Losing Sleep to Popcorn Brain

Do you ever find your mind too active to sleep? Maybe you’re turning one problem over and over in your head… or maybe your thoughts are pinging from one topic to another, racing along merrily while the rest of you desperately wants to rest. I like to call that hopping from one thought to another “popcorn brain”. Pop! A thought goes off over here. Pop! A totally different thought goes off over there! And if you imagine your head like a popcorn popper, it can quickly fill up with thoughts, leaving you very little space in which to calm down … Continue reading

Nocturnal Leg Cramps

Have you ever had a leg cramp wake you out of a sound sleep? Not the best way to wake up! Why does this happen sometimes? Even when we sleep, our bodies are still in motion. We roll over, we fight for the blankets, we stretch. (Just watch a dog’s feet twitch in his sleep if you don’t believe me!) During all this motion, our muscles contract. If a muscle doesn’t relax again — and stays contracted — you can end up with one of those sudden cramps. At least you don’t HAVE to suffer with nighttime leg cramps. Here … Continue reading

Health Advice I’m Glad I Took

I’ve been writing the Families.com Health Blog for about two and a half years now. With every piece I write, I learn something new — about myself, about the history or future of medicine, and more. But there are some bits and pieces that have really stuck with me. Probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten from a doctor — and one I’ve given out repeatedly here in the Health Blog is the sinus rinse. Whenever I feel a sinus infection coming on, I break out my sinus rinse kit and shoot warm salt water up my nose. It’s definitely … Continue reading

What Does Exhaustion Do to You?

This is a totally subjective question. What does exhaustion do to you? Here’s what it does to me: Exhaustion makes me cranky. I tend to get very short tempered with people when I’m over-tired. Things come out much more sharply than I intend. I am brisk with friends and family. Exhaustion makes me clumsy. Yesterday, I dropped a full pitcher of iced tea (that I had just made) in the sink. No more iced tea! I’ve also made the mistake of taking a glass class — making pendants on a torch — when I was over-tired. I ended up dropping … Continue reading

Fibromyalgia: Overview

Fibromyalgia means “pain of the muscles and other fibrous tissue”. It is a chronic disorder of the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia compare it to a persistent flu; the main symptoms are pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points around the body. The symptoms can increase in severity at different times of the day, during weather changes, and during different activities. Other names for fibromyalgia include: fibromyositis, fibrositis, muscular rheumatism, chronic muscle pain syndrome, and musculoskeletal pain syndrome. Terms that end in -it is (indication inflammation) are inaccurate, as inflammation does not … Continue reading

How To Get More Sleep

It isn’t always easy to fit in enough bed time. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that sixty percent of women only manage a good night’s sleep a few days a week! Around half of all women polled feel like their lack of sleep is interfering with their daily activities. Here are some tips to help you squeeze more Zzz into your night. Prioritize. Yes, you’ve got tons of things to do… but how many of them can wait until tomorrow? An hour before bed, make a list of all the things you think you need to do … Continue reading

Counting Sheep May Not Work After All

The next time you have trouble sleeping, you might not want to bother calling out the mental sheep. A recent study from Oxford University in England studied the effectiveness of sheep-counting and found the technique lacking. Fifty insomniacs participated in the sleep study, which focused on distraction techniques. One group counted sheep; a second group was asked to visualize a relaxing, peaceful scene. A third group was given no instructions at all. Who fell asleep the fastest? The visualization group was the first in dreamland, by an average of twenty minutes. Why did the good old counting sheep let the … Continue reading

Nine Quick Ways To Be Healthy

Get ten minutes of natural sunlight every day. Not only is sunshine a natural mood booster, it can help your internal clock stay regular. Try to get your ten minutes in during the brightest part of the day, but be sure to wear your sunblock. Make sure you get some Stone Age time every day. That means turn off your cell phone, turn off the television, and shut down the computer. Use your Stone Age time for something healthy, like a family walk or some gentle stretching. Think you’re too easily distracted? Try setting a time limit on your internet … Continue reading

Eat Your Way To A Good Night’s Sleep

Having trouble sleeping? You aren’t alone. Nearly one in three Americans suffer from some form of insomnia! What you eat (and drink) may help ease your struggle with the sandman. First, eliminate the usual suspects… that means cut out the caffeine. Even decaf coffee and chocolate can contain small amounts of caffeine. It won’t be easy, but try cutting out caffeine entirely for two weeks. If you sleep better without caffeine, it may be time to say goodbye to coffee and sodas! Some people are more sensitive than others; experiment to see how much or how little affects you. You … Continue reading

Hug your Local Neurologist!

Yesterday I had a meeting with my neurologist. I really like this guy because he’s the first consultant I’ve seen in over 3 years of unexplained/undiagnosed illness who really seems as if he cares about me, the person. Not long before Christmas he did an EEG and as a result of that diagnosed me as epileptic. I’m not sure the diagnosis is correct but I bow to his better judgment and am trying the treatment plan to see if it helps. This aside, he’s obviously concerned about my weight. The last time we met we talked about the fact that … Continue reading