Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sleeping Tips and Tricks

In commemoration of National Sleep Awareness Week and our sleep health event tomorrow, here is an article from the National Sleep Foundation:
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good “sleep hygiene.”
Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
  1. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.

    This helps to regulate your body's clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.

    A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.

    Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can't fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise daily.

    Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your room.

    Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise" machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

    Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  7. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms.

    Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.

    Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. It is good to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  9. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading.

    For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  10. If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

    It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professionalYou may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.

Friday, February 6, 2015

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - February 7, 2015


February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an observance intended to raise awareness of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and encourage action, such as HIV testing, to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on blacks or African Americans in the United States. Two of the three goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy are to reduce new HIV infections and HIV disparities (1).
Compared with other races and ethnicities, blacks had the highest HIV incidence in 2010, with an estimated rate of 68.9 per 100,000 population, which was nearly eight times the estimated rate of 8.7 among whites (2). By the end of 2011, an estimated 491,100 of the estimated 1.2 million persons living with HIV in the United States were blacks, accounting for the highest percentage (41%) of persons living with HIV, followed by whites (34%) and Hispanics/Latinos (20%) (3). Among blacks living with HIV in 2011, 85% had their infection diagnosed, 40% were engaged in care, 36% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, and 28% were virally suppressed (4).
Information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is available at http://www.cdc.gov/features/blackhivaidsawareness. Information about blacks and HIV/AIDS is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/index.html.

Article reposted from CDC.gov.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Food, Finances, and Family: 6 Tips for Surviving the Weekend


Thanksgiving is here! Oftentimes, the holiday of gratitude comes with a price: weight gain, debt, and family brawls (to say the least). Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list to survive the weekend in one piece. Below are some tips for excelling in the food, finances, and family departments.

1. Eat Breakfast: It’s tempting to save that vital space in your stomach for the big event, but if you eat a nutritious breakfast, your appetite will be a little more manageable. Your waistline will thank you.

2. Set a Budget: Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, our bank accounts can take quite a blow this weekend. To help yourself control your spending habits, set limits to how much you can spend. If you want to be extra serious about your spending, pay for everything in cash. That way, when there’s no more green, there’s no more shopping.

3. Invite “Buffers” to Dinner: We all have those family members that cause conflict at every gathering. However, most people are better behaved when strangers are around. If you know that your troubled siblings can maintain civility around outsiders, get inviting!

4. Go Easy On the Additives: sugar, fat, and calories run rampant during Thanksgiving, but they don’t need to. Consider using fat-free broth and less oil and butter when cooking. If you’re just there to enjoy the food, try using less gravy, butter, and salt when you can help it.

5. Kill Two Birds With One Stone: Thanksgiving isn’t the only holiday this year, you know. Recognizing that you will most likely need to buy gifts for family and friends throughout the year (or at least upcoming December holidays), make a recipient list and keep an eye out for gifts while your out shopping around. That way, you’ll save time and money.

6. Make A Seating Chart: Even though we’re on vacation from school doesn’t mean that seating charts need to be banished as well. Recognize troublesome individuals in your family and strategically place them far away from their argumentative counterparts. If you need to, talk with a more level-headed guest and ask them to sit next to them to curb any sensitive topics before they get out of hand.