What Is Naloxone? Where To Get Narcan And How To Reverse Overdoses

The overdose crisis continues to worsen in the U.S., and overdose deaths reached an all-time high in 2021. Experts say that a simple drug — naloxone — is a key tool in preventing more deaths. But not enough people know about it, have access to it or actually carry it with them.

“Naloxone is a miracle drug,” Dr. Kimberly Sue, medical director for the National Harm Reduction Coalition and associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, told TODAY. “It’s literally a Lazarus drug that prevents people from dying of an opioid overdose.”

And in the midst of the overdose crisis, which claimed nearly 108,000 lives just last year, getting naloxone to those who need it is vitally important. Here, experts discuss what naloxone is, how to get it and how it can save lives.

How does naloxone work?

Naloxone, also referred to by the brand name Narcan, is what experts call an opioid antagonist, Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director for the Massachusetts General Hospital Substance Use Disorder Initiative, told TODAY. Narcan is not the only branded naloxone product; a high-dose nasal spray called Kloxxado works similarly, according to the FDA.

That means it “binds to the opioid receptors in the brain — the same receptors that opioid drugs or medications like oxycodone or heroin or fentanyl bind to — and then blocks those receptors,” Wakeman explained. In the event of an opioid overdose, naloxone “can actually kick off the opioid from the receptor, reverse the acute effects of an opioid overdose and save someone’s life.”

A standard dose of naloxone is effective against even fentanyl, Wakeman said. If they’ve taken an opioid and something else, or if they took something like cocaine that was tainted with illicit fentanyl, naloxone will still work against the opioid in their system.

“And naloxone won’t be harmful to someone who doesn’t have an opioid in their body,” Wakeman said. “So if there’s a possibility that you think someone is having an overdose … then it is always a good idea to give naloxone.”

When should naloxone be given?

Before using naloxone, check to see if someone has the telltale signs of an overdose, Dr. Ayana Jordan, an addiction expert and associate professor of psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told TODAY. She pointed to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention‘s tips to learn about the signs of an overdose.

According to the CDC, someone having an overdose may have:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Weak, slow or no breathing.
  • Small or constricted pupils.
  • Choking or gurgling sounds.
  • Limp body.
  • Clammy or cold skin.
  • Blue or discolored skin, especially around the lips. (However, Jordan notes that this may not apply to people with darker skin.)

In general, someone who is in the midst of an overdose will “have slowed and very shallow breathing to the point that, ultimately, they’ll stop breathing,” Wakeman said. “So they may look blue or cold and not be responsive.”

Giving someone naloxone

Once you’ve identified that someone might be having an overdose, you should call 911, the CDC says. Even if you’re able to reverse the overdose, they will likely still need emergency services. (Some states, but not all, have Good Samaritan laws, which protect people calling for medical help from some drug-related charges, Sue explained.)

From there, the right way to use naloxone depends on the specific formulation you’re using. For most people, that will likely be the nasal spray called Narcan, Wakeman said. In the hospital, naloxone may be given through an IV or as an injection into the muscle, she added.

After administering naloxone, the person should wake up within seconds to minutes, Wakeman said. And you should always start with as low a dose as possible. If someone is a regular opioid user and you give them a massive dose of naloxone all at once, “they’re going to immediately go into withdrawal,” Wakeman explained. While that isn’t necessarily harmful, it is pretty unpleasant and uncomfortable.

After giving someone naloxone, you should stay with them if you can until emergency medical help arrives. “Naloxone works very quickly, but it also wears off very quickly,” Wakeman said. In fact, the effects of naloxone can wear off within 30 minutes. And if someone still has the other opioid in their system, they may fall back into an overdose after the naloxone has worn off.

Where to get naloxone

If you use drugs, your doctor may give you a naloxone prescription as a regular part of their practice. “I make sure that everyone that sees me gets prescribed naloxone and that they understand how to use it,” Jordan said.

Depending on the state, you may be able to get naloxone at a local pharmacy without a prescription through the use of a standing order, Wakeman noted. (Standing orders allow pharmacies to give out prescription medications, like the annual flu vaccine, without requiring each individual person to have their own prescription.)

Another option is to connect with local harm reduction groups in your area, which frequently hand out naloxone kits, Wakeman said. These community-based organizations may also offer in-person or virtual trainings on how to use naloxone. Jordan noted that her research group also does large virtual naloxone training sessions for people who participate in their studies looking at drug use.

