Tips for a Healthy Spring

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 4/14/16.

Springtime brings with it a flurry of activity and a sense of renewal. The flowers bloom, the weather warms, and I get an intense drive to clean my home and refresh it for a new season. Although this season abounds with fresh opportunities, it also brings its own health concerns (pollen, anyone?). Follow these tips to help you have a healthy spring and enjoy the best of the season!

blooming-springtime

How will you stay healthy this spring?

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Habits for Healthier Sleep

Raise your hand if you’re tired right now. OK, now raise your hand if you’ve been tired at least a few afternoons this week. Unfortunately, I bet every single one of you lovely readers raised your hand for at least one of those – according to the CDC, one third of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, regularly clocking in at fewer than 7 hours a night. The number of people who experience occasional and/or recurrent sleep deprivation is even higher – studies show that nearly everyone experiences occasional sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can lead to a slew of problems: from reduced concentration, lowered immunity, irritability, and low productivity in the short term to the increased risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, dementia, and much more over the long term.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to help you sleep more and sleep better! Next week is Sleep Awareness Week, so we want to encourage you to try these tips next week to see how you feel! If you find yourself more rested, you can work them into your regular routine.

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Celebrating Pioneering Women in Medicine: March is Women’s History Month!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 3/16/17.

Happy Women’s History Month!! Although you don’t have to go far to run into a brilliant female medical student, faculty member, of staff member at the UCF College of Medicine, medical education was not always so. The first American woman to become a medical doctor (Elizabeth Blackwell), obtained her medical degree in 1849, but it has been a slow journey to the more diverse (though still imperfect) medical education system in the U.S. today.

In a previous post, In Celebration of Brilliant Women: March is Women’s History Month, I discussed the current state of the gender disparity in medical education: “Although it is clear that women have come a long way in American history, the glass ceiling seems to be alive and well in academic medicine. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, although nearly half of American medical students and medical residents are women (47% and 46%, respectively), only 16% of deans, 15% of department chairs, and 33% of senior associate/vice deans are women. As of 2014, only 22 out of the 141 deans of American medical schools were women.” Happily, the UCF College of Medicine is ahead of this national curve, and the numbers of women in academic medicine are slowly changing to match those of the larger medical profession.

We love celebrating and supporting the awesome female medical students, faculty, and staff studying at and employed by the UCF College of Medicine, as well as celebrating influential women in medicine throughout history. We’ve rounded up some of these female pioneers in medicine for your Women’s History Month reading pleasure:

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Organ Donation 101

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 2/9/17.

A very special day is just around the corner: the one day a year when you can give your heart to someone new… or your liver, or a kidney. That’s right – February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also National Organ Donor Day! Today on the blog, we’re celebrating by exploring how organ donation works, so that you can make an informed decision about your preference to donate!

There are currently 119,000 men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list, and 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant. The good news is that more that 130 million people in the U.S. are registered as organ donors, and one donor can save up to 8 lives. However, only 3 in 1,000 people die in such a way that allows for organ donation.

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

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Cupid’s Chemicals: The Biology of Falling in Love

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 2/11/16.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you may be asking yourself the age-old question, “What is love?” Although this question has plagued great minds like Shakespeare and Haddaway through the centuries, modern science is getting closer to being able to find the elusive answer. It turns out that love may have less to do with the heart, and more to do with an intoxicating cocktail of neurotransmitters that flood the brain and cause “that lovin’ feeling.”

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So what are these chemicals associated with falling in love?

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Our Most Popular Posts of 2017

Hello, dear readers! As the year draws to a close and we take stock of the year past, we’ve decided to take a look back on some of our most popular posts from 2017. We posted 91 blog posts this year, and had more than 3000 visitors, but some of our posts really rose to the top: here are our most-viewed blog posts of 2017!

Fifth place: Get the Most Out of Your iPhone with These Tips You Didn’t Know Existed

Learn 3 quick tips to get more out of your iPhone!

Fourth place: The Health Benefits of Owning Pets

Spending time with furry friends can definitely improve your mood and make you feel cozy inside, but there are actually a myriad of health benefits to owning a pet. Check out this article to read about all the ways Rover helps your health!

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The Librarians’ Favorite Holiday Cookies!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 12/8/16.

One of the librarians’ favorite holidays takes place in December – but I’m not talking about Christmas or New Year’s Eve, I’m talking about National Cookie Day! National Cookie Day was December 4th, and we’re celebrating appropriately: by sharing our favorite holiday cookie recipes with you! Between office parties, family celebrations, and stress eating other holiday shindigs, there is no shortage of baking opportunities this time of year. These librarian picks are sure to be party pleasers, so grab your mixing bowl and have at it (we won’t judge you for eating the batter).

Ginger Snaps: Chosen by Denise and Pammy

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Crisp and Chewy Ginger Snap Cookies by White Lights on Wednesday

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A Round-Up of Bookish Holiday Crafts

As librarians, we LOVE books. We love reading books, talking about books, recommending books, and helping students find the books they need. We even love crafting with books! Bookish crafts are fun to do, and they help give some of your old books new life as you turn them into decorations, ornaments, light fixtures, and more! If you can’t bring yourself to craft with any of your beloved books, making a trip to a thrift shop might be a good way to get a bunch of cheap books to use in your crafts. This week we’ve rounded up a selection of bookish crafts you can do with your loved ones this holiday season!

Book Page Ornament

These ornaments are perfect to add a little sparkle to any book-lovers’ tree!

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Tech Talk Thursday: Apps & Gadgets Bonus Edition!

This Monday the library hosted its annual Winter HSL Info Expo. As always, our Apps & Gadgets segment was a crowd pleaser. Because there are so many great apps and fun gadgets out there, it’s hard to cram them all in to a 15 or 20-minute presentation. Inevitably some of these don’t make it to the final Info Expo. But because we know how much everyone loves Apps & Gadgets, for this month’s Tech Talk Thursday, we’re bringing you four bonus apps and gadgets for your perusing pleasure!

Read on  for more apps & gadgets for your holiday shopping lists

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Let’s talk turkey: The truth about tryptophan

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on November 26, 2015.

This Thursday after digging into your delicious Thanksgiving meal, you might find yourself slouching on your sofa, pants feeling a little snug, and you might find yourself feeling a dozy. Your first inclination will likely be to blame that delectable turkey and all of that tryptophan. Because turkey has tryptophan, and tryptophan makes us sleepy, right?

Well… This may likely be a myth that we have all been telling ourselves. The science behind tryptophan is pretty clear: tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies need to help make niacin and serotonin. Our bodies do not produce tryptophan, so we must get it from our diet. Serotonin is believed to help us sleep better and stabilize our moods. It would appear, then, if tryptophan helps us make serotonin, and serotonin helps us sleep, that consuming tryptophan would make us sleepy, right?

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