Health Benefits Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar – The Healing Effects Of Daily Consumption

Using apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy for a wide variety of ailments. There are many health benefits drinking apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. Throughout history, apple cider vinegar has been a cherished remedy. I have here included some of the most beneficial usages of apple cider vinegar:

Gastrointestinal discomfort:pexels-photo-735966

I have treated many patients with gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, flatulence, constipation/diarrhea by using apple cider vinegar. I here advise on starting the day with drinking a glass of lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Consume this every day for optimal effect.

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Many people suffer from fatigue, and the reasons are multifold. Even so, there is a great likelihood that adding apple cider vinegar to your diet will provide you with some relief. Here I would advise on following the same practice as stated above. Start the day with lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, but also add ½-1 teaspoon of raw, unprocessed honey. This is what Hippocrates would call Oxymel.  If you want to read more about the wonderful effects of honey, go to my other article on the benefits of honey.

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If you have a dry, itchy skin, applying a diluted solution of water and apple cider vinegar to the skin may provide a great deal of relief. Leave it on the skin for about 15 minutes, and then apply a good moisturizer. Alternatively, adding apple cider vinegar to your bath could relieve an itchy skin. Some cases this practice has even proved beneficial for an eczematous skin rash.

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After shampooing and before conditioning your hair apply some apple cider vinegar to your hair, and massage it in. Then rinse off. This has a very good effect to alleviate scalp issues such as dandruff and dry/itchy scalp

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If you are suffering from smelly feet, this usually comes from the feet not being allowed to breathe properly, all day long stuffed in socks and tight fitting shoes. This may lead to flora irregularities in the skin. This may then potentially lead to a bad odor coming from the feet. This is a good sign that it is time to treat your feet better. One good way to alleviate this problem with bad food odor is to soak your feet in lukewarm water with a cup of apple cider vinegar. After a good soak dry the feet, and preferably apply a good moisturizer. Also, try to leave your feet out in the open for a while, so the pores in the skin can breathe properly.

Warts:run-fitness-workout-train-163535

If you have warts on your feet or in the genital area you could possibly heal this with apple cider vinegar. Here you submerge a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then apply it directly on the wart, and fix it with some tape (you may also use a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar if it stings too much). This can be left overnight. Repeat every day for a period of days to weeks. Initially you may see a reddening of the area, but then the wart turns black/dark, and then gradually goes away.

Insect stings and bites:mosquito sucking blood

Mosquito stings may cause horribly itchy blemishes. Apple cider vinegar will here relieve a lot of the itch by applying a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected skin every half an hour. Alternatively, you can add the cotton ball to the affected blemish by fixing it with tape. Wasp stings can be very unpleasant, and the pain can also be relieved by using apple cider vinegar. Follow the same steps as above. Mind you that allergic reactions will not be relieved, and if you are prone to allergies, following the right precautions such as taking anti-histamines or even using an EpiPen may be necessary.

There are many other good ways to use apple cider vinegar. Please feel free to add your favorite use of apple cider vinegar here.

Drink Tea Like A Zen Master

In recent times this tea has by far become my favorite tea. The reason for this is the fact that this green, delicious drink contain rich amounts of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients, far more than any other tea. While feeling invigorated, it also gives a great sense of peace.

In Matcha tea, we actually drink the powdered tea leaves. The tea leaves are first ground to a very fine powder, and then a small amount is added to hot water (or other liquids such as milk or milk substitutes). Traditionally a whisk called Chasen is then used to properly dissolve the powdered tea leaves in the water, before being consumed in its entirety.

The tradition of grinding tea leaves and having it directly in the hot water for consumption started in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) in China. Zen Buddhist monks brought this tradition to Japan in around 1181 A.D., where the process of harvesting the tea leaves and making the stoneground tea leaves was refined, giving birth to what we now called Matcha tea.

