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Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

[4MV] Seven tips to improve your sleep quality ✔ It’s totally normal to wake up in the middle of the night

published3 months ago
9 min read

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Hello,

I trust you're safe, fit and well.

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦

Worried that radiation from the phone by your bed is giving you sleepless nights?

Elvy.ai, a sleep-tech startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has developed a wireless phone charger with a shield that blocks 95% electromagnetic radiation.

Elvy says that radiation from wireless chargers disrupts our alpha waves. Alpha frequency waves are the brain waves that happen when we’re about to fall asleep.

Electromagnetic radiation apparently can interfere with those waves, making it more difficult to drift off to sleep. The result is that in the morning we feel less refreshed.

Neuroscience has confirmed that if we have less tempting food in the house we'll end up eating less, losing weight and keeping it off. And we won't be getting up regularly to look for more snacks - see item #2.

Waking up in the night more? It's nothing to worry about, unless you worry about it - see item #1.

Here are the topics I have chosen for you to help you live longer better:

⭑ Briefly waking is normal but not if you stress about it - sleeping tips ✔
⭑ Inconvenient science - eating blander food will help you lose weight
⭑ Vitamin B6 toxicity flies "under the radar" - check those diet shakes
⭑ Spinal instability causes lower back pain, try these 3 exercises to help

01 It’s Totally Normal To Wake Up in the Middle of the Night—And It Doesn’t Always Tank Your Sleep Quality

As we get older our sleep quality often declines. We are more prone to wake up because our deep sleep is lighter, and our light sleep is also lighter, which leads to us "surfacing" into wakefulness. We tend to wake later in the night because initially, we sleep deeper than later.

Apparently waking from light sleep a few times a night is considered normal, according to W. Chris Winter, MD, sleep advisor at Sleep.com and author of The Sleep Solution.

An average sleep cycle lasts for about 90 minutes. So if you sleep for 6 hours you could expect to stir about 4 times, and possible wake from the light sleep cycle about 3 times.

In my case, my sleep cycle is 70 minutes. How do I know? Because for years, when younger, I used to keep a mental note of the elapsed time between dropping off to sleep and first waking. Working backwards from 90 minutes I found that the only number that divided into a likely number of sleep cycles was 70 minutes.

⇒ These short periods of wakefulness rarely cause health problems. But if you wake up a lot and have trouble getting back to sleep, this is something to address.

What it means for us: Waking up multiple times during the night is unusual. There are several reasons why you might be unable to get back to sleep. For example, you may be experiencing insomnia or restless leg syndrome.

Or maybe you're having trouble falling asleep because you're anxious or stressed - perhaps due to anxiety about what might happen if you do fall asleep. Control may also play a role, as people who feel powerless may try to exert some control over their sleep.

Here are seven tips to help you get better sleep:

  1. Light exercise before bed has been found to help, such as 10 minutes on a spin bike;
  2. Taking a warm bath has also been found to help as it relaxes tension in our muscles;
  3. Don't put off getting up (for a pee, for example) as thinking about getting up will keep you awake longer than if you just quickly do what you have to do;
  4. Do some deep breathing e.g. use an app on your phone or watch to guide you. This will reduce your anxiety about being awake and send you back to sleep. I recommend Breathing Zone.
  5. Keep your eyes off the time, as seeing that it is 3 am will start you stressing about how you are going to feel in the morning. Cover your clocks if necessary;
  6. Distract your mind from worrying by doing a counting or alphabet game such as picking a word for each letter starting at the end of the alphabet e.g "zero", and spelling it backwards and forwards and then moving to Y. This is a favourite of neurologist and sleep specialist Brandon Peters, MD, sleep expert at Amazon Halo.
  7. Finally, make sure that your room is cool, dark, and quiet.

If you don't get enough sleep, you'll likely experience fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even cancer, so best to get help from your doctor.

PS If you know your sleep cycle length then you can use this knowledge to time your sleep for better rest. That's another topic. If you are interested to know more simply reply SLEEP and I will write about it.

Related: Why Walnuts Lower Heart Disease and Help You Sleep Better

02 Neuroscience Reveals 5 Secrets That Will Make You Lose Weight

I'll keep this item brief, as the headline had a tad of linkbait about it. But there was one possibly useful fact I picked up in the article that I wanted to share with you.

When there is tasty food, people eat more.

That's it.

⇒ And it turns out it is not just about a rush of dopamine, but that we learn to eat calorie-dense foods because we feel fuller.

Calorie-dense foods mean foods that are loaded with calories disproportionate to their nutritional value - think of any fast food, sweets, ice cream etc.

It's better if we eat nutritionally-dense foods, of course e.g. bananas, real meat, vegetables, fish, beans etc.

What this means for us: The challenge that we are trying to solve here is that after eating calorie-dense foods, even though they make us feel full, we still want more.

Real food doesn't necessarily make us feel as full, but it does seem to release our brain from wanting more quick-fix "tasty" food.

The answer, according to the author, is to:

  1. Buy food that requires preparation, as you'll make less of it.
  2. Keep your food choices fairly simple - not having an easy range of choices will tend to make you not eat more (according to some research at least).
  3. Make the big decisions at the grocery store - don't bring it into the house, and it won't get eaten. And,
  4. Eat simpler, somewhat blander food. Not “flavourless” bland but “apples instead of chocolate cake” bland.

What can I say? It makes logical sense, I'm sure it would work, but it's not so easy, right? Something to work on, perhaps a small step at a time.

