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Stop hitting snooze! 5 foolproof ways to get up earlier

Published: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 2:35 PM
Updated: Friday, September 01, 2017 @ 2:35 PM

Just follow these 5 tips to wake up earlier Getting out of bed is simpler if you shorten your morning to-do list Set up your sleep patterns, so you wake up when you want Doing anything stressful first thing upon waking can discourage you from wanting to get out of bed and greet the day Do something that makes you happy as part of your early morning ritual While "five more minutes" seems like a harmless perk, the snooze button can thwart your plan to wake up early

Sunrise hours can be a magical time − when your home is quiet, your agenda is clear for a workout and a healthy breakfast. But you can't experience the magic if you're still asleep. 

If you are stuck in the rut of staying up late and sleeping in, take heart. Anyone can become an early riser, says  Men'sHealth magazine sleep advisor W. Christopher Winter, M.D. 

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these five tips to getting up earlier:

1. Shorten your morning to-do list. If you can operate on autopilot for a few minutes first thing in the morning, you'll be fully awake before you know it, according to personal trainer Richard Rees of British Columbia, who shared advice in MensHealth

He sets his alarm for 3:50 a.m. and is out the door for a run a few minutes after that. The fast morning start comes from working out the details the night before, like laying out clothes, coffee and breakfast supplies, right down to his socks and coffee scooper. When you don't have to plan a lot of details the second you wake up, he said, it's much simpler to get out of bed.

2. Set up your sleep patterns, so you wake up when you want. It may seem obvious, but you need to remember to go to bed at a time that allows you enough sleep to be fully rested if you'd like to get up earlier on a consistent basis. Also speaking in Men'sHealth, Denver-based certified turbulence trainer Craig Ballantyne advises setting an alarm an hour before you want to be fast asleep at night. Then use those 60 minutes to unwind, make your lunch for the next day or even forgo electronics for a calm read. If your mind is still abuzz close to bedtime, Ballantyne recommends jotting down a couple of ideas or to-do lists, so you can clear your head and be ready for a good night's sleep.

If you need extra motivation to get to bed early for an early start, consider the health advantages of being a morning person. Those who get up earlier generally have better energy levels, moods and workout habits, according to Women'sHealth magazine and the SLEEP 2014 study from the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. Early birds are more likely to schedule time for fitness and stick to the plan, while waking up late is linked to being more sedentary.

3. Don't open your email as soon as you open your eyes. Doing anything stressful first thing can set you up for stress all day long, and it also discourages you from wanting to get out of bed early and greet the day.

One of the worst habits for someone who'd like to get up earlier is checking your email inbox right after you wake, according to Melissa McCreery, Ph.D., founder of Too Much on Her Plate. McCreery told Women'sHealth that starting your morning with a calming activity like sipping tea or talking to your roommate will get your creative juices flowing. In addition, the pleasant ritual will make you more likely to stick to getting up early.

4. Do something that makes you happy as part of your early morning ritual. You are loads more likely to wake up earlier on a regular basis if you have something to look forward to. Mahri Relin, founder of Body Conceptions, for example, cranks tunes that she loves early in the morning and on her way to meet the clients she trains. "I swear I'm ready to jump by the time I get to my client, because I feel so revved up from the music selection," she told

"I feel like I attract attention on the train, because I'm moving to the music and smiling." 
Far too many people choose a "should do" instead of a "want to do" activity for first thing in the morning, which can derail a resolution to wake up earlier. "Humans don't do well with suffering long-term," said time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, author of "I Know How She Does It" and "What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast." "If you're going to exercise, find a kind of exercise you like enough that you're willing to set the alarm a little earlier. If you intend to work, make it the part of work you're excited about. It's easier to stick with habits we enjoy for their own sake, not because we know we should do them."

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5. Quit hitting that snooze button. While "just five more minutes" seems like a harmless perk, the snooze button can thwart your careful plan to wake up early. 

