Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Good Sleep is the Door to Good Health!

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

Good Sleep is the Door to Good Health!

sleepmercola

Sleep is one of the great mysteries of life. Like gravity or the quantum field, we still don’t understand exactly why we sleep—although we are learning more about it every day.

 

We do know, however, that good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health.

 

Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.

 

Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far reaching effects on your health.

 

For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:

 

Dramatically weaken your immune system

Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions

Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight

Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day

Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability

When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin (a hormone AND an antioxidant) and has less ability to fight cancer, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals that can lead to cancer. This is why tumors grow faster when you sleep poorly.

 

Impaired sleep can also increase stress-related disorders, including:

 

Heart disease

Stomach ulcers

Constipation

Mood disorders like depression

Diabetes

Auto-immune disorders

 

Sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as Peak Fitness Technique). Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger.

 

One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause. Lost sleep is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health. Poor sleep can make your life miserable, as most of you probably know.

 

The good news is, there are many natural techniques you can learn to restore your “sleep health.”

 

Whether you have difficulty falling asleep, waking up too often, or feeling inadequately rested when you wake up in the morning—or maybe you simply want to improve the quality of your sleep—you are bound to find some relief from my tips and tricks below.

 

Optimizing Your Sleep Sanctuary

  1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep. This will help decrease your risk of cancer.

 

Close your bedroom door and get rid of night-lights. Refrain from turning on any light at all during the night, even when getting up to go to the bathroom. Cover up your clock radio. Cover your windows—I recommend using blackout shades or drapes.

 

All life evolved in response to predictable patterns of light and darkness, called circadian rhythms. Modern day electrical lighting has significantly betrayed your inner clock by disrupting your natural rhythms. Little bits of light pass directly through your optic nerve to your hypothalamus, which controls your biological clock. Light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up and starts preparing your body for ACTION.

 

  1. Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.

 

When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.

 

  1. Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin and may have other negative effects as well. To do this, you need a gauss meter. You can find various models online, starting around $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling your circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in your house.

 

  1. Move alarm clocks and other electrical devices away from your bed. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from your bed as possible, preferably at least 3 feet. Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when you stare at it all night… 2 a.m. …3 a.m. … 4:30 a.m.

 

  1. Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary. I gave up my alarm clock years ago and now use a sun alarm clock, an alarm that combines the features of a traditional alarm clock (digital display, AM/FM radio, beeper, snooze button, etc.) with a special built-in light that gradually increases in intensity, simulating sunrise.

 

  1. Reserve your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep, so avoid doing these activities in bed.

 

  1. Consider separate bedrooms. Recent studies suggest, for many people, sharing a bed with a partner (or pets) can significantly impair sleep, especially if the partner is a restless sleeper or snores. If bedfellows are consistently interfering with your sleep, you may want to consider a separate bedroom.

 

Preparing for Bed

  1. Get to bed as early as possible. Your body (particularly your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into your liver, which can further disrupt your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.

 

  1. Don’t change your bedtime. You should go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

 

  1. Establish a bedtime routine. This could include meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy or essential oils or indulging in a massage from your partner. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the tensions of the day.

 

  1. Don’t drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom, or at least minimize the frequency.

 

  1. Go to the bathroom right before bed. This will reduce the chances that you’ll wake up to go in the middle of the night.

 

  1. Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production.

 

  1. Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross your blood-brain barrier.

 

  1. Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. These will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.

 

  1. Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating slumber. The temperature drops from getting out of the bath signals your body it’s time for bed.

 

  1. Wear socks to bed. Feet often feel cold before the rest of the body because they have the poorest circulation. A study has shown that wearing socks to bed reduces night waking. As an alternative, you could place a hot water bottle near your feet at night.

 

  1. Wear an eye mask to block out light. As discussed earlier, it is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible. That said, it’s not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can be helpful.

 

  1. Put your work away at least one hour before bed (preferably two hours or more). This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines.

 

  1. No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even completely out of the house. It’s too stimulating to the brain, preventing you from falling asleep quickly. TV disrupts your pineal gland function.

 

  1. Listen to relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep. An excellent relaxation/meditation option to listen to before bed is the Insight audio CD.

 

Another favorite is the Sleep Harmony CD, which uses a combination of advanced vibrational technology and guided meditation to help you effortlessly fall into deep delta sleep within minutes. The CD works on the principle of “sleep wave entrainment” to assist your brain in gearing down for sleep.

 

  1. Read something spiritual or uplifting. This may help you relax. Don’t read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, which has the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might be tempted to go on reading for hours, instead of going to sleep!

 

  1. Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed. Personally, I have been doing this for 15 years, but prefer to do it in the morning when my brain is functioning at its peak and my cortisol levels are high.

 

Lifestyle Suggestions That Enhance Sleep

  1. Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely affect sleep. In most cases, the condition causing the drugs to be taken in the first place can be addressed by following guidelines elsewhere on my web site.

 

  1. Avoid caffeine. At least one study has shown that, in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption. So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night. Be aware that some medications contain caffeine (for example, diet pills).

 

  1. Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.

 

  1. Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.

 

  1. Lose excess weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep. Please refer to my nutrition plan for recommendations.

 

  1. Avoid foods you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and other problems.

 

  1. Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress.

 

  1. If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.

 

If All Else Fails

  1. My current favorite fix for insomnia is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Most people can learn the basics of this gentle tapping technique in a few minutes. EFT can help balance your body’s bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and improvement is remarkably rapid.

