Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Type 1 Diabetes - Snack Helps

When you think of healthy snacks for your kids you probably think of fruit, baby carrots, granola bars, and maybe popcorn without the butter.  But what if your child has Type 1 Diabetes, would it be the same kind of snacks?  In most cases yes, but in small amounts.  When your child has Type 1 Diabetes it is a whole new ball game on what is considered “Healthy.”  When you hear about diabetes and food to avoid it can get a little overwhelming and you shouldn't feel that way.  The simple rule of thumb is to stay natural and eat healthy.  It really isn't that difficult.  Selecting the right food for diabetics is actually learning how to eat healthy and developing a healthy lifestyle that everyone should be doing anyway.  Good food for diabetics is also great food for people that don't have diabetes.

The easiest way to figure out a healthy snack for a child with Type 1 Diabetes or even a good diet for Type 2 Diabetes is to know how much carbohydrates and fat grams are in the snack and the amount that is being taken in.  Diabetics can’t take in high carbohydrates or fat mainly because it causes their blood sugars to spike.  If you stick with low carb and low fat snacks and stay away from sugary and high fat snacks (fruit snacks, cookies, chips, crackers, ice cream, candy, canned or dried fruit etc...) you will be fine and so will your child.  You won’t have to always be worrying and it makes everyone’s life a lot easier and less stressful.

Since I work with children all day long at my preschool and see what they like and don’t like; I came up with the top 10 snacks of what I consider would be good food for a child with diabetes that will satisfy their craving/snack attack and make Moms happy, too. 
snack time helps type 1 diabetes
Leaning tower of bananas & peanut butter
  1. Trail mix (over the age of two)
  2. Low fat string cheese
  3. Melon balls (make people out of them with toothpicks)
  4. Carrots or cucumbers with a tablespoon of ranch (little added zing)
  5. Grapes (frozen grapes are great in the summer)
  6. Apple wedges
  7. Rice cakes with all natural fruit spread or peanut butter
  8. Banana slices with peanut butter (make the Leaning Tower of Pisa by alternating banana slices & peanut butter
  9. Low fat popcorn
  10. Best for last -- low fat frozen yogurt (I just tell them its ice cream and they don't know the difference.)
Make sure the peanut butter you use doesn't have any added sugars and also that your child is over two, just in case of any nut allergies.  If they do have allergies you can easily substitute peanut butter with low fat cream cheese.

You know your child best and it just depends on what your child likes to eat.  My top ten above are the foods that almost all my preschoolers like and will eat without complaining.  When they are happy; we are all happy!  Your child may also like these suggestions if you want to mix it up so they don't get bored with the same food. 
  • Rolled up turkey meat in lettuce or just plain
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pears 
  • Celery with low fat cream cheese or peanut butter
  • Yogurt covered raisins (not the best for their teeth, but the kids love them)
  • Peaches 
  • Strawberries
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Snap Peas (another popular veggie, but either they love them or they turn their nose at them)

food for diabetics
Snack time bowl idea is a win win for everyone!
Snack Time Bowl Ideas
If you need some snack time help I would recommend putting a bowl in the fridge or on the counter with your child’s favorite snacks already prepared and ready to go.  A lot of kids will grab a snack that is convenient rather than healthy.  What we do in our home is keep a big bowl full of fruits and vegetables that are individually wrapped in baggies.  All my girls have to do is grab the snack and go.  Not only is it convenient, it also gives them the right portion amount.  You can do the same on the counter for dried snacks.  Divide the low carb and low fat snacks into individual baggies and  place them in a bowl and then they can grab a bag at snack time.  This will also help you know how many carbohydrates they are taking in and it will be easier to keep track of their blood sugar levels.  If you have very small children only bring the bowl out during snack time so they aren’t trying to grab a snack every 10 minutes.  The bowl gives them options and they will feel like they have some kind of say on what they are eating.  It’s a “Win Win” situation for everyone!

Enjoy all these snacks ideas that promote good food for diabetics and children that have Juvenile Diabetes.

Contributing Writer

Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeding Type 2 Diabetes

Food - our society loves food, however, too much of a good thing can be bad for a person and lead to serious health issues like diabetes.  In fact, Type 2 diabetes statistics reveals that 90-95 percent of diagnosed cases of diabetes are connected with overweight and obesity. And the number of children being diagnosed with type two is climbing.

Diabetes and diet obesity
Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health issues.
We hear all about diabetes on commercials and in the news, but what exactly is it?  According to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) type 2 diabetes means that your body does not make enough insulin nor does it use insulin effectively to regulate your blood sugar.  This can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney problems.

After a blood test last year, my doctor sent me a note in the mail telling me that I am pre-diabetic, meaning that my fasting sugar level was higher than it should be, but not high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.  I asked what I should do. The answer was lose weight, eat healthier. Watch carbohydrate intake. But the question lingered, "What if I develop full-blown type two diabetes anyway?"

I learned there is a connecting factor between weight and diabetes; and type two diabetes is linked to obesity.  The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) states that 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.  People managing type 2 diabetes should continue their prescribed treatment and work with their doctor and/or diabetic counselor, however, organizations studying diabetes say that losing weight and maintaining healthy nutrition can lower blood sugar, making the challenge of this serious disease much easier to manage.

Weight Control Helps Control Diabetes

Web MD states that losing 5% to 10% of your body weight significantly reduces blood sugar levels.  Some diabetics, with the advice of their doctors, have been able to stop using insulin altogether.  The American Diabetic Association (ADA) recommends cutting about five hundred calories per day by cutting down all food groups:  proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.  So what is the recommended daily percentage for each food group?
  • Proteins: 10% to 15%
  • Fats: 30%
  • Carbohydrates: 50% to 55%
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Christine Gerbstadt, M.D. recently told Web MD that carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar levels because they are broken into sugars faster than fats or proteins.  Two concerns for diabetics are high blood sugar level and low blood sugar level.  Since insulin is used by the body to control blood sugar, a spike might not be handled well due to too much insulin or not enough. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, are absorbed more slowly. They lower the risk of spikes in blood sugar when eaten. The more slowly our body can digest a food, the more slowly the food is turned into sugar.
diabetic diet
Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods for type 2 diabetics.
Luigi Meneghini, M.D., director of the Kosnow Diabetes Treatment Center at University of Miami School of Medicine, advises undertaking a weight loss plan while working with a doctor and a diabetic nutritionist because it is important to monitor insulin levels in order to avoid high or low blood sugar levels.

