If you google just about any health ailment or nagging symptom, sleep deprivation will be on the list of possible causes. Why is that? Because people are just too (potentially dangerously so) busy and plugged in to sleep these days. When we do sleep, we don’t sleep well.
From small children to retirement age, our lives are jam-packed with structure and technology, leaving no (or very little) downtime. If you ask a retiree, they will most likely tell you one of the most enjoyable things about retiring is the ability to nap when you want.
Improve the Quality of Your Sleep to Avoid Sleep Deprivation
What can you do to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep to ward off sleep deprivation? Start by unplugging yourself, literally and figuratively, at least four hours before your bedtime. Instead of focusing on the screens of a television, game console, computer, or cell phone, shut them down. Read a book, cook and savour a nice meal, or go out for a drink or meal with a friend or loved one. Without the phone.
Children Need Quality Sleep Too
This applies to your children too. Remember, you are their most influential teacher. They will pick up your unhealthy habits just as easily as your good ones. They do need routine in their lives but organized structure not so much. Kids also need downtime instead of being shuttled from event to event.
Sleep deprivation shows up in their behaviour and their health. Research has shown that overly active (organized) kids tend to suffer from anxiety, which in turn leads to poor quality of sleep. It is very easy to cut back on their organized activities. Let them play at home with their siblings and parents. Bring back the board games of our youth. Encourage older kids to read books or experiment in the kitchen. Simply slow down their lives, especially before bedtime.
Downtime is a Healthy Way to Reboot
Think of your brain as a computer that controls your body. Even the best computers need to reboot or update regularly to stay efficient and healthy.
Similarly, every cell in your body, especially those in your brain, needs downtime to repair and recuperate from everything we throw at them. Unfortunately, they can only recuperate or repair when we sleep. When we don’t provide these cells with quality sleep to perform this maintenance on a regular basis, sleep deprivation sets in and cells start to break down, causing all those symptoms you are googling about.
The nervous system-the brain, spinal cord, and nerves-connects every part of the body into one vast communication highway. The nerves communicate with each other via chemical and electrical messages. These messages, which are passed along between the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the rest of the body, keep everything connected, coordinated, and optimized on both a cellular and a body level. This includes basic cell and organ function as well as higher-level brain function such as thinking, learning, and memory.
The health of our nervous system impacts the way our body functions. Factors that can affect nerve health include chronic inflammation, spinal misalignment, injury, and poor mental health.
As a kid, did you ever play the game called “Telephone” where a bunch of kids sat in a circle with one whispering a message into their neighbour’s ear, who in turn passed the message onto the next person in the circle and so on? The last person to receive the message would then communicate what they heard- usually a version which did not in the least resemble the original message!
When the delicate communication highway in the nervous system is compromised, it can quickly turn into a game of telephone, with less amusing results. Messages become delayed, crossed, and totally misinterpreted, and the body falls into a state of dysfunction.
Chiropractic Care Can Fix and Prevent Mixed Messages
To prevent these mixed messages from happening, it is vital to keep the lines of communication within our nervous systems open and as unencumbered as possible. Regular chiropractic adjustments help to correct spinal misalignment, ensuring that every part of our body receives the correct messages to function optimally.
Written by Jamie Witherby• December 7, 2018. Originally published by HVMN, modified for use here on Loreeebee.
In this article, we won’t just stick to why tea is so tasty. We’ll talk about the positive effects that L-theanine (L-thee-uh-neen) can have on your stress levels, cognitive performance, cardiovascular and immune health.
Tea is coffee’s coy competitor in the cutthroat, yet throat-soothing, world of hot beverages. Both provide daily stimulant boosts, both are great to share with a loved one, and both are steeped in rich and complex histories. But popular teas (like green tea, black tea, and even tea extract and tea constituents) have something coffee doesn’t.
If you have a cup of green or black tea in front of you, take a sip. Savor those tocopherols and flavonoids lending the cup its signature color and flavor. The tea leaves’ distinct bitterness is supplied by natural antioxidants known as catechins.1
There’s another flavor you should be experiencing, however. A pleasant, mouth-filling sensation that creates a rounded and savory taste, umami is often called the fifth taste after bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. Tea’s umami flavor is all thanks to the non-protein amino acid, L-theanine.1
A healthy body starts with a healthy brain. L-theanine has proven itself to be a powerful supplement for brain health by assisting with stress, sleep, attention, and memory.
