health

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!

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 (More) Reasons To Have More Sex

Just in case you needed more convincing...

TIP #6: GORGEOUS GLOWING SKIN

Sex is an amazing way to improve your skin and it does this through increasing your circulation along with the release of wonderful cytokines that make your skin glow. As we’ve also mentioned, sex can help to relax your body and also your face, which means you’ll need less injectables less often.  

TIP #7: IT'S A KNOCK OUT!

Woo! Snore.....Ever wondered why you pass out post orgasm? Well sex increases levels of the hormone prolactin and then is released into the body when you climax. Prolactin is responsible for a range of feelings including relaxation and sleepiness. So go ahead - knock yourself out.

TIP #8: REDUCE THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER

Whilst there haven’t been any conclusive studies to show that there is a direct correlation between orgasm and reduced prostate size, there have been some studies showing that men who ejaculate at least 21 times a month were less likely to get prostate enlargement. 

TIP #9: MIGHTY MORPHINE POWER

Just like many analgesics, sex and orgasms can block pain pathways helping those suffering from a range of conditions to have decreased pain. Along with this it has been found that many forms of genital stimulation can suppress chronic back and neck pain, arthritic pain, headaches and much more. 

TIP #10: THE WAY TO YOUR HEART

To finish of our top 10 for benefits of regular sex we can say that sex reduces pain, makes us happier, healthier and sexier it can also keep us alive longer. The exercise, reduction in blood pressure, relaxation and release of amazing hormones like oestrogen and testosterone have all been shown to keep us ticking on even longer in a healthy manner. For men who have sex twice a week (the minimum for all of us now having read this) it has been shown are half as likely to die of heart disease than those who had sex rarely.

However you do it, however you like it, and with whomever you do it, remember #justdoit.