Posts Tagged ‘effects of unhealthy sleep’

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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Do what you want…sometimes

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

A Healthy Life Sign

We spend the majority of our lives enduring other people telling us what to do.  Teachers, bosses, and parents have filled our lives with no-no’s, admonishments, and well-meaning advice.  But here’s a radical idea-just do what you want.  If you want a chocolate bar, have one.  If you want to take a nap, go ahead.  If you feel like skipping down the street…you get the idea.

Something occurred to me after many sweaty hours at the gym, rifling through health magazines and reading countless advice columns.  Maybe obsessively counting calories and other deprivations work for some people, but they certainly don’t work for me.  In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.  When I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it all the more.

Such is the human condition.

So I’m trying a different approach.  If one afternoon all I can think about is eating a hamburger with fries, I actually allow myself to go and get one.  Two things are accomplished.  Once I give into my craving, I am thereby sated.   Instead of eating everything else in its place and then still wanting the burger, I just have what my body wants and in the end I am convinced that I consume fewer calories overall.  After I’ve indulged in the “treat”, I don’t feel deprived and therefore will eat healthier over the next few days (or weeks in some cases).

I am absolutely not advocating a burger-large fries-pitcher-of-beer-a-day existence.  But I think cutting ourselves some slack once in a while is mentally healthy and can go a long way.  At the very least it can help us to manage our stress.  Because deep down, we all know what the healthy choices are.

Remember, eat as healthy as possible, get plenty of exercise, and catch up on as much sleep as time permits.  It’s your healthy life.  Now go enjoy it!

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To learn more daily health tips, please read our health archives.  Some of our favorites supplements that can boost your immune system, improve sleep patterns, and can promote heart health are found on our products page.

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I Want Candy!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Pick supplements and not sugar for better health

“The sugar rush.”  Sometimes nothing else will do.  When I’m face to face with a box of candy, or a malted milk, I am truly powerless to resist.  And with a certain chocolate-centric holiday just around the corner, I have to tread lightly, or else I will fall into a different category, “the sugar coma.”

All joking aside, sugar is delicious and wonderful to enjoy, especially on holidays and birthdays.  But it is also full of empty calories.  For example, the average soda these days contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10!  Even though I’m a sugar fanatic, I can’t bring myself to drink much soda anymore.  And that’s a great thing.  Instead I substitute milk, mineral water with a little lime, or even a small glass of wine and I save myself 100’s of calories a day.

Diabetes is on the rise.  It’s sad but true.  Some hypothesize that everything we eat nowadays is laden with sugar, and perhaps these ideas are not far off.  Be sure to check your food labels for hidden sugars, even in items like crackers, soups, and tomato sauces.  Awareness can make the difference in your health and also in your waistline.

Reward yourself properly.  As a society, we tend to reward a promotion, good grades, or any other success or special occasion with a big meal and lots of treats.  Choose wisely.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but maybe it’s a better (and certainly healthier) idea to splurge on a massage, a night at the theater, or even a new outfit.  You will ultimately feel better, weigh less, and perhaps even spend a little quality time appreciating something you wouldn’t normally do.

Keep up the exercise, and work in lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.  Take vitamins and supplements like Calcium, CoQ10, and Omega-3.  Get a proper night’s sleep as much as possible, and then, if all else fails, have that chocolate chip cookie with extra walnuts.  But just a couple.  Wash them down with a nice, cold glass of nonfat milk.  You’ve earned it!

Happy Valentine’s Day

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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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Healthy is always helpful!

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

solanova blood sugar support supplements

Ever notice that when you’re really tired, rushed or stressed out that you also seem sluggish, fuzzy, and unmotivated?  I can only speak for myself, but I’ve noticed a pattern that I have to assume is fairly common.

Perhaps I have a particularly taxing week at work, and then the car breaks down, then I’m late for a flight that I already had to reschedule once before, and now the presentation won’t be done on time.  Stress then rears its ugly head, which in turn makes me count cracks in the ceiling all night, which leads to me feeling less than svelte as I go about my daily routine.

And then this domino effect continues.  It pervades my eating, drinking and exercising habits in an insidious way.  I start to make excuses why I absolutely have to have that maple doughnut bar oozing with sugary goodness, or that double cheeseburger-with fries of course, otherwise the burger is lonely.  Top all that off with a triple fat full mocha with extra whip and candied orange peels.  Here’s the troubling thing; all this actually makes me feel better!  I have more energy and I’m sated.  I can focus on my work, on driving, on saving that little kitten in the big Oak tree.  I feel like superman!

Until I don’t.  Then the crash comes, oh how I resent you sugar crash!  Just when I thought everything was going so well.  But I was simply fooling myself, masking what my body really needed with my out of control crazy cravings for sugar, caffeine, and lots o’ fat.  That’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for indulgence.  But I was using this sustenance as a kind of super fat-sugar-coffee inflated life raft, rigged to help me handle my stressful, insomniac existence.  However, my little plan failed me miserably, so much so that I slogged home and blended myself an extra thick margarita for good measure.

At the risk of sounding like a 90’s fitness icon, it was time for me to “stop the insanity.”  I knew better.  I knew that the stress hormone cortisol was working against me and making me eat things I knew I shouldn’t.  And the fact that I wasn’t getting enough sleep made it all the worse.  My body craved instant (but not sustainable) energy to make it through the day and I ate it in abundance.  What I really should’ve done was take my vitamins, had one cup of coffee (which is my usual, sane practice), eaten my bran cereal, gone to work, drank plenty of water, had a very sensible and fuel-laden lunch of salad, a low fat turkey sandwich, and maybe some fruit which is my usual custom.  I then would’ve had enough sustained energy and patience to deal with the missed flight and the broken down car and maybe, just maybe, I still would’ve gone to the gym, just to blow off a little steam lifting weights.

Now I know better.  And you should too.  This is my cautionary tale.  It’s fine to have treats, but don’t rely on them to keep you going.  They will let you down every, single time.

Happy holidays.  And by the way.  Who moved my eggnog latte??

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Want to read more about enhanced energy and daily health?  Check out our health concerns archives.  And even if you overdo it at the dinner table, there is digestive help.  We also have powerful  probiotics to promote a healthy digestive tract and help synthesize vitamins and nutrients.

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Stressless Summer

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

We’ve all had days like these.  You’ve slept poorly all night only to finally catch some zzz’s in the wee hours of the morning, then you sleep right through your alarm and realize you’re going to be late for that very important meeting.  And you’re out of coffee.  And you can’t find your keys.  You pray that there is just enough time to stop at the cafe on the corner.  Then you head outside.   To discover that your car is not in the driveway.  In fact, it’s nowhere to be found.  It’s days like these where a rewind button would really come in handy.

Stress is everywhere.  Even if your car didn’t go missing, every day stress can be very hard on our bodies.  Stress is thought to adversely affect blood pressure levels, and can even lead to heart problems and other health complications.  Stress can make us moody, cranky, sleepy and unproductive.  It can compromise our immune systems, make us depressed, sluggish and irritable.

And the busier and more stressed out we are, the more likely we are to get sick.  Then we miss work and fall behind thus piling on even more stress in our lives.  Stress can proliferate and is often cyclical, weighing us down and making us feel like we’ll never catch up.

But we can fight back.  Healthy activities like exercise, yoga or meditation can help mitigate the stress in our lives and promote better sleep patterns.  What we eat can also play a part.  It is thought that certain foods like cereals, whole grains, fish, spinach and milk can help to keep the stress hormone, Cortisol, in check.  And there are also some natural supplements available that can soothe our moods, help anxiety levels and even encourage us to relax.  A little TLC can go a long way to enhance our moods and our overall health.

So stretch out in a hammock with the soft breeze blowing and count the clouds as they roll by.  And be kind to yourself.  It’s time to slow life down-just for a little while.

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To read more about stress and how it may affect your health, click here.  We have many nutritional supplements that can help manage  stress .  Relora® is a nutritional supplement made from natural botanicals that promotes relaxation, healthy sleeping patterns and can help curb stress-related overeating and subsequent weight gain.  Invest in a superior antioxidant to fortify your immune system, Omega-Gel®, which supports cardiovascular and circulatory health as well as enhancing immune system function.

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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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