 

  1. Increase your melatonin. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. If that isn’t possible, you may want to consider a melatonin supplement.

 

In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue. Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep.

 

As always Melatonin should not be used if you have a heart condition, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, any gastrointestinal inflammatory problems or pregnant.

 

Call your healthcare provider or give us a call for your personal healthcare needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr Gemma Carney

312-972-9355 (WELL)

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Linked

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Linked

 

New research links lack of sleep with heightened risk for type 2 diabetes in youth

 lackofsleep

A new review of scientific literature on the importance of sleep in youth suggests that a lack of sleep can lead to decreased appetite control and body weight regulation, all of which can raise risks for the development of type 2 diabetes.

 

The largest decline in sleep duration and poor sleep quality over the past decades has been seen in children and adolescents, a trend that earlier studies say may contribute to weight gain, increased risks for cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.

 

This new review of evidence, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, has looked at 23 studies on the topic of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and sleep variables to try and elucidate the mechanisms that may explain the association between the two.

 

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, in Canada, reviewed studies that not only assessed risks from inadequate sleep, described as sleeping less than six hours per night – a two-hour or so sleep deficit compared to standard advice for children – but also sleep architecture.

 

A healthy sleep architecture refers to having the right number of restorative sleep cycles and rapid eye movement phases to feel sufficiently well-rested. An out of whack sleep architecture has been associated in past studies with insulin resistance.

 

In terms of sleep duration, researchers have found that the lowest risk for type 2 diabetes is observed, similar to the figure given for adults, at a minimum sleep duration of seven to eight hours per day.

 

Drawing from the findings of the different studies evaluated, they have identified a number of mechanisms by which the lack of sleep can elevate risks for type 2 diabetes among children.

 

One of them, perhaps the most prominent one, is the increased exposure to the stress hormone cortisol due to short sleep duration. This may contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat and subsequent increased insulin resistance.

 

The reason for this is that the authors also noted that the association between sleep quality and insulin resistance was not independent of the level of adiposity – the increase in the number of fat cells.

 

There may also be another phenomenon implicated that has to do with the nervous system which, in response to the stress of not sleeping, negatively influences the hormone leptin.

 

While we sleep, leptin usually rise to control appetite. However, when sleep is restricted, leptin gets inhibited. The inhibition of leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety. These effects can translate into progressive weight gain.

 

Sleep is a modifiable lifestyle habit associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. One randomised trial that was part of the review conducted among children aged 8 to 11 years showed that increasing sleep duration by just 1.5 hour per night over a week resulted in lower food intake and lower body weight.

 

Although more studies are needed to shed light on the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with type 2 diabetes risk, there’s no possible risk in children and teens improving their sleep and getting enough of it on a regular schedule each night.

 

If you need help, have concerns or just want a healthcare plan for YOU, then contact us and we will help you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr. Mark Williams DPsych

312-972-WELL

 

HealthWellnessASsociates@gmail.com

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Secrets of Sleep

Secrets-of-Sleep

The Secrets of Sleep

There are lots of reasons why older folks struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Just don’t expect much consensus from the scientific community.

 

Sleep is a precious commodity here in Geezerville. At a certain age, in fact, we begin to pursue it with the sort of evolutionary fervor we once reserved primarily for procreative activities. And yet, for many elderly Americans, a good night’s sleep remains a maddeningly elusive goal. As Jane Brody notes in a recent New York Times column, a 1995 study found that 28 percent of people over 65 had difficulty falling asleep and 42 percent said they had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Given our current propensity to while away our evening hours staring at various electronic screens, Brody suggests those numbers are probably even higher now.

 

I am not one of these cranky insomniacs. Most evenings, I’m conked out within a few minutes of my 11 o’clock bedtime; most mornings, I rise reasonably refreshed, around 8. My Lovely Wife, on the other hand, is a night owl who will not entertain the notion of slumber until she is completely convinced she’s exhausted enough — physically and, more importantly, mentally — to hit the pillow and stay there.

 

She’s been this way since our first child was born, nearly 29 years ago. Hyperalert to any disturbances from the crib down the hall, and secure in the knowledge that I’ve been known to sleep through minor earthquakes, she took on the responsibility and maintains it now, long after our offspring have exited the nest.

 

I’d worry about MLW if she wasn’t able to snooze happily into the mid-morning hours when necessary. (She’s self-employed and has few time-sensitive obligations.) But for those aging insomniacs who never catch enough z’s, there can be serious consequences: cognitive disorders, psychomotor retardation, immune system dysfunction, and depression, among others.

 

Scientists, physicians, and psychiatrists have been trying to figure out the mysteries of sleep for as long as people have been tossing and turning. There are plenty of suggested cures — avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and computer screens before bedtime; ramping up your exercise; eschewing midday naps; and the like — but there’s little consensus on what might be happening in the body to make us more or less likely to snooze. Or why we need to sleep at all.

 

Researchers at Harvard Medical School recently weighed in on the debate with a study suggesting that it’s all connected to the body’s immune response, specifically certain type of brain-based immune proteins known as inflammasome NLRP3. When the brain detects an infection or inflammation in the body, it releases sleep-inducing immune molecules.

 

“We already know that sleep plays a protective role in resolving infections so our observation of inflammasome activation following infection suggests this immune mechanism may have a brain-protective role,” says lead study author Mark Zielinski, PhD.

