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Sleep Hacks: How To Sleep Better

If you are like most people, your job and lifestyle probably wreak havoc on your sleeping schedule.

Getting the proper sleeping regime down pact will take time and diligence on your part; but the rewards are endless. The best part is, it only takes some minor lifestyle changes to start feeling the positive effects immediately.

So what are you waiting for? Read on, stay focused and get ready to get some of the best sleep of your life with these simple sleep hacks.

Tip # 1 - Create a schedule of when to go to bed and wake up. Stick to it! Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday will eventually set your circadian rhythm.

Tip # 2 - No nanna naps throughout the day! Napping throws off that rhythm your body needs for the accurate amount of sleep.

Tip # 3 - Avoid eating before bedtime. If you get hungry at night try to find something low in artificial sugars and sodium find something high in fibre.

Tip # 4 - Dimming the lights a couple hours before getting into bed. Stay away from technology at least two hours prior to bed. The stimulation keeps you awake and by knocking all the work or pleasure out couple hours before that scheduled bed time your body has time to settle down into rest.

Tip # 5 - Write everything down about your day and what you want to accomplish tomorrow. This will not only help you evaluate how much you did throughout the day, but also help prepare and settle your mind knowing what has to be accomplished tomorrow. 6.    If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something productive. 7.    When the weekend comes along, try not to sleep in. 

Works Cited

Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. (2015, June 15). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx Berkley, C. (n.d.).

What You Eat Can Sabotage Your Sleep. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/food-sabotage-sleep#1 How much sleep do we really need? (2017, February 8). Retrieved from National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need/page/0/2 Peri, C. (2014, February 13).

10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss (J. Beckman MD, Ed.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#3

Sleep Hacks: What To Do If You Don't Get Enough Sleep

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Do you toss and turn every night for what feels like hours of restlessness upon end?

Not getting the proper amount of sleep can affect your mood, judgment and ability to learn and remember information.

At first glance, getting an inadequate amount of sleep over a long period of time doesn’t seem like a big deal; but not getting your proper beauty sleep can have a severe impact on your health.

In some extreme cases, prolonged sleep deprivation can increase the risk of having a serious car accident or heavy machinery accident – yikes.

Research has found that people not getting the proper amount of sleep will also increase their risk of:

• Uncontrollable weight gain

• Diabetes

• Mood disorders

• Heart complications

• High blood pressure

• Stroke

• Hormonal imbalances

So why aren’t you getting enough sleep? Why is sleep such a precious commodity in your busy lifestyle?  Read on to discover 3 factors that could be affecting your ability to switch off. Time to switch them off too!

Technology

The biggest obstacle preventing us from getting enough sleep is technology. Whether it’s our phones, video games, televisions or computers, this interaction we have created with technology wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythm. It over-stimulates our brains during those crucial periods throughout the rhythm where we should begin feeling sleepy but instead we sit staring at a screen like zombies. I know it may be difficult, but try to avoid all interaction with technology 2-3 hours before bedtime. Read some pages of a book, draw something, write down everything you want to accomplish the next day or even take some time to call a loved one and have a nice chat. The time before sleep shouldn’t be spent in front of a screen.

Lighting

The blue light emanating from technology - your phone, television, computer, kindle etc - can disrupt your sleeping patterns and keep you awake at night. This can be easily avoided by dimming the lights throughout your home as the night progresses, right up until bedtime. Depending on what time you go to bed, turn off at least 60% of the light in your home at least three hours before bedtime. This will help your body prepare itself for a more peaceful and easy night of sleep.

Eating Late

It generally takes anywhere from 12-24 hours for a healthy individual to digest food and eliminate waste. The beginning phases of digestion break down the food and release nutrients into our blood stream to be delivered throughout various parts of the body. Once you eat something, your body cannot shut off the digesting process. This is because your body wants to take in food and quickly convert it into a useful source of energy. Depending on your diet, the sugars in food can keep you awake at night. Since the body is at rest (or trying to), food will turn into fat and get wasted as a valuable energy source. Try to eat lighter, more frequent meals throughout the day and avoid foods high in sugar and fat later in the evening.

Works Cited

Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. (2015, June 15). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx Berkley, C. (n.d.).

What You Eat Can Sabotage Your Sleep. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/food-sabotage-sleep#1

How much sleep do we really need? (2017, February 8). Retrieved from National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need/page/0/2 Peri, C. (2014, February 13).

