Author Archives: bhealth
Author Archives: bhealth
Smartphones, Tablets, And TVs: All This Screen Time Is Hurting Your Mind And Body
Here’s an interesting article which I think you will appreciate as well for it explains a couple of things you may be experiencing too:
“Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time catching up on TV shows and movies. I’ll sit on my couch, hook up my laptop to my TV, and binge watch for a few hours. Sometime during the first hour though, my phone comes out. This happens every time. I’m texting friends, checking my social media accounts, googling information about the show I’m watching. By the end of the marathon, there are major holes in the storyline. I usually end up watching these things twice.
Over the past few years, an increasing number of people have been sharing their screen time with other screens. Both the Pew Research Center and Nielsen found in 2012 and 2013, respectively, that about half of smartphone owners use their phones while watching TV. Then, this past April, management consulting and technology services company Accenture found that number rose to about 57 percent. When it came to using other devices, like laptops and tablets, that number rose again to 87 percent of people. That’s a lot of people splitting their attention between devices”
Well I’m sure it does, try spending an evening withgout watching any of your screens and yes that includes your tv set and than go to bed and you’ll notice the next morning that you slept better, seriously try it, you’ll be amazed and hopefully change some of your “bad habits” too
Her’s the link to the full article:http://www.medicaldaily.com/smartphones-tablets-and-tvs-all-screen-time-hurting-your-mind-and-body-335808
How Chronic Pain Fosters Insomnia, And What You Can Do to Get Better Sleep
Those who suffer from chronic pain often battle insomnia. It just makes sense that this is the case. The definition for chronic as it relates to illness or sickness is “persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.” So if constantly recurring pain exists in your life, showing up daily and/or nightly, your sleep cycle could definitely be disturbed.
The chronic pain which promotes insomnia and sleeplessness can hit you for a lot of different reasons. Just a few conditions which cause persistently painful experiences are:
• Lower back problems
• Arthritis, predominantly osteoarthritis
• Frequent headaches
• A lifetime of poor posture
• Traumatic injuries
• Being overweight
Obviously, these are only a limited number of physical conditions, ailments and diseases which can cause frequently recurring aches and discomfort. Since proper sleep depends on you being comfortable, insomnia frequently is a byproduct of the chronic pain you experience.
Fortunately, there are some intelligent and proven ways to treat and even cure your pain related insomnia, which do not involve taking dangerous sleeping pills and drugs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to effectively reduce or even eliminate sleeplessness. This is a short-term psychotherapy treatment, which is in most cases provided by a psychologist or a chronic pain rehabilitation professional. Over time you learn to break the vicious cycles of insomnia and create new patterns of sleeping. Many studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy is considered one of the best treatments for insomnia, even when chronic pain is the cause (1).
In some cases, curing the nighttime irritation which keeps you from sleeping is as simple as changing your mattress. And chronic pain is sometimes created by negative emotions, including anxiety, sadness and even loneliness.
Whether your persistent agony is caused by your emotional state or a physical illness or disease, retiring to your bed at the same time every night and waking on a regular schedule can help you sleep better.
Alternative chronic pain remedies can include massage, acupuncture, osteopathic or chiropractic spinal manipulation and mindfulness meditation. Some chronic pain insomniacs have even found relief from biofeedback technologies. This requires you to wear special sensors attached to important areas of your body. The information that is recorded is then studied, and a treatment prescribed to alleviate your chronic pain, and your insomnia.
Physical therapy, nerve stimulation and psychological therapies can also help alleviate the insomnia and sleepless nights that your pain is creating. Your first move is to contact your doctor and explain how you feel your poor sleep patterns are related to your pain. Just remember that because you are experiencing pain, you do not have to “grin and bear it”. Take a proactive stance in your battle against insomnia and cyclical discomfort, and your efforts will be rewarded.
(1) Mitchell, M. D., Gehrman, P., Perlis, M., & Umscheid, C. A. (2012). Comparative effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: A systematic review. BMC Family Practice, 13, 40.
How to Alleviate Insomnia When You’re Pregnant
Because your body is going through so many changes, you will probably experience insomnia at least a few times during your pregnancy. And it isn’t that unfair? Just when you need it most, when your body has to be functioning at peak capacity for you and your unborn child, you cannot get the restful sleep that you are looking for. While every mom-to-be is different, the following strategies have worked for many expectant mothers to alleviate insomnia when you’re pregnant.