"When you are waking up, your body is in the process of sleep inertia, a mental and physical sluggishness that will go away after about 15 minutes," explained James Wyatt, Ph.D., director of sleep disorders and sleep research at Rush University in Chicago. Wyatt contributed his tips for becoming a morning person to an article about early risers on He explained that nodding off after the alarm sounds will send you into an unproductive light and fragmented sleep, and then you simply repeat the sleep inertia phase when the snooze alarm goes off, delaying both your waking time and the time you're able to be productive. 
Another contributor to the Prevention article, Vanderkam, reminds those who want to wake up earlier that you only have a limited supply of willpower to get you through the day. "Successful people don't use it up on something as small stakes as whether to get out of bed." Instead of hitting snooze, she recommends being honest about when you intend to get up and just enjoying every second of the high-quality sleep you have coming to you.


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Ohio among states battling sudden rise in Hepatitis A cases

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

Thirty one cases have been reported in Ohio.

The number of Hepatitis A cases in Ohio and neighboring states has spiked since January, the Ohio Department of Health is reporting.

The are currently 31 cases in the state, the highest since 2015, the Greene County Public Health said in a release Tuesday. In comparison, there were four cases during the same period in 2017, two in 2016 and five in 2015, according to the release. 

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, the agency said in the release. It is usually transmitted by person-to-person through contact with an infected person’s stool, or consumption of contaminated food or water, the release said. 

“One thing you want to do is make sure your food is thoroughly cooked,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor at Public Health–Dayton & Montgomery County.

Credit card skimmers found during weekend sweep in Montgomery County

A confirmed case of hepatitis A includes both a positive laboratory test and symptom onset, with either jaundice or elevated liver function tests.

Outbreaks have been linked to contact with known hepatitis A case; homelessness; IV drug use; and men who have sex with men, the release said. 

Ohio is the latest state to be affected by the Hepatitis A outbreak. Neighboring states such as Indiana, Kentucky and  Michigan have all been affected. 

Ohio included in ice pop recall list for possible listeria 

Health officials say people can be vaccinated to protect themselves from hepatitis A, but the two doses have to be taken over a six month period. 

According to Greene County Public Health, hepatitis A contact can occur by: 

• eating food made by an infected person who did not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom

• drinking untreated water or eating food washed in untreated water

• placing a finger or an object in your mouth that came into contact with an infected person’s stool

• having close personal contact with an infected person, such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill 

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One cannot get hepatitis A from:

• being coughed on or sneezed on by an infected person

• sitting next to an infected person

• hugging an infected person 

A baby cannot get hepatitis A from breast milk.

Who is at increased risk for acquiring hepatitis A virus infection?

•Persons with direct contact with persons who have hepatitis A

•Travelers to countries with high or intermediate rates of hepatitis A

•Men who have sex with men

•Users of injection and non-injection drugs

•Persons with clotting factor disorders

•Household members and other close contacts of adopted children newly arriving from countries with high or intermediate hepatitis rates.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A:

Some people have symptoms two to six weeks after they come in contact with the virus.

People with hepatitis A typically get better without treatment after a few weeks. In some cases, symptoms can last up to six months. 

These symptoms may include:

•dark yellow urine

•feeling tired


•gray- or clay-colored stools

•joint pain

•loss of appetite


•pain in the abdomen 


•yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice

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8 odd but effective ways to stop snoring 

Published: Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 4:25 PM

Here are some weird but effective snoring solutions from sleep experts Sleep on a tennis ball Buy a longer pillow Change out your pillows Pop a bit of peppermint Mix mint into the humidifier

Lose any sleep from your own or your partner's snoring lately? 

For many Americans, it's a lethargic yes. Snoring is a buzz kill, a sleep robber and maybe an indicator of serious health issues, including the obstructive sleep apnea that can lead to heart disease.

»RELATED: Want better sleep? Write a to-do list, study says

Some 90 million American adults snore, according to, and many could find relief with general health solutions. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night if you snore, for example, or losing weight since overweight people can have extra throat tissues that contribute to snoring. 

