Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

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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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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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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