Tag Archives: insomnia

Making Science Cool and Getting Sleep

We live in a generation where teachers make a fraction of what professional athletes take home. People can become celebrities by being really good at Twitter and you could get an MTV show by being able to ride in a shopping cart and crash into things, so we think it’s kind of cool how science and learning is making it’s comeback and our current favorite is the #SciShow on Youtube!

Continue reading

Suicide Prevention Week: Depression – Shedding Light on the Darkness (Part 2)

98831359_49ede3af3bClick here to read Part 1!

Rebalancing yourself in the face of depression can take several forms:

  • Be aware that you are depressed and seek help.
  • Treat your body well, including exercise.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get enough sleep, meaning a minimum of 8 hours a night.
  • Address situations that would make anyone sad, such as the wrong job, a bad relationship, normal grief, and serious loss. Don’t passively wait for time to heal your wounds.
  • Regain a sense of control.
  • Claim your sense of self – depressed women in particular may show a pattern of giving away too much of themselves in a relationship, leading to a sense of weakness and low self-esteem.
  • Examine your reactions to difficult situations. You will often find that reacting with helplessness, passivity, retreating inside, and turning passive lie at the root of your depressed state.
  • Spend time with people who give you a reason to feel alive and vibrant. Avoid people who share your negative responses and attitudes. Depression in some sense is contagious.
  • Rely to a minimum on antidepressants and apply your main efforts to other therapies. Pills should be as short-term as possible. They work best in removing the top layer of sadness so that you have a clear space to address the real underlying issues.
  • Talk about your problems and share your feelings with those who can listen with empathy and offer positive steps.
  • Make friends with someone who has recovered from depression or is handling the condition well.
  • Find a wise person who can help you to undo your most negative beliefs by showing you that life has other, better possibilities.

Because everything on this list requires a choice, bringing yourself back into balance means that you are aware enough to make decisions and have the ability to put them into practice. Quite often depressed people feel too helpless and hopeless to face the right choices, in which case outside help is needed, meaning a therapist or counselor who specializes in depression.

Here’s a general picture of how to make a plan for your own healing.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, works as well as medication for many people. It may be used alone or in combination with other forms of treatment. Studies have shown that psychotherapy can cause changes in brain function similar to those produced by medications. Focused, goal-oriented forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavior therapy appear to be the most effective in treating depression.

Diet may play a part in protecting against depression. Mediterranean countries have low rates of depression compared to countries farther to the north—and it isn’t just because they get more sunlight or have a more relaxed way of life. One large-scale study tracked almost 3,500 people living in London for 5 years and found that those who ate a Mediterranean diet were 30% less likely to develop depression. Researchers speculate that the foods in the Mediterranean diet may act synergistically together. Olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish are rich in omega-3 and other unsaturated fatty acids, and fresh fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids and phytochemicals that are full of antioxidants and folates (B vitamins).

Aerobic exercise is a very effective for depression. It’s been shown that moderate aerobic exercise done just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, can reduce or eliminate symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression and can help with severe depression.

It’s well known that exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals (which function as neurotransmitters). Less well known is the startling effect of exercise on the structure of your brain. Exercise stimulates the creation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus, your brain’s center of learning and memory, so that it actually increases in size. This is especially relevant because depression, unless countered with effective therapy, causes the hippocampus to shrink in size. Exercise has also been shown to raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine and to multiply the number of dendrite connections in neurons.

Yoga has been shown to lessen stress and anxiety and promote feelings of well-being. Communication between your body and your mind is a two-way street. Certain yogic practices can signal the brain that it’s all right to relax and prompt the parasympathetic nervous system to initiate the relaxation response. For instance, slow, deep, conscious breathing is also a vital element of yogic practice. This form of breathing is very effective in prompting the relaxation response to counter elevated levels of stress hormones. Someone with depression might be advised to practice “heart-opening” postures that elongate their thoracic spine. They may be told to stand with their shoulder blades drawn together so that their lungs are lifted and they are able to breathe more freely. An important component of yoga is paying close attention to what’s going on in the body at all times and locating and releasing any areas of tension. Yoga should ideally be practiced with the guidance of an experienced teacher.

