7 Unexpected Health Consequences of Poor Sleep

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When you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, you wake up tired. You feel cranky the next day. You can’t focus. Your brain doesn’t function well.

We all know that from getting an occasional bad night’s sleep.

Did you know that there are also serious health consequences of ongoing poor sleep? If you think a bad night’s sleep is something to simply get over, think again.

#1. Poor sleep elevates blood pressure.
Adults with poor sleep have a higher risk of developing hypertension. For people with high blood pressure, a single night of poor sleep elevates your blood pressure for the whole day.

#2. Disruption in sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Higher disruption of sleep is associated with higher cholesterol and higher body mass index. It increases the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and coronary disease. Your risk for developing cardiovascular disease is increased by 48% when you sleep poorly.

#3. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of cancer.
Sleep deprivation accelerates tumor formation and increases the risk of cancer. According to one study, you are 36% more likely to develop colorectal cancer when sleep deprived. Men with severe sleeping disorders are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those without. Poor sleep also increases the risk of other types of cancer, such as breast cancer.

#4. Sleep deprivation increases the risks of memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
During sleep, your brain does important housekeeping and memory consolidation functions. When you don’t sleep well, you chance of memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease increases by 33%. Those housekeeping functions happen during deep sleep. Sleeping pills do not help in this case, as they don’t induce deep sleep where those functions take place.

#5. Poor sleep increases the risk of type II diabetes.
The body processes glucose more slowly when you sleep poorly. It also increases insulin production. As a result, poor sleep increases type II diabetics. You are three times more likely to develop type II diabetes when you sleep poorly.

#6. Lack of sleep makes you gain weight and contributes to obesity.
According to a study done in 2004, people who sleep less than 6 hours a day are 30% more likely to become obese. Poor sleep changes hormone production in the body. It increases the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and decreases the satiety hormone, leptin. It creates a perfect scenario to make you eat more, especially high-fat, high-carbohydrate food.

#7. Poor sleep contributes to depression and anxiety.
According to a study done in 2007, people with insomnia are five times more likely to develop depression. On the other hand, people with depression are more likely to sleep less than 6 hours a night. As a matter of fact, insomnia is one of the first symptoms of depression.

What else does poor sleep do? 

In addition to the 7 unexpected consequences above, there is research that shows that sleep also leads to lower sex drive, weaker immune system, impaired judgment, poor decision-making, and increased risk for accidents, among other things.

What can you do about it?

Now that you’ve learned the gravity of the consequences of poor sleep, here’s your opportunity to learn how to sleep better. I’m offering a 2.5-hour workshop in which you’ll learn 3 simple exercises you can do right away to get a better night’s sleep. It’s coming up in 1 week – don’t miss it!

Check out the details of Get a Good Night’s Sleep here!

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.7 Unexpected Health Consequences of Poor Sleep
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How to Center and Energize Yourself During Holiday Season

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Happy Holidays!

With much going on during the holiday season, you’ll want to take even better care of yourself. Here’s a simple video to help you center yourself AND get energized. Enjoy!

Do leave me a comment below if you find this video helpful, or if you have any question or a special request.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.How to Center and Energize Yourself During Holiday Season
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How To Relieve Shoulder Tension With 3 Simple Techniques

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Do you have shoulder tension, headaches, or neck pain?

Shoulder tension can lead to unease throughout your entire day, or even cause the tension to spread.

Here is a quick video with three simple techniques to help you relieve shoulder tension and relax. It takes only nine minutes in total. Reach out to me if you need additional help or have questions.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.How To Relieve Shoulder Tension With 3 Simple Techniques
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Why Won’t Your Mind Stop Spinning?

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You know what it’s like when your mind won’t shut off.

Regardless of what you’re doing, it simply refuses to take a break. It churns out one commentary after another. It jumps from one topic to another. It talks about one person after another. It’s one of the key reasons that people have trouble sleeping.

Your mind could be focused on a casual, trivial comment that your friend made to you yesterday. It can go on, having a monologue about it, for nothing.

If, on the other hand, that comment from yesterday somehow triggered you, your mind can spill a whole essay in response, with indignation, righteousness, and justification. Or it might be wallowing in sorrow: “Poor me. Nobody respects me. Everyone walks over me.”

