Sleep is becoming an increasingly important issue for Americans. 35% of American adults are getting less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours a night. This affects a wide range of health issues: hormone levels, weight gain, cognitive function, depression, anxiety, irritability, and heart disease.
If you have trouble sleeping here are some tips to help you get those all important ZZZZZsss. Improving your sleep hygiene will improve your life!
- Prioritize sleep, plan to get at least 7 hours a night and schedule yourself accordingly.
- Pick a bed time. Go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom is very dark. Use blackout curtains.
- Avoid screen time before bed, and don’t check your social media in bed. The blue light from screens will keep you up.
- Keep your room cool- we humans sleep better in a cool environment.
- Limit caffeine in the afternoon.
- And avoid alcohol for several hours before bed.
Try these tips and see if your sleep doesn’t improve over the next week or two. Let us know your results!
CBD oil is gaining in popularity and is showing up everywhere – across the web and on store shelves everywhere. But, many of us are just hearing about it and have some questions – so let’s take a closer look.
CBD stands for cannabidiol – and it is a compound found in both cannabis and cannabis sativa (better known as hemp).
While both plants have hundreds of compounds that may be pharmacologically active, the best known is THC, which has a psychoactive component. However, both plants also contain CBD which also has pharmacological effects but NO psychoactive component. The CBD products at health food stores, grocery stores, and doctor’s offices are sourced from hemp and have no psychoactive properties.
OK, but why is it suddenly all over the place?
There are a number of reasons. It has been found to help with certain seizure disorders and recently the Virginia board of medicine has added it to the legal formula and it can now be prescribed for this purpose. But it is also available over the counter. The recent Farm Bill in 2018 among other things, designated CBD products to be “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS, which means it can be added to food stuffs and sold. For the time being the FDA and DEA have not taken any steps to change that, although they could at any time. Common side effects may include tiredness, diarrhea and changes of appetite/weight.
What can CBD oil do and why would anyone take it? Well in addition to the above mentioned anti seizure properties, there is some limited research that suggests that CBD oil can help people with chronic pain, as well as with sleep, and anxiety. Now the research is far from conclusive and there are many more double blind random control trials that need to be performed before the science and medical communities are going to get behind this being a new cure-all. However, as it has been generally recognized as safe and there are anecdotal reports popping up everywhere with people touting its benefits, people are flocking in droves to try it. We began carrying these products after a few patients requested them and they’ve proven to be very popular with patients for pain relief.
Samuel S. Spillman, DC
It is that time of year again, the birth of a new year and maybe a new you. Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions? In the fitness and health care communities we tend to focus a lot on losing weight, diet, starting an exercise program. And all those are wonderful things. But I think it is important to focus on what will make your life better. What kind of resolutions will improve YOUR life. Not necessarily what your healthcare provider would choose for you, or your spouse, or your parents. We might want to swear less, or improve a relationship with a loved one, visit family more, get a promotion at work, get more involved with charity, and so on.
Whether you are trying to resist something that is bad for you or start a new thing that is good for you, making a change can be difficult.
I like to start with the end result and work my way backward. For each goal, I like to make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This is a commonly used business idea, but it can be applied to personal goals too. To me, using this method can help really set ourselves up for success.
For me, less screen time in the year ahead is a big goal. You may have noticed that it is more difficult to NOT do something than it is to add a new activity. So instead of setting a screen time limit for myself, I’m endeavoring to fill up my time with other things, so that screen time is less of an option outside of work. I’m making a list of books I’d like to read, and a commitment to do more activities after work. I’ve joined a committee of a local charity and I’m going to attend one evening jujitsu class a week.
So as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, try to spend time planning out how you might achieve your goals, as well as determining what goals to set.
You’ve got this. Happy New Year!
Sam Spillman, DC
Trying new things…
Most of us don’t like change. Oh, sure, we want to improve, to do it better, faster, and have more fun doing it. Tomorrow. Today, we creatures of habit are most likely going to do what we did yesterday. We liked it then and we’ll like it tomorrow, and it’s easy to keep doing it. It’s pretty easy, too, to limit our ideas about self-improvement to the things we already enjoy doing. Maybe I’m a runner, and I want to run farther or faster. Maybe I like getting stronger, and in pursuit of that improvement I’ll do more reps, more of the same thing. You get the idea.
Last night I tried something I’ve never done before: Hot Yoga. I’ve always been a fan of balance, in theory. Strength should be balanced by flexibility, and flexibility should be tempered with strength.
In theory. But I hadn’t done much about flexibility in my own training. I didn’t know what yoga would be like. I didn’t know if I’d like it. But I spent an hour putting myself in new positions, and breathing, and paying attention to exactly how my body felt… and I liked it.
So let me encourage you to move in a new direction by trying something new. If you’re like me and you’ve focused on strength or speed, try a yoga or stretch class. If you do yoga, some strength training will help you hold your poses longer. If you play a sport focused on a skill, like golf, try exercising a different skill set. And if you are an all-round athlete, try sitting still and meditating. Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. Grow.
“I never lose. I either win or I learn.” This quote was a Facebook post from the folks at Spartan (an obstacle race course and fitness group), and it has been widely reposted, likely because others seem to be as struck by it as I am. Those words are probably as close as anything I have seen to a real credo by which to live: embrace setbacks as opportunities to learn, instead of rejecting them as personal failures. Setbacks happen to everyone on the roads to our successes. It is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to miss the mark and to fall down and to be hurt. Japanese proverb expresses a similar sentiment: “Fall down seven times. Get up eight.” We heard this a lot in Aikido and Judo practice. Accept that you will make mistakes, you will fall, you will fail before you can succeed. You will only learn if you are willing to also fail. “I either win or I learn” takes that important acceptance one step further: you can turn that fall or that fail into something valuable if you are open to learning from it. It is a great thing to persevere and never give up, but that single-mindedness can leave you banging your head against the same wall over and over again. Don’t do that, it hurts It is an even better thing to learn from both successes and failures. That has been true for me in all manner of endeavors. It was true when I was trying to lose weight, it was true when I was training for a black belt exam, it was true when training for a Spartan race, it was true in graduate school, and it has been true in my professional life as well.
So, don’t keep repeating what’s not working for you: learn why it’s not working, and change it. Don’t kick yourself because your diet isn’t showing results; think about where and how it’s not working for you. Don’t scold a child who did not meet your expectations; ask yourself how you failed to communicate and in doing so, teach the child it is ok to fail while you also learn to express yourself more effectively. Don’t hurt your back the same way twice!
Don’t give up because you have tried and failed. Think. Do things differently. Fail differently. Win or Learn…words to live by.
Yoga is the poetry of movement. It helps you to push yourself, to slow down and be in the present. I really just do it so that I can polish my toenails. ~ Dr. Eng
Aside from polishing your toenails, what are the benefits? Yoga is a slow form of exercise done in silence. You’ll spend 60-90 minutes breathing, stretching and posing. You’ll have nothing to think about but how you are balancing and how your body feels. No cell phone, no laptop, no screens. This mindfulness has been shown to relieve stress, improve the mood, and lead to a happier life. While yoga isn’t the only mindfulness practice out there, it is one of the most common. Hot yoga adds to this by providing a very warm room to enhance sweating and blood flow.
It is also a form of light strength training and stretching. People who practice often go at least once a week and often more than that. This kind of focused stretching can be great for building sturdy yet flexible joints. Many yogis realize after a year or two of practice that they can move better than they could before they started. Improvements in balance, strength, and range of motion are all part of the benefits.
Lastly, a big part of yoga is a sense of community. Yoga is usually performed in a group. If you attend regularly you will make friends with a group in your class. This sense of fellowship is another reason yoga has caught on and continues to grow. Being part of a group with a shared purpose can bring unexpected joy to your life. That’s why you see all those pictures of sweaty yogis group together after a class on social media. Charlottesville has many wonderful yoga studies. If you’re wondering where or how to get started, email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to connect you with a studio.