Health Talk Today

7 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

BedIt’s 3 am and I can’t sleep … again!

When this happens, I try to relax and de-stress. But, sometimes I need to start thinking about sleep early in the day. If I wait until bedtime, it may be too late to undo the things that will keep me awake.

Here are the top tips I know to get a good night’s sleep.

1. Cut the caffeine
If you drink caffeinated coffee, tea, soft drinks like Coke or Pepsi, or indulge in energy drinks that are loaded with caffeine, drink them at least 8 hours before you plan to sleep. Caffeine stays in your system longer than you think. I know from experience that tea with my dinner can keep me awake well into the night.

2. Relax and wind down
At least 30 minutes before you plan to sleep, turn of the computer and the TV. Do something that will help you relax. Read a book, meditate, do gentle exercises like yoga, Tai Chi or stretching.

3. Bedroom environment
When you’re ready to sleep, set the room temperature to your comfort level. I think cooler is better. Turn off the lights and make the room as comfortable as possible.

4. Skip the wine
A glass of wine or other drink may help you fall asleep, but it will probably wake you during the night. And even if you don’t wake, you won’t get a good, restful night’s sleep.

5. Maintain a sleep schedule
Going to bed and get up at the same time every day. It will help your sleep/wake rhythm.

6. Think happy thoughts
This isn’t the time to get into a spirited conversation. Don’t try to solve problems. Stop worrying about things that you have no control over. Play calming music. Think pleasant thoughts.

7. Sleep supplement 
On the occasional night you just can’t sleep, a gentle, all natural sleep aid can help. I recommend Gentle Sleep Complex.

These are the things I do to help me sleep.
Be sure to leave a comment with your tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

Leave a comment with your healthy brain tips.

Marilyn Kvasnok

More Tips for a Healthy Brain

Dr. Bruce Daggy, nutritionist, explains how our brains decline, starting at the age of 20. But, it’s not the loss of brain cells, it’s the loss of connections between the neurons that causes the decline.

Recommendations from Dr. Daggy:

Good nutrition, including fish for the omega 3’s, fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and healthy beverages.

Supplementation, because it’s hard to get all the nutrition we need from the food we eat. Dr. Daggy recommends MindWorks

Play brain games using a program like CogniFit that determine your current status and track your progress.

Set an alarm clock for an hour before bedtime. Use that hour to slow down so you can get a good night’s sleep.

Video courtesy of FOX 32 News Chicago

Leave a comment with your healthy brain tips.

Marilyn Kvasnok


5 Tips For a Healthy Brain

5 Tips for a Healthy Brain

1. Stop multitasking.

2. Too much technology is hard to resist.

3. Get enough good fat, like Omega 3.

4. Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

5. Exercise regularly.

Watch the video for the details.

Leave a comment with your healthy brain tips.

Marilyn Kvasnok


Word Crimes by Al Yankovic

Is proper English dead?
We’re learning to abbreviate and use emoticons to text and tweet.

This has come to the attention of Weird Al Yankovic, who has been writing and performing song parodies for years. His newest song, Word Crimes, says it all.

How Fast are you Aging?

Have you ever noticed that some people age faster than others? Scientists are learning that we may actually be able to slow the aging process by changing some of our unhealthy habits.

To find out what your aging speed might be, take our quick quiz:

Quiz: Just How Fast are you Aging?

Scientists who study aging have found there are many things that can speed your aging:

High Stress
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life and usually aren’t a problem until they become an everyday event. Stress raises many hormones, including cortisol, which can impact the way we look and how fast we age.1 In a recent study, women with a high level of anxiety had biological markers of women who were six years older.2

Smoking
When you look at the faces of people who are long-term smokers you can see that smoking destroys our skin and is associated with many chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke, as well as lung cancer.3

Too Much Sun Exposure
While the sun is good for us as a great source of vitamin D, ultraviolet radiation is well known to age skin.4

Poor Sleep
Short-term sleep restriction (such as having a bad night’s sleep) has a variety of adverse effects including aising blood pressure, impairing blood sugar control, and increasing inflammation which all accelerate aging. But when people don’t sleep well over a long period of time (less than 7 hours of sleep) they are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and all-cause mortality. 5

Eating Poorly
Many foods seem to increase aging including trans-fats, processed and hydrogenated oils.6 Refined sugars produce a chemical reaction called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in our bodies and these have been tied to diseases including cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.7

Overweight
Obesity has been called a state of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress8 and is associated with a variety of diseases, including diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke (men only).9,10

Not Exercising
Sedentary lifestyles have long been associated with being less healthy. People who don’t exercise are more likely to be overweight, have higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.11

What’s your score?
Leave a comment.


1 Wikgren M, Maripuu M, Karlsson T, et al. Short telomeres in depression and the general population are associated with a hypocortisolemic state. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb 15;71(4):294-300. PMID: 22055018.

2 Okereke OI, Prescott J, Wong JY et al. High phobic anxiety is related to lower leukocyte telomere length in women. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40516. PubMed PMID: 22808180.

3 http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm

4 Polefka TG, Meyer TA, Agin PP, Bianchini RJ. Effects of solar radiation on the skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2012 Jun;11(2):134-43. PMID: 22672278.

5 Alvarez GG, Ayas NT. The impact of daily sleep duration on health: a review of the literature. Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 2004 Spring;19(2):56-9. PMID: 15133379.

6 Stender S, Dyerberg J. Influence of trans fatty acids on health. Ann Nutr Metab. 2004;48(2):61-6. Epub 2003 Dec 16. PMID: 14679314.

7 Luevano-Contreras C, Chapman-Novakofski K. Dietary advanced glycation end products and aging. Nutrients. 2010 Dec;2(12):1247-65. doi: 10.3390/nu2121247. Epub 2010 Dec 13. PMID: 22254007.

8 Vincent HK, Innes KE, Vincent KR. Oxidative stress and potential interventions to reduce oxidative stress in overweight and obesity. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007 Nov;9(6):813-39. PMID: 17924865.

9 Hubert HB, Bloch DA, Oehlert JW, Fries JF. Lifestyle habits and compression of morbidity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002 Jun;57(6):M347-51. PMID: 12023263.

10 Field AE, Coakley EH, Must A, et al. Impact of overweight on the risk of developing common chronic diseases during a 10-year period. Arch Intern Med. 2001 Jul 9;161(13):1581-6. PMID:11434789.

11 Kruk J. Physical activity in the prevention of the most frequent chronic diseases: an analysis of the recent evidence. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2007 Jul-Sep;8(3):325-38. PMID: 18159963.

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