Showing posts with label health articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health articles. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Children's Eye Health and Safety Month

eye health
Keep Those Blue Eyed Beauties Healthy!
August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month.  This coincides nicely with children going back to school making sure their eye health is the best it can be for school.   

Eye health is important because a child who has problems paying attention in class simply may be a result of the student having trouble seeing, not because they don't want to learn.  

Visually impaired students may get easily frustrated during class thus giving up on their school work.  Why would they want to try and do something if they are not able to see what is going on?  If there is a problem, often times students won't say anything either because of embarrassment of needing glasses or they may not feel socially confident.   This may cause them to struggle in school, sports, and especially in reading.  

Signs of Eye Problems
Knowing that your child has good eye health and is not visually impaired is sometimes hard to know.  If a child has had bad eyesight since birth they may not notice the difference and therefore are not prone to saying anything. Studies show that at birth, 25% of infants are near-sighted, 50% are far-sighted, and 25% need no refractive correction.  It is up to you as a parent to notice the signs of poor eyesight and get children an annual eye test with an optometrist.  Here are some common signs you may observe if your child has eye problems or any eye conditions that need to be addressed.
  • Squinting 
  • Constant blinking
  • Seeing double
  • One eye turning in
  • Rubbing the eyes constantly
  • Losing focus easily when they are reading
  • Getting frequent headaches
  • Constantly losing their place when reading 
Some of you may be wondering what is visually impaired?  Being visually impaired can range from having a partial problem in seeing to blindness.  Some people are born with it and others become sight impaired over time.  Still others may have suffered eye injuries or diseases of the eyes that caused vision problems.

Keeping Your Child's Eyes Healthy

In my preschool, I had a three year old that was constantly squinting in class, but never complained that he couldn't see.  His parents took him to the eye doctor for an eye exam and sure enough they found out that he was visually impaired and needed glasses.  When he came to school for the first time wearing his glasses I asked if he could see better and he said "Everything is SOOOOO crisp now Mrs. Marci!!!"  First I started laughing because of the word he used to describe how well he could see; and then I smiled from ear to ear knowing that he was so excited to see like his other friends.  Instead of the glasses giving him a complex like most people may think; it did the complete opposite.  He was more confident.  He was just happy to see and nothing else mattered.  All the kids thought he was so cool because he got to wear glasses and even a few kids went home asking to get glasses, too.  Not to mention he sure looked cute in them.

As your child gets older you need to stay up on their eye exams.  By age 10, the percentages drops to 8% on nearsighted , 6% farsighted, and 86% need no refractive correction.  This is awesome, however your child may be that small percent much like our oldest.  We took her for her yearly eye exam when she was 12 and found out that she had a slight astigmatism.  We thought this was odd since her father and I have perfect 20/20 vision.  So don't think because your eyesight is good that your child's will be good, too.  We are living proof that it isn't always true.  Now by the age of 15, they change again and the percentages rise to 15%, 6%, and 79% respectively.  It is very important to have annual eye exams to make sure your child is seeing correctly.

The eyes are very complex and need to be protected at all times to prevent eye injury.  With children that can be difficult since they just love to be rough and tough; and they have no fear.  There are several different kinds of eye injuries and diseases that can cause a child to become blind or sight impaired.  The most common injuries that your child may get is a scratch to the eye or eyelid or maybe a black eye, which is usually caused by innocent playing and not paying attention to what they are doing.  More extreme injuries include a scratch or injury to the cornea called corneal abrasion, a lodged object into the eye, hyphema or blood in the front part of the eye, a broken bone surrounding the eye, chemical burns,or long term UV radiation.  Some of the more extreme injures can be prevented if you teach children about eye protection and you are more cautious at an early age.   Here are some suggestions that may help.
  • Wear glasses when in the sun.
  • Wear safety goggles if they are in the garage working with someone. (They will think its cool and grown-up.)
  • Keep fingernails trimmed and short. (Babies are always scratching their faces and eyes.)
  • Wash hands after doing art projects and crafts. (This helps keeps all chemicals and fragments out of eyes.)
  • Cover sharp furniture edges with protective covers
  • Teach them not to run, but move slowly with sharp objects -- scissors, pens, pencils, etc....
  • Keep them away if the someone is mowing or weed eating the yard.
  • Keep away from fireworks. ( Did you know that a Sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees?  See our 4th of July blog.)
  • Keep eyes moist with eye drops if they always seem dry. (Click here for coupon)
One last tip for keeping your child's eyes in tip-top shape is to take Omega-3's.  It is a family of fatty acids essential to maintaining overall health and is especially important to help protect eye health.

Marci
Contributing Writer
Training Wheels Preschool Owner

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tired of Being Tired?

I love my little girl, but for those of you who have babies – you can certainly empathize when I say, “I am tired!”  I used to be able to go, go, go.  I still do a lot, but nap time for her can sometimes means nap time for me.

You always hear people say, “I’m soooooo tired.”

If you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so tired,” you are not alone.  According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one in five people feel tired and one in 10 is fatigued at any given time. Sometimes we may be able to pinpoint the reason behind our sleepiness – pregnancy or having a baby and getting less sleep, a series of late nights at the office, poor nutrition and nonexistent exercise, or even bouts of insomnia. Other times it is not so easy to find a reason for our exhaustion.

Low energy impacts more than just how you feel physically. Sometimes a lack of energy can impact our mood and how we treat others. You may find yourself yelling at your kids more or picking a fight with your significant other for no good reason. Since we don’t always know what causes tiredness, we may not immediately know how to make ourselves feel better.

What Causes Fatigue and Tiredness?

It is important to realize that the cause of tiredness and fatigue for one person may not be the same trigger for another person.  Some things to watch for:
  • Sleeping patterns, diet (or lack-thereof), and exercise levels can directly impact how tired one feels. 
  • Workplace burnout from work overload or boredom can also contribute to overtiredness according to MensHealth.com
  • Medical conditions can also contribute toward chronic tiredness.   Prevention Magazine cites some of the most common medical causes of tiredness and fatigue as anemia, diabetes, thyroid disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and chronic fatigue.  According to WebMD, undiagnosed heart disease can also be a factor in excessive tiredness.  Some other important medical causes of tiredness include depression tiredness, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid fatigue
Chronic Tiredness Fatigue
What to do When Your Tired of Being Tired!?!?
If you suspect your tiredness is due to a medical condition, or if you rule out the non-medical causes, it may be prudent to schedule a checkup with your family doctor to evaluate you and ensure your condition is nothing serious. You might even benefit from some tiredness treatment whether that comes in the form of medical or vacation type treatment.


What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Another type of fatigue is chronic fatigue syndrome.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this syndrome is characterized by “severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.”  Women between the ages of 30 and 50 face the greatest likelihood of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue?

Here are a few things that may lead to chronic fatigue :
  • Stress 
  • An overfull schedule 
  • Poor sleep 
  • Alcohol 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Metabolism changes as we age 
  • As well as age, previous illness, genetics and environment (U.S. National Library of Medicine) 
Now that you know some of the extreme fatigue causes, you can watch out for them and work to reverse that overly tired feeling.

Fighting Back – A Few Tips on How to Get Energy

Feeling tired does not have to be a way of life.  As you become more aware of the signs and symptoms of what the causes of fatigue are, it may help you not only prepare for it, but also take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Tiredness may just be a symptom of your lifestyle.  It may be time to simplify a bit by limiting late nights at the office or socially.

