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How to stay healthy while fasting

With the Muslim observance of Ramadan beginning this Saturday, Health Talk thought it’d be a great time to address best practices for staying safe and healthy during periods of fasting.

For health tips to follow during the next month’s sunup to sundown abstinence from food, Health Talk turned to Community-University Health Care Center medical director Roli Dwivedi, M.D. Not only does Dwivedi educate fellow health care professionals in care modifications for Ramadan, she also sees Ramadan-observing patients in clinic.

Here’s what Dwivedi had to say:

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research-and-clinical-trials

Alarming number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggle accessing enough food

As many as 1 in 4 men and women who served in the U.S. military during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have difficulties accessing sufficient food, found new research from the University of Minnesota.

The study indicates limited or uncertain access to adequate food is a prevalent problem among the newest U.S. veterans, a previously unknown facet of the financial hardships affecting veterans.

“We found that 27 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have consistent access to sufficient food,” said lead author Rachel Widome, Ph.D., in University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “That’s drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.”

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research-and-clinical-trials

Sleepless night? Try essential oils.

A recent University of Minnesota review investigated the effects of a few deep breaths of an essential oil while drifting off to sleep. The review concluded the inhalation of essential oils is a worthwhile option to explore after a night or two of restless sleep.

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expert-perspectives

How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

The answer to the question, “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?” has been the proverbial unicorn or Bigfoot for many parents, probably for many centuries: easy to imagine but much harder to find.

And while parents search for the magic formula to get their little bundles of joy to finally sleep through the night, Health Talk is here to offer five tips and suggestions from our resident sleep expert, Michael Howell, M.D.

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expert-perspectives

Make the most out of Daylight Saving Time

This weekend, we spring ahead and lose an hour of sleep as part of Daylight Saving Time. For many people, this may create some problems only because they forgot to set their clock ahead before going to bed.

For those who tend to be night owls, shift workers, or who have sleep disorders, it can be more problematic. The additional loss of precious sleep can be a more substantial problem. When we are sleepy, we often don’t perform as well at work and are more likely to make mistakes and have car accidents.

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expert-perspectives

Sleep key component to athletic performance

The world’s best athletes are descending upon Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Every elite athlete looks for an edge against their competitors to improve their athletic performance but what if the answer was as simple as getting more sleep?

According to Michael Howell, M.D., a sleep expert within the Department of Neurology, that’s precisely what elite athletes excel at.

“The best athletes I’ve ever met are extremely good sleepers,” said Howell. “Although you may not think your brain is doing much during sleep, your brain is putting connections together and it is amplifying circuits that are important.”

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