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Shift Work Sleep Deprivation: Why You Need To Ban The Snooze Button

Shift Work Sleep Deprivation: Why You Need To Ban The Snooze Button

As a sleep deprived shift worker, have you ever been tempted to grab an extra ten or fifteen minutes sleep by rolling over and hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock?

Now I want you to be honest with me here, because I’d say 99% of the shift working population are prone to the lure of the snooze button!

But did you know that the snooze button can actually make you feel even more tired?

Sound a little strange?

Well considering that most of us wake up feeling like we’ve had absolutely no sleep when we work shift work, the temptation to switch on the snooze button can become way too tempting. Because going without sleep for too long causes fatigue, drowsiness and can even lead to a decrease in alertness and lack of co-ordination.

In fact some people can even suffer from headaches and muscles pains, and become highly irritable when they don’t get enough sleep.

So what has this got to do with the snooze button on your alarm clock?

Well essentially the alarm interrupts your sleep cycle and your brain is then unable to complete its process of repair and rejuvenation. And if that’s not bad enough, when you go ahead and hit the snooze button, your brain enters another sleep cycle only to be interrupted again when the alarm clock goes off for a second time.

Now don’t get me wrong – in today’s busy world we can’t exactly throw away our alarm clocks and wake up to the sounds of chirping birds and sunlight streaming onto our face. Although this is a very attractive proposition as I’m sure you would agree.

The harsh reality is that shift workers need an alarm clock. Without it we would never make it into work on time – if at all!

But it’s important to realise that when your alarm clock goes off – you need to get up straight away. Shift work interferes with your sleep cycle – unquestionably, but hitting the snooze button will only make you feel even worse.

Of course if this is sounding way too hard, then try positioning your alarm clock away from your bed so that you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off! That way it’s much harder and less tempting for you to crawl back under the covers and sneak in that extra bit of snooze time.…

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Fibromyalgia and Acupuncture: Finding Natural Relief

Fibromyalgia and Acupuncture: Finding Natural Relief

Chronic pain in multiple areas of the body, accompanied by insomnia and depression is how most patients describe fibromyalgia. Once thought to be a psychosomatic disorder (what’s in your mind is making your body worse) or a psychiatric disorder (it’s all in your mind), fibromyalgia is a recognized illness. As debilitating as it can be, relief can be found, and acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a drug free, natural solution to find the relief you need.

Sometimes confused with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) can leave you in constant pain and fatigue your body and mind. Though pain and fatigue are the most common symptoms reported, fibromyalgia syndrome is associated with a large variety of symptoms which might include:

Widespread painMuscle achesJoint stiffnessFatigueDepressionInsomniaHeadaches (migraines and/or tension)Difficulty concentrating (affectionately referred to as “fibrofog”)Hypersensitive to stressful situationsSensitivity to light and/or noiseTMJ syndromeAnxietyUrinary and/or pelvic problemsIrregular menstrual cycleMyofascial painWeight gainNauseaDizzinessSkin problemsSensitivity to many different chemicalsPoor memoryIBSHeart palpitationsMood swings

Keep in mind that a patient doesn’t need to have all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with FMS and usually patients have a few of these, with pain and fatigue being the primary symptoms. Patients with fibromyalgia have no actual visible damage to tissue, joints, bones or organs, so there isn’t a laboratory test that can confirm the patient has fibromyalgia. Instead, FMS can be diagnosed by pressing on 18 specific points on the body. If there is pain in at least 11 of the 18 points, as well as some of the other symptoms being present, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be given.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a godsend to many patients. In my experience, the combination of acupuncture and fire-cupping is most beneficial for pain relief. Chinese medicine divides fibromyalgia into four possible patterns and therefore each pattern must be treated accordingly. In any of these patterns, tremendous results can be seen with the patient finding immediate relief with usually just one treatment and lasting relief with a series of treatments. Cupping or fire-cupping is also extremely effective in treating the pain associated with fibromyalgia. In most patients, the addition of herbal formulas (put together for their specific symptoms) can be the final touch to relieve all the symptoms and help them to regain their life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from fibromyalgia, please check out all your treatment options and make visiting an acupuncturist a priority. Natural and lasting relief through acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a much better option than a life of pharmaceuticals or living with the pain, fatigue and other symptoms for your whole life.…

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Origins of Fatigue

Origins of Fatigue

Fatigue is a huge issue in our fast paced world, where it is all too easy to “burn the candle at both ends”, eat too many fast foods, live a sedentary life and ignore our built-in time clock (the circadian rhythm ). Sometimes, despite doing all the right things, we, however, can still be affected by persistent fatigue that can cause great disruption in our life. An investigation by the Working Group of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has found that prolonged fatigue which lasts longer than 1 month is present in 5-20% of the population. Chronic fatigue, lasting greater than six months, is prevalent in 1-10% of the population whilst a further 0.2% to 0.7% is diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Whilst some types of depression are linked to fatigue, mild amounts of stress have actually found to be stimulating to our mitochondria function, which produces our cellular energy. High stress, on the other hand, can cause magnesium loss. Magnesium, zinc and iron deficiencies are both common causes of low energy production and should be investigated early in any corrective treatment, especially given that deficiencies of these minerals is present in around 60-85% of the US population. These minerals are readily available and could be tried before investigating other possible causes of your fatigue. Resveratrol, found in your favorite red wine, also has a stimulatory affect as CoQ10 and L-carnitine.

So what do you do if you have tried all of the stimulatory supplements without any resolve of your fatigue? My suggestion would be to investigate whether there are any underlying gut issues (such as bacterial overgrowth or candida) or problems with thyroid function. An overgrowth of candida albicans can frequently go undetected due to its often vague symptoms. A simple test – blood test or stool test – can detect the presence of candida overgrowth. This disorder can be treated effectively with the right natural health products and dietary intervention.

Similarly, an under functioning thyroid can also go undetected and untreated. This is largely due to the fact that borderline blood test results can still be considered as ‘normal’ by some practitioners. New evidence however suggests that subclinical hypothyroidism (where there is elevated thyroid stimulating hormone but normal thyroid hormone levels) is a common disorder found in 7-10% of people and can be responsible for a decreased production of energy in the mitochondria. It is therefore important to be treated for hypothyroidism, even if your results are viewed as ‘borderline normal’.

I ask my patients to give me a score out of 10, to help me evaluate what their energy and fatigue levels are like. A score of 10 is equal to the amount of energy needed to perform all of one’s daily activities and 0 is not enough energy to get out of bed. I consider that a consistently low energy level with a chosen score of 6 out of 10 or below is abnormal. Try keeping a diary of your energy levels. If you are feeling a little ‘flat’ and record energy levels of 6/10 or lower, you need to investigate why you feel this way. Don’t put up with less than optimal vitality. Remember that your fatigue will have an origin or cause, which can usually be easily identified and rectified, when you receive the right advice.…

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Power-Napping – Switch Off to Power Up

Power-Napping – Switch Off to Power Up

It’s 2pm in the afternoon; Kelly and her colleagues are stuck at their workstations. Everyone looks dull, tired and sleepy and Kelly is no exception. It’s been a hectic day and the worst is yet to come because her boss is breathing down her neck for the report to be on his desk before the end of the day, her kids have to be picked from school and she really must pass by the grocery store to pick up some supplies. Kelly has to do all this but right now she is feeling really tired and stressed out, let alone sleepy. So she takes a quick 20 minute ‘power-nap’ to revitalize and reignite her. An hour later all her colleagues are asking her what the secret is because she seems to be back on top of her game.

Power-napping is a practice that will maximise the benefits of sleep against time. It is a sort of supplement to normal sleep, mostly when one is not getting enough sleep. James Maas, a Social Psychologist at Cornell University came up with the expression ‘power-nap’, a short sleep ending just before the beginning of deep sleep. It is intended to refresh and revitalize someone especially if they are having a sleep deficit. The exact duration of a power-nap varies from 15 to 30 minutes; not too short to leave you dizzy but not too long for one to enter a deep sleep.

