The Difference Between Healing and Curing

Following on from my blog the other day called “Can’t the Body Just Heal Itself?”, it like to go a little more in depth into this concept. Along with his other discoveries and concepts, Dr. Hahnemann made a very fine distinction between the words ‘healing’ and ‘curing’. If you think about it, we almost never hear the word ‘cure’ anymore, but we certainly hear a lot about healing.

What is the distinction that Hahnemann made here? Well, to put it simply, the “cure” is the action of the remedy to destroy a disease, and then to “heal” is the job of the body and mind to clean up in the aftermath. This distinction is a direct parallel to the two inter-related, but very different powers within the human being, called “the generative power” and “the sustentive power”. Where any disease will lodge itself into the generative power of the human being, it’s cure will involve a remedy that also acts on the generative power, in order to dislodge it.

It is the other power of the human being, the sustentive power, whose primary mission is to restore and maintain balance and all natural, healthy life functions. This is the “innate healing power” which we all have, and which keeps us maintained in health.

One of the big blind spots within Classical Homeopathy, as well as the whole natural health movement is in this distinction between the two powers in the human being, and their relative roles in curing and healing. Instead, we have many modalities which talk about ways of healing the mind and body, and assisting it in the process, but virtually never do we hear about the counterpart action of actually curing a disease — as I mentioned above, this requires an understanding of Hahnemann’s distinction between the generative and sustentive powers of the human being.

This is also the reason that we see so many “wellness” clinics springing up (which is related to the sustentive power, and its role in healing), but so far, I’ve never yet seen a “soundness” clinic, as in the phrase “of sound mind and body” — soundness is a concept related to the function of the generative power, and its role in creating a forward-moving state of health. I wonder how that would roll off the tongue : “Arcanum Soundness Clinic — Providing you and your family with sound mind and body”……

This is also the reason why I’ve seen so many examples in patients who bring to me their health history which included one or more ‘healing’ modalities which helped them get rid of a given condition, yet sooner or later, the symptoms return again in their original, or often worsened form, as the underlying diseases themselves still remain latent, and uncured.

There are many of these examples in the mental/emotional realm, where the patient has “healed” from their past through any number of talk therapies or energy work, yet when we reach that point in their time line treatment, the curative remedy very definitely brings about a whole discharge and transformation which the patient didn’t realize they were still carrying within themselves.

From Typological to Individual Resonance : a Meditation on Freedom and Constraint

Much resistance from patients comes in the form of not liking being “told” what to do. Part of the fear comes from the possibility of losing their perceived freedom to eat however they see fit for themselves. Sometimes, it goes deeper than having emotional attachments to food into the more powerful realm of beliefs — dietary beliefs can be some of the most entrenched and difficult to engage openly about with some patients.

The more a patient has a willingness to look past their emotional attachments and beliefs about food to consider new ideas about their diet, the more benefit they can derive from the nutritional plan I help them to prepare. I certainly understand the nature of beliefs, as I, myself, was a very rigid vegetarian in my 20s, despite the fact that my strong belief system was contributing to my health getting worse over time. Based on my nutritional typologies, a meat-less diet is not at all suitable for me, and I wish I had come to this concession much sooner!

In general, the greater the health challenges you are having at a given point in time, the better off you’ll be conforming to one or more nutritional typologies, and the more effective will be the homeopathic treatments at reversing the underlying disease process. Depending on the exact nature of your imbalances, I’ll guide you to one or a combination of nutritional typologies which best mirror your present condition.

During this phase (of reduced health), I liken these typological constraints to ensuring that the farm animals are fenced in to the pastures which contain the grasses or other food sources which are optimized for the animals health. Due to all of the toxic plants around the farm, it is in the animals best interest to be limited to the healthier food options.

On the other hand, the greater your health is, the greater is your capacity to select food day by day based on its unique resonance to you at that moment in time. It takes a greater health to be able to do this, as the gut mind, or intuition are one of the first things to go when health deteriorates. This is another reason that the more generic resonance of typology is more suited during a point of lesser health — it’s much more reliable to know whether a given food “is your type”, or not. It is challenging to eat on individual resonance, as you also need to be able to distinguish the difference between attraction and resonance. What we usually call a ‘craving’ is based on attraction, which “seems like a good idea at the time”, but actually robs the body of nutrition and/or energy. A resonant diet (as with all things resonant) provides nutrition, energy, and fulfilment at all levels.

