Beauty Sleep: More than Just a Figure of Speech!

There’s always a reason not to get enough sleep. You have too much work to do, there’s a good movie on TV, you need to go to the gym, you haven’t done your grocery shopping… the list goes on. We often forego sleep and accept that getting done whatever we need to do is worth the price of being tired the next day. What most of us don’t factor in when we make this decision is that losing sleep has many more effects on our bodies than just leaving us feeling tired.

Having a good night’s sleep is not only key to staying physically and mentally healthy, but also to maintaining our dashing good looks! Adequate sleep is as important for your overall health as diet and exercise, and is also vital for preventing dreaded weight gain and wrinkles. A lot of people struggle with getting better sleep because of insomnia, and turn to sleeping pills to usurp this problem. Unfortunately, sleeping pills can further contribute to health problems, which is why we recommend a non-addictive natural health supplement like femMED sleep.

The average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night in order to keep their metabolism functioning properly. Lack of sleep causes a simultaneous decrease in a hormone called leptin, and an increase in the hormone ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for controlling your appetite, and ghrelin stimulates appetite. An increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin forges a powerful and unfortunate bond that leads to an increased appetite and a resulting weight-gain.

A recent study also showed that people who are sleep-deprived tend to eat more sweet and starchy foods, which is a further contributor to weight gain and obesity. Our brains are fuelled by glucose, and so when we are lacking sleep it becomes natural to crave carbohydrates.

Clearly this combination of many factors indicates that if we want to prevent unnecessary weight gain, then sleep is key! But on top of its involvement in controlling weight, sleep also plays a role in our skin’s composition.

Do you ever wake up in the morning after a bad night’s sleep and look in the mirror to find more wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes? You’re not alone! While we’re sleeping, the body focuses on repair and recovery, and this includes preparing our skin for the next day. When we don’t sleep, this repair doesn’t happen.

Without adequate sleep, there is an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for breaking down the body’s skin cells and decreasing the human growth hormone. In function, the human growth hormone is the opposite of cortisol. It builds up and results in thicker skin and a more youthful appearance overall. When there is an increase in cortisol and a decrease in the human growth hormone, as is caused by inadequate sleep, wrinkles will be evident sooner than they should be! Sleep will remedy this, but there are also supplements to improve your skin’s overall health.

Next time you’re thinking about skipping out on sleep to get something done, remember that it’s probably not the best idea! If you’re really struggling to get the recommended amount of sleep in your schedule, check out these tips which might contribute to you getting a better sleep. We need a good night’s rest to optimize our health inside and out.

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The Women of the Oscars

As is the case every year, last night’s Academy Awards celebrated the abundance of talent that we saw in film over the course of 2013. One of the most memorable moments was when best actress winner Cate Blanchett pointed out in her acceptance speech that her win should mean something to the people “in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the centre are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money.”

Judi Dench, Age 79 (eonline)

There’s a misconception somewhere in Hollywood, or with Boards of Directors, or in society at large, that audiences don’t want to see female-driven films. There’s a further and equally damaging misconception that there is no substantive room for women in Hollywood after they ‘expire’ after age 39. That four of the five best actress nominees last night were over the age of 40 demonstrates the depth of this falsity, especially in conjunction with the fact that Blanchett’s Blue Jasmine was entirely driven by its female lead.

Sandra Bullock, Age 49 (People.com)

As exciting as the Academy Awards are, what does any of this have to do with women’s health? A lot, actually. So much of what we perceive as normal is influenced by the media. As much as we want to believe the media doesn’t manage our expectations, there is always a certain extent to which it will. The problem here is that when 35 year old women are presented as old, how are we supposed to perceive the changes that come with age as normal? Hollywood’s typical ‘mother-of-the-bride’ is younger than you were when you took your kids to their first day of school, and this is inevitably going to make you question why you have a couple of wrinkles and your boobs don’t hit your chin.

Cate Blanchett, Age 44 (People.com)

What was so significant about this year’s Academy Awards were the number of women over 40 who were represented and celebrated for their meaningful work. These are beautiful, accomplished women whose success is representative of the importance of women in general, and of the fact that audiences don’t want to see women’s careers hit a ‘glass ceiling’ when they turn 40. We want to see women’s entire lives portrayed on screen, not just their reproductive years! That Hollywood is beginning to embrace roles for ‘older women’ (I am reluctant to describe a 44 year old woman as older without
quotation marks) is a step towards all women accepting the changes that come
with age.

Meryl Streep, Age 64(Huffington Post)

 

 

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Eggs: Are They All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

Over the years, eggs have developed a bad rap. Some people had gone so far as to suggest that eggs should be removed completely from your diet because they are loaded with a dangerous amount of cholesterol even for a healthy heart. With new
scientific discoveries though, eggs are making a comeback. In fact, they seem
to have done a full 180 and are now being touted for all their health benefits.

While it is true that egg yolks contain cholesterol and may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels, it turns out they also contain nutrients that help lower the risk of
heart disease.

