Monday, July 31, 2017

Got An Itch That Just Won't Quit? Try These Tips

Between bug bites, sunburnsand poison ivy, itchy skin is nearly impossible to avoid during the summer months. And because there are so many possible culprits, it can be hard to pin down just what the source of your itch may be.

Even though there are many reasons for itchy skin, they often stem from one common cause—inflammation. As one of your body’s key defenses, inflammation is its way of protecting you against things like bacteria, toxins and heat. That’s why redness and itchiness accompany everything from rosacea and eczema to sunburns and bug bites.

So while that annoying itch may drive you crazy, remember, it’s your body’s way of defending you. And before giving into a satisfying scratch, you should know that may actually just cause more irritation. Instead, try one of these simple techniques for some much needed relief. These include:

·         Applying a cold, wet cloth or ice pack to the itchy area for five to 10 minutes or until the itch subsides

·         Take an oatmeal bath

·         Use skin moisturizers that contain no additives, fragrances or perfumes

·         Apply topical anesthetics that contain pramoxine

·         Apply cooling agents such as menthol or calamine, or refrigerate your moisturizer to help achieve this cooling effect

In addition to these tips for quick relief, here are some great ways to keep your skin happy, healthy and itch-free:

·         Bathe in lukewarm, not hot, water

·         Limit baths or showers to 10 minutes

·         Use fragrance-free lotions, soaps and detergents

·         Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothes

·         Keep your home relatively cool with neutral humidity; and use a humidifier in winter if you are prone to dry skin or eczema

Comfort is just around the corner.

Most people have more than one reason to scratch. Whether it’s an allergy, a bug bite or something more serious, that annoying itch would drive just about anyone crazy. That’s why the experts of ChoiceOne Urgent Care are available seven days a week; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., so you get comprehensive care exactly when you need it. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Can You Really Get Hepatitis C From That?

Chances are you haven’t given much thought to hepatitis. That is, until recently. Whether its new information about vaccines for hepatitis A and B or the push to get baby boomers screened for hepatitis C, its spiked the interest of many. But these may not be the only reasons hepatitis has become a blast from the past.

In fact, experts have found that new hepatitis C infections in the US have nearly tripled over five years, reaching a 15-year high. What’s even more concerning, though, is that nearly half of all people with the liver infection don’t know it.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, the best place to start is with the common ways you can get hepatitis C. And by steering clear of these, you’re reducing your risk of contracting it.

5 Surprising Sources Of Hepatitis:

   1. Nail Salons. When you step into a nail salon, your focus is on relaxation and feeling pampered, but some of the common instruments that are used may be harboring unexpected germs. Experts warn that nail files, drills, finger bowls, foot basins and buffers may be to blame. If they’re not properly cleaned and disinfected, you may unknowingly be exposed to someone else’s blood and/or germs.

   2. Barber Shops. While traditional barber shops may be a dying breed, those that enjoy getting an old-fashioned shave with a straight razor should take note. Similar to tools used at nail salons, researchers have found that hepatitis C can be transmitted by straight razors; in some cases, even if they’ve been cleaned.

   3. Toothbrushes and other hygiene items. It may not be too surprising to learn that toothbrushes, along with other personal hygiene items can be hotbeds for germs—100 million different types—which can include hepatitis C. Avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors or other personal items that may have trace amounts of blood on them.

   4. Tattoo parlors. Once again, the importance of proper sterilization and cleaning becomes clear. When tattoo artists reuse equipment before cleaning it, use unsterilized needles or don’t wear latex gloves, you could be at risk. This is especially true considering your skin is being pierced by a needle and bleeding is expected.

   5. Between the sheets. As a virus, hepatitis C is primarily transmitted through blood, but in rare cases, it can be contracted through bodily fluids, like semen. Sex can also result in broken skin or bleeding, which may increase your risk of exposure. Using barrier protection is your best defense.

