Don’t do this if you want a good night’s sleep

World Sleep Day is March 18, 2016

Sleep is crucial for our health and well-being, and research shows this. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours every day to function properly, but many people don’t get all they need. In celebration of World Sleep Day, March 18, 2016, the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center is offering a few tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Instead of counting sheep, look at how you may be sabotaging your sleep and then strive to change your habits.

Recipe for a Good Night's Sleep

Next steps for sleep

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Effects of caffeine on heart health

How much is safe?

A cup of joe may be good for you, but don’t fall for the bull. The Red Bull, that is.

About half of U.S. adults age 20 or older are coffee drinkers. Coffee is the principal source of caffeine in this country, in addition to tea and soft drinks. Because it is a stimulant, the effects of caffeine on heart health are constantly being studied.

Benefits of your morning brewCaffeine image 320x320

Overall, the findings have shown that moderate coffee drinking of 1-2 cups per day is likely not harmful. Some studies have even shown beneficial effects of having up to 4 cups of coffee or tea, including reduced risk of heart failure, arrhythmias, stroke and type 2 diabetes; improvements in blood pressure; and reductions in all-cause mortality. However, the extent to which caffeine plays a role in these protective effects is still unclear. Coffee and tea are known to have high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which protect the body’s cells and tissue like blood vessels and heart muscle. Therefore, more studies are needed to distinguish the benefits of the antioxidants from the effects of the caffeine. Continue reading

Energy drinks and your health

Are they safe?


The number of emergency room visits associated with energy drinks has skyrocketed since 2007.

Energy drinks — Red Bull, Monster Energy and Full Throttle, just to name a few — are the fastest-growing beverage in the entire beverage industry. In 2012, Americans spent $10 billion on energy drinks. Makers of energy drinks tend to target advertising toward children and young adults, which might explain why three-quarters of individuals age 2-22 drink at least some caffeine — the main ingredient in energy drinks — daily. Even more alarming, 63 percent of children ages 2-5 consume caffeine on a daily basis, according to the March issue of Pediatrics.

How much caffeine is safe?

Energy drinks can contain up to 500 mg of caffeine per serving. In comparison, coffee averages 100 mg per cup while cola averages 35-55 mg per 12-ounce can. Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity, insomnia, increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established 400 mg of caffeine per day as a safe limit for most adults; however, the agency has not set a safe limit for children and adolescents. Continue reading