 

I’m no sleep expert, but this would lead me to believe that my nightly snoozefest is the happy result of some stubborn infection, which seems to be something of a mixed blessing. Eradicate the infection, douse the inflammation, and the reward is an endless string of sleepless nights?

 

No one really questions that there is a restorative function to sleep, but University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists argue that its primary purpose is to help us forget. In a recent study published in the journal Science, biologists Giulio Tononi, MD, PhD, and Chiara Cirelli, MD, PhD, report that the brain’s synapses grow so exuberantly during the day that the circuits get too noisy. When we sleep, our brains surreptitiously delete unnecessary memories so we aren’t overloaded with useless information, rendering our useful memories fuzzy.

 

When I mentioned this the other day to MLW, she wondered how the brain could determine the difference between necessary and unnecessary memories. I said I didn’t know and I wasn’t going to lose any sleep over it. But now I’m sorry I mentioned it all, because she probably will.

 

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Dr M Williams

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How You Should Sleep With Lower Back Pain?

sleepposition

How Should You Sleep with Lower Back Pain?

 

People worldwide suffer from back problems due to various reasons. In general, factors at work, excessive standing, physical exercise and even chronic medical conditions play an important role in the development lower back pain. Lower back pain interferes with your daily activities, but it also makes it difficult or even impossible to sleep at night. So how should you sleep with lower back pain?

 

Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain

 

Sleep in Fetal Position

Fetal position is known to support our back and relieve any lower back pain. If you sleep on the side with the knees drawn up, your joints in the spine will open up, relieving any pressure on the structures of the back. You can also place a pillow between your legs for a better support.

 

While sleeping in this position, make sure to avoid any spine curvature. Make sure to place the pillow so that it is positioned between your knees and your ankles at the same time. Choose a thicker pillow for a better support.

 

If you sleep on the side, alternate it by sleeping on the right and on the left side as well. If you sleep on the same side all night long, you will end up with pain and even muscle imbalance.

 

For pregnant women, the best sleeping position for lower back pain is to sleep on their left side in order to avoid any pressure on the large blood structures of the body which can restrict the blood flow to the fetus.

 

Use an Extra Pillow Under the Knees

 

If you prefer sleeping on your back, you can use an extra pillow under your knees for supporting your back. This will flatten your back and avoid a large curvature of your lower back. For extra support, while sleeping on your back, you can put a rolled up towel under your lower back.

 

Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach

People suffering from lower back pain should avoid sleeping on their stomach. When sleeping on the stomach, extra pressure is put on your lower back, as well as an unpleasant twist of the spine occurs.

 

However, if this is the only position in which you can fall asleep, put a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen for support. If you sleep on your stomach, you don’t need a head pillow if it puts extra pressure and strain on your neck and head.

 

How to Get in and out of the Bed

 

You already know the best sleeping position for lower back pain. But have you ever thought about correct ways of getting in and out of the bed? Here is how to do it.

 

Getting into bed:

 

First, sit on the side of your bed.

Use your hands for support while you bend your knees and swing them slowly and carefully onto the bed.

Lie on your side first.

Roll onto your back using your arms for support.

 

Getting out of bed:

Once you are awake, roll on your side.

Bend your knees and let your legs hang off the bed.

Push yourself with the arms from the bed and swing your legs at the same time in order to get into a sitting position.

Stand up slowly, supporting your body with your arms.

More Tips for a Better Sleep with Lower Back Pain

 

  1. Choose the Right Mattress

 

Have you ever wondered about the best sleeping position for lower back pain? Well, not just the sleeping position, but also the mattress you sleep in is very important for a good night’s sleep. If you prefer to sleep on your side, the mattress should be soft, so your hips and shoulders sink while sleeping, avoiding any pressure to the pressure points.

 

If you prefer sleeping on your back, the mattress needs to be firm for a better comfort. The worst mattresses are those which are too soft, not offering the necessary support while sleeping.

 

  1. Buy the Right Pillows

 

The pillow you sleep in is also very important. An ideal pillow is the one that offers a neutral position where the head and the shoulders are at the same correlation. If you prefer sleeping on your side, get a thicker and firmer pillow which will help reduce the pressure on your neck.

 

If you prefer sleeping on your back, a thinner and medium firm pillow is ideal, while if you prefer sleeping on your stomach, a very thin pillow or no pillow at all is recommended.

 

  1. Relieve Your Lower Back Pain with Heat

 

Heat is known to relax the muscles of the body, including those of your lower back. For this reason, before going to bed make sure to take a shower with warm water for about 10 minutes. You can also take a hot bath if you prefer.

 

Using a heating pad or even a bottle filled with hot water can help relieve your back pain when applied to the sore area. Use the heating pad or bottle for 10 or 20 minutes, but make sure not to sleep with them. There is always the risk of burns and even fire.

 

  1. Change Your Dietary Habits

 

Eating too late or even having a large meal just before going to sleep is never recommended. It can contribute to acid reflux which will just increase your discomfort and sleeping problems. Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine in large amounts as well before going to sleep as they will disrupt your sleep too.

 

  1. Use Analgesic Rubs for Lower Back Pain

 

If you are dealing with lower back pain and are having problems sleeping, you can always try rubbing an analgesic into the sore area. This will help relax the muscles and even create a pleasant and warmth sensation.

