WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: SLEEPING HABITS
If you’re addicted to the snooze button, often feel groggy by noon, or find yourself yawning at your desk all afternoon, you aren’t alone. Feeling tired all day is a common problem in the U.S, where 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men regularly feel exhausted.
You may know why you are so tired, particularly if it’s a temporary problem. But if it’s a regular occurrence, you may find yourself looking for explanations. Here are a few common causes of exhaustion, plus some tips for feeling more refreshed.
Poor sleep habits
While it may seem obvious, poor sleep habits are actually quite a problem in the U.S. — where one in three adults are not getting enough sleep. Get more sleep with these tips:
- Set an alarm for bed. You probably set an alarm to wake up. Now, try setting an alarm for bedtime. This will help you develop a set routine of going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time each morning. The alarm will can serve as a signal to turn off the television or put away other electronics, so you get to bed at a decent time. To make it even easier, some smartphones offer a bedtime setting.
- If you can’t sleep, take a break. Don’t lie awake in bed for more than 10 to 20 minutes. If your mind is racing, get out of bed and write down things that might be troubling you or make a list of what you want to complete tomorrow. You can also read a book under a dim light or sit quietly until you are sleepy, then go back to bed.
- Limit screen time before bed. Minimize blue light from electronic devices 2–3 hours before going to bed.
Food and drink choices can sabotage your energy levels. Limit caffeine to early morning hours, avoid alcohol and stay away from sugary or fried foods to stay more alert. A few more ideas to give you energy:
- Drink more water. Dehydration makes you less alert and can zap your concentration and decrease energy levels. Drinking more water can help you feel refreshed.
- Eat smaller meals more often. Eating healthy, small meals every three hours may stabilize your blood sugar level and keep you more alert during the day. Think fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. For example, plain Greek yogurt with berries or an apple with nut butter.
- Shed extra weight. Even small reductions in body fat improve mood, energy and quality of life.
Lack of exercise
The last thing you want to do when you’re exhausted is do a workout. But, exercise boosts your energy levels and improves the efficiency of your heart, lungs and muscles. In addition to 30 minutes of moderate activity daily, try these tips:
- Spend less time sitting. You’ll have more energy if you break up stretches of sedentary activity with some movement. Make it a habit to get up, walk and stretch every hour.
- Build more movement into your day. The human body is designed to move. Even small amounts of movement count. Walk instead of drive. Park far away. Take the steps instead of the elevator.
If you’re not sure where your tiredness is coming from, it’s important to rule out potential health problems. Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease and sleep apnea.
- Talk to your doctor. If you feel unusually tired and can’t figure out the cause, tell your personal doctor.
- Consider your prescriptions. Many prescriptions have drowsy side effects. Talk to your doctor about fatigue-causing medications you may be taking, or possible drug interactions that may be making you feel tired.
Even night owls can be early birds
In a small study, night owls who tweaked their bedtime scheduled had positive results in only three weeks. Study participants went to bed and woke up two to three hours earlier, got outdoor light each morning and limited light at night and ate on a schedule. By the end of the study, they reported less stress and depression.
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Blood is needed for many reasons, including during emergencies and for people with cancer, blood disorders, sickle cell anemia and other illnesses. However, blood can only come from a volunteer donor, meaning donating blood can be the difference between life and death.
Learn more about donating blood, including who can donate, safety information and precautions and more, here, via the insurance professionals at McGriff Insurance Services, Inc.
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THE BASICS OF ALLERGIES
Allergies are negative reactions that occur as a result of coming into contact with a normally harmless substance. These substances—or allergens—can be inhaled, injected, ingested or even simply touched to cause reactions.
Allergy symptoms often go unrecognized. You may falsely believe you have a cold or the flu, when really you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy. While the symptoms are similar, allergies can be differentiated. Common symptoms include sneezing, a stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes.
Allergies can develop at any age. People who are most susceptible include those under age 40 who have at least one parent with allergies. Allergies can change or disappear over time, while others may recur at the same time each year, lasting for a few weeks or months each time.
For prevention tips, please view the flyer.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Hello from your friendly neighborhood wellness specialist! August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
Between the new variants of COVID-19, delays in getting routine vaccinations due to the ongoing pandemic, and the upcoming flu season, it’s more important now than any time in recent history for everyone to get the vaccines available to them. You have the power to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases. Here are the facts:
- Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country.
- Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that once routinely killed or harmed tens of thousands of people.
- Vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths each year.
- The viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist and can infect people who are not protected by vaccines.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths.
Below are some of the recommended vaccines for adults. For a more comprehensive list, please contact your medical provider.
- Influenza Vaccine (flu shot)
- Tetanus/Diptheria (every 10 years)
- Hepatitis B (based on risk factors)
BACK PAIN: PREVENTION AND RELIEF
When you suffer from back pain, your ultimate goal is to eliminate it. However, if you cannot completely avoid it, learning how to relieve your back pain is the next best option. Please download this flyer for tips on back pain prevention and relief.
How do you get back on track when struggling with emotional eating?
By Onna Moore, wellness specialist
When negative emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating, you can take steps to control cravings. To help stop emotional eating, try these tips:
- Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you might see patterns that reveal the connection between mood and food.
- Tame your stress. If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
- Have a hunger reality check. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
- Get support. You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group.
- Fight boredom. Instead of snacking when you’re not hungry, distract yourself and substitute a healthier behavior. Take a walk, watch a movie, play with your cat, listen to music, read, surf the internet or call a friend.
- Don’t deprive yourself. When trying to lose weight, you might limit calories too much, eat the same foods repeatedly and banish treats. This may just serve to increase your food cravings, especially in response to emotions. Eat satisfying amounts of healthier foods, enjoy an occasional treat and get plenty of variety to help curb cravings.
- Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a healthy snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip, nuts or unbuttered popcorn. Or try lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
- Learn from setbacks. If you have an episode of emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day. Try to learn from the experience and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes you’re making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for making changes that’ll lead to better health.
The Pros and Cons of Tobacco Use
Do you use tobacco products? Did you know that tobacco use has a negative impact on both your personal and financial health? A person who smokes one pack a day, spends $175 monthly, and $2,100 over the span of year. The health implications of tobacco use are too many to list all here, but cancer, lung disease, COPD and gum/tooth decay are just a few. Here is a quick comparison of the perceived advantages and the real consequences of using tobacco products. You be the judge.
Real consequences of tobacco use
- Long lasting tobacco/smoke odor on breath/clothes/hair/car/home
- Social distancing from non-smokers
- Added expense of buying tobacco ($1.10) just in taxes on every pack
- Damage caused to every organ/tissue in your body
- Increased risk of heart disease/COPD/lung cancer
- Damage to eyes, skin, teeth and gums
- Increased health costs, surcharges for health plans
- Setting bad example for loved ones, friends and family
- Decrease value of home and auto due to buildup of smoke/tar from cigarettes
- Dulled sense of taste and smell
- Increased levels of anxiety
- Slow growing nails and hair
- Constant worrying over health issues related to tobacco use
- The list goes on, but you get the point.
- Social bonding with other tobacco users
- Momentary gratification
- Feeling of creating a ritual
- Suppressed food cravings
There is no better time like the present to invest in yourself and Quit for Life. If you and or your spouse/partner would like to quit, the Optum program offered through Goodwill Industries of Kentucky is a great way to achieve that goal. If you are interested in learning more about the Tobacco Cessation Program, please visit quitnow.net or call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE TTY 711. Quitting is the only sensible option; let Optum and Goodwill help you achieve this life-changing goal.
View this flyer for more information.
JUNE IS MEN’S HEALTH MONTH
Hello everyone, from your favorite wellness specialist. June is Men’s Health Month.
Did you know that:
Men are 17 percent more likely to have cancer.
50 percent more likely to have hearing loss.
50 percent more likely than women to die of heart disease.
Yet men are 50 percent less likely than women to seek preventative care.
A survey conducted by The Cleveland Clinic found that 40 percent of men go to the doctor only when they have a serious health issue and never go for routine checkups.
Preventive care will either catch diseases before they become too serious, which will drastically reduce the cost of treatment, or it will inform you of problem areas to be mindful of, which can prevent future diseases altogether.
Additionally, most health insurance plans will cover preventive care costs completely, even if you haven’t hit your deductible, making it a much more attractive option than dishing out thousands of dollars for treatments. So don’t wait on another year for that annual visit!