Expert help for hepatitis. In addition to knowing some of the common sources of hepatitis C, it’s also important to know how to spot some of the most common symptoms. These include:

Flulike problems (fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sore muscles and joints)

Tenderness in the upper right abdomen

Jaundice (yellowing skin)

Swelling in the belly

Itching

Dark urine

If you notice any of these symptoms, or believe you may be at risk for hepatitis C, make sure to work with your primary care provider. With a dedicated team of experts, the latest in diagnostics and treatment options and an extensive array of resources, Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care is prepared to help. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is It More Than Just An Upset Stomach?

We’ve all had an upset stomach from time to time. And while it’s anything but comfortable, it isn’t usually anything beyond typical tummy troubles. But when sporadic digestive issues evolve into constant belly pain, diarrhea and unexplained weight loss, it may be sign of inflammatory bowel disease—or IBD. On top of that, the latest data shows this chronic disorder is afflicting more people than ever before.

Since 1999, the number of U.S. adults with IBD has close to doubled. In a recent study, researchers from the CDC found that 3.1 million adults now struggle with the disease. They based this finding on data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

What exactly is IBD?

IBD is an umbrella term. It refers to a number of conditions that cause swelling, redness and damage to the intestines. It’s also important to note that IBD is a type of autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks itself, causing parts of the digestive tract to become swollen and inflamed. As a result, the body can’t absorb nutrients or water as it should.

Two of the most common are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The former mostly harms the large intestine. Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, can spread throughout the whole digestive tract.  

IBD vs. IBS: What’s the difference?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may sound like similar conditions. They may even share some symptoms, like diarrhea and stomach pain. But IBD and IBS are very different.

IBD is a chronic condition that damages the digestive tract over time. IBS may last for months to years, but it doesn’t cause lasting injury to the body.

What are the symptoms of IBD?
The symptoms of IBD can be quite debilitating. Some people with it even suffer from anxiety and depression. Physical symptoms may include:

Constant stomach pain

Diarrhea, which may sometimes be bloody

Weight loss

Lack of appetite

Rectal bleeding

Joint pain


These symptoms tend to come and go. Medicines may help prevent flare-ups. You may also be able to ease symptoms by curbing stress and not eating certain foods, such as those that are spicy and fried.

What causes IBD?

Genetics and a family history of the disease increase the likelihood of developing it. For those with an increased risk, environmental factors like smoking, using antibiotics at a young age, not being breastfed, having low levels of vitamin D and eating lots of red meat and sugar-filled foods can trigger it.

Identifying digestive destroyers

There’s no doubt about it, stomach issues can be some of the worst to deal with. So instead of battling symptoms on your own, seek the help of an expert who can help tame your tummy troubles.

By working with the experts of Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care, you’ll receive comprehensive care that starts with pinpointing the cause of your digestive difficulties and ensures effective treatment. GMG Primary Care makes personalized care easy to digest. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

6 Health Lessons We Can Learn From Sharks

Shark-lovers everywhere can rejoice as Discovery channel’s annual Shark Week returns again. While this infamous week focuses more on the cool, shocking facts about sharks, like the fact that the whale shark is a whopping 40-feet long, or that the gestation period for the spiny dogfish shark is two years—yes, two years—there’s a lot more to sharks that meets the eye.

As some of the ocean’s top predators, the lifestyle of a shark demands that they keep themselves in tip-top shape from head to tail. So, despite the many differences between sharks and humans, when it comes to health, there may be a thing or two we could learn from them.

Eat a diet full of seafood

To a shark, a balanced diet of seafood may include everything from fish and squid to sea lions and other sharks. But for humans, sticking to a variety of fish and mollusks, such as mussels, clams and scallops, are ideal.

The nutritious benefits of fresh seafood are plentiful. With vitamins and minerals like omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and B-complex vitamins, a diet rich in fresh seafood promotes the health of your heart, joints, eyes, skin, mind and immune system. With eating so much seafood, it’s no wonder sharks have such tough, healthy skin.

