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Sleep Well – Here is Why…

Get a good night’s rest our moms would say.  Dr. Mercola goes deeper into the benefits of sleep.  Lack of sleep has many ramifications, from minor to major, depending on your accumulated sleep debt. Short term, lack of sleep tends to have an immediate effect on your mental and emotional states.  Dr. Mercola outlines some of implications of lack of sleep, the causes and how you can make changes to help ensure that you get the rest that you need.

 

Read the full article here –

Over the long term, poor sleep can contribute to a whole host of chronic health problems, from obesity and diabetes to immune problems and an increased risk for cancer. Plus it raises your risk of accidents and occupational errors.

Unfortunately, few are those who sleep well on a regular basis. Part of the problem is our propensity for using artificial lighting and electronics at night, in combination with getting insufficient exposure to full, bright, and natural sunlight during the day.

This disconnect from the natural cycles of day and night, activity and sleep, can turn into a chronic problem where you’re constantly struggling to sleep well.

Fortunately the remedy is simple, and if you follow the recommendations at the end of this article, chances are you’ll be able to reestablish a healthy sleep pattern, without which you simply cannot be optimally healthy — even if you do everything else right.

A Single Night Without Sleep Can Have Severe Implications

As shown in the video above,1 going just one night without proper sleep starts to impair your physical movements and mental focus, comparable to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent.2

In essence, if you haven’t slept, your level of impairment is on par with someone who’s drunk.

According to researchers, 24 hours’ worth of sleeplessness breaks down cognitive faculties to such a degree that you’ll be 4.5 times more likely to sign a false confession.3

Overall, you become more susceptible to “suggested” memories, and start having trouble discerning the true source of your memories. For example, you might confuse something you read somewhere with a first-hand experience. According to the authors of this study:

“We propose that sleep deprivation sets the stage for a false confession by impairing complex decision making abilities — specifically, the ability to anticipate risks and consequences, inhibit behavioral impulses, and resist suggestive influences.”

Lack of Sleep Linked to Internet Surfing and Poor Grades

Other research4 has linked lack of sleep to more extended internet usage, such as browsing through Facebook rather than studying or working. The reason for this is again related to impaired cognition and the inability to focus, making you more prone to distraction.

Not surprisingly, academic performance also suffers. In one recent study,5 the less sleep high school students reported getting, the lower their average grades were.

How Sleep Influences and Regulates Emotional Perception

Sleeping well is also important for maintaining emotional balance. Fatigue compromises your brain’s ability to regulate emotions, making you more prone to crankiness, anxiety, and unwarranted emotional outbursts.

Recent research also shows that when you haven’t slept well, you’re more apt to overreact to neutral events; you may feel provoked when no provocation actually exists, and you may lose your ability to sort out the unimportant from the important, which can result in bias and poor judgment.

Reporting on this research, in which participants were kept awake for one whole night before taking a series of image tests to gauge emotional reactions and concentration levels, Medical News Today writes:6

“… Eti Ben-Simon, who conducted the experiment, believes that sleep deprivation may universally impair judgment, but it is more likely that a lack of sleep causes neutral images to provoke an emotional response.

The second test examined concentration levels. Participants inside an fMRI scanner had to complete a task that demanded their attention to press a key or button, while ignoring distracting background pictures with emotional or neutral content …

After only one night without sleep, participants were distracted by every single image (neutral and emotional), while well-rested participants only found the emotional images distracting.

The effect was indicated by activity change, or what Prof. Hendler calls ‘a change in the emotional specificity’ of the amygdala … a major limbic node responsible for emotional processing in the brain.”

What Happens in Your Body After Two or More Sleepless Nights?

After 48 hours of no sleep, your oxygen intake is lessened and anaerobic power is impaired, which affects your athletic potential. You may also lose coordination, and start to forget words when speaking. It’s all downhill from there.

After the 72 hour-mark of no sleep, concentration takes a major hit, and emotional agitation and heart rate increases. Your chances of falling asleep during the day increase and along with it, your risk of having an accident.

In 2013, drowsy drivers caused 72,000 car accidents in which 800 Americans were killed, and 44,000 were injured.7 Your problem-solving skills dwindle with each passing sleepless night, and paranoia can become a problem.

In some cases, hallucinations and sleep deprivation psychosis can set in — a condition in which you can no longer interpret reality. Recent research suggests psychosis can occur after as little as 24 hours without sleep, effectively mimicking symptoms observed in those with schizophrenia.

Sleep Deprivation Decreases Your Immune Function

Research published in the journal Sleep reports that sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress.8,9

The researchers measured the white blood cell counts in 15 people who stayed awake for 29 hours straight, and found that blood cell counts increased during the sleep deprivation phase. This is the same type of response you typically see when you’re sick or stressed.