Meditation can be a useful treatment for both stress and mild-to-moderate depression. Numerous studies have examined the effects of mindfulness meditation, designed to focus the meditator’s attention on the present moment. One study measured electrical activity in the brain found increased activity in the left frontal lobe during mindfulness meditation. Activity in this area of the brain is associated with lower anxiety and a more positive emotional state. Subsequently, the researchers tested both a group that hadn’t meditated as well as the meditators for immune function. They did this by measuring the level of antibodies they produced in response to a flu vaccine. The meditators had a significantly greater reaction, which indicates they had better immune function.

I know that the easiest solution is to pop a pill, and in this country powerful forces back up the promise that drugs are the answer. Keep in mind that antidepressants only alleviate symptoms, and that in the long run couch therapy has proven just as effective in changing the brain responses associated with depression. The real goal should be to rebalance your life, gain control over the disorder, understand who you are, and elevate your vision of possibilities for yourself. All of that is harder than opening a pill bottle, but every positive choice leads to real healing and a much better life in the future.

 

For more information go to deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

PHOTO (cc): Flickr  / madamepsychosis

Originally published October 2011

Suicide Prevention Week: Depression – Shedding Light on the Darkness

It’s not news that depression has become a kind of invisible epidemic, afflicting millions of people. We live at a time when depression is approached as a disease. That has a good side. Depressed people are not judged as weak or self-indulgent, as if they only need to try harder to lift themselves out of their sadness. Yet depression, for all the publicity surrounding it, remains mysterious, and those who suffer from it tend to hide their condition – the medical model hasn’t removed a sense of shame. When you’re in the throes of depression, it’s hard to escape the feeling that you are a failure and that the future is hopeless.

Before considering how to handle depression, let’s ask the most basic question: Are you depressed? The bad side of the medical model arises when people rush to be medicated because they don’t like how they feel. Doctors barely bother to get a correct diagnosis, because the easiest thing to do –and the thing that patients demand – is to write a prescription.

Let’s see if we can get beyond this knee-jerk reaction.

Becoming sad or blue isn’t a sure sign of depression. Life brings difficulties that we respond to with a wide range of normal emotions: sadness, anxiety, resignation, grief, defeated acceptance, helplessness. Moods are cyclical, and if these feelings are your response to a tough event, they will subside on their own in time. If they linger, however, and there seems to be no definite cause or trigger, such as losing your job or the death of a loved one, depression is accepted as the conventional diagnosis.

Depression isn’t one disorder, and even though an array of antidepressants have been thrown at the problem, the basic cause for depression remains unknown. For a diagnosis of major depression, which is more serious than mild to moderate depression, at least five of the following symptoms must be present during the same 2-week period..

  • Depressed mood (feeling sad or empty; being tearful)
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too little or too much)
  • Slowing of thoughts and physical movements
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or specific plan for committing suicide

If you can count five or more of these as being present, know that your list must contain “depressed mood” or “diminished interest or pleasure” before you’d be considered medically depressed. We’ve come to recognize different kinds of depression that fit certain circumstances:

  • Dysthymia is mild, chronic depression. It must present for at least 2 years for a diagnosis of dysthymia.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that generally arises as the days grow shorter in the autumn and winter.
  • Postpartum depression begins after a woman has given birth and may get worse as time goes on.

