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House Calls
Dear Dr. De La Flor
I lost my job about a year ago.
I haven’t been able to sleep very well since. Do you have any advice on natural remedies?

03.09.2013 - Dear Tim,

First of all my condolences for your loss.

Secondly, I really liked the fact that you mentioned the word “natural” in your question, instead of simply recurring to prescription medications straight away.

Insomnia is a complex, multifaceted condition often caused by a myriad of factors.  Addressing those factors requires willpower, environmental changes and lifestyle adjustments.  Here are a few tips we can all try when we’ve counted our last sheep:


-                     Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulates the sleep/wake cycle, an internal pacemaker that regulates the timing and our drive for sleep.

-                     Sleepy-time snacks and/or warm milk or certain teas an hour before hitting the hay can facilitate a satisfactory night time.

-                     A hot bath with lavender oil as well as medicinal herbs (e.g. valerian root) has been effective since the time of ancient Rome and Greece.

-                     Bedroom habits are quite personal indeed – ‘Different strokes for different folks’.  However we can negate the proven value of certain issues that improve our quality of sleep (TV/radio on or off, type of sheets, A/C units vs fans, room temperature, level of darkness, type of mattress…)

-                     Physical activity during the dayclearly promotes a restful sleep.  Our body temperature rises during exercise and takes up to six hours to drop back down to normal.  Because cooler body temperatures are associated with better sleep, it’s key to give our body time to cool off before bed.


We also need to remind ourselves that sleeping needs vary from individual to individual, and changes can occur at any stage in our lifespan.  The sleeping patterns and architecture tend to deteriorate in quality progressively.

Make sure your GP does a profound examination of your sleep hygiene, habits, likes and dislikes.  You and I will spend a third of our life in bed, so it’s worth the investment and the effort so that we can be at our best most mornings.  Best wishes and stay strong!


Dear Doctor De La Flor,

My wife has been taking medication for depression for years.

I still notice that she cries very often.  What’s the best thing to do?  Any advice?




Dear James,

I’m really sorry to hear about that.  Depression in many individuals can last a lifetime, and we should not be surprised about it.

Many of us grew up with certain inhibitions against crying or attaching a negative connotation to crying (especially men!).  Some ignorant people believe that it’s an outward expression of weakness, fragility, childishness or even worst, femininity.  We all need to understand that crying is part of the healing process, something physiological and not pathological.  Every single one of us differs in the manner we express feelings, emotions and display affection and care.

Every single millilitre of our tears has a purpose.  We should always try not to wipe the meaning away. Every single millilitre should rejuvenate soul, expand our heart, heal our emotions, recharged our spirit.  Every tear should be a balm that uplifts, soothes and strengthens our faith and hope for a better day.

As William Shakespeare stated - “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”  We’ve all heard that tears are more truthful than smiles.  We can all smile and have fun in front of everyone, but we tend to cry alone or in the presence of someone special to us.  A Jewish Proverb asserts that “what soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”  When we cry we should also get the balm of affection and empathy of a loved one, a trusted person or professional who understands that we are not patients but individuals with specific needs and different ways of expressing our feelings and emotions.  But you, your wife and I, should never feel ashamed of it, never.

Anyone can see her tears, but only few special people like you can understand what it really means.  Be bold and be kinder than necessary with her.  Inundate her with affection and talk to her GP to make sure that she’s taking appropriate dosages of the right medication.

Best wishes to you both.



Recently a patient of mine emailed me the following quote: “A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.  No man can serve two masters.  Your life is shaped by the end you live for.  You are made in the image of what you desire.” Thomas Merton



When thinking of a resolution, I first thought of a succinct “No comment”.

Truthfully the quote is understandable, inspiring, challenging and thought-provoking.

For the next two weeks, let’s spend a few minutes pondering what that quote means to you and I.  Let’s try to align our actions and thoughts with the type of life we would like to be remembered for.  Talk to you in a couple weeks.


Dr. De La Flor, licensed G.P. (38/06089) holds certificates in coaching, nutrition and medical exercise from U.C. Berkeley and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).  His medical approach is highly influenced by Positive Psychology; an empowering, encompassing way of approaching patients through the study of their strengths and virtues to enable them to thrive and lead fulfilling lives, accept the past, find happiness in the present, and hope for the future.  Call him today at 00 34 697 888 666 to schedule a consultation or a motivational talk in his surgery or in your home/business or while you’re on vacation to fully reap the benefits of your time off.

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