Wellness Series: The Importance of Sleep

sleep_betterSummer has come to a close! It’s time to go back to school and work with a newly invigorated intensity and drive. The easygoing summer vibe is quickly replaced by the motivation to start the fall work season off with a bang. You know that in busy times, sleep can easily fall by the wayside and forgone for more hours dedicated to success.

In this week’s Wellness Series post, we want to remind you of the importance of sleep. Take a moment to consider what our Medical Experts have to say about sleep, and do your best to get enough shuteye to have a fun and productive fall.

What is the benefit of sleep?

Scientists have gone to great lengths to fully understand sleep’s benefits. In studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.-Dr. Michael Fisher

Baby in white sleeping soundlyHow many hours of sleep should I be getting?

[It] varies. Some need at least 6-8 hrs of sleep each night. Others may get by with only 4-5 hrs and others may require more than 9 hrs. You may try to experiment with different time periods to see what your body needs. Sleep may be interrupted by episodes of apnea (breathing stops for a few moments), this would make you feel tired, no matter how long you sleep.-Dr. Neeoo Chin

Will my health get better if I get more sleep?

Most probably. I call sleep a medicine. Lack of sleep affects every aspect of your health. If you get enough sleep your bodily functions can work properly, your immunity to fight infection improves and overall health improves.Put simply, you feel better! – Dr. Marsha Davis

Maybe. Human growth hormone (hgh) is particularly released during delta phase of sleep, the deepest sleep level. In an adult, hgh is involved in many pathways involved in maximum tissue and organ performance and minimizes age related breakdown. Remember, it is not necessarily total sleep time but more so the quality and level of delta sleep levels that may be at play. – Dr. Sal Aragona

How can I sleep well?

Be consistent. Here are some tips-

  1. Turn off TV/Computer one hour before wanting to sleep.
  2. Quiet music is OK.
  3. No caffeine for 8 hours prior to going to sleep.
  4. REGULAR EXERCISE (even in the evening- some people sleep better when they exercise later).
  5. Eat a smaller dinner.
  6. Go to bed at the same time, every night.
  7. Read quietly.

You may need a sleeping pill, if so, see your doc. -Dr. James Cunnar

What is the best way to sleep?

[A] comfortable one. People sleep in many positions, back, abdomen, and side. With proper support of the neck, legs, and back most any position is best. Some would prefer you not sleep on the abdomen due to the greater rotation of the cervical spine. Pillows are very important. Those that support the neck, lower back, between the legs help maintain normal curvature and posture. Sleep on it and find out [what’s] best for you.-Dr. Danny Proffitt

Clearly sleep is extremely important if you wish to perform at the best of your abilities. HealthTap’s Medical Expert Network agrees that sleep should be high on your priority list, even when work gets busy. If you have more questions or concerns about sleep and your sleep habits, please check out the sleep topic on HealthTap today. And remember to get a good night’s sleep tonight; you will surprise yourself how well you will feel tomorrow.

Got a question about sleep? Ask our doctors today!

HealthTap: Concierge Medicine for Everyone TM

AppRx: Top 10 Sleep Tracker Apps

sleepEvery week, we bring you AppRx—high-quality health, fitness and wellness apps reviewed and recommended by HealthTap’s network of 63,000 top doctors.

In this week’s edition, we take a look at 10 Sleep Tracker Apps. From apps that analyze your sleep and alarms that wake you in the lightest sleep phase, to apps that provide soothing sounds and music to help you drift off, HealthTap is here with the apps you need to get a good night’s rest!

AppRx | White Noise Lite | HealthTap1. White Noise Lite

Description: Find out why the world is sleeping better with White Noise Lite for FREE. Features ambient sounds of the environment to help you relax during the day and sleep great at night.White Noise generates sounds over a wide range of frequencies, masking those noise interruptions, so you can not only fall asleep, but stay asleep. Use the provided sounds or create new soundscapes by mixing multiple noises together like a DJ, with support for adjusting volume, balance, and pitch of each individual sound in the mix. Learn More.

Recommended By: 179 Doctors

Available On: Android and iOS – FREE

AppRx | White Noise | HealthTap2. White Noise

Description: Recommended by Dr. Oz as a miracle for better sleep! Find out why the world is sleeping better with White Noise. Features ambient sounds of the environment to help you relax during the day and sleep great at night. Helps you sleep by blocking distractions, relaxes and reduces stress, pacifies fussy and crying babies, increases focus while enhancing privacy, soothes headaches and migraines, masks tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Learn More.

