Monday, Sep 27 2010 

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.
– Vince Lombardi

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Friday, Sep 24 2010 

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
– William James

Sleep Soundly: Safe, Natural Insomnia Solution Monday, Sep 20 2010 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

A good night’s sleep… there’s nothing more restorative — or elusive… for the 64% of Americans who report regularly having trouble sleeping. A disconcertingly high percentage of the sleepless (nearly 20%) solve the problem by taking sleeping pills, but you can guess how I feel about that! Not only do we know that sleeping pills are dangerous and potentially addictive, physically and/or emotionally — but swallowing a pill when you want to go to sleep doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. What, exactly, is keeping you up at night?

I have always felt strongly about this — and now even more so, since I had a conversation with Rubin Naiman, PhD, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, who called it “somewhat violent” that we expect to be able to climb into bed and fall immediately asleep… slumber soundly all night… and then rise and shine, on demand, at the buzz of the morning alarm! We discussed how to set more “natural” expectations, which can help bring about the “gentle experience” that he believes sleep is meant to be.

Slow Down…

According to Dr. Naiman, most of our sleep problems have to do not with our bodies, per se, but with our habits. The modern American lifestyle — replete with highly refined foods and caffeine-laden beverages, excessive exposure to artificial light in the evening, and “adrenaline-producing” nighttime activities, such as working until bedtime, watching TV or surfing the Web — leaves us overstimulated in the evening just when our bodies are designed to slow down… and, importantly, to literally cool down as well.

Studies show that a cooler core body temperature — and warmer hands and feet — make you sleepy. “Cooling the body allows the mind and the heart to get quiet,” said Dr. Naiman. He believes that this cooling process contributes to the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm of sleeping and waking.

Deep Green Sleep

Dr. Naiman has developed an integrative approach to sleep that defines healthy sleep as an interaction between a person and his/her sleep environment. He calls this approach Deep Green Sleep. “My goal was to explore all of the subtleties in a person’s life that may be disrupting sleep,” he told me. “This takes into account your physiology, emotions, personal experiences, sleeping and waking patterns and your attitudes about sleep and the sleeping environment.” This approach is unique because it values “the subjective and personal experience of sleep,” he said — in contrast with conventional sleep treatment, which tends to rely on “computer printouts of sleep studies — otherwise known as ‘treating the chart.'”

It’s important to realize that lifestyle habits and attitudes are hard to change, so Dr. Naiman cautioned that it often can take weeks, even months, to achieve his Deep Green Sleep. The good news is that the results are lasting and may even enhance your waking life.

Here are his suggestions on how you can ease into the night…

Live a Healthful Waking Life

“The secret of a good night’s sleep is a good day’s waking,” said Dr. Naiman. This includes getting regular exercise (but not within three hours of bedtime) and eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

Cool Down in the Evening

It’s important to help your mind and body cool down, starting several hours before bedtime, by doing the following…

  • Avoid foods and drinks that sharply spike energy, such as highly refined carbohydrates and anything with caffeine, at least eight hours before bedtime.
  • Limit alcohol in the evening — it interferes with sleep by suppressing melatonin. It also interferes with dreaming and disrupts circadian rhythms.
  • Avoid nighttime screen-based activities within an hour of bedtime. You may think that watching TV or surfing the Web are relaxing things to do, but in reality these activities are highly stimulating. They engage your brain and expose you to relatively bright light with a strong blue wavelength that “mimics daylight and suppresses melatonin,” said Dr. Naiman.

Create a Sound Sleeping Environment

It is also important that where you sleep be stimulation-free and conducive to rest.

In your bedroom:

  • Be sure that you have a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding. It’s amazing how many people fail to address this basic need — often because their mattress has become worn out slowly, over time, and they haven’t noticed.
  • Remove anything unessential from your bedside table that may tempt you to stay awake, such as the TV remove control or stimulating books.
  • When you are ready to call it a night, turn everything off — radio, TV and, of course, the light.
  • Keep the room cool (68°F or lower).

Let Go of Waking

Each day, allow your mind and body to surrender to sleep by engaging in quieting and relaxing activities starting about an hour before bedtime, such as:

  • Gentle yoga
  • Meditation
  • Rhythmic breathing
  • Reading poetry or other nonstimulating material
  • Journaling
  • Taking a hot bath

Sex seems to help most people relax and can facilitate sleep, in part because climaxing triggers a powerful relaxation response, Dr. Naiman said.

Consider Supplementing with Melatonin

If sleep is still elusive after trying these Deep Green Sleep tips, Dr. Naiman often suggests a melatonin supplement. Dr. Naiman believes that this is better than sleeping pills since melatonin is “the body’s own natural chemical messenger of night.” “Melatonin does not directly cause sleep, but triggers a cascade of events that result in natural sleep and dreams,” he said, adding that it is nonaddictive, inexpensive and generally safe. Not all doctors agree however, so it is important to check with your doctor first.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Naiman’s Deep Green Sleep program, you can visit his Web site (www.TheSleepAdvisor.com) and take a free quiz that helps identify your particular sleep challenges. But, since it is computer-based, make sure you do it several hours before bedtime!

