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Hands or feet asleep? What to do - harvard

Hands or feet asleep? What to do

It’s happened to all of us: a hand or leg temporarily “falls asleep,” usually from being in one position for too long. Why does it happen? Are there times when you should be concerned about it? The post Hands or feet asleep? What to do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 days ago
C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat - harvard

C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat

The bacteria known as C. diff has become a leading cause of infection among hospitalized patients. The infection is more common following antibiotic therapy, and it is challenging to treat because of a high relapse rate. The post C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 days ago
Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? - harvard

Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder?

One approach to treating bipolar disorders is manipulation of the body’s circadian rhythms. A recent review of research found that such therapies may help, often in combination with medications and psychotherapy. The post Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters - harvard

Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters

Lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event, but can they also help those with diabetes? A recent study found a positive association between healthy lifestyle choices and reduced cardiovascular risk for those with type 2 diabetes. The post Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma  - web md

Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, and they have long been promoted as important for helping kids grow and helping kids and adults build and maintain strong bones. Now a new study questions whether diary deserves its health halo.
web md - 1 week ago
What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? - harvard

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation. The post What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? - harvard

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Could an ingredient in toothpaste be harmful to your bones? Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been banned from soaps and hand sanitizers by the FDA, and researchers have found that women with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had low bone density measurements. The post Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
When is a heavy period too heavy? - harvard

When is a heavy period too heavy?

Girls and their parents often wonder when bleeding with a period is too heavy. It's normal for periods to be irregular and occasionally heavy in the first few years after menstruation starts, but some signs of heavy bleeding merit a call to your child’s doctor. The post When is a heavy period too heavy? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use - harvard

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Researchers looking for ways to help people manage pain without drugs found that the practice of mind-body therapies was associated with reduced pain intensity, and may also assist some people in reducing their use of opioid medications. The post Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind - harvard

Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind

Because skin color affects the presentation of skin conditions, dermatologists must consider skin color in making diagnoses. Because of this, people of color may want to seek out a dermatologist who understands their specific needs and concerns. The post Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US - harvard

What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US

Between 1959 and 2014, average life expectancy in the United States rose astoundingly by nearly a decade. Then it began declining. A recent report examining this situation raises tough questions about that unexpected change. The post What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
More Patients Turning to

More Patients Turning to 'Direct Primary Care'

DPC Frontier, which tracks the number of direct primary care practices nationally, estimates there are 1,219 practices in 48 states and Washington, D.C. They range in size from solo practitioners to corporate, multisite direct primary care organizations with thousands of doctors.
web md - 2 weeks ago
With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice - harvard

With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice

There is ample evidence to support the healthfulness of a vegan diet. However, those who choose vegan eating may not get enough of some nutrients unless they pay careful attention to their food intake, or choose to take supplements. The post With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Coronavirus: What parents should know and do - harvard

Coronavirus: What parents should know and do

It’s natural for parents to be worried about whether their children could be at risk from the novel coronavirus. While there is much that is still not known, common sense and simple public health precautions will help protect everyone. The post Coronavirus: What parents should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Infertility the second time around - harvard

Infertility the second time around

If you have a child and wish for more but are struggling with fertility issues, you may have many feelings and concerns. Here are some steps and strategies you may find helpful. The post Infertility the second time around appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma - harvard

Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

Though only about 1% of skin cancers are melanomas, they are responsible for 90% of skin cancer deaths. Recent advances in treatment options have improved survival rates for melanoma, but it’s still best to take preventive steps to protect your skin. The post Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus - harvard

Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus

New information about the spread of coronavirus is coming at us seemingly every minute from many sources. But how much of this information is trustworthy? And which sources should you believe? The post Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Hearing loss may affect brain health - harvard

Hearing loss may affect brain health

Research into a possible connection between age-related hearing loss and brain function found that there is an association, with subjects 50 or older showing signs of cognitive decline even before reaching clinically defined hearing loss. The post Hearing loss may affect brain health appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter? - harvard

Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Many people have experienced unpleasant symptoms related to food, but such a reaction does not necessarily mean that you have a food allergy. The symptoms could indicate a food intolerance, food insensitivity, or possibly celiac disease. The post Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk - harvard

Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk

Could sleeping too much be bad for you? Possibly. A study found that people who slept more than nine hours a night and took long daytime naps, or who reported poor-quality sleep, were much more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night. The post Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help?

harvard - 1 month ago

Sleep disturbances such as insomnia are extremely common, especially in women after menopause. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, sleep disturbance varies from 16% to 42% before menopause, from 39% to 47% during perimenopause, and from 35% to 60% after menopause.

