Eggs contain tryptophan; an amino acid that acts as a natural sedative. They also encourage the production of insulin, which helps neural pathways get tryptophan to the brain. At only 78 calories each, it’s okay to eat two hard-boiled eggs at night, which will help induce sleep –and won’t affect weight.
Cherries have high amounts of melatonin, studies have shown they can help with increased sleep time and overall sleep efficiency. You’ll also find vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium in them.
Pistachios are members of the cashew family and contain B6 and Magnesium which are good for sleep. A 1-ounce portion eaten about an hour before bedtime is recommended for a good night of sleep.
Popcorn is a whole grain packed with fiber and carbs. Carbohydrates make tryptophan, an amino acid important for sleep, more available to the brain. It also helps provide longer sleep duration. Unsalted, unsweetened, air-popped, is the most healthful type of popcorn or ones with sea salt if plain is too bland. I like chemical-free SkinnyPop with Sea Salt.
A small handful of nuts will satisfy cravings and hunger while inducing sleepiness, because walnuts and almonds offer natural melatonin, protein, and magnesium. Magnesium, for one, may help reduce insomnia in older adults, according to past research.
Pumpkin Seeds are a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote sleep. Consuming around 1 gram of tryptophan daily is thought to improve sleep. That’s approximately 34 seeds. Look for unsalted ones.
Blueberries are rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps the body and brain relax and regulate melatonin. It’s also naturally high in tryptophan. They are also loaded with antioxidants that protect us from stress caused by sleep disorders and help support brain health and memory.
Getting enough sleep has major HEALTH benefits in morning and long-term benefits when you maintain healthy sleep habits.
At least 9-hours of sleep each night will bring:
No brain fog
Lowered risk for diabetes and heart disease
Staying at healthy weight
Energy to exercise
More energy for everything
Better relationships due to all of the above
If you’re ever not feeling well, be sure to check your sleep habits, foods & beverages you consume first.
The absolute number one thing anyone can do for their mental and physical well-being is learn how to manage stress on a daily basis.
Daily stressors have always been a part of life, but it’s even more prevalent since the pandemic. Be sure to take a pro-active approach to reviewing what exactly causes the most stress in your life.
Then, think about what you can do differently that will alleviate that stress.
For example, if driving to work or appointments has you stuck in traffic and it causes stress –make a point of leaving extra early to allow for anticipated traffic.
If back-to-back Zoom calls, Video Conferences or Podcasting are causing you stress, make sure to spread them out, giving yourself enough time to get up from the computer and take a 20-minute walk.
In fact, if you are working remotely or in an office sitting at a computer, you should get up, stretch and walk around for every 20-minutes. Your eyes need the break too. Do that 3 times at you’re at 60-minutes, the ideal for optimum health.
Make walking 1 hour a daily habit. There is a significant association between daily walking and pneumonia-related mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality among older people who walked 1 hour a day, even if they lacked other exercise habits. Kids and adults can benefit from this. There are so many health benefits tied to it. It will improve heart health, oxygen to your brain, how you feel and your energy levels.
If you can get out in nature, even better. But you don’t need a gym or any fancy equipment to do this. You can do it anywhere.
If you find being in crowds or with certain people cause you stress, you know what to do. Set boundaries.
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. You may be worried about finding employment, finances, an upcoming exam –whatever it is –when you get that feeling of worry know that it will feel like it will last forever, but it will not.
What you need to do is distract yourself. 1. Take a shower 2. Call a friend and talk it through 3. Make a cup of tea 4. Go for a walk 5. Put on some music you enjoy 6. Splash cold water on your face 7. Take slow, deep breaths -8. Get out in nature and sunshine 9. Stretch and move your body -anything that interrupts that feeling and brings you back to the PRESENT moment. 10. If you watch a lot of TV, turn it off and get outside.
When the moment passes, write down what has you worried. Then, write down possible solutions. Think out of the box. Think about times in the past when you thought things were hopeless and you got through it.
You will get through this too. When you feel overwhelmed, tell someone. Allow people to help, even if it’s just through listening.
Even happy events can cause stress, like planning a vacation or wedding. Knowing when to take a break is crucial.
Know your Happy Place and what healthy activities make you feel better. Make a point of making Rest and Recovery a part of your everyday life. Your body needs it. Your brain needs it.
Even people who are adamant about working out at a gym take one day to do nothing. It’s when their body gets to recover and it’s how muscle gets built.
Getting at least 9 hours of sleep each night is crucial as well. It needs to be consistent, so prioritize this. Sleep experts recommend darkening your room, shutting down all electronics and keeping your bedroom on the chilly side one hour before you go to sleep.
Weighted blankets have also gotten a lot of favorable feedback about helping people sleep better. A warm bubble bath with the smell of lavender also gets favorable reviews from people.
Nightshades and ear plugs can help too if you live in a city with bright lights and lots of external noise.
There’s also a sleep hoodie that comes with built-in eyeshades made of fabric that cools your body as you sleep created by DepSlepWear that’s great for use at home or while traveling on an airplane.
Note there are also sleep positions that are recommended for your back. It’s either on your side with a pillow between your legs or on your back with a pillow under your knees. This provides proper alignment, so you don’t wake up with aches.
Before bed, make a list of the 3 most important things you need to do the next day.
It’s not easy to turn off all electronics (this includes your phone) with a 24/7 news cycle and social media, but it’s vital for your mental and physical health.
Avoid caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol before bed too. If you drink coffee, try to drink it earlier in the day and limit it to two cups.
There is a prior blog I wrote on foods that help you sleep. I will find it and insert the link below, as a lot of people do get hungry at night. It’s best to stock up on the PM foods in case that happens.
If you wake up mid-sleep, reading is recommended until you fall back asleep.
When you finally do get a good night’s rest don’t immediately jump out of bed. Take those deep breaths again, sit up, close your eyes and be in an intentional state of gratitude. Give thanks to be alive.
Remind yourself it will be a great day, everything will be okay and that you can and will handle anything that comes your way. Then, stretch and breathe deeply again.
Hydrate with water. If you’re a breakfast person, make sure it doesn’t contain sugar, so you’re not crashing by noon. Two eggs are always a great choice. I dash a bit of sea salt on them. You can boil them ahead of time if you know you’ll be in a rush. If you have more time, have fun making a veggie omelet.
The American Heart Association (AHA) actually recommends up to two eggs a day for older people with normal cholesterol and who eat a healthy diet.
If you’re not in that category, they recommend only one egg a day, and fewer if you have high blood cholesterol, diabetes or are at risk for heart failure.
When you do start work, review your Top 3 Priority items on your list. Get those things out of the way. You will feel a sense of accomplishment the rest of the day from meeting your commitments before any distractions can kick in. Speaking of, be aware of your distractions.
If checking out one thing on Facebook or Twitter ends up using up hours and hours of your time, be aware of that and place a limit on social media time. Be aware if you keep your TV on 24/7 or too many hours. Limit time watching it. Read instead. Nature is free to everyone. Go for a walk or hike in a local park.
Remember that how you spend your time, what you eat, drink and how much you exercise will affect the way you feel each day, so make healthy choices. If you’re stressed, something in your environment contributes to it. Be aware of your environment. Is your home cluttered? Get it organized and create more open space. Toss away or donate what you don’t use. Make sure your home and work space is calming.
If you need help with any of those things, reach out to someone who you think may be more productive with their time as they can offer tips–for healthy food choices, see a Nutritionist or do a Google search.
I’ve also blogged a lot in the past about healthy foods for your body and brain. There are also a lot of great books out there. You want to avoid the diet books, and opt for ones that are about long-term nutrition.
A few people I recommend following about Nutrition are:
Dr. Mark Hyman from The Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Daniel Amen from Amen Clinics
Seamus Mullen has a lot of great books on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
“How Not To Die” by Dr. Gregor
If you want a real education on how and why the foods we eat have changed over the decades for the worse read, “Formerly Known As Food” by Kristen Lawless.
Remember, your Mind, Body and Spirit have always been connected. You need to take care of both daily. If that means saying no more, then do it. Allow yourself that time to Rest and Recover.