Source(s):

Rubin Naiman, PhD, is a psychologist specializing in sleep and dream medicine and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine. He is founder and director of Circadian Health Associates, an organization that offers a broad range of sleep-related services, training and consultation. Dr. Naiman is author of the book Healing Night (Syren) and is coauthor with Dr. Andrew Weil, of the audiobook Healthy Sleep (Sounds True).

Thursday, Sep 16 2010 

The golden age is before us, not behind us.
– William Shakespeare

Tuesday, Sep 14 2010 

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

How Bad Will Your Arthritis Get? Friday, Sep 10 2010 

by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

It’s not exactly a crystal ball, but doctors have a new way to predict the future health of your knees — research shows that patients who have both osteoarthritis of the knee and bone cysts are headed for severe arthritis. But don’t get discouraged — if you’re not there yet, you still have time to change the outcome.

To understand what this means to arthritis sufferers, I turned to Patience White, MD, chief public health officer at the National Arthritis Foundation, pediatric rheumatologist and a professor of medicine and pediatrics in the department of medicine at George Washington University. She told me that bone cysts (abnormal pockets of synovial fluid, which is the liquid that normally lubricates joints) are present in about half of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee — most particularly if it is advanced. She said the relationship between the two is a chicken and egg dilemma — it’s unclear whether people have bone cysts because of their severe arthritis or it’s the other way around, that the arthritis is made more severe by the bone cysts.

To learn more about this relationship, researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, recruited and examined 109 people with knee osteoarthritis. About half of these people also had bone cysts. The group was then reexamined two years later, and researchers found that…

  • Patients whose previous MRI showed both bone cysts and arthritis at the start of the study experienced an average 9.3% loss of cartilage.
  • Those who’d had arthritis and bone marrow lesions — less serious abnormalities that may or may not lead to bone cysts — had a 6.3% cartilage loss.
  • Individuals with arthritis only — no cysts or bone lesions — experienced only a 2.6% cartilage loss.

With increasing bone abnormalities (i.e., lesions and cysts), the likelihood that a patient would require knee replacement also rose significantly. This research was reported in the March 2010 issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Fight Arthritis Aggressively!

Dr. White told me that there’s more to be learned from a larger osteoarthritis study going on now at the National Institutes of Health. In the meantime, she said there’s not much you can do to treat bone cysts (they’re removed surgically only in rare cases where they present specific difficulties), but their presence should be viewed as a call to action. To that end, Dr. White urges anyone with knee osteoarthritis to…

  • Stay active — movement is the best medicine, Dr. White said. Physical activities such as swimming, walking, stretching and range-of-motion exercises keep your joints flexible and improve muscle strength, which helps take the strain off joints. If you are not sure about the right exercises for people with arthritis, check with your doctor and go to www.Arthritis.org and look for the AF Life Improvement Series that offers programs and DVDs on how to exercise.
  • Shed pounds if you are overweight. The heavier you are, the more damage is done to weight-bearing joints like the knees — but the good news is, every pound lost reduces the load on each knee when you stand or walk by four pounds. That’s a big result from just a bit of weight loss!

Source(s):

Patience White, MD, vice president of public health, National Arthritis Foundation, pediatric rheumatologist and professor of medicine and pediatrics, department of medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC.

Friday, Sep 10 2010 

Innovation means doing stuff that is impossible, otherwise people would have done it already – Seth Godin

Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

The interests of a nation, when well understood, will be found to coincide with their moral duties.
– Thomas Jefferson

Impress the Execs by Being Cross Functional Thursday, Sep 9 2010 

by the writers of Business Management Daily

Consider two administrative assistants within the same company:

Tara forges relationships across departmental lines. She volunteers for committees, proactively meeting new people at company events and doing favors for others.

Max is mainly interested in meeting his team’s needs.

When it’s time for company leadership to tap employees to work on a new, interdepartmental project, whom do you think they’ll pick? And if the company is forced to restructure and lay off, who would least likely be sacrificed? The cross-functional whiz, or the employee who works in a silo?

Here’s how you can become a cross-functional whiz, like Tara:

Study the other departments to understand what other teams do. Tip: Pretend you’re interviewing for a job in another department, and study its online and offline material.

Walk around the building once a week or so. Schedule 30 minutes to say hello to people you don’t normally see. That way, they can put a name with a face the next time you contact them.

Engender cooperation. Always keep in mind that colleagues (especially those not in your group) will want to know what’s in it for them. Whenever you ask for something, think about how both parties can win.

Example: “Pat, I’m putting together a presentation and I could use some data from your department. I think your manager might be interested to see some of the analysis we’re putting together, as well. I’d be happy to share it with you.”

— Adapted from “Be a Cross Functional Whiz,” Alexandra Levit, “Water Cooler Wisdom” blog.

Wednesday, Sep 8 2010 

If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
– Abraham Lincoln

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