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There are usual times of the year that set the stage for us to reflect on past experiences
and future goals: the beginning of the year, the end of the year, and our birthday.
Once the new year sets off in full swing, that sense of motivation to do things differently
or better is replaced by the routine of “living”: wake up, eat, go to work, eat, (exercise
maybe!), eat, sleep and repeat.
It is easy to get caught up in the doing, fretting over past mistakes, and taking fear with
us right into the future. The “go go go” busyness seems to be fueled by our own fumes
after we spend our gas reacting to what life brings to us and we “run out of time” to get
What if you don’t actually “run out of time”? What if, in that space of chaos where things
seem out of control, you just stopped moving (literally) and gave yourself permission to
clear your head? You may notice in that very moment, that time “slows down”, but it is
actually you who have slowed down. Slowing down allows you to become aware of
what is happening around you, and more importantly inside of you. That awareness
gives you a better sense of who you are in that very moment. And it is from that space
that you project outward and then infect, or affect, the things around you.
What do you want to infect people with? Stress? Happiness? It’s your choice.
A wonderful way to practice slowing down is to sit for meditation. One common
complaint from those who are hesitant to try meditation is that sitting quietly only works
to make the thoughts in the head louder. I love the term “monkey brain” to describe this.
So sitting quietly brings the thoughts to your head, making you more aware of what is
taking up space in your mind? Great! Let those thoughts come, and also just watch them
go as quickly as they came. Consider it like watching a movie. Once those thoughts
bombard you a little less and less, you have now created a little more space between
one thought and the next simply by allowing them to come and letting them go. Being
aware of your thoughts may actually shed some light on your own motivations and
intentions. When you see this, you get to decide whether or not they are serving you.
And if they aren’t, perhaps it’s time for a change.
There are so many differing meditative practices, all of which are wonderful in their own
way. It is best to find the practice that works well for you, whether it is Zen meditation,
guided meditation, transcendental meditation, belly breathing, or many others. Keep in
mind that there is really no “right or wrong” way to meditate, rather it is the effort that you
are putting into “knowing thyself” that counts.
And guess what? Sitting quietly to shift perspective and slow down can happen any time
of the year. Remember that all the times in between the New Year and the end of the
year – those months, and days, and hours, is the Now. At ANY time of the day when
things are feeling out of hand, you can just stop and sit quietly (It’s free!). All it requires
is a little willingness and openness to do things differently. Consider this as a tool that
can be used when things feel crazy. What are you waiting for?
It is that time of year – the ice is thawing, the cherry blossoms are blooming in DC, and warm breezes are blowing. The change in season for most of us is a much-anticipated event, but let’s not forget that thousands of people will soon begin to sneeze, wheeze, itch and just feel exhausted from it all. Cue the allergies and watch as the Histamine comes out in full force!
Histamine is a chemical compound that is released in the body by our immune system upon exposure to those pesky allergens, such as pollen or dust, and responsible for those uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Histamine is also an excitatory neurotransmitter, so some may also experience headaches and insomnia. While many people will quickly choose over-the-counter (OTC) or prescriptive anti-histamines and other medications to alleviate symptoms, there are natural approaches to help treat the underlying problem long-term, and reduce the release of histamine.
Regularly keeping up with house cleaning can be a nuisance, but is key to eliminating dust and residual pollen floating in through the open windows. Regularly change air filters and clean vents. You may want to use a separate air purifier in the bedroom where you spend many hours breathing deeply while sleeping. Also keep bathrooms clean from mold
Drinking water is important for a variety of functions, but when the body is dehydrated, histamine production increases. The amount of water intake necessary varies per individual. A general rule would be to drink (in ounces) ½ of your body weight (lbs.), and then more if you sweat, drink coffee, drink alcohol, or consume a lot of salty or sugary foods. So if you weigh 150 lbs. for example, then drink about 75 oz. of water daily.
Rinsing the nasal passages of the allergen buildup can be very helpful would be to use a Netipot or NeilMed bulb with saline. Do not use rinse less than 2 hours before bed to ensure there is no post-nasal drip of residual water while you are sleeping which may cause further irritation in the throat and lungs.
Shower After Exposure
If you have been outside, it is a good idea to rinse off the pollen or dust that can stick to skin and hair. Showering helps to reduce exposure to outside allergens while you sleep, allowing your immune system to recover.
Eat a Clean Diet
Histamine is involved in an inflammatory process by the body, thereby producing unwanted symptoms. Therefore, focus on reducing overall body burden of inflammation through healthy foods. Eating whole foods, which are foods that are minimally processed or refined, is key to reducing inflammation in the body by supplying the body with much needed nutrients for healing. Examples of whole foods are fresh vegetables, fruit, wild-caught fish, beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and meats from appropriately fed and raised animals. Minimize foods that are inflammatory, such as dairy, sugary foods and beverages, and alcohol. Eat organic when possible to avoid pesticide exposure.
Avoid Food Sensitivities
It is common to develop delayed sensitivities to foods over time. Symptoms can develop several hours to several days or even several weeks after exposure to the food. Exposure to these foods contributes to inflammation throughout your body. You might wonder how you can identify which foods you are sensitive to and should avoid. You can start by avoiding anything that you know causes uncomfortable symptoms or produces any signs of intolerance, e.g. fatigue, headaches, sinus congestion, gas, bloating, etc. To take a lot of the guesswork out, your doctor can also run a blood test. There are multiple labs on the market that test for delayed sensitivities to foods and environmental chemicals. However, many of them are not entirely accurate, or only test a few mechanisms for a hypersensitivity reaction. Be sure to talk with your doctor about which test is best for you.
Have Regular Bowel Movements
This may sound like an uncomfortable subject, but about 75-80% of our immune function resides in the gut. This is also where a lot of food sensitivities develop, so you want your gastrointestinal tract to work optimally. You should have bowel movements, with stools that are formed and easy to pass, about 1-2 times daily to eliminate toxic waste products. If you are constipated, ensure you are drinking enough water and eating a high-fiber diet. If you are still having irregular bowel movements, talk with a doctor to determine other causes.
Most people deal with a host of stressors that often occur several times a day, such as daily commutes, meeting difficult deadlines at work, or getting the kids to school on time. Constant exposure to stress hormones suppresses immune function. A few ways to regularly help reduce the unhealthy stress response are: deep belly breathing, meditation, exercise, yoga and engaging in fun or social activities.
Regular movement improves circulation, keeps the immune system strong and also reduces stress. Your body will thank you even from simple exercises like walking.
Take Nutritional Supplements
There are a lot of supplements over-the-counter that claim to reduce allergies. While some may be true, they are not all the same with respect to quality, safety and clinical efficacy. Useful nutrient supplements that will help reduce allergies while also safe and effective are: Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Fish Oils and Quercetin, a potent bioflavonoid.
Everyone is different with respect to types and severity of allergy symptoms as well as with what causes or exacerbates their symptoms. The steps above will help start the journey to feeling better. You may talk with one of our naturopathic physicians to further individualize a treatment plan to optimize your health.
This information is provided by Arti Mehta, ND and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta or Dr. Nguyen today.
Join Cheryl for a 4-week series exploring new techniques in daily stress management. Learn how to bring conscious awareness to deep relaxation in order to achieve stronger inner peace, leading to overall better health. In small group settings, we will explore and practice mindful meditation, mindful eating, guided imagery, body scans, breathing techniques and more.
Join us each Monday
January 26-February 16
From 7pm to 8:30pm
At Aloe Wellness
5840 MacArthur Blvd NW, Suite 2, Washington, DC 20016
$99 for the 4-week series
For More Information
or Click Here
Over the last couple of weeks, the New York Times and the Washington Post have run some forward thinking articles on ADHD, offering another look at why ADHD is on the rise in both kids and adults. In Dr. Richard Friedman’s NYT article, “A Natural Fix for ADHD”, I was intrigued by the title alone, wondering if natural solutions would be offered apart from the usual pharmaceutical options.
Dr. Friedman touched on a genetic explanation for why some thrive in a more stimulating environment than others by giving an interesting historical perspective of genetic variants in dopamine receptors in a Kenyan tribe. I appreciated this tidbit of information since I do believe genetic variations that affect neurotransmitter production, breakdown and binding ability at receptor sites, increases a person’s susceptibility towards ADHD.
In addition, he also suggested that there is a strong contrast between our fast paced, digital world where immediate gratification is at our fingertips versus the system of education that focuses on passive learning and memorization. Therefore, it may be that “curious, experience-seeking kids” just need a change in learning environment to something that is more engaging, highlighting active learning rather than a medication to address their inattention.
While I agree that genetics and a boring environment do play a role in ADHD, what’s missing in Dr. Friedman’s article on a natural fix are treatments that address diet, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, sleep, hygiene, and other mental states such as anxiety or depression.
From all the recent research on ADHD, it is safe to say that the cause of ADHD can be multifactorial. Perhaps this may be why the standard pharmaceutical treatment is not a one-size fits all solution. In practice, I have found that addressing the imbalances that factor into the inability to focus using targeted nutrient therapy, homeopathy, counseling, and life style changes, allows my patients who have been so easily labeled with ADHD to regain focus and attention in their lives. This approach to me has been a natural fix for my patients.
This information is provided by Dr. Rhodo Nguyen and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Dr. Nguyen specializes in Naturopathic & Homeopathic Medicine as well as Craniosacral Therapy and Colon Hydrotherapy. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Nguyen or any of our practitioners today!
What is “The Seasonal Seven?” Well it is not quite the Seven Swans a Swimming, but rather the average amount of weight most Americans gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s! My motto is “easier to keep it off than take it off!” But don’t worry, we can still enjoy the holidays and all the festivities that go along with them, as long as we keep in mind these seven simple yet winning strategies that will help keep us from dreading the holidays come January!
#1: Don’t go Hungry – We often think if we “starve” ourselves all day we can indulge at the party. A better party strategy is to eat all day light healthy meals, keep hydrated and then have a small protein snack with little amount of healthy fat just prior to heading out the door. Snack ideas include: a handful of nuts and an apple, carrots and hummus or low fat cheese with fruit. This 200-calorie snack will give you the ability to make better choices at the buffet and the bar.
#2: Buffet Strategy – Use a small plate or napkin; leave the large plate on the table. First choose lean meat or seafood, fresh fruits or veggies and then take a small amount of your favorite treat. It’s not about deprivation; it is about moderation. Find nourishing conversation to fill you up!
#3: Bring a Healthy Dish – Everyone will be as glad as you to have a wonderful big green salad, fruit plate or whole grain salad. I always bring a big box of clementine tangerines to our neighborhood kids holiday party and they eat them up every time. Its all about easy and healthy!
#4. Stay hydrated – Often we overeat and drink excess alcoholic drinks full of empty calories simply because we are thirsty! Drink a glass of water after each drink. Also consider mixing your wine with sparkling water. A 3 oz glass of wine is between 80-100 calories.
#5. Mindful Eating – Pay attention to how quickly you eat and exactly what you eat and drink. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully. I tell my clients to use the power of “Pause.” In other words, take a moment to experience your food with all your senses. Not only will you enjoy it more, but also you will most likely consume less.
#6. Crowd out Empty Calories – Food that enters the bloodstream quickly promotes weight gain; food that enters slowly promotes weight loss! So, limit or avoid empty calories from highly process foods that will enter your bloodstream quickly, deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals, make you gain weight, throw off your body’s ability to regulate sugar and usually leave you feeling hungry an hour later. Do not think elimination or deprivation; just don’t leave room for them! The optimal nine servings a day of fruits and vegies in varying colors will help ensure there won’t be room for all those cookies crackers and condiments that we seem to fill up on at a party.
#7. Exercise the Energizer – Holidays bring lots of added responsibilities and obligations. Exercise will give you the added energy boost you need to keep going. Rather than ditching the workout routine to make time for holiday commitments, continue your workout schedule but just ease off a bit. Also consider passive exercise wherever you can. Celebrate the parking space miles away, add an extra loop around the mall or just put on a holiday CD and rock around the Christmas tree! Take short walks throughout the day, the steps add up! Schedule your gym workouts on the calendar just like any important appointment. Put tango lessons on your Holiday Wish List!
One last bit of food for thought…
Caloric Breakdown of Popular Holiday Treats:
Eggnog, 1 cup serving: 342 calories and 18 grams of fat
Stuffing, 1/2 cup: 178 calories and 8.6 grams of fat
Dark Meat Turkey 3.5oz. (no skin): 187 calories and 7.2 grams of fat
Gravy, 1/4 cup: 30 calories and 2 grams of fat
Homemade Pumpkin Pie, 1/8 slice of a 9-inch pie: 316 calories and 14 grams of fat
Homemade Pecan Pie, 1/8 slice of 9-inch pie: 502 calories and 27 grams of fat
Here are some activities and the number of calories they burn
(for a 150-pound person, on average):
Stationary Bike (at moderate level): 504 calories/hour
Elliptical Trainer (general): 648 calories/hour
Stairmaster: 432 calories/hour
Running (11.5 min/mile): 648 calories/hour
Walking (17 min/mile): 288 calories/hour
Just remember to be mindful of your exercise and nutrition and enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season, one and all!
This information is provided by Cheryl Mirabella, M.A., NHC and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Keats today.
When was the last time you had a great massage? Research is growing providing substantial evidence of the significant health benefits associated with therapeutic massage. Finding the right therapist and getting a great massage can seem like a daunting task at first, but not if you know the truth behind some of the most common massage myths that often lead to a less than stellar massage experience.
Many people, and even some massage therapists, think that in order to get your money’s worth, a massage should be painful. For a certain segment of therapist and clients this works, however, consider the following. Pain is an indication of inflammation and one of massage’s biggest goals is to decrease and alleviate inflammation. How can a massage be effective if it is causing inflammation? Granted, in many cases there are specific painful yet necessary measures that need to be taken in order to increase/restore range of motion or realign certain muscular structures. However, most often this kind of work should be performed by a physical therapist, not a massage therapist. A trained massage therapist will use a variety of techniques to address trouble areas and that process may be momentarily uncomfortable as tension and lactic acid are released, but ideally such discomfort should be minimal and momentary. The goal of massage therapy is to help the muscles repair after extensive use, injury or fatigue and relax the body by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. None of this can be effectively accomplished through pain.
Actually, we hope this one is true, but too often it is not the case. Which is why you should always ask a lot of questions, especially before your first session, but even after you have been working with a therapist for awhile. A well-trained therapist will welcome your questions with enthusiasm. A defensive response is a good sign that the therapist is not as comfortable as they should be explaining a protocol or why a particular muscle is acting the way it is. A client should never allow a therapist to perform a maneuver that has not been explained thoroughly and if a therapist cannot back up their advice with sources, then the client should be sure to research on their own any claims made. As a client you should not feel embarrassed to ask questions. Many times people can feel awkward and avoid this situation, as they do not want to seem like they are challenging the expertise of the therapist. Again, a well-trained and fully qualified therapist will be more than happy to share with you their knowledge and reasoning behind any modality, maneuver, or advice they offer because they take great pride in educating themselves as well as their clients.
This is perhaps the greatest myth I have encountered as a licensed massage therapist. A deep tissue massage is about addressing muscle tissue deep within the skeletal system as apposed to applying a lot of pressure. Depth has more to do with precision and intention than it does about strength or force. The deepest work I have ever received was by practitioners with smaller, more nimble and flexible digits. Not to mention that there are a variety of other anatomical tools that a therapist can use in order to work out the tension in lower layers of tissue. Never choose a therapist based on gender alone. There are several far more important qualifications to consider other than whether the therapist is male or female such as training, experience, philosophy and personality. If you enjoy deep work, be sure to ask for a therapist who specializes in and truly understands deep tissue massage. And do not be surprised when you are referred to a female.
This could not be further from the truth. I have received massages at expensive spas as well as free massages from students in clinic. There were great and horrible massages in both categories. It is not as much about the price of the massage as it is about the therapist. There are a lot of great therapists working at inexpensive massage mill institutions and unfortunately there are a lot of massage therapist located at high-end establishments that have lost their passion, been working too long or simply faked their way through the system. Just because you pay a whole lot of money doesn’t mean your money is buying expertise, talent and dedication. In fact, the inflated price you are paying is more likely going towards the rental, decoration and maintenance of the venue rather than the quality of therapist. In the same respect, If a massage is too cheap, then expect what you are paying for. Likely you will receive a therapist who is overworked and under paid and that will be evident in the bodywork. Remember to do your research, ask questions and then follow your instincts.
