Saturday, March 13, 2010
It's the tradition of springtime -- setting the clock forward. Spring forward? For most of us, it's more like stumbling sideways into daylight-saving time.
This year, the joy occurs before winter has a good chance to thaw. Prepare yourself -- it's this weekend when we reset the alarm clock.
Daylight-saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Losing an hour's sleep isn't easy for an already sleep-deprived nation.
You know the drill: On Monday morning, you hit the snooze too many times, stagger out of bed, grab an extra cup of coffee -- and push yourself into summer mode. But take heart. Those first few mornings don't have to be dire, if you plan ahead. A few strategic steps will help your body adjust quite easily, according to snooze experts with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
"Come Monday morning, you might be the only bright-eyed and bushy-tailed employee at the office," said Ralph Downey, III, PhD, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., in a news release.
Mother Nature vs. the Alarm Clock
Here's what you're up against: The advent of daylight-saving time is a double-whammy for the human body, says David Glass, PhD, a biological sciences professor at Kent State University in Ohio.
"In the spring, we not only have to get up an hour early -- but we're also fighting the extra 20 or 30 minutes of sleep our bodies naturally want every day," he tells WebMD. "In the fall, the time change is more in line with our internal clock." Are you sabotaging your sleep? Take the quiz.
The body is wired with a sleep-wake cycle that advances a bit every 24 hours, Glass explains. "If I put you in a dimly lit cave, where you didn't know what time it was, you would get up 20 to 30 minutes later every day." Daylight reins in this natural tendency because daylight controls melatonin, a hormone made by the brain that helps regulate our sleep cycles.
But there's more: We've also got "Sunday night syndrome" working against us, says Kenneth Sassower, MD, a staff neurologist in the Sleep Disorders Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and neurology instructor at Harvard Medical School.
"Studies show that Sunday nights are the worst nights to fall asleep, even when it's not daylight-saving time," Sassower tells WebMD. "If you've stayed up late, slept in all weekend, by Monday morning you're exhausted. Your body clock is disrupted, so you aren't ready to get up when the alarm goes off."
How to offset Monday-morning drag?
Prepare yourself! Make the time change incrementally beforehand. "Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and earlier for five days or so," Sassower suggests. "It helps. When the time change hits, you're already there. It's the same advice I give to people who are traveling out of the country
Whether you've got narcolepsy, insomnia, or simply aren't Indeed, daylight-saving time is much like jet lag -- "the older you are, the more difficulty you will have," says Dennis H. Nicholson, MD, director of Sleep Disorders Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in California. "It will take one to two days to reprogram."
Around midday, get some vigorous exercise. "Exercise helps advance the body clock, just as bright light exposure does," says Glass.
Don't exercise too late in the day. "Exercise raises your body temperature," explains Nicholson. "People get sleepy as their body temperature goes down, not when it's elevated."
Get up at your regular time -- whether you had a good night's sleep or not. "Don't let yourself sleep in," says Nicholson. "If you stay in bed, your body will never adjust."
Spend an hour or more outside, preferably in the sunshine. "That's hard for folks to do, but it's very important," Glass says. "Sunlight is especially helpful in advancing your body clock."
Take a morning walk. After a short night, walking is an easy exercise that will help advance your body clock, says Glass.
Good "sleep hygiene" also helps:
Don't eat a heavy meal before bedtime.
Don't drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol.
Don't nap during the day, or at least keep it brief -- 10 to 15 minutes.
Stop working on any task an hour before bedtime to calm down.
Don't discuss emotional issues at bedtime.
Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable.
Don't turn lights on at night. Use a small night-light instead.
What About Melatonin?
Taking a melatonin supplement (1 to 3 milligrams) one hour before bedtime might also ease the time change, Glass suggests. However, studies of melatonin have had mixed results.
Melatonin supplements are sold over the counter as dietary supplements and aren't held to the same FDA standards as prescription drugs. Some studies showed that supplements don't help with sleep problems, but others suggested that melatonin might ease jet lag and have a modest effect with insomnia.
Carefully timed daylight exposure works just as well -- helping regulate melatonin that the body naturally produces, Nicholson explains. "When we're exposed to daylight early in the day, the release of melatonin is suppressed. As daylight dims in the evening, melatonin is released. It's daylight that [controls] the sleep cycle."
If you continue having difficulty adjusting to daylight-saving time, call an accredited sleep center or a sleep specialist, Nicholson adds.
I LOVE the Springtime!!!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
The official date for Spring is March 20, with daylight saving time beginning March 14. This is my second favorite season of the year. Here comes the sun!
When Spring comes around, I focus on cleaning my house and yard. But our health needs upkeep too. Along with repainting the fence and plowing the garden, consider putting a health check on your list of things to do this Spring.
-- General health check....Prevention is better than cure. That's why it is important to visit your PCP(Primary Care Physician) at least once a year for a general health check, especially if you are over 40. When did you last have a physical? How about your last dentist visit? Eye exam?
--Look over a list of recommended health screenings. Have you had a cholesterol test? Skin exam? BP check? Remember not to overlook gender-specific screenings, such as mammograms and prostate exams. You can go to the Center for Disease Control website to see what specific tests/immunizations you should be having for your age....www.cdc.gov
--Tantalize your taste bud's with new season fruits and veggies. A higher intake of fruit is associated with a lower incidence of stork and coronary artery disease. High fiber diets have shown to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Stock up on blueberries, blood oranges, avocado's, and pineapple. Asparagus, beans and artichokes are good for you!
--Move more and lift your spirits.... Increase strength reduces the risk of falls and exercise can lead to improvements n cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory and the immune system. The World Health Organization recommends that we should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Did you know that one hour of digging in the garden is the same as walking for an hour? Or try something new like a salsa class, Pilates, or Tai Chi.
--Set some personal goals. Why wait until New Year's Eve to set some new personal goals? Make a plan and write it down, come up with strategies that will fit in with your lifestyle and set milestones so that you can reward yourself along the way. Regularly review your plan and make some changes if you need to.
--Volunteering..as a volunteer , not only are you giving to the community sector but you can also reap rewards for your volunteer work. Statistics show that people who volunteer gain personal satisfaction, develop social networks, learn new skills, gain work experience, and maintain existing skills.
--When you prepare for spring-cleaning your house, try to choose natural cleaning products that have recently come onto the market, which are safe and will not pollute our environment.
--Diluted vinegar is an effective cleanser in the kitchen and bathroom, and will work for tiles, windows, toilet bowls, mirrors and even carpet.
--For those jobs requiring more elbow-grease, try scouring with baking soda instead of those chorinated cleansers.
--An important part of cleansing your house of the old, stale energy is cutting back on clutter. Simplify your surroundings. Clear out any unnecessary belongings and give those items that are no longer serving you to charity. YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT HOW ELIMINATING CLUTTER CAN DECREASE STRESS AND OPEN UP POSITIVE ENERGY IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT!!!
Let's welcome Spring in a healthy way!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
OK, Iím jumping on the A to Z bandwagon Ė itís been so fun to get to know my fellow Sparkers this way, so hopefully, this will be a fun way for you to get to know me
A is for Age: 56
B is for Beach...I love the beach! Any beach! I have been to many beautiful beaches all over the world.....
C is for Cameron, my only sister. She is the wonderful mother of my 18 year old niece, Emily. She is a 2nd grad school teacher, and loves teaching children. She is very patient and kind.
D is for Daisy, my wonderful mother's name. She will be 81 years young next week. She's been through alot recently and I am so blessed to have her in my life
E is for Elvis. I am a die-hard Elvis fan and had the priveldge seeing him eight times...He was an amazing performer! When I was 18, I went to Graceland, jumped his high fence and grabbed a blade of Elvis grass...I still have it somewhere.
F is for Fun-loving. I love to have fun and do crazy things.You only live once right?
G is for my God...I believe in a higher power and I know that everything happens for a reason
H is for Hometown: I was born in Long Beach, California, so I am a California native! Not too many of us out there!
I is for Intelligent. I know that I am intelligent and love to expand my mind
J is for Joanne, my BFF for over 22 years! We have had alt of great times, and met wonderful men. We spend time traveling, photography, The Laker's and enjoying each other's company
K is for Kevin, my only brother. He is 50 and has gone through some rough times. He found a wonderful woman, so I am really hoping his life will turn around
L is for Love. I love being in love! It is the most amazing experience in the world....
M is for Michael, my hubby. He is almost 60 years young and is the most patient, kind, and caring person I have ever met. I feel truly blessed to have him in my life
N is for Nurse. I have been an oncology RN for the last 29 years! I am now a clinical educator of a large hospital in Southern California..I teach new nurses and student nurses. Nursing is my passion!
O is for Outside. I love being outside when the weather is nice ( which is most of the time in Southern California). We love to hike in the park next to us.
P is for Photography. I am slowly learning to take better pictures...We take alot of pictures and i make a Shutterfly photo album every year of our year in pictures. Most albums are 100 pages long, which is usually around 250 pictures!
Q is for Quick.....I am quick at doing almost everything..That can be good or bad, depends on how you look at it!
R is for Rudy, my Dad. He is almost 82 years young and still very active. I am so thankful my parents are now well and enjoying their busy life.
S is for Sun...I have to have it! I don't do well during the rainy times (thank goodness, it's not much in California!). I LOVE the beach and go there to walk or simply listen to the waves. That is my hubby and my special place to go...Don't tell anyone!
T is for Travel...something we both love to do...Went to England, Ireland and Scotland 2 years ago, then last year went to Alaska...Both trips were family trips and they were wonderful!
U is for Unique..My hubby always tells me I am unique. I hope that is good?
V is for Vision.. We have a vision of where we want to be in 10 years....Hopefully, with alot of hard work, it will happen...
W is for Wonderful....I feel my life is wonderful...I am in a really good place right now, and am working hard to continue the positive thoughts and energy
X- is for Xrays.....Have a quite a few in my lifetime....Thankfully nothing too serious
Y is for Youth...One thing I am always trying to capture, and haven't quite figured it out yet is my youth. I want to be young and healthy forever! But in the mean time, healthy will do!
