Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Don’t Drink!

We’ve all been there before.  You have two or three glasses of wine after a heavy dinner.  A good time turns into extreme drowsiness.  You feel as if you could go to sleep and sleep forever.  You do fall asleep pretty quick, but then you either wake up in the middle of the night not being able to go back to sleep, or you manage to stay asleep but the next day you feel as if you haven’t sleep at all.

There’s a real good explanation for this.  A new study in the medical community shows that alcohol does help you to fall asleep quicker but it reduces rapid eye movement (REM).  REM is the deep sleep you achieve about 90 minutes after you fall asleep.  It’s the sleep where you dream and where your brain restores itself.

How much is too much for a lousy night of sleep?

It seems like 1-2 drinks has a minimal effect but any more after that only disrupts the sleep more as you drink more.

Because alcohol does get you to sleep faster, people often think or rely on it as a sleep aid.  Researchers warn that you should not rely on alcohol for this.  It will rob you of the much needed deep sleep that helps you feel refreshed the next day.

If you are having trouble sleeping you should try these things first.

  • Establish a sleep time and awake time routine.  Your body has an internal clock and keeping to this schedule will help your body get and stay in this routine.
  • Don’t consume alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine at night.  If possible try to cut them out all together and you’ll be surprised at how sound you will sleep.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise.  Wear your body out with some good ole’ running, working out, etc.  This will really help you get some zzz’s
  • Try using clean sheets.  It’s amazing how comfortable freshly washed and dried sheets are.
  • Don’t do work in your bedroom.  Keep the bedroom for sleeping and relaxing only.
  • Try reading a book.  This can get you in a relaxed state.

If you’ve tried all these things and still can’t fall asleep, then try seeing a professional doctor about your issues.

If you live in the Nashville, TN area and need a doctor for sleep or other health problems, feel free to contact our office for an appointment.

Here’s to Your Health

Dr. K Bennett



Cut the Sugar, Drop the Weight!

If you find yourself needing to drop a few pounds this New Year, then think about cutting down on your sugar intake.  A new study from the University of Otago has found that a decrease in dietary sugars lead to weight loss while an increase of the sugars lead to weight gain.  This is probably not that new to most of you.  For years experts have suggested that diets high in sugary foods and drinks lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

The normal accepted amount of daily sugar intake i around 10% of your total calories.  This includes foods that contain sugar naturally such as honey, fruit juice, and syrup as well as food where the consumer, manufacturer, or cook adds sugar to it.

Think about the amount of sugar in a regular can of Coke.  There’s an obscene amount of sugar in these type of drinks.  Cutting out soft drinks and artificially flavored snacks, could alone make a huge difference in your overall weight loss.  Substituting a candy bar and a coke with a piece of fruit and a glass of unsweet tea with lemon can save you thousands of calories over the course of a year.  With those less calories means less weight.  That sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Another pitfall in the sugar intake world is alcohol.  Many people don’t realize there’s a lot of sugar in those afternoon cocktail, especially in the mixers.  Be sure that the sugar you cut out of your diet isn’t replaced with more food.  Eat normal but cut down on the sugary drinks and snacks.  Natural sugar found in foods such as fruit didn’t correlate with the weight gain like the artificial sugar did.

So there you have it.  If you are on a 2,000 calorie per day diet then keep your sugar intake to 200 calories per day.  Doing this along with a daily exercise routine of 30 minutes per day, you’ll be well on your way to reaching the weight loss goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year.

Consistency is key.  Keep a journal and remind yourself that being healthy is a daily activity.

Here’s To Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett



The Flu Continues!

I’ve dedicated a couple of posts in the past few weeks in regards to the flu, but due to the extreme outbreak of the flu this year, I decided to talk about it one more time.

As you can see from this map the dark red represents a severe outbreak. Chances are if you are reading this you are probably in a severe area.

Here are the symptoms of the flu. It’s important to note as some people often confuse a cold with the flu.

High fever
Aches and pains in joints and muscles
Overall weakness
Watery eyes
Warm flushed skin
Dry cough

What to do if you get the flu?

Try to stay away from others (except for medical care professionals)
Get plenty of rest (normal time for it to run it’s course is 5-7 days)
Drink lots of water
Take pain medicine (not Aspirin) for body aches
If you find yourself really sick, you can see a doctor who can prescribe some antiviral medication.

The good news is that most experts believe the outbreak has peaked and expect to see number of cases fall over the next few days and weeks. Until then, wash your hands all the time, don’t touch your face, and cover your mouth with your sleeve when you sneeze or cough.

If you live in or near Nashville, TN and feel like you might have the flu feel free to contact our office for an evaluation.

Here’s To Your Health

Dr. K Bennett


Is Being a Little Overweight Good For You?

So you read the title of this blog and you are saying, what?  Being overweight good for you?  Are you crazy Dr. K?

According to a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, having a few more pounds on you could help you to live longer.  Optimal word here being “could”.  How can this be?  This goes against the foundation of everything we taught the general public since the beginning of modern medicine.

Well, this study takes a new look at people who had a few extra pounds versus those who were obese or were a normal weight.   The study which lasted two decades included almost 3 million people.    The studies conclude that people with BMI’s under 30 but above normal were less likely to die than people with normal BMI’s.   Do you know what BMI is?  BMI stands for Body Mass Index and it calculates a ratio between your height and weight.  It’s pretty easy to calculate.  Here’s a calculator to help you figure out what your BMI is.

People that were slightly overweight had a risk of death which was 6% less than people with normal BMI.  People that were obese had an 18% increased risk of death.

So what do we make of this?  Does it mean you should go out and start slamming Big Macs and Whoppers?  Umm, no.  I’m not saying that.  Here’s the rest of the story.

This study only looked at the association between death and body size, it didn’t calculate “quality of life”.  Being overweight can carry some health risks in and of itself, such as diabetes.  This study only suggest that if you are healthy and slightly overweight, it may not be the worst thing in the world.  It doesn’t advocate training for hot dog eating contests.

So what do you think?

If you need help figure out if you are healthy or need to see a doctor about a health problem, feel free to contact our office or set up an appointment online with us.

Here’s to Your Health

Dr. K Bennett