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Wellness

3 Tips for All Ages on Getting Better Sleep

Written & Submitted by: Julia Merrill

3 Tips for All Ages on Getting Better Sleep

 

According to Neil Howe at Forbes.com, we are a sleep-deprived nation, spending too much time at night gazing at computer or tablet or smartphone screens, over-caffeinating ourselves and our kids, staying up too late to catch who’s on our favorite TV shows, then getting jolted awake five hours later to start the next day. Not only does lack of sleep cause us to feel grumpy and tired much of the time, it affects us in so many other ways, including increased blood pressure and a weakened immune system. In addition, it also affects our release of insulin as well as our balance and coordination.

 

Adults aren’t the only ones affected by sleep deprivation. It affects our children too. They can be harder to wake up in the mornings (more so than usual), become more accident prone, and can have difficulty focusing and applying themselves at school. Clearly, lack of sleep affects everybody, not only the ones who are sleep-deprived but also employers (from a lack of worker productivity or accidents on the job) and educators (students falling asleep in class or getting behind in their schoolwork), just to name a few. With so many sleep-deprived people, it’s no wonder there seem to be coffee shops on every street corner.

 

Clearly, lack of sleep is a problem for everyone. Here are some ways you can make sure everyone in your family gets plenty of quality sleep, which can give children a boost of energy to do well in school and adults plenty of energy to make it through the workday.

 

  1. Improve Your Mattress and Pillows

According to The Huffington Post, new beds can result in a significant decrease in stress levels. If you’re still sleeping on the same mattress you had when you moved into your first apartment, it’s time to change. Invest in a quality mattress and box spring set. You can save money in the long run by purchasing a platform bed so that you only need to purchase a mattress. When you test drive a mattress at the store, check its firmness and notice how it supports pressure points on your hips and your back. Pillows are a matter of personal choice and comfort, but if yours is as flat as a table, it’s time to replace it. The Sleep Doctor states that the best type of pillow supports your head, neck, and shoulders, and matches the feel of your mattress.

 

  1. Darken the Bedrooms

 

Having lots of windows to let in the light is a great thing for a house – during the day. At night, you don’t want glow from streetlights or headlights of cars, or from your neighbors’ houses coming into your bedrooms. To prevent that, invest in a set of blackout curtains or heavier blinds. Be careful, though. Blackout curtains can prevent natural sunlight from coming in as well, and that can upset your body’s natural circadian rhythm. So be sure to separate them enough to let in daylight

 

  1. Minimize the Distractions (and the Caffeine)

Make a household rule that all phones, tablets, laptops and TVs  must be turned off two hours before bed. If the adults are taking online classes or have important work deadlines, consider extending that by an hour. All of these devices emit what’s called “blue light,” which our brain interprets as daylight. If you need to, keep all household cell phones in one location during “device curfew.” Keep one available for emergency only. If you use your phone as your alarm clock, keep it away from your nightstand but loud enough so you can hear the alarm. Also, try to avoid caffeinated beverages approximately six hours before you go to bed. That might put a crimp in your normal caffeine intake, but it also might help you sleep better.

 

If we minimize distractions, cut back on our caffeine intake, and improve our bedding and bedrooms, we can become more restful, healthy, and energetic people.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

Julia Merrill Bio:

Julia Merrill has many years of experience in the medical field and runs the site BefriendYourDoc.org.
Julia’s mission is to close the gap between medical providers and their patients, and aims to provide tips on finding the right medical care, health insurance, etc.

 

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As most of you know, my passion lies within helping others live a better life through nutrition, fitness, along with life stages that revolve around emotional, financial, spiritual and mindfulness.

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An endometriosis and infertility success with dry fasting

Background:

In 2012, at the age of 61 and after a career in self-employment in many different industries, I decided to go back to university and study for a post-graduate wellness degree. My interest in complementary medicine began in the early 1990’s – via a relationship. In 2011, I had been stimulated by an article about a man completing his fourth degree, a Masters in Clinical Science – at the age of 97! My rationale about returning to study was that I still had more than 35 years to go before reaching my late 90’s; provided I could stay alive and healthy that long.

My last study was in the mid-1980’s for an MBA. My first degree was in accounting and finance in the 1970’s. I was a bit rusty when I commenced the wellness degree, and the technologies had changed, enabling me to study online. But I quickly adapted and enjoyed the research component.

