A Good Night’s Sleep is Necessary for Your Health & Wellbeing

The human body has incredible healing powers.  One of the best ways to make sure your body can maximise its power of self-healing is to ensure it gets enough sleep. If you’re like the vast majority of people, you often sacrifice sleep for your to-do list. You’ll get through your to do list easier if you’ve had enough sleep.

Less sleep equals less ability to deal with physical and mental stress.  Sleep doesn’t just help your body rest; it helps your brain take on some important maintenance tasks as well.

If you’re feeling generally run down, it might be prudent to look at your sleeping habits.

  • Do you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep at night?
  • Do you try to play “catch-up” on the weekends to make up for lost sleep?
  • Do you struggle to get up in the morning and hit the “snooze” button far too often?

You might not be getting enough sleep and might not be getting enough sleep cycles each night. Sleep isn’t just one long continuous period of rest. Sleep stages include:  transition into sleep, sleeping lightly, deeper sleep, and REM sleep stages.  Your body doesn’t just need to have a single instance of each stage per night. In fact, you’ll go through several sleep cycles each night — which is necessary for restful and restorative sleep. Too few hours equals too few sleep cycles.

Make Sleep a Priority

Making sleep a priority is important. A lot of people don’t do this and suffer from lack of restorative sleep. Some don’t allow themselves enough sleep and others have trouble getting enough sleep.

Having trouble sleeping?

Lack of sleep can happen for a number of reasons and it can create a bit of a vicious cycle where you begin to suffer from health problems that make sleep even more difficult.

Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Establish a bedtime routine. Your body will become accustomed to it and you’ll start to find sleeping and waking up at scheduled times easier.  Follow your bedtime routine on weekends, too, especially when first starting this new regimen.
  2. Eliminate bad nighttime habits, such as eating junk food and drinking caffeine.
  3. Make a to-do list at night for the next day. Do this well in advance of bedtime routines so that you won’t start to think about things once your head hits the pillow.
  4. Make sure you’re sleeping ergonomically. If you’ve got a lumpy mattress, a drafty bedroom, a lot of noise to content with, or other disturbances, perhaps it’s time to do a Feng Shui, of sorts, to make your sleeping area an oasis that helps lull you to sleep.
  5. Aches and pains keeping you up or waking you up in the middle of the night, robbing you of precious sleep cycles?  Make an appointment for a physical. If you haven’t had a physical checkup lately, there could be  physical reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping. Consider making an appointment with the osteopath. Contact Peter Green  Osteopath if you’re looking for a Bondi Junction or Sydney Osteopath. Get help with back pain, neck pain, repetitive strain injuries, sciatica, and other problems that could make a positive difference.

“Sweet Dreams” is a kind greeting to give to others. And when you learn how important your sleep cycles are, you’ll know that sweet dreams aren’t just nice; they’re vital for overall health and wellness.

Living Longer Better

More and more of us are getting older…… much older. The fastest growing population group in Australia now is those over 85 and by the year 2020, this group is expected to triple.

This post is a little tangential from  Osteopathy and osteopathic practice per se,  but is certainly an important one in regard to our own health and wellness.

With the huge amounts of money being invested into stem cell  and telomere research ( for those of you who don’t know about this …. telomere’s are segments of DNA found at the ends of chromosomes. Every time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter, and once a cell runs out of telomeres, it can’t reproduce anymore and dies. But there’s an enzyme called telomerase that reverses this process; it’s one of the reasons cancer cells live so long. So why not treat regular non-cancerous cells with telomerase? In November, researchers at Harvard Medical School announced in Nature that they had done just that. They administered telomerase to a group of mice suffering from age-related degeneration. The damage went away. The mice didn’t just get better; they got younger ) …. it appears that in the not too distant future we will all be living longer, and equally as importantly, vitally.

In the meantime, we are already living longer but those of you with aging parents or grandparents know that there are huge problems with aging and morbidity.

Many people who I talk to opine that they don’t necessarily want to live forever but they want to live healthily and vitally for as long as possible and then go quickly and with dignity when their time comes ….

