Adults: Taking Charge of your Health can Save you Money Over Time

Record Searchlight, Sunday, June 12, 2016 Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Dr. Mike Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic

Once You Get Adequate Sleep, A Lot of Health Falls Into Line

Is it possible that one little change can help you lose weight, exercise more often, feel more energized, sharpen your brain, slash your risk for everything from cancer to diabetes and heart disease, and maybe even save your life? Your bet, if that small change is hopping into bed earlier tonight and every night.

Skimping on shut-eye is a serious problem for 40 million Americans who log less than six hours of sleep most nights. Before his untimely death in April at age 57, rock ‘n’ roll star Prince reportedly stayed awake for 154 hours straight working on his compositions. We don’t know yet whether sleep deprivation played a part in the music world’s sad loss, but the revelation underscores the importance of getting the sleep you need instead of trying to push through your days with a growing deficit.

If you think you are getting by just fine with six or less hours of shut-eye nightly, consider these amazing benefits you’re missing out on!

  • A healthier heart and cleaner arteries. Poor sleep increases risk and other cardiovascular events by 30 to 40%, according to a recent Swedish study. In a new study of more that 2,000 people from Finland, people who skimped on sleep had lower levels of beneficial HDL’s–the kind of cholesterol that whisks away harmful fats for disposal.
  • Better blood sugar. Sleep problems boost your blood sugar, according to a recent study of 15,145 people from China’s Xuzhou Center fro Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Easier control of chronic pain. Sleep loss is especially associated with people over age 50. Getting plenty of sleep helps people with chronic pain reduce the need for pain meds.
  • A smarter immune system. A recent German study says logging plenty of deep sleep helps your immune system create long-term memories so it can recognize and attack invading bacteria and viruses in the future.
  • More creativity and better mental focus. When you’re well-rested it’s easier to do things, from excelling at your job and playing the piano to following a complicated recipe with laserlike focus, according to a recent Australian study. Snooze time is also prime time for your brain to make innovative connections between experiences and information.

4 Ways to Get Deep, Healthy Sleep. Do we have your attention? If you think this sleep thin soulds like a pretty good idea, here’s how to take advantage:

  1. Turn in earlier. Ben Franklin was right when he quipped “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” at least about the health part. In a new University of Delaware study, people who went to bed on the early side had better heart-health habits; they were less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise and eat plenty of fruit and veggies than were night owls.
  2. Hang out with your best buddies more often. Can’t get to sleep? Pencil more social activities into your datebook. In a new University of Missouri study, people who spent more time with friends in organized activities (like that scrapbooking league you’ve thought about joining) had fewer sleep problems than those who spent more time alone.
  3. Munch a good-sleep diet. Volunteers in one recent study fell asleep faster when their meals included plenty of protein and not much saturated fat (the kind found in fatty meat, palm and coconut oils, butter, cheese and other full-fat diary products). They spent more time in restorative stages of sleep when they ate plenty of fruit, veggies, and whole grains, too.
  4. Get up if you can’t fall asleep. Climb out of the sack, go into another room and read for awhile, then go back to bed when you’re sleepy. You’ll retrain your brain to link your bed with nodding off fast. This strategy is part of cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia, an approach now often recommended first for people who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.


Record Searchlight, Sunday, May 22, 2016  Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Dr. Mike Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

Take Charge of Your Health

Hey America! How about fewer wrinkles and a better sex life? Two new studies about heart attacks and healthy habits shine a big spotlight on the small, smart, everyday choices only you can make, but that less than 3 percent of you manage to pull off. We’re here to nag, cajole, push, and plead with you to quit stalling and step up–and we’ve got incentives (besides the wrinkles and sex thing) to help get you motivated.

The benefits of taking charge of your health go beyond a lower risk for scary trips to the emergency room; There’s money involved. Preventable health care conditions cost the US economy more than $600 billion a year–and that’s just the health-insurance costs linked with obesity, smoking, and binge drinking. The number’s even higher if you include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and your personal out-of-pocket expenses and missed income opportunities. What’s got us on this soap box? A pair of shocking new studies with important messages for all Americans.

No. 1: Heart attack patients are younger, heavier, and more likely to be smokers than ever before. When researchers from the Cleveland Clinic looked closely at 3,900 people who’d experienced severe, often-deadly heart attacks between 1995 and 2014 they found a troubling trend. The average age of heart attack victims over that 20-year span dropped from 64 to 60; and the number of heart attack sufferer with obesity rose from 31 to 40%; and the number of those with high blood pressure went from 55 to 77 percent. Not surprising then that the number of folks with diabetes increased from 24 to 31 percent. But most striking of all: The number of smokers in the group increased from 26 to 46 percent. Top-line advice from the study’s lead researcher: “Don’t wait until you have a diagnosed heart problem to start…paying attention to your lifestyle and dietary choices. You should be working hard to avoid developing heart disease in the first place.”

No. 2: Less than 3 in 100 Americans follow four top heart-healthy lifestyle habits. Researchers from the University of Mississippi looked at the habits of 4,745 Americans who agreed to answer detailed questionnaires at home and undergo fairly extensive health tests. They got a shock. Just 2.7% were on board with four top strategies: regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body-fat percentage. Just 16% more shoes to do three. These habits matter. They translate directly into lower heart attack risk and other cardiovascular problems. People who followed all four healthy lifestyle habits had the lowest rates of inflammation, heart-threatening LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (another blood fat) and the highest levels of heart-helping HDL cholesterol. People who stuck with three of four saw better blood pressure numbers. And people who kept their body fat within healthy ranges had lower fasting blood sugar levels.

We know that sticking with healthy habits isn’t easy in this eat-anytime and sit-on-your-bottom environment. Our best advice: Don’t go it alone or try to white-knuckle it. Take it slow and get the support and motivation that work for you. Two options that can help:

  • Tap into the power of accountability. Ask a friend, relative, or co-worker to walk with you at lunch. Join a weight-loss program that includes regular weigh-ins to keep you on track and group support for friendly inspiration. If you thrive on competition, make a bet.
  • Get paid to get healthier. More and more employers offer incentives to workers who take healthy steps, including sizeable cuts in the cost of health-insurance premiums. If your company’s on board, take advantage of it. Check your health insurance plan, too. Many will pay you back if you participate in a weight-loss program or use your gym regularly.