Am I Sleep Deprived?

Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, headaches, and irritability as well as increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. If you have symptoms of sleep deprivation, then see your doctor.

Sleeping Beauty

I never understood sleep deprivation until I experienced medical residency and worked 24 or 36 hours straight. I’d come home, sit down at my kitchen table to eat and fall asleep with the fork in my hand. I’m not kidding.

When you’re sleep-deprived, your body works overtime to get you to stop what you’re doing and sleep. That’s because sleep is critical to our physical and emotional health. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, headaches, irritability, and confusion and put you at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

You won’t become sleep deprived from missing a couple of hours of sleep for one or two nights. You can become sleep deprived if you’re repeatedly cheating yourself out of sleep, pulling all-nighters, or going to bed too late.

If you think you “catch up” by sleeping for 14 hours on your next day off, you can’t. The only way to recover from sleep deprivation is to add 1 to 2 hours of sleep every night. Sleep deprivation happens over time and so does recovering it.

Below are somes classic symptoms of sleep deprivation. If you are experiencing several of these symptoms or have questions or concerns, then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

1. Falling asleep instantly, including standing up. (Leave that to horses.)

2. Extreme irritation and mood swings.

3. Problems with mental focus and memory.

4. Frequent infections/illnesses.

5. Difficulty socializing.

6. Experiencing hallucinations.

Photo credit: FCC, cyron

San Diego’s 6th Annual Walk to Cure Psoriasis: Saturday, October 13th

San Diego’s 6th Annual Walk to Cure Psoriasis will be held Saturday, October 13th. You can register and donate online now.

If you or someone you know suffers from psoriasis, then you’ve likely heard it referred to as the “heartbreak of psoriasis.”

Psoriasis is an auto-immune inflammatory skin disease that causes itchy red, often thickened skin, with silvery colored scales or patches.

Because it’s chronic and unsightly, psoriasis sufferers often experience depression and resist engaging in social activities. Psoriasis also increases the risk of heart disease. Hence, “the heartbreak of psoriasis.”

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, San Diego will hold its 6th Annual Walk to Cure Psoriasis.  By registering, you will join nearly 10,000 walkers, volunteers, and sponsors nationwide committed to help find a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by funding groundbreaking research.

Do you plan on attending? Please share on Twitter and Facebook too!

Click here to register for the walk.

Click here if you’d like to donate.

4 Back-to-School Habits For a Healthy Family

4 back-to-school habits for healthy family: Get more sleep, eat meals together, exercise together, and limit time on digital devices.


Millions of kids across the country will be starting school this week and learning new routines. It’s not a bad idea for moms and dads too. (Starting new routines, not retaking 6th grade).

Even if they don’t need help with fractions, your kids could you use some help from Mom and Dad. Kids who see parents engaged in healthy behaviors are more likely to follow their lead. With that in mind, here are few tips to help make back-to-school time a little easier and healthier for the whole family.

1. Sleep TIme: Establish a light outs time when everyone needs to be in bed. Kids need anywhere from 8 to 11 hours of sleep per night, depending on their age, activity level, and personal needs. Parents could benefit from more sleep too. So set your alarm at night to tell you when to go to bed to ensure you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. And don’t hit the snooze button when it goes off.

2. Eat Meals Together: Studies show that children who eat meals with their families are less likely to have behavioral problems, more likely to do well in school, and more likely to have a healthier diet. It doesn’t have to be dinner. Any meal counts, including breakfast.

3. Digital & Device-Free Time: Set a time, maybe 30 or 60 minutes a day, when everyone in the family has to be digital and device-free — no texting, emailing, tweeting, or pinning.

4. Move Together: We all know exercise is good for us. It’s especially important for kids. According to Let’s, 8 to 18 year-olds spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using digital devices such as computers and cell phones, while only 1/3 of high school students get the recommended level of physical activity. Set times when the family will do something fun and active together: it could be Sunday morning bike rides, Friday afternoon swims, or nightly dancing to Wii. My 10-year-old niece highly recommends Just Dance 3 with Katy Perry.

What are your healthy family habits? Please share them with us below.

Photo credit: FCC, USDAgov

8 Reasons to Get More Sleep

Sleep is good for your health. Here are 8 reasons to get more sleep.

Babies are much smarter than adults. They understand the importance of sleep.

In case you need a reminder, here are 8 reasons to get more sleep:

1. Anti-Inflammatory: Sleep reduces inflammation which means it can help with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

2. Pain Blocker: Studies have shown that lack of sleep lowers our pain threshold, while increased sleep can lower actual pain. Aim for 8-9 hours a night, especially if you’re in chronic pain.

3. Fend Off Cravings: Sleep helps regulate leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone, which means more sleep leads to less hunger and fewer cravings.

4. Increased Willpower: When you’re tired, you’re more likely to eat poorly, drink more alcohol, skip exercise, and make other unhealthy choices. Sleep better and you’ll feel less tempted.

5. Increased Weight Loss: #3 + #4 = #5.

6. Fewer Headaches: Lack of sleep is a known trigger for headaches, especially migraines. Aim for a regular sleep schedule, and try to take short 10-20 minute power naps when a headache hits. It can help take the edge off.

7. Beauty Sleep: Yes, there is such a thing as beauty sleep. Sleep helps repair your skin. Ever notice how flush and vibrant your skin looks after a restful sleep or nap? So splurge on some 800-count thread sheets. Doctor’s orders.

8. Better Sex: It’s well known that many people skip sex because they’re too tired. It’s not as well known that lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels which can lower testosterone and your libido.

Photo credit: FCC, tokyosucks


How Dangerous is that Airport Body Scanner?

Lots of people fear body scanners at the airport. They shouldn’t. The amount of radiation you get from airport body scanners is incredibly small. How small? I’ll tell you in the video.

Lots of people fear body scanners at the airport. They shouldn’t. The amount of radiation you get from airport body scanners is incredibly small. How small? I’ll tell you in the video.

Obesity is Linked with Increased Pain

Obesity is linked with increased pain.

You remember “no pain, no gain” — 1980’s. Jane Fonda. Aerobics. Leg warmers.

Today, we’d like to you think “less gain, less pain.” We’ve known for years that weight gain increases joint pain in arthritis sufferers. Now, according to new research from Stony Brook University, excess fat may be associated with increased inflammation, which can actually trigger chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

In the study, people with higher BMIs (body mass index) reported higher rates of intense pain. Why?

  • Excess fat leads to increased inflammation which leads to pain.
  • Depression can lead to pain, and many obese people are depressed.
  • People suffering from pain may avoid exercise, which can help reduce inflammation.

Photo credit: FCC, Photos by Mavis


What the FDA’s New Sunscreen Labeling Rules Mean for You

How to read the FDA’s New Sunscreen Labeling Rules

The FDA has recently released new sunscreen labeling rules. Here’s what important for you to know:

1. Sunscreen vs. sunblock: Only “sunscreen” can appear on the label. “Sunblock” will no longer be allowed since they can’t block the sun or prevent skin cancer and aging.

2. Broad spectrum: Look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” which means it protects against both skin-burning, cancer-causing UVB rays and skin-again, cancer-causing UVA rays.

3. SPF of 15 or higher: Only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

4. Water Resistant: Sunscreens can no longer claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” A “water resistant” claim must specify whether it provides 40 or 80 minutes of protection.

Photo credit: FCC, TomPurves