So it appears that we are going to live longer, and until these great scientific advances become reality for us in the evryday,  we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to ensure that our lives remain vital for as long as possible?

I am gonna recommend a new Facebook group to you which produces regular updates on the latest information and tips for vitality and health as you age.  So go to your Facebook page and search and ‘like’ the page “Live Until At Least 120″.

Understand the latest information which will help slow down your aging process and help increase your vitality as you do age.

If you’re not on Facebook …. maybe its time you considered it …. taking on new mental challenges and new ideas is one of the actions you can take to help you live longer better.

Winding up into the New Year

After the summer break, we are all heading back into the fray having re-vitalised ourselves and recharged our batteries. But how do we help ourselves to stay on top of when we are back into our routines. Here is a tip from your osteopath to help you improve your health and focus during the year.

One of the answers to help give ourselves a mental break is to meditate … a chance to rest the mind for a bit and restore your mental vitality.

Meditation is basically about focusing your attention to reduce, and even get rid of, the stream of racing and crowded and jumbled  thoughts that often take over our mind and are believed to be one of the of causes of stress.

An interesting study quoted in ‘The Guardian’ by Harvard Professor Daniel Gilbert concluded that 47% of the time our minds wander from what we are doing. The interesting fact here is that people were not at their happiest when their minds wandered and drifted into fantasy but rather when they were focused on the present.

Needless to say, meditation will help this process. Meditation will help, not only to improve your mental and emotional health, but some research suggests it will also help your physical health and help increase your longevity.

Click here to quickly read about 5 basic meditation types from The Mayo Clinic’s website. The major elements of meditation are;

1. Focusing your attention

2. Relaxed breathing

3. A quiet location

4. A comfortable position

So straightforward …  a little  something for you to think about as you embark on your new year

From Anxious to Happy

Following my blog the other day on happiness, many people have spoken to me to add their comments as they have come through my clinics.

Here is an interesting statistic which came out of one of the converstaions regarding happiness. The mainstream research has your happiness made up of 50% genetic, 10% life circumstance and 40% in your personal control. So there is definitely much we can do to effect our happines each day.

This last week I decided to follow up on this theme by interviewing my colleague and good friend Nic Lucas about this issue. Nic, as many of you know, is an osteopath, medical researcher and now digitial media strategist (ah Nic such a big term). What many of you dont know is that over ten years ago Nic suffered a major episode of anxiety which nearly destroyed him but, as we know, didn’t….. and in fact has made him stronger.

As a result of his journey through this dark period of his life, Nic wrote a book which chronicled hs story from the dual perspective of the person suffering the anxiety attacks and the medical researcher looking for the most legititmate path out. He wrote a book, which he has now turned into an ebook called “From Anxious to Happy”

So click here to find the interview with Nic and on that page you will also find a link to a video presentation whch talks about anxiety and how you can help yourself  or a loved one in this predicament or just see Nic sing a ballad……. aaah you see, there are more hidden talents in this man.

Spring Cleanse; Time to detox

Last week I started on a detox, or cleansing diet. With the warmer weather and all the beautiful spring vegetables, it is an ideal time to take on ‘the cleanse’; Also as we get closer to the end of year celebrations, it is a good time to optimize your health. Similarly, in the first few months of the New Year after the excesses of the festive season is another good time to undertake such a detox.

The detox is really all about increasing your vitality and optimizing your health. Do you work hard, eat a bit erratically, or eat lots of refined foods or have lots of coffee and snacks to get through the day, drink most days, not sleep well and wake up wanting more sleep? Are you under constant stress due to work pressure and deadlines? Do you look tired or unwell?

If you answered yes to even half of these questions, then you probably need to give your body a cleanse…. a detox.

How is your blood pressure? What is your glycemic index like? What is your cholesterol level? What are your bowel movements like? In our modern times, with our eating and lifestyle habits, we find ourselves in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Type 2 diabetes levels are skyrocketing and heart disease is high.

Our urban lives are full of stressors which put an overload on our nervous, metabolic and digestive systems. A detox is a way to decrease the stress on and load on our gastro-intestinal tract.

