Prostatitis

7 Easy Do’s & Don’ts to Having a Happy Thanksgiving

7 Easy Do’s & Don’ts to Having a Happy Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving
1. Don’t stuff yourself. Overeating feels good for about 10 minutes, and then you are bloated, tired, disengaged, and feeling guilty. 

Do have a little of everything you like. And enjoy it.

2. Don’t be sedentary and watch football games all day.

Do go play football or something. Work up a sweat. Go to the gym and get in a workout for 30 to 60 minutes at least three out of the four days this Thanksgiving weekend.

3. Don’t go into the event, dinner, party, bash (or wherever you plan to go this long-weekend) with an empty stomach. You go in hungry, and you will overeat. You know it’s true.

Do eat a good meal before you leave. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a protein smoothie, leftovers, or simply a snack like Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus or avocado.

4. Don’t be afraid to eat some pumpkin pie! It’s delicious.

Do mind #1.

5. Don’t take your family and friends for granted as you share time with each other. Not to be somber here, but we just never know when is the next time you will be with each other. 

Do be grateful for all you have. Sometimes we focus way too much on what we don’t have.

6. Don’t forget to take your dietary supplements – especially if you plan to “fall off the horse” a little. The right supplement regimen can be protective and offset most dietary diversion.

Do take them and stay on track.

7. Don’t get sucked into family drama. We all have a little of that. Rise above it, for the sake of your stress. 

Do have fun and laugh a lot with those you love. And, be thankful that they are in your life.

 

From my family and the whole DrGeo.com team –

Happy Thanksgiving!

Probiotics Lowers Blood Pressure – new study

Probiotics Improves High Blood Pressure in A New Study

 

Probiotics2

Doggy Bag Message First:

Consuming probiotics – over 100 billion CFU’s a day – can moderately lower blood pressure. Probiotics have many other health benefits so its one of my big three. Exercise, low carb eating and fish oils also helps with lower blood pressure as well, likely by reducing body fat and controlling insulin insensitivity.

 

Study Details

A meta-analysis looking at over 540 participants total showed the following:

•    Those  who consumed 100 billion CFU or more had the lowest reduction in  blood pressure.
•    Probiotic species varied among the trials; four studies used yogurt as the source of probiotic bacteria, two used fermented and sour milk, one used probiotic supplements in capsule form, one used probiotic rosehip drinks, and one used probiotic cheese.
•    The reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were approximately 3.5 mmHg systolic (upper number) and 2.4 mmHg diastolic (lower number).
•    Researchers observed larger reductions of blood pressure among those who consumed multiple probiotic species compared to those who consumed just one species.

LINK to the Abstract of this study.

Some Basics First About Probiotics:

What are probiotics? Probiotics are live microorganism which when consumed can offer a variety of health benefits. They can be consumed in a variety of forms; yogurt, cultured milk capsules, beverage, kimchi, kefir pickled cabbage and others.

Probiotics usually contain a genus, a species and strain.

For example, most people recognize the genus acidophilus and say, “I need to get my acidophilus” as if it’s a brand of probiotics.

Acidophilus is only one species of a variety of genus’ of probiotics.

So, Lactobacillus (genus) acidophilus (species) is what you would read on the label. There are hundreds of probiotics genus and species in the market.

Here  are a few commonly found in probiotic supplements and foods: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Streptococcus thermophilus.

What do Probiotics do: Probiotics are found through out the digestive system, mainly in the small intestine and they have a variety of functions including stimulating the immune system, eliminating the bad bacteria and making vitamin K.

When purchasing probiotics a few things need to be taken into account:

  • How many organisms are alive in the product
  • The genus and strains on the label should match what’s in the bottle
  • If taking a probiotic supplement, the capsule must pass through the stomach ( an acidic environment) and work its way down to the intestines.
  • Not contain any harmful organisms

Lastly, probiotics are measured in number of live organisms per dose – using CFU as units. CFU stands for; C – colonizing, F – forming, U – units.

My Take On This

Probiotics are a top three supplement on my list of most important nutrients. Hands down. You get a slew of benefit from consuming probiotics including; better digestion, gentle way of promoting bowel movement and strengthening the immune system.

