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  • midlifelove 11:36 am on August 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: acupuncture, aromatherapy, chamomile, dietary supplements for sleep, essential oils, George Bush, , insomnia, Kevin Rudd, L-theanine, lavender, Margaret Thatcher, melatonin, , natural alternatives, prescription sleeping medications, sleep well, , valerian   

    Sleep Well, Sleep Better 


    Michael Jackson’s premature death from a cocktail of sedatives for insomnia and anxiety underlines the tragic consequences of overdoing prescription sleeping medications.

    Being able to operate successfully on very little sleep a night is apparently a genetic trick. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously got by on four hours a night, Australian PM Kevin Rudd can operate on three while former US President George W. Bush wanted at least eight.

    Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the average American logs only six hours and 40 minutes.

    And in Australia a 2004 study showed 20 per cent of adults reported being disturbed between three and five times every night, while close to two-thirds reported difficulty going to sleep.

    Two-in-five say they do not wake up feeling refreshed and close to two-thirds feel sleepy during the day more often than once a week.

    Natural Alternatives ‘Safer’

    Obviously around the world there are millions of adults who share Jacko’s difficulties with sleeping, so what’s to do?

    Before you reach for the sleeping pills, it’s worth considering other alternatives – natural herbs, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy and life style changes.

    “These are safer and have fewer side effects than OTC medications,” Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic and medical director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers. He told Karen Asp at Health.com many of these safer alternatives “can not only help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but they may also promote muscle relaxation.”

    Making Good Choices

    If you haven’t slept well in days but aren’t ready to see a doctor, here are a few options:

    Ways to change your daily patterns

    • Avoid caffeine after lunchtime. A caffeine buzz not only affects the amount of sleep you get, but also the quality. “If coffee is still in your system when you go to bed, your sleep is going to be lighter, more fragmented, and less restorative,” says Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.
      • Avoid alcohol in the evening.  While it may help you fall asleep quickly, it disrupts sleep in the second half of the night. (Symptoms include shallow sleep, sweating, nightmares or vivid dreams, and general restlessness and an overall reduction in sleep time, resulting in daytime weariness)
      • Explore books or audio recordings for relaxation, meditation, and stress relief techniques
      • Do physical exercise during the day to ‘work out’ your muscles and induce a pleasant feeling of physical tiredness
      • Keep a ‘worry journal’
      • Investigate acupuncture – recent Chinese research shows it can help sleeplessness

    Set up a regular bedtime routine

    • Limit bedroom activities: If you have insomnia, your bedroom should be used for two things only: sleep and sex. That means moving the TV, computer, knitting, unopened mail, exercise equipment, and anything else distracting out of the room. (If sex leaves you revved up instead of relaxed, you’ll have to move that too.)
    • As much as possible, go to sleep at a regular time each night. That way your internal clock keeps to a schedule.
    • Eat a light snack before bed; Certain foods, such as turkey and dairy products, contain tryptophan, an amino acid that your body turns into sleep-promoting melatonin and serotonin. While eating a big meal before bedtime can make it harder to sleep, a light snack of cheese and crackers or yogurt may actually help.

    Herbal blends and supplements

    • Natural sleep treatments often contain valerian, melatonin (not available in NZ or Australia) lemon balm, hops, coenzyme Q10, and chamomile, St. John’s wort, passionflower, kava, and hops. They’re available as pills, tablets, liquid formulas, and even incorporated into mainstream tea products.
    • Dietary supplements include magnesium and calcium, L-theanine (from green tea).


    • Essential oils of chamomile, juniper, lavender, marjoram, neroli, rose and sandalwood and mandarin are all relaxing and gently sleep inducing. Put a few drops on your pillow drop a few drops in a warm bath before bed, or add to a natural oil like almond oil and smooth on arms and legs before bed.
  • midlifelove 11:59 am on August 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: addictive, Ativan, benzodiazepines, Diprivan, insomnia, , natural alternatives for sleep, propofol, side effects, , Versed   

    The Dangers of Sleeping Pills 

    sleeping pillsMichael Jackson’s tragic death from an overdose of propofol (marketed as Diprivan) highlights the dangers of taking sedatives to sleep…

    Between a third and half of adults have insomnia and complain of poor sleep.

    Most of us won’t be taking propofol, which is administered intravenously and most commonly used for surgical procedures and veterinary medicine, not for insomnia.

