Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Healthiest Way To Sleep

Picture this:

It’s 9:30 P.M. and over the last couple of hours, you’ve spent your time walking the dog, eating dinner, tucking in the kids and watching your favorite TV show. You head to your bed to catch a good night’s sleep in anticipation for work the following day. Depending on how you feel, you might lay on your belly, your side or your back – but it’s not an overarching concern, as long as it’s a comfortable position.

But what’s the healthiest way to sleep? According to Yahoo Health, research conducted by Stony Brook University found that a side-sleeping position improves waste clearance from the brain, which could prevent Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

The brain’s cleansing system, the glymphatic system, is most active during sleep. In regards to amyloid beta and tau proteins, which contribute to neurological diseases, it was found that rodents who slept on their sides cleared amyloid beta about 25 percent better than those who slept on their backs or bellies. Additionally, this position also encouraged the flow of cerebrospinal fluid throughout the brain, which helps in its cleansing.

In order to get the glymphatic system started, an adequate amount of sleep is needed. Therefore it’s imperative that we hit the seven-eight hour mark every night. So if you still prefer to sleep on your belly or back, focus on your hours of sleep!

“Energy” Drinks

If you’re like most Americans, your day usually begins with a cup or two of coffee. The caffeine in the coffee keeps us awake and alert. But that feeling usually wears off, leaving us scrambling for substitutes to keep us awake for the remainder of the workday.

Many people look to energy drinks to provide this boost in the afternoons. Energy drinks, which are high in sugar and caffeine, bring back that alertness and remove feelings of tiredness and fatigue. But what if that energy drink you consume regularly is doing more harm than good?

According to NY Daily News, an infographic posted on a British shopping website Personalize.co.uk, unraveled what happens after the consumption of an energy drink. According to the graphic:

  • 10 minutes: Heart and blood pressure spike
  • 15-45 minutes: Highest point of alertness
  • 30-50 minutes: All of the caffeine is fully absorbed, leading the liver to respond by absorbing more sugar into the bloodstream
  • 1 hour: Sugar crash, energy levels decrease

Within 12 hours, the caffeine exits the blood stream, leading to withdrawal symptoms up to 24 hours later. With these energy drinks having more sugar than one Snickers bar, we begin to crave it more frequently, leading to larger amounts of consumption while the short-term effect deteriorates daily.

Of course energy drinks are fine in moderation. It’s the overconsumption that spawns from its ingredients that could have a negative effect on our health. If you’re a person who enjoys those energy drinks on a daily basis, maybe try switching it out for coffee without the additive ingredients like whipped cream and whole milk. The less sugar, the better!

Making Fitness Fashionable

Fitness trackers are fantastic ways to get into shape and take charge of your physical fitness. Trackers allow you to monitor your daily number of steps, distance traveled and calories burned. Many also have usability features such as a heart rate monitor, goal-setting capabilities, and the ability to sync your data to social media accounts.

Even though U.S. retailers can’t keep these items on the shelves, studies show there is 30-percent return rate and a 50-percent abandonment rate overall. “Because they’re ugly,” is one of the top reasons people ditch the tracker.

Which brings me to my question—what good is a fitness tracker if you’re too embarrassed to wear it?

Luckily, more and more designer brands are introducing jewelry options that make fitness a bit more fun. Below are a couple of accessories to brighten up your fitness gear:

  1. Fitbit has partnered with the designer Tory Burch on a line of gold and silver metal-hinged bracelets and pendants. Starting at $175, these accessories are sure to give your tracker a more sophisticated look.
  1. For a pricier $450, Withings has also turned the fitness tracker into a well-designed sapphire-glass watch with the Activité. These watches work for men or women.
  1. Lastly, Swarovski has recently come out with their Shine Vio pendant set for the Misfit. For $250, this set includes both a wristband and a necklace pendant. Perfect for whatever the busy day throws your way!

Overeating and Obesity

According to U.S. News, the United States sits at the top of the charts for adult and childhood obesity. Now I know that Americans have a preference for winning first place, but this is one race we do not want to win!

In the last 35 years alone, America’s obesity rates have multiplied 2 to 4 times in all age groups. Also during those 35 years, the amount of states for which more than 25 percent of their population is overweight increased from zero to 32.

While it may not be a shock that poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to this growth in obesity rates, many people are starting to turn to another culprit: portion control, or lack thereof.

There are many reasons why people overeat, but there are a couple of standout offenders:

  1. Super strict diets. Whereas most Americans view diets in a positive light, they can actually contribute to binge-eating. Following a strict diet makes your body think you’re starving, meaning your brain sends signals telling you to eat extra food.
  2. Poor sleep. In a Mayo Clinic study, researchers found that those who got 80 minutes less sleep each night ate an average of approximately 550 extra calories the next day. Lack of sleep lowers your levels of the “feel-full hormone,” leptin, while increasing levels of the hunger-driving hormone ghrelin.
  3. Exercise. Contrary to popular belief, exercise can actually make you gain weight—but not just exercise alone. Many people believe that when they exercise they have “earned” an extra meal that day, which leads to overeating and weight gain.

Just because we are nearing the end of summer doesn’t mean you can forget having a “bikini body”! Be sure to avoid super restricting diets, get enough sleep each night and exercise — but don’t overeat.