Is there a diabetic diet and are there many recommended foods for type 2 diabetics?

What can a diabetic eat?

A diet that incorporates superfoods and whole foods like fruits, veggies, proteins and complex carbohydrates.  Another food that is recommended by the ADA are  superfoods.  These are foods that are low in calories, fat and starch, but rich in nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber.  They keep you fuller longer, help to maintain a healthy weight, and lower blood sugar.  Of course, the ADA also warns that even too much of good foods will add unwanted calories, so portion control is necessary.  The portion size plate on Web M.D. can help with understanding correct portions in each food group.  You can also refer to two previous blogs that may provide insight on portion sizes:  Healthy Eating Serve It Up and The Blue Plate Special: Food Serving Size.

What are these super foods and what is so super about them?
  • Beans - high in fiber and protein, low in fat
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables - low in calories and carbohydrates
  • Whole grains - high in nutrients, folate and are digested more slowly than other starchy carbohydrates
  • Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids - salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Citrus fruits - contain soluble fiber and vitamin C
  • Nuts - an ounce of nuts is a source of healthy fats, fiber and are a good snack for controlling hunger
  • Berries - high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins
  • Tomatoes - contain vitamins C and E plus iron. (Grape tomatoes make a great in-between meal snack instead of candy or chips.)
  • Fat free milk and yogurt - high in calcium and fortified with vitamin D
  • Sweet potatoes - great source of fiber and vitamin A
Balance is key, however contrary to what I previously believed carbohydrates are an important part of a type two diabetes diet.  We should have 50% to 55% of them per day.  That's half our calorie intake!

How do we do that without risking diabetes, or worsening it?  The ADA recommends eating whole grain carbohydrates instead of refined grains:  brown rice and whole wheat pastas versus white rice and pastas.

The benefits of  whole grain:
  • Provides needed fiber and nutrients
  • Longer digestion, which means:
    • Longer fuller feeling
    • Higher utilization of calories for energy
    • Lesser breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars
  • No spiking of sugar unlike chips, candy, and cake and other foods a diabetic should avoid.
Other tips for healthy eating as indicated by Web M.D. that help lower blood sugar and help us get the right amount of healthier carbohydrates are oatmeal, broccoli, spinach, green beans, strawberries, salmon and lean meats, cinnamon, and plenty of water!

Even with proper food some people may need medications.  If you use prescription medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the FamilyWize discount prescription drug card can help you manage the cost of your prescription drugs and medical devices like: anti-diabetic (non-insulin), diagnostic and dietary products, and insulin.

You can get your free card on the FamilyWize website.  You can also use the drug look-up tool to see if your medication or device is covered.

After studying this information, I realized that although dieting is a challenge and losing weight can be difficult; it can be made easier by becoming knowledgeable about diabetes and diet.  The more I study about weight loss for diabetics, the more I realize that it's more about what we CAN eat and include and less about what we shouldn't eat or cannot have.  Basically we don't have to diet harder, we need to eat smarter.

Caroline Carr
Contributing Writer

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tips for Elder Care | The Sandwich Generation

One out of every eight Americans is currently caring for aging parents and raising their own children at the same time--this is known as the Sandwich Generation.  Millions of children are even caring for parents from a distance.  As a person providing care to my mom, I know it is easy to forget our own needs or enjoy the simple things.  Even the happy times can become one more thing we have to take care of in a day.

Navigating health care systems, financial systems, housing and trying to take care of oneself is a daily balancing act that can make a person feel sandwiched between enormous responsibilities with no help. It is often one person in the family who takes on all, if not most, of the responsibility of caring for elderly parents.

As an empathetic person coping with aging parents, I would like to share some of the resources I found most helpful to learn how to help elderly parents.  Think of them as sandwich ideas to make you successful as you are taking care of parents while you are in the Sandwich Generation.

Caregiver Support
Elderly caregivers
Elder care is a family affair! Thomas Gatsby loves his grand mom.
AgingCare.com is one of my favorite resources for caregivers.  For those of us providing aging parent care, it is impossible to leave our parents alone.  Therefore we need home care resources we can tap into online.  Going to an aging parent support group meeting is not something I can do since I cannot leave my mother alone.  Taking her along with me would make her feel like she's the cause of all my stress.  Online support groups have been a great resource I can utilize on my own time.

This website has a great forum with stories from other adult children who are providing care for elderly parents.  They have experience with the daily challenges I face and it's nice to relate to someone who is going through the same thing.

There is a link to tips for daily care, such as showering and dressing and other aspects of in home elder care.  I'm new to this and never had children, so helping someone else to dress, shower, brush their teeth was a whole new skill I needed to develop.  A person with dementia can forget to bathe, become afraid of water, the tub, etc.  I found that my mom can take sponge baths instead of full showers, which helped me tremendously because I was struggling trying to shower her every day.

AARP's Caregiving Resource Center online connects to the Take Care Blog with stories from other children dealing with elderly parents, as well as web chats and webinars with experts on caring for parents.  AARP can also be reached toll free at 1-866-389-5654, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday should you need to reach out to them.

F.R.A.N.K. (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors and Kids)
Make contact with friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and people you know through your children. Look for people who have either cared for an elderly parent or are now doing so.  They will be a great support to you, and are probably looking for support, too.  You can support each other through phone, email or even helping with watching kids or parents while one person has to take care of other responsibilities.

Reaching out to neighbors and even doctors who dealt with my mom prior to her dementia was a valuable resource for emotional support and it could be the same for you.  Sometimes family members are afraid to become involved because they realize their loved one is preparing for the end of life and can be too hard to face.  My siblings have a hard time with this and are often afraid that I will expect something from them that they cannot do or do not want to do.  I needed to let that go and not worry about it.  I have realized I cannot change the people around me and mom doesn't have time for that now.  We need to surround ourselves with people who can help when needed.  My aunt and cousin are great resources as they also provide elder care in their home, so we can support each other.  Don't give your up valuable time to worry about who isn't there and take time to analyze why siblings or others don't help out more.  Nothing escalates a burn out quicker than negativity and disappointment.