Even though no one knows exactly what causes depression, it is clearly a state of internal imbalance. Balance is essential for the healthy functioning of both your body and your mind. The upsetting factors that make it more likely you will get depression form a long list: genetic predisposition, being female, death or loss of loved one, major life events (even happy ones, like a graduation), other mental illnesses, substance abuse, childhood trauma, certain medications, serious illness, and personal problems such as financial troubles. What these things have in common is that they disrupt the normal balancing mechanisms of mind and body. A treatment that aims at restoring balance therefore makes the most sense, and in tomorrow’s post I will outline measures for rebalancing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

 

For more information go to deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

PHOTO (cc): Flickr  / madamepsychosis

Originally published October 2011

How Light Affects Our Sleep (And Overall Happiness)

moring in prague

Anyone who has ever experienced insomnia can tell you that lack of sleep is one of the cruelest barriers to happiness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of the U.S. population reports not getting enough sleep, and a whopping 10% reports chronic insomnia! Not only are we stressed, sick, and overweight in this country, but we are dangerously under-slept – and all of these circumstances undoubtedly have something to do with one another.

In addition to temperature, stress, and other factors, light has been shown to have a major effect on the circadian rhythm. Timing, intensity, and quality of light all play into either promoting or detracting from healthy sleep patterns. Imagine the difficulty night shift workers have to establish their sleep cycles! But even those of us who work regular hours and expect our sleep time to comfortably overlap with the dark hours can be negatively impacted by a disturbance in our light exposure. Think: computer and cellphone screens, artificial light, television, and the like.

Doctors and scientists in recent decades have developed light therapy treatment for various issues, including sleep disorders, and their results are promising. One study published in the American Psychological Association journal reported patients’ improvement in circadian rhythms after two hours of bright light exposure in the morning in conjunction with light restriction around bedtime. Another study published in Biological Psychiatry reported that bright light therapy can reduce the incidence of relapse in patients after other forms of sleep therapy – the results of which, by the way, may have a major affect of reducing depressive symptoms in patients with depression. The future looks bright, indeed.

Bright light therapy has also been shown to help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), as well as reduce the incidence of behavioral disorders in patients suffering from dementia. All evidence points to the fact that light gravely affects not only our sleep patterns, but also our minds, emotions, and overall pursuit of happiness. With that in mind, it’s heartening to know that there may be measures we can take, which include light therapy, to increase overall health and wellness.

 Here are some tips on promoting sleep health with light therapy:

  1. Put your phone, computer, and television away after dark, or at least close to bedtime. Those moments right before bed might seem like the perfect time to catch up on email or your favorite show, but doing so may inhibit your ability to fall asleep. So save it for the morning, and pick up a book or sketch pad, instead.
  2. Go to sleep a bit earlier to align your sleep rhythm more closely with the day. This is hard to do, especially if you’re a parent, student, or busy professional. But going to sleep earlier might just allow you to wake up a bit earlier, too, and not lose an inch of productivity!
  3. Try using candlelight and natural light as much as possible. Artificial light has been implicated in the growth of sleep disorders – and again, much of this has to do with laptops and television screens. Turn it off, unplug, and opt for natural light.
  4. Make sure your bedroom is lit (and unlit) as much as possible by natural light. For instance, keep it dark after dark and around bedtime, but be sure the morning sunlight makes it in, as well. Exposure to bright light upon awakening, as we mentioned, can help promote healthy circadian rhythms. So let the light in!

* * *

18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

How Biofeedback Can Revolutionize Your Health

Salutation Nation - 135

Biofeedback is a new method of self-care based on several key foundations:

  1. Our body is constantly under stress
  2. This stress is largely psychologically/emotionally based
  3. Such stress manifests as physical symptoms (such as insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, chronic pain)
  4. Thus treating the mental source of stress should be a primary method for treating physical ailments

It goes back to something we’ve known for many years, which is that our bodies and our minds are not separate entities, but rather interwoven mechanisms of a whole-person ecosystem. You’ve probably had the experience of feeling inexplicably nauseous or tense after an argument with a friend, or feeling irritable or emotional in the face of some relentless physical pain. Even if you practice plenty of meditation and keep excellent care of your body, the one is bound to encroach at some point on the other.

And this is where biofeedback comes in. This burgeoning method of care focuses on relaxation and mindfulness techniques to help patients deal with certain health concerns. Patients begin working with a doctor who can teach them the techniques, which they can in turn take home and practice on their own.

