Friday, November 2, 2018

Up All Night: How Your Mattress Can Affect Your Sleep... and Health

There’s no such thing as the perfect mattress. Nighttime comfort is an individual preference. It’s uncommon for two people who share the same bed to want the same things in their sleep zone. Comfort aside, there are plenty of ways a bad mattress is a universal health hazard. Keep reading for a few quick tips on how the eight hours you spend in bed at night can negatively impact your well-being 24/7.

Signs of a mattress gone bad

       Snoring. Some people just snore, but others develop this intrusive habit over time when sleeping on an unsupportive mattress. Sleep Number explains that even weight distribution can minimize the effects of snoring. In addition to lacking support, an old mattress is a haven for dust, which can linger in dry air and can amplify these midnight roars. A humidifier will keep the air moist, which can reduce snoring. Change the filter regularly to ensure your humidifier continues to operate properly, which will also lower pollutants in the air.

       Back pain. A low-quality or past-its-prime mattress can lead to back pain by changing your spinal alignment little by little each night. When your mattress wears out, it becomes a concave structure instead of the flat sleeping surface you need.

       Bed bugs. Bed bugs are tiny little bloodsuckers that like to hide in your mattress. An old mattress is the ideal habitat for these alarmingly tick-like creatures. They are difficult and expensive to get rid of; the most effective way to control an infestation is to simply buy a new mattress and box spring. One surefire sign of overnight bed bug contact is small bite marks on exposed skin that may be itchy and resemble a rash. MedicineNet Medical Author Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, explains that bites on the hands, neck, and face are common.

       Impaired memory. Poor sleep is undeniably linked to impaired memory, information retention, and overall cognition. Even if you think you’re sleeping through the night, failure to cycle through all stages of sleep can leave you struggling to remember even the most familiar and repetitive aspects of your day.

       Dust mites. Unlike bed bugs, dust mites don’t turn into tiny Draculas (Draculi?) at night, but they do feed on flaked-off flesh. No matter how clean your home is, you have dust mites. While these arachnids aren’t dangerous in a normal quantity, an old mattress can be home to them in numbers you don’t want to see. Too many, and they can become an allergy issue and trigger upper respiratory distress, especially in children and those with a sensitivity to airborne particles.

       Weight gain. Here’s a fun fact: poor sleep can contribute to weight gain. There are a number of reasons, including a change in your hormone production and craving more sugary foods. When the brain isn’t rested, it is more susceptible to impulse, meaning that midnight bowl of cereal you usually bypass makes more sense than an apple. Sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus touches on more ways that sleep deprivation and weight gain are connected. When it’s time to invest in a new mattress, make sure to find one that suits your sleep preferences. If you share a bed, an adjustable mattress can help you and your partner settle in and wind down.

Buying a new mattress is one of the most effective ways to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep, but it’s not the only factor. Eat a balanced diet, get enough exercise, and pay attention to your health. 
Image by Pixabay

Guest author ~ Dylan Foster http://healthwellwise.com



Thursday, March 1, 2018




Ward Off the Winter Blues

The earth leans toward deep, dark space. Shadows lengthen, and the sun travels reluctantly across the sky, sinking into the horizon long before most people are ready to bid its rays goodbye.

Many people grumble at early darkness and shorter days. The American Family Physician website says that about four to six percent of people suffer from winter depression, and another 10 to 20 percent may have mild seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder is caused by a sensitivity that results from a lack of sunlight. Shorter winter days disrupt your body’s clock and fool your brain into producing less serotonin. But SAD’s more than just a temporary funk. Its symptoms appear in late fall or early winter and, like clockwork, disappear during spring and summer’s sunny days.

While SAD’s exact cause remains unknown, doctors have identified certain factors that can bring it on. Reduced exposure to natural light can:
       Disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock.
       Cause a drop in serotonin, and reduced production can trigger depression.
       Unbalance your body’s level of melatonin, another neurotransmitter that directly influences sleep patterns and mood.

This disorder was first identified, in 1984, by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. His research also indicated that women between age 20 and 40 are twice as likely as men to receive a diagnosis possibly because estrogen and progesterone, more prevalent in women, may be connected to SAD. The Mayo Clinic has identified other risk factors that may predispose someone to SAD that include:
       Family history
       A diagnosis of major depression or bipolar disorder
       Living far from the equator


Don’t hibernate!

Bears escape the winter drear by hunkering down in their caves until spring warmth coaxes them into the sunlight. But bears were built to hibernate—humans weren’t!

Mental health professionals and other experts suggest these solutions for getting a mental health boost and beating the winter blues.

       Exercise. Take a walk outside in the sunlight and burn a few calories while you’re enjoying the sunshine. Exercising for just 10 minutes a day helps stave off SAD’s effects. Play basketball with friends at a community center or gym. Turn up the tunes and challenge your kids to a dance-off or host a nightly dance party to celebrate finishing the day’s homework.
       Listen to music. A University of Missouri research study concluded that listening to upbeat music helps to make you happy. Banish the ballads and update your playlist with some toe-tappin’ tunes because cheerful music will improve your mood.
       Volunteer. When depression turns your focus inward, it’s hard to escape that rut. Try turning your focus outward. If you’re not sure what organizations in your community need help, search for some at volunteermatch.org. You can also offer to assist in your child’s classroom.
       Redecorate. Brighten your home with lighter paint on the walls. Hang mirrors to reflect the light. Rearrange your furniture so it’s facing the windows. Banish heavy curtains and opt for lighter, more translucent fabrics.
       Travel. Schedule a trip to a warm, sunny location. You’ll want to escape for at least a week to get the full benefit of sunshine therapy.
       Meditate. Meditation provides a wide variety of benefits, and practicing body mindfulness or yoga creates a sense of calm and works as a natural antidepressant.
       Socialize. Spend time with friends and loved ones to help keep your mood elevated. If you tend to hide during the winter, ask your friends to find you and drag you out into the world.
       Light therapy. If your SAD is more severe, your doctor may recommend using a light-therapy box for 30-45 minutes a day. These boxes emit artificial light that helps to compensate for a lack of natural light.


When the winter blues strikes, don’t hesitate to try different solutions to see what benefits you the most. Make time to take care of yourself by eating healthy meals (and a little chocolate!), reading a good book, spending time with friends, or doing whatever makes you happy.

Author

Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.

Photo credit: Pexels

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Taste Of Recovery
Guest post by Virgil Anderson 

If you suffer from cancer or mesothelioma, the importance of eating healthy cannot be overstressed. Focusing on consumption of vegetables and fruits can go a long way in helping to reduce the symptoms from cancer. The American Cancer Society strongly suggests eating a minimum of 2 ½ cups of these foods per day. Fruits and vegetables are typically low in calories and they are abundant in antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins. Typically, the foods with the greatest amount of color, such as orange, yellow, red and dark green, have the most vitamins and nutrients. In order to help reduce pain and other symptoms from cancer, you should try to consume a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.

If you are having a hard time trying to imagine what a ½ cup looks like, you should know that half a cup of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size of a half baseball. If you want to be really sure, you should of course use a measuring cup. Consuming 2 ½ cups of fruit and vegetables per day isn't very difficult at all when you take the time to space out your portions.

BREAKFAST

If you usually eat cereal for breakfast, consider slicing a banana across the top. Juice that you have in the morning will count towards fruit as well. Try to have unsweetened, low sodium vegetable or fruit juice. Four ounces of juice will equal half a cup. If you don't like cereal, you could have half a cup of frozen berries in a cup of low fat yogurt. This quick meal can be eaten at home with a banana sliced across the top or taking in the car if you are in a hurry to get to work. Taking these portions of fruit or vegetables means that you've already consumed one cup of your daily quota.

SNACK AT MID MORNING

Having a snack in the middle of the morning is an excellent way to sneak more vegetables or fruit into your body. A small orange, five or six baby carrots or a single serving container of applesauce will add another half cup to your quota. You're more than halfway there and it's only the middle of the morning.

LUNCH

If you need to have a quick lunch, you could have a wrap or pita sandwich with vegetables, or a cup of vegetable soup. Either of these will easily give you at least a half cup of veggies. If you have a small salad on the side, you'll be at more than two cups for the day!

DINNER

It's not at all hard to add some veggies to your dinner. Simply heat frozen or canned vegetables in the microwave to make a quick side dish or, if you want something tasty, microwave a sweet potato with a splash of apple juice, a teaspoon of butter and a light sprinkle of cinnamon or sugar. Congratulations! You've met your minimum requirement!


Additional health tips to help reduce your mesothelioma symptoms include avoiding tobacco products, getting plenty of exercise and keeping up with your doctors' appointments.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sticky, Yucky Energy

What if changing your life could be as simple as taking a shower?

That's how I like to think of emotional clearing. Sometimes I tell my clients to get out the 'fire hose' when were dealing with a particularly sticky energy, but most of the time is just a 'brushing off' or 'sweeping out' or maybe a nice swish of cleansing water to wash away the energy we no longer need. (metaphorically that is)

Have you ever thought about how much energy you pick up every day that doesn't even belong to  you? If you were wading through that much muck all day and climbed into bed at night without taking a shower first, would your spouse divorce you?
Energy is kind of like that.

Imagine what it would feel like to walk in the door, after a long day working, and feel amazing. Light! Energized! Peaceful! Simply ask the energy "Who does this belong to?" You will hear an answer - the first thing that pops into your head is usually the answer. It's going to be a) someone else, b) something else like the Earth, or c) you.  If it's not you, ask that energy to "Return to sender with consciousness attached" because you do NOT need to keep it. It does not serve you. It's been said that over 90% of the emotions we feel are picked up somewhere and don't belong to us. Wouldn't it be nice to stop carrying your boss's anger, your co-worker's anxiety, and that person in the checkout lane at the grocery store was dumping fear all over you.

We are all energetic beings and we communicate through energy much more than we realize. If you would like to read an interesting point of view on this subject, read the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. We are brilliant at perceiving energy whether we know it or not.

So try this tool for a couple of days. "Who does this anger belong to?" "Who does this resentment belong to?" "Return to sender with consciousness attached." (That's so they can recognize this energy as something they can also delete.) Use it all day for a week and see how you feel?

What if your life could get so much better and it could be simple? What would that be like? Anything is possible.

Be well,
Mary

For more on energy clearing visit http://www.thejoyofbeingwell.com. I can help you clear the deepest, darkest energies and step into the light.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Being There: A Story of Cancer Survival

(Guest article by Cameron von St. James)

I often go back to November 21st, 2005 when my wife and I faced something we never thought would happen. Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. While I didn't know what to do at the time, I knew that I was no longer just a husband and father. I was also a caregiver for someone who had cancer. I couldn't believe that this diagnosis was happening to us, and it was especially difficult because our daughter was still just a newborn. We had only celebrated her birth three months prior to receiving the news.

In the doctor's office, I saw my family falling apart and the tears in my wife's eyes. It was a very hard moment that made me instantly understand what I had to do. I had to be there for my family no matter what. I had to make tough decisions and become a caregiver that would hold my wife's hand and heart along this difficult road. The doctor gave us some options for treatment. He suggested a few hospitals close by, but neither of these had a specialist in Heather’s form of cancer. That's what we needed. He knew of a specialist in Boston named Dr. David Sugarbaker. There was only one choice for my family. I said "Get us to Boston," and we began a long journey towards a healthy family.

The next few months after that were spent in havoc for me. It was a constant struggle to handle the newborn and care for my wife. It was all I could do to juggling the responsibilities of being a caregiver, while also holding down my job to keep us afloat through this whole process. The weight of everything plagued me from day to day, but I managed to work through it. I knew that I had to be strong for my family. No matter what I thought of at night trying to sleep, I had to believe that my wife was going to be okay and that somehow we would make it out okay.

It was around these dark days that some saving grace appeared. My wife's family had always been generous, but I really didn't know how to thank them at first for coming through and taking care of Lily. They also helped to pay off some of the medical bills and really provide a shelter for my troubled mind as well as my wife's recovering body. I will never forget what they did for us and how it changed my family's life.

My strongest advice to anyone going through their own cancer journey is to accept every offer of help that comes your way. I had to learn the hard way that there is no room for pride in a cancer battle. Once I accepted this, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.

Over the following months, Heather would undergo mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in order to fight this terrible disease. Despite the odds against her, at the end of it all she came out alive, healthy and cancer free. She remains that way to this day, over seven years after her diagnosis. We now hope that by sharing our story, we can help inspire others in their own cancer journeys, to never give up hope and always keep fighting for the ones they love.

Cameron Von St. James
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Where is Fructose Hiding?

fructose overload infographic
Discover the fructose content of common foods, beverages, sauces, and even sugar substitutes in our infographic "Fructose Overload." Use the embed code to share it on your website.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Create a Sustainable Table

Change depends on every one of us. This is a great place to start.