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BIG mistake: This dietary habit has monumental impact on your sleep quality

Reproduced from original article:

by:  | February 6, 2021

poor-sleep(NaturalHealth365) Should you be eating before bed?  If you’ve never stopped to consider when you should close up the kitchen for the night, now might be a good time to re-evaluate your evening dietary habits.

The reason?  It turns out that eating food too close to bedtime has a tremendously negative impact on your sleep quality and may even increase your risk of sleep-disrupting issues like acid reflux.

Eating too close to bedtime destroys your sleep quality in multiple ways

A small 2005 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that eating within 3 hours of bedtime significantly increased the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  This association remained even after the researchers controlled for factors like body mass index and drinking and smoking habits.

From a purely anatomical viewpoint, it makes sense that eating too close to bedtime can lead to acid reflux.  Laying down horizontally allows the stomach contents to leak upwards toward the esophageal sphincter.  Close-to-bedtime eating may also lead to acid reflux because the human digestive system normally slows down at night – by as much as 50%, according to the AARP – which therefore may disrupt the way food gets broken down in the stomach.

In addition to increasing the risk of acid reflux, here a few other reasons why eating too close to bedtime can be detrimental to sleep quality:

  • Consuming calories close to bedtime can stimulate wakefulness in the brain.
  • When you eat food, insulin is released by the pancreas.  This hormone – which normally helps control blood sugar levels – can also influence the sleep/wake cycle.  One 2015 paper from Nutrients notes that consuming a large meal close to bed may even contribute to insulin resistance, a major driver of weight gain and diabetes.
  • Eating and drinking too close to bed can cause fragmented sleep because it can force you to get up in the night to urinate.

So, when SHOULD you eat before bed?  Here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind

As we know, poor sleep quality has been linked to a wide number of health issues including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.  So, it’s worth cleaning up your evening dietary habits.  But when’s a good timeframe for your last meal?

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

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Generally speaking, most experts recommend not eating within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime.  In other words, if you go to bed at 10 p.m., your last meal shouldn’t be any later than 7 or 8 p.m.  Are real hunger pangs keeping you awake?  A small, easily digestible snack like a piece of fruit should be okay to eat – just be sure to avoid overdoing it.

Of course, it’s not just when you eat but what you eat that can impact your sleep quality.  According to resources like the AARP, certain foods that might disrupt sleep include:

  • Dark chocolate and anything else containing caffeine
  • Sugary sweetened beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Sweets and refined carbs

On the other hand, the National Sleep Foundation notes that kiwi fruit, fatty fish, turkey, eggs, nuts, rice, tart cherry juice, and tart cherries have all been shown in studies to promote better sleep.  Researchers are still learning why, but overall it’s thought that these nutrient-rich and antioxidant-rich foods support hormonal and neurochemical processes in the brain that positively influence the sleep/wake cycle.  So, eat these delicious foods up! (Just not within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime.)

By the way:

It probably makes sense by now that the food we eat can affect sleep quality.  But don’t forget – the reverse appears true, too.  According to the Sleep Foundation, studies reveal that people who are sleep deprived tend to reach for less healthy food options, including simple carbs and fatty foods.  It’s thought that sleep deprivation and insomnia negatively alter a person’s metabolism and hunger signaling.

The bottom line:

The relationship between sleep and your diet is an important one to optimize for your health – and it’s a relationship that goes both ways.  If you’re feeling run down or are dealing with any sort of chronic health condition, be sure to take a hard look at both lifestyle factors to determine if and where you can make some simple improvements.

Sources for this article include:

Support your mental health by focusing on THIS aspect of your sleep

Reproduced from original article:

by:  | January 31, 2021

mental-health-sleep(NaturalHealth365) Most of us can understand firsthand how sleeping for too little – or even too long – can hurt our health.  But a new study suggests that the quality of a person’s sleep might actually have more of an impact on their well-being than quantity.

The study, published this month in Frontiers in Psychology, asked over 1,100 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 to respond to survey questions about their lifestyle and mental health, including whether they experienced symptoms of depression.  Let’s look at the results.

Surprisingly, sleep quantity is NOT the most important factor of sleep to improve mental health, especially for young adults

The researchers, based out of New Zealand, conducted an online survey to investigate “the associations between sleep, physical activity, and dietary factors as predictors of mental health and well-being in young adults.”  They found that sleep quality “significantly outranked” sleep quantity in predicting a person’s mental health and overall well-being.

Specifically, people who reported higher quality sleep were significantly less likely to experience depressive symptoms.  Such a “robust” correlation remained even after researchers controlled for confounding factors.  One possible limitation of this study is the “non-validated” way the researchers assessed sleep quality.  That is, the researchers asked respondents to rate how refreshed they felt on a scale of 0 (never refreshed) to 4 (very refreshed) when they wake up in the morning instead of actually evaluating biological or physiological evidence for sleep quality (which can be done during something like a scientific sleep study).

However, the researchers do cite in their paper earlier evidence suggesting that feeling refreshed after rest can be an indicator of high-quality sleep, so if we agree on this premise – and trust the validity of these self-reported measurements – then the results likely still offer some important insights.

Does this mean that people can go ahead and skimp out on a few extra hours of sleep so long as they ensure the sleep they do get is high quality?  Not so fast.  Sleep quantity was still the second most important factor for predicting well-being.  In fact, sleeping for fewer than eight hours or more than twelve hours on average per night was associated with a greater likelihood of depressive symptoms and low well-being.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

In other words: quality and quantity matter when it comes to sleep – just don’t think that hours on the clock are all that matter when it comes to getting sufficient rest.

By the way: regular physical activity and the consumption of raw fruits and veggies were considered “secondary but significant” factors that also promoted greater well-being.

BAD idea: Here are the top five things that ruin your sleep quality, according to science

Go ahead, ask yourself:

Do you feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning?  If you use an alarm, do you wake up a minute or two before the alarm goes off feeling ready to get out of bed to start your day, or do you hit the snooze button?  Do you feel fatigued and foggy-brained during the day, even if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s possible that you’re not getting sufficient sleep quality for health – and your physical and mental well-being could be suffering.  Here are the top five killers of quality sleep:

  1. Substances (especially if consumed close to bedtime) including caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications like antidepressants or beta-blockers
  2. Late-night exposure to bright lights, and especially blue light from digital devices
  3. Stress
  4. Lack of physical activity during the day
  5. A bedroom temperature that’s too high (for better sleep, try setting the temperature to around 63 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) Admin: 19.5 to 22 degrees Celcius

Sources for this article include:

Bad sleep has SERIOUS consequences: Discover what happens to your brain in just ONE night

Reproduced from original article:

by:  | December 25, 2020

bad-sleep(NaturalHealth365) Sleep benefits every aspect of your health. So, the fact that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough of it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is alarming. Is it possible that the toxic effects of poor sleep are contributing to the increased rates of chronic illness, including Alzheimer’s disease?

study published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers data to support this hypothesis.

Just ONE night of bad sleep can impair your ability to remove toxins from the brain

The 2018 study, which was cited on the website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that even just ONE night of sleep deprivation increases the amount of a compound in the brain called beta-amyloid.

Beta-amyloid (alternatively, β-amyloid) is a protein and metabolic by-product. It’s also believed to be neurotoxic.  When it accumulates in the brain it can form “plaques” that impair the ability of nerve cells to communicate. Doctors believe beta-amyloid plaque build-up – which your brain normally “cleans up” at night as you sleep – is a potential risk factor for Alzheimer’s dementia, at least in some individuals.

Although, it’s worth noting, there are many other factors that increase your risk of dementia such as, genetic tendencies, dietary habits, environmental toxins and emotional wellbeing.

For their study, researchers took 20 healthy participants through two different scenarios: a full night’s sleep and a disrupted night of sleep. Brain scan images were taken of the participants after each condition.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

Shockingly, the researchers found that when the subjects were sleep-deprived, they had about 5 percent more beta-amyloid in their brains, particularly in two areas (the hippocampus and thalamus) known to be damaged in Alzheimer’s. Increased beta-amyloid build-up was also associated with worse mood.

Interestingly, NIH notes that there could be a two-directional relationship at play. That is, poor sleep can increase beta-amyloid build-up, and beta-amyloid build-up can lead to poor sleep.

As we’ve explored before, it’s not just an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease that poor sleep has been implicated in. A 2017 paper published in Nature and Science of Sleep notes that long-term consequences of sleep deprivation – even in otherwise healthy adults – include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and colorectal cancer.

In addition, short-term effects of sleep deprivation include impaired memory and mood, heightened stress and pain, and impairments in physical and academic performance. It’s as if our bodies (and brains) really wants us to understand how crucial good sleep is!

