It may sound hard to believe that the position you sleep in can have an impact on your overall health. But if you think about how much your posture affects your body’s overall systems, it makes perfect sense.
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, your spine is the central hub of your nervous system, which is responsible for sending signals to your body’s organs and telling them how to function. When your spine is not properly aligned, those signals are weakened as a result of nerve compression. This results in weakened function of your body’s organs and systems overall.
How you sleep affects your immune system, not only by relieving stress as you achieve a more restful night’s sleep, but also by improving your posture, if you sleep in the correct position.
The short answer is: on your back!
However, let’s face it: most people are not back-sleepers. Almost everyone we talk to has a bad habit of stomach sleeping. It’s too comfortable to curl up in child’s pose and hug your pillow, so we completely understand why. But sleeping on your back is much better for you, and it becomes more comfortable the more you do it. That’s why we advise our patients to assume a back-sleeping position for the sake of their health!
Also (if we haven’t scared you off yet), it’s best to sleep without a pillow.
(Yes, even if you have one of those crazy-expensive memory foam pillows!)
Pillows force your head into a more forward position, which causes a slight unnatural curvature. Instead of sleeping with your head on a pillow, we recommend putting a foam neck roller underneath your neck and another smaller roller under your lower back. This will, overtime, help to re-shape and realign your spine for proper posture. Imagine what would happen if your body assumed the right posture for 8+ hours every night! This, combined with regular chiropractic adjustments and other healthy lifestyle habits, is sure to put your immune system into overdrive! You’ll start to feel better almost immediately.
Though better than stomach sleeping, it still comes with its own set of problems. Side sleepers tend to cross one leg over another, which can force your hips out of alignment. However, if you absolutely can’t sleep on your back all night, laying on your neck rollers for 20 minutes a day will result in a dramatic difference. And sleeping on your side is certainly better than sleeping on your stomach. Again, using a neck roller instead of a pillow is preferred, and a leg pillow also helps to keep your hips properly aligned.
It could be a result of your sleeping position and posture. Charlotte chiropractor, Dr. Holly Clemens, has helped many patients to sleep better and feel better overall through a tailored care regimen designed to improve the shape of your spine over time with a series of chiropractic adjustments combined with other holistic wellness strategies.
GERD, or gastroesophogeal reflux disease currently affects about 20 percent of adults. It’s a more severe form of acid reflux, which 25-40% of Americans suffer from.
Many people blame GERD on acid reflux, but doing so fails to address the problem at its root. If you suffer from symptoms of acid reflux or GERD, it’s because you have low stomach acid production and bacterial overgrowth in your gut. The root cause of these two factors can be summed up in one word: inflammation.
Therefore, to successfully prevent and treat GERD and its symptoms, you need to address inflammation—the real cause behind it. Most doctors will simply prescribe prescriptions to mask the symptoms of GERD, but this fails to eliminate the problem long-term. In this post, I’m going to outline three simple and natural ways to cure GERD for good:
If inflammation is at the root of GERD and acid reflux, then it would make sense that ridding your diet of foods that cause inflammation would help you treat and even prevent GERD from reoccurring. Foods that contribute to inflammation include:
On the contrary, foods that help fight inflammation include:
To stop inflammation, simply avoid foods from the first list and eat more of the foods on the second! Your gut will begin to heal itself over time, and you’ll experience less acid reflux symptoms.
Also, I highly suggest eating smaller meals. Many people suffer from acid reflux, because they eat inflammatory foods in very large quantities. Rather than scarfing down 3 huge meals each day, try eating smaller, snack-sized portions every few hours.
A good probiotic will aid in balancing your gut bacteria, a factor which can also help prevent and treat GERD and its symptoms. Make sure it has a high number of bacterial strains to maximize its effectiveness. Taking a probiotic every day is essential for your health, even more so if you’ve been taking antibiotics or prescription drugs that can negatively impact your gut health by killing off your body’s good bacteria.
