The Importance of Sleep and How to Achieve It

The Importance of Sleep and How to Achieve It

The Importance of Sleep and How to Achieve It

In addition to the pandemic of COVID19, there is another global epidemic of sleeplessness, with about 2 out of 3 adults sleeping less than 8 hours a night. How much sleep is recommended for young adults and seniors?

The Mayo Clinic recommends 7 or more hours a night. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. As you get older, however, your sleeping patterns might change. Older adults tend to sleep more lightly, take longer to start sleeping and sleep for shorter time spans than do younger adults. Older adults also tend to wake up multiple times during the night, for bathroom visits (God, why am I being punished for getting old?).

Sleep quality is just as important as the amount of sleep (a topic for another column). Teenagers (13-19) need 8-10 hours per 24 hour period. Achieving this is linked with better attention, learning, memory, mental and physical health. For adults, getting less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis has been linked to poor health, including weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

The wake/sleep cycle very dependent on your circadian clock. This is a master regulator for when a variety of your biological functions are active or suppressed. The Circadian (24h) clock for sleep is governed by the light/dark cycle. The best thing you can do to “set” your circadian clock in the morning is to get outside and look indirectly at the sunrise for at least 5 minutes. The blue light is powerful and will stimulate the release of melatonin 12-16 hours later. This will help you to be more alert and thus more productive when you are awake. At night, when you start to get sleepy, avoid looking at overhead lights and shut down your TV, computer, and cell phone. They all emit blue light which causes breakdown of melatonin.

In general seniors produce less melatonin than younger individuals. So, if you are having trouble falling asleep you might ask your physician whether it would be ok to try melatonin supplements. Also, try spirituality  – using a brief meditation with God thinking about what went well today and how that might strengthen your relationship with the Lord.

This along with some deep breathing (inhale through your nose, hold for 3-4 seconds and exhale through pursed lips for a longer time than it took you to breathe in). This technique will cause the release of serotonin, a hormone associated with calmness which will relax you and help induce sleep.

Naps during the day are ok as long as they do not exceed 90 minutes.

So, in summary your light anchors are sunrise and sunset and no artificial light late at night, especially devices that emit blue light. One suggestion is to shut all devices down 30 min before your bedtime and do some reading (books or magazines, NOT iPads or Kindles) using a floor lamp. Of course, if none of this works and you have chronic insomnia, then you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for help.

The intent of these columns is to provide information about how to improve your life by addressing physical and spiritual situations that might be impeding your peace, happiness and sense of fulfillment. Also, there will be useful tips on achieving academic success for undergrads and grad students at our local Universities. If you find these columns useful, please let me know through my email address listed below. Perhaps if enough people are interested we might form a self-help group to meet once a month as a start.

Dick

Richard M Niles, PhD
Emeritus Professor and former Associate Dean of Biomedical Sciences
Joan C Edwards School of Medicine
Marshall University
Email: niles@marshall.edu

Blue Christmas Service

Blue Christmas Service

Blue Christmas Service

We will be celebrating our third annual “Blue Christmas” at 3 PM on Sunday, December 18. This service of prayer will take place at St. Joseph Church, Stevens, Ave, Portland. All are invited and most welcome.

The fast-approaching Christmas season is a time of festivity and good cheer for many people. For others, this time of celebration only makes their struggle more painful. Whether the pain is bereavement, the experience of rejection, or the fact that there are no family or friends waiting to gather, Christmas can be difficult.

We gather in prayer to acknowledge that pain, to accompany and support our brothers and sisters for whom this time is a challenge – and to affirm that God knows that pain and is with us in it.

We invite our friends and neighbors and strangers to be welcomed into a community of prayer and join us in this service of prayers, readings, music, and affirmation of the light of God which does shine in the darkness.

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Kevin Concannon will share selected highlights of Maine public policy history over a fifty year period. He will focus on public program changes that were influenced and directed by individual Catholic persons, and several particular Catholic institutions, during a time of major changes brought about by The Great Society and the Second Vatican Council. 

And, beyond Maine geographically, he will discuss significant social policy and law changes, often aligned with Catholic Social Teaching – and much more, all directed at addressing issues and the Common Good.

With Kevin as our tour guide, one who travelled this journey as a participant at levels of influence, whose values and professional competencies reflect his Catholic religion, parental influences, and largely Catholic Education, we’re sure to hear themes of Catholic Social Teaching in context of our own history here in Maine and around the nation. And, we’re sure to hear numerous humorous anecdotes along the way – no tour of history is complete without those!

