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Genes Load the Gun – Lifestyle Choices Pull the Trigger

epigenetic chiropracticWe once thought that the human genome served as a recipe for the body and that when you end up with “bad genes” there is simply nothing that can be done. Sometimes “bad things” happen to “good people” and that was long thought to be the end of story. The fact of the matter is that what you are born with is only the beginning of the story, and every day, through the choices you make in the area of diet, exercise, meditation, and Chiropractic care, you are actually recreating all aspects of your body. 

Although the genes you are born with can be thought of as loading your genetic gun, it is your life choices that determine when and even if those genes are ever fired. This is why a woman who carries a gene for breast cancer does not have breast cancer the moment she is born or perhaps even several decades into her life. Something must trigger the expression of that gene in her body. A recent study revealed that by practicing intermittent fasting, women can significantly reduce the chances of expressing the genes responsible for developing breast cancer. With life choices, we can choose whether or not to express certain genes.

There are thousands of epigenetic switches on each of our 25,000 genes and the position of those switches — whether the gene is turned on or off — is what determines when and if any given gene expresses in the body. 

So the question is, what controls expression of the genes? The pharmaceutical industry is spending billions of dollars looking for pills that will turn these epigenetic switches on and off. Science has already discovered the most powerful keys to the epigenetic switches. A clean diet, consistent exercise, centered emotions, daily meditation and Chiropractic care have all been shown to have powerfully positive epigenetic impacts. Currently, it is estimated that somewhere between 70 and 90% of our genes can be turned on and off epigenetically.

When you eat processed and conventional food, fail to exercise, and struggle to manage stress in life, you are playing a potentially deadly game of genetic Russian roulette. You cannot  continue to abuse the body without suffering in health. The beauty of how our bodies come to be is that we are now creating our body’s future experience with the choices made today.


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Essential Oils Now Available at Baltuska Chiropractic!

Essential OilsPic

Essential Oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices. I enjoy using oils topically during patient care and diffusing scents into the office for additional health benefits. Essential Oils are great to help cut down or avoid the use of dangerously invasive medications. You can give your whole medicine cabinet a make-over.

Essential oils are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends in one of three methods:

Aromatic

Essential oils, when diffused, can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also cleanse and purify the air.

Topical

Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and many can be safely applied topically when used in conjunction with a carrier oil, such as Coconut Oil.

Internal

Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions.

Some of the most commonly used oils include Peppermint for tummy trouble and headaches, Lavender for stress and anxiety, Tea Tree for topical skin infections, and Eucalyptus for sinuses and breathing. There are many other more exotic oils to use and the possibilities are endless when mixing them together.

You can shop online now at www.mydoterra.com/baltuskachiropractic and have your favorite oils delivered to your home or purchase them in my practice when you visit for care.

Schedule your appointment for Chiropractic or Acupuncture at this link:
Schedule Appointment Now!


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Acupuncture now available at Baltuska Chiropractic!

AcupunctureAcupuncture now available at Baltuska Chiropractic! 

Call 913-283-9803 or schedule yourself online at this link: Schedule Now!

Acupuncture is a natural healing practice developed from Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for more than 2000 years.

It works on the premise that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called meridians, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the tissues. An obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is like a dam that backs up in others.

The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points. The acupuncture needles clear the obstructions at the dams, and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption, and energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.

The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.

The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

The experience of receiving acupuncture is very gentle and relaxing. The idea of needles in the skin makes many people uneasy, but once they try it out, realize that the needles stay well within the superficial layers of the outer skin layer. Patients then relax seated or laying down in a private room for about 20 minutes until the needles are then removed.

I invite you to experience acupuncture for just $30 at Baltuska Chiropractic.

Call 913-283-9803 or schedule yourself online at this link: Schedule Now!


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Lenexa Chiropractor Kelly Baltuska, DC Back Pain, Neck Pain, Headache, Stress, Anxiety, Sleep, Flexibility, Fewer Colds

TableChiroCallnowTop Benefits of Chiropractic Care

First of all, your spine protects the most important system in your body, your central nervous system. When the vertebrae in your spine become restricted in their motion, the area begins to degenerate at a faster rate than normal. Degeneration is a normal part of aging, but lack of motion in a joint speeds up the degeneration process. We are now beginning to see advanced stages of spinal degeneration in people as young as 30. This is due to lack of activity and lack of motion in the spine. The health concern with spinal degeneration is that the space that protects your spinal nerves decreases. This directly affects spinal nerve function in a negative way, as the nerves become inflamed.