If you live in a state without a standing order and want to get naloxone to use on someone else, you can likely get a third-party prescription through a doctor, Sue said. She recommended looking at the local health department’s website for more information about where to get naloxone in your area.

It’s most important for people who use drugs to have access to naloxone. But if you know someone who uses drugs, you should consider carrying naloxone, too, the experts said. “Carrying naloxone is no different than carrying an epi-pen,” Jordan said.

And even though there are several ways to get naloxone now, there are still barriers to actually accessing and using it, Sue explained. She recalled a story of pharmacy staff being simply unaware of the standing order for naloxone, for instance, and noted that harm reduction groups are experiencing an ongoing naloxone shortage.

Additionally, naloxone is something that, by definition, people can’t use on themselves in the event of an overdose, Sue said. (If you are going to use by yourself, Sue recommended calling the Never Use Alone hotline so there is someone who can notify emergency services if you lose consciousness.)

Naloxone is a crucial tool in reducing overdose deaths, experts say

“Really, no one should die from an opioid overdose,” Wakeman said. “Not only do we know how to prevent overdoses and how to treat people who have an opioid use disorder, but we also have this life-saving, immediately-acting medication that will quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.” 

The challenge for experts now is to make naloxone more accessible to those who need it. “There’s no moral or medical reason to keep this life-saving medication behind the counter,” Dr. Bobby Mikkamula, chair of the American Medicine Association’s Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, told TODAY.

Earlier this year, AMA urged the Biden administration to remove naloxone’s prescription status, which would make it available over-the-counter. “It’s not the kind of thing that needs to be protected or that people need to be protected from,” Mikkamula said. “This saves their lives, and the fewer barriers we have to getting this into their hands and into their medicine cabinets, the better.”

For Jordan, the importance of naloxone comes down to one simple truth: “I can’t help people who are dead,” she said.

By

Source: What Is Naloxone? Where To Get Narcan And How To Reverse Overdoses

Related links:

Overdose Deaths Behind Bars Rise as Drug Crisis Swells The Good Men Project

Report details Alaska demographics hurt most by 2021 spike in drugoverdose deaths Alaska Public Media

11:37 Sun, 31 Jul
19:26 Sat, 30 Jul
13:02 Fri, 29 JulOpioid Crisis Fentanyl
15:34 Mon, 25 JulNative Americans Pandemic Racism
01:14 Thu, 21 JulNative Americans CDC Alaska
17:49 Thu, 28 JulDundee Scotland
Fentanyl, death by the dose The Washington Times
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FatBlaster Max Has Just Been Banned Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Diet Supplements

Australia’s regulator has banned FatBlaster Max, an over-the-counter pill that claimed (with no evidence) to be able to help you lose weight. FatBlaster Max can no longer be purchased, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) found the company behind the pills registered the medicine with no mention of weightloss properties and failed to produce any evidence substantiating its advertised claim it led to weight loss.

The ban has put over-the-counter weightloss pills back in the spotlight, shining light on an unregulated area that is immensely popular. Studies show one in seven people have tried an over-the-counter weightloss pill, undoubtedly enticed by their promises of helping people lose weight easily and rapidly. But do over-the-counter weightloss pills really work? Here’s everything you need to know about the weightloss supplements currently claiming a big share of Australia’s billion-dollar weight-loss industry.

What exactly are over-the-counter weightloss pills?

Broadly speaking, over-the-counter pills are anything you buy from a pharmacist without a prescription, like cold and flu remedies and paracetamol. Some over-the-counter medications are also available at retailers like supermarkets, service stations and health food stores. Over-the-counter weightloss pills are essentially dietary and herbal supplements marketed and sold with claims of assisting with weight loss.

The important distinction between over-the-counter weightloss pills and weightloss medications prescribed by a doctor is that prescription weightloss drugs – like all pharmaceutical drugs – must go through clinical trials and provide Australia’s drug regulator with evidence of their effectiveness and safety. Worryingly, the distributors of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements are not required to produce any evidence of their products’ efficacy and safety before they hit the Australian market. The TGA only requires them to hold, but not necessarily make freely available, evidence substantiating their claims.

How do over-the-counter weightloss pills help you lose weight?