Seeing a Charlotte chiropractor for acid reflux, GERD and other digestive problems can greatly decrease your symptoms and improve your overall health. Your nervous system tells the rest of your body’s organs and systems how to function, and your spine is the central hub of your nervous system. When it’s out of alignment, your body suffers, because the nerve signals that go out from your spine’s nerve endings become compressed and weak. Therefore, it’s imperative that you keep your spine in proper alignment to ensure that your body functions at max. capacity. For more details on how chiropractic may be useful for GERD, see our article, “Chiropractic Care for Digestive Problems.”
Do you or someone you love live in Charlotte and suffer from acid reflux symptoms or GERD? Click here to schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with Charlotte chiropractor, Dr. Holly! We’ll help you determine if a care treatment plan at Queen City Health Center might benefit you.
We’re all told that we should get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, but how many of us actually do that? Between work and home life, raising kids, building businesses, spending time with loved ones, etc. it can be hard to find enough hours in a day to accomplish all of our goals, much less setting aside 8 hours for rest.
But (even though I don’t always get 8 hours of sleep every night), I can attest to the health benefits of doing so. As a professional chiropractor in Charlotte NC, I’ve seen countless patients suffering from immune disorders and conditions that could benefit greatly from simply taking more time to rest and sleep. Maybe you don’t get much sleep because you have a busy lifestyle. Or maybe you suffer from insomnia and can’t sleep well no matter how hard you try. In either case, here are some proven ways to help you get more shuteye and keep your body functioning at max capacity throughout each day.
Tip #1: Stop wasting time. It may sound simple, and that’s because it is! However, as a Charlotte chiropractor, I know that a lot of people find this hard. “There just aren’t enough hours in a day…” you say. Well if you break down 24 hours and really get honest with yourself about how you spend your time, I think you’ll find that the opposite is true. If you spend 8 hours sleeping, that leaves 16 more to accomplish everything you want to accomplish. Let’s say you spend 10 hours at work. That still leaves 6 hours. The average meal takes about an hour to prepare and eat, so that leaves 3 hours. You can easily spend that time with your family and loved ones and feel good about your day. The problem is that many of us spend hours doing things that are, quite frankly, a waste of our valuable time—such as: scrolling through Facebook, watching television, or spending an extra 20 minutes in the shower because the hot water feels too good!
Tip #2: Go to bed earlier. Again, simple in theory, but seemingly difficult to implement. You may be wondering, “what difference does it make if I go to bed early or late, as long as I’m getting 8 hours of sleep.” It actually makes a huge difference. The most successful people in the world go to bed before 10 p.m. and wake up before 6 a.m., and for good reason. You’ll be surprised how much you will accomplish in the wee hours of the morning if you try this out for one week and then make it a continuous habit.
Tip #3: Turn off electronics at least 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from our phones and TV screens actually suppresses the production of melatonin—your body’s sleep-inducing hormone. If you want to fall asleep quickly and get a good night’s rest, avoid blue light from LED screens for at least a couple of hours before you lay down.
Tip #4: Get regular chiropractic adjustments. You won’t believe how many patients report better sleep after they start receiving care at our office from a Charlotte chiropractor. Regular adjustments ensure your spine is properly aligned, relieving pressure on the nerves that send signals to the organs in your body responsible for hormone production, which regulates sleep.
Tip #5: Spend more time outdoors. Have you ever passed out after spending a day in the sun? There’s a reason why! The sun is our natural source of Vitamin D3, which is instrumental in boosting your immune system and aiding sleep. As a matter of fact, the majority of sleep disorders are a result of Vitamin D deficiency. You can also order a Vitamin D supplement online or buy one from our Charlotte chiropractic office.
Are you “sleepless in Charlotte NC?” Call our office at (980) 422-2000 or fill out the form on this page to request a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with Charlotte chiropractor, Dr. Holly and learn how your sleep can improve with a holistic chiropractic treatment plan!
When we think of summer, we imagine relaxing by the pool, drinks with tiny umbrellas, the smell of sunscreen, and a beach-ready body. We rarely think or discuss post-summer syndrome: a common condition where our skin is sunburned, our hair is either chlorine- or sun-damaged, and a few extra pounds of fat have magically appeared on our bodies.