One more example about typological resonance vs. individual resonance : The homeopathic constitutions (6 genotypes or personality types) typically pair up in certain romantic matches. This is another example of resonance through typology (“Sorry, you’re not my type”). Again, the greater the health and energy of an individual, the greater the possibility of a marriage generated out of an individual resonance, rather than a typological one. For the record, I don’t often see this happen, but I have experienced a few examples of this.

As with everything about resonance, the more you explore it, and unfold it within yourself, the larger it’s scope becomes. Wishing you resonance today and always….

Can’t the Body Just Heal Itself?

The commonly asked question of the need or purpose of intervention from any medical modality (ie “Can’t the body just heal itself?”) has a simple answer : yes and no.

The slightly longer answer goes something like this: in a natural state, and in the case of simple imbalances or indispositions, the human organism is absolutely designed to restore itself to a glorious state of balance (called ‘homeostasis’). Think of the simple experience of watching your skin repair itself from a cut over the course of a few days. Even common infections can generally be overcome by a healthy body’s immune system, which sweats, coughs, or sneezes the pathogen out.

The modern view of this concept often boils down to the idea that being healthy simply requires a reasonably good diet, possibly with some supplementation, effective strategies for dealing with stress, and sporting a good attitude to round out the mix. Any chronic illness, it is supposed, which emerges beyond this common sense approach probably couldn’t have been prevented anyways, as it was either due to genetics, or environmental factors beyond the individual’s control. “Health nuts”, are thus defined as those who go to excessive lengths with their diets and lifestyle to try to prevent the inevitable.

Our key question remains, though, regarding the ability of the body to heal itself, and why this isn’t necessarily always in operation. At what point does the body lose its ability to heal itself? It is certainly the case for virtually every chronic illness that without intervention, the body will either die, or deteriorate in form and function over time.

There are many factors behind this, but I will focus on a couple here. One primary reason is that there is a qualitative difference between simple acute illnesses (eg. the common cold), compared with chronic illness. Dr. Hahnemann made this very clear distinction between ‘self-limiting diseases’ (which always have a short shelf-life in the face of a healthy immune system) and ‘chronic diseases’, which have more of a “till death do us part” attitude – that is, once a chronic disease is contracted, it continues to degenerate all aspects of health until the point of death is attained. An external medicinal agent (ie a homeopathic remedy), correctly chosen and administered, is the only way to stop this death march in its tracks. It is certainly preferable to see the death of a disease rather than of a human being any day.

This situation of a chronic illness, to look at a second issue, goes beyond the natural mandate of the body’s innate healing power, which is designed to self-heal and self-repair — the ‘homeostasis’ which I mentioned above. The nature of these ‘chronic diseases’, however, does not directly create an imbalance to be corrected, but a disease, which is an entirely different type of problem. Rather than restoring balance, when the body tries to overcome a chronic illness (which it is not designed to do), it actually exacerbates the problem. Our innate healing power is our “best friend” in a state of relative health, but turns out to be our worst enemy in the face of a chronic disease! This is precisely the point where medical Heilkunst begins its work at removing chronic diseases, so that the innate healing power can be left to its own devices and do what it does best – maintain health, where there is no disease to destroy.

What Happens During a Heilkunst Consult?

How does a Heilkunst treatment session work? Of course, the variety of issues and stages of health which patients bring will lead to a very individualized form of treatment, but there are a number of areas which form a backbone for the type of content that I might explore during each session.

The purpose of every Heilkunst session is ultimately determined by the patient, and what their current troubles and/or health goals are. Giving the patient an opportunity to tell their own story in their own words and their own style is the most important guiding principle in the case taking. Addressing their most immediate concern is always the first order of business.

To the degree that we are working on deeper chronic issues, or long-term goals, I’ll draw from any number of the following categories of inquiry:

  • Specific reccomendations for their immediate concerns: Which homeopathic remedy or remedies will help them with current symptoms, (which we call ‘pathic’ prescribing)? Which lifestyle or nutrition modification would be most useful? What have they already tried, and what were the results?
  • The basics of regimen : I like to ask the patient what his or her “nutritional habits” are. This phrase tends to prompt a much more accurate picture of their lifestyle than the idealized word “diet” tends to evoke, and usually prompts the patient to tell me what they think they should be eating, rather than what they actually are. There are any number of issues which need to be addressed in a patient’s regimen, starting with the basics of hydration and nutrition as a foundation.
  • The basic life functions : How are the patient’s basic life functions? Is sleep deep and refreshing? What about the appetite, digestion, and assimilation?
  • Assessing the time line of shocks and traumas : Particularly when the issue is of a chronic issue, I’m looking at the patient’s time line history, to determine which blockages might need to be addressed sooner than later. Although we normally follow a treatment logic of a reverse chronology for the time line, sometimes I will jump the queue to a particularly strong event, or one which has an obvious bearing on the present issues.
  • What are the larger themes in the patient’s life? (ie not missing the forest for the trees) : Going beyond the specific details of the patient’s time line, a broader theme or themes of their whole life begins to emerge, such as “the eternal victim”, or “looking for love in all the wrong places”. Prescribing a specific homeopathic remedy in a dropper bottle (ie for long-term gradual use) will be included in their treatment for this aspect, coupled with appropriate counselling.
  • What is the patient’s constitution? : I’ve written about some of the homeopathic constitutions, or ‘genotypes’ elsewhere (see “Living With a Sulphur”, for example), which are the six fundamental personality types and their corresponding homeopathic remedies. Using this remedy over the long-term helps the patient to feel more balanced and grounded within themselves. There are also six additional types called ‘phenotypes’, which are not fundamental constitutions, but the typical patterns that a personality will get frozen into under various long-term stress or trauma.
  • What is the patient’s character type? : I’ve written elsewhere about some of the character types, as originally derived from Wilhelm Reich’s work. Like the phenotypes, these are also not natural states, but distortions of the fundamental flow of life energy which gets frozen in a variety of conflicts to a natural flow and expression, and which manifest by certain characteristic behavioural or character patterns, such as being eternally pleasing (the “passive femine” type) or eternally combative (the “phallic” type), for example.
  • The health history in the family tree : What diseases have run in the family? What have been the causes of death in previous generations? The picture here reveals a focus and depth of predisposition in the patient which may not be obvious in their current health picture, and allows the opportunity for a truly preventive form of medicine.
  • Emotional life : What is the patient’s current emotional landscape? What is the satisfaction they have in their life, overall? How are their relationships? Nurtruting? Conflicted? Ultimately this picture will reveal what the underlying relationship that the patient is with themselves.

As I mentioned above, the uniqueness of each patient will guide the direction of their treatment, and not all of these elements need to be investigated with every patient. The human being is multi-dimensional, and the well-trained Heilkunst physician will be fluent in all of these areas (and more!).

Disease and the Generative Power (From Procreation to Co-creation)

Dr. Hahnemann, who founded the system of medical Heilkunst, was clearly a genius, who brought many new and even radical insights into the understanding of health, disease, and the true basis for cure. A deeply compassionate and ethical man shines clearly through his writings, and his desire to always find a better and quicker method for restoring his patients to true health propelled him through every phase of his life.

One of his original observations involves his radical understanding of disease itself, as being fundamentally of a qualitative nature, and involving what he termed the generative power. Nowhere in the history of medicine had anyone seen this before Hahnemann. The medical philosophy before him (and which has continued on to this day in all allopathic approaches to medicine) completely misses this, and therefore treats disease at the wrong level, which produces superficial results, at best.

The generative power is that part of us which is creative — whether procreative, as in our sexual energy, or otherwise co-creative, as in all of our activities of producing new things (objects of art, or industry, or even the mundane activities of creation which we engage with in our day-to-day lives). Hahnemann’s great insight was that all disease lodges itself within this generative power, hence the reason that we can correctly refer to “de-generative” diseases.

The usual everyday approach to health care generally revolves around symptoms and their elimination, and unfortunately usually without any concern as to how or why they are made to disappear, and more importantly, where they have been shifted to (usually deeper into the organism with allopathic approaches). While there are multiple methods and modalities for eliminating symptoms, they mostly don’t do anything to actually improve the patient’s health.