Now we know probiotics can help with moderately lowering  blood pressure.* By the way, a drop of 3.5 points systolic and 2.5 points diastolic is not insignificant.

To compare, researchers from the  Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) study showed a 3.3 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure, along with a 1.4 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, with the use of the pharmaceutical ramipril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor . This moderate reduction in  blood pressure (not as significant as the probiotic study by Khalesi et al.)  was associated with a 22% reduction in risk of cardiovascular mortality, heart attack or stroke.

Which probiotic is right for you? Not and easy question for me to answer since I was involved in the formulation of this probiotic. So I’m a bit biased.

Other’s I have used successfully which I am not financially associated with includes; Natren’s, iFlora, Probiotic supreme and Biotics Research BioDoph-7plus.

There are other additional good probiotic brands out there but these are the ones I have the most experience with.

Bottom line: Take probiotics everyday by food or though a good dietary supplement. Choose one with the highest CFU’s per serving and with as many genus and species as possible. And take as many 30 to 60 billion CFU a day for general health. If you are trying to control blood pressure naturally consider upwards of about 100 billion CFU according and one with as many species as possible according to the Khalesi et al. study. * However, you may not need that high of a dosage if your are doing others things to support your cardiovascular system – stay away from  refined sugar and simple carbs and exercise everyday.

Oh, and yes, take fish oils. If you read this blog post – consuming  2 grams (or 2000 mg) a day of fish oils can also reduce blood pressure according to research.*

Reference:

Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, Jayasinghe R.Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials.Hypertension. 2014 Jul 21.

ConsumerLab.com has a great review on probiotics and a list of those that “don’t pass muster” – you may need to become a member for a fee to see the article. If you are a big supplement consumer then the fee may be worth it.

 

Men with Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome – What to do

Men with Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome

 

man IC
About 6 weeks ago I saw a pleasant 28 year old male at the clinic , we will call him John, with Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC/BPS). Admittedly, I have seen about a handful of cases of men with IC / BPS since this condition often affects women.

What is Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome (IC /BPS)?

IC / BPS is a condition with chronic inflammation of the bladder causing pain in the lower abdominal and pelvic area. Pain is accompanied with urinary urgency and frequency.

In about 5% of patients a physician would find ulcers in the inner lining of the bladder with a cystoscopy. But this is rarely the case which makes this condition very difficult to diagnose.

What should you do if you are a man with IC / BPS?

First, realize and accept that there is no perfect way of diagnosing IC/BPS. And this is the frustration for both you and your doctor. There are no biomarkers to distinguish IC/BPS from prostatitis or urethritis. In fact, the symptoms of IC /BPS and prostatitis are very similar to each other.

So here’s how I learn to distinguish IC /BPS from prostatitis in men

First of all, once an infection is ruled out, there is no lab test that can help with a diagnosis.
Figuring out the problem with  the patients clinical presentation, medical history and physical exam is all there is.

Cystoscopy with hydraulic distention of the bladder in males appears to be the technique most commonly used to diagnose IC in this population.

With IC / BPS there is constant pain below the umbilicus that comes and goes. It often flutters. This pain is accompanied by urinary urgency and frequency.

No urinary problems means no IC in men.

With prostatitis the pain is experienced in the area between the testicles and anus (perineum) and is also accompanied with urinary symptoms.

No urinary symptoms and only pain present means it is not prostatitis and likely only pelvic pain.

Sometimes there is only penis or testicular pain. But when performing a prostate exam the pain in the testicle or penis gets worse. The pain on the prostate is also pretty bad.  These patients have chronic, non-bacterial prostatitis.

Only penis pain is often diagnosed as urethritis.

Only testicular pain is often diagnosed as just that – chronic testicular pain.

Causes Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome in men
My patient John was abusing a recreational drug known in the streets as Special K.  Special K is made from Ketamine, a schedule three drug used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine.
Special K is very short acting hallucinogen with effects lasting sixty minutes when inhaled or injected and up to two hours when ingested, the total experience lasting no more than a couple of hours.
Special K is known to damage the bladder wall and cause pain and urinary problems. (Tsai TH et al. 2009)
John’s case was interesting in that; he was an America male in his upper 20’s and Special K is most common amongst teenage Asian girls.
Ketamine is also used in humans in emergency medicine as a pain killer or for respiratory problems. There again bladder pain can be induced when Ketamine is used legally for medical purposes.

