Sleep, Mindfulness & Barham’s Siganture Candles
Sleep and Health
Sleeping is the most mysterious thing we do. We know that it is vital; we just don’t know exactly why… and yet we lose a third of our life to it. I am 61 years old as I write this. I have in effect slept through the whole of the 21st century.
‘This Thing Called Sleep’ is a fascinating book is about gaining control of your sleep rhythms by neurologist and world sleep expert, Dr Matthew Walker.. there are many rhythms in your body associated with sleep, (like the circadian rhythm, the sleep-wake cycle). There doesn’t seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough).
Humans have a habit of trying to ‘power through’ without sleep, or to survive on as little as possible. We prioritise other things, and the importance of sleep is often ignored or underestimated. But it is vital for health and wellbeing.
Exactly how much sleep we need appears to be a personal matter but nearly all of us require the recommended 8.25 hours per night. Much depends on age, health and what you have been up to lately. We sleep less as we get older. Newborns sleep for nineteen hours per day, toddlers for up to fourteen, young children for twelve, teens and young adults for ten.
The WHO has now declared sleep deprivation an epidemic throughout the industrialized nations. The problem is you can’t catch up on sleep, it can’t be stored up. Sleep is not simple like recharging a battery. So much repair, regeneration and cleaning goes on while you sleep. That’s why your urine is darker in the morning, ridding itself of toxins during your sleep. Furthermore, your brain is still active when you sleep and Dr Walker and other scientists propose that much of what you have learnt during the day is processed at night.
When we are sleep deprived, we feel it both physically and mentally. Brain function and productivity are impaired. Energy and stamina are low. The immune system suffers.
Ben Franklin said ..” early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.”
Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions including our ability to learn, memorize and make logical decisions. Sleep restocks your immune system. Sleep deprived individuals have higher levels of beta amyloid [a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease].. so sleep deprivation may well be a contributing factor and speed the decline of Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and emotional irritability.
Sleep deprivation also increases a desire to eat more because of hormone imbalances and also reduces sex hormone levels, (eg testosterone, are you listening guys?), as well as the ability to regulate blood sugar levels (type 2 diabetes).
Research has shown that there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the day after daylight savings starts when there is an hour less sleep and a 21% reduction the day after daylight saving finishes. The shorter you sleep the shorter your lifespan.
You need to get your bedroom right, a retreat, a haven for rest. Science tells us that sleeping in a dark room at about 18 degrees Celsius is optimal for an average adult. The temperature that you sleep in is one of the most determining factors for the quality of your sleep. Use dull lighting before going to bed, try lighting a fragrant candle like frankenscence. Our circadian rhythm , or sleep-wake cycle, tends to follow the rotation of the planet and responds to light and darkness. It is therefore ideal to sleep when it is dark and wake when the sun comes up. We need darkness.( Dr Walker recommends blackout curtains in your room, or wear a blackout mask). This signals to your brain that it’s night and helps to trigger the release of melatonin.
In 1999 Russell Foster found that our eyes contain a third photoreceptor cell that (unlike rods and cones) had nothing to do with vision. They simply existed to detect brightness – to know when it is daylight and when it is night. They pass this information to the supra-chiasmic bundles in the hypothalamus of the brain .. that area that controls our circadian rhythms. These rhythms are the body’s alarm clocks .. they tell us when to rise and shine and when to call it a day. We now know that these alarm clocks are found in many areas of the body, and operate to their own timetables, dictating when hormones are released or organs are busiest or most relaxed. The supra-chiasmic nuclei works with a nearby structure called the Pineal gland, whose function is to produce Melatonin, a hormone which helps the body track day length… and therefore critical for sleep.
Melatonin is blocked from releasing by the blue light of your iPhone, tablet, laptop … get off your screen an hour before sleep… artificial light causes sleeplessness. The Pineal gland also tracks seasonal change which is important for animals that hibernate and those that breed seasonally. If any of these systems get too far out of sync, problems can occur. Disturbance to the daily rhythms of the body are thought to contribute to (and in some cases may directly account for) diabetes, heart disease, depression and serious weight gain.
Between 10-20 per cent of adults in the world suffer from insomnia. Insomnia has been linked to diabetes, cancer, hypertension, stroke, heart disease and (not surprisingly) depression. A study in Denmark, noted in Nature, found that women who regularly worked nightshifts showed a 50% greater risk of developing breast cancer than their counterparts who worked by day.
The principal cause of insomnia is the snoring of a partner. It is a common problem. About half of us snore at least sometimes. Snoring is the rattling of the soft tissues in the larynx when one is unconscious and relaxed. The more relaxed, the greater the snoring, which is why drunken people snore particularly robustly. The best way to reduce snoring is to lose weight, sleep on your side and not drink alcohol before retiring.