Hahnemann’s insight, as captured in his system of Heilkunst, instead understands that symptoms are only a secondary issue, and it is the overall health and forward momentum of the patient which are of primary importance. His observation of the role of the generative power in disease implies that a principled (ie lawful) cure of a disease, by definition, liberates the patient’s creative energy.

We confirm this all of the time, as we take patients through their sequential treatment, and watch as they progressively become more and more creative within their life, and engage in a much more dynamic way, while their symptoms fall by the wayside. In fact, the same is true for patients who don’t particularly have any “symptoms” to speak of, yet they are not feeling this sense of overall health and creativity in their life. These patients actually come to treatment for the sole purpose of re-enlivening their generative power. What a true joy to be able to witness these patients give birth to themselves anew!

Get Rid of Your Glasses, Naturally!

When I refer to “Allopathic” medicine, people often assume that this term only applies to the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs, but not to any non-drug approaches, such as surgery. “Allopathy” has a much broader meaning than this, and indicates a more general conceptual approach to health which doesn’t understand or treat the cause of a disease, and generally makes things worse in the process of its treatment.

The field of Optometry is almost completely overrun with this Allopathic mindset, and the common practice of continuously prescribing corrective lenses of greater and greater strength creates a downward spiral for the eye health of most patients. This comes from the same general assumption in Allopathic practices that illness and symptoms of all kinds are an inevitable result of aging, and our best response is to apply medicine or other therapeutics in correspondingly greater doses over time.

The facts turn out to be different from this assumption. Many thousands of patients have actually been able to improve their vision, and some even get rid of their corrective lenses entirely. The Bates method (invented by Dr. William Bates) is simply a collection of exercises for the muscles in and around the eyes in order to progressively strengthen, and therefore improve the vision. Eyesight, after all, is largely a function of musculature — when we are focussed on the words in a book in our hands, and then shift our gaze to something farther away, the change in focus is accomplished by our eyes through muscle movements.

Due to our increasing focus on up close work (all of the work people do now on computers, for example, such as reading this blog!), our vision becomes more and more rigid, and less adaptable to re-focussing at different perspectives. The normal solution of progressively greater strengths of corrective lenses only reinforces the underlying problem, and contributes to its worsening over time.

The practices of the Bates method, by contrast, encourage a much more varied usage of the eyes, by using exercises that utilize all the different combinations of muscle groups within the eye, by looking at different horizons, angles, and so on. It also includes other aspects of encouraging relaxation in the eyes, to give them a break from the constant strain they are often put under. “Sunning” and “palming” are two staple exercises in this realm, as well.

Some optometrists are willing to work with the patient in parallel to these exercises, in order to prescribe them progressively lower prescriptions over time, as their eyes are strengthened. It is definitely worth searching around to find an optometrist who is willing to work with you on this goal.

Aside from the basic exercises in the Bates method (which are plenty effective in their own right), I also assist patients with homeopathic remedies as well. There are some homeopathic remedies which are useful for the physical aspects of these exercises, such as Ruta Graveolens, which is very effective for releasing habitual straining in the eyes, particular for those who do a lot of up close work.

There are also the whole range of the emotional remedies available, as patients find that their progressive work on eye improvement will be tied up with any number of layers of emotional conflicts or other shocks or traumas that are being energetically stored in their ocular segment. Think of all that we may desire not “to see” when faced with emotional traumas. The ultimate goal of healthy vision is not only to have the mechanics of your vision working properly, but also the mental-emotional aspects. As you work through any blockages in your vision (not able to “see” due to unresolved grief, anger, etc.), note the progress you are making towards the goal of seeing the world through an expansive “love consciousness”. Think of how someone gazes at their beloved, or how an art enthusiast “drinks up” a beautiful painting with their eyes.

A good dose of healthy nutrition and lifestyle are always good complements to any health endeavor, and even the more specific use of certain herbs and supplements formulated to nourish the eye may also be used.

I have been working on my own vision with these methods, and have already had my relatively strong prescription drop a few points. I’ll let you know when I get rid of my lenses completely!

Heilkunst on TV : Being Erica

We haven’t owned a TV in many years, but since we’ve had Netflix, we’ve been exploring a few television series which appeal to our interests. We’re always looking for artistic portrayals of the various aspects of Heilkunst, and last night we stumbled across a TV Series called Being Erica, which seems to be a brilliant depiction of our process of time line treatment.

The first episode (as far as we’ve gotten, so far) lays out the story — our heroine, Erica, feels that all of the mistakes she has made has brought her life to one dead-end after another : her job, her lack of relationship, and appearing to be the black sheep in her family culminate in a series of misfortunes during this opening episode.

Coming to in the hospital after being revived from an anaphylactic reaction from a nut allergy, she is approached by a mysterious figure, who tells her that he’s “sort of” a doctor, and can help her. He invites her to come and try his unconventional form of therapy, in order to get her out of her life funk.

Hints of magic (ie non-realism) mount towards the point where she is in this therapist’s office, and asked to write down a list of all the big regrets that she is still carrying from her life. To the Heilkünstlers in the audience, this looks very much like a time line of traumatic events and emotional shocks, which we use as the backbone of treatment.

He chooses one particularly pivotal event, and the next thing we know, she has woken up in her old teenaged life, the day of one of her big regrets in question. After a few disorienting encounters, she figures out that she has been sent back in time in order to relive this event, but to change the ending through different choices and actions.

Without revealing the rest of the plot of this episode, I’d like to say that it was a very good artistic depiction of our time line treatment, where each time line remedy will send the patient back in time. Although we cannot literally change our past, we can change our consciousness of it, as far as it has a continuing effect on how our mind or body functions in the present. Like the show Being Erica, and unlike traditional talk therapy, it is not sufficient to just talk about these events from the past, but to employ an agent which provokes a living experience for the patient, from which a true change of mind and heart can be gleaned.

This show is fairly light in tone, but nevertheless caries a powerful artistic message, if you have something real to connect it to. The same is true for so many ‘fluffy’ Hollywood films, but if read correctly, often can reveal basic archetypes about human conflicts and struggles.

We’re looking forward to continuing on watching this series, so please don’t spoil any of the upcoming plots in the comments below!

A Journal of Best…. Compensations?

I enjoyed this week’s episode of This American Life, which included the story of  David Finch who recently authored a book called The Journal of Best Practices, about his coming to terms with his late-discovered diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, and how he learned to compensate for his social incongruencies and emotional deficits within his marriage.

As is often the case, the receiving of this disease label (or so-called diagnosis) actually provided a great relief to the couple, who had been struggling in their relationship without having a framework for what the issues were. Some of the typical complaints by women about their husbands are multiplied that much more in this condition, which is defined in terms of an absence of basic social skills, including a feeling and expression of empathy, as well as basic interpersonal skills.

He describes the elaborate efforts he went to in order to learn how to behave in more socially acceptable ways, and ultimately mimic the behaviors of empathy and compassion, but without actually being able to feel them himself. He spent a long time, for example, studying David Letterman and Howard Stern, in order to learn how small talk was supposed to work. He would note everything down, such as “Remember not to change the radio stations while Kristen is singing along”. While some of this narrative was humorous, I also felt the sadness of this situation, in the fact that since a true process of diagnosis was not being engaged in, the true roots of the disease(s) were not being addressed, and he is in effect condemned to live in this well-decorated jail cell aka a “condition label”.

This hit home when he described how he’s gotten to the point of being able to display empathy with his wife, or at least the outer behaviour of empathy — he doesn’t actually posses the inner feeling. This is precisely where a true diagnosis would lead to a deeper treatment, and actually address such emotional impairments, rather than just changing the outer behaviour. “Aspergers” is a condition label which hides more than it reveals, and these emotional roots behind his condition would be much more beneficial in the long run to be the focus of his treatment. Compensation is not cure, and the more accurate the diagnosis in each individual case, the better will be the choice of treatment.

How Did I Come to Practice Heilkunst?

They say that “youth is wasted on the young”, and I certainly spent my formative years wandering without a plan, from one subject of interest to the next. I began university enrolled in one course of study, but graduated from a completely different department. When I began my B.A. In Psychology, I was full of interest in learning about the workings of the mind, but by the time I had completed it, I was feeling bereft of having learned anything either meaningful or practical for what I wanted to do with my professional life. Learning about the biochemical workings of the brain, and its manipulation with pharmaceutical drugs was very far from what I was looking for, which had for more to do with the inner workings of the mind itself, and how to discover its deeper meaning through dreams, archetypes, or other cultural reference points.

