Sleep is a Result, Not a Behaviour

Getting enough good quality sleep is essential to good health. Sleep repairs the body, resets hormones, detoxifies the brain and just makes us feel ready to take on the day.

But anyone who has had insomnia knows that the suggestion to just “sleep more” isn’t possible. As tired as an insomniac is, and as committed to getting to sleep as they might be, they still are unable to get the result they so desperately want.

As Naturopathic Doctors, we know that despite what the dictionary says, sleep isn’t a verb. It’s a noun. It’s a thing you get, not a thing you do.

[bctt tweet=”Sleep isn’t a verb. It’s a noun. It’s a thing you GET, not a thing you DO.” username=”stonetreeclinic”]

Most people who are not getting enough sleep fall into this category. They are the folks who despite making time for sleep, can’t actually fall asleep, can’t stay asleep or never feel rested when they wake. The sleep behaviour is there, but they are not getting the result.

For these people, sleep comes as a result of other behaviours, like:

  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Understanding which foods are inflammatory for you and removing them from your diet can go a long way to increasing sleep quality. Decreased body aches, stuffiness and snoring make for a less restless and more restful sleep. Ensuring a high-quality diet can help with leg cramps due to magnesium deficiency, or restless legs due to iron or B12 deficiency
  • Drinking water. Imbalanced relationships with caffeine and alcohol decrease sleep quality, increase wakefulness, and increase hot flashes and night sweats–one of the most common causes of sleep disturbances in the post-40 crowd.
  • Quitting smoking. The oxidative stress on the mucous membranes of the nose and lungs creates lots of inflammation. This inflammation needs to be healed and repaired at night. Those repairs cause lots of mucous….and snoring and sleep interruptions in turn. Yet another good reason to quit
  • Moving your body. Regular exercise is one of the best sleeping pills. Stimulating blood flow and increasing oxygenation helps your body to heal and resolve the inflammation of the day.
  • Addressing chronic stress sources. Relationship troubles, financial struggles, job woes and other mental and emotional challenges make for poor sleep. The more you address these things, even in tiny steps, the better sleep becomes.

If you aren’t sleeping, ask yourself: Are you just trying to sleep, or are you doing the things that actually deliver it?

[bctt tweet=”Are you just trying to sleep, or are you doing the things that actually deliver it?” username=”stonetreeclinic”]

It’s Never Too Late

One of my favourite quotes by Dr. Wayne Dyer is, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

The first time I heard it, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was in my 20’s at the time and the entire world was before me. The thought of dying at all never occurred to me, let alone dying without having fully lived.

Well into my 40’s now, the quote is something I think about from time to time. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your mid-life–working, paying bills, driving kids, making dinner. All I can really think of some days is getting through the to-do list so I can get to bed. Forget about thinking about the music left in me.

This little video about Deshun Wang, the “world’s hottest Grampa”, brought Dr. Dryer’s quote back to mind. It’s under two minutes, and worth every second.

We are capable of great things as humans at ANY age. Our bodies and minds are not “too old” and unable to be strong again, bright again and engaged again. We can start working out at any age. We can start eating healthy at any age. We can create something new and exciting at any age. We can engage in worthwhile relationships at any age.

These things are not reserved for the young they are available to us all at any time. So heed Dr. Dyer’s advice and get up there and start singing.

Ditch the Antibacterial Soaps

Last week the FDA announced that the use of antibacterial agents in soaps will no longer be permitted in the US.


The manufacturers of antibacterial soap products have failed to establish that they are any more effective than just regular soap and water, and there is also some question of their safety. There are 19 different ingredients on the list including triclosan and triclocarban, which have been linked to microbial resistance and hormone disruption.

Health Canada has not followed suit with this ban, though we hope they do in short order. In the meantime, read labels and vote with your dollars. Avoid all products with these ingredients in them.

The 19 banned ingredients are:

  • Cloflucarban
  • Fluorosalan
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Hexylresorcinol
  • Iodophors, which are iodine-containing ingredients
  • Iodine complex, which is ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate
  • Iodine complex of phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol
  • Nonylphenoxypoly, or ethyleneoxy, ethanoliodine
  • Poloxamer, an iodine complex of Povidone-iodine 5 percent to 10 percent
  • Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride
  • Phenol greater than 1.5 percent
  • Phenol less than 1.5 percent
  • Secondary amyltricresols
  • Sodium oxychlorosene
  • Tribromsalan
  • Triclocarban
  • Triclosan
  • Triple dye

Alternatives are easy to find. Visit our local farmers’ markets, Georgian Health Foods, Good Health Mart, The Environment Network, Creemore 100 Mile Store, From the Blue House in Creemore for a wide array of safe and natural soaps and skin care products.

How Food Manufacturers Hide Sugar From You

Canadians eat an average of 110 grams of sugar per day. That is the equivalent of 26 teaspoons or a half cup of sugar. Every day. 

This is astonishing on a couple of levels. First of all, that’s over 20% of our daily calories. Just in sugar. But that’s just the beginning. WHO guidelines suggest that in order to avoid all kinds of chronic diseases, sugar intake should be limited to just 25g per day. That’s just six teaspoons. (How much is in a single can of Coke, you ask? 39 grams!)

Sugar sucks for health. In a 60 Minutes story from 2013, leading researchers blamed it for the increase in heart disease and obesity as well as contributing to cancers of the breast and colon.

In the same show, we also got a look at the effect of sugar on the brain. In imaging studies that look at the activity of the brain, sugar given to study subjects releases dopamine and lights the reward centres of the brain just like cocaine. And as with addictive drugs, we can also build a tolerance to sugar, so more sugar is needed to get the same good feeling.

What to Do?

Armed with this knowledge patients can choose to avoid sugars – removing soda pop and iced tea, avoiding ice cream and donuts and taking a pass on the chocolate bar aisle. But if change isn’t hard enough on its own, many processed foods will have lots of “hidden” added sugars both in the form of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. How are you supposed to cut sugars out when you’re being fooled?

The easiest way is to simply avoid things in packages. If you cook at home from raw ingredients, you’re well on your way.

However, as you work toward the goal of preparing more of your own food, let’s take a close look at the way food manufacturers are fooling you about sugar (And make no mistake–it’s straight up trickery.)

Trick #1: Sugar in Disguise

Sugar now masquerades in many different ways. Here’s a list of alternative names for sugar from Hungry for Change:

Regardless of how they sound, the following are all sugar:
Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diatase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbinado,  Sorghum syrup, Refiner’s syrup, Ethyl maltol, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar

Trick #2: Sugar Redistribution

When food manufacturers can get sugar in so many forms, they get access to a new trick. Again, here’s Hungry for Change:

So for example, if a manufacturer wants to sweeten up a certain brand of crackers, it can either do this using 15 grams of “sugar” or, 5 grams of “malt syrup,” 5 grams of “invert sugar” and 5 grams of “glucose”. Some manufacturers seem to be choosing this divide and masquerade method, placing these ingredients lower down on their products’ lists, making us believe that the amount of sugar in the product is smaller than it is. Bingo!

Changing Labels

This year the FDA launched the addition of “added sugar” to the nutritional labels of packaged and processed foods. It’s a start for our friends south of the border.

Canada has yet to follow suit. Plans are in the works, but implementation could still be years off. Let your local MP know that this information is important and that it’s your right to have it.