 

  1. Don’t Sleep Too Much

Sleeping too much is not recommended as well. Adults should get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Staying for a prolonged period of time in bed will just contribute to muscle stiffness and even increase the back pain.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr. J Jaranson

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

1 in 6 Women take this Nightmare Pill

pill

1 in 6 Women Take This Nightmare Pill While Many Studies Suggest It’s Useless

 

Use of Antidepressants Continue to Rise

 

Major depression is one of the most common disorders in the U.S.,1 with 16 million adults reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year.2,3 When you look at all forms of depression, that number goes even higher. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 24 million Americans experience some form of depression,4 which can interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and affect physical health.

 

Depression reduces your ability to care for yourself properly and make adequate decisions about your health, including nutrition and sleep. Imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may lead to compromised immune function.5

 

If ignored, depression can become chronic and can lead to self-harming behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse6 and even be terminal if the person commits suicide. Up to 70 percent of people who commit suicide are clinically depressed,7 and 90 percent of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.8

 

Antidepressant Use Continues to Rise

According to the latest statistics,9,10,11,12 use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014. As of 2014:

 

  • Nearly 1 in 8 Americans (13 percent) over the age of 12 reported being on antidepressant medication

 

  • 1 in 6 women (16.5 percent) reported antidepressant use compared to 1 in 11 men (9 percent)

 

  • About one-quarter of those who had taken an antidepressant in the past month reported being on them for 10 years or more

 

  • Caucasians were more than three times more likely to use antidepressants than Blacks, Hispanics or Asians (16.5 percent compared to 5.6 percent, 5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively)

 

In Scotland, researchers also warn that antidepressant use among children under the age of 12 has risen dramatically.13 Between 2009 and 2016, use in this age group quadrupled. Use among children under 18 doubled in the same time frame.

 

Research Reveals Antidepressants Are Rarely the Right Answer

Unfortunately, the most widely used remedy for depression is also among the least effective. In addition to a long list of potential side effects14,15 (which include worsening depression and suicide), 40 percent of people with major depressive disorder treated with antidepressants do not achieve full remission.16

 

Perhaps more importantly, studies17,18,19 have repeatedly shown antidepressants work no better than placebo for mild to moderate depression, so you’re taking grave risks for a very small chance of benefit. As noted in a 2014 paper on antidepressants and the placebo effect:20

 

“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain … But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect …

 

Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.

 

The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.”

 

Placebo Effect Accounts for 82 Percent of Drug Response

The author of that 2014 study, Irving Kirsch, is a psychotherapist who has performed a number of analyses on antidepressants. In 2002, his team filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the trial data provided by drug companies as part of the drug approval process.

 

The FDA requires drug companies to provide data on all clinical trials they’ve sponsored, including unpublished trials. As it turned out, nearly half of all clinical trials on antidepressants remained unpublished. When both published and unpublished trials were included, 57 percent showed the drug had no clinical benefit over placebo. What’s more, the placebo response actually accounted for 82 PERCENT of the beneficial response to antidepressants!

 

These results were reproduced in a 2008 study21 using another, even larger set of FDA trial data. According to Kirsch, “Once again, 82 percent of the drug response was duplicated by placebo.” A major benefit of evaluating FDA trial data was that all of the trials used the same primary measure of depression, which made the drug-to-placebo effects very easy to identify and compare.

 

The primary measure of depression used in these studies was the Hamilton depression scale, a 17-item scale with a possible score of 0 to 53 points. The higher your score, the more severe your depression. Importantly, the mean difference between antidepressants and placebo was less than two points (1.8) on this scale, which is considered clinically insignificant.

 

To illustrate just how insignificant of a difference this is, you can score a 6-point difference simply by changing sleep patterns without any reported change in other depressive symptoms.

 

EMFs — A Not Well-Known Cause of Anxiety and Depression

About one year ago Dr. Martin Pall published a review22 in the Journal of Neuroanatomy showing how microwave radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi routers and computers and tablets not in airplane mode is clearly associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. I recently did an interview with him that will air on September 3. In the meantime, you can view my interview on EMFs that I discussed on my recent trip to visit with Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof.23

 

These microwave EMFs increase intracellular calcium through voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and the tissue with the highest density of VGCCs is the brain. Once these VGCCs are stimulated they also cause the release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones leading to not only anxiety and depression, but neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.

 

So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technology. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.

 

Studies have also confirmed the therapeutic effects of spending time in nature.  Ecotherapy has been shown to lower stress, improve mood and significantly reduce symptoms of depression.24 Outdoor activities could be just about anything, from walking a nature trail to gardening, or simply taking your exercise outdoors.

 

Breath work such as the Buteyko breathing technique also has enormous psychological benefits and can quickly reduce anxiety by increasing the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in your body. These three techniques are a perfect complement to each other, and cost nothing. Simply turn off your electronics, head outside and practice proper breathing.

 

America Struggles With Notable Decline in Mental Health 

While prescriptions for psychiatric drugs keep increasing (when you include other drugs beside antidepressants, such as anti-anxiety drugs, nearly 17 percent of American adults are medicated25,26), several parameters show mental health in the U.S. is declining.

