A nightcap may be nice, but is likely to lead to a fragmented night’s rest.
While it is true that booze acts as a sedative, it also disrupts dreams and shakes up the sleep cycle. It reduces time spent in the stage of sleep understood to be the most restorative, the rapid eye movement, or REM, phase. Prolonged use can cause insomnia, sleep apnoea and snoring.
These are the findings of the London Sleep Centre, which has published a review of all known studies on the effect of alcoholic beverages on sleep in healthy volunteers.
Alcohol: a sleep disruptor
”At all dosages, alcohol causes a reduction in sleep onset latency, a more consolidated first half sleep and an increase in sleep disruption in the second half of sleep,” the authors said in the latest issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Lead researcher on the review, Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, told the BBC people should be cautious about using the bottle to send themselves to sleep.
”One or two glasses might be nice in the short term, but if you continue to use a tipple before bedtime it can cause significant problems,” he said. ”If you do have a drink, it’s best to leave an hour-and-a-half to two hours before going to bed so the alcohol is already wearing off.
READ MORE: 21 Best Self-Care Gifts For Her That Go Way Beyond Face Masks
It can also mess with your breathing
”With increasing doses, alcohol suppresses our breathing. It can turn non-snorers into snorers and snorers into people with sleep apnoea – where the breathing’s interrupted.”
Professor Peter Cistulli, the head of sleep medicine at the University of Sydney and director of the Sleep Health Foundation, says there are three reasons for this.
First, alcohol is a muscle relaxant so the throat muscles become vulnerable. Second, the additives in some forms of alcohol, particularly red wine, cause nasal congestion. This means people are more likely to breathe through their mouths and therefore more likely to snore and more prone to sleep apnoea. Third, ”alcohol numbs the brain [so, if for instance] the throat collapses and there is alcohol on board, recognition of that problem is delayed”.
READ MORE: Mindful Drinking: How More And More People Are Becoming ‘Sober Curious’
Booze can mess with deep sleep
From the hundreds of studies assessed by the London Sleep Centre, the most significant finding was the effect of alcohol on REM sleep. This is because the body does not slip into the deeper dreaming sleep state until it has metabolised the alcohol.
”The onset of the first REM sleep period is significantly delayed at all doses and appears to be the most recognisable effect of alcohol on REM sleep followed by the reduction in total night REM sleep,” the researchers said.
REM sleep is still not fully understood, but it is seen as necessary for survival. Reduced REM can also lead to people feeling more fatigued the next day. One British study found almost half of the 2000 drinkers surveyed acknowledged increased tiredness after a drinking session, but 58 per cent did not realise alcohol was the reason. Cistulli said a greater awareness of the effect of alcohol on sleep means people are more able to address sleeping issues.
”Alcohol is a chemical and the brain is a soup of chemicals,” he said. ”Alcohol gets in there and mucks up the soup that is relevant to sleep.”
However, he said the London Sleep Centre review is based on generalisations and ”there are clearly individual variations”. The findings are of most benefit to people who have trouble sleeping and aren’t aware of the impact alcohol is having, Cistulli said. ”Once they start to understand the link, they can start to modify their behaviour.”
Courtesy of Stuff
READ MORE: How To Do The Festive Season Sober, Plus The 14 Best Alcohol-Free Drinks More
A nightcap may be nice, but is likely to lead to a fragmented night’s rest.
Well-known Stellenbosch-based triathlete Vicky van der Merwe is on the comeback after a break after her son was born. She will be competing at the Woolworths X TRI off-road triathlon in Elgin on Saturday 4 December.
Vicky van der Merwe: having it all as an elite triathlete and a mom
Top triathlete Vicky van der Merwe is also a business owner at Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad (STS), where she is a coach and race organiser, and in the last two years she has added wife and mother to her roles. The 32-year-old athlete is a familiar face on podiums across the country and internationally, and she is now focused on her return to competitive racing in short-course triathlon since the birth of her son Adriaan in February 2021.
She says being both a mom and an elite athlete has given her a new perspective: “The amazing thing is you have to make every session count as every opportunity to train is time away from the family. You have to be so intentional with your time. I love it. I always knew that I would return to racing, but I did not have a clear plan. It was my first pregnancy and I had planned a natural birth, and then I had to have an emergency c-section at 37 weeks – you really can’t plan these things!”
READ MORE: Boxing Inspired Workout: 8 Moves That Will Help You Get a Knockout Body RN!
“I threw myself in the deep end with training four or five weeks after Adriaan’s birth, and started slowly building up.”