Your mind could also dwell on something happening in the world, in politics, in government. You pick your chatter channel.

In reality, it doesn’t matter what the topic your mind spins on. It simply spins.

Most of the time, you don’t even know that this is happening. You’re too busy talking to yourself to notice. Every now and then, you get a glimpse of your mind spinning out of control and getting nowhere.

You may even feel helpless as you watch it running by fast, and soon you’re swept into the current again.

All that thinking is exhausting. And it might keep you awake at night. It might also keep your brain active while you sleep, so your sleep isn’t as restful as you’d like it to be. You wake up exhausted.

The really bad part is, there’s nothing new and exciting in those commentaries. I’ve watched my mind and oftentimes it reminds me of what Christine Northrup said: “If it was a sitcom, it would have been cancelled — it’s so boring.”

Before you go back to feeling hopeless and helpless, I want you to know that there are physical and energetic reasons why your brain won’t shut off. With that knowledge, you can then do something about it.

From an energy healing perspective, there are several reasons why your mind won’t stop spinning. Let’s look at it from the lens of Chinese Medicine.

According to Chinese Medicine, thinking is the function of the earth element. Overthinking is caused by a weakened spleen, both as a physical organ and as a meridian.

The spleen and stomach are two organs that belong to the earth element. A meridian is an energy pathway that’s on the surface of the body. The needles used in acupuncture are placed on the meridians.

The spleen can be weakened by many things: unresolved trauma, PTSD, prolonged illness, surgery, a weakened immune system, a demanding job, accidents, excessive bleeding, improper diet, or stresses from modern life. And the lack of nurture, which is not the same as self-care, can also weaken spleen.

The spleen is also weakened by overthinking, which forms a feedback loop that you want to get out of as soon as possible.

Improving the function of your spleen meridian will go a long way to stop your mind from spinning.

Leave a comment below if you this describes you.  Contact me if you have a question, or need help improving the function of your spleen.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.Why Won’t Your Mind Stop Spinning?
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How To Relieve Neck Tension

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Do you work in front of computers? Do you have neck tension? Do you have headaches or migraines?

Sitting in front of computers for an extended period of time will cause shoulder and neck tension. The neck tension can lead to headaches and migraines.

Here are 3 energy exercise to help you relieve your neck tension. It takes 5 minutes. Let know what else I can do to be of help.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.How To Relieve Neck Tension
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Why You Get Sick More Often Than Your Sister: Lessons Learned From an Insurance Auditor

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A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the plane next to an insurance auditor; let’s call him Ed. Ed was on his way home after visiting clients from the trucking industry in South Florida.

When asked what he liked most about his job, he shared how he loves helping his clients improve their business and cut down on the cost of insurance. He sees many clients in the course of his job. He understands the industry trends. He sees what successful companies are doing. With his experience, he can easily spot an issue in a business.

Then I asked if his clients were afraid of him, as his visit determines their insurance premium. He replied: “Yes, and they shouldn’t be.” He tells them upfront: “How you manage your business determines your insurance premium. You control the price. I don’t.”

A lightbulb went off in my head after hearing that. From my observation of my clients and friends, something similar could be said about health. How you manage your life and health plays an important role in why you get sick, how severely an illness affects you, and how fast you recover from a health challenge.

Granted, there are differences in everybody’s constitution and life circumstances. However, you have more control over your health and illness than you might think.  That’s why adult siblings don’t all get sick at the same rate.

There are 7 specific lessons that I learned from Ed that can help you take charge of your health, so you stay healthy more often and bounce back more quickly from illness.

1. Know that you have control over your health.

This is the point that I’ve been emphasizing above.

2. Create policies and procedures like all successful businesses do.

You’ll need to figure out what works for you and create a plan to better your health accordingly. For instance, I love Taichi and detest gyms. My exercise plan includes Taichi and walking. My diet consists of vegan and mostly organic food.

What’s in your plan?

3. Follow your own guidelines and policies. Some companies have nice guidelines but don’t actually follow them. Don’t be one of those people.

Once you have a plan on what you’re going to do to cope with illness and improve your health, stick to it. Simply having it on paper does nothing for you. Implement it. Take action. Do it.

How often do you stay on track? How often do you stray from it?