Natural Treatment Options for men with Interstitial Cystitis / Bladder Pain Syndrome

De-Stress – you know stress makes pain worse. Stress tightens muscles in the around the pelvic area and bladder making pain worse. Read and practice meditations from Jon Kabat Zynn. There’s also a phone App that helps with stress called Headspace.

Have an outlet. Guys are notorious for ‘holding things’ in. Physical exercise that includes boxing on punching bags helps to release tension.

Try Acupuncture – Collectively there has been more than 400 subjects studied for prostatitis showing efficacy with acupuncture.

The right combination of phytotherapy can reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms without side effects. Natural agents to consider include: quercetin, curcumin and rye pollen extract. By reducing inflammation naturally you can also benefit from other health problems since IC /BPS is almost never experienced alone. Most sufferers also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia or some other autoimmune disease.

Some foods can be a problem. Typically these include; tomato’s, caffeine, citrus fruits and juices and wine. I find wheat and gluten can also be a trigger for many.

The trick is to work on all of these together. Monotherapy fails with the treatment of IC / PBS. Throw the ‘kitchen sink’ at this thing for relief.

 

Reference:
Tsai TH, Cha TL, Lin CM, Tsao CW, Tang SH, Chuang FP, Wu ST, Sun GH, Yu DS, Chang SY. Ketamine-associated bladder dysfunction. Int J Urol. 2009 Oct;16(10):826-9.

Helpful Resources:
http://www.ic-network.com/
http://www.ichelp.org/

http://www.prostate.net/

 

An NYU Clinical Trial for Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

 NYU Urology is enrolling patients who have an enlarged prostate for this unique study
stream

This clinical trial is called  PLUS 1. READ MORE HERE ON PLUS 1.

 

Who should consider joining this clinical trial?

Any male who has and enlarged prostate (BPH) who has tried the available drugs for such condition and;

  • do not like the side effects of BPH drugs
  • the drugs don’t work
  • have also tried dietary supplements for BPH and they don’t work either

Symptoms of an enlarged prostate (BPH) include:

  • Urinary frequency (having to use the restroom often)
  • Excessive nighttime urination ( called nocturia in medicine)
  • Urinary urgency (When you have to go and can’t hold it)
  • Slow urinary stream (slow stream evident by how weak your urine hits the bottom or the toilet)

PLUS 1 is a new alternative therapy that does not involve pills or invasive surgery for men that are suffering from frequency urination, getting up at night frequently or those that have a slow urinary stream from an enlarged prostate.  If the patient qualifies the treatment involves an injection of a protein directly into the prostate.  This protein causes the prostate cells to break open and should improve there symptoms.

 

If you want to join the trial;

You’d need to act quickly. Enrollment ends in two weeks (8/1/14).

Contact Lauri or Joseph to answer some simple questions and find out about the next steps.
Laurie.Mantor@nyumc.org
Joseph.Weintraub@nyumc.org

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Please share this post with friends and family. You never know, they may have urinary problems too.

 

My Opinion on the Wizard of (Dr.) Oz

Please allow me to opine on Dr. Oz (or the Ozter, as I like to affectionately call him)  and his show.

oz1

Having worked where Dr. Oz practices at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in the department of Urology about 10 years ago, I knew Dr. Oz (the cardiologist) before he was Dr. Oz ( the TV personality and health guru). His office was actually not too far from mine and I used to bump into him every now and then .  I thought he was a nice guy. I still do.

The Ozter is the first allopathic physician I know to incorporate alternative modalities like music therapy to his surgical patients.

Think about that for moment; in a highly conventional and conservative institution like CUMC he incorporated music therapy with his surgical heart patients, an alternative modality that seemingly, at minimum, helps with alleviating pain post-surgery (Özer et al. 2013).

So, what do I think of the Dr. Oz show?

First of all, I’ll admit that I don’t watch the Dr. Oz show much – I don’t have time and recording shows like 60 minutes is more valuable to me, frankly. Lately, however, I’ve seen a couple of segments since  he recently had a hearing with congress regarding weight loss claims connected with certain dietary supplements.

All in all, in my opinion, Dr. Oz has done a whole lot more good than bad. Most physician’s, especially integrative physician’s disagree with me.  But I think he does a fine job educating, inspiring and motivating his audience on being pro-active and in finding alternatives and natural methods (often less toxic than conventional approaches) for overcoming numerous health problems. He also has done tons of good in spreading the word on integrative and naturopathic medicine –  healthcare options which time for accessibility has come. Many excellent naturopathic and reseachers like; Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Pina Loguidice, and Dr. Susan Blum have been on the show spreading the good word on effective unconventional strategies to overcoming common ailments.

Man, when is my turn coming? I sure have lot’s of good material to convey. 😉

As as a health care practitioner, I too get frustrated when patients emphatically tell me “Dr. Oz says  I should take..” this, that or the other – as if they are consulting with the Ozter personally.  Arghhh! That’s really annoying. Mostly because, at times, he is giving the wrong information and most importantly, spreading the wrong “miracle cure” message.

Additionally, unscrupulous dietary supplement companies jump on the opportunity to sell poorly manufactured supplements as miracle cures when the Ozter mentions it on his show as is the case with green coffee bean extract.
Is not that coffee bean extract has not shown to increase metabolism and be a nice weight loss aide for some people, but the  “miracle in a bottle” message that he voices on his show can be misguiding and harmful to the public.

To be clear: There’s is no simple miracle cure in a bottle for anything. Period.

To his credit though, he doesn’t get paid a dime to promote any  natural remedy. He can probably make zillions with supplement companies if he did,  but he doesn’t endorse any brand. Paradoxically, Senator Claire McCaskill, who grilled Dr. Oz last week at the congressional hearing accused the natural health guru of peddling quack weight loss products — even though Oz actually runs a very meticulous, science-based operation where dietary supplements are heavily researched before being recommended to the public.

Meanwhile, Senator McCaskill, who chairs the consumer protection subcommittee, receives funding from prescription retailers like Express Scripts, the genetic engineered food (GMO) giant Monsanto and others.

Please understand; I’m not saying Dr. Oz is “innocent of all charges” and that  “bad players” in the dietary supplement industry are not culpable. They are both ” guilty, ” especially the latter.

I just think Oz is a passionate person who believes in what he says on his show and is also under tremendous pressure to keep ratings up.  Granted, network pressure is not an excuse when you are as charismatic as Oz and have the level of influence he does. People, probably millions, make health decisions based on the “Dr. Oz effect.”

Welcome to prime-time Ozter.

Yes, he needs to (and I believe will) stop the miracle cure claims. At minimum, toning down the misleading hype will save my integrative medical colleagues and me precious time from doing serious ‘damage control’ with patient’s and friends.

And dishonest, irresponsible dietary supplement companies who have poor manufacturing practices need to get their act together or get out of the supplement industry altogether. Legitimate  nutraceutical companies are getting a  bad rap by association. Frankly, I think ‘fly by night’ supplement companies are the biggest problem here, not supplement companies as a whole.

If anyone has an opinion on the Ozter –  and I know you do too –  chime in down below at comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Now, for kicks, check out this hilarious 16 minute parody by John Oliver on Oz and the latest congressional hearing.

😉 Enjoy!

Reference:

Özer N1, Karaman Özlü Z, Arslan S, Günes N.Effect of music on postoperative pain and physiologic parameters of patients after open heart surgery. Pain Manag Nurs. 2013 Mar;14(1):20-8.

NOTE: Good, useful content is guaranteed. Perfect, typo-less grammar from this mission-driven , hardworking, sometimes tired doctor and father of 3 is not. 🙁

5 Reason’s You Don’t Sleep Well and What you can Do About it

5 Reason’s You Don’t Sleep Well and What you can Do About it

sleep

Sleep is likely the most undervalued health practice in the Western world.

In my clinical experience, when laying out a health plan for patients, getting good sleep (and sometimes exercise) is what they shun most.

