We all know we could exercise more and eat better. Sometimes, life’s rapid pace keeps us from dedicating the time we need to our well-being. Other times, we know we’re just being plain lazy. Here, Dr. Oz reveals four incredibly easy tricks for improving your overall well-being, followed by four easy-to-perform health checks.
Step 1: Sleep More to Protect Your Heart
Next time you feel guilty about sleeping in, just remember you’re doing your heart a favor. If you can’t get 2 hours of continuous sleep, it means you’re not completing the restorative sleep cycle over the course of the night, which can have a harmful effect on your health. In fact, studies show that people who struggle to stay asleep had a 30% higher risk of heart attack. This is because insomnia can lead to excess production of the hormone cortisol; levels rise depending on the amount of stress you feel, causing your blood pressure to rise in turn. Your heart is equipped to handle a normal level of cortisol, but excess levels at night can lead to arterial damage, aneurysm, and eventual heart failure.
If you have a hard time sleeping, you’re not alone. Researchers estimate 1 in 3 of us suffer from a form of insomnia. As an easy fix, Dr. Oz recommends you try taking 30 mg of wild lettuce extract before bedtime. Also known as “lettuce opium,” the extract comes from the stems of the wild lettuce plant and has been shown in an animal study to have calming and sedative effects.
Because of some possible contraindications, consult with your doctor before taking wild lettuce extract. Do not use wild lettuce extract if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- You have prostate enlargement (BPH).
- You have an eye condition called narrow-angle glaucoma.
- You are allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or related herbs.
- You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks.