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Morning Routine for Better Sleep

 

Before you begin your routine, it's important that you set a bedtime and wake-up time. Aim to get to bed at about the same time each night. Getting up at the same time each day can also help you keep a regular bedtime. Remember to choose times that are realistic for you and that give you 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Goal: Complete These Practices Within Three Hours after Waking Up.

Wake Up On Time. Get up at the same time every day (or close to it). This is crucial to setting your circadian rhythm. Use alarms if you have to. It’s even more helpful to awaken with the light, either the natural sunrise or a dawn simulator.

Make Your Bed. Making your bed each morning improves the chances of a good night’s sleep by nearly 20% because it keeps you from using your bed for anything but sleep.

Eat Breakfast. Learn more from the Nourish practices in this Sleep section.

Get Some Sun. Get bright light in the morning, preferably within an hour or two of waking. That will...

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Calm Yourself: Balancing Excess Glutamate and GABA Deficiencies with Supplements & Herbs (part 2)

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

Assuming you've read Part 1 of this series, then you're ready to explore the key neurotransmitters involved in the brain’s fear circuit and also the nutritional supports that can support better brain chemistry balance. 

In this Part of the series, we'll explore how to balance GABA deficiencies and excess glutamate.  

Balance Glutamate and GABA to Support a Calm Mood

Your body is truly elegant in its design, and this is especially apparent with brain function. One common element of this design is a binary system in which one chemical activates a process while its partner turns it off again. That is true of the first two brain chemicals we'll discuss: Glutamate and GABA. These chemicals alone account for over 80 percent of brain activity. Glutamate accelerates brain activity—it is “excitatory.”  Its buddy GABA puts the brakes on brain activity—it is...

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Essential Oils for Adrenal Fatigue

By Tim Culbert, MD

Essential oils are a popular cure for... well, just about anything if you do a Google search. Research doesn't support many of those wild claims, but solid support does exist for the use of essential oils for many mental health benefits. Experiences consistent with adrenal fatigue are likely good fits for some oily-application.

So, can you heal adrenal fatigue with essential oils?

Short(ish) answer: using essential oils (aromatherapy) may offer a quick energy and mood boost that can then help support you as you take additional actions that offer more lasting effects.

Considering how safe aromatherapy can be when used properly, it’s worth a try if you have symptoms consistent with what’s commonly understood as adrenal fatigue.

On that note, if you haven’t read our article on adrenal fatigue, read it here. It’s a super helpful summary to get your grounded before you find yourself lost in the dark web...

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Adaptogens and Nervines for Resilience in Body and Mind

 By Tim Culbert, MD

Adaptogens and nervines can support resilience in body and mind. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your system adapt more skillfully when faced with stress. 

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.

Adaptogens Can Help

  • Increase blood flow in the central nervous system.
  • Increase the release of helpful brain chemicals such as nerve growth factor and BDNF.
  • Modulate brain waves.
  • Support neuroplasticity.
  • Boost the production of neurotransmitters.
  • Prevent cell damage.
  • Eliminate toxins.
  • Balance the stress response of the adrenal system.
  • Quiet the mind and body.

Common Adaptogens

  • Ginseng.
    • American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) can help...
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Evening Routine for Better Sleep

 

Before you begin your routine, it's important that you set a bedtime and wake-up time. Aim to get to bed at about the same time each night. Getting up at the same time each day can also help you keep a regular bedtime. Remember to choose times that are realistic for you and that give you 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

1-2 Hours Before Bed

Stop Work, Turn Off Devices, and Stay Away From the Bedroom. Stop any work-related tasks and turn off your electronics including the computer, iPad, and smart-phone. Keep the bedroom for sleep. Remove work-related items, TVs, or other electronic devices. Keep the room simple and uncluttered.

Dim the Lights. Keep your lights as low as you can, or even use candles. Darkness before bed will do amazing things for your natural sleepiness.

Practice at Least One Soothing Activity. Read a book, journal, color listen to light music, or spend time in prayer or meditation. If you like to take a warm bath or shower in the evening, do so at least one...

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Postpartum Depression in Fathers

Uncategorized

Tim Culbert, MD

 

Important Fact: Up to 25% of fathers experience postpartum depression (PPD) and fathers may have different signs/symptoms than women who experience postpartum depression.

For example, men with PPD may not cry,  but often feel more angry, irritable, or impulsive. They may also have trouble finding anything to do that gives them pleasure (anhedonia), experience relationship stress, and have trouble with sleep.

Studies suggest that dads with depression are at increased risk for substance abuse, domestic violence, and are more likely to discourage the child’s mother from breastfeeding. 

Unfortunately, few dads are screened for PPD. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is starting to be used by professionals, but it's not common. It's an important issue that impacts the whole family when fathers with PPD go undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

For example, men with PPD are more likely to spank their kid(s) and less likely to interact with...

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Create a Sleep-Friendly Space

 

Your Sleeping Space Can Help You Sleep 

All of your daily movements and routines should be rewarded with the best sleep you can get. Simple changes to your bedroom can help make that happen.

Keep It for Sleep. Keep the bedroom for sleep. Remove work-related items, TVs, or other electronic devices. Keep the room simple and uncluttered.

Keep It Dark and Tech Free. Even small amounts of light can alter melatonin secretion, so shut out all possible lighting (including alarm clocks, cell phones and night lights). Get room-darkening shades for your windows if needed or consider using an eye mask at night.

Keep It Quiet. When you cycle into a lighter stage of sleep, even the slightest sound can wake you up. If your partner snores, consider using a white noise machine (e.g. a room air cleaner). If need be, consider sleeping in separate rooms—studies show that most couples sleep better in separate bedrooms.

Keep It Cool. You sleep best when your body is...

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Movements and Routines for Better Sleep

 

Moving your body in certain ways while you're awake can prepare it for better, longer sleep. Specifically, there are two powerful strategies that can help you sleep better: 

1. Exercise During the Day

Exercise during the day will likely help you sleep better. Just remember to try and finish moderate to high intensity exercise at least three hours before you go to bed to keep your stress hormones down and your body cool at bedtime.

Don't have an exercise plan yet? In order to help you find a movement routine that works for you, we have created three resilient movement plans: the Basic Movement Plan, the Even Better Movement Plan, and the Ideal Movement Plan. Learn more and find the plans here.>>>

2. Create Evening and Morning Routines

Incorporating more meaningful movement throughout your day can play a big role in the quality of your sleep. One way to accomplish this is to create morning and evening routines. These routines incorporate...

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The Relationship Between Allergies and Anxiety

by Henry Emmons, MD

 

Recent research has shown a correlation between children and adults who have allergies/asthma and also have anxiety disorders. It’s not known if one problem causes the other, or if perhaps they have a similar underlying cause, or if perhaps simply not feeling well adds to one’s stress level. 

Allergies, Anxiety, and Inflammation

In my clinical practice, I have observed this relationship for a long time. I can’t explain it either, but I do have some theories. What I notice is that when the body over-reacts to things (in this case, one over-reacts to an “allergen” like pollen, dust or pets), the mind is often over-reactive as well. It fits with my belief that mind and body are not really separate things, just different facets of the whole. As to what causes this correlation, I think inflammation is a likely culprit. After all, if the body has inflammation, so does the brain, and recent theories suggest that...

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Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Summer

joy

 

Henry Emmons, MD

Seasonal affective disorder... in the summer?

Most of us in the far north live for summer. After a long winter (and potentially a long quarantine!), we just want to be outdoors, stay up later, be more active—pack in all the things we love that we’ve felt deprived of for nearly half of the year (read about SAD in the winter here.), but for a minority of people it’s the anticipation of summer, not winter, that gives them a feeling of dread.

We tend to associate Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with winter, when the days are short and so is our energy supply. You’re probably familiar with what it looks and feels like: Lethargy; sluggishness; struggling to get out of bed in the morning; sleeping too much; and usually feeling depressed, emotionally flat, or both. 

SAD involves recurring episodes of major depression that happen at the same time of year for at least two years. For 10% of people with SAD, that time of year is the...

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