Could you break a bone... in your sleep?
All you want is a little sleep. It doesn't seem like too much to ask -- yet somehow, ordinary sleep has become an extraordinary struggle.
I've got a simple, foolproof plan for getting the shuteye you need, and I'll share the basics in a moment.
But first, new research shows what you SHOULDN'T do -- and, unfortunately, it's exactly what many folks do FIRST.
They turn to meds.
Now, the new study shows why that could be a life-changing mistake, especially if you're a little older -- because it reveals how common sleep drugs can more than DOUBLE your risk of a cracked hip!
The reason is pretty obvious.
These drugs are like a punch in the brain and can leave your feeling hung-over, awkward, and just plain loopy.
It's bad if you wake up in the middle of the night, when the effects are in full gear, and have to stagger in the dark to the bathroom.
But it can even lead to tipsiness the NEXT DAY!
Some studies have found that people who take sleep meds can actually be too impaired to drive the next morning.
That makes it hardly surprising to learn that older folks are two and a half times more likely to suffer a broken hip within two weeks of starting on a sleep med.
Of course they are.
They're staggering around like drunks!
The risk drops over time. At 15 days, the odds of a cracked hip are 53 percent higher... and by the one-month mark, it's at 20 percent (which is still far too high).
It might feel like you're caught between a rock and a hard place -- forced to choose between bad nights or bad meds -- but, as I mentioned earlier, I've got another option for you.
And it works close to 100 percent of the time.
First, focus on getting to sleep tonight. One of the best options is the "sleep hormone" melatonin.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try the sublingual form, which melts under your tongue and kicks in faster. If you have difficulty staying asleep, look for a time-release capsule so you use the melatonin more slowly, which will help keep you from waking up in the middle of the night.
Even if melatonin works -- and it usually does -- don't stop there.
The second step is to find out why you need melatonin in the first place, because sleep problems are often a sign of some other problem in your body.
With older people in particular, it's often a hormonal imbalance. A holistic medical doctor can test your levels and help make sure you get what you need so you sleep better every night.
What's on your skin might offer real clues about what lies beneath: Researchers say women with more wrinkles have less bone.
And that means a few extra laugh lines could point to serious osteoporosis risk.
Researchers from Yale University examined 114 post-menopausal women in their late 40s and early 50s who weren't taking hormone drugs and had not undergone any cosmetic surgery procedures to smooth or remove wrinkles.
Then, they performed an exercise almost guaranteed to lead to self-consciousness: They gave each woman a "wrinkle score" based on the number and depth of their lines and creases.
They also used a device to test skin firmness on the forehead and cheeks and took X-rays to measure bone density in the hip, lumbar spine and heel.
What they found was more than just skin deep: Women with more wrinkles had less bone density -- and women with firm skin had greater bone density -- even after adjusting for risk factors.
The researchers said at a recent Endocrine Society meeting that skin and bones are both made of collagens -- so sagging skin could be an outward sign that your levels of these proteins are waning on the inside.
But whatever you do, don't start taking osteoporosis meds. As I've warned you before, these drugs can actually break the very bones they claim to protect. (Read more here.)
Instead, take the natural steps now that can protect your bones later on no matter how wrinkly -- or how smooth -- your skin is.
You might think the answer here is calcium, but it's not -- not by itself anyway, because calcium needs vitamin D and magnesium to help keep your bones strong.
Many women already get all the calcium they need -- but they're way low and even downright deficient in D and magnesium.
If you can't get these critical nutrients from diet and sun exposure, add some supplements to your regimen.
They may not smooth your wrinkles... but they will keep your bones strong, and that's a heckuva lot more important.