Originally this was consumed amongst Buddhist monks, but it soon spread in popularity throughout East-Asia. While Matcha tea contain rich amounts of antioxidants, the sought-after effect of Matcha tea was the invigorating and relaxing effect. Buddhist monks cherished this tea because it enabled them to stay focused in meditations for a longer time.

There are greater amounts of caffeine in this tea. This caffeine called Theophylline is not as strong as what you would find in coffee, but it still will give an invigorating effect. What counterbalances this invigorating effect is what researchers have now discovered to be L-Theanine, an amino-acid that leave you with a relaxed and invigorated state. Since the actual tea leaves are used to make the tea, and not just the brewing of the tea, Matcha has rich amounts of L-Theanine. This can therefore explain why you would feel a great sense of ease, while at the same time mentally alert.

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So, how can you make yourself a tasty cup of Matcha tea? In the tea-shop ask for premium or ceremonial grade of Macha tea. Ceremonial grade is of better quality, but also much more expensive. The nutrient contents are the same, and if you are not a Zen monk, who consume this regularly, you probably would not notice the difference. While in the shop you could also ask for a whisk called Chasen in addition to buying the tea. If you do not have this whisk, no problem. The only reason for using a whisk, is that it makes it easier to dissolve the matcha, and giving a more frothy and lighter feel to the tea.

Now, take ¼ – ½ teaspoon of Matcha in a cup, and add a small amount of hot water (not boiling), whisk or whip the mix of Matcha and hot water around until the tea has been dissolved. Add more hot water and whisk this in some more, until you get a frothy consistency in the tea. As an extra tip, I sometimes add turmeric to this tea, to make an even more potent drink…or, why not try out a matcha-turmeric-latte?

Matcha tea can be drunk throughout the day, but probably not late at night, due to the stimulating effect from the caffeine in it. I recommend you try this out. Maybe you can even substitute the cup of coffee in the morning with an invigorating cup of Macha tea?

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How To Take Care Of Your Lungs

We expose our lungs to constant strain, especially if we live in big cities. I remember in med school how I looked at lungs of people living in congested parts of the city (such as London when the air was filled with smog), and was horrified by the amount of soot accumulated in the tissue of the lungs. If you think about it, this is a natural consequence, as the lungs work as a filtration system. Optimally, only clean air is allowed to pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream, where oxygen is then transported to all the cells of the body. Furthermore, carbon monoxide is taken up into the blood stream, and expelled through the lungs. We know that the lungs are affected by the amount of toxins they are exposed to, and may eventually lead to inflammation and damage to the lung tissue. It is therefore advisable to know how to best take care of these precious organs.

Through digging deep into the ground and analyzing the different eras we now know that around 100 million years ago (when dinosaurs wandered the earth) the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere was around 35 %. Around 10 million years ago there was an enormous forest fire, that may be partly responsible for the reduction of oxygen concentration in the air. But chances are that the biggest change occurred during the industrial revolution, as the air quality decreased in the cities as a consequence of fossil fuel emission into the atmosphere. Since then we have had a poorer quality in the air we breathe, with oxygen concentrations usually around 20%. The lack of oxygen in the air is particularly evident in big cities, and has been measured as low as 10% in densely populated cities like Mexico City. Even so, there are ways to compensate for this, such as creating big parks in the middle of densely populated cities. This morning I strolled along Central Park in New York City, and thought to myself how mindful the architects of this big metropole had been in creating such a green lung smack in the middle of it all.

So, back to how to take care of your lungs. One sign that the lungs are inflamed is the production of mucus buildup, with coughing up of thicker mucus. If this is to happen, it is time to cleanse the lungs. Here are my recommendations on how to take care of your lungs:

  • Start the day with fresh lemon water, preferably with honey. This will not only detoxify the body, but also treat a buildup of mucus in the lungs.
  • Ingest turmeric root. For optimal effect for the lungs, it is advisable to ingest a small part of the fresh turmeric root, either by chewing it, or having it in a juice.
  • To expel mucus, eat a few pieces of pineapple or drink pineapple juice on an empty stomach. If this is done consistently over a course of two weeks, it usually relieves symptoms of excess mucus.
  • Drink chamomile tea. This has a general effect to soothe inflammation, and works particularly well for the lungs. Besides, it has a soothing effect on the nervous system, which in turn lower the blood pressure, and allow you to breathe with more ease.
  • Other herbs that may have a curative effect for the lungs are garlic, horseradish and ginger.
    • Garlic has a wide range of medicinal properties, the main effect for the lungs is the ability to cleanse and detoxify free radicals, toxins and other irritants, in addition to work as an antibacterial and antifungal therapy.
    • If you look at Chinese medicine, horseradish is a good herbal tonic for the lungs, just be careful not to overconsume this herb, due to its pungency.
    • Ginger is also an excellent herb, especially in cases of too much coldness in the body. Making a ginger tea, by steeping freshly cut ginger in hot water for 10 minutes, and then adding a small portion of raw honey to it is a very good way to expel some bacterial infections.
  • Some supplements that work very good for the lungs are zinc, vitamin c and Echinacea. In cases of lung problems, taking a regular supplement of 25 mg zinc, 1000 mg vitamin C and a few shots of Echinacea can work wonders.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water. This has a cleansing effect for the lungs, thinning out the mucus, and makes it easier to expel toxins from the lungs.
  • An occasional fast (while drinking plenty of fluids) is usually very curative for the lungs.
  • Using plants can potentially cleanse the air and produce more oxygen. I challenge you to try this out for a few months, and see If you notice any change. If you go to a botanist, you can ask for particularly cleansing plants, such as ferns and peace lilies.
  • Last, but definitely not least, is the healing effect of deep breathing. Even spending 10 minutes each day actively breathing deeply, filling up your lungs, will be very beneficial for the lungs oxygen exchange, and hence leave you more relaxed and energized. Even better is to do this while being out in nature. Also, a brisk walk, or other forms of exercise will make it easier to fill up the lungs with fresh air.Little girl on a swing in the mountain landscape

The Miracle of Water

How much water do you drink? Seriously? Let me tell you that water is by far the cheapest and healthiest drink you can have. Do you ever stop to wonder about just how important it is to drink enough water? We literally consist of 70-80 % water (interestingly enough just about the same number as the amount of water covering the surface of the earth).

Water has an enormous healing capacity when you have enough of it. Consumption of water will hydrate the body, while enabling toxins to more easily be flushed out of you. When the body gets rid of toxins, your body will function better and more smoothly. As an extra motivator, having enough water in your body will make your skin smoother, and hence your appearance more beautiful.water showerSo, how much is enough? How much water should you actually drink to make sure that your body stays healthy. Well, that depends. It depends on what you eat, what you drink, your fitness level, the climate where you live, and so much more.

Several drinks could function as a diuretic, meaning you more easily excrete fluids through your kidneys. In some cases, this is a good think, especially for people who more easily retain water in their tissue. Patients who take diuretic medications need to take this to lessen the burden on the heart. Even so, it is also here important to drink enough water.

So what about coffee. Coffee is not in fact a diuretic, but it causes a fluid loss due to its laxative effect. You see, we retain a lot of the water in the colon, and when it goes faster through, we lose more water. Therefore, a golden rule when drinking coffee is: By one cup of coffee, drink two glasses of water. The Italians are usually very good in this respect, where they always provide you with a glass of water with the shot of espresso.

water coffeeSo back to how much water should you actually drink? I have got this question a LOT in my practice. The answer is that there is no one exact answer. This depends on a lot of factors.

Elderly people have a tendency to more easily become dehydrated. If I mention this to my grandmother, who is now 101 years old, she finds the whole concept of drinking water rubbish. She thinks the sight of “all these people walking around with water bottles in their hands” to be amusing. Then again, every elderly person is not like her. I have had many elderly people come to my clinic with obvious signs of dehydration. One of the most obvious is the “skintest”, where you pinch and drag up a part of the skin, then let go, and see how long time it takes before the skin goes back to its normal position. If it takes more than a few seconds it is an obvious sign of dehydration, and I would generally advice on drinking more water (Not more coffee).water drinking

As a rule of thumb I say that it is wise to drink at least 1,5 liters of water, and if you are drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, chocolate) I advise you to drink around two liters of water. This number could drastically increase if you reside in a hot environment, where you are perspiring profusely. Sometimes, drinking four liters of clean water is essential to stay hydrated.

Of course we will function on less water intake, but we are here talking about how to really feel energized. Drinking water regularly is a great investment for your health. So drink up!Refreshing drink in the gardenYou could try to make water more exciting by infusing it with various herbs or fruits

What You Didn’t Know About Vitamin C – From The Sea, WW1 And Other Stories

Now, here´s a quick history lesson: Vitamin C and its importance was discovered in 1747, during the “Age of Sails”. Seafarers would travel for long distances, set on a mission to explore the world. The diet would often constitute processed beef and biscuits. The seafarers started to get a condition commonly called Scurvy. The condition starts with symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums and leg rashes. Imagine being on board a boat set for “The new world”  in the early 1700’s. For no apparent reason, people around you were loosing their teeth, their skin would turn yellow (due to jaundice), and gradually everyones health would deteriorate.  This mysterious epidemic claimed the life of thousands upon thousands of seafarers, without anyone understanding why. That is, not until a controversial experiment was led under the physician James Lind. James Lind discovered that if seafarers ingested citrus fruits (a common folk remedy to treat scurvy) upon their voyages, the seafarers could avoid this fatal situation. In fact, British Royal Navy officer James Cook then used this advice and his team which enabled him to sail from England all the way to Australia and New Zealand.

Scurvy was also a common disease during the First World War, where soldiers often suffered from malnourishment. It was then proven through studies that 10 mg of vitamin C was the minimal requirement to prevent scurvy in these conditions. This has later been used to set the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), which later was adjusted to 75-90 mg / day.

citrus vit c

In the 20th century, several well renowned researchers contributed extensively to the importance of vitamin C on health such as Alfred Hess. The two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling stated how administering vitamin C was crucial for the treatment of cardiovascular conditions.

Another important name in the vitamin C history book is Dr. Fred Klenner, who conducted many successful studies in the importance of vitamin C to counter viral infections such as polio, herpes zoster, chicken pox, measles, mumps and viral pneumonia. Most of these treatments are described in his book “Injectable Vitamin C: Effective Treatment for Viral and Other Diseases”.

The most convincing evidence comes from Klenners research he did around the Poliomyelitis Epidemic in North Carolina in 1948. Here, 60 patients were suffering from this neurological condition, and after only 72 hours, after taking vitamin C injections, all of the 60 patients were entirely healed.

Some of the reasons why vitamin C is so effective for viral infections are multifold: The ability for immune cells such as white blood cells to accumulate vitamin C in their cells, and henceforth increase the ability of specialized immune cells and interferons to protect against infection. Also, vitamin C boost the mitochondrial energy production, essential for energy production in various immunological cells.

On the other hand, researchers and physicians Goodwin and Tangum published findings that mega doses of vitamin C could lead to kidney stones. But since these “findings” were based on earlier literature stating that there may be a linkage, this statement is inconclusive. There is no conclusive evidence to this day that supplementation of vitamin C will have any adverse side affects.

There are only a few animals on the planet that are not able to produce their own vitamin C, and humans are among them. Since we can’t produce vitamin C ourselves, it´s essential to therefore consume it in our food, and maybe also in the form of supplements.  Species that produce vitamin C create it in their liver by converting glucose into Vitamin C. Humans, apes, and a few other animals lack the final step to convert glucose into Vitamin C. Linus Pauling concluded that one should look at the intake of vitamin C consumption amongst other primates, which like ourselves, can’t produce vitamin C themselves. Specifically, a gorilla ingests on average 4.5 grams of vitamin C, while humans mostly consume an average of 500 mgs a day in their diet!

