In trying to get my blog started again, it seems like everything was plotting against me. My kids need something, the phone rings, the dog throws up…you get the picture. This week the most common things that are on people’s minds are:
1. Do I need to take iodine for radiation exposure?
2. I can’t sleep!
3. My stress level is off the charts and nothing is working!
So, let’s start with the first one. Radiation: I have talked to a couple of folks that I know that are involved with the nuclear industry. They have assured me that as of now, we are not at risk of radiation exposure. That may change, and I will keep in touch with them so that I know sooner, rather than later. As for taking iodine, I don’t recommend taking it without a need for it. If it is taken and you are not low in iodine, you can get side effects such as racing heart, nausea and vomiting, panic attacks. This is from its effects on the thyroid gland. As the iodine attaches to the thyroid, you can temporarily send it into hyperthyroid, and then eventually into hypothyroid. It is recommended in the case of radiation exposure because the thyroid needs iodine to function and it won’t discriminate between radioactive iodine and regular iodine. If your body is low in iodine it will easily pick up the radioactive form. For now, use iodized salt, but don’t take large doses of iodine without a good reason, or your doctor’s recommendation.

Sleep and Stress:
I think these go together. Perhaps, the events in Japan have added fuel to the stress fire, but in general I have noticed that the past few years have really been hard on everyone. I have seen unprecedented amounts of stress related problems in children as well as adults. Very sad. When we are stressed for a long period of time (chronic stress), it actually changes us physically. Certain hormones are increased (cortisol, epinephrine) and others are suppressed (sex hormones, serotonin, dopamine, melatonin). As this happens sleep will be disrupted, sending us into a cycle of poor attention, mood, weight gain, fatigue, and over long periods of time, depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, etc. So what do you do? There are a few things that will help, but I’d love to hear if any of you have suggestions that have worked for you!
1. Turn off the TV. Too depressing, over stimulating and a major time sucker.
2. Go to bed at the same time every night.
3. Exercise every day…but, pick something you enjoy and do it for at least 10 minutes at a time. It doesn’t have to be hard core to be good for you.
4. Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, and make them full of veggies and fruits.
5. Get together with friends, and laugh.
6. When you get home from work, leave it at the office.
7. Take a hot Epsom salt bath before bed
8. Take 30 minutes to do some relaxation before bed (read, breathe, stretch, sex)
I think most importantly, that connecting with each other and supporting each other through these stressful times will go a long way. We can all use a shoulder to lean on.
Let me know your thoughts and insights!