Some of the later symptoms of spinal degeneration are shooting pain down the arms and/or legs and muscle weakness. Any organ systems these spinal nerves innervate, are also affected and begin to not function as well as they should. This is why chiropractors stress getting adjusted on a regular basis even if you don’t show pain. Pain is often the later stage of the problem.

With that said, your central nervous system controls all function in your body. By keeping your spine aligned, you prevent degeneration of your spine and maintain the health of your central nervous system. Visit your chiropractor today and start feeling better! In the meantime, here are five more reasons why you should get adjusted on a regular basis:

Click here to schedule your Chiropractic Adjustment online now!

1. Improved Posture & Relief of Back Pain

The research doesn’t lie, as chiropractic is proven to be effective time and time again for neck pain and low back pain. (1,2,4)

This is the most common reason patients seek chiropractic care. Chiropractors are very good at getting to the root cause of the problem, so that you get out of pain. Unfortunately, many patients wait for the pain to get severe before seeking chiropractic care. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong and should not be accepted as normal. One of the most common things we hear in the office before a patient seeks chiropractic care is that “I just thought I’d tough it out” or “I thought the pain would go away”.

Don’t let the pain get to this point. Just about every patient wishes they would have tried chiropractic sooner because of the relief it provides. Many patients also choose to get regular chiropractic care, once a week or once a month, so that their pain does not ever return or get worse.

2. Fewer Headaches

There are many reasons physiologically why chiropractic can help with your headaches. One reason would be that misalignments in your spine cause stress on your nervous system resulting in muscle tension, neck pain, and headaches. Getting adjusted helps remove this stress. (6)

Did you know that there are two arteries called the vertebral arteries that run between the cervical vertebrae in your neck? When the vertebrae in your neck become misaligned, this causes stress on the arteries, resulting in vascular headaches such as migraines. Adjustments help remove this stress and relieve migraine headaches. (3)

3. Less Stress & Less Anxiety

Everyone is familiar with the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord. But, are you familiar with the autonomic nervous system? The parasympathetic and sympathetic systems make up the autonomic nervous system and are responsible for the body’s unconscious functions.

Adjustments to the spine help restore the balance between these two systems which is important for controlling stress and anxiety. (5) Again, often times after an adjustment, patient’s often report feeling “Lighter” and “More free”.

4. Greater Energy & Better Sleep

Adjustments positively affect the autonomic nervous system which can help improve energy. In addition, because the central nervous system is calmed after adjustments, the mind is able to relax and many patients often experience a very restful sleep. We’ve had many patients tell us that “last night was the best sleep I’ve had in years”, after an adjustment.(5)

5. Better Coordination & Flexibility

Muscle spasms and tightness occur when there are restrictions in your spine. By getting adjusted, the “tightness” is relieved and patients often feel like they can not only move better, but also feel like they can breathe better.  As mentioned before, the removal of this tightness can also help with tension headaches.(7)

6. Improved Immune System & Fewer Colds

The central nervous system and autonomic nervous system control immune system function. Adjustments improve their function which indirectly affects immune system function. In fact, Dr. Hampton adjusts his family whenever anyone starts to feel under the weather. By getting adjusted before the cold/sickness kicks in, it can help boost your immune system so that virus is defeated before it even gets started.

Click here to schedule your Chiropractic Adjustment online now!

1: BMJ 2003; 326 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7395.911 (Published 26 April 2003)

2: JAMA Patient Page. April 24, 2013. Low Back PainDenise M. Goodman, MD, MS; Alison E. Burke, MA; Edward H. Livingston, MD

3: A case of chronic migraine remission after chiropractic care. Peter J. Tuchin

4: Efficacy of spinal manipulation and mobilization for low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review and best evidence synthesis. Bronfort G1, Haas M, Evans RL, Bouter LM.

5: Heart failure as an autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Takuya Kishi, MD, PhD,

6: Boline PD, Kassak K, Bronfort G, et al. Spinal manipulation vs. amitriptyline for the treatment of chronic tension-type headaches: A randomized clinical trial J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995;18(3): 148-154.