Over-the-counter weightloss pills usually claim to have several herbal or natural ingredients that help you lose weight in one of four ways:

  1. by suppressing your appetite or making you feel full using ingredients like a tropical fruit called Garcinia cambogia or glucomannan, a dietary fibre made from the root of the konjac plant
  2. by speeding up your metabolism and your body’s ability to burn fat using components like the herb Ephedra sinica or a fatty acid (conjugated linoleic acid) found in meat and dairy products
  3. by blocking your body’s ability to digest things like carbohydrates and fat using Phaseolus vulgaris (also known as the common bean) or a variety of green tea leaf called Camellia sinensis
  4. by absorbing fat in the foods you eat, relying on ingredients like chitosan, a product created using the shells of crustaceans and insects.

Do these weightloss pills work?

In a word: no.

Most advertising for over-the-counter weightloss pills and dietary supplements will proudly claim a product’s results are backed by “clinical trials” and “scientific evidence”, but the reality is a host of independent studies don’t support these claims.Two recent studies by the University of Sydney examined data from more than 120 placebo-controlled trials of herbal and dietary supplements for weight loss, including products featuring the ingredients described above. None of the supplements provided clinically meaningful weight loss.

If they don’t work, why are they allowed to be sold?

Given there are few to no checks and even less accountability when compared to prescription weightloss drugs, the researchers’ findings should come as no surprise.

Recent studies suggest weightloss supplement companies have conducted very few high-quality studies. Many trials are too small, poorly designed and don’t accurately report the composition of the supplements being investigated. This is because there are no guidelines currently covering how these types of trials should be conducted.

The good news is the Australian regulator is taking some action on the claims made by distributors of these weightloss supplements, with the TGA recently banning the sale of FatBlaster Max. While the reality is the most likely thing to be damaged by over-the-counter weightloss pills is your hip pocket, the TGA’s action also serves as an important reminder that the safety of over-the-counter weightloss supplements can never be guaranteed.

Several products have been banned from sale around the world after causing serious health problems. This includes the TGA and America’s Food and Drug Administration banning dietary supplements containing ephedra in 2018, when supplements containing this stimulant herb were associated with cases of heart attack, seizure, stroke and sudden death.

Real harm is also caused by the over-the-counter weightloss industry feeding on people’s desire for a quick fix to achieve rapid weight loss. The reality is there is no wonder pill. Losing weight and achieving lasting results comes down to: following evidence-based care from health-care professionals and making meaningful changes to your diet, exercise and lifestyle that you can sustain for life. A spokesperson for FatBlaster said the company is disappointed with the TGA’s decision and it is evaluating options for next steps.

It said the TGA’s requirements had changed during the years that FatBlaster Max Tablets have been on the market and the company has taken great care to update all packaging, advertising and claims to ensure compliance with these requirements. The listing cancellation does not impact the wider FatBlaster range.

By :

Source: FatBlaster Max has just been banned. Why? Here’s everything you need to know about diet supplements

Critics  Mayo Clinic Staff

Are you an adult who has serious health problems because of your weight? Have you tried diet and exercise but haven’t been able to lose enough weight? If you answered yes to these questions, a prescription weight-loss drug may be an option for you. You should know, however, that prescription weight-loss drugs are used in addition to — not instead of — diet and exercise.

Who is a candidate for weight-loss drugs?

Your doctor may consider a weight-loss drug for you if you haven’t been able to lose weight through diet and exercise and you meet one of the following:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30.
  • Your BMI is greater than 27 and you have a serious medical problem related to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Before selecting a medicine for you, your doctor will consider your history and health challenges. Then your doctor will talk with you about the pros and cons of prescription weight-loss drugs. It’s important to note that weight-loss drugs aren’t for everyone. For example, prescription weight-loss drugs shouldn’t be used if you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or are breast-feeding.

How well do weight-loss drugs work?

Prescription weight-loss drugs approved for long-term use (more than 12 weeks) produce significant weight loss compared with placebo. The combination of weight-loss medication and lifestyle changes results in greater weight loss than lifestyle changes do alone. Over the course of a year, that can mean a weight loss of 3% to 7% of total body weight above that achieved with lifestyle changes alone. That may seem like a modest amount. But a sustained weight loss of 5% to 10% can have important health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

What you should know about weight-loss drugs

Mild side effects, such as nausea, constipation or diarrhea, are common. They may lessen over time. Rarely, serious side effects can occur. For this reason, it’s important to thoroughly discuss treatment options with your doctor.Weight-loss drugs can be expensive and aren’t always paid for by insurance. Ask your insurance company about coverage. Many people gain back some of the weight they lost when they stop taking weight-loss drugs. However, adopting healthy lifestyle habits may help limit weight gain.