It can be difficult to pass up opportunities to indulge in ice cream on a hot summer day or skip going to the gym to drive to the beach with your friends. But maintaining healthy habits will help our bodies function properly, resulting in weight loss, more energy, better mental clarity, and less illness.
As tempting as it can be to take a vacation from your health, it’s important to try and stay healthy. Here are some tips to help you do that while still enjoying your summer “vacay!”
Tip #1: Plan, plan, plan. I’ve heard my mentors say hundreds of times, “proper planning prevents piss-poor performance,” and never do I find this truer than when it comes to my health! This summer, take the time to map out your health plan. Determine your workouts and meals, and shop for all necessary sun gear ahead of time. When traveling, consider pre-packing as much food as possible, and make a list of any perishables you plan to buy once you arrive.
Whether on vacation or at home, prepping your meals for the week reduces stress and adds to the time you get to spend enjoying the beautiful weather!
Tip #2: Pack healthy snacks. Whether you’re taking a short car ride to the park or hopping on a three-hour flight, having healthy, non-perishable snacks on hand can help you avoid ingesting too many sugars, bad fats, and harmful chemicals. Most hotels offer continental breakfasts with highly-processed foods such as pastries and cereals. Having better options on hand will save you time in the mornings and keep you from feeling miserable.
Here are some of the snacks I enjoy:
Tip #3: Commit to three miles or thirty minutes of daily exercise. Just because it’s summer, that doesn’t mean you should stop your workouts! Pick your favorite outdoor activity, such as tennis or swimming, and put it on your calendar. Commit to setting aside thirty minutes each day to get your heart rate up, and you will feel better about yourself and your body!
Tip #4: Skip the sugar. While we may never completely escape the evils of sugar, we can take away its power over our health! Sugar causes weight gain, hormone disruption, increased inflammation, increased pain, and headaches. While I’m an advocate of total sugar elimination, I realize that may not be realistic for everyone. Still, if you’re going to bend or break the rules, you can do so wisely.
Swap out processed desserts for fresh-fruit smoothies. When you’re on vacation, allow yourself just one “cheat meal.” In general, stick to the 80/20 rule, and you should be okay: “80% of the time, make good health decisions, and you can bend the rules during the other 20%.”
Tip #5: Find an accountability partner. We always work better in teams! Find a friend, co-worker or family member to hold you accountable. Schedule times to work out and plan meals together. Surround yourself with positive, health-minded, motivated people, and you are bound to succeed. If you can’t find someone, join us in the office!
Tip #6: Check your summer products. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial-grade products have harmful additives and toxins that can adversely affect your health. My golden rule when it comes to skin products is: if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t put it on your skin! Here’s what’s in my skin arsenal for summer vacations and outdoor activities:
Tip #7: Drink water! Water is the answer for a lot of things, but we always seem to forget! It’s easy to be so consumed by outdoor activities that we dehydrate quickly. Water improves your skin’s appearance, your energy levels, your focus and your bodily functions. You should drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, and for extra absorption and electrolytes, add a pinch of sea salt.
Most importantly, keep stress levels to a minimum. Summer is a time to relax and rejuvenate. Don’t make yourself crazy by counting every calorie, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day of exercise. Just try to make the best choices you can, and above all enjoy the time you’ll spend with family and friends.
Are you one of those people that gets stuck in a slump around 3 p.m. every day? This is a common occurrence, especially for those who work in an office or sit behind a desk most of the time.
It’s easy to grab a cup of coffee, an energy drink, or a soda to wake up, but there are much healthier solutions. Sugary, caffeinated beverages will not only make you gain weight. You’ll feel jittery and end up crashing hard just a few hours later (potentially during your drive home in rush-hour traffic . . . no bueno.)
Here are 5 healthy ways to energize your body and feel more awake without caffeine.
Dehydration can easily lead to fatigue. If you haven’t been drinking enough water, that could explain your daily afternoon slump. Stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid falling asleep at your desk.
It’s amazing what a dose of Vitamin D can do for your body. Get it straight from its natural source—the sun—by spending at least 30 minutes a day outdoors. When you feel yourself slipping, it’s probably a good time to take advantage of your employee break by taking a walk outside around your office building.