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Now, that´s all you need to know about vitamin C historically, for now, and we will conclude with the health benefits of this necessary vitamin:

  • Vitamin C boosts the immune system to protect against infection and work as an effective antiviral therapy, and a good therapy in the early stages of colds and flus
  • It protects against the harmful effects of free radicals formed by harmful chemicals, heavy metals, nitrites (from pre-packaged foods, which most in the Western world seem to consume a lot of unfortunately)
  • It acts as a to cure against harmful chemicals such as smoke and other chronic stressors that may have weakened the immune system
  • It´s a treatment for cardiovascular conditions, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular risks such as stroke
  • Vitamin C lowers the skin aging process, and there´s less wrinkling and better moisturizing of the skin (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
  • There is a reduction in general inflammation and a reduced risk of auto-immune symptoms
  • It decreases the risk of developing conditions such as macular degeneration

Now, where to find good sources of vitamin C and other essential vitamins.  I will cover this in later articles. For now you could have a look at this list.

The Benefits Of Exercise On The Brain

You may know that a regular workout improves the body. What is less clear has been the effect of physical exercise on the brain. The brain is considered to be a muscle (although 60-70 percent is really fat), and as with the body, if you don´t use it enough, it may start to deteriorate. The good news is that there are a range of precautions to boost a healthy mind.

  • An effective training to boost the neuronal connections in the deeper parts of the brain such as the brain stem is neuromuscular training. This basically constitutes doing slow (the slower the better) movements, diagonal movements (ie. right arm and left leg) and rotational movements (ie. moving the thumbs in opposite directions).
  • Recent discovery of a protein called BNDF has led to an increased understanding of the link between the body and mind. After a workout, we see a general buildup of BNDF in the brain, primarily the hippocampus. BNDF has crucial effects on the neurons. Generally it encourages the growth of neurons (and thicker myelin sheaths), by building stronger links, and at the same time protects against cell death. In fact, in 2007 a German researcher discovered that people learn  20 times faster following physical exercise than before they worked out. These findings correlated with the levels of BDNF in the brain.
  • The Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) can be considered the fountain of youth, due to its age reviving effects on cells. Ways to boost the HGH production from the pituitary gland is by either having spurts of a high intensity workout and/or muscle training. What is interesting is that this increase of HGH in the circulation lasts many hours after you exercise. Conversely, a high intensity workout leaves higher amounts of BDNF in the brain as compared to a lower intensity workout. I would point out here that it is better with shorter burst of high intensity, as this will have better effect on the generation of HGH than longer stretches of high intensity. In a comparative study, Doing a series of squats doubled the HGH levels compared with running at high intensity for thirty minutes.
  • Exercise boosts the amount of dopamine, which sparks motivation. Sticking to an exercise regimen will boost the reward centers in the brain, and make it easier to stick with the workout schedule.

Overall, exercise improves learning in three ways:

  1. Increases alertness, attention and motivation
  2. Encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, an essential aspect of learning new tasks
  3. Boosts the production of nerve cells in the hippocampus (from stem cells)

So get to it and start exercising today!

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The Benefits Of Fasting

Fasting is an ancient way to restore one’s health, from the Ezekiel’s 40 days’ fasts, to the Muslims 30 days Ramadan. Aristotle used to demand that his potential students embark on a fasting period before commencing his teachings.

If we go back in time several thousands of years (a speck in time for the history of the world), humans naturally fasted in times when there were scarce amounts of food. Hence, when we consider evolution, most of the human existence we were forced to have intermittent fasting. It is only in the modern time that we have a surplus amount of food available at all times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative thing in its self. It is great that we are able to have a more varied and rich diet than our forefathers. The only problem is that in this time and age, where we tend to think more on efficiency and how to get food fast, food also tend to lack a lot of the essential nutrients that we have available, virtually at all times.  The diet tend to be too rich in fast sugars and starches, and nutrients lacking in enzymes that will leave a more sluggish digestive system. Studies have shown that in the west we typically carry many kilograms of partially undigested food in the colon. Fasting is therefore a way to restore health in the body by sweeping clean the gastrointestinal system of the excess food particles.

The concept of fasting is also a time where you focus not on what you ingest. This has the potential to relieve addictive behaviors.  It is also a good way to clear ones mind, as less energy goes to the digestive system. This is the reason why Aristotle demanded that his students fast before studying, as this increased the efficiency of their learning capacity.

There are many ways to fast. I do not suggest you start with a long fast if you are not used to fasting, as this may be too big of a shock to the body. Therefore, it is better to start with intermittent fasting’s, lasting a day or two. If you look at Anthony Weils recommendations to a healthier lifestyle, fasting one day a week is a good way to go.

Now, how does one fast. There are many ways to do this:

  • Water fast. This is the most common way to fast, where one only consume water for the entire fasting period.
  • Juice fasting. Drinking solely vegetable juice, alternatively with some fruits such as lemon and apple.
  • Absolute fast. This is where you ingest nothing for a period of time. An example of this is the days of Ramadan.
  • Fasting could also be just being conscious of eating/drinking more simply. Whole grain rice fast is a good fast, and could be particularly beneficial with parasitic infestations.

Once one gets more in the habbit of fasting one can try the 7 days fast. This commonly is a water fast, done once a year, preferably in the spring or autumn. Here it is advisable to do this in a time of less stress, as it turns out to be a contemplative period. Here it is advisable to consult a physician before the fast to make sure the liver and kidney values are up for the task. It is also advisable to consume lots of leafy green vegetables and herbal teas a few days prior and after the fast, to ease in and out of the fast.

Fasting is a way to reset the body and mind, where one can spend more time on doing other hearty things, such as being more out in nature, and bring the nature in to your home by buying plants or flowers. Fasting could also include fasting from media and news for a day, so as to relieve more of ones collective stress. Remember, fasting is about enjoying more of what life has to offer, while regaining more energy and clarity by doing so.

Happy fasting!

How To Boost Vitality

Do you feel the occational lack of energy, or is every day a drag, where you have to force your way through it? There are ways to leave you feel more envigorated, energized and vital. Do you want to know what that is? Ok, great! Let’s go:

  • Get proper amount of good sleep. The key here is sleeping enough.
  • Stress down. Get adequate amounts relax during the day. Deep breathing, feeling your stomach moves with the breathing is a good way to lower ones stress level, aka taking a breather. Also, don’t set your mind to doing more than you are capable of, as this will only stress you more. Learning to say no is something many could be better at.
  • Tend to your thyroid. This is related to the point above.
  • Take care of you gastro-intestinal tract, as this really influences your energy level.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, in the right amounts is both healthy and a good way to boost vitality. Interval workout, with high intensity bursts of exercise alternated with intermittent resting periods is a good way to improve circulation in the body. I can recommend a book called Spark, by  John Ratley on this subject.
  • Regularly stretch out your body. It is particularly important to have a flexible back, as it influences the circulation of your body.
  • Eat regular meals. By eating regularly you maintain a more balanced blood sugar, and consecuently leaving you with more energy.
  • Eat your veggies. Eating enough vegetables is a very important measure to making sure that the energy level is maintained at optimal levels. Drinking juice of clean, organic vegetalbes on an empty stomach, is a good way to get a lot of these phyto-nutrients in your system (use the fibers for something else, like in a smoothie). Eating a salad of vegetables prior, during or after a heavy meal will make you digest the food much better due to the enzymes, fibers and other nutrients in vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of clean water. First of all, make sure your tap water is clean. If not, there are many ways to make the water cleaner. I would advise to install an activated charcoal filter on the tap, or use a mug for the same purpose. Then make sure you drink enough water regularly, 2-3 liters of water depending on your daily activity.
  • Make sure you have enough vitamin B12 and iron, as a lack of these will influence your energy. The nutritional status also depend on how your digestion and absorption of nutrients are. I could also recommend eating pumpkin seeds, as they are rich in iron. If you want the nutrients from seeds, nuts, beans and lentils to be more easily assimilated, you could sprout them. This also has a very positive effect on energy and vitality.
  • You could also try to take supplements to boost vitality, which include maca, mucuna, licorize (not if high blood pressure). Choose a well renowned brand, as the quality tend to be better.
  • There are also ways to boost energy and vitality through what I call energy workout. This includes qi gong, tai chi, yoga and many more. This is a very good way of gradually building up ones vitality.