Insomnia is a serious medical problem defined by frequent difficulty falling or staying asleep that impacts a persons life in a negative way. Hormone changes around menopause can lead to sleep problems for many reasons, including changing sleep requirements, increased irritability, and hot flashes.

What menopausal women eat could have an impact on their risk of developing insomnia

Researchers recently looked at detailed dietary data from over 50,000 postmenopausal women (average age 63) enrolled in the Womens Health Initiative study between 1994 and 2001. Carbohydrate intake was measured in several ways: glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), measures of added sugars, starch, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber, and specific carbohydrate-containing foods such as whole grains, processed or refined grains, whole fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They then looked at each participants risk of developing insomnia after three years of follow-up.

They found that the risk of developing insomnia was greater in women with a higher-GI diet, as well as in women who included more added sugars in their diet. Added sugars included white and brown sugar, syrups, honey, and molasses. The risk of developing insomnia was lower in women who ate more whole fruits and vegetables.

The researchers accounted for and adjusted for many potentially confounding factors, including demographic (education, income, marital status), behavioral (smoking, alcohol, caffeine intake, physical activity), psychosocial (stress, social connection), and medical factors (body mass index, various medical diagnoses, hormone therapy, snoring).

What is the glycemic index of food, and how could this affect sleep?

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of foods on a scale from 0 to 100 according to how much they raise blood sugar levels after eating them. Ive written previously about planning meals with knowledge of the GI and the glycemic load of foods. High-GI foods are those that are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, and cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Some examples of high-GI foods include anything made with processed grains (bread, pasta, baked goods, white rice) and anything containing added sugars (sugary beverages, sweets).

Low-GI foods dont cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike, and include plant foods such as most fruits and vegetables, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Even plant foods that have a high GI such as bananas and watermelon are not likely bad for you when eaten in moderation.

Researchers hypothesize that high-GI foods cause insomnia because of the rapid spike and then crash of blood sugar levels. Essentially, what goes up must come down, and after blood sugar and insulin levels peak, they tend to drop, which can cause a lot of symptoms, including awakening from sleep. The researchers of this new study cite multiple studies supporting this theory.

Nutrition is critical for so many aspects of our health, including sleep

Endless research connects the quality of our diet with our risk for heart disease, strokes, dementia, depression, and cancer. This new research notes that diet can also impact our risk for certain sleep problems. Its not just about eating the obviously healthy foods, but also about avoiding the obviously unhealthy foods.

So how can you apply these findings?

In addition to practicing good sleep habits, here are some additional ways postmenopausal women can incorporate what we have learned from this study to sleep better (and be all-around healthier):

  • Go for low-GI foods as much as possible. This means aiming to eat fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and lean protein instead of anything made of processed grains or with added sugars. Think plain yogurt with berries and nuts instead of cereal or bagels for breakfast; a big plate of roasted vegetables and grilled salmon instead of pasta and meatballs for dinner.
  • Never eat large meals close to bedtime. As a general rule, a large meal should be eaten at least three to four hours before lying down, maybe more. You do not want to go to bed with lots of food in your intestines!
  • If you have to have a little something closer to bedtime, avoid sugars and processed grains. A sliced apple with a little almond butter; some blueberries and nut milk; or maybe hummus and carrots. Those are all well-balanced, plant-based snacks.

References

Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, August 2007.

National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference Statement: management of menopausal symptoms. Annals of Internal Medicine, June 21, 2005.

High glycemic load and glycemic index diets as risk factors for insomnia: analyses from the Womens Health Initiative. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 11, 2019.

Sleep Disorders in Postmenopausal Women. The Journal of Sleep Disorders and Therapy, August 2015.

About Glycemic index. The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders and Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

The post Menopause and insomnia: Could a low-GI diet help? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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