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What is melatonin and how does it work? (Benefits and Usage)

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

According to statistics published by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) last August:

"Melatonin use among adults in the United States more than doubled between 2007 and 2012," with over 3 million people currently taking the supplement.

This substance has recently gained attention as the subject of new research for applications that include more than just sleep health.

But what is it, exactly? 


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Cancer & sleep apnea: The blood oxygen compromise

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Sometimes it may seem as if every chronic health concern can be traced back to untreated sleep apnea.

And in many ways, that's not an unrealistic conclusion, given what we know about sleep breathing disorders and how they systemically influence all the different biological processes we undergo as human beings. 

But is it true that untreated sleep apnea can compromise the body so much that it creates the proper conditions for supporting the growth and spread of tumors? 

Sleep is a whole-body process with a unique relationship to each and every system in the body. Poor sleep ultimately leads to system disruption, and with enough system disruption, all kinds of chronic disease can settle in and flourish.

Cancer seems to have a direct relationship to untreated sleep apnea, with some researchers suggesting that one of the main problems with sleep apnea—nocturnal intermittent hypoxia—is mostly to blame for the greater resistance by cancer cells to therapies (i.e. radiation). 

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When chronic pain is the enemy of sleep

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

According to statistics from the 2015 Sleep in America™ Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation: 

  • Nearly a quarter of those who suffer with chronic pain report higher stress levels
  • Nearly half of those who suffer with chronic pain experience problems at work due to pain-related sleep loss 
  • People who suffer with chronic pain lose 42 minutes a night of sleep because of it. That translates into nearly 5 hours weekly, and over 10 days annually. Sleep debt like this can be extremely difficult to overcome
  • A third of those who suffer with chronic pain cannot get enough sleep even when they try to do so for their health and well being

Clearly, pain is the enemy.

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The truth about pregnancy and sleep apnea: Know your risks... treatment is easy

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Learn more about sleep apnea as it relates to: 

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How to use relaxation techniques & exercises to fall asleep

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Often, insomnia is the outcome of our inability to relax at night. It can be hard to wind down after a long, stressful day.

However, the consequences of untreated insomnia are too serious to ignore. 

The good news is that relaxation techniques for sleep and breathing exercises abound for those who wish to learn how to relax and find new ways to settle in for the night.

Most are affordable, easy to practice, and can be done anywhere you need to sleep.

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How can sleep benefit from massage therapy?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Insomnia, as we've discussed at this blog previously, leads to problems with intense fatigue and cognitive "fog," as well as adverse influences over mood, if it becomes chronic and remains untreated.

However, according to research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association and endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, massage therapy can be a terrific solution for addressing insomnia.

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Why is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) recommended for insomnia?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

What is the treatment you first think of for managing insomnia?

Most people automatically think of hypnotic sleep aids like Ambien as the go-to treatment for sleeplessness.

However, a non-drug therapy for insomnia called CBT-i is poised to be the most effective and common way to treat insomnia.

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Did you know? Stubborn insomnia may actually be sleep apnea

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Recent research suggests that those with stubborn insomnia—who have not responded to a variety of drugs and therapiesmay not have insomnia at all.

Another stealthy sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), may actually be to blame.

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Ignore insomnia at your peril: Side effects & consequences

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Not getting enough sleep can make anybody miserable, even if it's only one night, now and again.

For some, though, insomnia is a frequent and ongoing reality. The challenge for them is in finding solutions that work.

After all, treating insomnia doesn't only improve sleep health, it prevents a host of other mental and physical problems that can be very difficult to treat, worsen quality of life, and even cut your life short.

Simply put, the consequences of not sleeping are serious enough that you should not ignore them. 

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What kinds of medical problems cause insomnia?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

You may struggle with sleeping problems even though you practice good sleep hygiene. 

Did you know that many chronic illnesses or medical conditions can also cause insomnia?

What is insomnia? It's defined as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and awakening too early. (You can read more about insomnia here.)

It's usually not considered a primary sleep disorder, but a symptom: the result of an external factor, such as medical diseases, disorders, and conditions.

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