Stop worrying so much
Hormonal changes, leg cramps, lack of comfort and multiple trips to the bathroom during the night can all be causing your bouts of insomnia. But when you worry too much if you are getting the proper amount of sleep, you complicate the problem. Just remember that insomnia cannot hurt you or your baby. And when you release your mind from worry, you may find you are falling to sleep much faster and sleeping more restfully.
Slow down when you eat dinner
It seems like you are eating all day long. And you should always take time to digest your food properly. But especially at dinner, eating too fast can give you heartburn which keeps you up at night. Aside from causing insomnia, heartburn is just downright uncomfortable. Take your time eating your dinner and make sure that you do not schedule the last meal of the day too close to bedtime.
Get plenty of fluids, but get them earlier in the day
Ensuring that you drink at least 2 quarts (8 cups) of water a day is extremely important while you are pregnant. And oddly enough, this can help keep you from retaining water. To make sure that nighttime trips to the bathroom are not keeping you awake, plan to get your daily liquid requirements earlier in the day, and in the early evening at the latest.
Program your mind for better sleep
Did you know that 17 to 21 daily repetitions is enough to program your mind for any activity to become unconscious habit? Plan a bedtime routine that has you going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, and you may see your insomnia disappearing.
Steer clear from caffeine and chocolate
This may be the hardest insomnia curing tip to put into action. If you absolutely must have chocolate goodies, or caffeine-filled drinks like coffee and tea, get them in the morning and during the day. Caffeine can affect your ability to sleep for up to 8 hours after you ingest it. And the sugar in many chocolate treats and food items can disturb your sleep cycles as well.
How to Stop Your Hyperthyroidism From Stealing Your Sleep
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland becomes much too active. This produces excessive amounts of the thyroid hormone. You are probably thinking that since the thyroid gland controls your metabolism, having extra thyroid hormones would be a good thing.
Your metabolism will crank up, you will burn fat and lose weight, and look great. But unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case, and your sleep often suffers.
The thyroid gland is located on the front part of your neck. Your nervous system, body weight and temperature, heart rate and breathing are all directly affected to the work that your thyroid gland does. When your thyroid gland goes crazy and starts overworking (the “hyper” in hyperthyroidism), you can experience minor symptoms such as nervousness or anxiousness, and more serious symptoms such as hand tremors and a rapid heartbeat.
Insomnia is also a frequent companion of hyperthyroidism. Many different bodily functions are put into overdrive. Because of this, your body makes it very difficult for you to go to sleep in the first place, and stay asleep once you get there. Your thyroid whips your internal functions into a frenzy, you sleep restlessly if at all, and your daytime productivity and relationships suffer
Hyperthyroidism is most usually caused by an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Like other causes of a hyperactive thyroid, too much thyroid hormone is produced, your body gets supercharged all of the time, and your sleep is negatively affected. If you believe you have a hyperactive thyroid, consult your doctor and make sure to mention the insomnia symptom you are experiencing.
Simple tests can indicate whether or not your thyroid is the cause of your poor sleep patterns, and treatment can be prescribed.
Effective treatment for hyperthyroidism can include radioactive iodine therapy. This actually damages or kills some of the cells that make thyroid hormones. You can alternately be treated with anti-thyroid medications. You may also find your doctor prescribing beta-blockers to treat your hyperthyroidism symptoms, such as accelerated heartbeat or hand tremors.
As with most internal physiological disorders, a proper diet can help combat hyperthyroidism. That means lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of dietary fiber, at least 2 quarts of water a day and 3 to 5 hours of moderately intense exercise every week.
If you believe that your chronic anxiety, nervousness and insomnia are springing from a hyperactive thyroid, consult a doctor for immediate and proper treatment. If not, your “always on” thyroid could cause much more serious problems than a poor night’s rest.
Is GERD Keeping You From Sleeping?
Who is GERD, and why doesn’t he want you to sleep? As you probably know, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not a person. It is an affliction suffered by millions around the world. This chronic illness affects anywhere from 5% to 7% of the global population and can lead to dangerous and even deadly medical complications if you ignore it. (That scary information comes from the National Sleep Foundation, some folks who know more than a little about insomnia and its causes.)