Remember, take it slow. Gradual progress is much better, than aiming too high too soon.

 

The Health Benefits Of Sleeping

Do you remember last time you woke up feeling refreshed and fully awake. No? Well, don’t despair. You are in good company. Sleep deprivation is more common now than it has ever been before. This is the reason why many health experts, bloggers, journalist and many more are starting to write about the importance of sleep. Just look at the thrive movement generated by Arianna Huffington.

Now, why do we commonly lack proper sleep? One of the main reason is stress. While a normal amount of stress may be healthy, chronic sleep may cause a detrimental effect on the body. Too much stress (aka adrenaline) in the body makes it difficult for the mind to shut down for sleep, and may also stress the body even during sleep. Do you crave that pick me up coffee in the morning, so that you can function properly. Then this might be a sign that the body need more restful sleep.

You may ask, do we really need those eight hours of sleep every night. Well, while you might train the body to function with less sleep, it is my opinion that over a course of time, this is not advisable. Studies have linked higher risk of diseases such as cancer with the chronic lack of sleep. The reason for this is that less sleep over a course of time stress the body, and influence the various hormones and immune system, and may eventually lead to a range of ailments in down the line. The challenge is linking the lack of sleep with the development of disease.

In my clinic I have many patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Some sleep eight, nine, ten, or even twelve hours each day, but they don’t get fully rested, and wake up feeling more tired than when they went to bed. Here the reasons are multifocal. Investigation to reveal the true reasons for this, we have to reflect on many aspects of pathogenesis (development of disease). How is the nutrient value, as for instance a lack of vitamin B12, folate, iron, iodine to name a few will potentially lead to fatigue. Thyroid and adrenal issues are a common problem. As I have covered in previous articles, the gut flora may also play its part here.

In this years annual conference at Institute for Functional Medicine in the US the main theme was about sleep – how sleep deprivation affect our health, and what to do about it. Here is a list of general advice to have a more peaceful sleep:

  • No blue light one hour before bedtime. You may not realize it, but daylight contains a lot of blue color. This blocks our own melatonin production, leaving us more awake during the day. Normally, in the evening blue light fades away. Due to our modern technology, TV, computers, tablets, mobiles and so on usually have blue light. This has the effect to block our own healthy melatonin production, leaving us with less melatonin for that good nights sleep. What is interesting is that now many of the computers and mobiles have a function where blue light (aka night mode) can be turned on.
  • Do something relaxing before going to bed. Deep breathing is a very effective way to calm the body and mind. Meditation before bed is also a good way to calm that mental chatter, commonly called monkey mind. Doing some peaceful activity such as a nice walk in nature, intimate conversation, or drinking some sleep tea is also beneficial.
  • The bed is only for sleep (++). Don’t bring laptops, mobiles, TV, newspapers, books and so on into the bed before going to bed.
  • Go to bed before midnight. If you manage to go to bed at 10-11 pm on a regular basis, this will leave you with more energy in the long run.

Haukeland University Hospital have done a lot of research on sleep, and found that one effective way to aid sleep is by taking 1 mg of Melatonin 3-4 hours before going to bed. The theory behind this is that this small dosage does not interfere with our own melatonin production, while larger dosages might. I have used 1 mg Melatonin on many patients, and who have noticed a great improvement in sleep.

I truly believe that sleeping better will truly make one thrive, and enable one to live more to ones full potential.

Sleep well

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