10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss. (J. Beckman MD, Ed.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#3

Sleep Hacks: How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The easiest way to achieve a healthy lifestyle begins with giving your body the proper amount of sleep, in order to rejuvenate, reset and prepare yourself physically and mentally for the next day.

Unfortunately, living the busy lifestyles we do, achieving a decent night’s shuteye can easily become more pipe dream than sweet dream.

The human body’s sleep/wake cycle is known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is internal and is, for the most part, unknowingly designed by you. It creates the feeling of sleepiness when it’s dark outside and also that feeling of wakefulness when the sun is out.

The amount of sleep each person need varies between individuals, as each and every one of us varies in age, lifestyle, and health. Generally, the younger you are in age, the more sleep you actually need per day. Refer to the guide below to see where you sit on the spectrum:

• Newborns and Infants: about 12 -19 hours

• Toddlers and Preschoolers: anywhere from 10-14 hours

• 6-13 years: 9-11 hours

• 14-18 years: 8-10 hours

• 18-25 years: 7-10 hours

• 25-64 years: 7-9 hours

• >65 years: 6-8 hours

No one person’s circadian rhythm is the same: each individual will have their own body clocks. Finding your own circadian rhythm and working in harmony with it is a key factor in achieving the kind of solid, sound and nourishing sleep that dreams are made of.

Works Cited

Why lack of sleep is bad for your health (2015, June 15). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/lack-of-sleep-health-risks.aspx
Berkley, C. (n.d.). What You Eat Can Sabotage Your Sleep. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/food-sabotage-sleep#1


How much sleep do we really need? (2017, February 8). Retrieved from National Sleep Foundation (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need/page/0/2 Peri, C. (2014, February 13).

10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss (J. Beckman MD, Ed.). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#3

Leave It To The Pros: The Benefits Of Seeing A Psychologist

Did you know that seeing a psychologist isn’t about being mentally messy? It’s actually a proven tactic to plan for the future, discuss your dreams and desires and discover the best version of you!

Taking a preventative approach to your mental health can make all the difference to your overall physical wellbeing. Psychologists are trained to help you get to the root of your internalized thoughts and offer strategies to effectively deal with them. It’s always best to #prevent any health setbacks by getting #prepared.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t fall pretty to the dangerous stigma that only mentally unstable people see a therapist.  Invest in your mental health and use the counsel of a professionally trained psychologist to #planyourfuture and #achieveyourgoals.

What Is A Psychologist

Practicing psychologists have the professional medical training and clinical skills to help people learn to cope more effectively with both short-term and long-term life issues. They help their patients overcome a whole spectrum of human behaviour, including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, addiction, chronic health conditions, grief, stress, learning difficulties, guidance and life planning. Psychologists studied medicine for a minimum of 6 years in Australia to achieve their qualification. After their studies, many psychologists continue to research and study in detail in their chosen fields.

How Can A Psychologist Help Me

Think of your psychologist as your life coach. I visit my psychologist to help plan for the future and deal with the past and process the present, in order to be better equipped for the future. In Australia, you don’t need a GP referral to see a psychologist, but I do recommend chatting with your GP to include a psychologist in your holistic health plan. If you see a psychologist and don’t find that their advice is working, shop around.

How Often Should I Go See A Psychologist?

Have an open discussion with your GP. If your goal is to seek life advice, every 6 months is a good milestone to help keep your goals on track.

Leave It To The Pros: The Benefits Of Seeing A Dietician

With food trends coming in and out of vogue at what feels like lightning speed (see ya later Atkins, goodbye Paleo, hello vegan?!) finding the correct meal plan for your body can feel a little overwhelming.

The over abundance of books and online resources at our immediate disposal can easily create confusion regarding what to eat, when to eat and how to prepare your meals.

Thankfully, there are medical experts who have studied long and hard to help you navigate the food pyramid and develop the right eating plan for your personal goals and/or health requirements. Read on to discover more about dieticians and why you should get to know one stat.

What Is A Dietician?

A Dietitian is a healthcare professional who has completed tertiary training, usually with a Master’s Degree at university in the area of nutrition and dietetics, which is the applied science of nutrition and its application to dietary change in people.

How Can Dieticians Help Me?