Three months later she went to Africa Champs, claiming fifth place despite not having a great race. She feels optimistic about re-establishing her place as one of the top female South African triathletes. Since returning to competition with the 2021 Africa Champs, she has won the Walker Bay Xtreme Big 6, the Torpedo SwimRun (she holds the record), the Caveman Triathlon, the African X Trail Run, and recently the 2022 Cape Town Triathlon.
Vicky at the CT Triathlon 2022
READ MORE: “I Travel Solo Even Though I Have Anxiety — This Is How I Cope”
Vicky says she loves racing and has a few more years of competitive racing ahead. Her immediate focus is on the Woolworths X TRI the off-road triathlon on 4 December at Paul Cluver Family Wines Wines in Elgin. This race is a bit more about the fun, but a challenging event nonetheless if you are taking on the full triathlon.
“I find mixing it up a bit with off-road triathlon is so good for me as an athlete, and the WW X TRI is perfect for triathletes like myself looking to cross-train and test themselves in different disciplines. I will for sure be looking to stand on the top step of the podium, but this event really hits the mark for family fun as well, with a Lite event plus fun trail runs and a shorter walk.”
When asked if her goal is to qualify for the Paris Olympics, she is hesitant to confirm: “You obviously have to be in the top two or three in the country and we have some very strong women athletes. Because I’ve been out of it for so long, I have set myself small goals, with SA Champs being my next big one in March next year.”
With some confusion for the layperson about what constitutes a triathlon, Vicky sums it up, “Triathlon is any race involving a swim, a cycle and a run. There is off-road triathlon where the Xterra World Championships is the highest honours, then Ironman, full and half, that are more focused on endurance, and the World Championship held in Kona in Hawaii is the big goal. Then there is the Olympic Triathlon which is my discipline, and I prefer the sprint or short-course which is a 750m swim, 20 km cycle and 5km run. Standard Olympic Triathlon distances are 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bicycle ride and a 10 km run.”
READ MORE: What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Working Out?
As someone who was National and African Junior Triathlon champ when in high school, Vicky has triathlon in her veins, and beneath the fun and bubbly personality is a fierce competitor who juggles being a wife and mom, a businessperson, a coach and an athlete.
Get to Paul Cluver Family Wines in Elgin on 4 December for the WW X TRI to catch Vicky in action and support the work of the Woolworths Trust, the beneficiary of all proceeds from the event. For more information and to enter visit www.wwxtri.co.za More
Here’s a little something to ponder… When it comes to insurance, most people seem more comfortable splurging on entertainment, clothing and food than they are on lifestyle protection policies such as dread disease cover. Often the thinking is that: “it will never happen to me?” or “I still have time.” However, life-altering illnesses such as cancer, a stroke or heart attack often require that one take time off from regular programming to fully recover.
This was the case for Kim Gillot, who was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at 32 – without any family history at all. “I discovered a lump after bumping myself in the shower and ignored it as most women do because we often don’t want to be inconvenienced by these things,” recalls Kim. A week and a half later, she consulted a doctor for food poisoning and insisted on a by-the-way breast exam. When the doctor couldn’t pick up the lump via a physical examination, Kim listened to her intuition and insisted on a mammogram. The mammogram results showed an abnormality. Next was a biopsy. “I remember receiving a call on 25 February 2017 confirming that I had aggressive stage 2 hormone-positive breast cancer. My cancer was both oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and progesterone receptor-positive (PR+),” shares Kim. She had the tumour removed within a week of her final biopsy and adds that getting the surgery out the way so soon was what ultimately spared her from the aggressive cancer.
Kim received her payout from her Old Mutual Illness insurance policy shortly after the lumpectomy. “The money was a huge godsend,” she says. At age 20, Kim recalls seeing her father work relentlessly to pay her mother’s medical bills after she’d suffered a stroke. This, along with a 2016 smash and grab incident, made her realise just how underinsured she was, leading her to take out the Old Mutual lllness insurance amongst other policies.
Peace Of Mind
When experiencing something as all-consuming as cancer, it’s a cycle of medical tests, treatments and recovery. After three harrowing rounds of chemotherapy, doctors switched Kim to aggressive radiation, which she did five days a week for seven weeks. “It was tiring and painful,” she recalls. This was followed by hormone-therapy implants for the next 18 months to subdue her oestrogen levels. The therapy introduced a new dynamic – chemically induced menopause as a side effect! In November 2019, instead of continuing on the hormone therapy, Kim opted for a hysterectomy – something she says left her broken, with a lot of unanswered questions.