In a nutshell, whether you’re physically stressed, sick, or sleep-deprived, your immune system becomes hyperactive and starts producing white blood cells — your body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders like infectious agents. Elevated levels of white blood cells are typically a sign of disease. So your body reacts to sleep deprivation in much the same way it reacts to illness.

Other study10 findings suggest that deep sleep plays a very special role in strengthening immunological memories of previously encountered pathogens in a way similar to psychological long-term memory retention. When you’re well rested, your immune system is able to mount a much faster and more effective response when an antigen is encountered a second time.

When you’re sleep-deprived, your body loses much of this rapid response ability. Unfortunately, sleep is one of the most overlooked factors of optimal health in general, and immune function in particular.

Sleeping Poorly Raises Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A number of studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep can play a significant role in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In earlier research,11 women who slept five hours or less every night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetes symptoms than women who slept for seven or eight hours each night.

According to research12 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, after four nights of sleep deprivation (sleep time was only 4.5 hours per night), study participants’ insulin sensitivity was 16 percent lower, while their fat cells’ insulin sensitivity was 30 percent lower, and rivaled levels seen in those with diabetes or obesity.

Senior author Matthew Brady, Ph.D., an associate professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, noted that:13 “This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction. Fat cells need sleep, and when they don’t get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy.”

Similarly, researchers warn that teenage boys who get too little slow-wave sleep are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Slow-wave sleep is a sleep stage associated with reduced levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and reduced inflammation. As reported by MedicineNet.com:14

“Boys who lost a greater amount of slow-wave sleep between childhood and the teen years had a higher risk of developing insulin resistance than those whose slow-wave sleep totals remained fairly stable over the years …

‘On a night following sleep deprivation, we’ll have significantly more slow-wave sleep to compensate for the loss,’ study author Jordan Gaines … said … ‘We also know that we lose slow-wave sleep most rapidly during early adolescence. Given the restorative role of slow-wave sleep, we weren’t surprised to find that metabolic and cognitive [mental] processes were affected during this developmental period.'”

The Many Health Hazards of Sleep Deprivation

Aside from directly impacting your immune function, another explanation for why poor sleep can have such varied detrimental effects on your health is that your circadian system “drives” the rhythms of biological activity at the cellular level. We’ve really only begun to uncover the biological processes that take place during sleep.

For example, during sleep your brain cells shrink by about 60 percent, which allows for more efficient waste removal. This nightly detoxification of your brain appears to be very important for the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, the production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep.

This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).

Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain. In short, the many disruptions provoked by lack of sleep cascade outward throughout your entire body, which is why poor sleep tends to worsen just about any health problem. For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:

Contribute to a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
Aggravate or make you more susceptible to stomach ulcers
Promote or further exacerbate chronic diseases such as: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis (MS), gastrointestinal tract disorders, kidney disease, and cancer
Worsen constipation
Worsen behavioral difficulties in children
Alter gene expression. Research has shown that when people cut sleep from 7.5 to 6.5 hours a night, there were increases in the expression of genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk, and stress15

Harm your brain by halting new cell production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in your hippocampus

Raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease

Contribute to premature aging by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep (and during certain types of exercise, such as high-intensity interval training)

Increase your risk of dying from any cause

Increase your risk of depression. In one trial, 87 percent of depressed patients who resolved their insomnia had major improvements to their depression, with symptoms disappearing after eight weeks

Aggravate chronic pain. In one study, poor or insufficient sleep was found to be the strongest predictor for pain in adults

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Habits

Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way toward ensuring you uninterrupted, restful sleep — and thereby better health. To get you started, check out the suggestions listed in the table below. For even more helpful guidance on how to improve your sleep, please review my “33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.”

If you’re even slightly sleep deprived, I encourage you to implement some of these tips tonight, as high-quality sleep is one of the most important factors in your health and quality of life. As for how much sleep you need for optimal health, a panel of experts reviewed more than 300 studies to determine the ideal amount of sleep, and found that, as a general rule, most adults need right around eight hours per night.

Optimize your light exposure during the day, and minimize light exposure after sunset Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night.If you’re in darkness all day long, your body can’t appreciate the difference and will not optimize melatonin production.

Make sure you get at least 30 to 60 minutes of outdoor light exposure during the daytime in order to “anchor” your master clock rhythm, in the morning if possible. More sunlight exposure is required as you age.

Once the sun sets, minimize artificial light exposure to assist your body in secreting melatonin, which helps you feel sleepy.

It can be helpful to sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. If you need navigation light, install a low-wattage yellow, orange, or red light bulb.

Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue light does. Salt lamps are great for this purpose.

Address mental states that prevent peaceful slumber A sleep disturbance is always caused by something, be it physical, emotional, or both. Anxiety and anger are two mental states that are incompatible with sleep.

Feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities is another common sleep blocker.