Methylenetetrahydofolate reductase (MTHFR) mutation

Early in 2012, I also had a nutrigenomics DNA test, and discovered that I have a MTHFR mutation which predisposes me to high homocysteine. This in-turn predisposes me to cardiovascular disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, cancer and more (Holford & Braly, 2012). For females, a MTHFR mutation can have serious effects on fertility.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcjSs6Abr1Y

The B vitamins, especially activated forms of folate and B12 and trimethylglicine (TMG), are the natural methyl donor antidotes. You can also see from the diagram below that

glutathione, our master antioxidant, can also be affected. People with low glutathione are more predisposed to disease – such as cancer (Balendiran, Dabur, & Fraser, 2004).

Source:(Holford & Braly, 2012)

During my research, I discovered that intermittent fasting also lowers homocysteine, as well as other inflammatory factors like c-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and more (Aksungar, Topkaya, & Akyildiz, 2007; Fehime Aksungar, 2005). It also stimulates stem cell regeneration and improves immune function (Cheng et al., 2014).

It has been reported that as much as 40 percent of the population have a MTHFR mutation, but most people don’t know it. Is such a statistic behind the high rates of disease, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer? This begs the question: why don’t more doctors know about it? And why don’t they regularly test for it? My assumption is that there are no drug treatments to lower homocysteine or the inflammatory markers or IGF-1, which is associated with higher rates of cancer. Downregulation of the IGF‐1 leads to massive apoptosis of cancer cells (Baserga, Peruzzi, & Reiss, 2003). The resistance therefore may have more to do with loss of profits than healing of patients.

With all the disease prevention and reversal benefits, why wouldn’t someone want to regularly practice fasting?

Dry Fasting

About three years ago, I stumbled upon dry fasting. It was mentioned in one chapter in Quantum Eating by Tanya Zavasta, a Russian woman living in the USA. She mentioned Dr

Sergio Filonov, a Russian doctor who had been supervising dry fasting for over 20 years. He was also mentioned in another book on fasting, where the author had completed a PhD on the benefits of fasting for depression (Fredricks, 2012). Filonov had written a book on the dry fasting method (Filonov, 2008). I found an online Google poorly translated version of his book and read it several times until I understood the general gist of the method. During a semester break from study, I decided to attempt a long fast (my goal was 40 days) and include some days of dry fasting. I managed a total of 34 days, of which nine were dry (not continuous – 5+2+2). It was the best fast I had ever completed, and I experienced major improvements in several areas.

For example, I had a knee cartilage removed when I was 20 (from a football injury) and it had become badly arthritic. I had been told by an orthopaedic surgeon about 15 years earlier that I needed a knee replacement. After the long fast, however, I believed that I might never need a replacement. Other normal aging aches and pains also disappeared. My sexual function improved enormously too. My morning “woody” returned and was very strong. After a particularly stressful period a few years earlier, I had been diagnosed with hepatitis C. It also disappeared. Filonov had mentioned that he had witnessed some cases of cures in this area, confirming that dry fasting has an antiviral benefit. That is why I believe that dry fasting will lower Alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase or nagalase (Gulisano et al., 2013). This enzyme is produced by cancers and viruses and blocks the function of GcMAF, which is the “Pacman” for eliminating toxins.

Gynaecological Problems and Dry Fasting

Not long after my personal dry fasting experience, I hosted a young woman backpacker from Argentina. She stayed with me for about three months while she was gaining work experience at a local university, prior to starting a PhD. After I provided her with the

information on dry fasting, she decided to give it a try for three days. It coincidentally happened to be just before her periods were due. Unbeknown to me, her monthly menses were usually painful experiences and were accompanied with bad migraine headaches, which required pharmaceutical pain killer drugs. This time, however, her periods passed without any pain whatsoever. She then continued the practice for about six months until she finally discovered that she no longer needed to fast to avoid the pains. She has remained pain-free ever since.

About two months ago, I read a post by a woman, a young pharmacist in Sydney, on a Facebook group on fasting. She said that she had endometriosis and fertility problems. She was trying to get pregnant. I responded to her post and told her that I had read in Filonov’s book that he had success with various gynaecological problems, including endometriosis and infertility. I also introduced her to the Argentinian woman who had fixed her period pains with dry fasting. The pharmacist then decided to start intermittent daily dry fasting. After a month she completed a 64 hour continuous stint. Her next period was then normal and she subsequently tested fertile. Thereafter she adopted an alternate day dry fasting protocol.