When times get tough, deadlines to meet, kids are acting up or uncertainties arise, you (and I) sleep less. Are we paying a heavy price for snoozing less?

We might be.

Recent research from the United States and Iceland, studying over 900 men, suggest’ a good night’s sleep could protect against the development of prostate cancer.  Higher levels of melatonin in men’s morning urine were associated with a decreased risk for prostate cancer, particularly advanced disease.

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced exclusively at night. Higher levels have been tied to longer, more restful sleep.
If melatonin is only released at night, does that mean that night shift workers  are at an increase risk of cancer? Yup.

A study published at the American Journal of Epidemiology looked at over 3100 Canadian men Compared with men who never worked at night, men who worked night shifts had an increased risk for prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic cancer , rectal cancer , colon cancer , bladder cancer and lung cancer. (Parent et al. 2012)

Poor sleep also leads to more car accidents, irritability and decrease work performance.

5 reason’s why you can’t sleep and what to do about it.

1. Sleep procrastination

Sleep procrastination is a term used in a recent study from Utrecht University where they studied the sleep habits of 177 participants. Night-time TV watching (i.e. nighttime news) , staying up  connecting on social media, or surfing through the internet is all part of sleep procrastination.

What to do: Have discipline. And practice transition time. Transition time are practices between your daytime and nighttime life. Transition time includes; shutting down all electronics at, say 9pm. Taking a warm bath. Drinking relaxing tea like chamomile. Meditating before bedtime. Most importantly, resist the temptation of watching TV, Netflix or surfing the net.

2. You have too much going on.

Two or three days of sleeping less due to upcoming deadlines or preparing for “big event” is no big deal. We all do it. Chronic sleep deprivation due to everyday challenges, however, is a big problem.
What to do: Write it all down. Rest your brain on paper by writing down your concerns and next day to do list.

3. Uncomfortable sleeping at night – tossing and turning.

What to do: You might need a new bed. The right bed makes all the difference in the world. Some beds like the tempurpedic can be expensive. Friends and family who have the Tempurpedic love it. ( I am not financially connected to this product) All mattress’ don’t have to be as expensive. Just find one you like, try it for a month and send it back if it does not work for you. Most bed companies allow you to that.

4. Urinating all night

What to do:  Getting up once a night to urinate is not a big deal, although not preferable. Getting up two or more times a night is. In men, prostate enlargement (or BPH) maybe the problem where urine flow is obstructed. A clinically tested prostate formula that works extraordinarily well is Prost-P10x. I admit to being a bit biased here since I formulated Prost-P10x but I clinically seen this formula work very well for prostate health.  On Amazon there are over 240 reviews with 4 ½ stars on Prost-P10x.
If a natural approach is not good enough to control prostate size then harsher treatments like surgery may be necessary. The gold standard surgical treatment for an enlarged prostate is a TURP and Green light laser.

5. Mind racing.

What to do:  Practice meditation. It works well. It does take time to get used to. The guru in this area is Jon Kabat-Zinn. Get this book if you find you need to calm your mind. Meditative techniques are essential to managing stress and controlling pain, even bladder pain, and nighttime urination.

 

 

Reference:

Parent MÉ1, El-Zein M, Rousseau MC, Pintos J, Siemiatycki J.Night work and the risk of cancer among men. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Nov 1;176(9):751-9.

The So Many Names of Sugar

The Disguise of Sugar.

At this point, almost all health experts agree that sugar is the single most harmful chemical we consume. It’s a big deal that almost all scientist, nutritional physician’s and researchers believe sugar is so damaging to the body considering universal agreement among expert in anything is such a rarity.

The problem is most people don’t know what sugar is and where it is hidden, especially when it has a different name like maltose, fructose, etc.

Rule of thumb – if the name ends with the suffix – ose, it’s sugar.

Don’t be fooled with all the different sugar names.

Watch this excellent 4 minute video on Sugar and let me know if you have any questions.

 

Sleep – 12 easy steps for better sleep

Sleep – 12 easy steps for better sleep

 

sleep2

An occasional sleepless night usually isn’t much of a problem, but running a sleep deficit over time can cause a lot of problems. Every system in your body is affected by lack of sleep.

Restorative sleep is an essential ingredient for a healthy mind and body. Hyper-competitive people and much of Western society in general think that sleep is a waste of time and a luxury for the lazy. The notion that “successful people” can get by with just a few hours of sleep a night reinforces a common perception that sleep is a waste of time. There is nothing wrong with being competitive or successful – both can be healthy.

But when sleep is consistently sacrificed to obtain a competitive edge, you may damage your overall health long-term and be promoting cancer.

Sleep is a fundamental need of the body. Since the body is often pushed to its limits on a daily basis, it needs adequate time to recharge, recover and rejuvenate.

Sleep is also far from the single phenomenon it is sometimes assumed to be: the brain activities behind its different stages can be as distinct from each other as they are from wakefulness.

And performance also drops significantly according to a recent report on Forbes Magazine.

 

Why is Sleep important ?

First off, It is important to get the bulk of your sleep at night. Those that work night-shift in a Japanese study showed had higher rates of prostate cancer. The reason for this is because there is a hormone called melatonin that is only released at night in the dark.

Previous blog post on melatonin HERE

There are 2 main hormones that are affected when there is not enough good quality and quantity sleep:  Melatonin (decreases) and Cortisol (increases).

Melatonin

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body suppress the production of estrogen, a possible contributor to prostate cancer according to recent research and is also protective against free radicals. If you consistently do not go through your sleep phases at night, your body may end up producing less melatonin.

This inhibits your immune system, and your resistance to many types of cancers. Lack of sleep and exposure to lights during sleep will disrupt your production of this vital antioxidant. This is the reason that sleeping with the TV on may not be such a great idea, or any electronic device that emits light for that matter.

Latest study on melatonin HERE.

Cortisol

Cortsol helps to regulate immune system activity – including the release of certain “natural killer” cells that help the body battle cancer. Cortisol levels typically peak at dawn, after hours of sleep, and decline throughout the day. If cortisol continues to be released thoughout the whole day, not just in the morning, then this is considered counter productive and may actually contribute to cancer progression. Excess cortisol is usually released from improper stress management.

Remember, with cortisol, as is with most hormones, balance is key.

Women night shift workers, who have higher rates of breast cancer than women who sleep normal hours, are more likely to have a “shifted cortisol rhythm,” in which their cortisol levels peak in the afternoon. At least two studies show those women typically die earlier from breast cancer.

Breast cancer research is particularly interesting for prostate cancer because they are both hormonal disease’s that have similar ways of development and progression.

People who wake up repeatedly during the night are also more likely to have abnormal cortisol patterns.

Cortisol during times of anxiety and may play a role in the development and worsening of cancer and other conditions.

Also, sleep deprivation make pain worse in people who suffer from chronic pain from any source – headaches, back pain, bladder, etc.

 

Sleep and Stress

There is a strong connection between sleep and stress.
Research shows that cancer patients who manage their stress in group therapy, with good social networks, or with regular exercise often fare better than patients who don’t manage stress effectively.

People who are depressed or anxious have a specific pattern of sleep disturbances. And if you had a bad night’s sleep, you don’t handle stress as well. Conversely, those who better manage stress are more likely to have good sleep patterns.

How to get good restful sleep

You first need to know that all aspect of this program is interrelated – all parts of the program feeds the other. Managing stress help with sleep, sleep helps manage stress, exercise helps with sleep, the more nourished you are the better you’ll be able to manage stress and the better sleep you will get.

Second, find out why you’re having difficulties sleeping. Stress, depression, rumination, sleep apnea and anxiety could be the cause and to resolve the problem, these issues have to be faced. For severe depression and anxiety a physician should treat you.

Sleep MUST be a priority. You can get away with one or two late nights, but on the third night, you should pay back the sleep time lost. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.

Rule out Sleep Apnea – sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour.[A sleep study should be done in a sleep clinic so the best solution can be found. There are many solutions, ranging from a splint to keep your jaw moved forward to special breathing masks called a CPAP machine or just losing weight if you are over weight.

Turn off all of your lights and electronic devices. Make sure the room is completely dark, so that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Keep electric clocks at least 3 feet away from your head. Better yet, get an battery operated clock. Take the TV out of the bedroom. This one can be difficult but you will thank us. Some people think that watching TV helps them go to sleep. This is not true. You probably just need some other white noise like a fan or sounds of ocean waves or something. TV and other electronic devices lower melatonin and interfere with good quality sleep.

Exercise – Most people benefit the most when it comes to sleep quality from working out in the morning or before dinner, but everyone is different. Experiment with your workout times, and see which is most effective for you.

12 Easy Steps to Sleep better

1.    Leave your troubles outside the bedroom door. Write down all of your concerns and worries and possible solutions in a notebook, so you don’t need to ruminate in the middle of the night.

2.    If you are unable to fall or stay asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere. Do not permit yourself to fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed when – and only when – you are sleepy. Maintain a regular arise time, even on days off work and on the weekends.

3.    Use your bedroom only for sleep and sexual intimacy. Avoid watching television, computer use, talking on the phone or reading stimulating books in the bedroom. Reading calming books for 5 to 10 minutes can promote sleep. (You may want to remove the television and/or phone from the bedroom.)

4.    Avoid strenuous exercise 5 hours of bedtime – but get the appropriate exercise regularly. Best time for exercise is in the morning.

5.    Get an hour of outdoor light each day, even if it is divided throughout the day.

6.    Take a warm 15 – 30 minutes bath about an hour before going to sleep.

7.    Drink a warm cup of chamomile tea.

8.    Keep the right temperature in your bedroom. Usually fresh air promotes sleep so crack the window open if the weather and noise permits.

9.    Keep your room as quiet and as dark as possible.

10. Avoid electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure during sleep. This means electric blankets, heaters or waterbeds. Keep electronic devices such as alarm clocks as far away from your head as possible.

11.Sleeping garments, including sheets and sleep wear should be 100% natural fibers like cotton or silk.

12.     Make your last meal the lightest most of the times and have it 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

Staying well by Planning and Commitment (RESEND)

Staying well takes Planning and Commitment

(Apologies for the broken link on the past broadcast email you received as their was a technological glitch with the broadcast server that is still not fixed. Enjoy this blog post though.. It’s a good one.)

 

Untitled2

Much of what it takes to avoid disease, prevent a disease from returning  and sustain wellness is two things:

1.Planning
2.Commitment

– Commitment at all cause. Making it a priority. Scheduling it.

Seven out of the top 10 causes of death in developed countries can be prevented or at least significantly minimized by our lifestyle choices. This includes, hearth disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the most amazing minds in performance and simply “making things happen” is Seth Godin, the author of the Purple Cow.

His blog post yesterday hits home for those of us who are stuck in our wellness journey. We all get stuck at times but it’s a matter of unstucking ourselfs where the magic happens. Staying committed to the wellness journey – this blissful journey of living your best life and keeping yourself well it’s what is all about.

Seth’s blog post yesterday  (2/27/14) says the following in staying committed and making things happen:

Questions are good. A legitimate, “why?” is enough to change the world. But stalling, stalling is the last thing you need. And why   is often an escape hatch for people who know what they should do, but fear   doing it. It’s easier to ponder, to question the meaning of this or our role in where we go next.

The best answer for the stalling why is: Go.

Home for the Holidays

Home For The Holidays

by Martin Berenberg, PhDHolidays (1)

 

Home for the holidays. For many, a welcome break from the daily grind of work or

school. They say: “I canʼt wait to get home.” For others, a stressful and often

nightmarish trip. They think: “I canʼt wait til itʼs over.” Members of the second group are

often pushed to the limit of their coping skills, experiencing high levels of anxiety, worry

and/or depression before, during and after their trip home. Im sure theyʼd like to get

through the visit feeling good (or at least better) about it.

 

For the purpose of this discussion, Iʼll describe two types of stress – one thatʼs

generated externally (from sources outside oneself) and one thatʼs generated internally

(from within). While itʼs true that in most stressful situations you canʼt control how others act or speak, you CAN influence how they respond to you. And most important, you CAN have more control over how you respond to their words and actions. The first

requires that you respond differently than you usually do when your buttons are pushed. The second requires you to think about and process othersʼ negative words and actions (and your own) differently.