Nutrition and Vitamins Help with Energy

Some people find that a change in diet or even supplementation may help with their fatigue.  Some possible vitamins that are known to help with increased energy levels include:
  • Taking a good multivitamin to make sure you get your core vitamins and minerals 
  • Eating a healthy diet - eating 5 to 6 small meals a day increases metabolism 
  • Getting a good dose of exercise a few times a week outside or in the gym 
  • Vitamins C and B Complex, like a vit b12 energy booster, also neutralize feelings of fatigue 
Other nutrients such as magnesium, bee pollen, NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), and L-Carnitine, are thought by some to fend off energy tiredness as well.  Natural energy boosters, including Gingko biloba, Maca, and especially Siberian ginseng, a potent energy booster are also thought to help when you are tired.  Always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal energy supplements and options for chasing away that tired feeling.  It is a good idea to educate yourself before beginning or taking any new supplement.  There are sites that can help you understand what is out there:
Feeling tired all the time is no way to go about life. If you find yourself in this rut day after day, take the initiative to fight your fatigue and get yourself back to that happy, healthy state.

My tired is a happy tired from my sweet little girl and is, hopefully, short lived.  Don’t live tired!

Tell us what you do to fight that tired feeling!

Kate M. D'Imperio
Contributing Writer

Friday, August 3, 2012

“Peach-y” Keen Nutrition

Indulge me for just a moment, and give yourself a treat.  Now… picture yourself walking on a beautiful hillside.  You see a peach tree… and approach it curiously.  Reaching up you pick a beautifully ripe peach.  Now smell it, and savor that fabulous aroma.  Slowly you take a big bite of this incredibly juicy fruit.  Enjoy the sweet flavor that only a ripe peach can have.  What a treat for all the senses.  This fruit is luscious to look at, touch, smell, and taste.  What more can you ask for from a food?  Well, in this case, we can also ask for great health benefits because peach's nutrition is amazing!  The plain peach fact is that the nutritional value of peaches can improve your health!
nutritional value of peaches
Sweet, juicy peaches - a yummy summer treat!
Should we say "A Peach A Day?"

Peaches, actually, originated in China where eating for health is not only a priority, it is a mindset.  A “mindset” we would be wise to adopt.  This delectable fruit was believed to increase longevity, and for good reason.   Here are some of the nutritional information of peaches:
  1. Potassium:  Peaches provide a high source of this mineral. A deficiency in potassium can cause fatigue, anxiety, muscle weakness, skin problems, poor memory, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure or heart deterioration, and vibration in your ears.
  2. Beta-carotene:  The body changes beta-carotene to Vitamin A. It is essential for supporting your vision, skin, healthy bone growth and your immune system. As an antioxidant vitamin A helps skin to repair, stay moist, and produce the enzymes that stabilize the production of collagen. If you’re after strong, silky locks, you’ll want to remember that vitamin A is also good for your hair. 
  3. Lycopene and lutein:  Also part of the carotene family, these elements give color to the peach. They help prevent macular degeneration, cancer, and heart disease.
  4. Fiber:  Fiber does a body good and you can find two types in peaches have two types:  insoluble fiber, which doesn't dissolve in water and soluble fiber, which does. Insoluble fiber is good for you because it collects water and increases the bulk of the stool.  Helping you push more of the waste out. This means your body can absorb more nutrients.  Soluble fiber is equally important.  It takes longer to break down which helps control blood sugar and it binds with fatty acids to help control cholesterol.  
  5. Vitamin C:  This antioxidant helps fight cancer by improving the immune system and preventing cellular change.
  6. Iron:  When you eat a peach, you get almost as much usable iron as spinach. Eat up ladies!
I used to live in Georgia where growing peach trees is an art form.  There are many peach tree varieties around the world.  The sweeter varieties of peaches include the Donut, Elberta, Frost, Hale-Haven, Harken, Honey Babe, O'Henry, Polly White, and White Lady.  Needless to say, making recipes with all of these varieties of peaches in them was also an art form in Georgia.  There are no shortage of fresh peach recipes from peach desserts to muffins, drinks, and even main entrees to be found on the internet and cookbooks.  Since I appreciate, and revere, the philosophy the Chinese hold in regard to food, I have yet another nutrient packed green smoothie recipe with peaches to help you build a strong body, mind, and spirit.

“Peachy” Green Smoothie
  • 2 peaches, sliced and pitted
  • 1 banana
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (honey flavored)
  • 1 tbsp. agave sweetener or honey
  • 1 cup water
Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!


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, August 2, 2012

Narcolepsy A Matter of the Brain

Below is a picture of my daughter.  She is beautiful and vibrant and leads a busy life...but her daily life is a life of exhaustion.  Why?  She has narcolepsy.  Even when she was little she never slept through the night.  We thought perhaps she had sleep apnea, so when we had her tonsils taken out we thought her sleep would improve and it did slightly.  But as a preteen she also had Lyme's disease after which her sleep problems worsened along with her health.  Is there a correlation?  New studies may show some correlation between Neurological Post Treatment Lymes disease and narcolepsy / chronic fatigue, but nothing conclusive yet.

Narcolepsy Sleep Problems
Is she sleeping or is she awake?
Narcolepsy affects many!
Whatever the cause - it is a frustrating autoimmune disease that can wreak havoc on your sleep and your life!

My daughter does not have the type of narcolepsy where if she sits she falls asleep, which is how most people envision a narcolepsy sleep disorder.  Instead her brain really doesn't know when she is supposed to be asleep or awake.  So if she is sleeping and dreaming, those dreams actually are real and she acts them out.  When she was younger, she had a loft bed.  She was in one of her lucid dreams (narcoleptics reach REM (Rapid Eye Movement) within the first few minutes of sleep, whereas other people fall into REM sleep about 100 minutes into sleep).  She thought her mattress was falling on her so she jumped over the side and out of the bed.  It is five feet off the ground.  Luckily she didn't get hurt.  That is the sleep side of her life.

The awake side is a little more scary.  Two years ago while starting school to be an aesthetician, she was driving and missed her exit.  She called me in a panic.  We have learned that part of her neurological sleep disorder means she doesn't go anywhere new without someone else taking her there first.  (This is also part of a learning disorder - visual perception processing disorder. But that is another blog.)

I told her to tell me where she was and we got her back in the right direction.  During this time however she confessed, "I think I fell asleep."  She no longer drives any long distances by herself.  In order to drive, she is required to either take a sleeping aid or something to keep her awake.  Because she is small in stature; the medications really mess with her.  There are prescription medications for narcolepsy treatment, but you need to check with your doctor and pharmacist to see which is best for you.  Because of her physical responses, she has opted for natural alternatives.  She may go back on the sleep medication however, which is highly regulated and unusual in its dosages, but at least helps her sleep.

My daughter is now 20 and through my research has new hope.  She doesn't feel so alone with this disease.  Because it isn't just the sleep. She suffers from narcolepsy with cataplexy.  This is when her body physically goes to sleep although she is awake.  She is not alone though according to the National Institute of Health, "...one in every 3,000 Americans" is affected by this sleeping disorder.

What is narcolepsy?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke define as:

"Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system characterized by the brain's inability to control sleep-wake cycles."

There are many studies and reports on narcolepsy, but this site provides clear and simple information on narcolepsy.

Although my daughter has adjusted her life and doesn't let it stop her from having fun, my biggest concern for my daughter and others like her is that a lack of sleep associated with sleeping disorders can cause health problems.  "Even the loss of one hour of sleep time that accumulates for several days can have a powerful negative effect on daytime performance, thinking, and mood", according to the Sleep Foundation's Sleep Wake Cycle Study.  And even more astounding is the Center for Disease Control article on sleeping problems which indicates, "Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health."

If you have narcolepsy, another type of sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome (RLS), or have problems falling asleep, then I would encourage you to see a doctor and get a sleep study test.

A lack of sleep can cause difficulty in your daily lives and wreak havoc on your health.  So improve your life and your health and get help with your sleep.  To find out some of the health risks and how to sleep better, check out our other blogs:
At FamilyWize we truly seek to help you find not only affordable prescription medications for sleep disorders, but help you find ways to live healthy.  If you suffer from a sleeping problem, check our Drug Look-Up Tool to see if we cover your sleep medication and can help you get a discount on your prescription medicine.

Donna Cornelius
Content Manager and Editor for FamilyWize


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.

Marci
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

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!

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.

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.

Caroline
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.

Caroline

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