For Kim, who was placed on temporary disability leave at work, the Old Mutual Illness insurance payout took away the overwhelming financial burden of the upfront medical payments and shortfalls. “Even though my Old Mutual financial adviser is based in Cape Town, I have telephonic access to financial advice at all times. I really appreciate how each adviser that I spoke to gave me really good counsel in investing and growing the money to sustain myself,” enthuses Kim.
Kim is currently recovering from a double mastectomy and her can-do attitude remains strong. “Cancer is the demon I love to fight, I’m going to keep fighting it,” she shares, adding that she always makes it a point to share just how important severe illness cover is. “If you have the financial means to do it, please go ahead and make that sacrifice. We lead fast-paced and stressful lives and tomorrow is not promised to us. Everyone has a journey – yours may not be cancer but another illness.”
How Will The Old Mutual Illness Insurance Benefit Me?
The Old Mutual Illness insurance pays a single tax-free amount between R100 000 and R6 million should you suffer from a severe illness such as cancer, stroke, heart attack and other predefined illnesses. The money can be used to cover rehabilitation costs, travel expenses to treatment centres, modifications to your home or car and day to-day expenses while taking time off from work to recover. If your quality of life is severely impacted by treatment and you can’t care for yourself, the Cancer Enhancer will boost the payout by up to 25% of the cover amount.
Can I Customise My Cover?
For an additional cost you can tailor the cover to meet your needs by adding extra benefits such as Top-up Benefit, Child Illness Benefit, Mild Illness Benefit, For Women Benefit and Returning Illness Benefit, plus other add-ons such as Premium Protection or *Cashback. Every five years, on the cashback anniversary, we will pay back 15% of all premiums received for the contract since the previous cashback anniversary and while cashback exists on your contract. Cashback will not be paid if the contract is not active on the cashback anniversary. Cashback would, on average, increase your premium by 12.5%.
Choosing the right cover for serious illnesses doesn’t have to be daunting. For more information speak to your financial adviser. Visit www.oldmutual/illness or call 0860 60 60 60
How soon does the cover kick in?
Immediately. You’re covered for up to 30 days before paying your first premium.
DISCLAIMER: This story was told by one of our customers, who received a monetary token of our appreciation for sharing it. The information shared in this article does not constitute financial advice. For more information and Ts & Cs, visit oldmutual.co.za/illness
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There are a lot of different multivitamins available, and not all of them are created equally. Before choosing a multivitamin, you should do your research to ensure that the one you pick is the one that will benefit you the most. Ask yourself these four questions the next time you go shopping for a multivitamin.
1. Does it offer a complete range of vitamins and vital minerals?
Multivitamins are designed to help you reach the daily recommended intake of the several micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that your body needs to function at its best.¹
Studies have shown that the majority of us are unable to do this through diet alone, taking a multivitamin is a beneficial supplement.¹
Whether you need a daily pick-me-up or nutrient replenishment, taking a comprehensive multivitamin will go a long way toward helping you obtain sufficient levels of micronutrients in your diet.
Remember, when shopping for a multivitamin, it’s crucial to find one that offers you, the things you need.
A high-quality multivitamin offers a complete range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K,B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12).²
A multivitamin should also include a broad range of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and chromium.³
Understanding the jumble of letters, figures, and micrograms relating to multivitamins can be exhausting. Fortunately, once you learn how to read labels, buying a multivitamin becomes simple. Supplement labels list ingredients in ascending order of predominance. Steer clear of multivitamins that contain a long list of additives.
2. Is it stimulant-free?
High-quality multivitamins should be free of stimulants. Stimulants may cause health symptoms such as depression, diarrhoea, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.⁴
3. Does it have the appropriate daily values of ingredients?
If you’ve chosen a multivitamin tablet with the required recommended daily allowance, you know you’ve made a great choice. Be sure to examine the ingredients in other supplements you are taking to prevent excessive intake of nutrients.⁵
4. Does it offer a complete solution?
In recent decades, the use of nutritional supplements has rapidly increased.6 One-third of adults and half of the population (⟩55 years of age) report taking at least one supplement per day.⁶
Multivitamins come in a wide variety of formulations and forms. The key to getting all the benefits from your multivitamin is ensuring you’re buying a good quality one and taking it daily.
Whether you want to support your brain health, relieve stress and anxiety, or just rev up your energy, staminaand immunity, BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY DAILY NUTRI-PACK⁷ offers a complete solution.