Recommended By: 106 Doctors

Available On: Android and iOS – $1.99

AppRx | Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock | HealthTap3. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

Description: An intelligent alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase the natural way to wake up feeling rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. Sleep Cycle then finds the optimal time to wake you up during a 30 minute window that ends at your set alarm time. Learn More.

Recommended By: 70 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $0.99

AppRx | Sleepmaker Rain Pro | HealthTap4. Sleepmaker Rain Pro

Description: Pure, natural rain sounds made with real rain recordings, not rain effects. All perfectly looped by a motion picture Sound Engineer, and recorded in Digital Uncompressed Formats. Recorded live from the pristine wilderness of World Heritage Listed Forests. Sleepmaker Rain Pro is also perfectly safe to help young children and infants fall asleep. Learn More.

Recommended By: 55 Doctors

Available On: Both iOS – $0.99 and Android – $1.06

AppRx | Ambiance | HealthTap5. Ambiance

Description: Ambiance is an environment enhancer designed to help you create the perfect ambient atmosphere to focus, relax or reminisce. You can choose from over 2500 free sounds, exclusive to Ambiance, to download and listen to, create customized sound mixes, cycle through playlists, wake up to relaxing sounds and more! Create your own Ambiance today! Learn More.

Recommended By: 42 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $2.99

AppRx | River Sounds | HealthTap6. River Sounds

Description: Try the River Sounds application for relaxation and meditation. You will fall asleep faster, sleep better, and get rid of insomnia. Nature sounds in your smartphone. Best relaxation and sleep machine. Combines between various sounds of nature to relax and unwind, includes sounds of water, rain, waves, birds, frogs and crickets, timer with countdown stops sounds to completion. Learn More.

Recommended By: 37 Doctors

Available On: iOS – FREE

AppRx | Nature Sounds | HealthTap7. Nature Sounds

Description: Want to relax for 10 minutes during the day at home or in office? Want to improve brain work? Or increase your concentration? Choose from a list of 6 different relaxing nature sounds, including sounds of thunder, the ocean, the sea, birds, rain, nighttime in the jungle, water, and waterfalls, and start your personal audio therapy. Learn More.

Recommended By: 31 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE

AppRx | Quit Snoring | HealthTap8. Quit Snoring

Description: Quit Snoring uses an essential new approach to overcome snoring episodes. While you’re sleeping, Quit Snoring remains alert, even when your device goes into sleep mode. It monitors your sleep session, listens carefully, and when you snore, it will produce gentle nudge by that ceases snoring for most people.
A nudge is a vibration or a sound that you select in advance, or both. You can even record your own sounds to use as nudges. Learn More.

Recommended By: 27 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $3.99

AppRx | Smart Alarm Clock HD | HealthTap9. Smart Alarm Clock HD

Description: Smart Alarm Clock HD monitors your sleep phases, determining exactly when your body is most ready to wake up. Smart Alarm Clock HD records all the sounds you make during the night, so you can find out if you snore, and listens to other nightly disturbances that might keep you from your hard-earned rest. Learn More.

Recommended By: 27 Doctors

Available On: iOS – FREE

AppRx | Stress Free Alarm Clock | HealthTap10. Stress Free Alarm Clock

Description: The easy to use “Weight Loss Alarm Clock” is a international patented science based sleep cycle alarm clock that will reliably and gently wake you in your light sleep phase. The Weight Loss Alarm Clock works reliably and properly without any sensors. It will transform your sleep smoothly from the deep sleep phase or dream phase (REM sleep) into the light sleep phase without you even noticing. A mere few days of use will give you your very own individual wake-up procedure. Learn More.

Recommended By: 25 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $2.99

For more Sleep apps, visit HealthTap today!  And stay tuned for next week’s edition, Top 10 Healthy Eating iOS Apps!


AppRx: Top 10 Doctor-Recommended Diet Apps

dietEvery week, we bring you AppRx—high-quality health, fitness and wellness apps reviewed and recommended by HealthTap’s network of 62,000 top doctors.

In this week’s edition, we take a look at 10 Doctor-Recommended Diet Apps. We’ve got the apps you’re looking for, including carb and calorie counters, diet planning and weight tracking, and meal planning apps. We even have an app that will help you find restaurants with gluten free options!

AppRx | Gluten Less Dining | HealthTap1. Gluten Less Dining

Description: Created by two sisters with gluten intolerance, the Gluten Less Dining App lists over 3,200 Gluten Free menu items offered by over 150 top national restaurant chains. There is no need to sort through endless allergen charts to find something safe to eat we list only the gluten free menu options at each restaurant! Learn More.

Recommended By: 33 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $4.99

AppRx | Nutrition90 | HealthTap2. Nutrition90

Description: Nutrition90 is a helpful companion application for anyone undertaking a 90-day extreme fitness program. Keep track of your nutritional intake based on the current phase of the program, as well as your current nutrition level. Also functions as a journal, letting you keep notes for each day of the program along with photos, to give you a visual log of just how well the program is working! Learn More.

Recommended By: 30 Doctors

Available On: Android – $1.99

AppRx | Food Diary Calorie Counter | HealthTap3. Food Diary Calorie Counter

Description: Food Diary is a journal for keeping track of what you eat and what exercises you do every day. It adds up all your calories for the day, and taking into account your basal metabolic rate shows you whether you’re above or below your caloric intake target for the day. Learn More.

Recommended By: 29 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $1.99

AppRx | Calorie Counter - Diet Planning and Weight Tracking | HealthTap4. Calorie Counter – Diet Planning and Weight Tracking

Description: Calorie Counter, provided by TKB, is a simple and beautiful weight tracking app, which can keep a count of your calorie intake. No matter which restaurants or food stores you pick, by keying in the food names, you can easily search the calorie amount for every food, even in offline. Calorie Counter is a useful helper, which can tell you how to eat right and remind you that exercising regularly and burning calories are the keys to lose weight and maintain a healthy body. Learn More.

Recommended By: 29 Doctors

Available On: iOS – FREE

AppRx | CarbsControl - Carb Counter and Tracker | HealthTap5. CarbsControl – Carb Counter and Tracker

Description: With 100,000 foods and details from 300 restaurants and 500 specific brands, you’ll know exactly where you stand with your carbs for the day. This app works great with the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, Protein Power Lifeplan, Go Lower Diet, and other low-carb plans. Its also helpful for those trying to lose weight or maintain their current weight by cutting back extra carb calories. This App helps you stick to your carb goals even when eating out. The CarbsControl Carb Counter App manages your carbs for you to leave more time and energy for the rest of life. Learn More.

Recommended By: 24 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $1.99 and Android – $2.99

AppRx | Purine and Uric Acid Food List | HealthTap6. Purine and Uric Acid Food List

Description: Purine and Uric Acid Food List is an application containing 200+ different kinds of daily food with their Purine and Uric Acid content. This App has classified these 200+ types of food into 3 categories according to their Purine content levels: Type A Food has the highest Purine levels (400mg or above), Type B food has moderate Purine levels (100mg – 400mg), and Type C food has the lowest Purine levels (100mg or below). Learn More.

Recommended By: 23 Doctors

Available On: iOS – $1.99

AppRx | Fast Food Calorie Counter Classic | HealthTap7. Fast Food Calorie Counter Classic

Description: With this handy fast food restaurant nutrition guide, you can keep your diet on track when you have to eat on the run! Whether you are on a fitness plan and counting calories, carbs, fiber, or fat grams, this helpful guide will empower you to make better choices or allow you to “cheat” occasionally without feeling guilty. Learn More.

Recommended By: 22 Doctors

Available On: iOS – FREE

AppRx | Gluten Free Restaurant Items | HealthTap8. Gluten Free Restaurant Items

Description: This app lets you locate listed restaurants within 30 miles (50 km) radius of your current location. Use this app to see what gluten-free items and meals are offered in over 125 popular fast food restaurant chains. Create list of favorite restaurants, no internet required – all data stored inside of your device. Learn More.

Recommended By: 19 Doctors

Available On: Android – $2.49

AppRx | Diet Point - Weight Loss Meal Planner | HealthTap9. Diet Point – Weight Loss Meal Planner

Description: Diet Point will tell you how much you’ll lose with each diet plan and you’ll also get checkable shopping list for each plan. And there are handy meal reminders that will make sure you’ll never miss your meal again. DietPoint is the largest collection of complete weight loss diet plans with awesome community of people, who can help you and motivate you during your weight loss. Learn More.

Recommended By: 16 Doctors

Available On: iOS – FREE

AppRx | KidneyDiet | HealthTap10. KidneyDiet

Description: KidneyDiet helps people with kidney disease make better decisions about their diet. If you are facing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you must become aware of the phosphorus, potassium, protein, sodium and fluids in your diet. KidneyDiet gives you the ability to track and compare your daily intake of these nutrients to guidelines your nephrologist and nutritionist have set for you; just scroll through the list or type an item into the search field and quickly determine the nutritional counts of a variety of foods. Learn More.

Recommended By: 16 Doctors

Available On: Android – $2.99

For more Diet apps, visit HealthTap today!  And stay tuned for next week’s edition, Top 10 Sleep Tracker Apps!



9 Tips to Sleep Better Tonight

Sleep is essential to our health and well-being. HealthTap doctors advice getting at least 7-8 hours every night. And while all of us strive for a good night’s rest, most people have problems getting their shut-eye, with 48 percent of Americans reporting bouts of occasional insomnia.