Here are 5 sample biofeedback exercises to achieve whole-person wellness:

Relaxation Sample Exercise (Kansas State University)

Biofeedback for Heart-Rate Variability (Livestrong)

Biofeedback Therapy Relaxation (Inner Health Studio)

Biofeedback Five Finger Exercise (Emporia State University)

Stabilizer Biofeedback Lower Abdominal Exercise (Holistic Sam)

 

By harnessing the mind’s power, you can potentially achieve noticeable improvements in your health, happiness, and overall well-being. It is similar to the way in which meditation, as we know, can have a profound affect on a person’s total wellness by helping reduce stress, increase focus, and lower heart rate. The first step to healthy living is setting the intent and investing the time and energy you deserve.

Try these exercises out and let us know how it goes!

* * *

18154748891333272199Are you ready for a healthy Vegas vacation?

The first of their kind in the world, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Vegas are furnished with a number of amenities designed to maximize health, wellness, and relaxation. From dawn simulator alarm clocks, to state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, to aromatherapy, Stay Well rooms provide an unprecedented opportunity to have a healthy travel experience — even in Las Vegas. Designed by real-estate pioneer Delos Living, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Deepak Chopra, Stay Well will change the way you think about travel and hotel rooms. Learn more or book your reservation here.

How yoga reduces menopause symptoms and improves sleep

58/365 - A Lack of ColorIt’s been 20 years since I enrolled in my first yoga class. I was running a center for reproduction and women’s health and was looking for a means of reducing my stress. I enrolled with a yogini named  Hari Khar Khalsa and took classes from her over a period of time. One day I approached her to see if she would have interest in helping some of my patients lower their stress. We began a series of yoga classes with the first hour consisting of us sitting on the floor on mats and discussion a health topic. I called them Mat Chats. The second hour was devoted to yoga with a focus on the medical topic we had just covered.

Over time, I not only received the benefit of lowering my own stress level through yoga, but also the benefit of her friendship and ultimately collaboration on A Woman’s Book of Yoga, a book that combines Eastern and Western medicine to help women at different stages of their lives. Since that book came out, I’ve suggested yoga to many of my patients. One group that I found it to be particularly useful for is women in and around menopause. It seemed to help them deal with their symptoms. Because many women either can’t or won’t take hormone therapy, finding an effective alternative is really important.

I was delighted to discover that the February 2012 issue of the journal Menopause chronicles research that finally proves yoga reduces menopause symptoms, hot flashes and improves sleep.  This is the first study to do so. The article studied women between the ages of 50 and 65 with no yoga experience and who were not taking hormones or antidepressants. The study lasted 4 months and included two one-hour yoga sessions per week, which combined stretching exercises and breathing techniques. Compared to a group of women who only did stretching, the yoga group improved their sleep and their mental health, and also their menopausal symptoms.  The researchers believe this is because yoga increases levels of the brain hormone γ-aminobutyric acid, which calms the brain. Yoga also seems to increase levels of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin.

Another benefit of yoga is that it amplifies the parasympathetic tone in the body, which aids relaxation and reduces the sympathetic tone – the so-called fight or flight hormones. This may be an important part of why sleep patterns improve and hot flashes are reduced. Most women observe that when they are stressed, their hot flashes increase.

As more and more women question whether or not to take Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), alternative approaches to alleviate symptoms of menopause and improve sleep can be immensely beneficial. But for anyone looking to eliminate insomnia, improve mental health, and alleviate symptoms yoga is a great thing. Simply grab your mat, find a class with a good instructor, practice several times per week, and sleep tight. Namaste.

Dr. Seibel is offering a FREE EBook on HRT or FREE Sleep Diary for Intent readers. 