Lying awake at night? Here are 3 things you should not do:

It’s stressful not to be able to fall asleep. Of course, feeling stressed about sleep can make it even harder to get your all-important shut-eye! The question is, what should you do on those sleepless nights?

The next time you’re tossing and turning, avoid these 3 common mistakes:

  1. Watching television or scrolling through social media – TV and social media are emotionally stimulating and can expose you to artificial blue light that disrupts melatonin production
  2. Staying in bed awake for hours – if you’re still awake 20 minutes after your head hits the pillow, get up and do something relaxing in a different room and only go back to bed when you feel sleepy; this way, your body and brain will associate your bed with sleep, not wakefulness
  3. Relying on alcohol or medications – if you’re going to take something, first look for other natural products like herbal teas that can promote relaxation without leading to negative side effects or possible dependency

Naturally, it’s always a great idea to find something relaxing to do – just before you go to bed.  Other suggestions, that you may find helpful, include: sitting outside and gazing at the moon or sky; deep breathing exercises or taking a hot bath.

Simply put, the time you spend – dedicated to “unwinding” – away from electronic devices will be worth the effort.  Have a good night!

Sources for this article include:

How Blood Sugar Can Increase Your Body Temp to Disrupt Sleep

Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      Fact Checked      November 12, 2020

eating before bedtime affect sleep


  • Your blood glucose and insulin levels rise when you eat before bed, which may reduce your ability to sleep soundly by affecting thermoregulation and homeostasis
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar increase retention of heat during exercise and recovery; poor capacity to dissipate heat also reduces sleep quality
  • Quality sleep depends on lowering your core body temperature during the night, but does not affect your peripheral skin temperature
  • Refrain from eating for three to four hours before sleep and consider taking a shower before bed if you do eat late; sleep in a cool room with light covers, but not so cold you are shivering

Two common health conditions experienced by many people are insulin resistance and sleep disturbances, and it turns out the two are related. Insulin resistance is the basis for Type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, at least 10.5% of the population had diabetes in 2018.1

Yet, testing of more than 14,000 people using an oral glucose tolerance test by Dr. Joseph Kraft has shown people can have abnormally high insulin levels with a normal glucose response using a glucose tolerance test.2

He calls this condition diabetes in situ3 and believes by correcting high insulin levels, which lead to insulin resistance, you can also directly and indirectly prevent damage to your vascular system.

Kraft’s testing demonstrated that the prevalence of insulin resistance is far higher than originally thought and greater than the estimates of people with diabetes.4 By the same token, the number of people who have difficulty getting adequate amounts of quality sleep each night is also higher than you may expect.

For several years, The Mattress Firm has commissioned a survey to look at sleep habits and the number of hours people are sleeping each night. The results from 2019 show that Americans are sleeping fewer hours and they are less satisfied with the quality of their sleep.5

On average, 52% of those answering the survey reported getting six hours or less per night of sleep and 40% rated the quality of sleep as “not very good” or “not good at all.” This may be related to the activities they routinely do where they sleep, including watching television, eating and playing video games.

Sleep disturbances or disorders affect nearly 70 million people in the U.S. They include sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome.6 Yet, medical conditions are not the only reason your sleep may be disturbed. Experts also find long naps after lunch, eating within a few hours of bedtime and consuming too much caffeine can all affect sleep quality and quantity.7

Blood Glucose and Insulin Raise Core Body Temperature

The body is in a constant state of thermoregulation, which it achieves through complex interactions between the hypothalamus, muscles, nervous system and vascular system. This process tightly controls body temperature in the face of ambient temperature in your surroundings and your internal heat generation.

Your body requires this for homeostasis and to preserve a stable internal environment in which enzymes, proteins and hormones continue to work.8 Even a shift of a few degrees in body temperature can have disastrous results on your health or your life.9 The balance to maintain core body temperature is a form of homeostasis, which is affected by glucose control and insulin levels.

As Kraft demonstrated, hyperinsulinemia often predates insulin resistance and symptoms of diabetes. A team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute has found that high levels of insulin raise core body temperature in an animal model.10

This may mean that even people without insulin resistance can experience a rise in core temperature after consuming a meal high in carbohydrates that drives insulin secretion. Blood glucose levels can also reduce your ability to dissipate heat and thus maintain body temperature.

Your body uses sweating as one way of getting rid of excess heat produced during metabolism, from activity or other external stimuli. Thermoregulatory sweating is predominantly controlled by the hypothalamus.11 As core body temperature rises, it can have negative consequences on your cardiovascular system and glycemic control.

Researchers have found people who have poor blood sugar control with diabetes-related complications are particularly vulnerable to poor temperature control.12 However, any person, with or without diabetes, can experience elevation in core body temperature with rising blood sugar levels that may happen after a meal high in carbohydrates.13

Elevated Glucose Makes Exercise and Sleep Challenging

To remove excess heat created during metabolism or exercise, your blood vessels normally fluctuate in size to accommodate thermoregulation. The blood vessels around your organs and in your core constrict, sending more blood to the skin and exposing it to cooler air in the environment.

Higher levels of blood glucose can affect the osmolality of your plasma, which then impairs your body’s ability to send blood to the periphery (skin) and to sweat.14 The challenge goes beyond feeling a little hot since it has a significant effect on your ability to experience deep sleep.

One study analyzed body temperature in people with Type 1 diabetes.15 The participants had their peripheral body temperature recorded for 10 consecutive days while awake and asleep. The researchers found thermoregulation alterations in the participants that led to shallow sleep.

They found during five hours of the day when it would be expected the body temperature would be the lowest, those with Type 1 diabetes had higher levels. They believed it “could be explained by less efficient heat dissipation.”16

The ability to get rid of heat during exercise is also important to maintain homeostasis and protect your life. Researchers have found those with higher levels of cardiovascular fitness may have an improved ability to dissipate heat during exercise.17

However, data show that even people with Type 2 diabetes who are relatively active have a significantly reduced ability to dissipate heat as compared to people without diabetes.

During a 60-minute exercise session, researchers found those with diabetes stored 1.54-fold more heat and had a lower evaporative heat loss.18 Additionally, those with diabetes kept greater amounts of heat in their body within the first 60 minutes after exercise had stopped.

Relationship Between Deep Sleep and Core Temperature

If you’ve ever woken up because you’re too hot or cold, you know that ambient temperature affects your sleep quality. Even subtle differences in the temperature in the room or your core temperature can influence your sleep, for better or worse. Your body temperature cycles with your sleep-wake rhythm, decreasing at night while you’re asleep and increasing during the day.19

Your core and peripheral skin temperatures are influenced by several factors, including your sleep environment, your clothing and blankets, mattress type, ambient room temperature and when you last ate. Increasing your skin temperature just 0.72 degrees F (0.4 degrees Celsius) can suppress nighttime wakefulness and shift your sleep into deeper stages.20

When fragmented sleep was measured subjectively in 765,000 people in the U.S., data showed that increasing nighttime temperature raised the number of self-reported nights of insufficient sleep.21 Other research also found that high temperatures affected objective and subjective factors of sleep and led to:22

  • Reduced sleep duration
  • Shallow sleep
  • Lower sleep calmness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Lower sleep satisfaction

Sleeping in a cooler room may therefore lead to fewer disruptions in your sleep. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests the ideal bedroom temperature is somewhere between 15.5 degrees C (60 degrees F) and 19.4 degrees C (67 degrees F).23 You want to avoid extreme temperatures (either too hot or too cold), as these could activate thermoregulatory defense mechanisms that cause you to wake up.24

A second reason to sleep in a cool room is the beneficial effect it has on brown fat. This type of fat generates heat by burning calories to help maintain your core temperature. Sleeping in a cool room (19 C or 66.2 F) for four weeks doubled the volume of brown fat in study volunteers, improving insulin sensitivity at the same time,25,26 which helps to improve your sleep quality.27

Shivering may be the mechanism that triggers brown fat to produce heat and burn calories,28 but shivering is not conducive to sleep. You are after the Goldilocks zone — cool enough to help you sleep and increase brown fat but not so cool that it makes you uncomfortable.

The exact best temperature will vary by individual but sleeping in a cool room with a thin sheet and blanket is generally enough to keep your skin temperature warm, so you feel comfortable, while still benefiting from the cool sleep temperatures.29

Deep Sleep Is Vital to Your Health

If you’ve been reading my newsletter, you know how important quality sleep is to your overall health. Dr. Zeeshan Khan, pulmonologist from the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, spoke with a reporter from KYW radio about sleep deprivation, the importance of quality sleep and the relationship to cardiovascular disease:30

“Almost every cardiac morbidity you can think of has been linked to sleep apnea. Heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, strokes, inflammatory issues like diabetes, worsening obesity — the list can go on and on.”

