This is the everything-you-need-to-know-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible newsletter, brought to you by Kristy Russ, pharmacist and health consultant. I have over 16 years experience in helping people improve their health. I specialize in nutritional medicine, which is the secret of "true" preventative medicine. Yes, if I'm successful in getting people to follow my advice, I will put myself out of a job.

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How much melatonin is your body making?

Okay, last e-zine on sleep. I know I'm dwelling on this, but it's just so darn important to your health AND it's so common to not get enough that it needs to be fixed.

Remember that sleep deprivation is responsible for many health problems and even early death! Check out the back issues if your memory needs refreshing... (back issue link at the end of this e-zine)

Did you try all the sleep tips from the last issue? If you're still having troubles, read on- there's more in this one.

The focus today is melatonin- a hormone that your body naturally makes in the evening in response to lower light. It's what tells your body that it's time to sleep.

Melatonin is controlled solely by light. When it's dark, your body starts making it until it senses light (even through your eyelids). Evolutionarily (a word I just made up), it was meant to put you to sleep a few hours after sunset and wake you up shortly after sunrise. It worked great up until a hundred years ago, when we started using artificial light which extended the natural day. And the more gadgets that have entered our households, the more messed up our melatonin production has become.

To help your body's natural melatonin production, start reproducing "natural" light patterns. Keep lighting fairly dim in the evening and try not to be focussing on light sources like computer screens, cell phones and even TV for at least an hour before going to bed.

Make sure to keep lighting relatively dim while you're getting ready for bed too- that means bedroom and bathroom lighting. (That's my hubby's problem- we have the lights dimmed in the living room and head to bed all sleepy and then he insists on turning on the zillion watts of light in our bathroom while he's brushing his teeth instead of the nice indirect light we have. Then he wonders why he doesn't sleep well- go figure.)

It's extremely important to make sure that you have no light in the room while you're sleeping!!! As soon as the body senses light, melatonin production stops and that signals your body to wake up.

Here are the main sources of light at night and what to do about them:

  • Light coming through the window
    Obviously streetlights in the city are an issue, but even moonlight will stop melatonin production. So put some kind of light-blocking curtains or blinds on your bedroom windows.
  • Digital displays from electronics.
    Yes, even these give off enough light to affect melatonin. Get rid of them if you can or at the very least turn them away from the bed.

    Of course, most alarm clocks are digital now, so when choosing one, try to at least get one with a red display. Melatonin production is most sensitive to blue light (which is most electronics today unfortunately).

  • Middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.
    First of all, try to stop drinking a couple of hours before bed so your sleep isn't interupted by a full bladder. If you must get up, try not to turn a light on (or at least use the dimmest one possible). Even a quick flash of light is enough to stop melatonin production.

  • Ideally your room should be dark enough that you can't see anything but the slightest shadows when your eyes are open. If that's not possible, get yourself a sleep mask. Make sure it's only tight enough to stay on and be comfortable- you don't want to block any circulation while you're sleeping especially- even a small amount of pressure can do it.

    If all of these sleep tips fail, you may benefit from taking a melatonin supplement. Unlike other sleeping pills, which interfere with REM sleep, melatonin just gives your body what it's supposed to be making anyway. You may need anywhere from 0.5 to 5mg- start with 2mg and go up or down as needed. Sometimes all it takes is a few good sleeps in a row to break that cycle of sleeplessness. If you end up needing it every night, then so be it- it's better than sleeping pills.

    Just like other supplements, though, you have to be very choosy about your melatonin supplement. The market is flooded with so-called melatonin supplements that don't actually have any melatonin in them or have such a low quality that it does no good, or worse, also has something else in it to make you sleepy but wrecks your sleep or isn't even safe!

    For sure it needs to be a sublingual tablet (one that you let dissolve under your tongue instead of swallowing). Melatonin is not well-absorbed by the gut at all, so if the company hasn't even taken that into account, it doesn't bode well for the overall quality.

    I would highly recommend PureRest, made by Usana Health Sciences. It is a highly potent and pure melatonin supplement you can trust to be safe and effective. It's quick-acting so you can take it about 1/2 hour before bed and even if you wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and can't get back to sleep (Don't worry, it will be out of your system by 7 or 8 so you can still get up when you need to.) Order some here...

    Speaking of supplements, here's another tip: if you're taking a "multi" supplement that has the mineral component in a separate tablet (which you should if you've followed my previous advice about supplements), take the minerals in the evening with supper. Minerals like calcium & magnesium have a natural relaxing effect so you can make use of that...

    So now you're armed with lots of usable tips to send yourself off to dreamland... I'll await all the thankyou notes from your boss and family for the happier, healthier, more productive person I've just created. ;-)

    Because Laughter Really IS Good Medicine...

    Don't know who wrote this, but it gave me a good chuckle...

    TO THOSE OF US BORN 1925 - 1970 :

    No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us, WE ARE AWESOME !!!

    OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

    First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

    They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

    Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

    We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.

    As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..

    Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

    We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

    We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

    We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight.


    Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

    We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

    No one was able to reach us all day. --And, we were OKAY.

    We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..

    We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.

    WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

    We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

    We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.

    We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

    We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.

    We knew that are fathers had guns, and we knew enough to leave them alone, not take them to school to show our friends.

    We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

    Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

    Imagine that!!

    The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

    These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.

    The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..

    We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

    If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!

    You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

    While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

    Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

    What's New at

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    BUT make sure you're using products that actually deliver or you're just wasting your money.

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    Antioxidants Skin Care Products

    Antioxidant Discussion Forums

    Create your very own webpage on my site! (Don't worry- you don't need to know anything about how to do it. If you can type, done!) If you have an interesting story to share or have a comment or question about a topic on the site, you can post it right onto the website. Read about how others have been affected by antioxidants, make a comment on someone else's submission or post your own.

    It's fun. It's free. And you don't have to register for anything.

    Click here to post your own story, comment or question.

    Nutrition News

    Here are links to informative and/or interesting news articles on nutrition...

    Omega-3 Reduces Anxiety And Inflammation In Healthy Students

    No Single Approach Will Solve America's Obesity Epidemic

    The Importance Of Family Meals Throughout The Teen Years

    Managing Type 2 Diabetes - A 'Nutty' Solution

    Exercise May Help Regulate Body Weight By Influencing Gut Hormones Released Before And After Meals

    Fewer Pistachio Calories Absorbed By Body Than First Thought?

    Teenagers LEARN To Prefer The Taste Of Sugar-Sweetened, Carbonated Beverages That Contain Caffeine

    Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

    See you next month...

    Good Health to You,

    Kristy Russ, BScPharm Pharmacist and Health Consultant

    P.S. Give your body the best nutrition possible. You'll not only feel better now, but you'll also have that quality of life in the future that you've always imagined for yourself. Click here to find out more.