There are also expensive, extensive solutions like oral devices, according to dentist Gene Sambataro. The mandibular advancement device designed to remove obstructions in the airway, for example, "is one of the most widely-accepted dental appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea, useful in forcing the lower jaw down and forward slightly," he says. 

Sambataro, a holistic clinician and author of the book “Stop the Snore”, recommends checking out some of the more unusual stop-storing methods, too, until you find something that works for you or your partner.

"Be careful not to look for quick fixes," he adds. "There are remedies out there – traditional and unconventional – but you should be thorough to remedy what can be a serious problem."

If you're not quit ready for oral devices or losing weigh, there are some weird but effective snoring solutions from Sambataro and other sleep experts:

Sleep on a tennis ball. Lying on your back when you sleep puts greater pressure on your throat, so shifting to your side may work to quiet loud snoring, Dr. M. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, told Huffington Post. To improve your odds of actually staying asleep on your side, sew a tennis ball into the front pocket of an old t-shirt, then wear the shirt backwards to bed. This should make it super uncomfortable to lie on your back once you drift off. Once you've adjusted to the new sleep position (and stopped snoring), you can ditch the uncomfy shirt.

Using a full body pillow may also help with snoring.(Contributed by the AJC)

Buy a longer pillow. According to Reader's Digest, a full-length body pillow can help you adjust to sleeping on your side.

Do tongue aerobics. Sounds a little odd, and you may not want an audience, but strengthening your tongue and the facial muscles you use to chew and swallow with exercises known as "myofunctional therapy" can work wonders with snoring, according to Sambataro. "Muscle weakness within the tongue, mouth, and upper throat may lead to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea," he says. 

Change out your pillows. No, you're not trying to re-decorate the snoring away. Instead, you're after the allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow that may contribute to snoring. "If you feel fine during the day but obstructed at night, these things may be contributing to your snoring," Sambataro says. "Everyone should evaluate whether your pillows are creating some nasal congestion due to a reaction to the material."

Pop a bit of peppermint. A drop or two of peppermint oil rubbed around your nose may be able to open nasal passages, and peppermint mouthwash could shrink throat tissue that contributes to snoring, according to RD.

Mix mint into the humidifier. If you have the option to use a humidifier at night, bump your odds of opening your nasal passages by adding a few drops of peppermint oil to the water, RD suggested.

Combat snoring with a nose cone. Sambataro also suggests nose cones you place in each nostril to expand it. "This technique has a similar effect as strips, without the irritation of removing them in the morning," he notes.

Nod off after nasal sprays. With regular use, sprays will help get rid of the bacteria and fungus that produce mucous and eventually obstruct the nasal airway, Sambataro noted.


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4 drinks that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:01 PM

The following four drinks are some that can sabotage your diet when you're trying to cut calories Juices Coffee with add-ins Alcohol Smoothies

When you're trying to lose weight, you may not give much thought to what you drink, but those calories definitely add up! These "liquid calories" can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, and you may not feel as full as if you'd eaten the same number of calories. Many drinks also provide little to no nutrients and are often loaded with sugar, which can further hamper your weight loss.

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These drinks – and their calories – may add up to more than you realize, even on a single day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered a sample list of the drinks you may choose during a day in order to total the calories. They started with a morning coffee shop run with a 16-ounce café latte made with whole milk at 265 calories. A non-diet soda with lunch had 227 calories, and an afternoon sweetened lemon iced tea from the vending machine was 180 calories. A glass of non-diet ginger ale with dinner added 124 calories for a daily total of a whopping 796 calories!

The following four drinks are some that can sabotage your diet when you're trying to cut calories:

Orange juice prices could rise as much as $2.30 per gallon, because Hurricane Irma destroyed much of Florida's crop.


You may think that swapping out sugary sodas for fruit juices is good for your diet, but it may not be as good as you think. Fruit juices are concentrated sources of natural sugar, so they have more calories and don't fill you up as much as fresh, frozen or canned fruits do, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For example, a 20-ounce glass of 100 percent apple juice has 300 calories, and the same portion of 100 percent orange juice has 280, the CDC says.

