Category Archives: research

How to Get a Good Night’s Rest

Recommended Sleep ChartThe above chart comes from the National Sleep Foundation.    It suggests that an adult my age needs 7-9 hours of sleep.  Like good diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health.

The sleep foundation explains:

“One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory—a process called “consolidation.” Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.”

Many of us have difficulty sleeping.  Here are some general guidelines to follow in order to have a good night’s rest.

Stick to a sleep schedule , even on weekends.
Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual .
Exercise daily.
Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Beware of hidden sleep stealers , like alcohol and caffeine.
Turn off electronics before bed.

For those with an overactive mind:

Keep a notepad/journal and a pen near your bed to write down thoughts or things you want to remember.

You can also use this method to write down worries or concerns and if you’re having a hard time letting them go after writing them down, remind yourself you can just deal with it in the morning after you wake up.

At my practice:

Sleep problems are a common co-occurring issue that I see with my clients.  I usually help each person develop their own individual bedtime routine.  Many times we look at the therapeutic effects of yoga postures and breath techniques.  We practice these techniques in the office to figure out the right practice that will help calm the mind and body enough to allow sleep to take over at night.  Many times coming up with an answer to the individual’s problems will occur after tracking one’s schedule and diet over a week.  It is amazing what “hidden” sleep stealers we encounter throughout our day.  Sometimes changing something like when you have your last caffeinated beverage will be the miraculous fix.  Other times, what might solve the issue is long-term work on developing and keeping more healthy habits like exercise, balanced diet, and meditation.

If you would like to talk about finding your solution, please contact  Amanda.




How to Benefit from a Gratitude Practice

branch pic
         I think many of us can identify the calmness and peace that comes with having the thought of thankfulness.  If any of you have read my recent client manual or seen any research on what happens to the body when we experience stress versus when we cultivate peace and calm, you would put 2 and 2 together and know that anything bringing peace is going to have the power to heal.  This is something we intuitively understand but the science is building to show this as well.
         Dr. Masaru Emoto, the Japanese scientist and water researcher, discovered that vibrations affect the molecular structure of water. In his years of water research, through high speed photography of thousands of water crystals, Dr Emoto has shown the most “beautiful” (symmetric and well organized)  crystals are those formed after the water is exposed to the words ‘love and gratitude.’   When water was exposed to words of “anger and hate”, the water crystals became asymmetric and disorganized.  The fact that the human body is made of 70% water, one would consider how  our thoughts can have profound implications on our health.
         The wonderful thing about this feeling of gratitude is that it can be cultivated quite easily.   One can do 15 minutes a day of gratitude practice and experience immediate benefits.  The long-staying results though comes like anything does…. with consistent daily practice.  That’s the kicker, right?  Many of us will start a practice for a week or so and then see it flicker out.  Here’s some steps to help build a daily “consistent” practice of gratitude that has good potential to last.
  • Start small, 5 minutes.  Success will lead to you trying again and not being overwhelmed.  Set a timer and resist doing more.
  • Link your practice to something else you already do daily, like a morning cup of coffee or brushing your teeth.
  • Do it right before or after this already daily routine.
  • During this 5 minutes jot down 3 things that make you feel gratitude.
  • Do this for a month.
  • Bump up to 10 minutes the next month.
  • Bump up to 15 minutes the third month, this time add a nice sitting posture and a minute of quiet after.
  • Continue to build as you feel so, adding other health routines like yoga or breathwork if desired.

Dyslexia and Visual Talents

I have looked into this topic a great deal due to the fact that my oldest son has had much difficulty knowing left from right and letter reversal issues, for example his 4’s and 9’s look like Ps… A book that made a lot of sense to me although I had questioned how the scientific community held it as factual is the book called ‘The gift of Dyslexia” by   Ronald D. Davis  .  This book describes individuals with Dyslexia to have many talents that those of us who do not have dyslexia are not capable of having.  These talents involve the ability of seeing an object like a cube and being able to turn it around in their mind as if they are seeing it from many different view points instead of the view point of just staring down at it on the table.  The can actually pick it up in thought and turn it around to see accurately the different sides and angles of the cube.  The problem comes in when they are asked to read something on paper that to understand it you have to be looking at it from the same viewpoint as any other person reading it.  Training the brain to look at it from the same view point is the trick.

Well I just stumbled on to an article in Scientific American:Mind, Jan/Feb 2015, on “The Advantages of Dyslexia” which found scientific studies that back this theory up.  So that this ability to see everything 3 dimensional and to be able to  manipulate an object in one’s head without picking it up is quite an asset it areas where one might need to see things in this manner.  In the engineering and sciences this is an extremely helpful talent.

There are many kids that get labeled with a learning disability because of dyslexia.  I believe occupational therapy really helped my son understand how to interpret the perspectives and dimensions of what he is seeing in comparison to what he is expected to see by us 2 dimensional folk.  Also with him he also had difficulty crossing the mid line of his body and I wonder how that all fits in with the dyslexia and his visual/mental ability.  Occupational therapy also fixed that.  He spent a large amount of his occupational therapy time on a “scoot” with his hands moving him in a crawling fashion all around their offices.  He had a blast and it made him do a lot of mid line work.

I’m fascinated by how our brain, visual ability, and physical movement are so interconnected.   We all know this and are taught this but the part our past teachers emphasized was our brain controlling the movement  and not the other way around, our movement controlling/affecting the brain.  Funny how most therapies address the movement aspect last and not first, being that you only get it addressed if sent to a specialist.  It seems like it should just be common knowledge to have our kids do mid line activities and tests that measure “ability” in this spacial/visual talent and less on just sitting in a desk with a sheet of paper and measuring the disability.  It really is a paradigm shift though and that takes time.  The science is there however.


Weekly Wellness Post – Follow up on last post

I could not locate the research I mentioned in past post on exercising 3 days a week for 20 minutes for a month equal to that of taking antidepressant for a month but here is some similar research on exercise, mood, and antidepressants.  Looks like the overal result of these studies and research is that you can get the same final result from medications and exercise, but medications will get you there faster while exercise will keep you there longer.   I think exercise is a win-win but of course sometimes you may need help with the initial motivation to get moving and that is where medications can be very helpful.

( This article was first printed in the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School “Understanding Depression”. For more information  go to

(This one isn’t necessarily research but I like it’s explanations.)

(This one is an actual abstract of a research experiment on aging adults divided into groups of those given antidepressant and those given different exercise routines to follow.)


Take Care and nerd up on these studies,