Want to sleep better tonight? Follow this checklist created by Dr. Elizabeth Finley Belgrad.

CheckboxIdentify an ideal wakeup time that meets your needs & you can maintain (Once)

CheckboxTake 30 minutes to relax before bed (30 min daily)

CheckboxAvoid alcohol or smoking (Once)

CheckboxAvoid TV, video, or computer after dark (Once)

CheckboxExercise daily (Once)

CheckboxMake sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and undisturbed (Once)

CheckboxAvoid caffeine or stimulants (Once)

CheckboxTake 250 mg of magnesium (Once)

CheckboxConsider using melatonin (Once

Try these tips out for the next week and let us know how they work for you!

For more checklists on sleeping better, visit HealthTap today!










Wellness Series: 7 Tips for Healthy Outdoor Fun

Change is in the air! With Labor Day marking the unofficial transition from summer to fall, let’s tap into the positive energy of transformation! New friends, exciting learning opportunities, and fall colors are in the cards. The cooler fall weather presents the perfect chance for you and your loved ones to reap the health benefits of exercise from outdoor activities like camping, hiking, cycling, soccer, football, running, and more. Whether you plan to hit the trails, roads, or turf, make sure you are well informed with the most personalized and trusted health information from some of the best doctors you can find: the Medical Experts on HealthTap. Let’s check in with them now and find out what they say about the healthiest ways to enjoy the outdoors this Labor Day weekend and beyond.

HikingWhat are the health benefits of walking outside and enjoying nature?

Besides the positive physical and stress-relieving benefits of exercise and fresh air, walking in nature allows us to connect with something much larger than ourselves. On our little treks we can open to the entire web of life, realizing that we are part of it, and can impact it. We can quiet ourselves, which allows us space to perceive with compassion — rather than react automatically.- Dr. Pamela Pappas

How can I avoid blisters on a nature hike?

Bandaids. If you have new shoes break them in before you go. Wear god thick socks, have good fitting shoes that do not have heel slippage and put bandaids on the heels or places you get blisters before you get them. It prevents the friction that causes the blister. - Dr. Cornelia Franz

What mosquito repellents and after-bite treatments do you recommend?

DEET= gold standard of repellents. Use microencapsulated formulation. Max effective at 30%. Lasts about 5 hours. Higher concentrations last longer but not better. 10% lasts about 2 hours. If mosquito burden is high add permethrin to clothes. For aftercare use dab of pramoxine. If many, use spot of 1% hydrocortisone for itching. If very many I use 10 mg loratadine each day in addition. - Dr. Dan Fisher

What should I put in my portable first-aid kit?

Most basic first aid kits have ointment, bandages, gauze, ibuprofen, scissors, tape, instant cold pack, instant heat pack, alcohol rub. You can of course personalize the kit for any medical ailments that you have such as asthma inhaler, epinephrine pen for bee stings, etc.- Dr. James Chen

organic fruitHow long should I wait to exercise after eating?

Depends upon your food choices. If it’s a full meal then 1 or 2 hours to avoid gut distress. Digestion causes increase in blood flow to your stomach from your muscles. This would cause cramps if you exercise too intensely, thus the stay out of the water after lunch! However, many can eat a light meal, exercise then a small recovery meal. For me, PB&J preceding a morning run works great.- Dr. Judy Orton

What should I eat after exercising?

After exercising, you should probably just drink fluids. Wait one hour before consuming any food, so that the body has a chance to calm down and assimilate the food you eat. The trick is to eat properly so that when you exercise, you burn fat and make muscle!- Dr. Wm. Marcus Spurlock

Why is vitamin D important for my Health?

Traditionally, Vitamin D has important role in bone health but is increasingly recognized as a hormone with role in various body systems including skin, immunity, etc…. Sun exposure is an easy, reliable way for most people to get vitamin D. Exposure of the hands, face, arms, and legs to sunlight two to three times a week for about one-fourth of the time it would take to develop a mild sunburn will cause the skin to produce enough vitamin D. The necessary exposure time varies with age, skin type, season, time of day, etc. Still, vitamin D deficiency is very common.- Dr. Moinuddin Mokhashi

Our HealthTap doctors are giving you full license to have a blast outside. So take a break and enjoy the sunshine and all the outdoors has to offer. Call your new friends and go for a nice walk, or pull that bike and helmet out of the garage and discover parts of your neighborhood that you never knew were just around the corner. Wherever you go and whenever you have your own health questions, the doctors on HealthTap are here to help. Until then, live healthy and have fun!