How to Maintain Quality Sleep As We Age

If you’re of a certain age, there’s a good chance you wake up much earlier than you used to, or wake up frequently in the night. But should these common sleep behaviours be of concern? Well, yes. It’s actually a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research shows that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood. So, what’s keeping you awake? And what can be done to help you get the 7-9 hours of that glorious, healthy sleep you really need?

Increase Mental Stimulation

One of the newest discoveries about sleep is that increased mental stimulation during awake hours can encourage deeper sleep. Because retirees and seniors tend to have more downtime than younger adults, they likely have decreased cognitive stimulation.

It’s actually a cycle: the more we stimulate our intellect when awake, the better we sleep; and the better we sleep, the more we remember, and the better we learn.

So, do your best to keep your mind active: volunteer, take a walk in a new neighbourhood, go to a museum, learn a new skill, spend time with friends and family — anything that gets you out of a boring, repetitive routine will challenge your brain.

Regulate Circadian Rhythms

Another discovery in the science of sleep is something called advanced sleep phase syndrome. As you age, you may find yourself getting sleepy earlier and earlier in the day, prompting you to go to bed earlier. The earlier you fall asleep, the earlier you wake up, and the cycle continues. Earlier wake up times can also lead to increased napping, which can have an even greater effect on sleep quality.

Doctors don’t really know why this happens as we age, but they do know that sticking to a regular bedtime and avoiding long naps can help regulate your sleep rhythms.

Exposure to bright light can also help tell your body when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep, so make an effort to get outside in the sun every day (late afternoon is best), or talk to your London Drugs pharmacist to see if a light therapy device would be right for you.

Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea can wake you up multiple times per night and disrupt your REM cycles (the deepest and most restorative part of your sleep cycle). These problems become more common as we age, but there are things that can be done to prevent them.

If you snore or stop breathing while you sleep, be sure to see your doctor about solutions, which can include a custom pillow, decongestants, weight loss, or even a breathing mask that helps to open up airways. Learn more about snoring and sleep apnea.

Address Overall Health Problems

Many health issues also contribute to sleep deprivation. Chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, depression, and dementia are all common conditions for seniors and can affect quality of sleep. Consult with your doctor about the right treatment for any issues, and adjust medication to effectively treat disruptive symptoms.

One thing to keep in mind when talking to your doctor is that some medications can actually keep you awake at night, so make sure she knows about all the medications you are currently taking and ask for suggestions about optimal timing and dosage to preserve your sleep.

Consider the Effects of Menopause

Sleep issues can effect men and women differently, and menopause specifically affects women’s sleep. If you were ever pregnant, you’ll remember that those hormones can radically affect your sleep patterns, and the same goes for menopause.

When talking to your doctor about menopause symptoms, don’t forget to mention sleep troubles so he can help you find the best treatment for all of your symptoms.

Manage Life Changes

Even if you’re retired and the kids have moved out doesn’t mean that your stress is gone. Health issues, financial problems, or the death of a loved one cause stress, and that can make it hard to sleep. Don’t struggle alone: talk to a friend or family member, a counsellor or your family doctor about help for managing stress. Other things you can do to help with stress are gentle yoga, tai chi, meditation, creative hobbies, journaling, and deep breathing exercises. Make time for yourself every day to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health.

There are many other things everyone can do to help encourage healthy sleep:

  • Exercise every day, but do it least three hours before bedtime, if not earlier. The increased adrenaline, body temperature, and heart rate can interfere with circadian rhythms.
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bedtime. The drop in body temperature after you get out of the hot water may help you feel tired.
  • Avoid alcohol three hours before bedtime. Alcohol reduces the amount of deep sleep and REM sleep and increases waking times. In addition, alcohol can exacerbate any symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • Avoid drinking fluids before bed. A full bladder is more likely to wake you up between sleep cycles.
  • Avoid caffeine if you can. If you can’t live without your morning coffee, limit it to right after after you wake up – caffeine stays in your system for up to 6 hours.
  • Turn off electronics at least an hour before sleeping. The light quality from screens mimics the blue light from sunlight and tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.
  • Create a restful environment in your bedroom. A good rule of thumb is to reserve your bedroom for sleep. You can also try things like an ambient sound machine or aromatherapy in your room to help you drift off to dreamland.