Dieticians design a meal-plan program in line with your goals. Whether you seek to lose weight, add muscle, plan a pregnancy or deal with food allergies/intolerances, visiting a Dietician will help you define the ideal caloric or nutritional intake to suit your needs. Implementing small changes in your diet over a long period of time can make a big change: stick to the mean plan a Dietician tailor-makes for you will help you achieve your positive health and body goals in the long run.

How Often Should I Go See A Dietician?

Speak with your GP, but generally, it’s best to see a dietician every 6 - 12 months.

Leave It To The Pros: The Benefits Of Seeing A Personal Trainer

Whether you’re a recent gym convert or a seasoned pro, everyone can tap into the enormous well of knowledge and motivation that personal trainers can provide their clients.

Think about a personal trainer like the coach of a sports team; without a coach, it’s easy for a team to lose focus and direction. The same is true for a personal exercise regime. Not only do personal trainers provide expert advice on physical technique, but they effectively become your ‘exercise coach’ of sorts to keep you motivated, assign new benchmarks to overcomes and stay on track to ultimately achieve your goals.

Personal trainers are extremely passionate individuals regarding health and body fitness. You’ll be surprised just how easily their enthusiasm and expertise can positively affect your attitude towards a 6am gym start. Read on to learn more about these awesome professionals and why you need one in your life.

What Is A Personal Trainer?

A Personal Trainer is a certified individual who possesses advanced knowledge in the fields of general fitness, human anatomy and exercise techniques. Certification levels vary from country to country, so if you find you are not finding motivation or seeing results from visiting your personal trainer, it’s worth shopping around.  A good personal trainer inspires and educates their clients about all things health, nutrition and wellness.

How Can Personal Trainers Help Me?

Personal trainers equip you with the best workout routines and exercises for your body type. Most importantly, personal trainers teach you how to do each move CORRECTLY to avoid injury. Working with a personal trainer means you should see an immediate improvement compared to training in the gym solo or attending a class environment. It’s the one-on-one specialised attention your personal trainer will give that makes all the difference in the overall effectiveness of your routines. How Often Should I See A Personal Trainer? See a personal trainer once a month. Not only will they help change up your routine, but personal trainers can track your progress and assist with long-term goal setting – and goal achieving!

How Often Should I See A Personal Trainer?

See a personal trainer once a month. Not only will they help change up your routine, but personal trainers can track your progress and assist with long-term goal setting – and goal achieving!

Travel Hacks: How To Avoid Jetlag

If you’re one of the few people who don’t get jet lagged after a long-haul flight, you’re in the minority.

Even the most experienced travellers fall prey to the disorientating clutches of jet lag. Read on to discover how you can make like Cher and literally turn back time.

What Is Jet lag?

Not a disease or condition per se, jet lag is actually a mismatch between our internal and external clocks. Our internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, is a biological cycle that takes place over a time span of approximately 24 hours. Once we travel across time zones, this rhythm goes out of whack – and we spend the next weeks (possibly months) settling back into our bodies’ natural biorhythms.

Why Does Jet lag Happen?

The more time zones you cross, the more likely you are to experience jet lag. Contrary to popular perception, the duration of the flight time has nothing to do with jet lag! 

Read on to discover what you can do to #beatthelag.

Tip #1 - Work out the time zone of your destination

The fantastic Time Scroller app is a handy tool to have in your pocket to compare different time zones around the world. Aim to get in the rhythm of the new time zone during your flight by eating and sleeping at the appropriate times on the ‘other side’.

Tip # 2 – Be Mindful of how many time zones you will cross

It takes one full day to adjust to every hour of time zone shift. For example, if you are travelling from Sydney to London, you will traverse 10 time meridians, which is equivalent of approximately 10 days of jetlag. Ouch! Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a fortnight or longer to fully recover from jetlag. Use tip #1 to get into the timezone of where you currently are.

Tip # 3 – Set Your Watch

It sounds simple enough, but setting your watch to the local time of your destination is a practical step in helping you achieve Tip #1. A quick glance at your watch is far less disturbing to your sleep than groggily rustling through your pocket, or the seat pocket in front, to check the time on your phone.

Tip # 4 – Exercise In Your Destination Timezone

Working out in the mornings of your destination timezone means that you’ll get the blood flowing and stay awake, especially when your body tells you SLEEP DAMMIT SLEEP! The plus side? You’ll get an energy burst that tails off into a nice feeling of fatigue by the evening, further settling you into your new time zone.