Get plenty of exercise

If the idea of swimming between 30 and 50 miles a day sounds like too much, then you’re definitely not a shark. And while we may not be able to keep up with sharks, their lifestyle is a great reminder that an active lifestyle is crucial for overall health.

Keep it simple, though. Exercise doesn’t always have to be vigorous or intense to get the health perks. At minimum, stick to exercising at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. Explore different types of exercise, so you don’t get boredin doing the same old thing. And if you’re feeling low on energy, think like a shark and grab a nutrient-rich snack.

Stay regular

This may not be something you’ve thought much about, but as some of the largest sea creatures out there, sharks often have the bowel movements to match. Regardless of size, though, sharks are efficient food converters who stay regular.

Similar to sharks, the regularity and bowel movements of humans can say a lot about overall health. For instance, it may indicate that your diet could be healthier, or that you have an underlying health condition. On top of that, it’s not healthy to fight the urge you have to go to the bathroom. So the next time you feel like you have to go, be more like a shark and let it flow.

Find your school

The social nature of sharks varies from completely solitary to forming schools with other sharks. For instance, Hammerhead sharks form schools around islands during mating season. Even as vicious predators, sharks show that having a social network can be beneficial.

The same goes for humans. Having social support is important for mental health, stress relief, physical healthand illness prevention. So don’t be a lone shark, go out and find your school.

Cavity-proof your teeth

Did you know that a shark’s teeth are not only sharp; they’re also cavity-resistant? That’s right; their teeth are covered in fluoride making them resistant to bacteria and acid. While humans aren’t quite that lucky, we could take a note on the importance of dental health.

It is recommended that you brush at least twice a day and after meals. Typically, it should take between 2 and 3 minutes to thoroughly clean your teeth. Don’t forget to floss, too. While dental health may seem like a nuisance at times, remember, great white sharks have 300 teeth and humans have only 32, so there’s no excuse.

Embrace your unique qualities

Shark species are about as diverse as it comes. From the glowing spines of the velvet belly lantern sharks to a 400-year-old Greenland shark living in the Arctic Ocean, sharks come in all shapes and sizes, not unlike humans.

Because we are all unique, shouldn’t our health care be unique, too? With the trusted providers of Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care, you will receive customized care tailored to fit your needs. With convenient locations, up-to-date technology and the latest treatment options, GMGhas all you need to just keep swimming. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Your Guide For All Things Back-To-School

This time of year, nearly every parent starts feeling mildly overwhelmed as the back-to-school rush starts. Between school-supply shopping, scheduling routine wellness exams and picking out a wardrobe for the school year, there almost too many things to keep track of.

So, to help you navigate this hectic time, here are key ways to make this the best school year yet—not just for your child, but for you, too. Howard Ellis, MD, a pediatrician with Gwinnett Medical Group's Mason Pediatrics, offers expert tips to help you conquer this school year like a pro!

Early to bed, early to rise.

Summertime and sleep routinesdon’t usually go together. However, to help children and teens adjust to the earlier wake-up times that school demands, start making slight changes to their sleep schedule.

About two to three weeks before school begins, start moving their bedtime back by 15 minutes each night and waking them 15 minutes earlier each morning until the desired waking time is reached. Keep in mind that school aged children need nine to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need more like eight to 10 hours.

Dress for success.

While your student may think that picking out the most stylish clothes should be the top priority, it’s important to not overlook things like backpacks and shoes. Surprisingly, these two things can have a big impact on the health and comfort of your child.

When it comes to picking out backpacks, focus on shoulder straps. Make sure that they are durable and will evenly distribute weight across your child’s back. Between their textbooks and electronic gear, backpacks can easily weigh your child down.

As far as shoes go, it can be tricky to find a pair that can keep up with your child’s growing feet. If shoesdon’t fit well, this can irritate their feet and lead to a number of issues, like bunions, corns, hammer toesand pain.

When picking out shoes, remember, your child should be able to wiggle their toes freely inside the shoe and shoes should be slightly loose so that as feet swell throughout the day, they don’t feel too tight.

Keep it delicious—and nutritious.

