How to Sleep Well with a Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

How to Sleep Well with a Chronic Illness

This article is written by Danielle B Roberts. 

According to the National Health Council, 157 million Americans will be living with at least one chronic illness. An illness is considered to be chronic if the duration is three months or longer. Some examples of common chronic illnesses are diabetes, heart disease, endometriosis, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Due to the pain and restlessness caused by chronic illnesses, many people who have a chronic illness also suffer from insomnia. About 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia. Insomnia too can be a chronic condition.

You are considered to have insomnia if you have or do any of the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Coming in and out of sleep in the middle of the night
  • Waking up earlier than expected
  • Fatigue during the day
  • The feeling of being unrefreshed when you wake up
  • Difficulty focusing and remembering

These are just a few of the symptoms one can experience from insomnia. Insomnia can bring on its own battles as well. Insomnia can cause you to have anxiety, depression, mood swings, and more. If you have a chronic illness, here are some things to try to help your insomnia.

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9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You're Cutting Back on Caffeine | The Health Sessions

9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine

Does drinking (too much) coffee make you jittery, anxious or makes it harder to fall asleep? You’re not alone.

There’s a lot of conflicting evidence about coffee. Some research states that a moderate caffeine consumption may actually be good for you, while other studies found adverse side-effects of excess caffeine, like insomnia, anxiety and heart palpations.

One of the explanations for these mixed results may lie in your genes. Thanks to genetic variations, some people produce a less active version of the enzyme responsible for metabolizing caffeine than others. If that’s the case, caffeine will stay in your body and brain for a longer period of time. As a result, the physiological effects of caffeine will be more pronounced. That’s why slow-metabolizers experience are more sensitive to consuming caffeine than fast-metabolizers.

And of course, things like your liver health, use of oral contraceptives or being pregnant also play a role in caffeine sensitivity. 

Whatever your reasons for wanting to cut back on caffeine, you can still wake up to a warming, energizing drink. Try these 9 coffee alternatives to start your day off with a bang. 

Read more >9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine



8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity | The Health Sessions

8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity

Your immune system works around the clock to ward off bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: a germ slips through your defense systems and you get sick.

Or worse: in reaction to an unknown trigger, the body sometimes produces antibodies that mistakenly attack its own tissues. This type of overactive immune reaction is what happens in auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and lupus.

Although scientifically speaking “boosting your immunity” makes little sense, common habits like chronic stress, a fast food diet and sleep deprivation are known to decrease your body’s ability to fight off foreign invaders. So what can you do to keep your immune system strong – besides washing your hands and practicing good cooking hygiene?

Of course you can’t always prevent getting sick. But a healthy lifestyle does support the functioning of your immune system, keeping your defenses up and running as good as possible.

Have a look at these 8 natural ways to optimize your immunity and fight off the flu. 

Read more >8 Natural Ways to Optimize Your Immunity



5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain | The Health Sessions

5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

This article is written by Layla Parker from A Sleepy Wolf. 

Lower back pain does not only disturb you during your waking hours. It can also embarrass you on your bedtime, preventing you from having a peaceful evening repose.

I bet that many of us are no longer stranger to this condition. After all, multiple causes can mention it. Stress alone has been found out to contribute to the proliferation of back pain. It doesn’t require arthritis or other serious illness before you can sustain this strange predicament.

However, a person should know that lousy sleeping posture can further aggravate the ache in your back. On the other hand, sleeping correctly can also prevent it. Here are the 5 best sleeping positions for lower back pain.

Read more >5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain



11 Medicinal Mushroom Recipes That'll Boost Your Immunity | The Health Sessions

11 Medicinal Mushroom Recipes That’ll Boost Your Immunity

“All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once.” – Terry Pratchett

For hundreds of years, mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for healing purposes. Used in tinctures, powders and teas made from dried fungi, medicinal mushrooms were believed to support the immune system, protect heart health and promote longevity.

It turns out that these traditional healers were onto something. Not only are mushrooms packed with vitamin B and minerals like copper, selenium and zinc, they’re also an excellent source of antioxidants – substances that protect against cell damage from free radicals. That makes mushrooms great for fighting inflammation in the body and boosting your immunity.

What’s more, studies have found that medicinal mushrooms indeed contain powerful compounds that enhance your health. Although more research is needed, each mushroom seems to have their own unique benefits:

  • Shiitake support a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol in mice.
  • Reishi help your body adjust to physical and psychological stress, making it a natural remedy for anxiety, depression and sleeplessness.
  • Cordyceps are known for their energy-boosting powers. This mushroom fights fatigue and boosts athletic performance by enhancing cellular energy.
  • Chaga mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, helping you reduce disease-promoting inflammation in your body.
  • Maitake contain beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune system. In animal studies, maitake have been shown to reduce tumor growth and increase the number of cells fighting tumors.

Of course the most pleasurable way to get the benefits from these medicinal mushrooms is to add them to your diet. Because of their meaty texture and earthy flavors, mushrooms lend themselves really well for vegetarian dishes.

If you do want to take supplements, powders or tinctures, please check with your doctor for the right dosage, unwanted side effects and possible drug interactions. It’s also best not to eat mushrooms raw – and don’t forage them in the wild without expertise.

Include some medicinal mushroom magic in your meals with these 11 fungi recipes. 

Read more >11 Medicinal Mushroom Recipes That’ll Boost Your Immunity