Travel Hacks: How To Go To Sleep & Wake Up Using Natural Stimulants & Depressants

Getting much-needed sleep on the plane ranks high on the regular traveler’s wishlist.

Between the hum of the engines, creak of the trolleys, frequent audio announcements and crying babies (there’s always at least one), sleep becomes a precious commodity in the air – eclipsed only by oxygen and water at 40,000 miles above the earth.

The use of stimulants and depressants can help your body prepare for sleep – or alternatively, wake up in time for landing. Stimulants generally speed up the body's processes while depressants slow them down. Read on to discover how you can best make use of stimulants and depressants to catch the z’s your body desperately needs – and which ones to avoid.

Naughty Stimulant  - Caffeine

It’s all-too easy to take that warm cup o’ Joe the flight crew will inevitably offer, but keep in mind that drinking coffee will easily dehydrate your system. Temptation is strong to have a mid-air coffee, especially during domestic or short-haul flights, but your best bet is to drink herbal tea for that tummy-warming sensation.

Nice Stimulant – Half and Apple

Believe it or not, eating half an apple is actually more effective in keeping you awake than a cup of coffee. Some airlines regularly carry fruit on board, so check with your flight crew when embarking on the plane. Eating half an apple means you’ll also get the double whammy of absorbing important antioxidants, flavanoids and dietary fibre that coffee just can’t offer.

Naughty Depressant – Alcohol

Many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking a few G&T’s or complimentary wines will help aid the sleeping process. Sorry guys, alcohol is a depressant AND a big time dehydrator that will only bite you when you reach your destination – or worse – in the toilet cubicle when the seatbelt signs are switched on. It’s not worth the risk going that one-drink too far in a pressurised cabin environment where the risk of missing your connecting flight is, er, sky high.

Nice Depressant - Melatonin

Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound that helps the body know when it is time to sleep and wake up. The level of melatonin in our bodies declines as we age, which explains why older people often sleep less. Available in capsule form from the vitamin section of your local chemist or drugstore, take a Melatonin supplement at the bedtime timezone of your target destination to help acclimatise your body clock and sleeping rhythms more easily.

Travel Hacks: How To Best Prepare For A Flight

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or like to treat yo’ self to a yearly overseas holiday, plane travel can take a hefty toll on our physical and mental health.

The best way to prevent both the terrors of jetlag and getting sick upon arriving at your destination (the worst!) is to prepare.

Learn to maximize and optimize your travel experiences with a few simple tips that will ensure you arrive at your destination flying #milehigh in perfect health.

Tip # 1 - Drink Fresh Juice...Lots Of It

This is one of the few times I recommend drinking more than one juice per day for a few important reasons. Drinking a raw juice on the morning of your flight, as well as at the airport, will boost your vitamin levels to sky-high levels. Whatever your choice of fruit, make sure you add ginger for it’s anti-microbial properties and kale for it’s high levels of vitamin C sans sugar. Once the plane has taken off and the drinks cart does the rounds, avoid apple and orange juice, as all that processed sugar won’t do you any favours. Instead, switch to tomato juice for its rich vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content.

Tip # 2 - Kefir It Up

Kefir is a fermented drinkable yoghurt made from either cow, goat or coconut milk that is chockablock full of live probiotic cultures. Adding kefir to your breakfast is not only a great way to get more good bacteria into your gut, but certain probiotic cultures found exclusively in kefir have been shown to protect against infections and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, including E. coli. Get your daily kefir fix before the flight and fly high into maintaining optimum digestive health well into reaching your destination.

Tip # 3 - Vitamin Infusion

Go see your GP a week before take off and get an IV vitamin infusion - read more about vitamin infusions on my previous blog post here. Having a vitamin infusion a week before travel will ensure your vitamin levels are at their peak and your immune system is turbocharged in advance. You’ll also be less likely to catch any sniffles or sneezes circulating on the plane. Talk  to your GP about the right vitamin infusion for you. 

Tip # 4 - Drink More Water

Planes have an incredible way of making you feel like the living embodiment of the sahara desert. We all know we ought to be drinking 3 litres a day of water, but sometimes a busy schedule can get in the way. I can’t stress the importance of hydration before, during and after a flight – your body will thank you at your destination. Make sure you drink regularly anytime between  2 weeks to 2 hours before the flight. Bring an empty bottle with you through security and have it handy during the flight for refills. As the great Zoolander said, “Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty!”. 
 

