors. You only have to read to them to help them understand learn to deal with issues or discover their world.

Great for Calming Children and Ensures Good Sleep 

Its not known to many that reading to kids is a hugely calming and relaxing activity when they are emotionally upset, in difficult mood, restless or overstimulated. Nothing works for a wailing whining child than to cuddle him together and read him an interesting book or his favorite one to calm him down in minutes. According to researches children who are read to or read before going to sleep, sleep better than those who don't.

Awakens Interest in Reading 

It awakens children's interest in reading themselves.  According to researches, the children who were regularly read to, as a rule had greater interest in reading themselves. They also loved books and had already developed reading as a hobby.

Raises IQ 

A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in January 2013 concluded that “reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by over 6 points. Isn't that impressive?

Bonus Point: You Both Fall in Love with it 

Once you start reading to your child you realize it is a great parenting tool. You actually fall in love with it yourself  as much as your child and you look forward to your little reading sessions almost as excited and happy as your little one. It gets you a warm soothing comforting thought in your mind that you were able to give your child something that you both wanted : The gift of love and togetherness !