Therapeutic massage has been around for centuries and has been enjoyed by people of all walks of life and socio-economic levels. Touch is an important element of the human experience and is essential to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. More specifically, therapeutic massage has been proven to decrease cortisol levels, increase dopamine levels as well as prevent and rehabilitate injury. For these reasons, massage is necessary. It certainly can be luxurious when enjoyed at a spa with decadent perks like terry cloth robes and cucumber water, but it can be just as effective and enjoyable when experience in the comfort of your own home or a small inexpensive private studio. Either way, it is important to experience massage on some level at least a three to four times a year if not more. My personal recommendation is every 4 to 6 weeks unless there is a specific condition that calls for more frequent bodywork.
There are as many styles of massage as there are types of therapists who perform massage and places to receive massage. The most important thing to remember is that research is key. An informed client is essential for the best possible experience. Many people are turned off by their first massage experience for one reason or another and never come back to it. Finding a therapist client match is a process and requires due diligence on the part of the client to not only know what they need and know what they like but also to know where to find it. The good news is, with a little bit of research and patience; you can find a therapist who will help to alter your relationship with your body. Massage can and should be an incredible experience that you enjoy often and not feel at all guilty about!
Wishing you Health and Happiness!
This information is provided by Scott Sherven, LMT and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Keats today.
Hormone imbalances can occur at any age and in both men or women. Common symptoms include hot flashes, fatigue, hair loss, decreased libido, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia, irritability and depression. A common link to all of these symptoms is often stress. Work deadlines, financial hardships, family arguments or commuting during rush hour are everyday sources of stress. Although the stressors themselves don’t make people ill, the body’s responses to them may, and this differs for each individual.
This information is provided by Dr. Arti Mehta and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Keats today.
Washington, DC is a very career oriented city. Meeting anyone in DC starts off smoothly with a “Hi” and then inevitably, the following two questions will be asked:
1 – What do you do?
2 – Where do you live?
Compared to today, practicing naturopathic medicine in Washington, DC ten years ago was not the easiest road to take. Easy answers to those questions would be a lawyer or executive director of a non-profit organization.
My answer to the first question was commonly met with, “A Naturo-WHAT? You mean, like a Homeopath?” Or worse, “A Voodoo doctor?”
In which case, I would take the opportunity to share my journey and passion in becoming a Naturopathic Doctor — Doctor of Natural Medicine. Words like “holistic” and “alternative medicine” had to be used in order for the idea to catch any interest. I would happily explain that, yes, I did go through a post-graduate medical school program, took board exams and became a licensed physician. The big difference was that the tools in my toolbox are non-toxic, safe, and effective. And oh yes, I focus on treating the underlying cause of a disease.
Inevitably, by the end of the conversation my newfound friend would want me to help optimize the health of their mother, next-door neighbor, and partner who snored incessantly.
Nowadays, with detox diets and kale chips becoming mainstream, the idea of naturopathic medicine is not so foreign. Focusing on the intention of wellness and prevention is catching speed. In fact, on September 19, 2014, Congress passed a resolution recognizing the second week of October as Naturopathic Medicine Week.
Naturopathic Medicine Week is happening NOW! What does this mean?
This week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the benefits of naturopathic medicine with those you know and love. Share your health success stories with your friends, co-workers and neighbors.
Tonight, the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians (DCANP) is taking the opportunity to celebrate Naturopathic Medicine Week with the DC community through a screening of More Than Honey at West End Cinema. The documentary highlights the connection between nature, the environment, our food chain, and importance of a small but impactful creature: the bee.
Because after all, last time I checked we are not on this planet alone. We are indeed a global, holistic community. Our one action sets a rippling effect in a pond of energy that is connected to others.
I send off to those who are reading a wish for great health to be realized through the power of Naturopathic Medicine!
This information is provided by Dr. Rhodo Nguyen and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Dr. Nguyen specializes in Naturopathic & Homeopathic Medicine as well as Craniosacral Therapy and Colon Hydrotherapy. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Nguyen today.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP – Between 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for most people to operate best. This helps with energy during the day and optimal health as well. Sleep deprivation creates more hunger inducing hormone ghrelin and less appetite suppressing hormone leptin. This causes an inability to process glucose, more insulin resistance, a spike in afternoon cortisol levels causing increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood glucose.
