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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

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Benefits of Running and Tips to Avoid Injury

Kelly Baltuska, DC KC 1/2 Marathon, October 2013

Dr. Baltuska Running the KC 1/2 Marathon, October 2013

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
-Hebrews 12:1

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Running
Did you know habitual runners can benefit from an average of an extra 6 years of life? Some other great benefits of running include:

  • Improved mental health- with that runners high and euphoric feeling you get after a good run.
  • Running lowers the effect of Asthma by strengthening lungs and bronchi. Unfortunately a lot of people avoid running because of their asthma and this should be the exact opposite.
  • It expands the arteries and helps people in maintaining their blood pressure.
  • Boosts up your immune system and helps to combat illness and other diseases. Our lymphatic systems rely on muscle movement and plyometric activities to circulate body fluids.
  • Individuals can burn around 700 to 800 calories by running for one hour.
  • Improves your physical strength by strengthening tendons and ligaments.
  • Increases bone density.
  • Helps people in maintaining their blood sugar level. How wonderful is this? Sugar is now in the spotlight for being a major culprit for our top killers. The latest discoveries about heart disease is that it is not the fats in our diet but instead the poorly controlled blood sugar levels. Cancer thrives with abundant sugar intake and wastes away when sugar is removed.

Running Tips to Avoid Injury

  • Shorter stride length
  • Increased cadence
  • Forefoot strike
  • Quiet, smooth & graceful
  • Arms close to core
  • Loose and relaxed fists and jaw
  • Head up and eyes toward the horizon
  • Maintain rhythm and effort uphill
  • Speed up and lengthen stride downhill

Chiropractic Perspective on Running Posture
I’d like to share a chiropractic perspective on running posture and tips to avoid running injuries. It is good practice to keep a short stride length when running. This is the distance each foot is traveling forward with each step. By keeping the steps short and close together, we can really lessen the impact of the gravitational forces that send shock-waves up our bodies and stress our musculoskeletal systems. With closer steps you will notice an increased cadence. This is in increased rate of steps per minute- so you are going to feel quick-footed. Another tip is to avoid heel strikes. The structure of the arches of our feet are amazing shock absorbers, and we completely nullify this function when clod-hopping around the block with our heels hitting the ground first. Instead, we need to shift our center of gravity forward and focus on a forefoot strike with each step. You will feel very ninja-like when doing this right. As if you are trying to sneak around without making much sound. Sound is a great way to know if you are running with good form. Running should be quiet and smooth and graceful. Arms should be bent at 90 degrees and close to your core without crossing the mid-line of your body during each motion. Loose and relaxed fists, and jaw is also important. Eyes and head should be straightforward and toward the horizon as opposed to down at the ground in front of you. When running uphill, maintain your rhythm and the same level of effort but shorten your stride and slow down as you climb. You should never try to maintain or increase your speed when hill climbing. When running downhill, let gravity work for you and speed up just a bit, but stay in control. Your stride will naturally lengthen. Try to avoid fighting gravity by forcefully leaning your weight back and resisting with strong quadriceps muscle contraction. Find your natural rhythm and then get lost in the graceful rocking motion of a long run. When you find this feeling, you are going to be hooked. You are going to be a runner for life and realize that you were in fact born to run.

Run for health,

Kelly Baltuska, DC

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There is No Such thing as Flu Season

Flu Season

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. These are all seasons.

Flu is not a season. There is no such thing as “the flu season”. Instead, we see trends every year when much of the population allows their immune system to falter due to poor daily lifestyle choices. It is common to see decreased exercise, decreased physical activity, decreased skin exposure to sunlight with decreased vitamin D levels. These practices can be difficult to continue during the colder weather.

The holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s encourage poor eating habits with an abundance of easily and readily available “food-like” substances that offer absolutely no nutritional value. There is a direct correlation between an increased sugar intake with decreased immune system function.

Try your best to adapt (or begin) your exercise routine to the climate change. This will allow you to gain the benefit of an increased immune system from physical activity. (There are far too many benefits of exercise to pass up.) Also, continue (or start) to eat real food. Truly nourishing whole food. Avoid fast food, restaurants, processed, packaged and frozen foods. Instead, consume plenty of colorful plant-based foods. Supplement with vitamin D year-round and increase your intake during the winter months. Consider a daily dose of Elderberry and a probiotic of some kind also.

Visit your Chiropractor for a full spine Chiropractic adjustment so that your Central Nervous System will be able to perform at a greater potential and increase your immune system function. All of these together will improve your already outstanding ability to adapt to your environment and remain strong and healthy throughout every season. (even the fabricated seasons)
In good health,
-Kelly Baltuska, DC