How long does drug therapy last?

How long you’ll take a weight-loss drug depends on if the drug helps you lose weight. If you’ve lost enough weight to improve your health and you haven’t had serious side effects, your doctor may suggest that you take the drug indefinitely. If you haven’t lost at least 5% of your body weight after three to six months on the full dose of a drug, your doctor will probably change your treatment and may switch you to a different weight-loss drug.

What drugs are approved for weight loss?

Four weight-loss drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for long-term use:

  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Orlistat (Xenical)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)

Most prescription weight-loss drugs work by decreasing appetite or increasing feelings of fullness. Some do both. The exception is orlistat. It works by interfering with absorption of fat.

Bupropion-naltrexone

Bupropion-naltrexone is a combination drug. Naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. Bupropion is an antidepressant and quit-smoking aid. Like all antidepressants, bupropion carries a warning about suicide risk. Bupropion-naltrexone can raise blood pressure, and monitoring is necessary at the start of treatment. Common side effects include nausea, headache and constipation.

Liraglutide

Liraglutide is also used to manage diabetes. Unlike other weight-loss drugs, liraglutide is given by injection. Nausea is a common complaint. Vomiting may limit its use.

Orlistat

Orlistat is also available in a reduced-strength form without a prescription (Alli). Orlistat can cause bothersome gastrointestinal side effects, such as flatulence and loose stools. You need to follow a low-fat diet when taking this medicine. Rare cases of serious liver injury have been reported with orlistat. However, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established.

Phentermine-topiramate

Phentermine-topiramate is a combination of a weight-loss drug (phentermine) and an anticonvulsant (topiramate). Phentermine has the potential to be abused because it acts like an amphetamine. Other possible side effects include an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, constipation, and nervousness. Topiramate increases the risk of birth defects. Phentermine by itself (Adipex-P, Lomaira) is also used for weight loss. It’s one of four similar weight-loss drugs approved for short-term use (less than 12 weeks). The other drugs in this group aren’t widely prescribed.

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Dementia a Progressive Loss of Cognitive Function Marked By Memory Problems

Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to age-related cognitive decline caused by a variety of factors as well as by the aging process, in some people. The term is also used to refer to a range of symptoms, from some minor difficulty functioning to severe impairment. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease, a condition that affects more than 5 million Americans. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but certain treatments can help alleviate the symptoms temporarily.

What are the warning signs of dementia?

When a person experiences memory and thinking problems that prevent them from functioning normally on an ongoing basis, they have dementia. There are three major red flags for dementia: either the individual, their family, or a doctor gets concerned that there has been a significant decline in memory and thinking ability; their performance on thinking or memory tests is impaired; and/or issues related to thinking and memory problems are interfering with everyday activities, from the complex (cleaning, cooking, taking medicine) to the simple (bathing, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom).

How do you get dementia?

Dementia is not a diagnosis—it says nothing about the underlying cause of thinking and memory impairment. Dementia can be caused by a variety of factors, including thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, side effects of prescriptions, depression, anxiety, infections, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and other medical problems. In some cases, cognitive impairment may be reversible if diagnosed and treated early enough.

Source: Dementia | Psychology Today

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Related contents:

“Dementia”. medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 20 January 2022.

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) for the detection of dementia in clinically unevaluated people aged 65 and over in community and primary care populations” (PDF)

“Differential diagnosis dementia”. NICE. Retrieved 20 January 2022.

 The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Pub. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-58562-257-3. Archived from the original on 2017-09-08.

Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission”. Lancet. 396 (10248): 413–446. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30367-6. PMC 7392084. PMID 32738937.

Global, regional, and national burden of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016″. Lancet Neurol. 18 (1): 88–106. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(18)30403-4. PMC 6291454. PMID 30497964.

Olfactory dysfunction in the pathophysiological continuum of dementia” (PDF). Ageing Research Reviews. 55: 100956. doi:10.1016/j.arr.2019.100956. PMID 31479764. S2CID 201742825.

