Seven Ways to Fall Asleep Faster

 

Insomnia

A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.

~ Charlotte Brontë ~

My wife is one of those lucky people who falls asleep before her head hits the pillow. I am not so lucky. When I lie down my mind begins to race at Quantum speeds processing a million random thoughts. My parents tell the story of waking up in the middle of the night finding the three year old me playing my Mr Roger’s records while singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” 40+ years later. It still happens…well without the Mr. Roger’s records.

Sometimes insomnia comes in handy for an Obgyn since babies do not seem to follow the Monday through Friday 9 to 5 schedule. I hear from patients every day that they also suffer from insomnia. Over the years I have found a few things that help. I wanted to find tools that avoid addictive medication. Here is my TOP Seven List of all natural ways to treat insomnia.

  1. Cut Screen Time
    Electronics stimulate the mind. Turn the phone off. Instagram and Facebook will still be there tomorrow.
  2. Mindfulness
    I was a skeptic about meditation and now my nine year old daughter Lucia and I do a brief mindfulness exercise together every night. We use an app called Headspace. Insight Timer is great too.Meditation has many health benefits and helps calm the mind. Leave your skepticism at the door and give it a try. Commit to doing it daily for two weeks before you give up. That was my plan, and I am still doing it daily a year and half later. This is an awesome way to help get the kids to sleep after reading a bedtime story. You spend time with your children, you both get health benefits and you both develop habits that can last a lifetime.
  3. Bulletproof Sleep Induction Mat
    This is my favorite product. It looks like a bed of nails. Ok it is a bed of nails. The mat stimulates acupressure points in the back to trigger relaxation, release endorphins and increase blood circulation. It feels great and “hurts” just enough to stop the mind from racing.
  4. Bulletproof Sleep Mode Supplement
    Most over the counter supplements contain too high a dose of Melatonin. Over time they can deplete your body’s ability to produce its own. This is a combination product of bio identical Melatonin, L-Ornithine and Brain Octane oil designed to put the brain into sleep mode. I recommend taking this with an over the counter Magnesium supplement.
  5. Daily Exercise
    Get your steps in. We all make a million excuses why we can not exercise. The truth is we all need to commit to this key health habit. Start with something simple like walking around the block. Do it everyday. Set an easily achievable goal that you can stick with over a long period of time. As exercise gets easier you can increase your goal. The key step is to set the bar low enough that your excuses to NOT exercise just seem silly. I remember telling myself one time “I can’t exercise today because I would have to change my shoes.” #badexcuse
  6. Dodow
    Dodow is a LED light metronome that helps you relax. A glowing, pulsating blue light is projected on the ceiling. You coordinate your breathing to the dynamic light changes. I find it extremely calming and peaceful.
  7. Read a book
    Fill your time before sleeping with a book. Reading books expands your mind and opens you up to new ways of thinking. Reading even a few minutes a day can help calm your mind and prepare it for sleep. If you read for just 10 minutes a day you can complete on average 10 books a year. Reading can be life changing. Here are a few of most recent favorites:
  8. Get inspired with The Seed by Jon Gordon

    Get Motivated with The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod

    Got Focused with The One Thing by Gary Keller

    Get life started with The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

    The links above are tied to Amazon. Proceeds generated are donated to the Irving ISD Teen Parenting program, a drop out prevention program for students who are pregnant or parenting

Control de la natalidad y contracepcion

¿Ya no desea más hijos? ¿Está completa su familia? ¿Está cansado de lidiar con el control de la natalidad? ¿Sabía que hay una opción permanente donde usted puede tomar el control y no preocuparse por volver a quedar embarazada?

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The Power of One

You Got Pregnant, What’s Next? How To Beat The Odds And Live A Successful Life

Dr. Jeff MacArthur Inspires Young Women Who Are Dealing With Unplanned Pregnancy

Your life has a ripple effect. You can make choices today that set you on the path for happiness, success and an abundant life.

Our lives are like a ripple effect. One action can make a big impact. We all have the power to make choices that affect not just ourselves but all those around us, including our future family. With our one life, let us make good choices.

Being A Dad

Dad’s You Are The Model For Your Kids

Dr. Jeff Livingston shares life-changing and amazing truths for young dads.

The greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life was becoming a father. It is magical. It is amazing.

Fathers, you are the model for your kids. They watch everything you do. They watch how you greet your girlfriend or wife, how you work, how you dress and how you talk.

Permanent Birth Control

Are you done having kids? If you are looking for  a permanent option that is hormone free and decreases the risk of ovarian cancer then check out this video now to learn more. You have probably heard about “getting your tubes tied.” In this video we cover the basics about this simple outpatient procedure.

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Wikipedia Goes Dark but the Doctor is In

Today Wikipedia and other websites have gone dark in protest of the online privacy bill. This got me thinking about the issues of copying the online work of physicians across the country. There is a growing group of physicians like me who are involved in social media, blogging and online patient outreach. Most of us do this based on a passionate belief that patient engagement matters. We believe that providing high quality information online is important. We believe that these efforts will lead to more engaged patients and ultimately better patient outcomes. We believe that by using technology we can expand the doctor-patient relationship beyond the four walls of the office.

I have given dozens of lectures across the country teaching physicians how to develop a social media strategy. I am well aware that as a result of these presentations many physicians will go check out the work MacArthur OB/GYN is doing and seek to replicate it. I have seen some physician’s Facebook pages that bear a striking resemblance to the MacArthur OB/GYN Facebook page. To that I say “Great! Go for it.” Imitation is the best form of flattery. Those of us leading the way, like my Twitter friends in #HCSM and fellow Healthtap docs, are trying to create a movement. We hope to develop more E-patients and more “E-doctors.” In fact, most of what I am doing online I learned from following smart, progressive people on Twitter. I love reading blog posts by @dr_v on 33charts.com. I enjoy reading the thoughts of other physicians and patients on KevinMD.com. @hjluks is now my friend. #HCSM moderator @danamlewis is one of my internet idols. Following smart people and adapting their ideas into our lives is the way we make progress.

If using my words and thoughts help move this movement along then, by all means, copy me. Share our Facebook posts, retweet me, share my Healthtap answers and follow me on Google Plus. I am all for it. By doing this together we can show patients and physicians the value of integrating social media into their practice. More and more physicians will develop a strong web presence and patients everywhere will benefit.

Doctor, Google Thyself

Have you ever Googled yourself or your practice? Did you know that you have an ever growing online reputation? Whether you know it or not, doctors have an online presence. When you type your name in a search engine you may be surprised by what you find. Everything you do professionally creates a digital footprint. If you are involved in social media then you are contributing to your online reputation. If not, your online reputation is being written for you. There is a conversation taking place about you online, but unfortunately you may not be included in it.

A simple Google search of your name will likely show your practice website. Your name will also appear in numerous third party review sites. Take the time to read a few. You may be surprised. You will find your name and your practice appearing on people’s Facebook and Twitter pages too. While at first this may be disturbing, I view it as an opportunity.

The Internet has revolutionized healthcare. Health information is now available to everyone with the touch of a button. Pew Internet shows that 80% of people look up information online. A patient experience goes like this. Before a patient sees you they research their symptoms to try and decide what is wrong. Next, they search online for doctors and read online reviews to decide who to see. Then, they schedule an appointment to see you. After the appointment they go back online to see if you knew what you were talking about.

Patients have moved beyond simply reading about health information. They now want an interactive experience. One of my favorite people on Twitter, Phil Baumann, likes to say “Health is social.” By interacting in social networks patients become e-patients: equipped, enabled, empowered, engaged, equals, emancipated and even experts. As doctors we can be frustrated by this and passively complain in the background or we can choose to embrace it. Like it or not, social media is here to stay in healthcare.

Embrace this excitement. Own your online reputation by providing the online information your patients are asking for. Your patients should not have to rely on Wikipedia to know what to do. They should be able to get high quality information directly from you. By getting involved in social media you can promote your area of expertise and define your image. You can create your own digital footprint. You can improve patient education, increase referrals, promote practice loyalty and increase utilization of services leading to practice growth.

This has worked well for Macarthur OB/GYN. By providing high quality health information on our website, podcasts, social media channels and innovative use of technology in the office we are helping our patients make better informed decisions. A perfect example is during the six week postpartum exam when I ask a simple question like, “What would you like to do for birth control?” In years past the answer would be “what are my options?” A brief discussion of the 32 flavors of contraception would follow. Nowadays, our patients say definitively what method they want to use. They tell me what they want. Throughout their pregnancy they have been exposed to birth control options in our waiting room power point presentation as well as through social media channels. They know the options, have thought about it and clearly communicate an educated decision. Our visits become more efficient and higher quality discussions take place. A win-win for doctors and patients.

Our journey to social media began years ago when my teenage daughter suggested I start a Myspace page as a way to reach my teenage patients and address issues such as unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. I learned how social media serves to humanize doctors in the eyes of patients – making us more accessible and improving communication. We then evolved into Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube. All of this has worked well but these sites have limitations. Content created has a short half-life as postings get pushed down the wall and older content gets lost and forgotten. All are great platforms to push out information but none are great for pulling out the needs of specific patients. None overcome the problem of direct one-on-one communication. To solve this, we established a practice portal through our EHR software. This provided a secure messaging system which is a great tool to allow HIPAA compliant one-on-one online communication from doctor to patients. You can read about this here: How secure messaging helps this doctor connect with patients.

New networks are popping up to help overcome the limitations of the existing networks. Doximity is an excellent network designed to facilitate HIPAA compliant doctor to doctor communication. Another new platform called HealthTap brings doctors back into the online conversation. Users ask medical questions. Doctors answer these questions through the creation of their own virtual practice. While engaging patients, HealthTap aggregates the content created so it will stay available forever for the benefit of others. Internet users can find concise health information that they know has been written by qualified medical professionals.

I am not sitting on the sidelines and allowing my online reputation to be created for me. I am actively engaging. I choose to create my own digital footprint and encourage my patients to engage in their own health.

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