March 2-8 is National Sleep Awareness Week!
This cat definitely has the right idea
Students: are you taking catnaps between classes in your car or in the library (you know who you are)? Staff and faculty: are you getting drowsy during your 10am meeting? I know I’m guilty. This month, let’s all focus on getting some much needed sleep.
The National Institutes of Health has helpful guidelines on how much sleep we should all be getting, how to get your sleep cycle back on track, and how to tune in to your body’s clues for more sleep (hint: falling asleep at the wheel):
- 50-70 million Americans are affected by sleep-related problems
- The cumulative effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders can lead to hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart attack, and depression
- Adults (even medical students) need 7-8 hours of sleep every day
- Napping does not provide all of the benefits of night-time sleep – you cannot make up for lost sleep
- You might be sleep deficient if you feel like you might doze off while studying or watching TV, sitting in traffic for a few minutes, or sitting quietly after lunch
Here are some helpful strategies for getting more sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Try to keep the same sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends, or try to limit the different to no more than an hour to avoid disrupting your body’s sleep-wake rhythm
- Limit alcoholic drinks and caffeine before bed – the effects of caffeine can last 8 hours!
- Be physically active every day, especially outside
- Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark to promote sleep
- Avoid artificial light from TVs, laptop screens, phones, or tablets before bed – the light can signal your brain to stay awake
- Try some relaxation techniques like meditation, or take a hot bath, before you go to bed
Check out Your Guide to Healthy Sleep from the National Institutes of Health.
MedlinePlus: It’s like you have a medical professional right in your computer
Did you know you can access up to date, authoritative information on nearly 1,000 health topics in easy to read (i.e., non-medical jargon) language for FREE? The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine have a terrific resource called MedlinePlus geared toward the general public, and not health professionals.
Health topics in MedlinePlus are available in many different languages, from Japanese to Samoan, even Swahili and Polish. Topics are categorized by body location/system, disorders and conditions, diagnosis and therapy, demographic groups, and health and wellness. You can also find information on drugs and supplements, and watch videos and tutorials.
Although the content in MedlinePlus is not meant for health professionals, the information found here can be very useful for physicians and nurses. Materials in MedlinePlus are typically written at a 5th to 8th grade reading level, making them perfect for use as patient handouts. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, about 36% of adults in the U.S. have limited health literacy, or the ability to understand basic health information needed to make health decisions. In fact only 12% of the U.S. population is proficient in health literacy.
The next time you need basic information about your heartburn, are curious as to whether you’re getting enough calcium, or want to learn more about a family member’s recent Celiac Disease diagnosis, check out MedlinePlus.
And remember, if you need any help locating good, reliable health information online, stop by the health sciences library and speak to a librarian.
Welcome to our first monthly Tech Talk Thursday! On the first Thursday of each month, the health sciences library’s technology experts will update you on the latest happenings in the world of tech.
On January 15th Google announced that it was ending the Google Glass Explorers Edition program – we’ve talked about the program a little before in a previous blog post. The product had been released in limited fashion to the public in April 2013. Google Glass was billed as a hands-free solution that could get you through your day by helping you to navigate city streets, keep in communication with your friends, and stay updated with the latest news and information. People even filmed themselves skydiving with the devices. Controversy over Google Glass arose as well. For example, there were privacy concerns over the built-in camera which made people uncomfortable about the potential of being surreptitiously filmed. Businesses began to preemptively ban the devices even before they were in the hands (and on the faces) of the public at large.
Google stopped short of saying that the program was being cancelled; rather it was to be folded into another division within Google. Further Google Glass development will be moved from the Google X, where Google houses experimental projects, to its own division under the Nest division which is overseen by Tony Fadell, formerly of Apple, Inc. where he helped in the development of the original iPod. The aim is to take what was learned during the Google Glass Explorers Edition program and put that technology and knowledge to create new technology to enrich us on a daily basis.
To be sure, the wearables markets is in its infancy. There are tons of devices coming out that seek to make technology a more integral part of your everyday life such as Android Wear devices, Apple Watch, FitBit activity trackers, and the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift. Time will tell what will become a part of everyday life for millions and what will end up in a dusty drawer. And for now you will need to use GoPros to record your skydiving adventures.