Sleep Awareness Seminars – Learn how sleep impacts your health

Sleep Awareness Seminar
Friday March 15  10:30am – 12pm

If you find yourself struggling to get the restful sleep you need, London Drugs’ sleep seminars can offer solutions to improve your energy levels and your health. In honor of World Sleep Day on March 15th, London Drugs and CanSleep will host a Sleep Awareness Seminar at London Drugs’ Park Royal North location to explain the benefits of quality sleep. Attendees will learn how poor sleep patterns can contribute to health problems, how to identify possible sources for sleep issues and what they can do to improve the quality of their sleep.

The educational seminar will include three guest speakers and will cover topics such as:
• Why sleep is important for your health
• How nutrition and sleep are connected
• How to identify if you have obstructive sleep apnea and its potential health impact
• Other possible sleep issues
• Quality sleep solutions and treatments to give you the rest you deserve
Attendees will receive complimentary refreshments as they take advantage of the information this sleep seminar provides and learn more about how their sleeping habits are affecting them. If you find yourself exhausted after a full night’s sleep, are struggling to lose weight or find it difficult to keep a consistent sleep schedule, this sleep seminar’s experts could have the answers you need.
Book your spot today, as seats are limited!

To sign up for our Sleep Awareness Seminar at our Park Royal North location, simply call us at 1-888-991-2299 or email us at LDOnline@londondrugs.com

GUEST SPEAKERS

Dr. Zameel Dewji
Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery
Medical Director, Indigo Health Clinic
www.indigoent.ca

Originally from Coquitlam, BC, Dr. Dewji studied at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 2002 in BioPsychology. He further graduated from Medicine at the University of Manitoba in 2008. He continued on at the University of Manitoba for his Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery residency and served as Chief Resident. He also studied at the University of Iowa, University of Michigan and the Atlanta Sleep institute.

Dr. Dewji has a special interest in sleep apnea, snoring, therapeutic and cosmetic botox. He has published and presented on many subjects related to his specialty, and is currently involved in several tech related startups.

Dr. Dewji has since established office based practices in Coquitlam and New Westminster, serving patients from around British Columbia.

 

Bahareh Ezzati
Clinical Therapist, CanSleep Services
www.cansleep.ca

Bahareh is recognized as a dynamic and compassionate Clinical Therapist, who strives for excellence when caring for her patients. She believes that the most satisfying and rewarding aspect of her career is having the opportunity to make a positive difference in her patients’ lives.

Bahareh joined CanSleep Services in 2014 as a Clinical Therapist, and prior to that she worked as a Multiple Scoliosis Drug Specialist at Calea Ltd. She gained experience as a Registered Respiratory Therapist while working at Credit Valley Hospital and William Osler Hospital in Ontario. Bahareh has a Bachelor of Science and Technology Studies and a pharmacy technician diploma and speaks fluent Persian and English. As a Clinical Therapist, she enjoys her role as a critical thinker, patient educator and acute decision maker.

 

Roxanne Brooks
Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Certified Integrative Adult Sleep Coach
www.foodforsleep.ca

Roxanne Brooks is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Certified Integrative Adult Sleep Coach who studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is the mother of an 8 year old boy and an 11 month old girl.

She is passionate about helping people reach optimal health and she believes that it starts with quality sleep. She understands how a lack of sleep diminishes our overall health, decision making abilities, cognitive capabilities and that it can worsen almost every health condition.

 

 

Call to book: 1.888.991.2299

Email to book: LDOnline@londondrugs.com

Important points to know about Measles and how you can stay protected

Our British Columbia Lower Mainland pharmacies are experiencing high call volumes and requests for the measles vaccine. Please know we are doing our best to secure additional vaccines on a daily basis and we will schedule your appointment as soon as we can. Please call ahead to book a vaccination appointment and we will add patients to a wait list where necessary as we strive to help all of our patients. Thank you for taking a proactive approach to taking care of your health.