He recommends that on average, people should get seven hours of sleep each night, but he also shared that in America, about 35% of people get less than that. “We are kind of a sleep-deprived nation,” he said.31 This sleep deprivation also shows up as fragmented sleep, when you wake up during the night and sometimes have trouble going back to sleep.

Researchers at UC Berkeley studied 1,600 subjects to identify the effect fragmented sleep had on atherosclerosis. The authors believe the data is important since improving sleep quality may “represent one preventive strategy for lowering inflammatory status and thus atherosclerosis risk, reinforcing public health policies focused on sleep health.”32

Another study demonstrated the importance quality sleep has on your cognitive health. Researchers from Italy showed astrocytes, a type of glial cell in the brain that gets rid of unnecessary nerve connections under normal circumstances, will start to break down healthy nerve synapses in response to chronic sleep deprivation.33

There is a high cost to sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep as it is also associated with an increased risk of accidents,34 higher potential for diabetes and high blood pressure35 and decreased life expectancy.36

Simple Body Hacks to Deep Sleep

One simple way of improving your sleep is to address your body’s core temperature. Dr. Dianne Augelli, a sleep disorder specialist at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says: “You don’t want to heat yourself up right before bed. Cooling down is a signal that tells us we’re supposed to go to sleep.”37

When you interrupt this process by eating late in the evening, and thus increasing your glucose and insulin levels and reducing your ability to dissipate heat, it can make the process of falling asleep more difficult and the potential of achieving deep sleep more challenging.

If you do happen to eat within three to four hours before falling asleep, consider taking a cool shower within an hour of going to sleep to help trigger a reduction in core body temperature.

It is important not to take a cold shower, as it can have the reverse effect as your body fights to maintain homeostasis. Taking a lukewarm shower, and towel drying slowly to allow heat to dissipate, may be all that’s needed.

In addition to sleeping in a cool room with a thin sheet and blanket as I discussed above, you may consider the additional tips in “Top 33 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep Routine” to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.

– Sources and References

Studies Prove This Root Helps You Sleep and Manage Stress

Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      Fact Checked      October 29, 2020



  • Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps your body adjust to stress and helps promote restful sleep
  • People with insomnia experienced the most improvement in their sleep patterns using ashwagandha, which was well-tolerated in people of all health conditions and ages
  • Ashwagandha reduced anxiety and stress, which can lead to poor performance and increase your risk of adverse health conditions if left unmanaged
  • Traditional use for ashwagandha is for memory enhancement; it may also improve executive function, attention and information processing

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a powerful adaptogenic herb, which means it helps your body adapt to stress1 by balancing your immune system, metabolism and hormonal systems. It is known as a multipurpose herb and was used in ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.2 The plant is native to India and a member of the Solanaceae family, along with eggplant and tomato.3

A 2020 study tested ashwagandha for its ability to promote sleep. Based on the results, the researchers believe the herb could be an alternative treatment for insomnia.4 They gathered 80 participants, 40 of whom were healthy individuals without a sleep disorder and 40 who had a known diagnosis of insomnia.

Consider Ashwagandha to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Each group was further split into two groups: one intervention and one control group. The intervention group received ashwagandha and the control group received a placebo. The participants took the supplements for eight weeks during which assessments were done to evaluate sleep parameters, sleep quality and anxiety.

The results revealed that the groups of healthy individuals and those with insomnia who were taking ashwagandha demonstrated significant improvement in the study parameters. Those who had insomnia showed the most improvement. The researchers wrote the “root extract was well-tolerated by all the participants irrespective of their health condition and age.”5

The participants took 300 milligrams (mg) twice each day of the root extract KSM-66 sold by Ixoreal Biomed.6 The same supplement was tested in another study in which the researchers found it improved quality of sleep, quality of life and mental alertness in older adults.7

The researchers in the second study suggested the root extract may be effective in the elderly population as they tolerated the supplement well and “it was reported as safe and beneficial by the study participants.”8 Kartikeya Baldwa, CEO of Ixoreal Biomed Inc., commented on the results of the newest study to a reporter from NutraIngredients:9

“Sleep is critical to be healthy, to recover from exercise and to function optimally both physically and cognitively. Ashwagandha root has been referenced for centuries for its sleep benefits. This study is the first clinical study to evaluate the effect of ashwagandha root extract on sleep quality in both healthy adults and insomnia patients and demonstrates significant positive effects on sleep quality in the participants.

The paper is published in a prestigious journal and is a valuable contribution to the scientific literature. It substantiates the use of ashwagandha root extract as an adaptogen that helps reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep.”

Why Improving Your Sleep Quality Is Important

The importance of getting enough quality sleep each night cannot be overstated. You likely recognize that a good sleep schedule is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. But, according to a survey from Mattress Firm, which revealed some disturbing facts about sleep patterns in America, getting a good night’s sleep may be challenging.10

The results showed the average adult who responded to the survey didn’t get the seven to eight recommended hours of sleep each night. Of those who responded, a total of 40% said their sleep was “not very good” or “not good at all.” This may be related to the activities people reported doing in bed, which included watching TV, eating and playing video games.

But it’s not only the number of hours that’s important, but also the quality. Fragmented sleep can trigger chronic inflammation and contribute to mental health conditions and neurological disorders such as major depression and Alzheimer’s disease.11

Fragmented sleep is also associated with atherosclerosis,12 a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries sometimes called clogged or hardened arteries that can result in fatal heart disease.13

Experts estimate that up to 70 million people in the U.S. of all ages are plagued by sleep-related health conditions.14 They are common in both men and women and span all socioeconomic classes. The potential for being sleep deprived has risen significantly in the past 30 years, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

Contributing factors include digital technology and blurred lines between work and home. This may be exacerbated by the recent pandemic and an increasing number of people working remotely.

Ashwagandha Helps Lower Stress Markers

In addition to improving quality of sleep, the researchers found ashwagandha reduced the measure of anxiety in the participants.15 According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there is a relationship between stress and anxiety. They define the difference as stress being a response to a threat, while anxiety is a response to the stress.16

Another study evaluated the effectiveness of a full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root to help reduce stress and anxiety.17 Since stress can lead to poor performance and increase your risk for adverse health conditions, the researchers sought to evaluate the effectiveness of ashwagandha in adults who were known to be under stress.

They gathered 64 individuals who had a history of chronic stress. Before beginning the intervention, the participants underwent laboratory testing that included measuring serum cortisol and assessing their stress level using a standardized assessment questionnaire.

The group was randomized into a treatment group and control group. Those in the study group took 300 mg of ashwagandha root twice a day for 60 days. Analysis of the data revealed a significant reduction in stress assessment at the end of 60 days when compared to the placebo group.

People taking ashwagandha also had substantially lower serum cortisol levels. The group taking ashwagandha reported only mild adverse effects that were comparable to the placebo group. The results led the researchers to conclude that the root extract was safe and effective at improving resistance to stress and self-assessed quality of life.

A systematic literature review evaluating five human trials found similar results to the interventional study. The researchers concluded each of the five studies demonstrated ashwagandha resulted in greater improvement than a placebo when measuring anxiety or stress.18

Ashwagandha May Help Improve Nonrestorative Sleep

Nonrestorative sleep is a subjective feeling you have that your sleep had been “insufficiently refreshing.”19 This may happen despite appearing like you had slept through the night. It is one of the symptoms of insomnia that can be independent of other signs.

Difficulty with nonrestorative sleep plays an important role in medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease and obesity.20 Scientists have found it is associated with other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorders.

Although it has been studied in people with sleep disturbances, one team of researchers published their study protocol and rationale to evaluate the role ashwagandha may have in nonrestorative sleep in the general population.21

Because nonrestorative sleep plays an important role in medical conditions that are linked to chronic inflammation and ashwagandha has demonstrated the ability to reduce stress and prepare for sleep, researchers hoped ashwagandha would help improve scores on a restorative sleep questionnaire given to participants taking the supplement for six weeks.

The results of the study were published in the journal Sleep Medicine. The scientists enrolled 144 individuals who completed the study and found there was a 72% improvement in sleep quality in those taking ashwagandha compared to 29% in the placebo group.22

The researchers monitored data that showed a significant improvement in sleep efficiency, time, latency and wakefulness after sleep. Quality of life scores were vastly improved in physical, psychological and environmental domains. Additionally, there were no adverse events reported.

