Circadian Rhythms

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

sunflowersThe end of summer is upon us, and the days will be getting shorter. Night will come sooner, and people will have to adjust their internal clocks to get used to the changes. Our Circadian rhythms are what our "internal" clocks are all about. They are regulated by our hormones, our endocrine glands that secrete them, and our habits.

As we age, we produce less melatonin, a hormone used in our bodies for sleep. When this happens to us, it is difficult to get to sleep. Taking this hormone over the counter can be useful, if one has fatigue from not sleeping enough, and it is recommended that you take up to 4 mg a night, one hour before retiring. This will help regulate your internal clock, and put you on the right track again. Some people resort to drinking alcohol before bedtime. This is not recommended, due to other characteristics it possesses that can have a negative effect on your mind, memory, and body, by dehydrating you.

If I knew I was going to live this long…

Monday, August 17th, 2009
Oldest man in history at 126 years

Oldest man in history at 126 years

The great muscian, Eubie Blake, once stated that: “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” He said this on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Seems like people are aging more, living to older ages in better health. Thanks to our medical system, our better nutrition and better drugs for staving off disease, we are living longer. This is essentially due to our better ways of living. The Okinowan Centenarian Study, which is ongoing since 1975 in Okinowa, Japan, has illuminated a great many secrets about aging successfully. The people on this tiny island are far outliving others anywhere else, and have a greater amount of 100 year olds and above, than any other country in the world. This is all attributed to diet, exercise, their way of life, eating fresh food-nutritious food such as fresh grains, fruits and vegetables.

The other aspects to long-life here are the practice of a religion, constant exercise, no alchohol consumption, and keeping active and social. We know through logistics and statistics that if we keep up this kind of lifestyle, there will be over 600,000 centenarians world-wide by 2025. Where this will happen is a direct response to our ways of living and how we function diet wise and keeping our general health.

When my dad was dying, I tried to get him on a macrobiotic diet; however he was not interested in my lecturing him about what he could or should eat. It seems that he just wanted to eat what he could. Many people with cancer and life-threatening diseases have altered their diets, and have sustained life in better health than before the disease. We must remember that “We have a disease when this occurs, it does not have us!” We can help to eliminate it by adhering to strict nutrition standards, keeping active, allowing our minds to generate positive thoughts and staying social. We must live life to its fullest, to be able to experience the joys and the pains that accompany it; each allowing us to know that we are living life.
Live long and prosper….Dr Eric Shapira

Sleep Deprivation? What do I do???

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Many things can disrupt your sleep. As we age, our brains start the reduction of a very important hormone, called Melatonin. This hormone helps us in the process of getting to sleep. Stress will diminsh this hormone, and so will aging in general. Tryptophan is another intermediary that is important in the sleep process and is stimulated by melatonin. The less melatonin the less tryptophan for sleep to occur. So, what might one do if they can’t get to sleep?


Original watercolor / pastel by Dr. Eric Shapira

My grandmother used to keep a bottle of wine under her bed. When she couldn’t sleep, she drank. This is certainly not advisable, due to the fact that older people are “fall risks”, and we don’t want to see this happen with resulting injury. So taking up to 4 mg of melatonin, which you can buy in a health food store, will help with getting to sleep. Take it one hour before bedtime. You might check with your doctor to make sure it will not counteract any other medications you might be taking as well. You can try counting sheep or goats…works for some.

Sleep apnea is another sleep problem, and this requires sleep studies to determine the extent of the problem and subsequent treatment. Sometimes a simple dental appliance worn nightly will help with this problem and snoring as well, which can keep anyone awake. Just ask me…my wife sounds like a heard of cattle when she snores. I am always afraid of getting caught in the stampede.Now you know why I can’t sleep…

Are you having sleep problems? Call me and set up an appointment. I’m happy to evaluate your situation and help you any way that I can!

Here’s to sweet dreams….

Dr Eric Shapira

Your Aging Mentor, Optmizing your daily health and making aging transitions easier.