Daily exercise is proven to grow new brain cells and improve your heart health. Make daily exercise, even if it’s a daily walk a habit. Then, allow yourself at least an hour a day where you schedule nothing.
Even your car will run out of gas if you keeping going without stopping.
Human beings are no different. Every day, stop and fill up your tank with good things, which also includes helping other people. It’s one of the best ways to get out of your head. Ask yourself who could use a helping hand, a kind word, encouragement or find something you no longer use and donate it. Make someone else’s day better.
Remember, there is something that comes easy to you that someone else finds difficult. It can be writing, reading, playing an instrument, dancing, swimming, playing a certain sport, organizing, decorating, cooking, drawing, speaking a different language, writing a cover letter or resume, networking, shopping, using computers, blogging, writing a book, acting, exercising, finding a job –something.
Offer to help someone with that.
A funny thing happens when you do that –you will end up feeling better yourself.
And don’t underestimate the power of love. Since in-person interactions are limited, you can still be old-school and tell someone you love them or mail them a card or gift or call them.
There is a lot more to health and well-being than masking up these day. You need to be pro-active daily and feed your mind, body and soul good things.
Developing life-long habits is a choice. It feels difficult at first, but once once you realize the better choices you make are having a positive difference in how you feel –you will do it the next day, and the next…
Be patient and kind to yourself and fill yourself with so much good that it can’t help but overflow to others. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
The #1 thing you can do for your overall well-being is learn how to manage stress. Everyone in the world needs to do this, because no one is immune from something unpredictable happening to them or to someone you love.
So, carve out time each day to take care of you. When you can’t change what’s going on externally, the only thing you can master is how to change what’s taking place inside. These changes are cumulative and add up over time. Be patient and take notice of when you feel most centered and calm.
I once wrote something that got widely picked up on Quote websites. It was: “Anxiety is who people want you to be. Calm is who you are.”
Find your calm.
If’s worth noting everyone needs to do this. Almost half of physicians themselves suffer from burnout.
Most recently, Olympic athletes have been more vocal about it. No one is immune to it No one. Only arrogance would tell someone they are and a good read for them is Robin Sharma’s book, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.”
There are a lot of books about how stress caught up to otherwise extremely successful people. It happens to the best. If you can’t or don’t do so –you will one day be forced to.
There’s an old adage about how if you don’t take time for health today, you will be forced to take time for sickness later. So, I repeat everyone from the Chairman to the CEO to the receptionist to the janitor needs to find calm if you don’t want yourself, your team or productivity and the bottom line to suffer in the end.
Each individual’s health matters. Health = Mind + Body. Norman Vincent Peale wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” decades ago and the pillars of health he talked about in it are still prevalent today. If you’ve never read it, you can listen to it on audio on YouTube. There’s a reason it sold millions of copies around the world.
Every generation should read it. If this all seems sanguine, know that your mind, body, wellness, relationships, health and longevity will benefit from these things in the long-run.
The future relies on what you do today, so focus on making the right healthy choices one day at a time.
This hoodie to help you sleep is now on my list of Favorite Things for Your Health!
Insomnia is no longer something a few people suffer from. It’s now almost at 100% of Americans. All these electronic gadgets aren’t helping our case.
“People spend up to 10 hours a day on electronic devices, which directly impacts melatonin production and stimulates the fight-or-flight response system in the brain. – Jenn J. Allen
Our physical, psychological and emotional health are all linked to our sleeping habits.
University of California, Berkeley researchers recently found that insufficient sleep can amplify levels of anxiety up to 30 percent and, on the flip side, that a solid eight hours or so helps reduce stress.
“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Mathew Walker, a senior author of the study and a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the university, said in the published report for the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
The study analyzed brain scans from 18 young adults and discovered that those who got a full night’s rest had a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure, as well as stable emotions when they woke.
According to National Sleep Foundation, most adults need 7 to 9 hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. Older adults (ages 65 and older)need 7-8 hours of sleep each day. Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.
There can be underlying causes to insomnia that need to be addressed first because if a you simply take a sleeping pill, you’re masking the underlying cause.
The best way to uncover that is with cognitive behavioral therapy –a fancy name for talk therapy.
Then, you want to set the stage for a good night’s sleep or day if you’re napping.
This is where Glenn Paradise found the ideal solution.
When his wife (who he met in high school…awww) got sick, and was in the hospital for 7 weeks, Glenn was left home alone caring for kids, dog, house and couldn’t sleep worried about everything.
He was brought up to fix things instead of complain, so he ended up designing something that solved every frustration he had when he tried to get a good night’s sleep.
Of course, I tried it and I’m sold on it. It was also incredibly comfortable to wear while commuting. Loved it.
Glenn Paradise invented the dēp sleep hoodie out of a need.
“I wasn’t getting the quantity or quality of sleep necessary to consistently feel or perform at my best. I learned I wasn’t alone and that hundreds of millions of people around the world don’t sleep well. The DepSlepwear hoodie is our first product in a line of wear and gear purpose-built for deep sleep every night. No pills, elixirs or gimmicks required.” -Glenn Paradise
“I consider myself a problem-solving entrepreneur. It’s in my blood. When I was young, I was side-by-side with my father as he created several businesses that helped people learn faster, perform better, and enjoy their lives more. The gratification I felt from helping people during those early years inspired me to keep the good stuff coming in my professional career. The products and services I create are born from necessity and are designed to help people live more fulfilling personal and professional lives. I know and trust they work because I need and use them myself.” -Glenn Paradise
Other tips for a good night’s sleep include:
Do not exercise within 3 hours of bedtime
Turn off all electronic devices 2 hours before bedtime
Spend time outdoors preferably in sunlight in a natural setting during the day
Take a nourishing bath before bedtime
Maintain a regular sleep schedule where you go to sleep and rise at the same time
Take a break from work every 90 min.
Breathe deeply. Focus on nothing except breathing before bed
Prepare items for the next day to alleviate worries upon rising
If you are worried about something remind yourself worrying doesn’t help
Remind yourself everything will work better when you recharge your batteries
Give yourself permission to rest your mind, body and spirit
Remind yourself you get to help more people when you yourself are at your best
Avoid any alcohol 3 hours before bedtime
Do not eat too close to bedtime as your digestive track needs time to rest
As explored in this article on The Sleep Forum, temperature plays an important role in achieving quality sleep. If you’re not taking steps to control your body temperature throughout the night, your sleep will never be optimal.
6. WHOLE WHEAT PASTA – Add fresh veggies & diced chicken with tomato sauce; high protein dish that also releases tryptophan
7. YOGURT SPRINKLED WITH CEREAL – You get the calcium and the carb combo to help bring on the Z-z-z-z’s
A good night’s sleep also spurs creativity and improves your athletic performance the next day. It also curbs inflammation. Those that don’t get enough sleep have higher levels of inflammatory problems.
If you are STILL tossing and turning or watching the clock, make sure you are doing the following:
1. STOP SIPPING CAFFEINE AT 2 P.M. – Check labels. You may not be aware what you’re drinking contains caffeine.
2. DIM THE LIGHTS IN YOUR ROOM ONE HOUR BEFORE YOU TURN IN.
3. SOAK IN A WARM BATH TO UNWIND AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME, NOT RIGHT BEFORE BED.
4. CLOSE YOUR EYES FOR 10 MIN. AND GENTLY STRETCH BY PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR BREATHING.
5. THIS IS A MUST: MAKE SURE ALL YOUR GADGETS ARE TURNED OFF. PLACING THINGS ON VIBRATE DOES NOT COUNT AS OFF. THAT SOUND CAN STILL DISRUPT YOUR SLEEP.
6. MAKE SURE ALL CLUTTER IS REMOVED FROM YOUR BEDROOM.
HOPE THESE TIPS HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER ALL SUMMER. STAY HEALTHY, EVERYONE! 🙂
“I love giving gifts that improve people’s health and life. This hoodie falls into that category. When I wore it on my commute from New York City to Pennsylvania, I felt incredibly comfortable for the first time. Normally, when I travel the temperature tends to vary from hot one minute to freezing the next, especially in airplanes. The fabric of this hoodie maintains body temperature. No freezing or sweating. And I love that cocoon feeling. This is well designed.” -Maria Dorfner, CEO, NewsMD
Everyone gets anxiety. It’s when you worry about something in the future, which let’s face it, can be tomorrow. A meeting, an interview, an exam, a commute, the weather…so much to worry about, right? Wrong.