Machelle (Mache) Seibel, MD, a pioneer in many areas of women’s health and a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years, treats women in and around menopause who have gynecologic disorders interfering with mental health and/or sexual function and creates award-winning educational content for women. She is  also noted for working with companies and organizations to help them reach, teach and motivate their audience to stay well with award-winning health educational content through his ground-breaking interactive product, HealthRock®. Visit her website.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Helga Weber

How to Detox Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

If you had to choose just one room in your home to make environmentally friendly, it should be your bedroom. We can unsuspectingly create a toxic environment by sleeping on the wrong type of mattress, or exposing ourselves to electronic devices that interfere with sleep. Getting good quality sleep allows you to stay healthy and fight off illness because sleep is the time when your body heals, repairs and rejuvenates.

Transforming your bedroom into a safe haven can have a major impact on improving your health and well-being. The good news is creating a healthy bedroom is pretty simple.

Start by looking at the most important piece of furniture in the room — your bed. Most mattresses are made with synthetic ingredients like polyurethane (PU) foam (that degrade over time), and have been treated with flame retardants known as PBDEs. Research has linked PBDE exposure to adverse health effects including thyroid hormone disruption and permanent learning and memory impairment. Plus, lots of other chemicals are in our mattresses that off-gas, or release into the air…imagine breathing this stuff in every night…for years!

The healthiest mattress is one made of natural latex foam. But watch for the words “made with” on the label. For example, if it says “made with natural latex” that might mean there’s only 1 or 2 percent of it in the mattress! You want 100 percent (if you are chemically sensitive) or at least 80 percent of the mattress made with all natural, non-toxic ingredients.

If you can’t afford to buy a new mattress, get a mattress topper made from organic cotton and wool. Or use a mattress cover made of a tightly woven barrier cloth with a thread count of 300 or higher to help protect you from the chemicals in an unhealthy mattress.

For the bed frame choose one made from solid wood instead of particleboard or fiberboard, which can give off toxic formaldehyde fumes. The National Cancer Institute has classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans.”

Do you feel buzzed at night and you haven’t had any coffee? A big sleep disruptor in the bedroom can be exposure to electronic devices, wireless technology, and other forms of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Dr. Magda Havas, a leader in the movement against unrestrained wireless technology use, says EMFs can cause headaches, nightmares, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, as well as long-term illness.

It’s best to sleep in a room without a computer, VCR, TV, electric clock, telephone answering machine, cell phone, or cordless phone — especially DECT (Digital Electronic Cordless Telephones) which emits microwave radiation continuously 24 hours a day, even when the phone is not in use, as long as it is plugged in. Better to have a landline phone that is hardwired. Some people are helped by turning off their WiFi at night.

5 Easy Ways to Get a Restful Night’s Sleep:

  1. Sleep on a mattress made from untreated, non-toxic natural materials containing no synthetic chemicals or fire retardants.
  2. If you can’t afford a new mattress, buy a wool and organic cotton mattress topper.
  3. Buy a solid wooden bed frame instead of particleboard or fiberboard which can give off toxic fumes.
  4. Simplify your sleep space: No TV, computer, cordless phone, or wireless technology.
  5. Be sure that all electrical equipment (including an electric clock) is as far away from the head of your bed as possible, or better yet, not in your bedroom at all.

Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, environmental health consultant, and Certified Build It Green® Healthy Home/Work Specialist. Her bestselling book, “Super Natural Home: Improve Your Health, Home and Planet…One Room at a Time” (Rodale), a Books for a Better Life Award Finalist, is endorsed by Deepak Chopra, Dr. Joe Mercola, etc. Beth eliminated a tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery by making small shifts in her diet, and the products she uses in her home.

Beth is former President and Co-Owner of The Learning Annex, an acclaimed adult education company. She is columnist for The Huffington Postand hosts “Your Super Natural Life” on Womens Radio, and Women’s Information Network. She’s appeared on ABC-TV, NBC-TV and CNN and on local and national radio shows across the country. Beth speaks at industry expos, spas, health centers and schools on the importance of eliminating toxins from our everyday products.

Beth is a trusted consumer advocate in the Natural Product and Sustainability Market and is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about environmental health. She conducts personalized in-home detox audits and provides consultations nationwide.