Stress and Anxiety
If you’ve ever brewed a cup of tea to decompress from a stressful day or share with an anxious friend, congratulations—you have fabulous instincts.
Researchers have found L-theanine can reduce our physiological stress responses by altering the behavior of neurotransmitters in the brain.2 This isn’t a slow, thirty-days-to-better-behavior modification process. L-theanine is tough, immediately jumping on defense to supply these benefits.
Taking L-theanine is like hiring a bodyguard for your brain.
Our brains balance activity through excitatory (upper) and inhibitory (downer) neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of some of the major excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. The balance can shift, however, through an excess of these excitatory neurotransmitters. A shift can cause classic responses we’re familiar with like stress, anxiety, and the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (AKA the fight-or-flight response).
Taking L-theanine to mimic gamma-aminobutyric acid (a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain) can inhibit these excitatory responses and ease their physiological stress responses. This will allow you to enjoy a lower heart rate,2 lower blood pressure,3 attenuation of the fight-or-flight response,2 and reduced cortisol levels (major stress hormone).2,3
If the classic calming effect isn’t revealing enough, let’s pull back the covers on how deeply relaxing L-theanine can be.
To catch some Zs, first we have to catch some waves.
During sleep, it’s all about theta waves and delta waves. Theta waves occur in the first stages of sleep, generating two distinct rhythms of greater amplitude and lower frequency than the waking beta waves. Delta waves are the lowest frequency, highest amplitude waves generated during the deepest stages of sleep. Right before sleep, when you’re still in that daydream-like, relaxed state, it’s all about the alpha waves. The brain generates alpha waves during deeply relaxing activities such as meditation.4,5
If you struggle to feel peaceful during meditation or get your mind to achieve that quiet calm right before bed, L-theanine can take you there. Studies have shown that L-theanine can generate alpha brain waves in the parietal and occipital regions of the brain, leading to a prolonged calming effect.4,5 In a placebo-controlled study of young individuals with ADHD, L-theanine proved especially effective in helping them get to sleep and experience deep sleep.6
Sleep problems are often a concern for individuals with ADHD, and L-theanine proved to be a safe and effective therapy to improve sleep quality.
Focus and Attention
L-theanine has the power to both calm you down in the evenings and provide a boost in the morning. You know those days; lack of quality sleep the night before leaves you dull, each excruciating minute stretched out between sips of coffee. All that coffee can have a negative build-up, leading to a jittery, on edge feeling while desperately trying not to fidget during your conference room presentation.
The same amino acid that ushers you into dreamland can also deliver an attentive state of mind. Multiple human studies show that consuming L-theanine can increase focus, reaction times, and visual processing while reducing mental fatigue.7,8 Essentially, subjects in these human studies performed attention tasks better after taking L-theanine. Their overall mental performance improved.
Even when the mind is in a relaxed state and creating those alpha waves, it’s focused. Consider meditation: its goal is mindfulness, focusing on an inner calm. Meditating is a form of dialed-in concentration that also happens to be calming.
Maybe you’re a master of mornings but you can’t remember the names of many of your closest coworkers. Enter L-theanine, which can assist with memory.9
To be clear: drinking a single cup of green tea will not suddenly remind you of where you left your keys. However, consuming L-theanine over time could help protect the neurons in your brain from injury or cognitive impairment and contribute to the development of the hippocampus. That’s the part of your brain responsible for storing memories9 not the future academic grounds of the large semi-aquatic African mammal.
Start young, and you could even stand a better chance against the oxidative damage and memory impairment of Alzheimer’s.1 Oh, and remember how we talked about L-theanine reducing cortisol levels? Cortisol can negatively impact memory retrieval.11 Reduce cortisol levels, and you may be able to retrieve those memories a little more easily.
We’ve touched upon what L-theanine can do for the brain, but let’s not forget about its benefits for the body. L-theanine couldn’t let your brain have all the fun. So freshen up your tea, and let’s talk about what your new amino acid can do for your body.