STOP those thoughts from spiraling because you’ve no control of tomorrow.
You have THIS moment. Make it a HEALTHY ONE. Repeat that. STAY in the NOW.
Number ONE: Exercise daily. Don’t make excuses like rich people have a personal trainer.
When I was a kid I was influenced by one man I saw on TV. He had nothing, except ONE chair beside him. I was in the first grade when I first saw him.
His name was Jack La Lanne. He spoke about the benefits of daily exercise. I listened. Kids brains are like sponges. Mine absorbed his message. His message is still true.
It is proven your brain benefits at the 45-minute mark. So, if you’re feeling anxious it may be a signal from your body or brain that you need to move.
Look at all the benefits you get simply from walking. Best part? Do it anywhere.
And stay hydrated. Drink water, even when you’re not thirsty. Look at all the benefits of staying hydrated in the photo below.
When people tell me they get headaches, the first thing I ask is how much water they drink. Most say none.
Well, that’s why you have a headache. Most tell me they drink coffee, which DE-HYRDRATES. Your brain needs water.
Your doctor in a rush to get his or her next patient will be too quick to give you pills for headaches or migraines before even asking you this simple question.
If you are prone to headaches –you need to check how much water you should be drinking (use search in my blog to find that) daily and do that. Your headaches will probably magically disappear. You’re welcome.
The times you need to visit a Physician is when you’re doing everything right and you’re still experiencing some sort of pain.
But if you’re not doing the basics of self-care, then you need to make a LIFESTYLE change first to find out if that’s what’s causing your pain. We were created to be healthy and feel good, but we need to take care of ourselves. Here’s that photo magnified.
Speaking of sweat, if you can get to a SAUNA after you exercise, even better. If not, no worries. Can’t get to a sauna? Take a long hot shower or hot bubble bath with Epsom salt afterwards. They now make Epson salt with bubbles.
Try Dr. Teal’s. It contains Magnesium, which can only be absorbed through the skin. CVS sells it. It costs about six dollars. Smells nice too. Like lavender. It’s usually near the soap section. A lot of people lack Magnesium.
Remember, the second you start to feel anxious get up, DRINK WATER, STRETCH, BREATHE and MOVE. Drink water, even when you’re not thirsty. Go for a walk.
WALK. WALK BRISKLY and TAKE DEEP BREATHES (BREATHE IN…AND HOLD FOR 4 SEC. AND breathe out slowly) until the feeling passes. It will. You can do this anywhere, even in a tiny room. Stand up. STRETCH AND HOLD. Then, walk. Every cell in your brain and body benefits when you do this. Don’t focus on what you were worried about. Instead, repeat the words “You can do it…” while breathing. Yes, you CAN walk off anxiety.
Number TWO: Take a good look in your refrigerator and pantry. Toss out the garbage. You don’t need me to tell you what’s garbage. Sugar, soda, junk food, processed foods, white bread, alcohol, cookies, cake, donuts, potato chips.
NOW replace those things with healthy go-to items like alkaline water, almonds, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, greek yogurt without sugar in lieu of ice-cream or cottage cheese, veggie sticks instead of regular chips, cook veggies in olive oil and garlic, green tea.
Veggie sticks are so yummy I regret blogging about them because like everything else I blog about –it’s suddenly SOLD OUT on store shelves the next day.
I’ve blogged about emotional eating in the past and which foods to reach for when you feel a certain emotion because having different emotions are part of being a human being. Don’t let anyone numb them with pills.
The healthiest thing you can do is try all the good stuff first, because the good stuff works.
The good stuff is what they mean when they say the proof is in the pudding.
Proven healthy lifestyles are proven time and time again from centenarians and those of us who are healthy.
If someone gets through their 40’s and 50’s feeling great with natural energy and no prescription medications they are doing something right.
Unfortunately, there are males and females in their 20’s and 30’s who still think how they look, even if it’s through plastic surgery, or extreme dieting, makes them healthy. Health magazines (which I no longer buy) fuel this misinformation by placing these cropped top people on their covers. That’s insecurity, folks.
The good news is what it means to really be healthy is rising above all that noise.
As I predicted decades ago, the world has shifted conscientiousness regarding health. Take a look at this circle. There’s no bikini in it. There are no six or twelve pack abs for men.
HEALTH comes from inside and it doesn’t need external approval.
There is no longer any denying how interconnected the following are:
Every generation goes through the same feelings as the one before them, so it’s time to start educating ourselves on how to LIVE HEALTHY and PREVENT ILLNESS while living in a crazy world. Even if we live in a healthy bubble and try to shield ourselves from all the craziness –there is no escaping it. Even family members, friends, partner, colleagues, boss, kids, parents, strangers driving near you on the road can infiltrate your peace. You can’t control that.
The healthiest advice anyone can give you is DON’T REACT. The calm one is the healthy one. Did someone less qualified get a position you earned, because they’re related to or know someone? Don’t react. Don’t despair. Didn’t close a deal when something less deserving did? Same thing. It may make you angry. You’ll want to grab a bag of chips or drown your sorrows in ice cream.
Keep your pantry or refrigerator stocked with healthy stuff you can grab instead. A bag of cherries, a large bowl of blueberries or those veggie sticks I told you about earlier. You can snack on a ginormous bowl of these thing and not be left feeling even worse afterwards, as you will with regular chips and junk food.
Number THREE: Turn off TV. Get out in nature instead or read a good book. I’ve been reading a book a day since I was a kid. I thought everyone did until my younger brother laughed and said I was crazy and people are lucky if they read one a year.
Fine. Then, make it one positive book a year.
Keep that ONE book on your nightstand and reread it when you need inspiration. For non-readers I recommend you start with, “The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success” by Deepak Chopra. I used to give them out as gifts. Little gem of a book. Then, get “The Four Agreements.” These are 2 books you can re-read during stressful times.
My book, “Healthy Within” is one every celebrity who writes a Tell All Memoir should read. The reason is I never mention my ex’s name, or what actually happened. No details. Why? That part is not important. That part is no one’s business. What’s important is how to get through anything that at the time feels like a personal or professional tsunami.
That is the HEAL part in HEALthy. Other than that, it’s tabloid toxicity.
When you’re blaming someone else or pointing out all of your ex’s flaws, people reading it are actually cringing. No one wants someone in they’re in an intimate relationship with to write a kiss and tell, so to speak. There are two people in a relationship or marriage. Two.
Advice to Demi. Let.It.Go
I don’t know who advised her to write this in the first place. It feels like something that should have never been made public. When someone is in the public eye and they reveal they were someone entirely different than we believed them to be –it feels like WE were lied to and betrayed. So, I felt more let down from who I thought Demi Moore was than anything having to do with Ashton. Even when the other person betrays you it’s enough to know it was a betrayal –we don’t need details, thank you. I would have passed on this book. I’m an avid reader and have zero desire to buy it.
Back to self-care. Fuel your body and brain daily with nutritious foods. What does healthy food look like? Here are a few visuals.
And do not forget how important SLEEP is…
NUMBER FOUR: REST. NAP. SLEEP. Allow your brain and body to shut down and reset itself just like you do when your computer has lost it’s charge or starts acting up. Shut it down. Anyone who brags about only getting or needing little sleep isn’t healthy. Every cell in your brain and body is created to regenerate and health itself, but you need to sleep and shut it down in order for it to do what it does naturally. It’s called Beauty Sleep for a reason.
I’ve blogged about foods that help you sleep. If you’re a late-nigh snacker keep bananas, cottage cheese, blueberries and a bag of cherries in your pantry, along with decaf organic tea. Turn off all electronics 2 hours before a set time. Keep the room you sleep in a little chilly. Wear eye shades. Take that hot bath with lavender and you will crash naturally.
If you are on any type of anti-anxiety or depression medication it needs to be under the supervision of a physician, who should ONLY prescribe TEMPORARY low-dose if you are in crisis mode, say after the death of a loved one or other tragedy. It needs to be in combination with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, fancy word for Talk Therapy, to taper you off prescribed medication.