 

Suicide rates are at a 30-year high, mental disorders are now the second most common cause of disability, having risen sharply since 1980,27 and prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths have become a public health emergency. While opioid pain killers are among the most lethal, psychiatric drugs also take their toll. In 2013, anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs accounted for nearly one-third of prescription overdose deaths.28

 

All of these statistics suggest that far from being helpful, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are making the situation worse. Sure, these drugs may be helpful for a small minority of people with very severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, but clearly, the vast majority of people using these drugs do not suffer from severe psychiatric illness.

 

Most are struggling with sadness, grief, anxiety, “the blues” and depression, which are in many ways part of your body’s communication system, revealing nutritional or sunlight deficiencies and/or spiritual disconnect, for example. The underlying reasons for these kinds of troubles are manifold, but you can be sure that, whatever the cause, an antidepressant will not correct it.

 

Women also need to be mindful of the fact that use of antidepressants during pregnancy can significantly increase your chances of having a child with autism. One study found antidepressant use during the second or third trimester was associated with an 87 percent increased risk of autism.29 The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors was associated with double the risk of autism in the child, while the use of two or more antidepressants increased the risk more than fourfold.

 

Which Treatments Actually Work?

If you’re at all interested in following science-based recommendations, you’d place antidepressants at the very bottom of your list of treatment candidates. Far more effective treatments for depression include:

 

  • Exercise — A number of studies have shown exercise outperforms drug treatment. Exercise helps create new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm, and boosts serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps buffer the effects of stress.

 

Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity, but even gentle forms of exercise can be effective. Yoga, for example, has received particular attention in a number of studies. A study published this spring found 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week reduced symptoms of major depression by at least 50 percent.30

 

  • Nutritional intervention — Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this. Reducing lectins may also be a good idea. As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet as described in my optimal nutrition plan can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level. Certain nutritional deficiencies are also notorious contributors to depression, especially:

 

◦ Omega-3 fats. I recommend getting an omega-3 index test to make sure you’re getting enough. Ideally, you want your omega-3 index to be 8 percent or higher.

 

◦ B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B8 and B12). Low dietary folate can raise your risk by as much as 300 percent.31,32 One of the most recent studies33,34 showing the importance of vitamin deficiencies in depression involved suicidal teens. Most turned out to be deficient in cerebral folate and all of them showed improvement after treatment with folinic acid.

 

  • Vitamin D — Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores, ideally by getting sensible sun exposure.35,36 In one such study,37 people with a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had an 85 percent increased risk of depression compared to those with a level greater than 30 ng/mL.

 

A double-blind randomized trial38 published in 2008 concluded that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D “seems to ameliorate [depression] symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship. “Recent research39 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. For optimal health, make sure your vitamin D level is between 40 and 60 ng/mL year-round. Ideally, get a vitamin D test at least twice a year to monitor your level.

 

  • Probiotics — Keeping your gut microbiome healthy also has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain. You can read more in my previous article, “Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora.”

 

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) — EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that has been shown to be quite effective for depression and anxiety.40,41,42,43 For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT44 to guide you through the process. That said, for most of you with depression symptoms, this is a technique you can learn to do effectively on your own.

 

One of my new favorites.  My mom passed away unexpectedly in July and I am very grateful she did not have cancer or struggles with any abuses from the conventional health system that many of our readers do. However, losing my mother was a major challenge in grief management for me.

 

I realize grief is not depression but the book “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”45 by Dr. David Hawkins, was one of the best books I have read this year and helped teach me the useful tool of how to free yourself of painful emotions. I have read many of Hawkins’ previous books but this was his last one as he also recently passed.

 

Other Helpful Treatment Strategies

Here are several other strategies that can help improve your mental health:46

 

Clean up your sleep hygiene

 

Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. A fitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.

 

If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t call back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Meditation can also help.

Optimize your gut health

 

A number of studies have confirmed gastrointestinal inflammation can play a critical role in the development of depression.47 Optimizing your gut microbiome will also help regulate a number of neurotransmitters and mood-related hormones, including GABA and corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety and depression-related behavior.48

 

To nourish your gut microbiome, be sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi, kefir and natto. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is recommended.

 

Also remember to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, to rebalance your gut flora. As a standard recommendation, I suggest limiting your daily fructose consumption from all sources to 25 grams per day or less.

Visualization

 

Visualization and guided imagery have been used for decades by elite athletes prior to an event, successful business people and cancer patients — all to achieve better results through convincing your mind you have already achieved successful results.49,50 Similar success has been found in people with depression.51

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

 

CBT has been used successfully to treat depression.52,53 This therapy assumes mood is related to the pattern of thought. CBT attempts to change mood and reverse depression by directing your thought patterns.

Make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low for optimal mental health

 

You may also want to check your cholesterol to make sure it’s not too low. Low cholesterol is linked to dramatically increased rates of suicide, as well as aggression toward others.54 This increased expression of violence toward self and others may be due to the fact that low membrane cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which are approximately 30 percent cholesterol by weight.

 

Lower serum cholesterol concentrations therefore may contribute to decreasing brain serotonin, which not only contributes to suicidal-associated depression, but prevents the suppression of aggressive behavior and violence toward self and others.

Helpful supplements

 

A number of herbs and supplements can be used in lieu of drugs to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These include:

 

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). This medicinal plant has a long historical use for depression, and is thought to work similarly to antidepressants, raising brain chemicals associated with mood such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.55

 

  • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.

 

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. Evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression,56 which is more than can be said about antidepressants.

 

  • XingPiJieYu. This Chinese herb, available from doctors of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been found to reduce the effects of “chronic and unpredictable stress,” thereby lowering your risk of depression.57

Guidelines for Safe Drug Withdrawal

If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally, you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. It would also be wise to do some homework on how to best proceed. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen from Harvard has written a helpful book on how to withdraw called “The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction.”

 

You can also turn to an organization with a referral list of doctors who practice more biologically or naturally, such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine at http://www.ACAM.org. A holistic psychiatrist will have a number of treatment options in their tool box that conventional doctors do not, and will typically be familiar with nutritional supplementation.

 

Once you have the cooperation of your prescribing physician, start lowering the dosage of the medication you’re taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose that your doctor should be well aware of. At the same time, it may be wise to add in a multivitamin and/or other nutritional supplements or herbs. Again, your best bet would be to work with a holistic psychiatrist who is well-versed in the use of nutritional support.

 

If you have a friend or family member who struggles with depression, perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal. Encourage them to unplug and meet you outside for walks. We should not underestimate the power of human connection, and the power of connection with nature. Both, I believe, are essential for mental health and emotional stability.

 

If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You cannot make long-term plans for lifestyle changes when you are in the middle of a crisis.

 

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Caffeine Could Help Stop Post op Pain

caffeinecould

Caffeine Could Help Stop Post-Op Pain: Study

 

New American research has found that for patients who suffer from sleep deprivation before surgery, caffeine before the operation could be an alternative way to reduce post-operative pain associated with a lack of sleep.

 

Previous research has shown that a lack of sleep both pre- and post-op can worsen pain after surgery. This new study from the Department of Anesthesiology at Michigan Medicine set out to see if there were any interventions that could help minimize the effect of sleep loss and reduce the severity of pain experienced after surgery.

 

The team focused on caffeine as a potential treatment, which may seem surprising given that caffeine is a stimulant to increase alertness.

 

“Most people would be confused by the idea of using caffeine while we insist on the dangers of not getting enough sleep,” noted study author Giancarlo Vanini, M.D.

 

However, as caffeine blocks the actions of the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter adenosine, causing us to feel more awake, the team proposed that caffeine might counteract the negative impact of sleep deprivation on surgical pain.

 

 

“Insufficient sleep enhances pain perception, so we reasoned that caffeine might also be useful for reversing the increase in pain caused by sleep loss,” Vanini said.

 

The team used a rat model of surgical pain to test whether sleep deprivation before surgery would increase postoperative pain, and whether being given caffeine pre-emptively, before the sleep deprivation, would block the increase in postoperative pain caused by this lack of sleep.

 

The results showed that sleep deprivation before surgery did indeed increase postoperative pain, and also extended recovery time after surgery.

 

However, as the team hypothesized, caffeine helped mitigate the negative effects of insufficient sleep prior to surgery, blocking the increase in surgical pain.

 

Vanini explained that caffeine’s positive effect may be due to its role in blocking neurochemical changes caused by sleep deprivation in the brain areas that control sleep and wakefulness, and are connected to major pain-related areas.

 

“These results are relevant because sleep disorders and insufficient sleep are highly prevalent problems in our society,” he added. “Additionally, often times patients travel long distances during the night or early morning before being admitted into the hospital for elective surgery. In one way or another, most patients do not get adequate sleep before surgery.”

 

The team now plan to carry out more research to better understand caffeine’s effect on reducing pain in surgical patients.

 

The results are online in the journal Sleep.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Sleep Apnea Linked to Cognitive Decline

sleepapnea

Sleep Apnea Tied to Cognitive Decline

People who experience certain breathing problems at night may be more likely to develop cognitive impairment than individuals without any difficulties breathing while they sleep, a research review suggests.

Data obtained from 14 previously published studies with a total of more than 4.2 million men and women showed that people with sleep-disordered breathing had 26 percent higher odds of developing cognitive impairment, researchers report in JAMA Neurology.

“Identification of this sleep disorder in elderly persons might help predict future risk of cognitive impairment and thus is important for the early detection of dementia,” said lead study author Yue Leng of the University of California, San Francisco.

“Moreover, sleep-disordered breathing is a treatable disease,” Leng said by email. “If sleep-disordered breathing is a risk factor for dementia, then treatment of sleep-disordered breathing might benefit cognition and help reduce the risk of dementia in the long run.”

 

Many people with nighttime breathing problems had what’s known as apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that involves repeated stops and starts in breathing. Risk factors for sleep apnea include older age and obesity.

 

In the smaller studies included in the analysis, the increased risk of cognitive impairment associated with sleep-disordered breathing ranged from 23 percent to 86 percent.

 

When researchers analyzed the increased risk across all of the smaller studies with a similar design, excluding one that was done much differently, the overall increased risk of cognitive impairment associated with sleep-disordered breathing was 35 percent.

Sleep-disordered breathing was also associated with slightly worse “executive function” – that is, the mental processes involved in planning, paying attention, following instructions, and multi-tasking, for example – but it didn’t appear to influence memory, the study also found.

 

The researchers had only limited data on executive function, however, which made it difficult to determine whether any changes associated with sleep-disordered breathing might be clinically meaningful.

 

The analysis also didn’t account for obesity, which is independently a risk factor for both apnea and cognitive impairment, noted Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“It’s possible that the reduction in oxygen reaching the brain from apnea could, over time, lead to brain injuries that can lead to cognitive impairment,” St-Onge said by email. “There is also a link between obesity and mild cognitive impairment and between obesity and sleep-disordered breathing.”

 

Shedding excess weight might help, said Hui-Xin Wang of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

 

“Weight-loss strategies, including physical exercise and diet, have been evaluated as a treatment strategy to improve sleep-disordered breathing and reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” Wang, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

Beyond weight loss, treatments for apnea may include wearing a breathing mask or jaw support at night to keep airways open.

 

More research is needed, however, to determine whether and to what extent treating sleep apnea might lower the risk of cognitive decline, said Kristen Knutson of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

 

“There are therapies available for apnea that would improve sleep and potentially improve health, including cognitive function,” Knutson, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “People who have trouble sleeping or who snore loudly and frequently should raise this issue with their doctors and discuss potential treatments.”

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Are Sleeping Problems a Warning for Alzheimer’s?

sleepingproblems

Are Sleeping Problems a Warning for Alzheimer’s?

 

Trouble getting enough sleep may be linked to a bigger risk of Alzheimer’s disease for some people, new research suggests.

 

The results of the small study hint that people with a higher-than-normal risk of Alzheimer’s disease who had worse sleep quality, more sleep problems and daytime sleepiness had more markers for Alzheimer’s disease in their spinal fluid than those who didn’t have sleep issues.

 

The markers found by researchers included signs of the proteins amyloid and tau, and brain cell damage and inflammation, all linked to potential Alzheimer’s.

 

Amyloid is a protein that folds and forms plaques. Tau is a protein that forms tangles. Plaques and tangles are found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease and are considered a hallmark of the disease.

 

“This study and others in the field suggest that sleep may be a modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” said senior researcher Barbara Bendlin. She’s an associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

 

“This will require studies that directly test whether modifying sleep has a beneficial effect on the brain,” Bendlin said.

 

So, if you’re someone who’s always tossing and turning at night, does that mean you’re destined to a future with Alzheimer’s disease?

 

Not necessarily. Bendlin said these findings cannot prove that poor sleep causes Alzheimer’s disease. “We found an association,” she said. “But that does not mean cause and effect.”

 

It’s possible changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s could affect sleep, as opposed to the other way around, Bendlin added.

 

People with markers — signs — of Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid aren’t necessarily predestined to develop the condition either, she said.

 

“We found relationships between sleep and levels of proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease, but the proteins that we were measuring haven’t yet been shown to predict future dementia when measured in cognitively healthy people,” Bendlin said.

 

 

The study included 101 people and their average age was 63. At the time of testing, all of the study volunteers had normal thinking and memory skills. But they were considered at risk for Alzheimer’s either because they had a parent with the disease or they carried a gene that increases the risk for Alzheimer’s called apolipoprotein E, or APOE.

 

The study volunteers gave a sample of spinal fluid to be tested for markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

They also answered questions to judge the quality of their sleep. Examples included: “During the past four weeks, how often did you get the amount of sleep you needed?” Or “Did you get enough sleep to feel rested upon waking in the morning?” Bendlin said.

 

Although a strong association between sleep problems and Alzheimer’s markers was seen in most people, not everyone with sleep difficulty had these markers in their spinal fluid, Bendlin said.

 

For example, there was no association seen between people who had sleep apnea and markers for Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid.

 

Other factors — such as the use of drugs to aid sleep, education, depression and weight — didn’t change the association between poor sleep and markers for Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found.

 

One thing that could have thrown the findings off is that the participants reported their own sleep problems. It’s possible that people misreported their sleep issues or didn’t remember them correctly, the researchers said.

 

One specialist said that the association between sleep and amyloid has been seen in mice, but its effect on people isn’t clear.

 

“There is a positive feedback loop involving sleep and amyloid,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

 

In mice, the worse the sleep, the more amyloid builds up. The more amyloid builds up, the worse the sleep, he said.

 

It’s not known if this occurs in the same way in humans, Gandy said.

 

“Since our ability to slow progression of Alzheimer’s is still quite limited, this is an important area for research so that we might be able to exploit sleep regulation therapeutically,” he said.

 

Bendlin said it’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s because delaying Alzheimer’s disease in people by as little as five years could reduce the number of cases in the next 30 years by nearly 6 million and save $367 billion in health care costs.

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Link

sleepingchild

Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Linked

 

New research links lack of sleep with heightened risk for type 2 diabetes in youth

 

A new review of scientific literature on the importance of sleep in youth suggests that a lack of sleep can lead to decreased appetite control and body weight regulation, all of which can raise risks for the development of type 2 diabetes.

 

The largest decline in sleep duration and poor sleep quality over the past decades has been seen in children and adolescents, a trend that earlier studies say may contribute to weight gain, increased risks for cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.

 

This new review of evidence, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, has looked at 23 studies on the topic of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and sleep variables to try and elucidate the mechanisms that may explain the association between the two.

 

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, in Canada, reviewed studies that not only assessed risks from inadequate sleep, described as sleeping less than six hours per night – a two-hour or so sleep deficit compared to standard advice for children – but also sleep architecture.

 

A healthy sleep architecture refers to having the right number of restorative sleep cycles and rapid eye movement phases to feel sufficiently well-rested. An out of whack sleep architecture has been associated in past studies with insulin resistance.

 

In terms of sleep duration, researchers have found that the lowest risk for type 2 diabetes is observed, similar to the figure given for adults, at a minimum sleep duration of seven to eight hours per day.

