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How Daylight Saving Time can affect your sleep patterns

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Losing or gaining an hour of sleep on any given day doesn’t necessarily throw our sleep patterns into a tailspin, but the Daylight Saving Time change poses a bigger issue than a long nap’s worth of sleep. In addition to the minutes of sleep you’re gaining or losing, you’re also adjusting to light cycles. With “falling back,” you’re shifting your internal clock later while the sky is getting darker—and bringing cues for bedtime—earlier. Here are a few areas to look out for when it comes to how your body reacts to this transition:

On the road
Just because the clocks have changed doesn’t mean your schedule has. Studies have shown that there is an uptick in car accidents in the weeks following the fall Daylight Saving Time change, in part because even if people aren’t physically more tired, a sudden adjustment in sleep patterns can lead to lower cognitive performance. This includes performance behind the wheel. If you’re driving as it’s getting dark out when you’re used to driving in daylight, it could take some time to adjust, so be extra mindful when you’re on the road.

Mind your mood
For many people, it’s hard to get out of bed to a dark sky. As our daylight hours get shorter, it’s important to seek out mood-enhancing sunlight when we can. In the first weeks after the time change you may actually be able to sync your wake time with the rising daylight; if you’re susceptible to the “winter blues,” take advantage of this early morning boost! Further into the winter season, try to schedule sunlight breaks during the day. Getting up in the dark and then heading home in the same conditions can be a real hit to your mood, making exposure to natural light a much needed bonus. Continue Reading »

Five ways to use massage therapy for improving health

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Many people see massage therapy as a luxury but in reality, massage therapy is good for your physical and emotional health. More research is being done to learn how massage therapy affects your body physiologically, but there are some things we are aware of now. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy:

  1. Lowers stress.  The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls on your body. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
  2. Increases immune function.  Medical research indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body’s natural “killer T cells,” that fight off viruses.
  3. Boosts mental health and wellness. Research suggests that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be helped with massage therapy.
  4. Manages pain.  Pain can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
  5. Improves physical fitness. Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy. It can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.

Continue Reading »

Pumpkins: the fall fruit mascot

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Every fall we see pumpkins brightening up our yards and our front porches; a sure sign that Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner. Pumpkins, a type of squash, are usually orange but come in all different shapes and sizes. While most people consider pumpkins vegetables, pumpkins are actually considered a fruit.

There are two types of squash: winter squash and summer squash. Summer squash are harvested and eaten when the skin is thin and tender. They tend to have a shorter storage span due to the thin skin and must be eaten promptly. Zucchini and yellow summer squash are just a couple of several varieties of squash you can enjoy during the summer months.

Pumpkins are included within the winter squash category along with butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash. Winter squash are known for their hard, thick skin, which is what makes carving pumpkins so challenging. The thick skin also contributes to a long shelf life, allowing these winter squash to be kept for months when stored in a dark and cool place such as a basement or in a garage. Continue Reading »

Be The Match

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Attention UW-Oshkosh students! This week from Oct. 13-17 is #CheekWeek and Be the Match On Campus chapters across the country are organizing rallies and other events as part of the “Don’t Hope. Act.” campaign. Mercy Medical Center is challenging you to join the Be The Match registry and urge your peers to join it as well. Be The Match is national registry of people willing to donate bone marrow to patients who need a transplant.

Hope won’t cure blood cancer, action will. Instead of hoping for change, this week we want you to act. It’s easy to register. All you need to do is sign up for a donor registration event and get your cheek swabbed. That’s it! Visit the UWO Be The Match chapter on campus or go to their page to get involved.

Thousands of people who would benefit from a bone marrow transplant search for suitable donors each year. This simple effort may match you with someone in need and you can help save their life.

For more information about the “Don’t Hope. Act.” campaign, visit DontHopeAct.org.

*To sign up as a committed registry member, people need to meet age and health guidelines and be ready, willing and available to donate to any patient in need. Registration involves completing a health history form and giving a swab of cheek cells.Patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity, and doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group more than 90% of the time. More young people of diverse racial and ethnic heritage are needed now to help patients searching for a match.

What to expect at an ultrasound appointment

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Most of us have seen the pictures that result: sepia or black and white, tiny fingers and curled legs—babies sure are fascinating to see through ultrasounds! Ultrasounds have become a typical part of modern pregnancy and prenatal care, and provide important insight into your baby’s development. Health care providers recommend that all pregnant women receive an ultrasound at least once, usually between the 18th and 20th week of pregnancy. If other medical issues are present, ultrasounds are sometimes needed at other points during pregnancy as well.

Early in pregnancy
If your provider did not confirm your pregnancy with a Doppler heartbeat monitor, your first ultrasound will confirm your baby’s heartbeat and that your pregnancy is uterine. If your pregnancy appears to be ectopic or tubular, it is best to find this out immediately so that your can discuss your and your baby’s health with your provider.

If you’ve never received an ultrasound before, be prepared to be a little chilly and a little slimey. A standard transabdominal ultrasound starts with a cool gel that is rubbed onto your lower belly (over your uterus). The ultrasound technician then rubs a transducer wand, which emits sound waves, over the area. The gel conducts the sound waves, which bounce off of the contours of your baby to produce the image you’ll see on-screen. That image, or sonogram, will be the first picture you have of your baby! It also allows the technician to take the baby’s measurements, to be compared at later ultrasounds. If it is very early in the pregnancy, the technician may perform a transvaginal (internal) ultrasound, which uses the transducer wand to scan the uterus from the vaginal cavity in order to detect the baby more clearly or earlier than would be possible with a transabdominal ultrasound.  Continue Reading »

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