It’s not dealing with what is causing your anxiety or depression. What’s causing it is change and stress from it. That change can come from work, finances, seasons, relationships, age, moving, parenthood –anything in life.
That’s why it’s natural and you need to LEARN healthy coping mechanisms for LIFE. Having a trusted confidante in life to go through ups and downs also helps keep your brain and body in top form.
Healthy relationships are a wonderful buffer against daily stressors in life. It’s having someone in your life to talk to, bounce ideas off of and be there during good times and bad. Healthy relationships proven to be a positive constant in a sea of change. Positive because healthy relationships release all the feel good chemicals and hormones in your body and brain. Love releases oxytocin. When you have LOVE and commitment everything is less stressful.
So what do you do when you don’t have a trusted hand to hold during it all?
Revert to the Four Tips solo, because HEALTHY attracts HEALTHY. Be your best you in mind, body and spirit. Work on healing any past hurts. Put them in the past. Forgive. Move on. YOU need to BE that which you want to attract. Think about that. You want a healthy, intelligent, kind, independent, fun, supportive, honest, loving, faithful, committed, loyal, trustworthy partner?
When your friends and the people you surround yourself with are healthy –you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms, even through observing their habits.
Post note: I love tea and have blogged about the benefits of tea and my favorites in the past. USA Today and Washington Post now says tea bags contain plastic and that it is toxic. I cut right to the bottom to find out which brands contain plastic bags because not all of them do. Here are brands to avoid.
Mostly, it’s those cute triangle bags. Apparently, it looks like they are made out of paper, but it’s plastic that holds them together. They are cute. Recently, a restaurant served me on that looked was so cute. I commented asking how it was held together Now we know.
Avoid brands in RED
“So which tea bags contain plastic?
Brands that use plastic sealants include Tetley, Twinings’ ‘heat-sealed’ and ‘string and tag’ ranges, Yorkshire Tea and some Aldi tea bags.
Co-Op and PG Tips have all switched to 100% compostable bags.
Abel & Cole and Teapigs using plant-based SoilOn and Clipper makes a plastic-free teabag made from bananas, while some Tetley and Twinings ranges are biodegradable.
But if you want to be absolutely sure your tea is plastic free, loose leaves are the best way to go.” [Source: USA Today, September 2019]
It’s not all tea and it’s not all brands, so get past their hype to the facts. Then, get back to:
Remember, when you have a bad day, week, month or year –don’t call it a bad life. Think of it as a bad season, like leaves falling off a branch in Fall. What do you need for leaves to grow back? Oxygen, water, nourishment, sunshine. Nourish yourself every day and your leaves will return one day at a time. You got this!
Mary Teruel is a senior author and professor of chemical and systems biology at Stanford University, conducted a study published last April in CELL METABOLISM.
“When glucocorticoids are constantly high, as is the case when we’re chronically stressed out, it can boost the chances for a certain type of cell to morph into fat cells, the study found. And that could bump up our weight. So basically it’s not about food intake. It’s about timing.”
Tercel says, “While mice and people are certainly different, both are greatly influenced by circadian rhythms and both produce glucocorticoids in response to stress. Although the research was done in the lab, it’s likely human body would react in a similar fashion to the mice to continuous high levels of glucocorticoids.”
Tercel says the increase in fat is likely related to the fact under normal circumstances glucocorticoids wax and wane with our circadian clocks. So our bodies are designed to ignore short-term fluctuations of these hormones.
But everything is thrown out of whack when levels stay high — as they will if a person’s stress doesn’t diminish, even after the day’s work is done.
“So maybe it’s OK to get stressed during the day, but not at night,” Teruel said.
That makes sense to Dr. Anthony Heaney, an endocrinologist and an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine.
“It would suggest that any method people can use to beat stress could be of benefit,” Heaney said. “I think the challenge is for people who are stressed often. I don’t think jumping into a 30-minute yoga or Pilates class will be enough to address that.”
We recommend MINDFULNESS before jumping into any class, running out to the gym or any exercise after work. That’s actually keeping your stress level high.
What you need to do is de-compress first.
If you’ve had a stressful day, sat all day at the office or had an awful commute –close your eyes for 20 minutes when you get home and focus on your breathing.
RELAX. BREATHE. This study reinforces why SLEEP is so important to maintaining a healthy weight. If you only sleep 4, 5 or 6 hours a night, you are sending a message to your fat cells to stay ON.
Every cell in your body and brain needs to rest and replenish itself. You throw yourself out of wack when you deprive your body of this. The damage may not show up immediately, but it will in the long-run.
CHRONIC STRESS can be alleviated by consistent sleep. If you have to chose between exercise or sleep when you’re going through a stressful time, pick consistent sleep and you will get through it. You can get your daily exercise through walking after you’ve allowed your mind to calm down.
Burning the candle at both ends will do just that –leave you burned out. Allow yourself a REST and RESET, so your fat cells stay turned off.
You may not be able to control the amount of stress in. your life, but you can make a note to turn everything OFF at a certain time at night so you deactivate your glucocorticoids.
HOW TO COPE WITH DAILY STRESS
1. Find the optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation.
One of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook has in my experience been to ask more helpful questions as often as possible.
When I am in what seems like a negative situation – maybe I have been lazy, made a mistake, failed or stumbled in some kind of way – then I like to ask myself questions like:
What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
What is one opportunity within this situation?
Doing so is a whole lot better than what I used to do in such situations. Because back then I usually asked myself how much I sucked and how things could get even worse now.
I do however not always use these questions right away.
Oftentimes I need a bit of time to process the thoughts and feelings that arise in situation before I can do that.
Trying to force optimistic thinking when you are still in an emotional turmoil or a bit shocked usually don’t work that well.
2. Cultivate and live in a positive environment.
Who you choose to spend your time with and the input you get from further away like the TV, the internet and magazines will have a huge effect on your outlook.
To be able to stay positive it is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of dragging you down.
So carefully consider what you let into your mind.
You can for example ask yourself:
Who are the 3 most negative people I spend time with?
What are the 3 of most negative sources of information I spend time on?
Consider the answers. Then think about how you can start spending less time with one of those people or information sources this week.
And how you can spend more of the time you have now freed up with one of the most positive sources or people in your life.
3. Go slowly.
I have found that when I go too fast, when I try to think, talk, eat and move around in my world really quickly then things don’t go too well.
Stress builds up. Negative thoughts about just about anything start to well up and I feel like my own personal power decreases.
But if I slow down just for a few minutes – even if I have to force it by walking, talking and eating slower – then my mind and body calms down too. It becomes easier to think things through clearly again and easier to find the optimistic and constructive perspective.
4. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
It’s very easy to lose perspective, especially if you are stressed and you are going too fast.
A simple three step way to handle these situations so they don’t get out of hand is to:
Say stop. In your mind, shout “STOP!” or “NOPE, we are not going down that path again!” as soon as thoughts of this kind starts to spin in your head.
Breathe. After you have disrupted the thoughts by shouting stop sit down and just be still. Breathe with your belly and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm your mind and body down.
Refocus. Question your mountain building thoughts by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by just venting or by getting his or her input.
Or simply ask yourself this to widen your perspective and to chill out: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?
5. Don’t let vague fears hold you back from doing what you want.
Sometimes you may want to take a chance in life. Start a new habit that feels unfamiliar, your own business on the side or ask someone out for a date.
A common trap when you want to do one of those things is to get lost in vague fears and about what could happen if you actually took action.
And so the mind runs wild fueled by fear and it creates nightmare scenarios and plenty of self-doubt.
I know. I have been there many times.
So I have learned to ask myself this: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
When I have figured that out I also spend a bit of time on trying to figure out what I could do if that that often pretty unlikely thing happens.
I have over the years discovered that the worst thing that could realistically happen is usually not as scary as the nightmare my fear-fueled mind could produce.
Finding clarity in this way doesn’t take much time or effort and it can help you to avoid much mind made suffering. And help you to get going, step outside of your comfort zone and take that chance.
6. Add value and positivity to someone else’s life.
What you send out you tend to get back from the world and the people in it.
Not from everyone. And not every time.
But what you send out there matters a whole lot.