Related: The Surprising Benefits of Black Tea Daily

@Medium - Follow my publication there↗, covering food, brain, body, life

03 High Levels of Vitamin B6 in Supplements, Weight-loss Products Can Cause Toxicity, Chronic Illness

In this newsletter 2 weeks back I reported on a growing body of evidence that suggests that vitamin B group vitamins are important for cognitive health.

Here's a caution. A case is quoted of a woman who was dosing herself daily with supplements including a multivitamin, vitamin B complex, magnesium and iron, unaware she was consuming 200 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6.

"I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I started to get really weird symptoms like fainting", she says. Also suffering from "excruciating" lower limb pain, she was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.

She was told her symptoms could have been motor neuron disease (MND), Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or a metabolic condition. Doctors said it could have been anxiety.

⇒ It turned out that it was vitamin B6, which was found to be 10X over the healthy limit and caused vitamin B6 toxicity.

"I was very much heavily into the keto diet, and I'd been losing weight. I thought I was feeling pretty well," she said.

What this means for us: Her supplement regime wasn't part of any discussions with her health professionals. The B6 overdose came from meal replacement shakes that she was drinking 3 times daily, topped up with additional vitamin and "cleansing" supplements.

Mater Hospital clinical pharmacist and adjunct associate professor at the University of Queensland's school of pharmacy Geraldine Moses says vitamin B6 toxicity flies "under the radar".

If you have any concerns, place all your supplements on the kitchen table, add up all the vitamin B6 components, and talk with your doctor.

Related: Forget Beetroot Juice, Eat More Vegetables For Nitrate Potency And Longer Life

04 Three Moves for Better Spine Health and Less Lower Back Pain

Our exercise of the week is ... three, in combination to improve our spinal stability and reduce lower back pain.

The muscles and ligaments around our spine weaken with age or from injury.

Our lower back needs to compensate for this lack of mobility. As the lower back muscles tire from overwork we start to experience back pain. The root cause is the lack of spine stability, in other words a lack of muscular strength supporting the stability of the spine.

Back pain can be worse when people fear movement, because the muscles become even weaker. However, strengthening exercises work to reduce pressure on the back and lower the risk of injury. And a stable spine is also more flexible, so it can support a full range of natural movements.

Spine stability enables our entire trunk to work in balance and reduces undue pressure on joints and their supporting muscle groups e.g. the lower back.

What is the best way to achieve a stable spine? Exercise.

⇒ Stuart McGill, an expert in spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, recommends the "big three" exercises.

They are the curl-up, the side plank, and the bird-dog.

These exercises engage all the key muscles needed to improve spine stability.

What this means for us: Here's how to perform each of the big three.

Start with 5 reps for each of the three exercises. Then do three reps of each, and finish by doing each exercise just once. This is called a pyramid sequence.

As you get better and more comfortable with your routine, you can increase the number of reps you start with for each exercise. But continue to follow the descending pattern.

Straight One-Legged Curl-up

  1. Lie on your back. Extend one leg straight out on the floor. Bend the knee of your other leg so that your foot is flat on the floor.
  2. Put your hands under your lower back to maintain the natural arch of your spine.
  3. On an exhalation, lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor as though they were all connected. (Come off the floor just enough to feel the tension in your muscles.) Don’t bend your lower back, tuck your chin, or let your head tilt back.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly lower yourself down.
  5. Complete five reps, then switch leg positions and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.

Side plank

  1. Lie on your side with your upper body propped up on your arm, with your forearm on the floor and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Place your free hand on the top of your hip. Pull your feet back, so your knees are at a 90° angle.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor so they are in line with the rest of your body, and hold for up to 10 seconds. Try to maintain a straight line from your head to your knees. Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.
  3. Repeat five times, then flip to your other side and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.

Variation: For a challenge, straighten your legs instead of bending them, that is, raise up in a straight line to your toes without your knees touching the floor.

Bird-dog

  1. Get down on the floor on your hands and knees.
  2. Raise your left arm and extend it forward as far as possible while simultaneously lifting your right leg and extending it straight behind your body. Keep both the raised arm and leg parallel to the floor. Ensure your hips are aligned with your torso and not tilted to one side.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat five times, then switch to the other arm and leg and repeat the sequence to complete the exercise.

Perform these exercises 2 to 3 days a week before your usual workout. After a while, you can perform them every day if you feel that it is doing you good.

Good luck.

In case you missed it...

Related: How To Go From On-knee to Full Pushups, and Reap The Benefits

Thanks for reading!

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As You Age Pistachios Can Help You Sleep Better

I Started Trail Running At 70. Besides Being Bitten By A Dog I Love It

Vitamin D Is Free Yet We Don’t Get Enough And Our Health Is Suffering

How Bananas Benefit Your Bones — And Brain

Are You Ab-Wheel Rolling To Back Pain? I Was — Not Now

Measuring Your Waist Will Tell You If You Are On Your Way To Diabetes

Rebuilding Your Fast-twitch Muscles Doesn’t Require Fast Movements

Brain Health Is Boosted By Eating Less, Often — Here’s How To Start

How To Keep Your Weight Off With Daily Walks — 5 Fun Level-ups That Everyone Can Do

The Surprising Way Hip Flexors Pull You Down Into An Elderly Stoop And Shuffle, And How To Avoid It

This One Exercise Will Reshape Your Body And Your Brain, If You’re Game

Shining Light On Infrared Therapy - It Helped Unlock My Shoulder

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