Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘circadian rhythm’

August 21, 2015 Don’t Blame it on the Bossa Nova, It’s Your Tweaked Circadian Rhythm!

Your Migraines and Insomnia Might Just Be Related

Contrary to my usual style, I’ve been tossing tonight’s topic around for a couple of days; taking notes, doing research, changing track and, in the midst of it all, suffering one of my rare migraines. Hmmm, a connection, maybe?

Since the dawn of mankind, and frankly, even before, we’ve been at the mercy of our internal clocks. Earliest man got up with the sunrise and went to sleep when the sun set. Even when the discovery of fire made it possible to see in the dark, we continued to take our cues from the sun. Small wonder, as I discovered, because lack of light causes our pineal gland to secrete melatonin which is meant to make us sleepy so we’ll go to sleep.

But not all of us stay on the normal day/night schedule. Some of us simply function better from late morning until the early hours of the next day. We are often called “night owls” and are the butt of a few jokes when, in fact, there are some very reasonable explanations.

With the increasing popularity of the Internet, not only do we tend to work or play longer, but we develop friendships around the world. When we would normally sleep, it’s morning for some of our friends so in order to communicate, one of us needs to alter their schedule. But frivolity aside, the bright light of the computer screen can also fake out our pineal gland and prevent it from secreting melatonin at the proper time (typically between 10:00 and 11:00 PM).

Jet Lag isn’t Just for Travelers

While some people experience tiredness and a confused sleep cycle as a result of changing time zones, the flashing pixels on our monitors can yield the same results. While it takes time to re-set our internal clocks, what causes us to struggle with insomnia and twisted sleep patterns has been found to be a migraine trigger as well. In a study conducted at the University of Sao Paolo, patients were given one of three things: a placebo, 25 mg of amitriptyline or 3 mg of melatonin.

To make a long story short, the study found that the melatonin was far more effective at preventing migraines when administered an hour before bedtime every day than the amitriptyline. The study went on to state:

Furthermore, it has been implicated in migraine pathophysiology due to its anti-inflammatory effects, ability to scavenge free-radicals, inhibition of dopamine and release of nitric oxide synthase (5). Melatonin also has a role in membrane stabilisation. With sleep-related factors featuring so prominently in migraineur’s lives, it makes sense that we examine the relationship between poor sleep hygiene, melatonin synthesis and the tendency to migraine. (See the Migraine-Melatonin Connection for more information)

The Body and its Natural Ways

If it hasn’t become obvious by now, I’m a strong advocate for natural methods of healing, prevention and overall health care so I am not entirely surprised to learn that the body already has a mechanism for dealing with migraines and other stress-triggered ailments. As is often the case, we simply need to let it do its job! On those occasions when our body isn’t responding as quickly as it might because of those same stress factors, the best way to help it get back in tune is to give it what it lacks. Not some pharmaceutically derived, chemically bonded facsimile, but the real deal. It should be easy, right?

According to Natural Society:

Melatonin supplements are made with synthetic ingredients in a lab or with cow urine. And though the supplements may have slight benefits, especially for people suffering with occasional insomnia, they don’t always offer long-lasting or significant results for those who struggle with sleep on a nightly basis. (Read more: 8 Foods Which Naturally Increase Melatonin)

I don’t know about you, but my initial response was You want me to take cow urine to help me sleep and to prevent migraines? Ewwww! But fear not, Natural Society has an option and, what a surprise, it’s food-related!

The researchers found pineapples, bananas, and oranges were able to increase melatonin presence significantly. Pineapples increased the presence of aMT6s over 266% while bananas increased levels by 180%. Oranges were able to increase melatonin by approximately 47%.
While supplements are often thought of as the natural alternative to prescription drugs, they are made to mimic those things we find naturally in foods. In other words, they too are a poor substitute for good nutrition and some supplement manufacturers (though not all) are in the business to make money, not with noble intentions of increasing the collective health.

So next time your circadian rhythm is spinning out of control or your stress-filled life is giving you migraines with your insomnia, check out some of these foods. Do I really need toEverything I Need remind you to discuss these options with your physician? I honestly believe most doctors are aware of these alternatives, but the pill pushers can be awfully persuasive. Not only do we need to advocate for ourselves, but I believe it is our responsibility to share research like this so others will know that they have the right to ask questions before blindly accepting a pill that will cure us. Snake oil, anyone?

  • Pineapples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Oats
  • Sweet corn
  • Rice
  • Tomatoes
  • Barley

The Body is Like a Two-Year-Old: The More We Try to Force it, the More it Will Dig In Its Heels

Getting back to my original point, our body gets out of whack sometimes, and it’s never just one thing. Lack of balance has a snowball effect on us, despite the fact that the solution might be quite simple, and a kind of one thing fixes all situation. The worst thing we can do is to try to force ourselves back into balance. Take it from me, it’s an exercise in futility, along the lines of teaching a pig to sing. Like any finely tuned machine, treat it right, give it healthy fuel, tune it up regularly and it’ll take good care of you, too.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunities I find to learn more about keeping this old engine working properly.
2. I am grateful for all of the information available on natural health.
3. I am grateful for the time I spent rolling this topic around in my head and researching related topics. It was the ruminating which found the migraine-melatonin-irregular sleep cycle connection.
4. I am grateful for Google. Without it, I’d never know as much as I do, and I’d have far fewer “Aha moments”.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, dancing, inspiration, research, learning, friendship, joy, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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August 5, 2015 Do You Ever Feel Like Your Skin is Too Tight?

Are You Affected by One Phase of the Moon or Another? You Might Not Even Realize it!

I was hoping I’d escaped this week’s full moon unscathed, and the productiveness I enjoyed the first part of this week allowed me to escape into blissful oblivion… until it blindsided me! In fact, I was so excited by what I was accomplishing and the reconnection with my ADD’s favorite study tool, old rock ‘n roll, that I was ripe for having the virtual rug pulled out from under me.

In the midst of this wave of productivity, I failed to connect the dots. I failed to notice how hard it was for me to fall asleep at night; the lengths to which I was going just to sleep in two hour spurts. I failed to recognize the ineffectiveness of my daily meditations or that there were days I skipped them entirely. I even failed to connect my inability to sit still long enough to allow a blog topic to form in my brain last night, much less actually write something!

Today, when I’m running on less than 5 hours of real sleep and am having the very devil of a time even figuring out what I want to do, it finally hit me. That crazy full moon which is 5 days behind me now is messing with me in a very real way.

Nothing I eat satisfies. Nothing I read engages. Nothing on TV holds my attention for more than 30 seconds. Yet I don’t know what it is I want. I sit here twitching restlessly as if I’ve consumed a gallon of high octane coffee instead of the single mug-full I enjoy every morning. I know I’m communicating the anxiety or restlessness or whatever it is to my cats because at least two of my boys, and often all four are constantly near me. Meanwhile, Munchkin, who would be perfectly happy to lay on my lap for hours most of the time can’t even stay there for the hour I set aside to meditate. She jumps down after a few minutes, often returning, then leaving again.

Susan Rinkunas addresses the issue of sleep loss during a full moon in her article published in Health Magazine August 8, 2014. Swiss researches did a study which was published in Current Biology and found that:

…in the four days before and after a full moon, participants took 5 minutes longer to fall asleep, slept 20 minutes less overall, and had 30% less deep sleep. They also had lower levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Though Ms. Rinkunas also states that the results of the study could not be replicated, it is clear, at least to me, that there’s some merit to the study’s results. Although there are a multitude of theories concerning the moon and its effects on our bodies and minds, I found, for the most part that the scientific community refers to them as ‘myths’ and each writer cites lists of statistics which effectively debunk the myths.

I’m not convinced. One article did make a brief reference to the fact that our bodies are 75% water and admitted that the moon does affect the tides. Why then, not humans as well? Not to mention animals and anything else which, like us is comprised mostly of water. It makes sense to me that when the moon is full, and particularly when, like this past week, that full moon was relatively close to the earth, that it could affect things like sleep pattern by short-circuiting our circadian rhythm.

Being the inquisitive sort, and one whose thoughts do a fair rendition of the kitty 500, only inside my head instead of from one end of my house to the other, I’m tempted to look back over the past year to see what I was writing during the full moons, give or take four or five days. The ADD part comes in because a friend told me recently that I have very definite patterns. Could those patterns have any relation to the moon?

Meanwhile, as is so often the case, the mere act of writing about my feelings and concerns has brought a certain amount of calm to the frantic pacing my mind had adopted of late. Though I couldn’t really tell you if it’s the physical act of writing or typing or just putting the thoughts into words, it’s the result that matters. It also reminds me that I make better decisions when I write about them first, allowing all of the pros and cons to just flow out on the page to be argued or discarded as I see fit. Granted, some of those thoughts and decisions are stashed away on a flash drive or CD for years, but inevitably, if they were truly important to me, they’ll come back around again when I’m ready to consider them without all of life’s background noise trying to intrude. Just as I write about things which are painful, things I regret, things for which I feel guilt or other unproductive but legitimate emotions. Those are the things which may never see the light of day because I write them only for myself, for my own healing, and most of all, seeking my own forgiveness.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my writing. It is my friend, my nemesis, my salvation and my frustration. It is always with me and often escapes me. But it is truly, personally, unconditionally mine.
2. I am grateful for the company of my cats when I just can’t get it together, even if they reflect my restlessness in their own increased activity.
3. I am grateful for my friends who put ideas into my head. Those who know me best are fully aware that I may not act on them right away, but will pull them out when the time is right.
4. I am grateful for my preference for my own company, and for understanding that I must allow others in on a regular basis anyway.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, life, friends, music, potential, opportunities, words, wisdom, health, harmony, peace, joy, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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