»RELATED: It's official: Coffee is good for you, according to new research


A plain black cup of coffee isn't a calorie problem, according to the Mayo Clinic. It contains fewer than five calories and no fat, but most people need at least a few extras with their coffee, and these also add extra calories.

Although at-home add-ins like creamer and sugar raise the calorie count, a specialty coffee can make it soar. A grande (16-ounce) size of white chocolate mocha espresso at Starbucks has 360 calories. If you choose a venti (20 ounces), you'll be drinking 460 calories.

The sidecar is a classic sour cocktail containing three ingredients: cognac, lemon juice and orange liqueur. CONTRIBUTED BY MARCEL(For the AJC)


A few drinks after work with your friends or a couple of beers or glasses of wine with a meal can raise your calorie count.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously took a look at some of the calories contained in popular alcoholic beverages and found that five ounces of red wine has about 106 calories, and five ounces of white wine has 100 calories. A regular Budweiser beer comes in at 143 calories, and Bud Light isn't far behind at 110 calories. Cocktails like a four-ounce margarita up the calorie count even higher at 168 calories, and a 4.5-ounce Piña colada packs 245 calories. These counts could vary somewhat depending on the alcohol and sugar content of your specific drink.

The Angel Food smoothie from Smoothie King contains 340 calories for a 20-ounce serving and 690 for 40 ounces.(For the AJC)


Smoothies have a "health halo" that leads many people to believe they're harmless, Marisa Moore, a local dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told the AJC.

Serving size is important, she pointed out. For example, a 20-ounce Angel Food smoothie from Smoothie King containing 340 calories. If you order the 40-ounce mixture of strawberries, bananas, nonfat milk, vanilla and other natural flavors and turbinado sugar, you'll be getting a whopping 690 calories. You can save some calories by omitting the sugar, saving 90 calories on a 20-ounce Angel Food smoothie, but it's still fairly high in calories.


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Is your marriage over? 7 signs it may be time to call it quits (and 5 signs to stay)

Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 9:32 AM

Fairytale Wedding Involves Woman Who Married Herself

If all you read is the Ladies Home Journal column "Can This Marriage Be Saved?", you'd think the answer is always a roaring  yes. But that standby, a popular read since its launch in 1953, is selected by counselors of couples in situations they can salvage, especially with the help of therapists.

Outside of LHJ's pages, many marriages do not last and should not last. Is yours one of them? According to psychologists, marriage counselors and divorce experts, there are signs that you should break things off.

»RELATED: This is how online dating is changing who we marry in unexpected ways

For couples evaluating whether to stay or go in a troubled marriage, divorce coaches and counselors offer seven signs that point to the door, and five that indicate counseling might help put you back together again.

7 signs you should probably leave your marriage

Domestic abuse has entered the relationship. This is the most difficult break to deal with because the abuse ordinarily escalates when a victim tries to leave the relationship. But it's one of two reasons a person should not play the divorce waiting game, certified divorce coach Cathy Meyer said in LiveAbout. The other was a spouse who had an addiction to pornography.

You have shaky reasons for wanting to stay married. People who are staying in a marriage to avoid pain or fear probably aren't in a marriage that will endure, according to licensed clinical social worker Susan Pease Gadoua in Psychology Today. "This indicates the marriage hasn't much glue." Sample statements in that vein include, "I'm staying because I'm afraid of not seeing my children every day," "I don't know how I'd make ends meet without my spouse," and "No one will ever love me like this again."

Gadoua recommended a strict examination of reasons for staying in an unhappy marriage. "Where I see people go wrong in such a decision is when they forgo their own needs and focus primarily on meeting the needs of their spouses or children." Once people awaken to the fact that they've done all they can to improve the relationship and must now sever the tie, almost all realize "letting go of the unhealthy relationship was the best decision they'd ever made," she noted.

