Archive for the ‘sleep’ Category

summertime can feel like a “big” deal

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The birds are singing and the sun is shining brightly.  So why are you feeling down again?  Is it because you can’t squeeze yourself into your bathing suit, no matter how much sun tan oil you slather on?  Or is it that your summer shorts make you feel like a stuffed sausage?

Yep. We’ve been there.

When the hot weather hits and the layers of winter clothes come off, there’s no place to hide.  It’s frustrating we can’t shrug off the extra winter pounds as easily as our heavy overcoats.

However, the great news about summertime is that it stays warmer and lighter in the evenings.  Even if you’re working like the dog days of summer, there’s still enough daylight to take a walk after work, or depending where you live, swim or even hike.

And if you live somewhere really warm, chances are your appetite may be affected.  You may crave things like cold salads for dinner, and choose to eat lighter based upon what your body tells you and not just predilections for certain foods.  You’ll undoubtedly drink more water and other liquids too, which can help fill you up and facilitate weight loss (as long as they’re not too sugary).

Keeping your immune system strong is key.  By eating as healthy as possible, getting plenty of sleep and taking quality supplements, you are providing your body with the fuel it needs to hike, bike, swim and workout.  Beware of insidious summer colds-nothing is more miserable than lying in bed on a beautiful, sunny day.  Strive to stay healthy and active and you’ll be surprised how quickly those shorts and bathing suits magically become the right size for you again.

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To ensure restful, peaceful, healthy sleep patterns, try our Dual-Release Melatonin®.  Experience enhanced energy while strengthening the heart with our Carni QNol® supplement.

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quick-change artist

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ever heard that expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?  I want to tweak that slightly: “the more things stay the same, the less chance they will EVER change.”

The cold, hard fact is this: If we want to change our less-than-stellar health habits, the time is now.  We all have to actually make some sort of concerted effort to do things differently in order to expect different results.

This idea is elementary, I know, but it’s amazing how many of us (myself included) don’t practice what we preach.  Here’s an example:

Last year I noticed that my favorite jeans were becoming harder and harder to button.  I blamed the dryer and the hot water I accidently washed them in one time (months before). Because I didn’t own a scale, I was in relative denial about my gradual weight gain.  I continued to eat my-ahem-nightly bowl of ice cream.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, which lead to me skipping the gym most days.  The less I exercised, the more lethargic I felt and the more I ate (to keep my energy up).  This became a classic vicious cycle.

One day I could no longer deny it and my favorite jeans were banished to the back of my closet, along with the other clothes I couldn’t squeeze into anymore.  That day was my breaking point, my “moment of clarity” if you will.  I forced myself to the gym that afternoon, and most evenings after work.  I stopped eating my beloved ice cream (except on weekends), and tried my best to get enough sleep so I didn’t need to rely on food to enhance my energy.

Everyone has their breaking point, their moment of clarity.  Find yours and then act upon it.  It may take a little while to see some results, but you absolutely will.  Changing your bad habits can ultimately change the course of your health-and life-for the better.  Good luck!

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For improved sleep patterns and more energy, try our Dual-Release Melatonin.  Enjoy the heart health and fat burning elements of our Carni QNol® supplement, with Ubiquinol.

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the power of downward facing dog

Monday, February 8th, 2010

yoga woman at peace

Have you ever gone on a hike, a walk, or a run and felt tired but also very relaxed and at peace afterwards? We thought so. That is the magic of exercise and of focusing on something other than every day minutiae. Yoga classes, meditation and even simple relaxation techniques can also quiet the noise within and calm the mind. And it turns out that these practices are exceptionally good for your health. A recent study was conducted on cancer patients who were asked to try an 8-week stress reduction program and the results were staggering:

In a study involving 49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer, participation in an 8-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” (MBSR) program was found to enhance quality of life, reduce stress symptoms, reduce cortisol levels, improve immune patterns, reduce systolic blood pressure and improve mood. The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and a daily home practice. Various measurements were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Results of linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress after the intervention, which remained over the follow-up period. Reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, and mood disturbances were found. Furthermore, heart rate was positively associated with symptoms of stress. The results of this study suggest that participation in activities such as those included in this mindfulness-based stress reduction program may be of great benefit to cancer patients, with beneficial effects lasting well beyond the intervention. The authors conclude, “These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.”