Governmental/Social Services
Each state has its own department of aging.  These government run programs offer many online links and phone numbers for resources including long term living, affordable healthcare and prescriptions, advocacy, health, and wellness.  The National Care Planning Council provides a list of each state's agency for aging.

Information Online
The National Council on Aging's caregiver website contains links that direct you to financial help, employment resources, information about scams directed at the elderly and resources for Medicare information. NCOA can also be contacted toll free at 1-800-677-1116.

FamilyWize Discount Prescription Card is a free prescription drug card to help with the prescription medicines often needed in caring for elderly parents.  The card is accepted at more than 61,000 participating pharmacies and can help anyone who is uninsured, if medications aren't covered, for high deductible periods, and Medicare patients who are in the donut hole.  The card is free and can be printed right from your computer or one can be sent to your phone if you don't have access to a printer.  There is no waiting period and no eligibility requirements and the savings are up to 75% on all FDA-approved medications.

Don't Do It Alone!

Meeting the daily challenges of caring for elderly parents, children and working can be a struggle.  At times, we feel helplessly sandwiched between all those who need us with no time to take care of ourselves.  But there are many resources available that can make this experience easier to manage.

Taking care of my mom for the last two years has been the biggest challenge I have ever faced, but it has also been the most rewarding.  I used to worry that I didn't have an important job title, like CEO of "something".  I relentlessly pursued higher education to "better myself".  Now I know the most important job I've ever had didn't require experience or a college degree.  I'm not the manager or director of anything.  I'm proud to say that my title is Caregiver and member of  The Sandwich Generation.  I'm also relieved to know that I don't have to go through this alone. Neither do you.

Caroline Carr
Caregiver and Contributing Writer

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Sandwich Generation - A First-hand Perspective

Caught in the Middle

The Sandwich Generation  is a growing situation.  It describes a generation of people who find themselves caring for elderly parents or relatives while still raising their own children.  In a difficult and uncertain economy supporting one's own children is challenging enough.  Adding the care and expense of an elderly parent or parents can be both heartbreaking and financially challenging.  It's often easy to lose ourselves in the myriad of people that surround us.

Aging Parents - A Growing Dilemma
The  Pew Research Center reports:
Elderly Parents Care
Between 7 and 10 million adults care for an aging parent long distance.
  • 1 in 8 Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are adult children caring for an aging parent and raising own children.  
  • Between 7 and 10 million adults care for a parent long distance.  
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of Americans 65 and older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Carol Abaya, nationally recognized as an expert in eldercare, breaks down the sandwich generation into three categories:
  1. Those who care for their own children and care or help with their aging parents as well.
  2. Those in "their 50's and 60's caring for elderly parents, their grown children and their grandchildren. Adults in their 30's and 40's who care for their own small children, elderly parents and grandparents."
  3. Any one else involved in elder care.
Living with Elderly Parents

It is often unexpected and can turn your life upside down.

My story:  After a frantic search for my keys, tripping over my cats to the front door, and already late for work, my phone rings.  It is my mom's car dealership. "I hope I'm not overstepping anything here, but we just took your mom home."  My heart is in my throat thinking something terrible has happened.  Well, yes and no. Mom was not hurt or in an accident.  However, she took her car over because she thought she had gotten a call that it was due for maintenance.  The dealership had not called.  But when she arrived, the agent noticed that she seemed confused and could not get her car to shut off.  Worried that she should not be on the road, they told her they would look the car over for her and change the oil and shuttle her home.  Then they called me.  My mother never drove again after that.  After a few weeks and an escalating issue with her breathing, she was hospitalized for pneumonia.  During that time, a CAT scan revealed that she had suffered several mini-strokes.  She was developing Dementia.  I suddenly found myself sandwiched between my own home in the city, hers in the suburbs, a two-hour drive in traffic, and a job that did not allow employees to call out sick. 

I quickly realized my mom would not be able to live on her own, which meant drastic changes to life as I knew it:
  • I had to rent my house, quit my job, and move in with her. 
  • I also realized that I was going to need a lucrative income without leaving my home. The challenge was to find other, less conventional ways of earning a living from direct sales to consulting and writing. 
  • I also need flexibility for doctor's appointments, my mom's ups and downs and my need to include her in my travels outside the home because she cannot be left alone. 
Elder Care - A Family Affair

Sandwich Generation
Elder care is challenging, but the rewards are great for the family.
The responsibility of caring for an aging parent or spouse did not single me out.  Both my aunt and my cousin joined the sandwich generation together.   On Thanksgiving night about six years ago, my cousin showed up at my house with suitcases in hand and her young son. Normally she showed up with a side dish, this year she brought a family!  My aunt found herself joining the ranks of the Sandwich Generation when she had to care for her disabled husband, her daughter and grandson. And her daughter raises her young child while sharing in the care of an elderly parent.

Both women work full time jobs and struggle with the demands of their careers.  Sharing in the daily care of my uncle, they are challenged with navigating the ever-changing Medicare system and his worsening condition.  Neither of them thought they would be in this situation.

Common Eldercare Situations
  • Recently, my uncle chose to stay late at elder care, without notifying my cousin who needs to take her son to team practice.  Because she had to wait for her father's bus to help him into the house, her son was late. Dementia has diminished his ability to use a house key to let himself in.
  • I have experienced this with my mother. She knows how to lock a door, and has often locked me out! But unlocking the door is a challenge.  My mother sometimes stands at the window, smiling at me, but doesn't understand that I need her to let me in.  In this situation, it's really important to remember your key at all times!
My cousin and I laugh at the numerous times we've been locked out and our parents don't answer the door.

Elderly Parent's Care
My one friend who is dealing with elderly parents has the additional pressure of caring for her aging parents from a distance.  We often miss the simple things like children or grandchildren's events due to travel, appointments, and the unpredictability of dealing with an elderly parent.  Despite the sacrifices, we consider it a privilege and agree that there is nothing else we'd rather be doing than caring for elderly parents.

