Stay Awake, Caffeine-Free!

man sleeping on couch relaxCan’t get your morning going without a cup of Joe or an energy drink? During the lunchtime slump do you have to down a 5-hour energy shot? Well, we’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another–suffering from the caffeine crash later.

Believe it or not, some people avoid caffeine. Most make this choice for health reasons because it dehydrates the body and is functions as an addictive drug. Staying awake is challenging, and, for those avoiding drugs and not using caffeine anymore, new strategies must be implemented.

So next time you’re feeling a bit low on energy, give one of our top 6 tips a try and energy-up without the negative side-effects of a substance-driven boost.

1. Fasting at Meals

The human body expends a great deal of energy during the digestion process. This can create a great deal of fatigue when you are trying to stay awake. Fasting is a great way to avoid this natural fatigue. As long as you are drinking enough water, fasting for a meal or two is also a healthy way to detoxify your cells and rejuvenate organs.

2. Nutritious Low Carb Snacks

Low carb fruits such as raspberries, apples, oranges, and grapefruits are great boosters. They take about fifteen minutes to digest, which leaves you energized and not groggy. Heaping scoops of spicy salsa on a few small crackers is another goodie. Stay away from meats, breads and dairy products.

3. Stretch Out Your Meals

Split your meals into smaller but more frequent portions, says Young. Eating only hefty lunch and dinner portions results in huge spikes in your blood-sugar levels, followed by large crashes in energy.

4. Light Exercise Breaks

Take a break and take a walk or do a couple jumping jacks to get your blood moving. Even the slightest bit of exercise can act as a healthy way to energize your mind and body.

5. Listen To High-Energy Music

Not only does great music give you that near-magical second wind or extra kick when you are exercising, it also boosts your mood and energy during regular tasks. In fact, some research even revealed workers who listened to great classical music experienced increased productivity and creativity.

6. Try To Keep A Regular Sleep Schedule

It goes without saying, but hey, it helps. You can also take a 10 to 15-minute power nap if you get drowsy. Naps work wonders. Really.

iPod Danger: Is Loud Music Making Us Deaf?

A grandfather and his granddaughter smiling and listening to headphonesCan you hear me now? Apparently many cannot.

The National Institutes of Health says that about 36 million Americans already have some degree of hearing loss. With the population aging, that number is projected to jump to 78 million by 2030.

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The issue is particularly problematic for children and teens. Audiologists at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt said long-term hearing loss is possible because of the proliferation of smartphones, portable gaming systems and media players. According to a Vanderbilt-led study, hearing loss is now affecting 20 percent of U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 19, a 5 percent increase over the past 15 years.

Audiologists at the Nashville hospital said if parents can hear sound coming from their child’s headphones while they are being worn, it’s too loud. A rule of thumb is the 60-60 rule, using only 60 percent of the device’s volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time. After 60 minutes, give your ears a break for at least an hour. Prolonged exposure to high volume exhausts the auditory system, experts say.

Following are some hearing tips from Dr. Ronald Hoffman, medical director of the Ear Institute at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary:

1. Get your hearing checked.

Just like some other health issues, the key to effective treatment is identifying hearing loss early. It takes people seven years, on average, from the time someone thinks they have a hearing loss problem to the time they seek treatment.

2. Be aware of which activities may post a threat to your hearing.

Years of exposure to loud concerts, bars and clubs, cranked-up stereos, personal music players, lawn mowers and other environmental noises may some of the reasons we are now seeing more baby boomers with hearing loss. A single loud noise, such as an explosion or a gun blast, can do permanent damage to the structures in the ear. But more often, it’s years of exposure to loud sounds.

3. Get checked out if you’re blasted by one of those single loud noises.

If, after exposure to loud sound, your ears feel full or there is a ringing noise, you have likely had a injury to your ear and you should seek consultation with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (otolaryngologist, ENT). You should wear hearing protection when around loud sounds for a long period of time. Examples of sounds to be avoided include firecrackers, drills, train horns and screeching and firearms. There are different types of hearing protection such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom hearing-protection devices.

4. Turn down the volume on your MP3 player.

This one is simple: The rule of thumb is that if you are wearing ear buds or headphones, no one else should able to hear the music.

5. Get a hearing aid if you need one.

If you have a hearing loss, a properly fitted hearing aid will improve your life. Modern hearing aids are small, discreet, high-tech computers, constantly being refined and developed to provide a more natural sound.