CBD And The Nature Of Sleep.
Updated: Jan 23
There is something about getting outdoors and being connected to nature that is good for our souls. Whether we are hiking, biking, running, or walking, exercise in the great outdoors is unquestionably good for us. Being in nature has been shown to improve our moods, help us focus better, and make us smarter. Some research has even found that spending time in green spaces can help reduce feelings of stress and anger, improve physical health, and boost our confidence and self-esteem.
You might be asking what this has to do with sleep and a CBD company. Blackhouse Botanicals is an outdoors health and wellness company and we care about you, your health, and protecting places and opportunities for everyone to enjoy nature. While our products are amazing and a CBD gummy might help you get a better night's sleep and our CBD roll-on might soothe your tired muscles so you can get out and hit it hard again, we believe you are a whole person and that you need a holistic approach to life. We also think the world would just be nicer if everyone had a better quality of life. While the modern world has given us some remarkable technology, it has disconnected many of us from what, to me, is the real world. For some, there is an attitude that our need for time outdoors is some kind of hippie idea or woo-woo nonsense. I am a natural skeptic and need to see results for myself before I buy into anything, I'm telling you our connection to nature is real.
The undeniable truth is, we are experiencing a health crisis in the world like no other time in history. We know for a fact most of it is due to our poor diet, lack of movement, poor sleep habits, and lack of time outside but few of us make the simple changes needed to live a long, healthy life. Despite countless miraculous discoveries, modern medicine and psychiatry are failing miserably at solving our physical and mental health issues. I'm here to tell you that you have the power to make the changes that will greatly improve your health without an office visit or a prescription that just masks the root of the problem. There is a metric shit-ton of health and wellness advice and coaching online; frankly, it becomes overwhelming even for someone passionate about fitness. The Joe Rogan effect is a thing and while he is amazing the sheer amount of fitness info he and his guests put out would confuse Einstein. A lot of the information out there is geared toward total optimization for elite athletes. I'm telling you you don't need it to get started and you can dig into it later if you want to. We are going to take it one step at a time. I'll help you form one easy habit, get it on lock and then move on to the next.
Just about everyone will agree that the pillars of a healthy lifestyle are quality sleep, a good diet, and exercise, not necessarily in that order. Let's start by improving your sleep. In the end, I'll summarize an easy plan to improve your sleep but along the way, we'll discuss how time in nature can have a holistic effect on your sleep. The byproduct of this simple plan is that you will get some exercise. Remember, this isn't about exercise and it doesn't matter what kind or how much exercise you do, we just need to get you moving a little. If you are an athlete already this can still help you recover faster and perform better. The point is to make this easy for the average person.
While my lifestyle has mostly revolved around being outdoors, I have recently gone through a period of disconnect from the natural world and I can tell you there was a stark difference in my quality of life and sleep when I started to make time in nature a priority again. I was a ski bum in my twenties, and I'm proud to admit that. I lived and worked in the mountains as a ski patroller and spent the majority of my time outside. I rode hundreds of miles per week and digested volumes of information on fitness and cycling. I completed the 207-mile Logan to Jackson race in the snow and rain, raced the local criteriums, and pushed myself to find my very limits. When I changed my profession to firefighting I slowly began to spend less time outdoors and less time sleeping. For some of you, what I consider less time outside would be a major effort to replicate but everything is relative. As time went on and life became more hectic my time outdoors and my fitness started to wane. The amount of sleep I got at that time wasn't my choice. While I was working full-time as a firefighter we started a family business and as I gained more responsibility I let sleep and my connection to nature slip away. For a while, I mistakenly thought my "hobbies" were just a selfish escape from responsibility and that if I just checked more tasks off my to-do list I would have less stress and feel better about my accomplishments and therefore about life. It never worked and my to-do list just got longer. I would tell myself there is no way I have time to go for a bike ride or to ski today, I'm just too busy. It turns out the opposite was true. I needed exercise and the mountains to be happier and more productive. Remember, this is coming from someone who dedicated his life to the pursuit of endurance and time outdoors and even I lost my way in the modern rat race.
It wasn't until a family tragedy struck, combined with an identity crisis after retiring from the fire department, that I was forced to take inventory of my life and what was important to me. My family came first but for me, it was and always had been the mountains that kept me sane. The ability to recharge outdoors has always been my best therapy. It reduces my stress, improves my mood, and makes me a better father, husband, and business owner. I come home from the outdoors with a clear mind, ready to work, and able to be present for my loved ones. When I started to make time to clear my head by connecting with friends again and exercising outdoors, I found I was much more productive, efficient, and creative. Spending time outside has been linked with lower rates of anxiety and depression, better sleep, and a strengthened immune system so there was this cascade of benefits that made me happier, healthier, and more productive. I started to feel better physically and think more clearly within a week or two of increasing my time in nature. I wasn't avoiding tasks, I was ready to engage with them. I started producing content and working on our family business again, this time with a new direction that fueled my passion. I also noticed I was sleeping better. Life was improving in ways I never even considered.
For all of us, It can be refreshing to spend time in nature, surrounded by the beauty of the world around us. We can let go of our worries and daily stressors when we are outside and simply enjoy the present. On a recent Mt. Bike ride, I had a great epiphany about the deep effects of the natural world on human beings. While I would usually set out to hammer my way up a trail or ski at full tilt down the mountain, I started to slow down and enjoy the view. Going all out still has a time and place for me, don't think I've gotten old and gone soft. On one particular day, while going out to blow off steam, I stopped on the trail in a stand of pine trees and noticed how remarkable the smells were. I pulled a fistful of pine needles off the tree and began to rub them between my hands. Cupping my hands over my nose, I inhaled deeply. I immediately noticed a profound sense of calm and an uplifted mood. I was already feeling pretty good from my ride but that spontaneous aromatherapy treatment was an extra boost that I was not expecting. I sat there on the trail astounded by the power of nature, realizing our deep connection to it that so many people miss out on.
For most of my life, my friendships have revolved around being outdoors. My time as a ski patroller created some of my fondest memories and relationships based on a shared passion for skiing, hiking, and biking. The sense of connection to the outdoors was a great way to find a community of people with a zest for life that I feel is unique and rewarding. Being around people who share your "stoke" or passion is a gift. Whether you are talking about a new trail you found, a peak that you summited, or the best powder day of your life with someone who gets it, you feel like part of a culture and community. You don't need to be a hardcore athlete to experience this either. Going on a group ride or hike that a local club or shop sponsors and meeting people with shared interests will enrich your life in more ways than you can imagine. There are plenty of group events geared toward newbies if you search them out so don't be nervous about getting started. Getting involved in your local outdoor community by meeting new people and engaging with nature can help combat feelings of loneliness, depression, or disconnection the way social media was supposed to connect us but never really could. Trail Running, Mt. Biking, and Hiking have become incredibly popular in recent years, and with good reason - these activities can have a multitude of physical, mental, and social benefits. Whether you are recovering from an illness or looking for a way to manage anxiety or depression, engaging in outdoor activities can be a great way to boost your well-being as well as foster an increased sense of self-awareness and appreciation for the environment. The interesting thing about the outdoor world is that there is a culture that exists even after the main event is over. Apres skiing for one may have health benefits of its own. I haven't done the research but I am pretty fond of it and a beer with friends after a powder day or an epic ride seems to be good for the soul.
What Can The Sun Do For You?