After two months since the pharmacist started her dry fasting experiment, she excitedly messaged me and said that she was pregnant. Her concurrent eczema had also cleared, and her lower back pains (from previous hip surgery) had also improved.

What is especially admirable in this woman’s experience, is that her husband and his family strongly disagreed with her fasting. But she still went ahead and did it in secret. How she managed to do that I don’t know, but I admire her courageous and determined spirit. It just demonstrates what is possible if you are determined to succeed.

References

Aksungar, F. B., Topkaya, A. E., & Akyildiz, M. (2007). Interleukin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 51(1), 88-95.

Balendiran, G. K., Dabur, R., & Fraser, D. (2004). The role of glutathione in cancer. Cell Biochemistry and Function: Cellular biochemistry and its modulation by active agents or disease, 22(6), 343-352.

Baserga, R., Peruzzi, F., & Reiss, K. (2003). The IGF‐1 receptor in cancer biology. International journal of cancer, 107(6), 873-877.

Cheng, C.-W., Adams, G. B., Perin, L., Wei, M., Zhou, X., Lam, B. S., . . . Dorff, T. B. (2014). Prolonged fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic-stem-cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression. Cell stem cell, 14(6), 810-823.

Fehime Aksungar, A. E., Sengul Ure, Onder Teskin, Gursel Ates. (2005). Effects of intermittent fasting on serum lipid levels, coagulation status and plasma homocysteine levels. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 49(2), 77-82.

Filonov, S. I. (2008). Dry medical fasting – myths and reality. Barnaul, Russia: Univ Ltd. “Five Plus”.

Fredricks, R. (2012). Fasting: an exceptional human experience: AuthorHouse.

Gulisano, M., Pacini, S., Thyer, L., Morucci, G., Branca, J. J., Smith, R., . . . Noakes, D. (2013). Alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase levels in cancer patients are affected by Vitamin D binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 118(2), 104.

Holford, P., & Braly, J. (2012). The Homocysteine Solution: The fast new way to dramatically improve your health: Hachette UK.

 

John Walker Bio:

John Walker has had extensive experience with fasting since the early 1990’s. He read a book in 1992 that had a chapter on fasting, and he subsequently completed a 10-day water fast. It healed some early arthritis that was starting in his shoulders, and his sexual function noticeably improved – indicating that he had improved his insulin resistance and blood circulation. For the next 15 years, John continued experimenting with various fasting protocols, including a supervised 75-day juice fast in 1997. Thereafter, he also began attending different fasting and detoxification health retreats (35 in total).

At the age of 60, John decided to get off the “business treadmill” and return to study to formalise his passion in wellness and health science. That is where he discovered from research and a DNA test, that regular fasting had disease-prevention and longevity benefits. He progressively increased the length of his experiments during semester vacations. They graduated from 10-days to 21-days to 34-days – with the last long one experimenting with dry fasting and it led to his best healing outcomes. Since then, he has shared his experiences and provided fasting information to other people – who have then gone on to achieve their own amazing results. John is now considering a switch to completing a PhD about the benefits of dry fasting for a range of disease states, and for prevention.

Article written & submitted by John Walker

Superfood Trends to Watch

…and just what is a “superfood” anyway?

Who wouldn’t want to believe in the concept of “superfoods”? The idea that the vast expanse of nature has secret nutritional resources that can easily help us with a number of ailments if only they can be discovered and harvested, is definitely enticing.

It certainly seems like we’ve just been blind to treasure troves of exotic berries, nuts, and grains when these popular superfoods were unknown to the West until now. Açaí berries, for example, only gained fame outside of Brazil within the last decade.

It’s often their otherness that makes these foods so appealing. Quinoa, particularly popular among vegetarians and vegans, does indeed provide a decent protein source – but then again, so do many common beans and nut varieties.

Açaí berries and goji berries are packed with phytochemicals, a plant compound which does seem to have a positive effect on a person’s chances of heart disease and brain deterioration. That sounds fancy, except regular old blueberries and strawberries have lots of phytochemicals too.

 

 

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-truths-you-didnt-know-about-superfood.html

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Mindful Eating by Turning Meals into Meditation

Follow this ten-step plan for mindful eating when you are feeling stressed about food or unable to cope with cravings.

 

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