Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


SEE Cortisol Levels Dropping


SEE tip:  If the week after returning from break has got you feeling drained and behind on sleep already, try adding a nap into your day.  Just a 20 minute nap can restore energy and help you power through the rest of the day until you are ready for a good night's sleep.  And no, napping isn't for babies and toddlers, it's okay for adults to nap.  In fact, 34% of adults already do so daily... join the 34% and get your sleep for better energy.

Don't worry about rushing home in between classes- we have a Nap Zone set up for you in Levering today.  We'll have yoga mats for you to take a nap (the length of your nap is up to you).  BYOB-- bring your own blanket!  We'll be in the Glass Pav from 11-1 today with soothing music and mats.  Stop by for a nap today!

HKB Quit Tip: When trying to quit smoking, a person may find it difficult to get a good night's rest.  Consider the benefits of napping to catch up on lost ZZZ's and avoid the call of the nicotine during the day.  Feeling like the addiction is getting too tough, reach out for help; call the MD Quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW to talk to someone and have some resources provided, like access to the gum, lozenge, or patch.  

Mellow Out Monday Tip:  Studies have shown that short naps (~20-30 minutes) can reduce cortisol levels, which can help with stress relief.  Another great reason for getting a little shut eye in the afternoon.  Just be sure it's between 11am-3pm, or whenever the mid-point of your day is, to avoid messing with your 7-9 hours later.  You can start today by stopping by the Nap Zone in the Glass Pav between 11am-1pm! Drop in for a short rest.

Cortisol levels still raging?  Stop by the MSE on Q level tonight for a FREE back rub from Stressbusters. We'll be starting at 8pm and looking to reduce your stress. Stop by and see us!


Drinking to Death

A new study by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that a whopping 88,000 deaths were caused by alcohol during 2006-2010. This number included those that died in alcohol related vehicle accidents, alcohol-related liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as, numerous other alcohol related deaths.

The CDC goes on to say that these alcohol related fatalities have also killed more than 2.5 million years of potential life. The study explains that the majority of victims were between the ages of 20 and 64 and they could have gone on to live many more years and even possibly produce new life had alcohol not killed them (both directly and indirectly). The researchers found that the median death rate related to alcohol was 28.5 per 1,000 people.

When you sit back and think of all the life that was lost within those four years the study was conducted, you have to wonder, is drinking even worth it? That’s a lot of death, a lot of heartache, caused by over consumption of a beverage. Yes, there are some benefits to drinking, but this study just goes to show the importance of safety when drinking, as well as, bringing more light to the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.

I have to wonder, is it our culture that enables people to drink in excess and add to these already too high numbers the CDC has published? Is it genetics that may make some people more susceptible to becoming alcoholics? Or is it something else or maybe a combination of the two?  What is your reaction to the study? Why do you think this number is so high or did you expect it to be higher? Leave your comments in the comment section below.

If you want to read more about the study it can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6310a2.htm?s_cid=mm6310a2_w


The future of condoms

We all know that if you choose to have sex with a partner, it’s your best bet to be as safe as possible. Safer sex includes being emotionally ready to have sex, being in the correct state of mind to do so and, of course, protecting your body from STI’s. One of the best and well known methods to protect the body from sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, is to use the condom. The condom has been around for more than 400 years (1) and has proven to be effective when used properly. 400 years is a long time for us Americans to go without changing something. One man, Danny Resnic, decided it was time to spruce up the current day condom and give it a little makeover; the result: the origami condom.

Origami condoms are said to be the “next generation condom”, setting out to improve the classic, and still effective, roll-down condoms. These new condoms are made of silicon which is a flexible and durable material is proven to prevent pregnancy, transmission of STI and other viruses AND transmits body sensation and body heat well. Also origami condoms have three models: the male condom, the female condom AND, the first of its kind, the receptive anal intercourse condom! Receptive anal intercourse is the leading way HIV is spread and developing a condom that will allow the partner receiving anal intercourse to take initiative and wear the condom. The male condom is an accordion shape and does not need to be rolled down the penis like traditional condoms. The makers say the condom can be put on in one quick motion (that way intimacy won’t be lost) and the accordion shape allows for constant contraction and expansion of the condom leading to a more fluid motion of the penis. Now females, what about you? Well origami did design a female condom that lets you be in control of protecting yourself! The condom is designed with a female anatomy in mind and to enhance pleasure for both partners. The female origami condom is intended to be easy to insert and will accommodate a range of penis sizes!

This is not to say that the tried and true isn’t effective, they still work fantastically when used correctly. The origami condom is just an advanced condom with some tweaks. The basic form and idea is just the same. Another important note is that just like our current day condoms, origami condoms will only be effective when used properly. Neither is a 100% guarantee.

The condoms haven’t hit the market yet, but after a few more go-rounds with testing and approval from people like WHO and the FDA they are set to hit the market in 2015! If you want to learn more about origami condoms, or sign up to get news about their release date, just visit the website at http://www.origamicondoms.com/

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1293956/?page=1
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1293956/?page=1


SEE Little Movements, Big Results


SEE Tip:  Only have time for a quickie? No problem! Now get your mind out of the gutter…we're talking about a quickie in the gym, or anywhere you can fit a workout in for that matter! There are some serious benefits to a quick burst of exercise, were talking 10-15 minutes here! This is the kind of stuff you could do before you hop in the shower, while you’re watching TV, or waiting for the study room to open up. Getting your blood flowing  for even just 15 minutes can help clear your mind, reduce depression  and even help you sleep better (1). Also, just a quick walk up and down the stairs or around the block, burns calories and increases energy! That’s more than sitting in front of the TV or computer can say. Also, utilizing quick short workouts can help you keep on your fitness goals because…well…if you know you only have 15 minutes to get in your workout, there’s a lot less time to mess around on your phone and tweet, text or Instagram your workout (hehe).

Want more information or want to get yourself a free jump rope to help you on your road to fitness? Just visit our SEE table on campus today from 11-1 on the Breezway!

1. http://www.fitsugar.com/Benefits-Short-Workouts-31989137

HKB News: We're celebrating Kicks Butts Week!  Look for us all over campus promoting the smoke-free policy initiative and more.  Find us tonight in Nolan's at 5:30 to kick off the week!

Mellow Out Monday Tip:  Feeling crunched for time can make things like eating right and exercising fall by the wayside.  When that happens, the stress levels can go higher and our ability to handle smaller crises decreases by the day.  Prioritize your health- go for a walk or meet a friend at the gym for a good sweat.  Taking time for yourself is crucial and can exercising can help regulate your stress levels.

Try another quick stress reliever by stopping by Stressbusters tonight in the MSE on Q level beginning at 8pm.  Do something today to get your health on track-- including a free, 5-7 minute back rub!


Spring Break Reminder


If you're sexually active this spring break- remember to use protection to reduce the chances of STIs and/or pregnancy.  

Pro tip: try a water/silicon based lubricant for a better feel!


Have a relaxing and safe Spring Break!



Sip Smart on St. Patty's


So it’s that time of year again where we’re all Irish, 1/100 Irish, kiss the Irish or just look fabulous in green and let’s be honest most people look forward to this day for the drinking. Yup we’re talking about St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday known for leprechauns, pots of gold, bar crawls and boozing. While St. Patty’s day can be a fun filled day with friends, this day has been known for over indulgence both in the color green and alcohol. Now if you’re planning on decking yourself out in head to toe green and white, go right ahead! More power to you! But if you do plan on drinking to celebrate its important that you stay safe, too. Here are four tips to ensure your day won’t have to rest on the luck of the Irish:

1.       Eat- make sure you put something in your stomach; not eating is a great way to end your St. Patty’s day earlier then you had hoped—and that goes for your friends too, make sure they eat. The nutrients will keep your tummy full, help absorb some of the alcohol and ensure you can enjoy the day in its entirety.

2.       Stay hydrated- Our bodies are made up of water and this is no holiday to replace the water running through our veins with Guinness (yuck!). Not only is staying hydrated good for your body in general but it will help keep make sure you can celebrate longer and keep that March 18th hangover at bay.
 **extra tip: get lots of ice in your drinks, not only will they stay extra cold (yum!) but it’ll help you stay hydrated!**

3.       Make sure you have a safe ride home- whether you’re hosting a party, going to a party or watching a parade in the city, make sure everyone in your party has a safe way to get home (and that does NOT include getting behind the wheel, even if you’ve only had a couple). Public transportation can literally be a life saver on a day like this—you don’t have to worry about parking and everyone can enjoy a few drinks. Or you can also enlist one of your most reliable friends to DD.

