Energy & Stress

Certain key nutrients are critical to helping us deal with stress and increase our energy levels. Read on for ideas and supplements to help support energy levels & your body's management of stress.
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. That is, a substance that reduces stimulation and mental / physical activity. In theory, a depressant like alcohol would usually help a person get to sleep and/or sleep more soundly. However, excessive alcohol actually thwarts your ability to get a good night's sleep. We take a closer look at the effects of alcohol on sleep, and the reasons why alcohol can ruin a good night's sleep.

How Alcohol Effects Sleep

1. Alcohol is a diuretic.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the excretion of fluids from your body via sweat and - more typically - urination. This effect makes it more likely you will have to have to get up multiple times during the night to go to the toilet. Of course, this hurts your chances of deep, truly restful sleep. The diuretic effects of alcohol also leads to a second sleep disruptor... thirst. Your body needs water to replace the lost fluids, and this need for water can cause interrupted sleep as your body tries to tell you it is running low on it's most important nutrient.  

2.  Alcohol Increases Snoring

Drinking excessive alcohol may not just be bad for your sleep. It may also be a bad thing for the person you share the bed with. Snoring is typically caused by the partial blocking of airways, which leads to vibration as we breath in and out. This vibration is what causes the snoring sound. Alcohol can act to relax the muscles around the airways, which can stop air flowing in and out of our lungs as freely as it needs. This will increase the chances you will snore, and snore loudly.  

3. Alcohol = Sugar. Sugar = Bad.

Most alcohols (and common mixers) contain sugar. This has the obvious problems of causing a spike in blood sugar levels if you drink just before bedtime. This spike disrupts sleep, among other things. Excessive sugar also depletes the body of magnesium, a mineral that is critical for muscle function and relaxation. If your magnesium levels are low, you may notice you feel restless, anxious and have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.  

4. Alcohol Needs to be Processed By Your Body

Your kidneys and liver process alcohol. Depending on how many drinks you have had and when you stopped drinking, your  kidneys and liver continue working away at metabolising and processing that alcohol for many hours after you nod off to sleep. This means your organs are working away at a time when they should be reducing activity so they can rest and recover for the next day. This, in turn, causes a number of problems for sleep. When we metabolise a food/drink (including alcohol), an 'exothermic' reaction occurs. That is, metabolism gives off heat and raises our body temperature. This can make temperature regulation more difficult and - combined  with the sweating and dehydration effect caused by alcohol - results in an overheated, uncomfortable night's sleep. Furthermore, when we metabolise a food/drink, energy is produced. Does energy production sound like something that is a good idea of a night time when you are trying to sleep?  

Final Tip

We have covered the main negative effects of alcohol on sleep, but excessive alcohol consumption in general can have a number of negative effects on your  health and mental wellbeing. If you like a drink, we recommend sticking to the Australian Federal guidelines for alcohol consumption to ensure it doesn't adversely affect your health. These guidelines can be found at http://www.alcohol.gov.au/. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
How To Stop Snoring
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How To Stop Snoring

Snoring might be embarrassing for you, but it can be torturous for your partner / house mates / family. Try these tips to stop snoring, and if your snoring persists, see a doctor.

Tips to Stop Snoring

 

1. No Booze Before Bed

An easy way to stop snoring is to limit your daily alcohol intake. Alcohol causes the palate (roof of the mouth) to swell. It can also cause the muscles around the airways to temporarily relax and sag while you sleep. Both these effects can cause narrowing of the airways, which causes increased vibration as you breath in and out. That vibration is what causes snoring. If you decide to have a drink of an evening, have your last drink well before bed time.  

2. Stop Smoking

Smoking causes inflammation and swelling throughout the body. Cigarette smoke also contains toxins that agitate the membranes in your throat. Both of these side-effects of smoking can cause snoring. Not only will quitting smoking make you better in bed (i.e. help you stop snoring), it might just make you more pleasant to kiss too.  

3. Roll On Over

One common way to  stop snoring is to prevent the snorer from sleeping on their back. Sleeping on your back can put pressure on, or bend, airways, which can cause obstruction. Sleeping on their side or stomach is less likely to narrow or obstruct airways, so can often help snorers stop snoring. If the snorer is unable to stay sleeping on their side or stomach throughout the night without rolling onto their back, grab an old t-shirt with a pocket on the chest. The snorer should wear t-shirt backwards to bed, with a tennis ball in the pocket. Every time the snorer rolls onto their back whilst sleeping, they will have that tennis ball sticking into their back. This will be so uncomfortable they will turn themselves back onto their side or stomach.  