Want to learn more? Join us on Tuesday, November 15th at 7 pm at the parish hall, 492 Ocean Avenue.
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About Kevin Concannon:
Kevin Served as Associate Diocesan Director of Maine’s Catholic Charities agency in the ’60s and early ’70s. He served in various roles in Maine state government over a twenty year period including as Maine Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Maine Commissioner of Human Services, Oregon State Director of Human Services, Iowa Director of Human Services and Under Secretary of US Department of Agriculture, responsible for US domestic food and nutrition programs.
Trained as a professional social worker, he is a native of Portland and is a graduate of Cheverus High Scholl, St. Francis Xavier University (BA and MSW) with further postgraduate courses at the University of Connecticut.

More about Our Lady of Hope Parish – A Jesuit Ministry:
Comprised of a wide range of members, representing 25 area towns, we’re an intergenerational community inspired by Christ’s love for all people and the Ignatian vision that calls and empowers us to live the Gospel message and find God in all things.

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome Back to Campus Reception

Welcome! As is often the case, the summer has flown by and here we are, looking at a new academic year – which often feels like a new year.

We’re celebrating the return of those dedicated humans studying in their chosen fields – sure to make the world a better place – also known as students! The 5:00pm Sunday Mass at St. Joseph on Stevens Avenue seems to be a popular option for students. So, the Welcoming Ministry here at Our Lady of Hope Parish is hosting an outdoor (weather permitting) reception after Mass on Sunday, September 11th. All are invited – and welcome – to join in conversation while enjoying some light fare from about 6-7 pm.

Of course, you’re always welcome at other Masses at Our Lady of Hope, too. Weekend Masses are at 7:30 on Sunday mornings at St. Joseph Church, as well at 4:30 pm Saturdays and 9:30 am Sundays at St Pius X Church on Ocean Avenue (across from Payson Park).

Our Lady of Hope is a Jesuit ministry and is part of the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine.

You may wish to check out an upcoming reflection that Fr. Brian Conley, S.J. is offering on September 17th, Talking with Others about our Faith – a topic that is always relevant. It will be held in the Parish Hall on Ocean Avenue.

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Preparing to Volunteer in Parish Life

Your response to the needs of your fellow parishioners has been heartwarming!

When you learn about folks who are unable to physically go to Mass who are asking for someone to visit, pray with them, and bring Communion, your hearts are moved by the Spirit to help. When you hear about events and plans to connect families more deeply to their Faith through their children’s Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep, you ask, “how can I help?” and respond with, “I can do that!”. Thank you, one and all.

We promised to provide training. And the first opportunity is coming up at the end of the month. All adults who volunteer with vulnerable adults or children begin with the Diocesan required training of Protecting God’s Children. This session provides clear, helpful guidelines and is a reminder of the seriousness of our sacred charge. You’ll learn specifics about how to interact with each other.

So, if you’re considering becoming a Eucharistic Minister, at Mass or by visiting adults in their residence, this training is the place to start, so that you can begin serving others. And, if you’d like to be part of Faith Formation activities and events, or consider offering arts and crafts for kids so that their parents can take part in one of the upcoming opportunities for deepening their spiritual lives, this training is the place to start. If you’d like to learn more about what’s planned in the coming months so that you can better discern your options, please give us a call.

Thanks to Bill Burke, principal at St. Brigid for offering and delivering this training!!

Protecting God’s Children Training Session for Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30 pm. The training session will take place at St. Brigid School.
 
Here is a link to the training registration page: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/reg_0.cfm?theme=0
Follow the prompt and scroll down to Portland, Maine (Diocese) to get started.

Enjoy this beautiful Maine summer!

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

Baptismal Blankets Made with Love

The Baptismal “Garment”

There is an ancient tradition of dressing the newly-baptized in a white garment. In some families the garment used at the baptism of young children becomes an heirloom treasure, used generation after generation. Our parish has recently started the tradition of presenting the family with a white or cream-colored baby blanket. These beautiful blankets are knitted or crocheted by members of our parish. Talk about hospitality!!  Heartfelt thanks to the individuals who are taking this on — it is indeed a ministry of welcome, to the newly baptized and their whole family.

If you are a knitter or one who crochets, would you like to become part of the tradition and join others in creating these blankets? They’re typically about 36″ x 36″ in a variety of patterns and styles — that’s up to your creative vision and gifts! Let us know. The families love them, and they are a tangible sign of the love and support of our parish.

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