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Sleep Better News

Monthly archive for April 2017

Steps to Better Sleep

Steps to Better Sleep

Steps to Better Sleep

For Individuals with Sleep Apnea

Here are some science-backed alternative options to help those with sleep apnea. Bear in mind, however, that since the root causes behind sleep apnea vary, a remedy that cures one person might do nothing for another. You’ll need to find the combination that works for you with some or all of these, and see which works best for you.

  • Trim down. Shedding about 10 percent of your body weight can send sleep apnea into total or near-total remission, according to a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study involving more than 260 obese, diabetic participants with sleep apnea. In fact, losing just 5 or 10 pounds improves symptoms, while gaining 5 to 10 pounds worsens them.
  • Avoid alcohol. As a sedative, alcohol deepens sleep, relaxing the muscles and making them more prone to collapse. Alcohol depresses breathing and makes it harder for your brain to wake you from sleep, so the apneas become more frequent and severe. Avoid alcohol six hours or more before sleep. For similar reasons, avoid sleeping pills, and talk to your doctor about any headache or allergy medications.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarettes increase swelling in the upper airway and thereby exacerbate sleep apnea, says the National Sleep Foundation.
  • Clear your sinuses. If your nose is constantly stuffy, identify potential allergens in your environment (pollen, dust, pet dander) or intolerances in your diet (dairy, wheat, or mucus-producing foods like bananas). An allergy doctor can screen for sensitivities, or you can keep a log of the foods you eat, your environment, and congestion levels. You might also try elimination diets, in which you cut out suspect foods for a couple of weeks, and see if the stuffiness eases.
  • Quell inflammation. Low levels of inflammation are normal: When you have a cold or cut your finger, the immune system produces inflammatory cells to fight infection or heal the wound. However, for reasons not entirely understood, diets high in fat, sugar, or processed foods, and a sedentary lifestyle can cause chronic inflammation. This has been linked to sleep apnea, as revealed by several new studies, including one in the July 2009 issue of the journal Thorax.
  • Strengthen your throat muscles. The muscles of the airway are like the muscles in the arm or leg. They can get weak without proper exercise or with age. When that happens, the airway structures don’t stay in their proper anatomical position and collapse into the air passageway. By strengthening, toning, and re-educating the airway musculature, including the tongue, jaw, lips, and soft palate, you can alleviate, or even eliminate, the condition.
  • Try acupuncture. A 2009 study at the Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine, Shanghai, found that three to five acupuncture sessions a week, for a total of 30 sessions, reduced the number of apneas each night. Additionally, in a 2007 placebo-controlled study in Sleep Medicine, one acupuncture treatment a week (for 10 weeks) improved sleep apnea’s severity by 79 percent. It’s thought that by removing blockages in the body’s qi, or energy flow, acupuncture restores healthy function to the nerves and muscles controlling the upper airway.
  • Sleep on your side. Lying on your back makes it easier for the tongue and other tissues to fall back and block the airway. Elevating your head with extra pillows may also help.
  • Get moving. In a May 2009 sleep study, a four-month exercise program (three 60-minute sessions per week) significantly reduced the severity of participants’ obstructive sleep apnea, most likely by improving the function of blood vessels and nerves—including those that regulate breathing.

Cultivate Your Motivation

Cultivate Your Motivation

Cultivate Your Motivation

No Motivation = Fail

Personal Development Trainer Sid Savara gives you these seven proven tips on how to get motivated.

He says, “Today is the day. It’s time to make the most out of your life, and that means, it’s time to get motivated.” Break out of your motivational funk.

  • No. 7. Find your mantra. It doesn’t have to be long, it just needs to get you excited. It’s those few words that remind you what matters to you and get you to take action. Like this: “I am the master of my own destiny”, “I can accept failure but I can’t accept not trying”, or “Value your time.”
  • No. 6. Remember your peak moments. These times of triumph remind you of who you are. They’re the times you felt you were at the top of your game, the times when you felt most fulfilled, most stretched and most present. Use those moments to fuel motivation.
  • No. 5. Get Active. When you don’t exercise, not only will your fitness suffer but your other goals suffer as well. Take a break to run, walk or stretch for half an hour. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to work.
  • No. 4. Motivate yourself daily. Motivation builds upon itself. Lack of motivation is one of the reasons people fail.
  • No. 3. Remember that this moment is precious. Remind yourself that if you waste this opportunity, you may never get another. Each moment of your life is important now, so feel the motivation build inside you.
  • No. 2. Don’t let the slump start. It’s the little things that lead to a motivational slump. It’s skipping one workout to hang out with friends, then two. Don’t fall into that trap. When you see yourself falling into the same old routines take action right away, no matter how small the victory, and use that momentum for further progress.
  • No. 1. Get off the “failure treadmill.” No Motivation = Fail.