4. Fluff Your Pillow

Having a fluffier or higher pillow may open up a snorer's airways, meaning less snoring.  

5. Drop a few kilo's

As we have already covered, snoring is almost always caused by vibrations from restricted / semi blocked airways as we breath in and out. If you are overweight, fatty tissue can build up around the throat, chin, mouth and chest. This can make semi-blocked airways  (and, in turn, snoring) more likely. Losing some weight may help mitigate this effect.  

6. Go Get a Gadget

If the above tips do not work, there are a range of devices to help address snoring:
  • Try a 'gum guard'. These devices - similar in style to a sporting mouth guard - hold the jaw muscles in a way that helps open up the throat and airway. Your doctor can help you choose which one suits you best.
  • If your snore comes from vibrations in your nose rather than your throat, you can get nose clips and nose strips that hold your nostrils open while you sleep. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose the right clip.
  • Finally, if gum guards and nose clips do not  do the trick, there are a number of other more advanced devices available which can help you not only stop snoring, but get a much better night's sleep. Persistent snoring is often associated sleep apnea. There are some impressively high-tech solutions out there... Australian company ResMed are worldwide leaders in sleep apnea device design and manufacturing and have a range that is suitable for most applications. Further, the CSIRO recently developed a technique to use 3D scanning of the mouth and a 3D printer to create custom mouth pieces. Again, your doctor can assist you with making the right choice and making sense of all of the options available to you.
 

7. Go Under the Knife

As a final resort, surgery may be necessary to stop your snoring. This should be treated as a final (and drastic) option. Your doctor is the best person to talk to should all of the above options fail and you decide to consider surgery. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To learn more about getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet
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Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet

Increasing your fibre intake may - at first - seem like a bit of a ..
B Complex Adult VitaGummies 60s
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B Complex Adult VitaGummies 60s

Nature’s Way Complex VitaGummies for Adults are a specially formulated, balanced combination of B Group Vitamins. B Vitamins are essential for energy production and to support healthy skin, hair, nails and nervous system. B Vitamins are also helpful during times of stress and when feeling the pressure of a busy lifestyle.
Introducing Super Greens + Wild Reds
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Introducing Super Greens + Wild Reds

Equivalent to 16 serves of vegetables in each glass*.
Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.
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Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.

The research into the importance of B Vitamins for dealing with stress is well documented. One study coming out of Swinburne University in Melbourne found that participants taking a Vitamin B-Complex supplement reported a 20% reduction in work related stress. This is in contrast to the control group in the study, who were given a placebo and reported no significant change in stress levels. Vitamin B is not one vitamin, rather it is a group of vitamins that can help support our bodies during stressful times. Let's look at each of the B Vitamins that can help support your body during stressful times, and why each is important.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

Foods rich in thiamine include fish, nuts, seeds and green peas. Thiamine is needed for:
  • maintaining nerve health.
  • mood regulation
  • energy production
  • may play a role in memory and concentration.
 

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Foods rich in niacin include beetroot, beef liver & kidney, fish and seeds. Niacin is needed for:
  • supporting the digestive system.
  • mood regulation (B3 deficiency can lead to depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances).
  • Energy production.
  • Control of blood sugar and nerve health.
 

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Food sources of pyridoxine include bananas, beef / turkey liver, tuna and chick peas. Pyridoxine is needed for:
  • helping manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety.
  • immune system support.
 

Vitamin B9: Folate / Folic Acid

Food sources of folate include broccoli, spinach and dried legumes (chick peas, lentils, beans). Folate is needed for:
  • energy production.
 

Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin

Food sources include fish, meat (especially liver), poultry and dairy. Vitamin B12 is needed for:
  • general brain support.
  • supports melatonin and serotonin production (both of which are critical  to mood, relaxation and sleep.
 

Consider a Vitamin B Complex Supplement

The B group vitamins are not stored b y the body like many other vitamins and minerals. Whatever B Vitamins you eat that are not absorbed by your body are excreted within hours. As such, a Vitamin B Complex like Nature's Way Mega-B taken daily might be of benefit, particularly during times of stress when we tend to neglect our body and diet. Taking a Vitamin B Complex supplement is a good way to 'top up' your daily vitamin B levels and, research suggests, may be an effective way to reduce stress levels (or at least better equip our bodies with the right nutrition to deal with stress).
5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress
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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress

Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects on your emotional and psychological well-being, making your life feel like a never-ending bad dream. Stress also has serious implications for your physical health and can play a role in development of a range of diseases and conditions...  

Stress Related Diseases

Stress-related diseases include (but aren't limited to):
  • psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • muscle spasms
  • headache
  • depression and other psychological conditions
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • heart attack
 

Symptoms of Stress

If you are likely to be subject to highly stressful  experiences or environments, it is important  that you understand the symptoms of stress. This will help you self monitor and know when your stress levels are elevated and - perhaps - hamful. It is also critical you have a plan to deal with that stress once you've identified it. Symptoms of stress include (but are not limited to):
  • agitation and frustration where you normally might not feel that way
  • low energy
  • an over-active mind / experiencing trouble quieting your mind
  • headaches
  • stomach upsets
  • feelings of muscle tightness / anxiety
  • insomnia
  • lower self esteem
  • increased use of alcohol or other substances
 

5  Easy Ways To Deal With Stress

It is important to note that if you are experiencing ongoing stress that you do not feel capable of handling or if you are suffering sever stress symptoms, you should talk to your health professional. If your stress is work-related, it may be appropriate to talk to your manager or supervisor. For lower to intermediate levels of stress, the below potential coping mechanisms may help during times of stress.  

1. Talk to Someone

The anxiety and tension that accompany stress can often be (at least partially) relieved by talking to a friend, councillor or doctor. Having a sympathetic ear that you can share your problems with will not only help you feel better, it can also be a useful way to identify the main causes of your stress. Thirdly, it is a great way to work out strategies on how you can mitigate the source of your stress. Having a fresh perspective on the situation can help you see past the blinders we sometimes have on during times of stress.  

2. Resist Temptations

During stressful times, it can be enticing to have a drink (or four) to calm the nerves. Alcohol and substance abuse are common coping mechanisms in Australia. These substances may offer temporary relief from stress, but only serve to amplify stress symptoms once their effect wears off. Do your best to resist.  

3. Chill Out / Fire Up. Every Day.

Finding activities that reduce stress, and forcing yourself to do them every day, is a critical stress management technique. However, the exact activities that help relieve stress will vary from person to person. If you tend to fire up and become angry or agitated during times of stress, force yourself to do an activity every day that calms you down and helps quieten you to counter that. Similarly, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn under stress, try to make your daily stress relieving activity something that excites and stimulates you, something that energises and excites you.

4. Diet and Exercise

There are a wide range of benefits from exercise. Exercise reduces stress. It boosts endorphins. It has a calming, mind-clearing  effect similar to meditation. It boosts mood. Whilst exercise of almost any type can help reduce stress, aiming to get 45 minutes of high intensity exercise 3 times or more per week can work wonders for your ability to deal with stress. Diet is another important way to deal with stress. When you are stressed, your body has an elevated need for vitamins and minerals, making it all the more important that you eat a variety of healthy foods to support your health. In particular, your body may need increased levels of: - Vitamin C (oranges, red capsicum, chilli or Super Kale). - Vitamin E (almonds, tofu, spinach, avocado) - B Vitamins (meats, fish, poultry, milk, dark green leafy vegetables or Super Spirulina)  

5. Try a Supplement

We always advocate eating a healthy diet over taking a multivitamin. However, during times of stress, we usually don't have the time to create a meal plan, buy groceries and cook healthy meals. As such, a broad range multivitamin may help support your body during times of stress. Look for one that contains vitamins C & E, plus magnesium for relaxation, lemon balm (traditionally used to help rest and relaxation) and the B vitamins. Alternatively, Super Spirulina has been called "Nature's Multivitamin" due to it's high vitamin content. Including it in your cooking, juice, smoothies etc can give an added nutrient boost to help your body deal with increased demand during stressful times. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on handling stress, visit www.health365.com.au.
5 Benefits of CoQ10
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5 Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 (co-enzyme Q10) is a substance found in our body that is ..
Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg
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Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg

Nature’s Way Evening Primrose Oil helps relieve the symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Symptoms (PMS). EPO contains Omega-6 Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), which is involved in several biological functions, and may have a beneficial effect on women’s healthy hormonal balance. Nature’s Way EPO may also help relieve symptoms of mild osteoarthritis pain, mild eczema/dry skin and general health & wellbeing.