More Benefits From Ashwagandha Include Cognitive Function

A traditional use for ashwagandha is memory enhancement, particularly the root of the plant. In 2017, a published study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements demonstrated the root extract helped improve memory and cognitive function in 50 people who had mild cognitive impairment.23

This is a slight decline in cognitive ability that is associated with an increased potential risk for developing other serious dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.24 The participants were split into two groups either receiving 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day or placebo over eight weeks.

The participants taking ashwagandha also demonstrated improvement in executive function, information-processing speed and sustained attention.25 In addition to improving function, the root extract may help slow deterioration of brain cells in people diagnosed with dementia. In one review of Ayurvedic medicines, the researchers wrote:26

“The beneficial effects of Ashwagandha root constituents in neurodegenerative diseases may be due to their neurite promoting, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, and anxiolytic activities, as well as their ability to improve mitochondrial dysfunction and restore energy levels and increase levels of antioxidant defenses such as reduced glutathione.”

Another study engaged 20 healthy men who were randomized to receive 500 mg of encapsulated root and leaf extract of ashwagandha or a placebo for 14 days.27 They were put through a battery of computerized psychometric testing and researchers found those taking ashwagandha showed significant improvements in their reaction time, card sorting testing and choice discrimination.

Considerations and Side Effects

If you choose to consider an ashwagandha supplement, talk to your holistic health care practitioner since even natural remedies, like herbs, can interact with other medications or supplements you may be taking.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid ashwagandha since it can cause spasmolytic activity in the uterus that may result in a premature birth. In general, ashwagandha is associated with only mild side effects, if any, and appears to be safe for most people.

Typical dosages can range from 125 mg to 1,250 mg each day. Many of the current studies provided participants with 600 mg of root extract each day. In addition to being taken internally, ashwagandha can also be useful in topical form as an essential oil diluted with a carrier oil.

Unwanted bone loss: Can melatonin really reduce the risk?

Reproduced from original article:
by:  | October 24, 2020

melatonin-bone-density-news(NaturalHealth365) Osteoporosis – characterized by weak, brittle, easily-broken bones – and low bone mass currently affects a staggering 54 million people in the United States, according to The National Osteoporosis Foundation.  In addition, osteoporosis causes a shocking 1.5 million fractures every year, many of them in people aged 70 and older.  But, today, we’ll focus on how melatonin can help.

In light of these facts, it’s easy to see why researchers at McGill University are excited about a study showing that melatonin supplements strengthen elderly bones.

Discover a natural way to prevent osteoporosis?

In a study published in the May 2014 edition of Rejuvenation Research, the team found that melatonin supplements slowed down bone breakdown in elderly rats, and caused them to develop bones that were stronger, thicker and denser than those of rats in the control group.

The rats used in the study were all 22 months old – roughly 60 years old, in human years. After ten weeks of melatonin supplementation, the team used micro-computed tomography and histomorphometry to examine the rats’ femurs, and found that the melatonin benefited two different types of bone tissue: trabecular, or spongy, bone – which contains bone marrow – and cortical bone, which forms the hard outer “shell” of the bone.

In every instance, the femurs of the rats that had been given melatonin had greater volume and density, and were more resistant to breakage. Calling the results “compelling evidence that melatonin supplementation can exert beneficial effects on age-related bone loss,” the team stopped short of recommending that people take melatonin supplements to treat osteoporosis. They stated that clinical studies are needed first.

Next, the researchers are eager to find out if melatonin, often referred to as the “sleep hormone,” can reverse bone breakdown and repair already-damaged bones.  Just keep in mind that melatonin is known to help people sleep at night … and, poor sleep can disturb the bone remodeling process.

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Melatonin also increases glutathione levels – which reduce the risk of free radical damage that can be harmful to the bones.

Where does melatonin come from?

Melatonin is endogenous, meaning it is created in the body. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, the body naturally produces up to .3 milligrams daily.

Secreted at night from the pineal gland, this substance has been called “the time-keeping hormone” because it signals the body that it is nighttime.

Generally speaking, children have the highest levels of this nighttime hormone; and researchers point out that levels tend to decrease, as we age.  In addition to promote sleep, this sleep hormone is a potent antioxidant, with antidepressant effects as well.

How exactly does this hormone improve bone density?

Two different types of bone cells are involved in the body’s normal maintenance of bone. Cells called osteoblasts build up bone by day, while osteoclasts break it down at night.

As people age, they generally sleep less; this causes the osteoclasts to be more active, thereby accelerating bone breakdown.  By helping to regulate circadian rhythms, melatonin supplements can help slow down the actions of the osteoclasts, resulting in denser, stronger and more flexible bones.

Putting the brakes on the aging process

An earlier animal study showed that melatonin can slow down the aging process.  In a study published in 2009 in PLoS One, researchers studied the effects of melatonin supplementation on white-toothed shrews. The tiny mammals normally begin to age at about a year old; in the wild, their lifespan rarely exceeds 18 months.

Noting that the shrews manifested their advancing old age by beginning to lose their regular circadian rhythms, researchers began giving them melatonin just before they reached the 12-month mark.  The results were extremely encouraging.  For the shrews that had been given melatonin, the onset of aging was delayed by three months.

Although this may sound insignificant, remember: relative to a shrew’s lifespan, three months represents roughly 15 years in human time – many of us would be thrilled to have our first signs of aging delayed for a decade and a half!

Should I take this supplement or not?

Melatonin supplements, available in powder and tablet form, are currently used to address a variety of conditions, including insomnia, fibromyalgia and jet lag.  Talk to a trusted healthcare provider to find out if melatonin supplementation might be right for you. Because the long-term use of melatonin hasn’t been well studied, it should only be taken for short periods of time.

Of course, you can always ramp up your dietary intake of melatonin.  In addition to being produced in your body, melatonin occurs naturally in assorted nuts, spices and fruits – including mustard, almonds, sunflower seeds, coriander and cherries.

But, for record-breaking levels of dietary melatonin, nothing beats fresh purslane – this nutritious salad green has the highest melatonin content of any food tested to date.  Scientifically known as portulaca oleracea, purslane features crunchy yet juicy leaves, and a slightly tangy, refreshing flavor.

Long considered a delicacy in Europe, purslane is becoming more popular in the United States – look for it in organic supermarkets and ethnic food stores.

Bottom line:  healthy circadian cycle, with each day followed by a good night’s sleep, just might be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. Melatonin’s ability to maintain circadian rhythms and promote restorative sleep could make it a major player in osteoporosis and anti-aging therapies of the future.

Sources for this article include:

Melatonin — A Standard Treatment Adjunct for COVID-19?

Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked     October 19, 2020

high dose melatonin benefits


  • Recent research suggests melatonin may be an important adjunct to COVID-19 treatment
  • Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia who were given high-dose melatonin as an adjunct therapy to standard of care improved within four to five days, and all survived
  • Melatonin inhibits the cytokine storm associated with critical SARS-CoV-2 infection. It also inhibits sepsis (blood poisoning), associated with an overactive immune response
  • Melatonin helps prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis (programmed cell death) in mitochondria damaged by oxidation
  • Melatonin also helps regulate and improve risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes

According to a June 2020 research paper,1 melatonin2,3 may be an important adjunct to COVID-19 treatment. Incidentally, while not emphasized, melatonin is an optional addition to the highly effective MATH+ protocol promoted by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC).4

President Trump’s COVID-19 treatment was also said to include melatonin supplementation. The authors note that melatonin attenuates several pathological features of the illness, including excessive inflammation, oxidation and an exaggerated immune response resulting in a cytokine storm and acute lung injury (ALI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and, potentially, death.

“Melatonin, a well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative molecule, is protective against ALI/ARDS caused by viral and other pathogens,” the researchers state,5 adding:

“Melatonin is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients.

Notably, melatonin has a high safety profile. There is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients.”

One of the things that makes melatonin so effective is that it doesn’t just act as an antioxidant in and of itself; it also interacts with your body’s innate antioxidant system where it recharges glutathione.6

High-Dose Melatonin Successfully Treats COVID-19

A recent case series7 published in the journal Melatonin Research details how patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia who were given high-dose melatonin as an adjunct therapy to standard of care all improved within four to five days, and all survived.

On average, those given melatonin were discharged from the hospital after 7.3 days, compared to 13 days for those who did not get melatonin. This is far better than the expensive treatment remdesivir, which costs over $3,000 and doesn’t produce anywhere near this improvement.

However, the patients were given very large doses of melatonin, 36 mg to 72 mg per day in four divided doses. When used for sleep, you’d typically start with a dose of 0.25 mg and work your way up as needed.