4. Learn the best practices. Successful companies are open to learning new strategies and ways to improve all the time.

Healthy people learn better ways to improve their health. You’re off to a great start by reading my blog.

I send you articles and videos on how to sleep better, increase energy, and relieve pain. Other healers write blogs anywhere from exercise to nutrition to weight loss. Find a few you like and read them regularly..

5. Adapt to the changes of technology. When new generations of trucks came onto the scene, the requirements for drivers changed. Savvy businesses adapted.

The same is true for your health. With GMO food, blue light emissions from electronic devices, and Electromagnetic Field released from your cell phones and tablets, you need to be aware of the research of their impact on your health. Only then can you make an informed decision on what to do with them.

6. Pay attention to transition. When a trucking business is passed down from father to son, the commitment to safety may change.

When you’re going through a transition like a job change or divorce, are you maintaining the same level of commitment to your health? Or are you allowing it to slide? Many people fall into severe illness after stressful transition. This is the time to hold tight to your health policies and procedures.

7. Be consistent when creating and implementing policies and procedures. In the trucking industry, business owners have new hires take driving tests. But they don’t always require a driving test for a contractor who owns a truck.

Are you careful about your diet but not exercise? Are you keen on having clean, organic food but have a toxic relationship with a girlfriend? Which area in your life might you be slacking on?

These 7 lessons create a solid, foundational support for your health, much like a tripod structure does for plants in your garden. Such a structure provides you with health, resilience, and core strength. With such a strong foundation, you’ll be able to weather the storm with minimal setback.

You’ll enjoy radiant health more often than not, regardless of what may come your way.

Now, it’s your turn. Among the 7 lessons above, what do you already have in place? Which ones do you need to pay the most attention to?  Leave me a comment below.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.Why You Get Sick More Often Than Your Sister: Lessons Learned From an Insurance Auditor
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Is Your Heart Acting Up This Season?

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A client of mine has had a racing heart lately. She hasn’t been able to sleep much because of it.

A few friends of mine have also had heart-related discomfort. Have you felt it in your heart?

According to Chinese medicine, that’s normal for the spring season. You’ve probably heard that Spring is a great time to detox, because it’s the season for wood and for growth in the wilderness.

According to Chinese medicine, the liver and gallbladder belong to the wood element. As such, they tend to be more active in the spring. Hyperactivity of the gallbladder can rob the heart meridian of energy.

When that happens, the proper function of the heart can be compromised too.

The reason that the gallbladder meridian can rob the heart meridian of energy is because of its proximity to the other.

Picture this: All of the meridians sit on a wheel, and the gallbladder and heart meridians sit right across from each other. Because of that, the heart meridian is the first place the gallbladder meridian goes when it needs some extra energy.

So, helping your gallbladder meridian stay balanced goes a long way to help your heart meridian, and the organ itself.

Here’s an exercise that can help your gallbladder meridian:

Place your thumbs on the outside corner of your eyes. Place the rest of your fingers over your forehead one inch apart.

Now, relax your shoulders. Relax your elbows. Relax your fingers.

If you are sitting in front of a desk, you can lean forward and place your elbows on the desk in front of you. Hold that position for two minutes – or longer – as long as is comfortable for you.

Do this exercise once or twice a day if you are prone to heart issues, challenges with your gallbladder, or simply frustration. Add this to your self-care routine. Mark it on your calendar so you’ll actually do it.

Let me know how this exercise helps you. Leave me a comment below.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.Is Your Heart Acting Up This Season?
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How to Calm Your Frustration and Irritability

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Click HERE to watch the video.

I was talking to a good friend and colleague of mine yesterday. She’s this lovely, level, grounded person. She’s the one I go to when I need a sounding board.

Except that yesterday, she said she was really off. She was quite frustrated by simple things: too many items on her to-do list, not enough time in the day to get them done, etc.

At the end of our conversation, she asked me if the weather has anything to do with her mood.

I said yes.

She’s not alone. I’ve run into several friends who are feeling more frustrated and irritable lately. It has a lot to do with the spring season.

A few of weeks ago, I shared a blog post with you about why Spring can bring issues with fatigue, poor sleep, and irritability. Spring brings a surge of energy to the liver and gallbladder meridians. These two meridians, when in balance, bring kindness and forgiveness to the surface. When out of balance, they bring out anger and frustration.