Measles is an extremely contagious and serious disease. 1 or 2 out of every 10 people who get it need a hospital stay.

In Canada, measles is rare because of routine vaccination. But it can be brought here by unvaccinated people who travel overseas. Recent cases in the Vancouver area have been traced to travellers who were infected in Vietnam and the Philippines. Read more.

Measles can spread through the air when an infected person breathes, sneezes, or coughs. The virus can survive for several hours in droplets in the air or on surfaces. You can catch measles if you breathe in these droplets or touch contaminated objects (such as door handles) and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. Kissing, or sharing food, drinks, and cigarettes also spreads measles.

What are the symptoms and complications?

Symptoms start to appear between 7 and 18 days after someone is infected. The typical symptoms include:

• Cough
• Fever
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Inflamed, sensitive eyes
• Red rash

Measles can have serious complications:

• Pneumonia — 1 in 10 cases
• Ear infections — 1 in 10 cases
• Diarrhea — 8 in 100 cases
• Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) — 1 in 1,000 cases

One in 3,000 people with measles may die from complications. Learn more

Vaccinations prevent measles.

The standard vaccination schedule varies slightly across provinces. Children get one dose when they’re 12 or 15 months old, and a second dose at either 18 months or between age 4 and 6 years.

If you were born before 1970, you’re likely immune because you probably caught measles in the past. If you’re not sure, a blood test can confirm immunity.

Health Canada recommends vaccination for adults born in or after 1970 who have never had measles. Learn more

If you are not sure whether you have had an active measles infection in the past or have received a measles vaccination, it is safer to be vaccinated than not.

All London Drugs pharmacies in British Columbia are equipped to provide MMR vaccinations and boosters. In other provinces, please contact your local health unit.

In British Columbia, please call your local London Drugs pharmacy to book a vaccination appointment. Calling ahead will ensure we can meet your needs – confirming we have the vaccination inventory available, and that a certified injection pharmacist is available to provide your inoculation.

What should you do if you’ve been exposed to measles?

If you’ve been exposed to someone with measles, don’t wait for symptoms to show. If you haven’t had measles, and haven’t been vaccinated, you should immediately get the shot. You need to get it within 72 hours after exposure to be protected. Alternatively, you may get an injection of measles antibodies within 6 days of exposure. Speak with your healthcare provider. Learn more

If you’ve been exposed to measles, or have been in an area with an outbreak, and you have a fever and rash, you should be examined. Call ahead so the doctor or nurse can make sure you’re examined in a closed area so others are not exposed to the virus.

If you have measles, stay at home for at least 4 days after the rash appears so you don’t spread the infection. You can take medication for your fever, if you wish. Wash your hands frequently, and cough or sneeze into a tissue. Don’t share food, drinks, or cigarettes. And don’t kiss anyone! Stay well hydrated, and make sure you get plenty of rest.

For those exposed to measles, please avoid direct contact with young children under the age of one year as they have not yet been immunized. Also avoid contact with people with compromised immune systems and also avoid direct contact with pregnant mothers.

To learn more about the measles vaccination, visit your local London Drugs pharmacy.

Health Tips Video: London Drugs Pharmacy Offers Point of Care Testing

London Drugs performs a range of point of care tests

Pharmacies are more than just places to pick up prescriptions. Did you know that some pharmacies also offer point of care testing?

Point of care testing is a term for any medical test or screening that is performed outside of a lab or clinic. The testing happens at a place where the patient is receiving care, such as a pharmacy. It’s more convenient for the patient and, as London Drugs Registered Pharmacist Ellen Cheng says, “the really big advantage is that you don’t have to wait as long for the results.” Because of advances in medical diagnostic technology, point of care tests don’t need to be processed in a lab. You can have the results right away.