Foods for Sleep

According to Ayurveda, India’s 5,000 year old Science of Life, there are three pillars of good health: Sleep, Food, and Relationships.  All of these things are intricately related.  The foods we eat have an effect on how well we sleep.

When we’re having a hard time getting to sleep, it may be that our bodies are not producing enough serotonin or melatonin.  By eating foods that stimulate the production of serotonin and melatonin, our mind and body can better relax to get the sleep that we need.   Here are some suggestions for foods you can eat to help you settle into slumber: 

-Dairy products contain tryptophan, an amino acid which helps the body produce both serotonin and melatonin.  About an hour before bedtime, that warm glass of milk that mom recommended might just do the trick!  Lowfat yogurt or a small scoop of cottage cheese are also good choices.

-Both tuna and turkey contain tryptophan and can be helpful for sleep.

-When tryptophan is paired with complex carbohydrates you can get even better results.  This is because the complex carbohydrates help the brain to release insulin, which clears the way for the tryptophan to be absorbed.  So maybe have a grilled cheese sandwich on multi-grain bread, or some turkey and crackers.  Pasta with tomato sauce and cheese is also good a couple of hours before bedtime.

-Cherries and mangoes contain melatonin, and now researchers are saying that some red grapes may contain melatonin, too.  Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps the body to regulate circadian rhythms and sleep.  This is especially good to know when we’re traveling and have to deal with jet lag.

-The University of Wisconsin recently did a study that found potassium might be one of the important elements responsible for sleep.  They studied fruit flies and fruit fly sleep to get this information.  So foods like bananas, which contain both tryptophan and potassium might be especially good for sleep.  Again, paired with a complex carbohydrate it may be even more effective.  Try some sliced bananas on whole wheat toast.

-A nice cup of chamomile tea will help you to relax and de-stress.  Chamomile is a flower, so it’s not really tea.  Real tea contains caffeine, so you want to avoid that.  Just a small amount of herbal tea will do the trick.  Don’t drink too much before bed, or you’ll be up during the night to go to the bathroom and that can interfere with your natural sleep cycle.

-Eat a light snack or very small meal about 1-4 hours before bedtime.   A meal with carbohydrates will help you to fall asleep more quickly, but can also cause weight gain if done on a regular basis.  You also don’t want to eat too close to bedtime because then your body will be busy digesting instead of settling itself into sleep.

-Avoid spicy and fatty foods before bedtime.  Spices are stimulating, and can keep you awake.  They may also cause heartburn and interfere with sleep.

 May is Better Sleep Month!  Lots more sleep tips at http://www.bettersleep.org

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / trekkyandy

 

Melatonin: Not Just For Sleeping! Antiaging, Anticancer & More

One of the first things my anti-aging doctor did was have me take 2.5mg of melatonin (sublingual) every night when heading off to sleep.  He said this was one of the biggest anti-cancer things I could do for myself and recommends anyone over the age of 30 take melatonin at night. As we get older, our body produces less melatonin.

Melatonin is a sleep hormone and is secreted by the pineal gland in a circadian rhythm.   It is released when we are in a dark room so when you’re working at your computer late at night, this will interfere with your melatonin production and you may have a hard time sleeping.  Just the small amount of light from your clock can interfere with the production of melatonin.  I personally have light blocker blinds in my bedroom, do not have a bright clock and sleep in total darkness.  If you can’t make your room dark, it is a good idea to wear eye covers.

Melatonin delays aging, puts us into regenerative sleep, and is a powerful antioxidant in the brain.  It has been shown to increase life span of animals, reduce cancer, and helps boost the immune system.  There are also studies that show melatonin and other antioxidants help protect us from the damage of cell phone exposure (Archives of Medical Research in 2005 and Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry in 2006).  Dr. Tsuyoshi Hondou showed that even if you do not use a cell phone, you cannot get away from microwave radiation (like secondhand smoke), so non-cell phone users may also want to look for this protection.