7: The effect of spinal manipulation on imbalances in leg strength. Philip D. Chilibeck, PhD, Stephen M. Cornish, PhD, Al Schulte, DC, Nathan Jantz, MSc, Charlene R.A. Magnus, BSc, Shane Schwanbeck, MSc, and Bernhard H.J. Juurlink, PhD

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Believe it in Your Heart that Life is Miraculous

 

old-and-healthy

I was visiting with a good friend and patient of mine earlier this afternoon during his weekly adjustment. He was just about to turn 70 years old and told me about his monthly lunch get-together with his lifelong friends. Over the last few years, he has watched as his buddies let their health slip away. Poor diet and inactivity were catching up with them and causing many different kinds of problems in how they felt and how they functioned. What was once a cheery reunion full of laughter and nostalgic memories now seemed to be a pity party. Each guy would take turns complaining about a body part, explaining why they were worse off then the last guy. They would solemnly talk about their favorite activities that they missed doing since their health deteriorated. Then they would explain how some of the regulars couldn’t attend that day due to hospitalizations or doctors appointments.

This was difficult for my friend to watch. We agreed that the more often we see and hear of people suffering, the more we wanted to avoid such a demise. This would encourage us to take better care of ourselves and do our best to maintain good health in many different ways. I do understand that there are uncontrollable variables that cause pathology in us. I often wonder if I might end up the unlucky diagnosis of a completely random and fatal condition, simply because it would be so ironic for a guy who spends so much time, energy, money, and focus on trying to be as healthy as possible. An outside perspective might shake their head and think: “All that for nothing. What a shame.”

But as the healthy habits and practices become so ingrained, I wonder how others could get along living any other way. It really doesn’t take more than a couple of days falling out of the routines to start to feel worse in my mind, body and spirit. I crave the practices that nourish me. As I reflect upon my life’s calling, I continue to return back to similar ideas. I want to show you how to take care of yourself. I want you to feel vibrant, young, healthy, and alive. I want you to learn to love the practices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit so that you too can live your calling and passion. I smile SO BIG when a patient gets it. 

As for the sick and suffering, please know that you can always do more to nurture yourself. When the health maladies begin to overlap and the medications begin to mix dangerously within your body, the heaviness of self defeat is gargantuan. Know that what is holding you back the most is the limitations you have in your thoughts and your mind. Cyclical negative ideas will stop you in your tracks before even attempting to change your ways. Your body will freak out when you try to trade a bad habit for a healthy one. Break free from those old stories you have been telling yourself and your loved ones. Rewrite a vision for yourself. One that is fresh and revitalizing. Believe it in your heart that life is miraculous and be amazed and grateful when the healing ensues. 

Schedule your own Chiropractic adjustment at this link.

I’ll be looking forward to meeting you!


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Disarm Your Diagnosis

disarm your diagnosis

Consider the power of the mind. Deep reflection and self awareness may help you to realize how severely limiting, constricting, debilitating, and self-sabotaging your thoughts can be.

If impressed upon you that there was something different about your body that causes it to function sub-optimally, you might for the rest of your life, believe deeply within yourself that you are a victim. You might install a deep seeded belief or value that it is more difficult for you to do something than it is for others. As you age, you may even begin to introduce yourself to others shortly followed by, “I have __________.” Insert any condition here including and not limited to: ADHD, fibromyalgia, arthritis, introvert/extrovert, obsession compulsion, sciatica, depression, flat feet, bad knees, anxiety, IBS, etc. (This list could go on for days.) Each time you say this out loud to others or quietly to yourself this ailment becomes your own. You are assigning ownership to the condition and reinforcing it in your life both consciously and subconsciously. You begin to own this sickness as if it is an accessory or even a pet. Each time it burrows deeper within your being. As time goes by, the condition you are reinforcing becomes so real. It is now a part of you that you may even consider inseparable. The more power that you grant this condition over you, the more limiting it will be in your life.
You can start to “disarm your diagnosis” right now by simply changing how you think about your condition. No longer give it power over you. No longer give it ownership by saying the words: “my bad knees” or “my migraines” etc. Rather, discuss the condition or the symptoms in a way that lessens the ownership. For instance, “Even though I have these terrible headaches, this does not define me as a person.” Or, “Even though I feel discomfort in my knees, this does not limit the activities that I can do in life.” Right away this distances you from the problem. It separates you as a person who has the full capacity to heal and feel well. Keep at it every day, especially if you have already taken ownership to a condition for years. It sounds stupid simple, I know. But I have experienced the improvements within myself and witnessed the life changing progress in others.
Want to take it one step further? You can actually tap into your meridians and remove negative blockages in your body’s energy system with Emotional Freedom Tapping Technique (EFT tapping). This practice, along with the changing and reshaping of your thoughts in relation to the problem at hand, can provide phenomenal improvement in many different areas of your life.

Think well to feel well,

Kelly Baltuska, DC


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Grounding or Earthing

Grouding or EarthingHave We Lost Touch with the Earth?

Do you notice you feel better when you walk barefoot on the Earth? Long walks on the beach may have more to offer than romance and peace of mind. Research indicates that electrons from the Earth have antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For most of our evolutionary history, humans have had continuous contact with the Earth.
It is only recently that building materials like asphalt, wood and rugs, in our homes have separated us from this contact. Only in the past 100 years have we begun to design shoes with plastics and rubbers that act as electric insulators that prevent the Earth’s natural flow of energy from reaching the human body. Think to yourself: “When is the last time I spent physically touching the earth?” For some people, this may be years!
It is known that the Earth maintains a negative electrical potential on its surface. When you are in direct contact with the ground when standing, walking, sitting, or laying down, the earth’s electrons are conducted to your body, bringing it to the same electrical potential as the earth. Living in direct contact with the earth grounds your body, inducing favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimum health.
There is emerging science documenting how conductive contact with the Earth, which has is also known as Earthing or grounding, is highly beneficial to your health and completely safe. Earthing appears to minimize the consequences of exposure to potentially disruptive fields like “electromagnetic pollution” or “dirty electricity.” Some of the recent evidence supporting this approach involves multiple studies documenting Earthing’s improvement in immune system function, blood viscosity, heart rate variability, inflammation, cortisol dynamics, sleep, autonomic nervous system balance, and stress reduction.


The Ultimate Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Grounding or Earthing is defined as placing one’s bare feet on the ground whether it be dirt, grass, sand or concrete. It works even better if the ground is moist or wet because water is such a powerful conductor. When you ground yourself to the electron-enriched earth, may actually be the most effective, essential, least expensive, and easiest to attain antioxidant. It is common understanding how tremendously we rely on the Sun’s energy to sustain life. It seems that it is not as much a common thought, that our physical contact with the earth is imperative for life also.
Modern science continues to document the connection between inflammation and all of the chronic diseases, including the diseases of aging and the aging process itself. It is important to understand that inflammation is a condition that can be reduced or prevented by grounding your body to the Earth, the way virtually all of your ancestors have done for hundreds if not thousands of generations.
I invite you to take 10 to 20 minutes a day to devote to grounding yourself with the Earth. The more time the better. Take note the many benefits that you notice with this practice. Many people report more energy, less stress, better sleep, less irritable, clear thought, and less pain.

Sound far fetched? Hockey-pokey? Hippy-dippy? I thought so too a little bit until I made it a priority to try out myself. Now it is my favorite way to recover after a long run or a workout.

Enjoy this free documentary about Grounding on YouTube:

You can even purchase equipment to practice grounding indoors. Check these out:

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Do You Even Breathe?!

Conscious BreathingOne of the simplest ways to improve health right this moment is absolutely free! Breathe deeply to increase oxygen intake, relieve stress, cleanse the body of toxins, improve digestion, alkalize your blood and much more.
What’s wrong with how I breathe now?
Without the practice of conscious breathing, you may be unaware that you are, in a way, suffocating yourself throughout your unconscious breathing habits. With shallow, frequent and anxious breathing, there is not enough oxygen provided for the optimal performance of all of your cellular activity. Breathing too shallow and rapidly can cause an imbalanced pH condition by stimulating the nervous system to release too many stress hormones. This can also cause the body to become oxygen deprived and leave excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the blood, leading to an overly acidic state.
What is the correct way to breathe?
There are many different ways to practice breathing techniques. From professional singers and horn instrument musicians to Yoga, Tia Chi, Qigong and other Eastern martial arts, many teachers acknowledge that proper breathing is paramount to personal performance. I encourage you to study them and practice daily for your optimal health and wellness. You may be surprised to find out how poor your breathing patterns have become and actually feel a type of post exercise soreness within your core at your diaphragm after the first few exercises.
“Hypo-gastric” breathing means breathing below your stomach and bowels. This is a misnomer because the lowest parts of your lungs end before your stomach begins. But this does help us visualize and perform optimal breathing. By focusing on pulling the air deep in your core below your belly button, this will ensure the maximum use of all of the lung tissue while distending your digestive organs out of the way to allow more room. This also allows you access to your energy core. According to Eastern thought, breathing is the primary way we bring energy into the body. We extract energy from the breath and store it in the lower abdomen, and the more we can extract and store, the better our physical condition. 
Practice conscious breathing right now:
I invite you to practice deep; full breaths that fill the lower part of your lungs. Don’t be afraid of letting your belly hang out at first, but with practice, you should be able to pull a full breath without exaggerating this motion. Count to four slowly as you inhale, pause for four, and exhale for a count of four. When you exhale, imagine pushing the energy from your lungs into the lower abdomen about four fingers below the navel and about 2 inches deep into your core. If you’re in good condition, you may feel something right away. If not, with practice you soon will. You may feel a tingling sensation in your abdomen or lower back, or heat, or a pleasantly springy feeling in the abdomen, as though pushing on a shock absorber. You may also feel the spine relaxing and small movements with cavitation and popping or clicking taking place in the bones and muscles, similar to when you receive a Chiropractic Adjustment. Your physical body is releasing tension and stabilizing itself into optimal health. The position of body structures relative to each other are falling into alignment. This is a gradual process, like training a new skill, but each time you’ll be able to benefit more with less effort and less focus – it will become natural.
Practice often! Practice conscious breathing just a few minutes of this each morning, night, during a workout, while driving or at stoplights, or while practicing EFT tapping technique. As you become a pro, you will be able to passively and subconsciously pull more successful breaths throughout your typical daily routine which will have a profound impact on your overall health. 
Breathe easy,
Kelly Baltuska, DC

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Emotional Freedom Tapping Technique (EFT Tapping)

My name is Dr. Kelly Baltuska, DC and I want to share with you a very powerful self healing tool that can help improve any and every aspect of your life depending on how you choose to use it. It is very quick and easy to learn and use. It is so versatile, in that you can utilize it to address anything from removing negative emotions, reducing food cravings and other addictions, reducing or eliminating pain, implementing positive goals, and even improving performance. This is the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT tapping. This is the most popular form of Energy Psychology used today. EFT has been extensively studied and has shown profound results in symptom relief across the whole spectrum of the human condition. Daily practice has even demonstrated a decrease in Cortisol levels in the body. This is a stress hormone that can reek havoc on all of our body systems. For this reason, daily use can provide preventative healthcare benefits. EFT operates on the premise that emotional issues in many forms get in the way of the bodies natural healing potential and the ability to function optimally. EFT can be an ongoing process that we use to clear our mind of past traumas, and welcome any new challenges with a healthy, productive attitude. By implementing this tool, your limiting beliefs can vanish, personal performance can soar, relationships can thrive, and vibrant physical, mental and emotional health can all be yours.

The cause of ALL negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.

This includes fears, phobias, anger, grief, anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, worry, guilt and all limiting emotions in business, sports, and the performing arts. We will all at some point or another experience these emotions. EFT is the perfect tool to acknowledge them and move on. I will demonstrate how you can get started right now by showing you two basic strategies. The first will be the mechanics of tapping and the second will be tuning into the problem and setting a strong affirmation. There are many areas on your body that correlate to the Ancient Meridian points. We will, gently and repeatedly, tap with two fingers about 7 times in each area while focusing your thoughts inward, directed at the emotional aspects of your goal. I welcome anyone and everyone to use this tool for their optimal health and wellbeing. With practice, you will become more skillful at EFT and achieve better results.
It is very important to really focus on whats bugging you both physically and emotionally. As best you can, try to stir this up and bring them to the surface. Be it pain, stress, anxiety, obsession or cravings anything, you name it. Whatever it is, experience it fully and describe it vividly out loud. Next, use the phrase: “Even though I have this ___________, I completely love, honor and respect myself.” Fill in the blank with whatever it is you’d like to work on. For the purpose of this video, I will use stress and anxiety as the focus point. But just because this is how you are learning EFT, don’t forget that the possibilities are endless as far as what you would like to self treat. I invite you to follow along with the video above and repeat as I do in my actions and words to begin learning and practicing right now. After you learn the basic principles, you can personalize this to your specific condition for better results.

You will likely feel instant results with EFT. If not, just go around again and be creative and modify your affirmations to suit your specific condition. Keep practicing multiple times each day. Try EFT as soon as you wake up, before every meal, every time you go the restroom, when stopped at red lights, and when you go to bed. This is such a neat tool to use for your optimal health and wellness. Share this with your friends and family and let me know how you have used EFT to improve your life.

Schedule your next Chiropractic Adjustment online now using this link!


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Dr. Baltuska’s Sleep Hacks for Optimal Rest

DrBsleepSleep is every bit as important for optimal health as healthy food, pure water, exercise, prayer and meditation, and Chiropractic adjustments. The human body’s sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, plays a central role in multiple processes including mood and energy levels, disease progression, weight gain and much more.

In Sleep Deprivation, Life is ROUGH!

Reaction Time Slows: When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re not going to react as quickly as you normally would, making every activity of the day a potentially dangerous one.

Cognition Suffers:
Your ability to think clearly is dampened and you will have trouble retaining memories, processing information, and making decisions.

Emotions Are Heightened:
Your emotions will be kicked into high gear. This means that arguments with co-workers or your spouse are more likely and you’re probably going to blow things way out of proportion. Count on experiencing strong anxiety and flowing tears.

Immune System Shutdown:
Chronic sleep deprivation will weaken your immune system to that of a 80-year-old on antibiotics. You will be sick often. And if not actually sick, you will feel sick.

Better Sleep Quality and Quantity for Optimal Health

1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even a sliver light in your bedroom can disrupt your body’s clock and your pineal gland’s melatonin production. The glow from your clock radio, phone, moonlight, or streetlights could be interfering with your sleep, so do whatever it takes to find pitch black slumber. Move all electrical devices at least three feet away from your bed. You may want to cover your windows with drapes or blackout shades. I recommend a sleep mask to cover your eyes each night. The bonus of sleep masks are twofold. First, the sleep mask will reduce the amount of light reaching your eyes and pineal gland. Second, the Oculocardiac reflex is a physiological process that causes heart rate to drop when pressure is applied to the eyeballs. The sleep mask will trigger this response and calm your body allowing you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

2. Avoid viewing your phone, TV or computer screens in the evening, at least an hour or so before going to bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Normally, your brain starts secreting melatonin between 9 and 10 pm, and these devices emit light that may stifle that process. Even the American Medical Association now states: “…nighttime electric light can disrupt circadian rhythms in humans and documents the rapidly advancing understanding from basic science of how disruption of circadian rhythmicity affects aspects of physiology with direct links to human health, such as cell cycle regulation, DNA damage response, and metabolism.” Find out how to toggle your Iphone settings to protect your eyes from blue light when you use your phone just before bed here: Red Light Tint to Protect from Blue Light Exposure

3. Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces melatonin with the strong contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate the difference and will not optimize your melatonin production. Also, sun exposure is required to achieve optimal vitamin D levels for numerous health benefits.

4. Install a low-wattage yellow, orange, or red light bulb if you need a source of light for navigation at night. Light in these bandwidths does not shut down melatonin production in the way that white and blue bandwidth light does. You can also download a free application called F.lux that automatically dims your monitor or screens.

5. Keep the temperature in your bedroom between 60 and 70 degrees F. Many people keep their bedrooms too warm unintentionally just because heat rises to the upstairs rooms. Optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees F.

6. Take a hot bath before bedtime. This increases your core body temperature, and when you get out of the bath it abruptly drops, signaling your body that you are ready to sleep.

7. Avoid using loud alarm clocks. Being jolted awake each morning can be very stressful. Every time the loud alarm shocks you into reality, your body’s stress hormones flood the bloodstream. Imagine what you are doing to yourself with repeated use of the “snooze” button every morning! If you are regularly getting enough sleep, you might not even need an alarm.

8. Be mindful of electromagnetic fields in your bedroom. EMFs can disrupt your pineal gland and its melatonin production, and may have other negative biological effects as well. A gauss meter is required if you want to measure EMF levels in various areas of your home. Ideally, you should turn off any wireless router while you are sleeping. You don’t need the Internet on when you are asleep.

Nighty-night,

Kelly Baltuska, DC