Get All The Essentials You Need In One Daily Dose!
Not sure which supplements to take? Leading pharmaceutical company Adcock Ingram (Pty) Ltd have a daily vitamin and mineral supplement range, BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY.
Consider BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY DAILY NUTRI-PACK⁷. Complete from a-z, BIOPLUS VIT-ALITY DAILY NUTRI-PACK is a health supplement in a conveniently packaged blister designed to provide you with a daily dose of antioxidants, omega 3, probiotics, vitamins and minerals.⁷
The BIOPLUS® VIT-ALITY range is available at selected Dis-Chem and Clicks stores, as well as selected independent pharmacies nationwide. For more information, visit: https://www.adcock.co.za/ProdVitamins/Bioplus and join the conversation on Facebook.
*In Partnership with Adcock Ingram (Pty) Ltd
1. National Institutes of Health. Multivitamin/mineral Supplements. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-Consumer/. Last accessed September 2022.
2. Liebman B. What should your multivitamin contain? Centre for Science in the Public Interest. Available at:https://www.cspinet.org/article/what-should-your-multivitamin-contain. Last accessed October 2022.
3. Cleveland Clinic. 9 Vitamins and Minerals You Should Take Daily. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/which-vitamins-should-you-take/. Last accessed September 2022.
4. Vo K, Neafsey PJ, Lin CA. Concurrent use of amphetamine stimulants and antidepressants by undergraduate students. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2015 Jan 22;9:161-72. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S74602. PMID: 25653508; PMCID: PMC4309786. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4309786/. Last accessed October 2022.
5. Blumberg JB, Bailey RL, Sesso HD, Ulrich CM. The evolving role of multivitamin/multimineral supplement use among adults in the age of personalized nutrition. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 22;10(2):248. doi: 10.3390/nu10020248. PMID: 29470410; PMCID: PMC5852824. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29470410/. Last accessed October 2022.
6. Hamishehkar H, Ranjdoost F, Asgharian P, Mahmoodpoor A, Sanaie S. Vitamins, are they safe? Adv Pharm Bull. 2016 Dec;6(4):467-477. doi: 10.15171/apb.2016.061. Epub 2016 Dec 22. PMID: 28101454; PMCID: PMC5241405. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241405/. Last access October 2022.
7. Bioplus® Vit-Ality Daily Nutri-Pack capsules package insert. Adcock Ingram. More
With up to 11 days of battery life, you won’t have to take off your watch every night to charge it, which means a more complete 24/7 picture of your health.
With this Fitness aligned smartwatch you get heart rate, sleep score, stress tracking, Body Battery™ energy levels and a lot more. The watch comes with 25 preloaded sports apps for indoor or outdoor activities, you can try something new, including running, cardio, strength, HIIT and more.
Many of us choose to exercise between our work day or other commitments so thankfully you need never miss a call or text as smart notifications are delivered to your wrist when paired to your Apple® or Android™ smartphone.
Look and Feel
The Venu Sq 2 smartwatch has a sleek design that’s suited for every outfit and every part of your day. Its bright AMOLED display and optional always-on mode mean you can see everything with a quick glance. From a durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens to the lightweight aluminum bezel and comfortable silicone band, this smartwatch was made to keep up with your lifestyle.
Stress, Menstrual Cycle and Breathing
You can track your menstrual cycle or pregnancy. Log symptoms, get exercise and nutrition education. Even see and log details on your wrist with the Women’s Health Tracking app. Find out if you’re having a calm, balanced or stressful day with continuous tracking. Relax reminders will even prompt you to do a short breathing activity when the watch detects stress and will then assist you to relax or focus with breath work activity while tracking your stress and respiration to help you get a better understanding of how you’re breathing.
If you are looking for some insight and guidance to integrate your watch into a schedule to get fit, fast, strong and healthy, you can dive into the free workouts, running schedules and training plans, all complimented by a Garmin virtual coach.
Buy the Garmin Venu Sq 2 HERE
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In what has become an inspiring insight into each ladies’ deeply personal reasons for wanting to conquer their first marathon, the adidas Beyond Impossible Campaign has unfolded with the aims of empowering and encouraging the female community to lean on the sport of running for the purpose of bringing positive change into their lives.
The eleven ladies have been on a 16-week training program, under the watchful eye of Kathleen Shuttleworth, a Cape Town based running coach who specialises in middle to long-distance training. And even though the end goal is to complete the Marathon, there’s been a strong focus on building a sense of community, ensuring that the journey has been both supportive and enjoyable despite the challenge.