Dr. Howard Liebowitz says that melatonin is an aromatase inhibiter and is vital for hormonal balance for both men and w

Dr. Prudence Hall also speaks about melatonin in Breakthrough and says it is actually considered to be neuron protective, and there are studies showing how it can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Some benefits which are outlined in one of my favorite health books, "Breakthrough":

  • Powerful antioxidant and captures damaging free radicals.
  • Protects heart & arteries and reduces risk of heart disease.
  • Reduces risk of cancer due to antioxidant properties.
  • In labs, has been shown to inhibit growth of cancer cells.
  • Critical for bone building.
  • Protects the pancreas and the organs and the immune system.
  • Relaxes muscles, relieves tension, reduces stress and anxiety, and lowers blood pressure.

Remember, if you start taking melatonin to over come sleep issues and you haven’t been able to sleep properly in years, you may have to wait a while before your circadian rhythm adjusts.

Another interesting fact that I found is that MSG inhibits melatonin production which is just one more reason to stay away from this harmful food additive!

Almost everyone can afford this supplement as it is inexpensive.  You can buy melatonin online here.  This is the brand which my anti-aging doctor recommends which is sublingual (dissolves under your tongue).

To your health,

Kim Duess

You-Be-Healthy.com
Twitter.com/kduess
Facebook.com/youbehealthy

References:

"Breakthrough: 8 Steps to Wellness" – Suzanne Somers
"The Bone Building Solution" – Sam Graci, Dr. C. Demarco, Dr. Leticia Rao

What Does Your “One Night Stand” Say About You?

I’m referencing the one night-stand that sits next to your bed. The stand that you dump the contents of your day onto before you drift off to sleep. The stand that holds your eyeglasses, your meds, your alarm clock, the book(s) you are reading, maybe your laptop, your cell phone, your landline, a pad, a pen or two, your watch, your rings, a glass of water, a glass of wine, your peace pipe, your sex toys, sugary snacks, crunchy snacks, full meals, and maybe a statue of the Buddha. And let’s not forget all our sleep paraphernalia, including eye masks, aromatherapy candles, sound machines, sleeping potions and sleeping pills.

What does your one night-stand say about you and about your quality of sleep?

As Dr. Rubin Naiman, sleep specialist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, explained at the Weil on Wellness Program at Miraval Resort Spa, so aptly put it … “If sleep is a nightly get-away, then the nightstand is the overnight bag we carry at our side. We can learn a lot about a person and their travels by examining their bags.

“What’s on your night-stand? Is it suggestive of a rejuvenating personal retreat? Or, is it more about a stressful business trip?”

Dr. Naiman’s “one night stand” concept instantaneously captured my imagination! And from the sounds of the gasps, the aHA and light-bulb moments popping throughout the room, I was not alone. An intriguing and simple visual that tells me with certainty what I am dragging with me throughout the day and straight into the night.

Hungry for more insights on what my nightstand says about me, and curious how I can have a more restful and rejuvenating sleep, I caught up with Dr. Naiman post-conference for a most soporific conversation.

JT: How might the contents of our ‘nighttime baggage’ interfere with a good night’s sleep? What does it matter?

RN: Take a closer look at what’s on your nightstand. Ask yourself if these things encourage a natural surrender to sleep or keep you subtly tethered to the world of waking.

Things that keep you connected to waking such as clocks, lamps, radios, computers and telephones, as well as energy spiking foods, substances and information have no place on an overnight sleep retreat.

The ubiquitous digital clock, for example, can draw us back into the waking world of time.

JT: If one is ‘out,’ how does it specifically draw us back into our waking world? And retreat? Am I really going on an overnight retreat?

RN: The depth to which we will go ‘out’ depends on our willingness to let go of the waking world. It’s nearly impossible to resist the temptation of checking the time when we can’t sleep. But, doing so draws us into even greater wakefulness. To make matters worse, both the light and the electromagnetic field radiating from such a device suppresses melatonin, further compromising our sleep and overall health. Best to get the thing away from your head and your bed.

JT: Melatonin?

RN: Melatonin is a complex neuro-hormone synthesized from serotonin — primarily in the pineal gland or “third eye”–when we are exposed to dim light or darkness. I think of melatonin as the queen of our nighttime biology. It gently but decidedly ushers our bodies, brains and minds into sleep and dreams.

Melatonin has been touted as a miracle substance. As a key player in our night biology, it regulates circadian rhythms, facilitates sleep, and promotes dreaming. Melatonin is also involved in the regulation of a wide range of hormones and neurotransmitters and functions as a potent antioxidant. Beyond its usefulness in managing jet lag, circadian rhythm disorders and insomnia, a growing body of research is finding that melatonin shows promise in treating diverse conditions like hypertension, premenstrual syndrome, macular degeneration and even certain cancers.

JT: Do you take melatonin?

RN: I personally have been taking a small dose of melatonin nightly for nearly 20 years. I don’t do so to help with my sleep. I take it because I believe that like most people, I am overexposed to light at night. I use a .5 mg sublingual and sustained release preparation of melatonin. Sublingual means that it dissolves under the tongue. This carries the melatonin directly into the bloodstream before it can be filtered out by the liver. And a sustained release preparation will remain active throughout most of the night, in contrast to standard melatonin which has a very short half life.

To date, melatonin has a good safety profile. Much better than most popular sleeping pills. Still, it is generally not recommended for use in children and during pregnancy. Melatonin may exacerbate nighttime asthma and, possibly, certain autoimmune conditions. Its always wise to talk with a knowledgeable physician before embarking upon supplementation.

JT: During your talk at The Weil for Wellness Immersion Program at Miraval Resort, you mentioned that our nightstands reflect our personal stance toward sleep and that we are all too frequently ‘desperate’ for sleep.

RN: Yes, when faced with the prospect of yet another bad night, many of us will do whatever it takes to make it through the night. Whether it’s about overeating or relying on alcohol or sleeping pills, such a one night stand approach ultimately backfires. It erodes our belief in our own natural ability to surrender to sleep.

JT: Overeating? Do you mean that people get up in the middle of the night and graze, snack or binge as a way to get back to sleep?

RN: Because eating triggers a relaxation response that temporarily sooths anxiety, food can readily become a kind of drug we depend on to get to sleep. Unfortunately, sleeplessness can readily become entangled with a number of eating disorders. Although sleep and eating are both nourishing, in one respect, they are opposites. Eating energizes us. Sleep is about relinquishing energy. We don’t sleep in our refrigerators. We shouldn’t eat in bed.

Ultimately, we need to think in terms of developing a sustainable relationship with sleep. Consider developing a personal, soothing evening ritual under gentle low-blue lighting. This might include a warm bath, some yoga or stretching, meditation or prayer, and some light or even lighthearted reading. And always, in the end, it’s about surrendering to sleep.

JT: Thank you Dr. Naiman. Fantastic! Any final thoughts for our readers?

RN: Yes. I think it’s helpful to reflect on this simple truth: We are all always already asleep. What I mean by this is that sleep is the foundation of all consciousness. It’s always present beneath our waking. And because we’re already there, we literally can’t ‘go to sleep.’ Trying to do so will only further activate the wakeful part of us. What we can do, of course, is learn to let go of waking and practice surrendering to sleep.

For more on restful and rejuvenating sleep visit Dr. Rubin Naiman: www.DrNaiman.com

And be sure to order your copy of The Yoga of Sleep. Highly recommended!
 

Spread the word … NOT the icing,

Janice Taylor
wise * fun * utterly useful
2011-02-28-janiceheadshot.jpg
____________________________________________
For the best in wellness and weight loss wisdom, visit Janice:
Our Lady of Weight Loss
Virtual Shoulder

Follow Janice Taylor on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OurLady
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/OurLadyofWeightLoss

 
 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...