Why Women Can't Sleep – and other news

by DavalosMcCormack on March 19, 2009

No, it’s not just the snoring of partners that are keeping many women awake at night. A national sleep expert says that “poor sleep hygiene” is also to blame. But what the heck does that mean, that they have dirty pyjamas?

Raul Noriega is the manager of the pithily named Comprehensive Epilepsy and Sleep Disorders Center at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine – and if you can’t sleep you could just keep saying that name over and over again, that’ll put you out in a hurry.

Anyway, Raul (I hope he doesn’t mind me being so informal) says the things that women do before going to bed interfere with their ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.

He says they need to do several things:

  • Avoid drinking coffee at night or close to bedtime
  • Try to relax before bed and not fret about work or the stock market or who is your favorite on “Dancing with the Stars”
  • Don’t exercise too close to bedtime – apparently exercise raises your body temperature and it takes three hours to cool down, and until you do it might be hard to sleep
  • Keep regular hours, go to bed and get up at the same time every day, that way your body and your brain will be in sync.
  • What has that got to do with hygiene, Raul?

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a wonderful nutrient. It helps build strong bones, boosts the immune system, helps improve heart health, even helps you avoid depression. But are you getting enough?

For millions of Americans the answer is no, according to Ellie Krieger. Who is Ellie? Well, she is a registered dietician so she knows about the importance of diet. She is also a host of a show on the Food Network which means – er, well, nothing actually.

But perhaps most importantly she is the latest spokesperson for the “Got Milk” campaign and what is a great source of vitamin D? You got it. Milk.

Now that’s not to say that vitamin D isn’t important, or that milk is not a good source of it, but it’s also important to know that there are lots of other great sources that Ellie isn’t telling you about. Those include salmon, tuna and mackerel; you can also find many cereals and fruit juices that are fortified with it.

Or you can just go out in the sun for a few minutes every day. That will give you plenty of exposure and save you some money too!

Text Messaging and Sunscreen

But wait! I can hear you say, surely if you are out in the sun you will burn. Well, duh!

Here’s the deal. A number of well-designed studies show you  only need between 5-30 minutes of sunshine a couple of times a week to get the vitamin D you need. But you can’t use any sunscreen.

However, once you’ve got your daily dose it’s a good idea to slap some sunscreen on. But how can you remember to do it? Well, a new study says a daily text message reminder can help make sure you don’t forget.

Researchers at Harvard found that sending people text message reminders was an effective way of getting them to use sunscreen. 56 percent of those who got the messages used sunscreen regularly compared to just 30 percent usage among people who didn’t get text messages.

So, program your phone to send you a daily reminder, or get a friend to send you one and you can send them one in return. After all, one good turn D-serves another.

OK, that pun was a real stretch – I’ll shut up now……

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