What you give them and how you treat them is what you’ll get back. And they way you treat others and how you think of them also tend to have a big effect on how you treat and think about yourself.
So give value and spread the positivity by for example:
Helping out. Lend a hand when moving. Give a friend a ride in your car. If he or she needs information then help out by checking it up on Google or asking a friend of yours.
Just listening. Sometimes people don’t want any direct help. They just want someone to be there fully and listening as they vent for a little while.
Boosting the mood. Smile. Give hugs when appropriate. Play uplifting music when hanging out with a friend or suggest an inspiring movie for your movie night. Or encourage when someone has had a bad day or are going through a tough time.
7. Exercise regularly and eat and sleep well.
This is very obvious of course.
But I know the big, big impact a good night’s sleep or good workout can have when my thoughts are pessimistic and I have a lot of tensions on the inside.
And I know how much simpler it is to think clearly and optimistically when my belly is not empty.
So I highly recommend being careful about these basic habits that may sound boring. Because they do have a huge effect either way depending on how you manage them.
8. Learn to take criticism in a healthy way.
One of the most common fears is the fear of criticism. It can hold people back from doing what they want in life.
Because having negativity flowing out of someone’s mouth or email and it being about you can hurt. And being rejected can sting quite a bit.
But if you want to take action on what you deep down want then criticism is pretty much unavoidable. So the key is learning to handle it in a healthier way.
By doing so your fear of it will lessen and it will hurt less if you do get criticized.
I usually use four steps when I get some criticism. Maybe they can help you out too:
Step 1: Don’t reply right away.
When you are angry, upset or riled up then is time to calm down a bit before you reply. Take at least a couple of deep breaths or a little time to process the message before you respond.
Step 2: Really listen to the criticism.
Try to remain open and level-headed and figure out how this message can help you.
Ask yourself: Is there one thing I can learn from this criticism? Is there something here that I may not want to hear but could help me?
Step 3: Remember the criticism isn’t always about you.
Some criticism is helpful. Some is simply attacks or someone lashing out because they are having bad day, year or job.
To lessen the sting of such criticism – often really angry or overly critical in an unconstructive way – I try to be understanding. I think to myself that this person might not be feeling so good at the moment.
Step 4: Reply or let go.
No matter the content of for example an email I try to keep my reply level-headed and kind. I may add a question or two to get more specific feedback that is helpful.
And if they don’t reply or I have simply gotten a nasty attack then it is time to delete it and to let that situation go.
9. If something still gets under your skin then know what to do.
Sometimes something can still get under your skin and hurt you. Even if you use the steps above.
Two things that have helped me with that challenge are:
Let it out. Just letting that issue out into the light talking it over with someone close can be very helpful to see it for what it actually is. And to find a healthier perspective on the situation.
Improve your self-esteem. I have found over the years that with a stronger self-esteem things drag me down less and they don’t ruin my day as much anymore. Negativity from others bounces off me much more often instead. If you want to practical help with this then have a look at my 12-week, step-by-step Self-Esteem Course.
10. Start your day in a positive way.
How you start your day usually sets the tone for the rest of your day.
So be careful about how you spend your mornings.
If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.
If you on the other hand start your day by moving slowly, by having an uplifting conversation with your family or friend or you spend some time with reading or listening to inspiring and helpful articles or podcasts over breakfast or during your bus ride to work then that can make a big difference for how your whole day will go.
11. Mindfully move through your day.
When you spend your time in the present moment then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do about something in your life.
When you get lost in the past or future like so many of us have spent a lot of time on doing then worries very easily become bigger. And failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind drag you down into pessimism.
By moving slowly through your morning and hopefully through much of the rest of your day it becomes easier to mindfully stay in the moment you are in.
Another simple way to reconnect with the moment you are in and to put your full attention there again is to focus just on what is going on around you right now for a minute or two with all your senses. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, rain or cold wind on your skin.
It might sound like a small and insignificant thing to do. But this simplifying reconnection with the moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.
Tesla reportedly curled his toes 100 times on each foot before sleep, believing that stimulated brain cells. Funny, I do that to warm up my Flintstone feet.
Charles Dickens carried a navigational compass with him at all times to ensure that he was always facing north while he slept. He believed that this practice improved his creativity and writing (and perhaps his ability to always know what direction he was facing at any given time). [source: Ashlee Christian, FreelancersUnion]Salvador Dalí thought sleep was for the birds, or you know for all the other organisms that actually need to sleep for more than one second at a time. He would nap in a chair with a key in his hand above a plate, and the second he fell asleep the key would fall, hit the plate, and wake him up. Similar to the Uberman cycle, it is a form of hypnagogic sleep that Dalí felt enhanced his creativity. [source: Ashlee Christian, FreelancersUnion]
Thank you Ashlee Christian for adding two women to the list. I’ll find more and add to the end. Actually, my siblings are going to have a laugh at this one.
Charles Dickens carried a navigational compass with him at all times to ensure that he was always facing north while he slept. He believed that this practice improved his creativity and writing (and perhaps his ability to always know what direction he was facing at any given time).Salvador Dalí thought sleep was for the birds, or you know for all the other organisms that actually need to sleep for more than one second at a time.He would nap in a chair with a key in his hand above a plate, and the second he fell asleep the key would fall, hit the plate, and wake him up. Similar to the Uberman cycle, it is a form of hypnagogic sleep that Dalí felt enhanced his creativity.
It’s important to know how much sleep you need to be at your best and most productive. For me, it’s 10 hours. People think I don’t sleep at all, when it’s actually the opposite.
I get ten hours, but it may be at odd times. For instance, if I’m working at a network from midnight to 8 a.m. I sleep from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and get on a bus at 8 p.m. to arrive 10 p.m.
If I’m dayside, I adjust time. If I’m on my own, as long as I get 10 hrs. in there somewhere, I’m good. If sleep is interrupted, multiple power naps come in handy, but they’re never a replacement for a good night’s sleep.
A lot of writers in history like Fran Kafka wrote from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and slept around that schedule. Basically, if you work from home you can find when you’re most productive and be up then, but you have to make sure you work in 9 hours of sleep around it.
Today is National Nap Day.
These days are created to raise awareness, which begs the question about a lot of stupid ones out there. I digress. It’s today because you lost an hour of sleep yesterday when the clocks jumped forward, so you may feel sluggish today. Hence, National Nap Day to let you know it’s okay to close your door and take a nap today.
Good luck with that in open work environments. One sneeze and the whole team get sick. Seriously, who came up with open work environments? Collaborative? That’s 2 or 3 people in one office, not an open zoo hearing everyone’s conversations or chewing gum, smelling cologne, perfume or food –the list can go on about how these people pretend to work and secretly can’t wait to get the heck out of there.
I can walk into any company and know if it’s a healthy office or team. The irony is some of them profess to be about health when they’re the Canal Street of Madison Avenue. You can buy a fake watch, but as genius Steve Jobs learned, you can’t buy into anything fake when it comes to health. I don’t know how many hour Jobs slept a night, but he was known to call designers up at 3 a.m. My guess is he probably could have used someone with his best interests at heart advising him on healthy habits. It’s so dangerous to get yes men or women or those trying to sell something around you when you’re successful or worse, those giving you misinformation.
I promised earlier I would find more women. OPRAH! I already said I know she loves power naps, but I am curious how many hours of sleep she gets a night. She reports she is at her best at 5 and a half hours of sleep each night. Oh no. There you have it. That’s why she has had weight issues her whole life. Why hasn’t any expert told her this?? At that amount of sleep her body is releasing something called cortisol and it keeps the hunger gremlins turned ON, ON, ON all the time while causing inflammation in the body. Why didn’t Dr. Oz catch this? Rest is critical to the body. If she changed this ONE habit she will be amazed at the results.