Z is for Zodiac....my sign is Cancer, a home loving, caring person. I am really not too much into Zodiac signs.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Stress is inner biofeedback, signaling us that frequencies are fighting within our own system. The purpose of stress isn't to hurt us, but to let us know it's time to go back to the heart and start loving.
An easy way to help us deal with the stress of everyday life is the TARP method.
T="Tune In". This an important first step because if you don't tackle this early on, it can interfere with your sense of well being and your health. Get into the habit of noticing early signs of stress. Do you have muscle tension? Rapid breathing or pulse? Feeling nervous? Frustrated? Lonely? Nervous stomach? Headaches? Diarrhea or cramping? Take note to what your body/mind is telling you.
A="Analyze". Once we know how to "tune in", we will be better able to analyze the situations that are stressful to us. These can be external or internal. External stressors would be noise, pollution, heat, work demands, family demands. Internal stressors are a result from our own attitudes and "stinking thinking". How about starting a stress diary, so you will be able to "analyze" when you are experiencing stress.
Do you always talk to yourself with words like "should, must and ought?" Do you feel like a failure if you are late, or if things don't go as planned?" Do you have "me last" syndrome, feeling you have to look after everyone else's needs before you think of your own?"
R="Responding" . Our body will produce a physical "alarm response" that pumps stress hormones through our body, tensing our muscles and speeding up our heart. This "alarm response" doesn't do us any good, and IT CAN BE HARMFUL. Use "Time-Outs", Deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation to help get you through your body's "alarm response". "Thought-stopping" has really helped me...Say STOP to yourself when you start noticing that you are responding to a stressor.
P="Prevent". There are simple things we can do to help our body and mind withstand stress. THESE WILL HELP US IMPROVE OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS, ENERGY LEVELS, OUR SELF ESTEEM, AND OUR SENSE OF WELL-BEING. Here are some good stress reduction habits for a healthier lifestyle...
--Strengthen our positive relationships. A strong support network, like SparkPeople is our greatest protection against stress. Volunteer, join a club, or take a class...just get out there and be social! Being around POSITIVE people is healthy!
--Relaxation...Set aside 15 minutes each day to relax in your own way,,,yoga, meditation or just locking yourself in the bathroom uninterrupted ( as a nurse, I have done this many times!). Everyone is very busy, but this is a small sacrifice to make for our health and well being.
--Regular exercise...Exercise can make you look better, sleep better, concentrate better, and WITHSTAND DISEASE BETTER. Even if it's a walk around the block.
--Eating right...Eating well gives us a sense of control that can help to reduce our stress levels, as well as asking us feel good physically. Drinking your 8 glasses of water a day, eating your fruits, veggies, and healthy grains. Cut out the WHITE stuff- WHITE bread, WHITE sugar, WHITE flour...multigrains only
--Tobacco...Tobacco is a stimulant. If you are a smoker, you might want to consider having your physician order a nicotine patch
--Caffeine...Caffeine is also a stimulant...try converting to green tea
Here's to a less stressful life!!!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer. The older a man/woman is, the greater his/her chance of developing breast cancer. Most breast cancers occur in men/women over the age of 50.
The BEST method of detecting breast cancer is a clinical breast exam by a health care provider ON A REGULAR BASIS.
A BSE ( breast self exam) should be monthly 1-2 weeks AFTER a woman's menstrual cycle, Right before and immediately after your menstrual cycle, the breast can be swollen and painful, this IS NOT the time to do this...The BSE should be done at the same time every month. Make it a day that you can remember...say the first of the month or the 15th of the month...Tie it to something important, so you will remember to do it.
BSE and clinical breast exams have been shown as the best tools for EARLY detection.
There are two main types of mammograms....
Screening mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women and men who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. A diagnostic mammogram can be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of breast cancer has been found. If you have breast implants it is recommended to have a diagnostic mammogram because more views are taken.
The difference between screening and diagnostic mammograms is that the diagnostic mammogram take longer and involve more Xrays in order to obtain views of the breast from several angles.
The NCI ( National Cancer Institute) recommends women age 40 or older should have mammograms every 1-2 years. Women who are at a higher risk than average should talk with their physician about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them
Some signs of breast cancer may be: pain, skin thickening, nipple discharge, or a change in breast size or shape. If you notice any of these please contact your physician immediately.
These are the risk factors that place us at an increased risk of breast cancer:
--increased body weight gives you a much greater risk
--physical inactivity gives you a much higher risk
--personal history of breast cancer
--long term menopausal hormone therapy
--Excessive alcohol usage
I encourage all women and men especially over 40 to have their mammograms every 1-2 years. Most of them are covered under insurance. Please remind
your physician's to order this with your yearly physical examination.
If you are uninsured please go to:
NCI 1-800-4-CANCER. You can also check with your local hospital, health department, women's center, or other community groups to find out how to access low-cost free mammograms.
Aren't we all too valuable to ignore this?????????????????
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