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Valerian for Anxiousness and Sleep

calm sleep Mar 26, 2020

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those posts first.

Valerian Benefits | Valerian and Anxiety

Valerian has been called “natural Valium.” It is not as effective as the prescription drugs, but it is also safer and non-addicting, and it may offer benefit for both anxiety and sleep. The plant contains some of the calming amino acids, like arginine and GABA, and it is believed to work via GABA and serotonin receptors.21 There was an older study combining valerian with St. John’s wort, and comparing that combination to the drug Valium for treatment of anxiety. The natural remedies actually came out on top.22

Valerian Dosage & Use*

I usually recommend valerian for sleep support, though sometimes for anxiousness. Calm Nights is a good option, take up to 3 or 4 times daily. If it's...

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Nourish Your Brain for Better Sleep

foundations sleep Mar 19, 2020

Nourish Your Brain for Better Sleep

What you eat--and when!--can have a significant impact on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This may be more obvious for things like coffee and energy drinks, but there are other food items and the timing of when you eat them that may be helpful or detrimental to your sleep. 

The nourishment steps and food list below can help you refine your diet so that it supports your sleep. Pair these resources with The Resilient Diet and you'll have nourishment that fuels a good night's sleep.

Three Nourishing Steps to Support Your Sleep

Use the three steps below to change your food habits and improve your sleep. Don't feel obligated to put all of them into action immediately. Go step by step, take some time, and put each into action with confidence and commitment. You can do it!

First: Timing Is Everything

While eating balanced and nutritious meals throughout the day will support your sleep, it's not just the content of...

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Sleep, Resilience, and Mental Health

foundations sleep Mar 05, 2020
 

Good Sleep Is Non-Negotiable

Your sleep, mood, and brain function are intimately related. Scientific studies tell us that our emotional states affect sleep and that sleep affects emotions. The good news is that you can create better sleep with fairly simple strategies.

How Well Do You Sleep?

Think about how you would honestly answer the following questions:

  1. How many hours do you sleep each night?
  2. How well do you sleep at night? Do you feel rested after you've slept a full night?

Did you know that your answers to these questions are intimately connected to your mood and brain function? Difficulty sleeping is sometimes the first symptom of a mood disorder; 15-20% of people diagnosed with insomnia will develop major depression (1). Getting your sleep right is one of the best things you can do if you have a mood disorder. Studies show that improving insomnia boosts the chances of recovering from depression by a remarkable 50%! 

Recent studies have also...

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Coronaviruses and Essential Oils

aromatherapy Mar 02, 2020

Announcement! A free program you may be interested in:

Calm in the Time of Coronavirus: A Free Online Resilience Retreat (learn more here)

A common question we've been asked lately:

Can essential oils treat the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Short answer:

No. Essential oils, at least as we can currently evaluate them, are not an effective prevention or treatment strategy for COVID-19.

However, current scientific evidence does support some beneficial antiviral impact using specific essential oils in cleaning solution on surfaces (and land areas), diffused into the air, and possibly inhaled. Humans have also been using essential oil blends for thousands of years for these types of illnesses. There's likely some wisdom in that historical use.

Essential Oils Can Be Part of a Holistic Approach for COVID-19

No surprise, we like to think holistically about treatment for any health condition. Our Protect and Recover essential oil blend contains the...

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Natural Remedies for ADHD

family focus kids Feb 27, 2020

First: Are US Kids Worse Off?

11% of US children have an ADHD diagnosis. In France, the prevalence of an ADHD diagnosis is 0.5%. Part of this spread has to do with the US health care system's practice of readily pathologizing children's behaviors. Many behaviors may just be normal developmental variations or reflect behaviors brought on by stress, trauma, learning style issues, chaotic family situations, inadequate educational environments, or suboptimal lifestyle practices. 

Kids Are Not to Blame

There are many reasons for the difference in ADHD rates between kids in the US and France. One key reason has to do with the US mental health care system. 

Over the past few decades, psychiatry has become more biologically-based causing pharmaceutical companies and the field of psychiatry to focus almost exclusively on the "neurotransmitter deficiency model" of mental illness. For example, biologically based studies on ADHD...

