[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 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
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...
Yin Yoga is a form of yoga that is derived from ancient yoga practices dating back thousands of years that was changed and developed in the west starting in the 1970s. In Yin Yoga practice, postures are typically held for 3-5 minutes, though they may be held one minute or longer. Yin Yoga poses work with gravity to passively place gentle stress on the area around the joints and connective tissues to strengthen said tissues surrounding the joints. Yin Yoga is intended to be practiced in conjunction with more active, or yang, practices.
By creating gentle stress the theory is that a routine Yin Yoga practice will strengthen and healthily mobilize fascia and other connective tissues.
Holiday marketing and Hallmark movies will tell you that the season is only full of Joy, laughter, and celebrations. But, for some, the holidays can bring up stress and disrupt calm. Try the six tips below to support your calm this season.
Try a daily meditation practice for the few weeks before the holidays and until they wrap up (or continue beyond!). Even just five minutes of meditation can set up your entire day. Try Dr. Culbert's meditation on compassion and tolerance.>>>
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday - unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” ― Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon
Try to make room for your regularly scheduled workouts. If you can't find the time, opt for an active group activity such as a hike or a walk around the neighborhood.
Do your best to go to bed and rise at the same time every day. Late night...
Find a comfortable seat or lay down. Take a few slow breaths, then simply repeat each statement below three times.
If possible, begin by writing each statement below on a piece of paper. Then, use your paper to guide you through the meditation (rather than looking at a potentially distracting screen).
The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to...
The percentage of people in the US suffering from depression, anxiety, and poor focus/memory are historically high and increasing by more than 10% each decade. The rise is even faster among adolescents. If you are struggling with one of these common mental health problems, you are most definitely not alone!
Antidepressant medications still form the mainstay of treatment for depression and anxiety, while stimulants are the primary treatment for ADD. Consumers and professionals alike are realizing the limitations of conventional treatments and desperately looking for more natural, safe yet effective alternatives.
There is no unified theory explaining the epidemic of disorders, either in the...
By now you have probably heard of the potential health benefits of the natural plant-based remedy, CBD oil. It is derived from the cannabis plant, the same plant-type that provides marijuana. Cannabis plants have actually been utilized for millennia all over the world for their healing properties.
Understandably, there is some confusion about the differences between CBD oil and marijuana products. CBD oil that is hemp-based is legal in all 50 states. On the other hand, marijuana products vary by state in terms of their legality for medical versus recreational. CBD oil and marijuana both differ in their safety and efficacy for mental health symptoms in kids, teens, and adults.
I know, it's confusing. Let’s try to sort this all out...
The term cannabis is used to identify a genus of flowering plants in...
There is sparse evidence that CBD oil can improve the core symptoms of ADHD, and the evidence that exists is mostly anecdotal. Nonetheless, that isn’t stopping patients from trying it.
The current concern is that consumer/patient use has sped past scientific evidence for use and regulation on product quality. That means long-term effects are virtually unknown and snake-oil companies continue to pop up with CBD products that are not pure.
An article in ADDitude magazine summarized this:
“During [a person’s] development, I worry about cannabinoids, both CBD and THC,” says UCLA’s Evans. “There are adenosine receptors (and CB2 receptors) on the microglia that are critical for brain development, and CBD inhibits adenosine uptake. This may be a beneficial factor for epilepsy and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, but who knows for ADHD.”
I've found melatonin to be quite helpful for kids and teens with ADHD for both sleep onset and sleep maintenance issues. However, some concerns have popped up about kids and teens using melatonin for long periods of time (more than 6 months) or at high-doses. However, little has been substantiated through research studies.
A recent systematic review of 13 RCTs assessed the safety and efficacy of melatonin for pediatric patients with ND disorders (e.g, ADHD and Autism). Studies included a total of 632 children who took either regular melatonin or controlled release melatonin. The review found that:
Creating a culture of healthy sleep in a household requires a “whole family” behavioral approach to sleep. That means you'll need everyone in your home to opt-in to healthy sleep hygiene practices.
No matter if your family consists of just you, twelve cats, or lots of humans, you'll want to consider all the beings and environmental influences that can be optimized for sleep. Short-term assists like melatonin can be helpful, but it's really the establishment of healthy sleep practices that bring the lasting benefits.
Some of the...
Many of the same brain regions that regulate sleep and arousal also control attention. You've likely felt that firsthand when trying to focus on a task after a rough night of [no] sleep. It's a losing battle.
The relationship between ADHD and sleep is becoming more clear as new research has identified that:
Though not always done in usual care, it's vital that sleep issues are explored in any child, teen, or adult with complaints of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. If you're a patient or parent who can relate, don't be shy to bring up the topic of sleep with your...
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