How To Get More Deep Sleep In Just 5 Simple Steps

How To Get More Deep Sleep

As night falls, some of us are really excited to crawl into bed to have a good quality sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.  Unfortunately, for a lot of people it’s not often the case.  Bedtime can be a frustrating time for some, tossing and turning with the inability to sleep.  With sleep being so valuable and so many of us lacking it, here’s how to get more deep sleep in just five simple steps.

sleep schedule

How To Get More Deep Sleep

#1 – Stick To A Sleep Schedule

Choose a bedtime and awake time that works best for your lifestyle and stick to it!  Even on weekends and holidays.  A sleep schedule will help regulate your bodies clock and keep you on a routine.

#2 – Honor Your Circadian Rhythm

When you honor your bodies clock, you also honor your body’s hormonal regulation system.  The hormone melatonin is released from your brain when you are in darkness.  Melatonin is a hormone that tells our body to slow down and sleep.  Melatonin is not released as readily when we’re out in the sunlight or around bright lights.  Honoring your circadian rhythm means creating a dark space to sleep and staying away from screens for at least one hour before bed.  It’s time to turn off the TV, computer and phone.  Create a dark space for yourself before bed.

When you wake up in the morning, spend time in a bright or well-lit area.  Open your blinds and let the sunshine in!  Start to eat breakfast by a window or out on the deck if weather permits.  Begin your day with a morning walk or outdoor time.  The exposure to sunlight and well-lit areas will signal your brain to decrease melatonin release and help increase your energy throughout the day.

bedtime ritual

#3 – Create A Bedtime Ritual

Creating a routine that divides your day may be helpful in falling asleep and staying asleep.  There are times during the day that we may experience anxiety, stress or excitement.  For some us it’s when we are at the gym, at work or playing with the kids.  Creating a bedtime ritual separates the high excitement state from the low energy and relaxed state you want to be in before bed.  The ritual allows you to shift to a state of calm and relaxation.

For some people the ritual may be an epson salt bath before bed, meditation listening to relaxing music in a calm quiet area of your house, sitting and chatting with your partner or reading an easy book.  Creating that bedtime ritual is also going to help you fall asleep and get you in that relaxed state.  Want to put a little Namaste in your life?  Click here to learn more!

#4 – Evaluate Your Room

Look around your room and determine if there are any factors that can affect your sleep. Sources of light like alarm clocks, night lights and windows can be contributing to your poor quality or lack of sleep.  Assess your room and evaluate if it is dark.  If you have a clock and it’s shining or flashing, turn it away from you or even remove it from your room.  Move electronics away from your bed and out of your bedroom.  Put the nightlight in the hallway and close your door.  You can even use a mask to help keep things dark.  Make sure that your sleep space is a quiet area.  If you find that there are noises that are waking you up
try to move them or use earplugs at night.  Avoid any sleep disturbances.

How To Find The Right Pillow

#5 – Get Good Quality Pillows & Mattress

The average good quality bed typically has a life span of 10 years.  If your mattress is old and expired, than switch it out or invest in a new one.  I say invest because it truly is a solid investment.  The average person spends eight hours a day in their bed (sleeping or trying to sleep).  You use your bed every single day for years.  Therefore, a quality mattress is key to quality sleep!

If you’re sleeping on your side use one good quality pillow rather than a stack of pillows.  If you are sleeping on your back, use a small thin pillow.  Click here to take the pillow test.

Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach!  Need help picking the perfect pillow for you?  Click here to learn about all things pillows from the pillow doctor himself!

I hope you now know how to get more deep sleep and that these simple tips help you  improve your quality of sleep.  Of course, there’s many more things that you can do to help improve your quality of but this is a perfect place to start.

Also, something to consider if you have symptoms of exhaustion, anxiety and sleep disturbances is adrenal fatigue.  Click here to find out if you have adrenal fatigue and ways you can fight back naturally!

Have a wonderful night sleep tonight and sweet dreams!