GERD can occur for a number of reasons, and is commonly listed as the 3rd or 4th most common gastrointestinal disorder in the United States. And guess what the number one symptom of this bothersome disease is? Nighttime heartburn. It is pretty tough to sleep when heartburn is keeping you awake, so insomnia comes calling.
But GERD can do more than just make falling to sleep difficult. The disease has also been known to cause sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness, and even restless leg syndrome. To cure your GERD, which fortunately is something that in many cases you can do yourself, you have to know exactly what it is.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease simply describes the back-flow of acid, when it moves up from your stomach into your esophagus. Continued non-treatment of GERD almost always leads to a increase in the severity of your suffering. Heartburn and even coughing or choking while sleeping is not uncommon.
And if your stomach acid backs up into your throat, your attempt at sleep is instantly interrupted by a violent choking and coughing episode. GERD is often used as a synonym for heartburn, but you can see that it can be much more serious than that.
A few of the factors which have been known to increase your probability of experiencing GERD are:
• Being overweight
• Improper diet
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Eating just before bed
The great news is that, since GERD is a backing up of your gastrointestinal system, there are a couple of physical actions you can take immediately to fight it. And this means a much better chance at falling to sleep, and curing your insomnia.
Simply by sleeping on your left side can reduce acid reflux. This is because of the way your internal digestive system is positioned. In some cases this simple change in sleeping posture can provide overnight relief. And the insomnia which used to accompany your GERD disappears along with your acid reflux.
On the other side of the coin, you can agitate GERD by sleeping on your right side. And you do not want to sleep on your back either, especially if you are overweight or obese. Pressure on your stomach has been known to drive acid into your esophagus in this sleeping position.
Also, if you are able to elevate your head and chest above your legs, you will actually be giving gravity a hand in fighting GERD. When the head of your bed is raised 6 to 8 inches, your natural digestive system and flow helps keep that acid down in your stomach where it belongs.
Battling GERD and the dreaded insomnia which sometimes accompanies it is also easier if you do not go to bed for at least 3 to 4 hours after eating. Smaller dinners cause fewer problems, and these simple lifetime adjustments can actually begin to show relief from GERD and it is sleepless companion insomnia the same day that you put them into practice.
Is Insomnia Hereditary?
If you have problems getting to sleep or sleeping fitfully, you may have wondered if insomnia is hereditary. Did the physiological makeup of your great-grandfather lead to your insomnia? Are your mother and father responsible for the fact that you are always tired at work? Let us take a closer look at the mysteries of insomnia, and whether it is due or not to your genetic makeup.
To some level, we all have tendencies to either be a “morning person” or a “night owl”. And that may very well be because of your family tree. There is a genetic tendency to inherit the circadian rhythm of your sleep, causing you to prefer day or night time waking activities. And high energy individuals generally experience insomnia more than those of us who are naturally calm.
While the average person drops off to sleep within 15 minutes of bedtime, some people are actually born lacking the genetic makeup to let them drift off to sleep quickly. Instead, short bursts of sleep occur several times throughout the night. This never lets you experience the deep REM stages of sleep which are required by all human beings for proper rest and recharging.
Professor Eus van Someren heads up the sleep research team at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. He is considered one of the leading “sleep doctors” in the world. Multiple studies conducted by Dr. Someren show that as many as 33% of the world’s population could suffer from a genetic disposition which leads to poor sleep cycles.
But most doctors are in agreement that to a large degree, insomnia is the byproduct of learned behavior. Yes, your natural makeup might mean that you are more inclined to be an insomnia sufferer. But many insomniacs have a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep for reasons they can control.
Whether you have inherited the “insomnia gene” or not, there are a few things you can do to combat your learned or genetic sleeplessness. Do not drink caffeine closer than 8 hours before bedtime. Chocolate and other sweet treats can also give you an energy boost, so if you must feed your sweet tooth, do so during the day.
Drink plenty of water, but cut back in the evening hours to keep from having to make night time trips to the bathroom. And if you exercise later in the evening, the stress you put on your muscles tends to promote better sleep.
There is nothing you can do about your genetic makeup. But when you consciously attempt to eliminate activities which cause sleeplessness, you give yourself a much better chance at grabbing a healthy 40 winks every night.
Keeping a Record of Your Insomnia
If you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, you need to start keeping a record of your insomnia. Simply keeping a log book or notepad beside your table at night will help you keep track of when you are sleeping fitfully, and when insomnia has you in its tiresome grasp. But you should record more than simply the times and dates when you are restlessly fighting insomnia, and when you get a good night’s rest.
Sometimes sleeplessness is caused by your own actions and activities. You enjoy drinking tea with dinner, and the powerful effects of caffeine can disturb your sleep for up to 8 hours after you ingest it. So in your insomnia tracker, you also need to write down everything that you eat and drink, as well as when.
This means being very honest with yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a responsible adult enjoying a couple of alcoholic beverages or beers during happy hour after a long, hard day’s work. But if that causes you to take a 2 hour nap as soon as you get home, this could definitely lead to insomnia later in the night.
If your diet is full of carbohydrates and calories, you may catch yourself napping throughout the day. And if you are considered a night owl because your natural circadian rhythm makes you prefer night time wakeful activities to day time, you could have sleeping problems if you work early in the morning.
So your notepad or tablet needs to chronicle every action and activity you take during your waking hours. Obviously, also jot down each time during the night that you find yourself awake. Even if you just get up out of bed to use the restroom, you need to journal that activity.
Also, emotional states can often cause chronic sleeplessness. This means you may suffer from insomnia because of issues at work, or problems with a spouse or family member. Journal all of this information as well.
What do you do with all of this painstaking information once it is accumulated?
After you have compiled 2 or 3 weeks of detailed data about your daily activities and sleep cycles, you may be able to notice patterns where you are causing your own insomnia. But the best use for all of this information is to approach your doctor and see what he recommends.
In many cases, you may be referred to a sleep specialist or sleep coach. And insurance sometimes pays for light therapy and other treatments of insomnia, where changing your personal lifestyle was not enough to reset your sleep clock. Just remember that every detail in your daily life is important to track, if your efforts at defeating insomnia with a detailed daily journal are going to be successful.
The Effects of Aging Can Make For Sleepless Nights – Here’s What to Do
You may find as you age that your ability to live longer is rewarded with insomnia. It does not seem fair that you worked so very hard to stay healthy and fit, and in return you are much more likely to suffer sleepless nights as you grow older. But when you look at it from a purely physical point of view, the aging / insomnia relationship makes a lot of sense.
Beginning at about 50 years of age, your body begins to grow weaker faster. Both inside and out, your body is simply not as healthy as when you were younger. Many senior citizens have reported becoming sleepy earlier in the evening than ever before. This means that they also wake up early. And though there is nothing wrong with that natural cycle, unfortunately poor quality of sleep and insomnia are often also along for the ride.
Women experience hormonal changes in menopause, and both men and women can suffer from the debilitating disease that is Alzheimer’s. Insomnia is a frequent accompanying symptom of both those age-associated afflictions.
Sleep Changes As You Age – Here Is Why
As you age, it is important to understand how sleep changes throughout your life. Since your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, your natural disposition to enjoy restful slow wave and deep sleep cycles is inhibited. You produce much less melatonin than when you were younger, meaning rapid sleep cycles and waking up often during the night. But this insomniac behavior can be treated naturally and effectively.
First off, identify whether there is some outlying cause for your insomnia. Are you in a situation which provides a lot of stress during the day? Do you often feel depressed? Do your personal relationships create anxiety and worry? These could all be simple causes of anxiety which can be psychologically treated.
Age-Related Insomnia – 6 Tips To Get Better Sleep
And you may want to check your diet. Poor diet can definitely lead to symptoms like acid reflux and GERD, which make it very difficult to sleep properly. But if you do not suffer from any of those common causes of insomnia, try the following tips to get a better night’s rest.
• Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Go to bed and wake up at prescribed times.
• Do not drink alcohol or eat for at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
• Check your medications. If sleeplessness is a symptom, ask your doctor if you can take that particular medicine earlier in the day.
• Falling asleep with the TV on is a no-no. It may take you some time to break yourself of this habit, but your mind subconsciously pays attention to the sound of the television after you have fallen to sleep, causing poor sleep patterns.