Despite your best intentions in trying to keep your child’s diet balanced and healthy, it’s often easier said than done. Ideally, children should be eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

So what’s the secret to getting your child to eat all of these different foods? Let them pick it out. Instead of taking them to the store with you, which can be notoriously dangerous with endless unhealthy options, give them a list of choices in each of these healthy food groups and let them select their favorites. This is a great technique to use for both breakfastand lunch.

Arrive in style.

Surprisingly, recent studies have shown that riding the bus is 13 times safer than riding in the family vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. While school busesare designed with safety in mind, keep these tips in mind:

While waiting for the bus, make sure your child stays away from traffic, alleys or onto private property.

Make sure they avoid roughhousing or other distracting behavior—like playing with toys, or if they’re older, looking at their cellphone.

When on the bus, remind your child that they should stay in their seat, keep aisles clear and don’t make loud noises that could distract the driver. Also, make sure they don’t put their head, arms or hands out the windows.

If you plan to drive your child to school, utilize the National Safety Council’s safety tips.

Confidence is key.

Self-esteemand confidence may not be an issue for younger children, but for older ones, middle school and high school students, self-image can take quite a hit. There are a number of factors that can contribute to self-doubt at this age, but the good news is, there are simple ways you can give them a much needed confidence boost.

While your child may go through a bit of a learning curve when it comes to curfew or other rules at home and school, focus on what they do right instead of wrong. Praise their good choices and things done well.

Seek your child’s opinions, and include them in family decisions.

This is a time for self-discovery, so encourage your child to find their strengths and things they enjoy doing. Whether that’s participating in sports, drama club or art programs, there is no shortage of options.

Support your child’s efforts to make friends. Help them stay socially involved and offer to organize get-togethers as desired.

Your child + GMG Primary Care = A healthy school year.

With a never-ending list of things to do before the start of the school year, let Gwinnett MedicalGroup Primary Care take care of all things health. At Mason Pediatrics, a GMG Practice, your child will receive customized care that grows with their needs.

Whether it’s a physical for sports, recommended vaccines, treatment for a stomach bug or well-child care, the dedicated team at Mason Pediatrics will utilize the latest treatment options to effectively care for all of your child’s unique health needs. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Should You Be Bathing Your Child Daily?

Here's welcome news for parents tired of forcing their kids to take a daily bath: Children may not need to bathe every day after all. While it varies from child to child, most children only need a bath a few times a week. Of course, this depends on their activity level, as well as their environment.

Not only is daily bathing not a necessity, it may actually be beneficial for their overall health. Here are the benefits to skipping your child’s daily bathing ritual:

They’re exposed to bacteria.  When kids are exposed to germs their bodies learn how to effectively fight off bad bacteria. Your child’s skin also has useful bacteria that protects their skin from toxins.

They’re skin and hair stays hydrated. While warm baths may be enjoyable for children of all ages, it’s actually stripping beneficial, natural oils from their skin and hair. This is especially important to remember if your child has sensitive skin or conditions like eczema.

They avoid irritants. While that soap and shampoo may smell good, it may not be so gentle for skin. Some ingredients can agitate fragile skin. Furthermore, wiping them down after their bath may only further aggravate their skin. It’s best to embrace the birthday-suit drying method.

So, if not every day, how often should kids be bathing?

For babies and toddlers, it is recommended that they get a bath at least 3 times a week. Of course this may vary based on their activity level for that particular day. For instance, a flu bug, messy playtime outdoors or a sweaty, hot afternoon are all cause for a bath.

For children aged 6 to 11, it is recommended that they get 2 to 3 baths a week. Keep in mind, though, that these baths don’t always need to include all the typical steps of hair washing and conditioning; focus on cleaning the essential areas.

Once kids hit puberty, they should start taking a shower every day. It's a good idea for them to shampoo their hair every day or every other day and to wash their faces twice a day to get rid of dirt and oil. At this age, your child doesn’t necessarily need to use conditioner, but when applied to the ends of hair—not the scalp—it can help prevent tangled hair.