Stroke And Heart Attack Linked To Drinking This!

stroke and heart attack

The power of the brain and nervous system amazes me.  A system that controls literally every process and function in the body.  Therefore, I’m always interested in good research affecting the health and function of the nervous system.  Recently, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine in the US who is a practicing neurosurgeon.  The subject of the e-mail floored me. 

“Drinking two or more diet sodas a day linked to high risk of stroke and heart attack.” (1)

I needed to learn more.  So, I clicked on the link and pulled up the research studies they were referring to.  Why?  Because the media is NOTORIOUS for misrepresenting research and misleading the public just to increase viewership.  

stroke and heart attack

Are We Surprised?

Let me state that for many health professionals, the findings of this study aren’t a surprise.  I would even argue that the majority of us with an interest in nutrition are well aware of the dangers of consuming artificially sweetened beverages on a regular basis.  We know that previous research has already shown soft drinks (both diet and regular) to be associated with a number of health risks.  Stroke and dementia (2), diabetes (3), obesity (4), and metabolic syndrome (5) which is a precursor to heart disease are just a few. 

Click here to read more about how drinking diet soda increases your risk of stroke 3-fold.

What Did The Data Reveal?

Drinking two or more of any kind of soft drink increased the risk of stroke and heart attacks.  Early death in women over 50 years of age was also reported.  The study sample included over 81,000 people.  However, Only 5% of them actually consumed two or more diet soda beverages.  What is interesting about this study is that these findings were reported after they accounted for age, ethnicity, Body Mass Index, and blood pressure.  These women didn’t have a history of stroke, heart disease, or diabetes.  All confounding variables that lead to heart attacks and strokes. 

Also, they found that physical activity and diet were the same between people who drank two or more diet soft drinks and those who didn’t.  After controlling for all these factors, the study found the following;

  • Women who consumed 2+ diet drinks a day were 31% more likely to have a clot-based stroke
  • 29% more likely to have heart disease
  • 16% more likely to die from any cause than the women who either drank less or none at all

Whose Risks Were The Highest?

  1. Women aged 50-79.
  2. If you were African-American.
  3. If you had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30+.

Stroke and Dementia Risk, Linked to Artificial Sweeteners

What Do The Results Tell Us?

For one, switching to diet sodas and juices with artificial sweeteners is not necessarily a “healthier” option.  They are both bad.  These studies don’t tell us outright that consuming soft drinks causes strokes.  However, it is safe to say the results of these long-term studies definitely raise some alarms.  

Also, it tells us that in people with no previous diseases that predispose us to heart attacks and strokes, result the exact same.  It would be interesting to look at a study that shows how long people would need to drink diet sodas before their risks start to increase.

But what is it about artificial sweeteners that increases our risk?  I am unaware if a scientific consensus exists that demonstrates causality.  Likely more research needs to be conducted before we can establish a direct causal relationship.  One explanation for the increased risk associated with artificial sweeteners may be that they alter the bacteria in the gut.  It could disrupts the body’s ability to control glucose.  If the body can’t control glucose than this can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke. (6)

Click here for my TV segment discussing the important role our gut plays in the regulation of our immune system.  Also, for helpful ways to avoid sugar, click here to read Sugar – Are you singing the sugar blues?

I’m an advocate for people breaking lifestyle habits that are unlikely to contribute to their well-being.  We are learning by way of repeated studies demonstrating similar results.  Consuming high amounts of sugar or diet sodas is ultimately going to lead to poorer health.  So next time you’re faced with a choice for a drink, maybe opt for water with lemon instead.