Top 5 Heatwave Hacks

It’s hot in Australia at the moment. Really hot. Super dooper can’t-concentrate-on-anything-other-than-plunging-into-cold-water hot.

Heatstroke kills more Australians than natural disasters, with up to 80% of cases ending in fatalities. With temperatures set to soar above the 40 degree mark across the island continent over the coming week, there’s never been a more important time to be sun-sensible and look out for the wellbeing of those around you.

Read on to discover my top heatwave hacks to #beattheheat in rockstar style.

 

Tip # 1 – Look After People Around You

During extreme conditions, look after the people around you, especially children, the elderly and animals, who are most at risk of heat exhaustion. If you live next door to a family with small children or elderly people, tap on your neighbours’ door and make sure they’re OK - daily, if possible. It could make all the difference in the long run. 

Tip # 2 – Stay Hydrated

Avoid alcohol or caffeine during a heatwave as they are diuretics that will ensure you lose more water and salt from your body than you should. Drink plenty of water, but make sure to include an electrolyte supplement such as Hydralyte, or pick up a pre-packaged electrolyte drink like Powerade, to optimize your body’s sugar and salt levels. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit on the side – oranges and watermelon are filled to the brim with water and natural sugars, as well as being pretty darn delicious.

Tip # 3 – Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people flock to the beach and swimming pools during the day, only to get heatstroke. Stay out of the sun – I repeat – STAY OUT OF THE SUN. Go swimming in the early mornings and evenings and always make sure to bring more water and electrolytes than you think you will need. The UV count is significantly lower at these times compared with the middle of the day, so you’ll also reduce the risk of sun damage.

Tip # 4 – Get Thee To Air Con Paradise

If you don’t have air conditioning – or if you have a busted unit from the 70s that’s on its last legs – get to your local shopping centre, library or cinema and enjoy the benefits of their state-of-the-art systems. Treat yourself to a movie and buy a spray mister from the $2 shop on the way out. Grab a couple for any children or elderly people in your neighborhood who might not be able to make it to the shops.

Tip # 5 – Eat Healthy and Don’t Have Heavy Meals

Ditch the heavy meals and switch to eating cold, lighter dishes. Larger meals will kickstart your metabolism and increase your body heat. Summer is a great time for fresh produce, so switch that heavy carb dish for a protein-rich salad.

Tip # 5 - Limit or Avoid Exercise

Exercising during extreme heat puts you at a larger risk of heat exhaustion. If you can’t bear the idea of missing your daily gym session, choose more low-impact exercises like hatha yoga or pilates that won’t require you to sweat and lose vital water and salts.

Some Thoughts On Tantric Sex...

Tantric Sex. Intrigued anyone? Well I was.

What could it possibly mean to signup to a group-style tantric sex class? Would we be clothed? Did we BYO partner or attractive friend? Was it a situation where you put your keys in a bowl? This was something I wanted to try…well, had thought about trying and didn’t know if I’d actually turn up to a class. 

So I mustered up the courage to learn more and went to visit my good friend Isiah McKimmie, a sex and relationship therapist and specialist tantric teacher. Isiah holds a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy and is a Certified Somatic Sex Therapist having studied at the prestigious Institute for the Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality in the US. And she's a big-time legend. 

Isiah sees extreme importance in the need to practice sex.  She says that “one of the great things about tantra is that it offers fun, practical exercises and open discussion around sexuality, enjoyment, intimacy, pleasure and genuine connections that enable you to become a better lover, partner and friend”. 

The foundation belief of tantric sex is that intimacy and relationships are deeply connected to our overall happiness, intimacy being the key word. Sounds intriguing? Contact Isiah if you're keen to learn more.

So next time you see a notice-board advertising your local tantra class or different ways to increase communication in your relationship, take the slip and make the call. It could easily become a most welcome addition to your love life.

Not-So-Sexy Syphilis

In Australia and many other developed countries, Syphilis is back on the increase.

This is due, in part, to both heterosexual and same-sex couples not using condoms. In same-sex couples, HIV prophylaxis PrEP and post exposure PEP is another contributing factor.

Read on to learn some off-the-beaten stats and details about the disease.

