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My Search for Sleep

Emma Heming Willis shares local resources for catching some more Zs



Willis and her daughters, Evelyn and Mabel, settle in for a pre-bedtime snuggle at home in Bedford.

Photo by Rana Faure

Do you remember when you used to sleep “like a baby?” As in, before you had one? I can answer affirmatively to that. It used to really bug me while I was pregnant when people would say, “You better enjoy sleeping now because once you have your baby, you won’t sleep at all!” That seemed a bit dramatic at the time. Not so much anymore. 

Now my body clock is off from waking up for my kids or sleeping with one eye open much like a mother tiger who is constantly on guard. 

In my quest to learn how to get more sleep, I turned to Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, Medical Director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital, and asked if he could offer up some ideas to catch those critical z’s. 

If you’re struggling to get to sleep at night, Dr. Rudraraju suggests having a bedtime routine in place. For example, playing soft music or applying a certain cream or essential oil that you’ll only use at bedtime will trigger your brain to know that it’s time to settle down. He also says to avoid caffeine or caffeinated beverages after 12 noon and that we shouldn’t eat anything heavy after 7 pm. If you do get 

hungry before you sleep, you can have something light. “There are some snacks that have high tryptophans, which will help you sleep better: nuts, warm milk, bananas, citrus fruits,” he explains. Of course, there’s also chamomile tea—I’m a big fan. 

In response to his suggestion, I decided to research the use of essential oils as a potential remedy. These oils have been used in beauty and healing routines for hundreds of years. Yielded from plant material, they are highly potent and one small drop can create a world of difference. Lavender, for example, has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes calmness. A few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil released into your shower can reportedly create an amazing spa experience and help your body in the pre-sleep preparation. I tried it all, and it still wasn’t cutting it for me. Don’t get me wrong. It helped, but I was still searching for a good night’s sleep.

Next, I experimented with Yoga Nidra—the yogic sleep, or sleep with awareness. Nidra, an ancient practice (5,000 years old), is a systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing our physiological, neurological, and subconscious needs.

I had the pleasure of taking a Yoga Nidra class with Nancy McLoughlin, who offers private lessons from her studio in Tarrytown or will come to you. 

“On a windy or stormy day, no matter how rough the surface gets, there will always be miles and miles beneath those tossing waves that remain still and silent, no matter what, and to get there, you just have to dive down,” McLoughlin says.

“New brain studies are unearthing the healing benefits of different forms of meditation. They show that the hemispheres of the brain actually ‘knit’ together during the process and lead to healing, stress relief, and ultimately a better sleep at night,” she continues. The night after I took the Nidra class, I slept better. Better is a step in the right direction. 

While I was experimenting with Yoga Nidra, my friend ventured to Nordic Cryotherapy in New Canaan where they offer Whole Body Cryotherapy. WBC uses liquid nitrogen vapors to lower the skin’s surface temperature through a process called thermogenesis, according to the WBC website. The skin reacts to the cold and sends messages to the brain that act as a stimulant to the regulatory functions of the body. Anti-inflammatory molecules as well as endorphins are sent throughout the body, causing one to feel more energetic almost immediately. While I haven’t yet mustered up the courage to climb into the cold capsule to try it, my friend has had good results and says it has helped her sleep better. 

Throughout this process, I have also been journaling. It’s a great way to download anything that is troubling so I don’t take it to bed and have it keep me up. 

Lastly, I’ve started drinking Natural Calm, a beverage made from magnesium which is known to be a natural stress reliever. Try a glass before bed, and see if it helps you relieve that awful, pre-sleep inner jitter. I find it helps. Sweet dreams.

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May 2018

Get up close and personal with Muscoot Farm’s new arrivals. Like this Dorset lamb. Visit their Farmers Market and the eleven historic buildings (love the ice house and blacksmith building)...

Cost: Free

Where:
Muscoot Farm
51 Route 100
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

The US any Blue Angels headline the Jones Beach 15th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Air Show. Plus The Royal Canadian Air Force Snow Birds, the F22 Raptor the Air Force’s newest fighter...

Cost: Free

Where:
Jones Beach
895 Bay Pkwy
Wantagh, NY  11793
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Preview to the 3rd Annual Art Show at the 42nd Annual South Salem Presbyterian Church Memorial Day Fair & Races. A celebration of our local Artistic Community with wine, hors d’oeuvres...

Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at door

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: South Salem Presbyterian Church
Telephone: 914-763-9282
Contact Name: Carolyn Patterson
Website »

More information

A community-based, family-oriented event with dance performances, professional dance instruction, bands, DJs, and social dancing for youths and adults.​ We are thrilled to continue our...

Where:
Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

See the majestic beauty of the Hudson River on this 2-hour narrated river adventure from Newburgh to West Point taking in the sights of Washington’s Headquarters, World’s End, Mt....

Cost: $22

Where:
Blu Pointe Landing
100 Front Street
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

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Admission to the grounds is free for BRLA’s Spring pace that starts and ends at John Jay Homestead. For information on the luncheon call (914) 234-BRLA. BRLA maintains and develops the...

Cost: Free

Where:
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
400 Cantitoe Street (Rt. 22)
Katonah, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The 10K race at 8am that takes you on challenging South Salem hills. The 5K starts at 9:30am. Both races are USA Track and Field certified. The youth Mile Fun Run is at 10:45am and Pee Wee races...

Cost: $15-$45

Where:
Lewisboro Library
15 Main Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Website »

More information

  Memorial Day in Lewisboro will once again be a day of celebration and remembrance with road races, children's games, artists, vendors, artisans, silent auction, food and live music in...

Cost: 0

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: South Salem Presbyterian Church
Telephone: 914-763-9282
Contact Name: Judy Office
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The local American Legion Post 1575 will host a Memorial Day picnic at American Legion Hall next to the Katonah Museum of Art. All town residents are invited.

Cost: Free

Where:
American Legion Hall
136 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Jessica Meyrowitz is a knitter, designer, and founder of It’s a... Yummy.  Her company creates products using a custom made, oversized, 100% merino wool yarn.  To truly appreciate...

Cost: $85.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
792 Route 35
@ The Little Red Schoolhouse
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Hudson Chorale, rapidly becoming the area’s premier mixed-voice chorus, will present an evening and matinee performance of its spring concert in central Westchester on Friday, June 1, 8:00...

Cost: Advance Sale-$25; Door-$30; Students-$10.

Where:
Pleasantville Presbyterian Church
400 Bedford Road
Pleasantville, NY  10570
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 914-747-2408
Contact Name: Angela Usobiaga
Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

KMA opens its doors to babies and their new parents and caregivers at these once-a-month, stroller-friendly tours.  Enjoy a conversational stroll through the galleries and a chance to...

Cost: Free with admission. FREE admission with your first stroller tour.

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

This hilltop paradise, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of the guided...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Paper Quilling also known as paper filigree, is the art of rolling paper into intricate and interesting shapes. During this workshop, participants will be able to learn the techniques on basic...

Cost: $40.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
792 Route 35
@ The Little Red Schoolhouse
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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