Research criteria for the diagnosis of prodromal dementia with Lewy bodies”. Neurology (Review). 94 (17): 743–55. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000009323. PMC 7274845. PMID 32241955.

Memory loss : a practical guide for clinicians. [Edinburgh?]: Elsevier Saunders. ISBN 978-1-4160-3597-8.

Mortality and Morbidity Statistics”. icd.who.int. Retrieved 20 January 2022.

Screening for cognitive impairment in older adults: A systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force”. Annals of Internal Medicine. 159 (9): 601–12. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-9-201311050-00730. PMID 24145578.

Assessment and management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia”. BMJ. 350: h369. doi:10.1136/bmj.h369. PMC 4707529. PMID 25731881.

Management of Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia”. Noro Psikiyatri Arsivi. 51 (4): 303–12. doi:10.5152/npa.2014.7405. PMC 5353163. PMID 28360647.

Inhibition in Cognition”. http://www.apa.org. Retrieved 7 February 2021.

Psychiatric Comorbidity in Persons With Dementia: Assessment and Treatment

Seven Simple Steps To Sounder Sleep

Everything about our day impacts our sleep. How many minutes we spend outside, what and when we eat, what’s happening with our hormones, our habits, emotions, stress and thoughts – all this feeds into the sleep we end up with at night. All of which I was completely oblivious to when battling chronic insomnia for years on end.

Sleep anxiety can create a very real and vicious circle. I would spend hours lying in bed, increasingly wired, anxious and exhausted as time ticked by, with prescription sleeping pills within reach for those 3am nights when I had to be up first thing. The problem is that the more we worry about sleep, the higher our stress hormones go – and too much of the stress hormone cortisol, whatever the trigger, disturbs our sleep.

We’re left in a state of fight or flight, when we need to be in the opposite state of rest and digest. When my insomnia was at its worst, I’d start my day exhausted, running on empty, and have recurring burn-out days, where an overwhelming fatigue would stop me in my tracks, forcing me to lie down and recharge.

I realise now that the various sleep tips I tried over the years were like sticking plasters on a broken leg – there’s only so much that lavender, earplugs or herbal teas can do when your sleep is disrupted and out of control. Fortunately a eureka moment came along, when I was reading a book by my great great uncle, Richard Waters, a pioneer in cognitive therapy and clinical hypnosis and a protégé of the French pharmacist and self-help guru Emile Coué.

Waters wrote just a couple of pages about insomnia – how the words we use and having an understanding of sleep biology affects our mind, body and our sleep – but they were intriguing enough to set me thinking, researching and experimenting. I interviewed various experts and tried out all the sleep science and tactics I came across, while considering sleep in a much wider context than usual.

Waters also wrote a short, first-person sleep script, about what should be going on in the mind and body in the countdown to sleep. And I recorded myself reading this one-minute sleep script on my phone, which I listened to every day, when fixing my own insomnia and researching my book Teach Yourself to Sleep.

Listening to a sleep script allows us to harness the power of suggestion, using self-talk and clinical hypnosis to change our habitual thoughts, physiology and behaviour. I discussed this at length with clinical hypnosis expert Professor Peter Whorwell, whose hospital department at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust creates bespoke scripts to help treat a wide range of disorders, including insomnia, phobias, pain and debilitating IBS symptoms, with a 75-80% success rate, where other treatments have failed.

Following the thread from Waters and Coué to now, and exploring the fascinating world of sleep, light and habit science, experimental psychology and more, it became clear that it pays to have a basic grasp of the biology and science of sleep and to appreciate the extraordinary power of the mind-body loop. Getting results that last makes life easier on so many levels – quality sleep not only improves our physical and mental health but also our energy levels, cognitive function and overall wellbeing.

I now instinctively remove obstacles that will get in the way of my sleep and set up sleep habit cues throughout my day. This means I can go to sleep without being up half the night, and wake up refreshed and able to get the most out of the following day. Here are seven sleep tips I used to dismantle my insomnia.

1) Stop calling yourself a bad sleeper!

Our words have an immediate effect on us physically and mentally – and you can see this in action if you consciously choose diametrically opposed words to describe the same situation. The words we choose alter our feelings, perceptions, hormones and behaviour, including our sleep.

