Wednesday, December 29, 2010

5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 2

Other than a 5-HTP for COPD alternative treatment, those that suffer from breathlessness or oxidative distress and chronic inflammation it is important to take antioxidants as those found in green tea or red wine (resveratrol) and/or anti-inflammatory agents to help alleviate inflammation. Also a study done in 2009 by the Respiratory Research, reported that the more soy people consumed the fewer breathing problems they had, particularly breathlessness with COPD patients. At the Kagoshima University Hospital in Japan they found that omega-3 fatty acids improved patients breathing difficulties by offsetting the airway inflammation seen with this disease You can buy a omega-3 fatty acid as a supplement, but foods rich in omega-3’s are oily fish, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.

[caption id="attachment_771" align="alignright" width="232" caption="5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 2 - Breathe or Death"][/caption]

On the other hand, over the last 100+ years we have consumed more n-6 fatty acids in our diet, such as vegetable oils from corn, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, cottonseed and soybeans. N-6 fatty acids increase the chance of getting type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension and COPD. That is why it is imperative to add n-3 fatty acids to your diet as a secondary prevention against these conditions.

Skeletal muscle wasting from lack of calories and lung dysfunction are the two main causes of death for patients with COPD. Creatine nutritional supplementation produces increased muscle mass and exercise performance in health. So, people that take creatine and exercise will help them perform everyday activities more easily. Improving lung function and exercising also improves a COPD patient to fall asleep easy and stay asleep during the night. More information regarding COPD sleep tips: Lack of Sleep and COPD.

What makes COPD worse? Along with air pollution and smoking, men are more at risk for developing COPD if they eat a lot of cured meats such as sausage, ham, bologna, bacon and hotdogs as they contain high levels of nitrites that are added to prevent bacterial growth and enhance the meat’s pink color. Burning wood and other biofuels for heat or cooking can cause a higher risk of developing emphysema and other lung related conditions. Biofuels include wood, crops and animal dung. Living in high traffic area creates more air pollution than those who live in less traveled areas.

Treatments other than oral drugs and supplements may include inhaled steroids to improve lung function. These so-called long-acting beta-2 agonist may do more harm than good as they are limited and can cause more risk to pneumonia and other infections.

Over time many patients with end-stage COPD requires intubation and mechanical ventilation to stay alive. Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) can benefit people by improving their ability to exercise and their over-all quality of life by removing the diseased portion of the lung. Although this operation benefits those with COPD in the upper portions of the lung and who have a low exercise capacity than those with emphysema.

For more information about 5-HTP for COPD see 5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1

The content in 5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 2 is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1

There are natural alternative treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. COPD is a serious lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is the fourth cause of death in the United States and is greatest among women. Thought to be the result of cigarette smoking it is now known that it can affect nonsmokers as well as older adults and persons living in urban areas due to pollution irritants. COPD usually starts with a cough and phlegm that comes and goes until it becomes chronic. A chronic condition worsens over the years with increase shortness of breath, wheezing and mucus. If you have a chest infection your phlegm will be yellow or green. If a person with COPD also suffers from depression they are known to have a shorter lifespan. Some doctors recommend taking 5-HTP or St. John’s wort along with an antidepressant to improve their condition.

[caption id="attachment_766" align="alignright" width="300" caption="5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1 - Lung with Mucus"][/caption]

5-HTP is a metabolic precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps control moods, hunger and helps you to sleep easy. More information regarding COPD sleep tips: Lack of Sleep and COPD. Tryptophan an amino acid that metabolizes 5-HTP that in turn converts into serotonin. SSRI’s drugs are said to increase serotonin therefore for some individuals 5-HTP may serve as an alternative to prescription drugs depending on the severity of their COPD. Taking a tryptophan or 5-HTP supplement increase serotonin levels by supplying the building blocks needed to make serotonin. A serotonin deficiency is associated with depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, altered mood swings, PMS and headaches. Both supplements help with these conditions, but 5-HTP is roughly five times more potent than tryptophan. Some medical journals state that 5-HTP improves depression and reduces panic attacks, but continued research is needed.

Along with 5-HTP other antioxidants and herbs have been recommended to help with COPD symptoms. Creatine, Ginseng, Omega-3 fatty acids, GABA and BCAA supplements, to name a few. BCAAs include the three vital amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine, which make up one-third of muscle protein. They are said to be abundant in muscle tissue and consuming them may reduce the chance of muscle tissue breakdown that is similar to glutamine supplements (GABA). BCAA in converted into two amino acids, glutamine and alanine when released into the body and is a source of fuel when muscle glycogen levels are low.

With the risk of getting too clinical, BCAA can reduce the chance of breathlessness associated with COPD patients, especially when they are eating. Chronic COPD patients find eating difficult therefore they do not get an adequate number of calories that are essential for proper working of the lungs, normal beating of the heart and prompt functioning of the brain. The number of calories required to maintain health, may vary from person to person, owing to various factors, such as age, sex, weight and muscle mass. But in general, it can be estimated that an adult body requires at least 1000 to 1400 calories to have sufficient energy for the proper functioning of important organs like the brain, heart, and lungs at a resting metabolic rate (RMR). For day to day activities, you need more calories than your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This extra energy required can be about 400 to 600 additional calories per day. These numbers are general averages and a dietitian can help you determine exactly how many calories your body needs.

For more information about 5-HTP for COPD see 5-HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 2.

The content in 5 HTP for COPD Alternative Treatment Part 1 is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Lack of Sleep and COPD

Trying to get enough sleep is difficult especially on Christmas Eve, but lack of sleep and COPD can make falling asleep easy worse. COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes people to wake up frequently during the night and takes longer for them to fall asleep due to chest pain, tightness, coughing and wheezing. Other symptoms of COPD are acid reflux, hormonal fluctuations and sleep apnea. Over time COPD can lead to bronchitis and emphysema and sleep deprived health problems such as memory loss, weight gain, diabetes, pulmonary hypertension and heart disease.

The main causes are smoking, pollution and other lung irritants. Eliminating these irritants is a good healthy start to alleviate COPD symptoms. Lifestyle changes including a diet full of fruit, vegetables and whole grains may help people with COPD get a better night’s sleep as well as taking antioxidants and minerals that can contribute to better lung function. These minerals include vitamin A, C and E, potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

[caption id="attachment_757" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Lack of Sleep and COPD - Emphysema or Bronchitis "][/caption]

If your COPD is due to emphysema or chronic bronchitis your doctor may recommend an anticholinergic inhaler which inhibits nerve impulses and reduces nighttime coughing and wheezing. Other alternative treatments may include steroid inhalers to reduce airway inflammation and pulmonary rehabilitation which focuses on exercise, nutrition and deep breathing training. In some serious cases, you may need extra oxygen.

COPD caused by heartburn that is a result of acid reflux or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) can cause a chronic cough that often worsens bronchitis. Acid reflux prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are available to control symptoms. Other acid reflux triggers are alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, tobacco and items that contain peppermint or spearmint. I find that raw onions and spicy food contribute to my heartburn and indigestion especially when eaten late at night. That is why it is important to eat smaller meals at night and if you like to have a snack before bedtime to avoid hot spicy foods and stick to foods that are easy on the digestion track and full of tryptophan, as foods rich in tryptophan will help you to fall asleep.

Some COPD medications such as anticholinergics and beta agonists are bronchodilators that relax muscles around airways to make breathing easier. Beta agonists can interfere with sleep as they stimulate the nervous system that may increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure and trigger the flight or flight reaction. So when you lie down in bed at night and continually toss and turn because you can’t relax, talk to your physician to change your medication or adjust your dosage.