 

Weʼve all experienced getting bent out of shape (overtly, covertly or both) when

someone close to us, especially a family member, pushes our buttons. When you stop

to think about it, most negative interactions with people weʼre close with are consistent.

We can predict with reasonable certainty that when brother Joe says X, we

automatically say Y, which leads Joe to say Z and roll his eyes, which leads us to say A,

which leads Joe . . . . And so the pattern goes, each time, closely following a predictable

script.

 

A colleague once made the following observation: “If you always do what youʼve always

done, youʼll always get what youʼve always gotten.” In interactions that cause stress, the

psychotherapist Bill OʼHanlon suggests in his book to “Do One Thing Different” (his

grammar, not mine). By becoming aware of your part in the pattern (i.e., your “scripted”

automatic responses), you can decide to respond differently when your buttons are

pushed. You can then notice whether your new response makes you feel better and

leads to a better response from Joe. If it does, keep doing it. If it doesnʼt, do something

differently.

 

Habits are hard to break, and most people are uncomfortable when patterns are

changed. Donʼt assume that Joe will accept your changed response positively and

graciously. Your new response may throw him off kilter and lead to his tossing out bait to get you back on script. Donʼt be surprised if his words or actions become more ornery. Donʼt bite. If you bite, he wins, and you wind up feeling even more upset.

How we think and process information about our world and the people in it determines

how we feel about them. Negative emotions like anxiety, guilt and depression can often

be traced to how we think and process information. Most negatively charged thinking

also follows a consistent, predictable script. The difference is that these scripts occur

within our minds. OʼHanlonʼs suggestion of doing one thing differently therefore applies

here as well.

 

We generally think in words, pictures or some combination of both. Instead of asking

yourself WHY you react in certain ways and then berating yourself, shift gears and pay

attention to HOW your thinking stirs things up internally. Most of us have an inner critic

that belittles us and others. Take a moment now and replay in your mind some criticism

from your inner critic . . . . Iʼll bet you paid attention to what the critic said, agreed with

your criticʼs opinion, and began to feel badly. Now, listen again, this time to HOW your

critic is doing its thing. Listen to the attitude and tone of your criticʼs opinion . . . .

Hostile? Demeaning? Sarcastic? Judgmental? This may sound weird, but try it anyway.

 

Change your inner criticʼs tone and attitude to a softer, kinder, gentler one, and see how

that feels . . . . Practice listening to that inner voice in this new and different way.

Another way we increase stress is by creating a negative scenario for a future event

and then believing that the scene weʼve created in our mind is true. Again, take a

moment and picture a situation you think will be stressful (for example, with a family

member). Pay attention to how this scene makes you feel . . . . Now letʼs change the

script a bit, this time noticing HOW your brain actually presents the scene to you.

Instead of looking at the action in your scene, notice whether the picture itself is in

focus . . . . Iʼll bet the focus of your inner picture is sharp. Our brain generally presents

thoughts in a consistent manner. Its default setting for future stressful situations is often

sharp focus. When we see sharp focus, our brain assumes that the scene is true and

creates an emotion appropriate to the scene, in this case, a negative one. (In fact, most

future scenes logically should be presented out of focus – they havenʼt happened yet.)

Look at the scene again, this time blurring the focus a little. Believe it or not, you can do

this . . . . Iʼll bet the scene is now less believable, therefore less stressful. Practice

focusing on your inner scenes differently, and your responses to these situations will

change.

 

Assessing yourself and others in certain ways doesnʼt necessarily make your

assessments accurate. Changing patterns and habits is difficult and requires increased

awareness of when and how these patterns occur. Be patient with your learning curve.

Practice doing things differently, and your changes will become more permanent as

negative feelings recede. Travel safely home, and be kind to yourself.

 

About the Author

 

Martin Berenberg, PhD is a NYS Licensed Psychologist who earned his doctorate from

Fordham University and had a private practice for over 30 years, specializing in the

treatment of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder.