Don't Worry...Be Happy by sleeping better

Today I want to examine a very serious side effect of not sleeping properly. A condition that will affect all aspects your life- your work, your activities, your daily mood- DEPRESSION.

A Lack of sleep can produce an increased amount of stress hormones creating a body that is always in a "hyper" state. A lack of sleep can bring on depression and vice versa. A Study published in the Journal Sleep (July 1st 2007) showed that a chronic lack of sleep increases an individual chances for developing anxiety disorders and depression.

This study was conducted by Dr Dag Neckelmann, PhD, of Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway. It was based on data collected from 25,130 adults from two general health surveys. One group of patients who were classified as insomniacs and another that were healthy sleepers. Dr. Neckelmann found that the group with chronic lack of sleep had increased associations to having developed anxiety disorders and depression.

A lack of sleep or insomnia can lead to vicious cycle of depression that will affect all aspects of your life.


Get rid of the bags under your eyes from poor sleep

You wake up feeling groggy, tired and you look terrible. That is a definite truth that you don't look your best when you have'nt slept well. A lack of sleep means a change in metabolism similar to the changes that occur when one ages. As we get older, growth hormones play a very important role in how we look as we age.
Growth hormones are responsible for:

  • Enhancing your immune response thereby allowing for greater resistance to disease and infection.
  • Reducing body fat without dieting
  • Increasing muscle mass with exercise
  • Bolstering energy, strength, and stamina
  • Improving bone density
  • Improving skin tone
  • Sharpened memory and heightened well-being

We should do everything we can to keep our growth hormones as high as possible and one method of doing that is to get adequate amount of sleep each night. The Growth Hormone has been called the Fountain of Youth- No doubt one simple way to get more of it is to sleep well.


Proper Sleep equals better control of Blood Pressure and CardioVascular Health

According to Sheldon Sheps, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic A report published in the May 2006 medical journal Hypertension suggests that long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). High Blood Pressure is defined at 140 mm Hg or greater (systolic pressure) and 90 mm Hg or greater diastolic pressure
In one study, 4810 group members (ranging in age from 32 to 86) slept less than 6 hours a night. It was found that this group had over 2x risk of high blood pressure. This association was not significant in participants older than 59 years.

Heart Disease. Another long term study looked at loss of sleep and Heart Disease. This study group included healthy female nurses. Almost 2% of those who said they slept less than five hours a night developed heart disease over a 10-year stretch This compared with 1.1% of those who reported sleeping seven to eight hours a night. Those sleeping more than nine hours a night were also at increased risk. This study also showed an increase in diabetes in this group involving nurses.

Dying prematurely. A six-year study of more than a million adult Americans showed that premature deaths were more common among those who reported averaging less than 4.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours of sleep a night.


The skinny on being happier, healthier and lighter- Better Sleep

A recent Readers Digest Article (October 2007) caught my eye- and it anything BUT put me to Sleep. The importance of getting a good night sleep cannot be over rated. So many reasons to make sure you get to bed on time:

  1. It will keep you healthier- People who sleep less tend to have higher blood pressure. A lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and increase in weight. People who sleep live longer and just live better. Click here to read more
  2. Sleep will make you look better and feel better - One of the main reasons is that it will keep your hormone levels higher- especially growth hormones. Click here to read more
  3. Sleep will keep you happier- People who don't sleep produce an increased amount of stress hormones creating a body that is always in a "hyper" state. A lack of sleep can bring on depression and vice versa. Click here to read more.
  4. Sleep will make you Smarter- Not sleeping can affect concentration and problem solving skills. Just like drinking too much, not sleeping can have the same effect on you physically and cognitively. Click here to read more.
  5. Sleep will help control your Weight- There is an obesity epidemic in the United States- one the reasons is the lack of sleep. It can affect what you decide to eat. Insomniacs tend to crave food high in carbohydrates and sugar. Mainly because sleep loss decreases insulin sensitivity, putting an individual at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. This can cause a decrease in metabolism and an increase in appetite. Loss of sleep decreases the levels of a hormone called leptin but increases ghrelin (hormone that makes you feel hungry. Click here to read more.

So to be healthier, happier and lighter do everything you can to make sure you get the proper amount of sleep every night. You spend 1/3 of your life sleeping- are you getting the most out of it? We will discuss each of the above facts in more detail in the next few posts. Also we will discuss ways to make sure you get proper sleep. S


Gut Health And Its Involvement In Total Body Health!

My friend contacted me again a week later. Good news, he's feeling much better with his dizziness and stomach problems. So what made the the difference? Unbelievably he told me he sat down to watch television with his wife. She had recorded Oprah and wanted to watch it. That particular episode had one of her frequent guests - Dr Oz - who had been talking about the gut and the intestinal track.

From watching the episode he realized he wasn't getting really any fiber in his diet which was why he was "impacted". literally from eating more raw vegetables, taking extra fiber and taking a probiotic supplement, in just 1 week he has started going to the bathroom more regularly, has felt less dizziness, and has felt better overall.


Chronic Dizziness - an annoying health condition

Recently my good friend M.J. came to me with a condition of dizziness that has been going on for about a year. The dizziness started after a plane trip in October 2006-and ever since that time he has has been dealing with this very annoying symptom. He said that this dizziness affects all facets of his life. He has tried chiropractic which has helped but this has not been a permanent solution. He has tried using peroxide to dissolve excess ear wax (sometimes a build up of wax can cause dizziness and balanced issues). He has changed his diet: he has cut out of his diet: caffeine, foods with preservatives/ additives, and alcohol as much as possible. However, the dizziness continues still and the year mark is coming up. At one point he thought he may have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, and therefore did excercises called the BRANDT-DAROFF EXERCISES. MJ also states that as of recent his stomach has been giving him problems and that he has not been regular going to the bathroom like he has been in the past.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly what caused this dizziness. MJ states that he has been to his PCP- the Dr suggested it may be due to a virus. There was no outer ear problems, no build up of ear wax. His Chiropractor has given him good advice and after he gets treated there he feels good for a while.

The symptoms have come and gone (he was vey dizzy the day after the initial plane trip, but then slowly became tolrable) but symptoms have recently been slightly worse than usual along with more stomach pains. He is currently persuing some ways to improve gut and stomach health to see if this makes more of a difference.

I'll keep everyone updated next time I hear from him.


A Natural Solution for Immediate Headache Pain Relief

It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Headaches are believed to be the result of an electrical and chemical imbalance at centers in the brain that regulate blood vessels around the head and neck. The cause of Headaches can be a variety of reasons such as stress, reactions to certain foods, hormonal imbalances, genetic predisposition, fatigue, noise, glare.
Headaches can present in a variety of forms including:

Tension headaches are the most common type and are typically caused by muscle contraction in the head and neck. Symptoms of a tension headaches include soreness in your temples, a tightening band-like sensation around your head (a "vice-like" ache), a pulling feeling, pressure sensations, and contracting head and neck muscles. This is why physicians may refer to tension-type headaches as "muscle contraction" headaches. Your symptoms can also include a tightness in your neck (as if your "head and neck were in a cast"); only certain positions seem to provide relief. The headache surfaces in your forehead, temples or the back of your head and neck. These headaches can be episodic or chronic (going on for months and not having any pain relief from over the counter medications)

Vascular headaches, which include cluster and migraine headaches, are the result of overactive blood vessels.

Migraine Headaches can last between 12 and 24 hours and is often accompanied by nausea and other symptoms.

Cluster headaches generally lasts from 30 to 45 minutes, although it might persist for several hours before it disappears.They are called cluster headaches because the attacks come in groups. The pain arrives with little, if any, warning, and it has been described as the most severe and intense of any headache type. Unfortunately, it can reoccur later in the day. Most sufferers experience one to four headaches a day during a cluster period.which typically affect men, are accompanied by throbbing pain around one red, watery eye, and nasal congestion.

Sinus headaches is characterized by congestion and steady pain behind your face that worsens if you bend forward. Sinuses are filled with air, and their secretions must be able to drain freely into the nose. If your headache is truly caused by a sinus blockage, such as an infection, this will probably be accompanied by a fever. Having an x-ray will confirm a sinus blockage. Your physician's treatment might include antibiotics for the infection, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.

Solutions for Headache Relief:

  1. Acupressure Points: Particularly your temples and at the top of your nose (use your index finger and thumb and press for 5-10 seconds
  2. Chiropractic manipulation to the cervical spine
  3. Massage therapy for the neck muscles, particularly the suboccipitals and the cervical paraspinals
  4. Cervical Neck Traction may help stretch your neck muscles proving instant relief
  5. Acupuncture
  6. Watch what you eat: Trigger foods include MSGS, caffeine, certain chemicals such as dyes in processed foods, tanins in wine
  7. The Headache Ice Pillow or relieving your worst headaches.
    Headache Ice Pillow to give you relief from your headaches
    Arc4life's Headache Ice Pillow for your neck

    This neck pillow uses a special, compact design to help relieve headaches by providing support to your neck while sleeping or resting. An anatomically designed, soft-frozen gel pack can be inserted into the pillow for added relief. This headache pillow is perfect for travel, reading or sleeping. It can provide relief from pinched nerves, stiffness, sprains, neck injuries or other traumas. The gel pack stores in your freezer until needed. The added ice therapy will help in decreasing muscle spasm and inflammation in the neck muscles. The Headache ice pillow is clinically proven to relieve headaches - it has shown to categorically help nearly 80% of uses.

Specifications of Headache Ice Pillow
Dimensions:12.00" height x 11.00" width x 5.50" diameter
Weight: 1.80 Pounds
Color: White
Click here for more information on The Headache Ice Pillow


The Case of the Heavy BackPack

Last month Bobbie (name changed for privacy), presented to our office for neck pain mid back pain, and lower back pain after a rear end motor vehicle accident in which she was a seat belted passenger. Bobbie is a 13 years old and weighs about 100 lbs and looks like a typical bright eyed student. In early September she started school. After that first day of school, the first thing she told me was that her back was really hurting her because she had an enormous amount of textbooks to carry back and forth. On top of that she stated that carrying her saxaphone aggravated her back as well. Arc4life.com

I gave her mother two suggestions.
#1. Get a rolling backpack with wheels.
#2. Photocopy the pages out of the textbooks and just decrease the amount of books to bring home.Talk to Bobbie's teachers about lightening the load, maybe even buy a 2nd set of the most used textbooks for home.
#3. Get an ergonomic BackPack that distributes the weight from the shoulders to the hips.
Well, my first suggestion did not go over too well. Apparently it is not cool for a six-grader to be rolling around a back pack. Jeesh!!! Practically, Bobbie also mentioned that her school has many staircases that would make it difficult for her to lift her backpack during the day in between classes. Suggestion #2 Got an automatic head shake from Bobbie- she must be studying weeks ahead every night !

Individuals should carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their backpack. For example, for a child who weighs 100 lbs, this means they should carry 15 lbs or less. These days, you add in a lunch, textbooks, your pencil case and gym clothes--- you may well over be that amount. In the case of Bobbie textbooks caused her maximum load to go over the allowed amount.

A properly fitted BackPack enhances the body's natural ability to carry weight, reducing stress on the body up to 80% and lightening the effective load up to 50%.

Arc4life offers AirPacks Backpacks- these supportive backpacks have a great support system that is created by a hidden adjustable air chamber placed in the lower back which transfers the weight to the hips. The wide, foam-cushioned straps have buckles at the top and bottom to provide a two point adjustment. AirPack BackPacks promote proper posture
The Backpacks also allow for self- adjusting side to side to provide a better fit accross the shoulders. There are also side cinches to pull the weight of the backpack closer to to the persons center of gravity, therefore increasing balance and stability. The great thing about the AirPack BackPacks is that they come in three sizes:

  • Small: Ideal for elementary or middle school students (12" x 16 1/2" x 7"). Click Here

  • Medium: Ideal for middle school or high school students (11 1/2" x 17" x 8"). Click here

  • Large: Ideal for high school or college students (12 1/2" x 18" x 12"). Click here

As for Bobbie, her mother mentioned that she did indeed buy her daughter a rolling back pack last year, but that it was not "cool" enough for her to be seen with it at school. Her mother stated that she would order a specialized AirBack BackPack for Parvati. I made a few more suggestions for Parvati and her backpack ways:
  • Always use both shoulder straps.
  • Tighten the backpack straps so that the Backpack is close to the body as possible
  • Pack light as much as possible.Make the backpack does not weigh more than 10-15% of Parvati's body weight
  • Make use of the school lockers. There is no need to carry all of your textbooks all day in school.
  • Organize the backpack so that all the compartments are properly used
  • When bending forward, make sure you bend at the knees, especially with a heavy back pack
  • Learn back- strengthening exercise to prevent injury and strain.

Arc4life- Proper Posture Product


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