First of all, you may think that you’re just fixing your sleep patterns but it’s important to know that you’re fixing much more than that. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to more than a few yawns and a dragged out day. Here’s a brief list of health concerns that have been linked to poor sleep:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Diabetes and obesity
- School and work performance deficits
- Cognitive impairment
- Increased risk of injury
- Overall reduced quality of life
As you can see, sleep literally affects all aspects of our health. While the mechanisms responsible for sleep deprivation’s negative health consequences are still being investigated, it appears that they derive from alterations in hormone output. Relative to healthy sleepers, problem sleepers show a much greater release of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) and a lower amount of growth hormone (required to build tissues, as the name implies). Impaired glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity and low-grade inflammation are also all associated with impaired sleep. The combination of these factors makes it no surprise that poor sleep leads to poor health.
Now that you know how important sleep is, it’s time to make some positive changes! Try these tips and tricks to break your routine and get some well-deserved zzz’s:
1. Turn off ALL the lights: Complete darkness is required for our pineal gland to produce melatonin. Melatonin has been shown to not only be beneficial for sleep, but it also has anti-cancer properties.
2. Remove electronics: Cell phones, iPads, laptops, and pagers…whatever it may be, get it out of the room or at least a number of feet away from your head. Electronics are generally stimulating and their electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) can disrupt proper sleep waves and, once again, melatonin production.
3. Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night: Here’s some quick math for you – if you went to bed 30 minutes earlier every night, you would gain a total of 3.5 hours of extra sleep per week. That’s the equivalent of 2 extra full nights of sleep per month (14 hours!). Small changes go a long way. Enough said.
4. Do “calming” activities at night: Avoid watching T.V. or playing sports (if possible) right before bed. Instead, try reading, taking a hot bath or doing some deep breathing exercises before starting your bedtime routine.
5. Reduce caffeine and sugar: While many people know not to consume coffee in the afternoon or at night, few understand the impact that refined sugars and caffeine play at any point of the day. Try cutting back and notice the difference that it can make.
6. It’s all about routine: Don’t have a routine? Get one. You should aim to be going asleep and waking up around the same time each day…sleeping in on the weekend can be great, but don’t over do it. This will make the Monday to Friday grind that much more difficult. If you don’t have a great routine yet, start with small changes (ie. getting changed into bedtime clothing at the same time each night, brushing your teeth at the same time, reading for 5-10 minutes, etc). It doesn’t all have to be changed at once!
If you have made all of these changes and still find no success, there are many natural options that can help ease you into a routine, just be careful to not become reliant on supplements if you don’t absolutely need them.
Given that many people are familiar with sleep aids like GABA, 5-HTP, L-Theanine etc., I thought I would mention a lesser-utilized sleep aid combination: B12 and Magnesium. B12 in its optimal form, methylcobalamin, actually helps to reset your circadian rhythm and normalize cortisol peaks. Methylcobalmin essentially resets your internal clock (very useful after the holidays to get you back in a rhythm!). When combined with magnesium, a well-known muscle relaxant, your body and mind can get back into a proper sleep routine much faster. This combination is also quite valuable in that most people have less than optimal levels of methylcobalamin and magnesium in their bodies to begin with.
*As always, if you are going to experiment and try some natural health products, be sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that they are safe for you. As a general rule of thumb, if you are on pharmaceutical medications for sleep and/or mood disorders and you don’t plan on seeing your doctor, don’t mix them with natural sleep aids. Many supplements share similar mechanisms of action with pharmaceuticals and, therefore, can be dangerous when mixed together.
Have you found a successful sleep aid or a trick that has forever improved your sleeping patterns? Share with us & leave a comment in the section below!
Image by © 2015 nenadaksic via DollarPhotoClub
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Published on January 20, 2014 on the AOR Blog by Dr. Colin O’Brien
Ultimate Maca Energy
Ultimate Maca Energy is made with 100% pure, traditionally sundried, natural and certified organic maca root grown exclusively in the Andean highland zones of Peru at altitudes of 14,000 ft. Ultimate Maca Energy maca root has many health benefits and scientifically tested properties. In addition to being a source of vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids and complex carbohydrates, Ultimate Maca Energy also contains an impressive array of bioactive components and antioxidants, which are responsible for its numerous benefits.
The Various Benefits of Maca
Maca is a well-known and powerful adaptogen, which means that it is a substance that helps to increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Recent human clinical studies have provided convincing scientific evidence supporting supplementation for healthy mood balance during menopause.
How Maca Works
Maca is loaded with vital nutrients in bioavailable forms which assist the body in its on-going process of regeneration, ultimately helping to replenish and recuperate from different problems and providing ultimate balance and wellbeing. Its actions focus mainly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, assisting the body in balancing hormones. This is where the main benefits associated with maca can be noted (e.g. mood balance).
Ultimate Maca Energy is certified by the Natural Agricultural U
niversity of La Molina in Peru and also by Skal. The National Agricultural University of La Molina in Peru is an independent entity funded by the government of Peru that oversees all the agricultural and related activities in different areas of the country.