While these guidelines work well for most children, every child is different. To ensure the overall health of your child, it’s important to work with your doctor to establish healthy routines and address any concerns. With experienced and knowledgeable providers, up-to-date treatment options and extensive resources, Mason Pediatrics offers comprehensive care that will grow with your child. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Stop Sabotaging Your Exercise Routine

Exercising isn’t always easy. Whether it’s a full schedule, a lack of motivation or feeling tight on time, there’s no shortage of exercise barriers. With all of that said, though, there is no doubt that the benefits of exercise far outweigh any of the obstacles.

Making time for routine activity is only half the battle. To ensure that your body is reaping all the health benefits that exercise has to offer, make sure you aren’t making these common mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Not keeping an exercise chart or journal. A record tells you how far you've come and when it's time to go to the next level. Noting improvements in your heart rate will also provide motivation. Check it 15 to 60 minutes after exercising -- you'll see a decrease in this number as your heart gets stronger.

Mistake No. 2: Not writing down goals. Studies show that people who chart short- and long-term goals accomplish more of them.

Mistake No. 3: Strength-training the same muscles on consecutive days. This prevents proper recovery and growth. Allow one to two days before working the same muscle groups.

Mistake No. 4: Holding your breath. Proper breathing is almost as important as proper form. Exhale as you lift, and inhale as you lower.

Mistake No. 5: Not eating enough protein. To lose weight and tone up, your plan should include cardio, strength training and a lower-calorie diet that's high in protein -- about three-quarters of a gram per pound of your ideal body weight. More protein enhances the effects of exercise and decreases fat without muscle loss.

Mistake No. 6: Being distracted during workouts. Reading or watching a complex TV show can actually slow your pace. Instead, listen to energetic music or try a sitcom (just be sure to place the screen at eye level for better performance).

Mistake No. 7: Ignoring flexibility and balance training, especially before exercising. Both are key to overall fitness.

Mistake No. 8: Not asking for help when you need it. Seeking the help of a personal trainer is a great way to achieve your fitness goals as quickly and safely as possible. These experts can design an exercise program to meet your fitness goals, keep you motivated and adapt your training as you progress.

Mistake No. 9: Eating the wrong foods at the wrong time. If you’re a morning exerciser, eat a post-workout meal with protein and healthy carbs, such as an egg and whole wheat toast or oatmeal with berries.

If you're an evening exerciser, schedule a healthy lunch about four hours prior. Eat a healthy carb, such as fruit, about 30 minutes before your workout.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Simple Steps To Beat Blisters For Good

Blisters, also known as painful nuisances, seem to have a knack for showing up at the worst possible time. Whether it’s a painful blister between your toes, or a large blister on your heal, we’ve all experienced one at some point.  

Because blisters can be tricky to treat, experts recommend prevention as your best defense. However, there are many misconceptions when it comes to keeping blisters at bay. For instance, you may believe that cotton socks and powders are good deterrents or that you can only get blisters on your feet, but this isn’t the case.  

Remember, a happy body is a blister-free body. Try putting these simple tips to use—your body will thank you.

Wear socks. Try nylon and moisture-wicking socks, and throw on an extra pair of socks if one doesn't do the trick. Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose to prevent friction.

Avoid cotton. When you're active, wear moisture-wicking, loose-fitting clothes. Beware of cotton clothes, they can cause friction as they soak up sweat and moisture.

P-R-O-T-E-C-T.Soft bandages, such as adhesive moleskin, can protect vulnerable areas like the feet and thighs. Apply them securely to avoid more problems. You can also try using petroleum jelly to prevent friction.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain or your skin gets red, stop!

If the damage is already done and you’re trying to get your blister to heal as quickly and safely as possible, remember to do the following:

Be patient. Most blisters heal on their own in one to two weeks. In the meantime, don't resume the activity that caused your blister until it's healed.

Stay covered. Utilize a bandage to loosely cover the blister. Also consider padding to protect blisters in places like the bottom of your foot. Cut padding into a donut shape and place it around the blister.