As the population ages, and more adult children dealing with aging parents join the sandwich generation, the need for resources that can provide emotional support, financial, medical, and other social services will also grow.  Tomorrow's article, The Sandwich Generation - Tips for Living with Elderly Parents will provide links for resources that can help us build healthy sandwiches, filled with ingredients that aid us to meet the challenges of the most important job we'll ever do.

Caroline Carr
Full Time Caregiver and Contributing Writer

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pool Savings - Healthy Solutions

Salt Water Pool
My Pool Oasis
We are in the thick of Summer and I am sure a lot of you are thinking it's time for some pool fun.  Some of you may have pools and some of you are thinking that you need to get one.  As for my family, we do have a pool and I don't know what we would do without it.  Our teenage girls are fishes and pretty much live in it all summer along with all their friends.

When we first decided to build a pool my husband Phil searched through a lot of information on regular chlorine pools and the new rave of salt water swimming pools.  As for me I just wanted something that didn't turn all our hair green or leave our skin feeling starchy and smelly.  So of course I said a salt water pool all the way.  I really didn't know if it was better for us, all I knew is that my hair wouldn't look like the Wicked Witch of the West by the end of summer.

pool for you
Who wants to go swimming?!
With all of Phil’s research we decided to go with the salt water pool mainly because he is a penny pincher and this was the cheaper route plus the benefit of lower swimming pool maintenance.  In addition to big savings, we also discovered this was a healthy pool solution for a family who swims all summer long.  Our choice of swimming pool water means my family has green free hair, soft skin, and every now and then we get a taste of salt that makes us feel like we are at the ocean.  Plus Phil doesn’t have to work too hard to keep it looking crisp and clean.

Salt Water Pool Information and Supplies
The original set up was about $400 (we have a 30,000 gallon pool), which paid for the salt water system and the 12 bags of salt which lasts all summer.  We built our pool six years ago and since then the cost of a salt water system has almost doubled, but it is still worth it since you are not always having to go buy chlorine.  The generator actually regulates the chlorine through the salt that you initially add in the beginning and keeps the pool’s chemicals balanced.  So instead of having to check the pools chemicals everyday and constantly maintain it; the generator does it for you.  The generator has its own little brain that thinks for you.  The salt level has to be between 1600-2400 parts per million and if it isn't, the generator will let you know if it is too high or too low.

healthy Pools
Marco....Polo....pool fun.

What's Lurking in Your Pool

I have to admit that I never checked into the health aspects of a salt water pool until after we built one. Then I started to wonder what the effect of chlorine in the water does to you and can chlorine cause any health issues?  I decided to look into the health benefits of salt over traditional chlorine pools.  I found out that both salt and chlorine pools disinfect and kill the germs that naturally occur.  The difference is that in a chlorine pool the levels of chlorine are harder to keep under control and this can cause germs and bacteria to form more quickly if the levels aren’t maintained correctly.  Traditional chlorinated pools also have a lot more chemicals then a salt water pool.  With a salt water pool you have the salt generator to maintain it at all times and you are less vulnerable to having unwanted germs in your pool.  The generator keeps a steady and continuous supply of chlorine flowing through the pool which keeps the chlorine levels at the recommended amount.  If they aren’t maintained you will definitely know.  Have you ever been in a pool and all of a sudden your eyes start stinging and then they become blurry or the odor of chlorine is so bad that you want out?  These are big signs that the pools chlorine levels are out of whack and chemicals are on overdrive. Studies at Southern Illinois University School showed that swimmers who have been in a poorly chlorinated pool have had asthma like symptoms, lung irritation, red irritated eyes, and skin rashes.  Once I read that, I knew we made the right decision on going with the salt water pool.  

I hope this helps you choose the right pool for you.  If you are looking to save on pools, then salt water pools are for you.  You will also have a healthy pool and have huge chemical savings down the road.

For us, it is so nice to have a refreshing plunge in the heat of the day into a pool that is odorless, clear, and free of unwanted harsh chemicals and germs.  We definitely have a healthy and fun pool that everyone can enjoy. 
Pool Fun
Back dive or half twist, diving into a healthy pool is fun!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ode to Tammie

free prescription drug card
Tammie's enthusiasm and generosity will be missed at FamilyWize.
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave foot prints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." 
---Flavia Weedn

Man, isn't that the truth!  For more than a year, all of us at FamilyWize have been given the unbelievable privilege of spending eight hours each day working with an amazing woman and friend -- Tammie. 

Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to a fabulous co-worker and send her off to Oregon where her family is moving to support her husband and his new job. Great for him, bad for us.  We are however very happy for both of them!

We unanimously agreed all of her baked goods, from cookies to scones, will be greatly missed.  But most of all, Tammie's enthusiasm about getting the FamilyWize free prescription discount card to those in need will be missed the most.

As a tribute to Tammie, each FamilyWize employee, friend, and family wrote down what we will miss most about her.  And believe us when we say it was hard to keep it to a single Post-It note!

Thank you for leaving foot prints in all of our hearts, Tammie! 

Krysta W.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Foods That Help You Sleep

For those of us who are not great sleepers, or those who have more than their share of "bad nights", we know how valuable a good night’s sleep is.  You read of the many ways to get to sleep, but as a person with sleeping problems; it took me years to find a way to help me sleep on a regular basis.

sleep foods
Add these fruits when you're nutty without a good night's sleep.
I believe we are NOT powerless to help ourselves in this situation though.  And from years of studying and personal experience, I  know what we eat can go a long way toward solving the problem all together.  When I eat right, I sleep right:  just food, juices, and smoothies.  For me, it took some time of ingesting these sleep producing foods before sleepless nights became a thing of the past, but after years of struggle, I finally knew what it was to get a "good night’s sleep."