References:

1. CNN – Drinking two or more diet sodas a day linked to high risk of stroke heart attacks

2. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

3. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

4. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health – nutrition

5. 4. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health – nutrients

6. TIME – Diet Sodas and Juices Are Linked to Higher Stroke Risk, Study Says

Lawsuit Filed Against Canadian Government Officials for ‘draconian and unjustifiable’ Response to the Pandemic

covid-19 lawsuit Canada

In Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by the Government has started a difficult conversation. Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC) is suing Trudeau’s liberal Government and the Government of Ontario. The lawsuit holds both governments accountable for declaring draconian measures in response to Covid-19.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL LAWSUIT STATEMENT OF CLAIM

In a press release statement by one of plaintiffs, the non-profit group said;

“We are living in unprecedented times. The indiscriminate containment of the people of Canada, the restricted access to parliament, medical and educational services. The destruction of local economies and the requirement to social distancing, along with the forced use of facial masks are measures that have never before been imposed on Canadian citizens. The impact of these aberrant measures on our physical, psychological, social, and economic well-being is destructive. And these actions are unsustainable, extreme, and unconstitutional.”

Legal Action Against Trudeau’s Government

On Monday, July 6, 2020 the legal action was filed against Trudeau’s Government and the Government of Ontario. The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of Ontario, includes many other parties including various public health officers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Municipality of Toronto.

In the statement of claim by VCC, the group lists the following as defendants:

  • Justin Trudeau – Canadian Prime Minister
  • Doug Ford – Ontario Premier
  • Dr. Theresa Tam – Canada’s Chief Medical Officer
  • Dr. David Williams – Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer
  • Christine Elliot & Stephen Lecce – Ontario’s Health and Education Ministers
“VCC formally filed legal action in the Superior Court of Ontario to hold several defendants accountable for their actions concerning COVID-19 measures. The defendants include the Canadian Government, the Government of Ontario, the Municipality of Toronto, public health officers, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.”

The plaintiffs announced at an in-person event for accredited press only that the non-profit society is seeking payment of the lawsuit cost. It’s also seeking that the defendants no longer enforce the mandatory measures on Canada’s citizens. This is because the plaintiffs feel the measures violate the rights of citizens under the constitution of Canada and were not scientifically justified.

They are seeking a declaration that face masks should not be mandatory. The group also wants social distancing measures withdrawn as well as the closure of schools, playgrounds, and churches.

One of the plaintiffs said;

“During times of emergency, Constitutional rights do not stop being important. They become even more important.”

In the Statement of Claim, it’s noted that the plaintiffs are also seeking $10 million in punitive damages and $1 million in general damages from CBC. The group is suing CBC for spreading “false news” and “misinformation” about the pandemic.

In the news release, one of the plaintiff groups state;

“An over-rated (COVID-19) pandemic narrative is being used to create panic and justify the violation of rights, including Constitutional rights, the rule of law, democracy, sovereignty, and financial security.”

Both global and health research experts have criticized the Canadian Government for enacting unjustifiable measures in response to the pandemic. One of those experts is Emmet Macfarlane, a University of Waterloo political science professor. He said;

“It’s not surprising that non-profit groups are taking issues with some of the  measures set by the government. The longer the emergency situation continues, the more restrictions on personal liberties…”

VCC Opposes New Brunswick Bill

Recently, one of the plaintiffs [VCC] outwardly opposed the New Brunswick bill mandating the vaccination of kids attending public schools. The controversial bill would have removed philosophical and religious exemptions as reasons for forcing parents to vaccinate their kids.

The bill, introduced by Dominic Cardy, the New Brunswick’s Minister of Education, failed. In the free vote, the Bill 11, received 20 against 22 votes.

One of the voters who objected to the bill was Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason. In a statement to CBC, she said the reason for opposing the bill was the lack of “evidence” that there was an impact on immunizations as a result of the anti vaxx movement.

Ted Kuntz, President of VCC, told Lifesitenews.com that any form of forced vaccination, even the Covid-19, is unconstitutional. This is after the site inquired about the approval of Health Canada human trial testing of a COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is from an aborted fetal cell line. He also said;

“The decision by Health Canada to approve human trial testing for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine should concern us all. Bypassing standard safety protocols and rushing a vaccine to market increases the risk of producing a product that will cause more harm than good. It has the potential of undermining the trust in our medical professionals, and health organizations.”