For a long time, research has been carried out to ascertain what the exact benefits of this ‘power-napping’ really are. Without a doubt, plenty of positive results have been discovered including the improvement of certain memory functions. A team of doctors, led by Alan Hobson and Robert Stickgold at Harvard University discovered that a midday snooze reverses information overload and so they concluded that, “The bottom line is: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that ‘power-nap’ at work.” Having discovered that “burnout” irritation, frustration and poorer performance on a mental task can emerge as a day of training progresses, Sara Mednick, Stickgold and colleagues also proved that, in some cases, napping could boost performance to an individual’s top levels.

Individuals for whom a power-nap will be of great help will include those traveling between time zones, those working long hours and needing a break to re-focus, students with rigorous schedules or preparing for exams, busy mothers with young children and whoever else wants to supplement on their sleeping schedule so that they attain better results without falling asleep entirely. People who often take these power-naps eventually get to learn what duration, position, environment and related factors will help them attain maximum results.…

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Know the Basics of Treating Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Know the Basics of Treating Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Adrenal fatigue syndrome has been around for years but it was not until 1998 that a Dr. James L. Wilson coined the term for all of us to use. It encompasses a variety of symptoms that are associated with being under long periods of stress. So what is adrenal fatigue and what are the basics to treating it?

The adrenal glands sit on the kidneys and they are the anti stress glands of the body. We could not live without our adrenal glands. They produce such hormones as cortisol, estrogen, adrenaline, and testosterone. They are needed to regulate the body’s response to stress. For example, if we are under a stressful situation work or personal situation, then the adrenal glands respond by releasing the needed hormones to deal with the stress, the problem comes with time. When they release and release and soon have nothing more to release.

Over time we eat wrong, we sleep wrong, we drink wrong, and we push our bodies to handle every kind of stress possible and our adrenals keeps pushing out the energy, pushing out the hormones that are needed to deal with the stress and the crises. In time though our adrenal glands tire and slow and then eventually are simply exhausted.

Adrenal fatigue has now claimed our lives!

One of the first symptoms you will feel will be fatigue, overwhelming, gut wrenching how am I going to get up and do the things I need to do fatigue. You may crave fatty food, or sugar. You may want to drink tons of coffee just to get your energy level up. You will feel stressed all day long and probably anxious. Eventually you will just not be able to handle functioning in your daily lives; you may even retreat to your bed.

Having adrenal fatigue affects your whole life. It will prevent you from carrying out the simple routine tasks that you always have and more than that it will be frustrating, make you anxious and lead to depression. If you do not treat it, it can lead to more serious problems with obesity, diabetes and allergies.

So let us get to the basics of treating adrenal fatigue!

There are many things you can do to help you through this most stressful time in your life. It would be silly to suddenly make huge changes in your life. It would be like someone dieting to take off ten pounds, they pretty much do not eat till the weight is off or they are starving and then they start eating again and nothing changes. So change things slow and easy, a little bit each day.

Here are some things to do and not do

Eat breakfast about the same time every day

Do not skip any meal

Sleep at the same time every night and try for 9-10 hours of good sleep

Do not stay in bed all day. It will wear you out and make things work

Do not over exert yourself

Do not put yourself into situations that will require stress

Take rest periods but not extended ones. Set the alarm if you have to

Eat a healthy diet, with fruits, vegetables, whole grain

Add vitamins and minerals

Take fish oil

Do not eat processed or junk food

Avoid energy drinks, drinks with caffeine and coffee

Get some good exercise without overdoing. Do not play competitively as that is stressful. Exercise will produce endorphins that will make you feel good.

Get help from friends and families and do not think you have to do everything yourself

There are just a few of the things you should remember when you are dealing with adrenal fatigue. If you follow these you should start to feel better. Also it is important to see your doctor for he can examine you and make sure nothing more serious is going on and then you can both work together to come up with a program that will help you.…

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Moving The Body

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Moving The Body

It’s often the case that my dance teachers say things like “the body loves to move” or “make your body happy – move in the way it wants to move.” And, for me now that resonates as truth. I know from my experience with energy healing and recovery from illness that emotions are held in the energy field, and can affect the physical body. Moving the body as it wants to move can literally facilitate release of stuck emotions and lead to healing.

Of course, when I was really ill with ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I would not have been able to do that. I was scarcely able to get out of the door to do my shopping, let alone think about how my body “wanted” to move. That would have seemed almost absurd to me as I was just trying to get through the day in one piece!

So, how did I get to this position where I am doing free form dance (5 rhythms and biodanza) at least twice a week, and discovering all the time new ways in which my body wants to move and release stuck “stuff” from the past?

Well, I suppose really it happened very gradually. Before I became ill with ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I was actually very active – but in a completely different way. I used to do a lot of high altitude walking, and a lot of swimming. When I got ill, and found that even tiny amounts of exercise could make me exhausted for disproportionate (1 or 2 weeks!) amounts of times, I was very confused. It felt to me as though exercise and moving the body was good for everyone except people like me diagnosed with this mysterious and completely confusing condition!

There were quite a few “landmarks” for me along the journey to loving moving my body again. One of them was engaging in a structured activity plan. Having the discipline to do this in a supported way (I had a loving mentor for those times when I was scared of overdoing it or when I was just scared – because movement is scary when you think you may relapse!) led to me being able to go for longer walks and go swimming. But at this stage, moving the body in a “free” way to release stuck energy was still a long way away.

It was going to the School of Energy Healing that changed all that for me. As I began to release stuck emotions and energy from events in my past (see other blog posts on inner child healing, past life healing, relationship healing and sound healing to get an idea what I am talking about), my body started to want to move in ways that would release. I didn’t make anything “happen” – it just happened of its own accord.

Nowadays, working with people who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME, I use the same things that helped me to get better with my clients. So, I incorporate energy healing and the Emotional Freedom Technique to release traumas from the past that are stopping us healing in the present; and I work with people to help them strengthen their physical bodies through an activity plan and a nutrition plan.

After a certain amount of time, it feels as though people’s bodies do suddenly want to move – in a healthy way that expresses who they are and releases what needs to be released.

If you’re interested in what you’ve read here, and would like to know more about the way I work with people suffering from this debilitating condition, go to my main website.…

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How to Fight Fatigue – You Don’t Have to Be Tired Anymore

How to Fight Fatigue – You Don’t Have to Be Tired Anymore

I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my friends are always complaining about being tired or fatigued. Heck, I often complain myself about being tired for no particular reason. It’s not like I’ve been up late recently or that I’m working any harder than normal or that there’s any stress in my life above average… no I just feel tired sometimes and I don’t like it!

So I thought I would sit down today and write a short little article to help you with some tips on how to battle fatigue. These simple tricks should wake you right up.

The first thing you should do is drink more water. This may seem simplistic but it’s true that we don’t drink enough water these days and it can often be the main factor that causes us to get tired out of turn. Drinking water helps us flush out toxins from the body which is fairly important. The body needs at least 64 ounces of water a day and when you get less than that your body starts to shut down and you feel fatigued.

Another tip is to eat small but eat often. We are trained to eat three big meals a day but when we do that it puts our blood sugar glucose levels on a roller coaster and the low glucose can cause you to become tired during the day. If you eat every three hours, that should help keep your energy levels up by steadying out your glucose levels. Keep these meals small and adding a good mix of protein and fiber in every meal is important. Also be sure to eat plenty of vegetables.

Next you should really think about salt intake. If you have high blood pressure then you should definitely stay away from salt without a doubt. But for regular healthy people, moderate salt intake actually boosts your energy levels because salt helps the body hold onto water which I already explained that we need.

Finally consider magnesium which is a specific mineral that’s needed for several processes in your body. What happens is that chocolate, caffeine, soft drinks, and other highly processed foods typically depletes our body of magnesium which can often make us tired. Consult with a doctor in order to find a good magnesium supplement and the right dosage for you.

If none of these tricks or tips help you to combat fatigue, you should seriously consider seeing a doctor because you may have some more serious ailment causing you to get tired every day. But other than that, good old-fashioned exercise also does wonders for waking you up in the afternoon and you really can never go wrong with a little extra exercise, am I right?…