So what are the foods that help you sleep better when our head hits the pillow?
  • Cherries:  They contain a significant amount of melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland at the base of the brain that influences your sleep cycle. Make them “tart cherries”, and you get even more bang for your buck.
  • Bananas: This versatile fruit is packed with nutritional properties. The sleep aids contained in this, most common of fruits, are: potassium and magnesium, natural muscle relaxants.  L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body in producing serotonin and melatonin. Eating one in the evening is especially helpful. Try it blended with a little milk and a couple of dates and you’ve got yourself a delicious Bedtime Smoothie.
  • Dates:  Dates are another natural source of l-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a critical component for getting good sleep and a happy life.
  • Figs:  These tasty morsels are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. So, indulge yourself.
  • Nuts:  Almonds, a particularly good source of l-tryptophan and magnesium, are great to munch on at bedtime. Try drinking almond milk in place of cow’s milk. You can either make it yourself, or buy it from the store. Use it as the base for the Bedtime Smoothie (see below). What a delicious way to get the nutrients you need for a sound sleep.
  • Chia Seeds:  An l-tryptophan winner. They are good for you for so many reasons. Using them as a sleep aid is just one more reason to give them a try. Sprinkle some over your salads, mix them in your smoothies, or even drop a teaspoon of them into your fruit juices. You’ll be surprised by the delightful bit of texture they bring to anything. This one is a Dr. Oz favorite.
  • Sweet Potato:  In some arenas, the sweet potato is considered a Superfood, and its high content of l-tryptophan is one of the reasons vegetarians worldwide make this food a staple.  It is also the double whammy in a thanksgiving dinner when served alongside the turkey. Talk about nap time. It was the sweet potato that was my sleep aid of choice when I first decided to tackle my sleep problems with food. I ate it every day for about two weeks, and soon sweet sleep swept into my life, and I was able to slam the door on insomnia.
  • Yogurt with Granola:  This yummy combination can activate neurotransmitters in the brain that signal it is time to go to sleep. Not to mention the beneficial bacteria that makes for a happy digestive track, which in itself, can lead to a sounder night’s sleep.
  • Oatmeal:  While most people eat it for breakfast, what they don’t know is, it is a natural for an evening snack. Because it’s rich in melatonin it makes a great sleep aid. It also has the advantage of being a carbohydrate loaded snack which raises your blood sugar increasing your insulin levels, only to have sugar levels fall, and like a beautiful dance it releases chemicals in the brain that lull you into a sweet sleep.
So the next time you have sleep problems, take a look in your own refrigerator, pantry, or cupboard for these awesome natural sleep aids. Your answer may be right there, just waiting for you to take a bite. 

Here is a healthy recipe with a few of the foods with melatonin to help you sleep.

Bedtime Smoothie Recipe:

1 C Almond Milk (or regular milk)
½ C Water
3-5 dates
1 small banana
Dash of Vanilla

Sleep Tight!

Gwendolyn Adams
First Level Raw Nutrition Certification
Advanced Practitioner of Health through Nutrition, Exercise and Education
Yoga, Cycling, Group Exercise and Personal Trainer Certified

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Color Me Happy!

Every single day, we are surrounded by oodles of colors-- blues, yellows, oranges, violets.  If I broke out my color spectrum wheel from fourth grade art class and started typing them all out, I would wear my keyboard out!

colors mood
Red, Green, and Blue, Oh My! 
But have you ever sat back and thought about colors--I mean REALLY thought about why you painted your bedroom blue?  Why you wore that red dress to that party?  Why your car is black?  (Cue the Twilight Zone music.)  In a place deep in the back of your mind,  you chose those colors--not just picked them!

The effect of colors on our mood is intriguing, to say the least.  You probably didn't even realize it, but the colors we surround ourselves with, wardrobe or home, say something about us.

Here is a mini lesson on color psychology 101:

Blue is the color of peace, rest, and tranquility.  It causes the body to produce calming chemicals that lowers respiration and blood pressure-- which explains why it is often the color of bedrooms.  Not all blues are calming though. The saying "feeling blue" stems from darker blues which are associated with being cold, uncaring, and depressing.  People tend to be more productive in blue rooms because blue promotes focus and wisdom.  P.S. If you have a job interview coming up, wear blue because it represents loyalty. 

Since there are very few blue foods that occur naturally, blue acts as an appetite suppressant to help you eat less if you are watching your weight.  Check out our blog, The Blue Plate Special: Food Serving Size to read all about it! 

Purple happens to be my favorite color.  I'm wearing a purple shirt as I write this blog!  Purple represents ambition, wealth, respect, and sophistication.  Back in the Roman times, purple was the color of royalty.  Since the ingredients for the color were so hard to obtain, only the best of the best, like kings and queens, wore purple garments.  A room painted purple can spark a child's creativity, renew an artist's creativity, and even relieve a migraine headache. 

Green is the color of nature and represents growth, money, and health.  Most hospitals paint their rooms green because it tends to give off a calming effect to relax patients.  Get this--during the Middle Ages, brides wore green to symbolize fertility.  But that was the middle ages!  Green is popular in the decorating world right now because it is the easiest color on the eye.  You know that saying, "Green with envy?"  Green also represents envy, jealously, inexperience, misfortune, and vigor. 

Yellow- Here comes the sun!  (do do do do)  The Beetles must have wrote that song in a yellow room!  Yellow represents warmth, laughter, and happiness.  It is the brightest color to the human eye which is why taxi cabs are painted such.  (From experience, it's not YOU finding a taxi cab; it's about a taxi cab finding YOU.  Next time I go to New York City, I'M wearing yellow!)  It energizes and alleviates depression.  A person in a yellow room feels optimistic because their brain releases more serotonin (the "happy" chemical in the brain.)  It also speeds up our metabolism and gets our creative juices going (Post-It notes are yellow!)  Yellow is also the sign of caution and is associated with frustration, anger, dishonesty, illness and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. 

Orange  is associated with ambition, creativity, determination, and enthusiasm.  It's a fun color that most young people love.  It is associated with healthy food and increases the craving for food.  What better color to paint a kitchen!  Orange is seen as a hot color, giving the sensation of heat. It also increases oxygen supply to the brain, stimulating mental activity. People who gravitate towards the color orange are known to be genuine and sincere. (Our online marketing manager says that it also means crazy.  She says she has a lot of orange in her wardrobe - hmmmm.)

Red is the prima donna of colors. It just screams, "LOOK AT ME!"  It is known for it's energy and excitement and even importance.  It boosts metabolism, increases respiration rate, and elevates blood pressure.  Too much red can be overwhelming in both a wardrobe and as a paint color so it is mainly used as an accent. Red is also a sign of danger, speed, aggression, fire, sin, and violence.  If you're looking to make a statement, red is a power color.  Savvy salespeople wear red.