• Listen to your body. If you find yourself feeling drowsy on a consistent basis earlier than you have gone to sleep before, adjust your bedtime accordingly.
• Create bedtime rituals. A relaxing bath or soothing music, stress and relaxation management techniques like mindfulness meditation, and any repeated, calming action can help you get to sleep quicker.
Using Light Therapy to Help You Sleep Better
Did you know that light therapy can actually help you sleep better? It sounds a little weird to say that light can help you sleep and rest more fully. After all, when human beings go to bed, they turn out all the lights in the room in which they are sleeping. But sleep is a programmable state. So you can tell your body when it should and should not be sleeping or wakeful.
That is the premise behind the practice of light therapy for battling insomnia. Sleep cycles differ for everyone. And your particular circadian rhythm probably has a lot to do with your genetic makeup. But because of influences from our jobs, families, friends and hobbies, we can often push ourselves out of our natural sleep rhythm cycle. And that is where light therapy comes in.
Insomnia is often a reflection of habits you have and actions you take which cause you to sleep restlessly. And you may be a morning person stuck on the night shift, or a night owl that has to get up very early in the morning to head off to work. So you end up battling insomnia. Light therapy helps out by “tricking” the sleep monitor in your brain which equates bright light with waking activity.
The longer that you are awake, the more that “sleep pressure” builds up. Basically, your brain has a timer which tracks how long you have been awake. After 16 to 18 hours of non-sleep, your brain tells your body that it is time to rest. The good news is, if you have somehow jumbled up your natural sleep cycle, it can often times be returned effectively with light therapy.
Here is how it works. Since that sleep timer in your brain equates bright light with being awake, you can effectively reprogram it. A special light box or bank of lights is placed close to you for a certain period of time each day. These special lights perfectly mimic sunlight, which naturally programs human beings for sleeping and waking.
The physical, behavioral and mental changes that run through a 24-hour cycle are reset using these bright lights. When working with your doctor or sleep coach, light therapy boxes used consistently, and properly timed, can effectively reduce or even eliminate your insomnia episodes.
This will mean incorporating bright lights into your daily schedule for a set number of weeks or months. But millions of insomniacs have become used to this treatment, and you can too if you want to fall to sleep badly enough.
You first need to become aware of your natural sleep cycle. That is why it is important to talk to a doctor or sleep therapist before you attempt to use light therapy boxes on your own.
Available in stores and online, light therapy treatments might even be covered by your insurance. Speak with your physician today about the possibility of using light therapy to help you fall to sleep faster, and sleep more fitfully.
Interesting story about Viagra and similar treatments but I must admit being put off by the list of possible side effects, so unless you really do have a serious problem in this sensitive area you may want to think twice before “jumping in”
Viagra is the most effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, but it also has a higher rate of side effects than other options, according to an analysis of more than 150 trials.
Viagra is known generically as sildenafil. Men concerned about possible side effects of Viagra like headaches, flushing, indigestion and nasal congestion may want to start on Cialis, which is known generically as tadalafil, researchers report in European Urology. If that’s not effective, men in some countries can try Zydena (udenafil).
Many men have trouble getting or keeping an erection, especially as they age, but erectile dysfunction – also known as ED – is not a natural part of aging, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The new review compares seven common ED therapies, all belonging to a class of medications called phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5i’s). They work by inhibiting an enzyme that may reduce the potency of an erection.
Viagra, Cialis, Levitra (vardenafil) and Stendra (avanafil) all work this way and are approved for use in the U.S. The additional drugs Zydena, Helleva (lodenafil) and Mvix (mirodenafil) are only approved for use in other countries.
PDE5i’s are considered the first-choice therapy for ED, but they’re only effective for 60 to 80 percent of men who try them, and many will stop taking them, according to Dr. Alexander W. Pastuszak of Baylor College of Medicine’s urology department in Houston, Texas. He was not part of the new study.
Researchers at the University of Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands reviewed 82 studies of the drugs’ effectiveness and 72 studies exploring side effects.
These treatments are all more effective than placebo for treating erectile dysfunction, and are generally safe and well tolerated, the authors note…
Rather than risk any of the above inconveniences I think I would prefer to try something like Virility EX