Unfortunately, L-theanine is not the cure for the common cold. It has however been linked to increased protection against the flu and a boost in immune function when combined with another amino acid, L-cystine.12 This combination improves the production of Immunoglobin G (IgG), an antibody with a vendetta against infection, and glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant.12
Antioxidants are valuable because they help our bodies remove free radicals. Free radicals are these unpaired, unstable, thieving little molecules that steal electrons from our lipid cell membranes (also called lipid peroxidation). The theft causes tissue and muscle damage and contributes to some of the big name diseases out there: diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. L-theanine has demonstrated powerful antioxidative properties.13,14,15
Because antioxidants help us remove the free radicals that lead to cardiovascular problems like heart disease, L-theanine can do some pretty amazing things for heart health.
Leaves from both green and black tea have been shown to improve cardiovascular health all on their own.16,17 L-theanine sweetens the deal through its ability to mitigate blood pressure increases when the user undergoes acute stress. Translation? Less strain on the heart.18
Supplementing with L-theanine
Not a fan of green tea or black tea? Healthy adults can safely and easily supplement L-theanine at a dosage of 100-200 mg per day, a staggering five to ten times higher concentration than what you’ll find in a cup of green tea.1 So even if you’re already pounding cup after cup of the umami taste bomb, you may not be enjoying all of its benefits…or at least not as efficiently. Consider supplementing with L-theanine to warm up for your day or to cool down at the end of it.
L-theanine hasn’t been linked to any adverse side effects or symptoms in the neuropharmacology sphere. Keep in mind though, that it should not be mixed with medications for high blood pressure because L-theanine reduces blood pressure. As with all new supplements and medications, consult with your healthcare provider before taking it.
Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a tenacious tea drinker, your mind and body will enjoy the benefits of adding L-theanine to the mix. To recap, those are:
Reduced levels of stress and anxiety
Increased sleep quality
Increased focus, attention, and memory
Increased immune function
Increased cardiovascular health
No matter what’s in your cup, we can all raise a glass to those benefits.
Chiropractic care relies on the fact that the nervous system is the master controller of the human body. The human body can heal itself when the brain within the nervous system communicates with the injured organs or tissues to correct problems by advising the injured areas to build new tissue. However, this response can only happen if there is no interruption or interference in the flow of nerve impulses to the injured areas. If there is an interruption or interference, the injured area cannot receive the message from the brain.
An interruption in this flow of nerve impulses, which by the way have been reported to travel at three hundred miles an hour, caused by a misalignment of the spine due to injury, mistreatment, or improper care, is called a subluxation. Subluxations are caused by tension in the body as the result of physical, emotional, or chemical stresses which are all stored the same way, one treated no different than the other. When a subluxation lasts for a while, various symptoms occur within the patient, depending on which part of the body is affected. Because the energy in nerve impulses travel from the brain, down the spinal cord, dispersing through the vertebrae to all areas of the body, a subluxation can occur anywhere in the body that the nerves are located. Sometimes patients experience pain, tingling, or numbness, yet other times the patient appears to be pain-free but claims to tire quickly, be very susceptible to colds, or simply exhibits poor posture.
Chiropractors treat patients by correcting these subluxations or misalignments in the spine with gentle adjustments of the spine. Results are usually felt quickly and last much longer, often permanently, compared to the temporary relief provided by prescription or over-the-counter medication. These medications are discouraged as they can also cause negative side effects, sometimes worse than the original injury or complaint.
Common symptoms experienced when a subluxation is present are low energy and excessive fatigue, sciatica, fibromyalgia, indigestion and heartburn, neck or shoulder pain, back or knee pain, vertigo, decreased joint mobility, headaches, and more.
Good health should not relate to the absence of negative symptoms, but should instead be considered a state of physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Chiropractors treat patients by recognizing the lifestyle changes necessary to improve overall better health, recommending these changes to provide clients with individual health goals. They will also provide support, motivation, and inspiration on an ongoing basis.
Find a chiropractor in your neighbourhood by searching online for and visiting websites that provide valuable educational information as well as their contact information. Or, ask around, many of your friends, family, or coworkers may have already done the homework for you and found a chiropractor they are comfortable with.