The world needs people to rest. Less illness. People think when you have a million or a billion dollars you should sleep like a baby. NO! Not true. Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t sleep the night before Christmas because you were too excited?! Well, having a billion dollars is initially like that. Then, stressors appear like competition, relationships, fake people suddenly inviting you to be a part of this or that event, dinner or organization just because you have money. You’ll wonder where these people were when you had no money. They are not your friends. When you realize the fakeness in all the fundraising and pay to play things out there you realize some things can not be bought. Everything real can not. True friendship. True love. True health. True happiness. Another thing happens when you have money. Friends without money can’t do everything you want to do because they don’t have money or free time. That’s where it’s lonely at the top come from. So, there is stress. If a wealthy person or a poor person do not sleep enough the results are the same. They will both experience a rise in cortisol, the fear hormone which causes inflammation inside your body. Too many yes men or women or ill informed people around you really can cause you to be sick. Make sure you have a healthy reference group in your circle.
Let’s look at some other sleeping habits. Marissa Mayer reports 4 to 6 hours. Again, not good. Lordy, Martha Stewart reports 4 hours.
President Obama reports sleeping from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. That’s only 6 hours a night.
It’s so important the President be well-rested. I bet whoever they put on the White House team for health writes prescriptions when someone can’t sleep instead of really caring and or knowing about health.
The world needs people who brag about getting a good night’s rest. The funny thing is it shows on their faces and bodies and ability to make good decisions. I forgot to mention that the release of cortisol in your body also ages you faster. I know so much about cortisol, but this blog is about NAPPING and the sleeping habits of Geniuses, so will save that for another time. Until then, hope you’ve learned something that makes you healthier. It’s never too late to change a habit for the better.
When your basic daily habits are healthy you should only need to see your physician once a year to get a compete physical, and for recommended screenings for your age group. That’s when your doctor says, “Everything looks great. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF PALLIATIVE CARE by Maria Dorfner
In 2000, I practically lived at the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, they wanted to put me up at a hotel, but I preferred to be closer to the patients I was writing stories about. One of those patients was dying from AIDS. He was in the Palliative Care Unit. I spent time speaking to him, his partner, his family and his caretakers.
I’d been a professional health journalist since 1993, after working in media as a researcher, producer and writer for 10 years. I love covering health, studied it since I was a kid and covered it on college newspapers. I couldn’t afford to go to medical school, but think journalism ranks up there as one of the most important callings in the world. We filmed a documentary on Palliative Care and it was an extremely touching story.
He was an in-patient, but his room was beautiful and he shared how comfortable he was knowing he had the best physicians around him and that family could visit any time. We talked so comfortably about everything not even minding the camera in the room. One day prior to it being released I got a call. The patient died. His partner was devastated. His partner thanked me for creating the most beautiful keepsake he had –the video. Through his tears, he asked if I would refrain from airing it. It was something he and the patient had talked about prior to his passing away –that they would only want it to air if they could watch it together. They knew the possibility existed that it would not happen.
I honored their wish.
The need for a healing touch continues even after a cure is no longer possible.
What is Palliative Medicine?
Palliative medicine is comprehensive medical care for patients with life threatening disease that focuses on control of cancer symptoms, management of complications, and quality of life. It cares for patients and their families and treats the cancer symptoms of body, mind and spirit. It is most successful when done with a multidisciplinary team approach to treating the cancer symptoms.
What are the goals of Palliative Medicine?
To provide excellent care of patients and their families dealing with advanced disease throughout the illness and during bereavement
To advocate effectively for patient comfort, dignity and choice
People with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), AIDS, heart failure, chronic lung disease or other serious illness experiencing symptoms or repeated hospitalizations
Patients or families dealing with the stress of a life threatening illness and cancer symptoms
What does a Palliative Medicine team do for my family and me?
We strive to help people live as well as they can despite their illness and to cope with cancer symptoms. We focus on controlling any cancer symptoms that may be interfering in the quality of life, defining goals for any subsequent treatment, and maintaining the best physical and emotional well-being possible despite complex problems. The medical specialist functions as the quarterback of a team, including the patient and the family in what can be difficult decisions. Family conferences are routinely held to ensure that everyone involved is aware of and involved in the plan of care.
Who is on the team?
The patient and the family
The referring physician
The palliative medicine physician
Music and art therapist
Home health aides
What services are provided?
Cancer Symptom Control: There is no need for anyone to suffer from uncontrolled pain, nausea or dyspnea (shortness of breath). Medical science knows how to effectively control these cancer symptoms most of the time. Making sure this happens is one of the primary goals of this program.
Case Management: People with serious illness often have many doctors involved in their care making. It is difficult to determine who to contact when a problem occurs. In this program, each patient has a registered nurse case manager assigned. That person is then a link to all other caregivers and available after hours.
The Harry R. Horvitz Center: Most people can be managed in an outpatient setting, but in crisis, this 23-bed inpatient unit is available for comprehensive multidisciplinary care.
Inpatient Consultation Service: Comprehensive assessment and management of symptoms in other areas of the hospital is provided to ensure maximum comfort for all hospitalized patients. The attending physician must request this service.
Outpatient Clinic: Specialty follow-up and consultation are available in this clinic. Nurse case managers maintain contact with their patients in this setting also.
Home Care and Hospice: As people become more ill they may need assistance at home which can be provided by Cleveland Clinic Home Care Ventures. As end of life approaches, the Hospice of the Cleveland Clinic is available at home for the special multidisciplinary care so critical at this time of life. Inpatient hospice care in the community is also available. Continuity is maintained throughout with the staff of the Palliative Medicine Program.
What is special about the Harry R. Horvitz Center?
Dr. Declan Walsh first developed the program at the Cleveland Clinic in 1988. At that time nothing of its kind existed in the United States. It still remains one of the few fully integrated programs in this country. In 1991 it was recognized by the World Health Organization as “a unique model of a much needed service” and designated a WHO Demonstration Project. The program had the first endowed chairs in Palliative Medicine in the USA.
The 23-bed inpatient unit was built in memory of Harry R. Horvitz, lifelong resident of Cleveland, recognized by his friends and associates as a man of integrity and compassion. The unit consists of the following facilities:
13 private patient rooms
5 semi-private patient rooms
Glass enclosed solarium
Family dining room
Donor recognition area
The Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine also conducts important cancer research and educational programs in pain management, symptom control and nutrition. Donations made to the Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine are allocated for this vital research.
Advances made at the Cleveland Clinic have minimized unwanted side effects of treatment and enhanced quality of life for patients with advanced disease and painful cancer symptoms.
Cancer Answers & Appointments
Speak with a cancer nurse specialist for appointment assistance and for answers to your questions about cancer locally at 216.444.7923216.444.7923 or toll-free 1.1.866.223.8100 FREE866.223.8100866.223.8100 FREE.
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Resources for medical professionals
Outpatient appointment referrals: 216.444.7923216.444.7923 or 866.223.8100866.223.8100 FREE
This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
Psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino children and young adults in California are rising dramatically — at a much faster pace than among their white and black peers, according to state data.
While mental health hospitalizations of young people of all ethnicities have climbed in recent years, Latino rates stand out. Among those 21 and younger, they shot up 86 percent, to 17,813, between 2007 and 2014, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. That’s compared with a 21 percent increase among whites and 35 percent among African Americans.
No one knows for certain what’s driving the trend. Policymakers and Latino community leaders offer varying and sometimes contradictory explanations. Some say the numbers reflect a lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for Latinos and a pervasive stigma that prevents many from seeking help before a crisis hits.
“Often, they wait until they are falling apart,” said Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a professor at the University of California, Davis Medical School and director of the university’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities.
Others blame stress from the recent recession, family disintegration and an influx of traumatized children fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.
Still others suggest the trend might actually be positive, reflecting an increasing willingness among Latino parents to seek treatment for themselves and their children, at least when they are in crisis.
Among Latino adults, psychiatric hospitalizations rose 38 percent during the same period. Similar hospitalizations of black adults increased 21 percent, while hospitalizations of white adults remained flat.
Margarita Rocha, the executive director of the nonprofit Centro la Familia in Fresno, said mental health issues are starting to be discussed more publicly in the Latino community.
“That’s helping people to come forward,” she said.
Ken Berrick, CEO of the Seneca Family of Agencies, which serves children with emotional disturbances in a dozen counties, agreed. Because more Latinos are now getting mental health services, children are more likely to be identified as requiring hospitalization, he said.
“I know for a fact that access to service is better now,” said Berrick, whose operation has a crisis stabilization unit in Alameda County, Calif.