Black is a strong, mysterious color that represents power and authority.  In the fashion world, black is loved because it is considered timeless and can make people appear thinner.  But just like the color red, it needs to used in moderation.  Too much black gives off the feeling of evil, sadness, unhappiness, and death.

The next time you buy a blouse or a can of paint, remember the special effects color has on us.  If you're trying to achieve a certain mood, scroll back up and choose wisely!

What would your walls say if they could talk?  Vote for your favorite color on our poll and comment to let us know why your favorite color happens to be your favorite!

Krysta W.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Easy Ways to Save Money - Shop Now, Save Big!

Every week our goal is to have one blog focused on money savings ideas.  FamilyWize helps others save money on prescription medicines, however, we also want to share ways on how to spend money wisely in other areas of your lives.

I love the end of season shopping.  Even though summer is barely half way through - now is the time to hit the stores for big money savings!

Last week I took my boys shopping for shoes and clothes.  Now keep in mind these boys are teenagers so it is all about name and style.  I needed some things as well so we headed down to the Lehigh Valley Mall to look around.  While I was in one store searching for work clothes, the boys were down at a shoe store looking for loafer style shoes for Florida.

save money sale coupons
Happy Shopping!

After looking through the clothing sale at The Limited, I found six pieces of clothing and spent only $84.  I was very proud of myself.  I went to Journey's where the boys were looking for shoes.  My eldest picked two pair of shoes.  Always teaching them the concept of money, I said I would pay for one and he would pay for the other.  He promptly replied, "But you're going to buy the more expensive ones, right?"  Which I did even though they were $85.

After shopping at a few more shops, we went to another department store because I had a few coupons, plus they had shoes on sale- 70% off.  After trying on many shoes, I settled on four pairs.  The total - $74.00.  Love it!

Stop -- Life Lesson on Tips to Save Money 

I used this opportunity to teach my boys life lesson on a few easy ways to save money.  This is what I call smart shopping.   By looking through fliers for shopping deals, purchasing items on sale, and using coupons, I was able to buy 10 items (clothes and shoes) versus my son's two pair of shoes!  Teaching my boys the value of money will take them much further in life than impulse buying or thinking "I just have to have it!" when it doesn't make sense to pay the prices.

You've said the words, "Help me save money."  At FamilyWize "cents-ability" pretty much defines what we do.  As a dollar wise person if you are looking for a great deal on shoes or clothing, now is the time to buy!  Here are a few other money saving tips to follow if you truly want to save:
  1. Make a list - don't go shopping unless you know what you need.  Many people do this for grocery shopping, but it is also important when buying clothes or shoes.  Although you can never have too many shoes, there is a limit on black or blue skirts.  Take an inventory and list only the items you need.
  2. Store coupons - Don't just shop because you have a coupon you could be spending more based on requirements.  But if you have a need and there are sales, your coupon can save a lot of money.  You can also print coupons for shopping deals on line. Exclusions do apply, so check your coupon first.
  3. Online shopping - if you spend time on the web, internet shopping is huge.  Sites offer special promotions, coupons, and special sales that you won't find in stores.
The options are endless, but the point is shopping during the end of season sales to me is one of the best ways to find great savings!

Let us know what you do to save money while shopping for clothes and shoes!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Healthy Eating - Serve It Up

Do you live to eat or eat to live?  Food in our society serves several purposes: taking in proper nutrients, maintaining health, and let's face it, being satisfied! It is also a big part of our social lives - so many a gathering over food!

Sooo many food options - diet or pleasure.  However, whenever I diet, it often leaves me wondering, "Where is the rest of the food?"  Diet is often viewed as what we cannot eat with a focus on how to portion control as a way of cutting down.

Diet definition
Dictionary.com) - food and drink considered in terms of its quality, composition, and effect on health

New Perspective
  • What if we looked at the problem as if we simply don't eat enough (of the right foods)?  
  • What if we were more concerned with healthy eating, less about small serving sizes and letting the scale take care of itself? 
  • What if we rearrange our refrigerators, picnic tables, and holiday feasts so that healthier, more filling foods are within easy reach and more appealing to the eye and palate?

Sounds great, right? But you're probably wondering how much time and effort this will take. Well, it's actually quite easy. 

I Can See Clearly Now

A study published in Environment and Behavior clued me in on healthy eating.  Researchers Gregory J. Privitera and Heather E. Creary found that when a group of college students were given a choice between food placed in bowls closer to them and food in bowls that they had to walk to, they chose food from bowls within arms reach.  Students also chose larger food servings from food placed in clear bowls than food placed in opaque bowls. Being able to see the food makes it more visually appealing and more likely to wind up on our plates than food served in ceramic or opaque plastic dishes.  Check out some more insights at Science Daily.

I even go for the clear view.  At the supermarket I look for fruits, vegetables and proteins packaged in clear containers. What's more disappointing than coming home with those juicy red strawberries only to find that the ones on the bottom are not ripe or worse, overripe and not edible? I like to see what I am getting ahead of time.
portion control portion size
A clear view of healthy foods promotes healthy eating.

Tip:  Put it to work in the refrigerator. Keep healthy foods, fruits and vegetables, in clear bowls or plates and move them to the front of the shelves for easy reach.  Store sugary snacks and high calorie foods to the back and keep them in opaque containers.  This will discourage choosing them at snack time.

Serve It Up The Right Way

Reaching for a crisp, juicy apple and an ounce of fat-free cheese is a tasty and filling snack that gives energy and satisfies for a longer period of time than a cookie or piece of cake. Cutting up a piece of fruit, pairing it with a low-fat protein and serving it on a small dessert plate is a great way to achieve portion control.  The snack will look like more when served on a smaller plate, creating the illusion of more food.  Creating the perception that there is more when there is less will keep us fuller and make us take less. (Portion Tricks)
  • Keep smaller dishes and paper plates available for company and use them at all meals. A good portion plate should be about six inches in diameter, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. Eliminate the "dinner plate" and think of the smaller dishes as healthy portion plates.
  • Put away those large serving spoons and use teaspoons or tablespoons instead. People will take less and save calories. 
  • Even using tall, skinny glasses for beverages tricks us into thinking we are drinking more than if we use short, fat glasses. 
Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of Volumetrics (Harper Collins, 2000), discovered that giving healthy foods more volume aids portion control for weight loss and healthier eating.  Adding pureed vegetables, like squash and cauliflower, to soups, sauces or even macaroni and cheese will add volume to these dishes without adding calories. Therefore, we can eat more food but consume fewer calories. We can even go back for seconds. By using healthy eating tips like these, we can confidently say, "Super size it!"  

portion size
Super size vegetables for healthy eating.