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a renown Yogi to enjoy the benefits of exercise and relaxation. If you are short on time, buy a yoga or Pilates DVD, or simply find a nice place to sit, breathe, and quiet your mind for a few minutes. All together now: “Om”

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To learn more about managing stress levels for better health, see our health archives. Stress can compromise the immune system, cause irregular unhealthy sleep, and can even contribute to unwanted weight gain. Our effective, high quality supplements Relora® and Dual-Release Melatonin can really make a difference in your stress levels and can promote healthy sleep patterns.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36457, “One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients,” Carlson LE, Speca M, et al, Brain Behav Immun, 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Linda E. Carlson, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Alberta Cancer Board, 2202 Second St. S.W., Calgary, Alta., Canada T3B 0W7; Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada).

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Time is on your side…yes it is!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

young woman jumping

How often have you lamented if only I had an extra hour, or half hour in the day-if only I had more time, I could make some real progress?  Time is at a premium for most of us.  And tacking on an extra errand or chore, even if it’s for our health, can feel burdensome.  And maybe going to the gym and cooking fresh, organic produce just isn’t in the cards everyday.  But what if there were some ways to optimize your time every day and etch out just a little bit (between the carpool, work, dentist appointment etc) of healthy time for yourself?  We’ve come up with a few ideas that just may work for you.

Set your alarm just ten minutes early.  This is a very small sacrifice but you’ll be amazed that you’ll actually have time for a bowl of cereal, a piece of toast with peanut butter or chopping up a delicious apple to have as a mid-morning snack.  Your mood will improve, your productivity will go up, and who knows?  Maybe you’ll finally secure that raise, allowing for a more robust vacation fund, (also excellent for your health!).

You can exercise in spurts.  Yep, it’s true.  No more excuses that you don’t have an hour to dedicate to your gym.  Instead, look for opportunities to integrate exercise into your daily activities.  Walk to you local coffee shop at least three times a week.  Whether it’s down the street from your house, or three blocks from your office, there is no need to get in the car.  Your body will thank you in the long run for the bit of fresh air and exercise, plus you’re being eco-friendly.  If you don’t drink coffee, the same goes for a trip to the post office, pet store, dress shop, or rare Ukrainian coin purveyor.

Turn the TV off-at least sometimes!  Yes, we know it’s the playoffs.  And there’s always that funny movie on that you’ve been meaning to watch.  But the truth is, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and TV can be a time-sucking black hole.  (Sorry Conan!)  Take that extra time to hang out with your family and friends and then catch some quality zzz’s.

By carving out a few extra minutes in the short day for some healthy practices, you will find that time ends up being right on your side.  Now go out there and make good use of it!

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To sleep perchance to dream

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Solanova Dual Release MelatoninNot being able to get to sleep or to stay asleep is one of the most frustrating things in the world.  Without proper sleep, it’s hard to do your job, stay healthy and enjoy life in general.  But now there is some exciting research that has concluded that taking a Melatonin supplement can make a huge difference and can assuage insomnia.  All without side effects or addictive properties.

In a randomized, placebo-controlled, multi-center study involving 170 primary insomnia outpatients (aged 55 years or older), treatment with prolonged-release melatonin (2 mg/d) for a period of 3 weeks was found to improve quality of sleep and morning alertness, without producing any rebound insomnia or withdrawal effects after discontinuation of treatment. Improvements in quality of sleep and morning alertness were strongly correlated, suggesting “a beneficial treatment effect on the restorative value of sleep.” When the effects of prolonged-release melatonin were assessed in a subgroup of subjects with greater symptom severity, similar beneficial effects were found. Adverse events were not common, with most side-effects considered minor. The authors conclude, “PR-melatonin is the first drug shown to significantly improve quality of sleep and morning alertness in primary insomnia patients aged 55 years and older�.” Vitasearch Comment: Since drugs can lead to dependence, it may be appropriate to try PR-melatonin 2-3 mg/d 60 minutes before bedtime for the treatment of insomnia.

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To read more about sleep problems, click here.  Try Solanova’s special Dual-Release Melatonin, a time release formula that delivers Melatonin at different intervals to increase duration of sleep and to improve your quality of sleep.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37146

“Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects,” Lemoine P, Nir T, et al, J Sleep Res, 2007; 16(4): 372-80. (Address: Nava Zisapel, Department of Neurobiochemistry, The George S Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. E-mail: navazis@post.tau.ac.il ).

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Awash with Allergies

Friday, June 26th, 2009

solanova soothing allergies anioxidants

It’s not just ragweed. It feels like I’m allergic to everything. From mold to the little bumps I get when I sit on fresh, green, spring grass, to my beloved pets, I am a prisoner of my sinuses. And it -a-a-achoo!- excuse me, is really annoying. I’m not a huge fan of allergy medicine because it either makes me sleepy or it dries my sinuses so much that they resemble the Mohave Desert. So I dug a little deeper to see if I could find other, perhaps more natural relief from my allergy plight.

Get thee to the coast! Yep, not surprisingly, fresh, clean, sea air seems to help me a great deal. Those negative ions get to work on my sinuses and I can breathe easier. Not to mention it’s really relaxing walking up and down the beach, the ocean lapping at my toes, plus I’m getting a little low-impact exercise.

I realize not everyone lives near a coast (I’m sorry about that) so another idea would be to find an air-conditioned place like a gym, mall (though not near the perfume counter), movie theater or museum to hang out in. Of course, most places of business are air-conditioned, so if all else fails, you can get a little relief at your office.

If none of the above options are appealing to you, there are actually some foods that can help (not cause) allergies. And these foods are good for you too! Some examples are grapes, apples, oranges, nuts and tomatoes. These foods are all very rich in antioxidants and can cut down on free radicals in the body.

Finally, you can invest in a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that cleans the surrounding air of allergens. This method, coupled with disciplined vacuuming and laundering of linens should make enough of a difference for moderate allergy sufferers.

So grab some grapes, go watch a movie in the theater or go shopping. Your allergies may soon be manageable. And that’s nothing to sneeze at!

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Do you want to learn more about healthy living in general? Click here to access our health concerns archives.

Try some of our most popular supplements for your continued good health, including Q-Gel® CoQ10 for better heart health, Dual-Release Melatonin for a more restful sleep and Omega-Gel® for enhanced immune system support.

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Got (enough) sleep?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Solanova Melatonin for Sleep Support

You’re not alone. We’ve all been there: Staring at the clock at 2 a.m., unable to sleep.

There are conflicting beliefs about how much sleep we need – but it’s clear there is a rough range to aim for. Getting too much or not enough sleep can have a negative effect on our health. Many studies show 7 to 8 ½ hours is your best bet for giving your body and brain enough time to restore. And although some research has shown 6 hours of sleep can be sufficient, fewer than 5-6 hours (or more than 9 hours) might be a detriment to not just our daytime energy and performance but also our health, possibly leading to health issues including heart health concerns, diabetes and obesity.

There are many factors that may be contributing to our insomnia. Some studies show that duration of sleep appears to decline with age. As well, stress, anxiety, depression, jet lag or even our sleep environment can all affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Other culprits could be medical conditions, medications or possibly just decreased levels of the hormone Melatonin. As we age, we produce less of this naturally occurring hormone in our brain that helps regulate sleep. In fact, those of us over 60 produce very little Melatonin at all.

There is good news:
There are some very easy things we can do to help us get a more restful and longer night’s sleep. First, it’s important to create a relaxing and soothing atmosphere in your bedroom. This means no t.v. in the room, as well as making sure to never do work or anything else stressful while lying in bed. It helps to train your body and your brain that once you retire to bed, it’s time to slow down, relax and go to sleep. (Although the common belief is that t.v. is “relaxing”, in fact it involves our brain, sometimes even creating elevated levels of adrenaline which make it hard to fall asleep.) Rather than watch t.v., some individuals find it helpful to read or even meditate for at least half an hour to help introduce relaxation.

Next, be sure to incorporate a regular exercise program into your routine. Studies have shown that regular exercise can fight insomnia. However, try not to exercise too close to bedtime as it takes time for regular stress hormones to decrease after a workout. Finally, it also helps to try and avoid caffeine, alcohol, food, and t.v. at least 2 hours before bedtime. In addition, consider the supplement Melatonin. Be sure to invest in a high quality Melatonin like ours that is specially formulated for dual-release: 1.5 mg is released immediately after ingestion and 1.5mg is released gradually over a 6 to 8 hour period. The first phase helps you fall asleep quickly, the second phase helps you to stay asleep.

Sweet dreams!

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Click here to read about insomnia and the proactive ways to help yourself feel better and get a good night’s sleep.  Sometimes stress can be an insomnia culprit.  Taking an all natural stress-relieving supplement can help.  Our nutritional supplement Relora® helps to relieve stress, anxiety, tension and can curb stress-related eating patterns and subsequent weight gain.  Try some today for a more restful sleep tonight.

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