Kids’ psychiatric hospitalizations overall rose nearly 45 percent between 2007 and 2014, regardless of ethnicity, a pattern experts attribute to various factors including a shortage of intensive outpatient and in-home services, schools’ struggles to pay for mental health services through special education and a decline in group home placements.
“Those kids have to be treated somewhere,” said Dawan Utecht, Fresno County’s mental health director, of the move to keep kids out of group homes.
“If they don’t get those services in a community setting, they’re going to go into crisis.”
The rise among Latino youths is remarkable in part because hospitalization rates for that population historically have been relatively low.
Latino children remain much less likely to receive mental health treatment through Medi-Cal, the state and federal coverage program for poor and disabled residents. Between 2010 and 2014, less than 4 percent of Latino children received specialty mental health services through the traditional Medi-Cal program. That’s compared with 7 percent of eligible black and white children, according to state data. The numbers don’t include those enrolled in managed care.
(Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders seek treatment at a rate even lower than Latinos. Although hospitalizations are also increasing rapidly among that population, the raw numbers remain relatively small.)
Leslie Preston, the behavioral health director of La Clínica de La Raza, in East Oakland, says that the shortage of bilingual, bicultural mental health workers limits Latino kids’ access to preventive care, which could lead to crises later on.
“Everybody’s trying to hire the Spanish-speaking clinicians,” she said. “There’s just not enough clinicians to meet that demand.”
Access to care can be even harder for recent immigrants. Spanish-speaking children who have been referred for a special education assessment, which can help them become eligible for mental health services, sometimes wait months or years before someone tests them, she said.
“The families don’t know the system,” she added. “They don’t know their rights.”
Other clinicians point to relatively low health insurance coverage among Latinos, particularly those without legal status, and a cultural resistance to acknowledging mental illness.
Dr. Alok Banga, medical director at Sierra Vista Hospital in Sacramento, said some immigrant parents he encounters don’t believe in mental illness and have not grasped the urgency of their children’s depression and past suicide attempts. Many are working two or three jobs, he said. Some are undocumented immigrants afraid of coming to the hospital or having any interaction with Child Protective Services.
But the biggest problem, from his perspective, is the shortage of child psychiatrists and outpatient services to serve this population.
“The default course for treatment falls on institutions: hospitals, jails and prisons,” he said.
Jeff Rackmil, director of the children’s system of care in Alameda County, said sheer population growth — particularly, an increase in Latino children insured under Medi-Cal — may also be part of the explanation for the rise in hospitalizations.
Yet the state’s Latino population aged 24 and under increased less than 8 percent between 2007 and 2014, which doesn’t nearly explain an 86 percent increase in hospitalizations.
Some California communities are working to bring more Latino children into care and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
At Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, a small, mostly Latino high school in East Oakland, students grow up amid pervasive violence and poverty. “We’re just told to hold things in,” said 17-year-old Hilda Chavez, a senior.
Students often don’t seek help because they fear discussing mental health problems will earn them a label of “crazy,” Chavez said.
Last year, the school, in conjunction with the Oakland-based La Clínica de La Raza, started a program to interest students in careers in mental health care. The program provides training in “first aid” instruction to help people in crisis, and places students in internships with mental health organizations.
Nubia Flores Miranda, 18, participated in the program last year and now is majoring in psychology at San Francisco State University. Miranda said she became interested in a career in mental health after she experienced depression and anxiety during her freshman year at Life Academy.
Seeing a school counselor “changed my life around,” she said.
But she saw that her peers were wary of seeking help from counselors at the school, most of whom were white and lived in wealthier, safer neighborhoods. Once, when a classmate started acting out at school, Miranda suggested she talk to someone.
“She told me she didn’t feel like she could trust the person — they wouldn’t understand where she was coming from,” she said.
The shortage of services is especially evident in the Central Valley, where many agricultural workers are Latino. Juan Garcia, an emeritus professor at California State University, Fresno, who founded a counseling center in the city, says the drought and economic downturn have exacerbated depression, anxiety, substance abuse and psychotic breaks among Latinos of all ages.
“The services to this population lag decades behind where they should be,” he said.
In Fresno County, psychiatric hospitalizations of Latino youth more than tripled, to 432, between 2007 and 2014. Hospitalizations of their white and black peers about doubled.
Liliana Quintero Robles, a marriage and family therapy intern in rural Kings County, also in the state’s Central Valley, said she sees children whose mental health issues go untreated for so long that they end up cutting themselves and abusing alcohol, marijuana, crystal meth and OxyContin.
“There’s some really, really deep-rooted suffering,” she said.
Out in the unincorporated agricultural community of Five Points, about 45 minutes from Fresno, almost all of the students at Westside Elementary School are low-income Latinos. When principal Baldo Hernandez started there in 1981, he’d see maybe one child a year with a mental health issue. These days, he sees 15 to 30, he said.
He blames dry wells and barren fields, at least in part.
“I’ve had parents crying at school, begging me to find them a home, begging me to find them a job,” he said.
In some parts of the Valley and other places, the closest hospitals that accept children in psychiatric crises are hours away. Children can be stuck in emergency room hallways for days, waiting for a hospital bed.
“It makes for a very traumatized experience for both families and children,” said Shannyn McDonald, the chief of the Stanislaus County behavioral health department’s children’s system of care.
Recently, the county expanded its promotora program, which enlists members of the Latino community to talk to their peers about mental health.
In the small town of Oakdale, a slim, energetic 51-year-old promotora named Rossy Gomar spends 60 to 70 hours a week serving as cheerleader, educator and sounding board for many of the Latino women and children in the town.
Gomar’s office in the Oakdale Family Support Network Resource Center is cluttered with open boxes of diapers and donated children’s toys and clothing.
“Look at my office,” she laughs. “We don’t fit.”
Gomar says many of the women she works with don’t recognize that they are depressed or abused. Children see their parents’ problems and don’t know where to turn for help.
“There are many young people who don’t have any hope,” she said.
But little by little, she has seen some good results.
One 17-year-old client is a student at Oakdale High School. The girl, whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy, said that earlier this year, problems at school and a break-up with her boyfriend had her struggling to get out of bed each morning. She began drinking, using drugs and thinking about suicide. She was scared to talk to her parents, she said, and kept everything inside.
One day, she walked into Gomar’s office and started crying.
“She told me ‘Everything is ok. We want you here,’” the girl said. “When I was talking with her, I felt so much better.”
Below are 10 of the most common reasons why with suggestions on how to correct them.
1. Your room isn’t dark enough.
Ideally, your bedroom shouldn’t have any lights on, especially light emitted from a TV or any electronic device. When your eyes are exposed to light during the night, your brain is tricked into thinking it’s time to wake up and reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone released by your pineal gland that causes sleepiness and lowers body temperature. Light emitted by electronic devices is especially troublesome because it mimics sunlight.
2. Exercising too late.
If you exercise within three hours of trying to sleep, you’ll overstimulate your metabolism and raise your heart rate causing restlessness and frequent awakenings throughout the night. Try to exercise in the morning or no later than mid to late afternoon, which will result in sounder sleep.
3. Drinking alcohol too late.
We tend to think of alcohol as a sleep inducer, but it actually interferes with REM sleep, causing you to feel more tired the next morning. Granted, you may feel sleepy after you drink it, but that’s a short-term effect. Here’s a great video at WebMD about alcohol and sleep.
4. Room temperature too warm.
Your body and brain wants to cool down when you sleep, but if your room is too warm you’ll thwart the cool-down process. Having a fan in your room is a good idea because it will keep you cool and produce a consistent level of white noise that will help you fall asleep. Just don’t get too cold, because that will disrupt sleep as well. (You can also try cooling your brain.)
5. Caffeine still in your system.
The average half-life of caffeine is 5 hours, which means that you still have three-quarters of the first dose of caffeine rolling around in your system 10 hours after you drink it. Most of us drink more than one cup of coffee, and many of us drink it late in the day. If you’re going to drink coffee, drink it early.
Though it’s hard not to do, don’t look at your clock when you wake up during the night. In fact, it’s best to turn it around so it’s not facing you. When you habitually clockwatch, you’re training your circadian rhythms the wrong way, and before long you’ll find yourself waking up at exactly 3:15 every night.