Dr. Richard Neel and colleagues at Little Alsace and Uvalde Urgent Care clinics in Texas are also using high-dose melatonin in combination with vitamin C and vitamin D, and had as of the last week of July 2020 successfully treated more than 400 patients.8

Because of melatonin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, it would normally reduce the highly proinflammatory cytokine storm and neutralize the generated free radicals thereby preserving cellular integrity and preventing lung damage. ~ Medical Drug Discoveries June 2020

“I knew that nothing would work for everyone, but it is working for the majority. It is amazing what melatonin is doing for most patients,” Neel told Kayleen Holder, editor of Devine News.9

Melatonin Inhibits COVID-19-Induced Cytokine Storm

Another paper,10 published in June 2020 in the journal Medical Drug Discoveries describes the mechanics by which melatonin inhibits the cytokine storm associated with critical SARS-CoV-2 infection. As explained by the authors:11

“A causative factor related to the hyper-inflammatory state of immune cells is their ability to dramatically change their metabolism. Similar to cancer cells … immune cells such as macrophages/monocytes under inflammatory conditions abandon mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation for ATP production in favor of cytosolic aerobic glycolysis (also known as the Warburg effect) …

The change to aerobic glycolysis allows immune cells to become highly phagocytic, accelerate ATP production, intensify their oxidative burst and to provide the abundant metabolic precursors required for enhanced cellular proliferation and increased synthesis and release of cytokines …

Because of melatonin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, it would normally reduce the highly proinflammatory cytokine storm and neutralize the generated free radicals thereby preserving cellular integrity and preventing lung damage.”

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Melatonin Plays Important Roles in Mitochondrial Function

Importantly, the Medical Drug Discoveries paper points out that while melatonin was initially thought to be exclusively synthesized in the pineal gland, researchers have now demonstrated that it is actually synthesized in mitochondria, which means melatonin production occurs in most cells, including human lung monocytes and macrophages.

For those of you who might be familiar with melatonin, this is quite surprising as it has been commonly accepted for the past 50 years that the sole source of melatonin was the pineal gland. This is quite an amazing breakthrough to find out it is actually produced in the mitochondria, which are in every cell in your body except your red blood cells.

In healthy cells, melatonin synthesis in mitochondria occurs when the glucose metabolite pyruvate enters the mitochondria. Glucose is a six-carbon molecule and is divided into two three-carbon molecules of pyruvate. Once the pyruvate is inside the mitochondria, it is subsequently metabolized into acetyl-coenzyme A.

Presumably, a low-carb, high-fat diet that produces large amounts of ketones should provide similar benefits as the ketones are directly metabolized to acetyl-coenzyme A. As explained in the Medical Drug Discoveries paper:12

“In the absence of acetyl-coenzyme A, mitochondrial melatonin is no longer available to combat the inflammatory response or to neutralize the generated reactive oxygen species and the massive damage that occurs in the respiratory tree resulting in the primary signs of COVID-19 disease.

Importantly, endogenous melatonin production diminishes markedly with age especially in frail older individuals. This is consistent with the more serious nature of a COVID-19 infection in the elderly.”

Other research, including a Frontiers of Bioscience paper13 published in 2007, has pointed out that melatonin helps prevent mitochondrial impairment, energy failure and apoptosis (programmed cell death) in mitochondria damaged by oxidation.

Melatonin may even help regulate gene expression via certain enzymes,14 and helps regulate autophagy in certain pathological conditions.15 According to the authors, “Most of the beneficial consequences resulting from melatonin administration may depend on its effects on mitochondrial physiology.”16

Melatonin Protects Against Sepsis

Sepsis (blood poisoning) is another common outcome of an unhealthy immune response to infection, and melatonin may play an important role in preventing this as well. Evidence for this can be found in a Journal of Critical Care paper17 published in 2010. According to the authors:18

“Melatonin is an effective anti-inflammatory agent in various animal models of inflammation and sepsis, and its anti-inflammatory action has been attributed to inhibition of nitric oxide synthase with consequent reduction of peroxynitrite formation, to the stimulation of various antioxidant enzymes thus contributing to enhance the antioxidant defense, and to protective effects on mitochondrial function and in preventing apoptosis.

In a number of animal models of septic shock, as well as in patients with septic disease, melatonin reportedly exerts beneficial effects to arrest cellular damage and multiorgan failure …

Apart from action on the local sites of inflammation, melatonin also exerts its beneficial actions through a multifactorial pathway including its effects as immunomodulatory, antioxidant and antiapoptotic agent.”

In summary, melatonin appears to reverse septic shock symptoms by:19

  • Decreasing synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines
  • Preventing lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced oxidative damage, endotoxemia and metabolic alterations
  • Suppressing gene expression of the bad form of nitric oxide, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)
  • Preventing apoptosis (cell death)

More recently, a 2019 animal study20 in the journal Frontiers in Immunology details how melatonin can protect against polymicrobial sepsis, i.e., sepsis caused by more than one microbial organism. A hallmark of polymicrobial sepsis is severe loss of lymphocytes through apoptosis, resulting in a twofold higher lethality than unimicrobial sepsis (sepsis caused by a single microbe).21

In this case, melatonin appears to offer protection by having an antibacterial effect on white blood cells called neutrophils. A high neutrophil count is an indicator for infection. According to the authors of the 2019 study:22

“Melatonin treatment inhibited peripheral tissue inflammation and tissue damage … consequently reducing the mortality of the mice. We found that macrophages and neutrophils expressed melatonin receptors.

Upon depletion of neutrophils, melatonin-induced protection against polymicrobial infection failed in the mice, but melatonin treatment in macrophage-depleted mice attenuated the mice mortality resulting from polymicrobial sepsis …

The data from this study support previously unexplained antiseptic effects of melatonin during a polymicrobial infection and could be potentially useful for human patients with sepsis.”

Melatonin’s Antiviral Effects

The scientific review paper,23 “Melatonin Potentials Against Viral Infections Including COVID-19: Current Evidence and New Findings,” published October 2020 in the Virus Research journal, also summarizes the many potential mechanisms by which melatonin can protect against and ameliorate viral infections.

The authors review research looking at melatonin’s beneficial effects against a variety of viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, viral hepatitis, viral myocarditis, Ebola, West Nile virus and dengue virus. Based on these collective findings, they believe melatonin may offer similar protection against SARS-CoV-2.

One mechanistic basis for this relates to melatonin’s effects on p21-activated kinases (PAKs), a family of serine and threonine kinases. They explain:24

“In the last decade, PAKs have acquired great attention in medicine due to their contribution to a diversity of cellular functions. Among them, PAK1 is considered as a pathogenic enzyme and its unusual activation could be responsible for a broad range of pathologic conditions such as aging, inflammation, malaria, cancers immunopathology, viral infections, etc.

In a recent study conducted by Oh (2016), ‘Chloroquine’ (CQ) (an antimalarial drug used as an experimental medication in COVID-19 treatment protocol) was found to increase the expression of p21 that was downregulated by PAK1 in Th1 cells.

Furthermore, Lu and colleagues have shown that phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), a tumor-suppressing phosphatase, may prevent the coronavirus-induced Ag II-pathological vascular fibrosis through inactivation of PAK1.

Interestingly, melatonin exerts a spectrum of important anti-PAK1 properties in some abnormal conditions such as sleep disturbance, immune system effectiveness reduction, infectious disorders, inflammation, cancer, painful conditions, etc.

It has been proposed that coronaviruses could trigger CK2/RAS-PAK1-RAF-AP1 signaling pathway via binding to ACE2 receptor. Although it is not scientifically confirmed as yet, PAK1-inhibitors could theoretically exert as potential agents for the management of a recent outbreak of COVID-19 infection.

Indeed, Russel Reiter, a leading pioneer in melatonin research, has recently emphasized that melatonin may be incorporated into the treatment of COVID-19 as an alternative or adjuvant.”

Melatonin Combats COVID-19 in Several Ways

In summary, “Melatonin Potentials Against Viral Infections Including COVID-19: Current Evidence and New Findings” and other research referenced in the list below suggests melatonin may play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 infection by:25

Regulating immune responses and preventing cytokine storms
Quelling inflammation and suppressing oxidative stress26
Combating viral and bacterial infections27
Regulating blood pressure (a risk factor for severe COVID-19)
Improving metabolic defects associated with diabetes and insulin resistance (risk factors for severe COVID-19) via inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS)
Protecting mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs, which have been shown to ameliorate severe SARS-CoV-2 infection) against injuries and improving their biological activities
Promoting both cell-mediated and humoral immunity
Promoting synthesis of progenitor cells for macrophages and granulocytes, natural killer (NK) cells and T-helper cells, specifically CD4+ cells
Inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasomes28

Melatonin — A Possible Vaccine Adjuvant?

