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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT MELATONIN AND HOW IT AFFECTS OUR SLEEP…

Melatonin is a hormone which plays an important part in our sleep regime. It’s production is controlled by exposure to light so with the darker nights now upon us the melatonin secretion rises to help us feel tired. It’s produced by the pineal gland in the brain, but it’s also found in other areas, such as the eyes, bone marrow, and gut.

In the morning when we wake up the light shuts melatonin production down so that we can stop feeling sleepy but there are other ways to regulate our melatonin levels to help us sleep better. There are many things to avoid which will help your melatonin levels which include stress, smoking, exposure to too much light at night (including blue light), not getting enough natural light during the day, shift work, and aging all affect melatonin production.

To help improve your melatonin levels try and get to sleep before midnight and up your natural light exposure if you can by going outside for a regular walk preferably when the sun is out. Healthline say that taking a melatonin supplement may help counter low levels and normalize your internal clock. Healthline go on to say that if you want to try melatonin, start with 0.5 mg (500 micrograms) or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, try increasing it to 3–5 mg or follow the instructions on the supplement.

You can buy Neuro Rest Sleeping Tablets, Natural Melatonin Sources from Amazon for £16.97 which supports the full sleep cycle and supports the sound, restorative rest you need to get to sleep and for the entire night. They are –

  • Holistic, Multi-Ingredient Blend: Unlike melatonin that is only designed to help you fall asleep, or just 5-HTP that helps once you’re asleep, Neuro Rest has a unique blend of ingredients that combine to deliver a time-released formula all night long
  • A Supplement, Not a Sedative: Use our sleep aid tablets with peace of mind, knowing you won’t struggle to wake up the next morning or feel drowsy all day. It’s non-habit forming even when taken daily so you can use it only when you need it, without concern
  • Naturally Formulated: While some sleep aid tablets are made from synthetic sources, Neuro Rest is produced from natural food sources. They are suitable for vegetarians & vegans, are free of GMOs & are made in the UK according to strict quality standards
  • Works Better the Longer You Use It: Neuro Rest is formulated to help you achieve rejuvenating, high-quality sleep night after night. Most see noticeable benefits within the first 5-10 days, but after 2-3 weeks experience the maximum benefits of regularly good sleep

There is also a great book on Melatonin, ‘The Magic of Melatonin: How This Amazing Hormone Will Help You Sleep, Reduce Pain, Relieve Anxiety, Slow Aging, and Much More’ by Dr Jan-Dirk Fauteck.

Dr. Fauteck addresses the impact of proper supplemental melatonin and various studies and research done on the topic. Melatonin has been widely used to correct problems of sleep disorders, and while this book looks into that research further and breaks down the impact of melatonin and sleep, it also addresses research that addresses melatonin use for its ability to regulate the circadian clock in general and impact other areas of health such oxidative stress, neuropsychiatric disorders, headaches, chronic pain, digestion, diabetes, fertility, pregnancy, cancer, and many age-related diseases.

In this book, Dr. Fauteck summarizes critical information related to the necessity of maintaining regular biological rhythms and describes the pathological consequences of circadian rhythm disturbances. He provides a clear description of how melatonin is produced and secreted, how the prevailing artificially imposed light/dark cycle can disturb its rhythm, and how this translates into other potential pathologies.

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STEROID INJECTIONS AND HOW THEY COULD AFFECT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM…

Your immune system is a very important part of your health especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic. At this time of year many of us are having our flu vaccines but it can take up to 14 days for the immune system to mount an immune response so your are not immune to the flu the minute you have the injection.

They talk about supplements in the winter to improve your immune system as while a healthy diet containing an abundance of nutrients can help fend off illness, there is also a number of supplements that will boost your immunity and keep you fit. These include Vitamin C, and D, Zinc, Pelargonium (herbal remedy for bronchitis, Echinacea, Elderberry, Black Garlic, Iron and Omega 3’s but none of these should be taken until you have checked with your GP first.

But, what about our immune system and Covid-19? Well, according to the British Nutrition Foundation and written in Woman & Home, there is no individual food or supplement that will stop us contracting highly infectious viruses such as Covid-19, but it is important to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support your immune system. The NHS recommends taking vitamin D supplements if you are self-isolating or spending the majority of your time indoors.

And, what about steroid injections and the immune system? Well, as some of my readers will have read I have been suffering lately with awful low back and hip pain and after an MRI showed arthritis in my sacroiliac joints as well as in multi levels of my low back I was offered a steroid injection to help with the pain.

Before signing the consent form I was briefly informed that having this injection could ‘suppress my immune system’. On the site Ultrasound Guided Injections, which is what I had states that ‘since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, we are making patients aware of the specific implications to be considered in relation to corticosteroid injections and COVID-19’.

It goes on to explain in full about why you should really think about having a steroid injection or not.

Corticosteroids are an immuno-suppressant (they inhibit our immune system) which is one of the main ways in which they work and are clinically useful – they are powerful anti-inflammatory medication (they reduce inflammation and swelling) and therefore pain. However this means corticosteroids will also have a inhibitory impact on our general immune system and our ability to fight infections.

The immuno-suppressant effect to believed to last up to several weeks after the injection although this is believed to vary from person to person (Hackett et al 2020).  Although there is a lack of clear evidence to act as guidance on this matter in terms of the exact size of increase in risk there might be.

It is important that any patients considering a corticosteroid injection are aware of the fact that corticosteroids could theoretically i) increase the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 due to its immuno-suppressant effect ii) inhibit their body’s ability to fight the COVID-19 virus if contracted and iii) could potentially make the patients more contagious to people around them, following a corticosteroid injection. One study published in 2018 showed patients who had received a corticosteroid injection were more likely to develop seasonal flu. Because the size of risk is unknown it is recommended that patients and clinicians should reach a shared decision (Morgan and Dattani 2020)  on a case by case basis weighing up the risks and benefits of proceeding with steroid injection treatment (Amani et al 2020)

Now had I read this or realised this I probably would not have had the injection until Covid-19 is out of the way but I didn’t really understand this much about it until I came home and looked on the internet. I actually have another one booked into the other sacroiliac joint next week but I have already decided to cancel this injection. It’s actually not totally because of what I have read about but also because I don’t feel it’s been as successful as I had hoped and so why have another one unless it works for your problem.

I do take a few supplements and I am on a very high dose of Vitamin D for my Osteopenia but with this disease spreading so quickly throughout the world at the moment you would think that any treatments that suppress your immune system should not be used at the moment unless its a medical emergency.

I think if you follow these 8 steps from Web MD it will definitely help to keep your immune system up to scratch.

  1. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Wash your hands.
  5. Keep up with your vaccinations. Almost everyone who’s at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine every year.
  6. Keep your weight healthy.
  7. Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  8. Don’t smoke.

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HOW TO RELEASE PAIN ON YOUR BACK WITH THE BEST INVERSION TABLES…

Are you struggling with back pain? And still haven’t found a way to resolve this problem? Because, nothing seems to quite do the trick, does it? Let me be frank with you, you’re probably doing it all wrong.

There are various techniques to relieve your back pain and if you do things the right way, you will feel the difference. However, there is one particular method that has grabbed my attention. Care to guess? Let me give you a hint – it involves a table. Yes, that’s right; I’m talking about inversion therapy. Find out more here.

WHAT IS INVERSION THERAPY?

It’s when you hang upside down. No, seriously, it is. However, you might need some more info than that. Inversion therapy uses your bodyweight and gravity to help you find the position in which you can stretch and relieve some pressure off your spine. It is known to successfully relieve back pain and leave you feeling fresh afterwards.

Essentially, inversion is a type of spinal traction. It is practiced by supporting yourself with your feet, ankles, or legs, while hanging at an inverted angle. You can stay in this position for a few minutes and it is recommended not to go above 15 minutes at a time.

This practice is common with physiotherapists and chiropractors. However, since the procedure is not that complex, there is now a way to do this alone right there in your home. Of course, you have to make sure to do it properly. But, as I have already said, it is really not that complicated. That is, if you own an inversion table.

Learn more about inversion tables here: https://posturebly.com/top-7-benefits-of-inversion-tables-on-your-body-and-mind

In simple words, an inversion table is the product that allows you to feel the benefits of the above mentioned therapy in your own home. Or outside, or wherever you like to hang these days… Jokes aside, this is the item that can significantly help you with your back pain issues. Obviously you have to have the approval of your medical team first.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST INVERSION TABLE

Since the market has spotted this product’s value and usefulness, it is now brimming with all kinds of inversion tables. This means that picking the right one can get a little tricky. However, getting a wrong one might have some undesired consequences. So, let me help you make the right choice. Here’s what you should look for.

QUALITY CONSTRUCTION AND DURABILITY…

Imagine having your head down and your feet up, suspended to a device that you feel might break any minute? Oh boy, would I be in panic. My heart would jump out of my chest. As if it’s not enough that I am feeling kind of vulnerable in this position, now I also have to worry about whether the thing that’s supporting me will hold my weight. No, thank you, I’d rather not.

In order to avoid accidents and injuries, the most important thing to do is find a stable inversion table. It is best if it has a steel frame. In addition to that, you should read more about what makes this product strong and durable. But, this is the most important feature in that regard. With a frame like this, you can be sure that the product will hold you, while also being able to enjoy it for a long time, since steel is a highly durable material.

COMFORT…

The next on my list is, naturally, the comfort of the table. After all, a product the purpose of which is to relieve your back pain shouldn’t cause you some more aches, am I correct? This is where seating pads come into play. And, if they are made of soft memory foam, they are sure to provide your whole body maximum comfort while you are assuming, say, the position of a bat.

VALUE…

Sure, you could just go and buy the first inversion table that you see. And you might even get yourself a really cheap deal. But, is cheap always the best option? You will notice that the sub-headline above doesn’t say “price”, but “value”. That should be your principal aim.

I understand that you must limit your options to the size of your wallet, but getting great value for your money does not mean spending a fortune. What you should keep in mind while on your pursuit is the quality of materials, inversion therapy dynamics, as well as the price. It’s no secret that the better ones might be more expensive, but this is your spine we are talking about. That’s not something worth compromising, in any sense of the word.

WARRANTIES…

While we are on the topic of spending money and worrying that you will fail to get what you searched for in the product, you should always check the offered warranties. You don’t want to end up with a table that breaks down after a couple of uses and be completely helpless and unable to do anything about it. Keep in mind that this is a device you will be using regularly, probably every day, which is why it’s important to ensure that everything works properly and that you will receive good customer care in case it doesn’t.

In addition to all that I have already mentioned, when you are hunting for an inversion table you might learn that some models offer specific additional features. Check if you need any of those. And once you have found the exact type you need, you can enjoy the therapeutic effect on your upper and lower back.