Nearly seven in 10 Americans have lost sleep because they drank alcohol too close to bedtime, including 1 in 5 who often have this problem, a new poll shows. In the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) survey, men were more likely to say they've lost sleep due to drinking alcohol than women (75 percent vs. 60 percent), and adults ages 35-44 (78 percent) are most likely to have a drink too late at night. Research shows that having a moderate amount of alcohol an hour before bedtime reduces melatonin production, which can disrupt your internal clock that helps regulate your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Other ways that alcohol can harm your sleep include: Causing new sleep disorders or worsening existing ones, including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Causing excessive relaxation of the muscles in the head, neck and throat, which may interfere with normal breathing during sleep. Causing more frequent trips to the bathroom, especially during the second half of the night. Increasing your risk for parasomnias, including sleep walking and sleep eating. Alcohol-related sleep disruption can cause next-day fatigue. Here are some tips on how to avoid alcohol-related sleep problems: Have your last drink three to four hours before bedtime. Try to drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink. This will help your system flush out the alcohol. Don't have bubbly drinks, which can cause bloating and gas. Eat a light snack before bed. Food delays how quickly you absorb alcohol, which can help lower your blood alcohol content.
Anxiety over health, money or family problems is common. But for a person with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), excessive worry may prevent a person from leading a normal life. The National Institute of Mental Health says worrying may be out of control if you: Worry intensely about everyday matters. Have trouble controlling worries or feelings of nervousness. Know that you worry more than you should. Feel restless and have trouble relaxing. Have difficulty concentrating. Are easily startled. Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Feel tired all the time. Sweat a lot, feel light-headed or out of breath. If you think your worrying may be out of control, speak with your doctor.
Food poisoning symptoms can range in severity depending on the type of germ swallowed, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After consuming contaminated food, it can take hours or days to have symptoms. The CDC mentions these common signs of food poisoning: Upset stomach. Stomach cramps. Nausea. Vomiting. Diarrhea. Fever. If you have bloody stools, high fever, frequent vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than three days, the CDC says you should get prompt medical attention.
This flu season is a little different than in previous years, but experts say you can dodge the flu by boosting your immune system. How? By living a healthy lifestyle and getting sufficient sleep, according to experts from Purdue University's School of Nursing, in West Lafayette, Ind. So far, nearly 13 million flu cases have been diagnosed this season in the United States, while 39 children and more than 6,600 adults have died from flu, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, officials say a healthy immune system could help you fight the flu. Tips to help keep your immune system in tiptop shape include: Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Maintaining a healthy weight. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Drinking plenty of fluids. Staying physically active. Not smoking. Limiting alcohol. Limiting stress. If you have a mild cold, it's fine to exercise, but if you have fatigue, body aches or stomach issues, "you should stay home and rest as exercise could increase your chance of an injury," officials said. It can be a challenge to keep germs contained in your house if there are children, officials noted. "Kids touch everything, which is one big way germs are spread. Kids also tend not to understand or value what 'personal space' is and can be in each other's faces all the time," officials said. "Parents, teachers and caregivers can demonstrate proper hand washing and cough hygiene all year long -- not just during flu season." Officials urge using sanitized wipes to clean things kids touch, such as remote controls, phones, tablets, toys, doorknobs and faucets. And you don't have to be symptomatic to be contagious. "As much as we love to show affection with kisses, it's possible to spread the flu one to three days prior to the start of symptoms," officials noted.
Strokes can happen anytime, anywhere and at any age, which is why it's important to know how to reduce your risk, says the American Stroke Association. First, check your blood pressure regularly. "Checking your blood pressure regularly and getting it to a healthy range is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke," Dr. Mitchell Elkind, president of the American Heart Association (AHA) and professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City, said in an association news release.
- Tips for keeping high blood pressure in check:
- Take medications as prescribed.
- Check the labels on over-the-counter cold or flu drugs, as they may increase your blood pressure. NSAIDs may raise blood pressure, so consider acetaminophen instead.
- Eat colorful fruits and veggies.
- Get seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. Get treatment if you have sleep apnea or a similar problem.
- Practice mindfulness and be aware of your breathing, because it could reduce blood pressure.
- Be active. Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
- Reducing the risk of stroke takes more than changing daily habits.