June 10, 2015

Women, Alcohol, and Sleep

By Editor


Women, Alcohol, and Sleep

Avoid alcohol at bedtime for a better night’s sleep.

Alcohol poses a misleading conundrum: it appears to make you drowsy, but it actually interferes with deep sleep, leaving you groggy and sleep-deprived the next day. New research indicates that alcohol causes more sleep problems for women than men, possibly as a result of differences in metabolism.

The study involved 93 young men and women who spent two nights in a sleep lab. One night they consumed nonalcoholic drinks and the other night they consumed alcohol until they were drunk. The researchers then monitored their sleep.

Alcohol was linked to more deep sleep early in the night but more wakefulness later in the night. Although women became drowsier than men after consuming alcohol, they slept more poorly. The women had fewer hours of sleep and woke more frequently and for longer periods of time than the men. The researchers speculated that this may be due to the different ways that men and women metabolize alcohol.

The bottom line? If you want a good night’s sleep, alcohol is not your friend. To sleep well, take a few simple precautions:

  • Consume alcohol early in the evening.
  • Consume at least one glass of water for each glass of alcohol.
  • Consume alcohol with food.
  • Stop drinking several hours before bedtime.

Source: Arnedt JT, Rohsenow DJ, Almeida AB, et al. Sleep following alcohol intoxication in healthy, young adults: effects of sex and family history of alcoholism. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 2011;35(5):870-78.

Changing Season? Change Your Skin Care.

As the days grow shorter, the temperature drops, and the air becomes drier, your skin may lose precious moisture. Autumn is a time of transition, and the best autumn skin care routines will correct any summer damage that has occurred and prepare your skin for winter.

Sun, chlorine, and saltwater may have taken a toll on your skin throughout the summer, so fall is a time to exfoliate and moisturize.

Follow these fall skin care tips for fabulous, healthy skin:

  • Ditch the soap. Fragrant soapy scrubs might feel and smell wonderful after a day at the beach, but they leave your skin dry. When fall arrives, switch to a soap-free hydrating cleanser. It’s time to put away the gels and bring out the creamy body wash.
  • Exfoliate with an oil-based scrub. Chlorine and the summer sun may have left your skin feeling dry and flaky. Start off the new season with a full-body exfoliation session. Oil-based scrubs are wonderful because they exfoliate and hydrate.
  • Switch from lotion to cream. As the air becomes drier, your skin needs a thicker moisturizer. Creams provide a stronger oily barrier, which means they both reduce water loss from the outer layer of skin and provide hydration at the same time.
  • Protect your lips. Start moisturizing now to prevent dry, cracked lips this winter. Use a non-petroleum-based lip balm for best results.
  • Invest in hand cream. Hands often become dry and cracked during fall and winter. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Start moisturizing now to ensure soft, supple hands all winter long.

Building a Better Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a refrain we hear from dietitians, educators, and health experts—and it’s true. Your body has been fasting all night while you sleep. When you wake up, it needs fuel because it’s already running low. Skip breakfast and you will run out of fuel—your glycogen stores will deplete by midday, and your body will feel the slump.

A healthy breakfast should have some fiber and some protein to provide you with the boost you need to start the day. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box—eat whatever you like, not just designated “breakfast” foods. Sugary cereals are out, and protein is in. Get creative and find the fuel that works for you. Below are a few suggestions for building a breakfast that works.

OPTIMAL OATMEAL. Combine oatmeal, sliced fruit, nuts, and a dash of real maple syrup. Add a splash of almond milk, and you have a delicious bowl full of nutrients. Slow-cooked oatmeal is healthier than its instant counterpart, which is loaded with sugar. If you don’t have time to stand over the stove and stir all morning, consider throwing steel cut oats, water, and a dash of cinnamon into a slow cooker before bed. You’ll awake to the delicious aroma of breakfast.

DINNER FOR BREAKFAST. We’ve been trained to think that breakfast has to be sweet and starchy, but that’s not the case. A slice of turkey on whole-grain toast with a side of carrots is an excellent, well-balanced breakfast that is sure to energize you.

EGGS ON THE GO. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and energy. If you don’t have time to whip up an omelet in the morning, try hard-cooked eggs. Make a batch at the beginning of the week. This is an excellent grab-and-go breakfast for those who think they don’t have time for a meal. Grab an egg and a banana, and you can still dash out the door.

SMOOTHIES. Smoothies are a great way to pack endless nutrients into one glass. For those who don’t like to eat in the morning, a smoothie can be a good compromise. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to creating a healthy smoothie.

Tags: Nutritional Know-How

CONDITIONS OF THE GI TRACT