EAT BREAKFAST – Ideally one hour upon rising. Complex carbohydrate, some protein and some fat. Breakfast fires up our metabolism for the whole day! Eating breakfast may reduce your hunger later in the day, which may make it easier to avoid overeating. When you skip breakfast, you may feel ravenous later and be tempted to reach for a quick fix — such as vending machine candy or doughnuts at the office. In addition, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity. A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy.
GET THE RIGHT MIX OF NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS – Consume healthy carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats with every meal and snack. An example for breakfast might be, cooked whole grains (complex carb), topped with walnuts (protein and healthy fats). For your mid morning snack, an apple (complex carb) with peanut butter (protein and healthy fat), at lunch a salad (complex carb) topped with chicken (protein) topped with a good quality olive oil (healthy fat). Getting the idea? Less processed foods. Less chemicals, additives, preservative to tax you system. Our bodies operate best on natural foods. Eat more balancing foods, less extreme foods. Raise the overall quality of the food going into your body.
KEEP YOURSELF FUELED, LITTLE MEALS GET BIG RESULTS – Don’t skip meals. Don’t go more than 3-4 hours between meals or snacks; blood sugar levels will drop too low and so will your energy. Eating large meals dumps huge amounts of fuel into your system all at once with the excess stored as fat whereas frequent smaller meals deliver manageable amounts of energy over the course of the day.
SLOW DOWN BREATHE & CHEW YOUR FOOD WELL – This creates ideal digestion and assimilation of food. It will also help get more oxygen into your blood for more energy. Prior to your meals or snacks, stop whatever you are doing and focus on your food prior to eating. Then take 3-5 deep belly breaths just prior to eating that will slow you down and create optimal metabolic and digestive efficiency.
This information is provided by Cheryl Mirabella, M.A., NHC and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Cheryl is our resident nutritionist and lifestyle coach and is available every Monday from Noon to 5pm or by appointment during the rest of the week. Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Cheryl, Dr. Keats, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Mehta today!
This has been evidenced particularly when sleep is achieved between 10pm and 6am.
With the hustle and bustle of modern day American life most of us only sleep an average of
6 hours or less each night. Research studies have shown that consistently staying up until
midnight doubles the risk of several cancer types, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancers.
Inadequate sleep also increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Why is sleep so important? One major reason is because of our super sleep hormone, melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland of the brain, particularly at night. It helps
to regulate our sleep-wake cycles and is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. As
melatonin levels begin to rise at night we begin to feel sleepy and once we fall asleep, the levels
increase significantly. However, in order to ensure optimal secretion it is important to sleep for
at least 8 hours each night and establish a dark place of rest. Lighting from lamps, street lights,
computers, and television can potentially reduce the amount of melatonin released from the
Research studies have shown the following benefits from melatonin:
• Inhibition of cancer development and growth
• Enhancement of immune function
• Antioxidant effects that protect our cells from DNA damage
The tips below can help to promote adequate hours of sleep as well as improved sleep quality:
• Stick with the same bedtime and wake time each day. This helps to regulate the sleep-wake
• Avoid napping during the day. This can cause difficulty with falling asleep at night.
• Restrict stimulants such as caffeine.
• Exercise regularly to promote good quality sleep, preferably in the morning or early afternoon.
• Ensure that your bedroom is free of noise and light and that a comfortable temperature is
maintained. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom, i.e. laptops, cell phones, etc. Consider
wearing an eye mask to ensure darkness.
• Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine, i.e. read a book, take a warm bath, listen to soothing
• Eat protein at dinner in order to balance blood sugar levels. Poor or disturbed sleep can result
from a drop in blood sugar
Obtaining adequate sleep is an important addition to maintaining optimal health. Proper length and
quality of sleep are equally important. Be sure to implement the suggestions above and communicate
with your naturopathic physician for further guidance in improving sleep cycles.
This information is provided by Dr. Aminah Keats and your friends here at Aloe Wellness. Dr. Keats is the newest member of our practice and specializes in cancer support.
Have questions? We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Keats, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Mehta today.