To calm your frustration and irritability, you need to bring these two meridians back into balance. Here’s a simple exercise you can do to balance your liver meridian, right at your desk, in front of a computer, or in front of your TV.

Let me know how this helps you. Leave me a comment below. See you next time!

Transcript of the video:

“Hi, Dan Zhou here. Today, I’d like to share with you a simple exercise to calm frustration and irritation. 

According to Chinese Medicine, your liver and gallbladder meridians belong to the wood element. Wood belongs to the spring season. Everything grows in the wild. When your liver gets a nice boost of energy from the spring season, your liver meridian is more prone to get out of balance. 

When your liver meridian is balanced, you come from a place of kindness and forgiveness. When your liver meridian is out of balance, you get frustrated and irritated more easily. 

That’s why I’ve seen friends, normally lovely, nice people, get frustrated in the spring season. 

The exercise I’m going to show you can be done anywhere, especially in front of your computer at your desk, or in front of TV. 

Interlace your fingers and put your hands behind the back of your head. Open your chest wide, so your elbows are parallel to your shoulders. 

Now, turn slowly to the left. When you turn, move your eyes too. At the end of the turn, direct your eyes to look at the back of your head. Hold your breath there for a little bit. 

Now, turn back to the center, and all the way to the right, moving your eyes from left to right. 

Your elbows are completely open. 

When you get to the end of the right side, hold your breath and look at the back of your head. 

Your eyes are moving the whole time while you’re turning. 

One more time. 

Now, you can continue doing this three more times. Left, right, and again. 

I’m going to explain why this works. 

First, your liver meridian goes to your eyes. It governs your eyes. When you move your eyes from left to right and right to left, you are helping your liver meridian. 

Second, the liver is the largest internal organ. It sits under the right rib cage. When you twist and turn, you massage the liver organ, which in turn helps the liver meridian. 

Third, when you open up your elbows, you are opening up the armpits completely. That helps the liver meridian too. 

Now, you know why this exercise works and how to do it. I hope you do it every day. It goes a long way towards improving your health. 

Again, remember that your liver is the largest organ in your body. When you help your liver meridian, you help your liver function better.”

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.How to Calm Your Frustration and Irritability
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What Do Fatigue, Poor Sleep, and Irritability have in Common?

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Spring is a wonderful season for the garden. Everything grows abundantly in the field. However, for some of us, this season can bring unexplained fatigue, poor sleep, and extra irritability.

According to Chinese Medicine, spring is the season of the wood element. The other elements are water, fire, earth, and metal.

As the season of wood, this is the season where our liver and gallbladder get an extra boost of energy. And that extra energy can be an issue for some people.

I recently came across this article about how to love your liver. It had the clearest language I’ve seen for an average reader. It clearly stated what would lead to stagnant liver energy, and showed you how to identify if your liver energy might be congested.

I encourage you to read this short article today. Not only will you gain the ability to detect if your liver is under stress, but also identify how your lifestyle might be overloading your liver. This article explained several ways to help your liver.

My favorite suggestion on the list is also the easiest one to implement: #3, a liver channel slap. You can lightly fist your hands and slap the inside of your thighs and calves.

Of course, just because you have this resource doesn’t mean you’ll add this into your daily routine. Only when you use the information will it become useful to you. So, go ahead and try it now for a couple of minutes on each leg. Make it a habit to do this daily for the next two months. That’ll go a long way to improve your liver health, and your overall health.

You can read the full article here.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.What Do Fatigue, Poor Sleep, and Irritability have in Common?
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How to Ease Your Stress after Tragedy

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When tragedy happens, it can feel so overwhelming. We get triggered emotionally. Our sense of reality gets shattered. We feel like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet. What will ease your stress?

This is how many of us have been feeling over the past three weeks since Valentine’s Day; after the shooting at MSD High School in Parkland, Florida, a small, peaceful community.

To help you move better throughout your days, I made three videos on energy exercises to help you cope. The first video has an energy exercise that will help you ease your stress.

Let me know your experience with these exercises.  Also let me know if I can be of further help.

Dan Zhou, Ph.D.How to Ease Your Stress after Tragedy
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