80 Eye-Opening Stats & Facts About Sleep

Besides doing thorough research into the factors that affect our sleep, Mira Rakicevicworks closely with other sleep experts and doctors to provide valuable information and helpful advice.  Most recently she shared that along with proper nutrition and regular exercise, sleep plays a major role in our health. With this in mind, we shouldn’t neglect this aspect of our lives the way we do. That’s why we compiled this list of interesting statistics about sleep, hoping they’ll help you recognize the importance of sleep and realize that you shouldn’t take it for granted.

Eye-Opening Sleep Statistics About Sleep

  • Between 50 and 70 million people in the US suffer from a chronic sleep disorder.
  • Approximately 35% of US adults get less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night.
  • 45% of Americans report that inadequate sleep affected their daily activities.
  • Most healthy adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.
  • 10% of US adults have chronic insomnia.
  • More than 25 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Approximately 4% of Americans used prescription sleeping pills in the previous month.
  • 24.4% of surveyed parents often share their bed with their infants.

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Making good choices in the protein bar and shake aisle

Toni Havala MS, RD a registered dietitian at Endeavor Health® Weight Management in Naperville shared in Edwards-Elmhurst Health’s Healthy Driven Blog that protein shakes and bars are growing in popularity as Americans try to squeeze healthy eating into their busy lives.

All dietitians would agree that whole, real foods are always the best choice. But on occasion, protein bars and shakes can be a decent option when pressed for time. Sticking a protein shake or bar in your purse, car or gym bag provides something convenient but healthier to eat rather than skipping a meal or resorting to fast food.

Shopping for the best options in the protein bar aisle can be overwhelming with the multitude of choices in tempting flavors, such as cookies and cream or birthday cake. Here’s how to sort through the marketing and hype to make good choices:

First: what type of protein is it?

The type of protein used to make the bar or shake is an important factor in deciding which product to select. Protein helps promote satiety, build muscle mass, improve blood sugar control, and reduce blood pressure.

The ability to keep us full and build muscle while we lose fat makes high-protein foods a great choice when we’re trying to lose weight. Protein bars and shakes typically contain whey, soy, pea protein, nuts, seeds, brown rice protein or a combination of these. Read more

6 Simple Ways Your Family Can Protect Honey Bees

Learn how your family also can support pollinators at home and how you can help kids understand the value of bees to our food system.

Q: Why Are Bees Important?

Honey bees are vital to our supply of healthy foods. Honey bees are pollinators, which means they travel from plant to plant to collect and deposit pollen – which makes it possible for many flowers, fruits, and vegetables to reproduce. Bees also pollinate the clover and alfalfa that cows eat. In fact, one in every three bites of food you eat depends on pollination, either directly or indirectly. So, if these hardworking bees and other pollinators disappear, many of our favorite foods like apples, almonds, strawberries, and tomatoes will be greatly affected.

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Nature RX: The Best Medicine

John LaPuma M.D., board-certified in internal medicine, shared in the Children and Nature Network Bulletin that the late neurologist and author, Dr. Oliver Sacks, was a true believer in the power of nature to heal. Sacks, who would take his patients to gardens whenever possible, described two patients for whom nature was literally the best medicine.

One patient, a friend of Sacks’, had moderately severe Tourette’s syndrome. The condition forced hundreds of grunts and tics daily. But one day when the two men were hiking in a desert, his friend’s tics had completely disappeared. Sacks wrote that “the remoteness and uncrowdedness of the scene, combined with some ineffable calming effect of nature, served to defuse his ticcing, to “normalize” his neurological state, at least for a time.”

Another patient, a woman with moderately severe Parkinson’s disease, was frozen and immobile when indoors. But outside, she was mobile and agile on terrain, and in a rocky garden.

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Skin Cancer Awareness

The Center for Disease Control shared that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays causes most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.

Summer is full of outdoor activities. You probably put sunscreen on yourself and your kids when you go to the pool or the beach. But do you know you should protect your skin with more than just sunscreen anytime you’re outside?

Sun protection is important all year round, and it’s best to use several different kinds. When you’re working in the yard, watching a ballgame, or taking an afternoon walk, make sun safety an everyday habit so you can avoid getting a sunburn and lower your chance of getting skin cancer. Read more

Is Coffee Good Or Bad For You?

Sebastian Beaton, who runs a coffee website, put together the following information on the health benefits of coffee.

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. We have all experienced the effects of caffeine and it’s the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. While caffeine can be found in a range of drinks, it’s found in its most concentrated form in coffee, which can contain up to 300 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine works by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, which promotes sleep and reduces heart rate. This allows the body’s brain activity to increase and enables the release of other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which increase heart rate and blood pressure and trigger the release of glucose. This creates the feeling of being more awake and alert and improves cognitive function.

Coffee also provides a short-term memory boost. A study showed that just one cup of coffee led to a surge in brain function, as measured by functional magnetic resonance imagery as volunteers undertook a memory task after consuming coffee.

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Physical Activity for People with Disabilities

The Center for Disease Control shared that everybody needs physical activity for good health. Most adults with disabilities are able to participate in physical activity, yet nearly half of them do not get any aerobic physical activity.1 Learn how people with disabilities can find their own path to physical activity.

Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining health, well-being, and quality of life. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition pdf icon[1.9 MB]external icon, physical activity can help control weight, improve mental health, and lower the risk for early death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. For people with disabilities, physical activity also can help support daily living activities and independence. All adults, with and without disabilities, need at least 2.5 hours per week of aerobic physical activity, at a moderate-intensity level, to gain many of these benefits. Read more

What is your heart age?

Ann Davis, M.D.Specialty: Cardiology shared in the Edwards Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that you may feel young at heart, but is your heart actually older than you?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3 out of 4 adults have a predicted heart age that is older than their actual age.

Risk factors that can increase your heart age include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity (using body mass index, BMI, as an indicator)
  • Diabetes

Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can also take a toll on your heart.

The CDC created a heart age calculator that uses these risk factors to calculate your heart age. The calculator determines your heart age based on your BMI. Read more

Oil Pulling

Karl Townsend from Dental Care Report, a site that helps people improve their oral hygiene using various DIY tips shared that oil pulling is a great way to increase your oral health care and get better reports at the dentist. He says that adding in this simple habit to your morning and evening routine can help you cut down on cavities, get whiter teeth, and have overall healthier gums.

If you’ve never heard of oil pulling, you are not alone. This practice has been around for close to 3,000 years. However, it is a method that has just recently started to gain popularity. Oil pulling actually comes from Ayurveda, which is a traditional Indian medicine system.

The Process

The name “oil pulling” does not always give the most accurate picture of how the process works. In fact, you are not pulling anything. You simply take a tablespoon of oil, swish it around your mouth anywhere from 5-20 minutes, and spit it out.

The process is very similar to using mouthwash. However, oil pulling is much more effective the longer you swish the oil around your mouth. It is recommended to start with one minute and gradually work your way up to 15-20 minutes. You can use almost any oil for oil pulling. This includes sunflower, olive, and sesame oils. Most, though, prefer coconut oil because of its milder taste. Read more

Tick Bite Danger

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