Coconut oil contains healthy fat, which is great for a brain boost when you’re feeling foggy. You can also obtain healthy fats from other foods like avocado, fish, and olive oil. I find that coconut oil is a convenient solution that I can bring to the office and eat by the spoonful whenever I start to feel fatigued.
Regular exercise can help prevent fatigue as you build strength and endurance. It can be as simple as a 15-minute walk, and if you do it outside, that’s even better! If you don’t have 15 minutes, then at least take a minute or two to stand up and stretch. Doing this once an hour throughout your workday can make a huge difference in how you feel. For a simple, 12-minute daily exercise regimen that will help you lose weight and build lean muscle, check out this post.
Essential oils have a variety of uses. Peppermint oil is great for boosting energy and mental clarity. You can diffuse it at your desk or take a drop under the tongue. However, not all oils are created equal! Make sure the brand you choose is safe for internal ingestion before taking it orally. DoTerra is the brand I use and recommend. (In fact, we diffuse their oils regularly at Queen City Health Center!)
Next time you fall into an afternoon slump, try one of these five solutions before resorting to caffeine or sugar. And if you find you absolutely must drink coffee, drink it black or Bulletproof® style, and make sure it’s organic!
Most commercial sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that may contribute to the growth of skin cancer. Yet every summer, we continue to slather it on our bodies in an effort to prevent skin cancer and avoid being sunburned. Why?
The truth is, most of us are ignorant of the dangers of sunscreen. The makers of these products are not required to disclose the potentially toxic effects of the ingredients they contain, and the media constantly inundates us with messages about sunscreen being the best way to prevent cancer.
It’s time we know the truth. Summer is on the horizon, and many of us will spend hours by the pool or the beach. How can you avoid harmful suncare products and prevent sunburn without having to avoid the sun altogether? Here are a few facts the makers of sunscreen products aren’t telling you:
#1: The sun is good for you. It’s a common misconception that spending time outdoors will cause skin cancer. In reality, indoor workers have higher incidences of melanoma than outdoor workers who are exposed to the sun all day long. Moreover, cancer patients who previously received more sunlight than those who didn’t have higher survival rates.
Sunlight is made up of three types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC rays don’t reach the earth, so we don’t have much to worry about with those. UVB rays are strong during the middle of the day, while UVA rays are most common during early morning and late afternoon. Most sunscreens are produced to filter out UVB rays. It’s these rays that are taken into account when measuring the SPF (sun-protection factor) of a sunscreen. Because of this, most of us believe UVB rays are the ones to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, UVB rays actually produce Vitamin D, which is our best defense against diseases, including skin cancer. This essential vitamin goes directly into our genes to prevent any abnormalities that ultraviolet light may cause.
Most Americans are Vitamin D-deficient, which means we need more sun, not less.
#2: Three out of five sunscreen brands are ineffective and contain harmful ingredients. Your skin is a very porous and absorbent organ. In fact, you can test this idea for yourself by putting a clove of raw garlic between your toes. Within seconds of doing so, you’ll be able to taste its flavor in your mouth. That’s how fast your skin absorbs what you put on it.
My rule of thumb is never to put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t be willing to put in your mouth. Yet, most of us will use beauty products containing toxic chemicals without even batting an eye. The chemicals found in commercial sunscreens are not only toxic; they may actually contribute to the growth of cancer cells. And we thought we were preventing skin cancer by using them!
Some of the most common harmful ingredients include: octinoxate, oxybenzone, nano zinc oxide, and nano titanium dioxide (to name a few.) These ingredients have been found to interfere with our body’s hormonal systems and even damage DNA.
#3: There are much better ways to prevent sunburn, while still getting plenty of Vitamin D. A few things I recommend:
Which brings me to my #1 recommendation for staying healthy and preventing cancer: keep living the Maximized Living lifestyle! Make sure you’re incorporating the 5 DREAM principles of healthy living into your daily routine.
Queen City Health Center is a Charlotte Chiropractic and total wellness center for individuals and families. With locations across Charlotte, NC and Matthews, NC, we specialize in helping individuals and families find true health and ways to maximize their lives through nutrition, lifestyle classes, detoxification and spinal correction.