    But two of the other drugs in Michael Jackson’s pharmaceutical nightcap – Ativan and Versed – are commonly prescribed for insomnia, even though as benzodiazepines they have been shown in ECG studies to produce a poor quality of sleep, and in the case of Ativan to produce withdrawal symptoms like rebound insomnia (the return of the symptom in a more severe form) after as few as seven days of use.

    It’s a stark reminder sleeping pills are not harmless jubes, although they may be effective in ending your sleep problems in the short term.

    So how can you take them safely, while avoiding the side effects?

    What type of sleeping pill should you take?

    Most sleeping pills are “sedative hypnotics” and fall into three broad categories: benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.

    Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Librium are anti- anxiety medications, which are also used to treat insomnia. All benzodiazepines are potentially addictive.

    Barbiturates are short or long term acting sedatives which got a bad name for themselves in the 50s and 60s because of their psychological and physical addictiveness, and have generally been replaced by newer drugs. Luminal and Mebaral are two still prescribed for insomnia.

    Non habit forming hypnotics help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Lunesta, Sonata, and Ambien work quickly to increase drowsiness and sleep.

    Rozerem, the newest approved by the FDA, acts differently from other sleep medicines. Rather than depressing the central nervous system, it mimics melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  Sleep experts however query whether it is effective for sleep disturbances not caused by jet lag or sleep rhythm disturbance.

    Common Side Effects of Sleeping Pills

    Sleeping pills make you breathe more slowly and less deeply. That can be dangerous for people with uncontrolled lung problems such as asthma. They may also provoke an allergic reaction.

    Common side effects of prescription sleeping pills such as Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien, Rozerem, and Halcion may include:

    • burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
    • constipation or diarrhea
    • loss of  balance and dizziness
    • grogginess
    • dry mouth or throat
    • gas
    • headache
    • heartburn
    • stomach pain or tenderness
    • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
    • unusual dreams

    Can I become dependent on sleeping pills?

    Short-term use – over several weeks – may be fine.  Use for longer periods and you may build up a tolerance and it becomes less effective. You may also become psychologically dependent on the medicine. Then the idea of going to sleep without it will make you anxious. Some studies show that long-term use of sleeping pills actually interferes with sleep.

    Natural alternatives to sleeping pills

    There are a range of options you can consider to avoid using sleeping pills which may have much better long term results. These include making lifestyle changes like avoiding coffee or alcohol in the evening, developing a deliberately peaceful bedtime routine, keeping a worry journal, and taking natural sleep aids like valerian or melatonin.

  • midlifelove 1:42 am on June 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , cocaine, , , , , , , , , , , insomnia, , , organ, , , , , , , ,   

    Breaking Love Addiction 

    breaking love addiction

    He – or she – is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. He’s – or she’s – your lover, your soul mate. You can read each other’s minds.  You are just meant for each other. It’s uncanny – almost a spiritual thing.

    That’s what you thought until little cracks started appearing in your dream of ‘together forever’. When he or she decided they weren’t that into you anymore and they departed, taking your heart/world/future with them.

    The ‘love of your life’ has walked out and you’re about to discover the dark side of romantic love. Of being devoured by unsatisfied desire – for as Plato said 2000 years ago “The God of Love lives in a state of need.”

    Love Like Cocaine

    That need is a dopamine-fuelled ‘high’ which brain imaging shows activates the reward/pleasure centres in the brain in ways very similar to cocaine and heroin.

    And that’s the first important key to getting over love sickness, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love. Understand it is an addiction and some of the principles of the addiction counselling – like 12 Step programs – are helpful in getting over it.

    Romantic love is associated with high levels of dopamine and probably also norepinephrine – brain substances that drive down serotonin.  And low levels of serotonin are associated with despair, and even suicide.

    If nothing else, hankering after “what-might-have-been” can waste years of your life. It also kills some people. When a love affair turns sour, the human brain is set up for depression, and perhaps, self annihilation… The Japanese even glorified “love suicide” as evidence of one’s devotion.

    Tricky Thinking

    The idea, says Dr Fisher, is to ‘trick your brain’ into producing dopamine in response to new stimuli.

    Despair from unrequited love will most likely also mean plummeting dopamine levels.  As you focus your attention and do novel things, you elevate this feel-good substance, boosting energy and hope. We can also utilise new research on brain functioning which shows we are wired to integrate thoughts and feelings. We can in other words, control our drive to love.