Lack of motivation is one of the most common reasons people fail. Start by getting some small wins – so you can feel the benefits of taking action in your life.

Get Moving

Get Moving

Get Moving

For better health: Get up, stand up, move around

Researchers are studying the negative effects of sitting for extended time periods, both at the office and by the TV.

Dr. Allan Hedge, a professor at Cornell University, says for every half-hour working in an office, people should sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight minutes and then move around and stretch for two minutes.

Health experts, including Dr. Hedge, have guidelines that say people should get a combined two to four hours of standing and light activity spread throughout the workday. And research from NASA, reported in The Wall Street Journal,  shows that standing up to two minutes 16 times a day while at work is an effective strategy for maintaining bone and muscle density.

Scientific evidence shows that when people have occupations in which they are on their feet for more than two hours a day, there is a reduction in the risk of developing key chronic diseases, says John Buckley, a professor of applied exercise science at the University of Chester in England, and lead author of the guidelines.

Some ergonomics experts warn that too much standing can create greater risk for varicose veins, foot problems and artery disease. Dr. Hedge says, “The key is breaking up your activity throughout the day. Sitting and standing all day are both bad for you.”

More Boomers want to keep working

More Boomers want to keep working

More Boomers want to keep working

It’s about more than money

At age 70,  businessman, author and speaker George Fraser is not retired and he has no intention of retiring…ever! Fraser is one of a growing number of aging Baby Boomers who are continuing to work well into traditional retirement age.

Robert Levinson is another example. He’s 89 years old and recently finished his fifth book, Management Savvy. He says, “I live in a retirement community. Three-fourths of the guys I’ve asked said, “I retired too early, and I’m sorry I did.”

According to USA Today, in 1991 the Employee Benefits Research Institute said 11 percent of workers expected to retire later than age 65. That number was 33 percent last year. And 10 percent didn’t plan to retire at all.

Larry Rosenthal, president of Rosenthal Wealth Management Group in Manassas, Va., says making the choice to retire or continue working is turning into a lifestyle choice. At age 60, some people say they can’t stand the pressure and they’re tired of working. They are not fully funded for retirement but want out of a high-stress job.

One employer asked a pre-retiree to stay on as a part-time contract employee and he’s loving that.

Levinson contends that there’s far too much emphasis placed on the financial aspect of retiring. More emphasis needs to be on the psychological aspect. At the same time, only 27 percent of workers say  they expect to be able to retire at age 65.

One financial advisor knows his clients are working because they want to. But the future expense for health care is a huge unknown for everyone. The costs are difficult to anticipate and most folks are wisely being cautious.

George Fraser has another view. “I’m 70. The average black man lives to 72.  I’m not wasting a minute of time doing what I don’t enjoy doing. If I’m lucky, I’ll live until I’m 80.”

A Healthy Retiree is a Happy Retiree

A Healthy Retiree is a Happy Retiree

A Healthy Retiree is a Happy Retiree

You can see yourself taking a swim in the pool of a fancy Hawaiian resort, riding a bike through Central Park in New York or hiking in a beautiful national park.

The vision makes you feel wonderful and your retirement time is not so far away. But will you be strong enough and fit enough to do these things? Dr. James Hill, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, says most people can make a list of their fitness goals and achieve many of them in a few months.

At the university, Dr. Hill knows they are seeing more and more retirees and pre-retirees who want to be able to hike, bike, swim and engage with other physically fit retirees.

Walking is still the most popular exercise because it’s convenient, can be done almost anywhere and doesn’t require special equipment. Many pre-retirees take exercise classes such as Zumba. Yoga is popular. And others want to continue playing tennis or even soccer or hockey.

Many of Dr. Hill’s clients are very interested in healthy eating and cooking, which is a popular activity for couples. The biggest mistake is trying to do too much too soon, especially among those who don’t want to be overweight anymore.

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