The major aims of such a program are:
1. To increase your energy
2. To decrease your exposure to toxins through dietary and lifestyle changes
3. To improve your digestion of foods
4. To replace ‘bad bugs’ in your digestive system with healthy bacteria
5. To help your liver remove toxic waste products
6. To look and feel great

To draw an analogy, it is a bit like renovating your house. To renovate properly, you seek out the damp spots, the leaks, the rot, the white ants and then get rid of them. Then you rebuild and remodel and make beautiful. The detox is like that.

The three stages of a ‘cleanse’ involve:

1.You stop the aggravation:
We do this by stopping placing into our gut those things which aggravate it.

2.You cleanse the system:
This is done developing an eating regimen specially helpful to cleansing out the system. These foods are foods which decrease load on the liver and pancreas, help improve the digestive and absorptive process and then allow healthy elimination.

3.You rebuild the system:
There are certain supplements which will aid the health of the gastro-intestinal tract. These include the healthy bacteria, Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium with Colostrum. As you progress along, and the absorption of the gut has improved, there are other herbs and vitamins which will support the activity of the liver, pancreas, kidneys and gut to improve their function

The detox diet I follow is one devised and practiced by my wonderful colleague, Elyane Brightlight and outlined beautifully in her book “Natural Recovery”.

The Detox:

The detox goes over a few weeks, or however long is necessary. The full-on version is not for everyone. Some people need to gradually adjust their bodies to a full detox program. People who are sick, exhausted, under a very heavy schedule (or all three as the case may be) may find the effort required more than they can cope with, and should probably do a modified version of ‘the cleanse’.

The initial stage of a detox is severe as your body ‘comes off’ some of the foods you have become ‘addicted’ to, especially the sugar, caffeine and alcohol, and your diet is limited to the very simple and limited foods allowed at this stage, which are, essentially, brown rice, vegetables, fish and yoghurt (the only fruit at this point is grapefruit, lemons and limes)

Following the initial week of healthy deprivation you are allowed more protein, more grains and more fruit. It is here that the addition of certain herbs and supplements will help rebuild the system.

What are “toxins”?

I have talked about toxins and toxicity here, but what are these ‘toxins’?

Toxicity is literally how poisonous a substance is. Some things are very poisonous, and even a small amount can be very harmful (e.g. arsenic). Many substances are slightly poisonous, so that small amounts are able to be removed without harm. If you have a large exposure to these milder poisons (e.g. pesticides), then over time they can overwhelm your ability to ‘detoxify’ or remove them from your body. Exposure to several mild poisons at once is much more dangerous than one at a time.

One of the body’s defence mechanisms when faced with toxicity is to store the harmful chemicals in your fat tissue. This means that these poisons can be stored for many years in our tissues, becoming an ongoing source of ill health.

A detox, or cleanse, is designed to reduce your toxic exposure and also improve your body’s detoxification ability.

Most people with toxicity develop a problem called ‘leaky-gut syndrome’ (intestinal permeability). In a healthy digestive system, the lining of the digestive tract is a very good filter, allowing beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and amino acids to pass into the bloodstream, whilst keeping toxic bacteria and waste products of digestion within the bowel.

This filter is easily damaged by infection, medications and toxic bacteria, which then leads to the unregulated transport of large quantities of partially digested foods and bacteria into the body. Some of this debris is transported to the liver where it then has to be processed and removed. This places a tremendous stress on the liver, and eventually a percentage of this material escapes capture by the liver and it ends up entering the general circulation, where it can lead to many of the symptoms of toxicity. As a result, ‘leaky gut syndrome’ results in a great deal of stress upon the immune system, the liver and virtually every other organ or system of the body.

To successfully detoxify the body (or cleanse the liver) you must  treat the digestive system and improve  the lining of the gut to improve optimum absorption of nutrients. If you don’t start here it is like replacing the oil in your car without replacing the filter; the oil is going to be ruined very quickly……. and hence here we are again at the three steps of our detox….. stop the aggravation, cleanse and  then rebuild the system.

This is definitely something we all need to consider from time to time to optimize the quality, and ongoing health, of our lives.