There are some astounding studies on this and the mind-body loop, and how this can be manipulated to improve our health. As Professor Brooks of the Harvard Business School told me: “Our words codify and solidify our thoughts” – and, in turn, they change how we feel.

2) Embrace the biological fact that your body responds to too much light

Our body is hard-wired to line itself up with the light and dark of nature’s 24-hour clock. As with everything that influences your sleep, it makes all the difference if you’re aware of the simple biology taking place. In this instance, it’s understanding that the extremely light-sensitive cells in your eyes help keep your sleep-wake cycle turning as it should.

I use a light box on certain mornings, to give my office light some extra clout. At the other end of the day, a screen break before bed, moving away from bright, stay-wake signals and towards the darkness of night, helps boost sleep-inducing melatonin levels.

3) Weaken the negative fallout from stress

Stress is a huge sleep disrupter with nearly 50% of sleep issues blamed on stress. To help balance the body’s chemical cocktail in favour of sleep, it’s invaluable if we lean on science-based stress busters, to bring down our cortisol levels, which the pace, anxiety and overstimulation of modern life is forever increasing.

Effective stress busters I’ve found include “forest bathing”, aka walking among trees, as well as reframing my emotions and changing my perception of stress to weaken its hold. I regularly make use of these tactics among others if I feel my stress levels spiking during the day.

4) Know your DIY sleep habit science

Bad sleep habits, like any other, can be systematically intercepted and replaced with good ones, once you know how they take shape in the brain. Our bedroom is our sleep habit context, and making certain changes here, behavioural and content-wise, helps to break automatic sleep behaviour. Displacing negative rumination by listing the things you’re grateful for gets measurable results.

Another thing you can do is remove sleep-sabotaging cues from your bedroom (eg, work and screens), while loading in sleep-promoting cues (eg, sleep-inducing scents), to help new, desirable sleep habits stick.

5) Listen to a sleep script

Habitual thoughts set off a chain reaction that changes your emotions, body chemicals, behaviour, expectations and your sleep. A sleep script, which is a positive affirmation of how well your mind and body are preparing you for sleep, helps with this by gradually shifting your habitual sleep-related thoughts. This taps into the power of self-talk and clinical hypnosis, which are increasingly being explored by scientists, neuroscientists and medics.

Also, by listening to a sleep script during the day, you give yourself a moment to pause, creating a window for any stress to subside. I listened to myself reading a short sleep script daily, when sorting out my chronic insomnia and still rely on one as a very potent sleep habit cue.

6) Have an armchair offload

If your mind is full of worries, or all the jobs you need to do tomorrow/this week, have an armchair offload some time before bed, to let your mind think about it all and perhaps write it down. Ideally this would involve sitting in a relaxed space that isn’t your bedroom, giving you time to reflect before heading to bed, once the rush of the day, and/or TV shows are over.

Once again, it’s more impactful if you have an inkling of the biology and science going on. By giving yourself this time to think, or jot down any notes, what you’re really doing is moving worries or preoccupations from your brain’s emotional HQ, the amygdala, to your problem-solving pre-frontal cortex. What’s more, your brain will look for solutions while you dream.

7) Stare into the darkness of a pitch-black bedroom

Staring into the darkness last thing, while lying in bed, will help to increase your sleep-promoting melatonin levels, as the “hormone of sleep” is released at night when those light-sensitive photoreceptors in your eyes see that it’s dark out there.

Among other things, melatonin is also an immune system booster, so allowing your body to release as much of it as possible throughout your evening by avoiding too much bright light the closer you get to bed, is a plus in more ways than just enjoying easier, more restorative sleep.

By:

Source: Seven simple steps to sounder sleep | Life and style | The Guardian

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Related Contents:

 

The Best Thing for Back Pain is Actually More Movement

Roughly 80 percent of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. Historically, many of those people were told that, barring a specific, treatable injury, there’s one prescription for back pain: rest. But research today tells us that the answer is actually just the opposite.

“The advice to rest and not stress your back runs counter to what we now understand to be the best course of action,” says Eric Robertson, a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association and an associate professor of clinical physical therapy at University of Utah and University of Southern California. One of the main issues that physical therapists and physicians alike have run into is that we don’t actually know what causes the pain.

Pain in any muscle can come from being too tight or stiff, but it could also be from a weakness or if it’s not moving in the right way, explains Robertson. Like a car, he says, if there’s one weak spot other parts of the vehicle are going to wear down more quickly—and that’s where you can get pain.

Strengthening your core and back muscles, then, can be incredibly helpful in treating and preventing back pain. And the good news is that you don’t need to do serious weight training to see benefits. The more you move generally, the less likely you are to have pain.

“Standing frequently throughout the day, walking or pacing whenever feasible, and stretching the hips, hamstrings, and hip flexors regularly are a good way to be proactive in preventing these issues,” says Lauren Shroyer, Senior Director of Product Development and a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) at the American Council on Exercise. Robertson agrees.

He says walking is one of the best exercises for back pain, since it’s non-load bearing and easy to do—but even just moving more overall is going to be helpful (and research backs him up). Back pain can often be the predictable result of a sedentary lifestyle that more and more Americans have, so it may not take much movement to increase strength in the core and back enough to relieve pain.

Still, lifting may be able to help even more. Studies suggest that even low-levels of strength training can improve back pain. Discomfort in the back can often be the result of weaknesses elsewhere, like the gluteal muscles and adductors, both of which are in your hips and legs. Strengthening those muscles with exercises like squats, leg presses, or any single leg movement, can help with the pain, Robertson says.

If you’re having pain right now, you should consult a physical therapist who can design a program specific to your body and your pain. But if you want a general exercise regimen to help prevent back issues, Shroyer has some recommendations.

For beginners, try these exercises:

Once you’ve mastered those, or if you’re already more experienced, try these:

You may also want to incorporate stretching in with your strength training. Shroyer recommends a basic program for staving off back issues. “In general, when you are not experiencing acute pain and want to be proactive in preventing it, a regular program of stretching the hips and strengthening the legs, abdominals and spine is best.” If you want specifics, check out Williams flexion exercises, the figure-4 piriformis stretch, the cat-cow stretch, and the spinal twist.

You can also determine from your lumbar (or lower) spine position which types of other exercises may be the most helpful, Shroyer says. If you look at yourself from the side in a full-length mirror, check out how much your lower back curves. If it’s fairly straight, hamstring stretches are going to give you the best benefit. If you have a deep curve, hip flexor stretches may be best.

If you’re experiencing minor pain or are simply trying to prevent back problems in the future, the recommendations so far may be all you need. But many people who have chronic back pain find that even doing basic stretches or exercises are overwhelming.

“All pain experiences are a combination of physical and emotional responses,” Robertson says. That might seem tangential to solving your back pain, but the truth is that a large part of overcoming that discomfort is about overcoming the fear of being in pain.

If you’re in pain every time you move, he explains, it’s normal to become afraid of moving—and it’s a physical therapist’s job to enable you to start moving enough that you can move past the fear. Lots of people are told that they simply have a bad back. But the truth is that about 90 percent of back pain isn’t serious, Robertson says, and that means most people can get on track to being pain-free with the right training.

Some folks will get flare-ups, but recurrences don’t mean that you have to live with a bad back for your whole life. (If you have changes in bowel or bladder like trouble peeing, tingling or numbness especially in the groin, or neurologic symptoms like weakness or numbness that may be a sign that you are in the 10 percent of people with a more serious issue—and you should go see a doctor!).

Robertson says that he’s personally experienced back pain intermittently throughout his life, and that it’s still a struggle for him. “Every time, I have this feeling that it’s going to be forever. It’s an okay thing to acknowledge—it’s scary and overwhelming,” he says. We all need to talk about back pain in a more positive light, he says, as something that might be awful now but can be overcome.

By: Sara Chodosh

Source: The Best Thing for Back Pain is Actually More Movement

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Related Contents:

Paresthesia Definition and Origin

Diagnosis and treatment of back pain

Diagnosis and Management of Acute Low Back Pain

Comprehensive review of epidemiology, scope, and impact of spinal pain

Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society

Interventional spine : an algorithmic approach

Central sensitization: implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pain

Consumer Reports; American College of Physicians; Annals of Internal Medicine

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question”, Choosing Wisely

Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society

The effectiveness of acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic interventions on treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain in Iran

Traction for low-back pain with or without sciatica

Muscle relaxants for non-specific low back pain

Handout on Health: Back Pain

Back and spine

Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians

Non-specific Back Pain Guidelines

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