    Woody Allen (in Sleepers) quipped “My brain? It’s my second favourite organ” – and he isn’t alone.  In this “golden age of the brain” neuroscientists are gaining increased understanding of our decision-making processes – and what they are learning can help us take control of our thoughts and feelings. We are wired so we can choose to think before we act (the high road) or we can allow our emotions to dictate our actions (the low road).

    The love addiction can be conquered. It takes determination, time and some understanding of brain function and human nature. Says Dr Fisher:  “Someone is camping in your brain; you must throw the scoundrel out.”

    Foods to beat love addiction

    Many of the neurochemicals involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are affected by the stress of  severe loss. Divorce can add ten years to a man’s testosterone levels in just a few months. The good news is, the ‘chemicals of love’ can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite. Visit http://www.herbalignite.com to find out more about.

    • Elvira Lind 9:54 am on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      We are looking for people who would like to participate in a documentary on love addiction.

      If you are addicted to love, love becomes more of a struggle than something great and joyful.

      Love addiction can rule your life in a destructive way. As someone addicted to love, you ignore your own boundaries and needs, and your attempts to loving someone are seldom returned. Love addiction can lead to obsessive thinking, anxiety, despair and loneliness.

      With this film we would like to tell the world around us more about love addiction and help people understand. We hope you would like to help with your insights and experiences. There are many types and stages of love addiction, and we are interested in hearing about any one of them.

      We will be in the US in November and December 2009.

      Learn more: http://www.loveaddictiondoc.com

      Write us: loveaddiction@danishdocumentary.com

      Warm regards

      Elvira (research) and Pernille Rose (director)

  • midlifelove 3:15 am on June 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , insomnia, , , , , , , , ,   

    Why is love addictive? 

    love-addiction copy

    Brain imaging has confirmed what lovers have long-known. The crazy fixation we call romantic love is an addiction. . . maybe that’s why the Greeks called romantic love “the madness of the gods.”

    Anyone who has ever been in the clutches of irrational infatuation knows the symptoms. Seemingly inexhaustible energy allows you to talk until dawn.  Satiated with love, you don’t need to eat; you feel you can live on air. Elated when things are going well, you sink into despair when things look like collapsing.

    Noticeably there is a real dependence on the relationship, says Dr Helen Fisher, an expert on romantic love whose books including Why We Love trace the physical and psychological dependence of this primary human drive.

    And dependence it is. Brain scans of love-stricken couples compared with men and women injected with cocaine, show many of the same brain regions become active.  So how does this happen?

    Three Classic Symptoms

    Directly or indirectly, all “drugs of abuse” affect a single pathway in the brain, the reward centres activated by dopamine. Romantic love stimulates parts of the same pathway with the same chemical.

    In response to dopamine, the bewitched lover shows three classic symptoms of addiction: tolerance, withdrawal and relapse.

    Tolerance: At first you’re happy to see loved one now and then… but very quickly you need them more and more until you “can’t live without them.”

    Withdrawal: Dropped by your lover? The rejected one shows all the classic signs of drug withdrawal – depression, crying, anxiety, insomnia, loss or appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness. You’ll also go to humiliating lengths to “procure a fix” – to see your lover, and try and renew the relationship.

    Relapse: Long after the affair is over, hearing a particular song, or revisiting an old haunt can trigger the craving and initiate compulsive calling or writing to get another “high”. The lover is “a slave of passion.” Or rather – a slave to dopamine.

    The Dopamine High

    Dopamine. It’s at the core of our sexual drives and survival needs, and it motivates us to do just about everything. This mechanism within the reward circuitry of the primitive brain has been around for millions of years.

    It’s behind a lot of the desire we associate with eating and sexual intercourse. Similarly, all addictive drugs trigger dopamine (the “craving neurochemical”) to stimulate the pleasure/reward circuitry. So do gambling, shopping, overeating, sexual climax and other, seemingly unrelated, activities. They all work somewhat differently on the brain, but all raise your dopamine.

    You get a bigger blast of dopamine eating high-calorie, high-fat foods than eating low-calorie vegetables. You may believe that you love ice cream, but you really love your blast of dopamine. You’re genetically programmed to seek out high-calorie foods over others. Similarly, dopamine drives you to have sex over most other activities.

    Boost Sexual Health

    Many of the hormones involved in sex and love – including dopamine, serotonin and testosterone – are susceptible to stress or aging. They can be boosted by eating the right foods – including cottage cheese, chicken, dark chocolate, yoghurt, eggs, and oats, or by herbal and nutritional supplements like Herbal Ignite.

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