To identify the cause of your wakefulness, analyze the thoughts that circle in your mind during the time you lie awake, and look for themes.

Many who have learned the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) find it is incredibly useful in helping them to sleep.

One strategy is to compile a list of your current concerns, and then “tap” on each issue. To learn how to tap, please refer to our free EFT guide.

Keep the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees Fahrenheit Many people keep their homes too warm at night.  Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime This raises your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you’re ready for sleep.
Avoid watching TV or using electronics in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed Electronic devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 pm and 10 pm, and these devices may stifle that process.

If you have to use your cellphone or computer at night, downloading a free application called F.lux will automatically dim your computer device screens as the evening wears on.17

Be mindful of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other detrimental biological effects.

A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. Ideally, you should turn off any wireless router while you are sleeping — after all, you don’t need the Internet when you sleep.

Develop a relaxing pre-sleep routine Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps keep your sleep on track, but having a consistent pre-sleep routine or “sleep ritual” is also important.

For instance, if you read before heading to bed, your body knows that reading at night signals it’s time for sleep.

Sleep specialist Stephanie Silberman, Ph.D. suggests listening to calming music, stretching or doing relaxation exercises.18 Mindfulness therapies have also been found helpful for insomnia.19

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other drugs, including nicotine Two of the biggest sleep saboteurs are caffeine and alcohol, both of which also increase anxiety. Caffeine’s effects can last four to seven hours. Tea and chocolate also contain caffeine.

Alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, but it makes sleep more fragmented and less restorative.

Nicotine in all its forms (cigarettes, e-cigs, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and smoking cessation patches) is also a stimulant, so lighting up too close to bedtime can worsen insomnia.

Many other drugs can also interfere with sleep.

Use a fitness tracker to help you get to bed on time, and track which activities boost or hinder deep sleep To optimize sleep you need to go to bed early enough. If you have to get up at 6:30am, you’re just not going to get enough sleep if you go to bed after midnight.

Many fitness trackers can now track both daytime body movement and sleep, allowing you to get a better picture of how much sleep you’re actually getting.

Newer fitness trackers like Jawbone’s UP3 can even tell you which activities led to your best sleep and what factors resulted in poor sleep.

 

 

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/03/sleep-deprivation-effects.aspx

Happy Heart Day!

It’s fitting for the month of February that we discuss heart health.  It is, after all, the month dedicated to hearts (be it sweet ones, cinnamon ones, or sparkly ones in store windows).

I have heard from many of our patients (who also happen to be nurses) that they have seen an increase in the number of heart attack and stroke victims at the hospital during the months of December and January.

It’s hard to believe that Heart Disease is the # 1 killer in North America.  It is quite often over shadowed by cancer in our media.  As surprising as it is, the facts are true, it kills more people in North America than any other disease.  What causes Heart Disease and how can we improve our heart health?

Contrary to popular belief, Heart Disease is not caused by high blood pressure or cholesterol.  These issues are merely symptoms of Heart Disease.  Heart Disease is caused by a combination of the following;  anxiety, stress, lack of movement, poor diet, lack of nutrition and inflammation.

Here is a list of 4 items you can incorporate into your diet on a daily basis to help improve your heart heath:

 

  1. GARLIC – Garlic contains sulphur which acts as a sweeper for the arteries. One capsule of high quality garlic with at least 250mg of Allicin per day will get your started.

 

  1. FLAX SEEDS – Flax Seed contains omega 3 which helps to reduce inflammation and acts as both a soluble and insoluble fiber. I also recommend chia, hemp seeds and black cumin oil.

 

  1. OLIVE OIL – Olive Oil contains poly-phenols and oleate, a common fat found in extra virgin olive oil. These help failing hearts to use body fat as fuel for your body.

 

  1. TUMERIC – Tumeric is the most anti-inflammatory spice. It is known around the world for its anti-inflammatory properties.  I recommend Nature’s Relief, which is available at our office.

 

Did you know that your brain can also contribute to your Heart Health?    It’s true, taking a few minutes each day to relax can help lower your risk of Heart Disease.   Our BrainTap Technology  does exactly that.  It provides similar benefits to meditation and is designed to re-balance your brain wave activity and help your body focus on healing.

Why not enjoy a complimentary 20-25 minute “vacation” from the stress in your life.  Call today to ask  how BrainTap Technology can help you with things like; stress, weight loss, quitting smoking, and much more.

Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!

Happy Valentine’s Day

From all of us at Johnston Health and Laser Center

The Impact of Sugar and 76 Reasons Why You Need to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

 

Sugar, in moderate amounts, according to Dr. Mercola, is essential to you body. As a carbohydrate, it helps supply you with the energy you need for your daily activities. Too much sugar, however, can have detrimental effects and in Dr. Mercola’s recent article “Sugar Addiction” he outlines 76 ways that too much sugar can ruin your health!  From nutrient imbalance to behavioral changes and increased risks of diseases, our society’s sugar addiction is rising at an alarming rate.

For Dr. Mercola’s full article read SUGAR ADDICTION

As Dr. Mercola stated, “It can be quite difficult to say no to sweets, especially if you have been  consuming them on a daily basis, but, once you feel the effects that lowering your sugar intake has on
your body,  it will all be worth it.”
If you need assistance helping get back on track and establishing a healthy balanced nutrition plan for your family, contact our office.  Learn more about our services here

Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!

 

Johnston Health and Laser Center

The Link Between Exercise and Learning

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Time Magazine recently highlight a new study showing the correlation between exercise and learning.  The study, released Nov. 30 in the Journal of Medicine and Sport, found that the more time kids in Grade 1 spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years. In first grade, a lot of sedentary time and no running around also had a negative impact on their ability to do math

Read further from the rest of the article:

Among girls, sitting for a long time without moving much didn’t seem to have any effect on their ability to learn.

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland analyzed studies that measured physical activity and sedentary time of 153 kids aged six to eight. The studies used a combined heart rate and movement sensor, and researchers gave kids standardized tests in math and reading. “We found that lower levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, higher levels of sedentary time, and particularly their combination, were related to poorer reading skills in boys,” the study says.

While the test group was small and Scandinavian (the Finnish school system‘s freaky success is almost legendary), the study offers some evidence for what parents have been thinking for a long time: we may not be educating boys the right way.

As pressure increases on schools to show evidence of learning, many education systems have tried to provide a more academically rich environment. But sometimes this has come at the cost of physical education, which is often considered an optional extra rather than one of the core skills a student must master.

Money and school hours that might have been spent on P.E. are now devoted to libraries, science labs and better tech gadgets. All of these are worthy teaching tools, but they promote a very sedentary style of learning. Add to this the reliance on testing, which, again, has it merits, and you have kids sitting down for longer and longer periods every day. Most U.S. schools don’t require any P.E. or recess.

The connection between exercise and learning is not new, but the Finnish study provides stronger objective evidence that the increased emphasis on sedentary academic activity among the youngest learners may be fruitless if it comes at the cost of physical activity. Boys whose days were more sedentary when they were in first grade (a crucial year for learning to read) made fewer gains in reading in second and third grade. They also did worse at math for that year.

The authors aren’t sure why the difference between boys and girls is so stark. Not as many girls participated in the study, so that may have influenced results. Moreover, it may have less to do with the difference between the male and female brain; for girls, academic achievement may be more influenced by factors such as parental educational support, peer acceptance, teachers’ positive attitude and their own motivation.

A great success story from the school highlighted in the video!  The results are something that we all can learn from.  With New Year’s just around the corner, why not make more physical activity part of your routine?  The results…well they have been documented time and time again!

We would like to take the time to thank our patients for a fantastic 2016.  We have been honoured to walk along side your health journey this past year and we look forward to working with you again in 2017.

Just a reminder that we are taking the time between Christmas and New Year’s off…see you again in 2017!

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for 2017!

The Johnstons

Snow! Snow and More Snow!

skiing-16270_960_720We know that snow isn’t for everyone…but we are one very excited bunch!  Skiing has become the passion of our family and the last week of snow dumping has helped to ensure that the ski season is here to stay!

Skiing really is something that you can do as a family…lots of opportunities right here in your backyard.

Snow Valley, Horseshoe Valley, Blue Mountains, Mount St. Louis Moonstone!

But..if skiing isn’t your passion, it doesn’t mean that you should stay indoors all Winter.  There are great activities that don’t require hills and helmets!  Last Winter we were able to (in between mild spells) head to #Arrowhead Provincial Park and taking in skating by candle light!  This is a super fun trip…which can also be done in the daylight if you prefer.  This year the weather has been cold enough that ice will soon be ready at the park.  Check out their website for the latest updates…but they are aiming for the last week of December to be ready and open.

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Have you tried your own backyard rink?

We have some friends that do this faithfully each year.  With a little bit of muscle…your rink will be ready in no time.  With cold nights…the temps are perfect to get your rink underway.  The debate is on as to whether you need a rink kit (large tarp and boards) or if you can just spend some time stomping and watering.  But the end result will definitely see you and your family outdoors more this winter…getting some natural vitamin D and cardio work outs!

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Don’t forget about snowshoeing!!  Reasonably priced snowshoes can be found at your local Costco, sporting store or Canadian Tire and we of course, have many many trials available in our region:

#Springwater Park #HardwoodHills #HorseshoeValley #ScanlonCreek just to name a few….and the Simcoe County Forests have so many trails…all right in our own backyard.

So…get Active this holiday season!  Enjoy!

The Johnstons