I should make some comment about the mysterious but universal harbinger of weariness, the yawn. No one understands why we yawn. Babies yawn in the womb. People in comas yawn. Yawning doesn’t reliably correlate with how tired you are. Indeed, when we yawn most is often in the first couple of minutes after arising from a restful night’s sleep. The least explicable aspect of yawning is its extreme infectiousness. Not only do we need to yawn when we see someone else yawning, but just hearing or thinking about yawning causes us to yawn. As you most likely are doing now.
Don’t go to bed too hungry or too full and be aware that alcohol often causes fragmented sleep (you fall asleep easily but wake at 2am. Your bodies biochemistry quickly adopts habit forming patterns and ‘wants’ alcohol if you do it habitually). It’s smart to limit coffee, especially in the afternoon and evening… “caffeine has a quarter life of 12 hours, which means that if you have a cup of coffee at lunch it’s still swirling around in your brain at midnight… even if you fall asleep, caffeine decreases the amount of deep sleep by 20% .. aging you by 12-15 years. Chamomile tea is the recommended alternative.
There are some foods that are associated with improved quality, falling asleep faster and a longer sleep duration. These include kiwi fruit and tart cherries. An old remedy for sleep is milk, especially warm or malted milk. Milk may contain small amounts of melatonin that makes you feel sleepy. Nuts have been shown to promote good sleep because they contain minerals like zinc and magnesium and a small amount of melatonin.in addition, nuts contain a healthy dose of fats and proteins to stabilize blood sugar in the evening and prevent you from waking because you are hungry. Exercise or rigorous activity earlier in the day will aid sleep
And it’s important that you establish routine. Have a hot shower or bath before going to bed. This initiates the bodies internal cooling system which is great for sleep because the body cools off when sleeping. A warm bath before bedtime will relax muscles and induce sleepiness, especially when salts and lavender are added. Limit the amount of liquids, including water and tea, that you consume before bed to avoid waking up to go to the bathroom. If you feed your brain regularity, which is what it wishes for and expects, the quantity and quality of your sleep will improve. Regular sleep patterns have been shown to reduce the feelings of depression.
There is conjecture about the best sleeping position. The normal spine should be relatively straight with three side curves; a forward hollow in your low back and another in your neck and a hump in between. These curves give your spine the best strength to flexibility ratio and ideally we should maintain them in all activities. Neurologists suggest the best position for this would be on your stomach but you have to turn your head to breathe, so the next best position (and most appropriate) is to sleep on your side. A pillow should hold your head in a neutral position when in a side-lying position. Your mattress should support your whole body evenly, not the point of your shoulder and hip, and not too hard, not too soft.
The Stress-Sleep connection:
Stress is a normal occurrence. As human beings, we all experience stress in everyday life. But while short-term stress can be good and acts as a motivator, stress that is chronic negatively affects a persons health and wellbeing. Particularly during the pandemic, many people have suffered from isolation, instability and economic worries that seemingly had no end.
Stress in an essential mechanism for our survival and real flight or fight situations. However, persistent and unchecked stress from daily life can lead to long-term or chronic illnesses.
Poor sleep is one of the most common problems associated with long term stress. Stress can interfere with the hormonal processes that guide the sleep cycle, creating an imbalance between non-rapid eye movement and (NON-REM) and rapid eye movement (REM) and reducing sleep over all sleep quality. Stress can also cause unpleasant dreams. Not getting enough sleep then leads to increased stress, bad moods and frustration, creating a self perpetuating cycle.
Such a bidirectional relationship means addressing one issue can often lead to improvement in the other. Techniques for managing stress and improving quality of sleep include:
- Stick to a sleep routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Go outside for a dose of sunlight to strengthen your circadian rhythm (which regulates your sleep cycle).
- Gentle exercise such as yoga, tai chi and qi gong can induce calm.
- Deep breathing techniques promote the flow of vagal activity through the parasympathetic nervous system, making you feel rested.
- Meditation keeps the mind from distraction and increases awareness.
Would you like to sleep better? Feel less stressed? Increase your level of Wellness! Mindfulness meditation techniques have been proven to help. Research also claims that Mindfulness practice can help with many other health-related issues including, decreasing depressive symptoms, lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease, reducing chronic pain, and more. But what is Mindfulness…
Jon Kabat -Zinn (a Molecular Biologist) began studying the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in 1979. Kabat-Zinn defines Mindfulness as… “The basic human ability of AWARENESS that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally, in the service of self – understanding and wisdom.”
People who practice Mindfulness say they experience greater levels of clarity, focus, productivity, creativity, tolerance, compassion, kindness, and acceptance.
To explore our Chiropractor, Dr. Mary Lou’s guide to mindfulness, follow the link below!
Meditation and yoga
Regularly practicing meditation and yoga has proven benefits in calming your nervous system and improving your overall well-being. Our Autonomic Nervous system is composed of both our parasympathetic and sympathetic branches. When we are in a state of stress, anxiety and worry, our sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ mode is activated. This is an important and natural function within us that protects us from danger and keeps us safe. However, when we maintain a heightened state of stress for too long, and our ‘sympathetic’ nervous system dominates the way we function, this can lead to anxiety, fatigue and burn out. Have you experienced a busy time at work, tying up loose ends before your long-awaited holiday? Only to then arrive and find yourself suddenly hit with fatigue and lowered immunity? Keeping in a healthy balance with our parasympathetic nervous system or ‘rest and digest’ allows our bodies to maintain a healthy state of homeostasis and prevent burn out, lowered immune system and unwanted health outcomes of a sustained stress state. A body in ‘dis-ease’ is on the road to disease. So how can you better balance your autonomic nervous system and create a better sense of ‘well-being?’ Yoga and meditation are powerful practices in calming our nervous system and improving overall health.
Yoga originated in India and dates back to 2700 BC. There is a reason this practice is still widely used to this day. Yoga cultivates a sense of physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing through the regular practice of movement, postures, breath work, self- enquiry and mediation. Studies show that yoga can also decreased blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, aid digestion, improve sleep, and overall mental health.
To explore different types of yoga and what might suit you best, click the link below!
Barham’s Signature Candles
We have partnered with local Tinker, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Candle Maker, Des Potter, to come up with a fragrance that we think will enhance the atmosphere of our practices. Des recycles candle wax that he collects from churches around our area to make candles and then donates all his profits to maintain an orphanage in Namibia, Africa. We believe this is a business worth supporting by gifting every new patient in our practices with a Barham Signature candle as a welcome gift … and you will know you are paying it forward and helping someone else make their way in this world.
Our ‘Signature’ combination of Lemon Myrtle, Clean Ozonic, Bergamot, Osmanthus, Geranium and Vanilla Bean is designed to create the tranquillity and soothing experience of sitting by a wood fire on a winters evening. Use your Siganture Barham candles as a part of your sleep ritual to help you relax your body and nervous system into a restful nights sleep.
Positive mental attitude
What does it mean to have a positive mental attitude? It’s not always about smiling and looking cheerful. We all go through hard times, have bad days and are faced with challenging cure balls. Having a positive mental attitude shapes your ability to process and react to these circumstances. It’s a shift of perspective, and a commitment to find the positives. Have you heard the saying ‘you are the creator of your own reality?’ When you focus on the ‘good,’ the good seems to keep on coming. When you wake up in the morning, stub our toe on the edge of the bed, burn our toast and get a flat tyre on the way to work… how do you get out of this cascading series of events and shift into a positive mental attitude?
Present time consciousness is a great place to start. When you stub your toe and burn your toast, are you having a bad day, or a bad moment? Will you carry that frustration with you into the rest of the day or acknowledge that wasn’t the best 5 minutes, but I have the ability to leave it there, get in the car and notice how beautiful the sunrise is that day? A component of a positive mental attitude is the practice of being PRESENT in the moment. Leave the past in the past and re focus on the present moment. What good can you find in the ‘now?’
Gratitude. Practicing daily gratitude’s is a great mind set to start your day with. We recommend doing this practice in the morning. Write down 3 things you are grateful for. The more you bring your attention to these things, the more you will seem to notice them in your day to day life.
Growth focused. Having a mindset that seeks the opportunity for growth in any given situation, allows us to overcome challenges with strength, purpose and empowerment. Ask yourself what can I learn from this? What is this situation teaching me about myself? How can I better approach this next time? This mindset leaves you with a sense of empowerment as you take charge of the situation and make a conscious choose to learn and grow.
Acceptance. Accepting that which is within our control, and that which is not. When you find yourself in a situation which is inducing stress or anxiety, ask yourself ‘what is within my control right now?’ Leave the rest behind and focus on what you CAN do.
Try these positive mindset techniques and reflect on the positive benefits they have on your overall well-being.
In keeping with our sleep theme, ‘Sleepy’s’ Toowoomba have offered an exclusive arrangement with our practice where they will provide 15-30 minute consultations to ensure that your mattress needs are understood. With our referral you will receive 40% off the normal ticket price of a mattress or 5% off sales price. Please ask us for more information.
At Barham we believe in supporting our community and giving back. In line with our ‘sleep’ theme, we are trialling different fragrances in our practices for our new candle program.
Des Potter is a local candle maker who donates all his profits to maintain an orphanage-school in Africa. We believe this is a business worth supporting. We will gift every new patient with a candle as a welcome gift to the practice … know that you are supporting children less fortunate to make their way on the world.
How can Chiropractic benefit you?
The 33 Principle of Chiropractic;
#30 Interference with the transmission of Innate forces causes incoordination of dis-ease.
#32 Co-ordination is the principle of harmonious action of all parts of an organism in fulfilling their offices and purposes.
As Dr Gavin notes, while there is no direct reference to sleep in the 33 principles, the above explains that the co-ordination of all areas of health .. nutrition, movement, rest, positive mental attitude and an optimally functioning nervous system .. is required for Innate to keep a harmonious organism free from disease.
What does a chiropractor do?
Chiropractors work with the physical structure of your body to improve its function. This enables you to perform better and can have a cascading effect to help you to be healthier. For example: what if you no longer have low-back pain? maybe you will take the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and start walking. You’ll feel better and it helps to reduce your weight and gives you time to think and relax and helps to balance some body chemistry. People who exercise also start to consider their diet, to eat healthier, which further reduces weight, improves their self-image as their body shape changes, improves their heart health and they will sleep better. All of this will help you live longer. What about the young girl who no longer has a headache. She can now sit at her desk and do her homework because her head is clearer. Because she is on top of her work, she is then no longer disruptive in class and has a better relationship with her teachers. She gets better results which enables her to go to university and she becomes a nurse and now she is helping many other people. The chiropractic adjustment may seem a simple thing but it can have a wide range of benefits.
What are the benefits of chiropractic for you?
- The pregnant lady approaching birth with a more balanced and mobile pelvis… maybe her birth is easier.
- The person working at home during lockdown who is sitting more than normal bent over a laptop.. maybe their generalized stiffness becomes easier.
- The sports person who has a body more refined and in balance … maybe they perform better during a competition.
- The stressed out father… maybe a more relaxed and balanced body gives him an even keel of emotional control
- The office worker with a stiff neck. Maybe a more balance neck leads to less headaches and a clearer mind for making leadership or business decisions
- The anxious teenager.. maybe a more balanced body leads to a more balanced mind .
Health Tips …Your post chiropractic adjustment rhythm ..
Just as the dentist assumes you know to brush your teeth and floss twice every day… we assume you know the correct way to sit and lift and exercise for better spinal health. Our spinal care class used to educate you on how to look after your spine properly and help prevent relapses… one of the things that got put on hold with the pandemic. Education is another one of our values at Barham’s so we thought we’d start the process of drip feeding healthcare information to you.
There are 4 habits you can adopt to compliment your chiropractic care. These habits will account for at least 30% of the effectiveness of your adjustments.
- Stand on both legs evenly
- Sit on both hips evenly
- Drink a glass of water immediately after an adjustment .. and 1litre per day for every 35kg you weigh.
- Go for a 10 minute walk before sitting down after you are adjusted.
Put a post note of the first three on the fridge door for the entire family to observe …
FEES for 2023
We have been giving a lot of thought to our office fees to best reflect the services we want to provide, and ‘modernize’ the way we deliver the care you want.
We have been reviewing our fees in line with making them fairer and more affordable for individuals and families. We have been approaching people for feedback about changing some of our fees to make it easier. We have always believed in the value of family care and functional wellness care and would like to make these our priority again moving forward.
We believe our fees should:
- support people who are wanting to proactively participate in looking after themselves and their health, who want to stay functional and stay that way as they grow older.
- look after people to maintain their health gains and goals and
- look after families, from their first injuries and accidents as children, to support them to be their best later in life.
We will make our consultation (includes all your examinations) and our Report/ case discussion (and initial adjustment) extended office visits to reflect allocated time of 30 minutes or longer. And a regular office fee for normal treatment times.
We will still have reduced fees for children, pensioners, rehabilitation (functional wellness) and family members.
We will change our family visit fees to allocate time for 3, 4, 5, or 6 members (or more) as per your booking. This will save your family between $37 and $154 per visit.
We are also looking to introduce a pre-pay package of 12 visits in advance and we will reduce your fee by 15% (approx. 12 for price of 10) … there will be some terms and conditions that we are working on to protect you.
Pre-paying will speed up the process at the front desk so that you can just leave once you have been adjusted and your receipt will be emailed to you.
To see our fees page, click the link below.