7. Getting up to watch TV until you’re sleepy.
This is a bad idea for a few reasons. First, watching TV stimulates brain activity, which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen if your goal is to sleep soundly. Second, the light emitted from the TV is telling your brain to wake up (see #1 above).
8. Trying to problem-solve in the middle of the night.
All of us wake up at times during the night, and the first thing that pops into our heads is a big problem we’re worried about. The best thing you can do is stop yourself from going there and redirect your thoughts to something less stressful. If you get caught up on the worry treadmill, you’ll stay awake much longer.
Smokers equate smoking with relaxing, but that’s a neurochemical trick. In truth, nicotine is a stimulant. When you smoke before trying to sleep, you can expect to wake up several times throughout the night; much as you would if you drank a cup of coffee.
David DiSalvo is a science, technology and culture writer who contributes to Forbes, Scientific American Mind, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Esquire, Mental Floss and a smattering of other publications. His first nonfiction book, “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite” (Prometheus, 2011) is available in paperback and Kindle, and his second book, “The Brain in Your Kitchen” is now available for Kindle. More at his website: www.daviddisalvo.org. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Sleep paralysis is a condition where people are paralyzed at the onset of sleep or upon waking. It is a disorienting condition that may also proffer vivid and terrifying hallucinations. Here are some steps to help you identify and cope with sleep paralysis.
Focus on body movement. You may find that you are able to move a part of your body (often your toes, fingers, or tongue) to force yourself to a fully waking state. 
Focus on eye movement. Your ability to open your eyes and look around is generally not hindered by sleep paralysis. Some people recommend rapidly moving their eyes back and forth to break the paralyzed state.
Imagine yourself moving. Some people intentionally induce a sleep-paralysis state to induce what they believe to be out-of-body experiences. Imagining oneself moving effortlessly from the body may be a pleasant alternative to sleep paralysis.
Treating the Symptoms
Sleep regularly. Sleep paralysis is thought to happen when the sleeper enters the REM-sleep state prematurely. Since this is more likely to occur when a person is sleep-deprived, maintaining a regular healthy sleep pattern and getting enough sleep can significantly reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis episodes. If you suffer from insomnia, train yourself to fall asleep more easily.
“Sleeping on my side worked for me.” -Maria
Sleep on your side. About 60% of sleep paralysis episodes reportedly occur when the sleeper lies on his or her back; to break this habit, sew a pocket or pin a sock to the back of your nightshirt and insert a tennis ball or two.
Exercise regularly. You don’t have to go to the gym. Simply introduce a low-impact exercise regimen to your day. Taking a walk in the morning, for example, is a good idea.
Eat healthy. Nothing is more important than what you put inside your body. Cut out the things that will affect your sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, and sweets.
Relax. Stress interrupts normal sleep cycles, which can greatly contribute to the likelihood of sleep paralysis. There are many things you can do to help you calm down, such as meditating, listening to music, and playing with a pet. Decide what works best for you.
See a doctor. When episodes occur once a week for 6 months, it’s time to consult with your personal health care provider.
Further Preemptive Treatments
Talk about it with your friends. It’s much easier to deal with a medical condition when you know you’re not the only one. You might be surprised to learn that someone you know has gone through something similar.
Keep a log. Track the details of the experience, the time, your sleep pattern, sleeping position, mental/emotional state before and after you were paralyzed, and if you were paralyzed while falling asleep or upon waking up. This can all be useful information, especially if you decide to a see a doctor about the condition.
Identify the triggers. Sleep paralysis can be triggered by a variety of situations. For example, some researchers have found that it can be caused by the position you fall asleep in. These researchers recommend sleeping in any position other than your back. It can also be caused by certain sedatives or pain medication. Switching medications can eliminate the problem.
Avoid the triggers. After identifying your personal triggers, do your best to avoid them. This will significantly reduce the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis.
Avoid caffeine 5 hours before sleep.
Sleep paralysis can be terrifying but it isn’t dangerous or harmful.
Consider having your doctor administer a sleep study diagnosis. With proper treatment of a diagnosed sleep apnea condition, the sleep paralysis may subside and/or disappear.
If you feel an episode coming on at night, try sitting up and staring at a bright light for a minute or two.
If you experience disassociation (“out of body” feelings), try to “feel” the texture of your sheets, clothes, or furniture around you. It’s easier to wake up if you focus on one of your senses. Alternately, ignore the sense of paralysis, and allow yourself to follow the “out of body” feelings; you can turn an unpleasant surprise into an enjoyable lucid dream, which you may be able to control. Try visiting friends or pleasant spots you have visited. No harm can come to you, so don’t be afraid.
Sleep paralysis is a very common medical phenomenon. Do not worry about the supernatural or spiritual implications of such an episode.
You might find yourself still dreaming while experiencing paralysis. This is the time when sleep paralysis is most confusing. For example, you might awaken to see the outlines of your bedroom, but at the same time you might see an intruder in your dream. These sorts of dreams are common in conjunction with sleep paralysis, and they are known to be exceptionally frightening.
You might feel the urge to break free of the paralysis by trying to sit up or moving a lot. Doing this can often cause you to be paralyzed further and the pressure to increase. The best way is to simply relax and recognize that you are in no danger and the feeling will soon pass.
Fitness gives us nutrition rules experts swear by for a good night’s rest.
Don’t skimp, then splurge.
by Ana Mantica – Skipping midday meals may seem like an easy way to shed weight, but doing so can throw off your body’s normal sleep pattern. Researchers who followed a group of Muslims during Ramadan (a month of fasting from sunup to sundown) found that the group lost an average of 40 minutes of sleep a night compared with a nonholiday time of year. The likely cause: changes in hormone levels due to fasting. Large, late dinners exacerbate the problem: “A big meal increases the blood flow to your digestive tract, causing your stomach to secrete more gastric acid and making your pancreas and intestinal muscles work harder,” Breus says. This stimulates your system instead of calming it.
Do eat early and often.
“Your body uses up energy during the sleep process; it needs to be restored,” Breus says. Eat a mix of protein and carbs for breakfast (think eggs and whole wheat toast), and have six 250- to 300-calorie mini meals throughout your day. Eating something nutritious every few hours helps your body and brain maintain the right balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, essential for falling — and staying — asleep at night.
Don’t be a party victim.
Just say no to canapes, cheese plates, and mini meatballs. High-fat and spicy foods spark indigestion and reflux, keeping you up long past your bedtime, says Carolyn O’Neil, RD, author of The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!
Do eat carbs for dinner.
A recent study found that people who ate jasmine rice before bedtime fell asleep faster than those who didn’t, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports. The reason? Jasmine rice is high on the glycemic index, so it helps increase the body’s production of tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy, explains study author Chin-Moi Chow, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Don’t go to extremes.
When daily calories dip below 1,200, you miss out on key nutrients, and this may affect your sleep, says Susan Moores, RD, a dietitian in St. Paul. Low iron, for instance, may cause symptoms similar to restless leg syndrome. A deficiency in folic acid may lead to insomnia. Studies also suggest that anorexics on extremely low-cal diets limit the time their bodies spend in the slow-wave sleep cycle, necessary for muscle repair and recovery.
Do strike a balance.
A well-rounded diet with foods high in B vitamins, calcium, and zinc will help you rest better. “Vitamin B6 signals your body to produce the calming hormone serotonin,” Breus says. “And calcium and zinc are natural relaxants.”
Don’t overdo the cold cuts or coffee.
Processed foods like deli meats contain a lot of sodium, which can interrupt sleep by raising your blood pressure and dehydrating you, Cornell’s Maas says. Caffeine, meanwhile, stays in your system for up to 12 hours, so the effects of a p.m. latte could linger till midnight. Try skipping the joe tomorrow: Not having caffeine for a single day can improve sleep quality that night, a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found.
Do go herbal.
Before bed, have a cup of chamomile tea; the plant it’s made from acts as a mild sedative, Breus explains, calming your body and helping you drift off.
The bottom line is to focus on eating foods in as close to their natural form as possible (for instance, apples, not apple danish). And eat smaller meals, says Breus, but more frequently. Simple, no? And all without counting a single sheep. Sweet dreams.