The Abc’s of Nutrition & Health
By Dr. Joanne T. Gjelsten
People who wake up with their nose in their coffee because they're so fatigued that caffeine is a drug of choice, SHOULD get checked for medical problems. Too numerous to list here, they MIGHT be, for instance, and in no particular order of importance, or even orderly, side effects of medications, a big one, thyroid disorders, diabetes or pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, infections like Lyme disease or it's co-infections, or something else like a virus, or any number of things. Some people may have a negative Lyme blood test, which, if you’ve been awake as you read my columns you know, can mean either the patient doesn't have it, or it hasn't shown up yet. Patients who still have symptoms may have to keep testing, or find a Lyme Disease specialist. Other co-infections of Lyme, babsiosis, bartonella, and a couple of types of erlichia, can be undiagnosed as well. Those patients who had mononucleosis as a kissing kid, may now have Epstein-Barr Virus. What else? Stress hormones may be raging and reeking havoc in the poor energy-sapped bodies of today's working stiffs, because maybe, as Louise Hay, (Hey!) would say, the never think they're good enough so, they have decided to use up every spare iota of energy proving otherwise, or the competition is keeping them awake. Women may be just going into menopause, or early menopause or late menopause which we all wish we could just pause already! Those who can’t get to sleep, can’t stay asleep, or are asleep at this very moment, please, do something about it. Don’t let it go, Grumpy, or you’ll pay through your snoring nose before you ‘nose it. Research shows not enough shut-eye can increase OBESITY! Isn’t this cheerful? Some folks need to distract themselves by reading a novel, or listening to a book which we used to do, but fell asleep so often that we got tired of re-winding and saying…did we hear this part? No? You sleep in 4 stages, named for rapid eye movement (REM) and brain waves measured on and EEG. Here’s how we do it: Stages go into, in roughly this order if you’re a nerd, 1,2,3,4,4,3,2, REM, 2,3,4,4,3,2,REM, Ten Hut!, until about the 4th hour we skip stage 4, then in the 6th hour of sleep we skip stage 3, and back up to awake. That was exhausting!
We cycle through these, up and down, down and up; infants spend 50% in REM, adults about 15% of REM, and those R.E.M. guys spend about, approximately 100% in, REM. People, mostly kids who sleep deeper, may walk in Stage 3 and 4, non-REM (rapid eye movement) deep sleep. Sleep walking fascinates me. It runs in families. Some entire families will have conversations with each other, and watch TV in their sleep, without it being on, laughing away. Isn’t that a real Norman Rockwell moment. The family that sleep walks together……go bump in the night. Those who get exercise, like a walk 30 minutes a day find themselves sleeping better.
Sleep is, in my not so humble opinion, as necessary to health as nutrition and detoxification, and of course the clean (cough) air we wish we were breathing most of the time. In fact you need these factors, clean air and water, clean organic nutrition, quality sleep and the ability to detoxify, and without them you just can’t depend on only your good genes/DNA to pull your ‘arse out of the downhill spiral of ill health.
According to “Greek Nap Studies”, where do I sign up, ok, too late, done on 23,000 napping people between 1994 & 1999, “napping for 10 minutes may lessen your risk for a heart attack by 30%”, except for those participants who last heard an enthusiastic “WAKE UP!!” at the end of the study, God rest their souls.
“Greece, Italy & Spain where people commonly take Siestas, have lower rates of heart disease than would be expected”, and the Natty Nappers who napped 3 times a week, 30.min. or more per week had a 37% lower risk of heart trouble! This makes sense to me; digestion isn't as impaired by work stress, so the heart can rest too. My grandmother worked happily and sometimes unhappily but that’s another story, in my Uncle’s office right up until the day she died, lived to be 83 despite being really overweight and sedentary. She napped every day after lunch and died peacefully at home….asleep, in her bed with a book, like the classy lady she was.
“You have the right to remain silent, the right to rest”…If you’re a Chinese citizen, you have a Constitutional “right to rest”, and they put their heads down on their desks for a nap after lunch, which we do too, sometimes in the middle of a meeting boring as it may be. We all have sleepless nights, especially pre and post-menopausal guys ‘N gals, and people who worry a lot and whose cortisol (stress hormone) levels stay elevated causing them to stay AWAKE!!@!! This (cortisol) can be measured with a saliva test patients can take home and do in the privacy of their bathrooms or closets, whichever they get to first. The spit kit then gets sent to a Lab, not the dog, where they examine it very carefully before they touch it with a ten foot pole. The results are then faxed to Dr. Whoever, who treats them, we hope.
I tell my patients to go to bed at the same time each night, when your sleep hormones such as melatonin are trying to make you sleepy, no surprise there, and you’ll likely wake up at the same time each morning when your cortisol kicks you out of dreamland. That’s the ideal. When you start to yawn at 10 pm, forget or record the rest of American Idol/Next Big Thing With a Small Brain Dumber than Dirt Show with screaming people who jump up and down a lot, yes, record it, and watch it when you can really absorb the redeeming social and cultural advantages it/they/them there, offer. We regenerate and repair ourselves when we sleep, much of which is not being done in the cerebrum lately, as evidenced by our ugly American favorite TV shows, in my opinion.
Now those with PTSD coming back from battle, close to 70%! may be more prone to sleep apnea, a very dangerous condition that MUST be treated as soon as it's diagnosed. If you or someone you love, or like, has Sleep Apnea, a condition where people stop breathing during sleep, which CAN result in death, get help before you hurt yourself with a lack of oxygen to your brain, or worse. Those who are counting sheep at 3 am and don’t have apnea may need some chemical intervention that your liver won’t run away from, and that means natural relaxers like hops or valerian. Some, like me, and many of my patients, take a specific dose and type of magnesium at night.
Blood sugar drops can cause waking up in the middle of the night. When I, or my alias, have been eating too many carbs I’ll be staring into the bottom of the yogurt container and/or taking more of my natural relaxers.. A bit of protein like peanut butter on a multigrain cracker has pretty much solved that problem for me, which I put cinnamon and stevia on now. Hormonal hot flashes account for a HUGE lack of sleep, one of the two big ones, other the other being worrying Wanda. There are several natural supplements that can help, so get your Provider to provide. We try to make sure the sunlight is not crashing through the window in the morning. Light turns off the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Just turning the blinds to the up position helped me to sleep an extra half hour recently. Some people wear masks, Zorro, and works well for them I guess. It would drive me crazy but so does staying awake for hours, so since the idea of a mask is to raise melatonin, I'd rather take that.
“Omnias” I had to include this. Like sleepwalking, disorders where some people even drive when sleeping. Scary. “Officer I didn't know I was speeding because I was sleeping”….oh that's impressive! Some have sex (sexomnia), reports Newsweek. One woman didn’t mind it until her husband began to snore. Guess it took away all the romance. Though sleepwalking/driving/doing the wash, while asleep can just be benign, though odd, behavior, it can also be a symptom of a disorder called “partial complex seizures”, and should be worked up by a Certified Sleep Physician, so if you or someone you know has this, get it checked. Makes you wonder if all the delusions mental patients are having are just dreams….hmmmmm. Happy zzzzzzzzzzz’s to you, until we meet again!
2007 Rerun and re-write. Disclaimer: where I exclaim in tiny writing: The products and claims made about specific products in this article have not been evaluated by any regulatory health authority and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided in this article and all articles by Joanne Gjelsten, Doctor of Chiropractor, is for informational purposes only. You should consult with a healthcare professional, your Doctor, before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. 845 358 2687. Offices in Nyack and Chestnut Ridge. By Appt. www.godrjo.com
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