VCC news release states;

…warning bells are being rung about the consequences of the extreme and unwarranted actions that violate the freedoms and rights well established in the Canadian and international law.”

As a non-profit group founded by families who suffered from vaccine injuries and reactions, VCC (Vaccine Choice Canada) is and has been a vocal opponent of government responses. In the lawsuit, Rocco Galati, an attorney at a Toronto-based law firm, represents the group among other plaintiffs listed in the statement of claim available at the top of this page.

Types Of IBS Causes And Your Best Solutions

types of IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, has become the go-to, catch-all diagnosis for any digestive complaints that don’t have an obvious cause/solution. However, the types of IBS causes and solutions vary from patient to patient.

Common IBS Symptoms Include:

To put it simply, IBS refers to a dysfunctional digestive tract. So, if you or your child have been given this diagnosis, it is likely that you were told the same generalized advice;

“It is stress related and to resolve it you need to better manage your stress.”

Sadly, this is very common response and often doesn’t fully help the problem. Now, I agree that stress is absolutely a big factor in IBS, however it is not the ONLY factor. In fact there are 3 which we need to consider to accurately treat IBS.

3 Major Contributing Factors To IBS

  1. Stress
  2. Unbalanced Microbiomes
  3. Food Sensitivities

Stress Versus Rest And Digest

To understand IBS, we need to understand the basics of digestion which is;

digestion occurs when we are at a RESTED state

To be more specific, it occurs when we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) a.k.a. rest and digest. This is our recovery mode where we nourish and repair our systems.

The PNS sends cues to activate proper digestion such as:

  • Producing stomach acid
  • Releasing digestive enzymes
  • Activating intestinal movement

These are all essential to break down food properly. The PNS is in direct opposition to our sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Or in other words, fight or flight.

Our SNS is activated when we are under stress. Biologically, our stress response was designed to respond to physical threats (i.e. running from or fighting off predators). Therefore, our SNS directs all energy to our:

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Muscles

And slows down “non-essential” functions such as digestion and reproductive function, which of coarse makes sense. Think about it, if you are running from a bear, you don’t need to be digesting your last meal at the same time?

However, the issue is that our current stressors usually are not physical in nature. Therefore, this response is no longer well- adapted. For example, if you get stressed at your morning meeting, you will likely not able to digest your lunch properly.

Why?  Well, when we are chronically stressed and chronically activating our SNS, we lose proper cues to the digestive system. Therefore it is unable to function optimally. In other words, we aren’t able to break down our food properly and end up with:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Balanced Microbes

You cannot have a conversation about IBS without talking about the microbiome. The microbiome are the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms that live in our body. Especially our digestive tract. They play crucial role in active digestion as well as being involved in mood regulation signalling.

When it comes to our microbiome, we are mostly concerned about maintaining proper balance. The ratio of different microbes in our gut directly influences our digestive functioning.

Therefore, too much or too little of specific microbes, will throw off proper functioning. So, if the digestive system is not functioning optimally, undigested foods will be consumed by our microbiome producing excessive amounts of gas (i.e. bloating).

Balancing the microbiome is key for effective treatment of most types of IBS symptoms. This might include anti-microbial treatments, probiotics, and specific diets.

To learn more, click here to check out my previous article, What’s The Big Deal About Probiotics?

Food Sensitivities

Our food choices are crucial when it comes to our health. This is especially true when it comes to digestion. When you are dealing with a dysfunctional digestive tract, there are certain foods that are more difficult to digest and thus cause further issues. People with IBS are also more sensitive to certain foods.

Now, food sensitivities are very different from food allergies. However, they are both immune reactions.

Food allergies cause big inflammation throughout the body such as hives, itching, and anaphylaxis. Where as food sensitivities cause small amounts of inflammation specifically in the digestive tract. This irritates our intestinal lining which can cause constipation, diarrhea, and discomfort.