Tips on healthy portion control:
  • Eat a small appetizer before a meal
  • Add vegetables to everything, whole or pureed
  • Choose a smaller plate
  • Add protein servings (energy)

 Determining what is a serving size on the go is easy.
  • A correct portion size of meat is about three ounces. (Imagine a deck of cards.) 
  • A serving of nuts and seeds is about the size of a ping-pong ball 
  • A serving of beans is about the size of a billiard ball. (Portion Sizes)
Eating healthy and nutritionally isn't just about what or how much we eat. It's also about the sizes and colors of the dishes and utensils we use as well as perception.  In a world where we often eat on the run or as an after thought and we tend to eat our food very fast, without giving our brains time to notify our bodies that we are full, choosing smaller plates, dishes, and serving utensils can help us control our portions, our health, and our weight.

Contributing Writer

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Blue Plate Special: Food Serving Size

"Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" 

How many of us heard those words from our grandparents as we heaped more of our favorite foods, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, onto our plates at family dinners? Yet somehow I always found myself squinting when it came time to serve the broccoli or green beans! 

color plate test
Are the black circles the same
size or is one larger than the other?
Delboeuf Illusion
Washiucho/Wikimedia Commons
What I thought was just healthy eating now appears to be a little more involved.  Several factors probably influenced what and how much we ate back then and today.  Brian Wansink, a Cornell eating behavior expert, suggests that plate color influences serving size.  Based on the Delboeuf illusion, an optical illusion that demonstrates two circles of the same size placed inside two other circles where one is larger than the other, the two circles of equal size will appear to be different sizes. Wansink shows that the greater the contrast between the color of food and the plates, the smaller the portion size - regardless of plate size.  No contrast or low contrast produces larger portion size.  This occurs because the plate where there is higher contrast appears smaller in size than the plate with lower contrast.

In his color plate test, published in 2011 in Journal of Consumer Research, a group of diners was randomly given either a white plate or a red plate and were served pasta with either white sauce or red sauce.  People using plates matching the color of their food, pasta with white sauce on a white plate, served larger portions, as much as 22% more.  Those using dishes that contrasted their food, pasta with white sauce on a red plate, served smaller portions. Further consumer research concludes that lowering the contrast between the plates and the background, place mat or tablecloth, reduces serving size up to 10% more. (Cornell Research )

So, how can we use this research to control our portion size? Well, whether you're trying to take off a few extra pounds or trying to eat healthier, using plate color can help control our serving size. Try these tips when serving up your next meal.

portion size plate color
Blue Plate Special
Blue Causes You to Eat Less
1. Choose dishes that contrast your food choice. For example, pasta with red sauce on a white plate is a high contrast. If you are unable to change the dish color, minimize the illusion by using a place mat or tablecloth that lowers the contrast between the background and the plate color . This will create the illusion that the plate is smaller and could lead to smaller portion size.

2. Serve food on plates or in containers that are a color you dislike. This could make you eat less as the background color is unappetizing to you.

3. Eating dessert on a blue plate is a great idea for dieters. Blue is considered unappetizing to most adults. Since there are very few blue foods that occur naturally, blue could act as an appetite suppressant. (Color & Appetite)

4. Serve green salads on a green plate to encourage you to take more. The lower the contrast, the greater the portion.  Use matching food colors and plates for healthier, lower calorie foods.

Various factors determine what and how much we eat. Some factors such as altering our behavior may prove more difficult to tackle than others. However, we can alter our environment by using simple tips from above. Whether by using a smaller plate or creating the illusion of a smaller plate, we can reduce our portion sizes to eat and live healthier.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Help Me Sleep!

So we discussed what happens with problems sleeping and related health risks, but the question remains:  How do I get better sleep?

First, if you have or think you may have a sleep disorder, then you need to seek help from a doctor.  These can lead to more serious health problems.  Look for sleep centers accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine at www.aasmnet.org and click on "Find a Sleep Center" or call 708-492-0930.  (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

Most people view sleep as a time to shut down and shut off the brain.  Research has shown that there is so much more taking place when you are in a horizontal position.  Your body is actually quite active:
sleep sleep problems
Sleep has many health benefits.
  • Improving your memory and creative juices
  • Repairing your body
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Raising your metabolism
  • Curbing inflammation
  • Lowering stress
  • Helping you lose weight
  • Improving problem solving skills

Oh, and for athletes 10 hours of sleep improves speed and performance.  I will be sharing this with my son who is bound for college football this fall.

According to the National Institute of Health report on Healthy Sleep, experts believe that while we sleep brain cell's pathways are made stronger.  Healthy living, thinking, and sleep affect these pathways, which kind of look like trees - seriously trunk and branches.  So think of it like this.  Sleep represents the roots of your health tree.  As we sleep the trunk brain pathways (called axons) get stronger producing more branches (dendrites).  The dendrites or branches can grow or whither depending on a lot of things, but sleep as well.

Ways to Get Better Sleep

There are many sleep aids out on the market both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications referred to as hypnotics. The FamilyWize free prescription drug card covers sleep aid prescription medications.  As with all prescriptions, check with your doctor to see which  is right for you; and then check with your pharmacist to make sure there are no contraindications with other brand or generic prescription medications you may be taking.)  Up to 10% of the adult population in the U.S. took sleeping aids in 2010.

What does that say about our state of sleep?