Commenting on the spirit amongst the group, Coach Kathleen said, “It’s been such an honour coaching and getting to know the ladies. Their dedication and enthusiasm to the program have been evident from day one. They’re a truly inspiring group of women, and I can’t wait to see each lady cross the finish line!”
Zoë Brown, Ncebakazi, Kay, Leatitia, Shaakirah, Tracey, Yentle, Ashleigh, Melissa, Jana and Lenise were followed on their journey with beautifully shot 90 second individual videos, as well as a four-part documentary series detailing the 14-week journey of these courageous women.
Follow the @adidasZA #BeyondMyImpossible #ImpossibleIsNothing conversation on Instagram, and be sure to keep an eye out for these special ladies along the route on race day – they’d love your support!
*In Partnership With adidas More
How to start working out again: a thing I very nearly actually googled after a looong winter spent eating my frustration at colder weather and cuddled up with my loveable pup.
And if squeezing your butt into suspiciously tight jeans has you staring guiltily at your gym tights, know that you’re not alone.
Head of Marketing at Ignite Fitness, Kerry-Anne Mathieson, says that they see a big influx of current and new members visiting their gyms around Spring. “There is a general downward trend of gym access during the colder months, with people opting to stay indoors rather than sweat it out at the gym – it’s human nature,” she says. “With the warmer weather and longer days around the corner, people are more likely to hit the gym again!” she says.
Phew. But where to start?
How To Start Working Out Again
Eduan James, a Fitness Specialist for Ignite Fitness, says we should take things slow. Nothing is more demotivating than having these lavish ideas of the perfect body and daily Green Goddess smoothies and then falling off the wagon. Rather start with a few benchmarks: how many squats can you do before you’re winded? How many skips on your skipping rope? Use it as a benchmark to improve – an exciting new challenge!
When you’re measuring yourself and your progress, try getting an assessment at the gym, says James. They’re free, and can help you get on the right track and accurately pinpoint areas to work on. Maybe you’d like to get more flexible, or stronger? Maybe you’d like to be faster. Getting an assessment can help with narrowing that down. “You can also take some progress photos of yourself, sometimes progress is best seen comparing 2 photos,” says James.
READ MORE: These Heart-Pumping Cardio Circuit Workouts Are Perfect For When You’re Short On Time
Also, James reckons we should try more things: boxing, spinning, or even a rebounding class. “We recommend trying it all and deciding which type of training makes you and your body happy (and wanting more). Mental, as well as physical strength, is key, and both can be achieved in the gym!” he says.
When it comes to a regular workout, Melissa van den Berg, Arena coach at Somerset West’s Ignite Fitness gym and performance sports graduate, has put together an easily achievable workout to do for even the newest of newbies. It’s simple: start small and work your way up, adding more reps or heavier weights as you begin to feel stronger and more confident.
The Body Refresh Workout
A set of dummbells
A can-do attitude
READ MORE: ‘Hold’ These Moves For An Isometric Workout That’ll Torch Kilojoules
Do 4 sets of 10-15 reps. Rest as you need to throughout and inbetween sets.
Kettelbell Goblet squats
Romanian Deadlifts into bent over row
Backwards lunge & bicep curl
Sumo deadlift high pull
The Core Workout
Do 3 sets of 20 reps for each:
Mountain climbers More
Fact: your skeleton renews itself every seven to ten years, modelling and remodelling to increase bone mass, remove damaged bone and reshape itself. By upping your body’s supply of calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, you can create a top-notch structure that’ll support you through pregnancy, Ironmans and heavy grocery bag runs.
If you’re not taking in the right nutrients, you might find yourself struggling with decreasing bone density – a one-way street to osteoporosis and Injury Town. A little self-care now will go a long way towards helping stay strong, right down to the bone.
Meet The Heroes
Ca: Calcium strengthens bones and teeth and gives them structure.
Vitamin K2: regulates bone remodelling, assists with calcium absorption and prevents the accumulation of calcium in blood vessels.
Vitamin D3: inhibits bone resorption, increases the effect of vitamin K and helps with the absorption and urinary loss of calcium.
Get Them In
While you can get K Vitamins in cheese, egg yolk and dark, leafy greens, our efficient bodies use them quite quickly and we run low when not taking them in regularly. Our calcium supply is often lacking, too. Menacal’s got all these in one simple supplement that maintains your body’s optimal levels, so you’re good to go in CrossFit class and beyond.
To invest in stronger bones, click HERE
*In Partnership With MenaCal7 More