• By Laurel Kelly

Housecall: Understanding over-the-counter sleep aids

November 11, 2019
a close-up of an alarm clock reading 3 o'clock, with a wide awake woman lying on a pillow in the background, out of focus, suffering from insomnia

THIS WEEK'S TOP TOPICS
Over-the-counter sleep aids
You've followed the usual tips for getting enough sleep — sleeping on a regular schedule, avoiding caffeine and daytime naps, exercising regularly, avoiding lighted screens before bed, and managing stress. Still, a good night's sleep remains elusive. Is it time for an over-the-counter sleep aid? They can be effective for an occasional sleepless night. There are a few caveats, however. Here's what you need to know if you're considering an over-the-counter medication to help you sleep.

Fitness: 7 tips for staying motivated
Fitness is important for your physical and mental well-being. But many people start fitness programs and then stop when they get bored, don't enjoy it or the results come too slowly. From setting goals and keeping it fun to rewarding yourself, here are seven tips to help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals.

EXPERT ANSWERS
What is 'hot yoga?'
"Hot yoga" is a vigorous form of yoga performed in a warm and humid studio. There are many types of hot yoga classes, and researchers continue to study the pros and cons of hot yoga, including its effects on body fat and heart health. Hot yoga is not for everyone, though. The intensity of the workout and the hot temperatures could cause heat-related illness. Learn more from Dr. Edward Laskowski, a Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.

Will taking zinc make my colds go away faster?
There's been a lot of interest in taking zinc for colds since a 1984 study showed that zinc supplements kept people from getting as sick. Since then, research has turned up mixed results about zinc and colds. Learn more from Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Dupuytren's contracture
Retinal detachment
MRSA infection
Living-donor liver transplant

HEALTHY RECIPES
Tofu with hoisin and baby bok choy
Chicken salad with Thai flavors
Five-spice pork medallions
Sichuan broccoli and cauliflower

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Lower your risk of breast cancer
Research shows that lifestyle changes can lower your risk of breast cancer, even if you're at high risk. To lower your risk:

  1. Limit alcohol. Even small amounts increase your risk.
  2. Don't smoke.
  3. Be physically active.
  4. Control your weight. Being overweight increases your risk. This is especially true if obesity occurs after menopause.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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