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Heart Rate Coherence

awaken Feb 13, 2020

Enhance Awakening to Sleep Better

While it may seem strange to be talking about "awakening" in regards to improving sleep, we aren't using "awaken" in the literal sense here. Instead, we're talking about awakening your senses to the world around you, cultivating positive emotions, and engaging more intentionally and fully in your life. Frequent stress and depleting or negative emotions (such as frustration, anger, anxiety, or fear) drain energy from body, mind, and heart and interfere with sleep. Falling asleep in a positive emotional state and with a relaxed balance in your autonomic nervous system is ideal for promoting restful, restorative, and pleasant sleep. Regularly experiencing positive emotions such as joy, compassion, love, and appreciation can stop this energy drain and help you re-balance.

Heart Rate Coherence

One of the most effective ways to achieve balance is through awareness and control of the patterns of our heart rhythms. The heart and brain...

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Awaken Your Sensory Awareness for Better Mental Health

awaken Feb 06, 2020
 

You likely have a basic understanding of how diet and movement habits impact mental health. However, you may be less familiar with the concept of awakening, even though it is equally crucial to wellbeing. So what do we mean by "awakening?" In this article, we'll focus on helping you develop an enhanced awareness of how it feels to breathe calmly and fully and be fully present in your body.

Awakening practices can sharpen your senses, promote mindfulness, and help you listen to your inner voice. Essentially, "awakening" means coming alive--not just going through the motions of healthy habits, but truly being present in them. In other words, while the Nourish and Move foundational practices are about doing, the Awaken practices are about being.

Breath and Body Awareness Practice

The Resilient Breath and Body Awareness Practice is a valuable tool to help you feel more comfort in your body, settle down your mind, and awaken your being. Watch the...

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Move Your Body for Better Mental Health

foundations move Jan 23, 2020

Resilient Movement Plans

You may find yourself saying one of the following statements:

  • "I know that I should exercise, but I just don't have time."
  • "Running on a treadmill is so boring."
  • "I can't afford a gym membership."
  • "I just can't seem to stick to a regular exercise routine."

Does this sound like you? If you find yourself saying any of the statements above, you're not alone. Many people struggle to exercise regularly, even though they know it will improve their physical health. The fact is, scientific research has shown again and again that moving our bodies more frequently has a significant positive impact on our mental health as well. Regular movement can: 

  • Effectively treat depression1
  • Normalize cortisol levels
  • Protect against oxidation
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Normalize blood sugar
  • Improve learning ability2
  • Promote the survival of new brain cells3
  • Help you grow a bigger, healthier, better-connected brain4

Focus on movement, not exercise.

Good news! You...

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Basic Concepts of Supplementation

foundations Jan 16, 2020

Basic Concepts of Supplementation

We believe folks need more skills and fewer pills when it comes to supporting a more resilient body, mind, and heart. We like to start with three basic skill-based concepts (many of which have already been covered in this category) before recommending supplements to the individuals we work with.

Concept 1: What you feed your body today will become your brain of tomorrow. In other words, start with diet. Consider these facts: 

  • Brain cells, like every other cell in the body, need constant fuel (energy) from clean proteins and complex carbohydrates to properly carry out their functions.
  • Neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine depend upon receiving key nutrients (like magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins) from diet.
  • The speed at which brain cells can communicate depends upon an insulating covering around the nerve cells (the “myelin sheath”). It is also made from nutrients in your diet.
  • Building a healthy...
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Enhance Your Resilient Diet

digest foundations nourish Jan 09, 2020

Enhance Your Mind-Body Health Through Nutrition

Once you've incorporated the six principles of the Resilient Diet into your daily habits, you may be ready for these more in-depth practices to further enhance your mind-body health through nutrition. There's no need to adopt these suggestions all at once--you can pick and choose the ones that work for you.

Practice 1: Eat more frequent meals and keep portions small.

  • Always eat breakfast—after fasting overnight, your brain needs fresh fuel.
  • Eat every 4-5 hours throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady.
  • Ideal: Eat three meals of 400-600 calories each, along with 2-3 snacks of 100-200 calories each.  Have a snack in the late morning and mid-afternoon.  You may also want to add a small snack just before bedtime if you eat dinner early or wake at night feeling hungry. 

Practice 2: Have a modest amount of protein with each meal and snack. 

  • Note that some folks may want to avoid protein at...
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