HISTORY

Syphilis has been around for a long time. From mummified ancient Egyptian royalty, through to the Greeks and Romans, the New World, the Americas and movie stars of today, syphilis is unfortunately an omni-present disease throughout history.  In fact, syphilis - and a few other STI’s - were the second most common reason for disability and absence from duty during World War I, II and the Vietnam War.  So devastating was syphilis in the pre-penicillin years that it effectively halted several large conflicts in Europe, including the first of the Italian Wars where Charles VIII of France invaded Naples, but was essentially thwarted by his own troops of painful and repulsive sores.

CLASSES OF SYPHILIS

Primary syphilis classically presents itself on the genitals between 3 weeks and 3 months post-exposure and most often looks like a single firm, painless, non-itchy skin lump called a gumma (this is different to that of herpes and other STI’s that are painful and or itchy). 

At this stage of the disease, it is relatively easy to treat primary syphilis with a course of antibiotics, undetected, it can often evolve quickly from a lump to something resembling a pustule, and from there to a painless ulcer.

Latent and Tertiary syphilis carry the greatest health risks. 

Latent syphilis is defined as having syphilis in your blood, but without showing any symptoms. Latent syphilis can change at anytime to tertiary, with some cases reported of people getting tertiary symptoms 40+ years later.

Tertiary syphilis infection is divided into three classes:

Gummatous - characterized by chronic soft tumour-like gummas affecting the skin, bone and liver;

Neurosyphilis - referring to when the infection involves the brain and central nervous system.  It can cause problems from loss of sensation, poor balance, to lightening pains in the lower extremities, dementia, seizures and death.  Not the kind of syphilis that you want nor is it easy to treat or reverse.

Cardiovascular - causes the formation of aneurysms, and sometimes death, if a large one were to burst. Yikes.

MIS-DIAGNOSIS

HIV, herpes and other STIs not only make it easier to catch syphilis, but also to mis-diagnose and under treat the disease.  Many people with secondary syphilis report never having been aware of any primary symptoms at all: though once it has reached this stage, up to 30% of people will have a re-occurrence, even after what is considered effective treatment.  Secondary syphilis is widespread, often affecting the palms and soles with bacteria filled wart-like lesions that are contagious and only appear weeks or months after that initial lump or ulcer.

INFANTS & SYPHILIS

Infants born with congenital syphilis have a much higher chance of organomegaly (enlarged organs such as the liver and spleen). If untreated late, congenital syphilis results in facial and body deformations.  Syphilis is transmitted to children during pregnancy or birth, and whilst many children are born without recognizable symptoms, they are often latent carriers with issues developing later in life.  Mothers are screened for syphilis in both the first and third trimester to try and prevent the problems with congenital transmission though this is still an ongoing issue in developing nations.

NON-SEXUAL TRANSMISSION

Whilst syphilis is preventable through the use of safe sex, there have been several cases of transmission through heavy petting and other body contact where one of the two partners has an open sore.

HOW TO TEST FOR SYPHILIS

You need regular sexual health testing so that doctors can halt the disease in its primary stage, rather than have it carry on undetected through stages 2-4 where there can be fatal consequences. Visit your doctor to schedule regular health checkups, regardless of whether you are single or in a relationship.

THE VERDICT

So whatever your sexual orientation, slip on a condom, as there is no vaccine for syphilis, and barrier protection is the best way to prevent the vast majority of its spread and other STIs.  This does not completely eliminate the risk - even if you never have unprotected sex, you still need to get STI tested every 6-12 months to ensure you’re not a carrier, as the downstream effects can be devastating. 

How To Increase Your Libido

As a doctor, I am amazed at how many people I talk to during the consultation process who don’t have sex, don’t think they have enough sex and/or have never spoken about sex in an objective manner.

Although sex is a frequently discussed topic, it's mostly chatted about over a glass of wine with friends. Different people have different interpretations of how it's done, but one thing's for sure: sex is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Losing one's libido can happen easily, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or single, heteroexual or homosexual, young or older or man or woman. We’re all obsessed with doing the latest fad diets to get fit for summer, but one of the most fun ways to help get fit and healthy is something we can all agree on is fun - and that’s great sex! 

Read on for some libido-raising tips to inspire you to get on the good foot and do the bad thing!