London Drugs pharmacists can perform screening for several diseases and conditions:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • And more

Hepatitis C Screening

Hepatitis C is a chronic disease that attacks the liver, and can cause serious liver damage or even liver failure if left untreated. There are curative treatments for hepatitis C but the BC Health Authority estimates that 1 in 4 people in BC with hepatitis C are unaware that they have it. This means that 25% of people are undiagnosed and thus not receiving treatment.

This is why London Drugs developed an in-house hepatitis C screening program, to make it easier for people to get tested and thus reduce the potential for long-term liver problems in those who do have hepatitis C. The screening involves a quick finger prick test using the OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test. This test detects hepatitis C antibodies in the blood and is 99% accurate. It takes about 20 minutes, and then the pharmacist can explain the results and what your next steps might be, including connecting with a doctor if necessary.

Osteoporosis Screening

For osteoporosis screening, a bone strength scan of the wrist can be done using a Sunlight Omnisense® device. It uses safe, non-invasive ultrasound technology and can provide immediate results which you can then discuss with your pharmacist.

Heart Disease Screening

Heart disease screening involves point of care testing of blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as measurement of your blood pressure. Like the hepatitis C screening, these tests use a small blood sample via a pin-prick device.


When visiting any London Drugs Pharmacy point of care screening clinic, please bring all your prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and any other herbal remedies you take. This can help inform the individualized plan you and your pharmacist will make.

Health Tips Video: Getting the Right Pain Relief Treatment

It's important to get the right pain relief for you

We all experience pain at some point in our lives, as much as we try to avoid it. But according to Panela Moore, a Registered Pharmacist with London Drugs, acute pain (short-lived pain with a known cause) is actually useful. It tells us there’s a problem or injury we need to address. That doesn’t mean you have to live with pain, however! There are lots of options for pain relief medication and other pain treatments.

What is the Right Pain Medication for You?

It’s important to take the right medication for the pain you’re experiencing. Pain can affect your muscles, bones and joints, your nervous system, and your organs. You can also experience different kinds of pain at the same time.

Taking the wrong medication for your problem, or taking more than the recommended dose, will not actually result in faster relief. At best, it’s a waste. At worse, it can increase the likelihood you’ll experience adverse effects.

As Moore says in our latest Health Tips video: “Pain is something we all experience, and it’s important we understand it so we can get the right treatment for the job.”

The Big Three Pain Relievers

Let’s talk about the big three:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen,
  • ASA (acetylsalicylic acid)

These are more commonly known as Tylenol, Advil, and Aspirin, respectively. We often think of these three medications as interchangeable, but they’re not. They affect the body differently and should be used for different types of pain.

Tylenol works by elevating the body’s overall threshold for pain, so the pain you feel is lessened. It’s good for things like headaches and arthritis pain. It also helps reduce fevers. But it’s not good for swelling, and shouldn’t be used by those with liver problems.

Advil and Aspirin belong to the same class of drugs: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). This means that they’re both effective at reducing pain caused by inflammation like toothaches and muscle sprains. However, because of the way they affect the body, they should not be used by people with stomach issues, kidney disease, or high blood pressure.

Non-medicinal Pain Relief Products

There are also other pain relief options that aren’t medications:

  • Topical pain relief treatments like Voltaren
  • Braces that can help support weakened muscles
  • Electric stimulators that can help block pain

It’s important that you get the right tool for the job in order to effectively treat your pain and prevent any unnecessary complications or adverse reactions. If you’re not sure about what the best option is for you, visit your local London Drugs and talk to a pharmacist for recommendations.

Check out London Drugs’ range of pain relief products online or visit your local London Drugs to talk to a pharmacist about getting the pain relief you need.

Health Tips Video: Prevention is Key with Heart Disease

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada. Visit our healthy heart clinics

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death for Canadians (after cancer). Heart disease is actually a class of diseases that involve the structure and functions of the heart, including conditions like angina, arrhythmia, stroke, heart attack, and more.