Eggs Contain:

Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 has been shown to help protect against
heart disease.
Choline This nutrient plays an important function for the
nervous system, helping to control memory and muscle support.
Vitamin D Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, which a lot of
North Americans lack in the winter.
Protein Eggs are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. Protein plays an essential role in building, maintaining, and replacing tissues in the body.

Over the years, eggs were ‘rumoured’ to be bad for the heart because they contain cholesterol. Recent research indicates, however, that blood cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans-fats we eat rather than by the cholesterol in foods. This means that our bodies are not absorbing the cholesterol from foods at a rate even close to the extent that was thought in the past. On top of this, eggs contain Vitamin B12, which is one of the vitamins for heart health. This is a great natural supplement if you’re wondering how to prevent heart disease in women or men!

How much cholesterol do we need?
The recommended daily cholesterol intake for a healthy person is not more than 300 milligrams per day.  In healthy people, an egg a day will not increase the risk of heart disease and can be part of a healthy diet. Women with heart disease should limit dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day, but you can still have eggs up to 3 times per week.

One egg contains:

  • 185mg of cholesterol, all of which is found in the
    yolk
  •  5 grams of fat, most of which is the ‘good’ unsaturated fat and there is no trans-fat
  • 6 grams of protein

So what are your options if you suffer from heart disease and/or are trying to limit your eggs?
Have an omelet with one egg yolk and 3 egg whites. Egg whites are pure protein! You can add as many vegetables as you like.
Eggs are filling, inexpensive and easy to prepare, so start incorporating them into your diet!

By the way…What’s the difference between white eggs and brown eggs?
As it turns out, not a whole lot! Brown eggs come from brown hens, and white eggs come from white hens!

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Fighting the Flu

Looking for advice on what supplements to take this fall? Check out my segment on CH Morning Live to find out why multivitamins are so important for health, especially during the fall and winter season when we are at risk of getting sick. When choosing a supplement, look for a product designed for your age, gender and life stage. For women, I recommend femMED Multi+ Antioxidants, which provides all the key nutrients for good health in a vegetarian capsule, without dyes, chemical fillers or potential allergens. Also find out about what supplements you can take to get a better night sleep and feel great the next day.

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How Our Hormones Affect Our Libido Through The Decades And What We Can Do About Them

Hormones are the KEY to vibrant sexual health for women. Did you know that we have over 50 known hormones secreted by our body!?  Our sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA and their balancing act or lack thereof, largely influences our sex drive or libido. What makes this even more challenging is that our hormone levels fluctuate with each decade.  The good news is, that armed with insight and knowledge, we can help make our libido BE what we want it to BE!

In our teens, our sex hormones change wildly – resulting in some crazy behaviour. It helps to have patience and structure, knowledge and boundaries around emerging sexuality.  Our twenties bring on more hormonal stability as we mature and establish ourselves in careers and self-identity. It’s also a good time to start thinking about using a good quality multivitamin (containing calcium and magnesium as well). It can assist in laying a healthy foundation and calm PMS symptoms if present.

Many hormonal changes that can affect our sex drive begin in our thirties.  Testosterone starts to decrease slowly for both men and women, affecting everything from desire to muscle tone. Pregnancy can also dramatically your alter libido, although this varies vastly from woman to woman.  Generally the second trimester is a time of increased desire and continues throughout the third trimester.  Post-partum brings on its own hormonal challenges with fatigue and body image playing enormous havoc with our sex lives. For some women,  it may take upwards of 12-32 months to fully feel “like yourself” after having a baby. The good news is that oxytocin, which is secreted with breast milk, is known as the “love” hormone and makes us feel warm and amorous to both our baby and our sweetheart, so save some of that loving for him!

Let’s take a moment now to talk about cortisol. It’s one of the most important hormone’s that affects us throughout each decade.  Cortisol is mostly known as the hormone our bodies secrete when we’re under a high level of stress. It’s often called the “flight or fight response”. Whenever we’re feeling threatened or stressed this hormone allows our body to best manage the situation, too literally, survive. Many of us do not realize the impact that high, prolonged cortisol levels can have. When we’re under chronic stress, our bodies never have the downtime to recover and get back to normal. According to Dr. Kristy Prouse, Ob/Gyn and founder of The Institute of Hormonal Health, cortisol affects libido MORE than testosterone! Once the body does get back to normal hormone levels, a healthy sex drive often follows, usually.……

Hormone levels begin to decline more rapidly for most women in their forties and fifties.  Decreased progesterone may cause irritability, anxiety and elevated cortisol levels.  Testosterone decreases quickly (hormone of desire) and many women are perplexed as to why they simply do not want sex anymore.  To make matters worse, with the onset of menopause, our estrogen levels decline, resulting in dry, thin vaginal walls, hot flashes and brain fog.  None of which are conducive to hot sex!  In order to help manage some of these uncomfortable symptoms successfully, I would recommend trying a supplement like femMED Libido or Menopause Relief. You might find them helpful in reducing many of these  symptoms, naturally.

Hormone imbalances do not have to wreak our sex lives. Many post-menopausal women report increased desire that comes with freedom from responsibilities, children, pregnancy, along with, a commitment to better health, including their sexual health!

 

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