4.       Pace yourself- This isn’t a race, pace your drinks. Try to stick to one an hour!

St. Patrick’s day is a day of drinks, lots of green, fun and friends. Remember the above tips to make your March 17th the best one yet!


SEE texts at night


Sleep texting is the new black (just kidding) but it is being classified as a form of parasomnia (1). Sleep texting is affecting adolescents and young adults across the country. Individuals have reported getting up in the middle of the night, unlocking their smartphones and texting full sentences, single words or just plain gibberish to family, friends and even co-workers! What is most startling is that there have even been reports of individuals texting 911 in their sleep, only to wake up with no recollection of any activity what so ever! Not only is this trend worrisome because um…hello who wants their subconscious to text their ex at a ridiculous hour only to wake up mortified (?!) but using your smartphone before bed, or even while sleeping, can lead to disrupted sleep. Researchers have found that a mere two hours of artificial light exposure from a source like an iphone can reduce the bodies’ melatonin levels by 22% (2). Everyone knows what it’s like to feel cranky and the mental fatigue that comes with lack of sleep; researchers are now linking the sleep hangover (adult cankiness) directly to conducting the dreaded bedside business. Whether it’s looking at the latest celebrity tweets or e-mailing your professor, smartphone use at bedtime has been proven to lead to mental exhaustion the next day (3). To combat the erg to tweet, facebook, e-mail or anything else the smartest of smartphones can do in the middle of the night, try charging your phone in a room other than your bedroom, switching back to a traditional alarm clock or, if you suffer separation anxiety like many of us twenty-somethings, just silence your phone and (maybe?) flip it over so the light wont wake you up if someone does try to reach you.

Kicks Butts Day is next week!!  We'll be celebrating it all the following week, March 24th-29th!  Look for events and info to come!

Mellow Out Monday: Sleep well for less stress.  Get a back rub for even more stress relief!  Check out Mellow Out Monday tonight in the MSE on Q level starting at 8pm!

Sources for SEE tip:
1.       http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/kids-health/234531751.html

3.       http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140207/smartphone-use-for-business-at-night-may-not-be-so-smart


National Nutrition Month meets the Sip Tip


Feeling confused by some of the messaging about alcohol these days?  Drink- it's good for you!  Don't drink- it's bad for you!  Okay... so... what do we do?

If you already don't drink- there's no reason to start.  The benefits that have been noted can be found in other sources, like fresh fruit, lean meats, and added exercise to one's daily life.  For example, a link between reduced chances for breast cancer was found with red wine consumption.  As an alternative to red wine for those searching for a reduced risk of breast cancer, a link was also found between this type of cancer and exercise-- so no need to grab the wine glass, you can still find some protective factors to help you fight disease without the red.

If you do choose to drink, be mindful of how much.  The scale can quickly tip from being healthful to being harmful depending on how much a person drinks.  Moderate consumption of alcohol, like most things, can bring the health benefits that some research touts.  However, going overboard and landing in some riskier territory, can bring a host of unhealthy risks that are not worth another sip.

Also, one drink each day is not the same as 7 drinks in one day.  The body knows the difference and requires moderation.  So if you choose to drink, whether or not health is in mind, be sure to stay in the blue zone by sticking to one to two drinks an hour with water in between.


SEE the power of a quickie


SEE tip:  Don't have time to do an hour at the gym?  Don't sweat it!  Recent research has found that splitting up workouts throughout the day is at least as effective in preventing negative health outcomes.  This means, taking 10 minutes between classes to go for a walk 3 times a day is not only good for the soul, but also good for the body!

Want some other exercises to try when you only have time for a quickie?  Stop by Levering today from 11-1 for some more suggestions!

HKB Tip: Used to taking your seven minute smoke break, but looking to quit the habit?  Try going for a brisk walk instead.  The cardio can help reduce cravings and help you in your effort to quit.

Mellow Out Monday Tip: Exercise has been linked with lowered signs of stress.  The good news, you can get exercise in any where and time (for the most part).  This means, access to a stress reliever on demand!  Instead of letting the stress or anxiety build up when mulling some tough problem sets over in the BLC, go for a walk or try a wall sit to clear your mind.  You'd be surprised by what your body and brain can do!

Want some more?  Get your stress busted with Stressbusters tonight on Q level in the MSE starting at 8pm.  Give your body some love with a free, 5-7 minute back rub.