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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, , , Kevin Rudd, L-theanine, lavender, Margaret Thatcher, melatonin, Michael Jackson, 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, , Michael Jackson, 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 5:27 am on August 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andropause, , , , , herbal supplements, low hormone, , male hormones, , memory loss, Michael Jackson, mood swings, puberty in reverse, ,   

    Was Michael Jackson In Male Menopause? 

    michael-jacksonMichael Jackson might have wanted to be Peter Pan, forever young, but was the irony of his death that he was going through male menopause?

    That’s the theory advanced by two Beverly Hills anti-aging consultants to explain the common symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia and fatigue that led to his reliance on prescription drugs.

    Karen Norris and Eve Michaels of the Simply Ageless 41 clinic suggest the 50-year-old singer may well have been rejuvenated with hormone therapy, with no need for the drugs which eventually killed him.

    “Michael has been painted this dark, troubled soul, a fragile spirit, even a drug addict,” says Norris, who authors a weekly online magazine at the SimplyAgeless411 website. “No one seems to have considered that he could have been suffering from symptoms of male menopause. The sad part is that it can easily be treated if you get to the right doctor.”

    Puberty In Reverse

    Male menopause – clinically diagnosed as andropause – is still a controversial idea for some doctors, but there seems little doubt some men suffer noticeably from symptoms associated with low levels of testosterone and other hormones as they age.

    Common symptoms include chronic fatigue, mood swings, depression, anxiety, memory loss, among others. Though symptoms vary they usually begin in the 30s and become significant between the ages of 45 and 60.

    Board certified physician Ryan Stanton, MD, is a hormone specialist based in Beverly Hills, and a frequent contributor and advisor to SimplyAgeless411 subscribers-only “ezine.” insists male menopause is very much a genuine medical problem that requires diagnosis and treatment.

    “It’s sometimes called ‘puberty in reverse’ but that makes it seem like a mid-life crisis and diminishes the serious affects it can have on a man’s physical and emotional well-being,” Dr. Stanton says. “To think that it’s just a phase that will eventually pass and not seek treatment for it can be dangerous.”

    Low Testosterone Regimen

    Low hormone levels of thyroid, cortisol and testosterone are easily treated through a regimen of tablets and gels applied to the skin. For most men, the results are dramatic and immediate.

    Anti aging consultant Karen Norris says a standard blood test doesn’t screen all of your hormone levels and will not reveal the full scope of a man’s hormonal profile.

    Testosterone can also be stimulated by herbal supplements like tribulus terrestris found in natural health supplements like Herbal Ignite.micheal

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