HEALTH ALERT FOR THE HOLIDAYS: New Research & 10 Top Tips
A new study published in the December issue of Sleep Health has shown a connection between caffeinated, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and insufficient sleep. Subjects who got only five hours of zzzz’s or less per night were found to consume higher quantities of sugary, caffeinated sodas. SSBs have been recognized as serious contributors to the national obesity epidemic and cardiometabolic disease.
Fatigue/energy expert and board certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD says getting less sleep is associated with an array of serious health risks, including pain, fatigue, weight gain (an average of 6.5 pounds) and fibromyalgia. His landmark study published 15 years ago in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (8:2,2001) found that cutting sugar and optimizing sleep helped these problems.
Dr. Teitelbaum’s bestselling Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! book series describes America’s deadly love affair with sugar, as well as the steps to overcome it. “Unfortunately, you can’t legislate a ban against sugar, as New York City Mayor Bloomberg tried to do in 2012—even if it makes good medical sense,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “The good news—and just in time for the holidays—is it’s easy to get the destructive monkey off your back and start getting better daytime energy and a night’s deep, revitalizing sleep without medications.” Energy and sleep are two sides of the same coin. Healthful, sustaining daytime energy depends on the quality and depth of the previous night’s sleep.
Dr. Teitelbaum’s 10 top holiday energy/sleep tips:
- You can have your cake and eat it too. There are health benefits to pleasure, so enjoy your dessert, but in small quantities—not as the main course. Shocking factoid: 85 percent of the pleasure is experienced in the first few bites. Also, it takes 15 minutes for the brain to experience the satiation response, so wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Small dessert servings=pleasure without guilt!
- Chocolate is a health food, but it’s rich, so go for quality, not quantity. Enjoy a square of premium chocolate and savor the sensation as it melts in your mouth. Apply a little mindfulness to the holiday food experience and you’ll enjoy the sweetness more deeply and feel satiated and satisfied. In this case, less is better.
- Russell Stover makes dynamite sugar-free chocolates. Also, high-end Abdullah chocolates (with sugar) are just so good you won’t need much to feel satisfied. They also have an excellent sugar- free line.
- Stay away from “energy loan sharks” like sugary, caffeinated drinks that give a temporary boost but end in a crash, and often insomnia. They do give quick energy but then take away twice as much by dropping your blood sugar.
- An excellent alternative? Find healthy sources of energy that make you feel good throughout the day and improve overall health. I recommend D-ribose (5 gm per day) mixed with the Energy Revitalization System (replaces 35 vitamin pills in a single scoop) to start the day off with a healthy, legitimate energy source that supports you for many hours. Two studies (by Dr Teitelbaum) showed that ribose increased energy a dramatic average of 61%! You often can’t get enough energy-making vitamins and minerals from the Standard American Diet (SAD), especially B vitamins and magnesium. Most people are amazed at how much more energy they feel after taking a high potency B vitamin with magnesium as found in the Energy Revitalization System.
- A quick fix for getting energized is to drink 12 oz. of cold water. Most of us don’t drink enough water and are actually dehydrated. So instead of reaching for a soda, try good old H2O. The cold water also acts like a bracing splash of cold water on your face—only for your whole body.
- Make time for sleep by entering it in your appointment scheduler. Schedule sleep as a priority and you’re likely to take it more seriously.
- Cut out things you don’t enjoy—the stuff that doesn’t make you feel good. To that end, consider cutting back on the 24-hour news cycle that rehashes election fallout featuring endless rants by “talking heads.” Just flick the “off” button and you’ll probably feel more relaxed immediately and ready for sleepy-time.
- Try natural sleep supplements like Revitalizing Sleep and Terrific Zzzz before you go for sleeping pills or antihistamines that knock you out and often leave you feeling groggy the next morning.
- Avoid “energy vampires” who leave you feeling drained after speaking with them. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”