Monday, October 25, 2010
Electromagnetic Fields And Poor Sleep
Electromagnetic Fields And Poor Sleep
Artificially generated electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are produced when alternating current passes through electrical wires or a portal device, like your cell phone. The energy that's produced, known as an EMF, exerts pressure and impacts everything around it including the cells in your body.
The Earth has its own static electromagnetic fields, with magnetic poles located roughly at our North and South Poles. We don't fully understand these magnetic fields. We do know that many of our basic bodily functions, including sleep and sense of direction are largely controlled by these fields.
For decades, numerous scientific entities including the World Health Organization have been telling the public that there are almost no credible health risks from excess exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The official public-health-agency position is that, aside from a small increased risk of childhood leukemia, consumers are perfectly safe no matter how many appliances litter their homes and offices, or how many power lines exist nearby.
However, this view is being challenged by dozens of studies including the $8 million, seven-year study by the California Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF) Program.
"To one degree or another, all three of the scientists who worked on the EMF Program are inclined to believe that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease and miscarriage," says Dr. Raymond Neutra, one of the scientists who wrote the report.
I’ve been educating my patients about the potential dangers of excess EMFs for several years now. I’m particularly concerned EMFs and their ability to deplete normal melatonin levels. Low melatonin levels contribute to poor sleep- linked to numerous health conditions including anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, obesity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hypothyroid, low metabolism, accelerated aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic pain, diabetes, and migraine headaches.
The Importance of Melatonin
The pineal gland is located at the base of our brain, and the ancient Greeks considered it the seat of the soul. This thought may not be far off, since the pineal gland is responsible for releasing melatonin, an extremely important hormone that plays a vital role in regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that plays a part in preventing cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, colds, chronic inflammation, fibromyalgia, mood disorders, headaches, and heart disease.
Once a curiosity to scientists, melatonin is now known to slow down or perhaps even reverse the effects of aging. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that, unlike other antioxidants, can cross the blood-brain barrier and attack any free radicals floating around in the brain. This is perhaps one reason why it is so important in preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, two illnesses that attack the brain.
Normally, melatonin levels in your body begin to rise in the mid-to-late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then decline in the early morning hours.
But some things can work against your body’s production of melatonin. Levels gradually decline with age, and some older adults produce very small amounts or none at all.
Melatonin is also affected by a person’s exposure to light.
Levels start to rise as the sun goes down and drop off as the sun comes up. The eyes are extremely sensitive to changes in light, and an increase in light striking the retina triggers a decrease in melatonin production. Conversely, limited exposure to light increases melatonin production.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields can also deplete melatonin. Do you keep any of these things in your bedroom? Electric clock or radio, electric blanket, sound machine, cell phone, electric telephone, electric fan, television, or computer? In fact, any plugged-in electrical device generates electromagnetic fields. I recommend you remove all EMF generating appliances from your bedroom.
Melatonin levels can also be decreased by certain drugs including non-steroidal anti- inflammatory (NSAIDs), antidepressants (SSRI’s), and anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines).
If you’re like some 20 million Americans who find it hard to fall asleep at night find it hard to fall asleep at night, you may be suffering from delayed sleep phase insomnia- a disruption of normal circadian rhythms. Removing those melatonin- zapping EMFs from your bedroom may be all you need to do for a good night’s sleep.
However, if your melatonin levels are really depleted, you may need to use over the counter melatonin replacement therapy. Studies have shown that 3-6 mg. of melatonin taken at 11 p.m. helps reset these rhythms while providing deep restorative sleep.
An alternative to supplementing is to get more melatonin in the foods you eat. Foods high in melatonin include oats, sweet corn, rice, Japanese radishes, tomatoes, barley, and bananas.
I recommend that before bed, you turn off the TV, computer, avoid all EMF generating gadgets (cell phones), and find a comfortable, quiet room (other than your bedroom) where you can read something pleasant by the light of a soft low-wattage lamp.
Relax and read or listen to soothing music for 30 minutes to an hour. Keep the lights low, and avoid any stimulation, especially the TV. Simply pour one cup of Epsom salts into a warm bath, and soak.
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