Other than putting my diploma into a nice frame, I found no other immediate practical use for it, at least as far as my desire function was seeking. I spent the following handful of years studying music, as the best substitute I could find regarding a field of study which revealed something about the human mind within cultural and historical forms of creativity.

What I didn’t know during any of this time (you know what they say about hindsight), was that my desire function was driving me towards the field of Heilkunst, which combines both a scientific as well as artistic approach to understanding the human mind, while also providing a practical modality for actually affecting a significant change in its healthy functions.

As much as I felt lost through those years, the work I do now would not be as rich and fulfilling had I not picked up those superficially unrelated pieces of study aimed at both the left and right side of my brain. The systematic, scientific approach of Heilkunst Medicine appeals to my desire for a concrete methodology with which to help people; and its deep connection to the inner workings of the mind, along with an artistic appreciation for the human being as being something other than matter and mechanics fulfills the entire scope of my mind and its desire function.

If you haven’t uncovered your desire function yet, keep looking within for clues in terms of which way your “compass” is pointing, and which activities seem to spontaneously light up your enthusiasm. Please share any of your own revelations, large or small, about how you discovered some or all of your desire function.

The ABCs and 123s of Health

Becoming healthy can seem daunting and even complex to someone who suddenly decides that they need to dramatically turn the direction of their life around, for whatever reason. At whatever stage someone is working on their health, I always recommend small incremental baby steps on their journey from point ‘A’ to point ‘Z’. Like a physical building, our health can be thought of in terms of more foundational aspects, and then higher-up add-ons which build on top of that. To lay out some of the most foundational elements of health, here are three of the most significant items an absolute beginner in healthy living can start to incorporate into their life. I’ve chosen the three issues which tend to be ignored mosts commonly, and contribute to some of the greatest long-term health consequences. These are three of the fundamental areas which anyone can benefit from in their health, even before we begin with any homeopathic treatments. Medical Heilkunst is a system where we talk about the patient being qualified for medicine by first correcting their own regimen:

 

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  1. Hydration – We have surely all heard it any number of ways, but “drink more water” is an imperative which has room for improvement for most people. The issues of quantity and quality have a bearing on this requirement. How much water is required? This will vary quite a bit with different ages, lifestyles, body weight, and so on, but a good rule of thumb to begin with is to seek a consistency in the urine of a very pale straw-like colour. Any darker of a colour in the urine indicates a state of chronic dehydration, and the foundation of numerous chronic health issues. The book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water illustrates some of the possible health consequences of this widespread issue with regimen. The quality of the water taken in deserves a whole study in itself, but to keep it basic at this point, hydration is almost entirely a function of drinking pure water, and not any other beverage (including pop, tea, coffee, or juices), which mainly have dehydrating properties and generally count against our goal of hyrdration.
  2. Breathing – Of course, it goes without saying that if we are not breathing, then we are no longer alive, but I am talking here about the issue of proper deep breathing. Most people, without even realizing it, are incredibly shallow breathers, and actually creating and maintaing the mechanism for chronic health issues of all kinds. The causes of this are many, but there is often an emotional component behind this, in terms of underlying anxieties, or otherwise unresolved emotional content from earlier shocks or traumas in our life. There are many possible ways of intervening with this bad habit, including any number of conscious activities which focus directly or indirectly on proper breathing. This may include specific meditation or yoga practices, which deliberately focus on the breathing, or may include any number of sports or cardiovascular exercises which indirectly improve the breathing through forcing the expansion of our normal resting breathing habits.
  3. Sleep – Sleep is another issue with many complexities to it, but here I simply want to point out a couple of the basic aspects of it. First of all, many people abuse themselves in terms of not getting enough sleep, particularly in terms of staying up too late. Especially in climates which have a strong variation in the amount of daylight (the further away from the equator you live), the longer days of summer and the shorter days of winter dictate a greater or lesser need for sleep at different times of the year. The consequences of chronic suboptimal levels of sleep affect our health in so many ways, starting with the delicate and critical balance in our hormonal rhythms (this applies to men as well as women), which affect every aspect of our health. A related issue for sleep is the degree of darkness that is attained in our sleep environment – the closer we can get to creating 100% pure darkness for sleep, the deeper and more complete will be the rest that we attain from it. For further exploration of this concept, see T.S. Wiley’s Light’s Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.