Prevention of Heart Disease is Key

According to Sam Ma, a registered pharmacist with London Drugs, “Prevention is really key. Often there are no symptoms of heart problems until the underlying disease has progressed.” That’s really scary when you consider that 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

This means that routine screening is really important, and especially important if you’re a woman. The classic symptoms of heart disease don’t always appear in women. Women’s heart disease tends to manifest as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, stomach upset like indigestion or nausea, fatigue, and back or neck pain rather than the crushing chest pain men might experience. Because women’s heart disease can be harder to spot, women are also less likely to be prescribed the drugs they need to lower their blood pressure or cholesterol.

Check out a London Drugs Healthy Heart Clinic

So how can you get screened? London Drugs’ Healthy Heart Clinics are a great option. These are 45-minute one-on-one consultations with a Patient Care Pharmacist to discuss your heart health and look at your risk profile. This includes your lifestyle, family history, and risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and it’s estimated that 6 million adults in Canada suffer from high blood pressure.

During this screening, the pharmacist will measure your blood pressure and test your cholesterol and blood sugar via a pin-prick blood sample. You’ll also have a conversation about lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease, such as:

  • Changing your diet
  • Increasing your fitness routine
  • Quitting smoking
  • Cutting back on alcohol consumption

Your pharmacist can also call your family doctor with the results of the screening and recommend potential changes to your medication that could improve your heart health, if necessary.

You can book an appointment online at LondonDrugs.com/healthyheart, or by calling your local London Drugs. Be sure to bring along all your prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and any herbal remedies you take to help give your pharmacist a comprehensive view of your medication routine.

Book your Healthy Heart appointment by visiting LondonDrugs.com/healthyheart and read more on heart health here.

Health Tips Video: Quit Smoking Successfully

London Drugs Pharmacists Can Help You Quit Smoking

We all know smoking is bad for our health, but so many of us still struggle with an addiction to cigarettes. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported that around 5 million people in Canada smoke and of those 5 million, 3.6 million smoke daily.

Smoking Can Cause Serious Health Problems

Smoking is closely linked with many serious health conditions, including:

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Other forms of cancer, such as mouth and throat cancer
  • Dental problems
  • Fertility issues

Smoking also yellows skin, teeth, and nails.

Second-hand Smoke is Also Dangerous

Smoking isn’t just dangerous to the smoker. Second-hand smoke is also a serious problem. In Canada, over 800 non-smokers die each year from illnesses caused by second-hand smoke. Children are especially at risk, and are more likely to develop asthma, leukemia, respiratory infections, and other conditions if exposed to second-hand smoke.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

You might think it’s too hard to quit smoking, or it’s too late if you’ve been smoking for a long time, but it’s never too late to quit. Penny Lehoux, a Registered Pharmacist and Certified Tobacco Educator with London Drugs, says quitting smoking has health benefits at any age, with almost an immediate effect.

If you quit smoking, your health will improve in the following ways:

  • Within 20 minutes, blood pressure lowers
  • Within 24 hours, the risk of heart attack is reduced
  • Within 2 weeks to 3 months, your lungs work better

All of these effects will increase your life expectancy, regardless of how long you’ve been smoking or when you quit.

We Can Support Your Efforts to Quit Smoking

There are many types of smoking cessation aids that may help you on your journey to quit smoking, such as nicotine replacements to help with nicotine cravings and prescription medications that can reduce the physical effects of addiction.

There is also lots of support available to people who want to stop smoking via community groups, counselling, and online tools. Check out Alberta Quits in AB and QuitNow in BC.

If you want to speak to someone directly, London Drugs offers consultations with pharmacists to give you tips and advice on how to reduce your tobacco consumption. They’ll work with you on making a plan to quit, potentially including prescription medication if it makes sense for you.

Visit or call your local London Drugs to book an appointment with a Certified Tobacco Educator and make sure to bring any current medications, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal remedies with you to your appointment—this will help your pharmacist make your personalized smoking cessation plan.

For more tips on how to quit smoking, visit your local London Drugs and speak to a Certified Tobacco Educator, or visit https://pharmacy.londondrugs.com/Channel/Smoking-Cessation online.

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