The Most Common Food Sensitivities In Most Types Of IBS

  1. Gluten
  2. Dairy (especially milk, cream, and soft cheeses)
  3. Foods high in preservatives (i.e. prepackaged granola bars, crackers, yogurt)
  4. Foods high in FODMAPs or Fructose

Eliminating these foods on a trial basis while providing support to eliminate the inflammation and damaged caused, is a key step in treating IBS. Quite often you can significantly reduce the number of food sensitivities you have through this temporary elimination when it come to these types of IBS symptoms.

What I Eat in a Day for IBS + Bloating | Elimination Diets 101

Final Thoughts

IBS is both chronic and complex. There is no quick solution thus several different treatment approaches are available. However, with the proper guidance and support, it is possible to live without daily gas, bloating, and pain.

A functional treatment approach to IBS should always include:

  1. Lowering stress and activating the parasympathetic nervous system
  2. Restoring microbiome diversity
  3. Eliminating food sensitivities.

If you’re looking for start taking action today, download my free guide to Beat Bloating in 7 Steps. These are my foundational steps to start re-training your digestive tract and gain control over your IBS.

Alimentary Canal Organs And Their Role In Digestion

Alimentary Canal Organs

So, I know what you might be thinking, why in the world do I need to know about alimentary canal organs and how my digestion works? Well, it is YOUR body! Shouldn’t you know what happens to the food you put in your mouth? Furthermore how it’s processed by your body?

The Digestive Process - University of Michigan Health System

Alimentary Canal Organs And The Digestive Process

The process of digestion starts in the mouth and buccal cavity. This is where large pieces of food are broken down mechanically by your teeth. Here, saliva is secreted by the salivary glands which are located on the lower jaw, between the tongue and teeth.

Saliva softens the food, making it easier for ingestion. It also helps break down starches to sugar. Once the swallowed food passes into the esophagus, the food is moved down the digestive tract by peristaltic muscular movements into the stomach.

Next, the food mixes mucus and stomach acids, secreted by the inner lining of the stomach. This step is responsible for killing bacteria in the food and breaking down proteins and carbs into simpler substances and usually takes an average of two hours.

The broken-down substance then continues through the digestive tract where it enters the small intestine.

function of small intestine

Function Of Small Intestine

Your small intestine are a highly coiled structure that stretches about 20 feet long and is divided in 3 parts:

As it receives food from the stomach, digestive enzymes, such as bile produced by the liver, breaks down fats. At the same time, pancreatic juices produced by the pancreas, break down proteins and carbohydrates.

The inner wall of the small intestine is covered by hair-like organisms (microvilli) that help food be absorbed which takes an average of 3 hours. Next, undigested food enters the large intestine.

Function Of Large Intestine

Spanning about 5 feet in length, the large intestine contains 3 parts:

Food generally spends around 19 hours in the large intestine—far longer than in the small intestines! There, the food mixes with mucus and bacteria that live in the large intestine to begin the formation of fecal matter.

function of the colon

Function Of The Colon

Another important step takes place in your colon as it absorbs most of the water and remaining vitamins and minerals. The 4 sections of your colon include:

  • Ascending
  • Transverse
  • Descending
  • Sigmoid

Furthermore, the bacteria present in your colon are responsible for producing some of the vitamin B’s and K which turn unabsorbed carbs into:

  • Methane gas
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Hydrogen

In addition, the large intestine flora is responsible to ferment soluble fibers. Producing approximately 20 to 30 grams per day of the short-chained fatty-acids (SCFA):

With a ratio of 3:1:1, 95% can be absorbed and the remaining 5% excreted. In fact, it is estimated that about 5% – 10% of total body energy comes from SCFA’s.

Lastly, the fecal matter reaches the rectum and triggers what is called, ‘the defecation reflex’. In other words, the urge to go the bathroom. It is here where the fecal matter exits by the anus and what we commonly refer to as a bowel movement.

So there we go, the complete role of alimentary canal organs and the digestive process, from top to bottom!

For more information be sure to click on the following links: