Sleep Deprivation effects our entire physiology, especially our brains. In the most comprehensive study I could glean, findings showed that glucose tolerance was lower in the sleep-debt condition than in the fully rested condition, as were thyrotropin concentrations. Evening cortisol concentrations were raised and activity of the sympathetic nervous system (flight/fright response (mine)) was increased in the sleep-dept condition. The interpretation of this study is that sleep debt has a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism and endocrine function. The effects are similar to those seen in normal aging and, therefore, sleep debt may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders. Decrements in cognitive performance were reported in other studies.

The brain runs on glucose, not fat, not protein. If glucose levels are off, the brain suffers.  People who suffer with migraine and migraine-associated vertigo need sleep!  As well, those who are in the 24/7 migraine state of migraine-associated vertigo are chronically fatigued, making sleep especially important.

More interesting facts about sleep deprivation in our society:

The captain of an Air India Express Plane carrying 166 Passengers woke up from a nap and took over the controls. As his Boeing 737, carrying 166 passengers, approached Mangalore, his co-pilot warned him that he was coming in at the wrong angle and repeatedly shouted at him that he should try over.  Listening to the cockpit recorder, the last sound heard was the co-pilot screaming that they didn’t have any runway left. Only eight people survived, as the plane burst into flames, having overshot the landing.  The official investigation found that the captain was suffering “sleep inertia.”  There have been other near-misses as well as a case of the bizarre ranting of one psychotic pilot which may have been caused by sleep deprivation.

Let’s come out of the sky and talk about automobiles.  Some 20% of auto accidents have been due to drowsy drivers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  As well, U.S. military researchers admit that sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of friendly fire.

What is the reason for this phenomenon in our society?  Because our circadian rhythms are out of balance.

There are many circadian rhythms.  For humans, and for sleep, there are three classic body markers, melatonin secreted by the pineal gland, core body temperature, and cortisol level.

When morning comes we open our eyes and light hits the retina, sending a signal to the pineal gland, causing melatonin to be secreted.  The level of melatonin peaks during the night and is absent during the day. Melatonin starts to show up in our bodies in dim light, at dusk, and has a soporific effect.  Core body temperature and cortisol level come down with rest and relaxation.

Since the invention of electricity, more people are out after dark, keeping their body temperatures and cortisol levels high longer than their natural rhythms would.  If we are home, many of us are either in front of a TV, reading with lights on, or in front of a computer, right up until bedtime.  And then we cannot fall asleep.

In essence, we have forgotten how to fall to sleep.

According to the CDC, in 1990 24% of US workers were getting less than six hours of sleep a night.  By 2010 30% of workers were getting less than six hours of sleep at night.

According to Marketdata Enterprises,  Americans are spending 60 billions of dollars on prescriptions, at sleep labs on mattresses and for medical devices. There are even, for people who can afford it, “sleep coaches.”

Our ancestors had two “sleeps,” one after the sun went down until after midnight and a second sleep which would last the rest of the night.  In between these two sleeps they would be awake for an hour or so.  This hour or so was a very product time.  It was a time for praying, reading, writing, art, artisen work, contemplation of dreams and having sex.  Indigenous cultures today are also said to sleep this way and we know that the indigenous elders grow very old and very healthy.

In summary, technology has brought us great things and opened our lives to great possibilities. However, we have paid many prices, one of them is a good night’s sleep, another is our health, for us, migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo.  We cannot think straight, we are fatigued, our moods are not stable, our relationships are not stable, we are not productive and our bodies are aging faster.  Yet, looking at the number of new prescriptions for sleeping aids written each year, new high-tech mattresses, new sleep devices on the market, the mass solution seems to be for more technology.  In other words, we keep fighting our body’s natural circadian rhythm with more of what has put us out of balance.