One spouse is a serial cheater. Certain people are not able to remain monogamous and this makes them not cut out for marriage, Alisa Bowman, author of Project: Happily Ever After, told Woman's Day. A secondary sign that it's time to move away from a marriage with a cheater is when he constantly tries to blame you for the philandering and untrustworthiness, usually claiming you are too jealous or controlling, she added.

An unfaithful spouse keeps an ex-lover as a friend. Just ending the affair is not enough, according to Bryce Kaye, Ph.D., author of The Marriage First Aid Kit, told WD. For a marriage to fully get past adultery, the unfaithful half of the couple cannot maintain a "friendship" with the former lover, even if he or she professes that the friendship is completely innocent. "Nothing good can come out of it," Kaye advised.

Your interactions are almost exclusively negative. When you're trying to evaluate the worth of a struggling marriage, take into consideration both how strong and how frequent your negative interactions are, advised marriage counselor Racheal Tasker on the GuideDoc blog. "The magic ratio in any happy relationship is five positive interactions for every one negative interaction," she said. "If you find that you have significantly more negative interactions with your partner than positive interactions, it may be a sign that you need a divorce."

Another crucial indicator that divorce should be a possibility: severe and hurtful arguments, particularly if they tend to become personal insult fests and you can't resolve conflicts without feeling devalued.

One partner dramatically changes the way they handle money. From an attorney's perspective, according to Dawn Cardi, a Manhattan matrimonial lawyer who spoke to WD, the shifting around of accounts is telling, even though a spouse may shrug it off. "People will come to me and say, 'My husband changed accounts. He's moving money.' That's a sign to me that he's already ready to get out of the marriage and move onto the divorce stage."

One of you wants children and the other does not. There are many areas of compromise in a marriage, but this is not one of them. If one partner is categorically opposed to having kids and the other has becoming a parent as a prime item on the bucket list, "you may be looking at the end of your marriage," Bowman said in WD.

There are also reasons to stay, according to experts.

Consider these 5 signs you might want to give it another go:

Barring physical abuse or untreated drug abuse, there are some signs that a couple might be a good candidate to try to repair an ailing marriage. These are five signs that indicate a marriage may be down, but it's not out:

A rift has recently been disclosed. The more recently a crack in the marriage has come out into the open, the better your odds of repairing the breach, according to Kaye.

"The clock starts ticking on the end of a marriage as soon as one spouse puts the [couple's] problems out in the open," he said. "The more time that passes after that without any effort made, the lower the odds are that you'll stay together."

You still share the same core values. No, you'll never agree on everything, and no one really wants to if you're being honest. Still, to get in the marriage salvage arena, you'll need to continue sharing basic values.

"If there is at least a little common ground regarding religion, politics, finances, education and the like, there is a decent foundation upon which to build," noted Robert Weiss, a licensed clinical social worker and certified sexual addiction therapist, in Pop Sugar. If you share core values and can agree to disagree on peripheral issues, there's a good chance you'll be able to work through marital challenges.

You both want to work through a cheating episode. For most people, infidelity might seem like the top reason to answer, "Oh hell no" to staying in a marriage. If the cheater is unwilling to do the heavy salvage work, that's certainly true, according to Bowman. But some cheating falls into the "This marriage can be saved" category -- if the cheater has regrets, makes apologies, promises to put an end to the affair and seek counseling.

You still enjoy spending time together amid the tough times. "One of the primary reasons for being around another person is that it's fun and enjoyable at least some of the time," Weiss added. If you still like to hang out and enjoy some shared hobbies, that might also indicate your relationship is worth saving.

The thought of leaving fills you with the distress of doubt. This is not the same as the manipulative doubts that are usually involved in a domestic violence situation. So, if that's not your issue, and you find yourself "constantly mulling" about a decision to stay or go, you might need to stay, according to marriage therapist Michele Weiner-Davis in Pop Sugar. If you are still resisting leaving, you probably still have sound reasons to stick around and rebuild the foundation of your relationship.


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