What is it? It is when, over a period of weeks or months, a person does not get enough sleep, or is not able to stay asleep and wake refreshed.
My Problem: Muscle spasms usually terrorize me as soon as I lay down to sleep. I take 5mg of Baclofen about 8 or 9pm and that helps. But what really works is eating more salads, greens, cabbage, and sweet potatoes with dinner. Also taking an alternating hot/cold shower before bedtime. That shower allows me to fall sleep right away with few or no spasms, sleep well, and wake up refreshed, alert, and energized. It’s wonderful!
Causes for Insomnia Are Numerous. Here are a few: Restless Leg Syndrome [RLS] – spasms and twitches associated with iron deficiency and caffeinated items; underlying problems with a person’s heart, brain, lungs, or other organs; over-eating and eating too close to bedtime; and eating junk foods [lots of chemicals, salt, fat, etc].
What Helps It? There are many things, but I will share some.
Daily eat healthy foods – fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, and beans. They help cells and muscles to be well fed and calm at bedtime.
Daily eat a big breakfast – combination of whole grain, fruit and nuts. Like oatmeal [rich in melatonin], fruits, and a handful of walnuts or almonds. Eat a big lunch with a salad. And have a light dinner with a salad – like soup, sandwich, and salad*, or fruit and sandwich. *Salads with Romaine lettuce are very calming and soothing for body and nervous system.
Avoid eating close to bedtime since it keeps the body busy digesting when it needs to rest.
Drink enough water – to help rinse out irritants and toxins in blood, so they don’t keep you awake.
Avoid meats and junk foods close to bedtime. They are complicated foods and will keep you awake.
Avoid alcohol [wine, etc.] – it disrupts sleep late in night.
Avoid nicotine – it stimulates nerves when the body needs sleep.
Avoid caffeine [in coffee, energy drinks, chocolate, tea, and more] – it is a drug and stimulates the nerves and body, and will keep you awake long after being consumed.
Also avoid these irritating foods: black pepper, ham, bacon, sausage, cheese, MSG [Mono sodium glutamate], NutraSweet®, and sugar.
Keep up your calcium and iron – to help keep body relaxed. I eat leafy greens, beans, oats, almonds, and avocado, plus take 1 tablespoon Plantation® Blackstrap Molasses once or twice a day.
Drinking herbal teas like Chamomile or Catnip are helpful.
Get sunlight every day, especially in early morning. This helps to increase melatonin levels [a hormone made by body] which helps you sleep at night.
Exercise for 30 minutes daily – outside when possible. It balances the nervous system.
One of my favorite helps is the alternating hot and cold shower: Shower with the warmest water possible [without burning] for 3 minutes, then turn water as cold as possible for 1 minute; then repeat this cycle 2 more times and end with cold water. It relaxes the body, helps get rid of toxins [can irritate body], and speeds up the immune system.
If possible: sleep with fresh air coming into the room; have room temperature a bit cooler – even in winter; and sleep without lights on [except nightlight].
As much as possible go to sleep at the same time each night. But before getting into bed, chill out and shut down. An hour or half hour before, shut off TV, computer, and all gadgets. And try not to take any drama-filled phone calls. Be quiet, meditate on blessings, or pray. Just calm down from the day. I try to get into bed by 10pm. But at 9:30pm I shut off the computer and read from the Bible. *Practice getting to bed before midnight, but by 10pm is even better. Why? The hours before midnight are the best for sleeping. This is when the body mostly builds up its supply of melatonin and growth hormone, and repairs the damage from the day – but only while you sleep.
There is so much more on this topic, but that’s all for now. The bottom line is avoid the irritating items and do what feeds and calms the body and the nerves. Hope you have more good nights. See you tomorrow night for the post on Foggy Brains. Take care.
This post was supposed to be on Principle of Health #3, but I wanted to share an experience with you. Perhaps my folly can help someone else.
This all began last Thursday [6/13/13] when I cooked dinner for the weekend. I didn’t have much time, so I needed something fast, easy, and delicious. On the menu was brown rice , organic sweet corn kernels, organic leaf spinach,* and a vegetarian dinner roast [a local health food store carries numerous non-meat, meat-like products]. *I don’t buy all organic. It’s costly. But I will usually splurge on organic vegetables and blueberries.
This dinner roast is delicious especially when I add onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme, then bake it. It’s made from wheat gluten, wheat flour, artificial flavors, MSG, and a lot more stuff. My husband likes it, and sadly, so do I. But I am gluten and wheat sensitive – they make me weak, and MSG [a flavor enhancer] gives me horrible leg spasms. I should never touch that roast. But I did. I ate a slice Friday evening. Saturday morning my legs were so weak. But dumb got dumber when I had two slices on Saturday. The muscles got weaker. Then dumber got dumbest (?) when I ate two slices on Sunday. Company was over and they ate a lot of it too.
Not only was this roast devastating my nerves and muscles, but so was the gravy – cream of mushroom soup [contains enriched wheat flour and more MSG]. I had added onion powder, garlic powder, and some cayenne pepper [for a kick]; blended it and poured it over the roast slices. It was good! But I was barely able to take steps, and my right knee was painful and collapsing. I was relying on my faithful scooter to get around. I also had horrible spasms in my neck and behind my ears. They felt like hot piercing knives. These spasms usually let me know my body is full of inflammation or in relapse. I was a mess and knew help was needed. I planned to call my neurologist and see if he would call in to my pharmacy a short – term dose of Prednisone [steroid]. That would usually perk me up.
But before calling the doctor I wanted to see if juicing would help things. I juiced pineapple and strawberries in the morning and carrots and celery in the evening. My skin looked great, I had more energy, and the leg spasms were a lot less. But I was still barely able to take steps, and Tuesday night I fell three times.
On Wednesday morning my sister in-law had heard about me falling and wanted to know if she could do anything to help. I told her my plan to ask the doctor for steroids. I didn’t like their bad side effects,* but wanted quick relief from my symptoms. Then, wise woman that she is, she asked, “Is there anything else you can take to help?” I thought for a moment and told her, “Flaxseed oil – it goes into the body faster than the ground seeds, and helps reduce inflammation.” Because of her question, I asked my husband to bring home a bottle of Spectrum Organic Flaxseed Oil Enriched with Ligans. *Some of my good side effects from Prednisone: wonderful strength and energy, great complexion, and clear thinking; and the bad ones – increased blood sugar, sweating, swelling, and being crabby at the end.
I took some oil Wednesday evening and had more energy, clearer thinking, and the neck spasms stopped. I took more on Thursday and continued to feel better. And today I can take steps without my right leg hurting or collapsing. I’m going to keep taking this oil.
What’s the point of me sharing this?
1. Know your body and study what makes it feel better or worse. Then avoid the hurtful things. Keep a food diary.
2. What helps or hurts the body, helps or hurts the brain. We need sharp brains.
3. Avoid processed foods whose list of ingredients are several inches long. Use more foods close to how nature made them.
4. Feeling, moving, and thinking poorly are not good or fun. Don’t be dumb like I was – chasing after something that tastes good, but beat the mess out of my body and brain. Take care of the only body you or I will ever have.
I look at dealing with MS as being in the fight of my life. This disease is determined to take as much from me as possible [and you too], but I can’t let it [and neither should you]. I dare not give in to what is supposed to happen, and wake up every day determined to fight. Living defensively is the name of this game.
Yes, my MS is progressing. I don’t have the mobility and strength I had 29 years ago [when first diagnosed]. But I thank God that I am not as bad off as I could be. I’m using simple, but powerful natural remedies, to help push MS back. Things like healthy foods, drinking enough water, regular exercise, getting fresh air and sunlight, going to bed before midnight, water therapy [cool showers, Epsom salt scrubs and baths*], helping others, being grateful for blessings, trusting God, keeping a positive attitude, and trying and praying to stay away from yummy, but junky foods and beverages. I like them, but they don’t help my body.
*Epsom Salt Baths – used to help pull toxins from body. Get into a tub of very warm water, add 2 lbs Epsom Salt and let it dissolve. Warm water helps to open skin pores and Epsom Salt helps pull out toxins. Then use hands or washcloth to repeatedly bring water over each body part, including face. Add more very warm water to tub as needed. Water will get gray colored as toxins are released. Do bath for 20 to 30 minutes. Can do several times a week.
The worst thing I [or you] could do is give in to this disease. To think or believe that the way I am now is how it has to be, is a major mistake. Why? For one, while we have breath we have hope. Also, the body responds to the good we do to it. And because, as mentioned above, there are simple tools I can use [and you too] to improve. I already use them and know they work!
Knowledge is power, but lack of it can lead to destruction. So, one of the first things to do is read. Learn about what can help and hurt the body. There is a lot of material out there, but some of it is so wrong. It shocks and scares me what some people share with the public in print, or on the radio, TV, and Internet. That’s why I’ve included a Recommend Page on this blog. These materials tell the truth about health. Please read Eat To Live, Health Power, The China Study, and Ride with The Wind. And watch the DVD, Forks Over Knives. They will open your eyes and give you hope!
Next thing to do is eat and drink better – do it little by little. What we put in our bodies builds the blood, which builds our health. Eating and being properly nourished no longer mean the same thing. More and more we are consuming things we enjoy, but they don’t feed the body.
Every day the body needs vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, plain water, and more. The best source for these is drinking water [I used distilled], fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans. They supply the body with what it needs – in the right amounts. Plus they contain elements that help protect us from disease, and help us recover if sickness comes. Even the best animal products can’t offer this. *Please avoid artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and flavor enhances [like MSG]. They are man-made and not best for the body.
Another thing to do is exercise. Do not neglect this. It is our lifeline to a better existence today and for all our tomorrows. Every day try to do something you like, and you will be more likely to keep doing it [even gardening and raking]. Action builds better and stronger nerves. No exercise causes nerves and muscles to become weak. My favorites: rebounding, swimming, elliptical machines, squats, and walking with walker.
The body operates on the principle of all its parts being in balance all the time. That includes nerves and muscles. If we work with our brains and hands [computers, offices, classrooms, stores, etc.], we must also exercise. Why? Imbalance. The nerves that control our mental activity are strained and the mind is overworked, while the nerves controlling our movements are not active. This inactivity leads to an unbalanced nervous system; to stress, fatigue, and depression; and also causes nerves and muscles to lose their strength.
Lastly, please do your best to avoid falling into the snake pit of self-pity. It will destroy you bit by bit. One of the best ways to miss this death trap is to help others. Find a way to bring sunshine into someone’s life each day.
There is so much more to share, but I will do that in future Posts. That’s all for now. Keep fighting, and I’ll see you next time.
Eating turnip greens, kale, or collard greens increase my strength;
Eating apples increase my strength and balance; reduce blurred vision and ‘foggy brain’;
Drinking freshly juiced wheatgrass [buy at health food stores], or pineapple and cantaloupe juice increase strength and steadiness, clear up ‘foggy brain’, and make my body feel so happy! For real!
I try to choose foods to help me get and stay well. But when I get weaker, tired, foggy-brained, have blurred vision, or other symptoms, unless it’s very serious, I try not to go to the doctor right away [will go if needed]. First I ask myself 3 questions:
“What did you eat or drink that could have caused this?” Most times I can [quickly] trace my symptom back to a wrong choice.
What are you getting too much of [that my body doesn’t need] or not enough of [what my body needs]?
What do you have in the house that can help reverse these symptoms?
For me, my MS symptoms increase when inflammation increases from unwise choices. To help reduce inflammation I drink ground flaxseed water; eat pineapple, strawberry, papaya, or grapes; munch on celery and carrot; eat brown rice, beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, greens [turnip, kale, collard, etc.].
Disease is common, not normal. But change is possible. We may not cure MS [or other illnesses] by eating and living better, but by making healthier choices we can improve our existence.
Years ago I used to fall a lot – either while walking or when I could still ride my bike [don’t fall anymore]. I had bumps, bruises, and cuts on my arms, legs, and face. But I started to see a connection to things I ate. I could name the food I’d eaten before each accident. A few usual suspects? Bagels, brownies*, boxed cakes, Kaiser Rolls, and foods with breadcrumbs on them. They all contain gluten – which I am sensitive to; all are made from refined flour – which is missing most of the B vitamins needed by nerves; and all weakened my muscles and balance. People with nerve problems need to avoid refined foods, and eat plant foods as close to how nature grew them.
*Bad Brownie: A few days before an important date with my, then, soon-to-be hubby, I ate a brownie. Afterwards, while shopping for a dress for that event, I tripped outside a store, fell, and smashed my right cheek bone on the sidewalk. Major black and blue! But with prayers, frequent ice, and Epsom Salt wet packs, my face looked fine for the date.
In my dreams I can run. And in one bad dream I even ran away from criminals shooting guns at me. Ha! I’d love to be able to walk well again. But it would be wonderful to run. The body has the incredible ability to heal itself if – we stop destructive choices, and give the body what it needs [like water, fresh air, nutrients, fiber, rest, exercise, etc.]. If I consistently treat my body well, just maybe.
Years ago, my therapist at a lifestyle center told me, “Bombard your brain and muscles with the messages: lift your feet; wider stride; do squats and go deeper each time.” He meant – try to move and keep trying. Each attempt sends a message to the brain and muscles. I will try and perhaps, one day, I’ll really run. I’ll keep you informed.