  • Did you know having sex burns upwards of 144 calories per 30 minutes? And if that's not more fun than a trip to the gym, I don't know what is!
  • Sex improves your sleep, after orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
  • Having sex will inevitably lead to having more sex. Researchers found that having sex increases your want for more sex. Having regular sex also increases natural lubrication, blood flow and elasticity – all of which makes for even more enjoyable sex.
  • Regular ejaculation can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer developing in males let's get that sex drive going!
  • Some peptides and other pharmaceuticals can get things racin,  such as Bremelanotide PT-141, which was originally developed from the peptide hormone melanotan used as a tanning agent.  When people used melanotan it was found that they experienced increased sexual arousal and 9 out of 10 test subjects had spontaneous erections.  There are several other substances on the market that can help to kick-start sex, which in turn leads to wanting more of it - ask your doctor for information.
  • Some natural libido boosters  include oysters, figs, bananas and avocados which can all increase blood flow to the genitals. These libido boosters are also just generally healthy, full of good fats and proteins.

5 Health Reasons Why Marriage Is For Everyone

From Beyonce to the Queen, there is so much debate around marriage and the ability for some groups to be able to marry, whilst others are restricted. I thought it was important to take a look at this from a health perspective, not just a social one. 

For the past several decades, researchers have been looking into the health benefits of marriage, specifically regarding how marriage stands up to other wellness factors such as exercise, eating well and getting sleep.  After studying men and women for the past forty years, the evidence according to Linda Waite - a sociologist from the University of Chicago - is so conclusive in the corner of marriage. Waite maintains throughout her research that married life leads to a longer and healthier life than unmarried life. The difference in data is so conclusive that one sociologist has said marriage is as great for your health as giving up smoking. 

With this in mind  - and with so many organisations, governing bodies and other countries agreeing - why don’t we have marriage equality in Australia? Especially when Australians as a culture are, for the most part,  extremely health focused!

Here are 5 health reasons in support of marriage for all.

TIP #1: CHOOSE LIFE

Whilst the reasons for married people living longer are not yet fully understood, the correlation between being married and decreased mortality has been established across a wide range of studies and cultures.  This association goes beyond simply cohabitation. Professor Robert Coombs from UCLA found that unmarried people of both sexes have higher death rates across all categories, including accident, disease or self-inflicted.  Other studies have found a direct correlation between longevity and the closeness of two people, ranked on a scale from 1 (marriage), 2 (cohabitation), 3 (close friends) and 4 (single). If you’re not the relationship type, find a fun friend to move in with - you'll both live longer. 

TIP #2: GETTING HITCHED TO STAY FIT

How many times have you heard “since he/she got married she really let herself go”? Research would be against us showing that married people actually enjoy better physical health, are less likely to have minor illnesses such as colds and flus and recover faster from health issues such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.  Some studies have even suggested that getting married can boost your immune system. Not bad for the ol' ball and chain.

TIP #3: THE CRAZY CAT LADY

Was she crazy before the cats, or did the cats make her that way? Several studies of mental illness have shown that married people have lower rates of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders compared to divorced people, co-habiting people and single people.  In fact, when testing neural pathways, some researchers suggested that the overall happiness experienced by marriage was equivalent to receiving a $100,000 pay rise annually.  With that amount of happiness, it’s no wonder that couples were found to have less cats.

TIP #4: KICK THE BIG C

Studies have shown that marriage will not only help to prevent cancer, but married patients have also been found across multiple studies to be diagnosed earlier, live longer after diagnosis and found treatment easier.  Chronic conditions fare similarly, with patients scoring themselves as being happier and experiencing less severe symptoms if they weren't married. 

TIP #5: GET MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF

Contrary to popular 17th century opinion, copulating is not simply for baby making. The health benefits of regular sex - regardless of gender or sexual orientation - are immense.  A study from 2010 showed that married couples actually have sex more than their single counterparts, with 82% of married couples having had sex in the past year compared with 49% of single people.  Perhaps many of the health benefits of marriage is simply due to the wonders of regular sex with someone you love having a huge impact on your longevity, wellness and happiness.

THE VERDICT

Lifting the restriction on marriage equality in Australia - and allowing same-sex attracted people to form relationships in many other countries where it is illegal - is not only integral to social justice and protecting the rights of minorities, but as we have read, super important to life itself. Loving relationships of all kinds are far more beneficial than staying in unhealthy and abusive relationships. It doesn't take Einstein to figure out that abusive marriages with perpetrators and victims have the worse health outcomes of all.  Friendships if you’re not in a relationship and the communication that comes from it was also found to have significant health benefits. 

So whether you’re married, de-facto, thrupling or single ready-to mingle keep those conversations and relationships flowing.