Learn even more here
Acne, period problems, ovarian and breast cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, PMS and more are telling you your hormones are out of balance. ESTROsmart balances hormones using safe plant nutrients that make periods effortless whether you have heavy, long, scant, painful or irregular periods. ESTROsmart stops abnormal cell growth associated with uterine fibroids and polyps: breast lumps and ovarian cysts. ESTROsmart is a girl’s best friend eliminating acne and PMS. ESTROsmart brings your estrogen back into the normal range and elevates progesterone naturally. ESTROsmart is for, every woman every day, to make hormone problems become a thing of the past.
Stop Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Smart women want to stop hot flashes and night sweats quickly and safely and that is why they have shied away from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and estrogenic therapies. MENOsmart plus is a fast acting effective treatment that eliminates hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. MENOsmart plus contains non-estrogenic ingredients including sage, black cohosh, dong quai, gamma oryzanol, vitex and hesperidin to provide rapid relief of menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is so safe that it has been used in women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer who were taking the drug Tamoxifen. Vitex, another herb in MENOsmart plus, helps to enhance progesterone levels and reduces male facial hair growth in menopausal women. If you using HRT (synthetic or bioidentical) and still get hot flashes and night sweats, take MENOsmart plus along with your HRT to ensure that you never have to suffer again.
Reverse Low thyroid, Stop Weight Gain and Constipation
Low thyroid affects 23% of Canadians. And another 30% have not been diagnosed due to problems with the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test. The common symptoms of low thyroid include: weight gain and stubborn weight loss, cold hands and feet, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, low mood, no sex drive and irritability. THYROsmart licensed by Health Canada to support low thyroid works quickly to bring your TSH back into the normal range, increase T4 and improve the conversion of T4 to the more potent T3. Low thyroid makes you feel like you are pushing yourself through the day. THYROsmart is safe and effective and works fast to optimize thyroid health.
Conquer Stress, Improve Sleep and Boost Energy
Chronic stress negatively affects the adrenal glands causing adrenal exhaustion. In women who are going through menopause the adrenals are the back-up hormone system making estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone. Women who have good functioning adrenals have virtually no menopause symptoms. And if your adrenals are tired you just can’t handle stress, you develop belly fat weight gain, you fall asleep fine but wake up several hours later and can’t fall back to sleep and you need coffee to keep you going. The answer to adrenal exhaustion is ADRENAsmart. ADRENAsmart, is a powerful herbal formula that makes you feel calm and relaxed, aids insomnia and helps you deal with life’s stressors.
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An A.Vogel Super Food
By Josée Fortin, biochemist and naturopath
There is lots of talk these days about new super foods. Well, Molkosan® is one of them… but it’s hardly new! In 1947, Alfred Vogel was already very fond of his formula and repeatedly praised its beneficial qualities.
This Vogel favourite is made from natural lacto-fermented whey. This preserves the minerals contained in whey, including calcium, potassium and magnesium. Molkosan is rich in lactic acid, which is put to good use in dietetics and natural medicine. Alfred Vogel’s favourite whey formula has been reformulated to not only taste better, but also for added benefits.
How do we obtain Molkosan?
First, milk is curdled due to the action of special enzymes to obtain cheese and whey. The whey is then fermented with the help of our own licensed bacterial cultures which produce a high amount of lactic acid L (+). This is called the lacto-fermentation phase. Finally, we separate the whey from the protein and it is concentrated in a vacuum, preserving all of its qualities.
What does it do?
Fermented whey balances the body’s pH or acid-base level. High body
acidity has multiple causes, including excessive consumption of refined foods, insufficient water intake, lack of oxygen, excess chemical compounds in the environment (over 70,000 compounds) and, especially, a disrupted intestinal flora.
High body acidity is a sign that the pH of the intestine is too alkaline and that the alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium are not properly assimilated. This is linked to a long list of health
problems, including poor stress management, sleep disorders, allergies, food intolerance, yeast infections, joint and muscle disorders (including cramps), osteoporosis, anaemia, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive tube inflammation, eczema and psoriasis, migraines, infections, bone fractures and gallstones.
Molkosan is rich in essential minerals, but its main action lies in
maintaining the intestinal pH balance, thus helping our body to absorb basic minerals found in our food. This, in turn, helps restore our entire body’s pH level. To be assimilated, basic minerals need to bind to mild acids – such as the lactic acid in Molkosan. Restoring our body’s pH level helps avoid or eliminate the health problems mentioned above. For example, a proper pH level in the mucous membrane of the digestive tract can help relieve heartburn and stomach ulcers.
Molkosan’s mild cleansing action can also help with weight loss. Our body
stores toxins in fat cells to minimize their destructive effects. To protect itself from toxins and maintain enough fat cells, our body will actually prevent weight loss! Molkosan also has a regulating effect on sugar levels, thus
reducing sugar and starch cravings and stabilizing insulin levels. When insulin levels are high, fat cells store more fat…
Lacto-fermentation helps promote a healthy intestinal flora and slows the proliferation of fungus. Those friendly bacteria in the gut do a great job in helping ward off infections. Seventy percent of our immune system is found in the intestines!
Molkosan provides well-being from the inside through its gentle daily cleansing and pH-balancing action. It maintains a healthy intestinal flora; especially in the case of bacterial upset or gastric acidity. In addition, because Molkosan is lactose-free, it presents no digestive problems for lactose-intolerant or lactose-sensitive individuals.
Molkosan goes very well with Boldocynara and Stinging Nettle to create a great spring cleanse. Before you start any cleanse you’ll want to make sure you Pretox …