Did you know that a sleeping position may make it more difficult to breathe when you have COPD? That is because pressure on your diaphragm makes it harder to inflate a damaged lung. Blood oxygen levels drop when you are lying on your back compared to sitting or standing, therefore, it is recommended to elevate the head of your bed using a memory foam pillow wedge or sleep in an adjustable bed.

Sleep apnea can be an overlap syndrome when you have this disorder with COPD. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing periodically during the night. If you suffer from COPD and sleep apnea is it imperative that you get treated for these condition because low blood oxygen including occasional lack of breathe or diminished breathe can starve the heart muscle of oxygen that can result in heart arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and even death. Make sure you get tested for oxygen levels along with a polysomnogram which measures brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and blood pressure while you sleep. You may be required to wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) face mask as part of your treatment.

[caption id="attachment_758" align="alignright" width="270" caption="Lack of Sleep and COPD - Are YOU at Risk?"][/caption]

Pregnant women with COPD can have worsening symptoms due to the increase in estrogen that can have inflammatory effects which swell mucous membranes making breathing more difficult. Often in their third trimester, pregnant women’s upper airway passages become narrowed due to more pressure on the chest cavity that can contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. If you are taking progesterone it may improve your sleep apnea but it may trigger a temporary interruption of the drive to breathe when carbon dioxide is too low, also known as central apneas. Remember, it is more dangerous for your child if you don’t keep up with your medications, because lack of oxygen and difficulty breathing puts the fetus at risk. Find elongated positions so the baby doesn’t press up against your chest cavity and watch how much weight you gain. Extra weight and COPD increase a demand on the heart and lungs.

40% of patients with COPD experience depression or anxiety and many doctors recommend cognitive behavior therapy or psychotherapy instead of common antidepressants such as SSRIs or SNRIs because they promote weight gain which can worsen COPD and sleep problems. See: Medications that Affect Sleep.

Social support and exercise as well as a healthy lifestyle can help those with COPD get a good night’s sleep. The content in Lack of Sleep and COPD is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Medications that Affect Sleep

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night due to stress, acid reflux or too much caffeine or alcohol. Did you know that certain medications can disrupt your normal sleep patterns? Changing your medication, lowering your dose or taking your medication in the morning instead of at night can often help you fall asleep easy. If you have a chronic condition and rely on medications, be aware the there are medications that affect sleep such as blood pressure and asthma drugs as well as over-the-counter medications for colds, allergies and headaches. Make sure you discuss your sleep problems with your doctor to discuss changing your dose or medication. Many common medications can prevent you from falling asleep, staying asleep or make you groggy during the day. Drugs work differently on everyone as one medication may affect you but not someone else. The following drugs cause sleep problems for most people.

[caption id="attachment_749" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Medications that Affect Sleep - Causes Insomnia"][/caption]

If you are taking an anti-arrhythmic drug to treat a heart rhythm problem it can cause insomnia. Beta blockers for high blood pressure, arrhythmias or angina can cause you to wake up at night and increase the chance of insomnia or nightmares. Statins used for lowering cholesterol have been known to cause nightmares and insomnia. Coenzyme Q10 supplements may help to prevent statin side effects in some people. If you'd like to try adding coenzyme Q10 to your treatment, talk to your doctor first to make sure the supplement won't interact with any of your other medications or health issues.

Some asthma medications, like Theophylline can cause insomnia as well as a sense of nervousness and panic during the day. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, which is often prescribed for asthma can cause insomnia. . More on prednisone and insomnia see: Prednisone Insomnia.

Insomnia is one of the common side effects of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. Nicotine patches that help people quit smoking deliver small doses of nicotine into the bloodstream 24 hours a day have reported to cause insomnia and in some cases nightmares.

If you have adult ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and treated with a stimulant-like medication to boost attentiveness you may have trouble falling asleep. ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Dexedrine alter REM sleep which is the stage of sleep accompanied by rapid eye movement and deep sleep. NREM you sleep more lightly and more susceptible to night time awakenings. An underactive thyroid can cause extreme sleepiness during the day, but some thyroid drugs can result in insomnia.

Over-the-counter medications (OTC) can affect sleep like those to treat colds and allergies. While antihistamines can cause drowsiness up to eight hours, decongestants have the opposite effect, causing insomnia. Cough medicine that contain alcohol can prevent deep REM sleep which will cause you to wake up during the night.

[caption id="attachment_750" align="alignright" width="297" caption="Medications that Affect Sleep - Causes Nightmares"][/caption]

Some painkillers like aspirin contain caffeine which will make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Excedrin, Anacin and Motrin contain caffeine, but not all pain relievers do. Check labels before purchasing. Herbal medications that are used for other health issues can disturb sleep patterns because they stimulate the brain just like caffeine. Chinese ginseng and St. John’s wort have been reported to cause sleep problems.

Restful sleep is important for your health, so you don’t need to lose sleep from medication side effects. Changing medication, changing the time of day you take your medication or lowering your dose may be the perfect prescription for a good night’s sleep.

The content in Medicines that Affect Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dealing with Stress Dr. Oz 7 Stress Relieving Tips

One of your New Year’s Resolutions might be dealing with stress. Did you know that exercising or sleeping can actually bring on more stress? You may want to start an exercise program, but taking the time to work out means less time for your job or your family. The more you add to your daily life, even if it is something good for you like diet, exercise, sleep or even trying to stop smoking can add stress. The brain is set to ramp up stress by processing your daily experiences and work its way back to joy. How can you balance your life without adding stress?

First you need to know your stress level. By being aware of your emotions before they get out of control you can actually avoid secondary stress meaning you won’t get stressed out about being stressed. Recognizing that you are stressed try taking a step back, count to 10 and take a deep breath you may feel a sense of relaxation and a surge of pleasure rush through your body.

[caption id="attachment_743" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Dealing with Stress - Avoiding Anger"][/caption]

When you try to relieve stress you may express it by negative feelings, such as anger, but anger only adds to your stress level. Anger turns to sadness because you are feeling guilty about what you have said or done. Talking about why you’re stressed while remaining calm can allow you to explain your feelings without fear, sadness or guilt. This allows you to clear away the stress and let the positive emotions emerge. So if you are feeling sad that you are sick, guilty about taking time away from daily responsibilities or afraid that you can’t pay the bills talking about it openly with your partner or family member can help you work through these feelings. Remember that “two heads are better than one” will show you another perspective on things, but you might also have to except some constructive criticism.

When trying to do something good for yourself and it adds stress to your life it is because our brain triggers our survival circuit. This survival circuit makes us overspend, overeat or over indulge in something that makes us feel good even if only for a moment. We associate these over indulges with good feelings and that is why it is estimated that 60% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions break them within three months. Because we just don’t want to …you need to in order to relieve stress. Of course when we get something we have told ourselves we can’t have makes us want it more, so how can we retrain our brain to rewire this survival circuit? The first thing we need to do is STOP judging or controlling our behavior. Remind yourself that you don’t need it and if you stick to your New Year’s resolution you will feel better about yourself. Make these short term daily goals to keep your resolution(s) a more intense “good” feeling and then you can override the “I need it” survival circuit altogether. Emotional brain training is not an instant fix, but takes practice and eventually will become a habit that you won’t even have to think about. You can learn to conquer it without being stressed.

Staying positive about your life often is better when we can picture someone else in the same situation. If you can imagine someone else being able to lose weight, balance their budget or stop smoking this can give a rise to our competitive nature meaning, if they can change for the better, we can too!