Keep away. Do not pop or drain the blister unless it’s large and painful. If you must drain it, use a small needle sterilized with rubbing alcohol to pierce the edge of the blister, not the top.

Keep it clean. After draining your blister, wash it with soap and cover it with petroleum jelly.

Be safe. If you notice any redness, pus, or increased pain or swelling, make an appointment to see your primary care provider. With convenient locations, an experienced team of providers and a wide-array of services, Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care can effectively care for all of your summer health needs, blisters included. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Q+A: 7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Cervical Cancer

Despite the staggering statistic that nearly 4,000 American women die from cervical cancer each year, little is known about this disease. Now that’s the bad news, but here’s the good news: if found early, cervical cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer. Furthermore, there are several ways you can prevent cervical cancer all together.

To keep you and your cervix healthy, let’s take a closer look at these 7 need-to-know facts.

Q: Where is the cervix and what does it do?

A: The cervix connects the vagina and uterus. As a part of the female reproductive system, the cervix plays an important role in childbirth as well as menstruation.

Q: What makes cervical cancer so deadly?

A:Because cervical cancer may remain in the early stages for 2 or more years, it often causes no symptoms. And by the time symptoms develop, the cancer has likely already become advanced. Even then, symptoms can still be easy to miss. However, if you notice irregular menstrual bleeding, pain in the pelvis, pain during sex or abnormal discharge, it’s important to see your doctor.

 Q: What are the risk factors for cervical cancer?

A:It isn’t just sexual behaviors that up your cervical cancer risk. There are a number of lifestyle factors that can impact a woman’s risk, too. For instance, smoking can significantly increase the risk for cervical cancer. In fact, it is estimated that women who smoke are about twice as likely as nonsmokers to get cervical cancer.

Another factor is the virus that causes AIDS. Because this virus damages the body's immune system and puts women at a higher risk for HPV infections, they are also have an elevated risk for cervical cancer.

Experts also note that eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables, being overweight, using oral contraceptives long term or having 3 or more full-term pregnancies can all increase cervical cancer risk.

Q: Does HPV really increase your cervical cancer risk?

A: Yes. Actually experts warn that HPV is the number one risk factor for cervical cancer. Surprisingly, it is believed that HPV will cause nearly 100% of the 13,000 cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. this year.

There isn’t just one kind of HPV, though. In fact, HPV is actually the name of a group of more than 150 different viruses. Typically, these viruses cause warts (papillomas) on various parts of the body, depending on the strain. While not all HPV strains cause cancer, there are some that lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus and throat.

Q: Are there tests for cervical cancer and HPV?

A: The best test to screen for cervical cancer is the Pap test. This test looks for any changes in the cells of the cervix that may be caused by an infection. The Pap test is also effective at finding abnormal cellsthat are cancerous or may progress into cancer. 

When it comes to screening for HPV, it’s just as simple and painless as the Pap test. During your routine Pap, request that your doctor run a HPV co-test to rule out all strains of the virus.

Q: When is it important to get these tests?

A: It is best to work with your doctor to determine the regularity of getting routine Pap tests and HPV co-tests. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend starting these tests at age 21 and continuing to get them every one to three years. And while most cervical cancer cases are found in women under age 50, more than 10% are actually found in women over 65.

Q: What should you do to prevent cervical cancer?

A: There are a number of simple, everyday changes you can make to reduce your overall cervical cancer risk. Everything from not smokingand eating a balanced diet, to having safe sex and maintaining a healthy weight can minimize your risk. But there is no substitute for working with your doctor. By having routine screenings and evaluating your risk factors, you are utilizing the best defense possible.

Q: What are the treatment options for cervical cancer?