What sleep specialists suggest is this and this is especially important for those who suffer with migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo.  Do not exercise up to three hours before bedtime. (This allows your body’s core temperature and cortisol levels to come down.) Do not nap during the day. (This will throw off your circadian rhythm.) Have a warm bath before bedrime. (This will help you relax and also bring your core body temperature down.) Establish a bedtime routine. (This will help relax your mind and body, teaching your mind and body that it is bedtime.)  Go to bed and wake up at the same time every morning, with some leeway for seasonal changes. (This will also train your mind, until your circadian rhythm comes into balance and takes over.)  A low level light is ideal just before sleep, followed by a total blackout during sleep.  Specialists suggest covering a digital clock at night for total blackout.  Use your bed for two things only – sleep and sex. (no reading in bed, no laptop in bed. This will train your mind that when you get into bed, you are going to go to sleep.)

There are other things you can try, CDs which put your brain into theta waves. There are also websites where you can download free hypnosis sleep aids.

Eventually, you will find yourself in a normal circadian rhythm, falling to sleep like a baby, back to nature, not dependent on technology, and feeling well rested each morning.  And hopefully, your migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo symptoms will have eased.

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Drink Water

TOP 10 REASONS WE NEED TO DRINK WATER – This is especially important for those with migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo.

1) Water is the substance of life. Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. We can only survive 3 – 4 days without water.

2) The body is comprised of 70 – 75% water and this ratio must be maintained for good health. This is the most important element we put into our body. Dehydration can occur at any time of the year, not only during the summer months when it is hot. The dryness that occurs during winter can dehydrate the body even quicker than when it’s hot. Many victims of diseases such as cholera die primarily through dehydration, not from the disease itself.

3) It is difficult for the body to get water from any other source than water itself. Soft drinks and alcohol steal tremendous amounts of water from the body to properly digest the high levels of sugar. Even other beverages such as coffee, milk and juice act similarly.

4) Water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Since the blood is 90% water and the brain consists of about 96% water, you should drink only the best quality water.

5) Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. “Wetter Water,” of hexagonal molecular structure created by the electrolysis process, can permeate the cellular membranes easier, resulting in increased benefits from food or medication.

6) Water is essential for proper circulation in the body and vital to every cell.

7) Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. Acidosis is the body’s worst enemy. Ionized water can help reverse this condition.

8) Water regulates the body’s cooling system, so be sure to drink 8 – 10 glasses per day.

9) Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to chronic cellular dehydration. This is a condition where the body’s cells are never quite hydrated enough leaving them in a weakened immune state and vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body’s overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional an pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.

10) Good Alkaline Water, with a pH of 7.5 – 8, helps to balance the acidity created in the body from food digestion, exercise or even stress. Diseases flourish in an acidic environment.

OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATION: You should drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day to provide you MINIMUM water replacement requirements, e.g. 160 lbs. = 80 oz. Water.

I find that recommendation, which was put out by some organization, like Weight-Watchers, is way to much.  I would be wetting my bed every night.  But, its true that you cannot tell by “feel” when you’re dehydrated.

See previous post about the Health of Your Tongue.  Check your tongue.

Below are the signs and symptoms of dehydration according to the Mayo Clinic.  I personally find that I get nauseous and fatigued, as a first sign.  If you suffer with migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo, you will see that headache is among the first symptoms of dehydration.

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Lack of sweating
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

Unfortunately, thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better indicator is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

When to see a doctor If you’re a healthy adult, you can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, such as water or a sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, others).

Get immediate medical care if you develop severe signs and symptoms such as extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness and confusion.

Treat children and older adults with greater caution. Call your family doctor right away if your loved one:

  • Develops severe diarrhea, with or without vomiting or fever
  • Has bloody stool
  • Has had moderate diarrhea for three days or more
  • Can’t keep down fluids
  • Is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual
  • Has any of the signs or symptoms of mild or moderate dehydration

Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911 or your emergency medical number if you think a child or older adult is severely dehydrated. You can help prevent dehydration from becoming severe by carefully monitoring someone who is sick and giving fluids, such as an oral rehydration solution (Pedialyte, others) at the first sign of diarrhea, vomiting or fever and by encouraging children to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.

More on water in an upcoming post. Please keep yourself hydrated in order to keep your migraine and/or migraine-associated vertigo under control!

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When I decided to blog about the health of your tongue, the first image that came to my mind was the most famous Health of Tonguetongue in history. I wish this picture had been taken in color.  We might have been able to tell use Einstein’s tongue as an example for some of the possible problems listed below!