Lastly, “Melatonin Potentials Against Viral Infections Including COVID-19: Current Evidence and New Findings” discusses the potential of using melatonin as a vaccine adjuvant, nothing that:29

“Even if [a COVID-19] vaccine would be established, vaccine efficacy is probably considered to be inferior for the elderly and other high-risk population groups compared to people who are healthy and young. The immune responses to vaccines have been shown to be limited in the aforementioned groups because of a weakened immune system.

Therefore, using immunomodulatory agents such as melatonin as an effective adjuvant besides vaccination may boost the vaccine’s effectiveness in patients with both compromised and healthy immune systems.

As above-mentioned, melatonin is capable of enhancing the count of natural killer and CD4+ cells and amplifying the production of cytokines needed for effective vaccine response. Furthermore, sleep deprivation weakens immune response to viral infection, and melatonin has been proved to be a critical factor in improving sleep quality.”

Melatonin Works Synergistically With Vitamin D

Interestingly, a paper30 published in the May 2020 issue of The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology stresses the synergistic effects between melatonin and vitamin D. Not only does melatonin enhance vitamin D signaling, the two molecules act synergistically to optimize your mitochondrial function.

I’ve written many articles detailing the importance of vitamin D optimization to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and more serious COVID-19 illness. The evidence for this is frankly overwhelming, and raising vitamin D levels among the general population may be one of the most important prevention strategies available to us. To learn more, please download my vitamin D report, available for free on According to the authors of this May 2020 paper:31

“A deficiency of these molecules has been associated with the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, including arterial hypertension, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, kidney diseases, cancer, psychiatric disorders, bone diseases, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, among others.

During aging, the intake and cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D, as well as the endogenous synthesis of melatonin are remarkably depleted, therefore, producing a state characterized by an increase of oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction …

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been related to the etiologies of many complex diseases where overactivation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), vitamin D deficiency and the reduction of melatonin synthesis converge.

In this sense, experimental and clinical evidence indicates that inflammation, oxidative stress, as in mitochondrial dysfunction, are consistent with low levels of melatonin and vitamin D, and also represent risk factors connected with development and maintenance of prevalent acute and chronic pathologies.”

Simple Ways to Optimize Your Melatonin and Vitamin D

While there are likely many benefits to supplementing with oral vitamin D3 and melatonin, it makes no sense to do so unless you also optimize your body’s own production.

The good news is it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to increase your melatonin and vitamin D levels. To optimize your vitamin D, I recommend getting sensible sun exposure on large portions of your body on a regular basis, ideally daily.

For further guidance, see “The Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure.” If for whatever reason you cannot get sufficient amounts of sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement (along with a little extra vitamin K2 to maintain a healthy ratio between these two nutrients, and magnesium to optimize vitamin D conversion).

I personally have not taken any oral vitamin D for well over 10 years and my levels are typically over 70 ng/mL, even in the winter, but I have started taking sublingual melatonin as I am now older than 65, even though I sleep in pitch dark and get bright sun exposure around 85% of the time during the day.

Optimizing your melatonin production starts with getting plenty of bright sunlight during the day, as this helps “set” your circadian clock. Then, as the evening wears on and the sun sets, you’ll want to avoid bright lighting.

Blue light from electronic screens and LED light bulbs is particularly problematic and inhibits melatonin the most. If you need lighting, opt for incandescent light bulbs, candles or salt lamps. The blue light from electronic screens can be counteracted by installing blue-blocking software such as Iris,32 or wearing blue-blocking glasses.

My decision to personally use melatonin supplementation makes even more sense now that we understand that melatonin is not only produced in the pineal gland (which would benefit from circadian optimization), but also in our mitochondria. So, it appears that additional melatonin could serve as a useful adjunct in modulating your immune response.

This One Thing Is Connected With Almost Every Cardiac Death

Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      Fact Checked       October 08, 2020

lack of quality sleep associated with cardiac morbidity


  • A lack of quality sleep may be associated with nearly every heart-related death, and also may be associated with heart failure, stroke, diabetes and worsening obesity
  • The pandemic has had an influence on sleep quality; results from a survey show that 71.8% of people with disrupted sleep patterns use technology just before bed
  • Sleep deprivation is associated with several other health conditions, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions
  • In one survey, it was reported that the average person got just 5.5 hours of sleep each night; sleep quality is impacted by light and EMF pollution, which you can improve

According to the World Health Organization, ischemic heart disease and stroke were the top two causes of death across the world in 2016.1 Although there have been dramatic declines in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), ailments in this category continue to remain major causes of loss of health and life.2

In the U.S., the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention reports that 1 in every 3 deaths is from heart disease and $1 of every $6 is spent on CVD.3

While the statistics are disturbing, cardiovascular disease can also lead to nonlethal stroke, heart attack, disability, serious illness and a lower quality of life. These conditions can trigger fatigue, depression and related problems.

The American Heart Association tracks seven key health factors and behaviors they believe increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.4 They call these “Life’s Simple 7,” which they measure to track progress toward their goal of improving the cardiovascular health of people in the U.S.

While each of Life’s Simple 7 behaviors and risk factors are important to overall health, they do not address problems with sleep as contributing factors.

Pandemic Interfering With Sleep Hours and Quality

In an interview with KYW radio, Dr. Zeeshan Khan, pulmonologist from the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, talked about sleep disorders and the relationship they have with CVD, especially in the midst of the current pandemic.5 He told the reporter that the International Classification of Sleep Disorders identifies at least 60 diagnoses in seven categories.6

The two most common are insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. With sustained poor sleep, a person may experience altered judgment, mood swings and impaired cognition. Khan also listed problems with the cardiovascular system and immunity in people who chronically get less than seven hours of sleep each night.

He warned that lack of sleep can lead to problems with a person’s general health. He recommends that on average, people should get seven hours of sleep each night, but he also shared that in America, about 35% of the people get less than that. “We are kind of a sleep-deprived nation,” he said.

Symptoms of disrupted sleep or insomnia can vary depending on the person. Although you may take a 30-minute power nap in the early afternoon, it doesn’t get rid of sleep debt. It may help you feel better in the immediate moment, but it doesn’t impact the effect of sleep debt on your overall health.

Lack of Quality Sleep Is Associated With Cardiac Morbidity

When asked about how long it should take to fall asleep, Khan said the average amount of time is 15 to 20 minutes. However, the time it takes to fall asleep is extended when people take their smartphone or computer to bed with them. Using these devices can disrupt sleep in several ways, including by engaging your mind at a time when it should be slowing down.

Khan advises people to first use nonpharmacological treatments to help them sleep, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, a consistent sleep routine and meditation. He also recommends steering clear of medications as they can be addictive and they only treat the symptom of sleep disruption, not the reason behind it.

Additionally, he recommends steering clear of having a nightcap to help you relax and fall asleep. This is because drinking alcohol before bed may help you fall asleep faster, but in the long term it can have a negative effect on your sleep patterns. He stresses the importance of using a routine to go to sleep to cue your biological clock.

He went on to discuss the problems with sleep apnea, which often overlap with snoring. During snoring the upper airway narrows, which causes vibrations in the membranes. Although most people with sleep apnea snore, not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

When people with diabetes, heart disease or other problems also snore, they should be evaluated for sleep apnea, especially if they start having problems during the day. Sleep apnea lowers the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain, heart and other organs during sleep. According to Khan:7

“Almost every cardiac morbidity you can think of has been linked to sleep apnea. Heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, strokes … inflammatory issues like diabetes, worsening obesity — the list can go on and on.”

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Sleep Disorders Associated With Using Technology at Night

In a recent study in Sleep Standards, researchers evaluated the results from a survey of 1,062 people across the U.S.8 The objective was to gain an understanding of how technology may have a relationship with sleep disorders.

One key finding was that 71.8% of the respondents who reported a disruption in sleep pattern also used technology just before bed. The researchers separated the participants into five age groups, which represented the total number in the survey. They were:

  • Generation Z (under 25) — 22.3%
  • Millennials (26 to 40) — 44.8%
  • Generation X (41 to 55) — 23.8%
  • Baby Boomers (56 to 76) — 8.9%
  • Silent Generation (older than 76) — 0.2%

They also found that those under age 25 were the most likely to have sleep disorders. People who had a sleep disorder averaged five hours of sleep per night and spent up to 20 hours in front of a bright screen each day.9 The participants also reported that they used their technology devices within 30 minutes of bedtime: 70.2% watched television; 59.4% checked social media; 31.8% checked email; and 32.9% played video games.10

Of all the participants, 57.8% said they used cell phones, which was higher than television use at 18.5% or computer use at 14.2%. The highest percentage of participants in the survey had insomnia at 64.3%.

Although sleep apnea was the second most common disorder, it ran a far second at 14%. Other disorders reported in the survey included sleep paralysis, parasomnias, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. Although many experts such as Khan recommend steering clear of pharmaceutical remedies to treat insomnia, 51.2% of those surveyed reported using sleeping pills and 47.5% had tried other medications.

Sleep Deprivation Associated With More Health Conditions

Fragmented or disturbed sleep happens when you fall asleep easily but awaken during the night. This may happen frequently, and you go back to sleep easily, or you awaken and have a hard time going back to sleep. This type of sleep pattern can trigger chronic inflammation that contributes to mental health issues and neurological disorders.11

Lack of sleep also affects your immune system by reducing the number of protective cytokines available.12 In addition, it is associated with atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This may be called “clogged” or “hardened” arteries and can lead to lethal heart disease.

The exact mechanism of poor sleep in inducing atherosclerosis may have been clarified in a study published by UC Berkeley sleep scientists, who found that an increase in neutrophil and monocyte levels during fragmented sleep had an impact on the pathology of atherosclerosis. They wrote:13

“… these findings affirm a pathway in which the quality of human sleep, specifically the degree of fragmentation, raises inflammatory-related white blood cells, thereby conferring increased risk for atherosclerosis. This was true of sleep fragmentation assessed across a week or across a single night, which predicted increasingly higher CAC [Coronary Artery Calcification] score through a mediating association with increased neutrophils.”

Sleep deprivation is also linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions. A recent animal study from Marche Polytechnic University in Italy revealed that astrocytes in the brain will start to break down healthy nerve synapses when you are chronically sleep deprived.14 They wrote that the results suggested:

“… that like many other stressors, extended sleep disruption may lead to a state of sustained microglia activation, perhaps increasing the brain’s susceptibility to other forms of damage.”

Average Number of Sleep Hours Dropping

For several years Mattress Firm has commissioned a survey on sleep habits and the number of hours people are sleeping each night. The 2019 results show Americans are sleeping less and less. They asked 3,000 adults about their sleep habits, how satisfied they were with their sleep and about the frequency of sleeping and naps. They compared those results to those from 2018.15

What they found was a sad commentary on the speed at which modern society has chosen to live. It seems that getting at least six hours has become more challenging with each passing year. In 2018, results from the survey showed the average person was sleeping six hours and 17 minutes each night, but by 2019 that had dropped to 5.5 hours.16

Experts currently recommend adults from 18 to 65 years sleep consistently from seven to nine hours each night.17 In other words, most people are sleeping at least 1.5 hours less each night than the minimum that experts think is important for optimal health.

While the number of hours you sleep is important, so is the quality. So, it’s even more disheartening to read that 25% of the respondents reported they also “consistently slept poorly in 2019.”18

Since the amount of quality sleep at night was on the decline, it makes sense that respondents reported they took more naps in 2019 than 2018. But, while more were taken, survey findings indicate there were many planned naps that didn’t get taken.

The survey defined a “great night’s sleep” as “quickly falling asleep and staying that way until morning.” There were about 120 nights fitting that criteria. Americans are so desperate for a good night of sleep they said they were willing to “pay $316.61 for just one night of perfect sleep.” This was $26.16 more than in 2018.

Interestingly, the people who reported the best sleep were those who slept on their back or slept with a pet in their bed. While side sleeping was the more common position reported in the survey, these were the same respondents who had the most difficult time getting to sleep.

EMF Pollution Associated With Sleep Hours and Quality

As I’ve written before, your sleep quality may be impacted by several factors, including your sleep pattern, the number of hours you spend sleeping and by the light and electromagnetic pollution in your area. If you’ve ever gone camping, you may have noticed a change in your sleep quality. Chances are you had a deeper sleep and awakened more rested.

Two factors that influence sleeping better outdoors are the drastic reduction in artificial lights and the reduction in electromagnetic fields (EMF). Your circadian clock is affected by your melatonin levels, which in turn are affected by exposure to light at night. You might enjoy the same restful sleep if you install blackout blinds, use a sleep mask and get rid of any light-emitting source in your bedroom.

Electromagnetic fields also may impair sleep quality19 and produce oxidative damage during sleep.20 Consider shutting off all your electronic devices and your Wi-Fi modem and router at night to reduce your exposure and improve your sleep quality. For more tips on improving the number of hours you sleep and the quality of your sleep, see “Top 33 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep Routine.”

How to Get Rid of Bags Under Eyes

Reproduced from original article:


  • Under eye bags may be reduced by moisturizing your face, sleeping on your back, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, adding an extra pillow below your head when sleeping, avoiding rubbing your eyes and treating your allergies
  • Diet changes such as drinking enough water, avoiding salty food, reducing alcohol intake and consuming vitamin C- and retinol-rich foods may also help get rid of bags under eyes
  • Easy home remedies that may help include applying cucumber, avocado, cold compress, egg whites, potato, tomato, lemon juice or caffeinated tea over the affected areas

Periorbital hyperchromia, or dark circles under the eyes, is a common dermatological condition that can affect a person’s self-confidence because it makes them appear tired.[1 It’s a normal thing to happen, though, since this is a physical change that takes effect when you age.2

Also known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, periorbital melanosis and dark circles, under-eye bags may appear as the lower eyelid’s bluish discoloration (vascular type) or brownish to black hyperpigmentation (constitutional type).3 The eyelid skin is the thinnest of all body parts, particularly the lower medial eyelid, which has the lowest dermal to epidermal ratio.4 This is where fat accumulates through time, resulting in the development of bags under the eyes.5

What Causes Bags Under Your Eyes?

Bags under your eyes aren’t always caused by getting too little sleep at night, contrary to what many people believe. They can be caused by factors that differ from one person to another. According to a 2007 study:6

“DC (dark circles) are caused by multiple etiologic factors that include dermal melanin deposition, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation secondary to atopic or allergic contact dermatitis, periorbital edema, superficial location of vasculature and shadowing due to skin laxity.”

Puffiness and bags under the eyes that appear in the morning may be caused by your sleeping position. Sleeping only on one side places pressure on the blood vessels under your eyes. The pool of blood that accumulates in this area makes the skin appear darker.7 According to Medical News Today, buildup of excess fluid and weakened muscles may cause dark bags under the eyes as well.8

Stress may also contribute to the appearance of dark circles. In Chinese medicine, having puffy eyes can be a symptom of water or kidney imbalance, while dark bags under the eyes may imply allergies.9

Is It Safe to Use Under-Eye Bags Cream?

According to a Reader’s Digest article, most eye creams in the market are a waste of money because they basically contain the same ingredients as facial moisturizers. They’re usually water-based to ensure that the skin would be hydrated.10

If you intend to use an eye cream, choose products that contain organic ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, acai oil, green tea leaf extract and chamomile flower extract to help moisturize your skin and to ensure safety from harmful chemicals. For more convenient and easy-to-follow methods, I have provided a list of remedies below.


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How to Get Rid of Bags Under the Eyes

Conventional treatments for under-eye bags include topical medications, surgery, chemical peels and laser treatments.11 However, I advise you to turn to safer and more convenient noninvasive methods to help diminish the bags under your eyes.

Although it is considered more of a cosmetic concern than a medical one,12 you can improve your appearance by getting rid of the bags under your eyes through these methods.

5 Topical Remedies for Under-Eye Bags

Moisturize — Wrinkles and bags under the eyes become more visible when your skin is dry.13 Keep your skin well-moisturized, especially around the eyes, by using all-natural moisturizers such as pure emu oil and pure coconut oil.

Use Brazilian ginseng — A 2009 study found that topically applying a serum sample containing Brazilian ginseng twice a day may help reduce the intensity of dark circles around the eyes.14

Opt for eye creams with coffee extracts — A 2013 study found that caffeine has antioxidant properties that may work as a sunscreen. These polyphenol compounds protect the skin from UVB radiation, which may help prevent rapid skin aging.15

A 2018 study also found that skin care products with caffeine may help reduce under-eye bags caused by dilatation of blood vessels.16

Use a safe sunscreen and wear sunglasses — Though sun exposure is vital in achieving optimal health, you must consider factors such as weather conditions, season and time of the day when you stay under the sun to avoid photodamage and the appearance of wrinkles.

According to a 2013 study, using a broad spectrum sunscreen and wearing UV-coated sunglasses may help reduce bags under the eyes.17 However, in choosing a sunscreen, make sure that it doesn’t contain oxybenzone, synthetic fragrances or retinyl palmitate; your safest choice is a lotion or cream with zinc oxide. You may also wear a wide-brimmed hat or a cap to protect your face and eyes.

Gently remove your makeup — Excessively scrubbing your face may break your blood vessels, which may worsen the bags under your eyes.18 Avoid this by gently swiping some mild makeup remover over your eyes (coconut oil is a good option) and leaving it on your face for a minute before washing it off.

5 Diet Changes May Help Get Rid of Bags Under Your Eyes

Drink enough water — Staying hydrated will help restore your skin’s moisture and may help eliminate toxins from it.

Avoid salty food — Sodium contributes to fluid retention,19 which causes bags under eyes. Cutting down on your salt intake at night is one way to reduce bags under eyes and puffiness in the morning.20

Add retinol-rich food to your diet — Retinol or vitamin A helps prevent further thinning of the skin.21 Nourish the skin under your eyes by adding food rich in retinol such as grass fed beef liver, cheddar cheese, pasture-raised chicken giblets, turkey liver, grass fed butter and organic, pastured eggs to your diet.

Reduce or avoid alcohol intake — Alcohol is one of the fluids that can dehydrate your body, including the skin under the eyes. This thin area may likely sink and form a bag.22 If you do imbibe in alcohol, be sure to balance it with at least 8 cups of water throughout the day.

Consume vitamin C-rich food — A 2009 study found that vitamin C from sodium ascorbate lotion may help thicken the skin of the lower eyelids. The results showed that dark coloration is significantly diminished when the dermis has thickened.23

Reduce the appearance of bags under your eyes by adding foods rich in vitamin C such mangopapaya, pineapple, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, strawberries and winter squash to your diet.24

6 Lifestyle Changes That May Help Eliminate Under-Eye Bags

If you want to know how to get rid of bags under eyes fast, here are additional lifestyle changes you should follow today:

Sleep on your back — Sleeping on one side or on your belly contributes to the buildup of blood and fluid to the face. Try to sleep on your back to avoid morning face puffiness due to fluid accumulation.25

Add an extra pillow below your head — Elevate your head when you sleep to avoid fluid buildup around your eyes.26

Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke — Besides chemical irritation, smoking may cause skin damage and rapid aging, especially around the mouth and eyes. Preventing exposure to tobacco smoke is one of the ways you can avoid or remove bags under eyes.27

Get enough sleep — One of WebMD’s recommended ways on getting rid of under-eye bags is ensuring you get high-quality sleep at night. To help prevent your skin from sagging, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to give your skin more time to produce collagen.28

Deal with your allergies — According to a Sage Journals study, dark bags under the eyes may be caused by nasal allergies in children. The authors note:

“Prolonged and persistent allergic edema of the mucous membranes of the nasal cavities produces pressure effects on the veins, interfering with their normal drainage. Thus the discoloration under the eyes develops from obstruction and slowing of the normal drainage of the lower venous marginal arcades and palpebral veins.”

Commonly known as allergic shiners,29 these may be mitigated by using natural antihistamines such as butterbur, vitamin C and green tea.

Avoid rubbing your eyes — Frequent rubbing of the eyes may aggravate the appearance of dark circles, according to a study published in 2014.30 Doing this may break the blood vessels in your eyelids and create a blood buildup that causes the discoloration of the lower eyelids.31

Eliminate Bags Under Your Eyes With These 8 Home Remedies

If you’re looking for an easy home remedy for the bags under your eyes, here are different things that you may use at home:

Cucumber — Cucumber is one of the most popular natural remedies for bags under eyes as it contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce puffiness. Simply put two slices of chilled cucumbers over your eyes for about 25 minutes.32

Cold spoon —One of the most convenient under-eye bags treatments is placing a cold spoon over your lower eyelids to cool down your blood vessels.33

Cold compress — Placing a cold compress over the eyes significantly reduces the swelling of blood vessels. Simply place a damp, ice-cold face towel over your eyes for 15 minutes to do this.34

Egg whites — Times of India suggests applying beaten egg whites around the eye area as a bags-under-eyes remedy. Leaving the egg whites on your skin for 20 minutes may help tighten it35 as they contain astringent properties.36

Potato or tomato — To lighten the dark circles under your eyes, use a cotton ball soaked in potato extract or fresh tomato juice. Squeeze out the excess and then place it over your under-eye skin for 10 minutes. Rinse after.

Avocado — This fruit has emollient properties that make it a good moisturizer for your skin. You may either directly place avocado slices over your eyes or make a mask mixed with a few drops of almond oil.

Lemon juice — With its natural bleaching properties, lemon juice may be used to help reduce the discoloration of the bags under your eyes. Remember to dilute it in water before applying the mixture to your under-eye skin to prevent irritation.37

Caffeinated tea — Cold tea bags are known to help slow down skin aging because of their antioxidant properties.38 If you’ve got spare tea bags, soak them first in warm water and then place inside the refrigerator to chill. Afterward, place the tea bags over your eyes for five minutes.39

Remember that these methods for eliminating under-eye bags using home remedies may or may not work for you as these marks are caused by different factors, as found by a 2014 study involving 200 patients with different forms of periorbital hyperpigmentation.40 Try a few and see which ones work best for you.

Essential Oils for Under-Eye Bags

In aromatherapy, essential oils are used to help boost a person’s mind, body and spirit. They may be diluted in carrier oil to be massaged on the skin, used with a diffuser or infused with hot water and inhaled via the steam.41 Aside from their therapeutic purposes, some essential oils such as lavender and Roman chamomile may help reduce puffiness and bags under the eyes because they contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Here’s a recipe for helping you reduce those dark circles using essential oils:42


1 drop chamomile essential oil

1 drop lavender essential oil

30 ml aloe vera gel, lotion or cream


1.Mix the essential oils with aloe vera gel.

2.Cleanse your face then pat it dry.

3.Take a small amount from the mixture then gently apply it to the skin around your eyes.

Alternatively, cotton balls soaked in witch hazel oil may also be placed over your eyelids for 20 minutes to reduce the dark circles.43 Witch hazel has moisturizing and astringent properties that may tighten and hydrate the skin under the eyes.

Before doing any of these, see how your skin responds by testing the various topical ingredients on a small area of your forearm. Be sure to consult your health care provider or a professional aromatherapist if you intend to use essential oils, as some oils may contain compounds that may not be suitable for your skin.44

Is There a Need for an Under-Eye Bags Surgery?

As mentioned, having noticeable bags under the eyes is not a medical concern, but an aesthetic one that doesn’t imply a disease or a health-threatening condition.45 If the saggy skin obstructs your peripheral vision, an under-eye bags surgery or blepharoplasty could be done. This procedure gets rid of the excess tissue in your eyelids46 through an incision.

After removing the excess fat, the skin would then be stitched together.47 If your condition calls for a surgery, opt for transconjunctival than transcutaneous blepharoplasty so that the scar would not be visible.48

Having to remove bags under eyes by means of surgery may pose benefits and risks, so be sure to consult an expert before intending to undergo one.

Before Trying Home Remedies, Know the Underlying Cause First

Under-eye bags may be common, but data on how this condition develops is scarce.49 Many of the home remedies mentioned above may be easy to follow, but proper guidance from your health care provider is necessary for those to take effect. Make sure that you know the cause of your under-eye bags so that you’ll know which method is right for your condition.

Aging and genetics are two common causes of under-eye bags that you cannot control, so having a better lifestyle and attending to your skin care needs may be beneficial in reducing the appearance of these marks.

When you feel like the bags have become itchy, painful or severe, or if they blur or obstruct your vision, it’s best to visit your doctor immediately to address the problem and avoid further complications.50

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bags Under-Eye Bags

Q: How do I get rid of dark circles and bags under my eyes?

A: Home remedies that may help reduce bags under your eyes include moisturizing your skin, using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, caps or hats, avoiding salty foods, adding foods rich in retinol and vitamin C to your diet, and placing tea bags, potato peel, cucumber slices or cold spoons over your eyes.

Q: How do you fix bags under your eyes?

A: Having the thinnest skin of all body parts, eyelids and the skin around them are likely to develop damage as you age. Photodamage from exposure to UV rays may cause bags under the eyes. Some ways to help reduce this are topical antioxidant usage and sunscreen application.51

Q: Do eye creams really work?

A: Eye creams actually have the same formulation as facial moisturizers.52 When buying eye creams, look for organic ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, acai oil, green tea leaf extract and chamomile flower extract to ensure safety from potential chemicals.

– Sources and References

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Reproduced from original article:

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     
March 05, 2020