 

Drawing from the findings of the different studies evaluated, they have identified a number of mechanisms by which the lack of sleep can elevate risks for type 2 diabetes among children.

 

One of them, perhaps the most prominent one, is the increased exposure to the stress hormone cortisol due to short sleep duration. This may contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat and subsequent increased insulin resistance.

 

The reason for this is that the authors also noted that the association between sleep quality and insulin resistance was not independent of the level of adiposity – the increase in the number of fat cells.

 

There may also be another phenomenon implicated that has to do with the nervous system which, in response to the stress of not sleeping, negatively influences the hormone leptin.

 

While we sleep, leptin usually rise to control appetite. However, when sleep is restricted, leptin gets inhibited. The inhibition of leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety. These effects can translate into progressive weight gain.

 

Sleep is a modifiable lifestyle habit associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. One randomised trial that was part of the review conducted among children aged 8 to 11 years showed that increasing sleep duration by just 1.5 hour per night over a week resulted in lower food intake and lower body weight.

 

Although more studies are needed to shed light on the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with type 2 diabetes risk, there’s no possible risk in children and teens improving their sleep and getting enough of it on a regular schedule each night.

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders

sleep

 

Sleep and psychiatric disorders often occur at the same time, and untreated sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing psychiatric conditions, such as depression, later in life. Recent reports found that as many as two-thirds of patients referred to sleep disorders centers have a psychiatric disorder. The most common psychiatric disorders associated with sleep complaints include depression, anxiety, and substance (illicit drugs and alcohol) abuse. Treating sleep disorders has been shown to improve the co-existing psychiatric condition and overall quality of life.

 

Depression

 

Depression is a mood disorder identified by low mood and/or lack of interest in activities previously found to be enjoyable. Depression affects one’s appetite, concentration, energy level, and motivation. People with depression report feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and have suicidal thoughts. The majority experience symptoms of insomnia, consisting of difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, early morning awakening, or non-refreshing sleep.

 

Studies of depressed patients demonstrate prolonged sleep latency (time to fall asleep), lack of slow wave sleep (also known as deep sleep), reduced REM sleep latency (time to REM sleep from sleep onset), and increased amount of REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, a sleep cycle characterized by the following physiological changes:

 

Accelerated respiration

Increased brain activity

Eye movement

Muscle relaxation

There is much evidence linking depression with sleep disorders. It has been shown that insomnia increases the risk of depression and that depression can cause insomnia. In a 34-year follow-up study of medical students at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the risk of developing depression among students with insomnia was twice that of those without insomnia. Of all the symptoms of depression, insomnia is often the last to respond to medications. Failure to treat insomnia increases the risk of a depression relapse.

 

Rarely, people with depression report excessive daytime sleepiness. This is more common in patients with seasonal affective disorder, also known as “winter depression.”

 

Anxiety disorders

 

People with anxiety disorders feel nervous, tense, have difficulty controlling worrying, and find it hard to relax. Sleep disorders are found in over 50 percent of patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Difficulty in falling and staying asleep is the most common sleep disturbance. People with anxiety disorders report a high level of psychological distress and are unable to relax enough to sleep at night. Insomnia in turn can raise anxiety levels. Nocturnal panic attacks are also common; these are sudden awakenings from sleep accompanied by intense anxiety, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and usually lead to difficulty falling back asleep.

 

Sleep and substance abuse

 

People who abuse alcohol and other illicit drugs frequently experience sleep problems. Many people say they use alcohol and illicit drugs in order to fall asleep. However, these substances are not effective in the long run and can lead to a variety of serious health and performance problems, including psychiatric and medical disorders, and psychosocial problems such as impaired performance at school or work. Though many believe in its sleep-promoting benefits, alcohol actually disrupts sleep, causing recurrent awakenings and a reduced amount of REM sleep. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs to treat insomnia is strongly discouraged.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment of co-existing psychiatric and sleep disorders requires a thorough evaluation by experts with knowledge in both sleep medicine and psychiatry. Medications to treat depression and anxiety must be chosen carefully, as some promote wakefulness while others cause drowsiness.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured and focused treatment for insomnia, typically provided by an experienced psychologist. CBT refers to a variety of behavioral strategies used to correct harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors that can cause or worsen insomnia. This type of therapy is not only effective, but its benefits outlast those of medications. Examples of CBT include relaxation therapy and biofeedback (a type of therapy that uses medical monitoring equipment to help patients learn to relax by controlling their vital signs — heart rate, breathing, etc).

 

People with insomnia should also adopt healthy habits and rituals that promote a good night’s sleep. These include:

 

Thinking positively

Establishing fixed bed and wake times

Relaxing before going to bed

Maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment

Avoiding clock watching

Following a 20 minute “Toss and Turn” rule (giving yourself only 20 minutes to continue tossing and turning, before leaving the bed for some restful activity)

Using the bedroom for sleep and sex only

Avoiding daytime naps

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine within 6 hours of sleep

Exercising regularly but not within 3 hours of sleep

 

All health professionals should be asking about your sleep habits when they are talking to you.  Irregular sleep patterns, mind racing with thoughts, heart palpitations, inability to sleep for 5 hours straight, are all signs of underlying diseases and some serious conditions.  Many times this can be fixed with the right vitamin and supplement program.  We have found many people who are taking supplements but we the wrong amount or the wrong combination for them.

 

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