Posts tagged with "Better sleep"

This is your mind and body on tea

August 8, 2019

If drinking the beverage, tea, is simply “not your cup of tea,” you may be missing out, according to a recent report by Reader’s Digest Canada.

Unsweetened tea is rich in antioxidants, which prevent chronic diseases and help repair cells in the body, dietitians and medical professionals say.

 “Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, which contains antioxidants known as catechins, most importantly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),” Anthony Kouri, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Toledo, Ohio, told the magazine. “These eliminate free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation.”

So pinkies up; it’s time to learn about the amazing benefits (and just a few risks) of drinking tea:

  • Your risk of suffering from certain cancers goes down. The antioxidants and compounds found in tea have been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, “including . skin, prostate, lung, and breast cancers,” says Uma Naidoo, M.D., director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital..” Drinking tea is just one of the simple ways you can prevent cancer.
  • Your skin is healthier. Drinking black tea regularly can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer. Interestingly, how you prepare it makes a difference. “Hot black tea is helpful for squamous carcinoma of the skin,” Dr. Naidoo told Reader’s Digest. Hot tea has been found to be more beneficial than the iced alternative.
  • Your risk of diabetes decreases. Drinking black tea every day can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by helping to control your blood sugar after meals.
  • Your teeth get stronger. According to a study in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, green tea has an antibacterial effect that could reduce cavity-forming bacteria in your mouth. Drinking green tea every day also could make developing cavities less severe.
  • Your heart will thank you. The anti-inflammatory properties of tea can keep your blood vessels relaxed and clear, putting less stress on your heart. ” Dr. Naidoo recommends drinking three cups of black tea per dayto achieve the heart benefits.
  • Your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease decreases. “Green tea can help you develop resistance against stress, and potentially Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Naidoo told the news outlet. “The polyphenols protect cells from damage.”
  • Your sleep could improve. “East-Asian medicinal tea can [help eliminate] insomnia,” says Dr. Naidoo. According to a study in Integrative Medicine Research,drinking tea can help improve sleep and quality of life in those with mild-to-moderate insomnia.
  • Your attention span may improve. The caffeine in tea can improve your attention and alertness. “Theanine is an amino acid that is virtually unique to tea,” explains Dr. Naidoo. “It may… improve attention by relaxing the brain—but stimulating it when it is time to focus.”
  • Your metabolism speeds up. “The caffeine in tea helps to improve mental acuity as well as increase metabolism and fat burning (up to 100 calories per day),” says Dr. Kouri. Just be sure you’re not overdoing it in the caffeine department. One cup of green tea contains about 40 milligrams of caffeine, and Dr. Kouri recommends limiting your daily caffeine intake to no more than 300 to 400 milligrams.
  • BUT you may not absorb enough iron. There are some “cons” to drinking tea, as well. The catechins in tea can alter your body’s ability to absorb iron. This means that even if you eat enough high-iron foods, you won’t get the benefits and could become anemic. “Though most healthy people will not be affected by this, those who have iron deficiency or anemia should abstain from large amounts of green tea,” recommends Dr. Kouri. This includes children, pregnant women, and anyone with a history of kidney disease.
  • You could be at higher risk of bleeding. Drinking a large amount of tea every day could put you at risk for bleeding from a minor cut or bump. “It makes you more prone to bruising, explains Michelle Lee, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in Beverly Hills, California. “I require all my patients to stop drinking tea[for] two to three weeks before surgery.”
  • Your medication may not work. Talk with your doctor and pharmacist before brewing a pot of tea everyday. “Catechins can interfere with some heart and blood pressure medications,” warns Dr. Kouri.

Finally, when selecting a tea, make sure it is unsweetened. Even if some flavored teas contain no calories, they still could contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Opt for making your own tea as opposed to buying it already prepared.

“The more tea leaves are processed, the less effective the catechins become, explains Dr. Kouri. “Green tea is minimally processed and has the greatest health benefits of the available teas.”

Research contact: @ReadersDigestCA

Open and shut casements: Is it healthier to sleep with the window cracked?

November 28, 2018

Do you crack the window at night, believing that a little fresh air will promote a good night’s sleep? You could be right.

One recent study—conducted jointly by the Eindhoven University of Technology and Utretch University of Applied Sciences, both in the Netherlands— tested 17 patients across five nights and found those who slept with the window open experienced a better rest. The reason? A lower level of carbon dioxide in the room.

But do the breezes and ambient sounds coming from the outside create ideal conditions for restorative rest? Douglas Kirsch, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the medical director of Sleep Medicine at Atrium Health, recently told The Wall Street Journal, ““If you think about sleep evolutionarily, it makes sense that humans would prefer a physical environment that is cool and dark, like a cave.”

Kirsch generally recommends that people sleep in a room that is 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and very dark. “We wake up frequently for brief periods in the night, and if there is light, we are more likely to stay up, than [to] roll over and go back to sleep,” he says.

When it comes to fresh air in the bedroom, Dr. Kirsch says that there is limited science to suggest that it improves sleep, but its impact likely depends, in part, on the external environment. A 2016 study, conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, tested how the air quality in dorm rooms impacted sleep and next-day performance. The students said that their performance was much better when the carbon dioxide was lower, thanks to an open window or the use of a fan. However, Kirsch told the journal that only the participants’ movements and their self-reported, perceived sleep quality and mental state were measured. A larger study with sensitive technical equipment would have given more quantitative results.

Indeed, Kirsch believes, if the weather is right and a bedroom window is available to open, that can be great for circulation of air, pleasant sounds of nature stirring in the morning and sunlight at dawn to align with one’s circadian rhythms.

However, in the dead of winter, in the height of summer, or in an urban setting, he says, “The draft is just not comfortable: The outdoor air will change your body temperature too much or the loud noises may disrupt sleep. Those with allergies may also be better off leaving the windows closed when the pollen count is high, especially in spring.”

He believes an alternative way to achieve a cozy sleep setting year-round is to allow for some air circulation through an open door or a fan. “There is zero scientific data that I know of, but the reason people may like fans or windows open could be the pleasant feeling of the movement of air, the cooling effect or the white noise,” Kirsch told the business news outlet.

This may explain why in certain cultures, people sleep with the bedroom window open no matter the season. “At some basic level, there is a sense of peacefulness that comes from feeling integrated with nature, which can benefit sleep,” he says. “Unless, of course, it’s freezing or there are mosquitoes or ambulance sirens to disturb you.” The comforting thought of being near nature may also explain why popular white-noise machines include settings with the sounds of birds chirping, waterfalls, and rain.

Research contact: mkasik@lcwa.com