Dr Oz 7 Stress Relieving Tips


[caption id="attachment_744" align="alignright" width="218" caption="Dealing with Stress - Avoiding Secondary Stress"][/caption]

There's a reason it's called the restroom: It's the one place—at work or at home—where no one will bother you. If you're overwhelmed, steal away for a five-minute meditation break. Inhale deeply into your belly and try to focus on your breathing. You'll emerge calmer, and maybe even more productive. Research shows that meditation can improve your ability to concentrate.


Everyone knows the feeling: You're running late, stuck in traffic, glancing at your watch every 30 seconds in frustration. Give yourself extra time to get wherever you need to go. Being an early bird will kill stress by giving you more control over your day and your commitments.


The best stress-quashing foods are made by Mother Nature, not Baskin-Robbins. Berries are naturally rich in vitamin C, which helps fight increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. A handful of pistachios can lower your blood pressure, which means less of a spike when you get that next rush of adrenaline.


Yes, a few cocktails can relax you, but alcohol also prevents your brain from entering stages of deep sleep. And sleep and stress are bound together: Chronic stress can keep you up at night, and a lack of sleep can also lead to further stress. Limit yourself to no more than one drink a night.


Stress makes your body spew out two hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals put your body into fight-or-flight mode, ratcheting up your energy level and causing your heart to pound and your muscles to tense. Exercise gives you an outlet to release some of that tension. A good workout also increases your levels of "feel-good" chemicals called endorphins.


Researchers say that merely anticipating a laugh can jump-start healthy changes in the body by reducing levels of stress hormones, which have been linked to conditions like obesity, heart disease, and memory impairment, to name just a few.


Socializing releases oxytocin, a chemical that can help combat stress hormones and lower your blood pressure. Whether it's spending time with dog lovers, book club buddies, or siblings—whatever group you like—just knowing you're not alone can go a long way toward coping with stress.

Getting rid of stress can help you sleep easy at night. More information about stress and sleep see: L-theanine Promotes Relaxation and Deep Sleep. The content in Dealing with Stress Dr. Oz 7 Stress Relieving Tips is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like GABA see supplement alternative in: Bananas have GABA that Reduces Stress and Anxiety to Ease Sleep , as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh Sleepless Night

Here at A Sleep Easy we wish everyone a Happy Holiday season.   We hope that we have given you some insight into sleep problems and alternative natural choices for treatment.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Thank you for visiting my site.  Kat

Oh Sleepless Night, the moon is full and grinning

[caption id="attachment_731" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Oh Sleepless Night - Grinning Moon"][/caption]

It is the night that I can’t get some sleep.

Long lay my head in thoughts and worries a spinning

Till day appears my eyes they will weep.

I’ve tried to cope while Christmas Day falls near

Help me sleep, this cold and winter night

I fall on my knees and I wipe a single tear

Oh night of mine, the dawn is within my sight

Oh night, Oh sleepless night, Oh night of mine

Oh, night, Oh sleepless night, Oh night of mine

If you experience sleepless nights due to worry, stress and anxiety due to financial issues, relationships, work and thoughts of your life spinning out of control maybe it is time to step back and assess your life before your occasional sleepless night becomes chronic insomnia. It is important to find the cause of your sleeplessness early as a prolonged experience may become a habit that will be harder to stop. Insomnia symptoms are having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, falling back to sleep after waking, groggy upon waking and tired during the day.

Many find it difficult to let go of their racing thoughts when laying down trying to fall asleep easy at night. If you try not to think of all the things you have to do…you will. Just like trying to forget a song that continually replays in your head, forcing yourself to fall asleep will fail as it suppose to be a natural process which is just expected to happen. When you try to relax you may find yourself thinking random thought and only get frustrated and more awake in the process. Some nights you may find your mind is empty of thoughts but your body is unable to relax.

[caption id="attachment_734" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Oh Sleepless Night - Internal Body Clock"][/caption]

It is important that you wind down prior to going to bed by establishing a bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up the same time every day is one habit that will prepare your body and mind for sleep. Limit caffeinated beverages by the afternoon, this also includes weight loss products and energy drinks/bars as they are also full of caffeine. Eating too close to bedtime might cause indigestion/heart burn which makes it hard to fall asleep or acid reflux will cause you to wake up during the night. If you need a light snack right before bed try to stick to foods that are loaded with tryptophan, Tryptophan will help your body produce melatonin a hormone that controls your internal body's clock and sleep/wake cycle.

Exercise is important, but working out at night will affect your ability to sleep because it takes awhile to slow your heart rate and body temperature down. The best time of day to exercise is in the morning or early afternoon. You may not be able to sleep because you have too much light in your room either from outside street lights or your TV, video games, computer and even blue LEDs from electronics. See more on blue LEDs in the last article: Cant Sleep. Also doing your work, watching a movie or video game will only keep you up past your bed time as it is a good idea to concentrate on your room being used for one thing…sleep.

You might consider a natural sleep supplement like Tryptophan, valerian, hops, cat nip, GABA or Kava Kava. Some are better for anxiety while others can cause drowsiness. You might find a combination of these herbs will work better for you. Herbal supplements are available at your local health food stores, pharmacy or online. Make sure you discuss with your doctor your sleep problems as he may have other alternative treatments or recommend a sleep specialist depending on the cause. The content in Oh Sleepless Night is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like Tryptophan Supplements to Sleep Easy, as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cant Sleep

Are you one of the 29% that cant sleep unless they take prescription sleeping pills or over-the-counter medications? The National Sleep Foundation did a survey in 2007 and discovered that nearly two thirds of women only received the quality and quantity of sleep they needed a few times a week. Why? They have too much to do and even though they are tired they struggle to get through their day. Their minds race, their husbands snore and their kids refuse to go to bed. They don’t know how they are going to buy presents let alone pay the mortgage. Their bedroom is too hot, too noisy or even too bright from all their gadgets. Your cell phone, internet router, DVD, game console, power strip, TV and even your alarm clock emit a light even if they are turned off.

[caption id="attachment_719" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Cant Sleep - Minds Race"][/caption]

Blue LEDs are popular with electronics and this is part of the reason we can’t fall asleep easy. Our eyes are more sensitive to colors at the blue end of the spectrum, so in dim light blue LEDs look brighter. These products were designed to let you know your cell phone is being charged or your computer is still receiving data through the router/modem. Scientist discovered that a light-sensitive layer of the eye, separate from our pupils, sends signals to the body that affect rhythms of wakefulness and sleep. NASA found that a blue-light treatment can help keep astronauts more alert and the Navy uses blue light to help those on a sub adjust to their watch schedules.

While most of these reasons I mentioned are somewhat controllable and small changes to your lifestyle can help you get some well deserved rest….but what if you still can’t sleep? Insomnia may be a symptom of another medical or emotional issue. A medical professional can diagnose and treat the underlying condition that would otherwise escape detection. Over time insomnia can lead to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Women are more affected with insomnia due to an underlying cause and are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders if they have trouble sleeping. Worrying over finances or their to-do-list and sleeplessness causes a vicious cycle that leads to chronic insomnia. You may consider a financial advisor or counseling to help relieve stress and anxiety.

Treating the underlying cause won’t necessarily cure insomnia but seeking help can narrow down the reason and dissuade other health problems in the future. Your doctor may also recommend other lifestyle changes like diet, exercise or even test your hormone and mineral levels determine if you have any deficiencies. He/she may also advise that a sleep specialist be seen to have a sleep test where they will monitor your sleep habits. Making behavioral changes like eliminating blue LEDs, keeping your room cool, delegating to-do items or even buying some ear plugs (for the snoring) and using natural sleep remedies can alleviate insomnia as their benefits can last a lifetime.

For more information about why you can’t sleep see: I Can’t Sleep

The content in Cant Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like Tryptophan Supplements to Sleep Easy, as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

L-theanine Promotes Relaxation and Deep Sleep

L-theanine is an amino acid found exclusively in tea plants that not only helps relieve stress during the day, but L-theanine promotes relaxation and deep sleep during the night. The calming effect of green tea many seem inconsistent to the stimulating property of tea’s caffeine, but it can be explained by the action of L-theanine. L-theanine acts against the stimulating effects of caffeine on the nervous system. While this amino acid works to create a state of deep relaxation it also helps the brain produce the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA or gamma amino butyric acid naturally reduces stress and anxiety and allows you to fall asleep easy by neutralizing the effects of glutamate, a brain chemical that causes excitement. When there is too little GABA, it causes racing thoughts that keep you up at night.

More information about GABA see: GABA for Sleep

[caption id="attachment_709" align="alignright" width="234" caption="L-theanine Promotes Relaxation and Deep Sleep - Reduces Stress"][/caption]

Stress and anxiety are debilitating conditions that upset the balance of our hormones that causes health issues, performance and even can shorten our lifespan. Stress impairs the immune system and leaves us vulnerable to infections and depression. L-theanine offers a way to relax our physical and mental state without drowsiness or impairment of motor skills. It also alleviates stress by keeping our hormones in balance. A study found that L-theanine produced a notable improvement to sleep’s quality and quantity allowing you to fall asleep easy and stay asleep during the night In addition, because the subjects were fully relaxed when falling asleep they had a decreased occurrence of nightmares and woke feeling refreshed and alert without grogginess often associated with prescription sleep aids and over-the-counter medications.

More information about the quality and quantity of sleep see: Mind Your P’s and Q’s Easy Sleep Techniques Meditation and Self Hypnosis

L-theanine is safe to take without any known side effects. There are no known adverse reactions to other drugs. Tell your physician before taking any supplement especially if you have other medical problems, pregnant or nursing. Testing is under way to use L-theanine as an alternative to Ritalin in children and adults with ADD/ADHD, as a treatment for high blood pressure, to sharpen mental concentration and as an anti-cancer agent. Green tea can help you to relax, but there isn’t enough L-theanine to boost your REM cycles and cause drowsiness. Drinking enough green tea to get a drowsy effect would cause you to wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. Instead other options are to take the supplement Doctors Best Suntheanine, which is pure L-theanine or taking L-theanine with a melatonin supplement.

Melatonin is produced naturally by your body as it is made in the pineal gland. Melatonin’s main function is to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. As day to turns to night your body starts to produce melatonin which prepares your mind and body to go to sleep. As we age our production of melatonin naturally decreases. If you stay up late at night or work night shifts, we keep our body from producing melatonin. If you have a melatonin deficiency you might suffer from insomnia and/or frequent waking.

Supplements comprised of melatonin the “sleep hormone” and L-theanine, the calming amino acid may lower the effects of stress and anxiety while inducing sleep and promote an emotional, mental and physical well-being. The content in L-theanine Promotes Relaxation and Deep Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like Melatonin can cause Easy Sleeping, as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Insomnia is a Heart Attack Symptom

There are many symptoms that you can watch for that may lead to a heart attack. They can be different for men and women and still different in older adults. In fact, 95% of women who had heart attacks reported symptoms up to a month before an attack, but these symptoms weren’t chest pains, so they went unrecognized. Many often remember experiencing an unexplained inability to fall asleep easy or stay asleep during the month or weeks that lead up to their heart attack. Patients often report the feeling of being keyed up, tense and lying in bed with racing thoughts and sometimes with a rapid heart rate. Women reported a sense of impending doom as if disaster was about to happen. If you don’t normally have trouble sleeping, remember that insomnia is a heart attack symptom and you should speak to your physician.

[caption id="attachment_703" align="alignright" width="245" caption="Insomnia is a Heart Attack Symptom - Sharp Pain Between Shoulder Blades"][/caption]

Other than an insomnia symptom, another often overlooked heart attack indication is nausea and/or stomach pain as this warning sign can range from mild indigestion to severe cramping and vomiting. Women and adults over 60 are more likely to have this symptom and not recognize it tied to cardiac health. We are all familiar with the heart attack symptom that causes a sharp pain or numbness in the arm, but some experience this pain in the neck or shoulder area or feel it running along the jaw and up by the ear. Women and men also report a pain between the shoulder blades. This pain may come and go just like the feeling of a pulled muscle. It can also move from place to place, as you may experience a pain in the jaw one day and then in your arm the next. Any pain that radiates upwards and out is important to bring to your doctors attention.

An overwhelming sense of fatigue that last several days is another sign of heart trouble. 70 percent of women reported extreme fatigue weeks or months prior to their heart attack. Extreme fatigue lays you flat in bed and if you are usually a fairly energetic person, you need to call your doctor. Your heart may not be getting enough blood so it isn’t getting enough oxygen. When there isn’t enough oxygen to circulate your blood you may not be able to catch your breath, often feeling light headed and dizzy. Many people fatigue due to lack of oxygen, unable to get a satisfying breath and feeling dizzy aren’t related to heart disease but related to the lungs. Do you have trouble catching you breath after you walk up the stairs? 40% of women that have had this symptom have had a heart attack.

When the heart muscle can’t function properly its waste products aren’t carried away from tissues by the blood which can result in an edema or swelling caused by fluid retention. My father’s edema started at his feet and moved upwards toward his heart. When he started to feel the pain from the swelling he called his doctor and a good thing to because if the swelling would have reached his chest he might not be here today. Swelling not only is a symptom of a heart attack it also is a symptom of congestive heart failure. He ended up needing triple by-pass surgery. Fortunately, he is still living today at the age of 81, but has had to change his diet (no salt) and quit smoking.

Fatigue and weakness along with clammy, sweaty skin lead some people to believe they're coming down with the flu when, in fact, they're having a heart attack. Even the feeling we know are heart attack symptom like heaviness or pressure in the chest some people think they are having a chest cold or the flu. If you suffer from flu-like symptoms but do not have a temperature talk to an experienced medical professional because sometimes these are a result of poor circulation caused by fluid accumulating in the lungs which is a result of heart disease.

When you lay in bed at night and can’t get to sleep because you have a rapid, irregular pulse and heart rate remember this symptom also predates a heart attack and is known as ventricular tachycardia. If your rapid pulse and heart rate aren’t brought on by exertion and is not a panic attack (which is often confused as a heart attack) you need to let your doctor know. If symptoms last for more than 2-3 minutes or if the pain leaves and then returns, it could be heart disease and you need to call 9-1-1 and get to the emergency room right away. Only by having testing beyond the standard electrocardiogram will you know if the pain is coming from your heart.

When you talk to your doctor about your symptoms make sure you discuss your family history of heart disease and if you have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Explain the symptom or symptoms that you are aware of and even those that may not appear to be related like, a UTI, memory loss or just a general feeling of being out of it. This will make it easier for him to determine the treatment needed.

[caption id="attachment_704" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Insomnia is a Heart Attack Symptom - Magnesium Helps "][/caption]

If you can control your symptoms through diet and exercise he/she may also recommend magnesium. Magnesium is essential for heart health as it helps maintain normal heart rhythm. One study results found that taking magnesium for a year can reduce symptoms and improve survival rates. Your doctor may suggest taking magnesium and calcium together to ensure that your heart will function properly and help our muscles relax which in turn will allow us to have a better night's sleep.. If you have cardiac history or experience other medical issues never take a supplement without your doctor’s approval as any supplement may interfere with other medications or methods of treatment.

Finally, magnesium seems to also help maintain sleep-inducing levels of the hormone, melatonin. Many people have found relief from insomnia by supplementing their diet with magnesium. More information on magnesium and sleep see:  Magnesium and sleep Part 2 Foods Rich in Magnesium. The content in Insomnia is a Heart Attack Symptom is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like Magnesium for sleep as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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GABA Dominant Personality

50% of the world’s population is known as having a GABA dominant personality and share common traits; stability, consistency, sociability and concern for others. They are nature’s nurturers and are great working as caretakers. They are dependable and can be counted on to be at work every day. They work well and like to set goals, organize projects, schedule activities and take charge of others. Many people with high GABA levels have careers in administration, accountants, nurses, EMTs, air-traffic controllers and homemakers. Not only are they good workers, they take care of their family and friends as they cherish one-on-one relationships. If you befriend a GABA-dominant personality you will be a friend for life. Their ultimate goal is to make others happy. They believe in family life, are religious and enjoy establishing traditions especially when it comes to holiday activities.

[caption id="attachment_700" align="alignright" width="300" caption="GABA Dominant Personality - High GABA Production = High Expectations"][/caption]

If they produce too much GABA they tend to set high expectations for themselves and others, whether they are a boss, coworker, friend or spouse and because they crave love and attention, they often spend a lot of time looking for opportunities to care for others even at the cost of their own needs. Too much GABA can cause a person to have high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate making it hard for them to fall asleep easy.

On the other hand, if they have low levels of GABA either by the brain burning too much or producing too little a shift in personality occurs. A deficiency in one neurotransmitter like GABA means there is an excess of another, which produces personality traits associated with a dominance of the other neurotransmitter. A balanced brain creates a smooth, steady flow of energy, but a person with low GABA creates energy in bursts. These energy bursts upsets the brain’s well-being and they are unable to deal with life’s stress. They appear nervous, anxious and irritable often demonstrating poor emotional stability and reverting to childish behavior.

Overtime, like a sleep deprivation, it affects their memory, slow reflexes that can impair driving and lack concentration. Physically, low GABA sleep levels can cause a rapid change and chronic onset (lasts three months or more) with conditions like allergies, diarrhea or constipation, insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive amounts of sleepiness), often to a point that they are anxious about their own general health. Other related physical symptoms include; backaches, carbohydrate cravings, dizziness, headaches, hypertension, IBS, PMS, nausea, tinnitus, urinary frequency, a rapid heart rate and even seizures.

Usually these people love to plan events, read history books, collect memorabilia and create scrapbooks now they show signs of stress, manic depression, obsessive compulsive disorder phobias, display rage and even have thoughts of suicide.

[caption id="attachment_698" align="alignright" width="200" caption="GABA Dominant Personality - The Edge Effect"][/caption]

According to the book, The Edge Effect, by Eric R. Braverman MD, you can treat a GABA deficiency with a controlled diet of bananas, rice bran, citrus fruit, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, broccoli, molasses, liver/organ meats, halibut, lentils, baked or mashed potatoes, tree nuts and caffeine-free herbal teas. Lifestyle changes should include; taking time to relax, establishing a nightly routine to get enough sleep and aerobic exercise. When you can accomplish daily tasks and help other do likewise without being the center of attention, you are experiencing the GABA Edge Effect.

For more information about GABA see: Bananas have GABA that Reduces Stress and Anxiety to Ease Sleep

Eric R. Braverman, MD, as presented at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) Annual Conference, June 2003. Dr. Braverman was a member of the pioneering research team at Harvard University that developed the BEAM (Brain Electrical Activity Map), a noninvasive device to measure neurotransmitter levels in functioning brains through electrical activity. For more information, his book, The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage is highly recommended reading.

The content in GABA Dominant Personality is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like GABA for sleep as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bananas have GABA that Reduces Stress and Anxiety to Ease Sleep

With all the stress and anxiety associated with the Christmas season you will be happy to know that bananas have GABA that reduces stress and anxiety to ease sleep. The brain has four primary neurotransmitters: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA and serotonin that affect the four areas of the brain and the brain’s health in various ways. An overabundance or deficiency of any neurotransmitter can lead to health problems including lack of sleep.

[caption id="attachment_687" align="alignright" width="110" caption="Eat Sleep GABA"][/caption]

Neurons in the brain produce the biochemical GABA providing calmness and aiding in the production of endorphins. An excess of GABA can result in a person not taking care of their own needs at the expense of others because GABA dominant people are natural nurturers. Natural nurturers are those that thrive on organization and long-term relationships like homemakers, administrators, technicians, nurses, security officers, accountants and bus drivers. Early signs of a GABA deficiency include feelings of anxiety, irritability, stress and an inability to fall asleep easy. Some other symptoms can include allergies, dizziness, muscle aches, low sex drive and headaches.

As GABA deficiencies become more prominent it will affect all four major domains of the brain function and physical, personality, memory and attention issues will follow such as; backaches, rapid heart rate, chronic pain, constipation, muscle loss, incontinence, depression, rage, restlessness, insomnia and even seizures. GABA affects epilepsy and Parkinson's disease as well.

If you have a mild to moderate GABA deficiency you should be able to balance it with a diet along with supplements, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Amino acid glutamine is necessary to produce GABA, so include foods that are rich in glutamine(mgs per 6-8 ounce serving) such as almonds 10.3 g., bananas 220 mg., beef liver 6.5 g., brown rice 940 mg., halibut 7.9 g., oats 7.4 g., walnuts 5.4 g., spinach 680 mg.. You can also boost your GABA levels with valerian root and passionflower. Exercise is also important to increase GABA and it is necessary to reduce lead and/or aluminum levels in your system by using a metal detoxification program.

Reducing aluminum levels see: prednisone insomnia for a list of foods and products you should avoid.

Bananas are the best fruit source of vitamin B6 and B6 helps with the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. Bananas are also a source of vitamin C, vitamin B group folate, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Bananas have how much GABA? A small banana provides a quarter of your daily needs and a large banana provides nearly half. Bananas benefit other health related issues; such as a great fiber source for constipation, filling to control weight with no fat, helps keep blood pressure normal and is very useful for clear thinking, improved memory and mood.

How do you know if you have a GABA deficiency? Answer these questions and for each yes count a point.

Is it hard for you to relax?
Are you easily stressed or overwhelmed?
Do you feel overworked or pressured?
Is your body uptight or stiff?
Do you sometimes feel weak or shaky?
Do you use sugar, alcohol or other drugs help you relax?
Are you bothered by loud noises, lights or too much activity?
Feel even more stressed if you skip a meal?

0-2 points - slightly low level of GABA
3-4 points – moderately low level of GABA
5 or more – severely low level of GABA

A Neuro-Screen Profile is a neurotransmitter test that indicates neurotransmitter or chemical imbalances that can lead to depression, anxiety/panic, insomnia, cognitive disorder, ADD/ADHD, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, neurotoxicity, memory impairment, mood swings, migraines, obsessive-compulsive disorder and substance abuse.

This test is done by examining your urine. The neurotransmitters circulate in the blood and are filtered by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. All four Neurotransmitters can be checked by this urine test. Test kits are available online and each includes an easy method to collect a urine sample that can be sent back to a lab. A healthcare practitioner that specializes in neurotransmitter balancing can interpret the test and determine the proper treatment depending the on the severity of the deficiency. Treatment can be medication, supplements or just changes to your lifestyle to include a healthier diet and exercise.

Don't trust your brain chemistry to just anyone! Find a mental health specialist that:

[caption id="attachment_688" align="alignright" width="235" caption="2 Bananas a day - GABA for Sleep"][/caption]

- Is experience in neurochemistry and neurotransmitter dysfunction
- Provides customized treatment protocols based on symptoms and lab results
- Provides consultations and follow up testing
- Has training and experience with psychotropic medications

REMEMBER that bananas are a great source of GABA as well as a health benefit for many other medical issues. If your bananas are not ripe leave them in a fruit bowl to ripen naturally. When you buy bananas, mix the ripe and green ones together to get a steady flow of ripe bananas, as you don’t want all your bananas to be ripe on the same day. Bananas have GABA sleep well, be well.

The content in Bananas have GABA that Reduces Stress and Anxiety to Ease Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like GABA for sleep as it may have an interaction with other medications or health issues.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prednisone Insomnia

Prednisone is used as an immunosuppressant that acts on almost the entire immune system and is very useful in treating autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, poison ivy, dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and Crohn’s disease. Side effects of prednisone include adrenal suppression which is the body’s inability to synthesize natural corticosteroids, resulting in a dependency on prednisone. When taking prednisone for over seven days it is recommended to reduce the dose gradually over a few days as stopping abruptly can cause life-threatening Addison’s disease in which the body can no longer produce adrenal steroid hormones. Using this drug over any period of days can cause prednisone insomnia, fatigue, abdominal pain, blurred vision, peptic ulcers, infections, osteoporosis, weight gain, stretch marks, swelling, nervousness, increased appetite and hyperactivity.

[caption id="attachment_680" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Prednisone Insomnia"][/caption]

Unfortunately, prednisone can also deplete calcium from your body by increasing its elimination, putting you at greater risk of bone fractures. Some studies have shown these drugs can also lower levels of key trace elements, including magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, and potassium. You should take a supplement to offset the loss of these very important nutrients. Prednisone insomnia could be the result of magnesium depletion along with a calcium deficiency that occurs with these drugs. A lack calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to fall back to sleep easy.

Calcium is directly related to our sleep cycles and researchers have found that calcium levels are higher during the deepest levels of sleep and during the REM sleep phase. The study concluded that a calcium deficiency interrupts REM sleep and will keep the individual in a lighter sleep phase while eliminating deep sleep. Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin which controls our sleep/wake cycle. This is why a dairy product like milk that contains both calcium and tryptophan is one of the top sleep inducing foods. With a depleted source of magnesium, prednisone insomnia is one of its main symptoms as the individual usually has frequent nighttime awakenings. High magnesium and a low aluminum diet (see below) has found to be associated with deep, less interrupted sleep. It is important to note the balance ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health and these two minerals should be taken together especially if someone is suffering from prednisone insomnia to get a good night’s sleep.

Tests are normally recommended to check the magnesium levels in the blood. These magnesium deficiency tests include blood ionized magnesium test, low dose magnesium load test and checking the 24 hour urine magnesium content. Calcium levels can be tested by blood or urine.

If you consider taking magnesium look for a form that allows you to start with a lower dose and slowly increase the amount as unabsorbed magnesium will cause a laxative effect. You will not see the results of this effect until a day later which is why you should slowly increase the dose. The RDA for magnesium is 400mg. If this amount helps alleviates your prednisone insomnia than you don’t need to take more than that. . Magnesium is often better absorbed when taken with food. You can also break up your daily recommended dose with each meal. You might also want to avoid taking magnesium with foods that are high in phytic acid, such as whole wheat, as this might bind to the magnesium.

Taking magnesium with calcium is often suggested, because the two minerals work together in building bones and inducing sleep. Another good reason for taking the calcium with magnesium is that calcium (especially calcium carbonate) can offset some of the laxative effect from the magnesium. Traditionally, the RDA ratio of calcium and magnesium is 2/1, however, magnesium is often poorly absorbed; so many doctors believe the ratio should be closer to 1/1.

Please note that not all forms of magnesium are the same. Magnesium oxide is one of the most common, but studies have shown it to be poorly absorbed, due to low solubility. Research has shown that other common forms, such as citrate or chloride are better absorbed. However, some people recommend chelated forms, believing that they are the best absorbed. Although in theory this might be true, surprisingly there are no published studies to back up this claim. Albion Chelated Calcium Magnesium (500mg/200mg) - 120 - Caplets are available online, at your local health food store and pharmacy.

The content in Prednisone Insomnia is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like calcium and magnesium for sleep as they may have an interaction with other medications or health issue.


Foods made with aluminized baking powder*, self-rising flour*, and salt. The following are some of these products:

Microwave popcorn
Salted snacks
Hot cocoa mixes
Coffee creamers
Pickles and relish
*Flour tortillas
*Pizza crust
*Baking mixes
*Corn bread
*Banana bread
*Carrot bread
*Dipping batter for fried foods

WARNING: Aluminumized baking powder is now being used in many foods that were formerly prepared without baking powder, such as pizza crust, raised doughnuts, pie crusts, cookies, waffles, prepared meats, cheeses, and other products that were once aluminum-free.


Do not confuse baking soda with baking powder. Soda is a pure product with no additives. Baking powder is a mixture of chemicals used as leavening in countless baking products. (Leavening is what makes a cake rise during the baking process.)

Many people believe that all breads are made with baking powder. This is not true. Most breads are made with yeast.

Don't panic. Numerous aluminum-free baked goods are available in ordinary grocery stores, as well as health food stores and restaurants. Simply read labels to be safe.


Many body lotions and cremes
Most cosmetics
Shampoos and conditioners
Suntan lotions
Lip Balm


Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs containing aluminum are too numerous to list. Read labels and consult your doctor and pharmacist.

If your doctor has prescribed drugs or medications containing aluminum, ask for alternative (aluminum-free) medications. If there is a problem, refer your doctor to this website. Informational brochures are also available to remind your doctor about the dangers of medications that are made with aluminum.

Doctors are required to encourage patient involvement in their own care, including the decision-making process. Because of this, your doctor will most likely co-operate.


When prescription drugs are necessary, one's first line of defense in preventing food and drug poisoning is to curtail the number of toxins consumed on a daily basis.

They add up quickly. One breakfast waffle normally contains
one "dose" of aluminum. (A dose is considered the amount required to cause an obvious effect, such as a change in behavior.) One muffin eaten for lunch adds another dose; and a dinner biscuit adds another. The day's total of aluminum equals 3 doses. Remember, the more items eaten, the more aluminum is ingested.

When prescription drugs are consumed as well, the amount of toxicity in the brain can rise to injurous levels, especially when over-the-counter drugs are taken at the same time.
resource for products containing aluminum:
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yoga for Sleeping Seizure

Yoga an ancient Indian practice is increasingly becoming a modern approach for treating epileptic seizure disorder. The World Health Organization estimates 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and 25% of these are with a sleeping seizure disorder. There are four types of epilepsy and nine disorders that cause seizures. Yoga helps bring a balance between the individual’s health and what is causing their seizures. Sleep-related epilepsy would be those seizures that have a relationship with sleep, while some are mainly during sleep others are exclusively during sleep and some between the transition between sleep and wakefulness. Physicians are still trying to determine why people have seizures during the night. One theory is that the brain continues to fire neurons during sleep in a rhythmic pattern and that this underlying pattern makes it easier to have a seizure. Seizures disrupt the normal activity of the central nervous system and yoga for sleeping seizures restores the balance to the body and its metabolic systems while increasing physical stamina and calming the nervous system. You can sleep easy by practicing yoga exercises, breathing exercises, and relaxing your mind through meditation to help in prevent seizures.

[caption id="attachment_672" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

Breathing exercises known as the practice of pranayama a controlled deep diaphragmatic breathing helps restore normal respiration. If a person slips into a seizure state they should try to catch and hold their breath as this will change the metabolism, blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain. Practicing pranayama can reduce the chances of going into a seizure or stop seizures before they become full blown. Stress and tension are triggers for seizure activity and along with pranayama meditation or dhyana soothes the mind and heals the body. Meditation increases the level of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which keeps the body’s nervous system calm. Increasing serotonin will also increase the production of melotonin which is necessary to fall asleep. Research done in the U.S. concluded that those who learned to control their breathing and practiced meditation improved their seizure frequency.

Diagnosing seizures that are associated with sleep starts with an initial consultation in the doctor’s office as the patient needs to explain the symptoms and pattern of seizures. Medical testing will confirm the diagnosis by an EEG which will test a person’s brainwaves and capture the person’s seizure during sleep. This data will determine which kind of epilepsy the person has. One reason this is important is that the patient that has a seizure disorder and lack of sleep will in turn have more seizures during sleep. If the sleep deprivation becomes chronic insomnia it will become harder to control the seizures. Treatment for sleeping seizures and those awake are usually the same as the anticonvulsant is based on the side effects and not the type of seizure. Some medications cause drowsiness while others will keep you awake. So it is obvious that the sedating effecting medications be taken at night.

Some common triggers of seizures: listening to music, environmental stimuli such as heat and humidity, hyperventilation, alcohol beverages, excessive fluids, irregular sleep patterns, poor nutritious food, lack of sleep, undiagnosed sleep disorders, drug abuse, emotional stress, neglect medication. Over the counter medication and sleeping pills can interfere with anti-seizure drugs, although most are safe with anticonvulsants. Valium on the other hand which some use for sleep deprivation can cause a drug dependence when used over time. If the person stops taking Valium they will go through withdrawals which can actually worsen their seizures.

If the diagnosis is in time (not chronic insomnia) people with sleeping seizures have a better chance to control their episodes than those with epilepsy in general. That is why you should try to add yoga to your nightly routine. As yoga has a positive effect on controlling seizures by reducing stress and increasing relaxation. According to the American Chronicle, an Indian study showed that subjects who practiced yoga for 6 months were able to reduce seizure activity by 86 percent. However, it cautions that individuals already taking medication to control epileptic seizures shouldn't just stop taking it without consulting their doctors.

The content in Yoga for Sleeping Seizure is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.



Meditation is also an important part of the Yoga exercises to help prevent seizures. Stress can be a major trigger to seizures. Meditation can improve blood flow to the brain, slows stress hormones, and helps to increase the serotonin which helps keep the nervous system calm.

Shoulderstand Pose

The Shoulder Stand stimulates and rejuvenates your entire body. In this exercise, you build up both power and a new structure in your back and you relax tension in well-known stress areas like the neck and the lower back. The muscles of your lower back get stronger, the chest and shoulders can move more freely and the back gets straighter.

Headstand Pose

The Sanskrit word sirsha means head. This posture is the well-known headstand posture, and perhaps second only to the padma-asana or lotus posture, is widely identified with the practice of Yoga. During the practice of Yoga exercises, we not only relax the muscles but we also build up strength, structure and stability in the right spots. In Head Stand, you build up power and structure in both the neck and the upper back and at the same time; you train your arm muscles and coordination.

Plough Pose

A lot people complain about stiffness on the neck and lower back as a result of stress and wrong posture. In the Plough Pose, you stretch the neck and the lower back muscles. The Plough is also good for your digestion and it strengthens the kidneys, the liver and the gall bladder.

Corpse Pose

The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a Final Relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform.



[caption id="attachment_667" align="alignright" width="203" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

Shavasana” is relaxation of body and mind in the position of lying on the back. This asana helps in relaxing mind and body and helps in restoring energy. It is a relaxing posture intended to rejuvenate one's body, mind and spirit. While shavasana is a good way to reduce stress and tension it is not recommended for meditation as it has a tendency to induce sleepiness.


• Lie on the back.
• Keep your spine, navel & pelvic in one line.
• Keep feet apart.
• Keep arms on the each side of body, palms facing to sky.
• Keep neck right or left side.
• Close your eyes & slowly try to concentrate each part of the body & try to relax that part.


[caption id="attachment_668" align="alignright" width="97" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

This asana is very good for the thyroid gland. This asana improves the reproductive organs in both men and women. It also helps in relieving bronchitis, dyspepsia, and varicose veins and increases digestive capacity. It stimulates the thyroid and para-thyroid glands and influences the brain, heart and lungs, and improves blood circulation. However, those suffering from high blood pressure should not practice this posture. The sarvanga-asana should not be performed by woman who are menstruating, as is the case with all inverted postures (where the legs are raise over the head.


• Lie on your back with legs and arms straight, feet together and palms on the floor beside your body. While exhaling, raise your legs slowly upto 90 and then the whole body and the rest your weight on the arms so that the chin touches the jugular notch.
• Bring the arms and hands to support your body at the hip region (fingers at the back and thumb in front of the body). The entire weight of your body rests on the head, neck and shoulders while the arms are used for balancing.
• Keep the trunk, legs and hips in a straight line and as vertical as possible Focus your eyes on your toes, with your chin pressed against the chest. Retain the posture for one for three minutes.
• While exhaling, return to the lying position by bringing the leg backward and releasing the hands and the palms.


[caption id="attachment_669" align="alignright" width="202" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

This asana is very useful for persons suffering from chronic cough, bronchial asthma, congestion, infected tonsils and other respiratory disorders. Problems relating to thyroid and para-thyroid glands can also be overcome be done to derive the full of is recommended that you breath while holding it for between two and four minutes.


• Sit with your legs fully stretched out. Bend each leg at the knees and place your feet on the other hip joint. Both the heels are adjusted in such a way that each presses the adjacent portion of the abdomen. This forms the foot-lock in a sitting position.
• Bend backwards and, exhaling, rest your weight on the elbows. Push your neck backwards and slightly rise the hip upward thus making an arch of the spine.
• Then, by making hooks of the forefingers, hold your toes on the corresponding side without crossing your arms.This posture should be maintained for some time with slow and deep breathing.
• For reverting to the original position, release the foot-lock and return to the supine position by lowering the arch.


[caption id="attachment_670" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

Paschimottanasana is a fine stretching exercise of the body. In one continuous movement, almost all the posterior muscles get fully stretched and relaxed. This helps to improve the functions of the abdominal organs and sets right respiratory disorders. It also helps to improve memory.


• This posture involves stretching of the posterior muscles of the body.
• While sitting, stretch your legs forward and keep them close to each other. Bend a little forward, make hooks of your fingers and hold the big toes on the respective sides.
• While exhaling, bend forward stretching the trunk along the thighs. Rest your on the knees, which should be kept straight.
• Gradually, the tense muscles can be made supple for securing the complete posture. Inhale and return to the original position


[caption id="attachment_671" align="alignright" width="101" caption="Yoga for Sleep Seizure - A Sleep Easy"][/caption]

This asana is helpful in cases of dyspepsia and constipation. It improves the functions of the reproductive glands and heart muscles and is of great advantage in checking wet dreams.


• Sit in a kneeling position with the buttocks resting on the heels of the feet.
• Lean forward and place the forearms on the floor in front while keeping the elbows about shoulder distance apart. Interlock the fingers of both hands.
• Place the top of the head flat on the floor with the back of the head pressed against the inside of the interlocked fingers.
• Placing the tips of the toes firmly on the floor while lifting the heels, raise the knees off the floor.
• Hold for the duration of the held inhaled breath. When you can't hold the breath comfortable any longer, slowly exhale and return the back to the floor, slide the legs out straight returning to the shava-asana.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Lack of Sleep

Christmas is the time of year that brings a plethora of different emotions. Christmas is full of love, joy, peace and prosperity. In the past, we would gather together with loved ones to stuff our faces with fabulous food, reminisce, sit by the fire and drink eggnog or hot chocolate. In today’s world we are constantly rushing, frustrated, anxious, and stressed that causes Christmas lack of sleep. We are filled with great excitement for the season, but worried over family finances for buying gifts and family pressures to find time for travel. At some point all of us experience some holiday stress from high levels of anxiety by various expectations and extra activities. We over load our calendar with all the extra things we have to do to celebrate the Christmas season. Christmas lack of sleep is caused by all these extra activities and additional responsibilities which affect our bedtime habits and our ability to fall asleep easy and stay asleep.

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This added stress also affects people’s appetites either by a loss of appetite or overeating. We tend to gain weight during the holiday season because we eat foods we generally don’t eat and usually these foods are high in carbohydrates and sugar. When we are rushed to find those last minute gifts we also tend to satisfy our hunger and lack of time by eating more fast food and eating later at night. These eating habits and stress can upset not only our sleep cycle but can cause us to gain weight due to increased levels of adrenalin and cortisol. High levels of cortisol and adrenalin are known to interfere with our ability to fall asleep and remain asleep. Because we are constantly worrying our body thinks it needs to handle this stressful situation causing a cycle of hormone output, insulin release and hunger. This weight gain can be treated by increasing sleep, reducing stress, eating properly, exercise, and normalizing cortisol levels.

To control your stress take a deep breath (or two), try meditation or yoga, make a list of things that need to be done and get them off your mind, take a warm bath, watch a funny movie (laughter is the best medicine), watch your diet and exercise, take some vitamin C not only will you curb a cold, it also reduces cortisol production) and try to remove a source of stress by delegating some of the responsibilities. Consider taking a sleep aid supplement like valerian, melatonin, GABA, Kava Kava and/or cat nip to alleviate stress and help you to fall asleep. Let your doctor know that you are considering a supplement to make sure it doesn’t interfere with other medication or a medical issue. Since it is winter time you should take a multi-vitamin to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Some minerals like potassium and magnesium are essential for the quality and quantity of a good night's sleep You can also have a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime to help you relax and induce sleep.

Christmas also requires us to stay focused to get all our extra seasonal preparations and activities done. Stress and lack of sleep causes us to lose focus and concentration as loss of production can greatly impact the holiday season. Remember that physical activity allows your body to get rid of stress and helps you to relax. Do something for yourself like take up a hobby. Before you go to bed work on your hobby, as it will help you think about something else besides your to-do-list. Also fulfilling a personal goal will give you a sense of self satisfaction and accomplishment that will help you to relax.

Try to stick to a sleep routine by establishing a time to go to bed and wake up. Also allow yourself to get the required hours you need to wake up refreshed and energized. An adult usually needs between 7-8 hours each night. Remove all distractions from your bedroom; this means no TV, no computer, no video games and no pets. Make your bedroom a cozy, dark, quiet, cool place you can associate with a good night’s sleep. If you mind continues to race, close your eyes and take some deep breathes while telling yourself to relax. Think of a happy memory or listen to some relaxing music, the ocean waves or white noise that will ease your mind and help you to fall asleep.

Remember lack of sleep and chronic stress can lead to depression and Christmas depression isn’t unusual. Christmas depression can range from over stress, over work, feelings of inadequacy to get everything done and jealousy of others due to their easy carefree life. Everyone is enjoying their hot toddies by the fire, Christmas parties and time off of work, but you. Anxiety may intensify depression and vice versa. If you are taking anti-anxiety medication be advised that alcohol and lack of sleep may negatively impact medication.

A natural treatment for Christmas depression is to pay attention to the weather as external variables may be crucial in affecting mood and anxiety, such as sun, cold wind, altitude, humidity, barometric pressure, etc. Lack of sun like lack of sleep can intensify depressed feelings. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, experience depressive symptoms in the winter. There are many different treatments for SAD including light therapy, medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin. In fact, when the moon is full, some people may suffer from insomnia, nightmares, strange dreams, and some people even sleepwalk. There is one more interesting fact that some people sleep better when the moon is full, even if its shine falls into their faces.

How can you avoid stress and Christmas lack of sleep? First thing it is usually good to start early while the weather is still warm and you can avoid the crowds at the stores. Since we are well into December and the weather is far from warm, there are a few things you can still do for yourself; start with a list of everyone you will be giving to, check with other members of the family to see if they know what they would like or need this year. I have 5 children to buy for, so when I get the Sunday ads I let them go through it and circle everything that they would like. I pick 3-5 items for each child and I try to create some sort of theme. This year my 10 year old niece is into cooking, so I got her a box of Christmas cookie cutters, a chef hat-mitts-apron set and a pizza set all made by Martha Stewart at Macy’s.

Once you have determined who gets what then you can tally the approximate cost, check for coupons or online sales. Have you set your Christmas budget for this year? If so, can you afford everything on your list? If not, you will have to scale back or find really good deals like there were on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Remember to include on your list people who provide a valuable service, like your mail carrier, hair dresser or children’s teacher or their favorite babysitter. If you went a little nuts over purchasing on Black Friday it is not too late to return most items. It’s always nicer if you can buy your Christmas gifts in your own home without crowds and you can compare prices with many online stores. This can also help you resist buying items that are not on your list and many stores offer free shipping this time of year. If you use credit cards -- and are perhaps already in debt -- you might have a stash of credit card rewards. Find out if you can spend those rewards on gifts or gift cards, or receive cash back.

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There are ways to give without spending a dime. Make no cost stocking stuffers for your family by creating coupons for things they love but seldom receive. Kids can give parents coupons for “no whining” or “no complaining”. Siblings can treat each other with “riding shotgun” or “first in the bathroom”. Parents can offer kids “get out of punishment free” or “choose a snack for movie night”. Add stickers or colors to personalize them for each member of your family.

If money is tight you may decide not to travel this year to visit relatives, instead you can make a phone call, take pictures and share them online or chat online or with a webcam. Remember you can’t do everything. Slow down and savor the moments or you are going to miss out on all the good stuff. A person can only cram so many activities into their calendar. Over committing and lack of sleep can lead to major stress. You need to take care of yourself by eating right, so try eating at home this month, you will not only save money, you will eat healthier and spend more time with your family. Your kids can help with the Christmas preparation by untangling lights and help you remember their activities by keeping a calendar. Plan meals around your schedule to save time and also mark your calendar for family time too. Christmas time is family time and it’s about love and giving, not material possessions. If you are too rushed to take time for yourself and your family it will eventually take a toll on your health. So, if all you want for Christmas is a good night's sleep, please take time to “smell the roses” and create traditions and family memories without the stress and enjoy the holiday!

The content in Christmas Lack of Sleep is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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