A: The best treatment for cervical cancer depends on your unique health history and needs. The experts at Gwinnett Medical Center’s Cancer Institute will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. With an experienced team of specialists, the latest in care options and extensive resources, you will receive comprehensive, whole-person care that ensures the best possible outcome. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

6 Surprising Things You Need To Know About Sleep

It’s Monday morning and you’re already feeling exhausted, but it’s only the beginning of the week. It’s hard to know if your drowsiness is due to a long weekend, a bad night’s sleep or the typical Monday morning blues.

By now you’ve likely heard a lot about how much sleep you need—typically 7 to 8 hours for adults. It's not just the quantity, the quality of your sleep matters, too. 

So what exactly is a good night’s rest? What impacts how well you sleep? And how does a lack of sleep affect your body and mind? Here are answers to some of the most common sleep related questions:

1.    What is considered solid shuteye? Well...

It takes you no more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

You don’t wake up more than once in a night.

If you do wake up, it takes you no more than 20 minutes to fall back asleep.

When you are in bed, you spend more than 85% of your time sleeping.

2.    Does what you eat impact how well you sleep? Yes.

Eating too much saturated fat and too little fiber can affect how well you sleep.

Consuming too much sugar can make it more likely that you'll wake up in the middle of the night.

Avoiding food and drinks that are spicy, greasy, sugary or alcoholic can reduce your risk of sleep-interrupting heartburn.

Getting more B vitamin-rich foods, such as dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish, can regulate melatonin and help stabilize your sleep.

3.    Could allergies be keeping you up at night? Potentially.

Allergies can trigger headaches, sniffles and general discomfort preventing you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Keep these tips in mind:

If you're allergic to pets, bathe them weekly and keep them out of the bedroom. 

Use dust mite covers on your mattress and pillows, and wash sheets regularly in hot water. Opt for blankets made of synthetic materials, not wool.

Limit mold by keeping windows open in the bathroom. Fix leaks and clean up water promptly. If you do have a moldy area, hire a professional to clean it.

Skip candles, scented laundry detergent, air fresheners and other heavy fragrances in your bedroom.

Clean furnace, air conditioner and vacuum filters regularly.

   4.  What should you do to fall back asleep? Try this.

Remember, quality over quantity. So the next time a child, a strange noise or insomnia wakes you up at night, get back to sound snoozing with these tips:

Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises.

Watching the clock, may worsen anxiety, so don't do it. Turn it away from you and close your eyes.

Calm your mind by thinking about the good things that happened to you that day. 

If you still can't sleep after 20 minutes, go to another room and do something relaxing. Skip the TV and phone. Try listening to music or reading a book, and remember to keep lighting dim.

5.    Does how you wake up matter? You can make it more fun.

The right alarm clock can make the difference. When choosing one, keep these thoughts in mind:

Think functional, not looks. Make sure the buttons are easy to find when you're groggy first thing in the morning.

Skip those that emit bright blue light that can interfere with sleep. Opt for one that uses softer amber, orange or red to help you sleep more soundly.

Avoid harsh alarm tones. Choose one that eases you into the day with a sound that you enjoy, whether that's the news, your favorite music or nature sounds. Consider one that gradually increases the volume to gently rouse you.

Look for fun features that make sure you won't oversleep: a light that turns on slowly at the time you should wake or a vibration setting to help wake you.

6.    Does a lack of sleep really affect your entire body? Absolutely.

While it may be tough to get everything checked off of your daily to-do list, you shouldn’t compromise on sleep. Giving up sleep to get more done may do more harm than good. A lack of sleep can impact you from head to toe, causing everything from:

Reduced cognitive function, making it more difficult to remember, focus, learn new things, solve problems and make decisions.

Increased stress reaction.

Irritability and moodiness.

Reduced reaction time, affecting school or work performance and raising your risk of a car accident.

Increased risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Increased susceptibility to illness.

Wondering how you can sleep better?

Sleeping well in today’s demanding, fast-paced society can be a challenge to say the least. However, for your overall health and wellbeing, it’s well worth the effort. If you’re struggling to sleep soundly, Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care is prepared to help. With an experienced team of providers, the latest in care options and a wide range of resources, you will receive customized care for all of your sleep related needs.