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Fit Nation: Sweet dreams for better health, weight loss

Fit Nation: Sweet dreams for better health, weight loss | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

"You can sleep when you're dead," I've told myself while answering work email in the middle of the night.

To combat the previous night's loss of sleep, I'd go to bed at 8 p.m. the next night, only to find myself wide awake at 1 a.m.

The ping-pong of sleeplessness leaves me disoriented and cranky.

I wore my crazy work hours like a badge.

"I worked 60 hours last week," I'd say tiredly, but with a secret glee that this must mean that I was the best at what I was doing.

My disregard for a healthy work/life balance showed my dedication and loyalty to work.

This imbalance fed others in my life: How could I possibly go to the gym? I have work to do. I don't know how to fall asleep naturally. I'll have a drink or two before bed to "help" me fall asleep. Since I didn't shop for groceries on Sunday because I slept all day, on Tuesday, I had to order takeout.

A year and a half ago, I returned from my second long-term assignment in India and felt pretty burnt out.

With the help of my boss, I found a new role within my company. This was a role that allowed me to develop a healthy balance between doing good work and living a good life.

So I started leaving work at 5 p.m. I worked from home on some days. I filled my free time with dozens of new hobbies.

But I still wasn't getting regular and consistent sleep.

I'd seen the news reports that said insomnia can hinder weight loss. But I still held on to those late nights, which were now filled with knitting and "Law & Order" reruns instead of work.

"How could I do it all if one-third of my day was spent sleeping?" I wondered.

Fast forward to our Fit Nation kickoff weekend.

Paul Kriegler, corporate dietitian for Lifetime Fitness, led a nutrition workshop for our Fit Nation team.

When the discussion of sleep came up, I listened even more intently as he explained the havoc that sleeplessness can wreak on our bodies, our blood sugars and our metabolism.

I left that weekend determined to tackle my insomnia head on.

I decided on three simple behaviors that I could change immediately:

1. Do not drink alcohol at home

I used this as a crutch to get to sleep for many years. But while that drink might knock you out, you're not getting restful REM sleep and a few short hours later, you're right back where you started: awake!

2. Set a consistent bedtime

I decided to go to bed at 10:30 every night, including the weekends. The first few days were weird, but by the third night, my body was used to winding itself down around 9 p.m.

3. No screens an hour before bedtime and no cell phone in the bedroom

I spend most of my days planted in front of a computer. If I'm not working, I'm surfing the Internet or watching a movie online.

My eyes and brain are constantly stimulated.

Unplugging an hour before bed allows me to have a conversation with my boyfriend without distractions. I read a few chapters in a good book or I knit a few more rows on my latest sock project.

It's been nice having this time for reflection and to quiet my mind right before bed.

Banishing the phone from the bedroom means if I roll over in the middle of the night, I simply wait for myself to fall back asleep instead of reaching for the phone and scrolling through Instagram.

I'm at the end of the third week and I have to tell you, I'm now sleeping through the night!

I feel energized and excited to start the day.

I've got energy for workouts and cooking.

I feel great. And I look forward to bedtime each night.

Sweet dreams at last.


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Teens Use E-Cigarettes More Than Cigarettes

Teens Use E-Cigarettes More Than Cigarettes | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The use of electronic cigarettes by American teenshas surpassed their use of traditional cigarettes, according to a federal government study.

Among Grade 8 students, nearly nine percent said they'd used an e-cigarette in the last month, while four percent smoked traditional cigarettes. The rates were 16 percent and seven percent among 10th-graders and 17 percent and 14 percent among high school seniors, the Associated Press reported.

The National Institutes of Health survey of more than 41,000 students also found that between four and seven percent of teens who tried e-cigarettes had never smoked a traditional cigarette.

"I worry that the tremendous progress that we've made over the last almost two decades in smoking could be reversed on us by the introduction of e-cigarettes," survey leader Lloyd Johnston, a University of Michigan professor, told the AP.

In 2013, an estimated 4.5 percent of high school students had tried e-cigarettes during the previous month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's three times higher than in 2011.

While the Food and Drug Administration has proposed prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes to minors, there is no timetable for when such a ban might take effect, the AP reported.

The survey also looked at drug use and found that marijuana use appeared to level off after recent increases. Past-month use of marijuana was reported by 6.5 percent of eighth-graders, 17 percent of 10th-graders, and 21 percent of 12th-graders. Nearly six percent of 12th-graders reported daily use of marijuana.

The number of high school seniors trying synthetic marijuana fell to six percent this year, from eight percent last year and 11 percent in 2012, the AP reported.

Six percent of 12th-graders said they abused prescription painkillers this year, compared with 9.5 percent in 2004. Nearly 20 percent of high school seniors reported binge drinking this year, down from 25 percent in 2009.



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Talitha Cannon's curator insight, February 17, 2015 10:22 PM

WOAH! That is crazy. Holy heck

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California measles cases top 100

California measles cases top 100 | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The number of confirmed measles cases in California has grown to 103, the state's health department said Friday.

Many of the cases -- 32 -- are in Orange County, home to Disneyland, where an outbreak of the disease began in mid-December.

Eight of the children who have contracted measles are younger than 1, the California Department of Public Health said on its website.

Dozens of those cases occurred in the last month of 2014, a record year for measles in the United States since measles was considered to be eliminated in 2000.

Since January 1, there have been 110 confirmed cases in 16 states, including California, and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health departments in four of those states.

Officials in New Jersey are awaiting test results in a suspected case involving a 1-year-old who has already recovered from what made the child sick. Health officials told residents of the same apartment building where the baby lives they would be in the clear if they didn't get sick by this weekend.

On Thursday, officials in Cook County, Illinois, announced two children from a day care center have measles and three other youngsters were diagnosed but awaiting definitive test results that would confirm they had the disease.

Measles hit Illinois day care

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough and a rash. It can cause deadly health complications including pneumonia and encephalitis.

Measles is spread by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing. It can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.


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Senate confirms new surgeon general

Senate confirms new surgeon general | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy as surgeon general on Monday night as Democrats -- in the final days of their majority control of the chamber -- overcame stiff opposition from the National Rifle Association.

The 51 to 43 vote ends more than a year of uncertainty over Murthy's nomination. Obama had tapped the founder of the pro-Obamacare group Doctors for America for the post in November 2013.

But a confirmation vote had been held up after the gun lobby pointed to a letter Murthy had signed calling for new gun control measures in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings, and promised to score a vote in Murthy's favor against senators in its ratings of how strongly lawmakers support gun rights.

Murthy, 37, is America's youngest-ever top doctor, and he is also the first surgeon general of Indian-American descent.

Obama lauded Murthy's confirmation, saying he will help the United States combat the threat of Ebola.

"As 'America's Doctor,' Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. He'll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong," Obama said in a statement.

"Vivek will also help us build on the progress we've made combating Ebola, both in our country and at its source," he said. "Combined with the crucial support for fighting Ebola included in the bill to fund our government next year, Vivek's confirmation makes us better positioned to save lives around the world and protect the American people here at home."

But soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican whose party will take control of the chamber once new members are in place next month, called Murthy a political appointment.

"The surgeon general is known as America's doctor and the men and women chosen to fill that role in the past have usually been highly qualified individuals with substantial experience in patient care," McConnell said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, Dr. Murthy's nomination had more to do with politics -- he was a founder in 2008 of a group called Doctors for Obama, and has been an outspoken political advocate of Obamacare and gun control -- than his medical experience," he said. "With America facing the challenge of Ebola and other serious health challenges, it's unfortunate that the President chose a nominee based on the candidate's political support instead of a long career delivering patient care and managing difficult health crises."



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