The appearance of your tongue can reveal a lot about your health. This, is turn can guide you regarding some lifestyle and/or diet changes you can make to help with your migraine or migraine-associated vertigo. So, think of the look and feel of the tongue as a tool for you to use.

The colour, texture, and moisture of the tongue can indicate anaemia, dehydration and kidney problems, to name just a few.

How should a healthy tongue look? A healthy tongue should be pink in colour, slightly moist, and smooth with no bumps or spots. The tongue should also be layered with visible taste buds that detect the five taste sensations – sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and savoury.

The appearance of the tongue:

Colour: A healthy tongue should be pink in colour. The colour of the tongue also reflects the health of the body’s internal organs and blood circulation.

    • Pale – could indicate your blood is lacking haemoglobin, especially if the tongue is also extremely smooth. You may also feel tired and lethargic. Ensure you eat iron rich foods.
    • Red – bright red suggests that the tongue is inflamed. This is often due to nutritional deficiencies in iron and B-vitamins. It can also indicate excess heat both in the tongue and in certain organs.
    • Purple – can indicate high cholesterol levels and poor circulation that results in stagnant blood in the tongue. This is often the result of lifestyle, diet, and medications. Ginger and garlic can be beneficial.

Texture: A healthy tongue should be smooth in appearance, gently moist, with visible taste buds.

    • Raised red spots – these spots are the result of broken veins and capillaries in the tongue. Try taking bioflavonoids, which can be found in vitamin C. These help to strengthen capillaries.
    • Ulcers – ulcers are not uncommon and can also appear on the gums and lips. However, if they persist after 10 days consult a doctor. Ulcers are often the result of fatigue and stress.
    • Swollen / puffy – can be the result of allergies, medications or infections. Can affect the visible area, but also at the back of the tongue, mouth or gums. Can be due to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Coating: A healthy tongue should have a thin transparent coating. Changes to the coating can indicate acute illness, such as colds and digestive issues.

    • Yellow – a yellow coating on the tongue is often the result of a bacterial or fungal infection.
    • Furry / thick – a thick coating can represent an infection on the tongue, oral thrush or dehydration. This can impair taste and cause bad breath.
    • No coating – if no coating is present on the tongue there may be inefficiencies in the digestive system.

Chinese Medicine and the tongue

The connection between the appearance of the tongue and general health has been studied for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine practitioners believe each area of the tongue is connected to specific internal organs:

  • The sides of the tongue reflect the health of the liver
  • The tip of the tongue reflects the health of the heart
  • The center of the tongue reflects the health of the spleen
  • The back of the tongue reflects the health of the kidneys

When examining the tongue see if any of the symptoms mentioned in the previous section affect one area more than others. However, it is important to remember that this is not a definite diagnostic tool. If problems persist you should always consult a doctor.  When examining your tongue in the mirror; do so under natural light, and do not extend your tongue for more than 15 seconds. After this time period tension in the tongue can cause the shape and colour to change.

Nutrients that promote good oral health

Nutritional deficiencies can affect the health and appearance of the tongue. The most common deficiencies which do so are B-vitamins (in particular B6 and B12).

  • B-vitamins – each individual B-vitamin has its own specific role to keep the body healthy. Deficiencies in B6 or B12 can lead to a swollen and sore tongue, along with teeth indentations and fissures on the surface of the tongue.
  • Iron – an iron deficiency can cause swelling of the tongue and painful sores in the mouth. The tongue will also appear pale and smooth due to the lack of haemoglobin in the blood.
  • Vitamin C – keeps capillaries and mouth tissue strong. Bleeding gums are often the result of a lack of vitamin C. Also helps the body fight off infections and bacteria’s such as the Candida bacteria that causes tongue thrush.
  • Calcium – the jaw and teeth have a high calcium content, and so a deficiency in calcium can reduce resistance to infections and tooth decay. Vitamin D can also have a positive impact on oral health.

Poor oral hygiene can result in the spread of harmful bacteria around the mouth, infections, and bad breath. In order to keep your tongue clean brush and floss teeth twice daily and don’t forget to brush your tongue too!

Take care of your body, and your tongue will be healthy.  And don’t forget to take care of your tongue!

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