I would like to provide you a few remedies for sleep that may help improve your sleep problems.
  • Avoid caffeine after 4 p.m.  If you need an afternoon pick me up, try drinking your caffeine around 2 p.m.
  • Turn down the heat.  Exercise in the morning, afternoon, or early evening.  Exercise increases your metabolism and raises your body temperature.  According to Dr. J. Todd Arnett, Director of University of Michigan Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, your body has to be a certain temperature in order to fall asleep.
  • That glass of wine you enjoy in the evening - try having it earlier.  Although people say wine makes them drowsy, it will actually disrupt your sleep later.  An Alcohol Alert by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, "Alcohol consumption can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of sleep states and by altering total sleep time as well as the time required to fall asleep."
  • Make a list - one thing that is helpful for me is to write down my list of to-do's for the next day, so I am not thinking about them while trying to fall asleep.
  • Don't go to bed angry.  I was raised with the saying,  "Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath."  For me it meant spiritual implications, but the Health and Sleep Journal agrees that going to bed angry causes health problems.  So if you are angry at your significant other be sure to forgive him or her before you go to sleep.
  • Eat your sweet potato.  Certain foods and food combinations have tryptophan, which produces serotonin.  I personally cut up a sweet potato, which produces melatonin, into chunks, put it in a blender add water, cinnamon, and ginger and then drink.  A few days of this and you will sleep like a baby.
  • Try some meditative yoga or yoga stretches to ease away the tension and relax your body. li>Make your bedroom your retreat.  Remove the clutter, the electronics, and other distractions that may cause you to not rest in your own bedroom.
Above all else, the best advice is to try to get the proper amount of sleep for your body.  Most doctors recommend seven to eight hours of sleep at night, but each body is different.  We have become a 24/7 society.  Stores are open 24 hours, television shows don't ever stop (Did you know that the TV used to go static after a certain hour of the night?), the computer never goes to sleep, but you need to - so do yourself a favor and relax and enjoy a good night's sleep and live healthier and longer!

P.S. If you take an FDA approved sleep medication and need help with the cost of your prescription medicines, check out the FamilyWize prescription card.  Our Rx drug card users saved an average of 51% on their sleep medications.

Donna Cornelius
Content Manager and Editor - FamilyWize

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Problems Sleeping and Health Risks

SLEEP - we all need it, but many of us do not get the amount of sleep we need; and therefore, do not reap the benefits of sleep.

We have all said it, "I AM SOOOOOO TIRED!"

Well today I am feeling it.  Part of it is my own fault; I leave work only to do more work.  I think it's called "Too Much on My Plate"!  I have been up until midnight the last three nights and my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. - UGH!  The other part is that as I get older my sleep deprivation gets worse.  I always considered myself a light sleeper, but compound that with back issues and typical aging body aches and the result is problems sleeping.  Even when I work out every day, I sleep slightly better, but still NEVER through the night!

I look for "Mr. Sandman", but he never comes. (Loved this song as a child.)

Of course, I shouldn't complain.  My daughter has narcolepsy, but not the kind where she falls asleep if she sits for too long.  Her brain literally doesn't know exactly when she is awake or asleep.  So at night when she thinks she is sleeping she is actually awake (makes for very active nights because her nighttime "day" dreams become reality) and during the day she may look awake, but her brain sometimes shuts down.  That is when we say, "She has entered THE ZONE."  It actually isn't funny, but we try to keep it light.

One day while driving to the trade school (she just started) she called me in tears.  She missed her exit.  She didn't know where she was. (This also has to do with a learning disability.)  I asked her to tell me what was around her.  Luckily we were able to turn her around, but in guiding her way, she said, "I think I fell asleep!"  I quickly said, "Don't tell me that!" (Mom's worst nightmare.)  We now never let her drive long distances alone (even though she is 20) because of her sleep disorder.  It is considered a neurological disorder by the state.

But she is not alone.  According to the Behavioral Effects of Disturbed Sleep (BEDS) Consortium at UIC College of Nursing, "problems with sleep affect over 50 million Americans, and these problems increase with age.  Over 70 sleep disorders are now recognized."

Sleep obesity
More than 50 million Americans suffer from problems sleeping.
The crazy thing is that everyone requires a different amount of sleep. Someone recently posted on Facebook a picture and stats on David Goggins (Navy Seal) - he ONLY sleeps three hours a night!! I would be sooo grumpy! Some people can go on little sleep and others require more sleep, but either way - when someone has a problem sleeping - the  sleep deprived person (adult or child) could face health issues as a result.

So what are sleep deprivation effects?

According to a health article on sleep by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, "untreated sleep disorders can raise your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other medical conditions."  This is backed by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Their list is long for the relationship between getting enough sleep and long-term health risks.
  • Obesity - Yes, sleep studies show that sleeping more than six hours per night on a regular basis may help lose or at least control weight.  Lack of sleep affects metabolism, insulin, and processing of carbohydrates.
  • Diabetes - A lack of sleep can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. As with weight, sleep affects "the way the body processes glucose."
  • Heart Disease and Hypertension - Inadequate sleep can elevate blood pressure the next day for those who are already at risk
  • Moodiness - Another symptom of lack of sleep (I can attest to this one.) may be irritability and moodiness the next day.  Insufficient sleep may also lead to depression, anxiety, and mental distress.
  • Improper immune function - A body at rest is able to repair and heal better.
  • Life expectancy - Due to the fact that poor sleep is associated with so many disorders; it is not surprising that all of these effects of a lack of sleep can shorten your life span.  
To learn more about these risks and their related sleep studies, read the "Sleep and Disease Risk" at Healthysleep.med.harvard.edu.

To make matters worse, a Center for Disease Control 2010 study revealed that 30% of workers sleep less than six hours a night.  So we are not just talking health issues, we are talking safety issues as well.

I remember my dad wrecked his Buick driving home one night. Why?  Because he fell asleep at the wheel.  According to an interview with Dr. Gaynes of the CDC on the topic of "Staying Awake Behind the Wheel," driving drowsy is a problem.  He said that statistically, "Drowsy driving was implicated in about 16 percent of fatal crashes and 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization."  

But that is not all; we haven't even really hit on sleep disorders. Some of them are:
  • Chronic Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Sleepwalking
  • Sleep Apnea
  • REM Behavior Disorder
The research, the facts, and the stories could go on.  To see more interesting facts on sleep - check out Achooallergy.com.

When it comes down to it there is no replacement for a good night's sleep.  I like the way the CDC puts it "...sufficient sleep is not a luxury--it is a necessity--and should be thought of as a 'vital sign' of good health."

Check in tomorrow for how to get better sleep and the benefits of sleep!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager